ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands

aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had

denied.

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient

good uncouth; They must upward still and onward, who would keep 5

abreast of Truth; Lo, before us gleam her camp fires! we ourselves must

Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the

desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood

rusted key.

Messiah: the anointed; one consecrated to a holy purpose. the goats and the sheep: see Matthew xxv. 33. the Delphic cave: the ancient Greeks believed that they could learn the will of the gods through oracles. The famous oracle of Apollo was at Delphi, where, from a cleft in the rocks, it was said that strange sounds issued. These were interpreted by the priests.

Doubting, etc. : see the story of Peter (John xviii. 15–28).

[graphic]

QUEEN MAB

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Note. This selection is from “ Romeo and Juliet.” Mercutio, a friend of young Romeo, is trying to dispel his comrade's gloom.

Mercutio. O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

She comes 5 In shape no bigger than an agate-stone

On the fore-finger of an alderman,

[graphic]

Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;

Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners' legs, 10 The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,

The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small gray-coated gnat,

[ocr errors]

5

10

Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:...
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
This is she —

Romeo. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
Mer.

True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain.

15

20

spinners: spiders. — grub: the larva of a beetle or insect. - straight: immediately. — Spanish blades: Spanish steel was held in high esteem.

- healths: drinking healths.

THE BELLS

EDGAR ALLAN POE

Note. - Poe's verse is distinguished by its melody and by its mystical language. No other American poet has ever equaled Poe in musical expression.

10

Hear the sledges with the bells,

Silver bells !
What a world of merriment their melody foretells !

How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

In the icy air of night !
While the stars, that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle

With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells,

15

Hear the mellow wedding bells,

Golden bells ! 20 What a world of happiness their harmony foretells !

Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!

5

From the molten-golden notes,

And all in tune,

What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtledove that listens, while she gloats

On the moon !
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells !

How it swells!

How it dwells
On the Future ! how it tells

Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing

Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells -
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells !

10

15

20

Hear the loud alarum bells,

Brazen bells !
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells !

In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!

Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

25

« 前へ次へ »