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And, glassed therein, our spirits high
Be pitiful, O God!
13. We sit on hills our childhood wist,
Be pitiful, O God!
We have no strength for crying.:
BE PITIFUL, O GOD!
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, an English poetess, and one of the greatest, if not the greatest, was born in London, in 1809. Educated with great care, she became a ripe scholar, uniting remarkably the distinctive characteristics of the masculine understanding and the feminine heart. She began to write at a very early age for periodicals. Her first volume of poems appeared in 1826. She became the wife of Robert Browning in 1846. She died at Florence, the principal residence of the Brownings for several years, June 29th, 1861. Her range of subjects was wide. Her genius grew apace, every new performance giving better promise for the next. She abounded in figures, strong and striking, in happy conceits, and successful expressions. She knew the true art of choosing words, a large per cent. of them being Saxon. Of her numerous poems, probably none surpasses "Aurora Leigh,” a narrative poem in 9 books, published in 1856.
181. THE RAVEN.
NCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lōre— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber-door. "Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber-doorOnly this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain, Thrilled me- -filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, ""Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber-door,Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber-door; That it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer,
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word "Lenore!"
This I whisper'd,and an echo murmured back the word, "LENORE!" Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window-lattice;
Let me see then what thereat is, and this mystery explore,Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore ;'Tis the wind, and nothing more."
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wōre, "Though thy crest be shōrn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore,
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore ?" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
But the raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he utter'd-not a feather then he flutter'dTill I scarcely more than mutter'd, "Other friends have flown
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before." Then the bird said, "Nevermore !"
Startled at the stillness, broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Follow'd fast and follow'd faster, till his songs one burden bōre,—
But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust, and door,
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yōre— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore!"
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
Swung by seraphim, whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee-by these angels
he hath sent thee
Respite-respite and nepenthe' from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore !"
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!-prophet still, if bird or devil!
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!-prophet still, if bird or devil! By that heaven that bends above us-by that God we both ådōre,
1 Ne pěn' the, a drug or medicine that relieves pain and exhilarates.
Tell this soul, with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,' It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenōre; Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore!" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!-quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore !"
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted-NEVERMORE!
EDGAR A. POE.
• 182. THE SARACEN BROTHERS.
TTENDANT. A stranger craves admittance to your
Saladin. Whence comes he?
Atten. That I know not.
1 Aidenn, from Aïdès, a name preferred by the poets for Hades. In Homer, Aïdès is invariably the name of the god; but in latter times it was
transferred to his house, his abode, or kingdom, so that it became a name in quite general use for the nether world.