Imagens das páginas
PDF

202

COME AND GO.

All these must first be trampled down

Beneath our feet, if we would gain
In the bright fields of fair renown

The right of eminent domain.
We have not wings, we cannot soar ;

But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,

The cloudy summits of our time.
The mighty pyramids of stone

That wedge-like cleave the desert airs,
When nearer seen and better known,

Are but gigantic flights of stairs.
The distant mountains, that uprear

Their solid bastions to the skies,
Are crossed by pathways that appear. .

As we to higher levels rise.
The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore

With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before--

A path to higher destinies.
Nor deem the irrevocable Past

As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
If, rising on its wrecks, at last
To something nobler we attain.

Longfellora

COME AND GO.

DICK DAWDLE had land worth two hundred a year,

Yet from debt and from dunning he never was free; His intellect was not surprisingly clear,

But he never felt satisfied how it could be.

THE DIVER

203 The raps at his door and the rings at his gate,

And the threats of a gaol he no longer could bear; So he made up his mind to sell half his estate, Which would pay all his debts and leave something to

spare. He leased to a farmer the rest of his land

For twenty-one years; and on each quarter-day The honest man went with the rent in his hand,

His liberal landlord, delighted, to pay. Before half the term of the lease had expired,

The farmer, one day, with a bagful of gold, Said, “Pardon me, sir, but I long have desired

To purchase my farm, if the land can be sold. “Ten years I've been blest with success and with health,

With trials a few-I thank God, not severe ;
I am grateful, I hope, though not proud of my wealth,

But I've managed to lay by a hundred a-year."
“Why how," exclaimed Dick, “ can this possibly be ?”

(With a stare of surprise and a mortified laugh); “The whole of my farm proved too little for me,

And you, it appears, have grown rich upon half." “I hope you'll excuse me,” the farmer replies,

“But I'll tell you the cause, if your honour would know, In two little words all the difference lies

I always say come, and you used to say go." “Well, and what does that mean, my good fellow ?" he said.

“Why this, sir : I always rise with the sun; You said go to your man, as you lay in your bed ; I say, 'Come, Jack, with me,' and I see the work done."

R. S. Sharpa

THE DIVER.

(By permission of the late Lord Lytton.) Oh, where is the knight or the squire so bold

As to dive in the howling Charybdis below ?
I cast in the whirlpool a goblet of gold,

And o'er it already the dark waters flow;
Whoever to me may the goblet bring
Shall have for his guerdon that gift of his king.”

[blocks in formation]

He spoke, and the cup from the terrible steep,

That, rugged and hoary, hung over the verge
Of the endless and measureless world of the deep,

Swirled into the maëlstrom that maddened the surge
“ And where is the diver so stout to go
I ask ye again-to the deep below ?"

And the knights and the squires that gathered around,

Stood silent, and fixed on the ocean their eyes; They looked on the dismal and savage profound,

And the peril chilled back every thought of the prize. And thrice spoke the monarch—" The cup to win, Is there never a wight who will venture in ?”

And all, as before, heard in silence the king,

Till a youth with an aspect unfearing but gentle, 'Mid the tremulous squires, stepped out from the ring,

Unbuckling his girdle, and doffing his mantle ; And the murmuring crowd, as they parted asunder, On the stately boy cast their looks of wonder.

As he strode to the marge of the summit, and gave

One glance on the gulf of that merciless main,
Lo! the wave that for ever devours the wave,

Casts roaringly up the Charybdis again ;
And as with the swell of the far thunder-boom,
Rushes foamingly forth from the heart of the gloom.

And it bubbles and seethes, and it hisses and roars,

As when fire with water commixed and contending, And the spray of its wrath to the welkin up-soars,

And flood upon flood hurries on, never ending ; And it never will rest, nor from travail be free, Like a sea that is labouring the birth of a sea

Yet, at length comes a lull o’er the mighty commotion, And dark through its whiteness, and still through the

swell, The whirlpool cleaves downward and downward in ocean,

A yawning abyss, like the pathway to hell ;
The stiller and darker the farther it goes,
Sucked into that smoothness the breakers repose.

[blocks in formation]

The youth gave his trust to his Maker! Beforo

That path through the riven abyss closed again, Hark! a shriek from the gazers that circle the shore,

And behold ! he is whirled in the grasp of the main ! And o'er him the breakers mysteriously rolled, And the giant mouth closed on the swimmer so bold.

All was still on the height save the murmur that went

From the grave of the deep, sounding hollow and fell, Or save when the tremulous sighing lament

Thrilled from lipunto lip,“Gallant youth, fare thee well !" More hollow and more wails the deep on the ear, More dread and more dread grows suspense in its fear.

If thou shouldst in those waters thy diadem fling,

And cry,“ Who may find it shall win it and wear ;"
God wot, though the prize were the crown of a king,

A crown at such hazard were valued too dear;
For never shall lips of the living reveal
What the deeps that howl yonder in terror conceal.

Dh, many a barque to that breast grappled fast,

Has gone down to the fearful and fathomless grave; Again, crashed together the keel and the mast,

To be seen tossed aloft in the glee of the wave ! Like the growth of a storm, ever louder and clearer, Grows the roar of the gulf rising nearer and nearer.

And it bubbles and seethes, and it hisses and roars,

As when fire is with water commixed and contending ; And the spray of its wrath to the welkin upsoars.

And flood upon flood hurries on, never ending ; And, as with the swell of the far thunder-boom, Rushes roaringly forth from the heart of the gloom.

And lo ! from the heart of that far-floating gloom,

Like the wing of the cygnet—what gleams on the sea ? Lo! an arm and a neck glancing up from the tomb !

Steering stalwart and shoreward. O joy ! it is he !
The left hand is lifted in triumph : behold,
It waves as a trophy the goblet of gold !

[blocks in formation]

And he breathed deep, and he breathed long,

And he greeted the heavenly delight of the day. They gaze on each other, they shout as they throng

“ He lives ! lo, the ocean has rendered its prey ! And safe from the whirlpool and free from the grave, Comes back to the daylight the soul of the brave !"

And he comes, with the crowd in their clamour and glee;

And the goblet his daring has won from the water He lifts to the king as he sinks on his knee; And the king from her maidens has beckoned his

daughter : She pours to the boy the bright wine which they bring, And thus spoke the diver_"Long life to the King ! “ Happy they whom the rose-hues of daylight rejoice,

The air and the sky that to mortals are given; May the horror below nevermore find a voice,

Nor man stretch too far the wide mercy of heaven ; Nevermore, nevermore, may he lift from the sight The veil which is woven with terror and night!

“Quick brightening like lightning, the ocean rushed o'er

me, Wild floating, borne down fathom deep from the day; Till a torrent rushed out on the torrents that bore me,

And doubled the tempest that whirled me away. Vain, vain was my struggle—the circle had won me, Round and round in its dance the mad element spun me.

“From the deep, then, I called upon God, and He heard me;

In the dread of my need, He vouchsafed to mine eye A rock jutting out from the grave that interred me;

I sprung there, I clung there, and death passed me by, And Io! where the goblet gleamed through the abyss, By a coral reef saved from the far Fathomless. “ Below, at the foot of that precipice drear,

Spread the gloomy, and purple, and pathless Obscure ! A silence of horror that slept on the ear,

That the eye more appalled might the horror endure ! Salamander, snake, dragon--vast reptiles that dwell In the deep-coiled about the grim jaws of their hell.

« AnteriorContinuar »