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Prose Fancies (Second Series)   By: (1866-1947)

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First Page:

PROSE FANCIES

(SECOND SERIES)

BY

RICHARD LE GALLIENNE

LONDON: JOHN LANE

CHICAGO: H.S. STONE AND CO.

1896

TO

MAGGIE LE GALLIENNE

WITH LOVE

Poor are the gifts of the poet Nothing but words! The gifts of kings are gold, Silver, and flocks and herds, Garments of strange soft silk, Feathers of wonderful birds, Jewels and precious stones, And horses white as the milk These are the gifts of kings: But the gifts that the poet brings Are nothing but words.

Forty thousand words! Take them a gift of flies! Words that should have been birds, Words that should have been flowers, Words that should have been stars In the eternal skies. Forty thousand words! Forty thousand tears All out of two sad eyes.

CONTENTS PAGE

A SEVENTH STORY HEAVEN, 1 SPRING BY PARCEL POST, 20 THE GREAT MERRY GO ROUND, 27 THE BURIAL OF ROMEO AND JULIET, 39 VARIATIONS UPON WHITEBAIT, 49 THE ANSWER OF THE ROSE, 58 ABOUT THE SECURITIES, 67 THE BOOM IN YELLOW, 79 LETTER TO AN UNSUCCESSFUL LITERARY MAN, 90 A POET IN THE CITY, 98 BROWN ROSES, 108 THE DONKEY THAT LOVED A STAR, 112 ON LOVING ONE'S ENEMIES, 119 THE DRAMATIC ART OF LIFE, 125 THE ARBITRARY CLASSIFICATION OF SEX, 135 THE FALLACY OF A NATION, 145 THE GREATNESS OF MAN, 154 DEATH AND TWO FRIENDS, 171 A SEAPORT IN THE MOON, 187

A SEVENTH STORY HEAVEN

At one end of the city that I love there is a tall, dingy pile of offices that has evidently seen more prosperous fortunes. It is not the aristocratic end. It is remote from the lordly street of the fine shops of the fair women, where in the summer afternoons the gay bank clerks parade arm in arm in the wake of the tempestuous petticoat. It lies aside from the great exchange which looks like a scene from Romeo and Juliet in the moonlight, from the town hall from whose clocked and gilded cupola ring sweet chimes at midnight, and whence, throned above the city, a golden Britannia, in the sight of all men, is seen visibly ruling the waves while in the square below the death of Nelson is played all day in stone, with a frieze of his noble words about the pedestal. England expects! What an influence that stirring challenge has yet upon the hearts of men may be seen by any one who will study the faces of the busy, imaginative cotton brokers, who, in the thronged and humming mornings, sell what they have never seen to a customer they will never see.

In fact, the end I mean is just the very opposite end to that. It is the end where the cotton that everybody sells and nobody buys is seen, piled in great white stacks, or swinging in the air from the necks of mighty cranes, cranes that could nip up an elephant with as little ado, and set him down on the wharf, with a box on his ugly ears for his cowardly trumpeting. It is the end that smells of tar, the domain of the harbourmasters, where the sailor finds a 'home,' not too sweet, and where the wild sea is tamed in a maze of granite squares and basins; the end where the riggings and buildings rise side by side, and a clerk might swing himself out upon the yards from his top floor desk. Here is the Custom House, and the conversation that shines is full of freightage and dock dues; here are the shops that sell nothing but oilskins, sextants, and parrots, and here the taverns do a mighty trade in rum.

It was in this quarter, for a brief sweet time, that Love and Beauty made their strange home, as though a pair of halcyons should choose to nest in the masthead of a cattleship... Continue reading book >>




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