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Anna Maria Fay.
SLEEP AND DEATH.
Oft see we in the garish round of day
A danger-haunted world for our sad feet,
Or fear we tread along the peopled street
A homeless path, an uncompanioned way. So too the night doth bring its own array
Of darkling terrors we must singly meet,
Each soul apart in its unknown retreat,
With life a purposeless, unconscious play. But though the day discovers us afraid,
Unsure of some safe hand to be
our guide, rest we at night, as if for each
"He giveth unto His beloved sleep." Nought less than all do we in sleep confide,
And death but needs of us a trust as deep.
When love is in her eyes,
What need of Spring for me? A brighter emerald lies
On hill and vale and lea. The azure of the skies
Holds nought so sweet to see, When love is in her eyes,
What need of Spring for me?
Her bloom the rose outvies,
The.violet's glory dies,
When love is in her eyes,
Cornelius George Fenner.
A Weary weed, tossed to and fro, drearily drenched in the ocean brine,
Soaring high and sinking low, Lashed along without will of mine;
Sport of the spume of the surging sea; Flung on the foam, afar and anear,
Mark my manifold mystery,— Growth and grace in their place appear.
I bear round berries, gray and red,
Arboresce as a trunkless tree; Corals curious coat me o'er,
White and hard in apt array; 'Mid the wild waves' rude uproar,
Gracefully grow I, night and day.
Hearts there are on the sounding shore,
Something whispers soft to me, restless and roaming for evermore,
Like this weary weed of the sea; Bear they yet on each beating breast
The eternal type of the wondrous whole:
Growth unfolding amidst unrest, Grace informing with silent soul. Annie
Daughter of Love! Out of the flowing river,
Bearing the tide of life upon its billow,
Down to that gulf where love and song together
Sink and must perish:
Out of that fatal and resistless current,
One little song of thine to thy great mother,
Treasured upon the heart of earth forever.
Alone is rescued.
Yet when spring comes, and weary is
the spirit, When love is here, but absent is the
And life is here, and only love is dying,
Then turn we, longing, Singer, to thee! Through ages unforgotten;
Where beats the heart of one who in
her loving Sang, all for love, and gave herself
To the sea's bosom.
[From The Last Contest of Aeschylus.]
YOUNG SOPHOCLES TAKING THE PRIZE FROM AGED AESCHYLUS.
But now the games succeeded, then a pause,
And after came the judges with the scrolls;
Two scrolls, not one, as in departed years.
And this saw none but the youth, Sophocles,
Who stood with head erect and shining eyes,
As if the beacon of some promised land
Caught his strong vision and entranced it there.
Then while the earth made mimicry
of heaven With stillness, calmly spake the
mightiest judge: "O ^Eschylus! The father of our
Athenian master of the tragic lyre Thou the incomparable! Swayer of
strong hearts! Immortal minstrel of immortal deeds! The autumn grows apace, and all
must die; Soon winter comes, and silence.
.rEschylus! After that silence laughs the tuneful
Read'st thou our meaning through
this slender veil Of nature's weaving? Sophocles,
stand forth! Behold Fame calls thee to her loftiest
And bids thee wear her crown. Stand
forth, I say!" Then, like a fawn, the youthful poet
From the dark thicket of new crowding friends,
And stood, a straight, lithe form with gentle mien,
Crowned first with light of happiness and youth.
But .lEschylus, the old man, bending lower
Under this new chief weight of all
the years, Turned from that scene, turned from
the shouting crowd, Whose every voice wounded his dying
With arrows poison-dipped, and
walked alone, Forgotten, under plane-trees, by the
"The last! The last! Have I no more to do
With this sweet world! Is the bright morning now
No longer fraught for me with crowding song?
Will evening bring no unsought fruitage home?
Must the days pass and these poor lips be dumb,
While strewing leaves sing falling through the air,
And autumn gathers in her richest fruit?
Where is my spring departed? Where, O gods!
Within my spirit still the building birds
I hear, with voice more tender than
when leaves Are budding and the happy earth is
gay. Am I, indeed, grown dumb for evermore!
Take me, O bark! Take me, thou
flowing stream! Who knowest nought of death save
when thy waves Rush to new life upon the ocean's
Bear thou me singing to the under world!
AGED SOrHOCLES ADDRESSING THE ATHENIANS BEFORE RE AD ISO HIS OSDIPUS COLONEUS.
Bowed half with age and half with
reverence, thus, I, Sophocles, now answer to your
Questioned have I the cause and the
reason learned. Lo, I am here that all the world may
These feeble limbs that signal of decay!
But, know ye, ere the aged oak must
Long after the strong years have
bent his form. The spring still gently weaves a leafy
Fresh as of yore to deck his wintry head.
And now, O people mine, who have loved my song,
Ye shall be judges if the spring have brought
Late unto me, the aged oak, a crown. Hear ye once more, ere yet the river of sleep
Bear me away far on its darkening
The music breathed upon me from
these fields. If to your ears, alas! the shattered
No longer sing, but breathe a discord harsh,
I will return and draw this mantle close
About my head and lay me down to die.
But if ye hear the wonted spirit call, Framing the natural song that fills
this world To a diviner form, then shall ye all
The love I bear to those most near to me
Is living still, and living cannot wrong;
To me, it seems, the love I bear to thee,
Athens, blooms fresh as violets in yon wood,
Making new spring within this aged breast.
AT THE FORGE.
I Am Hephaistos, and forever here Stand at the forge and labor, while I dream
Of those who labor not and are not lame.
I hear the early and the late birds call,
Hear winter whisper to the coming spring,
And watch the feet of summer dancing light
For joy across the bosom of the earth. Labor endures, but all of these must pass!
And ye who love them best, nor are condemned
To beat the anvil through the summer day, . 1
May learn the secret of their sudden flight;
No mortal tongue may whisper where
they hide, But to her love, half nestled in the
Earth has been known to whisper low yet clear
Strange consolation for the wintry days.
Oh, listen then, ye singers! learn and tell
Those who must labor by the dusty way 1
PASSAGE FROM THE PRELUDE.
O Youth of the world,
In thy bud
Slept nor canker nor pain;
Of thy grape was no frost and no rain;
I love thee! I follow thy feet!
The youth of my heart,
And the deathless fire
Leap to embrace thee:
And nighcr, and nigher,
Through the darkness of grief and
the smart, Thy form do I see.
But the tremulous hand of the years
Sorrow is her name;
James Thomas Fields.
MORNING AND EVENING BY THE SEA.
At dawn the fleet stretched miles away
On ocean-plains asleep,—
To move across the deep.
When evening touched the cape's
Of clouds, from shadowy caves; These were the ghosts of buried ships Gone down in one brief hour's eclipse!
THE PERPETUITY OF SONG.
It was a blithesome young jongleur
Who started out to sing,
On a leafy morn in spring;
That ever tried its wing.
Of love his little heart was full,—
Madonna! how he sang! The blossoms trembled with delight,
And round about him sprang. As forth among the banks of Loire
The minstrel's music rang.
The boy had left a home of want
And sing for bread and nightly rest
In many an alien town,
The alternate smile and frown.
The singer's carolling lips are dust,
And ages long since then Dead kings have lain beside their thrones,
Voiceless as common men,— But Gerald's songs are echoing still
Through every mountain glen
Oh, the soul-haunting shadows when
low he'll lie dying, And the dread angel's voice for his
spirit is crying! Where will his thoughts wander, just
before sleeping, When a chill from the dark o'er his
forehead is creeping?
'Tis June with him now, but quick
cometh December; There's a broken heart somewhere
for him to remember, And sure as God liveth, for all his
gay trolling, The bell for his passing one day will
Go, sophist! dare not to despoil
In days of pain, in hours of toil,— The bread on which my spirit feeds.
You see no light beyond the stars,
I feel, thank God, no narrow bars
Hence with your cold sepulchral bans,—
The vassal doubts Unfaith has given!
My childhood's heart within the man's
Still whispers to me, "Trust in Heaven!"
How sweet and gracious, even in
common speech, Is that fine sense which men call
Courtesy! Wholesome as air and genial as the
Welcome in every clime as breath of
flowers,— It transmutes aliens into trusting
And gives its owner passport round the globe.
O Happiest he, whose riper years retain
The hopes of youth, unsullied by a stain!
His eve of life in calm content shall glide,
Like the still streamlet to the ocean tide:
No gloomy cloud hangs o'er his tranquil day;
No meteor lures him from his home astray;
For him there glows with glittering
beam on high Love's changeless star that leads him
to the sky; Still to the past he sometimes turns
The mild expression of a mother's face,
And dreams, perchance, as oft in
earlier years, The low, sweet music of her voice he