University of Virginia Library





To Daniel Shepherd:

Come, Shepherd, come and visit me:
Come, we'll make it Arcady;
Come, if but for charity.
Sure, with such a pastoral name,
Thee the city should not claim.
Come, then, Shepherd, come away,
Thy sheep in bordering pastures stray.
Come, Daniel, come and visit me:
I'm lost in many a quandary:
I've dreamed, like Bab'lon's Majesty:
Prophet, come expound for me.
—I dreamed I saw a laurel grove,
Claimed for his by the bird of Jove,
Who, elate with such dominion,
Oft cuffed the boughs with haughty pinion.
Indignantly the trees complain,
Accursing his afflictive reign.
Their plaints the chivalry excite
Of churlishness, a plucky host:
They battle with the bird of light.
Beaten, he wings his Northward flight,
No more his laurel realm to boast,
Where now, to crow, the cocks alight,
And—break down all the branches quite!


Such a weight of friendship pure
The grateful trees could not endure.
This dream, it still disturbeth me:
Seer, foreshows it Italy?
But other visions stir my head;
No poet-problems, fancy-fed—
Domestic prose of board and bed.
I marvel oft how guest unwined
Will to this farm-house be resigned.
Not a hint of ruby claret
Cooleth in our cellar-bin;
And, ripening in our sultry garret,
Otard glows no flask within.
(Claret and otard here I name
Because each is your fav'rite flame:
Placed 'tween the two decanters, you,
Like Alexander, your dear charmers view,
And both so fair you find, you neither can eschew:
—That's what they call an Alexandrine;
Don't you think it very damn'd fine?)
—Brackets serve to fence this prattle,
Pound for episodic cattle.—
I said that me the Fates do cripple
In matter of a wholesome ‘tipple.”
Now, is it for oft cursing gold,
For lucre vile,
The Hags do thus from me withold
Sweet Bacchus' smile?
Smile, that like other smiles as mellow,
Not often greets Truth's simple fellow:—


For why? Not his the magic Dollar?
You should know, you Wall-Street scholar!
—Of Bourbon that is rather new
I brag a fat black bottle or two,—
Shepherd, is this such Mountain-Dew
As one might fitly offer you?
But if cold water will content ye
My word, of that ye shall have plenty.
Thanks to late floods, our spring, it brims,—
Will't mind o'crunch of goblet-rims?
—I've told some doubts that sadly pose me:
Come thou now, and straight resolve me.
Come, these matters sagely read,
Daniel, of the prophet breed.
Daniel Shepherd, come and rove—
Freely rove two fally dells;
The one the Housatonic clove,
And that where genial Friendship dwells.




A glory lights an earnest end;
In jubilee the patriot ghosts ascend.
Transfigured at the rapturous height
Of their passionate feat of arms,
Death to the brave's a starry night,—
Strown their vale of death with palms.


Proud, O proud in his oaken hall
The Admiral walks to-day,
From the top of his turreted citadel
French colors 'neath English play.—
Why skips the needle so frolic about,
Why danceth the ship so to-day?
Is it to think of those French Captains' swords
Surrendered when ended the fray?
O well may you skip, and well may you dance,
You dance on your homeward way;
O well may you skip and well may you dance
With homeward-bound victors to-day.


Like a baron bold from his mountain-hold,
At night looks the Admiral forth:
Heavy the clouds, and thick and dun,
They slant from the sullen North.
Catching at each little opening for life,
The moon in her wane swims forlorn;
Fades, fades mid the clouds her pinched paled face
Like the foeman's in seas sinking down.
Tack off from the land! And the watch below
Old England the oak-crownd to drink:—
Knock, knock, knock, the loud billows go,
Rapping “Bravo my boys!” ere they sink—
Knock, knock, knock, on the windward bow;
The Anvil-Head Whale you would think.
Tis Saturday night,—the last of the week,
The last of the week, month, and year—
On deck! shout it out, you forecastle-man,
Shout “Sail ho, Sail ho—the New Year!”
Drink, messmates, drink; tis sweet to think
Tis the last of the week, month, and year,
Then perils are past, and Old England at last,
Though now shunned, in the morn we will near;
We've beaten the foe, their ship blown below,
Their flags in St. Paul's Church we'll rear.


Knock, knock, knock, the loud billows go—
God! what's that shouting and roar?
Breakers!—close, close ahead and abeam:
She strikes—knock, knock—we're ashore!
Why went the needle so trembling about,
Why shook you, and trembled to-day?
Was it, perchance, that those French Captains' swords
In the arm-chest too near you lay?
Was it to think that those French Captains' swords,
Surendered, might yet win the day?
O woe for the brave no courage can save,
Woe, woe for the ship led astray.
High-beetling the rocks below which she shocks,
Her boats they are stove by her side,
Fated seas lick her round, as in flames she were bound,
Roar, roar like a furnace the tide.
O jagged the rocks, repeated she knocks,
Splits the hull like a cracked filbert there,
Her timbers are torn, and ground-up are thrown,
Float the small chips like filbert-bits there.
Pale, pale, but proud, 'neath the billows loud,
The Admiral sleeps to night;
Pale, pale, but proud, in his sea-weed shroud,—
The Admiral of the White:
And by their gun the dutiful ones,
Who had fought, bravely fought the good fight.



Thou that dost thy Christmas keep
Lonesome on the torrid deep,
But in thy “Meteor” proudly sweep
O'er the waves that vainly comb—
Of thee we think,
To thee we drink,
And drain the glass, my gallant Tom!
Thou that, duty-led, dost roam
Far from thy shepherd-brother's home—
Shearer of the ocean-foam!
To whom one Christmas may not come,—
Of thee I think
Till on its brink
The glass shows tears, beloved Tom!


Like stranded ice when freshets die
These shattered marbles tumbled lie:
They trouble me.
What solace?—Old in inexhaustion,
Interred alive from storms of fortune,
The quarries be!




A crescent brow—a quiver thrown
Behind the shoulder. A huntress, own.
It needs be Artemis. But, nay,
It breathes too much of Eve's sweet way,
And Artemis is high, austere,
Chill as her morn, a goddess mere.
She bends, and with one backward hand
Adjusts her buskin light,
The sidelong face upturned—how arch!
Sure, somebody meets her sight.
But never virgin on another
Virgin, or approaching brother
Turned a look like that, I wis.
Profane, if meant for Artemis!
Why, could one but piece out the stone—
Complete restore its primal state,
Some handsome fellow would be shown,
Some Laon she would fascinate
By that arch look.—
Nay—can it be?
Again methinks 't is Artemis.
Rogue of a Greek! and is it she?


Show'st thou the goddess, human yet—
The austere Artemis a coquette?
If so in sooth, some latter age
In faith's decay begot thine art—
Such impudence of sweet persiflage!


From bright Stamboul Death crosses o'er;
Beneath the cypress evermore
His camp he pitches by the shore
Of Asia old.
Requiting this unsocial mood
Stamboul's inmyrtled multitude
Bless Allah and the sherbert good
And Europe hold.
Even so the cleaving Bosphorous parts
Life and Death.—Dissembling hearts!
Over the gulf the yearning starts
To meet—infold!



Abreast through town by Nile they go
With water-skins the dust to lay,
A soggy set in sorry row
Squeezing their skins in bag-pipe way.
With droning rhyme that times the twitch
They squirt the water, squirt and switch
In execrable play!
Osiris! what indignity,
In open eye of day,
Offered the arch majesty
Of Thotmes passed away;
The atoms of his pomp no prouder
Than to be blown about in powder,
Or made a muddy clay!


Plump thro' tomb and catacomb
Rolls the Engine ripping;
Egypt's ancient dust
This before the gust,
The Pyramid is slipping!
Too long inurned, Sesostres's spurned,
What glory left to Isis
Mid loud acclaim to Watts his name
Alack for Miriam's spices!



What though Reason forged your scheme?
'Twas Reason dreamed the Utopia's dream:
'Tis dream to think that Reason can
Govern the reasoning creature, man.



In touching upon historical matters the romancer and poet have generously been accorded a certain license, elastic in proportion to the remoteness of the period embraced and consequent incompleteness and incertitude of our knowledge as to events, personages, and dates. It is upon this privilege, assumed for granted, that I here venture to proceed.

Rammon, not mentioned in canonic Scripture, the unrobust child of Solomon's old age and inheriting its despondent philosophy, was immoderat[e]ly influenced thereby. Vanity of vanities—such is this life. As to a translated life in some world hereafter—far be that thought! A primary law binds the universe. The worlds are like apples on the tree; in flavor and tint one apple perchance may somewhat differ from another, but all partake of the same sap. One of the worlds we know. And what find we here? Much good, a preponderance of good; that is, good it would be could it be winnowed from the associate evil that taints it. But evil is no accident. Like good it is an irremovable element. Bale out your individual boat, if you can, but the sea abides.

To Rammon then cessation of being was the desirable event. But desired or not, an end or what would seem to [be]


an end, does come. Here he would have rested—rested but for Buddha[.]

Solomon a very lax Hebrew did not altogether repell foreign ideas. It was in his time that reports of Buddha and the Buddhistic belief had, along with the recorded spices and pearls, been conveyed into Palestine by that travelled and learned Indian dame, not less communicative than inquisitive, the Princess of Sheba[.] Through her it was that the doctrine of the successive transmigration of souls came to circulate, along with legends of Ashtaroth and Chemosh, among a people whose theocratic lawgiver was silent as to any life to come. A significant abstention; and serving the more to invest with speculative novelty Budd[h]a's affirmative scheme. But profound doctrines not directly imparted by miracle, but through many removes and in end through the sprightly chat of a clever queen, though naturally enough they might supply a passing topic for the amateur of thought, yet in any vital way they would scarcely affect but the exceptionally few. This applies to Rammon. But the wonderful conceptions of Prince—[Siddhata?] were backed by something equally marvelous, his personality and life. These singularly appealed to Rammon also born a Prince, and conscious, too, that rank had not hardened his heart as to the mass of mankind, toilers and sufferers, nor in any wise intercepted a just view of the immense spectacle of things.

But, in large, his thought of Buddha partook of that tender awe with which long after Rammon's time, the earlier unconventional Christians were impressed by the story and character of Christ. It was not possible for him therefore to deem unworthy regard any doctrine however repugnant to his understanding and desire, authentically ascribed to so transcendent a nature.


Besides: If Budd[h]a['s] estimate of this present life confirms, and more than confirms, Solomon my wise father's view, so much the more then should a son of his attend to what Buddha reveals or alleges touching an unescapable life indefinitely continuous after death.

Rammon was young; his precocious mind eagerly receptive; in practical matters the honesty of his intel[l]ect in part compensated for his lack of experience and acquired knowledge. Nevertheless he had no grounding in axiomatic matters of the first consequence in passing judgement upon those vast claims, sometimes made as from heaven itself, upon the credence of man.

Moreover, in connection with Buddha it had never occurred to him as a conjecture, much less as a verity that the more spiritual, wide-seeing, conscientious and sympathetic the nature, so much the more is it spiritually isolationed, and isolation is the mother of illusion.

Lost between reverential love for Buddha's person and alarm at his confused teaching, (like all [OMITTED] teaching alike unprovable and irrefutable) and with none to befriend & enlighten him, there was no end to the sensitive Prince's reveries & misgivings.

He was left the more a prey to these disquietudes inasmuch as he took no part in public affairs. And for this reason. Upon the accession of Rehoboam his half-brother, troubles began, ending in the permanent disruption of the kingdom, a calamity directly traceable to the young king['s] disdain of the counsel of [i.e. and] advice of his father's councillors, and leaning to flatterers of his own age and arrogance of ignorance. The depressing event confirmed Rammon in his natural bias for a life with men. What avails it now that


Solomon my father was wise? Rehoboam succeeds. Such oscillations are not of a day. Why strive? Rehoboam is my brother. When the oil of coronation was not yet dry upon him, and repentant Jeroboam proffered his allegiance, only imploring that the king would not make his yoke grievous, and while the king had not yet determined the matter, I said to him, It is not wisdom to repulse a penitent. Jeroboam is [a] valorous, a mighty man. If you make him hopeless of lenity, he will stir up mischief, perchance a rebellion. When I said this much to the king my brother, without a word he turned on his heel. Then I foresaw what would come, and now I see it. But now as then, he held me for an imbecile. He surrounds himself with those natives he calls practical men. Why strive? And he withdrew to his meditations and abstractions.

But an interruption not unwelcome occurred. Tho' the Hebrews were not disposed as a people to superfluous intercourse with the Gentile's races, yet in one instance they would seem to have made an exception. The commercial alliance, between Solomon and Hiram partook something of personal good feeling which radiating out, resulted in an international amity that for a period survived both monarchs.

And so it came to pass that Tardi an importer of the coast[,] a versatile man, in reports for gifts other than the one popularly charting him, made a visit to the court in Jerusalem, a court still retaining something of the magnificence & luxury introduced by the Son of Jethro the shepherd. News of the Tyrian's arrival reaches Rammon's retreat. It interests him. With a view of eliciting something bearing on those questions that were cease[lessly] agitating his heart, he effects a privy interview with the new-comer; thinking


beforehand, My countrymen are stay-at-homes; whatsoever is extant in their thought is as contracted as their territory; but here comes an urbane stranger travelled intellectual,— Well, we shall see!

For Tardi, he was struck with the pure-minded ingenuousness of Rammon born to a station not favorable to candor. He was interested, perhaps entertained, by his youth and ardor entangled in problems which he for his own part had never seriously considered, holding them not more abstruse than profitless. But humoring a Prince so amiable, affably he lends himself to Rammon's purpose. But it is not long before Rammon divines, that Tardi, exempt from popular errors tho he [was] endowed with knowingness far beyond his own, suave and fluent, so bright too and prepossessing, was in essential character little more than a highly agreeable man-of-the-world, and as such, unconsciously prepared to avert himself, in a light-hearted way, from entire segments of life and thought. A fair urn, beautifully sculptured, but opaque and clay. True, among other things he is a poet; a poet, of a sensuous relish for the harmonious as to numbers and the thoughts they embody and a magic facility in infusing that double harmony, makes a poet then Tardi is such, and it is not necessary for a poet to be a seer. With a passionate exclamation he breaks off the conference, and for diversion from his disappoint[ment] solicits a trial of the accomplished stranger's improvising gift.

Let us attend the Prince & Tardi at that point in their interview when after some general discussion as to the strange doctrine troubling the former, he takes up the one mainly disturbing him, and makes a heart-felt appeal.


Who, friend that has lived, taking ampler view,
Running life's chances, would life renew?
Ay, Prince, but why fear? no use to dismay
When turning to enter death's chamber of spell
One waves back to life a good-natured farewell,
Bye-bye, I must sleep. That's in Tyrian way.
Not hereabouts very new.
But, piercing our Siddata's comfortable [word,]
Buddha, benign yet terrible, is heard:
It is Buddha I love.—
From his Ever-and-a-Day, friend, ravish me away!
Fable me something that may solace or repay—
Something of your art.
Well,—for a theme?
A Phoenician are you. And your voyages of Tyre
From Ophir's far strand they return full of dream
That leaps to the heart of the nearby desire.
Fable me, then, those Enviable Isles
Whereof King Hiram's tars used to tell;
Now looms the dim shore when the land is ahead;
And what the strange charm the tarrier beguiles
Time without end content there to dwell.
Ay, fable me, those enviable isles.



Noble gods at the board
Where lord unto lord
Light pushes the care-killing wine:
Urbane in their pleasure,
Superb in their leisure—
Lax ease—
Lax ease after labor divine!
Golden ages eternal
Autumnal, supernal,
Deep mellow their temper serene:
The rose by their gate
Shall it yield unto fate?
They are gods—
They are gods and their garlands keep green.
Ever blandly adore them;
But spare to implore them:
They rest, they discharge them from time;
Yet believe, light believe
They would succor, reprieve—
Nay, retrieve—
Might but revellers pause in the prime.



Take a reef, take a reef
In your wisdom: be brief.
Well then—well-a-day!
Wag the world how it may,
The knaves will be tricking
And fools still be kicking
And Grief, the sad thief
Will forever Joy's pocket be picking!


Ring down! The curtain falls and ye
Will go your ways. Yet think of me.
And genie take what's genie given
And long be happy under heaven.