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[The poems from Lanier are printed by the kind permission of Mrs. Sidney Lanier, and of Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons, the authorized publishers of Lanier's Works.]
(All.) Oo-hoo-o, howled the hound.
The hound into his kennel crept;
He rarely wept, he never slept.
1 One of Lanier's early plans was for a long poem heroic couplets, with lyric interludes, on the insurre tion of the French peasantry in the fourteenth centur 'Although,' says Mrs. Lanier, "The Jacquerie" remained a fragment for thirteen years, Mr. Lanier's interest in the subject never abated. Far on in this interval he is found planning for leisure to work out in romance the story of that savage insurrection of the French peasantry, which the Chronicles of Froissart had impressed upon his boyish imagination.' 'It was the first time,' says Lanier himself, in a letter of November 15, 1874, that the big hungers of the People appear in our modern civilization; and it is full of significance.' Five chapters of the story, and three lyrics, were completed. See the Poems, pp. 191-214.
We're all for love,' the violins said.1
'Of what avail the rigorous tale
Of bill for coin and box for bale?
Grant thee, O Trade! thine uttermost hope:
Level red gold with blue sky-slope,
And base it deep as devils grope:
When all 's done, what hast thou won
Of the only sweet that's under the sun? 10
Ay, canst thou buy a single sigh
Of true love's least, least ecstasy?'
Then, with a bridegroom's heart-beats
All the mightier strings assembling
Ranged them on the violins' side
As when the bridegroom leads the bride,
And, heart in voice, together cried:
'Yea, what avail the endless tale
Of gain by cunning and plus by sale?
Look up the land, look down the land,
The poor, the poor, the poor, they stand
Wedged by the pressing of Trade's hand
Against an inward-opening door
That pressure tightens evermore:
They sigh a monstrous foul-air sigh
For the outside leagues of liberty,
Where Art, sweet lark, translates the sky
Into a heavenly melody.
"Each day, all day" (these poor folks say), In the same old year-long, drear-long
To relieve, O God, what manner of ills? —
The beasts, they hunger, and eat, and die;
And so do we, and the world's a sty;
Hush, fellow-swine: why nuzzle and
Swinehood hath no remedy
Say many men, and hasten by,
Clamping the nose and blinking the eye. 40
But who said once, in the lordly tone,
Man shall not live by bread alone
But all that cometh from the Throne?
Hath God said so?
But Trade saith No:
ments and re-distilled them into the clear liquid of that wondrous eleventh - Love God utterly, and thy neighbor as thys If so I think the time will come when music, rightly developed to its now-little-foreseen grandeur, will be found to be a later revelation of all gospels ia one. (LANIER, in a letter of March 12, 1875. The Letters of Sidney Lanier, p. 113.)
1 Music is utterly unconscious of aught but Love. (LANIER, in a letter of October, 1866. The Letters of Sidney Lanier, p. 66.)
We pass to silent pain that sits abrood
Back in our heart's great dark and solitude,
So sank the strings to gentle throbbing
Of long chords change-marked with sob-
Motherly sobbing, not distinctlier heard Than half wing-openings of the sleeping
Full powers from Nature manifold.
I speak for each no-tongued tree
That, spring by spring, doth nobler be,
And dumbly and most wistfully
His mighty prayerful arms outspreads 120
Above men's oft-unheeding heads,
And his big blessing downward sheds.
I speak for all-shaped blooms and leaves,
Lichens on stones and moss on eaves,
Grasses and grains in ranks and sheaves;
Broad-fronded ferns and keen-leaved canes,
And briery mazes bounding lanes,
And marsh-plants, thirsty-cupped for rains,
And milky stems and sugary veins;
For every long-armed woman-vine
That round a piteous tree doth twine;
For passionate odors, and divine
Pistils, and petals crystalline;
All purities of shady springs,
All shynesses of film-winged things
That fly from tree-trunks and bark-rings;
All modesties of mountain-fawns
That leap to covert from wild lawns,
And tremble if the day but dawns;
All sparklings of small beady eyes
Of birds, and sidelong glances wise
Wherewith the jay hints tragedies;
All piquancies of prickly burs,
And smoothnesses of downs and furs,
Of eiders and of minevers;
All limpid honeys that do lie
At stamen-bases, nor deny
The humming-birds' fine roguery,
Bee-thighs, nor any butterfly;
All gracious curves of slender wings,
Fern-wavings and leaf-flickerings;
Each dial-marked leaf and flower-bell
Wherewith in every lonesome dell
Time to himself his hours doth tell;
All tree-sounds, rustlings of pine-cones,
Wind-sighings, doves' melodious moans,
And night's unearthly under-tones;
All placid lakes and waveless deeps,
All cool reposing mountain-steeps,
Vale-calms and tranquil lotos-sleeps; —
Yea, all fair forms, and sounds, and lights,
And warmths, and mysteries, and mights,
Of Nature's utmost depths and heights,
-These doth my timid tongue present,
Their mouthpiece and leal instrument
And servant, all love-eloquent.
I heard, when "All for love
So, Nature calls through all her system
Give me thy love, O man, so long denied. 170 Much time is run, and man hath changed
Since Nature, in the antique fable-days, Was hid from man's true love by proxy
False fauns and rascal gods that stole her praise.
The nymphs, cold creatures of man's colder brain;
Chilled Nature's streams till man's warm heart was fain
Never to lave its love in them again.
Later, a sweet Voice Love thy neighbor said,
Then first the bounds of neighborhood out-
Beyond all confines of old ethnic dread. 180 Vainly the Jew might wag his covenant head:
"All men are neighbors," so the sweet Voice said.
So, when man's arms had circled all man's race,
The liberal compass of his warm embrace Stretched bigger yet in the dark bounds of
Thereto a thrilling calm succeeds,
Till presently the silence breeds
A little breeze among the reeds
That seems to blow by sea-marsh weeds:
Then from the gentle stir and fret
Sings out the melting clarionet,
Like as a lady sings while yet
Her eyes with salty tears are wet.
'O Trade! O Trade!' the Lady said,
'I too will wish thee utterly dead
If all thy heart is in thy head.
For O my God! and O my God!
What shameful ways have women trod
At beckoning of Trade's golden rod !
Alas when sighs are traders' lies,
And heart's-ease eyes and violet eyes
Men love not women as in olden time.
Ah, not in these cold merchantable days
Deem men their life an opal gray, where
The one red Sweet of gracious ladies'-praise.
Now, comes a suitor with sharp prying
Says, Here, you Lady, if you'll sell, I'll buy: Come, heart for heart-a trade? What! weeping? why?
Shame on such wooers' dapper mercery!
I would my lover kneeling at my feet
In humble manliness should cry, O sweet!
I know not if thy heart my heart will greet:
I ask not if thy love my love can meet :
Whate'er thy worshipful soft tongue shall say,
I'll kiss thine answer, be it yea or nay:
I do but know I love thee, and I pray
To be thy knight until my dying day.
Woe him that cunning trades in hearts con-
Base love good women to base loving
For God shall right thy grievous wrong,
And man shall sing thee a true-love song,
Voiced in act his whole life long,
Yea, all thy sweet life long,
Where's he that craftily hath said,
The day of chivalry is dead?
I'll prove that lie upon his head,
Or I will die instead,
Is Honor gone into his grave?
Hath Faith become a caitiff knave,
And Selfhood turned into a slave
To work in Mammon's cave,
Will Truth's long blade ne'er gleam again?
Hath Giant Trade in dungeons slain
All great contempts of mean-got gain
And hates of inward stain,
For aye shall name and fame be sold,
And place be hugged for the sake of gold,