Once all-sufficient for men's needs, | The old blue heaven of faith benign.
Are palimpsests that scarce disguise Whence? Whither? Wherefore ? How?
The traciugs of still earlier lies,

Which? Why?
Themselves as surely written o'er All ask at once, all wait reply.
An older fib erased before.

Men feel old systems cracking under

'em; So from these days I fly to those

Life saddens to a mere conundrum That in the landlocked Past repose, Which once Religion solved, but she Where no rude wind of doctrine shakes Has lost — has Science found ? — the From bloom - flushed boughs untimely key.

flakes; Where morning's eyes see nothing What was snow-bearded Odin, trow, strange,

The mighty hunter long ago, No crude perplexity of change,

Whose horn and hounds the peasant And morrows trip along their ways

hears Secure as happy yesterdays.

Still when the Northlights shake their Then there were rulers who could trace

spears ? Through heroes up to gods their race, Science hath answers twain, I've heard ; Pledged to fair fame and noble use Choose which you will, nor hope a By veins from Odin filled or Zeus,

third; And under bonds to keep divine

Whichever box the truth be stowed in, The praise of a celestial 'live.

There's not a sliver left of Odin. Then priests could pile the altar's sods, Either he was a pinchbrowed thing, With whom gods spake as they with With scarcely wit a stone to fling, gods,

A creature both in size and shape And everywhere from haunted earth Nearer than we are to the ape, Broke springs of wonder, that had birth Who hung sublime with brat and spouse In depths divine beyond the ken

By tail prehensile from the boughs, And fatal scrutiny of men ;

And, happier than his maimed descendThen hills and groves and streams and ants, seas

The culture curtailed independents, Thrilled with immortal presences,

Could pluck his cherries with both paws, Not too ethereal for the scope

And stuff with both his big-boned jaws; Of human passion's dream or hope. Or else the core his name enveloped

Was from a solar myth developed, Now Pan at last is surely dead,

Which, hunted to its primal shoot, And King No-Credit reigns instead, Takes refuge in a Sanskrit root, Whose officers, morosely strict,

Thereby to instant death explaining Poor Fancy's tenantry evict,

The little poetry remaining.
Chase the last Genius from the door,
And nothing dances any more.

Try it with Zeus, 't is just the same; Nothing? Ah, yes, our tables do

The thing evades, we hug a name; Drumming the Old One's own tattoo, | Nay, scarcely that, - perhaps a vapor And, if the oracles are dumb,

Born of some atmospheric caper. Have we not mediums? Why be glum ? All Lempriere's fables blur together

In cloudy syinbols of the weather, Fly thither? Why, the very air

And Aphrodite rose from frothy seas Is full of hindrance and despair! But to illustrate such hypotheses. Fly thither ? But I cannot fly;

With years enough behind his back, My doubts enmesh me if I try,

Lincoln will take the selfsame track, Each lilliputian, but, combined,

And prove, hulled fairly to the cob,
Potent a giant's limbs to bind.

A mere vagary of Old Prob.
This world and that are growing dark ; Give the right man a solar myth,
A huge interrogation mark,

And he 'll confute the sun therewith.
The Devil's crook episcopal,
Srill borne before him since the Fall, They make things admirably plain,
Blackens with its ill-oinened sign | But one hard question will remain :

If one hypothesis you lose,

| Our dear and admirable Huxley Another in its place you choose,

Cannot explain to me why ducks lay, But, your faith gone, o man and Or rather, how into their eggs brother,

Blunder potential wings and legs Whose shop shall furnish you another? With will to move them and decide One that will wash, I mean, and wear, Whether in air or lymph to glide. And wrap us warmly from despair ? Who gets a hair’s-breadth on by showing While they are clearing up our puzzles, That Something Else set all ayoing? And clapping prophylactic muzzles Farther and farther back we push On the Actæon's hounds that spiff From Moses and his burning bush ; Our devious track through But and If, Cry, “Art Thou there?” Above, below, Would they'd explain away the Devil All Nature mutters yes and no! And other facts that won't keep level, 'T is the old answer : we ’re agreed But rise beneath our feet or fail,

Being from Being must proceed, A reeling ship's deck in a gale!

Life be Life's source. I might as well God vanished long ago, iwis,

Obey the meeting-house's bell. A mere subjective syuthesis ;

And listen while Old Hundred pours A doll, stuffed out with hopes and fears, Forth through the summer-opened doors, Too homely for us pretty dears,

From old and young. I hear it yet, Who want one that conviction carries, Swelled by bass-viol and clarinet, Last make of London or of Paris. While the gray minister, with face He gone, I felt a moment's spasm, Radiant, let loose his noble bass. But calmed myself with Protoplasm, If Heaven it reached not, yet its roll A finer name, and, what is more, Waked all the echoes of the soul, As enigmatic as before;

And in it many a life found wings Greek, too, and sure to fill with ease To soar away from sordid things. Minds caught in the Symplegades Church gone and singers too, the song Of soul and sense, life's two conditions, Sinus to me voiceless all night long, Each baffled with its own omniscience. Till my soul beckons me afar, The men who labor to revise

Glowing and trembling like a star. Our Bibles will, I hope, be wise,

Will any scientific touch And print it without foolish qualms With my worn strings achieve as much? Instead of God in David's psalms : Noll had been more effective far

I don't object, not I, to know Could he have shouted at Dunbar, My sires were monkeys, if 't was so; “Rise, Protoplasm !” No doureet Scot I touch my ear's collusive tip Had waited for another shot.

And own the poor-relationship.

That apes of various shapes and sizes And yet I frankly must confess

Contained their germs that all the prizes A secret unforgivinyness,

Of senate, pulpit, camp, and bar win And shudder at the saving chrism May give us hopes that sweeten Darwin. Whose best New Birth is Pessimism ; Who knows but from our loins may My soul — I mean the bit of phosphorus, spring That fills the place of what that was for (Long hence) some winged sweetus

throated thing Can't bid its inward bores defiance As much superior to us With the new nursery-tales of science. As we to Cynocephalus ? What profits me, though doubt by doubt,

This is consoling, but, alas, As nail by nail, be driven out,

It wipes no dimness from the glass When every new one, like the last, Where I am flattening my poor nose, Still holds my coffin-lid as fast?

In hope to see beyond my toes.
Would I find thought a moment's truce, Though I accept my pedigree,
Give me the young world's Mother Yet where, pray tell me, is the key

That should unlock a private door
With life and joy in every limb,

To the Great Mystery, such no more? The chimney-corner tales of Grimm! Each offers his, but one nor all



Are mach persuasive with the wall | An officer cashiered, a civil servant
That rises now, as long ago,

(No matter though his piety were ferBetween I wonder and I know,

vent) Nor will vouchsafe a pin-hole peep Disgracefully dismissed, and through the At the veiled Isis in its keep.

land Where is no door, I but produce

Each bore for life a stigma from the My key to find it of no use.

brand Yet better keep it, after all,

Whose far-heard hiss made others more Since Nature's economical,

averse And who can tell but some fine day To take the facile step from bad to (If it occur to her) she may,

worse. In her good will to you and me,

The Ten Commandments had a meanMuke door and lock to match the key?

ing then Felt in their bones by least considerate

men, TEMPORA MUTANTUR. Because behind them Public Conscience

stood, The world turns mild; democracy, they And without wincing made their man

dates good. Rounds the sharp knobs of character But now that “Statesmanship” is just a away,

way And no great harm, unless at grave ex. To dodge the primal curse and make it pense

pay, Of what needs edge of proof, the moral Since office means a kind of patent drill sense ;

To force an entrance to the Nation's For man or race is on the downward


And peculation something rather less Whose fibre grows too soft for honest Risky than if you spelt it with an s; wrath,

Now that to steal by law is grown an And there is a subtle influence that art, springs

Whom rogues the sires, their milder From words to modify our sense of sons call smart, things.

And "slightly irregular" dilutes the A plain distinction grows obscure of shame

Of what had once a somewhat blunter Man, if he will, may pardon; but the name,

With generous curve we draw the moral Forgets its function if not fixed as Fate.

line: So thought our sires : a hundred years Our swindlers are permitted to resign; ago,

Their guilt is wrapped in deferential If men were knaves, why, people called names, them so,

And twenty sympathize for one that And crime could see the prison-portal blames. bend

Add national disgrace to private crime, Its brow severe at no long vista's end. Confront mankind with brazen front In those days for plain things plain words sublime, would serve;

Steal but enough, the world is unMen had not learned to admire the grace severe, ful swerve

Tweed is a statesman, Fisk a financier; Wherewith the Æsthetic Nature's genial Invent a mine, and be — the Lord knows mood

what; Makes public duty slope to private Secure, at any rate, with what you 've good ;

got. No muddled conscience raised the saving the public servant who has stolen or doubt:

lied, A soldier proved unworthy was drummed If called on, may resign with honest out;

pride :



As unjust favor put him in, why doubt / All templars and minstrels and ladies Disfavor as unjust has turned him out?

and pages, Even if indicted, what is that but fudge And love and adventure in Outre-Mer To him who counted - in the elective land; judge ?

But ah, where the youth dreamed of Whitewashed, he quits the politician's building a minster, strife

The man takes a pew and sits reckonAt ease in mind, with pockets filled for ing his pelf, life:

And the Graces wear fronts, the Muse His "lady" glares with gems whose thins to a spinster vulgar blaze

When Middle-Age stares from one's The poor man through his heightened

glass at oneself! taxes pays, Himself content if one huge Kohinoor

II. Bulge from a shirt-front ampler than | Do you twit me with days when I had before,

an Ideal, But not too candid, lest it haply tend

And saw the sear future through To rouse suspicion of the People's

spectacles green? Friend.

| Then find me some charm, while I look A public meeting, treated at his cost,

round and see all Resolves him back more virtue than he These fat friends of forty, shall keep lost;

me nineteen; With character regilt he counts his

his Should we go on pining for chaplets of

should gains ;

laurel What 's gone was air, the solid good re- Who've paid a perruquier for mendmains;

ing our thatch, For what is good, except what friend and Or

Or, our feet swathed in baize, with our foe

Fate pick a quarrel, Seem quite unanimous in thinking so, I If. instead of cheap bay-leaves, she The stocks and bonds which, in our age

sent a dear scratch ? of loans, Replace the stupid pagan's stocks and

III. stones ? With choker white, wherein po cynic We called it our Eden, that small patenteye

baker, Dares see idealized a hempen tie,

When life was half moonshine and half At parish - meetings he conducts in

Mary Jane; prayer,

But the butcher, the baker, the candleAnd pays for missions to be sent else

stick-maker! where;

Did Adam have duns and slip down a On 'Change respected, to his friends en

back-lane? deared,

| Nay, after the Fall did the modiste keep Add but a Sunday-school-class, he's re

coming vered,

With last styles of fig-leaf to Madam And his too early tomb will not be dumb Eve's bower? To point a moral for our youth to Did Jubal, or whoever taught the girls

thrumming, 1872.

Make the patriarchs deaf at a dollar


iv. | As I think what I was, I sigh Desunt

nonnulla ! At twenty we fancied the blest Middle Years are creditors Sheridan's self Ages

could not bilk; A spirited cross of romantic and But then, as my boy says, “What right grand,

has a fullah




To ask for the cream, when himself | Ah, Fate, should I live to be nonagenspilt the milk?"

arian, Perhaps when you 're older, my lad, Let me still take Hope’s frail I. O. U.s you 'll discover

upon trust, The secret with which Auld Lang Still talk of a trip to the Islands Macarian, Syne there is gilt,

And still climb the dream-tree for Superstition of old man, muid, poet, and ashes and dust !

lover, That creain rises thickest on milk that was spilt !


JANUARY, 1859. We sailed for the moon, but, in sad disillusion,

A Hundred years ! they're quickly fled, Snug under Point Comfort are glad to With all their joy and sorrow; make fast,

Their dead leaves shed upon the dead, And strive (sans our glasses) to make a Their fresh ones sprung by morrow! confusion

And still the patient seasons bring 'Twixt our rind of green cheese and Their change of sun and shadow; the moon of the past.

New birds still sing with every spring, Ah, Might-have-been, Could-have-been,

New violets spot the meadow.
Would-have-been! rascals,
He's a genius or fool whom ye cheat
at twoscore,

A hundred years! and Nature's powers And the man whose boy - promise was likened to Pascal's

1 No greater grown por lessened ! Is thankful at forty they don't call him

They saw no flowers more sweet than

bore !

No fairer new moon's crescent.
Would she but treat us poets so,

So from our winter free us, With what fumes of fame was each con. And set our slow old sap aflow fident pare full !

To sprout in fresh ideas! How rates of insurance should rise on the Charles !

III. And which of us now would not feel | Alas, think I, what worth or parts wisely grateful,

Have bronght me here competing, If his rhymes sold as fast as the Em

To speak what starts in myriad hearts blems of Quarles ?

With Burns's memory beating! E'en if won, what's the good of Life's

Himself had loved a theme like this; medals and prizes?

Must I be its entomber? The rapture's in what never was or is no

18 No pen save his but's sure to miss gone;

Its pathos or its humor. That we missed them makes Helens of plain Ann Elizys,

IV. For the goose of Today still is Mem- |

As I sat musing what to say,
ory's swan.

And how my verse to number,

Some elf in play passed by that way,

And sank my lids in slumber; And yet who would change thə old And on my sleep a vision stole, dream for new treasure ?

Which I will put in metre, Make not youth's sourest grapes the Of Burns's soul at the wicket-hole best wine of our life?

Where sits the good Saint Peter. Need he reckon his date by the Almanac's

measure Who is twenty life-long in the eyes of The saint, methought, had left his post his wife ?

1 That day to Holy Willie,

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