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They drank to the soul of Witlaf,
Who had preached his holy word.
They drank to the Saints and Martyrs
And the reader droned from the pulpit,
Till the great bells of the convent,
- Proclaimed the midnight hour.
And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
Yet still in his pallid fingers
In which, like a pearl dissolving,
Had sunk and dissolved his soul.
But not for this their revels
For they cried, “Fill high the goblet!
By his evening fire the artist
Pondered o'er his secret shame; Baffled, weary, and disheartened,
Still he mused, and dreamed of fame.
'Twas an image of the Virgin
That had tasked his utmost skill;
But, alas! his fair ideal
Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant eastern island
Had the precious wood been brought;
Day and night the anxious master
At his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding,
Then a voice cried, "Rise, O master!
Woke, and from the smoking embers
O thou sculptor, painter, poet!
PEGASUS IN POUND.
ONCE into a quiet village,
It was Autumn, and incessant
Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves,
And, like living coals, the apples
Burned among the withering leaves.
Loud the clamorous bell was ringing
'Twas the daily call to labour,
Not a triumph meant for him.
Not the less he saw the landscape,
Thus, upon the village common,
By the school-boys he was found;
Then the sombre village crier,
And the curious country people,
Thus the day passed, and the evening
Patiently, and still expectant,
Till at length the bell at midnight
Then, with nostrils wide distended,
To those stars he soared again.
On the morrow, when the village
Woke to all its toil and care, Lo! the strange steed had departed, And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward Where his struggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing Gladdens the whole region round, Strengthening all who drink its waters, While it soothes them with its sound.
I HEARD a voice, that cried,
And through the misty air
I saw the pallid corpse
Borne through the northern sky.
Lifted the sheeted mists
And the voice for ever cried,
Through the dreary night
Balder the Beautiful,
Light from his forehead beamed,
All things in earth and air
Hoeder, the blind old god,
The accursed mistletoe!
They laid him in his ship,
With horse and harness,
As on a funeral pyre.
A ring upon his finger,
And whispered in his ear.
They launched the burning ship!
It floated far away
Over the misty sea,
Till like the sun it seemed,
Sinking beneath the waves.
So perish the old gods!
Over its meadows green
Walk the young bards and sing.
Build it again,
Fairer than before!
Ye fathers of the new race,
The law of force is dead!
Shall rule the earth no more,
Challenge the meek Christ.
Sing no more,
O ye bards of the North,
Preserve the freedom only,
GOD sent his Singers upon earth
And bring them back to heaven again.
The first, a youth, with soul of firé,
Through groves he wandered, and by streams
The second, with a bearded face,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
gray old man, the third and last,
And those who heard the Singers three,