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To pierce another. Oh, 'tis written large
The thing I have to do.
The saints were cowards who stood by to see
Christ crucified : they should have flung themselves
Upon the Roman spears, and died in vain-
The grandest death, to die in vain-for love
Greater than sways the forces of the world !
Father, my soul is weak, the mist of tears
Still rises to my eyes, and hides the goal
Which to your undimmed sight is clear and changeless.
But if I cannot plant resolve on hope
It will stand firm on certainty of woe.
I choose the ill that is most like to end
With my poor being. Hopes have precarious life.
They are oft blighted, withered, snapped sheer off
In vigorous growth and turned to rottenness.
But faithfulness can feed on suffering,
And knows no disappointment. Trust in me!
If it were needed, this poor trembling hand
Should grasp the torch-strive not to let it fall
Though it were burning down close to my flesh,
No beacon lighted yet : through the damp dark
I should still hear the cry of gasping swimmers.
Father, I will be true !
Don Silva.—What am I but a miserable brand
Lit by mysterious wrath ? I lie cast down
A blackened branch upon the desolate ground
Where once I kindled ruin. I shall drink
No cup of purest water but will taste
Bitter with thy lone hopelessness, Fedalma
Fedalma.—Nay, Silva, think of me as one who sees
A light serene and strong on one sole path
Which she will tread till death ....
He trusted me, and I will keep his trust : .
My life shall be its temple. I will plant
His sacred hope within the sanctuary
And die its priestess—though I die alone,
A hoary woman on the altar step,
Cold ’mid cold ashes. That is my chief good. ' .
The deepest hunger of a faithful heart .
Is faithfulness. Wish me nought else.
Comes like a deluge and o'erfloods our crimes,
Till sin is hidden in woe. You—1—we two,
Grasping we knew not what, that seemed delight,
Opened the sluices of that deep.
Don Silva. Dear! you share the woeNay, the worst dart of vengeance fell on you.
Fedalma.—Vengeance ! she does but sweep us with
She takes large space, and lies a baleful light
Revolving with long years—sees children's children,
Blights them in their prime . . . Oh, if two lovers
To breathe one air and spread a pestilence,
They would but lie two livid victims dead
Amid the city of the dying. We
With our poor petty lives have strangled one
That ages watch for vainly.
Oh, I am sick at heart. The eye of day,
The insistent summer sun, seems pitiless,
Shining in all the barren crevices
Of weary life, leaving no shade, no dark,
Where I may dream that hidden waters lie ;
As pitiless as to some shipwrecked man,
Who, gazing from his narrow shoal of sand
On the wide unspecked round of blue and blue,
Sees that full light is errorless despair.
The insects' hum that slurs the silent dark
Startles, and seems to cheat me, as the tread
Of coming footsteps cheats the midnight watcher
Who holds her heart and waits to hear them pause,
And hears them never pause, but pass and die.
Music sweeps by me as a messenger
Carrying a message that is not for me.
The very sameness of the hills and sky
Is obduracy, and the lingering hours
Wait round me dumbly, like superfluous slaves,
Of whom I want nought but the secret news
They are forbid to tell.
(To Silva.)—We may not make this world a paradise
By walking it together hand in hand,
With eyes that meeting feed a double strength.
We must be only joined by pains divine
Of spirits blent in mutual memories.
Silva, our joy is dead.
... We must walk
Apart unto the end. Our marriage rite
Is our resolve that we will each be true
To high allegiance, higher than our love.
Our dear young love—its breath was happiness!
But it had grown upon a larger life
Which tore its roots asunder. We rebelled-
The larger life subdued us. Yet we are wed;
For we shall carry each the pressure deep
Of the other's soul.
Silva. Juan, cease thy song.
Our whimpering poesy and small-paced tunes
Have no more utterance than the cricket's chirp
For souls that carry heaven and hell within.
True, my lord, I chirp For lack of soul; some hungry poets chirp For lack of bread. 'Twere wiser to sit down And count the star-seed, till I fell asleep With the cheap wine of pure stupidity.
I'm a plucked peacock-even my voice and wit
Without a tail !—why, any fool detects
The absence of your tail, but twenty fools
May not detect the presence of your wit.
Hem ! taken rightly, any single thing,
The Rabbis say, implies all other things.
A knotty task, though, the unravelling
Meum and Tuum from a saraband :
It needs a subtle logic, nay, perhaps
"A good large property, to see the thread.
Our nimble souls Can spin an insubstantial universe Suiting our mood, and call it possible, Sooner than see one grain with eye exact And give strict record of it. Yet by chance Our fancies may be truth and make us seers. 'Tis a rare teeming world, so harvest-full, Even guessing ignorance may pluck some fruit.