4th Jul 2016Posted in: Others, Post-Confederation 0
The Lower Slopes

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Of this edition 600 copies have been printed for England
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Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty
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To one who loves such wreaths as poets twine,
Large-hearted Clodd, this dalliance with the Nine
A rare and fitful votary at their shrine.
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MY brain is weary and my eyes are aching
   With poring over long on Plato’s text;
I’ll make this silent hour my own, forsaking
The buried lore with which my soul is vexed.
The breeze without blows kindlier and moister;
   I’ll fling the mullioned window open wide
That looks athwart the solemn court and cloister,
To view the world outside.

Each dome and spire from east to west arises
   An island from the rolling sea of mist
That fills with shadowy waves the vale of Isis,
   All save the imperial city’s queenly crest.
Above, the chilly moonbeams of October
   Wrap round her sleeping form a gilded shroud;
Below, the fleecy sheets of vapour robe her
In folds of silver cloud. [unnumbered page]

The blood-red creeper on the pale grey turret
   Shows purple in the dim recess of night,
Save when the short-lived autumn breezes stir it,
Flashing a gleam of crimson on my sight.
And drooping ivy sprays that twist and dangle
   Around the gloomy gurgoyles’ mouldering mass
Shed ghostly shadows on the dark quadrangle,
Across the moonlit grass.

Hard by, the clear-cut pinnacles of Merton
   Rise black against the wan abyss on high;
The far Cathedral steeple looms uncertain
   Through intervening depths of hazy sky:
High in the tapering belfry of St. Mary’s
   The solemn clock knells out the stroke of three,
And fills with floating sound and weird vagaries
The misty middle sea.

These dreamy reveries of Plato mingle
   With shapeless cloud and voices of vague bells
To bid each vein through all my body tingle,
   And stir my brain through all its throbbing cells.
The city’s form melts like the fitful vapour,
   Till these her solid walls of massive stone,
Unreal as the fleecy robes that drape her,
Fade, and I stand alone. [page 2] 

I know not if she be or if she be not;
   I only know I am, and nought beside:
I gaze abroad with timid eyes and see not
Beyond the mist by which my sight is tied.
The things I see and hear and feel around me
   Merge in the inner consciousness of thought:
Yet like an iron chain their limits bound me
   With bands myself have wrought.

Is sentient life,—set passive in the middle
   Of fleeting sights and sounds, of joy and pain,
Yearning yet important, an awful riddle
   Whose hidden end we seek to solve in vain:—
Is life, so strangely placed, a wanton creature
   Of calm design that heeds not human cares,
Or bastard offspring of unconscious nature
   Begotten unawares?

When chaos slowly set to sun or planet
   And molten masses hardened into earth,
When primal force wrought out on sea and granite
   The wondrous miracle of living birth,
Did mightier Mind, in clouds of glory hidden,
   Breathe power through its limbs to speak and know,
Or sentience spring spontaneous and unbidden,
With feeble steps and slow? [page 3] 

Are sense and thought but parasites of being?
   Did nature mould our limbs to act and move,
But some strange chance endow our eyes with seeing,
Our nerves with feeling and our hearts with love?
Since all alone we stand, alone discerning
   Sorrow from joy, self from the things without:
While blind fate tramples on our spirit’s yearning
And fills our souls with doubt.

This very tree, whose life is our life’s sister,
   We know not if the ichor in her veins
Thrill with fierce joy when April dews have kissed her,
   Or shrink in anguish from October rains.
We search the mighty world above and under,
   Yet nowhere find the soul we fain would find,
Speech in the hollow rumbling of the thunder,
   Words in the whispering wind.

We yearn for brotherhood with lake and mountain;
   Our conscious soul seeks conscious sympathy,
Nymphs in the coppice, Naiads in the fountain,
Gods on the craggy height and roaring sea.
We find but soulless sequences of matter,
   Fact linked to fact by adamantine rods,
Eternal bonds of former sense and latter,
Dead laws for living Gods. [page 4] 

They care not any whit for pain or pleasure
   That seem to men the sum and end of all:
Dumb force and barren number are their measure;
   What can be, shall be, though the great world fall.
They take no heed of man or man’s deserving,
Reck not what happy lives they make or mar,
Work out their fatal will, unswerved, unswerving,
   And know not that they are.

Can lifeless law beget on senseless matter
   The fuller life of self-reflecting thought?
Or may the pregnant soul itself but scatter
   These myriad fancies through a world of nought?
Are all these outer shapes a vain illusion
   (As in deep tones our clearest prophet sings),
And mind alone, set free from vague confusion,
The inmost core of things?

The city lies below me, wrapped in slumber;
   Mute and unmoved in all her streets she lies:
Mid rapid thoughts that throng me without number
   Flashes the image of an old surmise:
Her hopes and fears and griefs are all suspended;
   Ten thousand souls throughout her precincts take
Sleep, in whose bosom life and death are blended,
   And I alone awake. [page 5] 

Am I alone the solitary centre
   Of all the seeming universe around,
With mocking senses through whose portals enter
Unmeaning fantasies of sight and sound?
Are all the countless minds wherewith I people
   The empty forms that float before my eyes
Vain as the cloud that girds the distant steeple
With snowy canopies?

Yet though the world be but myself unfolded,
   Soul bent again on soul in mystic play,
No less each sense and thought and act is moulded,
   By dead necessities I may not sway.
Some mightier power against my will can move me,
   Some potent nothing force and overawe;
Though I be all that is, I feel above me
The godhead of blind law.

I seem a passive consciousness of passion
   Poised in the boundless vault of empty space;
A mirror for strange shapes of alien fashion
That come and go before my lonely face.
My soul that reigns the mistress of creation,
   That grasps within herself the sum of things,
Wears round her feet the gyves of limitation,
   And fetters bind her wings. [page 6] 

The sense I fain would feel I cannot summon;
   The sense I fain would shirk I cannot shun:
I know the measured sequence that they come in;
   I may not change the grooves wherein they run.
I know not if they be but phantom faces
   Whose being is but seeming, seen awry:
They pass, I know not how, and leave no traces;
   They come I know not why.

My inmost hope, my deepest aspiration,
   Each quiver of my brain, each breath I draw,
Fear curdling up the blood, love’s wild pulsation,
   Work surely out the inevitable law:
The will herself that pants for freedom, flouting
   Its soulless despotism, yet works it out:
Ay, even though I doubt, my very doubting
Fulfils the law I doubt.

So, dimly cloaked in infinite disguises,
   The hopes I seem to grasp again dissolve,
And through their vacant images arises
   The central problem that I may not solve;
Till, like this fading creeper’s blighted blossom,
   My life too fade before some wintry breath,
And sink at last upon the peaceful bosom
Of all-embracing death. [page 7] 

But now that far and wide the pale horizon,
   Faint grey to eastward, darker on the west,
Lights up the misty sphere its border lies on,
   My weary brain has need of gentle rest.
The growing haze of sunrise gives me warning
   To check these wayward thoughts that dive too deep.
Perchance a little light will come with morning,
   Perchance I shall but sleep. [page 8] 


IN the mud of the Cambrian main
   Did our earliest ancestor dive:
From a shapeless aluminous grain
   We mortals our being derive.
He could split himself up into five,
   Or roll himself round like a ball;
For the fittest will always survive,
   While the weakliest go to the wall.

As an active ascidian again
   Fresh forms he began to contrive,
Till he grew to a fish with a brain,
And bought forth a mammal alive.
With his rivals he next had to strive
   To woo him a mate and a thrall;
So the handsomest managed to wive,
While the ugliest went to the wall.

At length as an ape he was fain
   The nuts of the forest to rive,
Till he took to the low-lying plain,
   And proceeded his fellows to knive. [page 9] 
Thus did cannibal men first arrive
   One another to swallow and maul:
And the strongest continued to thrive,
While the weakliest went to the wall.


Prince, in our civilised hive,
   Now money’s the measure of all;
And the wealthy in coaches can drive,
   While the needier go to the wall. [page 10] 


DEEP in Cythera a cave,
   Pealing a thunderous pæan,
Roars, as the shivering wave
   Whitens the purple Ægean:
There to astonish the globe,
   Terrible, beautiful, mighty,
Clad with desire as a robe,
   Rose Aphrodite. 

Never again upon earth
   Like her arose any other;
Got without labour or birth,
   Sprung without father or mother:
Zeus, from his aery home,
   Seeing the roaseate water
Lift her aloft on its foam,
Hailed her his daughter.

Sweet was her shape, and is now;
   Sweeter the breath of her kisses;
Delicate ivory brow;
   Wealth of ambrosial tresses; [page 11] 
Mouth that no favour denies;
   Cheek that no ardour abashes;
Languishing eyelids and eyes,
Languishing lashes.

Then, as her luminous face
   Shone like the ocean that bore her,
Every nation and race
   Worshipped her, falling before her;
Chaplets they culled for her fane,
   Fairer than any can cull us;
Greece gave her Sappho’s refrain,
Rome her Catullus.

Soft was the sound of their lyre,
   Luscious their lay without cloying, 
Till, as a billow of fire,
   Crushing, consuming, destroying,
Wasting her wines in their spleen,
   Spilling her costly cosmetics,
Swept the implacable, lean
Horde of ascetics.

Darkness they spread over earth,
   Sorrow and fasting of faces;
Mute was the music of mirth,
   Hushed was the chorus of Graces; [page 12] 
Back to the womb of the wave,
   Terrible, beautiful, mighty,
Back with the boons that she gave
Sank Aphrodite.

Down the abysses of time
   Rolled the unchangeable ages,
Reft of the glory of rhyme
   Graven in passionate pages;
Sad was the measure, and cold,
   Dead to the language of kisses;
Sadly the centuries rolled
Down the abysses.

Now in the ends of the earth
   Tenderer singers and sweeter,
Smit with a ravening dearth,
   Cry on the goddess and greet her;
Cry with their rapturous eyes
   Flashing the fire of emotion;
Call her again to arise
Fresh from the ocean.

Hot as of old are their songs,
   Breathing of odorous tresses,
Murmur of amorous tongues,
Ardour of fervid caresses; [page 13] 
Trilled with a tremulous mouth
   Into the ear of the comer,
Warm as the breath of the South,
   Soft as the Summer.

Under the depth of the wave,
   Hearing their passionate numbers,
Piercing her innermost cave,
   Waken her out of her slumbers,
Soothed with the sound of their strain,
   Beautiful, merciful, mighty,
Back to the nations again
Comes Aphrodite. [page 14] 


ALONE amid the solemn heathy desert
   Whose bleak brown sideso’erhangBraemar,
I sit, this misty Scottish August Sabbath,
High up the spurs of Lochnagar.

Above, fierce swirls of moaning autumn weather
   Drive on thin wreaths of vaporous cloud;
While, hanging low, the blight that dims the background
   Spreads o’er heaven’s face its sullen shroud.

Beneath me heaves afar one solid ocean,
   Wave after wave of moor and ben,
Flung seething up in granite-crested billow,
Or sunk in troughs of sweeping glen.

No laughing eye of silver-rippled lakelet,
   But black expanse of peaty loch,
Whose moody depths unstirred obscurely mirror
Fantastic forms of gaunt grey rock. [page 15] 

No golden croft or grassy-tedded homestead;
   No close-cropped lawn of ruddled sheep;
But holt and hurst where roam high-antlered faces,
   And purple moors where grey grouse creep.

While here and there some low-browed, turf-built shieling
   Peeps out through friths of fir or birk,
Where frowns, austere, elect, the shingled steeple
   That tops some sombre granite kirk.

But leagues between, a vagrant sunbeam flashes
   On palace wall or castled pride,
Thronged with gay-kilted crowds whose lairdly pleasures
   Spread Libyan desert far and wide.

Who thrust across wild waves of western ocean
Disacred remnants of great clans;
Who gave to fir and whins and forest roamers
   The generous haughs that once were man’s.

As dazed I scan this weary waste of heather,
   And desolate haunts of bird or deer,
And lonely homes of selfish Saxon splendour,
   A southern cry rings in my ear. [page 16] 

A cry that, bursting from ten thousand bosoms,
   Awoke from midnight into noon
Marseille, Bordeaux, Saint Étienne, Lyon, Paris,
   With lips that shrieked ‘Vive la Commune!’

 My thirsty vision pants for sunlit waters,
   And luscious glebe of vine-clad lands,
And chanted psalms of universal freedom,
   And sacred grasp of brotherly hands:

Pants to behold the ruddy Highland ranger,
   With fair-cheeked sons of English soil,
Linked to the sunburnt throng of southern cities
   In one vast commonwealth of toil:

Banded to break the pride of hoarded treasure,
   Or insolent boast of lordly birth:
To fling the equal boon of freeborn manhood
   Through all the spreading skirts of earth:

No longer with the red right hand of slaughter,
   Nor eyes made drunk with blood and wine;
But sober sweat of brows whose slow endeavour
   Piles surely up the grand design:

Not eager to forestall in raw impatience
   The lagging wheels of distant years,
But planning well a deep-set revolution,
Unstained by blot of blood or tears. [page 17]

Till once again that holy cry re-echo
   From mightier crowds and louder still,
Through ocean-sundered streets, with happier auspice
   Of undivided human will:

And once again this dreary Scottish landscape
   With golden dimples smile afar,
Spreading the nobler wealth of happy harvests
   High up the slopes of Lochnagar:

While, side by side, the men of many nations
   Blend in one boundless league and free,
As Thames and Seine, St. Lawrence, Nile, and Ganges
   Mingle in one illimitable sea. [page 18] 


A JELLY-FISH swam in a tropical sea,
And he said, ‘This world it consists of Me:
There’s nothing above and nothing below
That a jelly-fish ever can possibly know
(Since we’ve got no sight, or hearing, or smell),
Beyond what our single sense can tell.
Now, all that I learn from the sense of touch
Is the fact of my feelings, viewed as such.
But to think they have any external cause
Is an inference clean against logical laws.
Again, to suppose, as I’ve hitherto done,
There are other jelly-fish under the sun,
Is a pure assumption that can’t be backed
By a jot of proof or a single fact.
In short, like Hume, I very much doubt
If there’s anything else at all without.
So I come at last to the plain conclusion,
When the subject is fairly set free from confusion, [page 19] 
That the universe simply centres in Me,
And if I were not, then nothing would be.’

That minute, a shark, who was strolling by,
Just gulped him down, in the twink of an eye;
And he died, with a few convulsive twists.

But, somehow, the universe still exists. [page 20] 


THIS bitter age that pits our maids with men
   Wore out her woman’s heart before its time:
          Too wan and pale,
          She strove to scale
The icy peaks of unimagined rhyme.
There, worlds broke sunless on her frighted ken;
   The mountain air struck chill on her frail breath:
Fainting she fell, all weary with her climb,
And kissed the soft, sweet lips of pitying death. [page 21] 


A CROWNED Caprice is god of this world;
On his stony breast are his white wings furled.
No ear to listen, no eye to see,
No heart to feel for a man hath he.

But his pitiless arm is swift to smite;
And his mute lips utter one word of might,
Mid the clash of gentler souls and rougher,
‘Wrong must thou do, or wrong must suffer.’

Then great, oh dumb blind god, at least that we
Rather the sufferers than the doers be. [page 22] 


A TINY fay
Deep nestling lay
In a purple bay
On whose crystal floor
The distant roar
From the surf-bound shore
Was muffled.

With his fairy wife
He passed his life
Undimmed by strife
   Or quarrel;
And the live-long day
They would merrily play
Through a labyrinth gay
With coral. [page 23] 

They loved to dwell
In a pearly shell,
And to deck their cell
   With amber:
Or amid the caves
That the ripplet laves
And the beryl paves
To clamber.

By the limpet’s home
And the vaulted dome
Where the starfish roam
   They’d linger;
In the mackerel’s jaw
And the lobster’s claw
They’d push and withdraw
A finger.

And queer little things
With filmy wings
And floating strings
   To guide them,
Of softest mould,
In swarms untold,
Tumbled and rolled
Beside them. [page 24] 

On a darting shrimp
Our frolicsome imp
With bridle of gimp
   Would gambol;
Or astride on the back
Of a sea-horse black
(As a gentleman’s hack)
   He’d amble.

Of emerald green
And sapphire’s sheen
He made his queen
   A tiar;
And the merry two
Their whole life through
Were as happy as you
   And I are.

But if you say
You think this lay
Of the tiny fay
   Too silly,
Let it have such praise
As my eye betrays
To your own sweet gaze,
   My Millie! [page 25] 

For a man, he tries,
And he toils and sighs,
To be mighty wise
   And witty;
But a dear little dame
Has enough fame
If she wins the name
Of pretty. [page 26] 


‘But there! no man ever loved any woman well enough to love her only.’—Extract from a Letter.

THE shallow pool, content to woo the charms
Of one coy mead, gapes dry in August days:
The mightiest ocean winds enamoured arms
Round countless capes in deep caressing bays.

I hold that heart full poor that owns its boast
To throb in tube with but one throbbing breast.
Who numbers many friends, loves friendship most;
   Who numbers many loves, loves each love best. [page 27] 


HERE, on Fitzgerald’s grave, from Omar’s tomb,
   To lay fit tribute pilgrim singers flock.
Long with a double fragrance let it bloom,
   This rose of Iran on an English stock. [page 28]


MY name is Aphrodite, and my home
   Men decked of old in flowery fanes of Greece:
   All other gods were born, died, and have peace;
I only spring eternal from the foam;
   I still am queen; my reign shall never cease.

One other was not born, nor yet has died;
   Pallas, who leapt all armed from Zeus’s head
   (Pallas, my foe, a virgin never wed);
We twain sprang not from any mother’s side;
   Therefore we live, though other gods be dead.

We twain divide the hearts and loves of men;
   For some are strong and cold and heed me not;
   And softer some have passionate hearts and hot.
But women cleave to me; where she wins ten,
   A thousand lovesome maids fall to my lot. [page 29] 

We twain have war whose term is never said
For all the hearts of men and all their loves.
   My throat is warm; it thrills like my own doves’;
And soft as summer breezes do I tread;
   Her throat is cold, and like strong winds she moves.

Mine are the gentle lives that yearn to stray,
   Heart locked in heart, red lips to pale lips pressed,
   Together down smooth paths of wedded rest,
Till crimson memories of departing day
   Swathe in voluptuous tints the gorgeous West.

Hers are the sphere-like souls whose boundless view
   Can spy the subtle motions of the brain,
   Unfold entangled webs of joy and pain,
Or track through varying moods the Good and True.
Them woo I with my amorous lures in vain.

Mine are the hands that limn with cunning stains
   The ineffable meekness of Madonna’s face;
That quicken marble limbs to effluent grace;
Mine are the throats that trill forth rippling strains
Of liquid treble, or thunderous floods of bass. [page 30] 

Hers are the piercing orbs whose keener power
   Sights starry isles that stud the nebulous main:
   Hers are such hands as range the infinite train
Of insect, breast, and bird, of fern and flower.
   Them too with dangled lures I woo in vain.

But votaries to her heart than these—
   Fingers that know the dainty skill to twine
   Blossoms of thought in garlands for her shrine—
Sweet poets, who were once her devotees,
   Have I enticed away, and they are mine. [page 31] 


As a lily that lurks half-hid in the innermost nook of a garden,
Whose sinews the showers feed, and the bountiful breezes harden:
And never a heifer there can crop it close with the grasses;
And never a murderous share can crush it to earth as it passes;
But thick with its odorous sighs the wings of the wind are laden,
And it stands a coveted prize for many a lad and maiden:

Until in a luckless day some boy in that innermost bower
Has gathered in wanton play the snow-white virginal flower;
And its stem that the showers fed fades fast, and its sweet bells languish,
And it hangs its beautiful head in the infinite weight of its anguish; [page 32] 
And its leaves that were once so fair droop downward, heavily laden,
And never a lad would care for it now, nor ever a maiden:

Such, in the innocent days of her snow-white virginal season,
Is the maiden whom love betrays ere love has spoken his treason:
But when one feverish night has fathered a penitent morrow,
The bloom of her brief delight fades fast into infinite sorrow;
And her eye, that was blithe with joy, with tears brims, bitterly laden,
For now nor ever a boy will love her, nor ever a maiden. [page 33] 


ON the crimson cloth
   Of my study desk
A lustrous moth
Poised statuesque.
Of a waxen mould
   Were its light limbs shaped,
And in scales of gold
   Its body was draped:
While its luminous wings
   Were netted and veined
With silvery strings,
   Or golden grained,
Through whose filmy maze
   In tremulous flight
Danced quivering rays
Of the gladsome light. [page 34] 


On the desk hard by
   A taper burned,
Towards which the eye
   Of the insect turned.
In its vague little mind
   A faint desire
Rose, undefined,
For the beautiful fire.
Lightly it spread
   Each silken van;
Then away it sped
For a moment’s span.
And a strange delight
   Lured on its course
With resistless might
   Towards the central source:
And it followed the spell
   Through an eddying maze,
Till it fluttered and fell
In the deadly blaze.


Dazzled and stunned
   By the scalding pain,
One moment it swooned,
   Then rose again; [page 35] 
And again the fire
   Drew it on with its charms
To a living pyre
   In its awful arms;
And now it lies
   On the table here
Before my eyes
Shrivelled and sere.


As I sit and muse
   On its fiery fate,
What themes abstruse
   Might I meditate!
For the pangs that thrilled
   Through that martyred frame
As its veins were filled
   With the scorching flame,
A riddle enclose
   That, living or dead,
In rhyme or in prose,
   No seer has read.
‘But a moth,’ you cry,
   ‘Is a thing so small!’
Ah, yes; but why
   Should it suffer at all? [page 36] 

Why should a sob
   For the vaguest smart
One moment throb 
Through the tiniest heart?
Why in the whole
   Wide universe
Should a single soul
   Feel that primal curse?
Not all the throes
   Of mightiest mind,
Nor the heaviest woes
   Of human kind,
Are of deeper weight
   In the riddle of things
Than that insect’s fate
With the mangled wings.


But if only I
   In my simple song
Could tell you the Why
   Of that one little wrong,
I could tell you more
   Than the deepest page
Of saintliest lore
Or of wisest sage. [page 37] 

For never as yet
   In its wordy strife
Could Philosophy get
   At the import of life;
And Theology’s saws
   Have still to explain
The inscrutable cause
For the being of pain.
So I somehow fear
   That in spite of both,
We are baffled here
   By this one singed moth. [page 38] 


THE crisp brown leaves break short which way we tread,
The golden faintly shiver overhead;
   The lush Virginia creeper drapes the cottage
Aglow with mantling red.

Beneath, the beaded blades are spanned across
By countless dainty webs of silver floss;
   While here and there a tiny sunlit brilliant
Twinkles among the moss.

Dear heart, since love first shaped our happier lot,
Some gleams of beauty lurk in every spot
   To flood my soul with that divine emotion
I once so vainly sought.

I found it not where solemn Alps and grey
Draw purple glories from the newborn day;
   Nor where huge sombre pines loom overhanging
Niagara’s rainbow spray; [page 39]

Nor in loud psalms whose palpitating strain
Thrills the vast dome of Buonarotti’s fane;
   On canvas quick with Sandro’s earnest passion,
Or Titian’s statelier vein.

This mellow autumn morning makes me wise;
Within ourselves the spring of beauty lies;
   In thy true tender heart I read the secret,
In thy deep tender eyes. [page 40] 


                                                  I, like you,
A dapper animalcule knew:
A philosophic monad he,
With most succinct theology.
While star on star aloft was hurled,
He crept, with us, on one small world:
About him, secular space lay filled
With myriad orbs that seethed and thrilled.
Vast forces, boundless energies,
Incalculable infinities,
Loomed awesome every starry night
Upon my animalcule’s sight.
Eternities, within, without,
Steeped all my soul in reverent doubt.
I strove to read the Why and How
Of mystic æons, Then and Now:
I strained my eyes to penetrate
The ultimate atom, uncreate: [page 41] 
I heard the flutter of strange wings,
The infinitesimal pulse of things:
I watched the lurid whirlwinds veer
And eddy down the photosphere:
I pierced through æther to young stars
That blazed in fiery avatars:
With reeling brain I gazed and yearned
To know by what strange power they burned.
Amazed, to me our monad turned.
‘What, don’t you see how all was wrought?’
He cried with smug face undistraught.
‘A bigger monad, just like us,
Through primal chaos waving, thus,
One formless hand, bade all things be;
And lo! the sky, the land, the sea,
The stars, the worlds, and you, and me!’
‘My friend,’ quoth I, ‘that surely seems
A vain conceit of monad dreams,
Too cramped to mirror such great themes:
For why should mites that creep and crawl
On one wee planet of them all
Believe their petty souls rehearse
The drama of the universe?
Why fancy nature’s cosmic plan
Modelled on monad or on man?
Why dream such pygmy brains as these
Can grapple with immensities?
Why make our narrow souls that die
To mould a congruous godhead by, [page 42] 
And deem the sum of things created
By one vast monad animated?
Show me at least some proof, I urge,
Of your amœbid demiurge.’
‘What! ask for proof!’ he cried aghast.
‘Then has it come to this at last?
Do miscreant mortals dare to flout,
In impious protozoan doubt
(Since men and monads grow so coxy),
Amœbamorphic orthodoxy?
You scorn the wisdom of our sires,
Who took no heed of yon dim fires.
The ancient monads of our race
Were quite convinced that time and space,
With mind and matter, light and shade,
All eye hath seen or hand hath weighed,
One archetypal Monad made.
Not theirs to mete the eddying sun;
To plumb the paths where comets run;
To gauge the swift ethereal wave;
To fathom night’s abysmal cave.
Not theirs with studious eye to scan
The long-drawn birth of world or man.
For well they knew the whole was planned
(On lines that monads understand)
By one divine amœban hand.
If you refuse their creed to swallow,
I hold you flippant, pert, and shallow. [page 43] 
Fie on such heresy and schism!
’Tis sure the rankest atheism!’
   I let him say his petulant say;
Then, gently smiling, turned away,
To pit against his hasty guess
The overwhelming consciousness
Of man’s and monad’s littleness;
Against his petty self-wrought Pope,
Micrometer and telescope;
Against his dead ancestral lore,
Yon starry wastes my eyes explore;
Against his crude divine afflatus,
This spectroscopic apparatus:
Secure that who would read the whole
Must scan it first from pole to pole,
And not expect at once to find
All worlds the mirror of his mind. [page 44] 


DEEPEST and mightiest of our later seers,
   Spencer, whose piercing glance descried afar
Down fathomless rifts of dead unnumbered years
   The effulgent waste drift into sun or star,
And through vast wilds of elemental strife
Tracked out the first faint steps of yet unconscious life:

Thy hand has led us through the pathless maze,
   Chaotic sights and sounds that throng the brain,
Traced every strand along its tangled ways,
   And woven anew the many-coloured skein;
Linked fact to fact in adamantine laws,
And shown through minds and worlds the unity of cause.

Ere thou hadst read the universal plan
   Our life was unto us a thing alone:
On this side nature stood, on that side man,
   Irreconcilable, as twain, not one:
Thy voice first told us man was nature’s child,
And in one common law proclaimed them reconciled. [page 45] 

No partial system could suffice for thee,
   Whose eye has scanned the glittering fields of space,
Gazed through the æons on the fiery sea,
   And caught faint gleams of that ineffable face
Which, clad with earth and heaven and souls of men,
Hides its mysterious shape for ever from our ken.

As insect masons in some coral shoal,
   Piling the future mountain toward the sky,
Frame each his cell, unconscious of the whole,
   Live each his little life, and toil, and die;
So we, the lesser workers in thy field,
Pile each the tiny heap our narrower range can yield.

But like some mighty architect, thy mind
   Works up the rock those lesser builders frame,
With conscious end and purpose clear defined,
   In arch and column, toward a single aim,
Till joining part to part thy broader soul
Rears high a stately fane, a grand harmonious whole.

Not without honour is the prophet’s name,
   Save with his country and his kin in time;
But after years shall noise abroad thy fame,
   Above all other fame in prose or rhyme:
For praise is his who builds for his own age,
But he who builds for Time must look to Time for wage. [page 46] 

Yet though thy purer spirit scorns to heed
   The vulgar guerdon of a brief renown,
Some little meed, at least, some little meed,
   Our age may add to thy more lasting crown.
Accept an unknown singer’s thanks for light
Cast on the dim abyss that bounds our narrow sight. [page 47] 


THE song of nations. Sing and clap your hands:
Burst into blossom, all ye barren lands:
   She comes, to break the linkèd chains asunder,
And snap in twain the adamantine bands.

She came before. Her cruel face and fair
Smote all our breasts with infinite despair:
   She passed. The brightness of her lurid beauty
Was fiercer than our dazzled eyes could bear.

She came again. In milder mien she came,
With fruits and flowers crowned, but still the same.
   One lurid day crushed down her risen splendour;
She passed in murky clouds of smoke and flame.

Once more, she comes. Surely our hearts are tried,
And every lesser passion cast aside:
   Shall she not dwell among us now for ever,
Our one and only love, our deathless bride?

(Paris, 1871.) [page 48] 


ON the Moabite mount we stand,
   As stood the prophet of yore,
Looking down on the promised land
   That stretches before;
A bountiful land that flows
   With milk and honey and wine,
And rich with the wealth that glows
On olive and vine.

Through the wilderness of tears,
   Through a desert of thirsty sand,
We have journeyed these many years
   Toward the promised land. 
Behind us the ages o’erpast
   Lie wrapped in a cloudy sheet,
But the promised land at last
Smiles at our feet.

Blest above all that have been
   In the ages of old, are we,
For our eyes have dimly seen
   What their eyes shall see [page 49]
Upon whom, in the fulness of light,
   Shall see the sun of to-morrow be born,
To scatter the shades of the night
With the arrows of morn.

Curst above all that have been
   And in all the ages shall be,
For the glory our eyes have seen
Cursèd are we:
For we know the glory to come,
   The joy, and the light, and the love;
But we know that our lips will be dumb
Ere the slow years move.

Deep in the valley below
   We see the young men and maids,
Afar from the midday glow,
   In the sycamore shades;
And the foot of the dancer trips
   In the dell of the coming years,
And the murmur of laughing lips
Falls soft on our ears.

But softer and sweeter still
   True love is there to behold;
And none may fetter his will
   With law or with gold: [page 50] 
And none may sully his wings
   With the deadly taint of lust,
But freest of all free things
   He soars from the dust.

Yet we have no share in the soil
   Whereto we have led our heirs;
We have borne the brunt of the toil,
   But the fruit is theirs.
For the vineyards are goodly and wide
   And more than a man may count,
But our grave shall be on the side
   Of the Moabite mount. [page 51] 


HOW dreamily the minutes pass
   As hand in hand we sit together
Here on this greener knoll of grass,
An islet in the waving mass
Of purple heather.

How vague life’s happiest moments seem,
   How keen and sharp and clear itssternest;
For joy is life a fitful gleam
Discerned through shadowy mists of dream:
   But pain alone is earnest.

Then let me steal one other kiss,
   Since earth is not so rich in treasure,
That you and I can lightly miss
A single poignant thrill of this
Its deepest pleasure. [page 52] 


ONE race of ruthless spoil our fathers scattered
   When thro’ the angry land a frantic nation
Rose in tumultuous mass and fiercely shattered
   The iron fetters of its degradation.

Their pitiless blood, rolled without touch of pity,
   In that first flush of freedom’s wild commotion,
Down Rhône and Loire, from many a frenzied city,
Encarnadined the purple breast of ocean.

Their stately homes stand empty and forsaken;
   But in their stead a younger brood has risen,
Who on the nation’s neck still sit unshaken,
   And make our sunny land a groaning prison.

Who piled a newer fane aloft to heaven
   Above the smoking shards of old oppression,
In whose unholy precinct, unforgiven,
   Still lurks the bastard brood of dead transgression. [page 53] 

Who doomed our men and maids to toilsome labour,
   In sunless sheds, like herds of driven cattle;
Who picked our stalwart sons for sword or sabre,
And drained the people’s veins in useless battle.

Whose gilded pride rolled in voluptuous leisure
   Through fairest streets that banded toil could fashion:
Who piled them lofty halls of feverish pleasure
   To drown remorseful thought in fitful passion.

Whose foul hands soiled our wells of purest waters:
   Whose cruel arms in merciless embraces
Made harlots of the dearest of our daughters
And scathed with eaten scars our fairest faces.

Who spared no holiest hope that heart can cherish,
   But chose our choicest maiden blood to slaken
Their thirsty lust, and left alone to perish
   The weary souls whose sweets their soul had taken.

Rise, Paris, rise, and like ten thousand devils
   Shake from thy breast these songs of godless barter;
Feed with the relics of their sumptuous revels
The famished mouths of Belleville and Montmartre. [page 54]

Glut in a sudden flood of vengeful madness
   The lifelong hunger of thy festering malice,
Whose hoarded hate is turned to fiendish gladness
   In one deep draught at that ensanguined chalice.

Small matter though thy blood with theirs must mingle,
   And though thy children’s wailing drown their dirges:
Take sevenfold vengeance till thy shoulders tingle
Beneath the frantic fury of thy scourges.

Close with thy spoilers in a deadly grapple:
   Wreak on their mitred priests thy angry warrant:
Hurl from their bases column, tower, and chapel:
   Rain on their palace roofs a fiery torrent:

Wrap in a robe of flame each spot where lingers
   The proud memorial of thy ancient story:
Clutch thy own throat with suicidal fingers,
   And perish mid the ruins of thy glory.

(Paris, 1871.) [page 55] 

November 1872

ONCE more she sits upon her ancient throne,
   The fair Republic of our steadfast vows;
   A Phrygian bonnet binds her ivory brows,
About her neck her knotted hair is blown:
   A hundred cities nestle in her lap,
      Girt round their stately locks with mural crowns;
   The folds of her imperial robe enwrap
A thousand lesser towns.

But by her side in crownless state sits one
   Who in her darkest days with noble trust
   Raised up her fallen beauty from the dust,
And battled in her cause, her eldest son:
   Faithful alone through many a faithless hour,
      And proved by stern adversity of old;
   Tried in the fiery crucible of power,
      And found of truest gold. [page 56] 

When on her neck the despot’s heel was pressed,
   His eloquent voice alone rang loud and free
   To raise the trumpet cry of liberty
And speed her watchword on from east to west:
   And when, like some fierce whirlwind, through the land
      The wrathful Teuton swept, he only dared
   To hope and act when every heart and hand,
      But his alone, despaired.

A poet’s scorn for all the ill that is;
   A prophet’s yearning for the distant weal;
   A fervent tongue; a heart of fiery zeal
Tempered with fine discretion, these are his:
   The earliest herald of that dawning day,
      When plans of weighty counsel shall arrange
   The younger world, while haste and slow delay
      Give place to gentle change.

He first among our chiefs had skill to wrench
   The iron pike from Revolution’s hand,
   Pluck from her furious clutch the blazing brand,
And wrest the angry axe her fingers clench:
   His was the task to raise our slighted laws
      Without the murderous arm of anarchy,
   Winning at one bold stroke for freedom’s cause
A bloodless victory. [page 57] 

And now, when all our land is calm once more,
   Like some fierce Ætna lulled a while to rest,
   The fiery waves within whose torrent breast
Surge up to flood afresh the Rhenish shore;
   By timid friends and open foes begirt,
      We find in him alone of all our men
   One man too earnest-minded to desert
      One brother citizen.

He still shall guide us toward the distant goal,
   Calm with unerring tact our weak alarms,
   Train all our youth in skill of manly arms,
And knit our sires in unity of soul,
   Till bursting iron bars and gates of brass
      Our own Republic stretch her arm again
   To raise the weeping daughters of Alsace,
      And lead thee home, Lorraine. [page 58] 


“Let him, the wiser man who springs
   Hereafter, up from childhood shape
   His action like the greater ape,
But I was born to other things.”

In Memoriam, cxx.

AH, happy you who know your birth
Has loftier origin than earth:
I would not quench that generous fire,
But rather silently admire:
Yet if another, less in luck,
Amid his random thoughts has struck
Some clue which leads him on to think
Mankind is but the latest link
In being’s endless, widening chain
Through higher types and higher again:
If, after months of patient thought,
His wavering mind is slowly brought
To grasp a simpler, humbler creed,
And deem himself an ape indeed; [page 59]
Then, having judged the notion true,
What should an ape of spirit do
But manfully resign his dream,
And take his rank in nature’s scheme?
   Nor need he, yet, behind him cast
The gathered greatness of the past.
He well may nurse each nobler thrill,
Each holier deed, each purer will.
Since earlier apes have raised their race
So high above its former place,
Why may not he as well aspire
To raise his race some places higher?
To add an atom to the store
Of wisdom heaped by apes before;
To feel within his hungry breast
Some goading spur of grand unrest,
Some glorious aim, in impulse rife,
That urges on to fuller life,
Nor leaves to rust in dull content
The powers of a million ages lent.
   And surely such an ape as this
May live a life not much amiss;
May love the right, eschew the wrong;
Defend the weaker from the strong;
Teach other after apes to be
Nobler and better far than he;
In spite of calumny and scorn,
Mould younger ages yet unborn [page 60] 
To loftier thoughts and loftier still,
Beyond all human hope or will;
Yet act, himself, his little part
On Nature’s stage, with all his heart,
And show that even an ape may be
A credit to his ancestry. [page 61] 


SERVANT, awake and arise, for the people have slept overlong:
   Sing with the tongue that I bid thee a new and unlovable lay:
Sing of a pitiless race, and the blight of a terrible wrong,
Ancient as infinite ages, and young as the morn of to-day.

Sing of the maiden thy sister, whom men thy brothers have sold,
   Cast on the merciless world, on the tide of the ravening years:
Bought with a price in the market, and paid with dishonor and gold;
   Courted and loved and betrayed, and deserted to desolate tears. [page 62] 

Master, I pray thee, forbear; for some other is fitter than I,
Louder and clearer of tone to declare what thou wilt to the earth.
Mine is a fledgling of song, and its pinions are feeble to fly:
   Let me but listen in peace to the minstrels of love and of mirth.

May I not lie in the garden where singers before me have lain,
   Set to the sun and the summer, the edge of a flowery slope,
Far from the chills of the north and the whisper of sorrow or pain,
   Flooded with violet’s odour and perfume of heliotrope?

May I not nourish my fancy with visions of rapturous bliss,
   Resonant echoes of Eden and phantoms of shadowy air?
May I not sing of the sweetness and cover the sting of a kiss?
   Tell of the honey of passion, and bury the gall of despair? [page 63] 

Nay, for I bid thee arise with a sword in thy hand for a pen:
   Sharp be thy mouth as thou singest, and bitter the song thou shalt sing,
Weird with the wailing of women and cruel caresses of men.
   Others may tell of the honey of passion, but thou of the sting.

Hast thou not heard me of old in the feverish watches of night,
   Tossing awake on thy bed, how I whispered my word in thy ear?
Have I not thundered it forth in the street in the fulness of light,
   Drowning the clamorous din of the city, and wilt thou not hear?

Now, as I bid thee, arise on the timorous wings of thy song,
   Feeble and callow, but stayed by the might of the right for a stay:
Sing of a pitiless race and the blast of a terrible wrong,
   Poisonous, fiery, venomous.

Master, I hear and obey. [page 64]


ALOOF she stood beneath the pallid glare
   That flashed and flickered through that garish bower;
She wore a mystic symbol in her hair—
   A crimson passion-flower!

What wayward chance allotted unaware
   So apt an emblem of the years that lower
Above her fateful head, and twisted there
   That crimson passion-flower?

Ah, innocent face, the blossom that you bear
   Fades in the amorous compass of an hour:
Red stains of martyred blood have flecked so fair
Your crimson passion-flower?

Some Judas kiss betrayed you to despair;
   Dead thorns and cankered nails shall be your dower:
And with your own blood’s price you bought and wear
   That crimson passion-flower. [page 65]


AMID the fleeting things whose changes drape
With ever-varying garb God’s hidden shape,
   One form unchanged drifts down the eternal channel
Of pitiless years, that mortal hearts escape.

All else that earthly breathes is born and dies;
Old generations fade, new faiths arise;
   The empires pass away, the ages perish;
But She lives on, a deathless sacrifice.

On her is laid the chastisement of all;
On her our agonies and anguish fall;
   For man’s iniquity and woman’s virtue
She bears the brand and drains the cup of gall.

Crowned with the thorns that lash our sin and pride,
Scourged all day long, and nightly crucified,
   Stricken and smitten for the world’s transgression,
She shields the spotless maid and stainless bride. [page 66] 

Not for her sins her comely form is marred,
Her fair brow seared and her bruised shoulders scarred;
   Wounded for all, she reaps but scorn and loathing
From those her lifelong pangs and travail guard.

Have none warm hearts, to share her hopes and fears?
Chaste lips, to kiss away her scalding tears?
   My sister, feed my mouth with gall and honey
That I may match my music with thy years:

Gall, from the bitter depths of thy disgrace;
Honey, from the sweetness of thy martyred face:
   Gall, that my words may bite and sting and wither;
Honey, to touch some lingering spot of grace.

For I have known the burden of thy groans;
For I have felt, at sound of thy soft tones,
   The fitful love that melts to deathless pity,
The short desire that long remorse atones.

First Aphrodite lured me to thy shrine;
I saw and loved that sweet strange form of thine,
   The smooth bared breast, the naked limbs and lissom,
The fair, pale cheek, the bright eye fired with wine. [page 67] 

But while my free gaze wandered its full range,
On face and form there fell some blighting change;
   The smooth bared breast grew lean, the lithe limbs listless,
The fair cheek wan, the bright eye glazed and strange.

Then all the heated fancy of my youth
Cooled at the solemn sight of that dread truth,
   And from the stifled fountain of my passion
Welled forth undying streams of infinite ruth.

Till, gently leaning o’er thy drooping head,
With lips that faltered as they spake, I said,
   ‘Make me the champion of thy blighted beauty,
That I may face this spell in thy dear stead.’

I spake and quivered: from thy dark grey eyes
Stole down twin glistening drops of glad surprise,
   As all the pent-up tenderness of woman
Flushed o’er thy cheek soft gleams of rosier guise.

Sweet sister, faithful to the inborn good,
Unsullied in thy gentle womanhood,
Whose darkened days none else has learned to pity;
Whose scape-goat lot none else has understood: [page 68] 

What sin has blasted thee; what deadly crime
Has poisoned thy young life for endless time?
   The sin of love, the crime of trustful beauty,
The guileless innocence of thy maiden prime.

The lily nestling fairest in the glade
Is earliest plucked, and lightly left to fade;
   The deepest blushing rose is soonest gathered;
The truest trusting maiden first betrayed.

Yet is the compass of thy faith too great
For lifelong treacheries to desecrate.
God, that a man should know these things, and scorn thee!
God, that a woman should know them not, and hate!

Oh brother men, oh maidens pure and fair,
And happier wives, made glad with matron care
   Of tiny pattering feet and baby laughter,
In your wide love has She alone no share?

Have not your hearts leapt forth when o’er the wave
Echoed the faint cry of some hapless slave?
   But see, to-day, our sister and our daughter
Sinks at our door, and none will heed or save. [page 69] 

Ah yet, be loth too lightly to despise
One that was precious in His tender eyes
   Who came to seek and save the lost and erring;
Whose voice still speaks: Go thou and do likewise.

Bind up her wounds; pour in them oil and wine;
Wipe from her brimming eyes the dim hot brine;
   Hold to her fainting lips one cup of water:
The Master’s little ones are kin of thine.

And if there be among the sons of men
Hearts that would scorn even Christ’s own Magdalen,
   Then let them keep their saintly souls unsullied:
But we must do our Father’s work. Amen. [page 70] 


HER soft white hand lay tremulous, clasped in his;
   Her soft grey eye with pearly dew was wet:
He said, ‘Though all things else, yet never this
   Will I forget.’

He went his way, and seeking his own rest
   Forgot love’s little tender, stifled sigh,
Forgot the upheaval of that throbbing breast
   Once clasped so nigh.

And bending o’er an unmarked, uncared grave,
   Too late for any penance save regret,
He said, ‘The single sin God ne’er forgave
Is, to forget.’ [page 71] 


GOOD reader, let me preach one short half-hour:
I am no priest; but this is Sunday night;
And if I will, may I not pick a text
From squalid palimpsests laid open here,
To read a pensive sermon to myself,
And, if you will, to you?
                                          Yes, Sunday night,
And here we are at Mabille! All the air
Dances with some droll tune of Offenbach’s,
Whose quaint notes caper round our startled ears
Like frolic imps that skip fantastic reels.
Bright forms are flitting through the shady alleys,
Festooned above with labyrinthine growth;
While from ten thousand jets of coloured flame
Stream floods of light that shame the pale white day.
It seems some vulgar fairyland, this Mabille,
All light and life and merriment: and yet
Our eyes, perchance, bedazzled with its glare,
Behold it steeped in crimson of its lamps,
Too roseate for the solemn thing it is. [page 72] 
But if we come to-morrow, when pale dawn
Lights with chill gleams of dank reality
The desolate walks and broken ends of glass
And dingy pasteboard walls, then shall we know
What manner of place this Mabille is.
                                                               Even so
With those gay forms that flit through Mabille’s paths
This Sunday night: poor souls, right fair they look,
With bloom of Ninon on each painted cheek;
And easy seems their life to such as judge
By Sunday nights at Mabille. But we know
(Who view their stories by stern light of day)
How white those faces show without the rouge,
How sunk those shriveled cheeks, how dull those eyes,
How sad those weary lives. Quick, here, at one,
Mimi, this tricksy blonde, whose own fair curls
Shine golden bright among the duller locks
Bought from some Norman head—as I can see
The fair fresh nature of the village maid
Shine bright amid the borrowed nonchalant air
Of these Parisian orgies. Mimi here,
Who looks so pretty and piquante a coquette,
Who flings a cancan with such saucy grace,
Who decks her in such rainbow silks and laces,—
Mimi is dying of the foulest death
That poisons earth. [page 73] 
                                I’ll light my cigarette,
And then we’ll sink on seats and watch the world,
And break a bottle of St. Peray.
                                                      Of old
One told us, ‘The dark places of the earth
Are full of wickedness.’ I am no priest,
But I could read a sermon on that text
(‘Dark places,’quoth the innocent Hebrew bard!)
Beneath the dazzling lights that flood Mabille
This Sunday night. Ay, ‘full of wickedness,’
And fuller still of misery and pain.
The pulpit preacher, an we had him here,
Could spill cheap vials of wrath upon the heads
Of these poor blighted things that once were women:
But you and I, who know their desolate days
And dreary desolate nights—we who have seen
The white-faced corpses wasted to the bone,
Or laid in marble nakedness at the Morgue
(A sight for whoso dare to stand and gaze)—
We two, who know they find their hell on earth,
Have little need to scare them with a hell
Hotter and redder still to follow this:
And little need to cry ‘’Ware sin!’ to those
Who know not if indeed it be a sin
To be betrayed by poverty or man
To deepest depths of fathomless despair,
But know at least that shame and scorn and pain
Are bitter morsels. [page 74] 
And these men who chat
So gaily with them, men with lives and bright
By mothers’ love and sisters’, ay, perchance
(Who knows?) and sweethearts’; happy men and young,
Oh, can they deem that they, who would not crush
One shared-mailed creeping thing for very pity,
Are lightly bargaining for women’s lives
And cheapening flesh and blood against champagne?
Good preacher, pour your choicest vial on these!
   Yet am I no ascetic: I can spend
My Sunday night at Mabille, and enjoy
My cigarette and bottle of St. Peray
As well as you, good reader: ay, and love
A pretty face; I said I was no priest.
But he who truly loves a pretty face
Finds sight of pretty faces wan with care,
And happy hearts made sick with hope deferred,
And death that slowly creeps and still delays,
The saddest sight that darkens human eyes.
   Why have I brought you then to see Mabille
This Sunday night? you ask.—To find my test
And point my sermon. Here you have its gist.
—You tell me we must shut our eyes to all
That turns this gaudy Mabille to a hell,
If we would keep our wives and daughters pure.
So be it: I know not. But if we must hold
So many hearts in anguish and despair,
So many lives that once were blithe and free [page 75] 
In tenfold slavery, to guard the rest
From some slight taint of ill; then, staring round
At all the hapless forms that crowd Mabille,
And knowing all that we have seen and said,
And feeling all this life in need of change,
One question ever rises to my lips,
One question that I scarcely dare to breathe:—
If woman’s virtue cost so much to keep,
Good friend, is woman’s virtue worth the price? [page 76] 


SHE shall be tall and slight; of swanlike mien;
White brow, and melting tints upon her cheek;
Dust tresses where the nestling sunbeams spread
A liquid halo: but with haughty eyes
And chiseled features of a high-born maid,
Bearing an awesome presence where she treads.
Her dainty lips shall utter ringing words,
High solemn talk of chastened love, and themes
That rouse a nobler swelling in the pulse,
Or quicken every nerve to quiver and leap:
A very queen of women, to rule my life
With royal dignity and royal grace.
Our souls shall dwell above the thoughts of men,
In Fancy’s high demesne; therein shall we
The livelong summer noontide weave sweet dreams,
In some dim alcove, where the crimson light
Through deep-embrasured oriels flickers down
To paint the oaken panels: happy dreams,
In unison of heart, where each may bare [page 77]
The spirit’s inmost yearning, and in turn
Read its true image in a kindred soul.
No hunger there, nor wish insatiate,
But every chord shall wake a meet response.
So she and I, a single twinfold life,
Shall tread this dull earth with a mellow light
Shed round our happier heads; and, all absorbed
Each in the other, merge our several selves,
Clasped in one long embrace of wedded souls.

* * * * * * * * * *

So in fantastic mood I idly muse
Beneath the budding chestnuts on the marge,
What time the wan leaves burst their dusky sheaths,
And herald May. Beside, the lazy boats
Glide down the crawling stream with regular dip,
Plashing their mimic ripplets in the flags;
And all around the lilacs’ fragrant mist
Hangs on the stagnant air. But Love stands by,
Smiling to watch the visions that I paint,
And, while my veins beat full with spring and youth,
Works out his own sweet will, his own sweet way.

* * * * * * * * * *

Small is she, like some jewel; but passing fair;
Eyes soft and blue, wherein does laughter lurk,
And dimpled cheeks and chin.  Two smiling lips,
Pout forth sweet, saucy words of petulant love; [page 78]
And in my hand lies clasped a tiny hand,
So small, ’tis almost pity ’tis so small.
No queen of women she, but my true wife,
Who treads on solid earth, and breathes, and loves,
Even as others breathe and love. Her themes
No lofty phantasies or dreamy shadows,
But winsome words that cheer the wearied heart,
And happy plans for summer afternoon,
Or winter pastime: while her merry eyes
Flash laughter into mine, or, brimmed with mist,
Cast matron shadows on the sobered face,
Yet woo my lips to check the gathering drop.
Around my heart she twines her clinging arms,
And loves, and knows not why, nor doubts for love;
But only knows the world is great and cold,
And turns, and nestles closer by my side,
Secure in supreme faith. But on her lap,
More sweet than all, so love could find more sweet,
A tiny maiden sleeps, and sleeping smiles:
A waxen lily bud, with cheek and chin,
Dimple for dimple: and we watch and smile,
And catch the mutual sunbeams in our eyes;
And two hearts breathe one prayer to loving Heaven,
For Love’s sweet will is wrought his own sweet way. [page 79] 

[illustration: CONSTABILITVR EV NDO]

Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE
Printers to Her Majesty
[unnumbered page]

List of Books
Belles Lettres

Elkin Mathew
& John Lane:
Publishers and Vendors of
Choice & Rare
Editions in
Belles Lettres]



Telegraphic Address—
[unnumbered page]

A WORD must be said for the manner in which the publishers have produced the volume (i.e. “The Earth Fiend”), a sumptuous folio, printed by CONSTABLE, the etchings on Japanese paper by MR. GOULDING. The volume should add not only to MR. STRANG’S fame but to that of MESSRS. ELKIN MATHEWS AND JOHN LANE, who are rapidly gaining distinction for their beautiful edition of belles-lettres.’—Daily Chronicle, Sept. 24, 1892.

Referring to MR. LE GALLIENNE’S ‘English Poems’ and ‘Silhouettes’ by MR. ARTHUR SYMONS:—‘We only refer to them now to note a fact which they illustrate, and which we have been observing of late, namely, the recovery to a certain extent of good taste in the matter of printing and binding books. These two books, which are turned out by MESSRS. ELKIN MATHEWS AND JOHN LANE, are models of artistic publishing, and yet they are simplicity itself. The books with their excellent printing and their very simplicity itself. The books with their excellent printing and their very simplicity make a harmony which is satisfying to the artistic sense.’—Sunday Sun, Oct. 2, 1892.

‘MR. LE GALLIENE is a fortunate young gentleman. I don’t know by what legerdemain be and his publishers work, but here, in an age as stony to poetry as the ages of Chatterton and Richard Savage, we find the full edition of his book sold before publication. How is it done, MESSRS. ELKIN MATHEWS AND JOHN LANE? for, without depreciating MR. LE GALLIENE’S sweetness and charm, I doubt that the marvel would have been wrought under another publisher. These publishers, indeed, produce books so delightfully that it must give an added pleasure to the hoarding of first editions.’—KATHARINE TYNANS in The Irish Daily Independent.

TO MESSRS. ELKIN MATHEWS AND JOHN LANE almost more than to any other, we take it, are the thanks of the grateful singer especially due; for it is they who have managed, by means of limited editions and charming workmanship, to impress book-buyers with the belief that a volume may have an aesthetic and commercial value. They have made it possible to speculate in the latest discovered poet, as in a new company—with the difference that an operation in the former can be done with three half-crowns.’

St. James Gazette. [unnumbered page]

September 1893

List of Books

(Including some Transfers)

Elkin Mathews and John Lane
The Bodley Head


N.B.—The Authors and Publishers reserve the right of reprinting any book in this list if a second edition is called for, except in cases where a stipulation has been made for the contrary, and of printing a separate edition of any of the books for American irrespective of the numbers to which the English editions are limited. The numbers mentioned do not include the copies sent for review or to the public libraries.

     POEMS.   12mo.   5s. net.

[In preparation.

     THE LOWER SLOPES: A Volume of Verse.   600 copies.
     Fcap. 8vo.   5s net.


          Small 4to.   7s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain. [unnumbered page]

     LOVE IN IDLENESS. With Vignette by W. B. SCOTT.
          Fcap. 8vo, half vellum. 12s net.

[Very few remain. Transferred by the Authors to the present Publishers.

     POEMS.   550 copies.   12mo.   5s net.

[Very few remain.

     FROM THE ASOLAN HILLS: A Poem.   300 copies.   Imp. 16 mo.   5s net.

[Very few remain

     POEMS.   12mo.   5s. net.

[In Preparation.

     AILES D’ALOUETTE. Poems printed at the private press of Rev. H. DANIEL, Oxford.   100
only.   16 mo.   £1, 10s. net.

[Very few remain.

     THE SANCTITY OF CONFESSION: A Romance. Second Edition.   Crown 8vo.   3s net.

[A few remain.

     RENASCENCE: A Book of Verse.   Frontispiece and 38 designs by the Author. Imp. 16mo. 
          7s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

Also a few fcap. 4to. £1, 18. net. And a few fcap. 4to, Japanese vellum. £1, 158. net.

     THE ANCIENT CROSSES OF DARTMOOR.   With 11 plates.   8vo, cloth.   4s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain. [page 4]

     PLAYS: An Unhistorical Pastoral; A Romantic Farce; Bruce, a Chronicle Play; Smith, a 
          Tragic Farce; Scaramouch in Naxos, a Pantomime, with Frontispiece, Title-page, and 
          Cover Design by AUBREY BEARDSLEY.   500 copies.   Small 4to.   7s. 6d. net.


     FLEET STREET ECLOGUES.   Second Edition.   Fcap. 8vo, buckram.   5s. net.
     A RANDOM ITINERARY: Prose Sketches.   With a Ballad.   Fcap. 8vo.   Uniform with 
          ‘Fleet Street Eclogues.’   5s. net.


     THE NORTH WALL.   Fcap. 8vo.   2s. 6d. net.
The few remaining copies transferred by the Author to the Present Publishers.
          300 copies.   Crown 8vo.   5s. net.

[Very few remain.

Also 30 copies on Japanese vellum. 15s. net.

Tabley).   Illustrations and Cover Design by C. S. RICKETTS.   Second Edition.   Crown 
          8vo.   7s. 6d. net.

     No. 1. of the Second Series. Illustrations by RICKETTS, SHANNON, PISSARRO.   200 
only.   4to.   £1, 1s. net.

[Very few remain.

The present series will be continued at irregular intervals. [page 5]

     KEYNOTES: Short Stories.   Crown 8vo.   3s. 6d. net.

     SIGHT AND SONG.   (Poems on Pictures).   400 copies.   12 mo.   5s. net.

[Very few remain.

     STEPHANIA: A Trialogue in Three Acts.   250 copies.   Pott 4to.   6s. net.

[Very few remain.

     ORCHARD SONGS. Fcap. 8vo.   With Title-page and Cover Design by WILL 
          ROTHENSTEIN.   5s. net.
          Also a Special Edition limited in number on small paper (Whatman) bound in English 
vellum.   £1, 1s. net.

     A VOLUME OF POEMS.   350 copies.   Crown 8vo.   With Title-page designed by J. 
          ILLINGWORTH KAY.   5s. net.


     THE LETTERS OF THOMAS LOVELL BEDDOES.   Now first edited.   Pott 8vo.   5s net.


     PAGAN PAPERS: A Volume of Essays.   Fcap. 8vo.   5s. net.


     ITALIAN LYRISTS OF TO-DAY.   Translations in the original metres from about thirty-five 
living Italian poets, with bibliographical and biographical notes.   Crown 8vo.   5s. net. [page 6] 
     A SELECTION FROM HIS POEMS.   Edited by Mrs. MEYNELI.   Crown 8vo.   5s. net.


     THE POEMS, together with his essay ‘On Some of the Characteristics of Modern Poetry and 
on the Lyrical Poems of ALFRED TENNYSON.’   Edited, with an Introduction, by 
          RICHARD LE GALLIENNE.   550 copies.   Fcap. 8vo.   5s. net.

[Very few remain.

     THE BALLAD OF HADJI AND OTHER POEMS.   Etched Frontispiece by WM. STRANG.   
          550 copies. 12mo.   3s. net.
Transferred by the Author to the present Publishers.

     THE VALE OF ARDEN AND OTHER POEMS.   With Title-page and Cover Design by 
          LAURENCE HOUSMAN.   Fcap. 8vo.   5s. net.

[In preparation.

     VERSE TALES, LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS.   300 COPIES.   Imp. 16 mo.   5s. net.

     DIVERSI COLORES: Poems.   With ornaments by the Author. 250 copies.   16 mo.   5s. net.

     CAROLS AND POEMS. With decorations by H. P. HORNE. 250 copies.   5s. net.

[In preparation.

JAMES (W. P.).
     ROMANTIC PROFESSIONS: A Volume of Essays.   Crown 8vo.   5s. net.


     IN THE FIRE AND OTHER FANCIES.   Frontispiece by WALTER CRANE.   500 copies.   
          Imp. 16mo.   3s. 6d. net. [page 7]

     THE ART OF THOMAS HARDY: Six Essays.   With Etched Portrait by Wm. STRANG, 
and Bibliography by JOHN LANE.   Crown 8vo.   5s. 6d. net.
          Also 150 copies, large paper, with roofs of the portrait.   £1, 18. net.

[Very shortly.

     A VOLUME OF POEMS.   12mo.   5s. net.

[In preparation.

     THREE ESSAYS, now issued in book form for the first time. Edited by H. BUXTON 
          FORMAN.   With Life-mask by HAYDON.   Fcap. 4to.   10s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

     VERSES.   250 copies.   Fcap. 8vo.   3s. net.
Transferred by the Author to the present Publishers.

          Royal 18mo.   3s. net.
          Also 50 copies large paper.   7s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

     PROSE FANCIES.   With Cover Design and Title-page by WILL ROTHENSTEIN.   5s. net.
          Also a limited large paper edition.   12s.   6d. net.

[In preparation.

     THE BOOK BILLS OF NARCISSUS.   An Account rendered by RICHARD LE 
          GALLIENNE.   Second Edition.   Crown 8vo, buckram.   3s. 6d. net. [page 8] 

     ENGLISH POEMS.   Second Edition, 12mo.   5s. net.

     GEORGE MEREDITH: Some Characteristics. With a Bibliography (much enlarged) by 
          JOHN LANE, portrait, etc. Third Edition.   Crown 8vo.   5s. 6d. net.

     THE RELIGION OF A LITERARY MAN.   Fcap. 8vo. 3s, 6d. net.
          Also a special edition on hand-made paper.   10s. 6d. net.


500 copies. Fcap. 8vo.   3s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

          LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON.   500 copies.   Post 8vo.   5s. net.
          Also 50 copies on large paper, hand-made.   10s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

     QUATRAINS, LIFE’S MYSTERY AND OTHER POEMS.   16mo. 2s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

     THE GALLERY OF PIGEONS AND OTHER POEMS.   Post 8vo. 4s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain.

Transferred by the Author to the present Publishers.

     POEMS.   Second Edition.   Fcap. 8vo.   3s. 6d. net.   A few of the 50 large paper copies (First 
Edition) remain.   12s. 6d. net. [page 9]

     THE RHYTHM OF LIFE, AND OTHER ESSAYS.   Second Edition.   Fcap, 8vo. 3s. 6d. net.   
          A few of the 50 large paper copies (First Edition) remain.   12s. 6d. net.

     PORTRAIT AS BEATRICE CENCI.   With critical notice containing four letters from 
          ROBERT BROWNING. 8vo, wrapper.   2s. net.

     ROBERT BROWNING: Essays and Thoughts.   Third Edition.   Crown 8vo.   5s. 6d. net.   
          Half a dozen of the Whatman large paper copies (First Edition) remain.   £1, 1s. net.

     THE SONNET IN ENGLAND AND OTHER ESSAYS. Title-page and Cover Design by
          AUSTIN YOUNG.   600 copies. Crown 8v0.   5s. net.
Also 50 copies large paper.   12s. 6d. net. 

     POOR PEOPLE’S CHRISTMAS.   250 copies.   16mo.   1s. net.

[Very few remain.

     A series of lithographed portraits by WILL ROTHENSTEIN, with text by F. YORK 
          POWELL and others. To be issued monthly in term. Each number will contain two 
portraits. Part I. contains portraits of SIR HENRY ACLAND, K.C.B., F.R.S., M.D., and of 
         Mr. W. A. L. FLETCHER, of Christchurch, President of the University Boat Club, Part 
          II. Mr. ROBINSON K. ELLIS, and LORD ST. CYRES.   350 copies only, folio, wrapper, 
          5s. net per part; 50 special copies containing proof impressions of the portraits signed by 
the artists 10s. 6d. net per part.

     GALEAZZO: A Venetian Episode and Other Poems. Etched Frontispiece.   16mo.   5s. net.

[Very few remain.

Transferred by the Author to the present Publishers. [page 10]

     SONGS. A New Volume of Verse.

[In preparation.

     CHAMBERS TWAIN. Frontispiece by WALTER CRANE.   250 copies.   Imp. 16mo.   5s. 
Also 50 copies large paper.   10s. 6d. net.

     A second series in preparation.

     LITERATURE AND POETRY: Papers on Dante, etc.   Portrait and Plates, 100 copies only.
         8vo. 10s. net.

     A POET’S HARVEST HOME: WITH AN AFTERMATH.   300 copies.   12mo.   5s. net.

[Very few remain.

*Will not be reprinted.

     THE LION’S CUB; WITH OTHER VERSE.   Portrait.   100 copies only, bound in an 
illuminated Persian design.   Fcap. 8vo.   5s. net.

     IN THE KEY OF BLYE, AND OTHER PROSE ESSAYS. Cover designed by C. S. 
RICKETTS.   Second Edition.   Thick Crown 8vo.   8s. 6d. net.

     A VOLUME OF POEMS. With Frontispiece, Title-page and Cover Design by LAURENCE 
          HOUSMAN.   500 Copies.   Pott 4to.   5s. net.


     A SICILLIAN IDYLL.   Frontispiece by WALTER CRANE. 250 copies.   Imp. 16mo. 5s. 
Also 50 copies large paper, fcap, 410.   10s. 6d. net.

[Very few remain. [page 11]

     AFTER SUNSET.   A Volume of Poems.   With Title-page and Cover Design by R. 
          ANNING BELL.   12mo.   5s. net. 
          Also a limited large paper edition.   12s. 6d. net.

[In preparation.

     THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY:  A Lecture delivered at the Royal Institution.   With 
portrait of Mr. TREE from an unpublished drawing by the Marchioness of Granby. Fcap. 
8vo, boards.   2s. 6d. net.

     CUCKOO SONGS.   With Title-page and Cove Design by LAURENCE HOUSMAN.   500 
copies.   5s. net.

[In preparation.

     THE POETY OF TENNYSON.   Third Edition, enlarged. Crown 8vo.   5s. 6d. net.
The late Laureate himself gave valuable aid in correcting various details.

     THE ELOPING ANGELS: A Caprice.   Second Edition.   Square 16mo, buckram.   3s. 6d. 

     EXCURSIONS IN CRITICISM: being some Prose Recreations of a Rhymer.   Second 
          Edition.   12mo.   5s. net.

     THE PRINCE’S QUEST, AND OTHER POEMS.   With a Bibliographical Note added.   
          Second Edition.   12mo.   4s. 6d. net.

     PASTORALS OF FRANCE—RENUNCIATIONS.   A volume of Stories. Title-page by 
          JOHN FULLEYLOVE, R.I. Crown 8vo.   5s. net.
A few of the large paper copies of Renunciation (First Edition) remain.   20s. 6d. net. 
[page 12]

     DANTE. Six Sermons.   Third Edition.   Crown 8vo.   2s. net.

     THE SPHINX.   A poem decorated throughout in line and colour, and bound in a design by 
          CHARLES RICKETTS.   250 copies.   £2, 2s. net.   25 copies large paper.   £5, 5s. net.

[In preparation.

     The incomparable and ingenious history of Mr. W. H. being the true secret of Shakespear’s
sonnets now for the first time here fully set forth, with initial letters and cover design by 
          CHARLES RICKETTS.   500 copies.   10s. 6d. net.
          Also 50 copies large paper.   21s. net.

[In preparation.

     DRAMATIC WORKS, now printed for the first time with a specially designed Title-page 
and binding to each volume. by CHARLES SHANNON.   500 copies.   7s. 6d. net. per


Also 50 copies large paper.   13s. net per vol.
     Vol. I. LADY WINDEMERE’S FAN: A Comedy in Four Acts.
     Vol. II. A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE: A Comedy in Four Acts.
     Vol. III. THE DUCHESS OF PADUA: A Blank Verse Tragedy in Five Acts.

[In preparation.

     SALOMÉ: A Tragedy in one Act, done into English.   With II Illustrations, title-page, and 
          Cover Design by AUBREY BEARDSLEY.   500 copies.   15S. NET.
 Also 100 copies, large paper.   30s. net.

[In preparation.

     WHISPER. A Volume of Verse.   With a Memoir by Katherine Tynan and a Portrait added. 
          Fcap. 8vo, buckram.   2s. 6d. net.
Transferred by the Author to the present Publishers. [page 13] 

The Hobby Horse

A new series of this illustrated magazine will be published quarterly by subscription, under the Editorship of Herbert P. Horne. Subscription £1 per annum, post free, for the four numbers. Quarto, printed on hand-made paper, and issued in a limited edition to subscribers only. The Magazine will contain articles upon Literature, Music, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and the Decorative Arts; Poems; Essays; Fiction; original Designs; with reproductions of pictures and drawings by the old masters and contemporary artists. There will be a new title-page and ornaments designed by the Editor.

Among the contributors to the Hobby Horse are:

The late W. BELL SCOTT.
          ETC. ETC.

Prospectuses on Application.

[page 14]

‘Nearly every book put out by Messrs. Elkin Mathews & John Lane, at the Sign of the Bodley Head, is a satisfaction to the special senses of the modern bookman for bindings, shapes, types, and papers. They have surpassed themselves, and registered a real achievement in English bookmaking by the volume of “Poems, Dramatic and Lyrical,” of Lord De Tabley.’

Newcastle Daily Chronicle.

‘A ray of hopefulness is stealing again into English poetry after the twilight greys of Clough and Arnold and Tennyson. Even unbelief wears braver colours. Despite the jeremiads, which are the dirges of the elder gods, England is still a nest of singing-birds (teste the Catalogue of Elkin Mathews and John Lane).’—Mr. ZANGWILL in Pall Mall Magazine. [unnumbered page]

Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE
Printers to Her Majesty
[unnumbered page]

[2 blank pages]

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