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SONG OF THE BROOK

41

With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

5

I chatter, chatter as I flow

To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

10

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing, And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling.

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery water-break

Above the golden gravel.

15

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

20

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

5

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam glance

Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars,

I loiter round my cresses.
And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

10

“Oh! Yet We Trust"

1

Oh! yet we trust that somehow good

Will be the final goal of ill,

To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

15

That nothing walks with aimless feet;

That not one life shall be destroy'd,

Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

20

That not a worm is cloven in vain ;

That not a moth with vain desire

INCIDENT OF THE FRENCH CAMP

43

Is shrivel'd in a fruitless fire, Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;

I can but trust that good shall fall

At last - far off at last, to all, And every winter change to spring.

5

So runs my dream: but what am I?

An infant crying in the night:

An infant crying for the light: And with no language but a cry.

- From “ IN MEMORIAM.''

10

ROBERT BROWNING

ENGLAND, 1812–1889

Incident of the French Camp

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:

A mile or so away,
On a little mound, Napoleon

Stood on our storming-day;
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,

Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow

Oppressive with its mind.

15

Just as perhaps he mused “My plans

That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army leader Lannes

Waver at yonder wall,”
Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew

A rider, bound on bound
Full-galloping; nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

5

10

Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy:

You hardly could suspect
(So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice ere you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.

15

20

“Well,” cried he, “Emperor, by God's grace

We've got you Ratisbon !
The Marshal's in the market place,

And you'll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.

25

The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself, as sheathes

[blocks in formation]

A film the mother-eagle's eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes. “You're wounded !” “Nay,” the soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said: “I'm killed, Sire!” And his chief beside,

Smiling the boy fell dead.

5

Apparitions

Such a starved bank of moss

Till, that May-morn,
Blue ran the flash across :

Violets were born!

10

Sky - what a scowl of cloud

Till, near and far,
Ray on ray split the shroud:

Splendid, a star!

15

World -- how it walled about

Life with disgrace,
Till God's own smile came out:
That was thy face!

- From "The Two POETS OF CROISIC."

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