The Germ eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about The Germ.



    “The jewels of our father, with washed eyes
    Cordelia leaves you.  I know you what you are
    And, like a sister, am most loth to tell
    Your faults, as they are named.  Use well our father: 
    To your professed bosoms I commit him. 
    But yet, alas!—­stood I within his grace,
    I would prefer him to a better place. 
    So farewell to you both.”

  Cordelia, unabashed and strong,
    Her voice’s quite scarcely less
  Than yester-eve, enduring wrong
  And curses of her father’s tongue,
    Departs, a righteous-souled princess;
  Bidding her sisters cherish him.

  They turn on her and fix their eyes,
    But cease not passing inward;—­one
  Sneering with lips still curled to lies,
  Sinuous of body, serpent-wise;
    Her footfall creeps, and her looks shun
  The very thing on which they dwell.

  The other, proud, with heavy cheeks
    And massive forehead, where remains
  A mark of frowning.  If she seeks
  With smiles to tame her eyes, or speaks,
    Her mouth grows wanton:  she disdains
  The ground with haughty, measured steps.

  The silent years had grown between
    Father and daughter.  Always she
  Had waited on his will, and been
  Foremost in doing it,—­unseen
    Often:  she wished him not to see,
  But served him for his sake alone.

  He saw her constant love; and, tho’
    Occasion surely was not scant,
  Perhaps had never sought to know
  How she could give it wording.  So
    His love, not stumbling at a want,
  Among the three preferred her first.

  Her’s is the soul not stubborn, yet
    Asserting self.  The heart was rich;
  But, questioned, she had rather let
  Men judge her conscious of a debt
    Than freely giving:  thus, her speech
  Is love according to her bond.

  In France the queen Cordelia had
    Her hours well satisfied with love: 
  She loved her king, too, and was glad: 
  And yet, at times, a something sad,
    May be, was with her, thinking of
  The manner of his life at home.

  But this does not usurp her mind. 
    It is but sorrow guessed from far
  Thro’ twilight dimly.  She must find
  Her duty elsewhere:  not resigned—­
    Because she knows them what they are,
  Yet scarcely ruffled from her peace.

  Cordelia—­a name well revered;
    Synonymous with truth and tried
  Affection; which but needs be heard
  To raise one selfsame thought endeared
    To men and women far and wide;
  A name our mothers taught to us.

  Like placid faces which you knew
    Years since, but not again shall meet;
  On a sick bed like wind that blew;
  An excellent thing, best likened to
    Her own voice, gentle, soft, and sweet;
  Shakpere’s Cordelia;—­better thus.

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The Germ from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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