Imágenes de páginas

And hope looks out from the expectant breast—
Wainly we wait to greet the invited guest.
Oft when its presence least our souls expect,
Sudden, unsummoned, there it stands, as Eve
Stood before Adam, as in twilight sky
The first young star—half joy, half mystery.

The wilful work built by the conscious brain
Is but the humble handicraft of art;
It has its growth in toil, its birth in pain.
The Imagination, silent and apart
Above the Will, beyond the conscious eye,
Fashions in joyous ease and as in play
Its fine creations,—mixing up alway
The real and the ideal, heaven and earth,
Darkness and sunshine; and then, pushing forth
Sudden upon our world of consciousness
Its world of wonder, leaves to us the stress,
By patient art, to copy its pure grace,
And catch the perfect features of its face.

From hand to spirit must the human chain
Be closely linked, and thence to the divine
Stretch up, through feeling its electric line,
To draw heaven down, or all our art is vain.
For in its loftiest mood the soul obeys
A higher power that shapes our thoughts, and sways
Their motions, when by love and strong desire
We are uplifted. From a source unknown
The power descends—with its ethereal fire
Inflames us—not possessing but possessed
We do its bidding; but we do not own
The grace that in those happy hours is given,
More than its strings the music of the lyre–
More than the shower the rainbow lent by heaven.
Nature and man are only organ keys—
Mere soundless pipes——despite our vaunted skill—
Till, with its breath, the power above us fill
The stops, and touch us to its harmonies.

Oh Signor Duca, as the woman bears
Her child not in a moment nor a day,
So doth the soul the germ that God doth lay
Within it, with as many pains and cares.
From the whole being it absorbs and draws
Its form and life—on all we are and see
It feeds by subtle sympathetic laws;
Each sense it stirs, it fires each faculty
To hunt the outer world, and thence to seize
Food for assimilation. By degrees
Perfect it grows at last in every part,
And then is born into the world of art.
In facile natures fancies quickly grow,
But such quick fancies have but little root.

Soon the narcissus flowers and dies, but slow
The tree whose blossoms shall mature to fruit.
Grace is a moment's happy feeling, Power
A life's slow growth; and we for manyan hour
Must strain and toil, and wait and weep, if we
The perfect fruit of all we are would see.

Therefore I wait. Within my earnest thought
For years upon this picture I have wrought,
Yet still it is not ripe; I dare not paint
Till all is ordered and matured within.
Hand-work and head-work have an earthly taint,
But when the soul commands I shall begin.
On themes like these I should not dare to dwell -
With our good prior—they to him would be
Mere nonsense; he must touch and taste and see;
And facts, he says, are never mystical.
Now, the fact is, our worthy Prior says, o
The convent is annoyed by my delays;
Nor can he see why I for hours and days
Should muse and dream and idle here around.
I have not made a face he has not found
Quite good enough before it was half-done.
“Don’t bother more,” he says, “let it alone.”
What can one say to such a connoisseur?
How could a Prior and a critic err?

But, not to be more tedious, I confess
I am disturbed to think I so distress
The worthy Prior. Yet 'twere wholly vain
To him an artist's feelings to explain;
But, Signor Duca, you will understand,
And so I treat on higher themes with you.
The work you order I shall strive to do
With all my soul, not merely with my hand.



“Now, Mr. Wodehouse," said theory, nor in our own opinion. Jack Wentworth, “it appears that The fact accordingly is, my friend, you and I have a word to say to each that you must choose between us other.” They had all risen when and those respectable meannesses the other gentlemen followed Mr. of yours. By Jove! the fellow Morgan out of the room, and those ought to have been a shopkeeper, who remained stood in a group and as honest as-Diogenes," said surrounding the unhappy culprit, Jack. He stood looking at his and renewing his impression of wretched associate with the overpersonal danger. When he heard whelming impertinence of a perhimself thus addressed, he backed fectly well-bred man, no way conagainst the wall and instinctively cealing the contemptuous inspectook one of the chairs and placed tion with which his cool eyes trait before him. His furtive eye velled over the disconcerted figure sought the door and the window, from top to toe, seeing and exaginvestigating the chances of escape. gerating all its tremors and clumsy When he saw that there was none, guiltiness. The chances are, had he withdrew still a step farther Jack Wentworth been in Wodeback, and stood at bay,

house's place, he would have been "By Jove! I ain't going to stand master of the position as much as all this,” said Wodehouse; "as if now. He was not shocked nor inevery fellow had a right to bully me dignant like his brothers. He was --it's more than flesh and blood simply contemptuous, disdainful, can put up with. I don't care for not so much of the wickedness as that old fogie that's gone up-stairs; of the clumsy and shabby fashion but, by Jove! I won't stand any in which it had been accomplished, more from men that eat my din- As for the offender, who had been ners, and win my money, and " defiant in his sulky fashion up to

Jack Wentworth made half a this moment, his courage oozed out step forward with a superb smile- at his finger-ends under Jack Went"My good fellow, you should never worth's eye. reproach a man with his good ac- "I am my own master," he stamtions," he said; “but at the same mered, “nowadays. I ain't to be time, having eaten your dinner, as dictated to and I shan't be, by you describe, I have a certain claim Jove! As for Jack Wentworth, he's on your gratitude. We have had well known to be neither more some - a - business connection - nor lessfor some years. I don't say you. “Than what, Mr. Wodehouse ?" have reason to be actually grateful said the serene and splendid Jack. for that; but, at least, it brought "Don't interest yourself on my acyou now and then into the society count, Frank. This is my business of gentlemen. A man who robs à at present. If you have any prayer. set of women, and leaves the poor meetings in hand we can spare you creature he has ruined distitute, and don't forget our respectable is a sort of cur we have nothing to friend in your supplications. Fa. $14 to," said the heir of the Went- your us with your definition of worths contemptuously. “We do Jack Wentworth, Mr. Woder.ouse. not pretend to be saints, but we are He is neither more nor less !! not blackguards; that is to say," "By Jove! I ain't going to stand said Jack, with & perfectly calm it," cried Wodehouse : "fa fullore and harmonious smile, “not in to be driven mad, and insulted.

and have his money won from him, have the means of escape. Go now and made game of — not to say and leave them," said the man who tossed about as I've been among !em, was, a priest by nature. The light and made a drudge of and set returned to his eye while he spoke; to do the dirty work,” said the un- he was no longer passive, contemfortunate subordinate, with a touch plating his own moral death; his of pathos in his hoarse yoice;—"I natural office had come back to don't mean to say I've been what I him unawares. He stretched his ought; but, by Jove! to be put arm towards the door, thinking of upon as I've been, and knocked nothing but the escape of the sinabout; and at the last they haven't ner. Go," said Gerald. “Refuse the pluck to stand by a fellow, by their approbation; shun, their $0. Jove!" muttered Mr. Wodehouse's ciety. For Christ's sake, and not unlucky heir. What further ex- for theirs, make amends to those. asperation his smiling superior was you have wronged. Jack, I comabout to heap upon him, nobody mand you to let him go." could tell; for just as Jack Went Jack, who had been startled at worth was about to speak. and just first, had recovered himself long as Wodehouse had again faced before his brother ceased to speak. towards him, half-cowed, half-re- "Let him go, by all means," he sisting, Gerald, who had been said, and stood superbly indifferent looking on in silence, came for- by Gerald's side, whistling under, ward out of the shadow. He had his breath a tripping lively air. seen all and heard all, from that “No occasion for solemnity. The moral death-bed of his, where no per- sooner he goes the better," said sonal cares could again disturb him; Jack. "In short, I see no reason and though he had resigned his why any of us should stay, now the. office, he could not belie his nature, business is accomplished. I wonder He came in by instinct to cherish would his reverence ever forgive me the dawn of compunction which if I lighted my cigar ?" He took appeared, as he thought, in the out his case as he spoke, and began sinner's words.

to look over its contents. There "The best thing that can happen was one in the room, however, who to you," said Gerald, at the sound was better acquainted with the inof whose voice everybody started, dications of Jack Wentworth's face

find out that the wages of than either of his brothers. This sin are bitter. Don't expect any unfortunate, who was hanging in sympathy or consolation from those an agony of uncertainty over the who have helped you to do wrong. chair he had placed before him, My brother tries to induce you to watched every movement of his do a right act from an unworthy leader's face with the anxious gaze motive. He says your former as. of a lover, hoping to see a little sociates will not acknowledge you. corresponding anxiety in it, but My advice to you is to forsake your watched in vain. Wodehouse had former associates. My brother," been going through a fever of doubt. said Gerald, turning aside to look and divided impulses. The shabby at him, " would do himself honour fellow was open to good impressions, if he forsook them also—but for through he was not much in the. you, here is your opportunity. You way of practising them, and Gerhave no temptation of poverty now. ald's address, which, in the first Take the first step, and forsake place, filled him with awe, moved them. I have no motive in adris. him afterwards with passing thrills ing you except indeed, that I am of compunction, mingled with a Jack Wentworth's brother. He kind of delight at the idea of getting and you are different,” said Gerald, free. When his admonitor said involuntarily glancing from one to "Go,". Wodehouse made a step the other. And at present you towards the door, and for an instant

« AnteriorContinuar »