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Author: Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888
Title: Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): rustum; sohrab; iseult; tristram; arnold; poem; gipsy; saint brandan; matthew arnold
Contributor(s): Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853- [Translator]
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Title: Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems

Author: Matthew Arnold

Release Date: September 3, 2004 [EBook #13364]

Language: English

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MATTHEW ARNOLD'S


SOHRAB AND RUSTUM


AND OTHER POEMS




EDITED, WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

JUSTUS COLLINS CASTLEMAN

HEAD OF ENGLISH DEPARTMENT, SOUTH DIVISION
HIGH SCHOOL, MILWAUKEE




1905



CONTENTS

  PREFACE

  INTRODUCTION
    A Short Life of Arnold
    Arnold the Poet
    Arnold the Critic
    Chronological List of Arnold's Works
    Contemporary Authors
    Bibliography

  SELECTIONS FROM ARNOLD'S POETICAL WORKS

  NARRATIVE POEMS

    Sohrab and Rustum
    Saint Brandan
    The Forsaken Merman
    Tristram and Iseult


  LYRICAL POEMS

    The Church of Brou
    Requiescat
    Consolation
    A Dream
    Lines written in Kensington Gardens
    The Strayed Reveller
    Morality
    Dover Beach
    Philomela
    Human Life
    Isolation--To Marguerite
    Kaiser Dead
    The Last Word
    Palladium
    Revolutions
    Self-Dependence
    A Summer Night
    Geist's Grave
    Epilogue--To Lessing's Laocooen


  SONNETS

    Quiet Work
    Shakespeare
    Youth's Agitations
    Austerity of Poetry
    Worldly Place
    East London
    West London


  ELEGIAC POEMS

    Memorial Verses
    The Scholar-Gipsy
    Thyrsis
    Rugby Chapel


  NOTES

  INDEX

       *       *       *       *       *



INTRODUCTION


A SHORT LIFE OF ARNOLD

Matthew Arnold, poet and critic, was born in the village of Laleham,
Middlesex County, England, December 24, 1822. He was the son of Dr.
Thomas Arnold, best remembered as the great Head Master at Rugby and
in later years distinguished also as a historian of Rome, and of Mary
Penrose Arnold, a woman of remarkable character and intellect.

Devoid of stirring incident, and, on the whole, free from the
eccentricities so common to men of genius, the story of Arnold's life
is soon told. As a boy he lived the life of the normal English lad,
with its healthy routine of task and play. He was at school at both
Laleham and Winchester, then at Rugby, where he attracted attention
as a student and won a prize for poetry. In 1840 he was elected to
an open scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, and the next year
matriculated for his university work. Arnold's career at Oxford was a
memorable one. While here he was associated with such men as John Duke
Coleridge, John Shairp, Dean Fraser, Dean Church, John Henry Newman,
Thomas Hughes, the Froudes, and, closest of all, with Arthur Hugh
Clough, whose early death he lamented in his exquisite elegiac
poem--_Thyrsis_. Among this brilliant company Arnold moved with ease,
the recognized favorite. Having taken the Newdigate prize for English
verse, and also having won a scholarship, he was graduated with
honors in 1844, and in March of the following year had the additional
distinction of being elected a Fellow of Oriel, the crowning glory of
an Oxford graduate. He afterward taught classics for a short time at
Rugby, then in 1847 accepted the post of private secretary to the
Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord President of the Council, which position he
occupied until 1851, when he was appointed Lay Inspector of Schools
by the Committee on Education. The same year he married Frances Lucy
Wightman, daughter of Sir William Wightman, judge of the Court of the
Queen's Bench.

Arnold's record as an educator is unparalleled in the history of
England's public schools. For more than thirty-five years he served as
inspector and commissioner, which offices he filled with efficiency.
As inspector he was earnest, conscientious, versatile; beloved alike
by teachers and pupils. The Dean of Salisbury likened his appearance
to inspect the school at Kiddermaster, to the admission of a ray
of light when a shutter is suddenly opened in a darkened room.
All-in-all, he valued happy-appearing children, and kindly sympathetic
teachers, more than excellence in grade reports. In connection with
the duties of his office as commissioner, he travelled frequently on
the Continent to inquire into foreign methods of primary and secondary
education. Here he found much that was worth while, and often carried
back to London larger suggestions and ideas than the national mind was
ready to accept. Under his supervision, however, the school system of
England was extensively revised and improved. He resigned his position
under the Committee of Council on Education, in 1886, two years before
his death.

In the meantime Arnold's pen had not been idle. His first volume of
verse, _The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems_, appeared (1848), and
although quietly received, slowly won its way into public favor. The
next year the narrative poem, _The Sick King in Bokhara_, came out,
and was followed in turn by a third volume in 1853, under the title of
_Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems_. By this time Arnold's reputation
as a poet was established, and in 1857 he was elected Professor of
Poetry at Oxford, where he began his career as a lecturer, in which
capacity he twice visited America. _Merope, a Tragedy_ (1856) and a
volume under the title of _New Poems_ (1869) finish the list of his
poetical works, with the exception of occasional verses.

Arnold's prose works, aside from his letters, consist wholly of
critical essays, in which he has dealt fearlessly with the greater
issues of his day. As will be seen by their titles (see page xxxviii
of this volume), the subject-matter of these essays is of very great
scope, embracing in theme literature, politics, social conduct, and
popular religion. By them Arnold has exerted a remarkable influence on
public thought and stamped himself as one of the ablest critics and
reformers of the last century. Arnold's life was thus one of many
widely diverse activities and was at all times deeply concerned with
practical as well as with literary affairs; and on no side was it
deficient in human sympathies and relations. He won respect and
reputation while he lived, and his works continue to attract men's
minds, although with much unevenness. It has been said of him that, of
all the modern poets, except Goethe, he was the best critic, and of
all the modern critics, with the same exception, he was the best poet.
He died at Liverpool, where he had gone to meet his daughter returning
from America, April 15, 1888. By his death the world lost an acute and
cultured critic, a refined writer, an earnest educational reformer,
and a noble man. He was buried in his native town, Laleham.

Agreeably to his own request, Arnold has never been made the subject
for a biography. By means of his letters, his official reports,
and statements of his friends, however, one is able to trace the
successive stages of his career, as he steadily grew in honor and
public usefulness. Though somewhat inadequate, the picture thus
presented is singularly pleasing and attractive. The subjoined
appreciations have been selected with a view of giving the student a
glimpse of Arnold as he appeared to unprejudiced minds.

One who knew him at Oxford wrote of him as follows: "His perfect
self-possession, the sallies of his ready wit, the humorous turn which
he could give to any subject that he handled, his gaiety, audacity,
and unfailing command of words, made him one of the most popular and
successful undergraduates that Oxford has ever known."

"He was beautiful as a young man, strong and manly, yet full of dreams
and schemes. His Olympian manners began even at Oxford: there was no
harm in them: they were natural, not put on. The very sound of his
voice and wave of his arm were Jove-like."--PROFESSOR MAX MUeLLER.

"He was most distinctly on the side of human enjoyment. He conspired
and contrived to make things pleasant. Pedantry he abhorred. He was
a man of this life and this world. A severe critic of this world he
indeed was; but, finding himself in it, and not precisely knowing what
is beyond it, like a brave and true-hearted man, he set himself to
make the best of it. Its sights and sounds were dear to him. The
'uncrumpling fern, the eternal moonlit snow,' the red grouse springing
at our sound, the tinkling bells of the 'high-pasturing kine,' the
vagaries of men, of women, and dogs, their odd ways and tricks,
whether of mind or manner, all delighted, amused, tickled him.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In a sense of the word which is noble and blessed, he was of the
earth earthy.... His mind was based on the plainest possible things.
What he hated most was the fantastic--the far-fetched, all-elaborated
fancies and strained interpretations. He stuck to the beaten track of
human experience, and the broader the better. He was a plain-sailing
man. This is his true note."--MR. AUGUSTINE BIRRELL.

"He was incapable of sacrificing the smallest interest of anybody to
his own; he had not a spark of envy or jealousy; he stood well aloof
from all the bustlings and jostlings by which selfish men push on;
he bore life's disappointments--and he was disappointed in some
reasonable hopes--with good nature and fortitude; he cast no burden
upon others, and never shrank from bearing his own share of the daily
load to the last ounce of it; he took the deepest, sincerest, and
most active interest in the well-being of his country and his
countrymen."--MR. JOHN MORLEY.

In his essay on Arnold, George E. Woodberry speaks of the poet's
personality as revealed by his letters in the following beautiful
manner: "Few who did not know Arnold could have been prepared for
the revelation of a nature so true, so amiable, so dutiful. In every
relation of private life he is shown to have been a man of exceptional
constancy and plainness.... Every one must take delight in the mental
association with Arnold in the scenes of his existence ... and in his
family affections. A nature warm to its own, kindly to all, cheerful,
fond of sport and fun, and always fed from pure fountains, and with
it a character so founded upon the rock, so humbly serviceable, so
continuing in power and grace, must wake in all the responses of happy
appreciation and leave the charm of memory.

"He did his duty as naturally as if it required neither resolve nor
effort, nor thought of any kind for the morrow, and he never failed,
seemingly, in act or word of sympathy, in little or great things; and
when to this one adds the clear ether of the intellectual life where
he habitually moved in his own life apart, and the humanity of his
home, the gift that these letters bring may be appreciated. That gift
is the man himself, but set in the atmosphere of home, with sonship
and fatherhood, sisters and brothers, with the bereavements of years
fully accomplished, and those of babyhood and boyhood--a sweet and
wholesome English home, with all the cloud and sunshine of the English
world drifting over its roof-trees, and the soil of England beneath
its stones, and English duties for the breath of its being. To add
such a home to the household rights of English Literature is perhaps
something from which Arnold would have shrunk, but it endears his
memory."

        "It may be overmuch
  He shunned the common stain and smutch,
         From soilure of ignoble touch
           Too grandly free,
         Too loftily secure in such
           Cold purity;
  But he preserved from chance control
  The fortress of his established soul,
  In all things sought to see the whole;
         Brooked no disguise,
  And set his heart upon the goal,
         Not on the prize."

  --MR. WILLIAM WATSON, _In Laleham Churchyard_.



ARNOLD THE POET

Matthew Arnold was essentially a man of the intellect. No other author
of modern times, perhaps no other English author of any time, appeals
so directly as he to the educated classes. Even a cursory reading of
his pages, prose or verse, reveals the scholar and the critic. He is
always thinking, always brilliant, never lacks for a word or phrase;
and on the whole, his judgments are good. Between his prose and verse,
however, there is a marked difference, both in tone and spiritual
quality. True, each possesses the note of a lofty, though stoical
courage; reveals the same grace of finish and exactness of phrase and
manner; and is, in equal degree, the output of a singularly sane and
noble nature; but here the comparison ends; for, while his prose
is often stormy and contentious, his poetry has always about it an
atmosphere of entire repose. The cause of this difference is not far
to seek. His poetry, written in early manhood, reflects his inner
self, the more lovable side of his nature; while his prose presents
the critic and the reformer, pointing out the good and bad, and
permitting at times a spirit of bitterness to creep in, as he
endeavors to arouse men out of their easy contentment with themselves
and their surroundings.

With the exception of occasional verses, Arnold's poetical career
began and ended inside of twenty years. The reason for this can only
be conjectured, and need not be dwelt upon here. But although his
poetic life was brief, it was of a very high order, his poems ranking
well up among the literary productions of the last century. As a
popular poet, however, he will probably never class with Tennyson or
Longfellow. His poems are too coldly classical and too unattractive in
subject to appeal to the casual reader, who is, generally speaking,
inclined toward poetry of the emotions rather than of the
intellect--Arnold's usual kind. That he recognized this himself,
witness the following quiet statements made in letters to his friends:
"My poems are making their way, I think, though slowly, and are
perhaps never to make way very far. There must always be some people,
however, to whom the literalness and sincerity of them has a charm....
They represent, on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last
quarter of a century, and thus they will probably have their day, as
people become conscious to themselves of what that movement of mind
is, and interested in the literary productions which reflect it." Time
has verified the accuracy of this judgment. In short, Arnold has made
a profound rather than a wide impression. To a few, however, of each
generation, he will continue to be a "voice oracular,"--a poet with a
purpose and a message.

=Arnold's Poetic Culture=.--Obviously, the sources of Arnold's culture
were classical. As one critic has tersely said, "He turned over his
Greek models by day and by night." Here he found his ideal standards,
and here he brought for comparison all questions that engrossed his
thoughts. Homer (he replied to an inquirer) and Epictetus (of mood
congenial with his own) were props of his mind, as were Sophocles,
"who saw life steadily and saw it whole," and Marcus Aurelius, whom he
called the purest of men. These like natures afforded him repose and
consolation. Greek epic and dramatic poetry and Greek philosophy
appealed profoundly to him. Of the Greek poets he wrote: "No other
poets have lived so much by the imaginative reason; no other poets
have made their works so well balanced; no other poets have so well
satisfied the thinking power; have so well satisfied the religious
sense." More than any other English poet he prized the qualities of
measure, proportion, and restraint; and to him lucidity, austerity,
and high seriousness, conspicuous elements of classic verse, were the
substance of true poetry. In explaining his own position as to his
art, he says: "In the sincere endeavor to learn and practise, amid the
bewildering confusion of our times, what is sound and true in poetic
art, I seem, to myself to find the only sure guidance, the only solid
footing, among the ancients. They, at any rate, knew what they wanted
in Art, and we do not. It is this uncertainty which is disheartening,
and not hostile criticism." And again: "The radical difference between
the poetic theory of the Greeks and our own is this: that with them,
the poetical character of the action in itself, and the conduct of it,
was the first consideration; with us, attention is fixed mainly on the
value of separate thoughts and images which occur in the treatment of
an action. They regard the whole; we regard the parts. We have poems
which seem to exist merely for the sake of single lines and passages,
and not for the sake of producing any total impression. We have
critics who seem to direct their attention merely to detached
expressions, to the language about the action, not the action itself.
I verily believe that the majority of them do not believe that there
is such a thing as a total impression to be derived from a poem at
all, or to be demanded from a poet. They will permit the poet to
select any action he pleases, and to suffer that action to go as
it will, provided he gratifies them with occasional bursts of fine
writing, and with a show of isolated thoughts and images; that is,
they permit him to leave their poetic sense ungratified, provided that
he gratifies their rhetorical sense and their curiosity."

Arnold has illustrated, with remarkable success, his ideas of that
unity which gratifies the poetical sense, and has approached very
close to his Greek models in numerous instances; most notably so in
his great epic or narrative poem, _Sohrab and Rustum_, which is dealt
with elsewhere in this introduction. Perhaps we could not do better
than to quote for our consideration at this time, a fine synthesis
of Mr. Arthur Galton. He says: "In Matthew Arnold's style and in his
manner, he seems to me to recall the great masters, and this in a
striking and in an abiding way.... To recall them at all is a rare
gift, but to recall them naturally, and with no strained sense nor
jarring note of imitation, is a gift so exceedingly rare that it is
almost enough in itself to place a writer among the great masters; to
proclaim that he is one of them. To recall them at all is a rare gift,
though not a unique gift; a few other modern poets recall them too;
but with these, with every one of them, it is the exception when they
resemble the great masters. They have their own styles, which abide
with them; it is only now and then, by a flash of genius, that they
break through their own styles, and attain the one immortal style.
Just the contrary of this is true of Matthew Arnold. It is his own,
his usual, and his most natural style which recalls the great masters;
and only when he does not write like himself, does he cease to
resemble them.... No man who attains to this great style can fail to
have a distinguished function; and Matthew Arnold, like Milton, will
be 'a leaven and a power,' because he, too, has made the great style
current in English. With his desire for culture and for perfection,
there is no destiny he would prefer to this, for which his nature, his
training, and his sympathies, all prepared him. To convey the message
of those ancients whom he loved so well, in that English tongue which
he was taught by them to use so perfectly;--to serve as an eternal
protest against charlatanism and vulgarity;--is exactly the mission
he would have chosen for himself.... The few writers of our language,
therefore, who give us 'an ideal of excellence, the most high and the
most rare,' have an important function; we should study their works
continually, and it should be a matter of passionate concern with us,
that the 'ideals,' that is, the definite and perfect models, should
abide with us forever." The Greeks recognized three kinds of
poetry,--Lyric, Dramatic, and Epic. Arnold tried all three. First,
then, as a lyricist.

=Arnold as a Lyricist=.--Lyric poetry is the artistic expression of
the poet's individual sentiments and emotions, hence it is subjective.
The action is usually vapid, the verse musical, the time quick. Unlike
the Epic and Drama, it has no preferred verse or meter, but leaves the
poet free to choose or invent appropriate forms. In this species of
verse Arnold was not wholly at ease. As has been said, one searches in
vain through the whole course of his poetry for a blithe, musical, gay
or serious, offhand poem, the true lyric kind. The reason for this is
soon discovered. Obviously, it lies in the fundamental qualities
of the poet's mind and temperament. Though by no means lacking in
emotional sensibility, Arnold was too intellectually self-conscious to
be carried away by the impulsiveness common to the lyrical moods. With
him the intellect was always master; the emotions, subordinate. With
the lyricist, the order is, in the main, at least, reversed. The poet
throws off intellectual restraint, and "lets his illumined being
o'errun" with music and song. This Arnold could not or would not
do. Then, too, Arnold's lyrics are often at fault metrically.
This, combined with frequent questionable rhymes, argues a not too
discriminating poetical ear. He also lacked genius in inventing verse
forms, and hence found himself under the necessity of employing or
adapting those already in use. In this respect he was notably inferior
to Tennyson, many of whose measures are wholly his own. Again,
considerable portions of his lyric verse consist merely of prose, cut
into lines of different length, in imitation of the unrhymed measures
of the Greek poet, Pindar. The Bishop of Derry, commenting on these
rhythmic novelties, likens them to the sound of a stick drawn by a
city gamin sharply across the area railings,--a not inapt comparison.
That they were not always successful, witness the following stanza
from _Merope_:--

  "Thou confessest the prize
  In the rushing, blundering, mad,
  Cloud-enveloped, obscure,
  Unapplauded, unsung
  Race of Calamity, mine!"

Surely this is but the baldest prose. At intervals, however, Arnold
was nobly lyrical, and strangely, too, at times, in those same uneven
measures in which are found his most signal failures--the unrhymed
Pindaric. _Philomela_ written in this style is one of the most
exquisite bits of verse in the language. As one critic has put it,
"It ought to be written in silver and bound in gold." In urbanity of
phrase and in depth of genuine pathos it is unsurpassed and shows
Arnold at his best. _Rugby Chapel, The Youth of Nature, The Youth of
Man_, and _A Dream_ are good examples of his longer efforts in this
verse form. In the more common lyric measures, Arnold was, at times,
equally successful. Saintsbury, commenting on _Requiescat_, says that
the poet has "here achieved the triple union of simplicity, pathos,
and (in the best sense) elegance"; and adds that there is not a
false note in the poem. He also speaks enthusiastically of the
"honey-dropping trochees" of the _New Sirens_, and of the "chiselled
and classic perfection" of the lines of _Resignation_. Herbert W.
Paul, writing of _Mycerinus_, declares that no such verse has been
written in England since Wordsworth's _Laodamia_; and continues,
"The poem abounds in single lines of haunting charm." Among his more
successful longer lyrics are _The Sick King in Bokhara, Switzerland,
Faded Leaves_, and _Tristram and Iseult_, and _Epilogue to Lessing's
Laocooen_, included in this volume.

=Arnold as a Dramatist=.--The drama is imitated human action, and is
intended to exhibit a picture of human life by means of dialogue,
acting, and stage accessories. In nature, it partakes of both lyric
and epic, thus uniting sentiment and action with narration. Characters
live and act before us, and speak in our presence, the interest being
kept up by constantly shifting situations tending toward some striking
result. As a dramatist, Arnold achieved no great success. Again the
fundamental qualities of his mind stood in the way. An author so
subjective, so absorbed in self-scrutiny and introspection as he,
is seldom able to project himself into the minds of others to any
considerable extent. His dramas are brilliant with beautiful phrases,
his pictures of landscapes and of nature in her various aspects
approach perfection; but in the main, he fails to handle his plots in
a dramatic manner and, as a result, does not secure the totality of
impression so vital to the drama. Frequently, too, his characters are
tedious, and in their dialogue manage to be provokingly unnatural or
insipid. They also lack in individuality and independence in speech
and action. Many of his situations, likewise, are at fault. For
instance, one can scarcely conceive of such characters as Ulysses and
Circe playing the subordinate roles assigned to them in _The Strayed
Reveller_. A true dramatist would hardly have committed so flagrant a
blunder. _Merope_ is written in imitation of the Greek tragedians. It
has dignity of subject, nobility of sentiment, and a classic brevity
of style; but it is frigid and artificial, and fails in the most
essential function of drama--to stir the reader's emotions.
_Empedocles on Etna_, a half-autobiographical drama, is in some
respects a striking poem. It is replete with brilliant passages, and
contains some of Arnold's best lyric verses and most beautiful nature
pictures; but the dialogue is colorless, the rhymes poor, the plot,
such as it contains, but indifferently handled, and even Empedocles,
the principal character, is frequently tedious and unnatural. Arnold's
dramas show that his forte was not in character-drawing nor in
dialogue.

=Arnold as a Writer of Epic and Elegy=.--Epic poetry narrates in grand
style the achievements of heroes--the poet telling the story as if
present. It is simple in construction and uniform in meter, yet it
admits of the dialogue and the episode, and though not enforcing a
moral it may hold one in solution. Elegiac poetry is plaintive in
tone and expresses sorrow or lamentation. Both epic and elegy are
inevitably serious in mood, and slow and stately in action. In these
two forms of verse Arnold was at his best. Stockton pronounced _Sohrab
and Rustum_ the noblest poem in the English language. Another critic
has said that "it is the nearest analogue in English to the rapidity
of action, plainness of thought, plainness of diction, and nobleness
of Homer." Combining, as it does, classic purity of style with
romantic ardor of feeling, it stands a direct exemplification of
Arnold's poetic theories, as set forth in the preface of his volume of
1853. Especially is it successful in emphasizing his idea of unity of
impression; "while the truth of its oriental color, the deep pathos
of the situation, the fire and intensity of the action, the strong
conception of character, and the full, solemn music of the verse, make
it unquestionably the masterpiece of Arnold's longer poems, among
which it is the largest in bulk and also the most ambitious in
scheme." _Balder Dead_, a characteristic Arnoldian production, founded
upon the Norse legend of Balder, Lok, and Hader, though not so great
as _Sohrab and Rustum_, has much poetic worth and ranks high among its
kind; and _Tristram and Iseult_, with its infinite tragedy, and _The
Sick King in Bokhara_, gorgeous in oriental color, are rare examples
of the lyrical epic. _The Forsaken Merman_ and _Saint Brandan_, which
are dealt with elsewhere in this volume, are good examples of his
shorter narrative poems. In _Thyrsis_, the beautiful threnody in which
he celebrated his dead friend, Clough, Arnold gave to the world one of
its greatest elegies. One finds in this poem and its companion piece,
_The Scholar-Gipsy_, the same unity of classic form with romantic
feeling present in _Sohrab and Rustum_. Both are crystal-clear without
coldness, and restrained without loss of a full volume of power.
Mr. Saintsbury, writing of _The Scholar-Gipsy_, says: "It has
everything--a sufficient scheme, a definite meaning and purpose, a
sustained and adequate command of poetical presentation, and passages
and phrases of the most exquisite beauty;" and no less praise is due
_Thyrsis_. Other of his elegiac poems are _Heine's Grave, Stanzas from
the Grande Chartreuse, Stanzas in Memory of the Author of "Obermann,"
Obermann Once More, Rugby Chapel_, and _Memorial Verses_, the two last
named being included in this volume. In such measures as are used in
these poems, in the long, stately, swelling measures, whose graver
movements accord with a serious and elevated purpose, Arnold was most
at ease.

=Greek Spirit in Arnold=.--But it is not alone in the fact that he
selects classic subjects, and writes after the manner of the great
masters, that Arnold's affinity with the Greeks is manifested. His
poems in spirit, as in form, reflect the moods common to the ancient
Hellenes, "One feels the (Greek) quality," writes George E. Woodberry,
"not as a source, but as a presence. In Tennyson, Keats, and Shelley
there was Greek influence, but in them the result was modern. In
Arnold the antiquity remains--remains in mood, just as in Landor it
remains in form. The Greek twilight broods over all his poetry. It is
pagan in philosophic spirit, not Attic, but of later and stoical time;
with the patience, endurance, suffering, not in the Christian types,
but as they now seem to a post-Christian imagination, looking back to
the past." Even when his poems treat of modern or romantic subjects,
one is impressed with the feeling that he presents them with the same
quality of imagination as would the Greek masters themselves: and in
the same form.

=Arnold's Attitude toward Nature=.--In his attitude toward Nature
Arnold is often compared to Wordsworth. A close study, however,
reveals a wide difference, both in the way Nature appealed to them
and in their mood in her presence. To Arnold she offered a temporary
refuge from the doubts and distractions of our modern life,--a
soothing, consoling, uplifting power; to Wordsworth she was an
inspiration,--a presence that disturbed him "with the joy of elevated
thoughts." Conscious of the help he found in her association, Arnold
urged all men to follow Nature's example; to possess their souls in
quietude, despite the storm and turmoil without. Pancoast says: "He
delights in leading us to contemplate the infinite calm of Nature,
beside which man's transitory woes are reduced to a mere fretful
insignificance. All the beautiful poem of _Tristram and Iseult_ is
built upon the skilful alternation of two themes. We pass from the
feverish, wasting, and ephemeral struggle of human passions and
desire, into an atmosphere that shames its heat and fume by an
immemorial coolness and repose;" and the same comparison constitutes
the theme for a considerable portion of his poetical work. In his
method of approaching Nature, Arnold also differed widely from
Wordsworth, in that he saw with the outward eye, that is objectively;
while Wordsworth saw rather with the inward eye, or subjectively.
In this Arnold is essentially Greek and more Tennysonian than
Wordsworthian. Many of his poems, in full or in part, are mere nature
pictures, and are artistic in the extreme. The pictures of the Oxus
stream at the close of _Sohrab and Rustum_; the English garden in
_Thyrsis_; and the hunter on the arras, in _Tristram and Iseult_, are
all notable examples. This pictorial method Wordsworth seldom used.
In spirit, too, the poets differed widely. To Wordsworth, Nature was,
first of all, the abiding place of God; but Arnold "finds in the
wood and field no streaming forth of beauty and wisdom from the
fountainhead of beauty," no habitancy of Nature's God.

=Arnold's Attitude toward Life=.--Arnold's attitude toward life has
been dwelt upon in the appreciations under the biographical sketch in
this volume and need only briefly be summed up here. To him, human
life in its higher developments presented itself as a stern and
strenuous affair; but he never faltered nor sought to escape from his
share of the burden. "On the contrary, the prevailing note of his
poetry is self-reliance; help must come from the soul itself, for

  "The fountains of life are all within."

He preaches fortitude and courage in the face of the mysterious and
the inevitable--a courage, indeed, forlorn and pathetic in the eyes of
many--and he constantly takes refuge from the choking cares of life,
in a kind of stoical resignation." As a reformer, his function
was especially to stir people up, to make them dissatisfied with
themselves and their institutions, and to force them to think, to
become individual. Everywhere in his works one is confronted by his
unvarying insistence upon the supremacy of conduct and duty. The
modern tendency to drift away from the old, established religious
faith was a matter of serious thought to him and led him to give to
the world a rational creed that would satisfy the sceptics and attract
the indifferent. We cannot do better than quote for our closing
thought the following pregnant lines from the author's sonnet entitled
_The Better Part_:--

  "Hath man no second life? _Pitch this one high!_
  Sits there no judge in Heaven, our sin to see?
  _More strictly, then, the inward judge obey_!
  Was Christ a man like us? _Ah! let us try
  If we then, too, can be such men as he!_"

       *       *       *       *       *



ARNOLD THE CRITIC

The following extracts on Arnold as a critic are quoted from
well-known authorities.

"Arnold's prose has little trace of the wistful melancholy of his
verse. It is almost always urbane, vivacious, light-hearted. The
classical bent of his mind shows itself here, unmixed with the
inheritance of romantic feeling which colors his poetry. Not only is
his prose classical in quality, by virtue of its restraint, of its
definite aim, and of the dry white light of intellect which suffuses
it; but the doctrine which he spent his life in preaching is based
upon a classical ideal, the ideal of symmetry, wholeness, or, as he
daringly called it, _perfection_.... Wherever, in religion, politics,
education, or literature, he saw his countrymen under the domination
of narrow ideals, he came speaking the mystic word of deliverance,
'Culture.' Culture, acquaintance with the best which has been thought
and done in the world, is his panacea for all ills.... In almost all
of his prose writing he attacks some form of 'Philistinism,' by which
word he characterized the narrow-mindedness and self-satisfaction of
the British middle class.

"Arnold's tone is admirably fitted to the peculiar task he had to
perform.... In _Culture and Anarchy_ and many successive works, he
made his plea for the gospel of ideas with urbanity and playful grace,
as befitted the Hellenic spirit, bringing 'sweetness and light' into
the dark places of British prejudice. Sometimes, as in _Literature and
Dogma_, where he pleads for a more liberal and literary reading of the
Bible, his manner is quiet, suave, and gently persuasive. At other
times, as in _Friendship's Garland_, he shoots the arrows of his
sarcasm into the ranks of the Philistines with a delicate raillery and
scorn, all the more exasperating to his foes, because it is veiled by
a mock humility, and is scrupulously polite.

"Of Arnold's literary criticism, the most notable single piece is the
famous essay _On Translating Homer_, which deserves careful study
for the enlightenment it offers concerning many of the fundamental
questions of style. The essays on Wordsworth and on Byron from _Essays
in Criticism_, and that on Emerson, from _Discourses in America_,
furnish good examples of Arnold's charm of manner and weight of matter
in this province.

"The total impression which Arnold makes in his prose may be described
as that of a spiritual man-of-the-world. In comparison with Carlyle,
Buskin, and Newman, he is worldly. For the romantic passion and mystic
vision of these men he substitutes an ideal of balanced cultivation,
the ideal of the trained, sympathetic, cosmopolitan gentleman. He
marks a return to the conventions of life after the storm and stress
of the romantic age. Yet in his own way he also was a prophet and a
preacher, striving whole-heartedly to release his countrymen from
bondage to mean things, and pointing their gaze to that symmetry and
balance of character which has seemed to many noble minds the true
goal of human endeavor."--MOODY AND LOVETT, _A History of English
Literature_.

"As a literary critic, his taste, his temper, his judgment were pretty
nearly infallible. He combined a loyal and reasonable submission
to literary authority, with a free and even daring use of private
judgment. His admiration for the acknowledged masters of human
utterance--Homer, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe--was genuine
and enthusiastic, and incomparably better informed than that of some
more conventional critics. Yet this cordial submission to recognized
authority, this honest loyalty to established reputation, did not
blind him to defects; did not seduce him into indiscriminating praise;
did not deter him from exposing the tendency to verbiage in Burke and
Jeremy Taylor, the excess blankness of much of Wordsworth's blank
verse, the undercurrent of mediocrity in Macaulay, the absurdities of
Mr. Ruskin's etymology. And as in great matters, so in small. Whatever
literary production was brought under Matthew Arnold's notice, his
judgment was clear, sympathetic, and independent. He had the readiest
appreciation of true excellence, a quick intolerance of turgidity and
inflation--of what he called endeavors to render platitude endurable
by making it pompous, and lively horror of affectation and
unreality."--Mr. GEORGE RUSSELL.

"In his work as literary critic Arnold has occupied a high place
among the foremost prose writers of the time. His style is in marked
contrast to the dithyrambic eloquence of Carlyle, or to Ruskin's
pure and radiant coloring. It is a quiet style, restrained, clear,
discriminating, incisive, with little glow of ardor or passion.
Notwithstanding its scrupulous assumption of urbanity, it is often
a merciless style, indescribably irritating to an opponent by
its undercurrent of sarcastic humor, and its calm air of assured
superiority. By his insistence on a high standard of technical
excellence, and by his admirable presentation of certain principles of
literary judgment, Arnold performed a great work for literature. On
the other hand, we miss here, as in his poetry, the human element, the
comprehensive sympathy that we recognize in the criticism of Carlyle.
Yet Carlyle could not have written the essay _On Translating Homer_,
with all its scholarly discrimination in style and technique, any
more than Arnold could have produced Carlyle's large-hearted essay on
_Burns_. Arnold's varied energy and highly trained intelligence
have been felt in many different fields. He has won a peculiar and
honorable place in the poetry of the century; he has excelled as
literary critic, he has labored in the cause of education, and
finally, in his _Culture and Anarchy_, he has set forth his scheme of
social reform, and in certain later books has made His contribution
to contemporary thought."--PANCOAST, _Introduction to English
Literature_.

       *       *       *       *       *



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ARNOLD'S WORKS

1840. Alaric at Rome. (Prize poem at Rugby.)
1843. Cromwell. (Prize poem at Oxford.)
1849. The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems.
        Mycerinus.
        The Strayed Reveller.
        Fragment of an Antigone.
        The Sick King in Bokhara.
        Religious Isolation.
        To my Friends.
        A Modern Sappho.
        The New Sirens.
        The Voice.
        To Fausta.
        Stagyrus.
        To a Gipsy Child.
        The Hayswater Boat.
        The Forsaken Merman.
        The World and the Quietist.
        In Utrumque Paratus.
        Resignation.
      Sonnets.
        Quiet Work.
        To a Friend.
        Shakespeare.
        To the Duke of Wellington.
        Written in Butler's Sermons.
        Written in Emerson's Essays.
        To an Independent Preacher.
        To George Cruikshank.
        To a Republican Friend.

1852. Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems.
         Empedocles on Etna.
         The River.
         Excuse.
         Indifference.
         Too Late.
         On the Rhine.
         Longing.
         The Lake.
         Parting.
         Absence.
         Destiny. (Not reprinted.)
         To Marguerite.
         Human Life.
         Despondency.
         Youth's Agitations--A Sonnet.
         Self-Deception.
         Lines written by a Death-bed. (Afterward, Youth and Calm.)
         Tristram and Iseult.
         Memorial Verses. (Previously published in _Fraser's
             Magazine_.)
         Courage. (Not reprinted.)
         Self-Dependence.
         A Summer Night.
         The Buried Life.
         A Farewell.
         Stanzas in Memory of the Author of _Obermann_.
         Consolation.
         Lines written in Kensington Gardens.
         The World's Triumphs--A Sonnet.
         The Second Best.
         Revolutions.
         The Youth of Nature.
         The Youth of Man.
         Morality.
         Progress.
         The Future.
1853. Poems.
         Sohrab and Rustum.
         Cadmus and Harmonia. (A fragment of Empedocles on Etna.)
         Philomela.
         Thekla's Answer.
         The Church of Brou.
         The Neckan.
         Switzerland.
         Richmond Hill. (A fragment of The Youth of Man.)
         Requiescat.
         The Scholar-Gipsy.
         Stanzas in Memory of the Late Edward Quillman.
         Power of Youth. (A fragment of The Youth of Man.)
1854. A Farewell.
1855. Poems.
         Balder Dead
         Separation.
1858. Merope: A Tragedy.
1867. New Poems.
            Persistency of Poetry.
            Saint Brandan. _(Fraser's Magazine_, July, 1860.)
            Sonnets.
              A Picture of Newstead.
              Rachel. (Three Sonnets.)
              East London.
              West London.
          Anti-Desperation.
          Immorality.
          Worldly Place.
          The Divinity.
          The Good Shepherd with the Kid.
          Austerity of Poetry.
          East and West.
          Monica's Last Prayer.
        Calais Sands.
        Dover Beach.
        The Terrace at Berne.
        Stanzas composed at Carnae.
        A Southern Night. (Previously published in the
            _Victoria Regia_, 1861.)
        Fragment of Chorus of a "Dejaneira."
        Palladium.
        Early Death and Fame.
        Growing Old.
        The Progress of Poesy.
        A Nameless Epitaph.
        The Last Word.
        A Wish.
        A Caution to Poets.
        Pis-Aller.
        Epilogue to Lessing's Laocooen.
        Bacchanalia.
        Rugby Chapel.
        Heine's Grave.
        Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse.
1860. The Lord's Messengers. (_Cornhill Magazine_, July.)
1866. Thyrsis. (_Macmillan's Magazine_, April.)
1868. Obermann Once More.
1873. New Rome. (_Cornhill Magazine_, June.)
1877. Haworth Churchyard with Epilogue. (_Fraser's Magazine_, May.)
1881. Geist's Grave. (_Fortnightly Review_, January.)
1882. Westminster Abbey. (_Nineteenth Century Magazine_,
          January.)
      Poor Matthais. (_Macmillan's Magazine_, December.)
1887. Horatian Echo. (_The Century Guild Hobby Horse_, July.)
      Kaiser Dead. (_Fortnightly Review_, July.)



PROSE WORKS

1859. England and the Italian Question.
1861. Popular Education in France.
      On Translating Homer.
1864. A French Eton.
1865. Essays in Criticism.
1867. On Study of Celtic Literature.
1868. Schools and Universities on the Continent.
1869. Culture and Anarchy.
1870. St. Paul and Protestantism.
1871. Friendship's Garland.
1873. Literature and Dogma.
1874. Higher Schools and Universities in Germany.
1875. God and the Bible.
1877. Last Essays on Church and Religion.
1879. Mixed Essays.
1882. Irish Essays.
1885. Discourses in America.
1888. Essays in Criticism, Second Series.
      Special Report on Elementary Education Abroad.
      Civilization in the United States.



CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881).
Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859).
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892).
Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882).
William M. Thackeray (1811-1863).
Robert Browning (1812-1889).
Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
George Eliot (1819-1880).
John Ruskin (1819-1900).
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903).

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878).
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864).
John G. Whittier (1807-1892).
Henry W. Longfellow (1807-1882).
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894).
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).



BIBLIOGRAPHY

_The Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold_ (The Macmillan Company,
       one volume).
_The English Poets_, Vol. I, by T.H. Ward.
_Matthew Arnold and the Spirit of the Age_, edited by the English
       Club of Sewanee, Tennessee.
_Matthew Arnold_, by Sir J.G. Fitch.
_Tennyson, Ruskin, and Other Literary Estimates_, by Frederic
       Harrison.
_Studies in Interpretation_, by W.H. Hudson.
_Corrected Impressions on Matthew Arnold_, by G.E.B. Saintsbury.
_Matthew Arnold_, by Herbert W. Paul.
_Matthew Arnold_, by G.E.B. Saintsbury.
_Arnold's Letters_, collected and arranged by G.W.E. Russell.
_The Bibliography of Matthew Arnold_, edited by T.B. Smart.
_Matthew Arnold_, by Andrew Lang, in _Century Magazine_,
      1881-1882, p. 849.

_The Poetry of Matthew Arnold_, by R.H. Hutton, in
      _Essays Theological and Literary_, Vol. II.
_Religion and Culture_, by John Shairp.
_Arnold_, in _Victorian Poets_, by Stedman.
_Matthew Arnold, New Poems_, in _Essays and Studies_, by
      A.C. Swinburne.
_Arnold_, in _Our Living Poets_, by Forman.



       *       *       *       *       *



SOHRAB AND RUSTUM

AND OTHER POEMS


       *       *       *       *       *




NARRATIVE POEMS




SOHRAB AND RUSTUM deg.

AN EPISODE


And the first grey of morning fill'd the east, deg.                        deg.1
And the fog rose out of the Oxus deg. stream.                              deg.2
But all the Tartar camp deg. along the stream                              deg.3
Was hush'd, and still the men were plunged in sleep;
Sohrab alone, he slept not; all night long                             5
He had lain wakeful, tossing on his bed;
But when the grey dawn stole into his tent,
He rose, and clad himself, and girt his sword,
And took his horseman's cloak, and left his tent,
And went abroad into the cold wet fog,                                10
Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa's deg. tent.                           deg.11

Through the black Tartar tents he pass'd, which stood
Clustering like bee-hives on the low flat strand
Of Oxus, where the summer-floods o'erflow
When the sun melts the snows in high Pamere deg.                          deg.15
Through the black tents he pass'd, o'er that low strand,
And to a hillock came, a little back
From the stream's brink--the spot where first a boat,
Crossing the stream in summer, scrapes the land.
The men of former times had crown'd the top                           20
With a clay fort; but that was fall'n, and now
The Tartars built there Peran-Wisa's tent,
A dome of laths, and o'er it felts were spread.
And Sohrab came there, and went in, and stood
Upon the thick piled carpets in the tent,                             25
And found the old man sleeping on his bed
Of rugs and felts, and near him lay his arms.
And Peran-Wisa heard him, though the step
Was dull'd; for he slept light, an old man's sleep;
And he rose quickly on one arm, and said:--                           30

"Who art thou? for it is not yet clear dawn.
Speak! is there news, or any night alarm?"

But Sohrab came to the bedside, and said:--
"Thou know'st me, Peran-Wisa! it is I.
The sun is not yet risen, and the foe                                 35
Sleep; but I sleep not; all night long I lie
Tossing and wakeful, and I come to thee.
For so did King Afrasiab deg. bid me seek                                 deg.38
Thy counsel, and to heed thee as thy son,
In Samarcand, deg. before the army march'd;                               deg.40
And I will tell thee what my heart desires.
Thou know'st if, since from Ader-baijan deg. first                        deg.42
I came among the Tartars and bore arms,
I have still served Afrasiab well, and shown,
At my boy's years, deg. the courage of a man.                             deg.45
This too thou know'st, that while I still bear on
The conquering Tartar ensigns through the world,
And beat the Persians back on every field,
I seek one man, one man, and one alone--
Rustum, my father; who I hoped should greet,                          50
Should one day greet, upon some well-fought field,
His not unworthy, not inglorious son.
So I long hoped, but him I never find.
Come then, hear now, and grant me what I ask.
Let the two armies rest to-day; but I                                 55
Will challenge forth the bravest Persian lords
To meet me, man to man; if I prevail,
Rustum will surely hear it; if I fall--
Old man, the dead need no one, claim no kin.
Dim is the rumour of a common fight, deg.                                 deg.60
Where host meets host, and many names are sunk deg.;                      deg.61
But of a single combat fame speaks clear."

He spoke; and Peran-Wisa took the hand
Of the young man in his, and sigh'd, and said:--

"O Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine!                                 65
Canst thou not rest among the Tartar chiefs,
And share the battle's common chance deg. with us                         deg.67
Who love thee, but must press for ever first,
In single fight incurring single risk,
To find a father thou hast never seen deg.?                               deg.70
That were far best, my son, to stay with us
Unmurmuring; in our tents, while it is war,
And when 'tis truce, then in Afrasiab's towns.
But, if this one desire indeed rules all,
To seek out Rustum--seek him not through fight!                       75
Seek him in peace, and carry to his arms,
O Sohrab, carry an unwounded son!
But far hence seek him, for he is not here.
For now it is not as when I was young,
When Rustum was in front of every fray;                               80
But now he keeps apart, and sits at home,
In Seistan, deg. with Zal, his father old.                                deg.82
Whether that his own mighty strength at last
Peels the abhorr'd approaches of old age,
Or in some quarrel deg. with the Persian King. deg.                           deg.85
There go deg.!--Thou wilt not? Yet my heart forebodes                     deg.86
Danger or death awaits thee on this field.
Fain would I know thee safe and well, though lost
To us; fain therefore send thee hence, in peace
To seek thy father, not seek single fights                            90
In vain;--but who can keep the lion's cub
From ravening, and who govern Rustum's son?
Go, I will grant thee what thy heart desires."

So said he, and dropp'd Sohrab's hand, and left
His bed, and the warm rugs whereon he lay;                            95
And o'er his chilly limbs his woollen coat
He pass'd, and tied his sandals on his feet,
And threw a white cloak round him, and he took
In his right hand a ruler's staff, no sword deg.;                         deg.99
And on his head he set his sheep-skin cap,                           100
Black, glossy, curl'd, the fleece of Kara-Kul deg.;                      deg.101
And raised the curtain of his tent, and call'd
His herald to his side, and went abroad.

The sun by this had risen, and clear'd the fog
From the broad Oxus and the glittering sands.                        105
And from their tents the Tartar horsemen filed
Into the open plain; so Haman deg. bade--                                deg.107
Haman, who next to Peran-Wisa ruled
The host, and still was in his lusty prime.
From their black tents, long files of horse, they stream'd;
As when some grey November morn the files,                           111
In marching order spread, of long-neck'd cranes
Stream over Casbin deg. and the southern slopes                          deg.113
Of Elburz, deg. from the Aralian estuaries,                              deg.114
Or some frore deg. Caspian reed-bed, southward bound                     deg.115
For the warm Persian sea-board--so they stream'd.
The Tartars of the Oxus, the King's guard,
First, with black sheep-skin caps and with long spears;
Large men, large steeds; who from Bokhara deg. come                      deg.119
And Khiva, deg. and ferment the milk of mares. deg.                          deg.120
Next, the more temperate Toorkmuns deg. of the south,                    deg.121
The Tukas, deg. and the lances of Salore,                                deg.122
And those from Attruck deg. and the Caspian sands;                       deg.123
Light men and on light steeds, who only drink
The acrid milk of camels, and their wells.                           125
And then a swarm of wandering horse, who came
From far, and a more doubtful service own'd;
The Tartars of Ferghana, deg. from the banks                             deg.128
Of the Jaxartes, deg. men with scanty beards                             deg.129
And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder hordes                    130
Who roam o'er Kipchak deg. and the northern waste,                       deg.131
Kalmucks deg. and unkempt Kuzzaks, deg. tribes who stray                     deg.132
Nearest the Pole, and wandering Kirghizzes, deg.                         deg.133
Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere;
These all filed out from camp into the plain.                        135
And on the other side the Persians form'd;--
First a light cloud of horse, Tartars they seem'd.
The Ilyats of Khorassan deg.; and behind,                                deg.138
The royal troops of Persia, horse and foot,
Marshall'd battalions bright in burnish'd steel.                     140
But Peran-Wisa with his herald came,
Threading the Tartar squadrons to the front,
And with his staff kept back the foremost ranks.
And when Ferood, who led the Persians, saw
That Peran-Wisa kept the Tartars back,                               145
He took his spear, and to the front he came,
And check'd his ranks, and fix'd deg. them where they stood.             deg.147
And the old Tartar came upon the sand
Betwixt the silent hosts, and spake, and said:--

"Ferood, and ye, Persians and Tartars, hear!                         150
Let there be truce between the hosts to-day.
But choose a champion from the Persian lords
To fight our champion Sohrab, man to man."

As, in the country, on a morn in June,
When the dew glistens on the pearled ears,                           155
A shiver runs through the deep corn deg. for joy--                       deg.156
So, when they heard what Peran-Wisa said,
A thrill through all the Tartar squadrons ran
Of pride and hope for Sohrab, whom they loved.

But as a troop of pedlars, from Cabool, deg.                             deg.160
Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus, deg.                               deg.161
That vast sky-neighbouring mountain of milk snow;
Crossing so high, that, as they mount, they pass
Long flocks of travelling birds dead on the snow,
Choked by the air, and scarce can they themselves                    165
Slake their parch'd throats with sugar'd mulberries--
In single file they move, and stop their breath,
For fear they should dislodge the o'erhanging snows--
So the pale Persians held their breath with fear.

And to Ferood his brother chiefs came up                             170
To counsel; Gudurz and Zoarrah came,
And Feraburz, who ruled the Persian host
Second, and was the uncle of the King deg.;                              deg.173
These came and counsell'd, and then Gudurz said:--

"Ferood, shame bids us take their challenge up,                      175
Yet champion have we none to match this youth.
He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's heart. deg.                      deg.177
But Rustum came last night; aloof he sits deg.                           deg.178
And sullen, and has pitch'd his tents apart.
Him will I seek, and carry to his ear                                180
The Tartar challenge, and this young man's name.
Haply he will forget his wrath, and fight.
Stand forth the while, and take their challenge up."

So spake he; and Ferood stood forth and cried:--
"Old man, be it agreed as thou hast said!                            185
Let Sohrab arm, and we will find a man."
He spake: and Peran-Wisa turn'd, and strode
Back through the opening squadrons to his tent.
But through the anxious Persians Gudurz ran,
And cross'd the camp which lay behind, and reach'd,                  190
Out on the sands beyond it, Rustum's tents.
Of scarlet cloth they were, and glittering gay,
Just pitch'd; the high pavilion in the midst
Was Rustum's, and his men lay camp'd around.
And Gudurz enter'd Rustum's tent, and found                          195
Rustum; his morning meal was done, but still
The table stood before him, charged with food--
A side of roasted sheep, and cakes of bread;
And dark green melons; and there Rustum sate deg.                        deg.199
Listless, and held a falcon deg. on his wrist,                           deg.200
And play'd with it; but Gudurz came and stood
Before him; and he look'd, and saw him stand,
And with a cry sprang up and dropp'd the bird,
And greeted Gudurz with both hands, and said:--

"Welcome! these eyes could see no better sight.                      205
What news? but sit down first, and eat and drink."

But Gudurz stood in the tent-door, and said:--
"Not now! a time will come to eat and drink,
But not to-day; to-day has other needs.
The armies are drawn out, and stand at gaze;                         210
For from the Tartars is a challenge brought
To pick a champion from the Persian lords
To fight their champion--and thou know'st his name--
Sohrab men call him, but his birth is hid.
O Rustum, like thy might is this young man's!                        215
He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's heart;
And he is young, and Iran's deg. chiefs are old,                         deg.217
Or else too weak; and all eyes turn to thee.
Come down and help us, Rustum, or we lose!"

He spoke; but Rustum answer'd with, a smile:--                       220
"Go to deg.! if Iran's chiefs are old, then I                            deg.221
Am older; if the young are weak, the King
Errs strangely; for the King, for Kai Khosroo, deg.                      deg.223
Himself is young, and honours younger men,
And lets the aged moulder to their graves.                           225
Rustum he loves no more, but loves the young--
The young may rise at Sohrab's vaunts, not I.
For what care I, though all speak Sohrab's fame?
For would that I myself had such a son,
And not that one slight helpless girl deg. I have--                      deg.230
A son so famed, so brave, to send to war,
And I to tarry with the snow-hair'd Zal, deg.                            deg.232
My father, whom the robber Afghans vex,
And clip his borders short, and drive his herds,
And he has none to guard his weak old age.                           235
There would I go, and hang my armour up,
And with my great name fence that weak old man,
And spend the goodly treasures I have got,
And rest my age, and hear of Sohrab's fame,
And leave to death the hosts of thankless kings,                     240
And with these slaughterous hands draw sword no more."

He spoke, and smiled; and Gudurz made reply:--
"What then, O Rustum, will men say to this,
When Sohrab dares our bravest forth, and seeks
Thee most of all, and thou, whom most he seeks,                      245
Hidest thy face? Take heed lest men should say:
_Like some old miser, Rustum hoards his fame,
And shuns to peril it with younger men."_ deg.                           deg.248

And, greatly moved, then Rustum made reply:--
"O Gudurz, wherefore dost thou say such words?                       250
Thou knowest better words than this to say.
What is one more, one less, obscure or famed,
Valiant or craven, young or old, to me?
Are not they mortal, am not I myself?
But who for men of nought would do great deeds?                      255
Come, thou shalt see how Rustum hoards his fame!
But I will fight unknown, and in plain arms deg.;                        deg.257
Let not men say of Rustum, he was match'd
In single fight with any mortal man."

He spoke, and frown'd; and Gudurz turn'd, and ran                    260
Back quickly through the camp in fear and joy--
Fear at his wrath, but joy that Rustum came.
But Rustum strode to his tent-door, and call'd
His followers in, and bade them bring his arms,
And clad himself in steel; the arms he chose                         265
Were plain, and on his shield was no device, deg.                        deg.266
Only his helm was rich, inlaid with gold,
And, from the fluted spine atop, a plume
Of horsehair waved, a scarlet horsehair plume.
So arm'd, he issued forth; and Ruksh, his horse,                     270
Follow'd him like a faithful hound at heel--
Ruksh, whose renown was noised through all the earth,
The horse, whom Rustum on a foray once
Did in Bokhara by the river find
A colt beneath its dam, and drove him home,                          275
And rear'd him; a bright bay, with lofty crest,
Dight deg. with a saddle-cloth of broider'd green                        deg.277
Crusted with gold, and on the ground were work'd
All beasts of chase, all beasts which hunters know.
So follow'd, Rustum left his tents, and cross'd                      280
The camp, and to the Persian host appear'd.
And all the Persians knew him, and with shouts
Hail'd; but the Tartars knew not who he was.
And dear as the wet diver to the eyes
Of his pale wife who waits and weeps on shore,                       285
By sandy Bahrein, deg. in the Persian Gulf,                              deg.286
Plunging all day in the blue waves, at night,
Having made up his tale deg. of precious pearls,                         deg.288
Rejoins her in their hut upon the sands--
So dear to the pale Persians Rustum came.                            290

And Rustum to the Persian front advanced,
And Sohrab arm'd in Haman's tent, and came.
And as afield the reapers cut a swath
Down through the middle of a rich man's corn,
And on each side are squares of standing corn,                       295
And in the midst a stubble, short and bare--
So on each side were squares of men, with spears
Bristling, and in the midst, the open sand.
And Rustum came upon the sand, and cast
His eyes toward the Tartar tents, and saw                            300
Sohrab come forth, and eyed him as he came.

As some rich woman, on a winter's morn,
Eyes through her silken curtains the poor drudge
Who with numb blacken'd fingers makes her fire--
At cock-crow, on a starlit winter's morn,                            305
When the frost flowers deg. the whiten'd window-panes--
And wonders how she lives, and what the thoughts
Of that poor drudge may be; so Rustum eyed
The unknown adventurous youth, who from afar
Came seeking Rustum, and defying forth                               310
All the most valiant chiefs; long he perused deg.                        deg.311
His spirited air, and wonder'd who he was.
For very young he seem'd, tenderly rear'd;
Like some young cypress, tall, and dark, and straight,
Which in a queen's secluded garden throws                            315
Its slight dark shadow on the moonlit turf,
By midnight, to a bubbling fountain's sound--
So slender Sohrab seem'd, deg. so softly rear'd.                         deg.318
And a deep pity enter'd Rustum's soul
As he beheld him coming; and he stood,                               320
And beckon'd to him with his hand, and said:--

"O thou young man, the air of Heaven is soft,
And warm, and pleasant; but the grave is cold!
Heaven's air is better than the cold dead grave.
Behold me! I am vast, deg. and clad in iron,                             deg.325
And tried deg.; and I have stood on many a field
Of blood, and I have fought with many a foe--
Never was that field lost, or that foe saved. deg.                       deg.327
O Sohrab, wherefore wilt thou rush on death?
Be govern'd deg.! quit the Tartar host, and come                         deg.330
To Iran, and be as my son to me,
And fight beneath my banner till I die!
There are no youths in Iran brave as thou."

So he spake, mildly; Sohrab heard his voice,
The mighty voice of Rustum, and he saw                               335
His giant figure planted on the sand,
Sole, like some single tower, which a chief
Hath builded on the waste in former years
Against the robbers; and he saw that head,
Streak'd with its first grey hairs;--hope filled his soul,           340
And he ran forward and embraced his knees,
And clasp'd his hand within his own, and said:--

"O, by thy father's head deg.! by thine own soul!                        deg.343
Art thou not Rustum deg.? speak! art thou not he?"                       deg.344

But Rustum eyed askance the kneeling youth,                          345
And turn'd away, and spake to his own soul:--

"Ah me, I muse what this young fox may mean!
False, wily, boastful, are these Tartar boys.
For if I now confess this thing he asks,
And hide it not, but say: _Rustum is here_!                          350
He will not yield indeed, nor quit our foes,
But he will find some pretext not to fight,
And praise my fame, and proffer courteous gifts
A belt or sword perhaps, and go his way.
And on a feast-tide, in Afrasiab's hall,                             355
In Samarcand, he will arise and cry:
'I challenged once, when the two armies camp'd
Beside the Oxus, all the Persian lords
To cope with me in single fight; but they
Shrank, only Rustum dared; then he and I                             360
Changed gifts, and went on equal terms away.'
So will he speak, perhaps, while men applaud;
Then were the chiefs of Iran shamed through me."

And then he turn'd, and sternly spake aloud:--
"Rise! wherefore dost thou vainly question thus                      365
Of Rustum? I am here, whom thou hast call'd
By challenge forth; make good thy vaunt, deg. or yield!                  deg.367
Is it with Rustum only thou wouldst fight?
Rash boy, men look on Rustum's face and flee!
For well I know, that did great Rustum stand                         370
Before thy face this day, and were reveal'd,
There would be then no talk of fighting more.
But being what I am, I tell thee this--
Do thou record it in thine inmost soul:
Either thou shalt renounce thy vaunt and yield,                      375
Or else thy bones shall strew this sand, till winds
Bleach them, or Oxus with his summer-floods,
Oxus in summer wash them all away."

He spoke; and Sohrab answer'd, on his feet:--
"Art thou so fierce? Thou wilt not fright me so deg.!                    deg.380
I am no girl to be made pale by words.
Yet this thou hast said well, did Rustum stand
Here on this field, there were no fighting then.
But Rustum is far hence, and we stand here.
Begin! thou art more vast, more dread than I,                        385
And thou art proved, I know, and I am young--
But yet success sways with the breath of Heaven.
And though thou thinkest that thou knowest sure
Thy victory, yet thou canst not surely know.
For we are all, like swimmers in the sea,                            390
Poised on the top of a huge wave of fate,
Which hangs uncertain to which side to fall.
And whether it will heave us up to land,
Or whether it will roll us out to sea,
Back out to sea, to the deep waves of death,                         395
We know not, and no search will make us know;
Only the event will teach us in its hour."

He spoke, and Rustum answer'd not, but hurl'd
His spear; down from the shoulder, down it came,
As on some partridge, in the corn a hawk,                            400
That long has tower'd deg. in the airy clouds,                           deg.401
Drops like a plummet; Sohrab saw it come,
And sprang aside, quick as a flash; the spear
Hiss'd, and went quivering down into the sand,
Which it sent flying wide;--then Sohrab threw                        405
In turn, and full struck deg. Rustum's shield; sharp rang,               deg.406
The iron plates rang sharp, but turn'd the spear.
And Rustum seized his club, which none but he
Could wield; an unlopp'd trunk it was, and huge,
Still rough--like those which men in treeless plains                 410
To build them boats fish from the flooded rivers,
Hyphasis deg. or Hydaspes, deg. when, high up                                deg.412
By their dark springs, the wind in winter-time
Hath made in Himalayan forests wrack, deg.                               deg.414
And strewn the channels with torn boughs--so huge                    415
The club which Rustum lifted now, and struck
One stroke; but again Sohrab sprang aside,
Lithe as the glancing deg. snake, and the club came                      deg.418
Thundering to earth, and leapt from Rustum's hand.
And Rustum follow'd his own blow, and fell                           420
To his knees, and with his fingers clutch'd the sand;
And now might Sohrab have unsheathed his sword,
And pierced the mighty Rustum while he lay
Dizzy, and on his knees, and choked with sand;
But he look'd on, and smiled, nor bared his sword,                   425
But courteously drew back, and spoke, and said:--

"Thou strik'st too hard! that club of thine will float
Upon the summer-floods, and not my bones.
But rise, and be not wroth! not wroth am I;
No, when I see thee, wrath forsakes my soul.                         430
Thou say'st, thou art not Rustum; be it so!
Who art thou then, that canst so touch my soul?
Boy as I am, I have seen battles too--
Have waded foremost in their bloody waves,
And heard their hollow deg. roar of dying men;                           deg.435
But never was my heart thus touch'd before.
Are they from Heaven, these softenings of the heart?
O thou old warrior, let us yield to Heaven!
Come, plant we here in earth our angry spears,
And make a truce, and sit upon this sand,                            440
And pledge each other in red wine, like friends,
And thou shalt talk to me of Rustum's deeds.
There are enough foes in the Persian host,
Whom I may meet, and strike, and feel no pang;
Champions enough Afrasiab has, whom thou                             445
Mayst fight; fight _them_, when they confront thy spear!
But oh, let there be peace 'twixt thee and me!"

He ceased, but while he spake, Rustum had risen,
And stood erect, trembling with rage; his club
He left to lie, but had regain'd his spear,                          450
Whose fiery point now in his mail'd right-hand
Blazed bright and baleful, like that autumn-star, deg.                   deg.452
The baleful sign of fevers; dust had soil'd
His stately crest, deg. and dimm'd his glittering arms.                  deg.454
His breast heaved, his lips foam'd, and twice his voice              455
Was choked with rage; at last these words broke way:--

"Girl! nimble with thy feet, not with thy hands!
Curl'd minion, dancer, coiner of sweet words!
Fight, let me hear thy hateful voice no more!
Thou art not in Afrasiab's gardens now                               460
With Tartar girls, with whom thou art wont to dance;
But on the Oxus-sands, and in the dance
Of battle, and with me, who make no play
Of war; I fight it out, and hand to hand.
Speak not to me of truce, and pledge, and wine!                      465
Remember all thy valour deg.; try thy feints                             deg.466
And cunning! all the pity I had is gone;
Because thou hast shamed me before both the hosts
With thy light skipping tricks, and thy girl's wiles. deg."              deg.468

He spoke, and Sohrab kindled deg. at his taunts,                         deg.470
And he too drew his sword; at once they rush'd
Together, as two eagles on one prey
Come rushing down together from the clouds,
One from the east, one from the west; their shields
Bash'd with a clang together, and a din.                             475
Rose, such as that the sinewy woodcutters
Make often in the forest's heart at morn,
Of hewing axes, crashing trees--such blows
Rustum and Sohrab on each other hail'd.
And you would say that sun and stars took part                       480
In that unnatural deg. conflict; for a cloud deg.                            deg.481
Grew suddenly in Heaven, and dark'd the sun
Over the fighters' heads; and a wind rose
Under their feet, and moaning swept the plain,
And in a sandy whirlwind wrapp'd the pair.                           485
In gloom they twain were wrapp'd, and they alone;
For both the on-looking hosts on either hand
Stood in broad daylight, and the sky was pure,
And the sun sparkled deg. on the Oxus stream.                            deg.489
But in the gloom they fought, with bloodshot eyes                    490
And labouring breath; first Rustum struck the shield
Which Sohrab held stiff out; the steel-spiked spear
Rent the tough plates, but fail'd to reach the skin,
And Rustum pluck'd it back with angry groan.
Then Sohrab with his sword smote Rustum's helm, deg.                     deg.495
Nor clove its steel quite through; but all the crest
He shore deg. away, and that proud horsehair plume,                      deg.497
Never till now defiled, sank to the dust;
And Rustum bow'd his head deg.; but then the gloom                       deg.499
Grew blacker, thunder rumbled in the air,                            500
And lightnings rent the cloud; and Ruksh, the horse,
Who stood at hand, utter'd a dreadful cry;--
No horse's cry was that, most like the roar
Of some pain'd desert-lion, who all day
Hath trail'd the hunter's javelin in his side,                       505
And comes at night to die upon the sand.
The two hosts heard that cry, and quaked for fear,
And Oxus curdled deg. as it cross'd his stream.                          deg.508
But Sohrab heard, and quail'd not, but rush'd on,
And struck again; and again Rustum bow'd                             510
His head; but this time all the blade, like glass,
Sprang in a thousand shivers on the helm,
And in the hand the hilt remain'd alone.
Then Rustum raised his head; his dreadful eyes
Glared, and he shook on high his menacing spear,                     515
And shouted: _Rustum_ deg.!--Sohrab heard that shout,                    deg.516
And shrank amazed; back he recoil'd one step,
And scann'd with blinking eyes the advancing form;
And then he stood bewilder'd; and he dropp'd
His covering shield, and the spear pierced his side.                 520
He reel'd, and staggering back, sank to the ground;
And then the gloom dispersed, and the wind fell,
And the bright sun broke forth, and melted all
The cloud; and the two armies saw the pair--
Saw Rustum standing, safe upon his feet,                             525
And Sohrab, wounded, on the bloody sand.

Then, with a bitter smile, deg. Rustum began:--                          deg.527
"Sohrab, thou thoughtest in thy mind to kill
A Persian lord this day, and strip his corpse,
And bear thy trophies to Afrasiab's tent.                            530
Or else that the great Rustum would come down
Himself to fight, and that thy wiles would move
His heart to take a gift, and let thee go.
And then all the Tartar host would praise
Thy courage or thy craft, and spread thy fame,                       535
To glad deg. thy father in his weak old age.                             deg.536
Fool, thou art slain, and by an unknown man!
Dearer to the red jackals deg. shalt thou be                             deg.538
Than to thy friends, and to thy father old."

And, with a fearless mien, Sohrab replied:--                         540
"Unknown thou art; yet thy fierce vaunt is vain
Thou dost not slay me, proud and boastful man!
No! Rustum slays me, and this filial heart.
For were I match'd with ten such men as thee,
And I were that which till to-day I was,                             545
They should be lying here, I standing there
But that beloved name unnerved my arm--
That name, and something, I confess, in thee,
Which troubles all my heart, and made my shield
Fall; and thy spear transfix'd an unarm'd foe.                       550
And now thou boastest, and insult'st my fate.
But hear thou this, fierce man, tremble to hear
The mighty Rustum shall avenge my death!
My father, whom I seek through all the world,
He shall avenge my death, and punish thee!"                          555

As when some hunter deg. in the spring hath found                        deg.556
A breeding eagle sitting on her nest,
Upon the craggy isle of a hill-lake,
And pierced her with an arrow as she rose,
And follow'd her to find her where she fell                          560
Far off;--anon her mate comes winging back
From hunting, and a great way off descries
His huddling young left sole deg.; at that, he checks                    deg.563
His pinion, and with short uneasy sweeps
Circles above his eyry, with loud screams                            565
Chiding his mate back to her nest; but she
Lies dying, with the arrow in her side,
In some far stony gorge out of his ken,
A heap of fluttering feathers--never more
Shall the lake glass deg. her, flying over it;                           deg.570
Never the black and dripping precipices
Echo her stormy scream as she sails by--
As that poor bird flies home, nor knows his loss,
So Rustum knew not his own loss, but stood
Over his dying son, and knew him not.                                575

But, with a cold incredulous voice, he said:--
"What prate is this of fathers and revenge?
The mighty Rustum never had a son."

And, with a failing voice, Sohrab replied:--
"Ah yes, he had! and that lost son am I.                             580
Surely the news will one day reach his ear,
Reach Rustum, where he sits, and tarries long,
Somewhere, I know not where, but far from here;
And pierce him like a stab, and make him leap
To arms, and cry for vengeance upon thee.                            585
Fierce man, bethink thee, for an only son!
What will that grief, what will that vengeance be?
Oh, could I live, till I that grief had seen!
Yet him I pity not so much, but her,
My mother, who in Ader-baijan dwells                                 590
With that old king, her father, who grows grey
With age, and rules over the valiant Koords.
Her most I pity, who no more will see
Sohrab returning from the Tartar camp,
With spoils and honour, when the war is done.                        595
But a dark rumour will be bruited up, deg.                               deg.596
From tribe to tribe, until it reach her ear;
And then will that defenceless woman learn
That Sohrab will rejoice her sight no more,
But that in battle with a nameless foe,                              600
By the far-distant Oxus, he is slain."

He spoke; and as he ceased, he wept aloud,
Thinking of her he left, and his own death.
He spoke; but Rustum listen'd, plunged in thought.
Nor did he yet believe it was his son                                605
Who spoke, although he call'd back names he knew;
For he had had sure tidings that the babe,
Which was in Ader-baijan born to him,
Had been a puny girl, no boy at all--
So that sad mother sent him word, for fear                           610
Rustum should seek the boy, to train in arms--
And so he deem'd that either Sohrab took,
By a false boast, the style deg. of Rustum's son;                        deg.613
Or that men gave it him, to swell his fame.
So deem'd he; yet he listen'd, plunged in thought                    615
And his soul set to grief, as the vast tide
Of the bright rocking Ocean sets to shore
At the full moon; tears gather'd in his eyes;
For he remember'd his own early youth,
And all its bounding rapture; as, at dawn,                           620
The shepherd from his mountain-lodge descries
A far, bright city, smitten by the sun,
Through many rolling clouds--so Rustum saw
His youth; saw Sohrab's mother, in her bloom;
And that old king, deg. her father, who loved well                       deg.625
His wandering guest, and gave him his fair child
With joy; and all the pleasant life they led,
They three, in that long-distant summer-time--
The castle, and the dewy woods, and hunt
And hound, and morn on those delightful hills                        630
In Ader-baijan. And he saw that Youth,
Of age and looks deg. to be his own dear son,                            deg.632
Piteous and lovely, lying on the sand;
Like some rich hyacinth which by the scythe
Of an unskilful gardener has been cut,                               635
Mowing the garden grass-plots near its bed,
And lies, a fragrant tower of purple bloom,
On the mown, dying grass--so Sohrab lay,
Lovely in death, upon the common sand.
And Rustum gazed on him with grief, and said:--                      640

"O Sohrab, thou indeed art such a son
Whom Rustum, wert thou his, might well have loved.
Yet here thou errest, Sohrab, or else men
Have told thee false--thou art not Rustum's son.
For Rustum had no son; one child he had--                            645
But one--a girl; who with her mother now
Plies some light female task, nor dreams of us--
Of us she dreams not, nor of wounds, nor war."

But Sohrab answer'd him in wrath; for now
The anguish of the deep-fix'd spear grew fierce,                     650
And he desired to draw forth the steel,
And let the blood flow free, and so to die--
But first he would convince his stubborn foe;
And, rising sternly on one arm, he said:--

"Man, who art thou who dost deny my words?                           655
Truth sits upon the lips of dying men,
And falsehood, while I lived, was far from mine.
I tell thee, prick'd upon this arm deg. I bear                           deg.658
That seal which Rustum to my mother gave,
That she might prick it on the babe she bore."                       660

He spoke; and all the blood left Rustum's cheeks,
And his knees totter'd, and he smote his hand
Against his breast, his heavy mailed hand,
That the hard iron corslet deg. clank'd aloud;                           deg.663
And to his heart he press'd the other hand,                          665
And in a hollow voice he spake, and said:--

"Sohrab, that were a proof which could not lie!
If thou show this, then art thou Rustum's son."

Then, with weak hasty fingers, Sohrab loosed
His belt, and near the shoulder bared his arm,                       670
And show'd a sign in faint vermilion points
Prick'd; as a cunning deg. workman, in Pekin,                            deg.672
Pricks with vermilion some clear porcelain vase,
An emperor's gift--at early morn he paints,
And all day long, and, when night comes, the lamp                    675
Lights up his studious forehead and thin hands--
So delicately prick'd the sign appear'd
On Sohrab's arm, the sign of Rustum's seal.
It was that griffin, deg. which of old rear'd Zal,                       deg.679
Rustum's great father, whom they left to die,                        680
A helpless babe, among the mountain-rocks;
Him that kind creature found, and rear'd, and loved--
Then Rustum took it for his glorious sign.
And Sohrab bared that image on his arm,
And himself scann'd it long with mournful eyes,                      685
And then he touch'd it with his hand and said:--

"How say'st thou? Is that sign the proper sign
Of Rustum's son, or of some other man's?"

He spoke; but Rustum gazed, and gazed, and stood
Speechless; and then he utter'd one sharp cry:                       690
_O boy_--_thy father!_--and his voice choked there.
And then a dark cloud pass'd before his eyes,
And his head swam, and he sank down to earth.
But Sohrab crawl'd to where he lay, and cast
His arms about his neck, and kiss'd his lips,                        695
And with fond faltering fingers stroked his cheeks,
Trying to call him back to life; and life
Came back to Rustum, and he oped his eyes,
And they stood wide with horror; and he seized
In both his hands the dust which lay around,                         700
And threw it on his head, and smirch'd his hair,--
His hair, and face, and beard, and glittering arms;
And strong convulsive groanings shook his breast,
And his sobs choked him; and he clutch'd his sword,
To draw it, and for ever let life out.                               705
But Sohrab saw his thought, and held his hands,
And with a soothing voice he spake, and said:--

"Father, forbear! for I but meet to-day
The doom which at my birth was written down
In Heaven, and thou art Heaven's unconscious hand. deg.                  deg.710
Surely my heart cried out that it was thou,
When first I saw thee; and thy heart spoke too,
I know it! but fate trod those promptings down
Under its iron heel; fate, fate engaged
The strife, and hurl'd me on my father's spear.                      715
But let us speak no more of this! I find
My father; let me feel that I have found! deg.                           deg.717
Come, sit beside me on this sand, and take
My head betwixt thy hands, and kiss my cheeks,
And wash them with thy tears, and say: _My son!_                     720
Quick! quick! for number'd are my sands of life,
And swift; for like the lightning to this field
I came, and like the wind I go away--
Sudden, and swift, and like a passing wind. deg.                         deg.724
But it was writ in Heaven that this should be."                      725

So said he, and his voice released the heart
Of Rustum, and his tears brake forth; he cast
His arms round his son's neck, and wept aloud,
And kiss'd him. And awe fell on both the hosts,
When they saw Rustum's grief; and Ruksh, the horse,                  730
With his head bowing to the ground and mane
Sweeping the dust, came near, and in mute woe
First to the one then to the other moved
His head, as if inquiring what their grief
Might mean; and from his dark, compassionate eyes,                   735
The big warm tears roll'd down, and caked deg. the sand.                 deg.736
But Rustum chid him with stern voice, and said:--

"Ruksh, now thou grievest; but, O Ruksh, thy feet
Should first have rotted on their nimble joints,
Or ere they brought thy master to this field!"                       740

But Sohrab look'd upon the horse and said:--
"Is this, then, Ruksh? How often, in past days,
My mother told me of thee, thou brave steed,
My terrible father's terrible horse! and said,
That I should one day find thy lord and thee.                        745
Come, let me lay my hand upon thy mane!
O Ruksh, thou art more fortunate than I;
For thou hast gone where I shall never go,
And snuff'd the breezes of my father's home.
And thou hast trod the sands of Seistan,                             750
And seen the River of Helmund, deg. and the Lake                         deg.751
Of Zirrah deg.; and the aged Zal himself                                 deg.752
Has often stroked thy neck, and given thee food,
Corn in a golden platter soak'd with wine,
And said: _O Ruksh! bear Rustum well!_--but I                        755
Have never known my grandsire's furrow'd face,
Nor seen his lofty house in Seistan,
Nor slaked my thirst at the clear Helmund stream;
But lodged among my father's foes, and seen
Afrasiab's cities only, Samarcand,                                   760
Bokhara, and lone Khiva in the waste,
And the black Toorkmun tents; and only drunk
The desert rivers, Moorghab deg. and Tejend, deg.                            deg.763
Kohik, deg. and where the Kalmuks feed their sheep,
The northern Sir deg.; and this great Oxus stream,                       deg.765
The yellow Oxus, by whose brink I die."

Then, with a heavy groan, Rustum bewail'd:--
"Oh, that its waves were flowing over me!
Oh, that I saw its grains of yellow silt
Roll tumbling in the current o'er my head!"                          770

But, with a grave mild voice, Sohrab replied:--
"Desire not that, my father! thou must live.
For some are born to do great deeds, and live,
As some are born to be obscured, and die.
Do thou the deeds I die too young to do,                             775
And reap a second glory in thine age;
Thou art my father, and thy gain is mine.
But come! thou seest this great host of men
Which follow me; I pray thee, slay not these!
Let me entreat for them; what have they done?                        780
They follow'd me, my hope, my fame, my star.
Let them all cross the Oxus back in peace.
But me thou must bear hence, not send with them,
But carry me with thee to Seistan,
And place me on a bed, and mourn for me,                             785
Thou, and the snow-hair'd Zal, and all thy friends.
And thou must lay me in that lovely earth,
And heap a stately mound deg. above my bones,                            deg.788
And plant a far-seen pillar over all.
That so the passing horseman on the waste                            790
May see my tomb a great way off, and cry:
_Sohrab, the mighty Rustum's son, lies there,
Whom his great father did in ignorance kill!_
And I be not forgotten in my grave."

And, with a mournful voice, Rustum replied:--                        795
"Fear not! as thou hast said, Sohrab, my son,
So shall it be; for I will burn my tents,
And quit the host, and bear thee hence with me,
And carry thee away to Seistan,
And place thee on a bed, and mourn for thee,                         800
With the snow-headed Zal, and all my friends.
And I will lay thee in that lovely earth,
And heap a stately mound above thy bones,
And plant a far-seen pillar over all,
And men shall not forget thee in thy grave.                          805
And I will spare thy host; yea, let them go!
Let them all cross the Oxus back in peace!
What should I do with slaying any more?
For would that all that I have ever slain
Might be once more alive; my bitterest foes,                         810
And they who were call'd champions in their time,
And through whose death I won that fame I have--
And I were nothing but a common man,
A poor, mean soldier, and without renown,
So thou mightest live too, my son, my son!                           815
Or rather would that I, even I myself,
Might now be lying on this bloody sand,
Near death, and by an ignorant stroke of thine,
Not thou of mine! and I might die, not thou;
And I, not thou, be borne to Seistan;                                820
And Zal might weep above my grave, not thine;
And say: _O son, I weep thee not too sore,
For willingly, I know, thou met'st thine end!_
But now in blood and battles was my youth,
And full of blood and battles is my age,                             825
And I shall never end this life of blood."

Then, at the point of death, Sohrab replied:--
"A life of blood indeed, thou dreadful man!
But thou shalt yet have peace; only not now,
Not yet! but thou shalt have it on that day, deg.                        deg.830
When thou shalt sail in a high-masted ship,
Thou and the other peers of Kai Khosroo,
Returning home over the salt blue sea,
From laying thy dear master in his grave."

And Rustum gazed in Sohrab's face, and said:--                       835
"Soon be that day, my son, and deep that sea!
Till then, if fate so wills, let me endure."

He spoke; and Sohrab smiled on him, and took
The spear, and drew it from his side, and eased
His wound's imperious anguish; but the blood                         840
Came welling from the open gash, and life
Flow'd with the stream;--all down his cold white side
The crimson torrent ran, dim now and soil'd,
Like the soil'd tissue of white violets
Left, freshly gather'd, on their native bank,                        845
By children whom their nurses call with haste.
Indoors from the sun's eye; his head droop'd low,
His limbs grew slack; motionless, white, he lay--
White, with eyes closed; only when heavy gasps,
Deep heavy gasps quivering through all his frame,                    850
Convulsed him back to life, he open'd them,
And fix'd them feebly on his father's face;
Till now all strength was ebb'd, and from his limbs
Unwillingly the spirit fled away,
Regretting the warm mansion which it left,                           855
And youth, and bloom, and this delightful world.

So, on the bloody sand, Sohrab lay dead;
And the great Rustum drew his horseman's cloak
Down o'er his face, and sate by his dead son.
As those black granite pillars, once high-rear'd                     860
By Jemshid in Persepolis, deg. to bear           deg.861
His house, now 'mid their broken flights of steps
Lie prone, enormous, down the mountain side--
So in the sand lay Rustum by his son.

And night came down over the solemn waste,                           865
And the two gazing hosts, and that sole pair,
And darken'd all; and a cold fog, with night,
Crept from the Oxus. Soon a hum arose,
As of a great assembly loosed, and fires
Began to twinkle through the fog; for now                            870
Both armies moved to camp, and took their meal;
The Persians took it on the open sands
Southward, the Tartars by the river marge;
And Rustum and his son were left alone.

But the majestic river floated on,                                   875
Out of the mist and hum of that low land,
Into the frosty starlight, and there moved,
Rejoicing, through the hush'd Chorasmian deg. waste,                     deg.878
Under the solitary moon;--he flow'd
Right for the polar star, deg. past Orgunje, deg.                            deg.880
Brimming, and bright, and large; then sands begin
To hem his watery march, and dam his streams,
And split his currents; that for many a league
The shorn and parcell'd Oxus strains along
Through beds of sand and matted rushy isles--                        885
Oxus, forgetting the bright speed he had
In his high mountain-cradle in Pamere,
A foil'd circuitous wanderer--till at last
The long'd-for dash of waves is heard, and wide
His luminous home deg. of waters opens, bright                           deg.890
And tranquil, from whose floor the new-bathed stars deg.                 deg.891
Emerge, and shine upon the Aral Sea.




SAINT BRANDAN deg.


Saint Brandan sails the northern main;
The brotherhood of saints are glad.
He greets them once, he sails again;
So late!--such storms!--The Saint is mad!

He heard, across the howling seas,                                     5
Chime convent-bells on wintry nights;
He saw, on spray-swept Hebrides, deg.                                      deg.7
Twinkle the monastery-lights;

But north, still north, Saint Brandan steer'd--
And now no bells, no convents more!                                   10
The hurtling Polar lights deg. are near'd,                                deg.11
The sea without a human shore.

At last--(it was the Christmas night;
Stars shone after a day of storm)--
He sees float past an iceberg white,                                  15
And on it--Christ!--a living form.

That furtive mien, that scowling eye,
Of hair that red deg. and tufted fell--                                   deg.18
It is--Oh, where shall Brandan fly?--
The traitor Judas, out of hell!                                       20

Palsied with terror, Brandan sate deg.;                                   deg.21
The moon was bright, the iceberg near.
He hears a voice sigh humbly: "Wait!
By high permission I am here.

"One moment wait, thou holy man                                       25
On earth my crime, my death, they knew;
My name is under all men's ban--
Ah, tell them of my respite too!

"Tell them, one blessed Christmas-night--
(It was the first after I came,                                       30
Breathing self-murder, deg. frenzy, spite,                                deg.31
To rue my guilt in endless flame)--

"I felt, as I in torment lay
'Mid the souls plagued by heavenly power,
An angel touch my arm, and say:                                       35
_Go hence, and cool thyself an hour!_

"'Ah, whence this mercy, Lord?' I said.
_The Leper recollect,_ deg. said he,                                      deg.38
_Who ask'd the passers-by for aid,
In Joppa, deg. and thy charity._                                          deg.40

"Then I remember'd how I went,
In Joppa, through the public street,
One morn when the sirocco spent
Its storms of dust with burning heat;

"And in the street a leper sate,                                      45
Shivering with fever, naked, old;
Sand raked his sores from heel to pate,
The hot wind fever'd him five-fold.

"He gazed upon me as I pass'd
And murmur'd: _Help me, or I die!_--                                  50
To the poor wretch my cloak I cast,
Saw him look eased, and hurried by.

"Oh, Brandan, think what grace divine,
What blessing must full goodness shower,
When fragment of it small, like mine,                                 55
Hath such inestimable power!

"Well-fed, well-clothed, well-friended, I
Did that chance act of good, that one!
Then went my way to kill and lie--
Forgot my good as soon as done.                                       60

"That germ of kindness, in the womb
Of mercy caught, did not expire;
Outlives my guilt, outlives my doom,
And friends me in the pit of fire.

"Once every year, when carols wake,                                   65
On earth, the Christmas-night's repose,
Arising from the sinner's lake,
I journey to these healing snows.

"I stanch with ice my burning breast,
With silence balm my whirling brain.                                  70
Oh, Brandan! to this hour of rest
That Joppan leper's ease was pain."--

Tears started to Saint Brandan's eyes;
He bow'd his head, he breathed a prayer--
Then look'd, and lo, the frosty skies!                                75
The iceberg, and no Judas there!




THE FORSAKEN MERMAN deg.


Come, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below!
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow;                                       5
Now the wild white horses deg. play,                                       deg.6
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!

Call her once before you go--                                         10
Call once yet!
In a voice that she will know:
"Margaret deg.! Margaret!"                                                deg.13
Children's voices should be dear
(Call once more) to a mother's ear;                                   15
Children's voices, wild with pain--
Surely she will come again!
Call her once and come away;
This way, this way!
"Mother dear, we cannot stay!                                         20
The wild white horses foam and fret."
Margaret! Margaret!

Come, dear children, come away down;
Call no more!
One last look at the white-wall'd town,                               25
And the little grey church on the windy shore;
Then come down!
She will not come though you call all day;
Come away, come away!

Children dear, was it yesterday                                       30
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell?
Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,                                   35
Where the winds are all asleep;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
Where the sea-beasts, ranged deg. all round,                              deg.39
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground;                             40
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail deg. and bask in the brine;                                deg.42
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world for ever and aye?                                     45
When did music come this way?
Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once) that she went away?
Once she sate with you and me,                                        50
On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
And the youngest sate on her knee.
She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well,
When down swung the sound of a far-off bell. deg.                         deg.54
She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea;                55
She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
In the little grey church on the shore to-day.
'Twill be Easter-time in the world--ah me!
And I lose my poor soul, Merman! here with thee."
I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the waves;                        60
Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves!"
She smiled, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday?

  Children dear, were we long alone?
"The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan;                          65
Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;
Come!" I said; and we rose through the surf in the bay.
We went up the beach, by the sandy down
Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall'd town;
Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still,                70
To the little grey church on the windy hill.
From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,
But we stood without in the cold blowing airs.
We climb'd on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,
And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes.             75
She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:
"Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here!
Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;
The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan."
But, ah, she gave me never a look,                                    80
For her eyes were seal'd deg. to the holy book!                           deg.81
Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door.
Come away, children, call no more!
Come away, come down, call no more!

  Down, down, down!                                                   85
Down to the depths of the sea!
She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
Singing most joyfully.
Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy,
For the humming street, and the child with its toy!                   90
For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;
For the wheel where I spun,
And the blessed light of the sun deg.!"                                   deg.93
And so she sings her fill,
Singing most joyfully,                                                95
Till the spindle drops from her hand,
And the whizzing wheel stands still.
She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,
And over the sand at the sea;
And her eyes are set in a stare;                                     100
And anon there breaks a sigh,
And anon there drops a tear,
From a sorrow-clouded eye,
And a heart sorrow-laden,
A long, long sigh;                                                   105
For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden
And the gleam of her golden hair.

  Come away, away, children;
Come children, come down!
The hoarse wind blows coldly;                                        110
Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar.                                            115
We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing: "Here came a mortal,                                        120
But faithless was she!
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea."

But, children, at midnight,
When soft the winds blow,                                            125
When clear falls the moonlight,
When spring-tides are low;
When sweet airs come seaward
From heaths starr'd with broom, deg.                                     deg.129
And high rocks throw mildly                                          130
On the blanch'd sands a gloom;
Up the still, glistening beaches,
Up the creeks we will hie,
Over banks of bright seaweed
The ebb-tide leaves dry.                                             135
We will gaze, from the sand-hills,
At the white, sleeping town;
At the church on the hill-side--
And then come back down.
Singing: "There dwells a loved one,                                  140
But cruel is she!
She left lonely for ever
The kings of the sea."




TRISTRAM AND ISEULT deg.

I

TRISTRAM


_Tristram_. Is she not come deg.? The messenger was sure--
Prop me upon the pillows once again--
Raise me, my page! this cannot long endure.
--Christ, what a night! how the sleet whips the pane!
What lights will those out to the northward be deg.?                       deg.5

_The Page_. The lanterns of the fishing-boats at sea.

_Tristram_. Soft--who is that, stands by the dying fire?

_The Page_. Iseult. deg.                                                   deg.8

_Tristram_. Ah! not the Iseult I desire.

       *       *       *       *       *

What Knight is this so weak and pale,
Though the locks are yet brown on his noble head,                     10
Propt on pillows in his bed,
Gazing seaward for the light
Of some ship that fights the gale
On this wild December night?
Over the sick man's feet is spread                                    15
A dark green forest-dress;
A gold harp leans against the bed,
Ruddy in the fire's light.
I know him by his harp of gold,
Famous in Arthur's court deg. of old;                                     deg.20
I know him by his forest-dress--
The peerless hunter, harper, knight,
Tristram of Lyoness. deg.                                                 deg.23
What Lady is this, whose silk attire
Gleams so rich in the light of the fire?                              25
The ringlets on her shoulders lying
In their flitting lustre vying
With the clasp of burnish'd gold
Which her heavy robe doth hold.
Her looks are mild, her fingers slight                                30
As the driven snow are white deg.;                                        deg.31
But her cheeks are sunk and pale.
Is it that the bleak sea-gale
Beating from the Atlantic sea
On this coast of Brittany,                                            35
Nips too keenly the sweet flower?
Is it that a deep fatigue
Hath come on her, a chilly fear,
Passing all her youthful hour
Spinning with her maidens here,                                       40
Listlessly through the window-bars
Gazing seawards many a league,
From her lonely shore-built tower,
While the knights are at the wars?
Or, perhaps, has her young heart                                      45
Felt already some deeper smart,
Of those that in secret the heart-strings rive,
Leaving her sunk and pale, though fair?
Who is this snowdrop by the sea?--
I know her by her mildness rare,                                      50
Her snow-white hands, her golden hair;
I know her by her rich silk dress,
And her fragile loveliness--
The sweetest Christian soul alive,
Iseult of Brittany.                                                   55

Iseult of Brittany?--but where
Is that other Iseult fair,
That proud, first Iseult, Cornwall's queen?
She, whom Tristram's ship of yore
From Ireland to Cornwall bore,                                        60
To Tyntagel, deg. to the side                                             deg.61
Of King Marc, deg. to be his bride?                                       deg.62
She who, as they voyaged, quaff'd
With Tristram that spiced magic draught,
Which since then for ever rolls                                       65
Through their blood, and binds their souls,
Working love, but working teen deg.?--.                                   deg.67
There were two Iseults who did sway
Each her hour of Tristram's day;
But one possess'd his waning time,                                    70
The other his resplendent prime.
Behold her here, the patient flower,
Who possess'd his darker hour!
Iseult of the Snow-White Hand
Watches pale by Tristram's bed.                                       75
She is here who had his gloom,
Where art thou who hadst his bloom?
One such kiss as those of yore
Might thy dying knight restore!
Does the love-draught work no more?                                   80
Art thou cold, or false, or dead,
Iseult of Ireland?

       *       *       *       *       *

Loud howls the wind, sharp patters the rain,
And the knight sinks back on his pillows again.
He is weak with fever and pain;                                       85
And his spirit is not clear.
Hark! he mutters in his sleep,
As he wanders deg. far from here,                                         deg.88
Changes place and time of year,
And his closed eye doth sweep                                         90
O'er some fair unwintry sea, deg.                                         deg.91
Not this fierce Atlantic deep,
While he mutters brokenly:--

_Tristram_. The calm sea shines, loose hang the vessel's sails;
Before us are the sweet green fields of Wales,                        95
And overhead the cloudless sky of May.--
_"Ah, would I were in those green fields at play,
Not pent on ship-board this delicious day!
Tristram, I pray thee, of thy courtesy,
Reach me my golden phial stands by thee,                             100
But pledge me in it first for courtesy."_--
Ha! dost thou start? are thy lips blanch'd like mine?
Child, 'tis no true draught this, 'tis poison'd wine!
Iseult!...

       *       *       *       *       *

Ah, sweet angels, let him dream!                                     105
Keep his eyelids! let him seem
Not this fever-wasted wight
Thinn'd and paled before his time,
But the brilliant youthful knight
In the glory of his prime,                                           110
Sitting in the gilded barge,
At thy side, thou lovely charge,
Bending gaily o'er thy hand,
Iseult of Ireland!
And she too, that princess fair,                                     115
If her bloom be now less rare,
Let her have her youth again--
Let her be as she was then!
Let her have her proud dark eyes,
And her petulant quick replies--                                     120
Let her sweep her dazzling hand
With its gesture of command,
And shake back her raven hair
With the old imperious air!
As of old, so let her be,                                            125
That first Iseult, princess bright,
Chatting with her youthful knight
As he steers her o'er the sea,
Quitting at her father's will
The green isle deg. where she was bred,                                  deg.130
And her bower in Ireland,
For the surge-beat Cornish strand
Where the prince whom she must wed
Dwells on loud Tyntagel's hill, deg.                                     deg.134
High above the sounding sea.                                         135
And that potion rare her mother
Gave her, that her future lord,
Gave her, that King Marc and she,
Might drink it on their marriage-day,
And for ever love each other--                                       140
Let her, as she sits on board,
Ah, sweet saints, unwittingly!
See it shine, and take it up,
And to Tristram laughing say:
"Sir Tristram, of thy courtesy,                                      145
Pledge me in my golden cup!"
Let them drink it--let their hands
Tremble, and their cheeks be flame,
As they feel the fatal bands
Of a love they dare not name,                                        150
With a wild delicious pain,
Twine about their hearts again!
Let the early summer be
Once more round them, and the sea
Blue, and o'er its mirror kind                                       155
Let the breath of the May-wind,
Wandering through their drooping sails,
Die on the green fields of Wales!
Let a dream like this restore
What his eye must see no more! deg.                                      deg.160

_Tristram_. Chill blows the wind, the pleasaunce-walks deg. are drear--  deg.161
Madcap, what jest was this, to meet me here?
Were feet like those made for so wild a way?
The southern winter-parlour, by my fay, deg.                             deg.164
Had been the likeliest trysting-place to-day!                        165
_"Tristram!--nay, nay--thou must not take my hand!--
Tristram!--sweet love!--we are betray'd--out-plann'd.
Fly--save thyself--save me!--I dare not stay."_--
One last kiss first!--_"'Tis vain--to horse--away!"_

       *       *       *       *       *

Ah! sweet saints, his dream doth move                                170
Faster surely than it should,
From the fever in his blood!
All the spring-time of his love
Is already gone and past,
And instead thereof is seen                                          175
Its winter, which endureth still--
Tyntagel on its surge-beat hill,
The pleasaunce-walks, the weeping queen,
The flying leaves, the straining blast,
And that long, wild kiss--their last. deg.                               deg.180
And this rough December-night,
And his burning fever-pain,
Mingle with his hurrying dream,
Till they rule it, till he seem
The press'd fugitive again,                                          185
The love-desperate banish'd knight
With a fire in his brain
Flying o'er the stormy main.
--Whither does he wander now?
Haply in his dreams the wind                                         190
Wafts him here, and lets him find
The lovely orphan child deg. again deg.                                      deg.192
In her castle by the coast;
The youngest, fairest chatelaine, deg.                                   deg.194
Whom this realm of France can boast,                                 195
Our snowdrop by the Atlantic sea,
Iseult of Brittany.
And--for through the haggard air,
The stain'd arms, the matted hair
Of that stranger-knight ill-starr'd, deg.                                deg.200
There gleam'd something, which recall'd
The Tristram who in better days
Was Launcelot's guest at Joyous Gard deg.--                              deg.203
Welcomed here, deg. and here install'd,                                  deg.204
Tended of his fever here,                                            205
Haply he seems again to move
His young guardian's heart with love
In his exiled loneliness,
In his stately, deep distress,
Without a word, without a tear.                                      210
--Ah! 'tis well he should retrace
His tranquil life in this lone place;
His gentle bearing at the side
Of his timid youthful bride;
His long rambles by the shore                                        215
On winter-evenings, when the roar
Of the near waves came, sadly grand,
Through the dark, up the drown'd sand,
Or his endless reveries
In the woods, where the gleams play                                  220
On the grass under the trees,
Passing the long summer's day
Idle as a mossy stone
In the forest-depths alone,
The chase neglected, and his hound                                   225
Couch'd beside him on the ground. deg.                                   deg.226
--Ah! what trouble's on his brow?
Hither let him wander now;
Hither, to the quiet hours
Pass'd among these heaths of ours.                                   230
By the grey Atlantic sea;
Hours, if not of ecstasy,
From violent anguish surely free!

_Tristram_. All red with blood the whirling river flows,
The wide plain rings, the dazed air throbs with blows.               235
Upon us are the chivalry of Rome--
Their spears are down, their steeds are bathed in foam. deg.             deg.237
"Up, Tristram, up," men cry, "thou moonstruck knight deg.!               deg.238
What foul fiend rides thee deg.? On into the fight!"                     deg.239
--Above the din her deg. voice is in my ears;                            deg.240
I see her form glide through the crossing spears.--
Iseult!...

       *       *       *       *       *

Ah! he wanders forth again deg.;                                         deg.243
We cannot keep him; now, as then,
There's a secret in his breast deg.                                      deg.245
Which will never let him rest.
These musing fits in the green wood
They cloud the brain, they dull the blood!
--His sword is sharp, his horse is good;
Beyond the mountains will he see                                     250
The famous towns of Italy,
And label with the blessed sign deg.                                     deg.252
The heathen Saxons on the Rhine.
At Arthur's side he fights once more
With the Roman Emperor. deg.                                             deg.255
There's many a gay knight where he goes
Will help him to forget his care;
The march, the leaguer, deg. Heaven's blithe air,                        deg.258
The neighing steeds, the ringing blows--
Sick pining comes not where these are.                               260
Ah! what boots it, deg. that the jest                                    deg.261
Lightens every other brow,
What, that every other breast
Dances as the trumpets blow,
If one's own heart beats not light                                   265
On the waves of the toss'd fight,
If oneself cannot get free
From the clog of misery?
Thy lovely youthful wife grows pale
Watching by the salt sea-tide                                        270
With her children at her side
For the gleam of thy white sail.
Home, Tristram, to thy halls again!
To our lonely sea complain,
To our forests tell thy pain!                                        275

_Tristram_. All round the forest sweeps off, black in shade,
But it is moonlight in the open glade;
And in the bottom of the glade shine clear
The forest-chapel and the fountain near.
--I think, I have a fever in my blood;                               280
Come, let me leave the shadow of this wood,
Ride down, and bathe my hot brow in the flood.
--Mild shines the cold spring in the moon's clear light;
God! 'tis _her_ face plays in the waters bright.
"Fair love," she says, "canst thou forget so soon,                   285
At this soft hour under this sweet moon?"--
Iseult!...

       *       *       *       *       *

      Ah, poor soul! if this be so,
    Only death can balm thy woe.
    The solitudes of the green wood                                  290
    Had no medicine for thy mood;
    The rushing battle clear'd thy blood
    As little as did solitude.
    --Ah! his eyelids slowly break
    Their hot seals, and let him wake;                               295
    What new change shall we now see?
    A happier? Worse it cannot be.

_Tristram_. Is my page here? Come, turn me to the fire!
Upon the window-panes the moon shines bright;
The wind is down--but she'll not come to-night.                      300
Ah no! she is asleep in Cornwall now,
Far hence; her dreams are fair--smooth is her brow
Of me she recks not, deg. nor my vain desire.                            deg.303

--I have had dreams, I have had dreams, my page,
Would take a score years from a strong man's age;                    305
And with a blood like mine, will leave, I fear,
Scant leisure for a second messenger.

--My princess, art thou there? Sweet, do not wait!
To bed, and sleep! my fever is gone by;
To-night my page shall keep me company.                              310
Where do the children sleep? kiss them for me!
Poor child, thou art almost as pale as I;
This comes of nursing long and watching late.
To bed--good night! deg.                                                 deg.314

       *       *       *       *       *

She left the gleam-lit fireplace,                                    315
She came to the bed-side;
She took his hands in hers--her tears
Down on his wasted fingers rain'd.
She raised her eyes upon his face--
Not with a look of wounded pride,                                    320
A look as if the heart complained--
Her look was like a sad embrace;
The gaze of one who can divine
A grief, and sympathise.
Sweet flower! thy children's eyes                                    325
Are not more innocent than thine.
  But they sleep in shelter'd rest,
Like helpless birds in the warm nest,
On the castle's southern side;
Where feebly comes the mournful roar                                 330
Of buffeting wind and surging tide
Through many a room and corridor.
--Full on their window the moon's ray
Makes their chamber as bright as day.
It shines upon the blank white walls,                                335
And on the snowy pillow falls,
And on two angel-heads doth play
Turn'd to each other--the eyes closed,
The lashes on the cheeks reposed.
Round each sweet brow the cap close-set                              340
Hardly lets peep the golden hair;
Through the soft-open'd lips the air
Scarcely moves the coverlet.
One little wandering arm is thrown
At random on the counterpane,                                        345
And often the fingers close in haste
As if their baby-owner chased
The butterflies again.
This stir they have, and this alone;                                 350
But else they are so still!
--Ah, tired madcaps! you lie still;
But were you at the window now,
To look forth on the fairy sight
Of your illumined haunts by night,                                   355
To see the park-glades where you play
Far lovelier than they are by day,
To see the sparkle on the eaves,
And upon every giant-bough
Of those old oaks, whose wet red leaves                              360
Are jewell'd with bright drops of rain--
How would your voices run again!
And far beyond the sparkling trees
Of the castle-park one sees
The bare heaths spreading, clear as day,                             365
Moor behind moor, far, far away,
Into the heart of Brittany.
And here and there, lock'd by the land,
Long inlets of smooth glittering sea,
And many a stretch of watery sand                                    370
All shining in the white moon-beams--
But you see fairer in your dreams!

What voices are these on the clear night-air?
What lights in the court--what steps on the stair?



II

ISEULT OF IRELAND deg.


_Tristram_. Raise the light, my page! that I may see her.--
  Thou art come at last, then, haughty Queen!
Long I've waited, long I've fought my fever;
  Late thou comest, cruel thou hast been.

_Iseult_. Blame me not, poor sufferer! that I tarried;                 5
  Bound I was, I could not break the band.
Chide not with the past, but feel the present!
  I am here--we meet--I hold thy hand.

_Tristram_. Thou art come, indeed--thou hast rejoin'd me;
  Thou hast dared it--but too late to save.                           10
Fear not now that men should tax thine honour!
  I am dying: build--(thou may'st)--my grave!

_Iseult_. Tristram, ah, for love of Heaven, speak kindly!
  What, I hear these bitter words from thee?
Sick with grief I am, and faint with travel--                         15
  Take my hand--dear Tristram, look on me!

_Tristram_. I forgot, thou comest from thy voyage--
  Yes, the spray is on thy cloak and hair.
But thy dark eyes are not dimm'd, proud Iseult!
  And thy beauty never was more fair.                                 20

_Iseult_. Ah, harsh flatterer! let alone my beauty!
  I, like thee, have left my youth afar.
Take my hand, and touch these wasted fingers--
  See my cheek and lips, how white they are!

_Tristram_. Thou art paler--but thy sweet charm, Iseult!              25
  Would not fade with the dull years away.
Ah, how fair thou standest in the moonlight!
  I forgive thee, Iseult!--thou wilt stay?

_Iseult_. Fear me not, I will be always with thee;
  I will watch thee, tend thee, soothe thy pain;                      30
Sing thee tales of true, long-parted lovers,
  Join'd at evening of their days again.

_Tristram_. No, thou shalt not speak! I should be finding
  Something alter'd in thy courtly tone.
Sit--sit by me! I will think, we've lived so                          35
  In the green wood, all our lives, alone.

_Iseult_. Alter'd, Tristram? Not in courts, believe me,
  Love like mine is alter'd in the breast;
Courtly life is light and cannot reach it--
  Ah! it lives, because so deep-suppress'd!                           40

What, thou think'st men speak in courtly chambers
  Words by which the wretched are consoled?
What, thou think'st this aching brow was cooler,
  Circled, Tristram, by a band of gold?

Royal state with Marc, my deep-wrong'd husband--                      45
  That was bliss to make my sorrows flee!
Silken courtiers whispering honied nothings deg.--
  Those were friends to make me false to thee!

Ah, on which, if both our lots were balanced,
  Was indeed the heaviest burden thrown--                             50
Thee, a pining exile in thy forest,
  Me, a smiling queen upon my throne?

Vain and strange debate, where both have suffer'd,
  Both have pass'd a youth consumed and sad,
Both have brought their anxious day to evening,                       55
  And have now short space for being glad!

Join'd we are henceforth; nor will thy people,
  Nor thy younger Iseult take it ill,
That a former rival shares her office,
  When she sees her humbled, pale, and still.                         60

I, a faded watcher by thy pillow,
  I, a statue on thy chapel-floor,
Pour'd in prayer before the Virgin-Mother,
  Rouse no anger, make no rivals more.

She will cry: "Is this the foe I dreaded?                             65
  This his idol? this that royal bride?
Ah, an hour of health would purge his eyesight!
  Stay, pale queen! for ever by my side."

Hush, no words! that smile, I see, forgives me.
  I am now thy nurse, I bid thee sleep.                               70
Close thine eyes--this flooding moonlight blinds them!--
  Nay, all's well again! thou must not weep.

_Tristram_. I am happy! yet I feel, there's something
  Swells my heart, and takes my breath away.
Through a mist I see thee; near--come nearer!                         75
  Bend--bend down!--I yet have much to say.

_Iseult_. Heaven! his head sinks back upon the pillow--
  Tristram! Tristram! let thy heart not fail!
Call on God and on the holy angels!
  What, love, courage!--Christ! he is so pale.                        80

_Tristram_. Hush, 'tis vain, I feel my end approaching!
  This is what my mother said should be,
When the fierce pains took her in the forest,
  The deep draughts of death, in bearing me.

"Son," she said, "thy name shall be of sorrow;                        85
  Tristram art thou call'd for my death's sake."
So she said, and died in the drear forest.
  Grief since then his home with me doth make. deg.                       deg.88

I am dying.--Start not, nor look wildly!
  Me, thy living friend, thou canst not save.                         90
But, since living we were ununited,
  Go not far, O Iseult! from my grave.

Close mine eyes, then seek the princess Iseult;
  Speak her fair, she is of royal blood!
Say, I will'd so, that thou stay beside me--                          95
  She will grant it; she is kind and good.

Now to sail the seas of death I leave thee--
  One last kiss upon the living shore!

_Iseult_. Tristram!--Tristram!--stay--receive me with thee!
  Iseult leaves thee, Tristram! never more. deg.                         deg.100

       *       *       *       *       *

You see them clear--the moon shines bright.
Slow, slow and softly, where she stood,
She sinks upon the ground;--her hood
Has fallen back; her arms outspread
Still hold her lover's hand; her head                                105
Is bow'd, half-buried, on the bed.
O'er the blanch'd sheet her raven hair
Lies in disorder'd streams; and there,
Strung like white stars, the pearls still are,
And the golden bracelets, heavy and rare,                            110
Flash on her white arms still.
The very same which yesternight
Flash'd in the silver sconces' deg. light,                               deg.113
When the feast was gay and the laughter loud
In Tyntagel's palace proud.                                          115
But then they deck'd a restless ghost
With hot-flush'd cheeks and brilliant eyes,
And quivering lips on which the tide
Of courtly speech abruptly died,
And a glance which over the crowded floor,                           120
The dancers, and the festive host,
Flew ever to the door. deg.                                              deg.122
That the knights eyed her in surprise,
And the dames whispered scoffingly:
"Her moods, good lack, they pass like showers!                       125
But yesternight and she would be
As pale and still as wither'd flowers,
And now to-night she laughs and speaks
And has a colour in her cheeks;
Christ keep us from such fantasy!"--                                 130
Yes, now the longing is o'erpast,
Which, dogg'd deg. by fear and fought by shame,                          deg.132
Shook her weak bosom day and night,
Consumed her beauty like a flame,
And dimm'd it like the desert-blast.                                 135
And though the bed-clothes hide her face,
Yet were it lifted to the light,
The sweet expression of her brow
Would charm the gazer, till his thought
Erased the ravages of time,                                          140
Fill'd up the hollow cheek, and brought
A freshness back as of her prime--
So healing is her quiet now.
So perfectly the lines express
A tranquil, settled loveliness,                                      145
Her younger rival's purest grace.

The air of the December-night
Steals coldly around the chamber bright,
Where those lifeless lovers be;
Swinging with it, in the light                                       150
Flaps the ghostlike tapestry.
And on the arras wrought you see
A stately Huntsman, clad in green,
And round him a fresh forest-scene.
On that clear forest-knoll he stays,                                 155
With his pack round him, and delays.
He stares and stares, with troubled face,
At this huge, gleam-lit fireplace,
At that bright, iron-figured door,
And those blown rushes on the floor.                                 160
He gazes down into the room
With heated cheeks and flurried air,
And to himself he seems to say:
_"What place is this, and who are they?
Who is that kneeling Lady fair?                                      165
And on his pillows that pale Knight
Who seems of marble on a tomb?
How comes it here, this chamber bright,
Through whose mullion'd windows clear
The castle-court all wet with rain,                                  170
The drawbridge and the moat appear,
And then the beach, and, mark'd with spray,
The sunken reefs, and far away
The unquiet bright Atlantic plain?
--What, has some glamour made me sleep,                              175
And sent me with my dogs to sweep,
By night, with boisterous bugle-peal,
Through some old, sea-side, knightly hall,
Not in the free green wood at all?
That Knight's asleep, and at her prayer                              180
That Lady by the bed doth kneel--
Then hush, thou boisterous bugle-peal!"_
--The wild boar rustles in his lair;
The fierce hounds snuff the tainted air;
But lord and hounds keep rooted there.                               185

Cheer, cheer thy dogs into the brake,
O Hunter! and without a fear
Thy golden-tassell'd bugle blow,
And through the glades thy pastime take--
For thou wilt rouse no sleepers here!                                190
For these thou seest are unmoved;
Cold, cold as those who lived and loved
A thousand years ago. deg.                                               deg.193



III

ISEULT OF BRITTANY deg.


A year had flown, and o'er the sea away,
In Cornwall, Tristram and Queen Iseult lay;
In King Marc's chapel, in Tyntagel old--
There in a ship they bore those lovers cold.

The young surviving Iseult, one bright day,                            5
Had wander'd forth. Her children were at play
In a green circular hollow in the heath
Which borders the sea-shore--a country path
Creeps over it from the till'd fields behind.
The hollow's grassy banks are soft-inclined,                          10
And to one standing on them, far and near
The lone unbroken view spreads bright and clear
Over the waste. This cirque deg. of open ground                           deg.13
Is light and green; the heather, which all round
Creeps thickly, grows not here; but the pale grass                    15
Is strewn with rocks, and many a shiver'd mass
Of vein'd white-gleaming quartz, and here and there
Dotted with holly-trees and juniper. deg.                                 deg.18
In the smooth centre of the opening stood
Three hollies side by side, and made a screen,                        20
Warm with the winter-sun, of burnish'd green
With scarlet berries gemm'd, the fell-fare's deg. food.                   deg.22
Under the glittering hollies Iseult stands,
Watching her children play; their little hands
Are busy gathering spars of quartz, and streams                       25
Of stagshorn deg. for their hats; anon, with screams                      deg.26
Of mad delight they drop their spoils, and bound
Among the holly-clumps and broken ground,
Racing full speed, and startling in their rush
The fell-fares and the speckled missel-thrush                         30
Out of their glossy coverts;--but when now
Their cheeks were flush'd, and over each hot brow,
Under the feather'd hats of the sweet pair,
In blinding masses shower'd the golden hair--
Then Iseult call'd them to her, and the three                         35
Cluster'd under the holly-screen, and she
Told them an old-world Breton history. deg.                               deg.37

Warm in their mantles wrapt the three stood there,
Under the hollies, in the clear still air--
Mantles with those rich furs deep glistering                          40
Which Venice ships do from swart Egypt bring.
Long they stay'd still--then, pacing at their ease,
Moved up and down under the glossy trees.
But still, as they pursued their warm dry road,
From Iseult's lips the unbroken story flow'd,                         45
And still the children listen'd, their blue eyes
Fix'd on their mother's face in wide surprise;
Nor did their looks stray once to the sea-side,
Nor to the brown heaths round them, bright and wide,
Nor to the snow, which, though 'twas all away                         50
From the open heath, still by the hedgerows lay,
Nor to the shining sea-fowl, that with screams
Bore up from where the bright Atlantic gleams,
Swooping to landward; nor to where, quite clear,
The fell-fares settled on the thickets near.                          55
And they would still have listen'd, till dark night
Came keen and chill down on the heather bright;
But, when the red glow on the sea grew cold,
And the grey turrets of the castle old
Look'd sternly through the frosty evening-air,                        60
Then Iseult took by the hand those children fair,
And brought her tale to an end, and found the path,
And led them home over the darkening heath.

And is she happy? Does she see unmoved
The days in which she might have lived and loved                      65
Slip without bringing bliss slowly away,
One after one, to-morrow like to-day?
Joy has not found her yet, nor ever will--
Is it this thought which, makes her mien so still,
Her features so fatigued, her eyes, though sweet,                     70
So sunk, so rarely lifted save to meet
Her children's? She moves slow; her voice alone
Hath yet an infantine and silver tone,
But even that comes languidly; in truth,
She seems one dying in a mask of youth.                               75
And now she will go home, and softly lay
Her laughing children in their beds, and play
Awhile with them before they sleep; and then
She'll light her silver lamp, which fishermen
Dragging their nets through the rough waves, afar,                    80
Along this iron coast, deg. know like a star, deg.                            deg.81
And take her broidery-frame, and there she'll sit
Hour after hour, her gold curls sweeping it;
Lifting her soft-bent head only to mind
Her children, or to listen to the wind.                               85
And when the clock peals midnight, she will move
Her work away, and let her fingers rove
Across the shaggy brows of Tristram's hound
Who lies, guarding her feet, along the ground;
Or else she will fall musing, her blue eyes                           90
Fixt, her slight hands clasp'd on her lap; then rise,
And at her prie-dieu deg. kneel, until she have told                      deg.92
Her rosary-beads of ebony tipp'd with gold,
Then to her soft sleep--and to-morrow'll be
To-day's exact repeated effigy.                                       95

Yes, it is lonely for her in her hall.
The children, and the grey-hair'd seneschal, deg.                         deg.97
Her women, and Sir Tristram's aged hound,
Are there the sole companions to be found.
But these she loves; and noiser life than this                       100
She would find ill to bear, weak as she is.
She has her children, too, and night and day
Is with them; and the wide heaths where they play,
The hollies, and the cliff, and the sea-shore,
The sand, the sea-birds, and the distant sails,                      105
These are to her dear as to them; the tales
With which this day the children she beguiled
She gleaned from Breton grandames, when a child,
In every hut along this sea-coast wild.
She herself loves them still, and, when they are told,               110
Can forget all to hear them, as of old.

Dear saints, it is not sorrow, as I hear,
Not suffering, which shuts up eye and ear
To all that has delighted them before,
And lets us be what we were once no more.                            115
No, we may suffer deeply, yet retain
Power to be moved and soothed, for all our pain,
By what of old pleased us, and will again.
No, 'tis the gradual furnace of the world,
In whose hot air our spirits are upcurl'd                            120
Until they crumble, or else grow like steel--
Which kills in us the bloom, the youth, the spring--
Which leaves the fierce necessity to feel,
But takes away the power--this can avail,
By drying up our joy in everything,                                  125
To make our former pleasures all seem stale.
This, or some tyrannous single thought, some fit
Of passion, which subdues our souls to it,
Till for its sake alone we live and move--
Call it ambition, or remorse, or love--                              130
This too can change us wholly, and make seem
All which we did before, shadow and dream.

And yet, I swear, it angers me to see
How this fool passion gulls deg. men potently;                           deg.134
Being, in truth, but a diseased unrest,                              135
And an unnatural overheat at best.
How they are full of languor and distress
Not having it; which when they do possess,
They straightway are burnt up with fume and care,
And spend their lives in posting here and there deg.                     deg.140
Where this plague drives them; and have little ease,
Are furious with themselves, and hard to please.
Like that bold Caesar, deg. the famed Roman wight,                        deg.143
Who wept at reading of a Grecian knight
Who made a name at younger years than he;                            145
Or that renown'd mirror of chivalry,
Prince Alexander, deg. Philip's peerless son,                            deg.147
Who carried the great war from Macedon
Into the Soudan's deg. realm, and thundered on                           deg.149
To die at thirty-five in Babylon.                                    150

What tale did Iseult to the children say,
Under the hollies, that bright-winter's day?
She told them of the fairy-haunted land
Away the other side of Brittany,
Beyond the heaths, edged by the lonely sea;                          155
Of the deep forest-glades of Broce-liande, deg.                          deg.156
Through whose green boughs the golden sunshine creeps
Where Merlin by the enchanted thorn-tree sleeps.
For here he came with the fay deg. Vivian,                               deg.158
One April, when the warm days first began.
He was on foot, and that false fay, his friend,                      160
On her white palfrey; here he met his end,
In these lone sylvan glades, that April-day.
This tale of Merlin and the lovely fay deg.                              deg.163
Was the one Iseult chose, and she brought clear
Before the children's fancy him and her.                             165

Blowing between the stems, the forest-air
Had loosen'd the brown locks of Vivian's hair,
Which play'd on her flush'd cheek, and her blue eyes
Sparkled with mocking glee and exercise.
Her palfrey's flanks were mired and bathed in sweat,                 170
For they had travell'd far and not stopp'd yet.
A brier in that tangled wilderness
Had scored her white right hand, which she allows
To rest ungloved on her green riding-dress;
The other warded off the drooping boughs.                            175
But still she chatted on, with her blue eyes
Fix'd full on Merlin's face, her stately prize.
Her 'haviour had the morning's fresh clear grace,
The spirit of the woods was in her face.
She look'd so witching fair, that learned wight                      180
Forgot his craft, and his best wits took flight;
And he grew fond, and eager to obey
His mistress, use her empire deg. as she may.                            deg.184
They came to where the brushwood ceased, and day                     185
Peer'd 'twixt the stems; and the ground broke away,
In a sloped sward down to a brawling brook;
And up as high as where they stood to look
On the brook's farther side was clear, but then
The underwood and trees began again.                                 190
This open glen was studded thick with thorns
Then white with blossom; and you saw the horns,
Through last year's fern, of the shy fallow-deer
Who come at noon down to the water here.
You saw the bright-eyed squirrels dart along                         195
Under the thorns on the green sward; and strong
The blackbird whistled from the dingles near,
And the weird chipping of the woodpecker
Rang lonelily and sharp; the sky was fair,
And a fresh breath of spring stirr'd everywhere.                     200
Merlin and Vivian stopp'd on the slope's brow,
To gaze on the light sea of leaf and bough
Which glistering plays all round them, lone and mild.
As if to itself the quiet forest smiled.
Upon the brow-top grew a thorn, and here                             205
The grass was dry and moss'd, and you saw clear
Across the hollow; white anemones
Starr'd the cool turf, and clumps of primroses
Ran out from the dark underwood behind.
No fairer resting-place a man could find.                            210
"Here let us halt," said Merlin then; and she
Nodded, and tied her palfrey to a tree.

They sate them down together, and a sleep
Fell upon Merlin, more like death, so deep.
Her finger on her lips, then Vivian rose                             215
And from her brown-lock'd head the wimple throws,
And takes it in her hand, and waves it over
The blossom'd thorn-tree and her sleeping lover.
Nine times she waved the fluttering wimple deg. round,                   deg.219
And made a little plot of magic ground.                              220
And in that daised circle, as men say,
Is Merlin prisoner deg. till the judgment-day;                           deg.222
But she herself whither she will can rove--
For she was passing weary of his love. deg.                              deg.224






LYRICAL POEMS




THE CHURCH OF BROU deg.

I

THE CASTLE


Down the Savoy deg. valleys sounding,                                      deg.1
  Echoing round this castle old,
'Mid the distant mountain-chalets deg.                                     deg.3
  Hark! what bell for church is toll'd?

In the bright October morning                                          5
  Savoy's Duke had left his bride.
From the castle, past the drawbridge,
  Flow'd the hunters' merry tide.

Steeds are neighing, gallants glittering;
  Gay, her smiling lord to greet,                                     10
From her mullion'd chamber-casement
  Smiles the Duchess Marguerite.

From Vienna, by the Danube,
  Here she came, a bride, in spring.
Now the autumn crisps the forest;                                     15
  Hunters gather, bugles ring.

Hounds are pulling, prickers deg. swearing,                               deg.17
  Horses fret, and boar-spears glance.
Off!--They sweep the marshy forests.
  Westward, on the side of France.                                    20

Hark! the game's on foot; they scatter!--
  Down the forest-ridings lone,
Furious, single horsemen gallop----
  Hark! a shout--a crash--a groan!

Pale and breathless, came the hunters;                                25
  On the turf dead lies the boar--
God! the Duke lies stretch'd beside him,
  Senseless, weltering in his gore.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the dull October evening,
  Down the leaf-strewn forest-road,                                   30
To the castle, past the drawbridge,
  Came the hunters with their load.

In the hall, with sconces blazing,
  Ladies waiting round her seat,
Clothed in smiles, beneath the dais deg.                                  deg.35
  Sate the Duchess Marguerite.

Hark! below the gates unbarring!
  Tramp of men and quick commands!
"--'Tis my lord come back from hunting--"
  And the Duchess claps her hands.                                    40

Slow and tired, came the hunters--
  Stopp'd in darkness in the court.
"--Ho, this way, ye laggard hunters!
  To the hall! What sport? What sport?"--

Slow they enter'd with their master;                                  45
  In the hall they laid him down.
On his coat were leaves and blood-stains,
  On his brow an angry frown.

Dead her princely youthful husband
  Lay before his youthful wife,                                       50
Bloody, 'neath the flaring sconces--
  And the sight froze all her life.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Vienna, by the Danube,
  Kings hold revel, gallants meet.
Gay of old amid the gayest                                            55
  Was the Duchess Marguerite.

In Vienna, by the Danube,
  Feast and dance her youth beguiled.
Till that hour she never sorrow'd;
  But from then she never smiled.                                     60

'Mid the Savoy mountain valleys
  Far from town or haunt of man,
Stands a lonely church, unfinish'd,
  Which the Duchess Maud began;

Old, that Duchess stern began it,                                     65
  In grey age, with palsied hands;
But she died while it was building,
  And the Church unfinish'd stands--

Stands as erst deg. the builders left it,                                 deg.69
  When she sank into her grave;                                       70
Mountain greensward paves the chancel, deg.                               deg.71
  Harebells flower in the nave. deg.                                      deg.72

"--In my castle all is sorrow,"
  Said the Duchess Marguerite then;
"Guide me, some one, to the mountain!                                 75
  We will build the Church again."--

Sandall'd palmers, deg. faring homeward,                                  deg.78
  Austrian knights from Syria came.
"--Austrian wanderers bring, O warders!
  Homage to your Austrian dame."--                                    80

From the gate the warders answer'd:
  "--Gone, O knights, is she you knew!
Dead our Duke, and gone his Duchess;
  Seek her at the Church of Brou!"--

Austrian knights and march-worn palmers                               85
  Climb the winding mountain-way.--
Reach the valley, where the Fabric
  Rises higher day by day.

Stones are sawing, hammers ringing;
  On the work the bright sun shines,                                  90
In the Savoy mountain-meadows,
  By the stream, below the pines.

On her palfry white the Duchess
  Sate and watch'd her working train--
Flemish carvers, Lombard gilders,                                     95
  German masons, smiths from Spain.

Clad in black, on her white palfrey,
  Her old architect beside--
There they found her in the mountains,
  Morn and noon and eventide.                                        100

There she sate, and watch'd the builders,
  Till the Church was roof'd and done.
Last of all, the builders rear'd her
  In the nave a tomb of stone.

On the tomb two forms they sculptured,                               105
  Lifelike in the marble pale--
One, the Duke in helm and armour;
  One, the Duchess in her veil.

Round the tomb the carved stone fretwork deg.                            deg.109
  Was at Easter-tide put on.                                         110
Then the Duchess closed her labours;
  And she died at the St. John.



II

THE CHURCH


Upon the glistening leaden roof
Of the new Pile, the sunlight shines;
  The stream goes leaping by.
The hills are clothed with pines sun-proof;
'Mid bright green fields, below the pines,                             5
  Stands the Church on high.
What Church is this, from men aloof?--
'Tis the Church of Brou.

At sunrise, from their dewy lair
Crossing the stream, the kine are seen                                10
  Round the wall to stray--
The churchyard wall that clips the square
Of open hill-sward fresh and green
  Where last year they lay.
But all things now are order'd fair                                   15
Round the Church of Brou.

On Sundays, at the matin-chime, deg.                                      deg.17
The Alpine peasants, two and three,
  Climb up here to pray;
Burghers and dames, at summer's prime,                                20
Ride out to church from Chambery, deg.                                    deg.21
  Dight deg. with mantles gay.                                            deg.22
But else it is a lonely time
Round the Church of Brou.

On Sundays, too, a priest doth come                                   25
From the wall'd town beyond the pass,
  Down the mountain-way;
And then you hear the organ's hum,
You hear the white-robed priest say mass,
  And the people pray.                                                30
But else the woods and fields are dumb
Round the Church of Brou.

And after church, when mass is done,
The people to the nave repair
  Round the tomb to stray;                                            35
And marvel at the Forms of stone,
And praise the chisell'd broideries deg. rare--                           deg.37
  Then they drop away.
The princely Pair are left alone
In the Church of Brou.                                                40



III

THE TOMB


So rest, for ever rest, O princely Pair!
In your high church, 'mid the still mountain-air,
Where horn, and hound, and vassals never come.
Only the blessed Saints are smiling dumb,
From the rich painted windows of the nave,                             5
On aisle, and transept, deg. and your marble grave;                        deg.6
Where thou, young Prince! shalt never more arise
From the fringed mattress where thy Duchess lies,
On autumn-mornings, when the bugle sounds,
And ride across the drawbridge with thy hounds                        10
To hunt the boar in the crisp woods till eve;
And thou, O Princess! shalt no more receive,
Thou and thy ladies, in the hall of state,
The jaded hunters with their bloody freight,
Coming benighted to the castle-gate.                                  15

  So sleep, for ever sleep, O marble Pair!
Or, if ye wake, let it be then, when fair
On the carved western front a flood of light
Streams from the setting sun, and colours bright
Prophets, transfigured Saints, and Martyrs brave,                     20
In the vast western window of the nave,
And on the pavement round the Tomb there glints
A chequer-work of glowing sapphire-tints,
And amethyst, and ruby--then unclose
Your eyelids on the stone where ye repose,                            25
And from your broider'd pillows lift your heads,
And rise upon your cold white marble beds;
And, looking down on the warm rosy tints,
Which chequer, at your feet, the illumined flints,
Say: _What is this? we are in bliss--forgiven--_                      30
_Behold the pavement of the courts of Heaven!_
Or let it be on autumn nights, when rain
Doth rustlingly above your heads complain
On the smooth leaden roof, and on the walls
Shedding her pensive light at intervals                               35
The moon through the clere-story windows shines,
And the wind washes through the mountain-pines.
Then, gazing up 'mid the dim pillars high,
The foliaged marble forest deg. where ye lie,                             deg.39
_Hush_, ye will say, _it is eternity!_                                40
_This is the glimmering verge of Heaven, and these
The columns of the heavenly palaces!_
And, in the sweeping of the wind, your ear
The passage of the Angels' wings will hear,
And on the lichen-crusted leads deg. above                                deg.45
The rustle of the eternal rain of love.




REQUIESCAT deg.


Strew on her roses, roses,
  And never a spray of yew!
In quiet she reposes;
  Ah, would that I did too!

Her mirth the world required;                                          5
  She bathed it in smiles of glee.
But her heart was tired, tired,
  And now they let her be.

Her life was turning, turning,
  In mazes of heat and sound.                                         10
But for peace her soul was yearning,
  And now peace laps her round.

Her cabin'd, deg. ample spirit,                                           deg.13
  It flutter'd and fail'd for breath
To-night it doth inherit                                              15
  The vasty deg. hall of death.                                           deg.16




CONSOLATION


Mist clogs the sunshine.
Smoky dwarf houses
Hem me round everywhere;
A vague dejection
Weighs down my soul.                                                   5

Yet, while I languish,
Everywhere countless
Prospects unroll themselves,
And countless beings
Pass countless moods.                                                 10

Far hence, in Asia,
On the smooth convent-roofs,
On the gilt terraces,
Of holy Lassa, deg.                                                       deg.14
Bright shines the sun.                                                15

Grey time-worn marbles
Hold the pure Muses deg.;                                                 deg.17
In their cool gallery, deg.                                               deg.18
By yellow Tiber, deg.                                                     deg.19
They still look fair.                                                 20

Strange unloved uproar deg.                                               deg.21
Shrills round their portal;
Yet not on Helicon deg.                                                   deg.23
Kept they more cloudless
Their noble calm.                                                     25

Through sun-proof alleys
In a lone, sand-hemm'd
City of Africa,
A blind, led beggar,
Age-bow'd, asks alms.                                                 30

No bolder robber
Erst deg. abode ambush'd                                                  deg.32
Deep in the sandy waste;
No clearer eyesight
Spied prey afar.                                                      35

Saharan sand-winds
Sear'd his keen eyeballs;
Spent is the spoil he won.
For him the present
Holds only pain.                                                      40

Two young, fair lovers,
Where the warm June-wind,
Fresh from the summer fields
Plays fondly round them,
Stand, tranced in joy.                                                45

With sweet, join'd voices,
And with eyes brimming:
"Ah," they cry, "Destiny, deg.                                            deg.48
Prolong the present!
Time, stand still here!"                                              50

The prompt stern Goddess
Shakes her head, frowning;
Time gives his hour-glass
Its due reversal;
Their hour is gone.                                                   55

With weak indulgence
Did the just Goddess
Lengthen their happiness,
She lengthen'd also
Distress elsewhere.                                                   60

The hour, whose happy
Unalloy'd moments
I would eternalise,
Ten thousand mourners
Well pleased see end.                                                 65

The bleak, stern hour,
Whose severe moments
I would annihilate,
Is pass'd by others
In warmth, light, joy.                                                70

Time, so complain'd of,
Who to no one man
Shows partiality,
Brings round to all men
Some undimm'd hours.                                                  75




A DREAM


Was it a dream? We sail'd, I thought we sail'd,
Martin and I, down the green Alpine stream,
Border'd, each bank, with pines; the morning sun,
On the wet umbrage of their glossy tops,
On the red pinings of their forest-floor,                              5
Drew a warm scent abroad; behind the pines
The mountain-skirts, with all their sylvan change
Of bright-leaf'd chestnuts and moss'd walnut-trees
And the frail scarlet-berried ash, began.
Swiss chalets glitter'd on the dewy slopes,                           10
And from some swarded shelf, high up, there came
Notes of wild pastoral music--over all
Ranged, diamond-bright, the eternal wall of snow.
Upon the mossy rocks at the stream's edge,
Back'd by the pines, a plank-built cottage stood,                     15
Bright in the sun; the climbing gourd-plant's leaves
Muffled its walls, and on the stone-strewn roof
Lay the warm golden gourds; golden, within,
Under the eaves, peer'd rows of Indian corn.
We shot beneath the cottage with the stream.                          20
On the brown, rude-carved balcony, two forms
Came forth--Olivia's, Marguerite! and thine.
Clad were they both in white, flowers in their breast;
Straw hats bedeck'd their heads, with ribbons blue,
Which danced, and on their shoulders, fluttering, play'd.             25
They saw us, they conferred; their bosoms heaved,
And more than mortal impulse fill'd their eyes.
Their lips moved; their white arms, waved eagerly,
Flash'd once, like falling streams; we rose, we gazed.
One moment, on the rapid's top, our boat                              30
Hung poised--and then the darting river of Life
(Such now, methought, it was), the river of Life,
Loud thundering, bore us by; swift, swift it foam'd,
Black under cliffs it raced, round headlands shone.
Soon the plank'd cottage by the sun-warm'd pines                      35
Faded--the moss--the rocks; us burning plains,
Bristled with cities, us the sea received.




LINES deg.

WRITTEN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS


In this lone, open glade I lie,
Screen'd by deep boughs on either hand;
And at its end, to stay the eye,
Those black-crown'd, red-boled pine-trees deg. stand!                      deg.4

Birds here make song, each bird has his,                               5
Across the girdling city's hum.
How green under the boughs it is!
How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come!

Sometimes a child will cross the glade
To take his nurse his broken toy;                                     10
Sometimes a thrush flit overhead
Deep in her unknown day's employ.

Here at my feet what wonders pass,
What endless, active life is here deg.!                                   deg.14
What blowing daisies, fragrant grass!                                 15
An air-stirr'd forest, fresh and clear.

Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod
Where the tired angler lies, stretch'd out,
And, eased of basket and of rod,
Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout.                            20

In the huge world, deg. which roars hard by,                              deg.21
Be others happy if they can!
But in my helpless cradle I
Was breathed on by the rural Pan. deg.                                    deg.24

I, on men's impious uproar hurl'd,                                    25
Think often, as I hear them rave,
That peace has left the upper world
And now keeps only in the grave.

Yet here is peace for ever new!
When I who watch them am away,                                        30
Still all things in this glade go through
The changes of their quiet day.

Then to their happy rest they pass!
The flowers upclose, the birds are fed,
The night comes down upon the grass,                                  35
The child sleeps warmly in his bed.

Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar.                                     40

The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give deg.!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.




THE STRAYED REVELLER deg.

_The Portico of Circe's Palace. Evening._

A YOUTH. CIRCE. deg.


  _The Youth_. Faster, faster,
O Circe, Goddess,
Let the wild, thronging train,
The bright procession
Of eddying forms,                                                      5
Sweep through my soul!

Thou standest, smiling
Down on me! thy right arm,
Lean'd up against the column there,
Props thy soft cheek;                                                 10
Thy left holds, hanging loosely,
The deep cup, ivy-cinctured, deg.                                         deg.12
I held but now.

Is it, then, evening
So soon? I see, the night-dews,                                       15
Cluster'd in thick beads, dim
The agate brooch-stones
On thy white shoulder;
The cool night-wind, too,
Blows through the portico,                                            20
Stirs thy hair, Goddess,
Waves thy white robe!

  _Circe_. Whence art thou, sleeper?

  _The Youth_. When the white dawn first
Through the rough fir-planks                                          25
Of my hut, by the chestnuts,
Up at the valley-head,
Came breaking, Goddess!
I sprang up, I threw round me
My dappled fawn-skin;                                                 30
Passing out, from the wet turf,
Where they lay, by the hut door,
I snatch'd up my vine-crown, my fir-staff,
All drench'd in dew--
Came swift down to join                                               35
The rout deg. early gather'd                                              deg.36
In the town, round the temple,
Iacchus' deg. white fane deg.                                                 deg.38
On yonder hill.

Quick I pass'd, following                                             40
The wood-cutters' cart-track
Down the dark valley;--I saw
On my left, through, the beeches,
Thy palace, Goddess,
Smokeless, empty!                                                     45
Trembling, I enter'd; beheld
The court all silent,
The lions sleeping, deg.                                                  deg.47
On the altar this bowl.
I drank, Goddess!                                                     50
And sank down here, sleeping,
On the steps of thy portico.

  _Circe_. Foolish boy! Why tremblest thou?
Thou lovest it, then, my wine?
Wouldst more of it? See, how glows,                                   55
Through the delicate, flush'd marble,
The red, creaming liquor,
Strown with dark seeds!
Drink, then! I chide thee not,
Deny thee not my bowl.                                                60
Come, stretch forth thy hand, then--so!
Drink--drink again!

  _The Youth_. Thanks, gracious one!
Ah, the sweet fumes again!
More soft, ah me,                                                     65
More subtle-winding
Than Pan's flute-music! deg.                                              deg.67
Faint--faint! Ah me,
Again the sweet sleep!

  _Circe_. Hist! Thou--within there!                                  70
Come forth, Ulysses deg.!                                                 deg.71
Art deg. tired with hunting?                                              deg.72
While we range deg. the woodland,                                         deg.73
See what the day brings. deg.                                             deg.74

  _Ulysses_. Ever new magic!                                          75
Hast thou then lured hither,
Wonderful Goddess, by thy art,
The young, languid-eyed Ampelus,
Iacchus' darling--
Or some youth beloved of Pan,                                         80
Of Pan and the Nymphs deg.?                                               deg.81
That he sits, bending downward
His white, delicate neck
To the ivy-wreathed marge
Of thy cup; the bright, glancing vine-leaves                          85
That crown his hair,
Falling forward, mingling
With the dark ivy-plants--
His fawn-skin, half untied,
Smear'd with red wine-stains? Who is he,                              90
That he sits, overweigh'd
By fumes of wine and sleep,
So late, in thy portico?
What youth, Goddess,--what guest
Of Gods or mortals?                                                   95

  _Circe_. Hist! he wakes!
I lured him not hither, Ulysses.
Nay, ask him!

  _The Youth_. Who speaks? Ah, who comes forth
To thy side, Goddess, from within?                                   100
How shall I name him?
This spare, dark-featured,
Quick-eyed stranger?
Ah, and I see too
His sailor's bonnet,                                                 105
His short coat, travel-tarnish'd,
With one arm bare deg.!--                                                deg.107
Art thou not he, whom fame
This long time rumours
The favour'd guest of Circe, deg. brought by the waves?                  deg.110
Art thou he, stranger?
The wise Ulysses,
Laertes' son?

_Ulysses_. I am Ulysses.
And thou, too, sleeper?                                              115
Thy voice is sweet.
It may be thou hast follow'd
Through the islands some divine bard,
By age taught many things,
Age and the Muses deg.;                                                  deg.120
And heard him delighting
The chiefs and people
In the banquet, and learn'd his songs,
Of Gods and Heroes,
Of war and arts,                                                     125
And peopled cities,
Inland, or built
By the grey sea.--If so, then hail!
I honour and welcome thee.

  _The Youth_. The Gods are happy.                                   130
They turn on all sides
Their shining eyes,
And see below them
The earth and men. deg.                                                  deg.134

They see Tiresias deg.                                                   deg.135
Sitting, staff in hand,
On the warm, grassy
Asopus deg. bank,                                                        deg.138
His robe drawn over
His old, sightless head,                                             140
Revolving inly
The doom of Thebes. deg.                                                 deg.142

They see the Centaurs deg.                                               deg.143
In the upper glens
Of Pelion, deg. in the streams,                                          deg.145
Where red-berried ashes fringe
The clear-brown shallow pools,
With streaming flanks, and heads
Rear'd proudly, snuffing
The mountain wind.                                                   150

They see the Indian
Drifting, knife in hand,
His frail boat moor'd to
A floating isle thick-matted
With large-leaved, low-creeping melon-plants,                        155
And the dark cucumber.
He reaps, and stows them,
Drifting--drifting;--round him,
Round his green harvest-plot,
Flow the cool lake-waves,                                            160
The mountains ring them. deg.

They see the Scythian
On the wide stepp, unharnessing
His wheel'd house at noon.
He tethers his beast down, and makes his meal--                      165
Mares' milk, and bread
Baked on the embers deg.;--all around                                    deg.167
The boundless, waving grass-plains stretch, thick-starr'd
With saffron and the yellow hollyhock
And flag-leaved iris-flowers.                                        170
Sitting in his cart,
He makes his meal; before him, for long miles,
Alive with bright green lizards,
And the springing bustard-fowl,
The track, a straight black line,                                    175
Furrows the rich soil; here and there
Clusters of lonely mounds
Topp'd with rough-hewn,
Grey, rain-blear'd statues, overpeer
The sunny waste. deg.                                                    deg.180

They see the ferry
On the broad, clay-laden.
Lone Chorasmian stream deg.;--thereon,                                   deg.183
With snort and strain,
Two horses, strongly swimming, tow                                   185
The ferry-boat, with woven ropes
To either bow
Firm harness'd by the mane; a chief,
With shout and shaken spear,
Stands at the prow, and guides them; but astern                      190
The cowering merchants, in long robes,
Sit pale beside their wealth
Of silk-bales and of balsam-drops,
Of gold and ivory,
Of turquoise-earth and amethyst,                                     195
Jasper and chalcedony,
And milk-barr'd onyx-stones. deg.                                        deg.197
The loaded boat swings groaning
In the yellow eddies;
The Gods behold them.                                                200
They see the Heroes
Sitting in the dark ship
On the foamless, long-heaving
Violet sea,
At sunset nearing                                                    205
The Happy Islands. deg.                                                  deg.206

  These things, Ulysses,
The wise bards also
Behold and sing.
But oh, what labour!                                                 210
O prince, what pain!

They too can see
Tiresias;--but the Gods,
Who give them vision,
Added this law:                                                      215
That they should bear too
His groping blindness,
His dark foreboding,
His scorn'd white hairs;
Bear Hera's anger deg.                                                   deg.220
Through a life lengthen'd
To seven ages.

They see the Centaurs
On Pelion;--then they feel,
They too, the maddening wine                                         225
Swell their large veins to bursting; in wild pain
They feel the biting spears
Of the grim Lapithae, deg. and Theseus, deg. drive,                           deg.228
Drive crashing through their bones deg.; they feel                       deg.229
High on a jutting rock in the red stream                             230
Alcmena's dreadful son deg.                                              deg.231
Ply his bow;--such a price
The Gods exact for song:
To become what we sing.

They see the Indian                                                  235
On his mountain lake; but squalls
Make their skiff reel, and worms
In the unkind spring have gnawn
Their melon-harvest to the heart.--They see
The Scythian; but long frosts                                        240
Parch them in winter-time on the bare stepp,
Till they too fade like grass; they crawl
Like shadows forth in spring.

They see the merchants
On the Oxus stream deg.;--but care                                       deg.245
Must visit first them too, and make them pale.
Whether, through whirling sand,
A cloud of desert robber-horse have burst
Upon their caravan; or greedy kings,
In the wall'd cities the way passes through,                         250
Crush'd them with tolls; or fever-airs,
On some great river's marge,
Mown them down, far from home.

They see the Heroes deg.                                                 deg.254
Near harbour;--but they share                                        255
Their lives, and former violent toil in Thebes,
Seven-gated Thebes, or Troy deg.;                                        deg.257
Or where the echoing oars
Of Argo first
Startled the unknown sea. deg.                                           deg.260

The old Silenus deg.                                                     deg.261
Came, lolling in the sunshine,
From the dewy forest-coverts,
This way, at noon.
Sitting by me, while his Fauns                                       265
Down at the water-side
Sprinkled and smoothed
His drooping garland,
He told me these things.

But I, Ulysses,                                                      270
Sitting on the warm steps,
Looking over the valley,
All day long, have seen,
Without pain, without labour,
Sometimes a wild-hair'd Maenad deg.--                                     deg.275
Sometimes a Faun with torches deg.--                                     deg.276
And sometimes, for a moment,
Passing through the dark stems
Flowing-robed, the beloved,
The desired, the divine,                                             280
Beloved Iacchus.

Ah, cool night-wind, tremulous stars!
Ah, glimmering water,
Fitful earth-murmur,
Dreaming woods!                                                      285
Ah, golden-hair'd, strangely smiling Goddess,
And thou, proved, much enduring,
Wave-toss'd Wanderer!
Who can stand still?
Ye fade, ye swim, ye waver before me--                               290
The cup again!

Faster, faster,
O Circe, Goddess,
Let the wild, thronging train,
The bright procession                                                295
Of eddying forms,
Sweep through my soul!




MORALITY


We cannot kindle when we will
The fire which in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides.
  But tasks in hours of insight will'd                                 5
  Can be through hours of gloom fulfill'd.

With aching hands and bleeding feet
We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day, and wish 'twere done.                                10
  Not till the hours of light return,
  All we have built do we discern.

Then, when the clouds are off the soul,
When thou dost bask in Nature's eye,
Ask, how _she_ view'd thy self-control,                               15
Thy struggling, task'd morality--
  Nature, whose free, light, cheerful air.
  Oft made thee, in thy gloom, despair.

And she, whose censure thou dost dread,
Whose eye thou wast afraid to seek,                                   20
See, on her face a glow is spread,
A strong emotion on her cheek!
  "Ah, child!" she cries, "that strife divine,
  Whence was it, for it is not mine?

"There is no effort on _my_ brow--                                    25
I do not strive, I do not weep;
I rush with the swift spheres and glow
In joy, and when I will, I sleep.
  Yet that severe, that earnest air,
  I saw, I felt it once--but where?                                   30

"I knew not yet the gauge of time,
Nor wore the manacles of space;
I felt it in some other clime,
I saw it in some other place.
  'Twas when the heavenly house I trod,                               35
  And lay upon the breast of God."




DOVER BEACH


The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.                          5
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,                      10
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles deg. long ago                                                   deg.15
Heard it on the AEgaean, deg. and it brought                                deg.16
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.                              20

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,                               25
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems                            30
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain                                35
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.




PHILOMELA deg.


Hark! ah, the nightingale--
The tawny-throated!
Hark, from that moonlit cedar what a burst!
What triumph! hark!--what pain deg.!                                       deg.4

O wanderer from a Grecian shore, deg.                                      deg.5
Still, after many years, in distant lands,
Still nourishing in thy bewilder'd brain
That wild, unquench'd, deep-sunken, old-world pain deg.--                  deg.8
Say, will it never heal?
And can this fragrant lawn                                            10
With its cool trees, and night,
And the sweet, tranquil Thames,
And moonshine, and the dew,
To thy rack'd heart and brain
Afford no balm?                                                       15

Dost thou to-night behold,
Here, through the moonlight on this English grass,
The unfriendly palace in the Thracian wild deg.?                          deg.18
Dost thou again peruse
With hot cheeks and sear'd eyes                                       20
The too clear web, and thy dumb sister's shame deg.?                      deg.21
Dost thou once more assay
Thy flight, and feel come over thee,
Poor fugitive, the feathery change
Once more, and once more seem to make resound                         25
With love and hate, triumph and agony,
Lone Daulis, deg. and the high Cephissian vale deg.?                          deg.27
Listen, Eugenia--
How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves deg.!               deg.29
Again--thou hearest?                                                  30
Eternal passion!
Eternal pain deg.!                                                        deg.32




HUMAN LIFE


What mortal, when he saw,
Life's voyage done, his heavenly Friend,
Could ever yet dare tell him fearlessly:
"I have kept uninfringed my nature's law deg.;                             deg.4
The inly-written chart deg. thou gavest me,                                5
To guide me, I have steer'd by to the end"?

Ah! let us make no claim,
On life's incognisable deg. sea,                                           deg.8
To too exact a steering of our way;
Let us not fret and fear to miss our aim,                             10
If some fair coast have lured us to make stay,
Or some friend hail'd us to keep company.

Ay! we would each fain drive
At random, and not steer by rule.
Weakness! and worse, weakness bestow'd in vain                        15
Winds from our side the unsuiting consort rive,
We rush by coasts where we had lief remain;
Man cannot, though he would, live chance's fool.

No! as the foaming swath
Of torn-up water, on the main,                                        20
Falls heavily away with long-drawn roar
On either side the black deep-furrow'd path
Cut by an onward-labouring vessel's prore, deg.                           deg.23
And never touches the ship-side again;

Even so we leave behind,                                              25
As, charter'd by some unknown Powers
We stem deg. across the sea of life by night                              deg.27
The joys which were not for our use design'd;--
The friends to whom we had no natural right,
The homes that were not destined to be ours.                          30




ISOLATION

TO MARGUERITE


Yes deg.! in the sea of life enisled,                                      deg.1
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live _alone_.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,                                  5
And then their endless bounds they know.

But when the moon deg. their hollows lights,                               deg.7
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;                                       10
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour--

Oh! then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent;
For surely once, they feel, we were                                   15
Parts of a single continent!
Now round us spreads the watery plain--
Oh might our marges meet again!

Who order'd, that their longing's fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cool'd?                                20
Who renders vain their deep desire?--
A God, a God their severance ruled!
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea. deg.                                 deg.24




KAISER DEAD deg.

_April_ 6, 1887


What, Kaiser dead? The heavy news
Post-haste to Cobham deg. calls the Muse,                                  deg.2
From where in Farringford deg. she brews                                   deg.3
    The ode sublime,
Or with Pen-bryn's bold bard deg. pursues                                  deg.5
    A rival rhyme.

Kai's bracelet tail, Kai's busy feet,
Were known to all the village-street.
"What, poor Kai dead?" say all I meet;
    "A loss indeed!"                                                  10
O for the croon pathetic, sweet,
    Of Robin's reed deg.!                                                 deg.12

Six years ago I brought him down,
A baby dog, from London town;
Round his small throat of black and brown                             15
    A ribbon blue,
And vouch'd by glorious renown
    A dachshound true.

His mother, most majestic dame,
Of blood-unmix'd, from Potsdam deg. came;                                 deg.20
And Kaiser's race we deem'd the same--
    No lineage higher.
And so he bore the imperial name.
    But ah, his sire!

Soon, soon the days conviction bring.                                 25
The collie hair, the collie swing,
The tail's indomitable ring,
    The eye's unrest--
The case was clear; a mongrel thing
    Kai stood confest.                                                30

But all those virtues, which commend
The humbler sort who serve and tend,
Were thine in store, thou faithful friend.
    What sense, what cheer!
To us, declining tow'rds our end,                                     35
    A mate how dear!

For Max, thy brother-dog, began
To flag, and feel his narrowing span.
And cold, besides, his blue blood ran,
    Since, 'gainst the classes,                                       40
He heard, of late, the Grand Old Man deg.                                 deg.41
    Incite the masses.

Yes, Max and we grew slow and sad;
But Kai, a tireless shepherd-lad,
Teeming with plans, alert, and glad                                   45
    In work or play,
Like sunshine went and came, and bade
    Live out the day!

Still, still I see the figure smart--
Trophy in mouth, agog deg. to start,                                      deg.50
Then, home return'd, once more depart;
    Or prest together
Against thy mistress, loving heart,
    In winter weather.

I see the tail, like bracelet twirl'd,                                55
In moments of disgrace uncurl'd,
Then at a pardoning word re-furl'd,
    A conquering sign;
Crying, "Come on, and range the world,
    And never pine."                                                  60

Thine eye was bright, thy coat it shone;
Thou hast thine errands, off and on;
In joy thy last morn flew; anon,
    A fit! All's over;
And thou art gone where Geist deg. hath gone,                             deg.65
   And Toss, and Rover.

Poor Max, with downcast, reverent head,
Regards his brother's form outspread;
Full well Max knows the friend is dead
    Whose cordial talk,                                               70
And jokes in doggish language said,
    Beguiled his walk.

And Glory, stretch'd at Burwood gate,
Thy passing by doth vainly wait;
And jealous Jock, thy only hate,                                      75
    The chiel deg. from Skye, deg.                                            deg.76
Lets from his shaggy Highland pate
    Thy memory die.

Well, fetch his graven collar fine,
And rub the steel, and make it shine,                                 80
And leave it round thy neck to twine,
    Kai, in thy grave.
There of thy master keep that sign,
    And this plain stave.




THE LAST WORD deg.


Creep into thy narrow bed,
Creep, and let no more be said!
Vain thy onset! all stands fast.
Thou thyself must break at last.

Let the long contention cease!                                         5
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Let them have it how they will!
Thou art tired; best be still.

They out-talk'd thee, hiss'd thee, tore thee?
Better men fared thus before thee;                                    10
Fired their ringing shot and pass'd,
Hotly charged--and sank at last.

Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,                                         15
Find thy body by the wall!




PALLADIUM deg.


Set where the upper streams of Simois deg. flow                            deg.1
Was the Palladium, high 'mid rock and wood;
And Hector deg. was in Ilium deg. far below,                                   deg.3
And fought, and saw it not--but there it stood!

It stood, and sun and moonshine rain'd their light                     5
On the pure columns of its glen-built hall.
Backward and forward roll'd the waves of fight
Round Troy--but while this stood, Troy could not fall.

So, in its lovely moonlight, lives the soul.
Mountains surround it, and sweet virgin air;                          10
Cold plashing, past it, crystal waters roll;
We visit it by moments, ah, too rare!

We shall renew the battle in the plain
To-morrow;--red with blood will Xanthus deg. be;                          deg.14
Hector and Ajax deg. will be there again,                                 deg.15
Helen deg. will come upon the wall to see.                                deg.16

Then we shall rust in shade, or shine in strife,
And fluctuate 'twixt blind hopes and blind despairs,
And fancy that we put forth all our life,
And never know how with the soul it fares.                            20

Still doth the soul, from its lone fastness high,
Upon our life a ruling effluence send.
And when it fails, fight as we will, we die;
And while it lasts, we cannot wholly end.




REVOLUTIONS


Before man parted for this earthly strand,
While yet upon the verge of heaven he stood,
God put a heap of letters in his hand,
And bade him make with them what word he could.

And man has turn'd them many times; made Greece,                       5
Rome, England, France;--yes, nor in vain essay'd
Way after way, changes that never cease!
The letters have combined, something was made.

But ah! an inextinguishable sense
Haunts him that he has not made what he should;                       10
That he has still, though old, to recommence,
Since he has not yet found the word God would.

And empire after empire, at their height
Of sway, have felt this boding sense come on;
Have felt their huge frames not constructed right,                    15
And droop'd, and slowly died upon their throne.

One day, thou say'st, there will at last appear
The word, the order, which God meant should be.
--Ah! we shall know _that_ well when it comes near;
The band will quit man's heart, he will breathe free.                 20




SELF-DEPENDENCE deg.


Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.

And a look of passionate desire                                        5
O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
"Ye who from my childhood up have calm'd me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!

"Ah, once more," I cried, "ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew;                                  10
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!"

From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:                            15
"Wouldst thou _be_ as these are? _Live_ as they.

"Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.                                 20

"And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silver'd roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.

"Bounded by themselves, and unregardful                               25
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see."

O air-born voice! long since, severely clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:                            30
"Resolve to be thyself; and know that he,
Who finds himself, loses his misery!"




A SUMMER NIGHT


In the deserted, moon-blanch'd street,
How lonely rings the echo of my feet!
Those windows, which I gaze at, frown,
Silent and white, unopening down,
Repellent as the world;--but see,                                      5
A break between the housetops shows
The moon! and, lost behind her, fading dim
Into the dewy dark obscurity
Down at the far horizon's rim,
Doth a whole tract of heaven disclose!                                10

And to my mind the thought
Is on a sudden brought
Of a past night, and a far different scene.
Headlands stood out into the moonlit deep
As clearly as at noon;                                                15
The spring-tide's brimming flow
Heaved dazzlingly between;
Houses, with long white sweep,

Girdled the glistening bay;
Behind, through the soft air,                                         20
The blue haze-cradled mountains spread away,
The night was far more fair--
But the same restless pacings to and fro,
And the same vainly throbbing heart was there,
And the same bright, calm moon.                                       25

And the calm moonlight seems to say:
_Hast thou then still the old unquiet breast,
Which neither deadens into rest,
Nor ever feels the fiery glow
That whirls the spirit from itself away_,                             30
_But fluctuates to and fro,
Never by passion quite possess'd
And never quite benumb'd by the world's sway?--_
And I, I know not if to pray
Still to be what I am, or yield and be                                35
Like all the other men I see.

For most men in a brazen prison live,
Where, in the sun's hot eye,
With heads bent o'er their toil, they languidly
Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork give,                          40
Dreaming of nought beyond their prison-wall.
And as, year after year,
Fresh products of their barren labour fall
From their tired hands, and rest
Never yet comes more near,                                            45
Gloom settles slowly down over their breast;
A while they try to stem
The waves of mournful thought by which they are prest,
And the rest, a few,
Escape their prison and depart                                        50
On the wide ocean of life anew.
There the freed prisoner, where'er his heart
Listeth, will sail;
Nor doth he know how these prevail,
Despotic on that sea,                                                 55
Trade-winds which cross it from eternity.
Awhile he holds some false way, undebarr'd
By thwarting signs, and braves
The freshening wind and blackening waves
And then the tempest strikes him; and between                         60
The lightning-bursts is seen
Only a driving wreck.
And the pale master on his spar-strewn deck
With anguished face and flying hair,
Grasping the rudder hard,                                             65
Still bent to make some port he knows not where,
Still standing for some false, impossible shore.
And sterner comes the roar
Of sea and wind, and through the deepening gloom
Fainter and fainter wreck and helmsman loom                           70
And he, too, disappears and comes no more.

Is there no life, but there alone?
Madman or slave, must man be one?
Plainness and clearness without shadow of stain!
Clearness divine.                                                     75
Ye heavens, whose pure dark regions have no sign
Of languor, though so calm, and though so great
Are yet untroubled and unpassionate;
Who though so noble, share in the world's toil.
And, though so task'd, keep free from dust and soil!                  80

I will not say that your mild deeps retain
A tinge, it may he, of their silent pain
Who have longed deeply once, and longed in vain--
But I will rather say that you remain
A world above man's head, to let him see                              85
How boundless might his soul's horizon be,
How vast, yet of which clear transparency!
How it were good to live there, and breathe free!
How fair a lot to fill
Is left to each man still!                                            90




GEIST'S GRAVE deg.


Four years!--and didst thou stay above
The ground, which hides thee now, but four?
And all that life, and all that love,
Were crowded, Geist! into no more?

Only four years those winning ways,                                    5
Which make me for thy presence yearn,
Call'd us to pet thee or to praise,
Dear little friend! at every turn?

That loving heart, that patient soul,
Had they indeed no longer span,                                       10
To run their course, and reach their goal,
And read their homily deg. to man?                                        deg.12

That liquid, melancholy eye,
From whose pathetic, soul-fed springs
Seem'd surging the Virgilian cry, deg.                                    deg.15
The sense of tears in mortal things--

That steadfast, mournful strain, consoled
By spirits gloriously gay,
And temper of heroic mould--
What, was four years their whole short day?                           20

Yes, only four!--and not the course
Of all the centuries yet to come,
And not the infinite resource
Of Nature, with her countless sum

Of figures, with her fulness vast                                     25
Of new creation evermore,
Can ever quite repeat the past,
Or just thy little self restore.

Stern law of every mortal lot!
Which man, proud man, finds hard to bear,                             30
And builds himself I know not what
Of second life I know not where.

But thou, when struck thine hour to go,
On us, who stood despondent by,
A meek last glance of love didst throw,                               35
And humbly lay thee down to die.

Yet would we keep thee in our heart--
Would fix our favourite on the scene,
Nor let thee utterly depart
And be as if thou ne'er hadst been.                                   40

And so there rise these lines of verse
On lips that rarely form them now deg.;                                   deg.42
While to each other we rehearse:
Such ways, such arts, such looks hadst thou!

We stroke thy broad brown paws again,                                 45
We bid thee to thy vacant chair,
We greet thee by the window-pane,
We hear thy scuffle on the stair.

We see the flaps of thy large ears
Quick raised to ask which way we go;                                  50
Crossing the frozen lake, appears
Thy small black figure on the snow!

Nor to us only art thou dear
Who mourn thee in thine English home;
Thou hast thine absent master's deg. tear,                                55
Dropt by the far Australian foam.

Thy memory lasts both here and there,
And thou shalt live as long as we.
And after that--thou dost not care!
In us was all the world to thee.                                      60

Yet, fondly zealous for thy fame,
Even to a date beyond our own
We strive to carry down thy name,
By mounded turf, and graven stone.

We lay thee, close within our reach,                                  65
Here, where the grass is smooth and warm,
Between the holly and the beech,
Where oft we watch'd thy couchant form,

Asleep, yet lending half an ear
To travellers on the Portsmouth road;--                               70
There build we thee, O guardian dear,
Mark'd with a stone, thy last abode!

Then some, who through this garden pass,
When we too, like thyself, are clay,
Shall see thy grave upon the grass,                                   75
And stop before the stone, and say:

_People who lived here long ago
Did by this stone, it seems, intend
To name for future times to know
The dachs-hound, Geist, their little friend._                         80




EPILOGUE

TO LESSING'S LAOCOOeN deg.


One morn as through Hyde Park deg. we walk'd,                              deg.1
My friend and I, by chance we talk'd
Of Lessing's famed Laocooen;
And after we awhile had gone
In Lessing's track, and tried to see                                   5
What painting is, what poetry--
Diverging to another thought,
"Ah," cries my friend, "but who hath taught
Why music and the other arts
Oftener perform aright their parts                                    10
Than poetry? why she, than they,
Fewer fine successes can display?

"For 'tis so, surely! Even in Greece,
Where best the poet framed his piece,
Even in that Phoebus-guarded ground deg.                                  deg.15
Pausanias deg. on his travels found                                       deg.16
Good poems, if he look'd, more rare
(Though many) than good statues were--
For these, in truth, were everywhere.
Of bards full many a stroke divine                                    20
In Dante's, deg. Petrarch's, deg. Tasso's deg. line,                              deg.21
The land of Ariosto deg. show'd;                                          deg.22
And yet, e'en there, the canvas glow'd
With triumphs, a yet ampler brood,
Of Raphael deg. and his brotherhood.                                      deg.25
And nobly perfect, in our day
Of haste, half-work, and disarray,
Profound yet touching, sweet yet strong,
Hath risen Goethe's, deg. Wordsworth's deg. song;                             deg.29
Yet even I (and none will bow                                         30
Deeper to these) must needs allow,
They yield us not, to soothe our pains,
Such multitude of heavenly strains
As from the kings of sound are blown,
Mozart, deg. Beethoven, deg. Mendelssohn. deg."                                   deg.35

While thus my friend discoursed, we pass
Out of the path, and take the grass.
The grass had still the green of May,
And still the unblackan'd elms were gay;
The kine were resting in the shade,                                   40
The flies a summer-murmur made.
Bright was the morn and south deg. the air;                               deg.42
The soft-couch'd cattle were as fair
As those which pastured by the sea,
That old-world morn, in Sicily,                                       45
When on the beach the Cyclops lay,
And Galatea from the bay
Mock'd her poor lovelorn giant's lay. deg.                                deg.48
"Behold," I said, "the painter's sphere!
The limits of his art appear.                                         50
The passing group, the summer-morn,
The grass, the elms, that blossom'd thorn--
Those cattle couch'd, or, as they rise,
Their shining flanks, their liquid eyes--
These, or much greater things, but caught                             55
Like these, and in one aspect brought!
In outward semblance he must give
A moment's life of things that live;
Then let him choose his moment well,
With power divine its story tell."                                    60

Still we walk'd on, in thoughtful mood,
And now upon the bridge we stood.
Full of sweet breathings was the air,
Of sudden stirs and pauses fair.
Down o'er the stately bridge the breeze                               65
Came rustling from the garden-trees
And on the sparkling waters play'd;
Light-plashing waves an answer made,
And mimic boats their haven near'd.
Beyond, the Abbey-towers deg. appear'd,                                   deg.70
By mist and chimneys unconfined,
Free to the sweep of light and wind;
While through their earth-moor'd nave below
Another breath of wind doth blow,
Sound as of wandering breeze--but sound                               75
In laws by human artists bound.

"The world of music deg.!" I exclaimed:--                                 deg.77
"This breeze that rustles by, that famed
Abbey recall it! what a sphere
Large and profound, hath genius here!                                 80
The inspired musician what a range,
What power of passion, wealth of change
Some source of feeling he must choose
And its lock'd fount of beauty use,
And through the stream of music tell                                  85
Its else unutterable spell;
To choose it rightly is his part,
And press into its inmost heart.

"_Miserere Domine deg.!_                                                  deg.89
The words are utter'd, and they flee.                                 90
Deep is their penitential moan,
Mighty their pathos, but 'tis gone.
They have declared the spirit's sore
Sore load, and words can do no more.
Beethoven takes them then--those two                                  95
Poor, bounded words--and makes them new;
Infinite makes them, makes them young;
Transplants them to another tongue,
Where they can now, without constraint,
Pour all the soul of their complaint,                                100
And roll adown a channel large
The wealth divine they have in charge.
Page after page of music turn,
And still they live and still they burn,
Eternal, passion-fraught, and free--                                 105
_Miserere Domine deg.!"_                                                 deg.106

Onward we moved, and reach'd the Ride deg.                               deg.107
Where gaily flows the human tide.
Afar, in rest the cattle lay;
We heard, afar, faint music play;                                    110
But agitated, brisk, and near,
Men, with their stream of life, were here.
Some hang upon the rails, and some
On foot behind them go and come.
This through the Ride upon his steed                                 115
Goes slowly by, and this at speed.
The young, the happy, and the fair,
The old, the sad, the worn, were there;
Some vacant, deg. and some musing went,
And some in talk and merriment.                                      120
Nods, smiles, and greetings, and farewells!
And now and then, perhaps, there swells
A sigh, a tear--but in the throng
All changes fast, and hies deg. along.                                   deg.124
Hies, ah, from whence, what native ground?                           125
And to what goal, what ending, bound?
"Behold, at last the poet's sphere!
But who," I said, "suffices here?

"For, ah! so much he has to do;
Be painter and musician too deg.!                                        deg.130
The aspect of the moment show,
The feeling of the moment know!
The aspect not, I grant, express
Clear as the painter's art can dress;
The feeling not, I grant, explore                                    135
So deep as the musician's lore--
But clear as words can make revealing,
And deep as words can follow feeling.
But, ah! then comes his sorest spell
Of toil--he must life's _movement_ deg. tell!                            deg.140
The thread which binds it all in one,
And not its separate parts alone.
The _movement_ he must tell of life,
Its pain and pleasure, rest and strife;
His eye must travel down, at full,                                   145
The long, unpausing spectacle;
With faithful unrelaxing force
Attend it from its primal source,
From change to change and year to year
Attend it of its mid career,                                         150
Attend it to the last repose
And solemn silence of its close.

"The cattle rising from the grass
His thought must follow where they pass;
The penitent with anguish bow'd                                      155
His thought must follow through the crowd.
Yes! all this eddying, motley throng
That sparkles in the sun along,
Girl, statesman, merchant, soldier bold,
Master and servant, young and old,                                   160
Grave, gay, child, parent, husband, wife,
He follows home, and lives their life.

"And many, many are the souls
Life's movement fascinates, controls;
It draws them on, they cannot save                                   165
Their feet from its alluring wave;
They cannot leave it, they must go
With its unconquerable flow.
But ah! how few, of all that try
This mighty march, do aught but die!                                 170
For ill-endow'd for such a way,
Ill-stored in strength, in wits, are they.
They faint, they stagger to and fro,
And wandering from the stream they go;
In pain, in terror, in distress,                                     175
They see, all round, a wilderness.
Sometimes a momentary gleam
They catch of the mysterious stream;
Sometimes, a second's space, their ear
The murmur of its waves doth hear.                                   180
That transient glimpse in song they say,
But not of painter can pourtray--
That transient sound in song they tell,
But not, as the musician, well.
And when at last their snatches cease,                               185
And they are silent and at peace,
The stream of life's majestic whole
Hath ne'er been mirror'd on their soul.

"Only a few the life-stream's shore
With safe unwandering feet explore;                                  190
Untired its movement bright attend,
Follow its windings to the end.
Then from its brimming waves their eye
Drinks up delighted ecstasy,
And its deep-toned, melodious voice                                  195
For ever makes their ear rejoice.
They speak! the happiness divine
They feel, runs o'er in every line;
Its spell is round them like a shower--
It gives them pathos, gives them power.                              200
No painter yet hath such a way,
Nor no musician made, as they,
And gather'd on immortal knolls
Such lovely flowers for cheering souls.
Beethoven, Raphael, cannot reach                                     205
The charm which Homer, Shakespeare, teach.
To these, to these, their thankful race
Gives, then, the first, the fairest place;
And brightest is their glory's sheen,
For greatest hath their labour been. deg."                               deg.210






SONNETS




QUIET WORK deg.


One lesson, deg. Nature, let me learn of thee,                             deg.1
One lesson which in every wind is blown,
One lesson of two duties kept at one
Though the loud deg. world proclaim their enmity--                         deg.4

Of toil unsever'd from tranquillity!                                   5
Of labour, that in lasting fruit outgrows
Far noisier deg. schemes, accomplish'd in repose,                          deg.7
Too great for haste, too high for rivalry!

Yes, while on earth a thousand discords ring,
Man's fitful uproar mingling with his toil,                           10
Still do thy sleepless ministers move on,

Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting;
Still working, blaming still our vain turmoil,
Labourers that shall not fail, when man is gone.




SHAKESPEARE deg.


Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask--Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill,
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,

Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,                           5
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foil'd searching of mortality;

And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,              10
Didst tread on earth unguess'd at.--Better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.




YOUTH'S AGITATIONS deg.


When I shall be divorced, some ten years hence,
From this poor present self which I am now;
When youth has done its tedious vain expense
Of passions that for ever ebb and flow;

Shall I not joy deg. youth's heats deg. are left behind,                       deg.5
And breathe more happy in an even clime deg.?--                            deg.6
Ah no, for then I shall begin to find
A thousand virtues in this hated time!

Then I shall wish its agitations back,
And all its thwarting currents of desire;                             10
Then I shall praise the heat which then I lack,
And call this hurrying fever, deg. generous fire;                         deg.12

And sigh that one thing only has been lent
To youth and age in common--discontent.




AUSTERITY OF POETRY deg.


That son of Italy deg. who tried to blow,                                  deg.1
Ere Dante deg. came, the trump of sacred song,                             deg.2
In his light youth deg. amid a festal throng                               deg.3
Sate with his bride to see a public show.

Fair was the bride, and on her front did glow                          5
Youth like a star; and what to youth belong--
Gay raiment, sparkling gauds, elation strong.
A prop gave way! crash fell a platform! lo,

'Mid struggling sufferers, hurt to death, she lay!
Shuddering, they drew her garments off--and found                     10
A robe of sackcloth deg. next the smooth, white skin.                     deg.11

Such, poets, is your bride, the Muse! young, gay,
Radiant, adorn'd outside; a hidden ground
Of thought and of austerity within.




WORLDLY PLACE


_Even in a palace, life may be led well!_
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. deg. But the stifling den                                 deg.3
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,

Our freedom for a little bread we sell,                                5
And drudge under some foolish deg. master's ken. deg.                          deg.6
Who rates deg. us if we peer outside our pen--                             deg.7
Match'd with a palace, is not this a hell?

_Even in a palace!_ On his truth sincere,
Who spoke these words, no shadow ever came;                           10
And when my ill-school'd spirit is aflame

Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win,
I'll stop, and say: "There were no succour here!
The aids to noble life are all within."




EAST LONDON


'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green, deg.                        deg.2
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, deg. look'd thrice dispirited.                            deg.4

I met a preacher there I knew, and said:                               5
"Ill and o'erwork'd, how fare you in this scene?"--
"Bravely!" said he; "for I of late have been,
Much cheer'd with thoughts of Christ, _the living bread."_

O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,                                   10
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,

To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam--
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home.




WEST LONDON


Crouch'd on the pavement, close by Belgrave Square, deg.                   deg.1
A tramp I saw, ill, moody, and tongue-tied.
A babe was in her arms, and at her side
A girl; their clothes were rags, their feet were bare.

Some labouring men, whose work lay somewhere there,                    5
Pass'd opposite; she touch'd her girl, who hied
Across and begg'd, and came back satisfied.
The rich she had let pass with frozen stare.

Thought I: "Above her state this spirit towers;
She will not ask of aliens but of friends,                            10
Of sharers in a common human fate.

"She turns from that cold succour, which attends
The unknown little from the unknowing great,
And points us to a better time than ours."






ELEGIAC POEMS




MEMORIAL VERSES deg.

_April_, 1850


Goethe in Weimar sleeps, deg. and Greece,                                  deg.1
Long since, saw Byron's deg. struggle cease.                               deg.2
But one such death remain'd to come;
The last poetic voice is dumb--
We stand to-day by Wordsworth's tomb.                                  5

When Byron's eyes were shut in death,
We bow'd our head and held our breath.
He taught us little; but our soul
Had _felt_ him like the thunder's roll.
With shivering heart the strife we saw                                10
Of passion with eternal law;
And yet with reverential awe
We watch'd the fount of fiery life
Which served for that Titanic strife.

When Goethe's death was told, we said:                                15
Sunk, then, is Europe's sagest head.
Physician of the iron age, deg.                                           deg.17
Goethe has done his pilgrimage.
He took the suffering human race,
He read each wound, each weakness clear;                              20
And struck his finger on the place,
And said: _Thou ailest here, and here!_
He look'd on Europe's dying hour
Of fitful dream and feverish power;
His eye plunged down the weltering strife,                            25
The turmoil of expiring life--
He said: _The end is everywhere,
Art still has truth, take refuge there!_
And he was happy, if to know
Causes of things, and far below                                       30
His feet to see the lurid flow
Of terror, and insane distress,
And headlong fate, be happiness.

And Wordsworth!--Ah, pale ghosts, rejoice!
For never has such soothing voice                                     35
Been to your shadowy world convey'd,
Since erst, at morn, some wandering shade
Heard the clear song of Orpheus deg. come                                 deg.38
Through Hades, and the mournful gloom.
Wordsworth has gone from us--and ye,                                  40
Ah, may ye feel his voice as we!
He too upon a wintry clime
Had fallen--on this iron time
Of doubts, disputes, distractions, fears.
He found us when the age had bound                                    45
Our souls in its benumbing round;
He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears.
He laid us as we lay at birth
On the cool flowery lap of earth,
Smiles broke from us and we had ease;                                 50
The hills were round us, and the breeze
Went o'er the sun-lit fields again;
Our foreheads felt the wind and rain.
Our youth returned; for there was shed
On spirits that had long been dead,                                   55
Spirits dried up and closely furl'd,
The freshness of the early world.

Ah! since dark days still bring to light
Man's prudence and man's fiery might,
Time may restore us in his course                                     60
Goethe's sage mind and Byron's force;
But where will Europe's latter hour
Again find Wordsworth's healing power?
Others will teach us how to dare,
And against fear our breast to steel;                                 65
Others will strengthen us to bear--
But who, ah! who, will make us feel
The cloud of mortal destiny?
Others will front it fearlessly--
But who, like him, will put it by?                                    70

Keep fresh the grass upon his grave
O Rotha, deg. with thy living wave!                                       deg.72
Sing him thy best! for few or none
Hears thy voice right, now he is gone.




THE SCHOLAR-GIPSY deg.


Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill;
  Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes deg.!                          deg.2
    No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed,
  Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their throats,
    Nor the cropp'd herbage shoot another head.                        5
      But when the fields are still,
  And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest,
    And only the white sheep are sometimes seen;
    Cross and recross deg. the strips of moon-blanch'd green,              deg.9
  Come, shepherd, and again begin the quest!                          10

Here, where the reaper was at work of late--
  In this high field's dark corner, where he leaves
    His coat, his basket, and his earthen cruse, deg.                     deg.13
  And in the sun all morning binds the sheaves,
    Then here, at noon, comes back his stores to use--                15
      Here will I sit and wait,
  While to my ear from uplands far away
    The bleating of the folded flocks is borne,
    With distant cries of reapers in the corn deg.--                      deg.19
  All the live murmur of a summer's day.                              20

Screen'd is this nook o'er the high, half-reap'd field,
  And here till sun-down, shepherd! will I be.
    Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep,
  And round green roots and yellowing stalks I see
    Pale pink convolvulus in tendrils creep;                          25
      And air-swept lindens yield
  Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers
    Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid,
    And bower me from the August sun with shade;
  And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers. deg.                       deg.30

And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's book deg.--                       deg.31
  Come, let me read the oft-read tale again!
    The story of the Oxford scholar poor,
  Of pregnant parts and quick inventive brain,
    Who, tired of knocking at preferment's door,                      35
      One summer-morn forsook
  His friends, and went to learn the gipsy-lore,
    And roam'd the world with that wild brotherhood,
    And came, as most men deem'd, to little good,
  But came to Oxford and his friends no more.                         40

But once, years after, in the country-lanes,
  Two scholars, whom at college erst deg. he knew,                        deg.42
    Met him, and of his way of life enquired;
  Whereat he answer'd, that the gipsy-crew,
    His mates, had arts to rule as they desired                       45
      The workings of men's brains,
  And they can bind them to what thoughts they will.
    "And I," he said, "the secret of their art,
    When fully learn'd, will to the world impart;
  But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill. deg."                  deg.50

This said, he left them, and return'd no more.--
  But rumours hung about the country-side,
    That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
  Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied,
    In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey,                       55
      The same the gipsies wore.
  Shepherds had met him on the Hurst deg. in spring;                      deg.57
    At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors, deg.                    deg.58
    On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock'd boors
  Had found him seated at their entering.                             60

But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he would fly.
  And I myself seem half to know, thy looks,
    And put the shepherds, wanderer! on thy trace;
  And boys who in lone wheatfields scare the rooks
    I ask if thou hast pass'd their quiet place;                      65
      Or in my boat I lie
  Moor'd to the cool bank in the summer-heats,
    'Mid wide grass meadows which the sunshine fills.
    And watch the warm, green-muffled deg. Cumner hills,                  deg.69
  And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy retreats.                     70

For most, I know, thou lov'st retired ground!
  Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe,
    Returning home on summer-nights, have met
  Crossing the stripling Thames at Bab-lock-hithe, deg.                   deg.74
    Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet,                      75
      As the punt's rope chops round;
  And leaning backward in a pensive dream,
    And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers
    Pluck'd in shy fields and distant Wychwood bowers
  And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream.                       80

And then they land, and thou art seen no more!--
  Maidens, who from the distant hamlets come;
    To dance around the Fyfield elm in May, deg.                          deg.83
  Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee roam
    Or cross a stile into the public way.
      Oft thou hast given them store                                  85
  Of flowers--the frail-leaf'd, white anemony,
    Dark bluebells drench'd with dews of summer eves
    And purple orchises with spotted leaves--
  But none hath words she can report of thee.                         90

And, above Godstow Bridge, deg. when hay-time's here
  In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames,
    Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass
  Where black-wing'd swallows haunt the glittering Thames,
    To bathe in the abandon'd lasher pass, deg.                           deg.95
      Have often pass'd thee near
  Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown;
    Mark'd thine outlandish deg. garb, thy figure spare,                  deg.98
    Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air--
  But, when they came from bathing, thou wast gone!                  100

At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills,
  Where at her open door the housewife darns,
    Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate
  To watch the threshers in the mossy barns.
    Children, who early range these slopes and late                  105
      For cresses from the rills,
  Have known thee eying, all an April-day,
    The springing pastures and the feeding kine;
    And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and shine,
  Through the long dewy grass move slow away.                        110

In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood deg.--                           deg.111
  Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way
    Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see
  With scarlet patches tagg'd deg. and shreds of grey,                   deg.114
    Above the forest-ground called Thessaly deg.--                       deg.115
      The blackbird, picking food,
  Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all;
    So often has he known thee past him stray
    Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray,
  And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.                     120

And once, in winter, on the causeway chill
  Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers go,
    Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge,
  Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow,
    Thy face tow'rd Hinksey deg. and its wintry ridge?                   deg.125
      And thou hast climb'd the hill,
  And gain'd the white brow of the Cumner range;
    Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall
    The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall deg.--                deg.129
  Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange.                  deg.130

But what--I dream! Two hundred years are flown
  Since first thy story ran through Oxford halls,
    And the grave Glanvil deg. did the tale inscribe                     deg.133
  That thou wert wander'd from the studious walls
    To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy-tribe;                   135
      And thou from earth art gone
  Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid--
    Some country-nook, where o'er thy unknown grave
    Tall grasses and white-flowering nettles wave,
  Under a dark red-fruited yew-tree's deg. shade.                        deg.140

--No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours!
  For what wears out the life of mortal men?
    'Tis that from change to change their being rolls
  'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again,
    Exhaust the energy of strongest souls                            145
      And numb the elastic powers.
  Till having used our nerves with bliss and teen, deg.                  deg.147
    And tired upon a thousand schemes our wit,
    To the just-pausing Genius deg. we remit                             deg.149
  Our worn-out life, and are--what we have been.                     150

Thou hast not lived, deg. why should'st thou perish, so?                 deg.151
  Thou hadst _one_ aim, _one_ business, _one_ desire deg.;               deg.152
    Else wert thou long since number'd with the dead!
  Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy fire!
    The generations of thy peers are fled,                           155
      And we ourselves shall go;
  But thou possessest an immortal lot,
    And we imagine thee exempt from age
    And living as thou liv'st on Glanvil's page,
  Because thou hadst--what we, alas! have not. deg.                      deg.160

For early didst thou leave the world, with powers
  Fresh, undiverted to the world without,
    Firm to their mark, not spent on other things;
  Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt,
    Which much to have tried, in much been baffled, brings deg..         deg.165
      O life unlike to ours!
  Who fluctuate idly without term or scope,
    Of whom each strives, nor knows for what he strives,
    And each half lives a hundred different lives;
  Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in hope. deg.                  deg.170

Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we,
  Light half-believers of our casual creeds,
    Who never deeply felt, nor clearly will'd,
  Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds,
    Whose vague resolves never have been fulfill'd;                  175
      For whom each year we see
  Breeds new beginnings, disappointments new;
    Who hesitate and falter life away,
    And lose to-morrow the ground won to-day--
  Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too deg.                             deg.180

Yes, we await it!--but it still delays,
  And then we suffer! and amongst us one,
    Who most has suffer'd, takes dejectedly
  His seat upon the intellectual throne;
    And all his store of sad experience he                           185
      Lays bare of wretched days;
  Tells us his misery's birth and growth and signs,
    And how the dying spark of hope was fed,
    And how the breast was soothed, and how the head,
  And all his hourly varied anodynes. deg.                               deg.190

This for our wisest! and we others pine,
  And wish the long unhappy dream would end,
    And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear;
  With close-lipp'd patience for our only friend,
    Sad patience, too near neighbour to despair--                    195
      But none has hope like thine!
  Thou through the fields and through the woods dost stray,
    Roaming the country-side, a truant boy,
    Nursing thy project in unclouded joy,
  And every doubt long blown by time away.                           200

O born in days when wits were fresh and clear,
  And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames;
    Before this strange disease of modern life,
  With its sick hurry, its divided aims,
    Its head o'ertax'd, its palsied hearts, was rife--               205
      Fly hence, our contact fear!
  Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering wood!
    Averse, as Dido deg. did with gesture stern deg.                         deg.208
    From her false friend's approach in Hades turn,
  Wave us away, and keep thy solitude!                               210

Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
  Still clutching the inviolable shade, deg.                             deg.212
    With a free, onward impulse brushing through,
  By night, the silver'd branches deg. of the glade--                    deg.214
    Far on the forest-skirts, where none pursue,                     215
      On some mild pastoral slope
  Emerge, and resting on the moonlit pales
    Freshen thy flowers as in former years
    With dew, or listen with enchanted ears,
  From the dark dingles, deg. to the nightingales!                       220

But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly!
  For strong the infection of our mental strife,
    Which, though it gives no bliss, yet spoils for rest;
  And we should win thee from thy own fair life,
    Like us distracted, and like us unblest.                         225
      Soon, soon thy cheer would die,
  Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfix'd thy powers,
    And thy clear aims be cross and shifting made;
    And then thy glad perennial youth would fade,
  Fade, and grow old at last, and die like ours.                     230

Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and smiles!
  --As some grave Tyrian deg. trader, from the sea,
    Descried at sunrise an emerging prow
  Lifting the cool-hair'd creepers stealthily,
    The fringes of a southward-facing brow                           235
      Among the AEgaean isles deg.;                                        deg.236
  And saw the merry Grecian coaster come,
    Freighted with amber grapes, and Chian wine, deg.                    deg.238
    Green, bursting figs, and tunnies deg. steep'd in brine--            deg.239
  And knew the intruders on his ancient home,                        240

The young light-hearted masters of the waves--
  And snatch'd his rudder, and shook out more sail;
    And day and night held on indignantly
  O'er the blue Midland waters deg. with the gale,                       deg.244
    Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily,                              245
      To where the Atlantic raves
  Outside the western straits deg.; and unbent sails                     deg.247
    There, where down cloudy cliffs, through sheets of foam,
    Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians come deg.;                        deg.249
  And on the beach undid his corded bales. deg.                          deg.250




THYRSIS deg.

A MONODY, TO COMMEMORATE THE AUTHOR'S FRIEND
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH, WHO DIED AT FLORENCE, 1861


How changed is here each spot man makes or fills deg.!                     deg.1
  In the two Hinkseys deg. nothing keeps the same;                         deg.2
    The village street its haunted mansion lacks,
  And from the sign is gone Sibylla's name, deg.                           deg.4
    And from the roofs the twisted chimney-stacks--                    5
      Are ye too changed, ye hills deg.?                                   deg.6
  See, 'tis no foot of unfamiliar men
    To-night from Oxford up your pathway strays!
    Here came I often, often, in old days--
  Thyrsis and I; we still had Thyrsis then.                           10

Runs it not here, the track by Childsworth Farm,
  Past the high wood, to where the elm-tree crowns
    The hill behind whose ridge the sunset flames
  The signal-elm, that looks on Ilsley Downs deg.?                        deg.14
    The Vale, deg. the three lone weirs, deg. the youthful Thames?--,         deg.15
      This winter-eve is warm,
  Humid the air! leafless, yet soft as spring,
    The tender purple spray on copse and briers!
    And that sweet city with her dreaming spires, deg.                    deg.19
  She needs not June for beauty's heightening, deg.                       deg.20

Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night!--
  Only, methinks, some loss of habit's power
    Befalls me wandering through this upland dim, deg.                    deg.23
  Once pass'd I blindfold here, at any hour deg.;                         deg.24
    Now seldom come I, since I came with him.                         25
      That single elm-tree bright
  Against the west--I miss it! is it gone?
    We prized it dearly; while it stood, we said,
    Our friend, the Gipsy-Scholar, was not dead;
  While the tree lived, he in these fields lived on. deg.                 deg.30

Too rare, too rare, grow now my visits here,
  But once I knew each field, each flower, each stick;
    And with the country-folk acquaintance made
  By barn in threshing-time, by new-built rick.
    Here, too, our shepherd-pipes deg. we first assay'd.                  deg.35
      Ah me! this many a year
  My pipe is lost, my shepherd's holiday!
    Needs must I lose them, needs with heavy heart
    Into the world and wave of men depart;
  But Thyrsis of his own will went away. deg.                             deg.40

It irk'd deg. him to be here, he could not rest.                          deg.41
  He loved each simple joy the country yields,
    He loved his mates; but yet he could not keep, deg.                   deg.43
  For that a shadow lour'd on the fields,
    Here with the shepherds and the silly deg. sheep.                     deg.45
      Some life of men unblest
  He knew, which made him droop, and fill'd his head.
    He went; his piping took a troubled sound
    Of storms deg. that rage outside our happy ground;
  He could not wait their passing, he is dead. deg.                       deg.50

So, some tempestuous morn in early June,
  When the year's primal burst of bloom is o'er,
    Before the roses and the longest day--
  When garden-walks and all the grassy floor
    With blossoms red and white of fallen May deg.                        deg.55
      And chestnut-flowers are strewn--
  So have I heard the cuckoo's parting cry,
    From the wet field, through the vext garden-trees,
    Come with the volleying rain and tossing breeze:
 _The bloom is gone, and with the bloom go I deg.!_                       deg.60

Too quick despairer, wherefore wilt thou go?
  Soon will the high Midsummer pomps deg. come on,                        deg.62
    Soon will the musk carnations break and swell,
  Soon shall we have gold-dusted snapdragon,
    Sweet-William with his homely cottage-smell,                      65
      And stocks in fragrant blow;
  Roses that down the alleys shine afar,
    And open, jasmine-muffled lattices,
    And groups under the dreaming garden-trees,
  And the full moon, and the white evening-star.                      70

He hearkens not! light comer, deg. he is flown!                           deg.71
  What matters it? next year he will return,
    And we shall have him in the sweet spring-days.
With whitening hedges, and uncrumpling fern,
  And blue-bells trembling by the forest-ways,                        75
    And scent of hay new-mown.
  But Thyrsis never more we swains deg. shall see;                        deg.77
    See him come back, and cut a smoother reed, deg.                      deg.78
    And blow a strain the world at last shall heed deg.--                 deg.79
  For Time, not Corydon, deg. hath conquer'd thee!                        deg.80

Alack, for Corydon no rival now!--
  But when Sicilian shepherds lost a mate,
    Some good survivor with his flute would go,
  Piping a ditty sad for Bion's fate deg.;                                deg.84
    And cross the unpermitted ferry's flow, deg.                          deg.85
      And relax Pluto's brow,
  And make leap up with joy the beauteous head
    Of Proserpine, deg. among whose crowned hair                          deg.88
    Are flowers first open'd on Sicilian air,
  And flute his friend, like Orpheus, from the dead. deg.                 deg.90

O easy access to the hearer's grace
  When Dorian shepherds sang to Proserpine!
    For she herself had trod Sicilian fields,
  She knew the Dorian water's gush divine, deg.                           deg.94
    She knew each lily white which Enna yields,                       95
      Each rose with blushing face deg.;                                  deg.96
  She loved the Dorian pipe, the Dorian strain. deg.                      deg.97
    But ah, of our poor Thames she never heard!
    Her foot the Cumner cowslips never stirr'd;
  And we should tease her with our plaint in vain!                   100

Well! wind-dispersed and vain the words will be,
  Yet, Thyrsis, let me give my grief its hour
    In the old haunt, and find our tree-topp'd hill!
  Who, if not I, for questing here hath power?
    I know the wood which hides the daffodil,                        105
      I know the Fyfield tree, deg.                                      deg.106
  I know what white, what purple fritillaries
    The grassy harvest of the river-fields,
    Above by Ensham, deg. down by Sandford, deg. yields,                     deg.109
  And what sedged brooks are Thames's tributaries;                   110

I know these slopes; who knows them if not I?--
  But many a dingle on the loved hill-side,
    With thorns once studded, old, white-blossom'd trees
  Where thick the cowslips grew, and far descried
    High tower'd the spikes of purple orchises,                      115
      Hath since our day put by
  The coronals of that forgotten time;
    Down each green bank hath gone the ploughboy's team,
    And only in the hidden brookside gleam
  Primroses, orphans of the flowery prime.                           120

Where is the girl, who by the boatman's door,
  Above the locks, above the boating throng,
    Unmoor'd our skiff when through the Wytham flats, deg.               deg.123
  Red loosestrife and blond meadow-sweet among
    And darting swallows and light water-gnats,                      125
      We track'd the shy Thames shore?
  Where are the mowers, who, as the tiny swell
    Of our boat passing heaved the river-grass,
    Stood with suspended scythe to see us pass?--
  They all are gone, and thou art gone as well!                      130

Yes, thou art gone! and round me too the night
  In ever-nearing circle weaves her shade.
    I see her veil draw soft across the day,
  I feel her slowly chilling breath invade
    The cheek grown thin, the brown hair sprent deg. with grey;          deg.135
      I feel her finger light
  Laid pausefully upon life's headlong train;--
    The foot less prompt to meet the morning dew,
    The heart less bounding at emotion new,
  And hope, once crush'd, less quick to spring again.                140

And long the way appears, which seem'd so short
  To the less practised eye of sanguine youth;
    And high the mountain-tops, in cloudy air,
The mountain-tops where is the throne of Truth,
  Tops in life's morning-sun so bright and bare!                     145
    Unbreachable the fort
  Of the long-batter'd world uplifts its wall;
    And strange and vain the earthly turmoil grows,
    And near and real the charm of thy repose,
  And night as welcome as a friend would fall. deg.                      deg.150

But hush! the upland hath a sudden loss
  Of quiet!--Look, adown the dusk hill-side,
    A troop of Oxford hunters going home,
As in old days, jovial and talking, ride!
  From hunting with the Berkshire deg. hounds they come.                 deg.155
    Quick! let me fly, and cross
  Into yon farther field!--'Tis done; and see,
    Back'd by the sunset, which doth glorify
    The orange and pale violet evening-sky,
  Bare on its lonely ridge, the Tree! the Tree!                      160

I take the omen! Eve lets down her veil,
  The white fog creeps from bush to bush about,
    The west unflushes, the high stars grow bright,
  And in the scatter'd farms the lights come out.
    I cannot reach the signal-tree to-night,                         165
      Yet, happy omen, hail!
  Hear it from thy broad lucent Arno-vale deg.                           deg.167
    (For there thine earth-forgetting eyelids keep
    The morningless and unawakening sleep
  Under the flowery oleanders pale),                                 170

Hear it, O Thyrsis, still our tree is there!--
  Ah, vain! These English fields, this upland dim,
    These brambles pale with mist engarlanded,
  That lone, sky-pointing tree, are not for him;
    To a boon southern country he is fled, deg.                          deg.175
      And now in happier air,
  Wandering with the great Mother's deg. train divine                    deg.177
    (And purer or more subtle soul than thee,
    I trow, the mighty Mother doth not see)
  Within a folding of the Apennine,                                  180

Thou hearest the immortal chants of old!--
  Putting his sickle to the perilous grain
    In the hot cornfield of the Phrygian king,
  For thee the Lityerses-song again
    Young Daphnis with his silver voice doth sing;                   185
      Sings his Sicilian fold,
  His sheep, his hapless love, his blinded eyes--
    And how a call celestial round him rang,
    And heavenward from the fountain-brink he sprang,
  And all the marvel of the golden skies. deg.                           deg.190

There thou art gone, and me thou leavest here
  Sole deg. in these fields! yet will I not despair.
    Despair I will not, while I yet descry
  'Neath the mild canopy of English air
    That lonely tree against the western sky.                        195
      Still, still these slopes, 'tis clear,
  Our Gipsy-Scholar haunts, outliving thee
    Fields where soft sheep deg. from cages pull the hay,
    Woods with anemonies in flower till May,
  Know him a wanderer still; then why not me? deg.                       deg.200

A fugitive and gracious light he seeks,
  Shy to illumin; and I seek it too. deg.                                deg.202
    This does not come with houses or with gold,
  With place, with honour, and a flattering crew;
    'Tis not in the world's market bought and sold--                 205
      But the smooth-slipping weeks
  Drop by, and leave its seeker still untired;
    Out of the heed of mortals he is gone,
    He wends unfollow'd, he must house alone;
  Yet on he fares, by his own heart inspired.                        210

Thou too, O Thyrsis, on like quest was bound;
  Thou wanderedst with me for a little hour!
    Men gave thee nothing; but this happy quest,
  If men esteem'd thee feeble, gave thee power,
    If men procured thee trouble, gave thee rest.                    215
      And this rude Cumner ground,
  Its fir-topped Hurst, its farms, its quiet fields,
    Here cam'st thou in thy jocund youthful time,
    Here was thine height of strength, thy golden prime!
  And still the haunt beloved a virtue yields.                       220

What though the music of thy rustic flute
  Kept not for long its happy, country tone;
    Lost it too soon, and learnt a stormy note
  Of men contention-tost, of men who groan,
    Which task'd thy pipe too sore, and tired thy throat--           225
      It fail'd, and thou wast mute!
  Yet hadst thou alway visions of our light,
    And long with men of care thou couldst not stay,
    And soon thy foot resumed its wandering way,
  Left human haunt, and on alone till night.                         230

Too rare, too rare, grow now my visits here!
 'Mid city-noise, not, as with thee of yore,
    Thyrsis! in reach of sheep-bells is my home.
  Then through the great town's harsh, heart-wearying roar,
    Let in thy voice a whisper often come,                           235
      To chase fatigue and fear:
 _Why faintest thou? I wandered till I died.
    Roam on! The light we sought is shining still.
    Dost thou ask proof? our tree yet crowns the hill,
  Our scholar travels yet the loved hill-side._                      240




RUGBY CHAPEL deg.

_November 1857_


Coldly, sadly descends
The autumn-evening. The field
Strewn with its dank yellow drifts
Of wither'd leaves, and the elms,
Fade into dimness apace,                                               5
Silent;--hardly a shout
From a few boys late at their play!
The lights come out in the street,
In the school-room windows;--but cold,
Solemn, unlighted, austere,                                           10
Through the gathering darkness, arise
The chapel-walls, in whose bound
Thou, my father! art laid. deg.                                           deg.13

There thou dost lie, in the gloom
Of the autumn evening. But ah!                                        15
That word, _gloom, deg._ to my mind                                       deg.16
Brings thee back, in the light
Of thy radiant vigour, again;
In the gloom of November we pass'd
Days not dark at thy side;                                            20
Seasons impair'd not the ray
Of thy buoyant cheerfulness, clear.
Such thou wast! and I stand
In the autumn evening, and think
Of bygone autumns with thee.                                          25

Fifteen years have gone round
Since thou arosest to tread,
In the summer-morning, the road
Of death, at a call unforeseen,
Sudden. For fifteen years,                                            30
We who till then in thy shade
Rested as under the boughs
Of a mighty oak, deg. have endured                                        deg.33
Sunshine and rain as we might,
Bare, unshaded, alone,                                                35
Lacking the shelter of thee.

O strong soul, by what shore deg.                                         deg.37
Tarriest thou now? For that force,
Surely, has not been left vain!
Somewhere, surely, afar,                                              40
In the sounding labour-house vast
Of being, is practised that strength,
Zealous, beneficent, firm!

Yes, in some far-shining sphere,
Conscious or not of the past,                                         45
Still thou performest the word
Of the Spirit in whom thou dost live--
Prompt, unwearied, as here!
Still thou upraisest with zeal
The humble good from the ground,                                      50
Sternly repressest the bad!
Still, like a trumpet, doth rouse
Those who with half-open eyes
Tread the border-land dim
'Twixt vice and virtue; reviv'st,                                     55
Succourest!--this was thy work,
This was thy life upon earth. deg.                                        deg.57

What is the course of the life
Of mortal men on the earth deg.?--                                        deg.59
Most men eddy about                                                   60
Here and there--eat and drink,
Chatter and love and hate,
Gather and squander, are raised
Aloft, are hurl'd in the dust,
Striving blindly, achieving                                           65
Nothing; and then they die--
Perish;--and no one asks
Who or what they have been,
More than he asks what waves,
In the moonlit solitudes mild                                         70
Of the midmost Ocean, have swell'd,
Foam'd for a moment, and gone.

And there are some, whom a thirst
Ardent, unquenchable, fires,
Not with the crowd to be spent,                                       75
Not without aim to go round
In an eddy of purposeless dust,
Effort unmeaning and vain.
Ah yes! some of us strive
Not without action to die                                             80
Fruitless, but something to snatch
From dull oblivion, nor all
Glut the devouring grave!
We, we have chosen our path--
Path to a clear-purposed goal,                                        85
Path of advance!--but it leads
A long, steep journey, through sunk
Gorges, o'er mountains in snow.
Cheerful, with friends, we set forth--
Then, on the height, comes the storm.                                 90
Thunder crashes from rock
To rock, the cataracts reply,
Lightnings dazzle our eyes. deg.                                          deg.93
Roaring torrents have breach'd
The track, the stream-bed descends                                    95
In the place where the wayfarer once
Planted his footstep--the spray
Boils o'er its borders! aloft
The unseen snow-beds dislodge
Their hanging ruin deg.; alas,                                           deg.100
Havoc is made in our train!

Friends, who set forth at our side,
Falter, are lost in the storm.
We, we only are left!
With frowning foreheads, with lips                                   105
Sternly compress'd, we strain on,
On--and at nightfall at last
Come to the end of our way,
To the lonely inn 'mid the rocks;
Where the gaunt and taciturn host                                    110
Stands on the threshold, the wind
Shaking his thin white hairs--
Holds his lantern to scan
Our storm-beat figures, and asks:
Whom in our party we bring?                                          115
Whom we have left in the snow?

Sadly we answer: We bring
Only ourselves! we lost
Sight of the rest in the storm.
Hardly ourselves we fought through,                                  120
Stripp'd, without friends, as we are.
Friends, companions, and train,
The avalanche swept from our side. deg.                                  deg.123

But thou would'st not _alone_
Be saved, my father! _alone_                                         125
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild.
We were weary, and we
Fearful, and we in our march
Fain to drop down and to die.                                        130
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand.

If, in the paths of the world,
Stones might have wounded thy feet,                                  135
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw
Nothing--to us thou wast still
Cheerful, and helpful, and firm!
Therefore to thee it was given                                       140
Many to save with thyself;
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful shepherd! to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand. deg.                                     deg.144

And through thee I believe                                           145
In the noble and great who are gone;
Pure souls honour'd and blest
By former ages, who else--
Such, so soulless, so poor,
Is the race of men whom I see--                                      150
Seem'd but a dream of the heart,
Seem'd but a cry of desire.
Yes! I believe that there lived
Others like thee in the past,
Not like the men of the crowd                                        155
Who all round me to-day
Bluster or cringe, and make life
Hideous, and arid, and vile;
But souls temper'd with fire,
Fervent, heroic, and good,                                           160
Helpers and friends of mankind.

Servants of God!--or sons
Shall I not call you? because
Not as servants ye knew
Your Father's innermost mind,                                        165
His, who unwillingly sees
One of his little ones lost--
Yours is the praise, if mankind
Hath not as yet in its march
Fainted, and fallen, and died!                                       170

See! In the rocks deg. of the world
Marches the host of mankind,
A feeble, wavering line.
Where are they tending?--A God
Marshall'd them, gave them their goal.                               175
Ah, but the way is so long!
Years they have been in the wild!
Sore thirst plagues them, the rocks,
Rising all round, overawe;
Factions divide them, their host                                     180
Threatens to break, to dissolve.
--Ah, keep, keep them combined!
Else, of the myriads who fill
That army, not one shall arrive;
Sole they shall stray: in the rocks                                  185
Stagger for ever in vain,
Die one by one in the waste.

Then, in such hour of need
Of your fainting, dispirited race,
Ye, deg. like angels, appear,                                            190
Radiant with ardour divine!
Beacons of hope, ye appear!
Languor is not in your heart,
Weakness is not in your word,
Weariness not on your brow.                                          195
Ye alight in our van! at your voice,
Panic, despair, flee away.
Ye move through the ranks, recall
The stragglers, refresh the outworn,
Praise, re-inspire the brave!                                        200
Order, courage, return.
Eyes rekindling, and prayers,
Follow your steps as ye go.
Ye fill up the gaps in our files,
Strengthen the wavering line,                                        205
Stablish, continue our march,
On, to the bound of the waste,
On, to the City of God. deg.                                             deg.208








       *       *       *       *       *
                                                                   [149]

NOTES

       *       *       *       *       *




SOHRAB AND RUSTUM

"I am occupied with a thing that gives me more pleasure than anything
I have ever done yet, which is a good sign, but whether I shall not
ultimately spoil it by being obliged to strike it off in fragments
instead of at one heat, I cannot quite say." (Arnold, in a letter to
Mrs. Foster, April, 1853.)

"All my spare time has been spent on a poem which I have just finished
and which I think by far the best thing I have yet done, and I think
it will be generally liked; though one can never be sure of this. I
have had the greatest pleasure in composing it, a rare thing with me,
and, as I think, a good test of the pleasure what you write is likely
to afford to others. But the story is a very noble and excellent one."
(Arnold, in a letter to his mother, May, 1853.)

The following synopsis of the story of Sohrab and Rustum the "tale
replete with tears," is gathered from several sources, chiefly
Benjamin's _Persia_, in _The Story of the Nations_, Sir John Malcolm's
_History of Persia_, and the great Persian epic poem, _Shah Nameh_.
The _Shah Nameh_ the original source of the story, and which purports
to narrate the exploits of Persia's kings and champions over a space
of thirty-six centuries, bears the same relation to Persian literature
as the _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ to the Greek, and the _AEneid_ to the
Latin, though in structure it more nearly resembles _Morte d'Arthur_,
which records in order the achievements of various heroes. In it
the native poet Mansur ibn Ahmad, afterwards known to literature
as Firdausi, the Paradisaical, has set down the early tales and
traditions of his people with all the vividness and color common to
oriental writers. The principal hero of the poem is the mighty Rustum,
who, mounted on his famous horse Ruksh, performed prodigies of valor
in defence of the Persian throne. Of all his adventures his encounter
with Sohrab is the most dramatic. The poem was probably written in
the latter half of the tenth century. As will be seen, the incidents
narrated in Arnold's poem form but an episode in the complete story of
the two champions.                                                 [150]

Rustum (or Rustem), having killed a wild ass while hunting on the
Turanian frontier, and having feasted on its flesh, composed himself
to sleep, leaving his faithful steed, Ruksh (or Raksh), to graze
untethered. On awakening, he found his horse had disappeared, and
believing it had been stolen, the warrior proceeded towards Semenjan,
a near-by city, in hopes of recovering his property. On the way, he
learned that Ruksh had been found by the servants of the king and was
stabled at Semenjan, as he had surmised. Upon Rustum's demand, the
steed was promptly restored to him, and he was about to depart when he
was prevailed upon to accept the king's invitation to tarry awhile and
rest himself in feasting and idleness.

Now the king of Semenjan had a fair daughter named Tahmineh, who had
become enamoured of Rustum because of his mighty exploits. Susceptible
as she was beautiful, she made her attachment so evident that the
young hero, who was as ardent as he was brave, readily yielded to
the power of her fascination. The consent of the king having been
obtained, Rustum and Tahmineh were married with all the rites
prescribed by the laws of the country. A peculiar feature of this
alliance lay in the fact that the king of Semenjan was feudatory to
Afrasiab, the deadly enemy of Persia, while Rustum was her greatest
champion. At this time, however, the two countries were at peace.
                                                                   [151]
For a time all went happily, then Rustum found it necessary to leave
his bride, as he thought, for only a short time. At parting he gave
her an onyx, which he wore on his arm, bidding her, if a daughter
should be born to their union, to twine the gem in her hair under a
fortunate star; but if a son, to bind it on his arm, and he would be
insured a glorious career. Rustum then mounted Ruksh and rode away--as
time proved, never to return.

The months went by, and to the lonely bride was born a marvellous son,
whom, because of his comely features, she named Sohrab. Fearing Rustum
would send for the boy when he grew older, and thus rob her of her
treasure, Tahmineh sent word to him that the child was a girl--"no
son," and Rustum took no further interest in it.

While still of tender years, Sohrab showed signs of his noble lineage.
He early displayed a love for horses, and at the age of ten years,
according to the tradition, was large and handsome and highly
accomplished in the use of arms. Realizing at length that he was of
lofty descent, he insisted that his mother, who had concealed the
fact, should inform him of the name of his father. Being told that it
was the renowned Rustum, he exclaimed, "Since he is my father, I shall
go to his aid; he shall become king of Persia and together we shall
rule the world." After this the youth caused a horse worthy of him to
be found, and with the aid of his grandfather, the king of Semenjan,
he prepared to go on the quest, attended by a mighty host.

When Afrasiab, the Turanian ruler, learned that Sohrab was going to
war with the Persians, he was greatly pleased, and after counselling
with his wise men, decided openly to assist him in his enterprises,
with the expectation that both Rustum and Sohrab would fall in battle
and Persia be at his mercy. He accordingly sent an army of auxiliaries
to Sohrab, accompanied by two astute courtiers, Houman and Barman,
who, under the guise of friendship, were to act as counsellors to
the young leader. These he ordered to keep the knowledge of their
relationship from father and son and to seek to bring about an
encounter between them, in the hope that Sohrab would slay Rustum,
Afrasiab's most dreaded foeman, after which the unsuspecting youth
might easily be disposed of by treachery.                          [152]

Sohrab, with his army and that of Afrasiab, set out, intending to
fight his way until Rustum should be sent against him, when he would
reveal himself to his father and form an alliance with him that would
place the line of Seistan on the throne. On the way southward, Sohrab
overthrew and captured the Persian champion, Hujir, and the same
day conquered the warrior maiden Gurdafrid, whose beauty and tears,
however, prevailed upon him to release her. Guzdehern, father of
Gurdafrid, recognizing Sohrab's prowess, and alarmed for the safety
of the Persian throne, secretly despatched a courier to the king Kai
Kaoos to warn him of the young Tartar's approach. Kaoos, in great
terror, sent for Rustum to hurry to his aid. Regardless of the king's
request, Rustum spent eight days in feasting, then presented himself
at the court. Kaoos, angered at the delay, ordered both the champion
and the messenger to be executed forthwith; but Rustum effected his
escape on Ruksh, and returned to Seistan, leaving Persia to her fate.
The king's wrath, however, soon gave place to fear; and recognizing
the danger of his throne unsupported by Rustum's valor, he despatched
messengers to him with humble petitions and apologies. After much
protesting, Rustum finally yielded and accompanied the Persian army,
under the king Kai Kaoos, which at once set forth to encounter Sohrab.

The morning before the opening of hostilities, Sohrab, taking the
Persian Hujir, whom he still held a prisoner, to the top of a rocky
eminence, ordered him to point out the tents of the chief warriors
of the Persian army, particularly Rustum's. But Hujir, fearing lest
Sohrab should attack Rustum unexpectedly and so overcome him, declared
that the great chieftain's tent was not among those on the plain
below. Disappointed at his failure to find his father, Sohrab led his
army in a fierce onslaught on the Persians, driving them in confusion
before him. In this dire extremity Kai Kaoos sent for Rustum, who was
somewhat apart from the main troop. Exclaiming that the king never
sent for him except when he had got himself into trouble, the warrior
armed, mounted Ruksh, and rushed to the combat. By mutual consent the
two champions withdrew to a retired spot, where, unmolested, they
might fight out their quarrel hand to hand. As they approached each
other, Rustum, moved with compassion by the youth of his foe, tried
to dissuade Sohrab from his purpose, and counselled him to retire.
Sohrab, filled with sudden hope,--an instinctive feeling that the
father whom he was seeking stood before him,--eagerly demanded whether
this were Rustum. But Rustum, fearing treachery, said he was only an
ordinary man, having neither palace nor princely kingdom--not Rustum.

They marked off the lists, and, mounted on their powerful horses,
fought first with javelins, then with swords, clubs, and bows and
arrows. After several hours of fighting both were exhausted, and by
tacit consent they retired to opposite sides of the lists for rest.
When the combat was renewed, Sohrab gained a slight advantage. A truce
was then made for the night, and the warriors returned to their tents
to prepare for the morrow.

With daybreak the struggle was renewed. To prevent the armies from
intervening or engaging in battle, they were removed to a distance of
several miles. Midway between, Sohrab and Rustum met in the midst of a
lonely, treeless waste. More convinced than before that his adversary
was Rustum, Sohrab sought to bring about a reconciliation, but Rustum
refused. This time they fought on foot. From morning till afternoon
they fought, neither gaining any decided advantage. At last Sohrab
succeeded in felling Rustum to the earth, and was about to slay him,
when the Persian called out that it was not the custom in chivalrous
warfare to slay a champion until he was thrown the second time.
Sohrab, generous as brave, released his prostrate foe; and again
father and son parted.                                             [154]

Rustum, scarcely believing himself alive after such an escape,
purified himself with water, and prayed that his wounds might be
healed and his accustomed strength restored to him. Never before had
he been so beset in battle.

With morning came the renewal of the combat, both champions
determining to end it that day. Late in the evening Rustum, by a
supreme effort, seized Sohrab around the waist and hurled him to the
ground. Then, fearing lest the youth prove too strong for him in the
end, he drew his blade and plunged it into Sohrab's bosom.

Sohrab forgave Rustum, but warned him to beware the vengeance of his
father, the mighty Rustum, who must soon learn that he had slain his
son Sohrab. "I went out to seek my father," cried the dying youth,
"for my mother had told me by what tokens I should know him, and I
perish for longing after him.... Yet I say unto thee, if thou shouldst
become a fish that swimmeth in the depths of the ocean, if thou
shouldst change into a star that is concealed in the farthest heaven,
my father would draw thee forth from thy hiding-place, and avenge my
death upon thee, when he shall learn that the earth is become my bed.
For my father is Rustum the Pehliva, and it shall be told unto him,
how that Sohrab his son perished in the quest after his face." These
words were as death to the aged hero, who fell senseless at the side
of his wounded son. When he had recovered he called in despair for
proofs of what Sohrab had said. The now dying youth tore open his mail
and showed his father the onyx which his mother had bound on his arm
as directed.                                                       [155]

The sight of his own signet rendered Rustum quite frantic; he cursed
himself, and would have put an end to his existence but for the
efforts of his expiring son. After Sohrab's death he burnt his tents
and carried the corpse to his father's home in Seistan, and buried
it there. The Tartar army, agreeable to Sohrab's last request, was
permitted to return home unmolested. When the tidings of Sohrab's
death reached his mother, she was inconsolable, and died in less than
a year.

In the main the story as told by Arnold follows the original
narrative. A careful investigation of the alterations made, and the
effect thus produced, will lend added interest to the study of the
poem and give ample theme for composition work.


=1. And the first grey of morning fill'd the east.= Note the abrupt
opening. What is gained by its use? At what point in the story as told
in the introductory note does the poem take up the narrative? Be sure
to get a clear mental picture of the initiative scene. _And_ is here
used in a manner common in the Scriptures. Cf. "And the Lord spake
unto Moses," etc.

=2. Oxus.= The chief river of Central Asia, which separated Turan from
Iran or the Persian Empire, called Oxus by the Greeks and Romans, and
the Jihun or Amu by the Arabs and Persians. It takes its source in
Lake Sir-i-Kol, in the Pamir table-land, at a height of 15,600 feet,
flows northwest, and empties into the Aral Sea on the south. Its
length is about 1300 miles.

"The introduction of the tranquil pictures of the Oxus, both at the
beginning and close of the poem (ll. 875-892), flowing steadily on,
unmoved by the tragedy which has been enacted on her shore, forms one
of the most artistic features in the setting of the poem."

=3. Tartar camp.= The Tartars were nomadic tribes of Central Asia and
southern Russia. The so-called Black Tartars, identified with the
Scythians of the Greek historians, inhabited the basin of the Aral and
Caspian Seas, and are the tribe referred to in the poem. They are a
fierce, warlike people; hence our expression, "caught a Tartar."
                                                                   [156]
=11. Peran-Wisa.= A celebrated Turanian chief, here in command of
Afrasiab's army, which was composed of representatives of many Tartar
tribes, as indicated in ll. 119-134.

=15. Pamere=, or Pamir. An extensive plateau region of Central Asia,
called by the natives the "roof of the world." Among the rivers having
their source in this plateau are the Oxus, l. 2, and the Jaxartes, l.
129.

=38. Afrasiab.= The king of the Tartars, and one of the principal
heroes of the _Shah Nameh_, the Persian "Book of Kings." He is reputed
to have been strong as a lion and to have had few equals as a warrior.

=40. Samarcand.= A city in the district of Serafshan, Turkestan, to
the east of Bokhara; now a considerable commercial and manufacturing
centre, and a centre of Mohammedan learning.

=42. Ader-baijan.= The northwest province of Persia, on the Turanian
frontier.

=45. At my boy's years.= See introductory note to poem.

=60. common fight.= In the sense of a general engagement. Be sure to
catch the reason why Sohrab makes his request.

=61. sunk.= That is, lost sight of.

=67. common chance.= See note, l. 60. Which would be the more
dangerous, a "single" or "common" combat? Why?

=70. To find a father thou hast never seen.= See introductory note to
poem.

=82. Seistan.= A province of southwest Afghanistan bordering on the
Persian province of Yezd. It is intersected by the Helmund River (l.
751), which flows into the Hamoon Lake, now scarcely more than a
morass. On an island in this lake are ruins of fortifications called
Fort Rustum. This territory was long held by Rustum's family,
feudatory to the Persian kings. =Zal.= Rustum's father, ruler of
Seistan. See note, l. 232.                                         [157]

=83-85. Whether that ... or in some quarrel=, etc. Either because his
mighty strength ... or because of some quarrel, etc.

=85. Persian King.= That is, Kai Kaoos (or Kai Khosroo). See
introductory note to poem; also note, l. 223.

=86-91. There go!= etc. The touching solicitation of these lines is
wholly Arnold's.

=99. Why ruler's staff, no sword?=

=101. Kara Kul.= A district some thirty miles southwest of Bokhara,
noted for the excellence of its pasturage, and for its fleeces.

=107. Haman.= Next to Peran-Wisa in command of Tartar army. See
Houman, in introductory note to poem.

=113-114. Casbin.= A fortified city in the province of Irak-Ajemi,
Persia, situated on the main route from Persia to Europe, and at one
time the capital of the Iranian empire. Just to the north of the city
rise the =Elburz Mountains= (l. 114), which separate the Persian
Plateau from the depression containing the Caspian and Aral Seas.

=115. frore.= Frozen, from the Anglo-Saxon _froren_.

                                "... the parching air
          Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire."

                  --MILTON. _Paradise Lost_, ll. 594-595, Book II.

=119. Bokhara.= Here the state of Bokhara, an extensive region of
Central Asia, touching the Aral Sea to the north, the Oxus to the
south, and Khiva to the west. It has an estimated area of 235,000
square miles, and contains nineteen cities of considerable size, of
which the capital, Bokhara, is most important.

=120. Khiva.= A khanate situated in the valley of the lower Oxus,
bordering Bokhara on the southeast. =ferment the milk of mares.= An
intoxicating drink, _Koumiss_, made of camel's or mare's milk, is in
wide use among the steppe tribes.
                                                                   [158]
=121. Toorkmuns.= A branch of the Turkish race found chiefly in
northern Persia and Afghanistan.

=122. Tukas.= From the province of Azer-baijan.

=123. Attruck.= A river of Khorassan, near the frontier of Khiva; it
has a west course, and enters the Caspian Sea on the east side.

=128. Ferghana.= A khanate of Turkestan, north of Bokhara, in the
upper valley of the Sir Daria.

=129. Jaxartes.= The ancient name of the Sir Daria River. It takes its
source in the Thian Shan Mountains, one of the Pamir Plateau ranges,
and flows with a general direction north, emptying into the Aral Sea
on the east side.

=131. Kipchak.= A khanate some seventy miles below Khiva on the Oxus.

=132. Kalmucks.= A nomadic branch of the Mongolian race, dwelling in
western Siberia. =Kuzzaks.= Now commonly called Cossacks; a warlike
people inhabiting the steppes of southern Russia and extensive
portions of Asia. Their origin is uncertain.

=133. Kirghizzes.= A rude nomadic people of Mongolian-Tartar race
found in northern Turkestan.

=138. Khorassan.= (That is, the region of the sun.) A province of
northeastern Persia, largely desert. The origin of the name is
  prettily suggested by Moore in the opening poem of _Lalla Rookh_:--

           "In the delightful province of the sun
            The first of Persian lands he shines upon," etc.

=147. fix'd.= Stopped suddenly, halted.

=154-169.= Note the effect the challenge has on the two armies.

=156. corn.= Here used with its European sense of "grain." It is only
in America that the word signifies Indian corn or "maize."
                                                                   [159]
=160. Cabool.= Capital of northern Afghanistan, and an important
commercial city.

=161. Indian Caucasus.= A lofty mountain range north of Cabool, which
forms the boundary between Turkestan and Afghanistan.

=173. King.= See note, l. 85.

=177. lion's heart.= Explain the line. Why are the terms here used so
forcible in the mouth of Gudurz?

=178-183. Aloof he sits, etc.= One is reminded by Rustum's deportment
here, of Achilles sulking in his tent and nursing his wrath against
Agamemnon.--_Iliad_, Book I.

=199. sate.= Old form of "sat," common in poetry.

=200. falcon.= A kind of hawk trained to catch game birds.

=217. Iran.= The official name of Persia.

=221. Go to!= Hebraic expression. Frequently found in Shakespeare.

=223. Kai Khosroo.= According to the _Shah Nameh_, the thirteenth
Turanian king. He reigned in the sixth century B.C., and has been
identified with Cyrus the Great.

=230. Not that one slight helpless girl, etc.= See ll. 609-611, also
introduction to the poem.

=232. snow-haired Zal.= According to tradition, Zal was born with
snow-white hair. His father Lahm, believing this an ill omen, doomed
the unfortunate babe to be exposed on the loftiest summit of the
Elburz Mountains. The Simurgh, a great bird or griffin, found him and
cared for him till grown, then restored him to his repentant parent.
He subsequently married the Princess Rudabeh of Seistan, by whom he
became father of Rustum.

=243-248. He spoke ... men.= Note carefully Gudurz's argument. Why so
effective with Rustum?

=257. But I will fight unknown and in plain arms.= The shields and
arms of the champions were emblazoned with mottoes and devices. Why
does Rustum determine to lay aside his accustomed arms and fight
incognito? What effect does this determination have upon the ultimate
outcome of the situation? Read the story of the arming of Achilles
(Book XIX., Homer's _Iliad_), and compare with Rustum's preparation
for battle.                                                        [160]

=266. device.= See note, l. 257.

  =277. Dight.= Adorned, dressed.

          "The clouds in thousand liveries dight."
                     --MILTON. _L'Allegro,_ l. 62.

=286. Bahrein= or Aval. A group of islands in the Persian Gulf,
celebrated for its pearl fisheries.

  =288. tale.= Beckoning, number.

          "And every shepherd tells his _tale_,
           Under the hawthorn in the dale."
                     --MILTON. _L'Allegro,_ ll. 67-68.

=306. flowers.= Decorates, beautifies with floral designs.

=311. perused.= Studied, observed closely.

=318.= In a letter dated November, 1852, Mr. Arnold speaks of the
figures in his poem as follows: "I can only say that I took a great
deal of trouble to orientalize them, because I thought they looked
strange, and jarred, if western." What is gained by their use?

=325. vast.= Large, mighty.

=326. tried.= Proved, experienced.

=328. Never was that field lost or that foe saved.= Note the power
gained in this line by the use of the alliteration.

=330. Be govern'd.= Be influenced, persuaded.

=343. by thy father's head!= Such oaths are common to the extravagant
speech of the oriental peoples.

=344. Art thou not Rustum?= See introductory note to poem.

=367. vaunt.= Boast implied in the challenge.

=380. Thou wilt not fright me so!= That is, by such talk.

=401. tower'd.= Remained stationary, poised.

=406. full struck.= Struck squarely.
                                                                   [161]
=412. Hyphasis, Hydaspes.= Two of the rivers of the Punjab in northern
India, now known as the Beas and Jhylum. In 326 B.C. Alexander
defeated Porus on the banks of the latter stream.

=414. wrack.= Ruin, havoc. (Poetical.)

=418. glancing.= In the sense of darting aside.

=435. hollow.= Unnatural in tone.

=452. like that autumn-star.= Probably Sirius, the Dog Star, under
whose ascendency, according to ancient beliefs, epidemic diseases
prevailed.

=454. crest.= That is, helmet and plume.

=466. Remember all thy valour.= That is, summon up all your courage.

=469. girl's wiles.= Explain the line.

=470. kindled.= Roused, angered.

=481. unnatural.= because of the kinship of the combatants.

=481-486. for a cloud=, etc. A distinctly Homeric imitation. Cf. the
cloud that enveloped Paris--Book III., ll. 465-469, of the _Iliad_.

=489. And the sun sparkled=, etc. Why this reference to the clear Oxus
stream at this moment of intense tragedy?

=495. helm.= Helmet; defensive armor for the head.

=497. shore.= Past tense of _shear_, to cut.

=499. bow'd his head:= because of the force of the blow.

=508. curdled.= Thickened as with fear.

=516. Rustum!= Why did this word so affect Sohrab? Note the author's
skill in working up to this climax in the narrative.

=527-539. Then with a bitter smile=, etc. Compare these words of
the victor, Rustum, with the words of Sohrab, ll. 427-447, when the
advantage was with him.

=536. glad.= Make happy.

          "That which _gladded_ all the warrior train."
                                           --DRYDEN.
                                                                   [162]
=538. Dearer to the red jackals=, etc. Cf. I. Sam. xvii. 44: "Come to
me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the
beasts of the field." Careful investigation will show the poem to
abound with Biblical as well as classical parallelisms.

=556-575. As when some hunter, etc.= One of the truly great similes in
the English language.

=563. sole.= Alone, solitary. From the Latin _solus_.

=570. glass.= Reflect as in a mirror.

=596. bruited up.= Noised abroad.

=613. the style.= The name or title.

=625. that old king.= The king of Semenjan. See introductory note to
poem.

=632. Of age and looks=, etc. That is, of such age as he (Sohrab)
would be, if born of his (Rustum's) union with Tahmineh.

=658-660. I tell thee, prick'd upon this arm=, etc. This is Arnold's
conception. In the original story Sohrab wore an onyx stone as an
amulet. The onyx was supposed to incite the wearer to deeds of valor.

=664. corselet.= Protective armor for the body.

=673. cunning.= Skilful, deft.

=679. griffin.= In the natural history of the ancients, an imaginary
animal, half lion and half eagle. Here the Simurgh. See note, l. 232.

=708-710. unconscious hand.= Note how the dying Sohrab seeks to
  console the grief-stricken Rustum.

       "Such is my destiny, such is the will of fortune.
        It was decreed that I should perish by the hand of my father."

  --_Shah Nameh_.

=717. have found= (him). Note the ellipsis.

=723-724. I came ... passing wind.= The _Shah Nameh_ has--

  "I came like a flash of lightning, and now I depart like the wind."

=736. caked the sand.= Hardened into cakes.

=751. Helmund.= See note, l. 82.                                   [163]

=752. Zirrah.= Another lake in Seistan, southeast of Hamoon, now
almost dry.

=763-765. Moorghab, Tejend and Kohik.= Rivers of Turkestan which lose
themselves in the deserts to the south of Bokhara. The northern Sir is
the Sir Daria, or Jaxartes. See note, l. 129.

=788. And heap a stately mound=, etc. Persian tradition says that a
large monument, in shape like the hoof of a horse, was placed over the
spot where Sohrab was buried.

=830. on that day.= Shortly after the death of Afrasiab, the Persian
monarch Kai Khosroo, accompanied by a large number of his nobles, went
to a spring far to the north, the location fixed upon as a place
for their repose. Here the king died, and those who went with him
afterward perished in a tempest. Sohrab predicted Rustum would be one
of those lost, but tradition does not have it so.

=861. Persepolis.= An ancient capital of Persia, the ruins of which
are known as "the throne of Jemshid," after a mythical king.

=878. Chorasma.= A region of Turkestan, the seat of a powerful empire
in the twelfth century, but now greatly reduced. Its present limits
are about the same as those of Khiva. See note, l. 120.

=880. Right for the polar star.= That is, due north. =Orgunje.= A
village on the Oxus some seventy miles below Khiva, and near the head
of its delta.

=890. luminous home.= The Aral Sea.

=891. new bathed stars.= As the stars appear on the horizon, they seem
to have come up out of the sea.

=875-892.= Discuss the poet's purpose in introducing the remarkable
word-picture of these closing lines of the poem. See also note, ll.
231-250, _The Scholar-Gipsy._




SAINT BRANDAN                                                      [164]

In this poem Arnold has vividly presented a quaint legend of Judas
Iscariot, popular in the Middle Ages. Saint Brandan (490-577) was
a celebrated Irish monk, famous for his voyages. "According to the
legendary accounts of his travels, he set sail with others to seek the
terrestrial paradise which was supposed to exist in an island of the
Atlantic. Various miracles are related of the voyage, but they are
always connected with the great island where the monks are said to
have landed. The legend was current in the time of Columbus and
long after, and many connected St. Brandan's island with the newly
discovered America. He is commemorated on May 16."--_The Century
Cyclopedia of Names_.


=7. Hebrides.= A group of islands off the northwestern coast of
Scotland.

=11. hurtling Polar lights.= A reference to the rapid, changing
movements of the Aurora Borealis.

=18. Of hair that red.= According to tradition, Judas Iscariot's hair
was red.

=21. sate.= See note, l. 199, _Sohrab and Rustum_. (Old form of "sat,"
common in poetry.)


=31. self-murder.= After betraying Christ, Judas hanged himself. See
Matt, xxvii. 5 and Acts i. 18.

=38. The Leper recollect.= There is no scriptural authority for this
incident.

=40. Joppa=, or Jaffa. A small maritime town of Palestine--the ancient
port of Jerusalem. There is also a small village called Jaffa in
Galilee, some two miles southwest of Nazareth, which may have been the
place the poet had in mind.


Image the situation as presented in the first several stanzas. Why
locate in the sea without a "human shore," l. 12? Is there any
especial reason for having the time Christmas night? Note the dramatic
introduction of Judas. What effect did his appearance have on the
saint? How was the latter reassured? Give reasons why Judas felt
impelled to tell his story. Tell the story. Does he praise or belittle
his act of charity? Why does he say "that _chance_ act of good"? How
was it rewarded? Explain his last expression. Was he about to say
more? If so, what? What effect did Judas's story have on Saint
Brandan? Why? What is the underlying thought in the poem? Discuss the
form of verse used and its appropriateness to the theme.           [165]




THE FORSAKEN MERMAN

"The title of this poem inevitably brings to mind Tennyson's two
poems, _The Merman_ and _The Mermaid_. A comparison will show that, in
this instance at least, the Oxford poet has touched his subject not
less melodiously and with finer and deeper feeling.--Margaret will not
listen to her 'Children's voices, wild with pain';--dearer to her is
the selfish desire to save her own soul than is the light in the eyes
of her little Mermaiden, dearer than the love of the king of the sea,
who yearns for her with sorrow-laden heart. Here is there an infinite
tenderness and an infinite tragedy."
                          --L. DUPONT SYLE, _From Milton to Tennyson_.

Legends of this kind abound among the sea-loving Gaelic and Cymric
people. Nowhere, perhaps, have they been given a more pleasing and
touching expression than in Arnold's poem. Note carefully the dramatic
manner in which the pathos of the story is presented and developed.


=6. wild white horses.= Breakers, whitecaps.

=13. Margaret.= A favorite name with Arnold. See _Isolation_ and _A
Dream_ in this volume.

=39. ranged.= See note, l. 73, _The Strayed Reveller_. (wander
aimlessly about.)

=42. mail.= Protective covering.

=54.= Why "down swung the sound of a far-off bell"?                [166]

=81. seal'd.= Fastened; fixed intently upon, as though spellbound.

=89-93. Hark ... sun.= In her song Margaret shows she is still keenly
alive to human interests, temporal and spiritual. The priest, bell,
and holy well (l. 91) symbolize the church, here Roman Catholic. The
bell is used in the Roman Church to call especial attention to the
more important portions of the service; the well is the holy-water
font.

=129. heaths starr'd with broom.= The flower of the broom plant,
common in England, is yellow; hence, _starr'd_.

In his work on Matthew Arnold, George Saintsbury speaks of this poem
as follows: "It is, I believe, not so 'correct' as it once was to
admire this [poem]; but I confess indocility to correctness, at least
the correctness which varies with fashion. _The Forsaken Merman_ is
not a perfect poem--it has _tongueurs_, though it is not long; it has
its inadequacies, those incompetences of expression which are so oddly
characteristic of its author; and his elaborate simplicity, though
more at home here than in some other places, occasionally gives a
dissonance. But it is a great poem,--one by itself,--one which finds
and keeps its own place in the fore-ordained gallery or museum, with
which every true lover of poetry is provided, though he inherits it by
degrees. None, I suppose, will deny its pathos; I should be sorry for
any one who fails to perceive its beauty. The brief picture of the
land, and the fuller one of the sea, and that (more elaborate still)
of the occupations of the fugitive, all have their charm. But the
triumph of the piece is in one of those metrical coups, which give
the triumph of all the greatest poetry, in the sudden change from the
slower movements of the earlier stanzas, or strophes, to the quicker
sweep of the famous conclusions."
                                                                   [167]
What is the opening situation in the poem? Have the merman and his
children just reached the shore, or have they been there some time?
Why so? Why does the merman still linger, when he is convinced that
further delay will count for nothing? Why does he urge the children to
call? What is shown by his repeated question--"was it yesterday"? Tell
the story of Margaret's departure for the upper world, and discuss the
validity of her reason for going. Do you think she intended to return?
What is the significance of her smile just before departing? Give
a word picture of what the sea-folk saw as they lingered in the
churchyard. Will Margaret ever grieve for the past? If so, when? Why?
Who has your sympathy most, Margaret, the forsaken merman, or the
children? Why? Do you condemn Margaret for the way she has done, or do
you feel she was justified in her actions? Discuss the versification,
giving special attention to its effect on the movement of the poem.




TRISTRAM AND ISEULT

The story of Tristram and Iseult is one of the most vivid and
passionate of the Arthurian cycle of legends, and is a favorite with
the poets. The following version is abridged from Dunlop's _History of
Fiction_.

"In the court of his uncle, King Marc, the king of Cornwall, who at
this time resided at the castle of Tyntagel, Tristram became expert
in all knightly exercises.... The king of Ireland, at Tristram's
solicitation, promised to bestow his daughter Iseult in marriage on
King Marc.... The mother of Iseult gave to her daughter's confidante
a philtre, or love-potion, to be administered on the night of her
nuptials. Of this beverage Tristram and Iseult unfortunately partook.
Its influence, during the remainder of their lives, regulated the
affections and destiny of the lovers.
                                                                   [168]
"After the arrival of Tristram and Iseult in Cornwall, and the
nuptials of the latter with King Marc, a great part of the romance
is occupied with their contrivances to procure secret interviews ...
Tristram, being forced to leave Cornwall on account of the displeasure
of his uncle, repaired to Brittany, where lived Iseult with the White
Hands. He married her, more out of gratitude than love. Afterwards
he proceeded to the dominions of Arthur which became the theatre of
unnumbered exploits.

"Tristram, subsequent to these events, returned to Brittany and to
his long-neglected wife. There, being wounded and sick, he was soon
reduced to the lowest ebb. In this situation he despatched a confidant
to the queen of Cornwall to try if he could induce her to follow him
to Brittany.

"Meanwhile Tristram awaited the arrival of the queen with such
impatience that he employed one of his wife's damsels to watch at the
harbor. Through her, Iseult learned Tristram's secret, and filled with
jealousy, flew to her husband as the vessel which bore the queen of
Cornwall was wafted toward the harbor, and reported that the sails
were black (the signal that Iseult, Marc's queen, had refused
Tristram's request to come to him). Tristram, penetrated with
inexpressible grief, died. The account of Tristram's death was the
first intelligence which the queen of Cornwall heard on landing. She
was conducted to his chamber, and expired holding him in her arms."


=1. Is she not come?= That is, Iseult of Ireland. Arnold's poem takes
up the story at the point where Tristram, now on his death-bed, is
watching eagerly for the coming of Iseult, Marc's queen, for whom he
had sent his confidant to Cornwall. Evidently he has just awakened
and is still somewhat confused; see l. 7. Surely none will fail to
appreciate so dramatic a situation.

=5. What ... be?= That is, what lights are those to the northward, the
direction from which Iseult would come?
                                                                   [169]
=8. Iseult.= Here Iseult of the White Hands, daughter of King Hoel of
Brittany and wife of Tristram.

=20. Arthur's court.= Arthur, the half-mythical king of the Britons,
set up his court at Camelot, which Caxton locates in Wales and Malory
near Winchester. Here was gathered the famous company of champions
known as the "Knights of the Round Table," whose feats have been
extensively celebrated in song and story. Among these knights Tristram
held high rank, both as a warrior and a harpist. See ll. 17-19.

=23. Lyoness.= A mythical region near Cornwall, the home country of
Arthur and Tristram.

=30-31.= Hence the name, Iseult of the White Hands.

=56-68.= See introductory note to poem for explanation. =Tyntagel.=
A village in Cornwall near the sea. Near it is the ruined Tyntagel
Castle, the reputed birthplace of Arthur. In the romance of Sir
Tristram it is the castle of King Marc, the cowardly and treacherous
king of Cornwall, the southwest county of England. =teen=. See note,
l. 147, _The Scholar-Gipsy_. (Grief, sorrow; from the old English
_teona_, meaning injury.)


=88. wanders=, in fancy. Note how the wounded knight's mind flits from
scene to scene, always centring around Iseult of Ireland.

=91. O'er ... sea.= The Irish Sea. He is dreaming of his return trip
from Ireland with Iseult, "under the cloudless sky of May" (l. 96).

=129-132.= See introductory note to poem. The green isle, Ireland is
noted for its green fields; hence the name, Emerald (green) Isle.

=134. on loud Tyntagel's hill.= A high headland on the coast of Wales.
Discuss the force of the adjective "loud" in this connection.

=137-160. And that ... more.= See introductory note to poem.

=161. pleasaunce-walks.= A pleasure garden, screened by trees, shrubs,
and close hedges--here a trysting-place. After the marriage of
Iseult to King Marc, she and Tristram contrived to continue their
relationship in secret.                                            [170]

=164. fay.= Faith. (Obsolete except in poetry.)

=180.= Tristram, having been discovered by King Marc in his intrigues
with Iseult, was forced to leave Cornwall; hence his visit to Brittany
and subsequent marriage to Iseult of the White Hands. See introductory
note to poem.

=192. lovely orphan child.= Iseult of Brittany.

=194. chatelaine.= From the French, meaning the mistress of a
chateau--a castle or fortress.

=200. stranger-knight, ill-starr'd.= That is, Tristram, whose many
mishaps argued his being born under an unlucky star. See also the
account of his birth, note, ll. 81-88, Part II.

=203. Launcelot's guest at Joyous Gard.= Prior to his visit to
Brittany, Tristram had imprisoned his uncle, King Marc, and eloped
with Iseult to the domains of King Arthur. While there he resided
at Joyous Gard, the favorite castle of Launcelot, which that knight
assigned to the lovers as their abode.

=204. Welcomed here.= That is, in Brittany, where he was nursed back
to health by Iseult of the White Hands. See introductory note to poem.

=215-226. His long rambles ... ground.= Account for Tristram's
discontent, as indicated in these lines.

=234-237. All red ... bathed in foam.= The kings of Britain agreed
with Arthur to make war upon Rome. Arthur, leaving Modred in charge
of his kingdom, made war upon the Romans, and, after a number
of encounters, Lucius Tiberius was killed and the Britons were
victorious.--GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH, Book IV, Chapter XV; Book X,
Chapters I-XIII. According to Malory, Arthur captured many French and
Italian cities (see ll. 250-251); during this continental invasion,
and was finally crowned king at Rome. It seems that he afterward
despatched a considerable number of his knights to carry the Christian
faith among the heathen German tribes. See ll. 252-253.            [171]

=238. moonstruck knight.= A reference to the mystical influence the
ancients supposed the moon to exert over men's minds and actions.

=239. What foul fiend rides thee?= What evil spirit possesses you and
keeps you from the fight?

=240. her.= That is, Iseult of Ireland.

=243. wanders forth again=, in fancy.

=245. secret in his breast.= What secret?

=250-253.= See note, ll. 234-237. =blessed sign.= The cross.

=255. Roman Emperor.= That is, Lucius Tiberius. See note, ll. 234-237.

=258. leaguer.= Consult dictionary.

=261. what boots it?= That is, what difference will it make?

=303. recks not.= Has no thought of (archaic).

=308-314. My princess ... good night.= Are Tristram's words sincere,
or has he a motive in thus dismissing Iseult?

=373-374.= From a dramatic standpoint, what is the purpose of these
two lines?



PART II

With the opening of Part II the lovers are restored to each other.
The dying Tristram, worn with fever and impatient with long waiting,
unjustly charges Iseult with cruelty for not having come to him with
greater haste. Her gentle, loving words, however, quickly dispel his
doubts as to her loyalty to her former vows. A complete reconciliation
takes place, and they die in each other's embrace. The picture of the
Huntsman on the arras is one of the most notable in English poetry.


=47. honied nothings=. Explain. Compare with

          "his tongue Dropt manna."                                [172]
                     --_Paradise Lost_, ll. 112-113, Book II.

=81-88=. Tristram was born in the forest, where his mother Isabella,
sister to King Marc, had gone in search of her recreant husband.

=97-100=. Tennyson, in _The Last Tournament_, follows Malory in the
story of Tristram's and Iseult's death. "That traitor, King Mark, slew
the noble knight, Sir Tristram, as he sat harping before his lady,
La Beale Isoud, with a trenchant glaive, for whose death was much
bewailing of every knight that ever was in Arthur's days ... and La
Beale Isoud died swooning upon the cross of Sir Tristram, whereof was
great pity."--Malory's _Morte d' Arthur._

=113. sconce=. Consult dictionary.

=116-122=. Why this restlessness on the part of Iseult? Why her
frequent glances toward the door?

=132. dogg'd=. Worried, pursued. Coleridge uses the epithet
"star-dogged moon," l. 212, Part III, _The Ancient Mariner._

=147-193=. For the poet's purpose in introducing the remarkable
word-picture of these lines, see notes on the Tyrian trader, ll.
231-250, 232, _The Scholar-Gipsy._



PART III

After the death of Tristram and Iseult of Ireland, our thoughts
inevitably turn to Iseult of the White Hands. The infinite pathos of
her life has aroused our deepest sympathy, and we naturally want to
know further concerning her and Tristram's children.


=13. cirque=. A circle (obsolete or poetical). See l. 7, Part III.

=18. holly-trees and juniper=. Evergreen trees common in Europe and
America.
                                                                   [173]
=22. fell-fare= (or field-fare). A small thrush found in Northern
Europe.

=26. stagshorn.= A common club-moss.

=37. old-world Breton history.= That is, the story of Merlin and
Vivian, ll. 153-224, Part III.

=79-81=. Compare with the following lines from Wordsworth's
_Michael_:--

          "This light was famous in its neighborhood.
           ... For, as it chanced,
           Their cottage on a plot of rising ground
           Stood single....
           And from this constant light so regular
           And so far seen, the House itself, by all
           Who dwelt within the limits of the vale
           ... was named _The Evening Star_."

=81. iron coast.= This line inevitably calls to mind a stanza from
Tennyson's _Palace of Art_:--

          "One show'd an iron coast and angry waves.
             You seemed to hear them climb and fall
           And roar, rock-thwarted, under bellowing caves,
             Beneath the windy wall."

=92. prie-dieu.= Praying-desk. From the French _prier_, pray; _dieu_,
God.

=97. seneschal.= A majordomo; a steward. Originally meant _old_ (that
is, _chief) servant_; from the Gothic _sins_, old, and _salks_, a
servant.--SKEAT.

=134. gulls.= Deceives, tricks.

          "The vulgar, _gulled_ into rebellion, armed,"
                                                --DRYDEN.

=140.= posting here and there. That is, restlessly changing from place
to place and from occupation to occupation.

=143-145. Like that bold Caesar=, etc. Julius Caesar (100?-44 B.C.).
The incident here alluded to Is mentioned in Suetonius' _Life of the
Deified Julius_, Chapter VII. "Farther Spain fell to the lot of Caesar
as questor. When, at the command of the Roman people, he was holding
court and had come to Cadiz, he noticed in the temple of Hercules a
statue of Alexander the Great. At sight of this statue he sighed,
as if disgusted at his own lack of achievement, because he had done
nothing of note by the time in life (Caesar was then thirty-two) that
Alexander had conquered the world." (Free translation.)            [174]

=146-150. Prince Alexander, etc.= Alexander III., surnamed "The
Great" (356-323 B.C.), was the most famous of Macedonian generals and
conquerors, and the first in order of time of the four most celebrated
commanders of whom history makes mention. In less than fifteen years
he extended his domain over the known world and established himself as
the universal emperor. He died at Babylon, his capital city, at the
age of thirty-three, having lamented that there were no more worlds
for him to conquer. (For the boundaries of his empire, see any map of
his time.) Pope spoke of him as "The youth who all things but himself
subdued." =Soudan= (l. 149). An obsolete term for Sultan, the Turkish
ruler.

=153-224=. The story of Merlin, King Arthur's court magician, and the
enchantress Vivian is one of the most familiar of the Arthurian cycle
of legends. =Broce-liande= (l. 156). In Cornwall. See l. 61, Part
I. =fay= (l. 159). Fairy, =empire= (l. 184). That is, power; here
supernatural power. =wimple= (l. 220). A covering for the head. =Is
Merlin prisoner=, etc. (l. 223). Merlin, the magician, is thus
entrapped by means of a charm he had himself communicated to his
mistress, the enchantress Vivian. Malory has Merlin imprisoned under a
rock; Tennyson, in an oak:--

          "And in the hollow oak he lay as dead
           And lost to life and use and name and fame."
                                     --_Merlin and Vivian_.
                                                                   [175]
=224=. For she was passing weary, etc.

          "And she was ever passing weary of him."
                                             --MALORY.

PART I. What is the opening situation in the poem? Why have it a
stormy night? What does Tristram's question (l. 7) reveal of his
condition physically and mentally? What is the office of the parts
of the poem coming between the intervals of conversation? How is the
wounded knight identified? How the lady? Follow the wanderings of the
sleeping Tristram's mind. Are the incidents he speaks of in the order
of their occurrence? Explain ll. 102-103; ll. 161-169. Tell the story
of Tristram and Iseult of the White Hands. What is shown by the fact
that Tristram's mind dwells on Iseult of Ireland even at the time of
battle? How account for his wanderings? For his morose frame of mind?
What change has come over nature when Tristram awakes? Why this
change? What is his mood now? Account for his addressing Iseult of
Brittany as he does. Why his order for her to retire? What is her
attitude toward him? Note the manner in which the children are
introduced into the story (ll. 324-325) PART II. Give the opening
situation. Discuss the meeting of Tristram and Iseult. What is
revealed by their conversation? What is the purpose in introducing the
Huntsman on the arras? PART III. What is the purpose of ll. 1-4? Give
the opening situation in Part III. How is Iseult trying to entertain
her children? What kind of a life does she lead? Discuss ll. 112-150
as to meaning and connection with the theme of the poem. Tell the
story of Merlin and Vivian. Why introduced? Compare Arnold's version
of the story of Tristram and Iseult with the version given in the
introductory note to the poem.



                                                                   [176]
THE CHURCH OF BROU



I. THE CASTLE

The church of Brou is actually located in a treeless Burgundian plain,
and not in the mountains, as stated by the poet.


=1. Savoy=. A mountainous district in eastern France; formerly one of
the divisions of the Sardinian States.

=3. mountain-chalets=. Properly, herdsmen's huts in the mountains of
Switzerland.

=17. prickers=. Men sent into the thickets to start the game.

=35. dais=. Here, a canopy or covering.

=69. erst=. See note, l. 42, _The Scholar-Gipsy_. ( Formerly.
(Obsolete except in poetry.))

=71. chancel=. The part of a church in which the altar is placed.

=72. nave=. See note, ll. 70-76, _Epilogue to Lessing's Laocooen_.

=77. palmers=. Wandering religious votaries, especially those who bore
branches of palm as a token that they had visited the Holy Land and
its sacred places.

=109. fretwork=. Representing open woodwork.



II. THE CHURCH

=17. matin-chime=. Bells for morning worship.

=21. Chambery=. Capital of the department of Savoy Proper, on the
Leysse.

=22. Dight=. See l. 277, _Sohrab and Rustum_. (Adorned, dressed.)

=37. chisell'd broideries=. The carved draperies of the tombs.



III. THE TOMB

=6. transept=. The transversal part of a church edifice, which crosses
at right angles between the nave and the choir (the upper portion),
thus giving to the building the form of a cross.


=39. foliaged marble forest=. Note the epithet.
                                                                   [177]
=45. leads=. That is, the leaden roof. See l. 1, Part II. (Upon the
glistening leaden roof).




REQUIESCAT

This poem, one of Arnold's best-known shorter lyrics, combines with
perfect taste, simplicity and elegance, with the truest pathos. It has
been said there is not a false note in it.


=13. cabin'd=. Used in the sense of being cramped for space.

=16. vasty=. Spacious, boundless.

What is the significance of strewing on the roses? Why "never a spray
of yew"? (See note, l.140, _The Scholar-Gipsy.)_ What seems to be the
author's attitude toward death? (Read his poem, _A Wish_.) Discuss the
poem as to its lyrical qualities.




CONSOLATION

=14. Holy Lassa= (that is, Land of the Divine Intelligence), the
capital city of Thibet and residence of the Dalai, or Grand Lama, the
pontifical sovereign of Thibet and East Asia. Here is located the
great temple of Buddha, a vast square edifice, surmounted by a gilded
dome, the temple, together with its precincts, covering an area of
many acres. Contiguous to it, on its four sides, are four celebrated
monasteries, occupied by four thousand recluses, and resorted to as
schools of the Buddhic religion and philosophy. There is, perhaps, no
other one place in the world where so much gold is accumulated for
superstitious purposes.


=17. Muses.= See note, l. 120, _The Strayed Reveller_.

=18. In their cool gallery=. That is, in the Vatican art gallery at
Rome.

=19. yellow Tiber.= So called by the ancients because of the
yellowish, muddy appearance of its waters.
                                                                   [178]
=21. Strange unloved uproar.= At the time this poem was
written,--1849,--the French army was besieging Rome.

=23. Helicon.= High mountain in Boeotia, legendary home of the
Muses.

=32. Erst.= See note, l. 32, _The Scholar-Gipsy_.

=48. Destiny.= That is, Fate, the goddess of human destiny.

In what mood is the author at the opening of the poem? How does he
seek consolation? How does the calm of the Muses affect him? Can you
see how he might find help in dwelling on the pictures of the blind
beggar and happy lovers? What is the final thought of the poem? Can
you think of any other poem that has this as its central thought? What
do you think of the author's philosophy of life as set forth in this
poem? Discuss the verse form used.




LINES

WRITTEN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS

The Kensington Gardens form one of the many beautiful public parks of
London. They are located in the Kensington parish, a western suburb of
the city, lying north of the Thames and four miles west-southwest of
St. Paul's. In his poem Arnold contrasts the serenity of nature
with the restlessness of modern life. "Not Lucan, not Vergil,
only Wordsworth, has more beautifully expressed the spirit of
Pantheism."--HERBERT W. PAUL.


=4.= The pine trees here mentioned are since dead.

=14. What endless active life!= Compare with Arnold's sonnet of this
volume, entitled _Quiet Work_, ll. 4-7 and 11-12.

=21. the huge world.= London.

=24. Was breathed on by rural Pan.= Note Arnold's classic way of
accounting for his great love for nature, Pan being the nature god.
See note, l. 67, _The Strayed Reveller_.
                                                                   [179]
=37-42.= Compare the thought here presented with the following lines
  from Wordsworth:--

                       "These beauteous forms,
          ... have not been to me
          As is a landscape to a blind man's eye.
          But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
          Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
          ... sensations sweet
          Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
          And passing even into my purer mind,
          With tranquil restoration."

Read also Wordsworth's _Lines to the Daffodil_.

What is the dominant mood of the poem? What evidently brought it to
the author's mind? How does he show his interest in nature? In human
beings? What inspiration does the author seek from nature, ll. 37-42?
Explain the meaning of the last two lines.




THE STRAYED REVELLER

"I have such a love for these forms and this old Greek world, that
perhaps I infuse a little soul into my dealings with them, which saves
me from being entirely _ennuyx_, professorial and pedantic." (Matthew
Arnold, in a letter to his sister, dated February, 1858.)

Circe, according to Greek mythology, was an enchantress, who dwelt in
the island of AEaea, and who possessed the power to transform men
into beasts. (See any mythological text on Ulysses' wanderings.) In
Arnold's fantastic, visionary poem, the magic potion, by which this
transformation is accomplished, affects not the body, but the mind of
the youth.


=12. ivy-cinctured.= That is, girdled with ivy, symbolic of Bacchus,
the god of wine and revelry, whose forehead was crowned with ivy. See
also l. 33.                                                        [180]

=36. rout.= Consult dictionary.

=38. Iacchus.= In the Eleusinian mysteries, Bacchus bore the name of
Iacchus. =fane.= A temple. From the Latin _fanum_, a place of worship
dedicated to any deity.

=48. The lions sleeping.= As Ulysses' companions approached Circe's
palace, following their landing on her island, they found themselves
"surrounded by lions, tigers, and wolves, not fierce but tamed by
Circe's art, for she was a powerful magician."

=67. Pan's flute music!= Pan, the god of pastures and woodlands,
was the inventor of the syrinx, or shepherd's flute, with which he
accompanied himself and his followers in the dance.

=71. Ulysses.= The celebrated hero of the Trojan war; also famous for
his wanderings. One of his chief adventures, on his return voyage from
Troy, was with the enchantress Circe, with whom he tarried a year,
forgetful of his faithful wife, Penelope, at home.

=72. Art.= That is, are you. (Now used only in solemn or poetic
style.)

=73. range.= Wander aimlessly about.

=74. See what the day brings.= That is, the youth. See ll. 24-52

=81. Nymphs.= Goddesses of the mountains, forests, meadows, or waters,
belonging to the lower rank of deities.

=102-107.= Compare in thought with Tennyson's poem, _Ulysses_.

=110. The favour'd guest of Circe.= Ulysses. See note, l. 71.

=120. Muses.= Daughters of Jupiter and Minemosyne, nine in number.
According to the earliest writers the Muses were only the inspiring
goddesses of song; but later they were looked to as the divinities
presiding over the different kinds of poetry, and over the arts and
sciences.
                                                                   [181]
=130-135.= Note the poet's device for presenting a series of mental
pictures. Compare with Tennyson's plan in his _Palace of Art_. Does
Arnold's plan seem more or less mechanical than Tennyson's?

=135-142. Tiresias.= The blind prophet of =Thebes= (l. 142), the chief
city in Boeotia, near the river =Asopus= (l. 138). In his youth,
Tiresias unwittingly came upon Athene while she was bathing, and was
punished by the loss of sight. As a recompense for this misfortune,
the goddess afterward gave him knowledge of future events. The
inhabitants of Thebes looked to Tiresias for direction in times of
war.

=143. Centaurs.= Monsters, half man, half horse.

=145. Pelion.= A mountain in eastern Thessaly, famous in Greek
mythology. In the war between the giants and the gods, the former, in
their efforts to scale the heavens, piled Ossa upon Olympus and Pelion
upon Ossa.

=151-161.= What in these lines enables you to determine the people and
country alluded to?

=162-167. Scythian ... embers.= The ancient Greek term for the nomadic
tribes inhabiting the whole north and northeast Europe and Asia. As
a distinct people they built no cities, and formed no general
government, but wandered from place to place by tribes, in their rude,
covered carts (see l. 164), living upon the coarsest kind of food (ll.
166-167).

=177-180. Clusters of lonely mounds, etc.= That is, ruins of ancient
cities.

=183. Chorasmian stream.= See note, l. 878, _Sohrab and Rustum_.

=197. milk-barr'd onyx-stones.= A reference to the white streaks, or
bars, common to the onyx.

=206. Happy Islands.= Mythical islands lying far to the west, the
abode of the heroes after death.

=220. Hera's anger.= Hera (or Juno), wife to Jupiter, was noted for
her violent temper and jealousy. She is here represented as visiting
punishment upon the bard, perhaps out of jealousy of the gods who had
endowed him with poetic power, and his life, thus afflicted, seems
lengthened to seven ages.                                          [182]

=228-229. Lapithae.= In Greek legends, a fierce Thessalian race,
governed by Pirothous, a half-brother to the Centaurs. =Theseus.= The
chief hero of Attica, who, according to tradition, united the several
tribes of Attica into one state, with Athens as the capital. His life
was filled with adventure. The reference here is to the time of the
marriage of Pirothous and Hippodamia, on which occasion the Centaurs,
who were among the guests, became intoxicated, and offered indignities
to the bride. In the fight that followed, Theseus joined with the
Lapithae, and many of the Centaurs were slain.

=231. Alcmena's dreadful son.= Hercules. On his expedition to capture
the Arcadian boar, his third labor, Hercules became involved in a
broil with the Centaurs, and in self-defence slew several of them with
his arrows.

=245. Oxus stream.= See note, l. 2, _Sohrab and Rustum_.

=254. Heroes.= The demigods of mythology.

=257. Troy.= The capital of Troas, Asia Minor; the seat of the Trojan war.

=254-260.= Shortly after the close of the Trojan war, a party of
heroes from all parts of Greece, many of whom had participated in the
expeditions against Thebes and Troy, set out under the leadership of
Jason to capture the Golden Fleece. Leaving the shores of Thessaly,
the adventurers sailed eastward and finally came to the entrance of
the =Euxine Sea= (the =unknown sea=, l. 260), which was guarded by
the Clashing Islands. Following the instructions of the sage Phineus,
Jason let fly a dove between the islands, and at the moment of
rebound the expedition passed safely through. The ship in which the
adventurers sailed was called the Argo, after its builder, Argus;
hence our term Argonauts.
                                                                   [183]
=261. Silenus.= A divinity of Asiatic origin; foster-father to Bacchus
and leader of the =Fauns= (l. 265), satyr-like divinities, half man,
half goat, sometimes represented in art as hearing torches (l. 274).

=275. Maenad.= A bacchante,--a priestess or votary of Bacchus.

=276. Faun with torches.= See note, l. 261.


What is the situation at the beginning of the poem? What effect does
the "liquor" have upon the youth? Why is the presence of Ulysses so
much in harmony with the situation? How does he greet Circe; how the
youth? What does his presence suggest to the latter? Why? Note the
vividness of the pictures he describes; also the swiftness with which
he changes from one to another. What power is ascribed to the poet?
Why his "pain"? What effect is gained by closing the poem with the
same words with which it is opened? Why the irregular verse used?




DOVER BEACH

In this poem is expressed the peculiar turn of Arnold's mind, at once
religious and sceptical, philosophical and emotional. It is one of his
most passionate interpretations of life.


=15. Sophocles= (495-406 B.C.). One of the three great tragic poets of
Greece. His rivals were AEschylus (526-456 B.C.) and Euripides (486-406
B.C.).

=16. AEgean Sea.= See note, l. 236, _The Scholar-Gipsy_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Image the scene in the opening stanzas. What is the author's mood?
Why does he call some one to look on the scene with him? What is the
"eternal note of sadness"? Why connect it in thought with the sea? Why
does this thought suggest Sophocles? What thought next presents itself
to the author's mind? From what source must one's help and comfort
then be drawn? Why so? Why the irregular versification? State the
theme of the poem.                                                 [184]




PHILOMELA

"Philomela unites the sensibilities and intellectual experience of
modern Englishmen with the luminousness and simplicity of Greek
poetry."--SAINTSBURY.

The myth of the nightingale has long been a favorite with the poets,
who have variously interpreted the bird's song. See Coleridge's,
Keats's, and Wordsworth's poems on the subject. The most common
version of the myth, the one followed by Arnold, is as follows:--

"Pandion (son of Erichthonius, special ward to Minerva) had two
daughters, Procne and Philomela, of whom he gave the former in
marriage to Tereus, king of Thrace (or of Daulis in Phocis). This
ruler, after his wife had borne him a son, Itys (or Itylus), wearied
of her, plucked out her tongue by the roots to insure her silence,
and, pretending that she was dead, took in marriage the other sister,
Philomela. Procne, by means of a web, into which she wove her story,
informed Philomela of the horrible truth. In revenge upon Tereus, the
sisters killed Itylus, and served up the child as food to the father;
but the gods, in indignation, transformed Procne into a swallow,
Philomela into a nightingale, forever bemoaning the murdered Itylus,
and Tereus into a hawk, forever pursuing the sisters."--GAYLEY'S
_Classic Myths_.


=4.= Use the subjoined questions in studying the poem.

=5. O wanderer from a Grecian shore.= See note, l. 27.

=8.= Note the aptness and beauty of the adjectives in this line, not
one of which could be omitted without irreparable loss.

=18. Thracian wild.= Thrace was the name used by the early Greeks for
the entire region north of Greece.
                                                                   [185]
=21. The too clear web=, etc. See introductory note to poem for
explanation of this and the following lines.

=27. Daulis.= A city of Phocis, Greece, twelve miles northeast of
Delphi; the scene of the myth of Philomela. =Cephessian vale.= The
valley of the Cephissus, a small stream running through Doris, Phocis,
and Boeotia, into the Euboean Gulf.

=29. How thick the bursts=, etc. Compare with the following lines from
  Coleridge:--

                        "'Tis the merry nightingale
            That crowds and hurries and precipitates
            With fast, thick warble his delicious notes,
            As he were fearful that an April night
            Would be too short for him to utter forth
            His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
            Of all its music!"
                                     --_The Nightingale_.

  Also

           "O Nightingale! thou surely art
            A creature of a 'fiery heart':--
            These notes of thine--they pierce and pierce;
            Tumultuous harmony and fierce!
            Thou sing'st as if the god of wine
            Had helped thee to a Valentine."
                                        --WORDSWORTH.

  =31-32. Eternal passion!
          Eternal pain!= Compare:--

           "Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains."
                              --COLERIDGE, _To a Nightingale_.

  and

                          "Sweet bird ...
            Most musical, most melancholy!"
                                    --MILTON, _Il Penseroso_.


Image the scene in the poem. How does the author secure the proper
atmosphere for the theme of the poem? Account for the note of triumph
in the nightingale's song; note of pain. What is shown by the poet's
question, ll. 10-15? What new qualities are added to the nightingale's
song, l. 25? Account for them. Why _eternal_ passion, _eternal_ pain?
Do you feel the form of verse used (Pindaric blank) to be adapted to
the theme?                                                         [186]




HUMAN LIFE

=4. kept uninfringed my nature's law.= That is, have lived a perfect
life.

=5. inly-written chart.= The conscience.

=8. incognisable.= Not to be comprehended by finite mind.

=23. prore.= Poetical word for _prow_, the fore part of a ship.

=27. stem.= Consult dictionary.

What important incident in the destiny of the soul is alluded to in
stanza 1? Interpret ll. 13-14, and apply to your own experience. Why
cannot we live "chance's fool"? Is there any hint of fatalism in the
poem, or are we held accountable for our own destiny?




ISOLATION

TO MARGUERITE, ON RETURNING A VOLUME OF THE LETTERS OF ORTIS

This poem, the fifth in a loosely connected group of lyrics, under the
general name _Switzerland_, is a continuation of the preceding
poem, _Isolation--to Marguerite_, and is properly entitled, _To
Marguerite--Continued_. When printed separately, the above title is
used.

Jacopo Ortis was a pseudonym of the Italian poet, Ugo Foscolo. His
_Ultime Lettere di Ortis_ was translated into the English in 1818.

                                                                   [187]
=1. Yes!= Used in answer to the closing thought of the preceding poem.

=7. moon.= Note the frequency with which reference to the moon, with
its light effects, appears in Arnold's lines. Can you give any reason
for this?

=24.= Mr. Herbert W. Paul, commenting on this line, says: "_Isolation_
winds up with one of the great poetic phrases of the century--one of
the 'jewels five (literally five) words long' of English verse--a
phrase complete and final, with epithets in unerring cumulation."

Give the poem's theme. To what is each individual likened? Discuss l.2
as to meaning. In what sense do we live "alone," l.4? Why "endless
bounds," l.6? How account for the feeling of despair, l.13? Answer the
questions asked in the last stanza. In what frame of mind does the
poem leave you?




KAISER DEAD

APRIL 6, 1887

Arnold's love for animals, especially his household pets, was most
sincere. Despite the playful irony of his poem, there is in the minor
key an undertone of genuine sorrow. "We have just lost our dear, dear
mongrel, Kaiser," he wrote in a letter dated from his home in Cobham,
Kent, April 7, 1887, "and we are very sad." The poem was written the
following July, and was published in the _Fortnightly Review_ for that
month.


=2. Cobham.= See note above.

=3. Farringford,= in the Isle of Wight, was the home of Lord Tennyson.

=5. Pen-bryn's bold bard.= Sir Lewis Morris, author of the _Epic of
Hades_, lived at Pen-bryn, in Caermarthanshire.
                                                                   [188]
=11-12.= In Burns's poem, _Poor Mailie's Elegy_, occur the following
lines:--

         "Come, join the melancholious croon
          O' Robin's reed."

=20. Potsdam.= The capital of the government district of Potsdam, in
the province of Brandenburg, Prussia; hence the dog's name, _Kaiser_.

=41. the Grand Old Man.= Gladstone.

=50. agog.= In a state of eager excitement.

=65. Geist.= Also remembered in a poem entitled _Geist's Grave_,
included in this volume.

=76. chiel.= A Scotch word meaning lad, fellow.

         "Buirdly _chiels_ an clever hizzies."
                                 --BURNS, _The Twa Dogs_.

=Skye.= The largest of the Inner Hebrides. See note, l. 7, _Saint
Brandan_.




THE LAST WORD

In this poem Arnold describes the plight of one engaged in a hopeless
struggle against an uncompromising, Philistine world too strong for
him.

State the central thought in the poem. To whom is it addressed? What
is the _narrow bed_, l. 1? Why give up the struggle? With whom has it
been waged? Explain fully l. 4. What is implied in l. 6? What is meant
by _ringing shot_, l. 11? Who are the victors, l. 14? What would they
probably say on finding the body near the wall? Can you think of any
historical characters of whom the poem might aptly have been written?



                                                                   [189]
PALLADIUM

At the time of the Trojan war there was in the citadel of Troy a
celebrated statue of Pallas Athene, called the Palladium. It was
reputed to have fallen from heaven as the gift of Zeus, and the belief
was that the city could not be taken so long as this statue remained
within it. Ulysses and Diomedes, two of the Greek champions, succeeded
in entering the city in disguise, stole the Palladium and carried it
off to the besiegers' camp at Argos. It was some time, however, before
the city fell.

=1. Simois.= A small river of the Troad which takes its rise in the
rocky, wooded eminence which, according to Greek tradition, formed
the acropolis of Troy. The Palladium was set up on its banks near its
source, in a temple especially erected for it (l. 6), and from this
lofty position was supposed to watch over the safety of the city and
her defenders on the plains below.

=3. Hector.= Hector, son of Priam, king of Troy (Ilium), and his
wife, Hecuba, was the leader and champion of the Trojan armies. He
distinguished himself in numerous single combats with the ablest of
the Greek heroes; and to him was principally due the stubborn defence
of the Trojan capital. He was finally slain by Achilles, aided by
Athene, and his body dragged thrice around the walls of Troy behind
the chariot of his conqueror.

=14. Xanthus.= The Scamander, the largest and most celebrated river of
the Troad, near which Troy was situated, was presided over by a deity
known to the gods as Xanthus. His contest with Achilles, whom he so
nearly overwhelmed, forms a notable incident of the _Iliad_.

=15. Ajax, or Aiax.= One of the leading Greek heroes in the siege of
Troy, famous for his size, physical strength, and beauty. In bravery
and feats of valor he was second only to Achilles. Not being awarded
the armor of Achilles after that hero's death, he slew himself.
                                                                   [190]
=16.= Helen, the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta, was celebrated for
her beauty, by reason of which frequent references are made to her by
both classic and modern writers. Goethe introduces her in the second
part of _Faust_, and Faustus, in Marlowe's play of that name,
addresses her thus:--

         "Oh! thou art fairer than the evening air
          Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars."

Her abduction by Paris, son of Priam (see note, l. 3), was the cause
of the Trojan war, the most notable incident of Greek mythology, which
forms the theme of Homer's greatest poem, the _Iliad_.

What is the central thought of the poem? Of what is the Palladium
typical? Explain the thought in stanza 3. What is the force of the
references of stanza 4? Discuss the use of the words "rust" and
"shine," l. 17. Just what is meant by "soul" as the word is used in
the poem?




SELF-DEPENDENCE

_Self-Dependence_ is a poem in every respect characteristic of its
author. In it Arnold exhorts mankind to seek refuge from human
troubles in the example of nature.

Picture the situation in the poem. What is the poet's mood as shown
in the opening stanzas? From what source does he seek aid? Why? What
answer does he receive? What is the source of nature's repose? Where
and how must the human soul find its contentment?



                                                                   [191]
GEIST'S GRAVE

This poem appeared in the January number of the _Fortnightly Review_
for 1881.


=12. homily.= Sermon.

=15. the Virgilian cry.= _Sunt lacrimae rerum!_ These words are
interpreted in the following line.

=42. On lips that rarely form them now.= Arnold wrote but little
poetry after 1867.

=55-56. thine absent master.= Richard Penrose Arnold, the poet's only
surviving son.




EPILOGUE TO LESSING'S LAOCOOeN

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) was a celebrated German dramatist
and critic. For a time he studied theology at Leipsic, then turned his
attention to the stage, and later to criticism. His greatest critical
work (1766) is a treatise on Art, the famous Greek statuary group,
the Laocooen, which gives the work its name, forming the basis for a
comparative discussion of Sculpture, Poetry, Painting, and Music.


=1. Hyde Park.= The largest park in London, and the principal
recreation ground of that city.

=15. Phoebus-guarded ground.= Greece. Phoebus, a name often given
Apollo, the sun god.

=16. Pausanias.= A noted Greek geographer and writer on art who lived
in the second century. "His work, _The Gazetteer of Hellas_, is our
best repertory of information for the topography, local history,
religious observances, architecture, and sculpture of the different
states of Greece."--K.O. MUeLLER, _History of the Literature of Ancient
Greece_.
                                                                   [192]
=21-22. Dante= (1265-1321), =Petrarch= (1304-1374), =Tasso= (1544-;
1595), =Ariosto= (1475-1533). Celebrated Italian poets.

=25. Raphael= (1483-1520). The famous Italian painter.

=29. Goethe= (1749-1832). The greatest name in German literature.
His works include poetry, dramas, and criticisms. =Wordsworth=
(1770-1850). See the poem, _Memorial Verses_, of this volume.

=35. Mozart= (1766-1791), =Beethoven= (1770-1827), =Mendelssohn=
(1809-1847). Noted musicians and composers.

=42. south.= Warm.

=43-48.= Cyclops Polyphemus, famous in the story of Ulysses, was
a persistent and jealous suitor of Galatea, the fairest of sea
divinities. So ardent was he in his wooings, that he would leave his
flocks to wander at will, while he sang his uncouth lays from the
hilltops to Galatea in the bay below. Her only answers were words of
scorn and mockery. See Andrew Lang's translation of Theocritus, Idyl
VI, for further account.

=70-76. Abbey towers.= That is, Westminster Abbey, a mile's distance
to the south and east of Hyde Park. The abbey is built in the form of
a cross, the body or lower part of which is termed the nave (l. 73).
The upper portion is occupied by the choir, the anthems of which, with
their organ accompaniments, are alluded to in ll. 74-77.

=89-106. Miserere Domine!= _Lord, have mercy!_ These words are from
the service of the Church of England. The meaning in these lines is
that Beethoven, in his masterpieces, has transferred the thoughts and
feelings, above inadequately expressed in words, into another and more
emotional tongue; that is, music.

=107. Ride.= A famous driveway in Hyde Park, commonly called Rotten
Row.

=119. vacant.= Thoughtless; not occupied with study or reflection.

         "For oft, when on my couch I lie
          In _vacant_ or in pensive mood."
                  --WORDSWORTH'S _Lines to the Daffodils_, ll. 19-20.

=124. hies.= Hastens (poetical).
                                                                   [193]
=130. painter and musician too!= Arnold held poetry to be equal to
painting and music combined.

=140. movement.= Activities. Explained in the following lines.

=163-210.= Note carefully the argument used to prove that poetry
interprets life more accurately and effectively than any of the other
arts. =Homer=, the most renowned of all Greek poets. The time in which
he lived is not definitely known. =Shakespeare= (1504-1616).

Give the setting of the story. What was the topic of conversation?
What stand did the poet's friend take regarding poetry? Why turn to
Greece in considering the arts? What limitations of the painter's art
are pointed out by the poet? What is his attitude toward music?
What finally is "the poet's sphere," l. 127? Wherein then is poetry
superior to the other arts? Does the author prove his point by his
poem? Discuss the poem as to movement, diction, etc.





QUIET WORK

No poet, not even Wordsworth, was more passionately fond of nature
than Arnold. Note his attitude in the poem.


=1. One lesson.= What lesson?

=4.= Discuss the use of the adjective "loud"; also "noisier," l. 7.


Note the essential elements of sonnet structure in metre, rhyme
formula, and number of lines. See the introduction to Sharp's _Sonnets
of this Century_.




SHAKESPEARE

Despite this tribute, Arnold considered Homer Shakespeare's equal, if
not his superior. What do Shakespeare's smile and silence imply on
his part? Explain in full the figure used. Do you consider it apt? Why
"Better so," l. 10? What is there in the poem that helps you to see
wherein lay Shakespeare's power to interpret life? Select the lines
which most impress you, and tell why.                              [194]




YOUTH'S AGITATIONS

This sonnet was written in 1852, when the poet was in his thirtieth
year.


=5. joy.= Be glad. =heats.= Passions.

=6. even clime.= That is, in the less emotional years of maturity.

=12. hurrying fever.= See note, l. 6.




AUSTERITY OF POETRY

=1. That son of Italy.= Giacopone di Todi.

=2. Dante= (1265-1321). Best known as the author of _The Divine
Comedy_.

=3. In his light youth.= Explain.

=11. sackcloth.= Symbolic of mourning or mortification of the flesh.


Tell the story of the poem and make the application. Explain Arnold's
idea of poetry as set forth in ll. 12-14.




WORLDLY PLACE

=3. Marcus Aurelius= (121-180 A.D.), commonly called "the philosopher."
A celebrated Roman emperor, prominent among the ethical teachers
of his time. Arnold himself has been aptly styled by Sharp an
"impassioned Marcus Aurelius, wrought by poetic vision and emotion to
poetic music."                                                     [195]

=6. foolish.= In the sense of unreasonable. =ken.= The Scotch word
meaning sight.

=7. rates.= Berates, reproves.


Give the poem's theme. What is implied by the word "even," l. 1? Does
the author agree with the implication? Why so? Discuss l. 5 as to its
meaning. Interpret the expressions "ill-school'd spirit," l. 11, and
"Some nobler, ampler stage of life," l. 12. Where finally are the aids
to a nobler life to be found? Do you agree with this philosophy of
life?




EAST LONDON

=2. Bethnal Green.= An eastern suburb of London.

=4. Spitalfields.= A part of northeast London, comprising the parishes
of Bethnal Green and Christchurch.


Image the scene. What is the purpose of the first four lines? Discuss
l. 6. What is the import of the preacher's response? What are the
poet's conclusions drawn in ll. 9-14?




WEST LONDON

=1. Belgrave Square.= An important square in the western part of
London.


Tell the situation and the story of the poem. Why did the woman
solicit aid from the laboring men? Why not from the wealthy? Explain
ll. 9-11. What is the poet's final conclusion?



                                                                   [196]
MEMORIAL VERSES

APRIL, 1850

Wordsworth died at Rydal Mount, in the Lake, District, April 23, 1850.
These verses, dedicated to his memory, are among Arnold's best-known
lines. For adequacy of meaning and charm of expression, they are
almost unsurpassed; they also contain some of the poet's soundest
poetical criticism. The poem was first published in _Fraser's
Magazine_ for June, 1850, and bore the date of April 27.


=1. Goethe in Weimar sleeps.= The tomb of Goethe, the celebrated
German author (see note, l. 29, _Epilogue to Lessing's Laocooen_), is
in Weimar, the capital of the Grand-duchy of Saxe-Weimar. Weimar is
noted as the literary centre of Germany, and for this reason is styled
the German Athens.

=2. Byron.= George Gordon Byron (1788-1824), a celebrated English poet
of the French Revolutionary period, died at Missolonghi, Greece, where
he had gone to help the Greeks in their struggle to throw off the
Turkish yoke. He was preeminently a poet of passion, and, as such,
exerted a marked influence on the literature of his day. His petulant,
bitter rebellion against all law has become proverbial; hence the
term "Byronic." The =Titans= (l. 14) were a race of giants who warred
against the gods. The aptness of the comparison made here is at once
evident. In Arnold's sonnet, _A Picture at Newstead_, also occur these
lines:--

         "'Twas not the thought of Byron, of his cry
          Stormily sweet, his Titan-agony."

=17. iron age.= In classic mythology, "The last of the four great ages
of the world described by Hesiod. Ovid, etc. It was supposed to
be characterized by abounding oppression, vice, and misery."--
_International Dictionary_. The preceding ages, in order, were the
age of gold, the age of silver, and the age of brass.              [197]

=34-39=. Eurydice, wife of Orpheus, was stung to death by a serpent,
and passed to the realm of the dead--Hades. Thither Orpheus descended,
and, by the charm of his lyre and song, persuaded Pluto to restore her
to life. This he consented to do on condition that she walk behind
her husband, who was not to look at her until they had arrived in
the upper world. Orpheus, however, looked back, thus violating the
conditions, and Eurydice was caught back into the infernal regions.

                "The ferry guard
          Now would not row him o'er the lake again."
                                            --LANDOR.

=72. Rotha=. A small stream of the English Lake Region, on which Rydal
Mount, Wordsworth's burial-place, is situated.




THE SCHOLAR-GIPSY

"There was very lately a lad in the University of Oxford who was by
his poverty forced to leave his studies there and at last to join
himself to a company of vagabond gipsies. Among these extravagant
people, by the insinuating subtilty of his carriage, he quickly got
so much of their love and esteem that they discovered to him their
mystery. After he had been a pretty while exercised in the trade,
there chanced to ride by a couple of scholars who had formerly been of
his acquaintance. They quickly spied out their old friend among the
gipsies, and he gave them an account of the necessity which drove him
to that kind of life, and told them that the people he went with
were not such impostors as they were taken for, but that they had a
traditional kind of learning among them, and could do wonders by the
power of imagination, their fancy binding that of others; that himself
had learned much of their art, and when he had compassed the whole
secret, he intended, he said, to leave their company, and give the
world an account of what he had learned."--GLANVIL'S _Vanity of
Dogmatizing_, 1661.                                                [198]


=2. wattled cotes=. Sheepfolds. Probably suggested by Milton's
  _Comus_, l. 344:--

          "The folded flocks, penned in their _wattled cotes_."

=9. Cross and recross=. Infinitives depending upon seen, l. 8.

=13. cruse=. Commonly associated in thought with the story of Elijah
and the widow of Zarephath, 1 _Kings_, xvii: 8-16.

=19. corn=. See note, l. 156, _Sohrab and Rustum_.

=30. Oxford towers=. "Oxford, the county town of Oxfordshire and the
seat of one of the most ancient and celebrated universities in Europe,
is situated amid picturesque environs at the confluence of the
Cherwell and the Thames (often called in its upper course the Isis).
It is surrounded by an amphitheatre of gentle hills, the tops of
which command a fine view of the city with its domes and
towers."--BAEDEKER'S _Great Britain_, in his _Handbooks for
Travellers_. In writing of Oxford, Hawthorne says: "The world, surely,
has not another place like Oxford; it is a despair to see such a place
and ever to leave it, for it would take a lifetime, and more than one,
to comprehend and enjoy it satisfactorily." See also note, l. 19,
_Thyrsis_.

=31. Glanvil's book=. See introductory note to poem.

=42. erst=. Formerly. (Obsolete except in poetry.)

=44-50=. See introductory note to poem.

=57. Hurst=. Cumner (or Cumnor) Hurst, one of the Cumnor range of
hills, some two or three miles south and west of Oxford, is crowned
with a clump of cedars; hence the name "Hurst."

=58. Berkshire moors=. Berkshire is the county, or shire, on the south
of Oxford County.

=69. green-muffled=. Explain the epithet.
                                                                   [199]
=74. Bablockhithe=. A small town some four miles west and a little
south of Oxford, on the Thames, which at that point is a mere stream
crossed by a ferry. This and numerous other points of interest in the
vicinity of Oxford are frequented by Oxford students; hence Arnold's
familiarity with them and his reference to them in this poem and
_Thyrsis_. See any atlas.

=79. Wychwood bowers=. That is, Wychwood Forest, ten or twelve miles
north and west of Oxford. See note, l. 74.

=83. To dance around the Fyfield elm in May=. Fyfield, a parish in
Berkshire, about six miles southwest of Oxford. The reference here is
to the "May-day" celebrations formerly widely observed in Europe, but
now nearly disappeared. The chief features of the celebration in Great
Britain are the gathering of hawthorn blossoms and other flowers, the
crowning of the May-queen and dancing around the May-pole--here the
Fyfield elm. See note, l. 74. Read Tennyson's poem, _The Queen o' the
May_.

=91. Godstow Bridge=. Some two miles up the Thames from Oxford.

=95. lasher pass=. An English term corresponding to our _mill race_.
The _lasher_ is the dam, or weir.

=98. outlandish=. Analyze the word and determine meaning.

=111. Bagley Wood=. South and west of Oxford, beyond South Hinksey.
See note, l. 125; also note, l. 74.

=114. tagg'd=. That is, marked; the leaves being colored by frost.

=115. Thessaly=. The northeastern district of ancient Greece,
celebrated in mythology. Here a forest ground near Bagley Wood. See
note, l. 111; also note, l. 74.

=125. Hinksey=. North and South Hinksey are unimportant villages a
short distance out from Oxford in the Cumnor Hills. See note, l. 74.
                                                                   [200]
=129. Christ Church hall=. The largest and most fashionable college
in Oxford; founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525. The chapel of Christ
Church is also the cathedral of the diocese of Oxford.

=130. grange=. Consult dictionary.

=133. Glanvil=. Joseph Glanvil, 1636-1680. A noted English divine and
philosopher; author of a defence of belief in witchcraft.

=140. red-fruited yew tree=. The yew tree is very common in English
burial-grounds. It grows slowly, lives long, has a dark, thick
foliage, and yields a red berry. See Wordsworth's celebrated poem,
_The Yew-Tree_.

=141-170=. "This note of lassitude is struck often--perhaps too
often--in Arnold's poems."--DU PONT SYLE. See also _The Stanzas in
Memory of the Author of Obermann_. For the author's less despondent
mood, see his _Rugby Chapel_, included in this volume.

=147. teen=. Grief, sorrow; from the old English _teona_, meaning
injury.

=149. the just-pausing Genius=. Does the author here allude to death?

=151. Thou hast not lived= (so). That is, as described in preceding
stanza.

=152. Thou hadst one aim=, etc. What was the Scholar-Gipsy's _one_
motive in life?

=157-160. But thou possessest an immortal lot=, etc. Explain.

=165. Which much to have tried=, etc. Which many attempts and many
failures bring.

=180. do not we ... await it too=? That is, the spark from heaven. See
l. 171.

=182-190=. Possibly Carlyle, although the author may have had in mind
a type rather than an individual.

=208-209. Averse, as Dido did=, etc. Dido, the mythical queen of
Carthage, being deserted by her lover AEneas, slew herself. She
afterward met him on his journey through Hades, but turned from him in
scorn.
                                                                   [201]
         "In vain he thus attempts her mind to move
          With tears and prayers and late repenting love;
          Disdainfully she looked, then turning round
          But fixed her eyes unmoved upon the ground,
          And what he says and swears regards no more
          Than the deaf rocks when the loud billows roar."
                                        --DRYDEN'S _Translation_.

For entire episode, see _AEneid_, vi, 450-476.

=212. inviolable shade=. Holy, sacred, not susceptible to corruption.
Perhaps no other of Arnold's lines is so much quoted as this and the
preceding line.

=214=. Why "silver'd" branches?

=220=. dingles. Wooded dells.

=231-250=. Note the force of this elaborate and exquisitely sustained
image; how the mind is carried back from these turbid days of sick
unrest to the clear dawn of a fresh and healthy civilization. In the
course of an essay on Arnold, the late Mr. Richard Holt Hutton says of
this poem and this closing picture: "That most beautiful and graceful
poem on the _Scholar-Gipsy_ (the Oxford student who is said to have
forsaken academic study in order to learn, if it might be, those
potent secrets of nature, the traditions of which the gypsies are
supposed sedulously to guard) ends in a digression of the most vivid
beauty.... Nothing could illustrate better than this [closing] passage
Arnold's genius and his art.... His whole drift having been that
care and effort and gain and pressure of the world are sapping human
strength, he ends with a picture of the old-world pride and daring,
which exhibits human strength in its freshness and vigor.... I could
quote poem after poem which Arnold closes by some such buoyant
digression: a buoyant digression intended to shake off the tone of
melancholy, and to remind us that the world of imaginative life is
still wide open to us.... This problem is insoluble, he seems to say,
but insoluble or not, let us recall the pristine force of the human
spirit, and not forget that we have access to great resources
still.... Arnold, exquisite as his poetry is, teaches us first to
feel, and then to put by, the cloud of mortal destiny. But he does not
teach us, as Wordsworth does, to bear it."                         [202]

=232. As some grave Tyrian trader, etc=. Tyre, the second oldest and
most important city of Phoenicia, was, in ancient times, a strong
competitor for the commercial supremacy of the Mediterranean.

=236. AEgean Isles=. The AEgean Sea, that part of the Mediterranean
lying between Greece on the west, European Turkey on the north, and
Asia Minor on the east, is dotted with numerous small islands, many of
which are famous in Greek mythology.

=238. Chian wine=. Chios, or Scio, an island in the AEgean Sea (see
note above), was formerly celebrated for its wine and figs.

=239. tunnies=. A fish belonging to the mackerel family; found in the
Mediterranean Sea.

=244. Midland waters=. The Mediterranean Sea.

=245. Syrtes=. The ancient name of Gulf of Sidra, off North Africa,
the chief arm of the Mediterranean on the south, =soft Sicily=. Sicily
is noted for its delightful climate; hence the term, "soft Sicily."

=247. western straits=. Strait of Gibraltar.

=250. Iberians=. Inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, formed by
Portugal and Spain.

What atmosphere is given the poem by the first stanza? What quest is
to be begun, l. 10? What caused the "Scholar" to join himself to the
gipsies? What were his original intentions? Why, then, did he continue
with them till his death? Why would he avoid others than members of
the gipsy crew? Why his pensive air? To what truth does the author
suddenly awake? How does the Scholar-Gipsy yet live to him? Explain
fully lines 180-200. Note carefully the author's contrast between the
life led by the Scholar-Gipsy and our modern life. Which is better?
Why? Make an application of the figure of the Tyrian trader. Is it
apt? Why used by the poet? Discuss the verse form used. Is it adapted
to the theme of the poem?                                           [203]




THYRSIS

A monody to commemorate the author's friend, Arthur Hugh Clough, who
died at Florence, 1861.

Throughout this poem there is reference to the preceding selection,
_The Scholar-Gipsy_, of which it is the companion piece, and, in a
sense, the sequel. It is one of the four great elegies in the English
language.

Thyrsis is a name common to both ancient and modern literature. In
the Idyls of Theocritus it is used as the name of a herdsman; in the
Eclogues of Vergil, of a shepherd; while in later writings it has come
to mean any rustic.

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861), whose poetry is closely akin in spirit
to Arnold's, was a young man of genius and promise. He studied at both
Rugby and Oxford, where he and Arnold were intimately associated and
became fast friends. In 1869 his health began to fail, and two years
later he died in Florence, Italy, where he had gone in the hope of
being benefited by the climate.

Arnold, in a letter to his mother dated April, 1866, says of his poem:
"Tell dear old Edward [Arnold] that the diction of the Thyrsis was
modelled on that of Theocritus, whom I have been much reading during
the two years this poem has been forming itself, and that I meant the
diction to be so artless as to be almost heedless. However, there is
a mean which must not be passed, and before I reprint this I will
consider well all objections. The images are all from actual
observation.... The cuckoo in the wet June morning, I heard in the
garden at Woodford, and all those three stanzas, which you like, are
reminiscences of Woodford. Edward has, I think, fixed on the two
stanzas I myself like best: 'O easy access,' and 'And long the way
appears.' I also like 'Where is the girl,' and the stanza before it;
but that is because they bring certain places and moments before
me.... It is probably too quiet a poem for the general taste, but I
think it will stand wear." To his friend, John Campbell Shairp, Arnold
wrote, a few days later: "Thyrsis is a very quiet poem, but, I think,
solid and sincere. It will not be popular, however. It had long been
in my head to connect Clough with that Cumner country, and, when I
began, I was carried irresistibly into this form. You say, truly, that
there was much in Clough (the whole prophetic side, in fact) which one
cannot deal with in this way.... Still, Clough had the idyllic side,
too; to deal with this suited my desire to deal again with that Cumner
country. Anyway, only so could I treat the matter this time. _Valeat
quantum_."                                                         [204]


=1.= Note how the tone of the poem is struck in the first line.

=2. In the two Hinkseys.= That is, North and South Hinksey. See note,
l. 125, _The Scholar-Gipsy._

=4. Sibylla's name.= In ancient mythology the Sibyls were certain
women reputed to possess special powers of prophecy, or divination,
and who claimed to make special intercession with the gods in behalf
of those who resorted to them. Do you see why their "name" would be
used on signs as here mentioned?

=6. ye hills.= See note, l. 30, _The Scholar-Gipsy._

=14. Ilsley Downs.= The surface of East and West Ilsley parishes, in
Berkshire, some twelve or fourteen miles south of Oxford, is broken by
ranges of plateau-like hills, known in England as _downs_.

=15. The Vale.= White Horse Vale; the upper valley of the River Ock,
westward from Oxford. =weirs=. See note, l. 95, _The Scholar-Gipsy._
                                                                   [205]
=19. And that sweet city with her dreaming spires.= Arnold's intense
love for Oxford and the surrounding country appears in many of his
essays and poems. In the introduction to his _Essays on Criticism_,
Vol. I, occurs the following tribute: "Beautiful city! so venerable,
so lovely, so unravaged by the fierce intellectual life of our
century, so serene!

         'There are our young barbarians all at play!'

And yet, steeped in sentiment as she lies, spreading her garments to
the moonlight, and whispering from her towers the last enchantment of
the Middle Age, who will deny that Oxford, by her ineffable charm,
keeps ever calling us nearer the true goal of all of us, to the ideal,
to perfection--to beauty, in a word, which is only truth seen from
another side?... Home of lost causes and forsaken beliefs and
unpopular names and impossible loyalties! what example could ever so
inspire us to keep down the Philistine in ourselves, what teacher
could ever so save us from that bondage to which we are all prone,
that bondage which Goethe, in his incomparable lines on the death of
Schiller, makes it his friend's highest praise ... to have left miles
out of sight behind him: the bondage of 'was uns alle baendigt, Das
Gemeine'?"

=20.= Compare with Lowell's lines on June, in _The Vision of Sir
Launfal_.

=22-23.= Explain.

=24. Once pass'd I blindfold here.= That is, at one time I could have
passed here blindfolded, being so familiar with the country. Can you
think of any other possible interpretation?

=26-30.= Explain.

=31-40.= Compare the thought here to that of Milton's _Lycidas_, ll.
23-38. A comparison of the two poems entire, in thought and structure,
will be found to be both interesting and profitable. =Shepherd-pipe=
(l. 35). The term =pipe=, also reed (l. 78), is continually used in
pastoral verse as symbolic of poetry and song.                     [206]

=38-45. Needs must I lose them=, etc. That is, I must lose them, etc.
Arnold's great ambition was to devote his life to literature, which
circumstances largely prevented; while Clough was eager to take a more
active part in life, not being content with the uneventful career of a
poet, =irk'd= (l. 40). Annoyed; worried. =keep= (l. 43). Here used in
the sense of remain, =silly= (l. 45). Harmless; senseless. The word has
an interesting history.

=46-50=. Like Arnold, Clough held lofty ideals of life, and grieved to
see men living so far below their privileges. This, with his loss
of faith in God, tinged his poetry with sadness. The storms (l. 49)
allude to the spiritual, political, and social unrest of the last of
the first half, and first of the last half, of the nineteenth century.

=51-60. So ... So....= Just as the cuckoo departs with the bloom of
the year, so he (Clough) went, l. 48. =With blossoms red and white=
(l. 55). The white thorn, or hawthorn, very common in English gardens.

=62. high Midsummer pomps=. Explained in the following lines.

=71. light comer=. That is, the cuckoo. Compare

       "O blithe New-comer."
                    --WORDSWORTH, _Lines to the Cuckoo_.

=77. swains=. Consult dictionary.

=78. reed=. See note, l. 35 of poem.

=79. And blow a strain the world at last shall heed=. On the whole,
Clough's poetry was either ignored or harshly criticised by the
reviewers.

=80. Corydon=. In the Idyls of Theocritus, Corydon and Thyrsis,
shepherd swains, compete for a prize in music.

=84. Piping a ditty sad for Bion's fate=. Bion of Smyrna, Asia Minor,
a celebrated bucolic poet of the second century B.C., spent the later
years of his life in Sicily, where it is supposed he was poisoned.
His untimely death was lamented by his follower and pupil, Moschus of
Syracuse, in an idyl marked by melody and genuine pathos. =ditty=.
In a general sense, any song; usually confined, however, to a song
narrating some heroic deed.                                        [207]

=85. cross the unpermitted ferry's flow=. That is, cross the river
of Woe, over which Charon ferried the shades of the dead to Hades.
Mythology records several instances, however, of the ferry being
passed by mortals. See note, ll. 34-39, _Memorial Verses_; also ll.
207-210, _The Scholar-Gipsy_, of this volume.

=88-89. Proserpine=, wife to Pluto (l. 86) and queen of the
underworld, was anciently honored, with flower festivals in Sicily, as
the goddess of the spring.

=90. And flute his friend like Orpheus=, etc. See note, ll. 34-39,
_Memorial Verses_.

=94. She knew the Dorian water's gush divine=. The river Alpheus,
in the northwestern part of the Peloponnesus--the country of the
Dorians--disappears from the surface and flows in subterranean
channels for some considerable part of its course to the sea. In
ancient Greek mythology it was reputed to rise again to the surface in
central Sicily, in the vale of Enna, the favorite haunt of Proserpine,
as the fountain of Arethusa.

=95-96. She knew each lily white which Enna yields=, etc. According to
Greek mythology, Proserpine was gathering flowers in the vale of Enna
when carried off by Pluto.

=97. She loved the Dorian pipe=, etc. What reason or reasons can you
give for Proserpine's love of things Dorian?

=106. I know the Fyfield tree=. See l. 83, _The Scholar-Gipsy_.

=109. Ensham, Sanford=. Small towns on the Thames; the former, some
four miles above Oxford; the latter, a like distance below.

=123. Wytham flats=. Some three miles above Oxford, along the Thames.
                                                                   [208]
=135. sprent. Sprinkled=. The preterit or past participle of _spreng_
(obsolete or archaic).

=141-150=. Explain.

=155. Berkshire=. See note, l. 58, _The Scholar-Gipsy_.

=167. Arno-vale=. The valley of the Arno, a river in Tuscany, Italy,
on which Florence is situated.

=175. To a boon ... country he has fled=. That is, to Italy.

=177. the great Mother=. Ceres, the earth goddess.

=181-190=. Daphnis, the ideal Sicilian shepherd of Greek pastoral
poetry, was said to have followed into Phrygia his mistress Piplea,
who had been carried off by robbers, and to have found her in the
power of the king of Phrygia, Lityerses. Lityerses used to make
strangers try a contest with him in reaping corn, and to put them to
death if he overcame them. Hercules arrived in time to save Daphnis,
took upon himself the reaping contest with Lityerses, overcame him,
and slew him. The Lityerses-song connected with this tradition was,
like the Linus-song, one of the early, plaintive strains of Greek
popular poetry, and used to be sung by the corn reapers. Other
traditions represented Daphnis as beloved by a nymph, who exacted from
him an oath to love no one else. He fell in love with a princess, and
was struck blind by the jealous nymph. Mercury, who was his father,
raised him to heaven, and made a fountain spring up in the place from
which he ascended. At this fountain the Sicilians offered yearly
sacrifices. See Servius, _Comment, in Vergil. Bucol_., V, 20, and
VIII, 68.

=191-200=. Explain the lines. =Sole= (l. 192). See l. 563, _Sohrab and
Rustum_. =soft sheep= (l. 198). Note the use of the adjective _soft_.
Cf. _soft Sicily_, l. 245, _The Scholar-Gipsy_.

=201-202. A fugitive and gracious light=, etc. What is the light
sought by the Scholar-Gipsy and by the poet? Beginning with l. 201,
explain the succeeding stanzas, sentence by sentence, to the close of
the poem. Then sum up the thought in a few words.
                                                                   [209]
What is the author's mood, as shown by the first stanza? What is his
purpose in recalling the haunts once familiar to him about Oxford?
Why the mention of the Scholar-Gipsy? What is the significance of the
"tree" so frequently alluded to in the poem? Discuss stanzas 4 and 5
as to meaning. To what is Thyrsis (Clough) likened in stanzas 6, 7,
and 8? Where, however, is there a difference? Apply ll. 81-84 to
Clough and Arnold. How do you explain the "easy access" of the Dorian
shepherds to Proserpine, l. 91? What digression is made in ll.
131-150? What is the poet's attitude toward life? Why will he not
despair so long as the "lonely tree" remains? What comparison does
he make between Clough and the Scholar-Gipsy? What is the "gracious
light," l. 201? Where found? What voice whispers to him amid the
"heart-wearying roar" of the city? What effect does it have upon him?
Does it give him courage or fortitude? Discuss the verse form and
diction of the poem.




RUGBY CHAPEL

_Rugby Chapel_ (1857), one of Arnold's best-known and most
characteristic productions, was written in memory of his father, Dr.
Thomas Arnold, famous as the great head-master at Rugby. Dr. Arnold
was born at East Cowes in the Isle of Wight, June 13, 1795, and as a
boy was at school at Warminster and Winchester. In 1811 he entered
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and having won recognition as a
scholar, was awarded a fellowship of the Oriel in 1815. Three years
later he settled at Laleham, where, in 1820, he married Mary Penrose,
daughter of Justice Penrose, and where, two years later, was born
Matthew, who was destined to win marked distinction among English men
of letters. In 1827 he was elected head-master at Rugby, and shortly
afterward began those important reforms which have placed him among
the greatest educators of his century. Chief among his writings is
his _History of Rome_, published in several volumes. In 1841 he was
appointed Regius Professor of History at Oxford. He died very suddenly
on Sunday, June 12, 1842, and on the following Friday his remains
were interred in the chancel of Rugby Chapel, immediately under the
communion table.                                                   [210]

In his poem Arnold has drawn a vivid picture of a strong, helpful,
hopeful, unselfish soul, cheering and supporting his weaker comrades
in their upward and onward march--a picture of the guide and companion
of his earlier years; and in so doing he has preserved his father's
memory to posterity in a striking and an abiding way.


=1-13=. Note carefully the tone of these introductory lines, and
determine the poet's purpose in opening the poem in this mood. The
picture inevitably calls to mind Bryant's lines, _The Death of
Flowers_.

=16. gloom=. The key-word to the preceding lines. Explain why it calls
to mind the poet's father. Keats makes a similar use of the word
_forlorn_ in his _Ode to the Nightingale_.

                                 "... forlorn.
          Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
          To toll me back from thee to my sole self."

=30-33=. Discuss the figure as to its aptness.

=37. shore=. A word common to hymns.

=38-57=. Discuss the poet's idea of the future life as set forth in
these lines. Can you think of any other author or authors who have
held a like view?

=58-59=. The poet asks this question only to answer it in the lines
following. Compare and contrast the two classes of men spoken of;
their aims in life and their achievements. Why is the path of those
who have chosen a "clear-purposed goal" pictured so difficult? Who are
they that start well, but fall out by the wayside?                 [211]

=90-93=. Compare with Byron's description of a storm in the Alps,
Canto III, _Childe Harold_.

                                 "Far along,
          From peak to peak, the rattling crags among
          Leaps the live thunder."

=98-101=. So unstable is the hold of the "snow-beds" on the mountain
sides that travellers passing beneath them are forbidden by the guides
to speak, lest their voices precipitate an avalanche. See ll. 160-169,
_Sohrab and Rustum_.

=117-123=. What human frailties are indicated in the answer to the
host's question? Note the contrast in the succeeding lines.

=124-144=. The imagery of these lines is drawn from Dr. Arnold's
life at Rugby. Under his care frequent excursions were made into the
neighboring Westmoreland Hills. Nothing perhaps gives a better idea of
the man than the description of his "delight in those long mountain
walks, when they would start with their provisions for the day,
himself the guide and life of the party, always on the lookout how
best to break the ascent by gentle stages, comforting the little ones
in their falls and helping forward those who were tired, himself
always keeping with the laggers, that none might strain their strength
by trying to be in front with him; and then, when his assistance was
not wanted, the liveliest of all--his step so light, his eye so
quick in finding flowers to take home to those who were not of the
party."--ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY.

=171. In the rocks=. That is, among the rocks.

=190. Ye=. Antecedent?

=208. City of God=.

  "There is a river the streams whereof shall make glad the _city of
  God_."
                                                --_Psalms_, xlvi: 4.

       *       *       *       *       *



INDEX TO NOTES

Abbey towers, 192.
Ader-baijan, 166.
AEgean Isles, 202,
Afrasiab, 156.
Agog, 188.
Ajax, 189.
Alcmena's dreadful son, 182.
All red ... bathed in foam, 170.
Aloof he sits, etc., 159.
And that ... more, 169,
Ariosto, 192.
Arno-vale, 208.
Art, 180.
Arthur's court, 169.
Art them not Rustum? 160.
Asopus, 181.
As some grave Tyrian trader, etc., 202
As when some hunter, etc., 162.
At my boy's years, 156.
Attruck, 158.
_Austerity of Poetry_, 194.
Averse, as Dido did, etc., 200.

Bablockhithe, 199.
Bagley Wood, 199.
Bahrein, 160.
Beethoven, 192.
Be govern'd, 160.
Belgrave Square, 195.
Bell, 166.
Berkshire moors, 198.
Bethnal Green, 195.
Blessed sign, 171.
Blow a strain the world at last shall heed, 206.
Bokhara, 157.
Bow'd his head, 161.
Breathed on by rural Pan, 178.
Broce-liande, 174.
Bruited up, 162.
Byron, 196.
By thy father's head, 160.

Cabin'd, 177.
Cabool, 159.
Caked the sand, 163.
Casbin, 157.
Centaurs, 181.
Chambery, 176.
Chancel, 176.
Chatelaine, 170.
Chian wine, 202.
Chiel, 188.
Chisell'd broideries, 176.
Chorasma, 163.
Chorasmian stream, 181.
Christ Church hall, 199
Cirque, 172.
City of God, 211.
Clusters of lonely mounds, 181
Cobham, 187.
Common chance, 156.
Common fight, 156.
_Consolation_, 177.
Cool gallery, 177.
Corn, 158.
Corselet, 162.
Corydon,206.
Crest, 161.
Cross and recross, 198.
Cross the unpermitted ferry's flow, 207.
Cruse, 198.
Cunning, 162.
Curdled, 161.

Dais, 176.
Dance around the Fyfield elm in May, 199.
Dante, 192.
Daphnis, 208.
Daulis, 185.
Dearer to the red jackals, etc., 162.
Destiny, 178.
Device, 160.
Dight, 160.
Dingles, 201.
Ditty, 207.
Dogg'd, 172.
Do not we ... await it too? 200.
_Dover Beach_, 183.

_East London_, 195.
Empire, 174.
Ensham, 207.
_Epilogue to Rising's Laocooen_, 191.
Erst, 198.
Eternal passion! eternal pain! 185,
Eurydice, 197.
Even clime, 194.--

Falcon, 159.
Fane, 180.
Farringford, 187.
Faun with torches, 183.
Favour'd guest of Circe, 180.
Fay,170.
Fay, 174.
Fell-fare, 173.
Ferghana, 158.
Ferment the milk of mares, 157.
Fight unknown and in plain arms,159.
Find a father thou hast never seen,156.
First grey of morning fill'd the east, 155.
Fix'd, 158.
Flowers, 160.
Flute his friend, like Orpheus,' etc., 207.
Foliaged marble forest, 177.
Foolish, 195.
For a cloud, etc., 161.
Fretwork, 176.
Frore, 157.
Fugitive and gracious light, etc. 208.
Full struck, 161.

Geist, 188.
_Geist's Grave_, 191.
Girl's wiles, 161.
Glad, 161.
Glancing, 161.
Glanvil, 200.
Glanvil's book, 198.
Glass, 162.
Gloom, 210.
Godstow Bridge, 199.
Goethe, 192.
Goethe in Weimar sleeps, 196.
Go to! 159.
Grand Old Man, 188.
Grange, 200.
Great Mother, 208.
Green isle, 169.
Green-muffled, 199.
Griffin, 162.
Gulls, 173.

Hair that red, 164.
Haman, 157.
Happy Islands, 181.
Hark ... sun, 166.
Have found, 162.
Heap a stately mound, etc., 163.
Heaths starr'd with broom, 166.
Heats, 194.
Hebrides, 164.
Hector, 189.
Helen, 190.
Helm, 161.
Helmund, 163.
Hera's anger, 181.
Heroes, 182.
He spoke ... men, 159.
Hies, 193.
High Midsummer pomps, 206.
Hinksey, 199.
His long rambles ... ground, 170.
Hollow, 161.
Holly trees and juniper, 172.
Holy Lassa, 177.
Holy well, 166.
Homer, 193.
Homily, 191.
Honied nothings, 172.
How thick the bursts, etc., 185.
Huge world, 178.
_Human Life_,186.
Hurrying fever, 194.
Hurst, 198.
Hurtling Polar lights, 164.
Hydaspes, 161.
Hyde Park, 191.
Hyphasis, 161.

Iacchus, 180.
Iberians, 202.
I came ... passing wind, 162.
I know the Fyfield tree, 207.
Ilsley Downs, 204.
Incognisable, 186.
Indian Caucasus, 159.
In his light youth, 194.
Inly-written chart, 186.
Inviolable shade, 201.
Iran, 159.
Irk'd, 206.
Iron age, 196.
Iron coast, 173.
Iseult, 169.
Is Merlin prisoner, etc., 174.
_Isolation_, 186.
Is she not come? 168.
Ivy-cinctured, 179.

Jaxartes, 158.
Joppa, 164.
Joy, 194.
Just-pausing Genius, 200.

Kai Khosroo, 159.
_Kaiser Dead_, 187.
Kalmucks, 158.
Kara Kul, 157.
Keep, 206.
Ken, 195.
Kept uninfringed my nature's law, 186.
Khiva, 157.
Khorassan, 158.
Kindled, 161.
King Marc, 169.
Kipchak, 158.
Kirghizzes, 158.
Kohik, 163.
Kuzzaks, 158.

Lapithae, 182.
Lasher pass, 199.
Launcelot's guest at Joyous Gard, 170.
Leads, 177.
Leaguer, 171.
Leper recollect, 164.
Light comer, 206.
Like that autumn star, 161.
Like that bold Caesar, etc., 173.
_Lines Written in Kensington Gardens_, 178.
Lion's heart, 159.
Lions sleeping, 180.
Lips that rarely form them now, 191.
Lityerses, 208.
Loud Tyntagel's hill, 169.
Lovely orphan child, 170.
Luminous home, 163.
Lyoness, 169.

Maenad, 183.
Mail, 166.
Marcus Aurelius, 194.
Margaret, 165.
Matin-chime, 176.
_Memorial Verses_, 196.
Mendelssohn, 192.
Midland waters, 202.
Milk-barr'd onyx-stones, 181.
Miserere Domine, 192.
Moon, 187.
Moonstruck knight, 171.
Moorghab, 163.
Mountain-chalets, 176.
Movement, 193
Mozart, 192.
Muses, 180.
My princess ... good night, 171.

Needs must I lose them, etc., 206.
Never was that field lost or that foe saved, 160.
New bathed stars, 163.
Northern Sir, 163.
Nymphs, 180.

O'er ... sea, 169.
Of age and looks, etc., 162.
Old-world Breton history, 173.
Once pass'd I blindfold here, 205.
One lesson, 193.
One slight helpless girl, 159.
On that day, 163.
Orgunje, 163.
Orpheus, 197.
Outlandish, 199.
Oxford towers, 198.
Oxus, 155.
O wanderer from a Grecian shore, 184.

Painter and musician too, 193.
_Palladium_, 189.
Palmers, 176.
Pamere, 156.
Pan's flute music, 180.
Passing weary, 175.
Pausanias, 191.
Pelion, 181.
Pen-bryn's bold bard, 187.
Peran-Wisa, 156.
Persepolis, 163.
Persian King, 157.
Perused, 160.
Petrarch, 192.
_Philomela_ 184.
Phoebus-guarded ground, 191.
Piping a ditty sad for Bion's fate, 206.
Pleasaunce-walks, 169.
Posting here and there, 173.
Potsdam, 188.
Prick'd upon this arm, etc., 162.
Prickers, 176.
Prie-dieu, 173.
Priest, 166.
Prince Alexander, 174.
Prore, 186.
Proserpine, 207.

_Quiet Work_, 193.

Range, 180.
Raphael, 192.
Rates, 195.
Recks not, 171.
Red-fruited yew tree, 200.
Reed, 205.
Remember all thy valour, 161.
_Requiescat_, 177.
Ride, 192.
Right for the polar star, 163.
Roman Emperor, 171.
Rotha, 197.
Rout, 180.
_Rugby Chapel_, 209.
Rustum! 161.

Sackcloth, 194.
_Saint Brandan_, 164.
Samarcand, 156.
Sandford, 207.
Sate, 159.
Savoy, 176.
Sconce, 172.
Scythian ... embers, 181.
Seal'd, 166.
Secret in his breast, 171.
See what the day brings, 180.
Seistan, 156.
_Self-Dependence_, 190.
Self-murder, 164.
Seneschal, 173.
Shakespeare, 193.
_Shakespeare_, 193.
She knew each lily white which Enna yields, etc., 207.
She knew the Dorian water's gush divine, 207.
She loved the Dorian pipe, etc., 207.
Shepherd-pipe, 205.
Shore, 161.
Sibylla's name, 204.
Silenus, 183.
Silly, 206.
Simois, 189.
Skye, 188.
Snow-haired Zal, 159.
Soft sheep, 208.
Soft Sicily, 202.
_Sohrab and Rustum_, 149.
Sole, 162.
Son of Italy, 194.
Sophocles, 183.
So ... So ..., 206.
Soudan, 174.
South, 192.
Spitalfields, 195.
Sprent, 208.
Stagshorn, 173.
Stem, 186.
Stranger-knight, ill-starr'd, 170.
Strange unloved uproar, 178.
Style, 162.
Sunk, 156.
Sun sparkled, etc., 161.
Swains, 206.
Syrtes, 202.

Tagg'd, 199.
Tale, 160.
Tartar camp, 155.
Tasso, 192.
Teen, 200.
Tejend, 163.
That old king, 162.
That sweet city with her dreaming spires, 205.
Thebes, 181.
_The Church of Brou_, 176.
_The Forsaken Merman_, 165.
_The Last Word_, 188.
There, go! etc., 157.
_The Scholar-Gipsy_, 197.
Thessaly, 199.
_The Strayed Reveller_, 179.
Thine absent master, 191.
Thou had'st one aim, etc., 200.
Thou hast not lived, 200.
Thou possessest an immortal lot etc., 200.
Thou wilt not fright me so, 160.
Thracian wild, 184.
_Thyrsis_, 203.
Tiresias, 181.
Titans, 196.
To a boon ... country he has fled, 208.
Too clear web, etc., 185.
Toorkmuns, 158.
Tower'd, 160.
Transept, 176.
Tried, 160.
_Tristram and Iseult_, 167.
Troy, 182.
Tukas, 158.
Tunnies, 202.
Tyntagel, 169.

Ulysses, 180.
Unconscious hand, 162.
Unknown sea, 182.
Unnatural, 161.

Vacant, 192.
Vale, 204.
Vast, 160.
Vasty, 177.
Vaunt, 160.
Virgilian cry, 191.

Wanders, 169.
Wattled cotes, 198.
Weirs, 204.
Welcomed here, 170.
Western straits, 202.
_West London_, 195.
What boots it, 171.
What endless active life, 178.
What foul fiend rides thee? 171.
Whether that ... or in some quarrel, 157.
Which much to have tried, etc., 200.
Wild white horses, 165.
Wimple, 174.
With a bitter smile, etc., 161.
With blossoms red and white, 206.
Wordsworth, 192.
_Worldly Place_, 194.
Wrack, 161.
Wychwood bowers, 199.
Wytham flats, 207.

Xanthus, 189.

Yellow Tiber, 177.
Yes, 187.
_Youth's Agitations_, 194.

Zal, 157.
Zirrah, 163.





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