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But long ere Robbia's cornice, fine, Still, I suppose, they sit and ponder
Six steps out of the chapel yonder.
Only they see not God, I know, (And, leaning out of a bright blue Nor all that chivalry of his,
The soldier-saints who, row on row, space, As a ghost might lean from a chink of sky,
Burn upward each to his point of bliss, The passionate pale lady's face,
Since, the end of life being manifest,
He had burned his way through the world Eying ever, with earnest eye And quick-turned neck at its breathless
I hear you reproach, “But delay was best, stretch,
For their end was a crime.” – Oh, a Some one who ever is passing by) –
crime will do
As well, I reply, to serve for a test, The Duke had sighed, like the simplest wretch
As a virtue golden through and through, In Florence, “Youth my dream escapes!
Sufficient to vindicate itself Will its record stay?” And he bade them And prove its worth at a moment's view! fetch
Must a game be played for the sake of Some subtle moulder of brazen shapes
pelf? “Can the soul, the will, die out of a Where a button goes, 'twere an epigram
To offer the stamp of the very Guelph: Ere his body find the grave that gapes?
The true has value beyond the "John of Douay shall effect my plan,
235 Set me on horseback here aloft,
As well the counter as coin, I submit, Alive, as the crafty sculptor can,
When your table's a hat, and your prize
a dram. “In the very square I have crossed so oft:
Stake your counter as boldy every whit, 205
Venture as warily, use the same skill, That men may admire, when future suns Shall touch the eyes to a purpose soft,
Do your best, whether winning or losing it,
240 "While the mouth and the brow stay brave
If you choose to play! - is my principle: in bronze
Let a man contend to the uttermost Admire and say, When he was alive
For his life's set prize, be it what it will! How
would take his pleasure once!'
The counter our lovers staked was lost
As surely as if it were lawful coin: 245 "And it shall go hard but I contrive And the sin I impute to each frustrate To listen the while, and laugh in my tomb ghost At idleness which aspires to strive."
- The unlit lamp and the ungirt loin; So! While these wait the trump of doom, Though the end in sight was a vice, I say. How do their spirits pass, I wonder, 215 You of the virtue (we issue join) Nights and days in the narrow room? How strive you? De te, fabula! 250
A GRAMMARIAN'S FUNERAL
AN OLD STORY
SHORTLY AFTER THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING (1855)
(1855) It was roses, roses, all the way, With myrtle mixed in my path like mad: Let us begin and carry up
corpse, The house-roofs seemed to heave and
Singing together. sway,
Leave we the common crofts, the vulgar The church-spires flamed, such flags they thorpes had,
Each in its tether A year ago, on this very day.
Sleeping safe on the bosom of the plain, 5
Cared-for till cock-crow: The air broke into a mist with bells, Look out if yonder be not day again The old walls rocked with the crowd
Rimming the rock-row! and cries.
That's the appropriate country; there, Had I said, "Good folk, mere noise man's thought, repels,
Rarer, intenser, But give me your sun from yonder Self-gathered for outbreak, it skies !"
ought, They had answered, "And afterward,
Chafes in the censer. what else?”
Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and
crop: Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
Seek we sepulture To give it my loving friends to keep! On a tall mountain, citied to the top, 15 Naught man could do, have I left undone:
Crowded with culture! And you see my harvest,
what I reap
All the peaks soar, but one the rest exThis very day, now a year is run.
Clouds overcome it, There's nobody on the house-tops now — No! yonder sparkle is the citadel's Just a palsied few at the windows set;
Circling its summit. For the best of the sight is, all allow, Thither our path lies; wind we up the
At the Shambles' Gate, - or, better yet, heights: By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.
Wait ye the warning?
Our low life was the level's and the I go in the rain, and, more than needs, night's: A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
He's for the morning! And I think, by the feel, my forehead Step to a tune, square chests, erect each bleeds,
head, For they Aing, whoever has a mind,
'Ware the beholders! Stones at me for my year's misdeeds. This is our master,
famous, calm and
dead, Thus I entered, and thus I go!
our shoulders. In triumphs, people have dropped down dead:
Sleep, crop and herd! sleep, darkling “Paid by the world, what dost thou owe thorpe and croft, Me?" God might question. - Now, in
Safe from the weather! stead,
He whom we convoy to his grave aloft, 'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.
He was a man born with thy face and Oh, such a life as he resolved to live, throat,
When he had learned it,
When he had gathered all books had to
Sooner, he spurned it. -
Image the whole, then execute the parts: Till lo, the little touch, and youth was
Fancy the fabric gone!
Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire Cramped and diminished,
from quartz, Moaned he, “New measures, other feet
Ere mortar dab brick! anon! My dance is finished ?"
(Here's the town-gate reached: there's No, that's the world's way
the market-place mountain-side,
Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace 75 He knew the signal, and stepped on with
(Hearten our chorus!) pride
That before living he'd learn how to Over men's pity;
live Left play for work, and grappled with
No end to learning:
Earn the means first the world
God surely will Bent on escaping.
Use for our earning. "What's in the scroll,” quoth he, “thou
Others mistrust, and say,
"But time keepest furled ? Show me their shaping,
Live now or never!" Theirs who most studied man, the bard
He said, "What's time? Leave Now for Give!” — So, he gowned him,
dogs and apes! 50
Man has Forever." Straight got by heart that book to its
Back to his book then: deeper drooped
his head; Learned, we found him,
Calculus racked him: Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead, Accents uncertain:
Tussis attacked him. "Time to taste life,” another would have
“Now, master, take a little rest!” — not said,
he! "Up with the curtain!"
(Caution redoubled, This man said rather: “Actual life comes
Step two abreast, the
rowly!) Patience a moment!
Not a whit troubled, Grant I have mastered learning's crabbed Back to his studies, fresher than at first, text,
Fierce as a dragon Still there's the comment. He, soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst, Let me know all! Prate not of most or
Sucked at the Alagon. least, Painful or easy!
Oh, if we draw a circle premature, Even to the crumbs I'd fain eat up the
Heedless of far gain, feast,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure Ay, nor feel queasy.”
Bad is our bargain!
Found, or earth's failure: 110 "Wilt thou trust death or not?” He answered, “Yes!
Hence with life's pale lure!" That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it: This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it. That low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred's soon hit: This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit. That, has the world here should he need
Let the world mind him! This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed
Seeking shall find him. So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,
Ground he at grammar; Still, through the rattle, parts of speech were rife:
While he could stammer
Properly based Oun -
Dead from the waist down.
CALLED “THE FAULTLESS PAINTER"
(1855) But do not let us quarrel any more, No, my Lucrezia; bear with me for once: Sit down, and all shall happen as you
wish. You turn your face, but does it bring your
heart? I'll work then for you friend's friend,
never fear, Treat his own subject after his own way, Fix his own time, accept too his own
price, And shut the money into this small hand When next
takes mine. — Will it? tenderly? Oh, I'll content him, — but tomorrow,
Love! I often am much wearier than you think, This evening more than usual; and it
seems As if forgive, now should you let me
sit. Here by the window, with your hand in
mine, And look a half-hour forth on Fiesole, Both of one mind, as married people
use, Quietly, quietly, the evening through,
Well, here's the platform, here's the proper place:
Hail to your purlieus, All ye high Aiers of the feathered race, 135
Swallows and curlews!
I might get up tomorrow to my work And all that I was born to be and do,
How strange, now, looks the life he makes Your soft hand is a woman of itself,
50 And mine the man's bared breast she curls So free we seem, so fettered fast we are! inside.
I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie! Don't count the time lost, neither: you must serve
This chamber for example — turn your For each of the five pictures we require;
head It saves
model. So! keep looking All that's behind us ! You don't underso,
stand My serpentining beauty, rounds Nor care to understand about my art, 55 rounds! —
But you can hear at least when people How could you ever prick those perfect speak. ears,
And that cartoon, the second from the Even to put the pearl there!
Oh, so sweet,
It is the thing, Love! so such things should My face, my moon, my everybody's moon,
be Which everybody looks on and calls his, 30
Behold Madonna! - I am bold to say. And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn, I can do with my pencil what I know, 60 While she looks - no one's: very dear, no What I see, what at bottom of my heart less.
I wish for, if ever wish so deep —
Do easily, too; when I say, perfectly, You smile? why, there's my picture I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are ready made,
judge, There's what we painters call our har Who listened to the Legate's talk last mony !
week; A common
And just as much they used to say in thing,
France. All in a twilight, you and I alike:
At any rate, 'tis easy, all of it! You, at the point of your first pride in me No sketches first, no studies; that's long (That's gone you know), — but I, at every past: point;
I do what many dream of all their lives — My youth, my hope, my art, being all Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do, 70 toned down
And fail in doing. I could count twenty To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole.
such There's the bell clinking from the chapel On twice your fingers, and not leave this top;
town, That length of convent-wall across the Who strive you don't know how the way
others strive Holds the trees safer, huddled more in To paint a little thing like that you side;
smeared, The last monk leaves the garden; days Carelessly
Carelessly passing with
your robes decrease,
afloat And autumn grows, autumn in every Yet do much less, so much less, Someone thing.
says Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape, (I know his name, no matter), - so much As if I saw alike my work and self