« AnteriorContinuar »
Sternly, though tenderly, that he might feel
The velvet scabbard held a sword of steel,
"Art thou the king?" the passion of his woe
Burst from him, in resistless overflow,
And lifting high his forehead, he would fling
The passionate answer back, " I am, I am the king."
Almost three years were ended, when there came
Ambassadors of great repute and name
From Valmond, emperor of Allemaine,
Unto king Robert, saying that Pope Urbane
By letter summon'd them forthwith to come
On Holy Thursday to his city of Rome.
The angel with great joy received his guests,
And gave them presents of embroidered vests. . . .
Then he departed with them o'er the sea,
Into the lovely land of Italy.. . .
And lo! among the menials, in mock state,
Upon a piebald steed with shambling gait,
His cloak of fox-tails flapping in the wind,
The solemn ape demurely perch'd behind,
King Robert rode, making huge merriment
In all the country towns thro' which they went.
The Pope received them with great pomp, and blare
Of banner'd trumpets, in St. Peter's Square;
Giving his benediction and embrace,
Fervent, and full of apostolic grace.
While, with congratulations and with prayers,
He entertain'd an angel unawares.
In solemn state the holy week went by,
And with new fervour fill'd the hearts of men,
Who felt that Christ was risen indeed again.
Even the jester on his bed of straw,
With haggard eyes the' unwonted splendour saw,
He felt within a power unfelt before,
And kneeling humbly on his chamber floor,
He heard the rushing garments of the Lord
Sweep through the silent air, ascending heavenward.
And now the visit ending, and once more
Valmond returning to the Danube shore,
Homeward the angel journey'd, and again
The land was made resplendent with his train,
Flashing along the towns of Italy
Unto Salerno, and from there by sea.
And when once more within Palermo's wall,
And seated on the throne in his great hall,
He heard the Angelus from convent towers,
As if the better world convers'd with ours,
He beckon'd to king Robert to draw nigher,
And with a gesture bade the rest retire;
And when they were alone, the angel said,
"Art thou the king?" Then bowing down his head,
King Robert cross'd both hands upon his breast,
And meekly answer'd him, "Thou knowest best:
My sins as scarlet are; let me go hence,
And in some cloister's school of penitence,
Across those stones that pave the way to heaven,
Walk barefoot, till my guilty soul is shriven!"
The angel smiled, and from his radiant face
A holy light illumin'd all the place,
And through the open window, loud and clear,
They heard the monks chant in the chapel near,
Above the stir and tumult of the street:
H. IV. Longfellow
Shalt stand before the host of Heaven confess'd,
THE LAST TRUMP
As grew the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
To all the bless'd above:
"And Jesus said unto them, There shall not be left
here one stone upon another. . . Heaven and earth
shall pass away."
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
Who has this Book and reads it not
Doth God Himself despise; Who reads, but understandeth not,
His soul in darkness lies.
Who understands, but savours not,
He finds no rest in trouble; Who savours but obeyeth not,
He hath his judgment double.
Who reads this book—who understands—
Doth savour and obey— His soul shall stand at God's right hand,
In the great Judgment Day.