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III.

Close the door, the shutters close,
Or through the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the dark, deserted house.

IV.

Come away; no more of mirth

Is here or merry-making sound.
The house was builded of the earth,
And shall fall again to ground.

V.

Come away; for Life and Thought
Here no longer dwell;

But in a city glorious

A great and distant city-have bought
A mansion incorruptible.

Would they could have stayed with us.

EDWIN MORRIS:

OR, THE LAKE.

O ME, my pleasant rambles by the lake,
My sweet, wild, fresh three quarters of a year,
My one Oasis in the dust and drouth

Of city life! I was a sketcher then;

See here, my doing: curves of mountain, bridge,
Boat, island, ruins of a castle, built
When men knew how to build, upon a rock,
With turrets lichen-gilded like a rock;
And here, new-comers in an ancient hold,
New-comers from the Mersey, millionaires,
Here lived the Hills,—a Tudor-chimneyed bulk
Of mellow brickwork on an isle of bowers.

O me! my pleasant rambles by the lake With Edwin Morris and with Edward Bull, The curate; he was fatter than his cure.

But Edwin Morris, he that knew the names, Long learned names of agaric, moss and fern, Who forged a thousand theories of the rocks, Who taught me how to skate, to row, to swim, Who read me rhymes elaborately good, His own, I called him Crichton, for he seemed All-perfect, finished to the finger nail.

And once I asked him of his early life,
And his first passion; and he answered me;
And well his words became him: was he not
A full-celled honeycomb of eloquence
Stored from all flowers? Poet-like he spoke:

66

My love for Nature is as old as I; But thirty moons, one honeymoon to that, And three rich sennights more, my love for her. My love for Nature and my love for her, Of different ages, like twin-sisters grew, Twin-sisters differently beautiful. To some full music rose and sank the sun, And some full music seemed to move and change With all the varied changes of the dark, And either twilight and the day between; For daily hope fulfilled, to rise again Revolving toward fulfilment, made it sweet To walk, to sit, to sleep, to wake, to breathe."

Or this or something like to this he spoke. Then said the fat-faced curate, Edward Bull,

"I take it, God made the woman for the man, And for the good and increase of the world. A pretty face is well, and this is well, To have a dame indoors that trims us up, And keeps us tight; but these unreal ways

Seem but the theme of writers, and, indeed,
Worn threadbare. Man is made of solid stuff.
I say, God made the woman for the man,
And for the good and increase of the world.”

"Parson,” said I, "you pitch the pipe too low; But I have sudden touches, and can run My faith beyond my practice into his; Though if, in dancing after Letty Hill, I do not hear the bells upon my cap, I scarce hear other music; yet say on. What should one give to light on such a dream?” I asked him half-sardonically.

"Give?

Give all thou art," he answered, and a light
Of laughter dimpled in his swarthy cheek;

I would have hid her needle in my heart,
To save her little finger from a scratch
No deeper than the skin; my ears could hear
Her lightest breaths; her least remark was worth
The experience of the wise. I went and came;
Her voice fled always through the summer land;
I spoke her name alone. Thrice-happy days!
The flower of each, those moments when we met,
The crown of all, we met to part no more.”

Were not his words delicious, I a beast To take them as I did? but something jarred; Whether he spoke too largely; that there seemed A touch of something false, some self-conceit, Or over-smoothness; howsoe'er it was, He scarcely hit my humor, and I said :—

"Friend Edwin, do not think yourself alone
Of all men happy. Shall not Love to me,
As in the Latin song I learnt at school,
Sneeze out a full God-bless-you right and left?
But you can talk; yours is a kindly vein;

I have, I think,-Heaven knows,-as much within;
Have, or should have, but for a thought or two,
That, like a purple beech among the greens,
Looks out of place; 'tis from no want in her:
It is my shyness, or my self-distrust,
Or something of a wayward modern mind
Dissecting passion. Time will set me right.”

So spoke I, knowing not the things that were. Then said the fat-faced curate, Edward Bull: "God made the woman for the use of man, And for the good and increase of the world." And I and Edwin laughed; and now we paused About the windings of the marge to hear The soft wind blowing over meadowy holms And alders, garden-isles; and now we left The clerk behind us, I and he, and ran By ripply shallows of the lisping lake, Delighted with the freshness and the sound.

But, when the bracken rusted on their crags, My suit had withered, nipt to death by him That was a God, and is a lawyer's clerk, The rent-roll Cupid of our rainy isles. 'Tis true we met; one hour I had, no more, She sent a note, the seal an Elle vous suit, The close "Your Letty, only yours;" and this Thrice underscored. The friendly mist of morn Clung to the lake. I boated over, ran My craft aground, and heard with beating heart The Sweet-Gale rustle round the shelving keel; And out I stept, and up I crept; she moved, Like Proserpine in Enna, gathering flowers; Then low and sweet I whistled thrice; and she, She turned, we closed, we kissed, swore faith, I breathed

In some new planet; a silent cousin stole
Upon us and departed. "Leave," she cried,
"O leave me!" Never, dearest, never; here

VOL. I.

11

I brave the worst;" and while we stood like fools Embracing, all at once a score of pugs And poodles yelled within, and out they came, Trustees and aunts and uncles. "What, with him!" "Go" (shrilled the cotton-spinning chorus), " him!" I choked. Again they shrieked the burthen "Him!"

Again with hands of wild rejection, "Go!-
Girl, get you in!" She went, and in one month
They wedded her to sixty thousand pounds,
To lands in Kent and messuages in York,
And slight Sir Robert with his watery smile
And educated whisker. But for me,
They set an ancient creditor to work:
It seems I broke a close with force and arms
There came a mystic token from the king
To greet the sheriff, needless courtesy !
I read, and fled by night, and flying turned;
Her taper glimmered in the lake below;

I turned once more, close-buttoned to the storm;
So left the place, left Edwin, nor have seen
Him since, nor heard of her, nor cared to hear.

Nor cared to hear? perhaps; yet long ago
I have pardoned little Letty; not indeed,
It may be, for her own dear sake, but this,
She seems a part of those fresh days to me;
For, in the dust and drouth of London life,
She moves among my visions of the lake,
While the prime swallow dips his wing, or then
While the gold-lily blows, and overhead
The light cloud smoulders on the summer crag.

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