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The chalice of a buttercup
With such Falernian juice as flows
No longer, — for the vine is dead
Whence that inspiring drop was shed :
Days when my blood would leap and run,
As full of morning as a breeze,
Or

spray tossed up by summer seas
That doubts if it be sea or sun;
Days that flew swiftly, like the band
That in the Grecian games had strife
And passed from eager hand to hand
The onward-dancing torch of life.

III.

Wing-footed ! thou abid'st with him
Who asks it not; but he who hath
Watched o'er the waves thy fading path
Shall nevermore on ocean's rim,
At morn or eve, behold returning
Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearning!
Thou first reveal'st to us thy face
Turned o'er the shoulder's parting grace,
A moment glimpsed, then seen no more,-
Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace
Away from every mortal door!

IV.

Nymph of the unreturning feet,
How may I woo thee back? But no,
I do thee wrong to call thee so;
'T is we are changed, not thou art fleet:
The man thy presence feels again
Not in the blood, but in the brain,
Spirit, that lov’st the upper air,
Serene and vaporless and rare,
Such as on mountain-heights we find
And wide-viewed uplands of the mind,
Or such as scorns to coil and sing
Round any but the eagle's wing
Of souls that with long upward beat
Have won an undisturbed retreat,
Where, poised like winged victories,
They mirror in unflinching eyes
The life broad-basking 'neath their feet, -
Man always with his Now at strife,
Pained with first gasps of earthly air,
Then begging Death the last to spare,
Still fearful of the ampler life.

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v. Not unto them dost thou consent Who, passionless, can lead at ease

A life of unalloyed content,
A life like that of landlocked seas,
That feel no elemental gush
Of tidal forces, no fierce rush
Of storm deep-grasping, scarcely spent
'Twixt continent and continent:
Such quiet souls have never known
Thy truer inspiration, thou
Who lov'st to feel upon thy brow
Spray from the plunging vessel thrown,
Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff
That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its breath,
Where the frail hair's-breadth of an If
Is all that sunders life and death :
These, too, are cared for, and round these
Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace;
These in unvexed dependence lie
Each 'neath his space of household sky;
O'er them clouds wander, or the blue
Hangs motionless the whole day through ;
Stars rise for them, and moons grow large
And lessen in such tranquil wise
As joys and sorrows do that rise
Within their nature's sheltered marge ;
Their hours into each other flit,
Like the leaf-shadows of the vine
And fig-tree under which they sit ;
And their still lives to heaven incline
With an unconscious habitude,
Unhistoried as smokes that rise
From happy hearths and sight elude
In kindred blue of morning skies.

VI.

Wayward ! when once we feel thy lack,
'T is worse than vain to tempt thee back !
Yet there is one who seems to be
Thine elder sister, in whose eyes
A faint, far northern light will rise
Sometimes and bring a dream of thee :
She is not that for which youth hoped ;
But she hath blessings all her own,
Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,
And faith to sorrow given alone:
Almost I deem that it is thou
Come back with graver matron brow,
With deepened eyes and bated breath,
Like one who somewhere had met Death.
“ But no," she answers, “ I am she
Whom the gods love, Tranquillity;
That other whom you seek forlorn
Half-earthly was; but I am born

Of the immortals, and our race
Have still some sadness in our face :
He wins me late, but keeps me long,
Who, dowered with every gift of passion,
In that fierce flame can forge and fashion
Of sin and sell the anchor strong;
Can thence compel the driving force
Of daily life's mechanic course,
Nor less the nobler energies
Of needful toil and culture wise :
Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure,
Who can renounce and yet endure,
To him I come, not lightly wooed,
And won by silent fortitude.”

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Florence, July 5th, 1861. in the noble poems which she bequeaths " When some beloved voice that was to you to humanity, there follows the sad conso

Both sound and sweetness faileth suddenly, lation in feeling assured that she above all
And silence, against which you dare not cry, others felt the full value of lite, the full
Aches round you like a strong disease and value death, and was prepared to meet
new,-

her God humbly, yet joyfully, whenever What hope? what help? what music will

He should claim her for His own. Her undo

life was

one long, large-souled, largeThat silence to your sense? Not friendship's sigh, —

hearted prayer for the triumph of Right, Not reason's subtle count, not melody

Justice, Liberty; and she who lived for Of viols, nor of pipes that Faunus blew,

others was Not songs of poets, nor of nightingales,

“poet true, Whose hearts leap upward through the

Who died for Beauty, as martyrs do cypress-trees

For Truth, – the ends being scarcely two." To the clear moon, — nor yet the spheric Beauty was truth with her, the wife, mothlaws

er, and poet, three in one, and such an Self-chanted, nor the angels' sweet All

earthly trinity as God had never before hails,

blessed the world with. Met in the smile of God. Nay, none of these!

This day week, at half-past four o'clock Speak Thou, availing Christ, and fill this

in the morning, Mrs. Browning died. A pause!”

great invalid from girlhood, owing to an

unfortunate accident, Mrs. Browning's life Thus sang the Muse of a great woman was a prolonged combat with disease thereyears ago; and now, alas ! she, who, with by engendered; and had not God given constant suffering of her own, was called her extraordinary vitality of spirit, the frail upon to grieve often for the loss of near body could never have borne up against and dear ones, bas suddenly gone from the suffering to which it was doomed. among us, “and silence, against which we Probably there never was a greater indare not cry, aches round us like a strong stance of the power of genius over the disease and new.” Her own beautiful weakness of the flesh. Confined to her words are our words, the world's words, – room in the country or city home of her and though the tears fall faster and thick- father in England, Elizabeth Barrett deer, as we search for all that is left of her veloped into the great artist and scholar.

From her couch went forth those poems What high honor the scholar did her which have crowned her as “the world's friend and teacher, and how nobly she greatest poetess"; and on that couch, could interpret the “rhythmic Greek,” let where she lay almost speechless at times, those decide who have read Mrs. Brown. and seeing none but those friends dearest ing's translations of “Prometheus Bound" and nearest, the soul-woman struck deep and Bion's "Lament for Adonis.” into the roots of Latin and Greek, and Imprisoned within the four walls of her drank of their vital juices. We hold in room, with books for her world and large kindly affection her learned and blind humanity for her thought, the lamp of life teacher, Hugh Stuart Boyd, who, she tells burning so low at times that a feather us, was “enthusiastic for the good and the would be placed on her lips to prove that beautiful, and one of the most simple and there was still breath, Elizabeth Barrett upright of human beings.” The love of read and wrote, and “heard the nations his grateful scholar, when called upon to praising" her “far off.” She loved mourn the good man's death, embalms his

" Art for art, memory among her Sonnets, where she

And good for God himself, the essential Good," addresses him as her

until destiny (a destiny with God in it) “ Beloved friend, who, living many years

brought two poets face to face and heart With sightless eyes raised vainly to the sun,

to heart. Mind had met mind and recogDidst learn to keep thy patient soul in tune

nized its peer previously to that personal To visible Nature's elemental cheers!”

interview which made them one in soul;

but it was not until after an acquaintance Nor did this “steadfast friend” forget

of two years that Elizabeth Barrett and his poet-pupil ere he went to "join the

Robert Browning were united in marriage dead":

for time and for eternity, a marriage the " Three gifts the Dying left me, - Æschylus, like of which can seldom be recorded. And Gregory Nazianzen, and a clock What wealth of love she could give is Chiming the gradual hours out like a flock

evidenced in those exquisite sonnets purOf stars, whose motion is melodious."

porting to be from the Portuguese, the ad. We catch a glimpse of those communings thor being too modest to christen them by over “our Sophocles the royal,"

their right name, Sonnets from the Heart. chylus the thunderous,” “our Euripides None have failed to read the truth through the human,” and “my Plato the divine this slight veil, and to see the woman more one,” in her pretty poem of “Wine of than the poet in such lines as these :Cyprus," addressed to Mr. Boyd. The

“I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange woman translates the remembrance of those

My near sweet view of heaven for earth with early lessons into her heart's verse :

thee!" “ And I think of those long mornings Which my thought goes far to seek,

We have only to turn to the concluding When, betwixt the folio's turnings, poem in “Men and Women,” inscribed to

Solemn flowed the rhythmic Greek. E. B. B., to see how reciprocal was this Past the pane, the mountain spreading,

Swept the sheep-bell's tinkling noise, From their wedding-day Mrs. Browning While a girlish voice was reading, - seemed to be endowed with new life. Her Somewhat low for aus and ous."

health visibly improved, and she was enaThese “golden hours were not with- bled to make excursions in England prior out that earnest argument so welcome to to her departure for the land of her adopcandid minds :

tion, Italy, where she found a second and

a dearer home. For nearly fifteen years “For we sometimes gently wrangled, Very gently, be it said,

Florence and the Brownings have been one Since our thoughts were disentangled

in the thoughts of many English and By no breaking of the thread!

Americans; and Casa Guidi, which has And I charged you with extortions

been immortalized by Mrs. Browning's On the nobler fames of old,

genius, will be as dear to the Anglo-SaxAy, and sometimes thought your Porsons on traveller as Milton's Florentine resi

Stained the purple they would fold.” dence has been heretofore. Those who VOL. VIII.

24

our Æs

great love.

now pass by Casa Guidi fancy an ad- (and to know her was to love her) she was ditional gloom has settled upon the dark singularly attractive. Hers was not the face of the old palace, and grieve to think beauty of feature ; it was the loftier beauty that those windows from which a spirit- of expression. Her slight figure seemed face witnessed two Italian revolutions, hardly large enough to contain the great and those large mysterious rooms where heart that beat so fervently within, and a spirit-hand translated the great Italian the soul that expanded more and more Cause into burning verse, and pleaded the as one year gave place to another. It rights of humanity in “Aurora Leigh," was difficult to believe that such a fairy are hereafter to be the passing homes of hand could pen thoughts of such ponder. the thoughtless or the unsympathizing. ous weight, or that such a “still small

Those who have known Casa Guidi as voice” could utter them with equal force. it was could hardly enter the loved rooms But it was Mrs. Browning's face upon now and speak above a whisper. They which one loved to gaze, - that face and who have been so favored can never forget head which almost lost themselves in the the square anteroom, with its great pic- thick curls of her dark brown hair. That ture and piano-forte, at which the boy jealous hair could not hide the broad, fair Browning passed many an hour, — the forehead, "royal with the truth,” as little dining-room covered with tapestry, smooth as any girl's, and and where hung medallions of Tennyson, Carlyle, and Robert Browning, — the long

“ Too large for wreath of modern wont." room filled with plaster casts and studies, Her large brown eyes were beautiful, and which was Mr. Browning's retreat, — and, were in truth the windows of her soul. dearest of all, the large drawing-room, They combined the confidingness of a where she always sat. It opens upon a child with the poet-passion of heart and balcony filled with plants, and looks out of intellect; and in gazing into them it upon the old iron-gray church of Santa was easy to read why Mrs. Browning Felice. There was something about this wrote. God's inspiration was her motive room that seemed to make it a proper and power, and in her eyes was the reflection especial haunt for poets. The dark shad- of this higher light. ows and subdued light gave it a dreamy

" And her smile it seemed half holy, look, which was enhanced by the tapestry

As if drawn from thoughts more far covered walls and the old pictures of saints

Than our common jestings are.” that looked out sadly from their carved frames of black wood. Large book-cases, Mrs. Browning's character was wellconstructed of specimens of Florentine nigh perfect. Patient in long suffering, carving selected by Mr. Browning, were she never spoke of herself, except when brimming over with wise-looking books. the subject was forced upon her by others, Tables were covered with more gayly and then with no complaint. She judged bound volumes, the gifts of brother au- not, saving when great principles were imthors. Dante's grave profile, a cast of perilled, and then was ready to sacrifice Keats's face and brow taken after death, herself upon the altar of Right. Forgiva pen-and-ink sketch of Tennyson, the ge- ing as she wished to be forgiven, none nial face of John Kenyon, Mrs. Brown- approached her with misgivings, knowing ing's good friend and relative, little paint. her magnanimity. She was ever ready to ings of the boy Browning, all attracted accord sympathy to all, taking an earnest the eye in turn, and gave rise to a thou- interest in the most insignificant, and so sand musings. A quaint mirror, easy- humble in her greatness that her friends chairs and sofas, and a hundred nothings looked upon her as a divinity among womthat always add an indescribable charm, en. Thoughtful in the smallest things for were all massed in this room. But the others, she seemed to give little thought glory of all, and that which sanctified all, to herself; and believing in universal good. was seated in a low arm-chair near the ness, her nature was free from worldly door. A small table, strewn with writing- suspicions. The first to see merit, she materials, books, and newspapers, was al

was the last to censure faults, and gave ways by her side.

the praise that she felt with a generous To those who loved Mrs. Browning hand. No one so heartily rejoiced at the

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