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Not greatly care to lose ; but rather think
Thro' the thick night I hear the trumpet blow: How sad it were for Arthur, should he live, They summon me their King to lead mine hosts To sit once more within his lonely hall,
Far down to that great battle in the west, And miss the wonted number of my knights, Where I must strike against my sister's son, And miss to hear high talk of noble deeds
Leagued with the lords of the White Horse and As in the golden days before thy sin.
knights For which of us, who might be left, could speak Once mine, and strike him dead, and meet myself of the pure heart, nor seem to glance at thee! Death, or I know not what mysterious doom. And in thy bowers of Camelot or of Usk
And thou remaining here wilt learn the event; Thy shadow still would glide from room to room, But hither shall I never come again, And I should evermore be vext with thee
Never lie by thy side, see thee no more, In hanging robe or vacant ornament,
Farewell !" Or ghostly footfall echoing on the stair.
And while she grovell'd at his feet, For think not, tho' thou wouldst not love thy lord, She felt the King's breath wander o'er her neck, Thy lord has wholly lost his love for thee.
And, in the darkness o'er her fallen head, I am not made of so slight elements.
Perceived the waving of his hands that blest. Yet must I leave thee, woman, to thy shame. I hold that man the worst of public foes
Then, listening till those armed steps were gone, Who either for his own or children's sake,
Rose the pale Queen, and in her auguish found To save his blood from scandal, lets the wife
The casement: “Peradventure," so she thought, Whom he knows false, abide and rule the house: "If I might see his face, and not be seen." For being thro' his cowardice allow'd
And lo, he sat on horseback at the door! Her station, taken everywhere for pure,
And near him the sad nuns with each a light She like a new disease, unknown to men,
Stood, and he gave them charge about the Queen, Creeps, no precaution used, among the crowd, To guard and foster her forevermore. Makes wicked lightnings of her eyes, and saps And while he spake to these his helm was lowerd, The fealty of our friends, and stirs the pulse To which for crest the golden dragon clung With devil's leaps, and poisons half the young. Of Britain ; so she did not see the face, Worst of the worst were that man he that reigns! Which then was as an angel's, but she saw, Better the King's waste hearth and aching heart Wet with the mists and smitten by the lights, Than thou reseated in thy place of light,
The Dragon of the great Pendragonship The mockery of my people, and their bane." Blaze, making all the night a steam of fire.
And even then he turn'd; and more and more He paused, and in the pause she crept an inch The moony vapor rolling round the King, Nearer, and laid her hands about his feet.
Who seem'd the phantom of a Giant in it, Far off a solitary trumpet blew.
Enwound him fold by fold, and made him gray Then waiting by the doors the war-horse neigh'd And grayer, till himself became as mist As at a friend's voice, and he spake again :
Before her, moving ghostlike to his doom.
“Yet think not that I come to urge thy crimes, Then she stretch'd out her arms and cried aloud, I did not come to curse thee, Guinevere,
"O Arthur!" there her voice brake suddenly, I, whose vast pity almost makes me die
Then-as a stream that spouting from a cliff To see thee, laying there thy golden head,
Fails in mid-air, but gathering at the base My pride in happier summers, at my feet.
Re-makes itself, and flashes down the valeThe wrath which forced my thoughts on that fierce Went on in passionate utterance.
“Gone-my lord ! The doom of treason and the flaming death Gone thro’ my sin to slay and to be slain ! (When first I learnt thee hidden here), is past. And he forgave me, and I could not speak. The pang-which while I weigh'd thy heart with one Farewell? I should have answer'd his farewell. Too wholly true to dream untruth iu thee,
His mercy choked me. Gone, my lord the King, Made my tears burn-is also past, in part.
My own true lord! how dare I call him mine? And all is past, the sin is sinn'd, and I,
The shadow of another cleaves to me,
And makes me one pollution : he, the King,
What help in that? I cannot kill my sin,
If soul be soul; nor can I kill my shame; Not knowing! O imperial-moulded form,
No, por by living can I live it down. And beauty such as never woman wore,
The days will grow to weeks, the weeks to months, Until it came a kingdom's curse with thee
The months will add themselves and make the years, I cannot touch thy lips, they are not mine;
The years will roll into the centuries, But Lancelot's : nay, they never were the King's. And mine will ever be a name of scorn. I cannot take thy hand; that too is flesh,
I must not dwell on that defeat of fame. And in the flesh thou hast sinn'd; and mine own Let the world be; that is but of the world. flesh,
What else? what hope? I think there was a hope, Here looking down on thine polluted, cries
Except he mock'd me when he spake of hope ; 'I loathe thee;' yet not less, O Guinevere,
His hope he call'd it; but he never mocks,
For mockery is the fume of little hearts.
My wickedness to him, and left me hope
That in mine own heart I can live down sin Perchance, and so thou purify thy soul,
And be his mate hereafter in the heavens And so thou lean on our fair father Christ,
Before high God. Ah great and gentle lord, Hereafter in that world where all are pure
Who wast, as is the conscience of a saint We two may meet before high God, and thou Among his warring senses, to thy knights— Wilt spring to me, and claim me thine, and know To whom my false voluptuous pride, that took I am thine husband-not a smaller soul,
Full easily all impressions from below, Nor Lancelot, nor another. Leave me that,
Would not look up, or half-despised the height I charge thee, my last hope. Now must I bence. To which I would not or I could not climb
I thought I could not breathe in that fine air Meek maidens, from the voices crying 'Shame.' That pure severity of perfect light
I must not scorn myself: he loves me still. I wanted warmth and color which I found
Let no one dream but that he loves me still. In Lancelot-now I see thee what thou art,
So let me, if you do not shudder at me Thou art the highest and most human too,
Nor shun to call me sister, dwell with you: Not Lancelot, nor another. Is there none
Wear black and white, and be a nun like you ; Will tell the King I love him tho' so late?
Fast with your fasts, not feasting with your feasts; Now-ere he goes to the great Battle ? none: Grieve with your griefs, not grieving at your joys, Myself must tell him in that purer life,
But not rejoicing; mingle with your rites ; But now it were too daring. Ah my God,
Pray and be prayed for; lie before your shrines; What might I not have made of thy fair world, Do each low office of your holy house; Had I but loved thy highest creature here ? Walk your dim cloister, and distribute dole It was my duty to have loved the highest :
To poor sick people, richer in his eyes It surely was my profit had I known:
Who ransom'd us, and haler too than I; It would have been my pleasure had I seen.
And treat their loathsome hurts and heal mine own; We needs must love the highest when we see it, And so wear out in almsdeed and in prayer Not Lancelot, nor another."
The sombre close of that voluptuous day,
Here her hand Which wrought the ruin of my lord the King." Grasp'd, made her veil her eyes : she look'd and saw The novice, weeping, suppliant, and said to her, She said: they took her to themselves; and she “Yea, little maid, for am I not forgiven ?"
Still hoping, fearing “Is it yet too late ?" Then glancing up beheld the holy nuns
Dwelt with them, till in time their Abbess died. All round her, weeping ; and her heart was loosed Then she, for her good deeds and her pure life, Within her, and she wept with these and said: And for the power of ministration in her,
And likewise for the high rank she had borne, “Ye know me then, that wicked one, who broke was chosen Abbess, there, an Abbess lived The vast design and purpose of the King.
For three brief years, and there, an Abbess, past O shut me round with narrowing nunnery-walls, To where beyond these voices there is peace.
Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm;
Here on this beach a hundred years ago,
Was felt by either, either fixt his heart
Then, on a golden autumn eventide,
A narrow cave ran in beneath the cliff:
But when the dawn of rosy childhood past, And the new warmth of life's ascending suu
So these were wed, and merrily raug the bells, But had no heart to break his purposes
Then first since Enoch's golden ring had girt
But manifold entreaties, many a tear, And give his child a better bringing-up
Many a sad kiss by day by night renew'd Than his had been, or hers; a wish renew'd, (Sure that all evil would come out of it) When two years after came a boy to be
Besought him, supplicating, if he cared The rosy idol of her solitudes,
For her or his dear children, not to go. While Enoch was abroad on wrathful seas,
He not for his own self caring but her,
Her and her children, let her plead in vain ;
For Enoch parted with his old sea-friend,
Bought Annie goods and stores, and set his hand But in the leafy lanes behind the down,
To fit their little streetward sitting-room Far as the portal-warding lion-whelp,
With shelf and corner for the goods and stores. And peacock-yewtree of the lonely Hall,
So all day long till Enoch's last at home, Whose Friday fare was Enoch's ministering. Shaking their pretty cabin, hammer and axe,
Auger and saw, while Annie seem'd to hear Then came a change, as all things human change. Her own death-scaffold rising, shrill'd and rang, Ten miles to northward of the narrow port
Till this was ended, and his careful hand,Open'd a larger haven: thither used
The space was narrow,-having order'd all Enoch at times to go by land or sea;
Almost as neat and close as Nature packs And once when there, and clambering on a mast
Her blossom or her seedling, paused ; and he, In harbor, by mischance he slipt and fell:
Who needs would work for Annie to the last, A limb was broken when they lifted him;
Ascending tired, heavily slept till morn.
And Enoch faced this morning of farewell
Brightly and boldly. All his Annie's fears, Taking her bread and theirs: and on him fell,
Save as his Annie's, were a laughter to him. Altho' a grave and staid God-fearing man,
Yet Enoch as a brave God-fearing man
Bow'd himself down, and in that mystery
Where God-in-man is one with man-in-God,
Pray'd for a blessing on his wife and babes
Whatever came to him: and then he said, And her, he loved, a beggar: thep he pray'd
“Annie, this voyage by the grace of God “Save them from this, whatever comes to me."
Will bring fair weather yet to all of us. And while he pray'd, the master of that ship
Keep a clean hearth and a clear fire for me, Enoch had served in, hearing his mischance,
For I 'll be back, my girl, before you know it." Came, for he knew the man and valued him,
Then lightly rocking baby's cradle, "and he,
This pretty, puny, weakly little one,
Nay-for I love him all the better for it-
God bless him, he shall sit upon my knees
And make him merry when I come home again. Rejoicing at that answer to his prayer.
Come Annie, come, cheer up before I go."
Him running on thus hopefully she heard,
And almost hoped herself; but when he turn'd And isles a light in the offing: yet the wife
The current of his talk to graver things When he was gone-the children—what to do?
In sailor fashion roughly sermonizing Then Enoch lay long-pondering on his plans ;
On providence and trust in Heaven, she heard, To sell the boat-and yet he loved her well
Heard and not heard him; as the village girl, How many a rough sea had he weather'd in her!
Who sets her pitcher underneath the spring, He knew her, as a horseman knows his horse
Musing on him that used to fill it for her,
Hears and not hears, and lets it overflow.
At length she spoke, "O Enoch, you are wise ; So might she keep the house while he was gone.
And yet for all your wisdom well know I
That I shall look upon your face no more."
“Well then,” said Enoch, “I shall look on yours. Become the master of a larger craft,
Annie, the ship I sail in passes here With fuller profits lead an easier life,
(He named the day); get you a seaman's glass, Have all his pretty young ones educated,
Spy out my face, and laugh at all your fears." And pass his days in peace among his own.
But when the last of those last moments came, Thus Enoch in his heart determined all:
“Annie, my girl, cheer up, be comforted, Then moving homeward came on Annie pale, Look to the babes, and till I come again, Nursing the sickly babe, her latest-born.
Keep everything shipshape, for I must go. Forward she started with a happy cry,
And fear no more for me; or if you fear And laid the feeble infant in his arms;
Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds. Whom Enoch took, and handled all his limbs, Is He not yonder in those uttermost Appraised his weight, and fondled fatherlike, Parts of the morning! if I flee to these
Can I go from Him? and the sea is His,
To do the thing he will’d, and bore it thro'. The sea is His: He made it."
And wherefore did he go this weary way,
And leave you lonely? not to see the world-
For pleasure -nay, but for the wherewithal
Than his had been, or yours: that was his wish. But for the third, the sickly one, who slept
And if he come again, vext will he be After a night of feverons wakefulness,
To find the precious morning hours were lost. When Annie would have raised him Enoch said, And it would vex him even in his grave, “Wake him not; let him sleep; how should the If he could know his babes were running wild child
Like colts about the waste. So, Annie, nowRemember this ?" and kiss'd him in his cot,
Have we not known each other all our lives? But Annie from her baby's forehead clipt
I do beseech you by the love you bear A tiny curl, and gave it: this he kept
Him and his children not to say me nay-
Annie-for I am rich and well-to-do.
This is the favor that I came to ask."
Then Annie with her brows against the wall She saw him not: and while he stood on deck Answer'd, “I cannot look you in the face; Waving, the moment and the vessel past.
I seem so foolish and so broken down;
When you came in my sorrow broke me down; Ev'n to the last dip of the vanishing sail
And now I think your kindness breaks me down;
Not kindness such as yours."
And Philip ask'd ? By shrewdness, neither capable of lies,
Then you will let me, Annie po
There she tnrn'd, For more than once, in days of difficulty
She rose, and fixt her swimming eyes upon him, And pressure, had she sold her wares for less And dwelt a moment on his kindly face, Than what she gave in bnying what she sold: Then calling down a blessing on his head She fail'd and sadden'd knowing it; and thus, Caught at his hand and wrung it passionately, Expectant of that news which never came,
And past into the little garth beyond. Gain'd for her own a scanty sustenance,
So lifted up in spirit he moved away. And lived a life of silent melancholy.
Then Philip put the boy and girl to school, Now the third child was sickly born and grew And bought them needful books, and every way, Yet sicklier, tho' the mother cared for it
Like one who does his duty by his own, With all a mother's care: nevertheless,
Made himself theirs; and tho' for Annie's sake,
He oft denied his heart his dearest wish,
Gifts by the children, garden-herbs and fruit,
The late and early roses from his wall, Like the caged bird escaping suddenly,
Or conies from the down, and now and then, The little innocent soul flitted away.
With some pretext of fineness in the meal
To save the offence of charitable, flour In that same week when Appie buried it, From his tall mill that whistled on the waste. Philip's true heart, which hunger'd for her peace (Since Enoch left he had not look'd upon her), But Philip did not fathom Annie's mind : Smote him, as having kept aloof so long.
Scarce could the woman when he came upon her, “Surely," said Philip, “I may see her now,
Out of full heart and boundless gratitude May be some little comfort;" therefore went, Light on a broken word to thank him with. Past thro' the solitary room in front,
But Philip was her children's all-in-all; Paused for a moment at an inner door,
From distant corners of the street they ran Then struck it thrice, and, no one opening,
To greet his hearty welcome heartily; Enter'd; but Annie, seated with her grief,
Lords of his house and of his mill were they; Fresh from the burial of her little one,
Worried his passive ear with petty wrongs Cared not to look on any human face,
Or pleasures, hung upon him, play'd with him But turn'd her own toward the wall and wept. And call'd him Father Philip. Philip gain'd Then Philip standing up said falteringly,
As Enoch lost; for Enoch seem'd to them “Annie, I came to ask a favor of you."
Uncertain as a vision or a dream,
Faint as a figure seen in early dawn He spoke; the passion in her moan'd reply, Down at the far end of an avenue, "Favor from one so sad and so forlorn
Going we know not where; and so ten years, As I am !" half abash'd him; yet unask'd,
Since Enoch left his hearth and native land, His bashfulness and tenderness at war,
Fled forward, and no news of Enoch came. He set himself beside her, saying to her:
It chanced ope evening Annie's children long'd "I came to speak to you of what he wish'd, To go with others, nutting to the wood, Enoch, your husband: I have ever said
And Annie would go with them; then they begg'd You chose the best among us—a strong man: For Father Philip (as they him call'd) too: For where he fixt his heart he set his hand
Him, like the working-bee in blossom-dust,
Blanch'd with his mill, they found; and saying to Here both were mute, till Philip glancing up him,
Beheld the dead flame of the falleu day Come with us, Father Philip," he denied ;
Pass from the Danish barrow overhead; But when the children pluck'd at him to go, Then fearing night and chill for Annie rose, He laugh'd, and yielded readily to their wish, And sent his voice beneath him thro' the wood. For was not Annie with them and they went. Up came the children laden with their spoil ;
Then all descended to the port, and there But after scaling half the weary down,
At Annie's door he paused and gave his hand, Just where the prone edge of the wood began Saying gently, “Annie, when I spoke to you, To feather toward the hollow, all her force
That was your hour of weakness. I was wrong. Fail'd her; and sighing “Let me rest" she said : I am always bound to you, but you are free." So Philip rested with her well-content;
Then Annie weeping answer'd, “I am bound." While all the younger ones with jubilant cries Broke from their elders, and tumultuously
She spoke ; and in one moment as it were, Down thro' the whitening hazels made a plunge
While yet she went about her household ways, To the bottom, and dispersed, and bent or broke
Ev'n as she dwelt upon his latest words, The lithe reluctant boughs to tear away
That he had loved her longer than she knew, Their tawny clusters, crying to each other
That autumn into autumn flash'd again,
And there he stood once more before her face, And caliing, here and there, about the wood.
Claiming her promise. “Is it a year ?" she ask'd. But Philip sitting at her side forgot
“Yes, if the nuts,” he said, “be ripe again: Her presence, and remember'd one dark hour
Come out and see." But she-she put him offHere in this wood, when like a wounded life
So much to look to—such a change-a month
Give her a month-she knew that she was boundHe crept into the shadow: at last he said,
A month-no more. Lifting his honest forehead, “Listen, Annie,
Then Philip with his eyes How merry they are down yonder in the wood."
Full of that lifelong hunger, and his voice “Tired, Annie?” for she did not speak a word.
Shaking a little like a drunkard's hand, “ Tired !” but her face had fall’n upon her hands;
“Take your own time, Annie, take your own time.” At which, as with a kind of anger in him,
And Annie could have wept for pity of him; “The ship was lost," he said, “the ship was lost !
And yet she held him on delayingly No more of that! why should you kill yourself
With many a scarce-believable excuse, And make them orphans quite ?" And Annie said, Trying his truth and his long-sufferance, “I thought not of it: but_I know not why
Till half-another year had slipt away. Their voices make me feel so solitary.”
By this the lazy gossips of the port,
Abhorrent of a calculation crost, Then Philip coming somewhat closer spoke.
Began to chafe as at a personal wrong. “Annie, there is a thing upon my mind,
Some thought that Philip did but trifle with her ; And it has been upon my mind so long,
Some that she but held off to draw him on; That tho' I know not when it first came there,
And others laugh'd at her and Philip too, I know that it will out at last. O Annie,
As simple folk that knew not their own minds; It is beyond all hope, against all chance, That he who left you ten long years ago
And one, in whom all evil fancies clung Should still be living; well then let me speak:
Like serpent eggs together, laughingly
Would hint at worse in either. Her own son
Was silent, tho' he often look'd his wish;
But evermore the daughter prest upon her
To wed the man so dear to all of them Perhaps you know what I would have you know
And lift the household out of poverty; I wish you for my wife. I fain would prove
And Philip's rosy face contracting grew A father to your children: I do think
Careworn and wan; and all these things fell on her They love me as a father : I am sure That I love them as if they were mine own;
Sharp as reproach. And I believe, if you were fast my wife,
At last one night it chanced That after all these sad uncertain years,
That Apnie could not sleep, but earnestly We might be still as happy as God grants
Pray'd for a sign “my Enoch, is he gone ?" To any of His creatures. Think upon it:
Then compass'd round by the blind wall of night For I am well-to-do-no kin, no care,
Brook'd not the expectant terror of her heart, No burthen, save my care for you and yours;
Started from bed, and struck herself a light, And we have known each other all our lives,
Then desperately seized the holy Book, And I have loved you longer than you know.”
Suddenly set it wide to find a sign,
Suddenly put her finger on the text, Then answer'd Annie; tenderly she spoke:
“Under a palmtree.” That was nothing to her: “You have been as God's good angel in our house. No meaning there: she closed the book and slept: God bless you for it, God reward you for it,
When lo! her Enoch sitting on a height, Philip, with something happier than myself.
Under a palmtree, over him the Sun : Can one love twice ? can you be ever loved
"He is gone,” she thought, "he is happy, he is singAs Enoch was? what is it that you ask ?"
ing “I am content,” he answer'd, “to be loved
Hosanna in the highest: yonder shines A little after Enoch.” “O," she cried,
The Sun of Righteousness, and these be palms Scared as it were, “dear Philip, wait a while:
Whereof the happy people strowing cried If Enoch comes—but Enoch will not come
'Hosanna in the highest !'” Here she woke, Yet wait a year, a year is not so long:
Resolved, sent for him and said wildly to him, Surely I shall be wiser in a year:
“ There is no reason why we should not wed." O wait a little !" Philip sadly said,
“Then for God's sake," he answer'd, "both our “Annie, as I have waited all my life
sakes, I well may wait a little.' “Nay," she cried,
So you will wed me, let it be at once." "I am bound: you have my promise-in a year : Will you not bide your year as I bide mine ?" So these were wed and merrily rang the bells, And Philip answer'd, "I will bide my year.” Merrily rang the bells and they were wed.