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We in the tents abide
Which he at distance eyed
While seven red altar-fires
Rose up in wavy spires, Where on the mount he watched his sorceries dark and dread.
He watched till morning's ray
On lake and meadow lay,
Around the bannered lines,
Where by their several signs
He watched till knowledge came
Upon his soul like flame,
But true prophetic light
Flashed o'er him, high and bright, Flashed once, and died away, and left his darkened thought.
And can he choose but fear,
Who feels his God so near,
In blessing only moves?—
Alas! the world he loves
Sceptre and Star divine,
Who in Thine inmost shrine
More than Thy seers we know—
O teach our love to grow
Edward, Lord Lytton.
Born 1805. Died 1872.
The Desire Of Fame.
I DO confess that I have wished to give
Do I lament that I have seen the bays
Denied my own, not worthier brows above, Foes quick to scoff, and friends afraid to praise,— More active hate than love?
Do I lament that roseate youth has flown
In the hard labour grudged its niggard meed, And cull from far and juster lands alone Few flowers from many a seed?
No! for whoever with an earnest soul
Strives for some end from this low world afar, Still upward travels, though he miss the goal, And strays—but towards a star.
Better than fame is still the wish for fame,
The constant training for a glorious strife: The athlete nurtured for the Olympian Game, Gains strength at least for life.
The wish for Fame is faith in holy things
That soothe the life, and shall outlive the tomb A reverent listening for some angel wings That cower above the gloom.
To gladden earth with beauty, or men's lives
To serve with action, or their souls with truth,—
No, I lament not, though these leaves may fall
If vain for others, not in vain for me,—
Who builds an altar let him worship there; What needs the crowd? though lone the shrine may be, Not hallowed less the prayer.
Enough if haply in the after days,
When by the altar sleeps the funeral stone, When gone the mists our human passions raise, And Truth is seen alone:
When causeless Hate can wound its prey no more,
And fawns its late repentance o'er the dead,
Or if yon children, whose young souls of glee
Taking some spark to glad the hearth, or light
The student lamp, from now neglected fires,—
Born 1830. Died 1867.
T HID my face awhile, then cried aloud,
*- 'No one can give forgetfulness; not one.
No one can tell me who can give it me.
I asked of Joy, as he went laughing past,
Crushing a bunch of grapes against his lips,
And suddenly the light forsook his face,
His orbs were blind with tears—he could not tell.
I asked of Grief, as with red eyes he came
From a sweet infant's bier; and at the sound
He started, shook his head, with quick hand drew
His mantle o'er his face, and turned away
'Mong the blue twilight-mists.' Sleep did not raise
His heavy lids, but in a drowsy voice,
Like murmur of a leafy sycamore
When bees are swarming in the glimmering leaves,
Said, 'I 've a younger brother, very wise,
Silent and still, who ever dwells alone—
His name is Death: seek him, and he may know.'
I cried 'O angel, is there no one else?'
But Sleep stood silent, and his eyes were closed.
Methought, when I awoke, 'We have two lives;
A new-born morning from the Infinite
Fair lady, in my dream Methought I was a weak and lonely bird, In search of summer, wandered on the sea, Toiling through mists, drenched by the arrowy rain, Struck by the heartless winds: at last, methought I came upon an isle in whose sweet air I dried my feathers, smoothed my ruffled breast, And skimmed delight from off the waving woods. Thy coming, lady, reads this dream of mine: I am the swallow, thou the summer land.
From A Life Drama.
The Dying King.
A grim old king, Whose blood leapt madly when the trumpets brayed To joyous battle 'mid a storm of steeds, Won a rich kingdom on a battle-day; But in the sunset he was ebbing fast, Ringed by his weeping lords. His left hand held His white steed, to the belly splashed with blood, That seemed to mourn him with his drooping head; His right, his broken brand; and in his ear His old victorious banners flap the winds.