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Duly at evening Helen came

To this lone Bilent spot,

From the wrecks of a tale of wilder sorrow

So much of sympathy to borrow

As soothed her own dark lot.

Duly each evening from her home,

With her fair child would Helen come

To sit upon that antique seat,

While the hues of day were pale;

And the bright boy beside her feet

Now lay, lifting at intervals

His broad blue eyes on her;

Now, where some sudden impulse calls

Following. He was a gentle boy

And in all gentle sports took joy;

Oft in a dry leaf for a boat,

With a small feather for a sail,

His fancy on that spring would float,

If some invisible breeze might stir

Its marble calm: and Helen smiled

Through tears of awe on the gay child,

To think that a boy as fair as he,

In years which never more may be,

By that same fount, in that same wood,

The like sweet fancies had pursued;

And that a mother, lost like her,

Had mournfully sate watching him.

Then all the scene was wont to swim

Through the mist of a burning tear.

For many months had Helen known

This scene; and now she thither turned

Her footsteps, not alone.

The friend whose falsehood she had mourned,

Sate with her on that seat of stone.

Silent they sate ; for evening,

And the power its glimpBes bring

Had, with one awful shadow, quelled

The passion of their grief. They sate

With linked hands, for unrepelled

Had Helen taken Rosalind's.

Like the autumn wind, when it unbinds

The tangled locks of the nightshade's hair,

Which is twined in the sultry summer air

Round the walls of an outworn sepulchre,

Did the voice of Helen, sad and sweet,

And the sound of her heart that ever beat,

As with sighs and words she breathed on her,

Unbind the knots of her friend's despair,

Till her thoughts were free to float and flow;

And from her labouring bosom now,

Like the bursting of a prisoned flame,

The voice of a long-pent sorrow came.

ROSALIND.

I saw the dark earth fall upon

The coffin ; and I saw the stone

Laid over him whom this cold breast

Had pillowed to his nightly rest!

Thou knowest not, thou canst not know

My agony. Oh! I could not weep:

The sources whence such blessings flow

Were not to be approached by me!

But I could smile, and I could sleep,

Though with a self-accusing heart.

In morning's light, in evening's gloom.

I watched,—and would not thence depart,—

My h* "band's unlamented tomb.

My children knew their sire was gone

But when I told them, " he is dead,"

They laughed aloud in frantic glee,

They clapped their hands and leaped about,

Answering eaeh other's ecstacy

With many a prank and merry shout,

But I sat silent and alone,

Wrapped in the mock of mourning weed.

They laughed, for he was dead; but I
Sate with a hard and tearless eye,
And with a heart which would deny
The secret joy it could not quell,
Low muttering o'er his loathed name;
Till from that self-contention came
Remorse where sin was none ; a hell
Which in pure spirits should not dwell.

I'll tell the truth. He was a man

Hard, selfish, loving only gold,

Yet full of guile: his pale eyes ran

With tears, which each some falsehood told,

And oft his smooth and bridled tongue

Would give the lie to his flushing cheek:

He was a coward to the strong;

He was a tyrant to the weak,

On whom his vengeance he would wreak:

For scorn, whose arrows search the heart,

From many a stranger's eye would dart,

And on his memory cling, and follow

His soul to its home so cold and hollow.

He was a tyrant to the weak,

And we were such, alas the day!

Oft, when my little ones at play,

Were in youth's natural lightness gay,

Or if they listened to some tale

Of travellers, or of fairy land,—

When the light from the wood-fire's dying brand

Flashed on their faces,—if they heard

Or thought they heard upon the stair

His footstep, the suspended word

Died on my lips: we all grew pale;

The babe at my bosom was hushed with fear

If it thought it heard its father near;

And my two wild boys would near my knee

Cling, cowed and cowering fearfully.

Ill tell the truth: I loved another.

His name in my ear was ever ringing,

His form to my brain was ever clinging;

Yet if some stranger breathed that name,

My lips turned white, and my heart beat fast:

My nights were once haunted by dreams of flanic,

My days were dim in the shadow cast,

By the memory of the same!

Day and night, day and night,

He was my breath and life and light,

For three short years, which soon were past.

On the fourth, my gentle mother

Led me to the shrine, to be

His sworn bride eternally.

And now we stood on the altar stair,

When my father came from a distant land,

And with a loud and fearful cry,

Rushed between us suddenly.

I saw the stream of his thin grey hair,

I saw his lean and lifted hand,

And heard his words,—and live! 0 God!

Wherefore do I live!—" Hold, hold!"

He cried,—" I tell thee 'tis her brother!

Thy mother, boy, beneath the sod

Of yon church-yard rests in her shroud so cold.

I am now weak, and pale, and old:

We were once dear to one another,

I and that corpse! Thou art our child!"

Then with a laugh both long and wild

The youth upon the pavement fell:

They found him dead! All looked on me,

The spasms of my despair to see;

But I was calm. I went away;

I was clammy-cold like clay!

I did not weep—I did not speak;

But day by day, week after week,

I walked about like a corpse alive!

Alas! sweet friend, you must believe

This heart is stone—it did not break.

My father lived a little while,

But all might see that he was dying,

He smiled with such a woeful smile!

When he was in the church-yard lying

Among the worms, we grew quite poor,

So that no one would give us bread;

My mother looked at me, and said

Faint words of cheer, which only meant

That she could die and be content;

So I went forth from the same church door

To another husband's bed.

And this was he who died at last,

When weeks and months and years had past,

Through which I firmly did fulfil

My duties, a devoted wife,

With the stern step of vanquished will,

Walking beneath the night of life,

Whose hours extinguished, like slow rain

Falling for ever, pain by pain,

The very hope of death's dear rest;

Which, since the heart within my breast

Of natural life was dispossest,

Its strange sustainer there had been.

When flowers were dead, and grass was green

L'pon my mother's grave,—that mother

Whom to outlive, and cheer, and make

My wan eyes glitter for her sake,

Was my vowed task, the single care

Which once gave life to my despair,—

When she was a thing that did not stir,

And the crawling worms were cradling her

To a sleep more deep and so more sweet

Than a baby's rocked on its nurse's knee,

I lived ; a living pulse then beat

Beneath my heart that awakened me.

What was this pulse so warm and free?

Alas! I knew it could not be

My own dull blood: 'twas like a thought

Of liquid love, that spread and wrought

Under my bosom and in my brain,

And crept with the blood through every vein;

And hour by hour, day after day,

Tha wonder could not charm away,

But laid in sleep my wakeful pain,

Until I knew it was a child,

And then I wept. For long, long years

These frozen eyes had shed no tears:

But now—'twas the season fair and mild

When April has wept itself to May:

1 sate through the sweet sunny day

By my window bowered round with leaves,

And down my cheeks the quick tears ran

Like twinkling rain-drops from the eaves, When warm spring showers are passing o'er:

0 Helen, none can ever tell

The joy it was to weep once more!

1 wept to think how hard it were
To kill my babe, and take from it
The sense of light, and the warm air,
And my own fond and tender care,
And love and smiles ; ere I knew yet
That these for it might, as for me,
Be the masks of a grinning mockery.
And haply, I would dream, 'twere sweet
To feed it from my faded breast,

Or mark my own heart's restless beat

Rock it to its untroubled rest;

And watch the growing soul beneath

Dawn in faint smiles; and hear its breath,

Half interrupted by calm sighs;

And search the depth of its fair eyes

For long departed memories!

And so I lived till that sweet load

Was lightened. Darkly forward flowed

The stream of years, and on it bore

Two shapes of gladness to my sight;

Two other babes, delightful more

In my lost soul's abandoned night,

Than their own country ships may be

Sailing towards wrecked mariners,

Who cling to the rock of a wintry sea.

For each, as it came, brought soothing tears,

And a loosening warmth, as each one lay

Sucking the sullen milk away,

About my frozen heart did play,

And weaned it, oh how painfully !—

As they themselves were weaned each one

From that sweet food,—even from the thirst

Of death, and nothingness, and rest,

Strange inmate of a living breast'.

Which all that I had undergone

Of grief and shame, since she, who first

The gates of that dark refuge closed,

Came to my sight, and almost burst

The seal of that Lethean spring;

But these fair shadows interposed:

For all delights are shadows now!

And from my brain to my dull brow

The heavy tears gather and flow:

t cannot speak—Oh let me weep!

The tears which fell from her wan eyes
Glimmered among the moonlight dew!
Her deep hard sobs and heavy sighs
Their echoes in the darkness threw.
When she grew calm, she thus did keep
The tenor of her tale :—

He died,
I know not how. He was not old,
If age be numbered by its years;
But he was bowed and bent with fears,
Pale with the quenchless thirst of gold,
Which, like fierce fever, left him weak;
And his strait lip and bloated cheek
Were warped in spasms by hollow sneers;
And selfish cares with barren plough,
Not age, had lined his narrow brow,
And foul and cruel thoughts, which feed
Upon the withering life within,

Like vipers on some poisonous weed.
Whether his ill were death or sin
None knew, until he died indeed,
And then men owned they were the same.

Seven days within my chamber lay
That corse, and my babes made holiday:
At last, I told them what is death:
The eldest, with a kind of shame,
Came to my knees with silent breath,
And sate awe-stricken at my feet;
And soon the others left their play,
And sate there too. It is unmeet
To shed on the brief flower of youth
The withering knowledge of the grave;
From me remorse then wrung that truth.
I could not bear the joy which gave
Too just a response to mine own.
In vain. I dared not feign a groan;
And in their artless looks I saw,
Between the mists, of fear and awe,
That my own thought was theirs ; and they
Expressed it not in words, but said,
Each in its heart, how every day
Will pass in happy work and play,
Now he is dead and gone away!

After the funeral all our kin

Assembled, and the will was read.

My friend, I tell thee, even the dead

Have strength, their putrid shrouds within,

To blast and torture. Those who live

Still fear the living, but a corse

la merciless, and power doth give

To such pale tyrants half the spoil

He rends from those who groan and toil,

Because they blush not with remorse

Among their crawling worms. BehoM,

I have no child 1 my tale grows old

With grief, and staggers: let it reach

The limits of my feeble speech,

And languidly at length recline

On the brink of its own grave and mine.

Thou knowest what a thing is Poverty

Among the fallen on evil days:

'Tis Crime, and Fear, and Infamy,

And houseless Want in frozen ways

Wandering ungarmented, and Pain,

And, worse than ail, that inward stain,

Foul Self-contempt, which drowns in sneers

Youth's star-light smile, and makes its tears

First like hot gall, then dry for ever!

And well thou knowest a mother never

Could doom her children to this ill,

And well he knew the same. The will

Imported, that if e'er again

I sought my children to behold,

Or in my birth-place did remain

Beyond three days, whose hours were told,

They should inherit nought: and he,

To whom next came their patrimony,

A sallow lawyer, cruel and cold,

Ave watched me, as the will was read,

With eyes askance, which sought to seo

The secrets of my agony;

And with close lips and anxious brow

Stood eanvassing still to and fro

The chance of my resolve, and all

The dead man's caution just did call;

For in that killing lie 'twas said—
"She is adulterous, and doth hold
In secret that the Christian creed
Is false, and therefore is much need
That I should have a care to save
My children from eternal fire."
Friend, he was sheltered by the grave,
And therefore dared to be a liar!
In truth, the Indian on the pyre
Of her dead husband, half-consumed,
As well might there be false, as I
To those abhorred embraces doomed,
Far worse than fire's brief agony.
As to the Christian creed, if true
Or false, I never questioned it:
I took it as the vulgar do:
Nor my vext soul had leisure yet
To doubt the things men say, or deem
That they are other than they seem.

All present who those crimes did hear,

In feigned or actual scorn and fear,

Men, women, children, slunk away,

Whispering with self-contented pride,

Which half suspects its own base lie.

I spoke to none, nor did abide,

But silently I went my way.

Nor noticed I where joyously

Sate my two younger babes at play,

In the court-yard through which I past;

But went with footsteps firm and fast

Till I came to the brink of the ocean greei:,

And there, a woman with grey hairs,

Who had my mother's servant been,

Kneeling, with many tears and prayers,

Made me accept a purse of gold,

Half of the earnings she had kept

To refuge her when weak and old.

With woe, which never sleeps or slept,

I wander now. 'Tis a.vain thought—

But on yon alp, whose snowy head

'Mid the azure air is islanded

(We see it o'er the flood of cloud,

Which sunrise from its eastern caves

Drives, wrinkling into golden waves,

Hung with its precipices proud,

From that grey stone where first we met),

There, now who knows the dead feel nought I

Should be my grave; for he who yet

Is my soul's soul, once said: "'Twerc sweet

'Mid stars and lightnings to abide,

And winds and lulling snows, that beat

With their soft flakes the mountain wide,

When weary meteor lamps repose,

And languid storms their pinions close:

And all things strong and bright and pure,

And ever-during, aye endure:

Who knows, if one were buried there.

But these things might our spirits make,

Amid the all-surrounding air,

Their own eternity partake I"

Then 'twas a wild and playful saying

At which I laughed or seemed to laugh:

They were his words : now heed my praying,

Aud let them be my epitaph.

Thy memory for a term may bo

My monument. Wilt remember me I

I know thou wilt, and canst forgive

Whilst in this erring world to live

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My soul disdained not, that I thought
Its lying forms were worthy aught,
And mnch less thee.

HELEN.

0 speak not so,
But come to me and pour thy woe
Into this heart, full though it be,
Aye overflowing with its own:
I thought that grief had severed me
From all beside who weep and groan;
Its likeness upon earth to be,
Its express image ; but thou art
More wretched. Sweet! we will not part
Henceforth, if death be not division;
If so, the dead feel no contrition.
But wilt thou hear, since last we parted
All that has left me broken-hearted '.

ROSALIND.

Yes, speak. The faintest stars are scarcely shorn
Of their thin beams, by that delusive morn
Which sinks again in darkness, like the light
Of early love, soon lost in total night.

HELEN.

Alas! Italian winds are mild,

But my bosom is cold—wintry cold—

When the warm air weaves, among the fresh leaves

Soft music, my poor brain is wild,

And I am weak like a nursling child,

Though my soul with grief is grey and old.

ROSALIND.

Weep not at thine own words, tho' they must make Me weep. What is thy tale!

I fear 'twill shake
Thy gentle heart with tears. Thou well
Rememberest when we met no more,
And, though I dwelt with Lionel,
That friendless caution pierced me sore
With grief—a wound my spirit bore
Indignantly ; but when he died,
With him lay dead both hope and pride.

Alas! all hope is buried now.
But then men dreamed the aged earth
Was labouring in that mighty birth,
Which many a poet and a sage
Has aye foreseen—the happy age
When truth and love shall dwell below
Among the works and ways of men;
Which on this world not power but will
Even now is wanting to fulfil.
'Among mankind what thence befel
OT strife, how vain, is known too well;
When Liberty's dear peean fell
'Mid murderous howls. To Lionel,
Though of great wealth and lineage high,
Yet through those dungeon walls there came
Thy thrilling light, 0 Liberty!
And as the meteor's midnight flame
Startles the dreamer, sun-like truth
Flashed on his visionary youth,
And filled him, not with love, but faith,
And hope, and courage mute in death;
For love and life in him were twins,

Born at one birth : in every other

First life, then love its course begins,

Though they be children of one mother;

And so through this dark world they fleet

Divided, till in death they meet:

But he loved all things ever. Then

He passed amid the strife of men,

And stood at the throne of armed power

Pleading for a world of woe:

Secure as one on a rock-built tower

O'er the wrecks which the surge trails to and fro,

'Mid the passions wild of human kind

He stood, like a spirit calming them;

For, it was said, his words could bind

Like music the lulled crowd, and stem

That torrent of unquiet dream

Which mortals truth and reason deem,

But is revenge and fear, and pride.

Joyous he was; and hope and peace

On all who heard him did abide,

Raining like dew from his sweet talk,

As where the evening star may walk

Along the brink of the gloomy seas,

Liquid mists of splendour quiver.

His very gestures touched to tears

The unpersuaded tyrant, never

So moved before : his presence stung

The torturers with their victims' pain,

And none knew how ; and through their ears,

The subtle witchcraft of his tongue

Unlocked the hearts of those who keep

Gold, the world's bond of slavery.

Men wondered and some sneered to see

One sow what he could never reap:

For he is rich, they said, and young,

And might drink from the depths of luxury.

If he seeks fame, fame never crowned

The champion of a trampled creed:

If he seeks power, power is enthroned

'Mid ancient rights and wrongs, to feed

Which hungry wolves with praise and spoil,

Those who would sit near power must toil;

And such, there sitting, all may see.

What seeks he t All that others seek

He casts away, like a vile weed

Which the sea easts unreturningly.

That poor and hungry men should break

The laws which wreak them toil and scorn,

We understand ; but Lionel

We know is rich and nobly born.

So wondered they ; yet all men loved

Young Lionel, though few approved;

All but the priests, whose hatred fell

Like the unseen blight of a smiling day,

The withering honey-dew, which clings

Under the bright green buds of May,

Whilst they unfold their emerald wings:

For he made verses wild and queer

On the strange creeds priests hold so dear,

Because they bring them land and gold.

Of devils and saints and all such gear,

He made tales which whoso heard or read

Would laugh till he were almost dead.

So this grew a proverb: "Don't get old

Till Lionel's ' banquet in hell' you hear,

And then you will laugh yourself young again."

So the priests hated him, and he

Repaid their hate with cheerful glee.

Ah ! smiles and joyance quickly died,

For public hope grew pale and dim

In an altered time and tide,

And in its wasting withered him,

As a summer flower that blows too soon

Droops in the smile of the waning moon,

When it scatters through an April night

The frozen dews of wrinkling blight.

None now hoped more. Grey Power was seated

Safely on her ancestral throne;

And Faith, the Python, undefeated,

Even to its blood-stained steps dragged on

Her foul and wounded train; and men

Were trampled and deceived again,

And words and shows again could bind

The wailing tribes of humankind

In scorn and famine. Fire and blood

Raged round the raging multitude,

To fields remote by tyrants sent

To be the scorned instrument,

With which they drag from mines of gore

The chains their slaves yet ever wore;

And in the streets men met each other,

And by old altars and in halls,

And smiled again at festivals.

But each man found in his heart's brother

Cold cheer; for all, though half deceived,

The outworn creeds again believed,

And the same round anew began,

Which the weary world yet ever ran.

Many then wept, not tears, but gall,

Within their hearts, like drops which fall

Wasting the fountain-Btone away.

And in that dark and evil day

Did all desires and thoughts, that claim

Men's care—ambition, friendship, fame,

Love, hope, though hope was now despair—

Indue the colours of this change,

As from the all-surrounding air

The earth takes hues obscure and strange,

When storm and earthquake linger there.

And so, my friend, it then befel
To many, most to Lionel,
Whose hope was like the life of youth
Within him, and when dead, became
A spirit of unresting flame,
Which goaded him in his distress
Over the world's vast wilderness.
Three years he left his native land,
And on the fourth, when he returned,
None knew him: he was stricken deep
With some disease of mind, and turned
Into aught unlike Lionel.
On him—on whom, did he pause in sleep,
Sercnest smiles were wont to keep,
And, did he wake, a winged band
Of bright persuasions, which had fed
On his sweet lips and liquid eyes,
Kept their swift pinions half outspread,
To do on men his least command—
On him, whom once 'twas paradise
Even to behold, now misery lay:
In his own heart 'twas merciless,-
To all things else none may express
Its innocence and tenderness.

'Twas said that he had refuge sought
In love from his unquiet thought

In distant hinds, and been deceived

By some strange show ; for there were found,

Blotted with tears, as those relieved

By their own words arc wont to do,

These mournful verses on the ground,

By all who read them blotted too.

"How am I changed! my hopes were once like fire:
I loved, and I believed that life was love.
How am I lost! on wings of swift desire
Among Heaven's winds my spirit once did move.
I slept, and silver dreams did aye inspire
My liquid sleep. I woke, and did approve
All nature to my heart, and thought to make
A paradise of earth for one sweet sake.
I love, but I believe in love no more:
I feel desire, but hope not. 0, from sleep
Most vainly must my weary brain implore
Its long-lost flattery now. I wake to weep,
And Bit through the long day gnawing the core
Of my bitter heart, and, like a miser, keep,
Since none in what I foel take pain or pleasure,
To my own soul its self-consuming treasure."

He dwelt beside me near the sea;

And oft in evening did we meet,

When the waves, beneath the star-light, flee

O'er the yellow sands with silver feet,

And talked. Our talk was sad and sweet,

Till slowly from his mien there passed

The desolation which it spoke;

And smiles,—as when the lightning's blast

Has parched some heaven-delighting oak,

The next spring shows leaves pale and rare.

But like flowers delicate and fair,

On its rent boughs—again arrayed

His countenance in tender light:

His words grew subtle fire, which made

The air his hearers breathed delight:

His motions, like the winds, were free,

Which bend the bright grass gracefully,

Then fade away in circlets faint:

And winged Hope, on which upborne

His soul seemed hovering in his eyes,

Like some bright spirit newly-born

Floating amid the sunny skies,

Sprang forth from his rent heart anew.

Yet o'er his talk, and looks, and mien,

Tempering their loveliness too keen,

Past woe its shadow backward threw,

Till like an exhalation, spread

From flowers half drunk with evening dew,

They did become infectious : sweet

And subtle mists of sense and thought

Which rapt us soon, when we might meet,

Almost from our own looks, and aught

The wide world holds. And so, his mind

Was healed, while mine grew sick with fear:

For ever now his health declined,

Like some frail bark which cannot bear

The impulse of an altered wind,

Though prosperous ; and my heart grew full

'Mid its new joy of a new care:

For his cheek became, not pale, but fair,

As rose-o'crshadowed lilies are;

And soon his deep and sunny hair,

In this alone less beautiful,

Like grass in tombs grew wild and rare.

The blood in his translucent veins

Beat, not like animal life, but love

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