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poems—a sort of literary twins—without wishing again and again, and again, that we had actors and a stage. Besides '' The Blot on the Scutcheon" which has been successfully produced at two metropolitan theaters, " Colombe's Birthday" and " Lucia" show not only what he has done, but what with the hope of a great triumph before him he might yet do as a dramatist. I could show what I mean by transcribing the last act of " Colombe's Birthday." I could make my meaning clearer still by transcribing the whole play. But as these huge borrowings are out of the question, I must limit myself to a couple of dramatic lyrics, each of which tells its own story:
MY LAST DUCHESS.—FERRARA.
That's my last Duchess painted on the wall
My gift of a nine-hundred years old name
With any body's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling 1 Even had you skill
In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say: "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me;—here you miss
Or there exceed the mark;" and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours forsooth and made excuse,
—E'en then would be some stooping, and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh, Sir, she smiled no doubt
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile 1 This grew; I gave commands,
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise 1 We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretense
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, Sir! Notice Neptune though
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.
Poor dead Duchess! and poor living one too! for that complaisant embassador who listened so silently would hardly give warning, even if the father were likely to take it; and we feel as they walk down the palace stairs that another victim comes. The pathos of the next lyric is of a different order.
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX. [16-.]
I sprang to the stirrup, and Ioris and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate-bolts undrew,"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through;Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other: we kept the great pace
'Twas moonset at starting, but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom a great yellow star came out to see;
At Duffeld 'twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mechelm church-steeple we heard the half chime,
So Ioris broke silence with "Yet there is time!"
At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun
And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Ioris, "Stay spur!Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her We'll remember at Aix"—for one heard the quick wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and staggering knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Ioris and I,
Past Loos and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And "Gallop," gasped Ioris, "for Aix is in sight!
"How they'll greet us!"—and all in a moment his roan
Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise bad or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is friends flocking round,
As I sate with bis bead twixt my knees on the ground,
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat one last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.
Although we have cause to hope that the good steed recovered, yet his trial of speed and strength is too painful to conclude with. I add a few lines from the "Englishman in Italy," a long poem so pulpy, so juicy, so full of bright color and of rich detail, that it is just like a picture by Rubens. Selection is difficult—but I choose the passage in question because its exceeding truth was first pointed out to me by Mr. Ruskin.
But to-day not a boat reached Salerno,
So back to a man
Like blood the juice spins.
Till breathless he grins
To keep the grapes under,
In pours the fresh plunder
With basket on shoulder—
Meanwhile see the grape-bunch they've brought you,—
The rain-water slips
Which the wasp to your lips
Nay taste while awake
That peels flake by flake
Next sip this weak wine
A leaf of the vine—
That leaves through its juice
and so on.
PROSE PASTORALS. Sir Philip Sydney's Aroadia—Isaac Walton's Complete
During this warm summer, and above all during this dry burning harvest weather, which makes my poor little roadside cottage (the cottage which for that reason among others I am about to leave) so insupportable from glare, and heat, and dust in the fine season, I have the frequent, almost daily habit of sallying forth into the charming green lane, the grassy, turfy, shady lane of which I have before made mention, and of which I share the use and the enjoyment with the gipsys. Last summer I was able to walk thither, but in the winter I was visited by rheumatism, and can not walk so far without much heat and fatigue; so my old poney-phaeton conveys me and my little maid, and my pet-dog Fanchon, and my little maid's needle-work of flounces and fineries, and my books and writing-case, as far as the road leads, and sometimes a little farther; and we proceed to a certain green hillock under down-hanging elms, close shut in between a bend in the lane on our own side, and an amphitheater of oak and ash and beech trees opposite; where we have partly found and partly scooped out for ourselves a turfy seat and turfy table redolent of wild-thyme and a thousand fairy-flowers, delicious in its coolness, its fragrance, and its repose.
Behind the thick hedge on the one hand stretch fresh watermeadows, where the clear brook wanders in strange meanders between clumps of alder-bushes and willow-pollards; fringed by the blue forget-me-not, the yellow loosestrife, the purple willowherb, and the creamy tufts of the queen of the meadow; on the other hand we catch a glimpse over gates of large tracts of arable land, wheat, oat, clover, and bean fields, sloping upward