Изображения страниц

And the calm Campanile. Beautiful !
O, beautisul! and that seemed more profound,
This morning by the pillar when I sat
Under the great arcade, at the review,
And took, and held, and ordered on my brain
The faces, and the voices, and the whole mass
O'the motley facts of existence flowing by!
O perfect, if 'twere all! But it is not ;
Hints haunt me ever of a more beyond :
I am rebuked by a sense of the incomplete,
Of a completion ever soon assumed,
Of adding up too soon. What we call sin,
I could believe a painful opening out
Of paths for ampler virtue. The bare field,
Scant with lean ears of harvest, long had mocked
The vext laborious farmer ; came at length
The deep plough in the lazy undersoil
Down-driving ; with a cry earth's fibres crack,
And a few months, and lo! the golden leas,
And autumn's crowded shocks and loaded wains.
Let us look back on life; was any change,
Any now blest expansion, but at first
A pang, remorse-like, shot to the inmost seats
Of moral being ? To do anything,
Distinct on any one thing to decide,
To leave the habitual and the old, and quit
The easy-chair of use and wont, seems crime
To the weak soul, forgetful how at first
Sitting down seemed so too. And, oh! this woman's

Fain to be forced, incredulous of choice,
And waiting a necessity for God.

Yet I could think, indeed, the perfect call Should force the perfect answer. If the voice Ought to receive its echo from the soul, Wherefore this silence ? If it should rouse my being, Why this reluctance ? Have I not thought o'ermuch Of other men, and of the ways of the world? But what they are, or have been, matters not.

To thine own self be true, the wise man says.
Are then my fears myself? O double self !
And I untrue to both! Oh, there are hours,
When love, and faith, and dear domestic ties,
And converse with old friends, and pleasant walks,
Familiar faces, and fainiliar books,
Study, and art, upliftings unto prayer,
And admiration of the noblest things,
Seem all ignoble only; all is mean,
And nought as I would have it. Then at others,
My mind is in her rest; my heart at home
In all around ; my soul secure in place,
And the vext needle perfect to her poles.
Aimless and hopeless in my life I seem
To thread the winding byways of the town,
Bewildered, baffled, hurried hence and thence,
All at cross-purpose even with myself,
Unknowing whence or whither. Then at once,
At a step, I crown the Campanile's top,
And view all mapped below; islands, lagoon,
A hundred steeples and a million roofs,
The fruitful champaign, and the cloud-capt Alps,
And the broad Adriatic. Be it enough ;
If I lose this, how terrible !
I am contented, and will not complain.
To the old paths, my soul ! Oh, be it so!
I bear the workday burden of dull life
About these footsore flags of a weary world,
Heaven knows how long it has not been; at once,
Lo! I am in the spirit on the Lord's day
With John in Patmos. Is it not enough,
One day in seven ? and if this should go,
If this pure solace should desert my mind,
What were all else? I dare not risk this loss.
To the old paths, my soul !

No, no,

[From Poems on Life and Duty.]


O stream descending to the sea,

Thy mossy banks between,
The flowerets blow, the grasses grown

The leafy trees are green.
In garden plots the children play,

The fields the labourers till,
And houses stand on either hand,

And thou descendest still.
O life descending into death,

Our waking eyes behold,
Parent and friend thy lapse attend,

Companions young and old.
Strong purposes our mind possess,

Our hearts affections fill,
We toil and earn, we seek and learn,

And thou descendest still.
O end to which our currents tend,

Inevitable sea,
To which we flow, what do we know,

What shall we guess of thee?
A roar we hear upon thy shore,

As we our course fulfil ;
Scarce we divine a sun will shine

And be above us still.

[From The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich.)


There is a stream (I name not its name, lest inquisitive tourist Hunt it, and make it a lion, and get it at last into guide-books), Springing far off from a loch unexplored in the folds of greai


Falling two miles through rowan and stunted alder, enveloped Then for four more in a forest of pine, where broad and ample Spreads, to convey it, the glen with heathery slopes on both

sides : Broad and fair the stream, with occasional falls and narrows ; But, where the glen of its course approaches the vale of the

river, Met and blocked by a huge interposing mass of granite, Scarce by a channel deep-cut, raging up, and raging onward, Forces its flood through a passage so

narrow a lady would

step it.

There, across the great rocky wharves, a wooden bridge goes, Carrying a path to the forest ; below, three hundred yards, say, Lower in level some twenty-five feet, through flats of shingle, Stepping-stones and a cart-track cross in the open valley.

But in the interval here the boiling pent-up water Frees itself by a final descent, attaining a basin, Ten feet wide and eighteen long, with whiteness and fury Occupied partly, but mostly pellucid, pure, a mirror ; Beautiful there for the colour derived from green rocks under ; Beautiful, most of all, where beads of foam uprising Mingle their clouds of white with the delicate hue of the stillness, Cliff over cliff for its sides, with rowan and pendent birch boughs, Here it lies, unthought of above at the bridge and pathway, Still more enclosed from below by wood and rocky projection. You are shut in, left alone with yourself and perfection of water, Hid on all sides, left alone with yourself and the goddess of

bathing Here, the pride of the plunger, you stride the fall and clear it ; Here, the delight of the bather, you roll in beaded sparklings, Here into pure green depth drop down from lofty ledges.


But a revulsion wrought in the brain and bosom of Elspie ;
And the passion she just had compared to the vehement ocean;
Urging in high spring-tide its masterful way through the moun.


Forcing and flooding the silvery stream, as it runs from the

inland; That great power withdrawn, receding here and passive, Felt she in myriad springs, her sources far in the mountains, Stirring, collecting, rising, upheaving, forth-outflowing, Taking and joining, right welcome, that delicate rill in the valley, Filling it, making it strong, and still descending, seeking, With a blind forefeeling descending ever, and seeking, With a delicious forefeeling, the great still sea before it ; There deep into it, far, to carry, and lose in its bosom, Waters that still from their sources exhaustless are fain to be

added. As he was kissing her fingers, and knelt on the ground before

her, Yielding backward she sank to her seat, and of what she was

doing Ignorant, bewildered, in sweet multitudinous vague emotion, Stooping, knowing not what, put her lips to the hair on his

forehead : And Philip, raising himself, gently, for the first time round her Passing his arms, close, close, enfolded her, close to his bosom. As they went home by the moon, Forgive me, Philip, she

whispered ; I have so many things to think of, all of a sudden ; I who had never once thought a thing,-in my ignorant High



These are fragments again without date addressed to Adam.
As at return of tide the total weight of ocean,
Drawn by moon and sun from Labrador and Greenland,
Sets-in amain, in the open space betwixt Mull and Scarba,
Heaving, swelling, spreading, the might of the mighty Atlantic,
There into cranny and slit of the rocky, cavernous bottom
Settles down, and with dimples huge the smooth sea-surface
Eddies, coils, and whirls; by dangerous Corryvreckan :
So in my soul of souls, through its cells and secret recesses,
Comes back, swelling and spreading, the old democratic fervour

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »