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AUSPEX. — THE PREGNANT COMMENT, — THE LESSON.
While you thought 't was You thinking |
Had they been swallows only,
That skyward longs and sings, –
Greece, Rome, nay, your namesake, old A moment, sweet delusion,
Like birds the brown leaves hover; With Truth's nameless delvers who But it will not be long wrought
Before their wild confusion In the dark mines of Truth, helped to Fall wavering down to cover prod your
The poet and his song. Fine brain with the goad of their thought.
THE PREGNANT COMMENT. As mummy was prized for a rich hue
The painter no elsewhere could find, OPENING one day a book of mine, So 't was buried men's thinking with I absent, Hester found a line which you
Praised with a pencil-mark, and this Gave the ripe mellow tone to your She left transfigured with a kiss, mind.
When next upon the page I chance, I heard the proud strawberry saying, Like Poussin's nymphs my pulses dance,
"Only look what a ruby I've made !" And whirl my fancy where it sees It forgot how the bees in their maying Pan piping 'neath Arcadian trees, Had brought it the stuff for its trade. Whose leaves no winter-scenes rehearse,
Still young and glad as Homer's verse. And yet there's the half of a truth in “ What mean," I ask, “these sudden
joys ? And my Lord might his copyright sue; / This feeling fresher than a boy's ? For a thought's his who kindles new What makes this line, familiar long, youth in it,
New as the first bird's April song?" Or so puts it as makes it more true. I could, with sense illumined thus,
Clear doubtful texts in Æschylus !” The birds but repeat without ending The same old traditional notes,
Laughing, one day she gave the key, Which some, by more happily blending, My riddle's open-sesame; Seem to make over new in their Then added, with a smile demure, throats ;
Whose downcast lids veiled triumph
sure, And we men through our old bit of song “If what I left there give you pain, run,
You — you can take it off again; Until one just improves on the rest, 'T was for my poet, not for him, And we call a thing his, in the long Your Doctor Donne there!”
run, Who utters it clearest and best.
Earth grew dim And wavered in a golden mist,
As rose, not paper, leaves I kissed. AUSPEX.
Donne, you forgive? I let you keep
Her precious comment, poet deep.
I sat and watched the walls of night Shall whirl dead leaves and snow. With cracks of sudden lightning glow, SCIENCE AND POETRY, — WITH A SEASHELL.
And listened while with clumsy might | The Cloak that makes invisible; and The thunder wallowed to and fro.
I glide, an airy fire, from shore to shore, The rain fell softly now; the squall, Or from my Cambridge whisper to CaThat to a torrent drove the trees,
thay. Had whirled beyond us to let fall Its tumult on the whitening seas.
A NEW YEAR'S GREETING. But still the lightning crinkled keen, Or fluttered fitful from behind | The century numbers fourscore years; The leaden drifts, then only seen, You, fortressed in your teens, That rumbled eastward on the wind. To Time's alarums close your ears,
And, while he devastates your peers, Still as gloom followed after glare, Conceive not what he meaus. While bated breath the pine-trees drew, Tiny Salmoneus of the air,
If e'er life's winter fleck with snow His mimic bolts the firefly threw. Your hair's deep shadowed bowers,
That winsome head an art would know He thought, no doubt, " Those flashes To make it charm, and wear it so grand,
As 't were a wreath of flowers.
If to such fairies years must come,
As, shaken by a bee's low hum,
The rose-leaves waver, sweetly dumb, “He's of our race's elder branch
Down to their mates below!
I WATCHED a moorland torrent run And is man wiser ? Man who takes Down through the rift itself had made, His consciousness the law to be
Golden as honey in the sun, Of all beyond his ken, and makes Of darkest amber in the shade. God but a bigger kind of Me ?
In this wild glen at last, methought,
The magic's secret I surprise ;
Here Celia's guardian fairy caught
The changeful splendors of her eyes. He who first stretched his nerves of subtile wire
All else grows tame, the sky's one blue, Over the land and through the sea-depths The one long languish of the rose, still,
But these, beyond prevision new, Thought only of the flame-winged mes- Shall charm and startle to the close. i senger As a dull drudge that should encircle earth
WITH A SEASHELL. With sordid messages of Trade, and tame Blithe Ariel to a bagman. But the Muse Shell, whose lips, than mine more cold, Not long will be defrauded. From her Might with Dian's ear make bold, foe
Seek my Lady's; if thou win Her misused wand she snatches; at a To thai portal, shut from sin, touch,
Where commissioned angels' swords The Age of Wonder is renewed again, Startle back unholy words, And to our disenchanted day restores Thou a miracle shalt see The Shoes of Swiftness that give odds to Wrought by it and wrought in thee; Thought,
| Thou, the dumb one, shalt recover
Say, " He bids me — nothing more Tell you what you guessed before !”
THE SECRET. I HAVE a fancy : how shall I bring it Home to all mortals wherever they be ? Say it or sing it? Shoe it or wing it, So it may outrun or outfly ME, Merest cocoon-web whence it broke free?
Speech of poet, speech of lover.
Only one secret can save from disaster,
brings you, Tune the wild columbines nod to in June !
This is the secret : so simple, you see!
ing, Known, since the world was, by scarce
two or three.
IV. HUMOR AND SATIRE.
FITZ ADAM'S STORY.
| He shunned life's rivalries and hated
trade; [The greater part of this poem was written On a small patrimony and larger pride, many years ago as part of a larger one, to be He lived uneaseful on the Other Side called "The Nooning," made up of tales in
(So he called Europe), only coming verse, some of them grave, some comic. It gives me a sad pleasure to remember that I was en
West couraged in this project by my friend the late
e new Arthur Hugh Clough.]
Yet still the New World spooked it in The next whose fortune 't was a tale to his veins,
A ghost he could not lay with all his Was one whom men, before they thought, pains; loved well,
For never Pilgriins' offshoot scapes And after thinking wondered why they control did,
Of those old instincts that have shaped For half he seemed to let them, half his soul. forbid,
A radical in thought, he puffed away And wrapped him so in humors, sheath With shrewd contempt the dust of usage on sheath,
gray, 'T was hard to guess the mellow soul Yet loathed democracy as one who saw, beneath;
In what he longed to love, some vulgar But, once divined, you took him to your flaw, heart,
And, shocked through all his delicate While he appeared to bear with you as reserves, part
Remained a Tory by his taste and nerves. Of life's impertinence, and once a year His funcy's thrall, he drew all ergoes Betrayed his true self by a smile or tear, thenice, Or rather something sweetly - shy and And thought himself the type of common loath,
sense ; Withdrawn ere fully shown, and mixed Misliking women, not from cross or of both.
whim, A cynic? Not precisely: one who thrust But that his mother shared too much in Against a heart too prone to love and him,
And he half felt that what in them was Who so despised false sentiment he grace knew
Made the unlucky weakness of his race. Scarce in himself to part the false and What powers he had he hardly cared to true,
know, And strove to hide, by roughening-o'er But sauntered through the world as the skin,
through a show; Those cobweb nerves he could not dull A critic fine in his haphazard way, within.
A sort of mild La Bruyère on half-pay. Gentle by birth, but of a stem decayed, For comic weaknesses he had an eye
Keen as an acid for an alkali,
But you have long ago raked up their Yet you could feel, through his sardonic fires; tone,
Where they had faith, you've ten shamHe loved them all, unless they were his Gothic spires.
Why more exotics? Try your native You might have called him, with his humorous twist,
And in some thousand years you may A kind of human entomologist:
have wines; As these bring home, from every walk Your present grapes are harsh, all pulps they take,
and skins, Their hat - crowns stuck with bugs of And want traditions of ancestral bins curious make,
That saved for evenings round the polSo he filled all the lining of his head
ished board With characters impaled and ticketed, Old lava-fires, the sun-steeped hillside's And had a cabinet behind his eyes
hoard. For all they caught of mortal oddities. Without a Past, you lack that southern He might have been a poet – many wall worse
O'er which the vines of Poesy should But that he had, or feigned, contempt of crawl; verse;
Still they ’re your only hope ; no midCalled it tattooing language, and held night oil rhymes
Makes up for virtue wanting in the The young world's lullaby of ruder soil; times.
Manure them well and prune them ; Bitter in words, too indolent for gall,
't won't be France, He satirized himself the first of all, Nor Spain, nor Italy, but there 's your In men and their affairs could find no law, chance. And was the ill logic that he thought he You have one story-teller worth a score saw.
Of dead Boccaccios, – nay, add twenty
more, Scratching a match to light his pipe A hawthorn asking spring's most dainty anew,
breath, With eyes half shut some musing whiff. And him you 're freezing pretty well to he drew,
death. And thus began: “I give you all my However, since you say so, I will tease word,
My memory to a story by degrees, I think this mock-Decameron absurd; Though you will cry, 'Enough!' I'm Boccaccio's garden! how bring that to wellpigh sure, pass
Ere I have dreamed through half my In our bleak clime save under double overture. glass?
Stories were good for men who had no The moral east-wind of New England books, life
(Fortunate race!) and built their nests Would snip its gay luxuriance like a like rooks knife;
In lonely towers, to which the Jongleur Mile-deep the glaciers brooded here, brought they say,
His pedler's box of cheap and tawdry Through æons numb; we feel their thought, chill to-day.
With here and there a fancy fit to see These foreign plants are but half-hardy Wrought to quaint grace in golden still,
filigree, Die on a south, and on a north wall Some ring that with the Muse's finger chill.
yet Had we stayed Puritans! They had Is warm, like Aucassin and Nicolete; some heat
The morning newspaper has spoilt his (Though whence derived I have my own
(For better or for worse, I leave unsaid,)