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“ These are the three great chords of might,
TAKE them, O Death! and bear away
Whatever thou canst call thine own!
Doth give thee that, but that alone!
Folded upon thy narrow shelves
And precious only to ourselves !
Our little life is but a gust,
And trails its blossoms in the dust.
FOR MY BROTHER'S ORDINATION.
If thou wouldst perfect be,
And come and follow me!”
Those sacred words hath said,
Laid on a young man's head.
The unseen Christ shall move,
“Dost thou, dear Lord, approve ?" Beside him at the marriage feast shall be,
To make the scene more fair;
Of pain and midnight prayer.
Like the beloved John
And thus to journey on !
The Golden Legend.
HE old Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend, was originally written in Latin, ir the thirteenth century, by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican friar, who after wards became Archbishop of Genoa, and died in 1292.
He called his book simply "Legends of the Saints." The epithet of Golden was given it by his admirers; for, as Wynkin de Worde says, “ Like as passeth gold in value all other metals, so this Legend exceedeth all other books. But Edward Leigh, in much distress of mind, calls it “ a book written by a man of a leaden heart for the basenesse of the errours, that are without wit or reason, and of a brazen forehead, for his impudent boldnesse in reporting things so fabulous and incredible."
This work, the great text-book of the legendary lore of the Middle Ages, was translated into French in the fourteenth century by Jean de Vignay, and in the fifteenth into English by William Caxton. "It has lately been made more accessible by a new French translation : La Légende Dorée, traduite du Latin, par M. G. B. Paris, 1850. There is a copy of the original, with the Gesta Longobardorum appended, in the Harvard College Library, Cambridge, printed at Strasburg, 1496. The title-page is wanting ; and the volume begins with the Tabula Legendorum.
I have called this poem the Golden Legend, because the story upon which it is founded seems to me to surpass all other legends in beauty and significance. It exhibits, amid the corruptions of the Middle Ages, the virtue of disinterested. ness and self-sacrifice, and the power of Faith, Hope, and Charity, sufficient for all the exigencies of life and death. The story is told, and perhaps invented, by IIartmann von der Aue, a Minnesinger of the twelfth century. The original may be found in Mailáth's Altdeutsche Gedichte, with a modern German version. There is another in Marbach's Volksbücher, No. 32.
the Powers of the Air, trying to tear down the Cross.
O ye spirits!
Is uplifted high in air !
For around it
Congrego clerum !
Hover downward !
Clashing, clanging to the pavement
Hurl them from their windy tower!
Here are harmless !
Break the painted
Swept away before the blast!
At the oaken,
Wide the ashes of the dead!
Paco cruentos !
Come away, ere night is gone!
With the night-wind,
Lonely homestead, darksome hamlet,
Blighting all we breathe upon!
The Castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine. A chamber in a tower,
PRINCE HENRY, sitting alone, ill and restless. Midnight.
Calls up the vanished Past again,
The rest we cannot reinstate;
Tranquillity of endless sleep! (A fash of ligletning, out of which LUCIFER appears, in the garb.
Who is it speaks?
One who seeks
A moment since.
And thought you answered when I knocked.
You heard the thunder,
You should not hear my feeble tread.
Your Highness. You behold in me
Or those that are called so.
Can you bring
Yes ; very nearly.