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A mighty eygre reared his crest,
And uppe the Lindis raging sped.
And rearing Lindis backward pressed,
Shook all her trembling bankes amaine ; Then madly at the eygre's breast
Flung uppe her weltering walls again. Then bankes came downe with ruin and routThen beaten foam flew round about Then all the mighty floods were out.
So farre, so fast the eygre drave,
The heart had hardly time to beat,
Sobbed in the grasses at oure feet:
Upon the roofe we sate that night,
The noise of bells went sweeping by: I marked the lofty beacon-light
Stream from the church-tower, red and highA lurid mark and dread to see ; And awsome bells they were to mee, That in the dark rang “Enderby.”
They rang the sailor lads to guide
From roofe to roofe who fearless rowed;
And yet the ruddy beacon glowed;
And didst thou visit him no more ?
Thou didst, thou didst, my daughter, deare; The waters laid thee at his doore,
Ere yet the early dawn was clear.
Thy pretty bairns in fast embrace,
That ebbe swept out the flocks to sea;
To manye more than myne and me;
I shall never see her more
To the sandy, lonesome shore;
Come uppe, Jetty, follow, follow, Jetty, to the milking-shed.”
William Morris was born near London in 1835, and was educated at Oxford. He has become suddenly and universally known to the reading world by his poems. The Life and Death of Jason is Greek to the core, and takes the reader back to Homeric days. The Earthly Paradise is a collection of poems strung on the thread of a story, — some of them founded on classic fables or traditions, and some upon the wild legends of the Norse tribes. The author is an admirer and student of Chaucer, and has followed well his great master in the difficult art of fluent narration in verse ; he has also followed him in the habit of forcing rhymes and in the arbitrary use of accent, to the annoyance of the reader. His last work fills three stout volumes; the poet's art could have condensed it to advantage. Still, it must be admitted, the interest seldom flags, the verses run on like the weaving of a glittering stuff in a loom – the flying and returning shuttle often throwing up some figure of beauty, with only enough of plain surface intervening for judicious relief. The poems are, moreover, for a leisure day, for the mood of repose, for the contented and uncritical. They display in general a pervading sense of the beautiful, an admiration for the heroic, and, most of all, a passionate love of life for its own sake – a clinging to mere existence as the one priceless object of desire. The scenes and figures have an air of reality, yet are sufficiently remote and of ideal proportions. If, in addition to these traits, it were possible to add that they inspire fortitude and faith, and teach the high lessons of aspiration and duty, it would be enough to place the author among the immortals. But he is content with presenting his pictures of the elder days, and his verses give no sign that the thinking or the conscience of our own time has ever touched him. As he confesses in a tone of delicious languor, he is
“The idle singer of an empty day.” It is to be hoped that this vein of pure gold is not exhausted, and that after due rest the poet will again delight the vast multitude of readers who now offer their homage to his genius.
(Conclusion of The Man born to be King. - From The Earthly Paradise.) It was foretold to a certain King that an infant, born in a hut in which the King was forced to spend a night, would succeed him on the throne. His only child at the time was a newly-born daughter. The story recounts the various attempts made by the King to destroy the boy, and so bring the pruphecy to nought. The babe was first put in a box and thrown into a river, but was rescued and kindly reared by a miller. Afterwards, when the secret of the boy's birth was discovered, the King directed a retainer to decoy him away from the miller and despitch him with a dagger. But the boy was found by monks, still living, with the King's dagger in his wound, and was cared for at the monastery. After arriving at man's estate he became a soldier in the royal retinue, and the necessary link in his history was accidentally furnished by the King's dagger, which the young man had kept. In the mean time the King had sent his daughter to a distant castle, and had given her an intimation that she might expect to receive a visit there from her destined husband. To make sure of the destruction of his now formidable foe, the King sent him with a sealed letter to the seneschal of this castle, directing the instant execution of the messenger. The youth was now in early manhood, handsome, brave, light-hearted, and unsuspecting. His journey to the distant castle and his subsequent adventures are related in the part of the poem that follows: —
Long time he rode, till suddenly,
He found at last that he had won
Showed glorious ; fair with golden sheaves, Rich with the darkened autumn leaves, 'Gay with the water-meadows green, The bright blue streams that lay between, The miles of beauty stretched away From that bleak hill-side bare and gray, Till white cliffs over slopes of vine Drew 'gainst the sky a broken line. And 'twixt the vineyards and the stream Michael saw gilded spirelets gleam ; For, hedged with many a flowery close, There lay the Castle of the Rose, His hurried journey's aim and end.
Then downward he began to wend, And 'twixt the flowery hedges sweet He heard the hook smite down the wheat, And murmur of the unseen folk; But when he reached the stream that broke The golden plain, but leisurely He passed the bridge, for he could see The masters of that ripening realm, Cast down beneath an ancient elm Upon a little strip of grass, From hand to hand the pitcher pass, While on the turf beside them lay The ashen-handled sickles gray, The matters of their cheer between : Slices of white cheese, specked with green, And green-striped onions and rye-bread, And summer apples faintly red, Even beneath the crimson skin; And yellow grapes, well ripe and thin, Plucked from the cottage gable-end.
In summer morn; the King again,
Surely he thought to wake from it,
But not for either good or ill
And deep within the archway's shade
Now hearing Michael's horse-hoofs smite
“Yea," said the man. “But in the hall He feasteth now; what haste is there? Certes full quickly cometh care ; And sure I am he will not read Thy letters, or to aught give heed Till he has played out all the play, And every guest has gone away: So thou, O damoiseau, must wait; Tie up thine horse anigh the gate, And sit with me, and thou shalt hear The Kaiser lieth on his bier. Thou laughest, - hast thou never heard Of this same valorous Red Beard, And how he died? well, I can sing Of many another dainty thing,
And certes Michael felt their friend
Yea, as the parapet he passed,
And the warm, hazy autumn-tide,
But scarce three minutes had gone by
Thou wilt not a long while forget,
Michael the while
Then said the warder, “That may be If thou know'st what may come to thee. When past the drawbridge thou hast gone, Upon the left three steps of stone Lead to a path beneath the wall Of the great court, that folk now call The falconer's path, nor canst thou miss Going thereby, to find the bliss Thou look'st for, since the path ends there, And through a wicket gilded fair The garden lies where thou wouldst be: Nor will I fail to come to thee Whene'er my lord the seneschal Shall pass well sed from out the hall."
Then Michael, thanking him, passed on,
So wandering, to a fountain's side
Meanwhile unto that garden green
Now of these twain the Princess spoke
So in their walk they drew anigh
she; “Did I not say that he would come To woo thee in thy peaceful home Before thy father brought him here? Come, and behold him, have no fear! The great bell would not wake him now, Right in his ears."
“Nay, what dost thou?” The Princess said; “let us go hence ; Thou know'st I give obedience