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“Then, ay, then-he shall kneel lowWith the red-roan steed anear him, Which shall seem to understandTill I answer, 'Rise and go! For the world must love and fear him Whom I gift with heart and hand.'
"Then he will arise so pale,
I shall feel my own lips tremble
With a yes I must not say-
Nathless, maiden-brave, 'Farewell,'
I will utter, and dissemble-
'Light to-morrow, with to-day.'
"Then he will ride through the hills, To the wide world past the river,
There to put away all wrong;
To make straight distorted wills,
And to empty the broad quiver
Which the wicked bear along.
"Three times shall a young foot-page Swim the stream, and climb the mountain, And kneel down beside my feet 'Lo! my master sends this gage, Lady, for thy pity's counting!
What wilt thou exchange for it?'
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
"And the first time, I will send
A white rose-bud for a guerdon, —
And the second time, a glove ;
But the third time-I may bend
From my pride, and answer- 'Pardon-
If he comes to take my love.'
"Then the young foot-page will run Then my lover will ride faster,
Till he kneeleth at my knee;
'I am a duke's eldest son!
Thousand serfs do call me master ·
But, O Love, I love but thee!"
'He will kiss me on the mouth
Then, and lead me as a lover
Through the crowds that praise his deeds;
And, when soul-tied by one troth,
Unto him I will discover
That swan's nest among the reeds."
Little Ellie, with her smile Not yet ended, rose up gaily;
Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe, And went homeward, round a mile, Just to see, as she did daily,
What more eggs were with the two.
Pushing through the elm-tree copse,
Winding by the stream, light-hearted,
Where the osier pathway leads-
Past the boughs she stoops-and stops:
Lo! the wild swan had deserted-
And a rat had gnawed the reeds.
Ellie went home sad and slow,
If she found the lover ever,
With his red-roan steed of steeds,
Sooth I know not! but I know
She could never show him-never,
That swan's nest among the reeds!
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
EFTSOONS they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a dainty ear,
Such as at once might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere :
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear,
To rede what manner music that mote be;
For all that pleasing is to living ear
Was there consorted in one harmony;
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree;
The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet;
The silver-sounding instruments did meet
With the bass murmur of the waters' fall;
The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call;
The gentle warbling wind, low answered to all.
SPENSER. [From "The Faerie Queen."]
A Pastoral Evening.
SHEPHERDS all, and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops, how they kiss
Every little flower that is;
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads.
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead Night from under ground;
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come,
Striking dead both bud and bloom;
Therefore, from such danger, lock
Every one his loved flock;
And let your dogs lie loose without,
Lest the wolf come as a scout
From the mountain, and, ere day,
Bear a lamb or kid away,
Or the crafty thievish fox
Break upon your simple flocks.
To secure yourselves from these
Be not too secure in ease;
Let one eye his watches keep,
While the other eye doth sleep;
So you shall good shepherds prove,
And for ever hold the love
Of our great God.* Sweetest slumbers,
And soft silence, fall in numbers
On your eye-lids! So, farewell!
Thus I end my evening's knell.
WHERE the remote Bermudas ride,
In the ocean's bosom unespied;
From a small boat that rowed along,
The listening winds received this song.