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By way of shelter from the sun and rain.
Then rode he through the streets with all his train,
And, with the blast of trumpets loud and long,
Made proclamation, that whenever wrong
Was done to any man, ne should but ring
The great bell in the square, and he, the King,
Would cause the Syndic to decide thereon.
Such was the proclamation of King John.
How swift the happy days in Atri sped,
What wrongs were righted, need not here be said.
Suffice it that, as all things must decay,
The hempen rope at length was worn away,
Unravelled at the end, and, strand by strand,
Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand,
Till one, who noted this in passing by,
Mended the rope with braids of briony,
So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine
Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.
By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt
A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt,
Who loved to hunt the wild-boar in the woods,
Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods,
Who loved his hounds and horses, and all sports
And prodigalities of camps and courts ;-
Loved, or had loved them; for at last, grown old,
His only passion was the love of gold.
He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds,
Rented his vineyards and his garden-grounds,
Kept but one steed, his favourite steed of all,
To starve and shiver in a naked stall,
And day by day sat brooding in his chair,
Devising plans how best to hoard and spare.
At length he said: “What is the use or need
To keep at my own cost this lazy steed,
Eating his head off in my stables here,
When rents are low and provender is dear?
Let him go feed upon the public ways;
I want him only for the holidays."
So the old steed was turned into the heat
Of the long, lonely, silent, shadeless street;
And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn,
Barked at by dogs, and torn by brier and thorn.
One afternoon, as in that sultry clime
It is the custom in the summer time,
With bolted doors and window-shutters closed,
The inhabitants of Atri slept or dosed;
When suddenly upon their senses fell
The loud alarum of the accusing bell!
The Syndic started from his deep repose,
Turned on his couch, and listened, and then rose
And donned his robes, and with reluctant pace
Went panting forth into the market-place,
Where the great bell upon its cross-beam swung
Reiterating with persistent tongue,
In half-articulate jargon, the old song:
“Some one hath done a wrong, hath done a wrong!”
But ere he reached the belfry's light arcade
He saw, or thought he saw, beneath its shade,
No shape of human form of woman born,
But a poor steed dejected and forlorn,
Who with uplifted head and eager eye
Was tugging at the vines of briony.
“Domeneddio!" cried the Syndic straight,
This is the Knight of Atri's steed of state!
He calls for justice, being sore distressed,
And pleads his cause as loudly as the best.”
Meanwhile from street and lane a noisy crowd
Had rolled together like a summer cloud,
And told the story of the wretched beast
In five-and-twenty different ways at least,
With much gesticulation and appeal
To heathen gods, in their excessive zeal.
The Knight was called and questioned; in reply
Did not confess the fact, did not deny;
Treated the matter as a pleasant jest,
And set at nought the Syndic and the rest,
Maintaining in an angry undertone,
That he should do what pleased him with his own.
And thereupon the Syndic gravely read
The proclamation of the King; then said:
“Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,
But cometh back on foot, and begs its way;
Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds,
Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
These are familiar proverbs; but I fear
They never yet have reached your knightly ear.
What fair renown, what honour, what repute
Can come to you from starving this poor brute ?
He who serves well and speaks not, merits more
Than they who clamour loudest at the door.
Therefore the law decrees that as this steed
Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed
To comfort his old age, and to provide
Shelter in stall, and food and field beside."
The Knight withdrew abashed; the people all
Led home the steed in triumph to his stall.
The King heara and approved, and laughed in glee,
And cried aloud : “Right well it pleaseth me!
Church-heris at best but ring us to the door;
But go not in to mess; my bell doth more:
It cometh into court and pleads the cause
Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws;
And this shall make, in every Christian clime,
The Bell of Atri famous for all time.”
“Yes, well your story pleads the cause to raise the gauntlet from the ground, Of those duinb mouths that have no And try with him the battle's chance.
Only a cry from each to each
“ Wake from your dreams, O Edrehi! In its own kind, with its own laws; Or dreaming speak to us, and make Something that is beyond the reach A feint of being half awake, Of human power to learn or teach, And tell us what your dreams may be. An inarticulate moan of pain
Out of the hazy atmosphere Like the immeasurable main
Of cloud-land deign to reappear Breaking upon an unknown beach.” Among us in this Wayside Inn;
Tell us what visions and wbat scenes
Thus spake the Poet with a sigh; Illuminate the dark ravines
Then added, with impassioned cry, In which you grope your way. Begin!*
As one who feels the words he speaks,
The colour flushing in his cheeks, Thus the Sicilian spake. The Jew
The fervour burning in his eye :
Made no reply, but only smiled,
“ Among the noblest in the land, As men unto a wayward child,
Though he may count himself the least, Not knowing what to answer, do.
That man I honour and revere
As from a cavern's mouth, o'ergrown
Who without favour, without fear, With moss and intertangled vines,
In the great city dares to stand
A streamlet leaps into the light
The friend of every friendless beast, And murmurs over root and stone
And tames with his unflinching hand In a melodious undertone;
The brutes that wear our form and Or as amid the noonday night
Of sombre and wind-haunted pines,
The were-wolves of the human race !" There runs a sound as of the sea;
Then paused, and waited with a frown, So.from his bearded lips there came
Like some old champion of romance, A melody without a name,
Who, having thrown his gauntlet down, A song, a tale, a history,
Expectant leans upon his lance;
| Or whatsoever it may be, But neither Knight nor Squire is found Writ and recorded in these lines.
INTO the city of Kambalu,
By the road that leadeth to Ispahan,
At the head of his dusty caravan,
Laden with treasure from realms afar,
Baldacca and Kelat and Kandahar,
Rode the great captain Alaù.
The Khan from his palace-window gazed :
He saw in the thronging street beneath,
In the light of the setting sun, that blazed
Through the clouds of dust by the caravan raised,
The flash of harness and jewelled sheath,
And the shining scimitars of the guard,
And the weary camels that bared their teeth,
As they passed and passed through the gates unbarred
Into the shade of the palace-yard.
Thus into the city of Kambalu
Rode the great captain Alaù;
And he stood before the Khan, and said:
“The enemies of my lord are dead;
All the Kalifs of all the West
Bow and obey his least behest;
The plains are dark with the mulberry-trees,
The weavers are busy in Samarcand,
The miners are sifting the golden sand,
The divers plunging for pearls in the seas,
And peace and plenty are in the land.
“ Baldacca's Kalif, and he alone,
Rose in revolt against thy throne:
His treasures are at thy palace-door,
With the swords and the shawls and the jewels he wore:
His body is dust o'er the desert blown.
“A mile outside of Baldacca's gate
I left my forces to lie in wait,
Concealed by forests and hillocks of sand,
And forward dashed with a handful of men,
To lure the old tiger from his den
Into the ambush I had planned.
Ere we reached the town the alarm was spread,
For we heard the sound of gongs from within;
And with clash of cymbals and warlike din
The gates swung wide; and we turned and fled:
And the garrison sallied forth and pursued,
With the gray old Kalif at their head,
And above them the banner of Mohammed :
So we snared them all, and the town was subdued.
“As in at the gate we rode, behold,
A tower that is called the Tower of Gold!
For there the Kalif had hidden his wealth,
Heaped and hoarded and piled on high,
Like sacks of wheat in a granary;
And thither the miser crept by stealth
To feel of the gold that gave him health,
And to gaze and gloat with his hungry eye
On jewels that gleamed like a glow-worm's spark,
Or the eyes of a panther in the dark.
“I said to the Kalif: “Thou art old,
Thou hast no need of so much gold.
Thou shouldst not have heaped and hidden it here,
Till the breath of battle was hot and near,
But have sown through the land these useless hoards
To spring into shining blades of swords,
And keep thine honour sweet and clear.
These grains of gold are not grains of wheat;
These bars of silver thou canst not eat;
These jewels and pearls and precious stones
Cannot cure the aches in thy bones,
Nor keep the feet of Death one hour
From climbing the stairways of thy tower!'
“ Then into his dungeon I locked the drone,
And left him to feed there all alone
In the honey-cells of his golden hive:
Never a prayer, nor a cry, nor a groan
Was heard from those massive walls of stone,
Nor again was the Kalif seen alive!
“ When at last we unlocked the door,
We found him dead upon the floor;
The rings had dropped from his withered hands,
His teeth were like bones in the desert sands:
Still clutching his treasure he had died;
And as he lay there, he appeared
A statue of gold with a silver beard,
His arms outstretched as if crucified."