The Fleshly School Controversy
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Buchanan and the Law

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Harriett Jay

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{The New Rome 1898}





JUPITER’S gutter-snipe! A shrill-tongued thing
     Running beside the blood-stain’d chariot wheels,
Crying “Hosannah to the pitiless King,
     The ravening Strength that neither spares nor feels!”

A slave that glorified the yoke and goad,
     Cast mud into the well of human tears,
Gibed at the Weak who perish on the road,
     Slain by the Law which neither heeds nor hears!

“All hail to the Eternal Might and Right,
     By which all life is sifted, slain, and shed!
Lord, make me hard like thee, that day and night
     I may approve thy ways, however dread!”

So cried he, while, indifferent to his cries,
     Nature’s triumphal Car went grinding past,—
And lo, the dust was blown into his eyes,
     And crush’d ’mid blood and mud, he sank at last.

Poor gutter-snipe! Answer’d with his own prayer,
     Back to primeval darkness he has gone;—
Only one living soul can help him there,
     The gentle human god he spat upon!





LOSE the last faith of all, and die indeed—
Keep that, and thou may’st live! When all the rest
Has faded like thy breath upon a mirror,
When all the thrones of all the gods have fallen,
When God himself remains not even a Name,
Gaze in the faces of thy fellow-men
For one last comfort. If those faces seem
Vacant and foul, if all Humanity
Assumes the blackness of thine own despair,
So that thou echoest the preacher’s cry
That Man is base as any drunkard’s dream,
Turn round into the darkness, veil thy face,
For thou art lost to all Eternity!

Now, when the Heavens are empty and no sign
Comes from the Eternal Silence, loudly still
The blind priest raves, and all the slaves of God
Shriek their approval. “Man,” they cry, “is evil,
Yea, canker’d thro’ and thro’ with Sin’s disease,
And cruelty, the aftermath of Sin;
In the beginning God stretched out a Hand
To heal him, but he thrust the Hand away
And hid his evil face in dust of lust,
And so is lost for ever, save for grace
Of Him he hath offended!” Lie of lies!
Yet how the hordes of madmen echo it,
Not knowing that they curse themselves and God,
Cursing the only thing that Death and Time                                           260
Spare and preserve Divine. In this dark world
What moves my wonder most is, not that Man
Is so accurst and warp’d from heavenly love,
But that, despite the pitfalls round his feet,
He falls into so few,—despite the hate
And anarchy of Nature, echoed on
In his own heartbeats, he can love so much!
He stumbles, being blind; he eateth dust,
Being fashion’d out of dust; flesh, he pursues
The instincts of the flesh; but evermore
He, struggling upward from the slough of shame,
Confronts the Power which made him miserable
And stands erect in love, a living Soul!

Doubt that, doubt all. I tell you I have walk’d
For many a weary year these wastes of woe,
And found beneath the shining of the sun
No creature wholly evil; nay, I have seen
Ev’n in the very dregs and filth of Sin
A power, a patience, and a gentleness
That put ev’n gods to shame. ’Twas long my custom
To haunt the byeways of great Towns by night,
Seeking for Souls,—and chiefly for the Souls
Of outcast women. (Man may save himself;
The world is not so leagued against mere Man,
But Woman is bound down a million-fold
By blinded generations, led alas!
By the Semitic Christ.) I have stood for hours
Watching the gin-shop’s bloodshot eyeballs flash,
Or with an aching hunger following
The shadows on the window of the brothel,
In hope to catch some glimmering of a waif                                         261
Whose message was to me. God gave to me
This gift,—to know at once, to recognise
Instantly, in a face-flash, as it were,
The creature I can help. All night my foot
Has troubled the dead silence of the slums,
Oft broken by the drunken mother’s shriek,
The dull sound of a blow, a body’s fall;
And when the cry of “murther” hath arisen,
My eyes have been the first to see, my hand
The first to raise, the bleeding mother’s form,
The children’s slaughter’d clay. My place has been
Under lone scaffolds in the dim grey dawn,
Watching Man’s murderers lead forth to death
The poor sick wretch with haggard eyes and knees
That knock together; and my wrath hath risen
In protestation deeper, if less loud,
Than the thief’s laughter and the rowdy’s oath
Beside me. I have wander’d like a ghost
Down shrouded walls of hideous Hospitals,
Following my quest from bloody bed to bed,
Each desecrated to man’s cruelty
And feminine corruption. I have seen
Such sorrow, such destruction, such despair,
That in the atmosphere these things exhaled
Reason hath totter’d, lost its throne, and swoon’d;
I know all sins woman or man can sin,
I know all viper-nests where such sins breed,
I mark the Tree of Evil root and branch,
And from the darkest bough that grows thereon
My hands have pluckt some precious human fruit;
My hands have gather’d flowers of heavenly light
And loveliness, that God, if God there be,                                           262
Will never leave to die!
Then, quit the depths,
And climb the heights, of life—what gracious flowers
Are growing gladly there! what deeds of grace
Attest the power and privilege of Love
To elude Heaven’s cruelty and Life’s caprice
And grow divine indeed!
                                         Here rests my faith,
The last fond faith of all: not far away
In the void Heavens up yonder, not on creeds
Upbuilded ’mid the ever-shifting sands,
Not in the Temples of God’s sycophants,
But here, among our fellows, down as deep
As the last rung of Hell!—So once again
I say my wonder is, not at Man’s sin,
But at his patience and beneficence!
How bravely, cheerfully, he bears the load
Nature hath left upon him! With what courage
He strangles one by one the snakes surrounding
His cradle and his grave! how brightly, gladly
He takes the little blessings as they come
And seeks with happy eyes the little Light!

Hate Man, and lo, thou hatest, losest God;
Keep faith in Man, and rest with God indeed.

And what if, after all, the God thou seekest
Were here, not yonder,—God in act to be,
To find and know Himself, for evermore?





NOW that our mirth is o’er, now that our Dream is done,
Now that a Hand creeps out across the heavenly blue
Putting the lights of Heaven out sadly one by one,
What dream beneath the moon, what hope beneath the sun
                   Shall our poor souls pursue?

Startled amid the feast we look around, and lo!
The Word of Doom that flames along Life’s palace walls—
The music dies away—the last musicians go—
(Bards with their golden harps, gods in their robes of snow)
                   And the dread Silence falls!

What is the word we read in wonder and despair?
ANARCHY! writ in flame for all our eyes to mark . . .
Rise,—put the wine cup by,—fly out into the air!
Ah, but the sunless void, the empty space, are there,
                   And all the Heavens are dark!

Nay, courage! droop thy gaze from yonder fading spheres,
With thy soft azure orbs gaze in these eyes of mine—
There, deep within the soul, a dim sweet light appears,
The glimmer of a Dawn that sparkles out thro’ tears,
                   Brightens, and seems divine!

Within us, not without, there gleams that lucent ray,                                      264
Flash’d from the Founts of Dawn, a glimmer of dewy light!
What tho’ the gods are dead? what tho’ the world grows grey?
Still clearer grows the dawn of some diviner Day
                   Transcending Death and Night.

ANARCHY? . . . ’tis the word that startles and appals.
LOVE! . . . ’tis the heavenly word that softly calls us hence!
Without, the red Word runs in fire on crumbling walls,
Yea, for the World is doom’d,—dark as a spent torch falls
                   This leaning tower o’ the sense!

Chaos and Night remain,—Death and the darkness blend—
Yet comfort! suns shall rise tho’ many a sun hath set:
This is the dawn of Hope, now all save Hope doth end—
Rest thy dear hand in mine, kneel with me and attend—
                   All is not over yet!

Deep in thy faithful eyes how bright the promise gleams,
Answering the first faint beams of that new Dawn above—
“Let there be LIGHT!” God said,—Light came in orient beams;
Again across the Void, faint as a voice in dreams,
                   God saith, “Let there be LOVE!”








               THE swift is wheeling and gleaming,
                   The brook is brown in its bed,
               Rain from the cloud is streaming,
                   And the Bow bends overhead:
The charm of the Winter is broken! the last of the spell is said!

               Out of the East one morning
                   Grey Winter came in sight,
               But his elves with never a warning
                   Had been at work all night,
Tinkling at trees and windows, and hanging the world in white.

               Up, with a foggy breathing,
                   His nose all red with cold,
               Round him the vapours wreathing,
                   O’er him the dark clouds rolled,
The greybeard came that morning, rheumy and blear’d and old!

               The sharp wind blew behind him,
                   The swift wind ran before,
               The thick snow tried to blind him,
                   His feet were chilly and sore:
You could hear his wheezing and coughing, a hundred miles and more!

               Slowly, with feet that linger’d                                                         268
                   Up the hills and down,
               Chilly-footed and finger’d,
                   He came to our good Town:
The fog was a robe around him, the frost had made him a crown.

               Woful he seem’d and weary,
                   As he the steeple spied,
               All look’d dull and dreary
                   Under it far and wide;
But when to the pond he wander’d, the boys were making a slide!

               Comforters warm and woollen,
                   Boots all thick and strong,
               With not a feature sullen
                   There they cried in a throng:
And the robin sat on the pailing, watching and singing a song!

               Then, seeing a sight so jolly,
                   Old Winter nodded his head,
               And drew out a bunch of holly
                   With berries all ripe and red,
And he waved the holly for magic, while down the slide they sped!

               And suddenly with no warning,
                   All at the pleasant sign,
               The bells rang out in the morning,
                   And the sun began to shine,—
And the host at the inn door chuckled, and all the world looked fine!

               . . . But now the earth is green again,                                             269
                   And the blue swift wheels in the air;
               Leaves on the hedges are seen again,
                   And the rain is rich and rare,
And all for another promise the Bow bends bright up there!

               The Bow bends out of the heaven,
                   Out of the cloud o’erhead,
               The hues in the Bow are seven,
                   From yellow to purple and red,—
Its foot on the churchyard resteth, bright on the graves of the Dead!

               The eel in the pond is quickening,
                   The grayling leaps in the stream,—
               What if the clouds are thick'ning,
                   See how the meadows gleam!
The spell of the Winter is shaken, the world awakes from a dream.

               The fir puts out green fingers,
                   The pear-tree softly blows,
               The rose in her dark bower lingers,
                   But her curtains will soon unclose,—
The lilac will shake her ringlets, over the blush of the rose!

               The swift is wheeling and gleaming,
                   The woods are beginning to ring,
               Rain from the clouds is streaming;
                   There, where the Bow doth cling,
Summer is smiling afar off, over the shoulder of Spring!





     THE swift winds run
     Under the sun
And under the silver moon,—
     They have taken away my little one—
May they bring him back to me soon!

     Ye winds, I trow
     I care not now
Though the sun hath tann’d him black,
     He is still my little one tho’ his brow
Be fierce as the wild sea-wrack;

     Tho’ his eyes be cold
     As the sea-caves old,
Tho’ his beard be dank wi’ foam,
     Tho’ he be waywarder twenty-fold,
Blow my little one home!

     O loud laugh’d he,
     As he went from me
To follow the Storms out there,—
     My boy that I rock’d upon my knee
And nurst with a widow’s prayer.

     He would not stay,                                                                        271
     And he sail’d away
To toss on the angry Sea,
     And when he return’d after many a day
A tall grim man was he!

     But evermore
     When he came on shore,
Despite his wayward will,
     The world grew bright and the angry roar
Of the sleepless Seas was still!

     Again in my breast
     Right glad and blest
The mother’s milk was stirred,—
     My heart grew glad as the Seas at rest
At a loving look or word.

     Run, winds, run
     Under the sun
And under the silver moon,—
     Follow the ship of my little one,
And hasten it homeward soon!

     There is nought for me
     On the land or sea,
Or even in Heaven up there,
     But the boy I rock'd upon my knee
And nurst with a widow’s prayer!

     Ye Winds, that be                                                                         272
     As wayward as he,
As restless and fierce and bold,
     Find him, and blow him again to me,
Now I am weary and old!

     Be he far or near,
     Let him shoreward steer,—
After him, swift winds, fly!
     Come back together, that I may hear
Your voices mingle, and die!







I’LL tell you, mates, how she came to sea!
     (Heave at the windlass! heave ho! cheerily)
She loved me, and I loved she,
     For she was the gel for a Sailor!
She hailed from Wapping, her name was Sue,
     And she was the daughter of a tailor,—
We parted at last, but without ado
She bought both jacket and breeches blue,
And aboard she came for to join our crew
     And live the life of a Sailor!



Heave at the windlass! yeo heave ho!
Up with the anchor! away we go!
The wind’s off the shore, boys,—let it blow,—
     Hurrah for the life of a Sailor!



Our Captain he eyed her from stem to starn
     (Heave at the windlass! heave ho! cheerily)
But nought of her secret could he discarn,
     For his savage jib couldn’t quail her.
But when she went for’ard among the rest                                           274
     Her heart began for to fail her,
So she took me aside and the truth confess’d,
With her face a-blushing on this ’ere breast,
And I stared and stared, and says I, “I’m blest!
     My Sue turn’d into a Sailor!”



Heave at the windlass! yeo heave ho!
Up with the anchor! away we go!
The wind’s at our back, boys,—let it blow,—

     Hurrah for the life of a Sailor!



Now we hadn't got far away from land
     (Heave at the windlass, heave ho! cheerily)
When a Mermaid rose with a glass in her hand,
     And our ship hove to for to hail her.
Says she, “Each wessel that looks on me,
     Man-o’-war, merchantman, or whaler,
Must sink right down to the bottom of the sea,
Where the dog-fish flies and the sea-snakes flee,
Unless a Wirgin on board there be
     To plead for the life of a Sailor!”



Heave at the windlass! yeo heave ho!
Up with the anchor! away we go!
The wind’s at our back, boys,—let it blow,—
     Hurrah for the life of a Sailor!



Then up jumped Sue with the breeches on!
     (Heave at the windlass, heave ho! cheerily)
You nasty hussy!” says she, “begone!”
     And the Mermaid’s cheeks grew paler!
“There’s a gel aboard and her name is Sue!
     A Wirgin, the daughter of a tailor,
Who’s more than a match for the likes of you!
At this the Mermaid looked werry blue,
And then, with a splash of her tail, withdrew,
     While Sue she embraced her Sailor!



Heave at the windlass! yeo heave ho!
Up with the anchor! away we go!
The wind’s at our back, boys,—let it blow,—
Hurrah for the life of a Sailor!






OUT there in the greenwood beneath a green willow,
     Or under a haystack, my lodging shall be, O!
The sky for a curtain, the earth for a pillow,
     The life of a Tramp is the life that suits me, O!
                         Sing derry down derry,
                         It’s glad and it’s merry! . . .
                         Thro’ the haze of the heat
                         Cattle low, lambkins bleat,
                         While (tweet a tweet tweet!)
                         The birds whistle sweet,
     And I lie on my back, right contented and free, O!
                         Sing derry down derry,
                         The life is so merry!
                         The life of a Tramp,
                         Be it dry, be it damp,
     Is a life for a King, and the right life for me, O!



Would I eat? there’s a spread in the turnip-field ready!
     Would I drink? there’s the cow standing under a tree, O!
Would I change with a lord? I’m not quite such a neddy!
     No, wealth and fine raiment are fiddlededee, O!
                         Sing derry down derry,
                         This life is most merry!
                         When it rains, let it rain!                                                       277
                         In the wood or the lane,
                         Snugly sheltered I lie
                         Till the shower passes by,—
     With patter of pearls on the daisy-deckt lea, O!
                         Then, derry down derry,
                         The sun shines out merry,—
                         And the heart of the Tramp,
                         Be he rogue, be he scamp,
     Leaps and laughs in the light, like a wave of the Sea, O!



And sometimes a-milking comes sun-freckled Molly,
     And after palaver sits down on my knee, O!
And I envy no lordling his finely drest dolly,
     When kisses like those can be mine, with no fee, O!
                         Thro’ the haze of the heat
                         Cattle low, lambkins bleat,
                         And the birds sing so sweet
                         While we kiss (tweet a tweet!),
     And the King and the Queen of the Meadows are we, O!
                         Sing derry down derry,
                         The life is so merry,—
                         The life of a Tramp
                         Beats the Court and the Camp,
     Be it day, be it night, ’tis the life that suits me, O!





OUT of the sinister caverns of Night,
     Out of the depths where the Hell-fires are glowing,
Cometh a cry, floating up to the Light,
     Here, where glad mortals are reaping and sowing:
“Night ever over us, blackness to cover us,
     Deeper we crawl than the graves of the Dead!
Sisters and brothers, whose fires burn so cheerily,
Fed by the coal that we work for so wearily,
     Give us, in God’s name, our wages of Bread!

“Hell burning under us, gnome-like we dwell,
     Store for your hearths ever scraping and scooping,
Stifling and thunderous vapours of Hell
     Blacken our mouths, where we’re stooping and drooping;
Terrors environ us, lest the fierce fire on us
     Leap, as it leapt on our kin who are sped!
Children and wives wait our wages and cry for them;
Eager to toil for them, ready to die for them,
     Darkly we grope for our handful of Bread!

“Sooner or later Death cometh this way,—
     Slain by his breathing our kindred are lying here!
Old ere our time, worn and weary and grey,
     Bear we the burthen that’s dreary as dying, here!
Pain is our portion here, gruesome our fortune here,
     Still we’re content when our dear ones are fed—                                     279
Sisters and brothers, while blindly and wearily
Ever we toil that your fires may burn cheerily,
     Give us, in God’s name, our guerdon of Bread!”

Out of the sinister caverns of Night,
     Out of the depths where these weary ones wander,
Cometh the cry, floating up to the Light,
     Up to the sunshine that never shines yonder:
“Night ever over us, blackness to cover us,
     Toil we for ever, less living than dead!—
Sisters and brothers, whose fires burn so cheerily,
Fed by the coal that we dig for so drearily,
     See that we lack not our wages of Bread!”





’TWAS clear, cold, starry, silver night,
     And the Old Year was a-dying;
Three pretty girls with melted lead
     Sat gaily fortune-trying.
They dropt the lead in water clear,
     With blushing palpitations
And, as it hissed, with fearful hearts
     They sought its revelations.

In the deep night, while all around
     The snow is whitely falling;                                                  [2:2]
Each pretty girl looks down to find                                            [2:3]
     Her future husband’s calling.
The eldest sees a Castle bright,                                                 [2:5]
     Girt round by shrubland shady;
And, blushing bright, she feels in thought
     A lady rich already.

The second sees a silver Ship,
     And bright and glad her face is;
Oh, she will have a skipper bold,
     Grown rich in foreign places!
The younger sees a glittering Crown,
     And starts in consternation;
For Molly is too meek to dream
     Of reaching regal station!

And time went by: one maiden got                                             281
     Her landsman, one her sailor—
The Lackey of a country count,
     The Skipper of a whaler!
And Molly has her Crown, although
     She unto few can show it—
Her crown is true-love fancy-wrought,
     Her husband, a poor Poet!


‘The Lead-Melting’ was originally published in Ballad Stories of the Affections: from the Scandinavian (1866) as a translation of a poem by the Danish writer, Claudius Rosenhoff (1804-69). The following significant alterations in the poem refer to this earlier version:
v. 2, l. 2: The snow was whitely falling,
v. 2, l. 3: Each pretty girl looked down to find
v. 2, l. 5: The eldest sees a castle grand ]








DEAR singing Brother, who so long
     Wore Galahad’s white robe of Fame,
     And kept it stainless like thy name
Thro’ dreary days of doubting song;

Who blest the seasons as they fell,
     Contented with the flowers they bring,
     Nor soar’d to Heaven on Milton’s wing,
Nor walked with Dante’s ghost thro’ Hell,

But rather chose to dream at ease
     With Keats ’mid ways thy gardener plan’d,
     Beside a mimic lake to stand
And see, just glimpsing thro’ the trees,

Thy marble statues brought from far,
     Dryad and Naiad white and still,
     And o’er the mead, above the hill,
The twinkle of the Cyprian star;

And on those plots of garden ground,
     Calm in thy sorrow and thy mirth,
     Leal to the Lords of Heaven and Earth,
Thou dwelledst grave and laurel-crown’d;

And peering down with curious eye,                                         286
     Polish’d with gentle art and long
     Thy faultless diamonds of song,
And let the windy world go by;

And heeded not the long despair
     Of souls that never see the sun,
     But to thy Maker cried “Well done,”
Since English pastures seemed so fair;

And from the hovel to the Throne
     Beheld one perfect order’d plan;
     And praised the Christ as God and Man
That wars were made and trumpets blown;

Yea, deem’d this later greater Rome
     Supremely just and surely wise,
     And shut thine ears against the cries
Of races slain beyond the foam

That this our Empire might increase
     And this our Rome have silk and gold,—
     Nor heard across the blood-stain’d fold
The Butcher-Shepherds crying, “Peace!”

Nor saw the thousand martyrs bowed
     Beneath the chariots of the Strong,
     But with thy wreaths of martial song
Didst grace the triumphs of the Proud!

Forgive, if to thy tomb I bring                                                    287
     No garland such as maidens twine,
     But in the verse that Art made thine
Proffer a votive offering!

For tho’ my soul was passion-rent,
     I knew thee good and kind and great,
     And prayed that no unkindly fate
Might ever mar thy mild content!

I loved thy pleachëd English lawn,
     Thy gracious girls, thy pastoral lyre,
     Nay, even thy Church and slender spire
Pointing at Heaven so far withdrawn!

And often have I prayed to be
     As calm, as much at peace with God,—
     Not moaning underneath His rod,
But smiling at His feet, with thee!

Wherefore accept these songs of mine,
     For I, being lesson’d long in grief,
     Believe despite my unbelief,
Although my faith is far from thine!







AT Dusseldorf in the Bolkerstrass’,
     In seventeen hundred and ninety-nine,
A mystical meeting there came to pass,
     All in the pale moonshine.

From every mountain and meadow-sward,
     From every forest around the Town,
While the Mayor and the Corporation snored,
     The Elves came trooping down!

And busily down in the silent street,
     Under the windows, they flitted there,—
The Will-o’-the-Wisp and the Fay so fleet
     And the Troll with his tangled hair;

Yea, all the spirits, black, blue, and red,
     Which philosophy long had driven away—
From the white Undine with her starry head
     To the Gnome and the Goblin grey.

And they cried, “Of dulness the world is sick,
     And the realistic reign hath passed—
And the hour hath come (if we are but quick!)
     To revenge our wrongs at last—

“For Man the mortal hath grown so wise,                                            289
     To Heaven he thrusteth his bumptious brow—
He believes in nothing beneath the skies
     But the ‘ich’ and the ‘nicht ich,’ now!

“Too grave to laugh and too proud to play,
     And full of a philosophic spleen,
He walks the world in his browsing way,
     Like a jackass on a green.

“He deems us slain with the creeds long dead,
     He stalks sole Master of earth and skies—
But we mean, ere many an hour hath fled,
     To give him a slight surprise!”

And at Dusseldorf, as the moon sail’d by,
     When the City slept and the streets were still,
The Elves at the trick they meant to try
     Laughed out full loud and shrill.



Children by millions has Deutschland born,
     With brains to ponder and mouths to eat,
But the strangest child saw light next morn
     In Dusseldorf, Bolker Street!

Dim was his brow with the moon-dew dim,
     Large his eyes and of lustre clear,
And he kick’d his legs with a laughter grim
     Smiling from ear to ear.

A cry like the cry of the Elves and Gnomes                                         290
     Went up from the breast on which he lay,
And he pucker’d his eyes and he showed his gums
     In the wonderful Elfin way.

But his hair was bright as the sweet moonlight,
     And his breath was sweet as the breath of flowers,
And looking up, on a starry night,
     He would lie and laugh for hours!

And the human mother who watched his rest
     Did love the smile of his small weird face,
While he drank, with the white milk of her breast,
     A loving and human grace.

But night by night in the mystic shine
     The spirits of meadow and mountain came,
And moisten’d his lips with the Elfin wine
     And whisper’d his Elfin name!

For the Elves and Gnomes had played their trick,
     Despite the Philosophers grim and grey—
And a Gnome was growing, alive and quick,
     With a body and legs of clay!



He drank the seasons from year to year,
     And at last he grew to the height of man;
And at Hamburg, the City of girls and beer,
     The goblin-sport began.

For up he leapt in the crowded street,                                                 291
     All crown’d with ivy, and leaves, and flowers,
And began a magical song, full sweet,
     Of the wonderful Elfin bowers.

He sang of the pale Moon silvern shod,
     The Stars and the Spirits that feed their flame;
(But where others utter the praise of God
     He smiled, and he skipt the Name).

Sweet as the singing of summer eves
     He sang in the midst of the wondering folk,
And they saw the dew of the flowers and leaves
     On his white lips as he spoke!

And he told of the beautiful woodland things
     Who glimmer naked without a blush,
And he mimick’d the little birds with wings,
     The lark, and the finch, and the thrush!

He told of the knight in the Pixy’s cave
     Who sits like marble and hears her croon;
Of the Water-spirits beneath the wave
     Who wail to the weary Moon.

Wan were the faces of those that heard;
     They sighed for the mystical Elfin time;
And they stood in a dream, with their spirits stirred
     To the thrill of that runic rhyme!

But ever, just as the spell was done,                                                    292
     He laughed as shrill as a bugle horn;
And they rubbed their eyes in the garish sun
     To the sound of the Goblin’s scorn!



Then over the Earth the tidings went,
     To the Kings above and the crowds below,
That a Gnome, a magical Gnome, was sent
     To play his pranks below.

“All things that are holy in mortal sight,”
     Quoth those that gathered his pranks to see,
“He turns, with a scrutiny mock-polite,
     To a goblin glamourie!

“He dances his dance in the dark church-aisle,
     He makes grimaces behind Earth’s Kings,
He mocks, with a diabolical smile,
     The highest and holiest things.

“He jeers alike at our gain and loss,
     He turns our faith to a goblin joke;
He perches himself on the wayside Cross
     To grin at the kneeling folk!

“He cutteth off our Madonna’s head
     With golden hair and red lips beneath,
And he sets on the fair one’s throat instead
     A skull and grinning teeth!

“Full of flowers are his eager hands                                                     293
     As by Eve or Lilith he lies caressed,
But he laughs! and they turn to ashes and sands,
     As he rains them upon her breast!

“Nothing he spares ’neath the sad blue Heaven,
     All he mocks and regards as vain;
Nothing he spares—not his own love even,
     Or his own despair and pain!”



Then some one (surely the son of a goose!)
     Cried, “Send the Philosophers after him!
’Tis an ignis fatuus broken loose,
     Or a Goblin wicked and grim.

“For his sweetest sport is with sacred Kings,
     Of their holy persons he makes a game;
And he strips our Queens of their splendid things
     And shows their naked shame!

“He tricks the world in a goblin revel,
     He turns all substance to flowers and foam;
Nothing he spares—not the very Devil,
     Or even the Pope of Rome!”

The Philosophers came, those wondrous men!
     They fronted the Gnome in his elfin glee,
And they proved to demonstration, then,
     He wasn’t, and couldn’t be!

And they showed him how in equation clear                                        294
     The Being and Being-not exist,
And they proved that the only Actual here
     In the Werden must consist. *

They prodded his ribs with their finger-points,
     Proving he was not a fact at all;—
And the Gnome laughed madly thro’ all his joints
     And uttered his Elfin call.

Around them the Goblin glamour grew,
     They turned to Phantoms and gazed askance,
And he sprinkled their brows with the moonlight dew
     And led them a Devil’s dance!

They skipt along at his wicked beck,
     He left them, fool’d to their hearts’ content—
Each in his quagmire, up to the neck,
     Deep in the argument!

* See Hegel passim.



But the hand of the Human was on the Gnome,
     The lot he had chosen he must fulfil;—
So a cry went out, over land and foam,
     That the wonderful Gnome was ill.

Philosophers grey and Kings on their thrones
     Smiled and thought “He was long our pest;
Our plague is sick—on his wicked bones
     The blight and the murrain rest!”

In Paris, the City of Sin and Light,                                                       295
     In Matignon Avenue No. 3,
Propt on his pillows he sat — a sight
     Most pitiful to see!

For his cheeks were white as his own moonshine,
     And his great head roll’d with a weary pain,
And his limbs were shrunk, while his wondrous eyne
     Shone with a sad disdain.

A skeleton form, with a thin white hand,
     He lay alone in the chamber dim;
But he beckon’d and laugh’d—and all the land
     Of Faëry flock’d to him!

Thro’ his chamber window, when all was still,
     When Mathilde was sound, and Cocotte was dumb, *
On the moonbeam pale, o’er the window sill,
     Thronging he saw them come!

In the City of absinthe and unbelief,
     The Encyclopćdia’s sceptic home,
Fairies and Trolls, with a gentle grief,
     Surrounded the sickly Gnome.

But at break of day, when Mathilde awoke
     And the parrot screamed, they had fled from there;
While the sunrise red on the boulevard broke
     The pale Gnome dozed in his chair.

But his eyes looked up with a mystic light,                                          296
     And his lips still laughed in the Elfin way,
And the dew of the Vision he saw all night
     Was dim on his cheek all day!

* Mathilde was the name of Madame Heine; Cocotte that of her pet parrot.



In sad Montmartre there stands a tomb,
     Where the wonderful Gnome is lain asleep;
And there, in the moonlight and the gloom,
     The Spirits of Elfland creep!

The lot of the Human was on his life;
     He knew the sorrow of human breath;—
The bitter fret and the daily strife,
     And the cruel human Death.

But the Spirit that loves all shining things,
     The shapes of woodland and hill and stream,
The flowers, and the wonderful birds with wings,
     And the Dream within the Dream,—

The gentle Spirit looked down and said,
     “He hath drunk the mortal passion and pain;
Let the balm of a mortal Sleep be shed
     On his weary heart and brain.”

And that is the reason he wakens not,
     Tho’ ever and ever, at pale Moonrise,
The spirits of Elfland haunt the spot
     Where “HEINRICH HEINE” lies.



The New Rome continued

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The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law


The Critical Response
Harriett Jay


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