I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town –
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down –
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig –
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!
Written late 1858, in Fascicle 2 – the first of three poems to have a title!
This is so sweet, so joyous – the innocence with which nature elicits joy.
Prig – a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if they are superior to others.
Through lane it lay – thro’ bramble –
Through clearing and thro’ wood –
Banditti often paassed us
Opon the lonely road.
The wolf came peering curious –
The Owl looked puzzled down –
The serpent’s satin figure
Glid stealthily along,
The tempests touched our garments –
The lightning’s poinards gleamed –
Fierce from the Crag above us
The hungry Vulture screamed –
The Satyrs fingers beckoned –
The Valley murmured “Come” – These were the mates – This was the road
These Children fluttered home.
Written late 1858 and copied into Fascicle 2.
This reminds me of another book I’ve been chewing on – The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Path is not easy, but it is beautiful, Light filled, and ultimately worthwhile; redemptive and sure. Life is filled with trials, but the joy is that much sweeter for them.
Banditti – plural of bandit! I never knew.
Poinards [or poniards] – daggers.
Satyrs – mythological creatures associated with Dionysius, i.e. constantly drunk and roaming the forest in search of a good time.
I read this as an encouragement. Yes, she’s acknowledging the trials that come in life, but it still ends with the children fluttering home. Fluttering. Lightly, sweetly, ease-fully. Let’s flutter.
There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man –
It hurls it’s barbed syllables
And is mute again –
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted Brother
Gave his breath away.
Wherever runs ts the breathless sun –
Wherever roams the day,
There is it’s noiseless onset –
There is it’s victory!
Behold the keenest marksman!
The most accomplished shot!
Time’s sublimest target
Is a soul “forgot”!
Written late 1858, bound into Fascicle 2.
Damn. She winds this up so well and packs that punch at the end. At first you think it could be joyful, maybe it’s not bad – the terms victory and all those exclamation marks had me starting to smile as I read it. But then, then she pulls it all out from under you. To be forgotten. Is this really the worst possible thing? Whether you agree with her or not, this begs the question: forgotten by whom? Loved ones? Future generations? God? Hmm.