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Yet by long sufferance this love had grown

Into a passion with him, that would make As great a triumph for a child o'erthrown

As for a giant, and, self-blinded, take Ambition's meanest footstool for a throne:

So day by day he nursed a bitterer ache At heart, and learned to see no wider realm Than could be spanned by a grand-master's helm.


He could seem noble a rich end to gain,
And he would talk of nobleness, as were
A gift as cheap and common as the rain;

Praise was a thing it seemed he could not bear, Wrapping himself therefrom in high disdain,

Yet his most careless deeds were done with care,

And, if they were unheeded or unseen,
A passing shade of gall would cloud his mien.


He had been noble, but some great deceit

Had turned his better instinct to a vice: He strove to think the world was all a cheat,

That power and fame were cheap at any price, That the sure way of being shortly great

Was even to play life's game with loaded dice, Since he had tried the honest play and found That vice and virtue differed but in sound.


But none can wholly put his heart away,

And, though he aimed to act upon a plan

Of steady fraud to keep his soul at bay,

Yet sometimes through his breast an instinct ran, That roused the memory of a purer day

Ere life to be a bitter toil began :

A self-made minotaur, half man half beast,
He bound himself and longed to be released.


Spurn at the world and it will deem you great,

Scorn it if you would win its high esteem, Make your own chance, life is too short to wait

Until the side of error kicks the beam,

Set down your value at your own huge rate,

The world will pay it;-such was his weak scheme

To make the most of life, and it serves well
Those who would go no deeper than the shell.


Yet Margaret's sight redeemed him for a space
From his own thraldom; man could never be
A hypocrite when first such maiden grace

Smiled in upon his heart; the agony
Of wearing all day long a lying face

Fell lightly from him, and, a moment free,
Erect with wakened faith his spirit stood
And scorned the weakness of its demon-mood.


Like a sweet wind-harp to him was her thought, Which would not let the common air come near, Till from its dim enchantment it had caught

A musical tenderness that brimmed his ear With sweetness more ethereal than aught

Save silver-dropping snatches that whilere Rained down from some sad angel's faithful harp To cool her fallen lover's anguish sharp.


Deep in the forest was a little dell

High overarched with the leafy sweep

Of a broad oak, through whose gnarled roots there fell A slender rill that sung itself asleep,

Where its continuous toil had scooped a well

To please the fairy folk; breathlessly deep The stillness was, save when the dreaming brook From its small urn a drizzly murmur shook.


The wooded hills sloped upward all around

With gradual rise, and made an even rim, So that it seemed a mighty casque unbound

From some huge Titan's brow to lighten him, Ages ago, and left upon the ground,

Where the slow soil had mossed it to the brim,

Till after countless centuries it grew

Into this dell, the haunt of noontide dew.


Dim vistas, sprinkled o'er with sun-flecked green,
Wound through the thickset trunks on every side,
And, toward the west, in fancy might be seen

A gothic window in its blazing pride,
When the low sun, two arching elms between,

Lit up the leaves beyond, which, autumn-dyed With lavish hues, would into splendor start, Shaming the labored panes of richest art.

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