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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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SCENE V.--LORD SEAFORD, _alternately writing at a table and composing at his pianoforte_.


Eyes of beauty, eyes of light, Sweetly, softly, sadly bright! Draw not, ever, o'er my eye, Radiant mists of ecstasy.

Be not proud, O glorious orbs! Not your mystery absorbs; But the starry soul that lies Looking through your night of eyes.

One moment, be less perfect, sweet; Sin once in something small; One fault to lift me on my feet From love's too perfect thrall!

For now I have no soul; a sea Fills up my caverned brain, Heaving in silent waves to thee, The mistress of that main.

angel! take my hand in thine; Unfold thy shining silver wings;

Spread them around thy face and mine, Close curtained in their murmurings.

But I should faint with too much bliss To be alone in space with thee; Except, O dread! one angel-kiss In sweetest death should set me free.

beauteous devil, tempt me, tempt me on, Till thou hast won my soul in sighs;

I'll smile with thee upon thy flaming throne, If thou wilt keep those eyes.

And if the meanings of untold desires Should charm thy pain of one faint sting,

will arise amid the scorching fires, I will arise and sing.
what is God to me? He sits apart Amid the clear stars, passionless and cold.

Divine! thou art enough to fill my heart; O fold me in thy heaven, sweet love, infold.

With too much life, I fall before thee dead. With holding thee, my sense consumes in storm. Thou art too keen a flame, too hallowed For any temple but thy holy form.

SCENE VI.--Julian's room next morning; no fire. JULIAN stands at the window, looking into a London fog.

And there are mountains on the earth, far-off; Steep precipices laved at morn in wind From the blue glaciers fresh; and falls that leap, Springing from rock to pool abandonedly; And all the spirit of the earth breathed out, Bearing the soul, as on an altar-flame, Aloft to God! And there is woman-love-- Far off, ah me!

[Sitting down wearily.]

--the heart of earth's delight

Withered from mine! O for a desert sea, The cold sun flashing on the sailing icebergs! Where I might cry aloud on God, until My soul burst forth upon the wings of pain, And fled to him. A numbness as of death Infolds me. As in sleep I walk. I live, But my dull soul can hardly keep awake. Yet God is here as on the mountain-top, Or on the desert sea, or lonely isle; And I should know him here, if Lilia loved me, As once I thought she did. But can I blame her? The change has been too much for her to bear. Can poverty make one of two hearts cold, And warm the other with the love of God? But then I have been silent, often moody, Drowned in much questioning; and she has thought That I was tired of her, while more than all I pondered how to wake her living soul. She cannot think why I should haunt my chamber, Except a goaded conscience were my grief; Thinks not of aught to gain, but all to shun. Deeming, poor child, that I repent me thus Of that which makes her mine for evermore, It is no wonder if her love grow less. Then I am older much than she; and this Fever, I think, has made me old indeed Before my fortieth year; although, within, I seem as young as ever to myself. O my poor Lilia! thou art not to blame; I'll love thee more than ever; I will be So gentle to thy heart where love lies dead! For carefully men ope the door, and walk With silent footfall through the room where lies, Exhausted, sleeping, with its travail sore, The body that erewhile hath borne a spirit. Alas, my Lilia! where is dead Love's child?

I must go forth and do my daily work. I thank thee, God, that it is hard sometimes To do my daily labour; for, of old, When men were poor, and could not bring thee much, A turtle-dove was all that thou didst ask; And so in poverty, and with a heart Oppressed with heaviness, I try to do My day's work well to thee,--my offering: That he has taught me, who one day sat weary At Sychar's well. Then home when I return, I come without upbraiding thoughts to thee. Ah! well I see man need not seek for penance-- Thou wilt provide the lamb for sacrifice; Thou only wise enough to teach the soul, Measuring out the labour and the grief, Which it must bear for thy sake, not its own. He neither chose his glory, nor devised The burden he should bear; left all to God; And of them both God gave to him enough. And see the sun looks faintly through the mist; It cometh as a messenger to me. My soul is heavy, but I will go forth; My days seem perishing, but God yet lives And loves. I cannot feel, but will believe.

[He rises and is going. LILIA enters, looking weary.]

Look, my dear Lilia, how the sun shines out!

Shines out indeed! Yet 'tis not bad for England. I would I were in Italy, my own!


'Tis the same sun that shines in Italy.

But never more will shine upon us there! It is too late; all wishing is in vain; But would that we had not so ill deserved As to be banished from fair Italy!

Ah! my dear Lilia, do not, do not think That God is angry when we suffer ill. 'Twere terrible indeed, if 'twere in anger.

Julian, I cannot feel as you. I wish I felt as you feel.

God will hear you, child,
If you will speak to him. But I must go. Kiss me, my Lilia.

[She kisses him mechanically. He goes with a sigh.]

It is plain to see
He tries to love me, but is weary of me.

[She weeps.]

Enter LILY.

Mother, have you been naughty? Mother, dear!

[Pulling her hand from her face.]

SCENE VII.--Julian's room. Noon. LILIA at work; LILY playing in a closet.

(running up to her mother). Sing me a little song; please, mother dear.

[LILIA, looking off her work, and thinking with fixed eyes for a few moments, sings.]

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