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In the world of dreams I have chosen my part,
Of true love's truth or of light love's art,
UPON A CHILD
Of such is the kingdom of heaven.
No glory that ever was shed
That crown the north world 'a head,
No word that ever was spoken
Of human or godlike tongue, Gave ever such godlike token
Since human harps were strung.
No sign that ever was given
To faithful or faithless eyes Showed ever beyond clouds riven
So clear a Paradise.
Earth's creeds may be seventy times seven
If of such be the kingdom of heaven,
A CHILD'S LAUGHTER
All the bells of heaven may ring,
All sweet sounds together;
Wind in warm wan weather,
One thing yet there is, that none
Hoped in heaven hereafter;
Kills a child's clear laughter.
Golden bells of welcome roll'd
* h'envoi. or "the despatch," was the name for-
Hours so blithe in tones so bold,
Here that rings forth heaven.
A BABY'S DEATH*
A little soul scarce fledged for earth
Our thoughts ring sad as bells that toll,
Our fruitfulness is there but dearth,
The little feet that never trod
A rose in June's most honied heat,
Their pilgrimage's period
The little hands that never sought
We ask: but love's self silent stands,
Ere this, perchance, though love knew nought,
j * From A Century of Roundel*. Of the poem
The little eyes that never knew
Who knows but on their sleep may rise
No storm, we know, may change the blue
From TRISTRAM OP LYONESSEt
Prelude. Tristram And Iseult
Love, that is first and last of all things made,
And alway through new act and passion new Shines the divine same body and beauty through,
The body spiritual of fire and light
Love, that keeps all the choir of lives in chime;
Shaping the breadth of sea, the length of land, And with the pulse and motion of his breath Through the great heart of the earth strikes life and death,
The sweet twain chords that make the sweet tune live
Through day and night of things alternative, 20 Through silence and through sound of stress and strife,
t In the long lyrical epic thus named. Swinburne tells again the story of Tristram and Iseult, which shares with that of Siegfried and Brunhild the distinction of being one of the greatest love stories of the world. "The world of Swinburne," says Professor Woodberry, "Is well symbolized by that Zodiac of the burning signs of love that he named In the prelude to Tristram of Lyonemc,—the signs of Helen, Hero, Alcyone. Iseult. Rosamond, Dido. Juliet, Cleopatra, Francesca, Thlsbe, Angelica. Guenevere: under the hoavens of these starry names the poet moves In his place apart and sees bis visions of woe and wrath and weaves his dream of the loves and the fates of men."
And ebb and flow of dying death and life; Love, that sounds loud or light in all men's ears,
Whence all men's eyes take fire from sparks of tears,
That binds on all men's feet or chains or wings; Love, that is root and fruit of terrene things; Love, that the whole world's waters shall not drown,
The whole world's fiery forces not burn down; Love, that what time his own hands guard his head
The whole world's wrath and strength shall not strike dead; 30 Love, that if once his own hands make his grave The whole world's pity and sorrow shall not save;
Love, that for very life shall not be sold,
Would turn to fruitless and unflowering hell;
Led these twain to the life of tears and fire; Through many and lovely days and much delight
Led these twain to the lifeless life of night.
Yea, but what then! albeit all this were thus,
Hath love not likewise led them further yet,
set, 50 Some large as suns, some moon-like warm ami
Some starry-sighted, some through clouds that sail
Seen as red flame through spectral float of fume,
Each with the blush of its own special bloom
Till story and song and glory and all things sleep?
Hath he not plucked from death of lovers dead
Yea, as warm night refashions the sere blood
And thought remake their wan funereal fames,
To fill the days up of his dateless year,
A storm-star that the seafarers of love
The lamp-like star of Hero for a lamp; 100
And shining like a sunbeam-smitten tear
1 Homer: The Iliad.
2 In hi* Hero and Lcander.
3 Ovid's Metamorphoses, xl.
Iseult,4 a light of blossom and beam and shower,
My singing sign that makes the song-tree flower;
Next like a pale and burning pearl beyond The rose-white sphere of flower-named Rosamond5
Signs the sweet head of Maytime; and for June Flares like an angered and storm-reddening moon
Her signal sphere, whose Carthaginian pyre
A star south-risen that first to music shone, 1-0
Her name for flower upon it, and his trees
The light of Cleopatra8 fills and burns
The hollow of heaven whence ardent August
yearns; 130 And fixed and shining as the sister-shed Sweet tears for Phaethon disorbed and dead,» The pale bright autumn's amber-coloured
That through September sees the saddening year
As love sees change through sorrow, hath to name
Francesca's; and the star that watches flame
< Her story has been told by Malory. Tennyson
(Idylls of the King. "The Last Tournament"),
Arnold, Wagner, etc. 5 The "Fair Rosamond" of Henry II. See Scott's
The Talisman and Woodstock. a Virgil: Aeneid, Iv.
< Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.
8 Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra.
v Alluding to the story that after I'haethon's fatal fall with the chariot of the sun, his sisters, the Ileliades, mourned for him until they were changed Into poplars and their tears into amber. The story of Paolo and Francesca is immortalized in Dante's Inferno.
10 Chaucer: Legend of Good Women (see p. CO).
11 Boiardo: Orlando Innamnrato; Ariosto: Orlando
Furioso. Angelica's coquetrv drove Orlando mad.
Of swords ami harps in heaven that ring it round,
Last love light and last love-song of the year's, (i learns like a glorious emerald Guenevere's.12 These are the signs wherethrough the year sees move,
I'ull of the sun, the sun-god which is love,
Sweep through the flameless fire of air that rings
From heaven to heaven with thunder of wheels and wings
And antiphones of motion-moulded rhyme Through spaces out of space aud timeless time. So shine above dead chance and conquered change
The sphered sipis, and leave without their range
Doubt and desire, and hope with fear for wife, Pale pains, ami pleasures long worn out of life. Yea, even the shadows of them spiritless, 161 Through the dim door of sleep that seem to press,
Forms without form, a piteous people and blind,
Men and no men, whose lamentable kind
Through dreams of light and dreams of darkness tost
On waves innavigable, are these so lost? Shapes that wax pale and shift in swift strange wise,
Void faces with unspeculative eyes, 170 Dim things that gaze and glare, dead mouths that move,
Featureless heads discrowned of hate and love, Mockeries and masks of motion and mute breath,
Leavings of life, the superflux of death—
12 Cf. Mallory, Tennyson, etc.
And hers1" who made as Clod's own eyes to shine
The eyes that met them of the Florentine,
Before men's eyes incognisable God;
They have the night, who had like us the day;*
We, whom day binds, shall have the night as they. 200 We, from the fetters of the light unbound. Healed of our wound of living, shall sleep sound.
All gifts but one the jealous God may keep From our soul's longing, one he cannot—sleep. This, though he grudge all other grace to prayer.
This grace his closed hand cannot choose but spare.
This, though his ear be sealed to all that live,
Wide as the naked world and shadowless.
Us too. when all the tears of time arc dry,
i.i Dante's Beatrice. M Inferno, v. 7.
* In this passage, with Its rapt contemplation and solemn music. Swinburne has surely attained to that "hlch seriousness" which Matthew Arnold regarded as the mark of the greatest poetry. A portion of it reads not unlike an expansion of I'araJlae Lo*1, Hook II, lines U!>. 150.
Clothed with light life ami fruitful with light love,
With hopes that threaten, ami with fears that cease,
Past fear and hope, hath in it only peace. Yet of these lives inlaid with hopes and fears,
Spun fine as fire and jewelled thick with tears, These lives made out of loves that long since were,
Lives wrought as ours of earth and burning air, 230 Fugitive flame, and water of secret springs, And clothed with joys and sorrows as with wings.
Some yet are good, if aught be good, to save Some while from washing wreck and wrecking wave.
Was such not theirs, the twain I take, and give
So many and with such joy have tracked their feet,
What should I do to follow} yet I too,
Between the green and foam is fair to take
Kor any sail the sea-wind steers for me
From morning into morning, sea to sea. -»0
WALTER PATER (1839-1894)
THE CHILD IN THE HOUSE*
As Florian Deleal walked, one hot afternoon, he overtook by the wayside a poor aged man, and, as he seemed weary with the road, helped him on with the burden which he carried, a certain distance. And as the man told his story, it chanced that he named the place, a little place in the neighbourhood of a great city, where Florian had passed his earliest years, J but which he had never since seen, and, the
* When originally published In 1878 this essay I was denominated an "Imaginary Portrait." | though tt is doubtless In some measure autobiographical. As an account of the development of an extremely sensitive ami impressionable youth, it holds a unique place in our literature. On Pater's philosophy ami style.: see Hii'j. Lit., p. 382.
story told,1 went forward on his journey comforted. And that night, like a reward for his pity, a dream of that place came to Florian, u dream which did for him the office of the finer sort of memory, bringing its object to mind with a great clearness, yet, as sometimes happens in dreams, raised a little above itself, ami above ordinary retrospect. The true aspect of the place, especially of the house there in which he had lived as a child, the fashion of its doors, its hearths, its windows, the very scent upon the air of it, was with him in sleep for a season; only, with tints more musically- blent on wall and floor, and some finer light and shadow running in and out along its curves ami angles, and with all its little carvings daintier. Ho awoke with a sigh at the thought of almost thirty years which lay between him and that place, yet with a flutter of pleasure still within him at the fair light, as if it were a smile, upon it. And it happened that this accident of his dream was just the thing needed for the beginning of a certain design he then had in view, the noting, namely, of-some things in the story of his spirit—in that process of brain-building by which we are, each one of us, what we are. With the image of the place so clear and favourable upon him, he fell to thinking of himself therein, and how his thoughts had grown up to him. In that half-spiritualised house he could watch the better, over again, the gradual expansion of the soul which had come to be there—of which indeed, through the law which makes the material objects about them so large an element in children's lives, it had actually become a part; inward and outward being woven through and through each other into one inextricable texture—half, tint and trace and accident of homely colour and form, from the wood and the bricks; half, merc^ soul-stuff, floated thither from who knows how far. In the house and garden of his dream he saw a child moving, and could divide the main streams at least of the winds that had played on him, and study so the first stage in that mental journey.
The old home, as when Florian talked of it afterwards he always called it, (as all children do, who can recollect a change of home, soon enough but not too soon to mark a period in their lives) really was an old house; and an clement of French descent in its inmates—
i Pater's fondness for participles partakes rather more of Latin than of English style. Note, too. the difficulty of resuming. In the close of this sentence, the grammatical subject of the beginning.
• pure, unmixed