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Then an old Hidalgo said,

As he twirled his gray mustachio,
“Sure this swallow overhead
Thinks the Emperor's tent a shed,

And the Emperor but a Macho !":77
Hearing his imperial name

Coupled with those words of malice,
Half in anger, half in shame,
Forth the great campaigner came

Slowly from his canvass palace.
“Let no hand the bird molest,”.

Said he solemnly, "nor hurt her!"
Adding then, by way of jest,
“Golondrina is my guest,

'Tis the wife of some deserter!”
Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,

Through the camp was spread the rumour,
And the soldiers, as they quaffed
Flemish beer at dinner, laughed

At the Emperor's pleasant humour,
So unharmed and unafraid

Sat the swallow still and brooded,
Till the constant cannonade
Through the walls a breach had made,

And the siege was thus concluded.
Then the army, elsewhere bent,

Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Only not the Emperor's tent,
For he ordered, ere he went,

Very curtly, “Leave it standing!”
So it stood there all alone,

Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
Till the brood was fledged and flown,
Singing o'er those walls of stone

Which the cannon-shot had shattered.


Two angels, one of Life and one of Death,

Passed o'er our village as the morning broke; The dawn was on their faces and beneath,

The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke. Their attitude and aspect were the same,

Alike their featnres and their robes of white: But one was crowned with amaranth, as with flame,

And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.


I saw them pause on their celestial way;

Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, “Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray

The place where thy beloved are at rest!" And he who wore the crown of asphodels,

Descending, at my door began to knock, And my soul sank within me, as in wells

The waters sink before an earthquake's shock. I recognised the nameless agony,

The terror and the tremor and the pain, That oft before had filled or haunted me,

And now returned with threefold strength again. The door I opened to my heavenly guest,

And listened, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er He sent was best,

Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice. Then with a smile, that filled the house with light,

My errand is not Death, but Life," he said; And ere I answered, passing out of sight,

On his celestial embassy he sped. 'Twas at thy door, O friend! and not at mine,

The angel with the amaranthine wreath, Pausing, descended, and with voice divine,

Whispered a word that had a sound like Death. Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,

A shadow on those features fair and thin ; And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,

Two angels issued, where but one went in. All is of God! If He but wave His hand,

The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,

Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud. Angels of Life and Death alike are His;

Without His leave they pass no threshold o'er; Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this,

Against His messengers to shut the door?


In broad daylight, and at noon,
Yesterday I saw the moon

Sailing high, but faint and white,
As a school-boy's paper kite,
In broad daylight, yesterday,
I read a Poet's mystic lay;
And it seemed to me at most
As a phantom, or a ghosto

But at length the feverish day
Like a passion died away,
And the night, serene and still,
Fell on the village, vale, and hill.
Then the moon in all her pride,
Like a spirit glorified,
Filled and overflowed the night
With revelations of her light.
And the Poet's song again
Passed like music through my brain ;
Night interpreted to me
All its grace and mystery,

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THE JEWISH CEMETERY AT NEWPORT. How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,

Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never-silent waves,

At rest in all this moving up and down!
The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep

Wave their broad curtains in the south-wind's breath
While underneath such leafy tents they keep

The long, mysterious Exodus of Death.
And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,

That pave with level flags their burial-place,
Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down

And broken by Moses at the mountain's base. The very names recorded here are strange,

Of foreign accent, and of different climes; Alvares and Rivera interchange

With Abraham and Jacob of old times. 6 Blessed be God! for He created Death !"

The mourners said, “and Death is rest and peace ;" Then added, in the certainty of faith,

" And giveth Life that never more shall cease.” Closed are the portals of their Synagogue,

No Psalms of David now the silence break, No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue,

In the grand dialect the Prophets spake. Gone are the living, but the dead remain,

And not neglected; for a hand unseen, Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,

Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green. How came they here? What burst of Christian hate

What persecution, merciless and blind, Drove o'er the sea-that desert desolate These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind ?

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They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure,

Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire;
Taught in the school of patience to endure

The life of anguish and the death of fire.
All their lives long, with the unleavened bread

And bitter herbs of exile and its fears,
The wasting famine of the heart they fed,

And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears. Anathema maranatha ! was the cry

That rang from town to town, from street to street; At every gate the accursed Mordecai

Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by Christian feet. Pride and humiliation hand in hand

Walked with them through the world where'er they went; Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,

And yet unshaken as the continent,
For in the background figures vague and vast

Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime,
And all the great traditions of the Past

They saw reflected in the coming time. And thus for ever with reverted look

The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,

Till life became a Legend of the Dead.
But ah! what once has been shall be no more!

The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,

And the dead nations never rise again.


In the Valley of the Vire

Still is seen an ancient mill,
With its gables quaint and queer,
And beneath the window sill,

On the stone,

These words alone :
« Oliver Basselin lived here."
Far above it, on the steep,

Ruined stands the old Château;
Nothing but the donjon-keep
Left for shelter or for show.

Its vacant eyes

Stare at the skies,
Stare at the valley green and deep.

Once a convent, old and brown,

Looked, but ah! it looks no more, From the neighbouring hillside down On the rushing and the roar

Of the stream

Whose sunny gleam Cheers the little Norman town. In that darksome mill of stone,

To the water's dash and din, Careless, humble,

and unknown, Sang the poet Basselin,

Songs that fill

That ancient mill With a splendour of its own. Never feeling of unrest

Broke the pleasant dream he dreamed ; Only made to be his nest, All the lovely valley seemed :

No desire

Of soaring higher
Stirred or fluttered in his breast
True, his songs were not divine;

Were not songs of that high art,
Which as winds do in the pine,
Find an answer in each heart;

But the mirth

Of this green earth Laughed and revelled in his line. From the alehouse and the inn,

Opening on the narrow street, Came the

loud, convivial din, Singing and applause of feet,

The laughing lays

That in those days
Sang the poet Basselin.
In the castle, cased in steel,

Knights, who fought at Agincourt,
Watched and waited spur on heel ;
But the poet sang for sport

Songs that rang

Another clang,
Songs that lowlier hearts could feel.
In the convent, clad in gray,

Sat the monks in lonely cells,
Paced the cloisters, knelt to pray,
And the poet heard their bells;

But his rhymes

Found other chimes, Nearer to the earth than they.

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