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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Long Fellow's Masque of Pandora and Other Poems

page 7

Long Fellow's Masque of Pandora and Other Poems.

The following lines are the chief beauties; they embody the only thoughts worthy of preservation and retention in the storehouse of memory:—

1. O fortunate, O happy day,
When a new household finds its place
Among the myriad homes of earth.
2. A conversation in his eyes;
The golden silence of the Greek,
The gravest wisdom of the wise,
Not spoken in language, but in looks,
More legible than printed books,
As if he could but would not speak.
3. Maidens within whose tender breasts
A thousand restless hopes and fears,
Forth reaching to the coming years,
Flutter awhile, then quiet lie,
Like timid birds that fain would fly,
But do not dare to leave their nests.
4. Study yourselves; and most of all note well
Wherein kind Nature meant you to excel.
5. Better like Hector in the field to die,
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly.
6. The scholar and the world! The endless strife,
The discord in the harmonies of life!
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books;
The market-place, the eager love of gain,
Whose aim is vanity, and whose end is pain!
7. Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles
Wrote his grand Œdipus, and Simonides
Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers,
When each had numbered more than four score years,
And Theophrastus, at four score and ten,
Had but begun his characters of men.
Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales,
At sixty wrote the Canterbury tales;
Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last,
Completed Faust when eighty years were past.
8. His was the troubled life,
The conflict and the pain,
The grief, the bitterness of strife,
The honour without stain.
So when a great man dies,
For years beyond our ken,
The light he leaves behind him lies
Upon the paths of men.
9. The hills sweep upward from the shore,
With villas scattered one by one
Upon their wooded spurs.
10. The pen became like a Clarion, and his school
Flamed like a beacon in the midnight air.
11. The plaudits of the crowd
Are but the clatter of feet
At midnight in the street,
Hollow and restless and loud.
12. Be not like a stream that brawls
Loud with shallow waterfalls,
But in quiet, self-control
Link together soul and soul.
page 8 13. Thus her hair
Was cinctured; thus her floating drapery
Was like a cloud about her, and her face
Was radiant with the sunshine and the sea.
The gods shall shower on her their benefactions,
She shall possess all gifts: the gift of song,
The gift of eloquence, the gift of beauty,
The fascination and the nameless charm
That shall lead all men captive.
Beautiful in form and feature,
O sweet, pale face! O lovely eyes of azure,
Clear as the waters of a brook that run
Limped and laughing in the summer sun!
O golden hair that like a miser's treasure
In its abundance overflows the measure!
Dowered with all celestial gifts,
Skilled in every art
That ennobles and uplifts
And delights the heart.
14. Who thinks of marrying hath already taken
One step upon the road to penitence.
15. This divine being, to be thy companion,
And bring into thy melancholy house
The sunshine and the fragrance of her youth.
16. I need them not. I have within myself
All that my heart desires; the ideal beauty
Which the creative faculty of mind
Fashions and follows in a thousand shapes
More lovely than the real. My own thoughts
Are my companions; my designs and labours
And aspirations are my only friends.
17. The silence and the solitude of thought,
The endless bitterness of unbelief,
The loneliness of existence without love.
18. How the Titan, the defiant,
The self-centred, self-reliant,
Wrapped in visions and illusions,
Robs himself of life's best gifts!
19. They face is fair;
There is a wonder in thine azure eyes
That fascinates me. Thy whole presence seems
A soft desire, a breathing thought of love.
Swifter than Eros' arrows were thine eyes
In wounding me. There was no moment's space
Between my seeing thee and loving thee.
20. I feel thy power
Envelope me, and wrap my soul and sense,
In an Elysian dream.
21. How beautiful are all things round about me,
Multiplied by the mirrors on the walls!
22. The garden walks are pleasant at this hour.
23. With useless endeavour,
Forever, forever,
Is Sisyphus rolling
His stone up the mountain!
Immersed in the fountain,
Tantalus tastes not
The waters that waste not!
Through ages increasing,
The pangs that afflict him,
With motion unceasing
The wheel of Ixion
page 9 Shall torture its victim!
24. Make not thyself the slave of any woman.
25. Assert thyself; rise up to thy full height.
Shake from thy soul these dreams effeminate,
These passions, born of indolence and ease.
Resolve and thou art free. But breathe the air
Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits,
Will lift thee to the level of themselves.
26. My feet are weary, wandering to and fro,
My eyes with seeing and my heart with waiting.
27. To build a new life on a mined life,
To make the future fairer than the past,
And make the past appear a troubled dream.
28. Only through punishment of our evil deeds,
Only through suffering, are we re-conciled
To the immortal gods and to ourselves.
29. Never shall souls like these
Escape the Eumenides,
The daughters dark of Acheron and Night!
Unquenched our torches glare,
Our scourges in the air
Send forth prophetic sounds before They smite.
Never by lapse of time
The soul defaced by crime
Into its fonner self returns again;
For every guilty deed
Holds in itself the seed
Of retribution and undying pain.
Never shall be the loss
Restored, till Helios
Hath purified them with his heavenly fires;
Then what was lost is won,
And the new life begun,
Kindled with nobler passions and desires.