Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MIRWA & RANDOLPH, by RICHARD SOLOMON GEDNEY



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MIRWA & RANDOLPH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Have you ne'er felt at such an hour as this
Last Line: But cheer thee!——
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets; Primitive Man; Cavemen


MIRWA.

Have you ne'er felt at such an hour as this,
A wondrous spirit stir within your heart,
That prompts you to imagine you're akin
To those bright stars? I wonder if we are!
I wonder if the feeling which their rays
Awake within us is affinitude!
Perchance it is remembrance? Who knows—
We may sometime have habited those stars,
And bear the memory with us in our souls,
Though smothered by the superincumbent weight
Of gross and earthly matter which enshrouds!
An Indian wise man in the Western wilds,
A Sachem of the Hurons, told me once,
That the Great Spirit built himself a world
Of Light and Beauty, which we call the Sun,
Far in the Primal ages, and begirt
With thrice ten million spirits his bright throne;
But part of them rebelled, unsatisfied,
And were, to punish them, imbued with earth
And prisoned on this globe; but something happed
Which the Great Spirit, in his hasty wrath,
Had overlooked: Flesh would not last for e'er,
And they were doomed eternally, and so,
When their gaols rotted and they were released,
Another earth was made, far, far away,
And then another, and another, and—
The stars are the result.

RANDOLPH.

That Indian was
Born in the wilds most surely by mistake!
He certainly was meant to share the tug
When "Greek met Greek" (which, by-the-bye, is wrong),
I mean the battle dread that has been waged
Of late about Plurality of Worlds.
"Why, what a thing is this," a man who knew
The whole truth of the thing, and could have sworn,
Had he known English (poor barbarians,
Not to know how to swear!) that "this was thus"
And "that was so," and all the rest of it.
But, by-the-bye, he wasn't very sharp;
He never thought that the Great Spirit could
Have placed them back upon the earth from which
They had ta'en leave. The cunning Dahcotah,
In that desire which now is fashionable
To prove "Plurality of Worlds," must needs
Make his Great Spirit but a sorry fool!

MIRWA.

The cunning Dolph,
In his desire to prove a sage an ass,
Has shown himself a very sorry reasoner.
Where would the young ones go? My word, the earth
Would soon be overburdened with the load
Of human cattle!

RANDOLPH.

Indian spirits breed?

MIRWA.

Of course they do, and hunt, and fish, and shoot;
But that's a bootless theme.

RANDOLPH.

Some men have held
That soul was nothing but an attribute
Of flesh and earthly being. Sure those men
Must have been nought in truth; but—

MIRWA.

Oh, pshaw!
My dark-browed friend, give over moralising,
'Tis out of place at such a time as this,
When Heaven and Earth seem steeped in delight,
And overhead the stars so gaily gleaming,
Seem like the eyes of myriad mocking sprites
Twinkling in merriment, to hear you talk
So gravely of the Incomprehensible.
But cheer thee, boy, and list with all thine ears,
I'll breathe a chaunt will stir thy torpid blood,
If Nature's kindness gives her claim on thee:

Now Spring, the year's morn,
Sweet season ever fair,
Diffuses perfume
Through the balmy air.

Wide o'er the earth
Her gen'rous bounty throws
The fragrant jasmine,
And the blushing rose.

With song of birds
The woods resound again,
The brook's sweet murmur
Echoes through the glen.

Where'er we turn,
All Nature speaks—but, joy!
No cloud to shade,
No tempest to annoy.

RANDOLPH.

Ah! so to us within Life's narrow bound,
Our Youth's bright season, like the Spring, is found;
Our hearts find charms in everything we see,
Our griefs are transient, soon their shadows flee.

With lightsome mirth we fill the golden hours,
Our life seems bright, and ever crowned with flowers.
Oh! garner them, this season cannot last,
Store for the winter ere Youth's reign have passed!

MIRWA.

Sure this is folly, friend,
You are too young to have a heavy grief.
And yet, whate'er you touch you turn to sadness,
And make the source of melancholy ditties,—
Which, ever wailing through your mournful soul,
As winter wind through a deserted house,
Or 'mong the leafless patriarchs of the forest,
Keep guard,
Like hideous spectres in a haunted place,
Lest aught of joy or liveliness should enter.

RANDOLPH.

I crave thy pardon, brother, yet dark thoughts
Do oft intrude on me when least desired;—
But I will cast them off, and talk to thee.
I'll tell thee a strange tale I heard abroad:

Once on a time—it boots not when or where—
There lived a youth, a stern-eyed, dark-haired youth,
Whom none e'er loved. Wrapped in himself he lived,
Dreaming strange dreams of wonders to be done
In this earth's age by him. Poor atomite!
He thought to burst upon the world at once,
As bursts the thunder-beam into sight,
Awing all men by its fierce majesty.
He thought that Earth should crouch beneath his hand,
Bringing its follies humbly to the rod,
And kneeling, kiss his feet.
The silly worm!
He had dreamed on till now, but that a storm,
A fearful hurricane, shipwrecked his soul.
He ne'er had much of happiness; he was
A dark-souled, voiceless creature—cold as stone—
Wrapt in air thoughts as in a coat of mail—
Impenetrable to all earthly things;
And yet he had a heart whose fearful strength
Of ardent, deathless passion was his doom,
But then 'twas dormant, and—but you shall hear.
There came a maiden beautiful as light,
In whose pure angel-heart Love nestled him
As naturally as dew-drop in a rose.
First she felt pity for that dark-browed boy,
Because none loved him, and his haughty vaunts
Were checked with bitter words and scornful sneers
By those who should have loved him and have helped;
And then she thought she saw a soul within
This cloudy tabernacle, and the whilst
She pried within to learn its shape and size,
She saw what made her ask her panting heart
If it were still her own. She saw thereon
Her name in letters of unfading fire;
She saw that haughty soul bend at her feet
And humbly ask for love.

MIRWA.

And did she love?

RANDOLPH.

God only knows! She thought she did, and he
Received the blest assurance with——well, well!—
He thought so too, and lavished all his being,
His soul, his heart, his mind, his dreams, his thoughts,
All, all for her and on her!

MIRWA.

Well, and what happed then?

RANDOLPH.

Then, then?—Why, nothing then,
But the old story that is ages old,
Of woman's fickleness. She turned to one
Of softer speech and of more polished air,
And left the fool his withered heart to gnaw
And batten on.

MIRWA.

And he? What came of him?

RANDOLPH.

Well, I suppose he died,—or lived,—
You have the story, brother, as I had.

MIRWA.

Bah! that's the strange tale, is it?
Very strange!

RANDOLPH.

Oh! innocence, rusticity, and youth!
See what a difference civilisation makes;
Why here are you who have spent all your life
Away from men and cities, sojourning
'Mong savages of various hue and race,
Do think that "strange" which is a "twice-told tale"—
A very common-place in human life—
A fond heart jilted. Why, thou silly boy,
Hadst thou a genius would cause angels bend
In reverence before thee—were thy soul
As brimful of the spirit's treasures as
The coffers of an Eastern King with jewels—
The riches of thy mind exhaustless as
The Thought of Nature's self—thy heart besteeped
In poesy, and love, and tenderness,
Woman would jilt thee for some soulless rake,
Reeking in Vice up to the very eyes—
Steamed in the rankness of Iniquity—
A foul thing on the Earth. And why, forsooth?
"Such glorious whiskers!" and "such splendid teeth!"
"Such a white hand!" and "talks divinely, too!"
Oh, woman, are you worth a good man's thought?
I tell thee, boy, were such men with us now
As He we read of, she would turn from such,
And clasp a debauchee before a Christ!

MIRWA.

Hush, man! thou speakest blasphemy!

RANDOLPH.

No! but the solemn truth!
There is but one
Of hundreds I have met who is not thus!

MIRWA.

Then I do pity you.
I never thought
That one so gay and reckless as you seem
Could have been moved like this.
I know that she
Who has your heart loves you most tenderly;
And she is pure, and good, and beautiful;
Oh, let her love be ransom for her sex,
And free them from your rage. Let it redeem,
And to your mind efface their many faults.
What have you got to do with them? Your God
Hath given you treasure that would recompense,
And more than recompense you, had you been
Jilted by thousands. But you have not so.
For you have told me that your heart's first love
Was given where it remains, and you complain
And work yourself into a passion for
That other men are jilted. Hush! be still!
You have not Right when speaking so, nor Truth
Upon your side.
Woman is not so bad
But that a thousand angels may be found
For twenty devils, and the devils, indeed,
Are of man's making. Look up to the skies,—
Behold the million stars that glitter there;
If that your eyes are strong, you may discern,
Besprinkled sparsely, "few and far between,"
Sapphires, and rubes, and emeralds, among
The spirit-lighted diamonds that stud
The arc of Heaven's vault. And would you, then,
Rail at the Architect, and swear the stars
Were "coloured lights?" Shame on your manhood, Dolph;
Woman was given us to protect and love,
Not perfect made, for men are full of faults,
And Purity could never mate with Sin,
But yet so far above us that we might,
By communing with her, grow nearer God
In spirit and in thought.
Remember this.
Whene'er you hear a man upbraid the sex,
Nine times in ten 'tis sign that he's so vile,
And base, and full of sin, that his hot wrath
Is moved in very envy. Sin doth hate
Most bitterly aught better than itself.
You are not such. I ask no better proof
Than that a pure heart has bestowed its love
And life's devotion on you. I'd believe
A good heart's instincts sooner than the oath
Of twenty witnesses. Soul seldom errs,
And least of all in woman, for she has
More soul than man—and soul is God and Heaven.
But I do think you have not studied her
Deeply and thoroughly, but taken that
Most false belief from others, who but talk
Such slandering from envy, and——Well, well;
The theme may drop, for, though not profitless,
It is interminable, and the day
Will break within the hour, and we want sleep.

RANDOLPH.

Come, come;

MIRWA.

Don't look so stern and thoughtful, man,
It is not like you. Pardon me, if aught
That I have said has hurt you—'twas well meant.

RANDOLPH.

Oh, nonsense.

MIRWA.

But you've made me think, at least,
If not convinced me. But, I'll tell you what—
I thought of you more than of what you said.
How she you love must prize the depth of heart
O'er which she rules!

RANDOLPH.

Oh! bitter mockery,
I love, but am not loved!
Come on.

"Soul, alas! is unregarded; Brothers, it is closely shut,
All unknown as royal Alfred in the Saxon neatherd hut,
In the Dark house of the Body, cooking victuals, lighting fires,
Swellers on the starry stranger to our nature's base desires.
From its lips is't any marvel that no revelations come?
We have wronged it, we do wrong it, 'tis majestically dumb.
God! our souls are aproned waiters. God! our souls are hired slaves;
Let us hide from Life, my Brothers, let us hide us in our graves."

'Tis past all criticism, in that it
Is the deep, soul-breathed cry of one who feels
That God is trampled under foot by the Age.
This mighty Age, which scorns to think of Soul,
When such things as gun-cotton, photography,
Steam, electricity, and mesmerism;
Revolving cannon, malleable glass,
Concerts and operas,
Spanish dancers, guns of oval bore, ships
To sail beneath the water, steam balloons
To navigate the air,—when these are on,
You must, good Poet-brother, leave the stage,
And let poor soul care for itself, or else
You haply may be crushed beneath the wheels
Of one of those Devil's bastards,—
Earth-born by him to fill men's minds with doubts,
And by fine fantasies and ringing talk
Of Common Sense, of Chemistry and Chance,
To 'wilder their poor wits, and wean them from
Their mother Nature and their father God,—
Called by their victims "the Philosophers,"
Who, by a proposition and a proof,
Should have convinced mankind that Soul was not,
God but a myth, Hell, Heaven, and Devil
The veriest cant,—and ended Q. E. D.
And by mankind,
Eager to show their gratitude to him
Who'd freed them from the tiresome incubus
Which, like the Leprechaun of Irish tale,
Had clung through ages round their tired necks,
Dragging them down from Pleasure's sunny height
Into the sea of Conscience,
Which ever boils and surges at its foot,
Telling in tones fierce as a furnace-blast,
"When you descend my waves have to be past!"
Alas! Soul is as nothing now, my friend,
Compared to Wealth and Science.
"'Tis true 'tis pity, pity 'tis 'tis true."
Thou hast a noble soul thyself, sweet Poet,
It steals upon one breathing through each page,
As summer wind through the fresh green leaves,
Covering the hoary trees, even as
Thy soft words clothe vast thoughts.
Be thou content, and * * * *

MIRWA.

A sweet day, Randolph.

RANDOLPH.

Sweet enough, a'faith,
To draw the city hummers out to grass;
And yet I almost would 'twere not so warm,
Or that we had some shady beech tree here
To ward the sun.

MIRWA.

The sun!
I love the sun.
I love to bask me in his glowing beams,
Drinking their lovely radiance as does
The Arab desert barb imbibe the wind,
Taking new life therefrom.
I would not have him shaded, save by clouds;
And those, light, fleecy ones,
That shade but intercept not, and which then
Go floating, light-steeped, through the azure skies,
Like snow-wreaths golden-dyed, or rather
Like some bright flowers 'scaped from the sun's full vase!

RANDOLPH.

Flame-feathers fallen from Uriel's fire-wings.
But, for my part, I much prefer the night:
Not Night cold, still, and gloomy—Night asleep;
But joyous, living Night—Night wide awake—
Night lit with merry, laughing, dancing stars;
Made glad with voices from the nightingale,
The minstrel of the Dryades; from the bright
And sparkling rivulet, whose tinkling mirth
Seems ever laughing at its vain attempt
To mirror the inimitable heavens,
And, in the very recklessness of sport,
Breaks the star-beam into a thousand flames,
And dances off with them in babbling glee;
And from the sleepless forest and grass blade; from the hills'
Ten thousand murmuring caverns, where the gnomes
Hold their night-revels. Faith, at such a time
I can believe the tales Greece told of old
Of Nymphs and Dryades, Oreades, Naiades;
Of fauns and satyrs, Pan, and all the rest;—
I can believe in fairies, fays, and sprites;
In elves and gnomes and Undines, and the host
Of things delightfully improbable,
Which poets have created for our use.
The day was made for work, the night for thought.

MIRWA.

And what time made for rest, Sir Positive?
Perchance 'tis like the fair of Irish fame,
Which "falleth not upon a Christmas day,
"Neither before nor after;" or it——hist!
Look at that diamond-speckled trout,
Which ever and anon leaps toward the light,
As if it thought to swim the dazzling flood
Which rolls 'twixt Earth and Heaven.
How brilliantly it glitters in the sun!
Like Harlequin before the footlights,—
But mark that dusky giant marching on
Across the face of smiling Heav'n, as does
A shade o'er lover's faith,
To pass away,
Leaving the sky unscarred and bright as e'er,
At the kind word and kiss of her he loves.

RANDOLPH.

Or like a proud haught tyrant triumphing
For a short space o'er Liberty and Right,
Which ever in the end do seem to 'scape,
Brighter by contrast, from beneath his hand.

MIRWA.

As winter frowns sweep o'er the brow of Time,
To be replaced by genial smiling Spring.

As gleaming flowers, Earth-hidden for a time,
Burst forth again with fresher beauties. As
The Word of God, oft trampled under foot,
Doth ever rise triumphant from the strife.
And as

His Son our Brother rose again from Death!

RANDOLPH.

But see! The cloud makes straightway for the sun,
And as it nears him takes a tawny hue;
An eager fancy might some semblance trace
To a fierce lion, rushing open-mouthed,
With smoking flanks lashed into passion-heat,
Upon a lovely maiden, whose meek eyes,
Bedimmed with tears, are turned heavenward,
In soft reproach that such should be her fate;
While her poor limbs are failing under her,
And her feet terror-rooted.
It comes! It comes!
Oh, horror! She is of the things that were!

MIRWA.

Yes! this is Death! But "Io pean!" See
The Resurrection! She has risen again,
And, in a brighter beauty than before,
Smiles angel-like from Heaven!
Oh! would I had one of those scoffers here
Who teach that Death is Death!
I'd sting him to the soul with words of fire,
And make him bow before that risen Sun
And own that nothing dies—
No! not a grass blade trodden into earth
But springs again—again ripes into life;
The buried grain rises in glorious strength;
The withered flower comes back in youthful pride;
The fruit that dropped in Autumn-time
And withered on the bleak, damp ground,
When Spring returns lifts up from its cold grave
Its tiny head and views again the light;
Man's very body—his corporeal frame—
Rises above his grave in dark green grass
Of rank luxuriance, never seen elsewhere.
And shall his soul—
But look at yonder Sun.
A minute since 'twas clouded up and gone,
And now—'tis all the brighter for 't."

RANDOLPH.

But should your sceptic say, "'Twas clouded up,
Not gone."

MIRWA.

Why, all the better then. His words
Would father mine, that "nothing ever dies."
The Sun was as completely hid from view
As Soul is hid by Death. Why should not Soul
Come forth as bright from Death as he from shade?

RANDOLPH.

But he was ever shadowed not, save to our thought.

MIRWA.

He seemed to be.

RANDOLPH.

But seeming is not truth.
What more knows man of Death? Soul seems to die,
When the weak body fails you see 't no more;
'Tis gone,
And seemeth dead: "but seeming is not truth."
Well, quantum suf. You have the stronger side;
I would not, if I could, defend the thought
That calls this world our all.
Look at the western sky. Wreaths of grey clouds
Are gathering o'er the horizon. We shall have
A glorious sunset, Mir. Dame Nature seems
Reposing on a bed of roses, which,
With odorous exhalations load the air,
Casting around a drowsy atmosphere
Of sweet perfume, whose perfect stillness
Is broken only by the insects' hum
And our rash voices. Hast thou ne'er a song
To greet the coming glories of the sky?

MIRWA.

A song of sunset? Dozens of them, Dolph;
I'll sing thee one was penned by that poor wretch
I spoke of yesternight.
'Tis styled "The Poet's Dream."

"Sunset streaming o'er the river,
Beams of gorgeous coloured light,
Arrows from Apollo's quiver,
Dazzling the enchanted sight.

"Floods of purple, gold, and crimson,
Paint the vale with glowing hues;
And the river slowly swims on,
Loth the lovely scene to lose.

"And the Poet lifts his voice
Rapturously to Heaven's God,
And he kneels him to rejoice,
Kneels him on the lowly sod.

"Every creature in the fields,
Every bird among the trees,
To the soothing influence yields;
Nought is stirring, save the breeze.

"And the Poet's voice uprising,
Still and calm, amid that scene,
To the good God sacrificing,
'Neath the lovely sky serene.

"Yet not all,—a thankful murmur
Breathing seems upon the air;
Makes the Poet's thanksgiving firmer,
As he thinks of others there.

"Beings higher, better, brighter,
Hidden from all mortal view,
And the Poet's heart grew lighter,
And his prayer more fervent grew.

"Seemed the bright sky brighter glowing,
As his prayer to Heaven upfled,
Hues of glorious radiance throwing
Round the kneeling Poet's head.

"Does the Poet's vision flout him?
Can he trust his wondering eyes?
Lo! on all sides round about him,
Myriad fairy forms arise!

"Clothed in robes of glittering dye,
Mantled in the sun's bright beams,
Round the Poet's head they fly,
Lovelier than his loveliest dreams.

"Strains of heavenly music fall
From the bright angelic choir,
Scatters now the Poet's thrall,
And awakes his wonted fire;

"And he lifts his voice to Heaven,
And he cries, 'Oh, God of Light!
'Grant that unto me be given
'Oft to see these beings bright!'

"Scarce he'd spoken, when a sprite,
Messenger of heavenly birth,
Fanned the Poet in his might,
Laid him powerless on the earth.

"Now a myriad tinkling voices
Wrap his soul in melody,
And the murmuring wind rejoices,
Joining in the harmony.

"And the numbers musical
Pierce his inmost soul and heart,
Seeming to pervade his all,
Penetrating every part.

"So, at midnight's stilly hour,
When heaven gleams with myriad eyes,
Inwardly you feel their power,
Wondrous thoughts and deep arise.

"Thus entranced the Poet lay,
While above him in the sky,
Fairy nymph and forest fay
Scattered jewels from on high.

"Marvellous gems of lustre rare,
Such as never man might see,
Showered upon the Poet there,
In all their native purity.

"Mortal language cannot tell
The sweetness of that harmony,
But the precious gems that fell
Here are strung in unity:

"''Neath the cool green shades of the forest glades,
When the evening sun goes down,
How sweet to sit, while the blithe birds flit
Round the birch tree's hoary crown;
And the summer wind, like Poet's mind,
A heavenly calm diffuses,
Around it throws, where'er it goes,
An influence nought refuses.
When Nature bends to Him who sends
The sunset and the breeze,
In those fair hours seek thou our bowers
Under the greenwood trees.
In summer time, at evening chime,
When the skies are filled with glory,—
Whate'er thou see'st, sweet Nature's Priest,
Will tell a living story
All willingly,
Fulfillingly,
Of this our promise made,
No more concealed,
To thee revealed,
We'll haunt the forest glade!'

"And the voices, far retreating,
Faintly come upon the breeze,
And the sunset, too, was fleeting,
Mourned the wind among the trees.

"And the Poet, ne'er forgetting,
Ever now in summer time,
'Neath the forest's gothic fretting,
Waits the hour of evening chime.

"And the Spirits, in revealings
Of the Beautiful and Good,
Steep his heart in glorious feelings,
Underneath that lonely wood.

"O'er his life new wisdom growing,
Like a Paradisian rill,
Ever sparkling, ever flowing,
All his soul and mind doth fill."

RANDOLPH.

But see!

The wreathéd clouds
Have melted from the horizon one by one,
And the poor Sun, like a deserted king,
Moves on to Death alone. Just like the world.
Nature's full of such similes,—seeming
To mock poor Life with her analogies.

MIRWA.

At least he moves in a most glorious state,
Surrounded by a flood of orange light
As by a regal robe.
The watchful guards
O' the western skies are shaking out the folds
Of a most gorgeous bannerol, whose hues
Of purple, saffron, light vermillion, and
Most glowing orange, render it a shroud
Fit for the King,—who, with the torch in 's hand
To light his funeral pyre, comes slowly on,
As glides a vessel o'er a quiet sea,
Which parts without a sound to let her pass.
And now the silken drapery is swathed
Around the Monarch, who, with steady hand,
Applies the torch. See! how the gorgeous hues
Blend in a glowing fusion of live gold,
Which flames into the zenith! Glorious sight!
I would not miss it for five years of life!

RANDOLPH.

And now the Monarch's gone, the pyre's burnt out,
And nought remains to tell us what has been,
Save the fierce fire-glow, resting still upon
The heated face of Heaven. Let us go home;
I should not like to stay till the grey eve
Do cool it down to dirty-coloured copper.
Come, Mirwa, come! you've stared enough, God wot,
At Heaven's pageantry, to last you weeks.
Come, come! * * * * *
[Randolph retires.]

MIRWA (solus.)

Hail to thee! bright and beautiful Night!
Who comest like a Queen from the Eastern Aidenn,
Besprinkled and crowned with jewels of light,
That glow and that glimmer,
That glitter and shimmer,
Like love-fire in the eyes of a maiden!
I love thee! I love thee! my heart springs up
To drink in soul-draughts from thy o'erflowing cup,
To quench my thirst at the living fount,
Which, ever fresh, wells 'mid the starry flowers,
Gleaming on Earth from Heaven's bowers!
Oh! let me, Poesy, let me mount,
And move enthroned,
With life light zoned,
On the wings of Night,—
Ringing on stars an "Io Pæan,"
To mark my course through th' Empyrean
With songs of light!
Hail, Cynthia! Dian, hail!
Rising athwart the gem-sprent veil,
Which hides the face of tired Time,
As clouds and darkness oft do thine.
Spirit of Beauty! all hail, all hail!
Welcome again to thy lover's sight.
But why look'st thou with a face so pale,
On this tranquil Ocean, so gently bright,
Whose glittering gleam
Gives back thy beam,
In a thousand sparkles of phosphorent light?——
But whence this moaning,
This guttural groaning,
Loading the breath of Night?
And those dark clouds
That just have risen,
Like a giant band
Broke forth from prison?
'Tis the voice of the Storm-Demon,
Giving warning to his leman,
The bold Sea!
"Bare thy bosom! I am coming!
Fright-harrowing and fear-numbing,—
Home to thee!"
'Tis the Demon's thunder-harp,
Upreared in the sky;
Hark! he strikes it loud and sharp,
"Meet my wrath and die!"
Oh, oh! Brother Fiend! oh, oh!
I fear thee not, not I! * *
Now the moon is draped in black,
And the stars have gone to wrack,
And the Spring has turned hack
And gone home!
And the late so tranquil Ocean,
That seemed steeped in star-devotion,
Now in furious wild commotion
Boils in foam!
Hurra! for the tempest! hurra!
There's a fierce and mad delight
In facing the Storm-Sprite,
When he treads the world in might,
Fills my heart!
When the lightning and the thunder
Rack the shrieking sky asunder,
And the waves in frantic wonder
Hold their part!
Rushing higher, higher, higher,
In a fanatic desire
To see whence comes the fire,
Whose fierce blow
On the bald head of the main,
Pierces to its very brain,
As the branded curse of Cain
On his brow!
Hear the pealing thunder-voice
Deafening the night,—
Hear the Tempest-Fiend rejoice
With a mad delight,—
Hear the clashing and the crashing,
And the roaring of the waves,
As the foam comes o'er me dashing,
As the sea my hot brow laves!
Hark! to the battle,
Far over the sea;
'Tis the Hurricane's rattle—
The Hell-hounds burst free!
Hurra! hurra! a welcome to thee, Curse!
Its black line stretches over heaven,
Its roaring drowns the thunder's steven,
All beneath is white as snow.

Hurra! hurra! I dare thy blow!
Hurra! hurra! friend Hurricane, hurra!
The Devil and all his imps are out at play!"

[An interval of a few days.——Randolph addresses the Lady Clara.]

RANDOLPH.

"Lady, at thy window kneeling.
Here I chant Love's roundelay,
Through the jealous lattice stealing,
Loving words will find a way.
Should 'st thou deign to me a smile,
Or perchance give one sweet flower,
'Twould my lonely way beguile,
Brighten many a weary hour.
Soon upon the rolling billow,
Shall I he driven far from thee;
Wilt thou, ere thou seek'st thy pillow,
Dearest, say one prayer for me?
Should thy thoughts thus on me linger,
They'd prove guidant genii sweet,
Till Time's slowly-moving finger,
Points the blessed hour we meet."

CLARA.

Randolph! what mean those words?

RANDOLPH.

That I am leaving thee, mine own sweet Clare:
Friendship and Duty calling me away
To cross the treach'rous ocean, on a voyage
From which I may, if it please God, return
To thee and happiness.
I go to seek my dearest bosom friend,
The foster-brother of my soul. He was
The better part of me, without the which
I wander dumb, disconsolate, and sad,
Like——

CLARA.

God! dost mean the slender dark-browed boy,
With waving curls and gleaming eyes, that blazed
As lustrous, 'neath their jetty fringes, as
Stars on a frosty night, whom you called Mir?

RANDOLPH.

The same—the same!

CLARA.

Oh, Randolph! he is dead! I saw him die!

RANDOLPH.

No—no!

CLARA.

You know the summer-house my brother built
Upon the cliff's side, looking to the sea?
Three nights since, sitting there, while the bright stars
Were smiling overhead, and the soft air,
Spring-laden, breathed around, I heard a voice
Down on the shore, chanting a wild free song;
And, looking down, I saw that slender youth
Pouring his soul out in a melody
That the very sea stopped to listen to.
He sang of Night, the glorious, queenly Night,
Who stilled her breath to hear him;

Then the Moon,
Which rose pale-faced and trembling o'er the ocean.
Presaging the fierce storm which soon came on,
Treading the sea to foam beneath its feet.
And as the wind grew louder and more loud,
So rose his voice, till wind and waves, combined
With the loud thunder, which now broke o'er Heaven,
Drowned it in a continuous awful roar.
And then he placed his back against a rock
And chanted on,—while ever and again
His voice rang like a clarion o'er the storm,
In shouts, and cheers, and in fierce mocking laughter,
Till, at the last, the Hurricane's white mark
Appeared afar off on the tossing sea,
Gleaming and flashing in the dark, dark night,
Like a thing instinct with light,—
At sight of which
He sprang upon the rock, and stood there firm.
As he were carved from it. His streaming hair
Floated upon the wind; he raised his hand
And shook it at the sky with a mad shout.
The Hurricane came on, shrieking its rage;
I threw me on the earth to let it pass,—
When, far above its utmost strength, there rose
A fearful cry, as of a fierce wild glee!
A soul poured out in mockery of its power!
The Hurricane passed over. I arose,
And tottered home to dream an awful dream!

RANDOLPH.

God's will be done! It is a bitter loss;
And yet——But Herbert, why should he speak false?
He told me that he saw him yestermorn
Standing upon the poop of a fair ship;
And it was my intent to follow him
Across the broad Atlantic. Do not weep!
If he is gone, why, half my soul's gone too,—
And, as you have the rest, poor I have none!
But cheer thee!——





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