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And there was sobbing behind the screen,
On the death she might not share.
From ridge to river-head,
When they knew that the King was dead.
And robe him for the pyre.
that we die as our mothers died
Out, women !to the fire !"
White hands were on the sill ;
We held the dove cote still.
A face looked down in the gathering day,
And laughing spoke from the wall :
And I seek another thrall.
“For I ruled the King as ne'er did Queen,
To-night the Queens rule me !
And the grim guard watched her flee.
On å North-bred dancing-girl ;
And swore by her lightest curl.
Where the tombs of the Sun-born stand ;
On the drift of the desert sand.
The herald read his titles forth,
We set the logs aglow :
King of the Jungle,-go!
All night the red flame stabbed the sky
With wavering wind-tossed spears ;
And turned not for her tears.
Small thought had he to mark the strife
Cold fear with hot desire
And moaned about the fire.
One watched, a bow-shot from the blaze,
The silent streets between,
And kin to the Boondi Queen.
He spake : "O shameless, put aside
The veil upon thy brow !
Stoop down, and call him now !"
Then she : “ By the faith of my tarnished soul,
All things I did not well
While the others bowl in Hell.
But I have felt the fire's breath,
And hard it is to die !
And the Thakur answered, “Aye."
He drew and smote ; the straight blade drank
The life beneath the breast.
Pass with thy King to rest !”.
The black log crashed above the white ;
The little flames and lean,
Macmillan's Magazine. T:HE INTELLECTUAL EFFECT OF OLD AGE.
WITH two great poets publishing char- than by the general vigor of the volume acteristic poems, the one in his seventy- published just before his own death. seventh and the other in his eighty-first A distinguished writer said but three year, and the elder of the two publishing weeks ago, in our own columns, that age, at least one poem, written but a few months in giving tranquillity, gives more than ago, which would have been singled out at compensation for anything that it takes any period of his life as one of the most away ; but of the tranquillity we have exquisite of his lyrics, it is at least impos- considerable doubts. There can be no sible to say that the first effect of age is to question, indeed, that youth, especially destroy the creative power of the imagina- early manhood, has a feverish restlessness tion. Indeed, it ought to have been im- of its own which never recurs after the possible to say that, ever since Sophocles faculties and powers have once gained produced his last great trilogy, and, ac- their maturity ; but that is the special bitcording to the tradition, read one of its terness of youth, and its disappearance is most splendid choruses to his judges, by not the gift of old age, but the gift of way of proof that his mind had not been maturity and of the self-knowledge wbich weakened by age. Indeed, there is hard- usually accompanies maturity. Does old ly any intellectual power of the perfect age bring any special tranquillity of its survival of which is old age there is better We greatly doubt it. Not unfreevidence than the poetic. Goethe wrote quently it brings a restlessness peculiarly one of his most beautiful poems when he its own. “Locksley Hall Fifty Years was in his seventy-fifth year, Victor Hugo After” is hardly less restless than the some of his finest when he was far beyond Locksley Hall” of the Poet-Laureate's seventy, and Milton his great epic when youth, though the later poem is restless he was nearly sixty. No doubt the great- with the sense of sometbing that has vaner number of great poets have died before ished from the social life around him the last stage of life, like the greater num- which he cherished, and the earlier poem ber of other great men, so that we have with the sense that something has not yet nothing like the same means of judging come into it for which he craves. Wordsexactly what the effect of old age is on the worth's old age was certainly not so tranintellect of the exceptionally gifted, that quil as bis middle life, and Goethe's was we have for judging what it is on the aver- not so tranquil as his childhood, which in
Horace, Virgil, Lucretius, its dignity and rather formal precision it Dante, Tasso, Spenser, Shakespeare, Mo- resembled much more than it resembled lière, George Herbert, Collins, Thomson, his middle life.
his middle life. Victor Hugo's old age Schiller, Goldsmith, Fielding, Burns, again was certainly not remarkable for its Scott, Shelley, Byron, Keats, none of tranquillity. Some of his most excitable them lived to reach old age, and we could and hysterical moods were moods which easily add a host of others, as, indeed, it
him in old age. And to pass would be easy to do in every department to a very different region, no one would of intellectual eminence. But so far as say that Mr. Gladstone's old age we have the means of judging, though it cially tranquil, or that Lord Palmerston's may be certainly said that old age slackens old age was especially tranquil, or that M. the rate at which men live in every way, Thiers's old age was especially tranquil. physical and mental, there is no kind of Of course, it will be replied that political reason to suppose that it slackens their life is not favorable to tranquillity ; but mental powers so much as it slackens their then, if old age is a season of great tranphysical powers. Tennyson has certainly quillity, why do not the old retire from produced very little that is more perfect political life? Again, is there any evidence than the poem on his own death, written, that Mr. Darwin's old age was more tranwe believe, but a month or two ago, and quil than bis maturity ? the exquisite poem on Demeter and Per. that it was less 80 ; more conscious of the sephone, which certainly cannot have been inadequacy of a merely scientific life, and written long. And Browning's intellect. yet less capable of interest in any less inual energy could hardly be better attested adequate life. There is a popular im
We should say
pression, which we believe to be quite er- order to the very end of his long career. roneous, that old
age is intrinsically favor. It was the same with the Emperor William able to the balance of the judgment. Now, and with Marshal von Moltke. The forof course, with a good judgment to begin mer retained and the latter retains his clear with, the accumulation of a long experience and sagacious judgment to the utmost limit provides a man with new materials for of a very long official life. As Victor judging rightly ; but without that sound Hugo's powerful but rather melodramatic judgment, we conceive that it provides him imagination held out to the last ; as Tenonly with new excuses for judging wrong- nyson's rich and tender insight into the ly. Lord Palmerston's latest years were spiritual life of the soul is still as virid as among his least discreet years.
ever ; as Browning's shrewd and penetratnearly seventy when he needlessly offend- ing analysis of human motive is graven ed the Queen by his precipitation in giv- deeply on his latest book; as Goethe's ing his support to Louis Napoleon's Coup majestic and tolerant criticism, which d'État. He was over seventy when he sparkled clearest, as he himself described irritated the English people by his con- it," at dead of night” remained with spiracy Bill. He was approaching eighty him till his death ; and as there was no when he needlessly snubbed the Emperor decay to the very end in the imaginative of the French in relation to the proposed serenity of Sophocles, of whom it has been Congress. And he was close upon eighty said that his when he gave the Danes reason to expect
“even-balanced soul, help which at the last moment he with. From first youth tested up to extreme old age, drew. Mr. Gladstone was considerably Business could not make dull nor passion wild, over seventy when he sanctioned the send- The mellow glory of the Attic stage,
Who saw life steadily and saw it whole, ing of Gordon on the fatal mission to the Singer of sweet Colonus and its child,” Soudan, and he was seventy-six when he propounded his still more fatal scheme for so, too, calm and stately judgments have revolutionizing the history of the United held their ground to the last, as surely as Kingdom.
the poet's lofty vision. As surely, but not We take the truth to be that, as a rule, more surely ; for there is nothing to show old age usually undermines first whatever that the strong judgment relatively loses is naturally the weakest organ, whether of less by the advance of age than the strong body or mind. The man whose sight or imagination. The predominant faculty hearing is previously disordered, feels the keeps its predominance, but does not keep advance of age first in the more rapid fail- it more effectively in one region than it ure of the eye or ear ; the man who suffers does in the other. Indeed, the orator from a feeble heart feels its advance in an keeps his impressive oratory to old age increase of palpitations ; the man who is a with a pre-eminence at least as remarkable martyr to asthma feels its advance in the as that with which the logician or the didiminution of the intervals between the alectician keeps his logic or his dialectic, attacks, and the greater duration of each or the mathematician his command of desuccessive illness. And so it is, we im- ductive or analytic processes.
For our agine, with the intellect. The man whose parts, we believe that whatever shrinkage memory is weak shows the advance of age there may be in the intellectual powers of chiefly by greater and greater oblivious- the aged, makes itself just as visible on ness; the man whose imagination is fee- the reasoning side of the mind as on the ble shows its advance chiefly by increasing imaginative side, and is only the kind of matter-of-factness; the man whose judg- shrinkage which is due to a generally diment is uncertain and arbitrary shows its minished vitality,-in other words, to the advance by greater and greater obliquity slower rate at which the mind's messages and impulsiveness of judgment. Lord thrill along the nerves, and to the greater Brougham's judgment was always hasty obstruction which the physical organs of and feeble, but it grew hastier and feebler life offer to the commanding power of the as he grew older ; Lord Lyndhurst's was will and the imperious energy of the spirit. always strong, and he retained it in perfect --Spectator.
CHRISTMAS IN THE AEGEAN.
BY RENNELL RODD.
It is the eve of Christmas in the world,
But gentle as a morn of spring, -the deep
One opal to the sky line, as in sleep
We floated on between the isles that lie
Like leaves of lilies in a summer mere,
And dreamed no storm wind ever ventured near This zone of peace between the sea and sky.
We dreamed of golden galleys and of quays
Bright with their burden of long colonnades,
The shrines of Passion and the mystic glades, The siren cities of the Cyclades.
Where are the island voices now ? The mirth
Is dead or silent ; no mad laughter thrills
The dance of Oreads in the happy hills Where twilight settles on a sadder earth.
For here on that first Christmas eve, men said
They heard a sound like sobbing in the breeze,
The feet of time have touched the rocky shore,
There is a change behind the changelessness,
The suns of summer warm the world no less, But the light heart of morning,-never more !
So day went down behind the ocean rim,
While westward the sweet star of silence grew
Through yellow hazes melting into blue ; The shadows deepened till the isles were dim. Then like a soul forsaken, hushed in fright
The dark world seemed to pause, no ripple broke,
No wind, no voice of earth or ocean spoke,
Till faintly eastward flushed the hope of morn,
Pale with one star prevailing, till the gray
Lifted, the new sun triumphed, and strong day Woke with a song voice, crying, Christ is born !"