THE COURTSHIP OF PIETY.
Blue-eyed MISS PIETY, walking sedately, Mused thus beside the classic Isis lately :— " Must I for ever spend my days apart, Watching the mild flame of a maiden heart ? Or pointing upward, bidding all men see The light from heaven that is so clear to me? Deem'd by the idle foolish and demented, By those who love me best misrepresented ! O for a helpmate, tough and rough and strong,
Book-learned, fearless, arm'd with pen of steel, To battle with the world that does me wrong, And phrase in terms the truths I only feel !"
Who knoweth not the gentle English maid, The nymph for ever young, In clean trim gown of academic shade, With face so sweet, yet staid, And antique proverbs silvery on her tongue ?
Who hath not heard how wise men have pursued her, Sung in her praise, and wooed her?
How they have built her temples in the land, Mad for her eyes of heaven's profoundest blue ; And how, tho' many a wooer seeks her hand,
She smileth on so few ?
And how, altho' she is divinely fair, In vestal black she clothes her vestal limbs, And lists to dwell a maid, apart in prayer, Teaching the little children everywhere How to sing sweet old hymns.
Now, while the maiden mused in a sweet sorrow, She heard a voice of hard metallic ring, Close to her, murmuring,-
" Miss PIETY, good morrow."
And, turning, she perceived approaching near A dapper little man in broadcloth guise, Who curiously along the ground did peer With little twinkling intellectual eyes.
As to the maid his tripping feet he bent, He seemed with his wisdom well content ; Deeply he breath'd, his boots with mud were soiled; A little hammer gript he while he went, Seeking the shady places ; and he oiled With self-complacent smile full soft and sleek The smooth steel of his cheek.
With courteous bow, " Good morrow, Miss," said he ; " My name is SCIENCE, you remember me ?" At this the maiden turned to fly, not heeding ; But the Professor seized her hand, proceeding :—
"So cold, so coy ! why is it, sweet, that still We comprehend each other's hearts so ill ? True, now and then, on evidence quite clear, I have disputed certain things you say ; But ladies will be ladies !—and, my dear, Willing am I my wife should have her way.
Simplicity but makes your face more fine—
What should a lady do with demonstrations ? How ? Incompatible? Ah no, be mine Wedded together, we should rule the nations.
Our compact shall be legal, fair, and strict : To grace what church you please you shall be free, Your fancies I will never contradict ; And, hark you ! if we ever disagree On questions that affect this mortal sphere,
'Twill be my best endeavour, do not doubt it,
To let the people whom we govern hear As little as is possible about it."
With terrible look for one so beautiful, Stood PIETY erect. " Begone!" said she ;
An ugly little wretch, that lies by rule, I pity those who link their lots with thee, And look for happiness in such a school. I hate you! let me be!"
Then SCIENCE tried to speak, but in his eyes, Less used to sunlight than the dark, was shed A sudden sunbeam from the summer skies—
A kind of green vertigo fill'd his head— And when it passed away, to his surprise,
MISS PIETY had fled.
Yet ere her pensive foot had wander'd far, She saw, upon the river-bank reclined, A youth whose eye was fixed like a star, With dews of his deep soul's desire purblind ; Heavy his lank hair stream'd across his brows, To the wind's voice his eager heart kept tune ; He saw the Sun gleam white through the green boughs, And deemed that he look'd upon the Moon ; Then sadly for a space The lady paused, and looked upon his face ; For well, with heart that grieved,
The dreamer METAPHYSICS' face she knew,
Who, wandering from fatherland, perceived Heaven beyond heaven in her eyes of blue.
But as she look'd on him,
He turn'd and saw her—sprang unto her side—
With eyes by their exceeding lustre dim Look'd in her face, and cried :—
"Ach, lieber Gott! mine love, and art thou there ?
Beloved shape, for ever wandering ; But now, upon the white Moon's threshold fair
I saw thee beckoning.
And—leider !—yester-eve thy phantom face The luminous space of Saturn's rings did gladden—
I faint—within thy nebulous embrace Gerund mich baden.
O ever-roaming, insubstantial love.
Beautiful roamer thro' eternity !
On earth, on air, in the blue gulfs above, Thy breath full oft I feel, yet seldom thee. Over all worlds glimmers thy footstep bright, Leaving a blinding agony of light. But would thou wert for ever near, to set Thy truth on scoffing souls that find the never. I am not I, Thou art not Thou, and yet I love thee, Love, for ever!"
He clasd the empty air, crying in pain, " Ach lieber Gott—a dream—and gone again !"
For PIETY had stolen from his side,
Sighing most tearfully, " He loves me true ! And yet I have no heart to be his bride ; How might be aid the work I have to do?
Men deem him wild—they laugh to scorn his powers—
How would they mock a bridal such as ours ?"
And as she spake, she heard across the dells The vesper murmur of the Minster bells, And saw along the pleasant greenwood way, A child that led an aged man to pray.
" 'Tis will'd," she sigh'd, " that all in vain should love,—
That lonely I should labour as before I" And raised the faithful eyes to Heaven above, And vowed to live a Maid for evermore. CALIIIAN.