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  Harness'd was each, dead man from head to heel,
   In heavy harness of rust-eaten steel,
   And every dead man held in his right hand
   The bloody hilt of a blade-broken brand.
   And unto me it seemed that I had seen
   Those dead men's faces, somewhere, long ago;
   But when, or where (if it were ever so)
   Was gone out of my mind. On this dark plain
   Doubtless some deadly battle must have been,
   And no man left by the relentless foe
   To bury those that were in battle slain.
   I feared to tread upon them.
   A wind arose that, roaring, rent the sky
   Into lean swarthy rags, where thro' there fell
   A moony light. And suddenly all those
   Arm'd corpses in that roaring wind arose,
   And shouted to me, " Auriel! Auriel!"
   Waving aloft their broken brands.
                                                       I cried,
   "Who are ye?"  And the dead men all replied,
   "Dost thou not know us? Thine of old we were.
   Look on our faces, for they once were fair.
   Are they so changed? Our leader then wert thou,
   And we fought bravely. But thy foes, and ours,
   Were strongest. And the strife is over now,
   And we be all dead men. And all the towers
   We built are fallen, all our banners torn,
   All our swords broken, we ourselves forlorn
   Of sepulture, tho' sons of noble sires,
   Born to sit, crown'd, on thrones, and be obey'd;
   Sprung of high hopes, proud thoughts, and bright
   Who should have been immortal, not being made
   Of common clay. Auriel! Auriel!
   The winds of heaven pursue us. Fare thee well."
   And while they spake the night wind from my sight
   Swept them away into the weltering night.
   And all the plain was bare.
                                              Again there fell
   Upon mine ear the first voice, calling me,
   And I look'd up, but nothing could I see.
   And still the voice called "Auriel! Auriel!"
   Sadly to that familiar voice I said,
   "What heart or hope have I to follow thee?
   Are they not lost, all those whom at thy call
   To mine own overthrow, and theirs, I led?
   Where be my friends in arms that followed me?
   Where all my peerless comrades, my dear dead?
   For now I know again their faces all,
   But they are gone!"
                                         Then on mine ear did fall
   The selfsame voice, but clearer, "Here are we,
   Thy friends in arms, thy comrades of the past,
   And followers once, but leaders now at last;
   Whom, by remembering us, thou hast revived.
   Alive we are, but not as once we lived.
   Many our lives were, but those lives are done;
   And, lest death make us dust, love made us one.
   Whiles we were many, then we followed thee,
   Who needs must follow us now one we be:
   One presence, made of many pleasures past;
   One perfect image, in whose mould are cast
   And kept together all the imaginings
   Of many beautiful defeated things;
   One fair result of many foil'd intents;
   One music, made of many instruments;
   One form, for ever femininely fair,
   Of many forces that in manhood were;
   One face with many features, and one name
   With many meanings."
                                        While the voice thus cried,
   With utterance louder, but in tone the same,
   The black ribb'd clouds aloof were bursten wide,
   And the strong moon sprang thro' them, and became
   A sudden living presence on the night,
   Making it beautiful. Then I beheld
   (Bathed in the beauty of that sudden light)
   Like a white angel, her my soul loves well,
   Floating thro' heaven above the barren field;
   And still she call'd me "Auriel! Auriel!"
   And still I follow' d. And it seem'd that days,
   And nights, and weeks, and months, and years went by,
   As we went on, by never-ending ways,
   Across the world; and ever was mine eye
   Fix'd on that floating form with faithful gaze.
   And seasons, little cared for shine or shade,
   Or heat or cold changed round us. Many a spring,
   And many a summer, many an autumn, stray'd
   Across my path, and did around me fling
   Their florid arms; and many a winter made
   His icy fingers meet, and strove to cling
   About me: but I struggled on, afraid
   Lest I should lose that form by lingering.
   And, if I linger' d, ever the voice said,
   "Auriel, wherefore lingerest thou?"
                                                                 At last
   We reach'd what seem'd the end of all the world;
   Frontier'd by scornful summits bare and vast,
   Where thro' a single perilous pathway curl'd
   Into an unknown land, 'twixt ice and snow.
   There was a heap of human bones below;
   Above, a flock of vultures. And, 'twixt these,
   Hard by a stream which long had ceased to flow,
   Being frost-bound, a squalid, lean old man,
   Nursing a broken harp upon his knees,
   Sat on the frozen pass. His eyes were wan
   But full of wicked looks.
                                             She my soul loved
   Before me up that perilous pathway moved,
   Calling me from above, and beckoning.
   But he that sat before the pass began
   To twang his harp, which had but one shrill string
   (Whose notes like icy needles thro' me ran)
   And, with a crack'd and querulous voice, to sing
   "O fool! O miserable fool, forbear!
   For yonder is the land of ice and snow.
   And she is dead that beckoneth to thee there,
   And dead for ever are the dead, I know."
   While thus the old man sang to me below,
   Those vultures scream'd above i' the icy air,
   "Dead are the dead for ever!"
                                                    "What art thou,
   Malignant wretch?" I cried.
                                                    The old man said,
   "I am the ancient porter of this pass,
   Beyond which lies the land of ice and snow.
   And all the dwellers in that land are dead,
   And dead for ever are the dead I know.
   And this my harp I know not when, alas!
   But all its strings were broken long ago
   Save one which Time makes tough. The others were
   Of sweeter tone, but this the more intense.
   And, for my name some say it is Despair,
   And others say it is Experience."
   Thereat he laugh'd, and shook his squalid rags,
   And in his sheamy eyes grim mockery gleam' d.
   And loud again, upon the icy crags
   Above, the roused baldheaded vultures scream'd.


THE bill for the transference of the
telegraphs in the United Kingdom, from private
control to the control of the State that is
to say for the purchase by government of
the existing telegraphic lines and
appliances, and the placing of them tinder the
direction of the Post Office has become
law. As, while the matter was in abeyance,*
we took occasion warmly to
recommend the adoption of the proposal then
  *See ALL THE YEAR ROUND, First Series, Vol. XX.,
p. 37.