when sometimes i am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them - as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon - i think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.
not thine where marble-still and white
old statues share the tempered light
and mock the uneven modern flight,
but in the stream
of daily sorrow and delight
to seek a theme.
i too, o friend, have steeled my heart
boldly to choose the better part,
to leave the beaten ways of art,
and wholly free
to dare, beyond the scanty chart,
the deeper sea.
all vain restrictions left behind,
frail bark! i loose my anchored mind
and large, before the prosperous wind
desert the strand -
a new columbus sworn to find
the morning land.
nor too ambitious, friend. to thee
i own my weakness. not for me
to sing the enfranchised nations' glee,
or count the cost
of warships foundered far at sea
and battles lost.
high on the far-seen, sunny hills,
morning-content my bosom fills;
well-pleased, i trace the wandering rills
and learn their birth.
far off, the clash of sovereign wills
may shake the earth.
the nimble circuit of the wheel,
the uncertain poise of merchant weal,
heaven of famine, fire and steel
when nations fall;
these, heedful, from afar i feel -
i mark them all.
but not, my friend, not these i sing,
my voice shall fill a narrower ring.
tired souls, that flag upon the wing,
i seek to cheer:
brave wines to strengthen hope i bring,
some song that shall be suppling oil
to weary muscles strained with toil,
shall hearten for the daily moil,
or widely read
make sweet for him that tills the soil
his daily bread.
such songs in my flushed hours i dream
(high thought) instead of armour gleam
or warrior cantos ream by ream
to load the shelves -
songs with a lilt of words, that seem
to sing themselves.
accordingly the deepest silence prevailed in that iron cave. the fire had died out in the stove, but the room was full of that tepid warmth which produces the dull heavy-headedness and nauseous queasiness of a morning after an orgy. the stove is a mesmerist that plays no small part in the reduction of bank clerks and porters to a state of idiocy.
"you are quite mistaken, maitre crottat," said the count, assuming a stern air. "a clerk who intends to be a notary does not leave important deeds in a diligence at the mercy of other travellers
in all its grottos be there wind and air-
for wind is made when air hath been uproused
by violent agitation. when this air
is heated through and through, and, raging round,
hath made the earth and all the rocks it touches
horribly hot, and hath struck off from them
fierce fire of swiftest flame, it lifts itself
and hurtles thus straight upwards through its throat
into high heav'n, and thus bears on afar
its burning blasts and scattereth afar
its ashes, and rolls a smoke of pitchy murk
and heaveth the while boulders of wondrous weight
leaving no doubt in thee that 'tis the air's
tumultuous power. besides, in mighty part,
the sea there at the roots of that same mount
breaks its old billows and sucks back its surf.
and grottos from the sea pass in below
even to the bottom of the mountain's throat.
herethrough thou must admit there go..
i said no more then, as we were busy packing for the start, but when we had mounted i began to talk. i told him all i had learned about trees, how i loved them, and how i had determined to devote my life to their study, care, and development.