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which sits a dilapidated turban, droops little. For her kingdom is chiefly amongst for ever, for ever fastens on the dust. (240 the tents of Shem, and the houseless She weeps not. She groans not. But she vagrant of every clime. Yet in the very sighs inaudibly at intervals. Her sister, highest ranks of man she finds chapels Madonna, is oftentimes stormy and fran- of her own; and even in glorious England tic, raging in the highest against heaven, there are some that, to the world, carry and demanding back her darlings. But their heads as proudly as the reindeer, Our Lady of Sighs never clamors, never who yet secretly have received her 1300 defies, dreams not of rebellious aspira- | mark upon their foreheads. tions. She is humble to abjectness. Hers But the third sister, who is also the is the meekness that belongs to the hope youngest —! Hush, whisper whilst we less. Murmur she may, but it is in (250 talk of her! Her kingdom is not large, or her sleep. Whisper she may, but it is to else no flesh should live; but within that herself in the twilight. Mutter she does kingdom all power is hers. Her head, at times, but it is in solitary places that turreted like that of Cybele, rises almost are desolate as she is desolate, in ruined beyond the reach of sight. She droops cities, and when the sun has gone down to not; and her eyes rising so high might his rest. This sister is the visitor of the be hidden by distance; but, being what (310 Pariah, of the Jew, of the bondsman to the they are, they cannot be hidden; through oar in the Mediterranean galleys; and of the treble veil of crape which she wears, the English criminal in Norfolk Island, the fierce light of a blazing misery, that blotted out from the books of remem- (260 rests not for matins or for vespers, for brance in sweet far-off England; of the noon of day or noon of night, for ebbing or baffled penitent reverting his eyes for for flowing tide, may be read from the ever upon a solitary grave, which to him very ground.
very ground. She is the defier of God. seems the altar overthrown of some past She also is the mother of lunacies, and and bloody sacrifice, on which altar no the suggestress of suicides. Deep lie the oblations can now be availing, whether roots of her power; but narrow is the (320 towards pardon that he might implore, nation that she rules. For she can apor towards reparation that he might at- proach only those in whom a profound tempt. Every slave that at noonday looks nature has been upheaved by central up to the tropical sun with timid re- (270 convulsions; in whom the heart trembles, proach, as he points with one hand to the and the brain rocks under conspiracies earth, our general mother, but for him a of tempest from without and tempest stepmother, -as he points with the other from within. Madonna moves with hand to the Bible, our general teacher, uncertain steps, fast or slow, but still but against him sealed and sequestered; with tragic grace. Our Lady of Sighs every woman sitting in darkness, without creeps timidly and stealthily. But (330 love to shelter her head, or hope to illu- this youngest sister moves with incalmine her solitude, because the heaven- culable motions, bounding, and with born instincts kindling in her nature tiger's leaps.
tiger's leaps. She carries no key; for, germs of holy affections which God (280 though coming rarely amongst men, she implanted in her womanly bosom, hav- storms all doors at which she is permitted ing been stifled by social necessities, now to enter at all. And her name is Mater burn sullenly to waste, like sepulchral Tenebrarum-Our Lady of Darkness. lamps amongst the ancients; every nun These were the Semnai Theai, or Subdefrauded of her unreturning May-time lime Goddesses, these were the Eumenides, by wicked kinsman, whom God will or Gracious Ladies (so called by an- (340 judge; every captive in every dungeon; tiquity in shuddering propitiation), of all that are betrayed and all that are my Oxford dreams.
Madonna spoke. rejected; outcasts by traditionary law, She spoke by her mysterious hand. and children of hereditary disgrace, – (290 Touching my head, she beckoned to all these walk with Our Lady of Sighs. Our Lady of Sighs; and what she spoke, She also carries a key; but she needs it translated out of the signs which (ex
cept in dreams) no man reads, was said,—“wicked sister, that temptest and this:
hatest, do thou take him from her. See “Lo! here is he, whom in childhood I that thy sceptre lie heavy on his head. dedicated to my altars. This is he (350 Suffer not woman and her tenderness to that once I made my darling. Him I led sit near him in his darkness. Banish the astray, him I beguiled, and from heaven frailties of hope, wither the relenting (370 I stole away his young heart to mine. of love, scorch the fountains of tears, Through me did he become idolatrous; curse him as only thou canst curse. So and through me it was, by languishing shall he be accomplished in the furnace, desires, that he worshipped the worm, so shall he see the things that ought not and prayed to the wormy grave. Holy to be seen, sights that are abominable, was the grave to him; lovely was its dark- and secrets that are unutterable. So shall ness; saintly its corruption. Him, this he read elder truths, sad truths, grand
, young idolater, I have seasoned for [360 truths, fearful truthş. So shall he rise thee, dear gentle Sister of Sighs! Do thou again before he dies, and so shall our comtake him now to thy heart, and season mission be accomplished which from 1380 him for our dreadful sister. And thou,”- God we had,—to plague his heart until we turning to the Mater Tenebrarum, she had unfolded the capacities of his spirit.”
One year ago.
THE DEATH OF ARTEMIDORA
ONE YEAR AGO “Artemidora! Gods invisible,
One year ago my path was green, While thou art lying faint along the My footstep light, my brow serene; couch,
Alas! and could it have been so Have tied the sandal to thy slender feet
One year ago? And stand beside thee, ready to convey
There is a love that is to last Thy weary steps where other rivers flow. 5
5 Refreshing shades will waft thy weariness
When the hot days of youth are past:
Such love did a sweet maid bestow
I took a leaflet from her braid
And gave it to another maid. weak.
Love! broken should have been thy bow Iris stood over her dark hair unseen While thus Elpenor spake. He looked
into Eyes that had given light and life ere- TO ROBERT BROWNING
while To those above them, but now dim with There is delight in singing, though none tears
hear And wakefulness. Again he spake of joy 15 Beside the singer; and there is delight Eternal. At that word, that sad word, In praising, though the praiser sit alone joy,
And see the praised far off him, far above. Faithful and fond her bosom heaved once Shakespeare is not our poet, but the
5 Her head fell back; and now a loud deep Therefore on him no speech! and brief for sob
thee, Swelled through the darkened chamber; Browning! Since Chaucer was alive and 'twas not hers.
One year ago
No man hath walked about our roads with Might he not also hear one word amiss, step
Spoken from so far off, even from OlymSo active, so inquiring eye, or tongue
pus?” So varied in discourse. But warmer The father placed his cheek upon her climes
head, Give brighter plumage, stronger wing: the And tears dropped down it, but the king
15 Of Alpine heights thou playest with, Replied not. Then the maiden spake once
borne on Beyond Sorrento and Amalfi, where “O father! sayst thou nothing? Hear'st The Siren waits thee, singing song for song.
Listened to fondly, and awakened me
To hear my voice amid the voice of birds, 20
When it was inarticulate as theirs, Come back, ye wandering Muses, come And the down deadened it within the back home,
nest?” Ye seem to have forgotten where it lies: He moved her gently from him, silent still, Come, let us walk upon the silent sands And this, and this alone, brought tears Of Simois, where deep footmarks show from her, long strides;
Although she saw fate nearer: then with Thence we may mount, perhaps, to higher sighs,
"I thought to have laid down my hair Where Aphroditè from Athenè won
before The golden apple, and from Herè too, Benignant Artemis, and not have dimmed And happy Ares shouted far below.
Her polished altar with my virgin blood; Or would ye rather choose the grassy I thought to have selected the white vale
flowers Where flows Anapos through anemones, 10 To please the Nymphs, and to have asked Hyacinths, and narcissuses, that bend
30 To show their rival beauty in the stream? By name, and with no sorrowful regret, Bring with you each her lyre, and each Whether, since both my parents willed the in turn
change, Temper a graver with a lighter song. I might at Hymen's feet bend my clipped
And (after those who mind us girls the IPHIGENEIA AND AGAMEMNON most)
Adore our own Athena, that she would
35 Iphigeneia, when she heard her doom Regard me mildly with her azure eyes. At Aulis, and when all beside the King But father! to see you no more, and see Had gone away, took his right hand, and Your love, O father! go ere I am gone” said,
Gently he moved her off, and drew her “O father! I am young and very happy. back, I do not think the pious Calchas heard Bending his lofty head far over hers, Distinctly what the goddess spake. Old And the dark depths of nature heaved and age
burst. Obscures the senses.
If my nurse, who He turned away; not far, but silent still. knew
She now first shuddered; for in him, so My voice so well, sometimes misunder- nigh, stood
So long a silence seemed the approach of While I was resting on her knee both arms death, And hitting it to make her mind my words, And like it. Once again she raised her And looking in her face, and she in voice. mine,
"O father! if the ships are now detained,
And all your vows move not the Gods above, I was indocile at an age
5 When the knife strikes me there will be one When better boys were taught, prayer
But thou at length hast made me sage, The less to them: and purer can there be If I am sage in aught. Any, or more fervent than the daughter's prayer
Little I know from other men,
That writes these lines to thee.
One vile, the other vain; Of the pale maiden. She looked up and One's scourge, the other's telescope, 15 saw
I shall not see again;
My notice shall engage“O father! grieve no more: the ships can He who hath braved Youth's dizzy heat sail.”
Dreads not the frost of Age.