Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/63

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
53
THE READING-CLUB.

Explore with them the pleasure of the gods,
And whatsoe'er the sacrifice, perform it.
Ad. Well, I will seek their presence in an hour:
Go summon them, young hero! Hold! no word
Of the strange passion thou hast witnessed here.
Ion. Distrust me not.—Benignant powers! I thank ye!

[Exit.

Ad. Yet stay!—He's gone—his spell is on me yet;
What have I promised him? To meet the men
Who from my living head would strip the crown,
And sit in judgment on me? I must do it.
Yet shall my band be ready to o'erawe
The cause of liberal speech, and if it rise
So as too loudly to offend my ear,
Strike the rash brawler dead! What idle dream
Of long-past days had melted me? It fades—
It vanishes—I am again a king.

Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd.

MISSING.

In the cool, sweet hush of a wooded nook,
Where the May-buds sprinkle the green old sward,
And the winds and the birds and the limpid brook
Murmur their dreams with a drowsy sound,
Who lies so still in the plushy moss,
With his pale cheek pressed on a breezy pillow,
Couched where the light and shadows cross,
Through the flickering fringe of the willow,—
Who lies, alas!
So still, so chill, in the whispering grass?

A soldier, clad in a Zouave dress,
A bright-haired man, with his lips apart;
One hand thrown over his frank, dead face,
And the other clutching his pulseless heart,
Lies here in the shadows cool and dim,
His musket swept by a trailing bough;
With a careless grace in his quiet limbs,
And a wound on his manly brow,—
A wound, alas!
Whence the warm blood drips on the quiet grass.