And weave their web again; some, bowed and bent,
Wax gray and ghastly, withering ere their time,
And perish with the reed on which they leant;
Some seek devotion—toil—war—good or crime,
According as their souls were formed to sink or climb.
But ever and anon of griefs subdued
There comes a token like a Scorpion's sting,
Scarce seen, but with fresh bitterness imbued;
And slight withal may be the things which bring
Back on the heart the weight which it would fling
Aside for ever: it may be a sound—
A tone of music—summer's eve—or spring—
A flower—the wind—the Ocean—which shall wound,
Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;
- [Compare Bishop Blougram's lament on the instability of unfaith—
"Just when we are safest, there's a sunset-touch,
A fancy from a flower-bell, some one's death,
A chorus-ending from Euripides,—
And that's enough for fifty hopes and fears.·····
To rap and knock and enter in our soul,
Take hands and dance there."
Browning's Poetical Works, 1869, v. 268.]
- A tone of music—eventide in spring.
or, ——twilight—eve in spring.—[MS. M. erased.]