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As unknown isle asleep in unknown seas.
Gone my pure heart, and with it happy days;
No manna falls around me from on high,
Barely from off the desert of my life
I gather patience and severe content.
God is a worker. He has thickly strewn
Infinity with grandeur. God is Love;
Ile yet shall wipe away creation's tears,
And all the worlds shall summer in his smile.
Why work I not. The veriest mote that sports
Its one-day life within the sunny beam,
Has its stern duties. Wherefore have I none?
I will throw off this dead and useless past,
As a strong runner, straining for his life,
Unclasps a mantle to the hungry winds.
A mighty purpose rises large and slow
From out the fluctuations of my soul,
As ghostlike from the dim and trembling sea

Starts the completed moon. Here, in this determination, he writes his poem, - attains in this spirit the object which had formerly been his ambition. And here, in the last scene, we find him happy, or peaceful at least, with Violet.

Violet. I always pictured you in such a place
Writing your book, and hurrying on, as if
You had a long and wondrous tale to tell,
And felt Death's cold hand closing round your heart.

Walter. Have you read my book?
Violet. I have.

It is enough.
The book was only written for two souls,
And they are thine and mine.

For many weeks,
When I was dwelling by the moaning sea,
Your name was blown to me on every wind,
And I was glad; for by that sign I knew
You had fulfilled your heart, and hoped you would
Put off the robes of sorrow, and put on

The singing crown of Fame."
Again, below, she resumes, -


you were far

6. Walter ! dost thou believe
Love will redeem all errors ? Oh, my friend,
This gospel saves you! doubt it, you are lost.
Deep in the mists of sorrow long I lay,
Hopeless and still, when suddenly this truth
Like a slant sunbeam quivered through the mist,
And turned it into radiance.

In the light
I wrote these words, while

Fighting with shadows. Oh, Walter, in one boat
We floated o'er the smooth, moon-silvered sea;
The sky was smiling with its orbs of bliss ;
And while we lived within each other's eyes,
We struck and split, and all the world was lost
In one wild whirl of horror darkening down.

last I gained a deep and silent isle,
Moaned on by a dim sea, and wandered round,
Week after week, the happy-mournful shore,
Wondering if you had 'scaped.

Thou noble soul,
Teach me,

if thou art nearer God than I !
My life was one long dream ; when I awoke,
Duty stood like an angel in my path,
And seemed so terrible, I could have turned
Into my yesterdays, and wandered back
To distant childhood, and gone out to God
By the gate of birth, not death. Lift, lift me up
By thy sweet inspiration, as the tide
Lifts up a stranded boat upon the beach.
I will go forth ’mong men, not mailed in scorn,
But in the armor of a pure intent.
Great duties are before me, and great songs,
And whether crowned or crownless, when I fall,
It matters not, so as God's work is done.
I've learned to prize the quiet lightning deed,
Not the applauding thunder at its heels,
Which men call Fame. Our night is past;
We stand in precious sunrise; and beyond,
A long day stretches to the very end."

So be it, O young Poet; Poet, perhaps it is early to affirm; but so be it, at any rate, O young man. While you go forth in that “armor of pure intent," the hearts of some readers, be assured, will go with you.

Empedocles on Etna and other Poems, with its earlier companion volume, The Strayed Reveller and other Poems, are, it would seem, the productions (as is, or was, the English phrase) of a scholar and a gentleman; a man who has received a refined education, seen refined" society," and been more, we dare say, in the world, which is called the world, than in all likelihood has a Glasgow mechanic. More refined, therefore, and more highly educated sensibilities, - too delicate, are they, for common service ?— a calmer judgment also, a more poised and steady intellect, the siccum lumen of the soul; a finer and rarer aim perhaps, and certainly a keener sense of difficulty, in life; - these are the characteristics of him whom we are to call “A.” Empedocles, the sublime Sicilian philosopher, the fragments of whose moral and philosophic poems testify to his genius and character, - Empedocles, in the Poem before us, weary of misdirected effort, weary of imperfect thought, impatient of a life which appears to him a miserable failure, and incapable, as he conceives, of doing any thing that shall be true to that proper interior self,

“Being one with which we are one with the whole world," wandering forth, with no determined purpose, into the mountain solitudes, followed for a while by Pausanias, the eager and laborious physician, and at a distance by Callicles, the boymusician, flings himself at last, upon a sudden impulse and apparent inspiration of the intellect, into the boiling crater of Etna; rejoins there the elements. “ Slave of sense,” he was saying, pondering near the verge,

“ Slave of sense
I have in no wise been: but slave of thought?
And who can say, he has been always free,
Lived ever in the light of his own soul?
I cannot :-

But I have not grown easy in these bonds,
But I have not denied what bonds these were.
Yea, I take myself to witness
That I have loved no darkness,
Sophisticated no truth,
Nursed no delusion,
Allowed no fear.

And therefore, Oye Elements, I know —
Ye know it too -it hath been granted me,
Not to die wholly, not to be all enslaved.
I feel it in this hour. The numbing cloud
Mounts off my soul : I feel it, I breathe free.

Is it but for a moment?
Ah, boil up, ye vapors !
Leap and roar, thou sea of Fire !
My soul glows to meet you.
Ere it flag, ere the mists
Of despondency and gloom
Rush over it again,
Receive me! save me!

[He plunges into the crater.] The music of the boy Callicles, to which he chants his happy mythic stories, somewhat frigidly perhaps, relieves, as it sounds in the distance, the gloomy catastrophe.

Tristram and Iseult (these names form the title of the next and only other considerable poem) are, in the old romantic cycle of North-France and Germany, the hero and the heroine of a mournful tale. Tristram of Lyonness, the famed companion of King Arthur, received in youth a commission to bring from across the sea the Princess Iseult of Ireland, the destined bride of the King of Cornwall. The mother of the beautiful princess gave her, as a parting gift, a cup of a magic wine, which she and her royal husband should drink together on their marriage-day in their palace at Tyntagil; so they should love each other perfectly and forever. But on the voyage it befell

The calm sea shines, loose bang the vessel's sails,
Before us are the sweet green fields of Wales,
And overhead the cloudless sky of May.

• Ah, would I were'(saith Iseult)

• Ah, would I were in those green fields at play,
Not pent on shipboard this delicious day.
Tristram, I pray thee of thy courtesy,
Reach me my golden cup that stands by thee,

And pledge me in it first for courtesy.'
VOL. LXXVII. — No. 160.


On the dreamy seas it so befell, that Iseult and Tristram drank together of the golden cup. Tristram, therefore, and Iseult should love each other perfectly and for ever. Yet nothing the less for this must Iseult be wedded to the King of Cornwall; and Tristram, vainly lingering, fly and go forth upon

his way.

But it so chanced that, after long and weary years of passion vainly contended with, years of travel and hard fighting, Tristram, lying wounded in Brittany, was tended by another, a youthful, innocent Iseult, in whose face he seemed to see the look of that Iseult of the past, that was, and yet could not be, his. Weary, and in his sad despondency, Tristram wedded Iseult of Brittany, whose heart, in his stately deep distress, he had moved to a sweet and tender affection. The modern poem opens with the wedded knight come home again, after other long years, and other wars, in which he had fought at King Arthur's side with the Roman emperor, and subdued the heathen Saxons on the Rhine, lying once more sick and sad at heart, upon what ere long he feels shall be his deathbed. Ere he die, he would see, once yet again, her with whom in his youth he drank of that fatal cup.

Tristram. Is she not come ? the messenger was sure.
Prop me upon the pillows once again
Raise me, my page: this cannot long endure.
Christ! what a night! how the sleet whips the pane !
What lights will those out to the northward be ?

The Page. The lanterns of the fishing-boats at sea.

And so through the whole Part I. of our poem, lies the sick and weary knight upon his bed, reviewing sadly, while sadly near him stands his timid and loving younger Iseult, reviewing, half sleeping, half awake, those old times, that hapless voyage, and all that thence ensued; and still in all his thought recurring to the proud Cornish Queen, who, it seems, will let him die unsolaced. He speaks again, now broad awake.

Is my page here? Come turn me to the fire.
Upon the window panes the moon shines bright;
The wind is down; but she'll not come to-night.

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