Abbildungen der Seite

Sleep, breathing love and trust against her lip: I go to-night: I come to-morrow morn.

"I go, but I return: I would I were The pilot of the darkness and the dream. Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, love, and dream of me."

So sang we each to either, Francis Hale, The farmer's son who lived across the bay, My friend; and I, that having wherewithal, And in the fallow leisure of my life, Did what I would; but ere the night we rose And sauntered home beneath a moon, that, just In crescent, dimly rained about the leaf Twilights of airy silver, till we reached The limit of the hills; and as we sank From rock to rock upon the glooming quay, The town was hushed beneath us: lower down The bay was oily-calm; the harbor-buoy With one green sparkle ever and anon Dipt by itself, and we were glad at heart.


John. I 'm glad I walked. How fresh the meadows look Above the river, and, but a month ago, The whole hill-side was redder than a fox. Is yon plantation where this byway joins The turnpike?

James. Yes.

John. And when does this come by? James. The mail? At one o'clock.

John. What is it now? James. A quarter to.

John. Whose house is that I see Beyond the watermills?

James. Sir Edward Head's:
But he's abroad: the place is to be sold.
John. 0, his. He was not broken.

James. No sir, he,
Vexed with a morbid devil in his blood
That veiled the world with jaundice, hid his face
From all men, and commercing with himself,

He lost the sense that handles daily life —
That keeps us all in order more or less —
And sick of home, went overseas for change.

John. And whither?

James. Nay, who knows? he's here and there But let him go; his devil goes with him, As well as with his tenant, Jocky Dawes,

John. What's that?

James. You saw the man but yesterday: He picked the pebble from your horse's foot. His house was haunted by a jolly ghost, That rummaged like a rat. No servant staid: The farmer vext packs up his beds and chairs, And all his household stuff; and with his boy Betwixt his knees, his wife upon the tilt, Sets forth, and meets a friend who hails him, "What! You 're flitting!" "Yes, we 're flitting," says the ghost, (For they had packed the thing among the beds.) "0 well," says he, "you flitting with us too — Jack, turn the horses' heads and home again."

John. He left his wife behind; for so I heard.

James. He left her, yes. I met my lady once: A woman like a butt, and harsh as crabs.

John. O yet but I remember, ten years back — 'T is now at least ten years — and then she was — You could not light upon a sweeter thing:A body slight and round, and like a pear
In growing, modest eyes, a hand, a foot
Lessening in perfect cadence, and a skin
As clean and white as privet when it flowers.

James. Ay, ay, the blossom fades, and they that loved
At first like dove and dove were cat and dog.
She was the daughter of a cottager,
Out of her sphere. What betwixt shame and pride,
New things and old, himself and her, she soured
To what she is: a nature never kind!
Like men, like manners: like breeds like, they say.
Kind nature is the best: those manners next
That fit us like a nature second-hand;
Which are indeed the manners of the great.

John. But I had heard it was this bill that past,
And fear of change at home, that drove him hence. James. That was the last drop in the cup of gall.
I once was near him when his bailiff brought
A Chartist pike. You should have seen him wince
As from a venomous thing: he thought himself
A mark for all, and.shuddered, lest a cry
Should break his sleep by night, and his nice eyes
Should see the raw mechanic's bloody thumbs
Sweat on his blazoned chairs; but, sir, you know
That these two parties still divide the world —
Of those that want, and those that have: and still
The same old sore breaks out from age to age
With much the same result. Now I myself,
A Tory to the quick, was as a boy
Destructive, when I had not what I would.
I was at school — a college in the South:
There lived a flayflint near; we stole his fruit,
His hens, his eggs; but there was law for us;
We paid in person. He had a sow, sir. She,
With meditative grunts of much content,
Lay great with pig, wallowing in sun and mud.
By night we dragged her to the college tower
From her warm bed, and up the corkscrew stair
With hand and rope we haled the groaning sow,
And on the leads we kept her till she pigged.
Large range of prospect had the mother sow,
And but for daily loss of one she loved,
As one by one we took them — but for this —
As never sow was higher in this world —
Might have been happy: but what lot is pure?
We took them all, till she was left alone
Upon her tower, the Niobe of swine,
And so returned unfarrowed to her sty.
John. They found you out?
James, Not they.

John, Well — after all — What know we of the secret of a man?

« ZurückWeiter »