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With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysium lawns,
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing,
Not a senseless, tranced thing,
But divine melodious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.
Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you,
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumber'd, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls will speak
To mortals, of their little week;
Of their sorrows and delights;
Of their passions and their spites;
Of their glory and their shame ;
What doth strengthen and what maim.
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.
Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Ye have souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new!
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER. Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne :
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortes when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific-and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surprise-
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
O golden-tongued Romance with serene lute!
Fair plumed Syren! Queen! if far away!
Leave melodising on this wintry day,
thine olden volume, and be mute.
Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute
Betwixt hell torment and impassioned clay
Must I burn through; once more assay
The bitter sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
Chief poet and ye clouds of Albion,
Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When I am through the old oak forest gone
Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed with the Fire,
Give me new Phoenix-wings to fly at my desire.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
[Born, 1809. Prometheus Bound, and Poems," published, 1833. "Aurora Leigh," 1856. Casa Guidi
Windows," 1858. "Poems before Congress," 1860. Died, 1861. "Last Poems," 1862.]
HOW TO GET THE GOOD OUT OF A BOOK.
And lived my life, and thought my thoughts, and
My prayers without the vicar; read my books,
Without considering whether they were fit
Mark there. We get no good
By being ungenerous, even to a book,
And calculating profits so much help
By so much reading. It is rather when
We gloriously forget ourselves, and plunge
Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound,
Impassioned for its beauty, and salt of truth-
'Tis then we get the right good from a book.
(Aurora Leigh. First Book.)
THE WORLD OF BOOKS IS STILL THE WORLD.
the world of books is still the world;
And worldlings in it are less merciful
And more puissant. For the wicked there
Are winged like angels. Every knife that strikes Is edged from elemental fire to assail
A spiritual life. The beautiful seems right
By force of beauty, and the feeble wrong
Because of weakness. Power is justified,
Though armed against St. Michael. Many a crown
Covers bald foreheads. In the book-world, true,
There's no lack, neither, of God's saints and kings,
That shake the ashes of the grave aside
From their calm locks, and undiscomfited
Look stedfast truths against Time's changing mask.
True, many a prophet teaches in the roads;
True, many a seer pulls down the flaming heavens
Upon his own head in strong martyrdom,
In order to light men a moment's space.
Books, books, books!
I had found the secret of a garret-room
Piled high with cases in my
Piled high, packed large-where, creeping in and