Morris. No, but I will: after to-night I’ll see You take no harm. And as for him, I’ll smash him.
Jean. Yes, break the devil’s ribs,—I mean,—O leave me; I’m all distraught.
Good night, Jean. My name’s Morris.
Good night, Morris—dear. O I must thank you.
[She suddenly kisses him.
Perhaps,—perhaps, you’ll think that wicked of me?
You wicked? O how silly!—But—good night.
Jean. The man, the man! What luck! My soul, what luck!
JEAN by herself, undressing.
Yes, he’s the man. Jean, my girl, you’re done for,
At last you’re done for, the good God be thankt.—
That was a wonderful look he had in his eyes:
’Tis a heart, I believe, that will burn marvellously!
Now what a thing it is to be a girl!
Who’ld be a man? Who’ld be fuel for fire
And not the quickening touch that sets it flaming?—
’Tis true that when we’ve set him well alight
(As I, please God, have set this Morris burning)
We must be serving him like something worshipt;
But is it to a man we kneel? No, no;
But to our own work, to the blaze we kindled!
O, he caught bravely. Now there’s nothing at all
So rare, such a wild adventure of glee,
As watching love for you in a man beginning;—
To see the sight of you pour into his senses
Like brandy gulpt down by a frozen man,
A thing that runs scalding about his blood;
To see him holding himself firm against
The sudden strength of wildness beating in him!
O what my life is waiting for, at last
Is started, I believe: I’ve turned a man
To a power not to be reckoned; I shall be
Held by his love like a light thing in a river!
MORRIS by himself.
It is a wonder! Here’s this poor thing, Life,
Troubled with labours of the endless war
The lusty flesh keeps up against the spirit;
And down amid the anger—who knows whence?—
Comes Love, and at once the struggling mutiny
Falls quiet, unendurably rebuked:
And the whole strength of life is free to serve
Spirit, under the regency of Love.
The quiet that is in me! The bright peace!
Instead of smoke and dust, the peace of Love!
Truly I knew not what a turmoil life
Has been, and how rebellious, till this peace
Came shining down! And yet I have seen things,
And heard things, that were strangely meaning this,—
Telling me strangely that life can be all
One power undisturbed, one perfect honour,—
Waters at noonday sounding among hills,
Or moonlight lost among vast curds of cloud;—
But never knew I it is only Love
Can rule the noise of life to heavenly quiet.
Ah, Jean, if thou wilt love me, thou shalt have
Never from me upon thy purity
The least touch of that eager baseness, known,
For shame’s disguising, by the name of Love
Most wickedly; thou shalt not need to fear
Aught from my love, for surely thou shalt know
It is a love that almost fears to love thee.