Friday, May 31, 2013


The lean coyote, prowler of the night,
Slips to his rocky fastnesses.
. Jack-rabbits noiselessly shuttle among the sage-brush,
And, from the castellated cliffs, 
 Rock-ravens launch their proud black sails upon the day.
            IThe wild horses troop back to their pastures.
            The poplar-trees watch beside the irrigation-ditches.
            Orioles, whose nests sway in the cotton-wood trees by the ditch-side, begin to twitter.

All shy things, breathless, watch
The thin white skirts of dawn,
The dancer of the sky,
Who trips daintily down the mountain-side
Emptying her crystal chalice. . . .
And a red-bird, dipped in sunrise, cracks from a poplar's top

 !lis exultant whip above a silver world.
(From "The Poet in the Desert")


When the Nom Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour
Greatening and darkening' as it hurried on, 
She left the Heaven of Heroes and came down 
To make a man to meet. the mortal need.
She took the tried clay of the common road­
Clay warm yet with the genial heat of earth, 
Dasht through it all a strain of prophecy;
 Tempered the heap with thrill of human tears; 
 Then mixt a laughter with the serious stuff.
 Into the shape she breathed a flame to light
 That tender, tragic, ever-changing face;
And laid on him a sense of the Mystic Powers,
 Moving-all husht-behind the mortal veil.

Here was a man to hold against the world,
A man to match the mountains and the sea.
The color of the ground was in him, the red earth;
 The smack and tang of elemental things:
 The rectitude and patience of the cliff;
The good-will of the rain that loves all leaves;
 The friendly welcome of the wayside well;
 The courage of the bird that dares the sea;
 The gladness of the wind that shakes the corn;
 The pity of the snow that hides all scars;
 The secrecy of streams that make their way
 Under the mountain to the rifted rock;
 The tolerance and equity of light
 That gives as freely to the shrinking flower
As to the great oak flaring to the wind­
To the grave's low hill as to the Matterhorn
 That shoulders out the sky. Sprung from the West,
He drank the valorous youth of a new world. 
The strength of virgin forests braced his mind, 
The hush of spacious prairies stilled his soul. 
His words were oaks in acorns; and his thoughts 
Were roots that firmly gript the granite truth.
Up from log cabin to the Capitol,
One fire was on his spirit, one resolve­
To send the keen ax to the root of wrong, 
Clearing a free way for the feet of God, 
The eyes of conscience testing every stroke, 
To make his deed the measure of a man.
 He built the rail-pile as he built the State,
 Pouring his splendid strength through every blow
The grip that swung the ax in Illinois
Was on the pen that set a people free.

So came the Captain with the mighty heart.
And when the judgment thunders split the house, 
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest, 
He held the ridgepole up, and spiked again
The rafters of the Home. He held his place
Held the long purpose like a growing tree
 Held on through blame and faltered not at praise. 
And when he fell in whirl wind, he went down

As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs, 
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills, 
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.


He drew a circle that shut me out
 Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win: 
We drew a circle that took him in!


The little toy dog is covered with dust,
            But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
            And his musket molds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
            And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
            Kissed them and put them there.
"Now don't you go till I come," he said,
            "And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
            He dreamt of the pretty toys;
            And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
            Awakened our Little Boy Blue­
            Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
            But the little toy friends are true!
            Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
            Each in the same old place,
            Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
            The smile of a little face;
            And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
            In the dust of that little chair,
            What has become of our Little Boy Blue,

- Since he kissed them and put them there.


Sole Lord of Lords and very King of Kings,
He sits within the desert, carved in stone;
 Insrutable, colossal, and alone,

And ancienter than memory of things. 
Graved on his front the sacred beetle clings; 
Disdain sits on his lips; and in a frown 
Scorn lives upon his forehead for a crown. 
The affrighted ostrich dare not dust her wings 
Anear this Presence. The long caravan's
 Dazed camels stop, and mute the Bedouins stare.
 This symbol of past power more than man's 
Presages doom. Kings look-and Kings despair:
 Their scepters tremble in their jeweled hands, 
And dark thrones totter in the baleful air!

(notice that this is similar in topic to Ozymandias by Shelley)


"Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed,
            Parrots have crackers to crunch;
And as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
            Have chickens and cream for their lunch.
            But there's never a question
            About MY digestion­
            ANYTHING does for me!

"Cats, you're aware, can repose in a chair,
            Chickens can roost upon rails;
            Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
            And oysters can slumber in pails.
            But no one supposes
            A poor Camel dozes­
            ANy PLACE does for me!

"Lambs are enclosed where it's never exposed,
            Coops are constructed for hens;
            Kittens are treated to houses well heated,
            And pigs are protected by pens.
            But a Camel comes handy
            Wherever it's sandy­
            ANYWHERE does for me!

"People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
            Or mounted the back of an ox;
            It's nobody's habit to ride on a rabbit,
            Or try to bestraddle a fox.
            But as for a Camel, he's
            Ridden by families­
            ANy LOAD does for me!

"A snake is as round as a hole in the ground;
            Weasels are wavy and sleek;
            And no alligator could ever be straighter
            Than lizards that live in a creek.
But a Camel's all lumpy And bumpy and humpy­

ANY SHAPE does for me!"


The royal feast was done; the King
            Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
            Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
            And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
            Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
            Upon the monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "0 Lord,
            Be merciful to me, a fool!

" 'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep ­
            Of truth and right, 0 Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
            We hold the earth from heaven away.

"These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
            Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
            Among the heart-strings of a friend.

"The ill-timed truth we might have kept­
            Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say­
            Who knows how grandly it had rung?

"Our faults no tenderness should ask,
            The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders--oh, in shame
            Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
            Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, 0 Lord,
            Be merciful to me, a fool!"

The room was hushed; in silence rose
            The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,

            "Be merciful to me, a fool!"


This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:­
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords 
Shocked upon swords and shields.
 A prince's banner 
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
 A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel­
That blue blade that the king's son bears,
-but this Blunt thing-!" he snapt, and flung it from his hand,
 And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead, 
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword, 
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout 
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause that heroic day.


Which I wish to remark,
            And my language is plain,
That for ways that are dark
            And for tricks that are vain,
The heathen Chinee is peculiar,
            Which the same. I would rise to explain.

Ah Sin was his name;
            And I shall not deny,
In regard to the same,
            What that name might imply;
But his smile it was pensive and childlike,
            As I frequent remarked to Bill Nye.

It was August the third,
            And quite soft was the skies;
Which it might be inferred
            That Ah Sin was likewise;
Yet he played it that day upon William
            And me in a way I despise.

Which we had a small game,
            And Ah Sin took a hand:
It was Euchre. The same
            He did not understand;
But he smiled as he sat by the table,
            With a smile that was childlike and bland.

Yet the cards they were stocked
            In a way that I grieve,
And my feelings were shocked
            At the state of Nye's sleeve,
Which was stuffed full of aces and bowers,
            And the same with intent to deceive.

But the hands that were played
            By that heathen Chinee,
And the points that he made,
            Were quite frightful to see,­
Till at last he put down a right bower,
            Which the same Nye had dealt unto me!

Then I looked up at Nye,
            And he gazed upon me;
And he rose with a sigh,
            And said, "Can this be?
We are 'ruined'by Chinese cheap labor,"­
And he went for that heathen Chinee.

In the scene that ensued
            I did not take a hand,
But the floor it was strewed
            Like the leaves on the strand
:With the cards that Ah Sin had been hiding,
            In the game "he did not understand."

In his sleeves, which were long,
            He has twenty-four packs,­
Which was coming it strong,
            Yet I state but the facts;
And we found on his nails, which were taper, 
What is frequent in tapers,-that's wax.

Which is why I remark,
            And my language is plain,
That for ways that are dark
            And for tricks that are vain,
The heathen Chinee is peculiar,­

            Which the same I am free to maintain.


0 marvel, fruit of fruits, 
I pause 
To reckon thee.
 I ask what cause
Set free so much of red from heats
At core of earth, and mixed such sweets
 With sour and spice: what was that strength
 Which out of darkness, length by length, 
Spun all thy shining thread of vine,
 Netting the fields in bond as thine.
I see thy tendrils drink by sips
From grass and clover's smiling lips;
I hear thy roots dig down for wells, 
Tapping the meadow's hidden cells; 
Whole generations of green things, 
Descended from long lines of springs,
I see make room for thee to bide
A quiet comrade by their side.
I see the creeping peoples go
Mysterious journeys to and fro,
Treading to right and left of thee,
Doing thee homage wonderingly.
I see the wild bees as they fare,
Thy cups of honey drink, but spare.
I mark thee bathe and bathe again
In sweet uncalendared spring rain.
I watch how all May has of sun
Makes haste to have thy ripeness done, 
While all her nights let dews escape
To set and cool thy perfect shape.
Ah, fruit of fruits, no more I pause
To dream and seek thy hidden laws!
I stretch my hand and dare to taste,
In instant of delicious waste
On single feast, all things that went

To make the empire thou hast spent.


My life closed twice before its close; 
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive, 
As these that twice befell.

Parting is all we know of heaven, 
And all we need of hell.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cyrano dying

Delirious­ and all that learning­-

            On the other hand, we have Copernicus­


CYRANO (More and more delirious)
"Very well, But what the devil was he doing there?­What the devil was he doing there, up there?" . . .
            (He declaims)
            Philosopher and scientist, poet, musician, duellist­
            He flew high, and fell back again! A pretty wit-whose like we lack­
            A lover. . . not like other men. . . . here lies Hercule-Savinien De Cyrano de Bergerac­
Who was all things-and all in vain!  Well, I must go-pardon- I cannot stay! My moonbeam comes to carry me away. . . .
(He falls back into the chair, half fainting. The sobbing of ROXANE recalls him to reality. Grad­ually his mind comes back to him. He looks at her, stroking the veil that hides her hair.)
I would not have you mourn any the less that good, brave, noble Christian; but perhaps­
I ask you only this-when the great cold gathers around my bones, that you may give
A double meaning to your widow's weeds and the tears you let fall for him may be
For a little-my tears. . . .

ROXANE (Sobbing)
            Oh, my love I . . .

CYRANO (Suddenly shaken as with a fever fit, he raises him­ self erect and pushes her away.)
-Not here!­ Not lying down! . . .  Let no one help me-no one !­ Only the tree. . . .
            (He sets his back against the trunk. Pause.)
            It is coming. . . I feel already shod with marble. . . gloved with lead. . .
Let the old fellow come now! He shall find me on my feet-sword in hand-
(Draws his sword.)

            LE BRET
Cyrano !

­ROXANE (Half fainting)
Oh, Cyrano!

I can see him there-he grins­
He is looking at my nose-that skeleton
-What's that you say? Hopeless?-Why, very well! ­But a man does not fight merely to win!
No-no-better to know one fights in vain! . . . You there- Who are you? A hundred against one­
I know them now, my ancient enemies­
(He lunges at the empty air.)
Falsehood! . . . There! There! Prejudice- Compromise­ Cowardice-(Thrusting)
What's that? No! Surrender? No! Never-never! . . .
Ah, you too, Vanity! I knew you would overthrow me in the end­- No! I fight on! I fight on! I fight on!
(He swings the blade in great circles, then pauses, gasping. When he speaks again, it is in another tone.)
Yes, all my laurels you have riven away and all my roses; yet in spite of you,
There is one crown. I bear away with me, and to-night, when I enter before God,
My salute shall sweep all the stars away from the blue threshold! One thing without stain,
Unspotted from the world, in spite of doom mine own!-      .
(He springs forward, his sword aloft.)
            And that is . . .
(The sword escapes from his hand; he totters, and falls into the arms of LE BRET and RAGUENEAU.)

ROXANE  (Bends over him and kisses him on the forehead.)
            -That is . . .

CYRANO   (Opens his eyes and smiles up at her.)

            My white plume. . . .      (Curtain)

Cryano and the letter, the tears were mine, the blood was his

Oh it is nothing; it will soon be gone. . . .
            (Forcing a smile)
There! It is gone!

(Standing close to him) We all have our old wounds­
I have mine-here. . .    (Her hand at her breast)
under this faded scrap of writing. . . . It is hard to read now- all but the blood- and the tears. . . .
            (Twilight begins to fall.)

His letter! . . . Did you not promise me that some day. . . that some day. . . .
You would let me read it?

His letter?- You . . .You wish-­

            I do wish it- today.

(Gives him the little silken bag from around her neck.)
Here. . . .

May I . . . open it?

Open it, and read. (She goes back to her work, folds it again, re­arranges her silks.)

            (Unfolds the letter; reads.)
"Farewell Roxane, because to-day I die-"

ROXANE (Looks up, surprised.)

CYRANO (Reads)
"I know that it will be to-day, my own dearly beloved- and my heart
Still so heavy with love I have not told, And I die without telling you!
No more shall my eyes drink the sight of you like wine, never more,
with a look that is a kiss, follow the sweet grace of you-"

How you read it­- His letter!

CYRANO (Continues)
"I remember now the way
You have, of pushing back a lock of hair
With one hand, from your forehead-and my heart cries out-"

            ROXANE .
            His letter. . . and you read it so . . .
            (The darkness increases imperceptibly.)      

"Cries out and keeps crying! 'Farewell, my dear, My dearest-' "     

In a voice. . . .

"-My own heart's own, My own treasure--"

            ROXANE (Dreamily)
            In such a voice. . . .

-"My love--"

-As I remember hearing. . . (She trembles.)  -long ago. . . .
            (She comes near him, softly, without his seeing her;           passes the chair, leans over silently, looking at the letter. The darkness increases.)

"-I am never away from you. Even now,
I shall not leave you. In another world,
I shall be still that one who loves you, loves you
Beyond measure, beyond-"

(Lays her hand on his shoulder.)
            How can you read now? It is dark. . . .
            (He starts, turns, and sees her there close to him. A little movement of surprise, almost of fear, then he bows his head. A long pause, then in the twilight now completely fallen, she says very softly, clasping her hands)
And all these fourteen years, he has been the old friend, who came to me to be amusing.

Roxane !­

It was you.

No, no, Roxane, no !

            And I might have known, every time that I heard you speak my name! . . .

No- It was not I­-

It was. . . you!

I swear­-

I understand everything now: The letters­- that was you. . .


            And the dear, foolish words- that was you. . . .


And the voice. . . in the dark. . . .that was. . . you !

            On my honor­-

And. . . the Soul!­
That was all you.

I never loved you­-

Yes, you loved me.

CYRANO (Desperately)
 No- he loved you­-

Even now,
You love me!

CYRANO (His voice weakens.)

ROXANE (Smiling)
            And why. . . so great a "No"?

No, no, my own dear love, I love you not! . . .

How many things have died. . . and are newborn! . . . Why were you silent for so many years,
All the while, every night and every day, he gave me nothing-you knew that-
You knew here, in this letter lying on my breast, your tears- you knew they were your tears­

CYRANO (Holds the letter out to her.)
The blood

Was his.

Cyrano the brave

Pouring my men down like an avalanche,
I myself led the charge
(Without looking up from his book.)
            And your white scarf?

            DE GUICHE  
(Surprised and gratified)
You heard that episode? Yes-rallying
My men for the third time, I found myself
Carried among a crowd of fugitives
Into the enemy's lines. I was in danger
Of being shot or captured; but I thought
Quickly-took off and flung away the scarf
That marked my military rank-and so
Being inconspicuous, escaped among
My own force, rallied them, returned again
And won the day! .. .
(The Cadets do not appear to be listening, but here and there the cards and the dice boxes remain motionless, the smoke is retained in their cheeks.)
            What do you say to that?
Presence of mind-yes?
            CYRANO I
            Henry of Navarre being out numbered, never flung away
His white plume.       
            (Silent enjoyment. The cards flutter, the dice roll, the smoke puffs out.)

            DE GUICHE
            My device was a success,
            (Same attentive pause, interrupting the games and the smoking.)

Possibly. . . An officer does not lightly resign the privilege of being a target.
            (Cards, dice, and smoke fall, roll, and float away with increasing satisfaction.)
Now, if I had been there­- your courage and my own differ in this-

­When your scarf fell, I should have put it on.

Cyrano fallen from the sky

Now then, to make His Grace delay that quarter of an hour
I have it!- up here-

(He steps on the bench, and climbs up the wall, toward the balcony. The theorbos begin to play a mournful melody)

Sad music – Ah, a man!.. .

(The music pauses on a Sinister tremolo.)

Oh- very much a man!

(He sits astride of the railing and, drawing toward him a long  branch of one of the trees which
border the garden wall, he grasps it with both hands, ready to swing himself down.)

            So- not too high-

(He peers down at the ground)

I must float gently through the atmosphere-

            DE GUICHE
 (Enters, masked, groping in the dark toward the house.)
Where is that cursed, bleating Capuchin?

What if he knows my voice?- the devil !- Tic-tac,
Bergerac- we unlock our Gascon-tongue;­
A strong accent-

  Here is the house- all dark- Damn this mask!-
(as he is about to enter the house, CYRANO leaps from the balcony, still holding fast to the branch, which bends and swings him between DE GUICHE and the door; then he releases the branch, and
pretends, to fall heavily as though from a height. He lands flatly on the ground where he lies motionless, as if stunned. DE GUICHE leaps back.)

What is that?
(When he ljfts his,eyes,the branch has sprung back into place. He can see nothing but the sky;
            he does not understand.)
            Why. . . where did this man fall from?

(Sits up, and speaks with a strong accent.)
            -The moon!

            DE GUICHE

            From the moon, the moon! I fell out of the moon!

            The fellow is mad­-

(Dreamily) Where am I?


            What time is it? What place­
Is this? What day? What season?

            DE GUICHE

I am stunned!

My dear sir­-

Like a bomb-a bomb-I fell from the moon!

            DE GUICHE
            Now, see here­

(Rising to his feet, and speaking in a terrible            voice.)
I say, the moon!

Very well-if you say so­-
Raving mad!-

 (Advancing upon him.)
I am not speaking metaphorically!


            A hundred years-an hour ago
            I really cannot say how long I fell­-
I was in yonder shining sphere­
Quite so.
Please let me pass.

Where am I? Tell the truth-
I can bear it. In what quarter of the globe
Have I descended like a meteorite?


I could not choose my place to fall­-
            The earth spun round so fast- Was it the Earth,
 I wonder?-Or is this another world?
            Another moon? Whither have I been drawn
 By the dead weight of my posterior?

            DE GUICHE
Sir, I repeat­-

(With a sudden cry, which causes DE GUICHE to recoil again.)    
            His face! My God- black!

 (Carries his hand to his mask.) Oh!

Are you a native? Is this Africa?

            DE GUICHE
-This mask!
            CYRANO &
(Somewhat reassured)
            Are we in Venice? Genoa?

(Tries to pass him)
A lady is waiting for me.

(Quite happy again)
So this is Paris!

            DE GUIECE
 (Smiling in spite of himself)
This fool becomes amusing. 
Ah! You smile?

 I do. Kindly permit me­

Dear old Paris­-  Well, well!­
            (Wholly at his ease, smiles, bows, arranges his dress.)
Excuse my appearance. I arrive by the last thunderbolt- a trifle singed
As I came through the ether. These long journeys­
You know! There are so few conveniences!
My eyes are full of star-dust. On my spurs,
Some sort of fur. . . Planet's apparently. . .
            (Plucks something from his sleeve.)
Look-on my doublet- That's a Comet's hair!
            (He blows something from the back of his hand)

            DE GUICHE
(Grows angry.)

            (As DE GUICHE is about to push past, thrusts his leg in the way.)
Here's a tooth, stuck in my boot;
From the Great Bear. Trying to get away,    
I tripped over the Scorpion and came down slap, into one scale of the Balances-
The pointer marks my weight this moment. . .
            (Pointing upward.)

(DE GUICHE makes a sudden movement. CYRANO catches his arm.)

Be careful! If you struck: me on the nose,
            It would drip milk !


From the Milky Way!


CYRANO No, no-Heaven. (Crossing his arms.)
            Curious place up there-­
Did you know Sirius wore a nightcap? True!
The Little Bear is still too young to bite.
My foot caught in the Lyre, and broke a string.
Well- when I write my book, and tell the tale
Of my adventures- all these little stars,
That shake out of my cloak-I must save those
To use for asterisks

            That will do now­-
I wish­-

Yes, yes- I know­-

            DE GUICHE

You desire
To learn from my own lips the character
 Of the moon's surface- its inhabitants
 If any­-

            DE GUICHE
(Loses patience and shouts.)
            I desire no such thing! I-
CYRANO (Rapidly)
 You wish to know by what mysterious means
 I reached the moon? –well –confidentially-
­It was a new invention of my own.

DE GUICHE (Discouraged)
Drunk too--as well as mad !

I scorned the eagle
Of Regiomontanus, and the dove of Archytas!

A learned lunatic!-
I imitated no one. I myself
I)iscovered not one scheme merely, but six­-
Six ways to violate the virgin sky!
(DE GUICHE has succeeded in passing him, and moves toward the door of ROXANE'S house. CYRANO follows, ready to use violence if necessary.)

DE GUICHE (Looks around.)

(With increasing volubility)
As for instance-Having stripped myself
Bare as a wax candle, adorn my form
With crystal vials filled with morning dew,
And so be drawn aloft, as the sun rises
Drinking the mist of dawn!

            DE GUICHE
(Takes a step toward CYRANO.)
            Yes-that makes one.

            (Draws back to lead him away from the door; speaks faster and faster.)
 Or, sealing up the air in a cedar chest,
Rarefy it by means of mirrors, placed
In an icosahedron.

            DE GUICHE
(Takes another step.)

            CYRANO (Still retreating)
Again, I might construct a rocket, in the form
Of a huge locust, driven by impulses
Of villainous saltpetre from the rear,
Upward, by leaps and bounds.

            DE GUICHE
(Interested in spite of himself, and counting on his

CYRANO (Same business)
Or again,
Smoke having a natural tendency to rise,
Blow in a globe enough to raise me.

            DE GUICHE
(Same business, more and more astonished.)
            Four !

Or since Diana, as old fables tell,
Draws forth to fill her crescent horn, the marrow
 Of bulls and goats- to anoint myself therewith.

DE GUICHE (Hypnotized)
Five !-

(Has by this time led him all the way across the street, close to a bench.)
Finally- seated on an iron plate,
To hurl a magnet in the air- the iron
Follows- I catch the magnet- throw again­
And so proceed indefinitely.

            DE GUICHE
All excellent,-and which did you adopt?
CYRANO (Coolly)
Why, none of them... . A seventh.

            DE GUICHE
Which was?­

Guess !-

 An interesting idiot, this!

            CYRANO .
(Imitates the sound of waves with his voice, and their movement by large, vague gestures.)
            Hoo !. . . Hoo ! . . .


Have you guessed it yet?

            DE GUICHE
Why, no.

CYRANO (Grandiloquent)
The ocean ! . . .
What hour its rising tide seeks the full moon,
 I laid me on the strand, fresh from the spray,
 My head fronting the moonbeams, since the hair
Retains moisture-and so I slowly rose
As upon angels' wings, effortlessly,
Upward-then suddenly I felt a shock!­
And then. . .

            DE GUICHE
(Overcome by curiosity, sits down on the bench.)
            And then?

            And then­
            (Changes abruptly to his natural voice.)
The time is up! ­Fifteen minutes, your Grace !- You are now free; And-they are bound-in wedlock.

            DE GUICHE
(Leaping up)
Am I drunk?
That voice. . .
            (The door of ROXANE'S house opens; lackeys ap­pear, bearing lighted candles. Lights up. CYRANO removes his hat.)

And that nose !-Cyrano ! 


            After all,
She knows that I exist- no matter why!

            LE BRET
So now, you are going to be happy.

Now! ...
(Beside himself)
I-I am going to be a storm-a flame­-
I need to fight whole armies all alone;
I have ten hearts; I have a hundred arms; I feel
Too strong to war with mortals- ­

(He shouts at the top of his voice.)

            BRING ME GIANTS !

Who and what is this woman?

Who and what is this woman?

            Mortally, without meaning; exquisite
Without imagining. Nature's own snare
            To allure manhood. A white rose wherein
Love lies in ambush for his natural prey.      ­
Who knows her smile has known a perfect thing.
 She creates grace in her own image, brings­
Heaven to earth in one movement of her hand-­
Nor thou, 0 Venus! balancing thy shell
Over the Mediterranean blue, nor thou,
Diana! marching through broad, blossoming woods,
Art so divine as when she mounts her chair,
And goes abroad through Paris!

Oh, well- of course,

That makes everything clear!

the great descriptive Cyrano

(Cooly) Is that all?

(Turns away with a shrug) Well of course­

 Ah, no, young sir!
You are too simple. Why, you might have said-
Oh, a great many things! Mon dieu, why waste ­
Your opportunity? For example, thus:-
AGGRESSIVE: I, sir, if that nose were mine,
            I’d have it amputated--on the spot!
FRIENDLY: How do you drink with such a nose
You ought to have a cup made specially.
DESCRIPTIVE: ‘Tis a rock- a crag –a cape-
A cape? say rather a peninsula!
INQUISITIVE: What is that receptacle­-
A razor-case or a portfolio?
KINDLY: Ah, do you love' the little birds
So much that when they come and sing to you,
You give them this to perch on?
INSOLENT: Sir, when you smoke, the neighbors must suppose
Your chimney is on fire.
CAUTIOUS: Take care­-
A weight like that might make you top heavy.
THOUGHTFUL: Somebody fetch my parasol­-
Those delicate colors fade so in the sun!
PEDANTIC: Does not Aristophanes
Mention a mythologic monster called
Surely we have here the original!
FAMILIAR: Well, old torchlight! Hang your hat
 Over that chandelier it hurts my eyes.
ELOQUENT: When it blows, the typhoon howls,
And the clouds darken.
DRAMATIC: When it bleeds- ­The Red Sea!
For some perfumer!
LYRIC: Hark-the horn
Of Roland calls to summon Charlemagne!­
SIMPLE: When do they unveil the monument?
RESPECTFUL: Sir, I recognize in you
A man of parts, a man of prominence­
RUSTIC: Hey? What? Call that a nose? Na na-
I be no fool like what you think I be­-
That there's a blue cucumber!
Point against cavalry!
A lottery with this for the grand prize ?
Or-parodying Faustus in the play­
"Was this the nose that launched a thousand ships
And burned the topless towers of Ilium?"
These, my dear sir, are things you might have said
Had you some tinge of letters, or of wit
To color your discourse. But wit,-not so,
You never had an atom- and of letters,
You need but three to write you down-an Ass.
 Moreover,- if you had the invention, here
Before these folks to make a jest of me­-
Be sure you would not then articulate
The twentieth part of half a syllable
Of the beginning! For I say these things
Lightly enough myself, about myself,

But I allow none else to utter them.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,
­I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art, the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye, ­
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
Oh for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules.
Knowledge never learned of schools,
Of the wild bee's morning chase,
Of the wild flower's time and place,
Flight of fowl and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood;
How the tortoise bears his shell,
How the woodchuck digs his cell,
And the ground-mole sinks 'his well;
Lose the freedom of the sod,
Like a colt's for work be shod,
Made to tread the mills of toil,
Up and down in ceaseless moil:
Happy if their track be found
Never on forbidden ground;
Happy if they sink not in
Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy,
Ere it passes, barefoot boy!
John Greenleaf Whittier.

How to Review Milton's L' Allegro

IT has become a practice of late, with a certain description of people who have no visible means of subsistence, to string together a few trite images of rural scenery, interspersed with vulgarisms in dialect and traits of vulgar manners; to dress up these materials in a sing-song j ingle, and to offer them for sale as a poem. According to the most approved recipes, something about the heathen gods and goddesses, and the schoolboy topics of Styx, and Cerberus, and Elysium, is occasionally thrown in, and the composition is complete. The stock-in-trade of these adventurers is in general scanty enough, and their art therefore consists in disposing of it to the best advantage. But if such be the aim of the writer, it is the critic's business to detect and defeat the imposture; to warn the public against the purchase of shop-worn goods and tinsel wares; to protect the fair trader by exposing the tricks
.of needy quacks and mountebanks; and to chastise that for­ward and noisy importunity with which they present them­selves to the public notice.
How far Mr. Milton is amenable to this discipline will best appear from a brief analysis of the poem before us. In the very opening he assumes a tone of authority which might better suit some veteran bard than a raw candidate for the Delphic bays. Before he proceeds to the regular process of invocation, he clears the way by driving from his presence, with sundry hard names and bitter reproaches on her father, mother, and all the family, a venerable personage, whose age
at least, and staid, matron-like appearance, might have eI1­titled her to more civil language:
"Hence, loathed Melancholy;
Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian rave forlorn, etc."

There is no giving rules, however, in these matters, with­out a knowledge of the case. Perhaps the old lady had been frequently warned off before, and provoked this violence by continuing still to lurk about the poet's dwelling. And, to say the truth, the reader will have but too good reason to re­mark, before he gets through the poem, that it is one thing to tell the spirit of dulness to depart, and another to get rid of her in reality. Like Glendower's spirits, anyone may order them away, "but will they go when you do order them? "
But let us suppose for a moment that the Parnassian de­cree is obeyed, and according to the letter of the order, which is as precise and wordy as if Justice Shallow himself had drawn it, that the obnoxious female is sent back to the place of her birth,
" 'Mongst horrid shapes, shrieks, sights, etc.,"
at which we beg our fair readers not to be alarmed, for we can assure them they are only words of course in all poet­ical instruments of this nature, and mean no more than the " force and arms," and" instigation of the devil" in a com­mon indictment. This nuisance then being abated, we are left at liberty to contemplate a character of a different com­plexion, "buxom, blithe, and debonair;" one who, although evidently a great favourite of the poet's, .and therefore to be received with all due courtesy, is, notwithstanding, introduced under the suspicious description of an alias:
" In heaven ycleped Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth."

Judging indeed from the light and easy deportment of this gay nymph, one might guess there were good reasons for a change of name as she changed her residence.
But .,f all vices, there is none we abhor more than that of slanderous insinuation; we shall therefore confine our moral strictures to the nymph's mother, in whose defence the poet has little to say himself. Here, too, as in the case of the name, there is some doubt; for the uncertainty of descent on
the father's side having become trite to a proverb, the author, scorning that beaten track, has left us to choose between two mothers for his favourite, and without much to guide our choice; whichever we fix upon, it is plain she was no better than she should be. As he seems, however, himself inclined to the latter of the two, we will even suppose it so to be:
"Or whether (as some sages sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the sprzng,
 Zephyr with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses washed in dew, etc."
Some dull people might imagine that the wind was more like the breath of spring, than spring the breath of the wind; but we are more disposed to question the author's ethics than his physics, and accordingly cannot dismiss these May gam­bols without some observations.
In the first place, Mr. M. seems to have higher notions of the antiquity of the Maypole than we have been accustomed to attach to it. Or perhaps he thought to shelter the equivo­cal nature of this affair under that sanction. To us, however, who can hardly subscribe to the doctrine that" vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossness," neither the remote­ness of time nor the gaiety of the season furnishes a sufficient palliation. "Violets blue" and" fresh-blown roses" are, to be sure, more agreeable objects of the imagination than a gin­shop in Wapping or a booth in Bartholomew Fair; but in point of morality these are distinctions without a difference; or, it may be, the cultivation of mind, which teaches us to reject and nauseate these latter objects, aggravates the case if our improvement in taste be not accompanied by a pro­portionate improvement of morals.
If the reader can reconcile himself to this latitude of prin­ciple, the anachronism will not long stand in his way. Much, indeed, may be said in favour of this union of ancient mythology with modern notions and manners. It is a sort of chronological metaphor-an artificial analogy, by which ideas, widely remote and heterogeneous, are brought into contact, and the mind is delighted by this unexpected assem­blage, as it is by the combinations of figurative language.
Thus in that elegant interlude, which the pen of Ben Jon­son has transmitted to us, of the loves of Hero and Leander:

" Gentles, that no longer your expectations may wander,
 Behold our chief actor, amorous Leander,
With a great deal of cloth, lapped about him like a scarf,
For he yet serves his father, a dyer in Puddle Wharf;
 Which place we'll make bold with, to call it our Abydus,
As the Bank side is our Sestos, and let it not be denied us."

     Far be it from us to deny the use of so reasonable a lib­erty; especially if the request be backed (as it is in the case of Mr. M.) by the craving and imperious necessities of rhyme. What man who has ever bestrode Pegasus but for an hour will be insensible to such a claim?
We are next favoured with an enumeration of the attend­ants of this" debonair" nymph, in all the minuteness of a German dramatis persOl~a, or a rope-dancer's handbill:
" Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee Jest, and youthful Jollity ;
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles, Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, .
And love to live in dimple sleek; Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter, holding both his sides."
The author, to prove himself worthy of being admitted of the crew, skips and capers about upon" the light fantastic toe," that there is no following him. He scampers through all the categories, in search of his imaginary beings, from substance to quality, and back again; from thence to ac­tion, passion, habit, etc., with incredible celerity. Who, for instance, would have expected cranks, nods, becks, and wreathed smiles as part of a group in which Jest, Jollity, Sport and Laughter figure away as full-formed entire per­sonages? The family likeness is certainly very strong in the last two, and if we had not been told we should perhaps have thought the act of deriding as appropriate to laughter as to sport.
But how are we to understand the stage directions?
                    'Come, and trip it as you go."
Are the words used synonymously? Or is it meant that this airy gentry shall come in at a minuet step, and go off in a jig? The phenomenon of a tripPing crank is indeed novel, and would doubtless attract numerous spectators. But it is difficult to guess to whom among this jolly company the poet addresses himself, for immediately after the plural appellative
(you), he proceeds:
" And in thy right hand lead with tbee
      The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty."
No sooner is this fair damsel introduced, but Mr. M., with most unbecoming levity, falls in love with her, and makes a request of her companion, which is rather greedy, that he may live with both of them:
"To live with her, and live with thee.~'
Even the gay libertine who sung, "How happy could I be with either," did not go so far as this. But we have already had occasion to remark on the laxity of Mr. M.'s amatory notions.
The poet, intoxicated with the charms of his mistress, now rapidly runs over the pleasures which he proposes to himself in the enjoyment of her society. But though he has the ad­vantage of being his own caterer, either his palate is of a peculiar structure, or he has not made the most judicious selection. To begin the day well, he will have the skylark
" to come in spite of sorrow,
And at his window bid good morrow."
The skylark, if we know anything of the nature of that bird, must come in spite of something else as well as of sorrow, to the performance of this office. In his next image the natural history is better preserved, and as the thoughts are appro­priate to the time of the day, we will venture to transcribe the passage, as a favourable specimen of the author's man­ner:

"While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the bam-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering mom,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill."

Is it not lamentable that, after all, whether it is the cock or the poet that listens, should be left entirely to the reader's conjecture? Perhaps also his embarrassment may be in­creased by a slight resemblance of character in these two illustrious personages, at least as far as relates to the extent and numbers of their seraglio.
    After a flaming description of sunrise, on which occasion the clouds attend in their very best liveries, the bill of fare for the day proceeds in the usual manner. Whistling plough­men, singing milkmaids, and sentimental shepherds are al­ways to be had at a moment's notice, and, if well grouped, serve to fill up the landscape agreeably enough. On this part of the poem we have only to remark, that if Mr. John Milton proposes to make himself merry with

" Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
      Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
Mountains on whose barren breast
 The labouring clouds do often rest ;
 Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Towers and battlements, etc.,"

he will either find himself egregiously disappointed, or he must possess a disposition to merriment which even Democri­tus himself might envy. To such a pitch indeed does this sol­emn indication of joy sometimes rise, that we are inclined to give him credit for a literal adherence to the apostolic pre­cept, "Is any merry, let him sing psalms."
At length, however, he hies away at the sound of bell­
ringing, and seems for some time to enjoy the tippling and fiddling and dancing of a village wake. But his fancy is soon haunted again by spectres and goblins, a set of beings not in general esteemed the companions or inspirers of mirth:
"With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinched, and pulled, she said;
And he, by friar's lanthorn led,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat
To earn his cream-bowl duly set;
When in one night, ere glimpse of mom,
His shadowy flail hath threshed the com,
 That ten day-labourers could not end ;
. Then lies him down the lubbar fiend,
And, stretched out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength ;
And crop-full out of door he flings,
Ere the first cock his marin rings."

Mr. M. seems indeed to have a turn for this species of nur­sery tales and prattling lullabies; and if he will studiously cultivate his talent he need not despair of figuring in a con­spicuous corner of Mr. Newbury's shop-window; unless, in­deed, Mrs. Trimmer should think fit to proscribe those empty levities and idle superstitions by which the world has been too long abused.
From these rustic fictions we are transported to another species of hum:
 "Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend."

To talk of the bright eyes of ladies judging the prize of wit is indeed with the poets a legitimate species of humming. £ut would not, we may ask, the rain from these ladies' bright eyes rather tend to dim'their lustre? Or is there any quality in a shower of influence, which, instead of deadening, serves only to brighten and exhilarate? Whatever the case may be, we would advise Mr. M. by all means to keep out of the way of these knights and barons bold; for if he has nothing but his wit to trust to, we will venture to predict that, without a large share of most undue influence, he must be content to see the prize adjudged to his competitors.
Of the latter part of the poem little need be said. The au­thor does seem somewhat more at home when he gets among the actors and musicians, though his head is still running upon Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pluto, and other sombre gentry, who are ever thrusting themselves in where we least expect them, and who chill every rising emotion of mirth and gaiety.
Upon the whole, Mr. Milton seems to be possessed of some fancy and talent for rhyming; two most dangerous endow­ments, which often unfit men for acting a useful part in life, without qualifying them for that which is great and brilliant.
If it be true, as we have heard, that he has declined advan­tageous prospects in business for the sake of indulging his poetical humour, we hope it is not yet too late to prevail upon him to retract his resolution. With the help of Cocker and common industry he may become a respectable scrivener; but it is not all the Zephyrs, and Auroras, and Corydons, and Thyrsises, aye, nor his junketing Queen Mab and drudging goblins, that will ever make him a poet. 

Edward Copleston
-"Advice to a Young Reviewer."