University of Virginia Library

Hereof the group—from Mortmain's blight
Withdrawn where sands the beach embayed
And Nehemiah apart was laid—
Held curious discourse that night.
They chatted; but 'twas underrun
By heavier current. And anon,
After the meek one had retired
Under the tent, the thought transpired,
And Mortmain was the theme.
“If mad,


'Tis indignation at the bad,”
Said Rolfe; “most men somehow get used
To seeing evil, though not all
They see; 'tis sympathetical;
But never some are disabused
Of first impressions which appal.”
“There, there,” cried Derwent, “let it fall.
Assume that some are but so-so,
They'll be transfigured. Let suffice:
Dismas he dwells in Paradise.”
“Who?” “Dismas the Good Thief, you know.
Ay, and the Blest One shared the cup
With Judas; e'en let Judas sup
With him, at the Last Supper too.—
But see!”
It was the busy Jew
With chemic lamp aflame, by tent
Trying some shrewd experiment
With minerals secured that day,
Dead unctuous stones.
“Look how his ray,”
Said Rolfe, “too small for stars to heed,
Strange lights him, reason's sorcerer,
Poor Simon Magus run to seed.
And, yes, 'twas here—or else I err—
The legends claim, that into sea
The old magician flung his book
When life and lore he both forsook:
The evil spell yet lurks, may be.—
But yon strange orb—can be the moon?
These vapors: and the waters swoon.”