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XXVI.

So Willy has gone, my beauty, my eldest-born, my

flower; But how can

Í

weep for Willy, he has but gone for an hour,Gone for a minute, my son, from this room into the

next; I, too, shall go in a minute. What time have I to

be vext?

XXVII.

wise.

And Willy's wife has written, she never was overGet me my glasses, Annie: thank God that I keep

my eyes. There is but a trifle left you, when I shall have past

away. But stay with the old woman now: you cannot have

long to stay

:

SEA DREAMS. AN IDYL.

A CITY clerk, but gently born and bred;
His wife-an unknown artist's orphan child-
One babe was theirs, a Margaret, three years old ;
They, thinking that her clear germander eye
Droopt in the giant-factoried city-gloom,
Came, with a month's leave given them, to the sea
For which his gains were dock’d, however small :
Small were his gains, and hard his work; besides,
Their slender household fortunes (for the man
Had risk'd his little), like the little thrift,
Trembled in perilous places o'er a deep :
And oft, when sitting all alone, his face
Would darken, as he cursed his credulousness,

And that one unctuous mouth which lured him,

rogue, To buy strange shares in some Peruvian mine. Now seaward-bound for health they gain'd a coast, All sand and cliff and deep-inrunning cave, At close of day; slept, woke, and went the next, The Sabbath, pious variers from the church, To chapel; where a heated pulpiteer, Not preaching simple Christ to simple men, Announced the coming doom, and fulminated Against the scarlet woman and her creed : For sideways up he swung his arms, and shriek'd “ Thus, thus with violence,” ev'n as if he held The Apocalyptic millstone, and himself Were that great Angel; “Thus with violence Shall Babylon be cast into the sea ; Then comes the close.” The gentle-hearted wife Sat shuddering at the ruin of a world ; He at his own : but when the wordy storm Had ended, forth they came and paced the shore, Ran in and out the long sea-framing caves, Drank the large air, and saw, but scarce believed (The sootflake of so many a summer still Clung to their fancies) that they saw,

the sea. So now on sand they walk’d, and now on cliff, Lingering about the thymy promontories, Till all the sails were darken’d in the west, And rosed in the east: then homeward and to bed. Where she, who kept a tender Christian hope Haunting a holy text, and still to that Returning, as the bird returns, at night, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” Said, “ Love, forgive him :" but he did not speak, And silenced by that silence lay the wife, Remembering her dear Lord who died for all, And musing on the little lives of men, And how they mar this little by their feuds.

But while the two were sleeping, a full tide

Rose with ground-swell, which, on the foremost

rocks Touching, upjetted in spirts of wild sea-smoke, And scaled in sheets of wasteful foam, and fell In vast sea-cataracts -ever and anon Dead claps of thunder from within the cliffs Heard thro' the living roar. At this the babe, Their Margaret, cradled near them, wail'd and

woke The mother, and the father suddenly cried, “A wreck, a wreck!” then turn'd, and groaning said,

“Forgive! How many will say, “forgive,' and find
A sort of absolution in the sound
To hate a little longer! No; the sin
That neither God nor man can well forgive,
Hypocrisy, I saw it in him at once.
Is it so true that second thoughts are best?
Not first, and third, which are a riper first ?

Too ripe, too late! they come too late for use.
Ah love, there surely lives in man and beast
Something divine to warn them of their foes :
And such a sense, when first I fronted him,
Said, 'trust him not;' but after, when I came
To know him more, I lost it, knew him less ;
Fought with what seem'd my own uncharity ;
Sat at his table; drank his costly wines;
Made more and more allowance for his talk;
Went further, fool! and trusted him with all,
All my poor scrapings from a dozen years
Of dust and deskwork: there is no such mine,
None; but a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold,
Not making. Ruin'd! ruin'd! the sea roars
Ruin : a fearful night!”

“ Not fearful; fair,”
Said the good wife,“ if every star in heaven
Can make it fair : you do but hear the tide.
Had you ill dreams ?”

“ yes,” he said, “I dream'd Of such a tide swelling toward the land, And I from out the boundless outer deep Swept with it to the shore, and enter'd one Of those dark caves that run beneath the cliffs. I thought the motion of the boundless deep Bore through the cave, and I was heaved upon

it In darkness: then I saw one lovely star Larger and larger. What a world,' I thought, * To live in !' but in moving on I found Only the landward exit of the cave, Bright with the sun upon the stream beyond: And near the light a giant woman sat, All over earthy, like a piece of earth, A pickaxe in her hand : then out I slipt Into a land all sun and blossom, trees As high as heaven, and every bird that sings : And here the night-light flickering in my eyes Awoke me.”

“ That was then your dream,” she said, “ Not sad, but sweet.”

“ So sweet, I lay,” said he, “ And mused upon it, drifting up the stream In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced Tho broken vision; for I dream'd that still The motion of the great deep bore me on, And that the woman walk'd upon the brink: I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her of it: • It came,' she said, " by working in the mines:' O then to ask her of my shares, I thought; And ask'd ; but not a word ; she shook her head. And then the motion of the current ceased, And there was rolling thunder; and we reach'd A mountain, like a wall of burs and thorns; But she with her strong feet up the steep hill Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top She pointed seaward : there a fleet of glass,

That scen’d a fleet of jewels under me,
Sailing along before a gloomy cloud
That not one moment ceased to thunder, past
In sunshine : right across its track there lay,
Down in the water, a long reef of gold,
Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first
Tc think that in our often-ransack'd world
Still so much gold was left; and then I fear'd
Lest the gay navy there should splinter on it,
And fearing waved my arm to warn them off";
An idle signal, for the brittle fleet
(I thought I could have died to save it) near’d,
Îouch’d, clink'd, and clash'd, and vanish’d, and !

woke,
I heard the clash so clearly. Now I see
My dream was Life; the woman honest Work;
And my poor venture but a fleet of glass
Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.”

“ Nay,” said the kindly wife to comfort him, “You raised your arm, you tumbled down and broke The glass with little Margaret's medicine in it; And, breaking that, you made and broke your

dream : A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.”

“No trifle," groan’d the husband; “ yesterday I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd That which I ask'd the woman in my dream. Like her, he shook his head. Show me the books!' He dodged me with a long and loose account. • The books, the books !' but he, he could not wait, Bound on a matter he of life and death: When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten) Were opend, I should find he meant me well; And then began to bloat himself, and ooze All over with the fat affectionate smile That makes the widow lean. “My dearest friend, Have faith, have faith! We live by faith,' said he;

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