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Ah, what shall we say then but that earth threatened often

Shall live on forever that such things may be,
That the dry seed shall quicken, the hard earth shall soften,

And the spring-bearing birds flutter north o'er the sea,

That earth's garden may bloom round my love's feet and me? We especially recommend our readers to note the English of these lines. Indeed the whole poem is a study of language.

The play opens in the court of King Pharamond. Oliver, his foster-father, laments to the lords of the court that the king has fallen a prey to a sort of dreamy melancholy, from which all his attempts to rouse him, by taking him out to hunt, or to tilting, or to sit in judgment, are ineffectual. Pharamond presently enters, and dismissing the lords, calls Oliver with him into the garden. This closes the first act. The chorus sings of the stealthy springing up of love in the heart, and Love, coming forward, relates that he has chosen Pharamond for a special reason to manifest his might in him.

We are then shown Pharamond and Oliver in the garden, and the king relates how at diverse times he has had a vision, or his spirit has been rapt into an unknown land, a valley between rocky walls, where he has seen a maiden for whom he has ever since been pining in love,

As my twin-sister, young of years was she and slender,
Yellow blossoms of spring-tide her hands had been gathering,
But the gown-lap that held them had fallen adown
And had lain round her feet with the first of the singing ;
Now her singing had ceased, though yet heaved her bosom
As with lips lightly parted and eyes of one seeking
She stood face to face with the Love that she knew not,
The love that she longed for and waited unwitting;
She moved not, I breathed not - till lo, a horn winded,
And she started, and o'er her came trouble and wonder,
Came pallor and trembling ; came a strain at my heart-strings,
As bodiless there I stretched hands towards her beauty,
And voiceless cried out as the cold mist swept o'er me.
Then again clash of arms, and the morning watch calling,
And the long leaves and great twisted trunks of the chestnuts,
As I sprang to my feet and turned round to the trumpets
And gathering of spears and unfolding of banners

That first morn of my reign and my glory's beginning. We hardly need call our reader's attention to the structure of these verses, which is that of the whole dialogue. Those acquainted with the old English alliterative measures will note the freer handling, and also the introduction of the new series of alliterants before the former is completed, thus braiding the verse together as is done in the rhyme of the Italian terza rima.

As my twin sister, young of years was she and slender,
Yellow blossoms of spring-tide her hands had been gathering,
But the gown-lap that held them had fallen adown

And had lain round her feet with the first of the singing. But to come back to the story: Pharamond avers that his love and longing have ever grown on him, and now that he has seen her in vision weeping and pining, he has resolved to wander through the world until he finds her. To this plan Oliver, who has no other wish in life than to make his foster-son happy, accedes and provides the means of departure.,

The music then descants on the sufferings of love, and yet declares them, if consoled by visions or hopes of the beloved, to be sweeter than all that the world prizes. Love appears, “ clad as a maker of pictured cloths," and explains how he has led on Pharamond with visions, and in the heart of the maiden of his vision has poured vague love-longing

In the next scene Pharamond and Oliver, in a forest, recount the adventures and sufferings that have befallen them in their four years' pilgrimage. The music - very sweet here — tells of love's disappointment, and inspires hope of a happy ending

Love introduces the next scene, bearing “a cup of bitter drink,” pities the sufferings of his servant, and promises greater bliss for all ihat he has endured. Pharamond and Oliver are found in a valleythe last land — but know not where they are ; and the king, exhausted and almost hopeless, thinks his end is nigh. While he sleeps, Oliver goes to find some help. The music closes the scene with a strong major movement full of encouragement and hopefulness.

Love appears as a pilgrim, telling that the trial is over, and then passing to the stage, awakens Pharamond and talks with him, drawing him back to life. The king looks about him and recognises the land of his vision. A voice is heard singing and drawing nearer. The song we give in full — the music accompanies it

Dawn talks to day

Over dew-gleaming flowers,
Night flies away

Till the resting of hours ;
Fresh are thy feet

And with dreams thine eyes glistening,
Thy still lips are sweet

Though the world is a-listening.
O Love, set a word in my mouth for our meeting,
Cast thine arms round about me to stay my heart's beating!

O fresh day, O fair day, O long day made ours !

Morn shall meet noon,

While the flower-stems yet move,
Though the wind dieth soon

And the flowers fade above.
Loved lips are thine

As I tremble and hearken;
Bright thine eyes shine

Though the leaves thy brow darken.
O Love, kiss me into silence lest no word avail me,
Stay my head with thy bosom lest breath and life fail me !

O sweet day, () rich day, made long for our love!

Late day shall greet eve,

And the full blossoms shake,
For the wind will not leave

The tall trees while they wake.
Eyes soft with bliss

Come nigher and nigher !
Sweet mouth I kiss,

Tell me all thy desire !
Let us speak, love, together some words of our stcry
That our lips as they part may remember the glory !

O soft day, () calm day, made clear for our sake !

Eve shall kiss night

And the leaves stir like rain
As the wind stealeth light

O'er the grass of the plain.
Unseen are thine eyes.

'Mid the dreamy night's sleeping,
And on my mouth lies

The dear rain of thy weeping.
Hold silence, love, speak not of the sweet day departed,
Cling close to me, love, lest I waken sad-hearted !

© kind day, O dear day, short day come again ! Nothing could better illustrate than this lyric, which is indeed the flower of the whole poem, the essentially musical character on which we have insisted. Few readers will fail to appreciate its transcendent sweetness and melody - its beauty almost too subtle and fine to express in words. Yet if we subject it to intellectual analysis, it is surprising how little it yields. The four stanzas are like so many turns of a kaleidoscope, producing a lovely effect by the shifting arrangement of a few simple words. It will be seen that four periods of the day are indicated in the initial lines : (1) dawn talks to day (misprinted “to-day” in our copy]; (2) morn meets noon ; (3) late day greets eve ; (4) eve kisses night. Then the flowers and leaves are mentioned: (1) they gleam in dew; (2) they move slightly; (3) they shake ; (4) they stir "like rain." Then the wind, not mentioned in (1), in (2) is dying ; (3) moving the trees; (4) stealing over the grass. Then the loved one's eyes, which (1) glisten with dreams ; (2) shine under leaves ; (3) are soft with bliss ; (4) are unseen. Next the loved one's lips, which (1) are silent and sweet; (2) are speaking ; (3) are silent and kissed ; (4) the lover's own lips are moist with tears. In two of the stanzas the loved one is represented as speaking, and in two silent. This gives the germ of the epodic part, which (1) entreats the beloved to greet their meeting ; (2) begs to be kissed into silence; (3) craves some speech of love for after memory; (4) pleads for silence again. Finally the refrain, with slight change of words, gives the lovely day a rapturous greeting, or bids it a reluctant farewell. The reader should notice also, as characteristic, the indefiniteness and indistinctness of the whole. We do not know whether the verses represent the speech of man or maid, or of each alternately; flowers and trees are mentioned, but indefinitely; neither place, time, nor circumstance indicated — except in one touch: “the leaves thy brow darken”

to enable us to forin a visible picture to the fancy. All floats in the realm of sound.

But do we therefore undervalue this lyric because its materials are so slight? Not in the least ; we regard it, as we have said, as a song of transcendent loveliness, to which we can scarcely find a parallel. Intellectual analysis has no business with it: it addresses emotion, not thought, as music does. Had we room we might examine its rhythmical structure; but will only call attention to the passionate cry, “O Love, kiss me into silence !" where the rushing four syllables into the time of two is a true musical effect.

Azalais, the singer, and the maiden of the dream, enters and finds Pharamond sleeping. She sees how wan and wasted lie is, pities him, wonders if he is a lover, and love takes full possession of her heart. She dreads to awaken him :


If my hand touched thy hand
I should fear thee the less.- Ó sweet friend, forgive it,
My hand and my tears, for faintly they touched thee !
He trembleth and waketh not: ó me, my darling !
Hope whispers that thou hear'st me through sleep and wouldst waken,
But for dread that thou dreamest and I should be gone.
Doth it please thee in dreaming that I tremble and dread thee,
That those tears are the tears of one praying vainly,
Who shall pray with no word when thou hast awakened ?

Friend, I may not forbear : we have been here together ;
My hand on thy hand has been laid, and thou trembledst.
Think now,

if this May sky should darken above us,
And the death of the world in this minute should part us -
Think, my love, of the loss if my lips had not kissed thee,

And forgive me my hunger of no hope begotten ! Pharamond awakens to her kiss, recognises the maiden of his dreams, and the longing of both is fulfilled. Their words fall into the cadence of the music which follows in glad exultation.

A space of time is supposed to pass. Love appears, and lets us know that Pharamond and Oliver wish to see their native land again, to learn how the people fare, and whether they will welcome him back. The scene opens before Pharamond's palace. The King and Oliver converse, and we learn that the people have chosen a new king, Theobald, the former Constable of the realm, who is but the body of the kingship, a wise stranger, Honorius, his chief councillor, being the soul. Pharamond learns that he is forgotten of all his people, save a faithful few. He recalls the days and deeds of his royalty :

Yea, I was a king once ; the songs sung o'er my cradle
Were ballads of battle and deeds of my fathers :
Yea, I was King Pharamond ; in no carpeted court-room
Bore they the corpse of my father before me ;
But on grass trodden gray by the hoofs of the war-steeds
Did I kneel to his white lips and sword-cloven bosom,
As from clutch of dead fingers his notched sword I caught;

For a furlong before us the spear-wood was glistening. He recalls the time when he was firmly seated on the throne, a great king, loved and feared by all far and near, and yet he scarce valued his fame and fortune, for one thing he lacked, which he since has sought and found. Why should he stir up strife again, and war upon his own people, for what he prized so little? He sees King

Theobald and Honorius pass, and thinks their lot little to be envied.
Then his heart reverts to the land where his love is :-

O sweet wind of the night, wherewith now ariseth
The red moon through the garden boughs frail, overladen,
O faint murmuring tongue of the dream-tide triumphant,
That wouldst tell me sad tales in the times long passed over,
If somewhat I sicken and turn to your freshness,
From no shame it is of earth's tangle and trouble,
And deeds done for nought, and change that forgetteth;
But for hope of the lips that I kissed on the sea-strand,
But for hope of the hands that clung trembling about me,
And the breast that was heaving with words driven backward,
By longing I longed for, by pain of departing,
By my eyes that knew her pain, my pain that might speak not,

Yea, for hope of the morn when the sea is passed over,
And for hope of the next moon the elm-boughs shall tangle. ...
For hope of new wonder each morn, when I, waking,
Behold her awakened eyes turning to seek me ;
For hope of fresh marvels each time the world changing
Shall show her feet moving in noontide to meet me ;
For hope of fresh bliss, past all words, half forgotten,
When her voice shall break through the hushed blackness of night. ...

Breathe soft, O sweet wind, for surely she speaketh: “ Weary I wax, and my life is a-waning :

Life lapseth fast, and I faint for thee, Pharamond ;
What art thou lacking if Love no more sufficeth?”
– Weary not, sweet, as I weary to meet thee;
Look not on the long way, but my eyes that were weeping ;
Faint not in love as thy Pharamond fainteth

– Yea, Love were enough if thy lips were not lacking. The music, taking up again the key-note, Love is enough, bursts into a rapturous pæan to Love. We give two stanzas :

O hearken the words of his voice of compassion :

" Come cling round about me, ye faithful who sicken
Of the weary unrest and the world's passing fashion !

As the rain in mid morning your troubles shall thicken,

But surely within you some godhead doth quicken,
As you cry to me, heeding, and leading you home.
“Come — pain ye shall have, and be blind to the ending :

Come — fear ye shall have, ’mid the sky's overcasting :
Come — change ye shall have, for far are ye wending :

Come — no crown shall ye have for your thirst and your fasting,

But the kissed lips of Love and fair life everlasting Cry out, for one heedeth, who leadeth you home ! ” Love comes forward "holding a crown and palm-branch,” and epiloguises rather mystically. Then the hearers speak: the Emperor and Empress express their gratification and send gifts to the playerking and player-maiden. Giles and Joan chatter satisfaction, and plan to invite the player-lovers to their rural home, and thus the pageant dissolves away.

Our readers may perhaps think that we have devoted an excessive amount of attention to a little fanciful poem of not much more than a hundred pages. But they should bear in mind that the true poetry of any period has this importance, that it represents the general thoughts and feelings of that period — those which belong to all time. If we look back at the literature of the past, we find that it is the poetry rather than the prose that retains its hold upon the popular mind; and this is because in the poetry we find ourselves at once placed in natural and intelligible relations with the past on the basis of a common humanity. And any change in the current of general thought and feeling finds its first indication in the genuine poetry of the time; as a change of wind will be indicated by the movement of the light cirri in the upper regions of the air, before it is perceived on the surface of the earth. This little book we consider one of these cirri, foretokening such a shifting of the wind.

But apart from these considerations, it is a work of rare and delicate beauty. The expression is singularly chastened, and as a rule is kept at a lower tone than the thought, so as to give room to accent

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