That seemed to say ’twas minded
him to greet.
He took it up, unknowing what it meant;
And soon his thoughts pursued their former bent.
Of far-off, sombre German woods he dreamed;
He saw the waving tree-tops of the north,
He saw the comrades to their tryst go forth.
Each word true as their own sharp weapons seemed,
As much for friendship as for war their worth.
Then thought he of his wife; he saw her sit
In all the glory of her golden hair
Before their hut, whirling the spindle there
Send forth her thoughts across the leagues to flit
And reach him here. In that same woodland shrine
A merry boy was carving his first spear,
His blue eyes flashing boldly in scorn of fear,
As though he said—“A sword—the world is mine!”
Then swift he saw another vision come
Unbidden, hide the pictures of his home,
Press on his soul with irresistible might—
How once, far in the East, he stood to guard
The cross where hung a Man with visage marred—
And at His death the sun was plunged in night.
Long since, that day had faded in the West;
Yet could he ne’er the Sufferer’s look forget—
The deep abyss of infinite sorrow, and yet
The fulness of all blessing it expressed.
Now (what could this portend?) to his old home
He saw that cross a conquering symbol come;
And lo, the assembled tribes of all his race
Innumerable moved, and o’er their host
On all their banners, as their proudest boast,
The same Man’s image, a glory round His face ...
Sudden he started; from the halls above
Came harsh, quick shouts—the lord of the world was dead!
Awe struck the soldier stared where dawn hung red,
And saw the Future’s mighty curtain move.
* * * * *
[Footnote 1: Permission Macmillan and Co., New York, and George Bell & Sons, Ltd., London.]
[Footnote 2: Or in Goethe:
“Zuschlagen kann die Masse,
Da ist sie respektabel;
Urteilen gelingt ihr miserabel.”]
[Footnote 3: The Dial, Vol. II, No. 1.]
[Footnote 4: Cf. Fanny Tarnow (1835), Z. Funck (1836), and Otto Berdrow, 2d Edition, 1902, p. 338 seq.]
[Footnote 5: This is Rahel’s expression, the tribute of admiration forced from the childless woman fresh from the Berlin salons, by the spectacle of Bettina romping with her children in the nursery.]
[Footnote 6: Cf. Herman Grimm, Briefwechsel, 3 Aug. 1881, s. XVII: “For her circle of relatives and friends in the descending line, Bettina has remained a near relative of a higher order.”]
[Footnote 7: James Freeman Clarke’s estimate of Margaret Fuller and her influence (Memoirs, I, 97) supplies interesting, though not specific confirmation of the point of view here suggested.]