Изображения страниц

"But no," say the children, weeping faster,
"He is speechless as a stone;

And they tell us, of His image is the master
Who commands us to work on.

to!" say the children; "up in heaven, Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find! Do not mock us! grief has made us unbelieving;

We look up for God-but tears have made us blind!" Do you hear children weeping and disproving,

O my brothers, what ye preach?

For God's possible is taught by His world's loving,
And the children doubt of each!

And well may the children weep before ye;
They are weary ere they run!

They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
Which is brighter than the sun!

They know the grief of man, but not the wisdom;
They sink in man's despair, without its calm;
Are slaves without the liberty in Christdom-
Are martyrs by the pang, without the palm!
Are worn as if with age; yet unretrievingly

The harvest of its memories cannot keep;
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly-
Let them weep, let them weep!

[ocr errors]

They look up, with their pale and sunken faces,
And their look is dread to see;

For they mind you of their angels in their places,
With eyes meant for Deity.

"How long," they say, "how long, O cruel nation!

Will you stand, to move the world, on a child's heart?

Stifle down with mailèd heel its palpitation,

And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants!

And your purple shows your path"-
But the child's sob curseth deeper in the silence
Than the strong man in his wrath!

Robert Browning.



SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris and he : I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; "Good speed!” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew, "Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through.

Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace--
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but, while we drew near
Lokernew, the cocks crew, and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;

At Duffield, 'twas morning as plain as could be,
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime,
So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!"

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,

And against him the cattle stood, black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past;
And I saw my stout galloper, Roland, at last,
With resolute shoulders each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray-

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence,-ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, its own master, askance ;
And the thick, heavy spume-flakes, which aye and anon
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on.

By Hasselt Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her;
We'll remember at Aix”—for one heard the quick wheeze
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and staggering knees,
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,

As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,

Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh;

'Neath our foot broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-tower sprang white,
And "Gallop," cried Joris, "for Aix is in sight!”

"How they'll greet us!"—and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-socket's rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer-
Clapped my hands, laughed and sung, any noise, bad or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is friends flocking round,
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from




HERE'S a palace in Florence, the world knows well,
And a statue watches it from the square;

And this story of both do the townsmen tell:

Ages ago, a lady there,

At the farthest window facing the east,
Asked, "Who rides by with the royal air?"

The bridesmaids' prattle around her ceased;
She leaned forth, one on either hand;
They saw how the blush of the bride increased-

They felt by its beats her heart expand--
As one at each ear and both in a breath
Whispered, "The Great-Duke Ferdinand."

That self-same instant, underneath,
The Duke rode past in his idle way,
Empty and fine like a swordless sheath.

Gay he rode, with a friend as gay,

Till he threw his head back--" Who is she?" "A bride the Riccardi brings home to-day.”

Hair in heaps laid heavily

Over a pale brow spirit-pure,

Carved like the heart of the coal-black tree.

Crisped like a war-steed's encolure--
Which vainly sought to dissemble her eyes
Of the blackest black our eyes endure.

And lo! a blade for a knight's emprise
Filled the fine empty sheath of a man,-
The Duke grew straightway brave and wise.

[ocr errors]

He looked at her, as a lover can;
She looked at him, as one who awakes,-
The past was a sleep, and her life began.

As Love so ordered for both their sakes,
A feast was held that self-same night
In the pile which the mighty shadow makes.

(For Via Larga is three-parts light,
But the Palace overshadows one,
Because of a crime which may God requite!

To Florence and God the wrong was done,
Through the first republic's murder there
By Cosimo and his cursed son.)

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »