your ease. She’s here
. Miss Mercome,
you will help him win The race, and will not count
my wager sin.” And he was gone; the pair
were face to face. “I’ll take the
oars,” he gasped; “we’ll win this
race.” He never felt his heart so in
his breast. “I hope you will forgive
my cousin’s jest?” A haughty murmur
was her sole reply. No rowers followed.
Never did swallows fly So swift, or dip the lake
like Gilbert’s oars. He was watchful,
careless she. “There soars A heron, quite
a feature of your state: Are gems and peacocks,
tell me, still in date? How deep the woods
upon the water steal, One to the other making soft
appeal!” “Not being human, wood and
water meet In their own speech, and soulless things
are sweet Together. So they are to me.
I like To watch the herons by the sedgy dike; They
keep me tranquil; and I love to feed The pike in
yon old pool; they help to lead— Why,
here is Martin’s Bridge, and yet no boats!
Shall we return?” Said Clara then, “There
floats A lily bed beyond; let’s shoot beneath
The bridge, and lilies pull; I want a wreath.”
He knew the channel narrow; it was dark; But his
heart leaped at this relenting mark. He drew
his oars up, pointed in the helm, And shot in the
cool gloom. He thought no realm On which the
sun had shone was half so bright. And somehow
Clara thought it nice as light. The waters
swirled so swift that in the noise Clara grew dizzy;
Gilbert lost his poise, And lost an oar; with a
confusing shock The boat was grinding—stopped
against a rock. “Gilbert, my dear, are
we not going down?” “Dearest, my love,
we were not born to drown. Oh, kiss me; we
are safe; and grant me now Yourself. I’ll
gather lilies for your brow; And Hugh will know
that I have won the race, And Clara, my dear wife,
her rightful place.”
Through the gorge of snow we go,
Tracking, tramping soft and slow,
With our paws and sheathed claws,
So we swing along the snow,
Crowding, crouching to your pipes—
Shining serpents! Well you know,
When your lips shall cease to blow
Airs that lure us through the snow,
We shall fall upon your race
Who do wear a different face.
Who were spared in yonder vale?
Not a man to tell the tale!
Blow, blow, serpent pipes,
Slow we follow:—all our troop—
Every wolf of wooded France,
Down from all the Pyrenees—
Shall they follow, follow you,
In your dreadful music-trance?
Mark it by our tramping paws,
Hidden fangs, and sheathed claws?
You have seen the robber bands
Tear men’s tongues and cut their
For ransom—we ask none—begone,
For the tramping of our paws,
Marking all your music’s laws,
Numbs the lust of ear and eye;
Or—let us go beneath the snow,
And silent die—as wolves should
THE ABBOT OF UNREASON.