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Of his transcendent genius. Through the groups | A little reddening at his public state, ---
Unseemly to his near and recent loss, —
Withdrew in haste between the downcast eyes Packed with the secret of a coming storm,
That did him reverence as he rustled by. Moves through the gold and criinson evening mists,
Night fell on Padua. In the chapel lay Deadening their splendor. In a moment still The Countess Laura at the altar's foot. Was Carlo's voice, and still the prattling crowd; Her coronet glittered on her pallid brows; And a great shadow overwhelmed them all, A crimson pall, weighed down with golden work, As their white faces and their anxious eyes Sown thick with pearls, and heaped with early Pursued Fernando in his moody walk.
flowers, He paused, as one who balances a doubt, Draped her still body almost to the chin; Weighing two courses, then burst out with this : And over all a thousand candles flamed “Ye all have seen the tidings in my face ; | Against the winking jewels, or streained down Or has the dial ceased to register
The marble aisle, and flashed along the guard The workings of my heart? Then hear the bell, Of men-at-arms that slowly wove their turns, That almost cracks its frame in utterance; Backward and forward, through the distant The Countess, - she is dead !” “Dead !” Carlo
When Carlo entered, his unsteady feet And if a bolt from middle heaven had struck Scarce bore him to the altar, and his head His splendid features full upon the brow, | Drooped down so low that all his shining curls He could not have appeared more scathed and Poured on his breast, and veiled his countenance. blanched.
Upon his easel a half-finished work, “Dead ! — dead !" He staggered to his easel. The secret labor of his studio, frame,
Said from the canvas, so that none might err, And clung around it, buffeting the air
“I am the Countess Laura." Carlo kneeled, With one wild arm, as though a drowning man And gazed upon the picture ; as if thus, Hung to a spar and fought against the waves. | Through those clear eyes, he saw the way to The Count resumed : “I came not here to grieve, heaven. Nor see my sorrow in another's eyes.
Then he arose ; and as a swimmer comes Who 'll paint the Countess, as she lies to-night Forth from the waves, he shook his locks aside, In state within the chapel ? Shall it be
Emerging from his dreain, and standing firm That earth must lose her wholly ? that no hint Upon a purpose with his sovereign will. Of her gold tresses, beaming eyes, and lips He took his palette, murmuring, “Not yet!” That talked in silence, and the eager soul Confidingly and softly to the corpse; That ever seemed outbreaking through her clay, And as the veriest drudge, who plies his art And scattering glory round it, — shall all these Against his fancy, he addressed himself Be dull corruption's heritage, and we,
With stolid resolution to his task, Poor beggars, have no legacy to show
Turning his vision on his memory, That love she bore us? That were shame to love, And shutting out the present, till the dead, And shame to you, my masters." Carlo stalked The gilded pall, the lights, the pacing gnard, Forth from his easel stiflly as a thing
And all the meaning of that solemn scene Moved by mechanic impulse. His thin lips, Became as nothing, and creative Art And sharpened nostrils, and wan, sunken cheeks, Resolved the whole to chaos, and reformed And the cold glimmer in his dusky eyes, The elements according to her law : Made him a ghastly sight. The throng drew So Carlo wrought, as though his eye and hand back
Were Heaven's unconscious instruments, and As though they let a specter through. Then he worked Fronting the Count, and speaking in a voice The settled purpose of Omnipotence. Sounding remote and hollow, made reply: And it was wondrous how the red, the white, “ Count, I shall paint the Countess. "T is my | The ocher, and the umber, and the blue, fate, —
From mottled blotches, hazy and opaque, Not pleasure, — no, nor duty." But the Count, Grew into rounded forms and sensuous lines ; Astray in woe, but understood assent,
How just beneath the Incid skin the blood Not the strange words that bore it ; and he flung Glimmered with warmth ; the scarlet lips apart His arm round Carlo, drew him to his breast, Bloomed with the moisture of the dews of life; And kissed his forehead. At which Carlo shrank; How the light glittered through and underneath Perhaps 't was at the honor. Then the Count, | The golden tresses, and the deep, soft eyes
Became intelligent with conscious thought, 1 A king has held my palette, a grand-duke
The favor of my presence in his Rome.
I need not ask you why : you knew too well, Suggested life just ceased from motion ; so It was but natural, it was no way strange, That any one might cry, in marveling joy,
That I should love you. Everything that saw, “That creature lives, --has senses, mind, a soul Or had its other senses, loved you, sweet, To win God's love or dare hell's subtleties !” And I among them. Martyr, holy saint, ---The artist paused. The ratifying “Good !” I see the halo curving round your head, Trembled upon his lips. He saw no touch | I loved you once ; but now I worship you, To give or soften. “ It is done,” he cried, - For the great deed that held my love aloof, “My task, my duty! Nothing now on earth And killed you in the action ! I absolve Can taunt me with a work left unfulfilled!” Your soul from any taint. For from the day The lofty flame, which bore him up so long Of that encounter by the fountain-side Died in the ashes of humanity;
Until this moment, never turned on me And the mere man rocked to and fro again Those tender eyes, unless they did a wrong Upon the center of his wavering heart.
To nature by the cold, defiant glare He put aside his palette, as if thus
With which they chilled me. Never heard I He stepped from sacred vestments, and assumed word A mortal function in the common world. Of softness spoken by those gentle lips; “Now for my rights !” he muttered, and ap- Never received a bounty from that hand proached
Which gave to all the world. I know the cause. The noble body. “O lily of the world! You did your duty, — not for honor's sake, So withered, yet so lovely! what wast thou Nor to save sin or suffering or remorse, To those who came thus near thee - for I stood Or all the ghosts that haunt a woman's shame, Without the pale of thy half-royal rank - But for the sake of that pure, loyal love When thou wast budding, and the streams of Your husband bore you. Queen, by grace of God, life
I bow before the luster of your throne ! Made eager struggles to maintain thy bloom, I kiss the edges of your garment-hem, And gladdened heaven dropped down in gracious And hold myself ennobled! Answer me, dews
If I had wronged you, you would answer me On its transplanted darling? Hear me now! Out of the dusty porches of the tomb :I say this but in justice, not in pride,
Is this a dream, a falsehood ? or have I Not to insult thy high nobility,
Spoken the very truth?” “The very truth !". But that the poise of things in God's own sight | A voice replied ; and at his side he saw May be adjusted ; and hereafter I
A form, half shadow and half substance, stand, May urge a claim that all the powers of heaven Or, rather, rest ; for on the solid earth Shall sanction, and with clarions blow abroad. - It had no footing, more than some dense mist Laura, you loved me! Look not so severe, That wavers o'er the surface of the ground With your cold brows, and deadly, close-drawn It scarcely touches. With a reverent look lips !
The shadow's waste and wretched face was bent
Subdued its awful being, and appalled,
And fearful wonder, its devouring gaze.
“You make what God makes, — beauty," said At rest beside the fountain ; when I felt
the shape. O Heaven !--- the warmth and moisture of your “ And might not this, this second Eve, console breath
The emptiest heart? Will not this thing outlast Blow through my hair, as with your eager soul - The fairest creature fashioned in the flesh ? Forgetting soul and body go as one
Before that figure, Time, and Death himself, You leaned across my easel till our cheeks - Stand baffled and disarmed. What would you ask Ah me! 't was not your purpose — touched, and More than God's power, from nothing to create!" clung!
The artist gazed upon the boding form, Well, grant 't was genius ; and is genius naught? And answered : “Goblin, if you had a heart, I ween it wears as proud a diadem -
| That were an idle question. What to me Here, in this very world — as that you wear. | Is my creative power, bereft of love?
Or what to God would be that selfsame power, Your mystic person nor your dreadful power. If so bereaved ?” “And yet the love, thus Nor shall I now invoke God's potent name mourned,
For my deliverance from your toils. I stand You calmly forfeited. For had you said
Upon the founded structure of his law, To living Laura – in her burning ears
Established from the first, and thence defy One half that you professed to Laura dead, Your arts, reposing all my trust in that !" She would have been your own. These contraries The darkness eddied off ; and Carlo saw Sort not with my intelligence. But speak, The figure gathering, as from outer space, Were Laura living, would the same stale play | Brightness on brightness; and his forner shape Of raging passion tearing out its heart
Fell from him, like the ashes that fall off, Upon the rock of duty be performed ?"
And show a core of mellow fire within. “The same, O phantom, while the heart I bear Adown his wings there poured a lambent flood, Trembled, but turned not its magnetic faith That seemed as molten gold, which plashing fell From God's fixed center.” “If I wake for you Upon the Hoor, enringing him with flame; This Laura, - give her all the bloom and glow | And o'er the tresses of his beaming head Of that midsummer day you hold so dear, - Arose a stream of many colored light, The smile, the motion, the impulsive soul, Like that which crowns the morning. Carlo stood The love of genius, – yea, the very love, Steadfast, for all the splendor, reaching up The mortal, hungry, passionate, hot love, The outstretched palms of his untainted soul She bore you, flesh to flesh, — would you receive Towards heaven for strength. A moment thus ; That gift, in all its glory, at my hands ?"
then asked, A smile of malice curled the tempter's lips, With reverential wonder quivering through And glittered in the caverns of his eyes, His sinking voice, “Who, spirit, and what, art Mocking the answer. Carlo paled and shook; thou ?" A wofulspasm went shuddering through his frame, "Jam that blessing which men fly from, -- Death.” Curdling his blood, and twisting his fair face “Then take my hand, if so God orders it; With nameless torture. But he cried aloud, For Laura waits me.” “But, bethink thee, man, Out of the clouds of anguish, from the smoke What the world loses in the loss of thee! Of very martyrdom, “O God, she is thine ! | What wondrous art will suffer with eclipse ! Do with her at thy pleasure !” Something grand, What unwon glories are in store for thee ! And radiant as a sunbeam, touched the head What fame, outreaching time and temporal shocks, He bent in awful sorrow. “Mortal, see —”. Would shine upon the letters of thy name “Dare not! As Christ was sinless, I abjure Graven in marble, or the brazen height These vile abominations! Shall she bear Of columns wise with memories of thee!” Life's burden twice, and life's temptations twice, / " Take me! If I outlived the Patriarchs, While God is justice ?” “Who has made you I could but paint those features o'er and o'er : judge
Lo! that is done." A smile of pity lit Of what you call God's good, and what you think The seraph's features, as he looked to heaven,, God's evil? One to him, the source of both, With deep inquiry in his tender eyes. The God of good and of permitted ill. . The mandate came. He touched with downy wing Have you no dream of days that might have been, The sufferer lightly on his aching heart; Had you and Laura filled another fate? - And gently, as the skylark settles down Some cottage on the sloping Apennines, Upon the clustered treasures of her nest, Roses and lilies, and the rest all love ?
| So Carlo softly slid along the prop I tell you that this tranquil dream may be Of his tall easel, nestling at the foot Filled to repletion. Speak, and in the shade | As though he slumbered ; and the morning broke Of my dark pinions I shall bear you hence, In silver whiteness over Padua. And land you where the mountain-goat himself Struggles for footing." He outspread his wings, And all the chapel darkened, as though hell Had swallowed up the tapers ; and the air
THE DREAM OF CLARENCE.
FROM "KING RICHARD 111."
SCENE, a room in the Tower. Enter CLARENCE Slowly and calmly through the dense obscure,
and BRAKENBURY. Dove-like and gentle, rose the artist's voice : BRAKENBURY. Why looks your grace so heav“I dare not bring her spirit to that shame!
ily to-day? Know my full meaning, — I who neither fear | CLARENCE. O, I have passed a miserable night,
GEORGE HENRY BOKER.
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights, “Clarence is come, — false, fleeting, perjured That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
Clarence, I would not spend another such a night, That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury; Though 't were to buy a world of happy days; Seize on him, Furies, take him to your torments!" So full of dismal terror was the time.
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends BRAK. What was your dream, my lord ? I pray Environed me, and howlèd in mine ears you, tell me.
Such hideous cries, that with the very noise CLAR. Methought that I had broken from the I trembling waked, and, for a season after, Tower,
Could not believe but that I was in hell, And was embarked to cross to Burgundy; Such terrible impression made my dream. And in my company, my brother Gloster,
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
An evening calm and cool,
And four-and-twenty happy boys Methought that Gloster stumbled; and, in fall. Came bounding out of school ; ing,
There were some that ran, and some that leapt
Like sportive deer they coursed about,
As only boyhood can;
His hat was off, his vest apart,
To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
ive For a burning thought was in his brow,
And his bosom ill at ease ; To yield the ghost : but still the envious flood
So he leaned his head on his hands, and read Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
The book between his knees.
Leaf after leaf he turned it o'er,
Nor ever glanced aside, – BRAK. Awaked you not with this sore agony?r.
For the peace of his soul he read that book CLAP. O, no, my dream was lengthened after
In the golden eventide ; life,
Much study had made him very lean,
And pale, and leaden-eyed.
With a fast and fervent grasp
And how the sprites of injured men
Shriek upward from the sod ;
To show the burial clod ;
Are seen in dreams from God.
He told how murderers walk the earth
Beneath the curse of Cain, — With crimson clouds before their eyes,
And flames about their brain ; For blood has left upon their souls
Its everlasting stain !
“And now, from forth the frowning sky,
From the heaven's topmost height, I heard a voice, — the awful voice
Of the blood-avenging sprite : 'Thou guilty man! take up thy dead,
And hide it from my sight!'
And cast it in a stream, —
The depth was so extreme :
Is nothing but a dream ! “Down went the corse with a hollow plunge,
And vanished in the pool ;
And washed my forehead cool,
That evening, in the school.
“ And well," quoth he, “I know for truth
Their pangs must be extreme Woe, woe, unutterable woe!
Who spill life's sacred stream. For why! Methought, last night I wrought
A murder, in a dream !
“One that had never done me wrong,
A feeble man and old ;
The moon shone clear and cold : Now here, said I, this man shall die,
And I will have his gold !
“O Heaven ! to think of their white souls,
And mine so black and grim!
Nor join in evening hymn;
Mid holy cherubim !
“Two sudden blows with a ragged stick, .
And one with a heavy stone,
And then the deed was done :
But lifeless flesh and bone !
"And Peace went with them, one and all,
And each calm pillow spread ;
That lighted me to bed,