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And so I hung upon his track
At dusk to stab him in the back

In some lone street or archway vault.

But oh give heed! As I was stealing

Upon his heels, with knife grasped tight, There crept across my soul a feeling

That I myself was kept in sight; Each time I turned, dodge as I would, A masked and unknown watcher stood

Who baffled all my plan that night.

What mask this, I thought and thought,

Who dogs me thus when least I care?
His figure is nor tall nor short,

And yet has a familiar air.
But oh, despite this watcher's eye,
I'll reach my man yet by-and-by,

And snuff his life out yet, elsewhere.

And though compelled to still defer,

I schemed another project soon;
I armed my boat with a hidden spur

To run him down in the lagoon.
At dusk I saw him row one day
Where lone and wide the waters lay,

Reflecting scarce the dim white moon.

No boat, as far as sight could strain,

Loomed on the solitary sea;
I saw my oar each minute gain

Upon my death-doomed enemy,
When lo, a black-masked gondolier,
Silent and spectre-like, drew near,

And stepped between my deed and me.

He seemed from out the flood to rise,

And hovered near to mar my game; I knew him and his cursed guise,

His cursed mask: he was the same. So, balked once more, enraged and cowed, Back through the still lagoon I rowed

In mingled wonder, wrath, and shame.

Oh, were I not to come and pray

Thee for thy absolution here In the confessional, to-day

My very ribs would burst with fear. Leave not, good Father, in the lurch A faithful son of Mother Church,

Whose faith is firm and soul sincere.

It is that iron room whose four walls crept,
On silent screws, and came each night more near
By steady inches while the victim slept,

And had no fear.

At dawn he wakes; there somehow seems a change;
The cell seems smaller; less apart the beams.
He sets it down to fancy; yet 'tis strange

How close it seems!

The next day comes; his narrow strip of sky Seems narrower still; all day his strained eyes

sweep Floor, walls, and roof. He's sure the roof's less

He dares not sleep.

The third day breaks. He sees, he wildly calls
On God and man, who care not to attend;
He maims his hands against the conscious walls

That seek his end,

All day he fights, unarmed and all alone,
Against the closing walls, the shrinking floor,
Till Nature, ceasing to demand her own,

Rebels no more.

Then waits in silence, noting the degrees
Perhaps with hair grown white from that dread

Till those inexorable walls shall squeeze

His strong soul out.


Thou Priest that art behind the screen

Of this confessional, give ear:
I need God's help, for I have seen

What turns my vitals limp with fear.
O Christ, O Christ, I must have done
More mortal sin than any one

Who says his prayers in Venice here!

And yet by stealth I only tried

To kill my enemy, God knows:
And who on earth has e'er denied

A man the right to kill his foes?
He won the race of the Gondoliers;
I hate him and the skin he wears-

I hate him and the shade he throws.

I hate him through each day and hour;

All ills that curse me seem his fault:
He makes my daily soup taste sour,

He makes my daily bread taste salt;

Behind St. Luke's, as the dead men know,

A pale apothecary dwells, Who deals in death both quick and slov,

And baleful philters, withering spells;


He sells alike to rich and poor,
Who know what knocks to give his door,

The yellow dust that rings the knells.

Those hands are mine

their scars, shape: O God, O God, there's no escape,

And seeking Heaven, I fall on Hell!


Well, then, I went and knocked the knock

With cautious hand, as I'd been taught; The door revolved with silent lock,

And I went in, suspecting nought. But oh, the self-same form stood masked Behind the counter, and unasked

In silence proffered what I sought.

My knees and hands like aspens shook:

I spilt the powder on the ground; I dared not turn, I dared not look;

My palsied tongue would make no sound. Then through the door I Aed at last With feet that seemed more slow than fast,

And dared not even once look round.

I. To keep through life the posture of the grave, While others walk and run and dance and leap; To keep it ever, waking or asleep, While shrink the limbs which Nature goodly gave; In summer's heat to breast no more the wave, Nor tread the cornfield where the reapers reap; To wade no more through tangled grasses deep, Nor press the moss beneath some leafy nave; In winter days no more to hear the ring Of frozen earth, the creak of crisp, fresh snow; No more to roam where scarlet berries cling To leafless twigs, and pluck the ripe blue sloe 'Tis hard, 'tis hard, but thou dost bring relief, Fair, welcome Muse, sweet soother of all grief.

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II. Oh, were it not for thee, the dull, dead weight Of Time's great coils, too sluggishly unrolled, Which creep across me ever, fold on fold, As I lie prostrate, were for strength too great. For health and motion are not all that Fate Has bid the passing seasons to withhold; Alas! a nobler birthright yet was sold For one small mess of pottage that I eat. And, like the wretch who, shivering in the street And gnawed by hunger, sees his haggard self In some shop window piled with drink and meat, I fix my hungry eyes where, cruelly near, Are lying, closed and useless on the shelf, The books I dare not read and dare not hear.

Bent, spite all fear, upon my task,

I tried to pass: there was no space. Then rage prevailed: I snatched the mask

From off the baffling figure's face, And oh, unutterable dread! The face was mine, mine white and dead,

Stiff with some frightful death's grimace.


What sins are mine, O luckless wight,

That doom should play me such a trick And make me see a sudden sight

That turns both soul and body sick ? Stretch out thy hands, thou priest unseen That sittest there behind the screen,

And give me absolution, quick!

The hollow sea-shell which for years hath stood
On dusty shelves, when held against the ear
Proclaims its stormy parent; and we hear
The faint far murmur of the breaking flood.
We hear the sea. The sea ? It is the blood
In our own veins, impetuous and near,
And pulses keeping pace with hope and fear
And with our feelings' every shifting mood.
Lo! in my heart I hear, as in a shell,
The murinur of a world beyond the grave,
Distinct, distinct, though faint and far it be.
Thou fool; this echo is a cheat as well, -
The hum of earthly instincts; and we crave
A world unreal as the shell-heard sea.

O God, O God, his hands are dead!

His hands are mine, O monstrous spell! I feel them clammy on my head.

Is he my own dead self as well?

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To-morrow death; and there are fields of rye

Where poppies and bright corn-flowers abound;

And there are fragrant grasses, where the sound Of streamlets rises, where the mowers ply.

I wonder if the woodland bells will close

A little earlier on the day I end,
Tired of the light, though free from human woes;
And if the robin and the thrush will wend

A little sooner to their sweet repose,
To make a little mourning for their friend?


(1610.) The cowardice of man who dares not do!

For sixteen centuries since Jesus died

On Golgotha, we paint Him from dolls tied On crosses, or from corpses stark and blue. Has any painter ever dared to screw

A living model to the Cross, or tried

To seize the wriggles of the Crucified – The twitches of the living hands nailed through ?

O Christ, my Christ, Thou shalt be painted yet

In all Thy torture; and at last men's eyes Shall see Thy cracking limbs, Thy crimson sweat! I've trapped a Jew in cellars whence can rise

No yells. I'll work at leisure; and we'll set The finished picture in St. Barnaby's.

Oh, there is nothing like the panting love

With which the tigress closes round her prey!

Men call it hate; I call it love at play; The yearning of the viper for the dove.

--Queen Eleanor to Rosamond Clifford.

STARS. Night closes round. The burning stars flame out, Intolerably many, and yet more.

- The King of Cyprus to His Queen.


A rich warm scent
Of summer ripeness fills the fertile plain;
The ox, unyoked, kneels chewing near the wain;

In one sound blent
The voices of the insect-swarms that fill
Each furrow, indefatigably trill

And chirp and hum; until the bright day spent, Invokes the dusk to make the lone fields still.

- Apollo and Marsyas. TWILIGHT.

But the twilight
Makes all objects seem mysterious,
Like a conscious watcher each.

-Sister Mary of the Plazue.

Time wades slowly through the darkness

Till at last it reaches day,
And the city's many steeples
Buried in the starless heaven
Grow distinct in sunless gray.

Upon my bridal morn my father's house
Was full of song; my heart was full of sun;
Yea, and of earnest love and brave intent:
Less snowy was the linen I had woven
With my own hands for thee; less fresh the wreaths
The bridesmaids still were twining; and less pure
The gold of bridal gifts which guest-friends

brought, Than was the heart that waited to be thine.

- The Bride of Porphyrion.

DOUBT. The pillars of my faith in human good Had given way; the roof had fallen in Upon my life. Oh how I cursed the night For dragging out its black and silent creep! And when dawn came, oh how I cursed the dawn For its intrusive stare! And yet that night Was but the first of many equal nights; That dawn was but the first of many dawns In ushering in a loathed and lonely day.




I am the imp of stone that squats and leers

Cpon the black cathedral front, up high;
With which they fright the children when they

cry, All warped and hunchbacked, with the great bat's

ears, And thou the beautiful straight queen that wears The heavenly smile, while round her comes to

die The yellow sunshine that clings lovingly To the old statues in their rigid tiers.

I love thee; but thou canst not love me back:

Thine eyes are turned elsewhere and see me not, Deep in the shadow, lonely, chill, and black. Thou, bathed in sunshine, love a crooked blot? Nature would shriek; the earth would quake

and crack; And I should loathe thee as I loathe my lot.




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Rock, hard and wind-swept, was my marriage bed;
The wilderness my bride; the starry sky
My roof; the distant, interrupted howl
Of beasts of prey my nuptial lullaby.
Before me lay the waste, strewn here and there
With ribs of men and camels, or the wreck
Of perished cities; yea, and thirst and pain
In vaguely measured sum. But in my soul
The voice of thunder cried: “ Push on, push on
Into the waste, Porphyrion! thou art still
Too near to human haunts, too far from God!"

- Ibid.


But oh the pleasant breath Of life; the strong, strong stream of youth and

health That bounds along the veins; the unused wealth Of what we call the Future, with its schemes, Emotions, friendships, loves, surprises, dreams; The thing we call Identity, the I To which the wretched cling, they know not why, And which no evils press me to destroy; The simple pleasures which I now enjoy -What, give up all ? What right has Fate, what

right, To thrust me from Life's hearth into the night, The darkness and the cold ? What right or need Has Fate to come, and while I sit and read Life's pleasant page, to summon me to shut The open book, and leave two thirds uncut ? Who dares to tell me that a living man Whom God has made, who feels the cool winds fan His heated brow, is not in God's sight worth A thing that is man's work, upon this earth?

The Wonder of The World,

For a real name, the Christian part of it sounds strange; but the surname is a well-known one in Virginia, the former bearers of it being near of kin to Martha Washington. The name “ Danske ” means the Dane," and it was given to the daughter who was born to Henry Bedinger, when he was United States minister to Copenhagen just before the breaking out of our Civil War. The infant lived, but the father soon died. The mother, Mrs. Caroline Lawrence Bedinger, with her children,- she had three, of whom Danske was the youngest, — returned to the family country-seat at Shepherdstown, West Virginia. They lived there till the close of the war, when Mrs. Bedinger died. She, by the way, was a grand-daughter of Eliza Southgate Bowne, whose “Letters of a Young Girl Eighty Years Ago" were recently published. The orphan children were taken to the home of their grandfather, the Hon. J. W. Lawrence, in Flushing, L. I., and there Danske lived till 1877, when she married Stephen Dandridge and returned to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to live. By the marriage she secured not only the sympathy, encouragement and criticism she needed, but the alliteration of name that is as much to an author as a title is to a book.

But why did the foreign-born girl, who was frail in health and nervous in temperament, need sympathy, encouragement and criticism ? Simply because she was about to enter the lists in litera. ture. She had scribbled verses since she was a child of eight. Her father before her wrote poems for The Southern Literary Messenger. But the morbid, sensitive, dreamy child had not attempted ambitious flights, nor did the woman, though aided and encouraged, so much as offer a poem to an editor till she had been married some years. Her first poem was published in Gorley's Lady's Book for February, 1885. In June of the same year “ The Lover in the Woods” appeared in Lippincott's, and in August “Twilight in the Woods” appeared in The Independent. Since then the name Danske Dandridge" has appeared again and again in our magazines and periodicals. Most frequently have her poems appeared in The Independent, which has published no less than twenty-three of them during the past three years. In the spring of 1888 these poems, with the bloom of their youth fresh upon them, were gathered into a dainty, tiny volume calied “ Joy, and Other Poems." Few of our poets have put forth a sweeter, simpler first venture than this. None of the poems are profound, and none, perhaps, are great; but many are striking for thought and expression and they all have a delicate freshness. It is the fashion to try to develop or discover an


Oh who shall have the courage to decide

Between the things that are and those that seem,

And tell the spirit that the eyes have lied ? Watch thy own face reflected in the stream;

Is that a figment? Who shall dare to call

That unsubstantial form a madman's dream? Or watch the shadow on the sunlit wall,

If thou couldst clutch it great would be thy skill;

Thou'lt feel a chilly spot and that is all. So may the spectres which, more subtle still,

Elude the feeble intellect of man,

And leave us empty-handed with a chill,
Be just as much reality. We spend

Life 'mid familiar spectres, while the soul
In fear denies the rest.

- The New Medusa,

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