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Fringilla: Some Tales In Verse   By: (1825-1900)

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First Page:

FRINGILLA: SOME TALES IN VERSE

By Richard Doddridge Blackmore

Illustrated by Louis Fairfax Muckley and James W. R. Linton

CONTENTS:

TO MY PEN

LITA OF THE NILE

KADISHA; OR, THE FIRST JEALOUSY

MOUNT ARAFA

THE WELL OF SAINT JOHN

PAUSIAS AND GLYCERA; OR, THE FIRST FLOWER PAINTER

BUSCOMBE; OR, A MICHAELMAS GOOSE

FAME

[Illustration: 013]

[ Fringilla loquitur ]

"What means your finch?"

"Being well aware that he cannot sing like a Nightingale, He flits about from tree to tree, and twitters a little tale."

Albeit he is an ancient bird, who tried his pipe in better days, and then was scared by random shots, he is fain to lift the migrant wing once more towards the humble perch, among the trees he loves. All gardeners own that he does no harm, unless he flits into a thicket of young buds, or a very choice ladies' seed bed. And he hopes that he is now too wise to commit such indiscretions.

Perhaps it would have been wiser still to have shut up his little mandible, or employed it

only upon grub. But the long gnaw of last winter's frost, which set mankind a shivering, even in their most downy nest, has made them kindly to the race that has no roof for shelter and no hearth for warmth.

Anyhow, this little finch can do no harm, if he does no good; and if he pleases nobody, he will not be surprised, because he has never satisfied himself.

May day, 1895.

NOTE

With kind consent of Messrs. Harper, "Buscombe" returns in altered form from the other side of the ocean. Two other little tales appeared of old, but nobody would look at them, and now they are offered after careful trimming.

Standing afar. I gaze with doubt at other trimmings which are not mine. They have conquered the taste of the day perhaps, and high art announces them as her last transfiguration. Moreover they are highly recommended as the purest art not always is by the modesty of the artist.

The cover design, borders, initial letters and the whole of the full page illustrations with the exception of the three to 'Pausias and Glycera' by James W. R. Linton are by Louis Fairfax Muckley.

[Illustration: 017.]

I

Thou feeble implement of mind, Wherewith she strove to scrawl her name; But, like a mitcher, left behind No signature, no stroke, no claim, No hint that she hath pined

Shall ever come a stronger time, When thou shalt be a tool of skill, And steadfast purpose, to fulfil A higher task than rhyme?

II

Thou puny instrument of soul, Wherewith she labours to impart Her efforts at some arduous goal; But fails to bring thy coarser art Beneath a fine control

Shall ever come a fairer day, When thou shalt be a buoyant plume, To soar, where clearer suns illume, And fresher breezes play?

[Illustration: 020.]

[Illustration: 023.]

III

Thou weak interpreter of heart, So impotent to tell the tale Of love's delight, of envy's smart, Of passion, and ambition's bale, Of pride that dwells apart

Shall I, in length of time, attain (By walking in the human ways, With love of Him, who made and sways) To ply thee, less in vain?

If so, thou shalt be more to me Than sword, or sceptre, flag, or crown; With mind, and soul, and heart in thee, Despising gold, and sham renown;

But truthful, kind, and free Then come; though now a pithless quill, Uncouth, unfledged, indefinite, In time, thou shalt be taught to write, By patience, and good will.

LITA OF THE NILE

A TALE IN THREE PARTS

PART I

I

"KING, and Father, gift and giver, God revealed in form of river, Issuing perfect, and sublime, From the fountain head of time;

"Whom eternal mystery shroudeth, Unapproached, untracked, unknown; Whom the Lord of heaven encloudeth With the curtains of His throne;

"From the throne of heaven descending, Glory, power, and goodness blending, Grant us, ere the daylight dies, Token of thy rapid rise,"

II

Ha, it cometh! Furrowing, flashing, Red blood rushing o'er brown breast; Peaks, and ridges, and domes, dashing Foam on foam, and crest on crest!

'Tis the signal Thebes hath waited, Libyan Thebes, the hundred gated: Rouse, and robe thee, River priest For thy dedication feast!

Follows him the loveliest maiden, Afric's thousand hills can show; White apparel'd, flower laden, With the lotus on her brow... Continue reading book >>




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