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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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SCENE XXIV.--The country-churchyard. JULIAN standing by LILY'S new-filled grave. He looks very worn and ill.

Now I can leave thee safely to thy sleep; Thou wilt not wake and miss me, my fair child! Nor will they, for she's fair, steal this ewe-lamb Out of this fold, while I am gone to seek And find the wandering mother of my lamb. I cannot weep; I know thee with me still. Thou dost not find it very dark down there? Would I could go to thee; I long to go; My limbs are tired; my eyes are sleepy too; And fain my heart would cease this beat, beat, beat. O gladly would I come to thee, my child, And lay my head upon thy little heart, And sleep in the divine munificence Of thy great love! But my night has not come; She is not rescued yet. Good-bye, little one.

[He turns, but sinks on the grave. Recovering and rising.]

Now for the world--that's Italy, and her!

SCENE XXV.--The empty room, formerly Lilia's.


How am I here? Alas! I do not know. I should have been at sea.--Ah, now I know! I have come here to die.

[Lies down on the floor.]

  Where's Lilia?

I cannot find her. She is here, I know. But oh these endless passages and stairs, And dreadful shafts of darkness! Lilia! Lilia! wait for me, child; I'm coming fast, But something holds me. Let me go, devil! My Lilia, have faith; they cannot hurt you. You are God's child--they dare not touch you, wife. O pardon me, my beautiful, my own!


Wind, wind, thou blowest many a drifting thing From sheltering cove, down to the unsheltered sea; Thou blowest to the sea ray blue sail's wing-- Us to a new, love-lit futurity: Out to the ocean fleet and float-- Blow, blow my little leaf-like boat.

[While he sings, enter LORD SEAFORD, pale and haggard.]

JULIAN descries him suddenly. What are you, man? O brother, bury me-- There's money in my pocket--

[Emptying the Jew's gold on the floor.]

  by my child.

[Staring at him.]

Oh! you are Death. Go, saddle the pale horse-- I will not walk--I'll ride. What, skeleton! I cannot sit him! ha! ha! Hither, brute! Here, Lilia, do the lady's task, my child, And buckle on my spurs. I'll send him up With a gleam through the blue, snorting white foam-flakes. Ah me! I have not won my golden spurs, Nor is there any maid to bind them on:

I will not ride the horse, I'll walk with thee. Come, Death, give me thine arm, good slave!--we'll go.

Lord Seaford (stooping over him). I am Seaford, Count.


Seaford! What Seaford?



[Springing to his feet.]

Where is my wife?

[He falls into SEAFORD'S arms. He lays him down.]

Lord S.
Had I seen him, she had been safe for me.


[JULIAN lies motionless. Insensibility passes into sleep. He wakes calm, in the sultry dusk of a summer evening.]

Still, still alive! I thought that I was dead. I had a frightful dream. 'Tis gone, thank God!

[He is quiet a little.]

So then thou didst not take the child away That I might find my wife! Thy will be done. Thou wilt not let me go. This last desire I send away with grief, but willingly. I have prayed to thee, and thou hast heard my prayer: Take thou thine own way, only lead her home. Cleanse her, O Lord. I cannot know thy might; But thou art mighty, with a power unlike All, all that we know by the name of power, Transcending it as intellect transcends 'The stone upon the ground--it may be more, For these are both created--thou creator, Lonely, supreme.

  Now it is almost over,

My spirit's journey through this strange sad world; This part is done, whatever cometh next. Morning and evening have made out their day; My sun is going down in stormy dark, But I will face it fearless. The first act Is over of the drama.--Is it so? What means this dim dawn of half-memories?

There's something I knew once and know not now!-- A something different from all this earth! It matters little; I care not--only know That God will keep the living thing he made. How mighty must he be to have the right Of swaying this great power I feel I am-- Moulding and forming it, as pleaseth him! O God, I come to thee! thou art my life; O God, thou art my home; I come to thee.

Can this be death? Lo! I am lifted up Large-eyed into the night. Nothing I see But that which is, the living awful Truth-- All forms of which are but the sparks flung out From the luminous ocean clothing round the sun, Himself all dark. Ah, I remember me: Christ said to Martha--"Whosoever liveth, And doth believe in me, shall never die"! I wait, I wait, wait wondering, till the door Of God's wide theatre be open flung To let me in. What marvels I shall see! The expectation fills me, like new life Dancing through all my veins.

  Once more I thank thee

For all that thou hast made me--most of all, That thou didst make me wonder and seek thee. I thank thee for my wife: to thee I trust her; Forget her not, my God. If thou save her, I shall be able then to thank thee so As will content thee--with full-flowing song, The very bubbles on whose dancing waves Are daring thoughts flung faithful at thy feet.

My heart sinks in me.--I grow faint. Oh! whence This wind of love that fans me out of life? One stoops to kiss me!--Ah, my lily child! God hath not flung thee over his garden-wall.

[Re-enter LORD SEAFORD with the doctor. JULIAN takes no heed of them. The doctor shakes his head.]

My little child, I'll never leave thee more; We are both children now in God's big house. Come, lead me; you are older here than I By three whole days, my darling angel-child!

[A letter is brought in. LORD SEAFORD holds it before JULIAN'S eyes. He looks vaguely at it.]

Lord S.
It is a letter from your wife, I think.

Julian (feebly).
A letter from my Lilia! Bury it with me-- I'll read it in my chamber, by and by: Dear words should not be read with others nigh. Lilia, my wife! I am going home to God.

Lord S. (pending over him). Your wife is innocent. I know she is.

JULIAN gazes at him blankly. A light begins to grow in his eyes. It grows till his face is transfigured. It vanishes. He dies.

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