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- Fleurs de lys and other poems - 10/16 -

And, hovering o'er the sporting maid, Upon the bank espied her shoe.

Loth to forget so sweet a sight, And lest his memory should grow dim, He sought the earth with sudden flight, And bore the shoe aloft with him.

He bore it far, and let it fall In the king's palace, where next day So lily-frail, so strangely small, Within the palace-court it lay.

The king was walking, wrapped in thought, Throughout his palace, up and down: Him had his councillors besought, With some fair maid to share his crown,

And he had searched the wide world through To find a princess he could love, Yet all in vain he sought to woo, His heart there was not one could move.

Into the palace-court he went, Still wondering whom to make his bride, And as he strolled, eyes earthward bent, The wondrous tiny shoe he spied.

As leaps the sun to tropic skies, So sprang his heart unto its choice, Love sparkled brightly in his eyes, And thrilled triumphant in his voice.

"You bid me wed, I could not do, For lack of love, your bidding, Sirs. But find the maid who wore this shoe, And I will make my kingdom hers."

They searched the palace from the ground Up to the towers, but in vain; Nowhere was maiden to be found To own the shoe and share the reign.

Then came a lad, who told in awe How just at dawn an eagle flew Above the town, and from its claw Dropped to the palace-yard the shoe.

The wise men stroked their beards, and said: "The gods have surely done this thing, That our beloved lord may wed A maiden meet for such a king."

Then far and wide the heralds rode To find the king's God-chosen bride; They chanced on Rhodope's abode, The overflowing Nile beside.

She stood before the heralds twain, She fitted on the tiny shoe, And claimed it for her own again, And not till then their errand knew.

The richest robes they offered her, But she refused them: "If my king In my coarse garb, will deem me fair, Then only will I take his ring."

Before the king the maid they brought, And at his feet she bent the knee; He gently raised her: "Nay, kneel not, O sweetheart! I should kneel to thee,

"Fair as a poet's dream thou art, Purer than lilies--Oh! mine own, Since thou has won thy monarch's heart, 'Tis meet that thou shouldst share his throne."

The wise men stroked their beards and said: "The gods have surely done this thing." Then Rhodope the fair was wed, And ruled all Egypt with the king.


You love the sun and the languid breeze That gently kisses the rosebud's lips, And delight to see How the dainty bee, Stilling his gauze-winged melodies Into the lily's chalice dips.

I love the wind that unceasing roars, While cringe the trees from its wrath in vain, And the lightning-flash, And the thunder-crash, And skies, from whose Erebus depths outpours In slanting drifts the autumnal rain.

You sigh to find that the time is here When leaves are falling from bush and tree; When the flowerets sweet Die beneath our feet, And feebly totters the dying year Into the mists of eternity.

To me the autumn is never drear, It bears the glory of hopes fulfilled. Though the flowers be dead, There are seeds instead, That, with the spring of the dawning year, With life will find all their being thrilled.

You tread the wood, and the wind behold Tear down the leaves from the crackling bough Till they make a pall, As they thickly fall, To hide dead flowers. The air seems cold, No summer gladdens the forest now.


I tread the maze of the changing wood, And though no light through the maples plays, Yet they glow each one, Like a rose-red sun, And drop their leaves, like a glittering flood Of warm sunbeams, in the woodland ways.

Poor human heart, in the year of life All seasons are, and it rests with thee To enjoy them all, Or to drape a pall O'er withered hopes, and to be at strife With things that are, and no brightness see.


Poor, lone Carlotta, Mexico's mad Queen, Babbling of him, amid thy vacant halls, Whose ears have long been heedless of thy calls; Sad monument of pomp that once hath been, Thy staring eyes mark ever the same scene Of levelled muskets, and a corpse which falls, Dabbled in blood, beneath the city walls-- Though twenty years have rolled their tides between.

Not of this world thy vengeance! They have passed, Traitor and victim, to the shadow-land. Not of this world thy joy; but, when at last Reason returns in Paradise, its hand Shall join the shattered links of thought again, Save those that form this interval of pain.


Mad fools! To think that men can be Made equal all, when God Made one well nigh divinity And one a soulless clod.

Nowhere in Nature can we find Things equal, save in death, One man must rule with thoughtful mind, One serve with panting breath.

The maples spread their foliage green To shade the grass below, Hills rise the lowly vales between Or streams would never flow.

A million creatures find a home Within a droplet's sphere, And giants through the woodlands roam While quakes the land in fear.

A tiny fall in music breaks Against the mountain's base, While roars an avalanche and shakes The whole world in its race.

One must be weak and one be strong, One huge, another small,

Fleurs de lys and other poems - 10/16

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