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Bite at our peaches,
Plums on their twigs; 360
'Good folk,' said Lizzie,
They answered grinning: 370
'Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry;
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us, 380
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.'—
'Thank you,' said Lizzie: 'But one waits
At home alone for me:
So without further parleying,
If you will not sell nie any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I tossed you for a fee.'—
They began to scratch their pates, 390
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One called her proud,
Their tones waxed loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbowed and jostled her, 400
Clawed with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking.
Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,
Twitched her hair out by the roots,
Stamped upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeezed their fruits
Against her month to make her eat.
White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a rock of blue-veined stoue
Lashed by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire,—
Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee,—
Like a royal virgin town
Topped with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet 420
Mad to tug her standard down.
One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuffed and caught her,
Coaxed and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratched her, pinched her black as ink,
Kicked and knocked her,
Mauled and mocked her,
Lizzie uttered not a word; 430
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laughed in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syruped all her face,
And lodged in dimples of her chin,
And streaked her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit
Along whichever road they took, 440
Not leaving root or stone or shoot;
Some writhed into the ground,
Some dived into the brook
With ring and ripple,
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore thro' the furze, 450
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse,—
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she feared some goblin man
And inward laughter.
She cried, 'Laura,' up the garden,
'Did you miss me f
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew. 470
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.'
Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutched her hair:
'Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden!
Must your light like mine be hidden, 480
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruined in my ruin,
Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden}'—
She clung about her sister,
Kissed and kissed and kissed her:
Tears once again
Refreshed her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth; 490
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth.
Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loathed the feast:
Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung,
Her locks streamed like the torch BOO
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.
Swift Are spread through her veins, knocked
at her heart, Met the fire smouldering there And overbore its lesser flame; She gorged on bitterness without a name: B10 Ah fool, to choose such part Of soul-consuming care! Sense failed in the mortal strife: Like the watch-tower of a town Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a foam-topped waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea, 620
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life?
Life out of death.
That night long, Lizzie watched by her,
Held water to her lips, and cooled her face
Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone 560
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands 5G0
Would bid them cling together,—
'For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.'
THE THREE ENEMIES
'Sweet, thou art pale.'
'More pale to see, Christ hung upon the cruel tree And bore His Father's wrath for me.'
'Sweet, thou art sad.'
'Beneath a rod More heavy, Christ for my sake trod The winepress of the wrath of God.' •
'Sweet, thou art weary.'
'Not so Christ;
'Sweet, thou art footsore.'
'If I bleed,
His feet have bled; yea in my need
His Heart once bled for mine indeed.' 12
'Sweet, thou art young.'
'So He was young
'Look, thou art fair.'
1 He was more fair Than men, Who deigned for me to wear A visage marred beyond compare.' 18
'And thou hast riches.'
'And life is sweet.'
'It was not so To Him, Whose Cup did overflow With mine unutterable woe.' 24
'Thou drinkest deep.'
'When Christ would sup He drained the dregs from out my cup: So how should I be lifted up!'
'Thou shalt win Glory.'
'In the skies, Lord Jesus, cover up mine eyes Lest they should look on vanities.' 30
'Thou shalt have Knowledge.'
In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust:
'Get thee behind me. Lord, Who hast redeemed and not abhorred My soul, oh keep it by Thy Word.' 36
AN APPLE GATHERING
I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
With dangling basket all along the grass
As I had come I went the selfsame track: My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
So empty-handed back. 8
Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky, Their mother's home was near.
Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
A stronger hand than hers helped it along; A voice talked with her through the shadows cool
More sweet to me than song. 16
Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth Than apples with their green leaves piled above t
I counted rosiest apples on the earth
So once it was with me you stooped to talk
Laughing and listening in this very lane; To think that by this way we used to walk
We shall not walk again! 24
I let my neighbours pass me, ones and twos And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
And hastened: but I loitered; while the dews
Come back to me, who wait and watch for you:—
Or come not yet, for it is over then,
And long it is before you come again,
So far between my pleasures are, and few.
♦ "Lady Unnamed": a series of fourteen sonnets in which the personal utterance, as in Mrs. Iironning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, wears a titular disguise.
While, when you come uot, what 1 <lo I do Thinking 'Now when he comes,' my sweetest 'when':
For one man is my world of all the men
I wish I could remember that first day,
Many in aftertimes will say of you
Not that I loved you more than .just in play,
Of love and parting in exceeding pain,
Does the road wind up-hill all the wayf
Yes, to the very end. Will the day's journev take the whole long dayf'
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-placef
May not the darkness hide it from my facet You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night t
Those who have gone before. Then must I knock, or call when just in sight!
They will not keep you standing at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weakT
Of labour you shall find the sum. Will there be beds for me and all who seek!
Yea, beds for all who come.
WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896)
THE GILLIFLOWER OF GOLD.
A golden gillifiower to-day
However well Sir Giles might sit,
Bah! hah! la belle jaune girofiie. 8
Although my spear in splinters flew,
Yea, do not doubt my heart was good,
Hah! hah! la belle jaune girofiie. It
My hand was steady, too, to take
When I stood in my tent again.
Hah! hah! la belle jaune girofiie— 24
To hear: "Honneur aux filt des preux!-"
Hah! hah! la belle jaune girofiie.
The Sietir Guillaume against me came,
Hah! hah! la belle jaune girofiie— 3!
i "ITah! hah! the beautiful yellow sllllflowor !'*
'2 "Honor to the sons of the bravo! 3 hurt
Our tough spears crackled up like straw;
But I felt weaker than a maid,
Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflie, 40
Until I thought of your dear head,
Crash! how the swords met; "giroflee!"
Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflee. 48
Once more the great swords met again:
And as with mazed and unarmed face.
Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflee,— 56
I almost saw your quiet head
THE SAILING OF THE SWORD.
Across the empty garden-beds,
When the Sword went out to sea,
Bowed each beside a tree.
When the Suord went out to sea. *
Alicia wore a scarlet gown,
When the Suord went out to sea,
But Ursula's was russet brown:
The scarlet roofs of the good town,
When the Sword went out to sea. 12
Green holly in Alicia's hand,
When the Sword went out to sea;
With sere oak-leaves did Ursula stand;
I did but bear a peeled white wand,
When the Suord went out to sea. 18
O, russet brown and scarlet bright,
My sisters wore; I wore but white;
Three damozels; each had a knight,
When the Sword went out to sea. 24
Sir Robert shouted loud, and said,
"Alicia, while I see thy head,
"O, my sweet Lord, a ruby red:''
The Sword went out to sea. 30
Sir Miles said, while the sails hung down.
"O, Ursula! while I see the town,
"Dear knight, bring back a falcon brown:"
But my Roland, no word he said,
But only turned away his head;
"Come back, dear lord, to your white maid!"
The hot sun bit the garden-beds
When the Sword came back from sea;
Beneath an apple-tree our heads
Gray gleamed the thirsty castle-leads,
When the Sword came back from sea. 48
Lord Robert brought a ruby red,
When the Sword came back from sea;
He kissed Alicia on the head:
"Tis time, sweet love, that we were wed,
Sir Miles he bore a falcon brown,
When the Sword came back from sea;
His arms went round tall Ursula's gown:
Let us be wed in the good town,
My heart grew sick, no more afraid.
Upon the deck a tall white maid
His chin was pressed npon her head.
When the Sword came hack from sea! 66