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Innocence seethed in her mother's milk, and Charity setting the martyr aflame ; Thraldom who walks with the banner of Freedom, and recks not to ruin a realm in her name.
Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the gloom of doubts that darken the schools;
Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her hand, follow'd up by her vassal legion of fools;
Trade fiying over a thousand seas with her spice and her vintage, her silk and her corn; Desolate offing, sailorless harbors, famishing populace, wharves forlorn;
Star of the morning, Hope in the sunrise; gloom of the evening, Life at a close;
Pleasure who flaunts on her wide downway with her flying robe and her poison'd rose;
Pain that has crawl'd from the corpse of Pleasure, a worm which writhes all day, and at night
Stirs up again in the heart of the sleeper, and stings him back to the curse of the light;
Wealth with his wines and his wedded harlots; honest Poverty, bare to the bone;
Opulent Avarice, lean as Poverty; Flattery gilding the rift in a throne;
Fame blowing out from her golden trumpet a jubilant challenge to Time and to Fate;
Slander, her shadow, sowing the nettle on all the laurell'd graves of the great;
Love for the maiden, crown'd with marriage, no regrets for aught that has been,
Household happiness, gracious children, debtless competence, golden mean;
National hatreds of whole generations, and pigmy spites of the village spire;
Vows that will last to the last deathruckle, and vows that are snapt in a moment of fire;
He that has lived for the lust of the minute, and died in the doing it, flesh without mind;
He that has nail'd all flesh to the Cross, till Self died out in the love of his kind;
Spring and Summer and Autumn and Winter, and all these old revolutions of earth;
All new-old revolutions of Empirechange of the tide-what is all of it worth?
What the philosophies, all the sciences, poesy, varying voices of prayer, All that is noblest, all that is basest, all that is filthy with all that is fair?
What is it all, if we all of us end but in being our own corpse-coffins at last? Swallow'd in Vastness, lost in Silence, drown'd in the deeps of a meaningless Past?
What but a murmur of gnats in the gloom, or a moment's anger of bees in their hive?—
Peace, let it be for I loved him, and love him for ever: the dead are not dead but alive. 1885.
MERLIN AND THE GLEAM1
O YOUNG Mariner,
You from the haven
And I am dying,
I am Merlin
Who follow the Gleam.
Mighty the Wizard
1 See the Life of Tennyson, II, 366.
Clouds and darkness
For out of the darkness
The Gleam, that had waned to a wintry
On icy fallow
And faded forest,
And slowly moving again to a melody
But clothed with the Gleam.
And broader and brighter
But eager to follow,
In passing it glanced upon
That under the Crosses
The mortal hillock,
Would break into blossom;
And so to the land's
Last limit I came
And can no longer,
Who taught me in childhood,
Of boundless Ocean,
Not of the sunlight,
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
1 "Crossing the Bar was written in my father's eighty-first year, on a day in October..
"I said, That is the crown of your life's work ;' he answered, 'It came in a moment.' He explained the 'Pilot' as That Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.'
"A few days before his death he said to me; Mind you put Crossing the Bar at the end of ail editions of my poems." (Life of Tennyson, I., 367.)
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
LIST OF REFERENCES
* POETICAL WORKS, 6 volumes, edited by C. Porter and H. Clarke, Crowell, 1900. - POETICAL WORKS, 6 Volumes, Scribner's, 1890. — POETICAL WORKS, 1 volume, edited by H. W. Preston, 1900 (Cambridge Edition). *POETICAL WORKS, 1 volume, edited by F. G. Kenyon, 1897 (Globe Edition). POETICAL WORKS, 1 volume (Oxford Edition). — LETTERS, edited by F. G. Kenyon, 2 volumes, 1897. LETTERS of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, 2 volumes, 1899.
*KENYON (F. G.), Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, edited with biographical additions. HORNE (R. H.), Life and Letters of Mrs. Browning. INGRAM (J. H.), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Famous Women Series). See also L'Estrange's Life of M. R. Mitford, and The Friendships of M. R. Mitford; The Letters of M. R. Mitford; Macpherson's Memoirs of Anna Jameson; and Forster's Life of Landor.
REMINISCENCES AND EARLY CRITICISM
HORNE (R. H.), A New Spirit of the Age, 1844. RITCHIE (Anne Thackeray), Records of Tennyson, Ruskin, Browning, 1892. MITFORD (M. R.), Recollections of a Literary Life. - COLERIDGE (Sara), Memoirs and Letters, Vol. I, Chap. 12 (letter of 1844 to John Kenyon); Vol. II, Chap. 12 (letter of 1851 to Ellis Yarnall).- BAYNE (Peter), Essays in Biography and Criticism (1st Series): Mrs. Barrett Browning. RoSCOE (W. C.), Poems and Essays, Vol. II, 1860.-OSSOLI (Margaret Fuller), Art, Literature and the Drama. HAWTHORNE, Italian Note-books. HILLARD (G. S.), Six Months in Italy. -* W. W. STORY and his Friends, edited by Henry James, 1903.
BENSON (A. C.), Essays: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. - CHESTERTON (G. K.), Twelve Types, 1902. - CUNLIFFE (J. W.), Elizabeth Barrett's Influence on Browning's Poetry; in the Publications of the Modern Language Association, June, 1908.-DARMESTETER (Mary J.), Ménage de Poètes; in the Revue de Paris, Vol. V, p. 295 and p. 788. — * GOSSE (E.), Critical Kit-Kats: The Sonnets from the Fortuguese, etc., 1896. LUBBOCK (Percy), Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her Letters, 1906. MONTEGUT (Emile), Ecrivains modernes de l'Angleterre, Vol. II, 1889. *STEDMAN (E. C.), Victorian Poets, 1875, 1887.TEXTE (Joseph), Etudes de littérature européenne, 1898.- WHITING (Lilian), A Study of E. B. Browning, 1899.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE'
I THOUGHT once how Theocritus. had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wishedfor years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears To bear a gift for mortals, old or young: And, as I mused it in his antique tongue, I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did