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" I would not like to do any great man the in-
justice of suggesting that my ideas were taken
from him."

There was a long and rather uneasy silence be-
tween them before Mary said :

" I wonder how do poets begin."

He looked down to the ground. They were
sitting on an old Italian marble seat in the
shadow of a cedar.

"How do poets begin?" he said. "I suppose
they begin as babies, like other human beings.
Was n't there one of them who talked of lisping
in numbers?"

"Yes, but how did he lisp in numbers?" said
she.

"He tells us, 'for the numbers came,'" replied
Byron.



Love Alone Is Lord 93

" But why did they come to him?"

"He says they came that was because he
wished to disclaim all responsibility for them.
He wished someone else to be blamed for them."

" Have you ever tried to put an idea into verse,
Cousin Byron?"

He was now like any peony. He tried to
laugh at the very notion of such a thing, but his
attempt was a very bad one. He stammered,
and his stammering was to her a confirmation of
her suspicion.

"You have written? Oh, tell me how you be-
gan," she cried, laying a hand upon one of his,
which rested on the back of their seat. He had
been idly following with his fingers the course of
the marble carving. "Tell me how you began,
you dear boy," she said again, pressing his hand
affectionately.

He turned to her suddenly, his face crimson,
and his eyes shining. He tried to speak, but his
voice had become husky. It was her hand that
was held by his now, and she felt how his was
trembling no, it was not so much trembling as
it was quivering. It became hot as fire over
her own for an instant; then he plucked it away
from hers, and turned away his face from her.

" What! " she cried. " Have I said anything to
hurt you, Byron? Do not think for a moment
that I was mocking you. Do think that I asked
you a question in all seriousness."

He turned to her again with a laugh, but in an



94 Love Alone Is Lord

instant his eyes fell before her surprised look.
The long lashes seemed to throw a still deeper
shadow over his cheeks. His head bent forward
iirit.il he was able to rest his chin in the hollow of
his hand, his elbow being on his knee.

" It came to me when you came to me," he said
in a low voice. " I did not know what it meant
until that morning when you brought me here.
I did not know why at times I should feel as if I
were incapable of seeing things as they are as
other people see them why I should not stand
under the stars without having a hundred fancies
about them every conceivable fancy about them
except that they were stars why I should never
be able to stand looking at a purple sunset without
feeling that it meant much more to the world than
to tell us that the day was at an end. Why
should I only see something beneath everything
that I saw something that it was not tell me
that, Mary?"

"I can tell you I can tell you," she said.
" But you did not know? "

" I knew nothing except the trouble of it the
torture of it," he cried. " I puzzled myself daily
and nightly trying to find a way of satisfying the
vague longing which I felt for for I knew not
what. I felt as if this life were a nightmare.
You have had nightmares in which you tried your
best to speak to shout, but could not? I seemed
to be in the thrall of such a dream. I had a long-
ing to sing with the things around me that were



Love Alone Is Lord 95

singing in my ears to shout with the shouting
sea, but I could not. Sometimes I felt, when
in the hold of that tumult of fancies, some drag-
ging me in one direction, others in another, that
I was being made a fool of by my imagination;
and ever that striving after something vague
that desire to grasp what was intangible as a
dream remained with me."

" You did not know that you were a poet," said
the girl gently, but her eyes were full of light.
" Have you found out the truth? I know that it
is the truth."

"I found it out only on the morning of my
coming here," he said. "I had seen you, I had
talked with you. I had opened the window,
after passing through the strange experiences of
that night. In a moment I found myself in the
midst of these phantom fancies, and, as before,
that overwhelming desire it had never before
seemed to be the passion that I found it at that
time a passion to sing what I felt to join in the
morning song of Nature, which made the air
pulsate with passion. The whole world had be-
come one song to me as I knelt at my window ;
everything was singing what it felt, while I I
felt, but failed to sing, and yet I knew that I was
but part of that great soul of Nature which was
living beneath my eyes and in my ears. I felt.
I do not know how I found myself at the table;
but I was at the table with a pen in my hand. I
did not know what words were coming. I felt



96 Love Alone Is Lord

like an interpreter who writes down what some-
one says in a language which he understands, but
does not know what the next word will be. What
I wrote did not seem to come from myself, but I
had the sensation of singing singing singing all
that I felt, and for the first time I knew that this
was what I had striven after yearned after so
vaguely to sing. And when I had sung I felt
satisfied at last at last. I threw myself on my
bed and slept satisfied for the first time I had
penetrated the mystery."

His face was flushed and his eyes were flashing.
He had sprung from his seat, and was steadying
himself on his feet by grasping the carved top of
the marble bench.

And the girl was equally carried away. Her
face, too, was roseate ; and her eyes were bright,
but with the tears that suffused them. Her
hands were clasped, her lips were parted; she
was breathing rapidly. The words which she
spoke she spoke in a whisper that had something
of awe in it.

" Poet poet! " she said. " I knew it long ago.
How could anyone who had seen you known
you for a day fail to perceive the truth?"

" But no one has ever known me you are the
only one to whom I could speak who would not
think me a fool," said he. " It was my seeing you
that saved me. You were kind, sympathetic.
You understood, and you understand more than
I have told you. That is what I felt when I



Love Alone Is Lord 97

wrote. I felt that I should never again be alone
in the world as I had been up to that moment;
and that was the first song that I sang. It
should have been altogether a song of joy; but
somehow, when I read it later in the day, I found
that there was a note of sadness in it. Why
should .that plaintive note creep into it? There
was no sad thought in my heart. How could
there be any, unless unless

He seated himself once more, and now his eyes
were turned away from her.

"You will let me read it?" she said. "It is a
right that you cannot deny. Do you not think
that I am proud of it?"

He laughed uneasily.

" Of course you are to read it," he said. " You
may be proud of it. Somehow, I cannot think
of it as a father does of his first-born. I am
proud, not of it, but of you proud beyond
measure of having found such a one as you to
inspire me. I think that there are such subtle
forces in nature that the very act of our meeting
may have brought into instantaneous being a
new soul, whose influence we may both feel so
long as we live. How is a soul born? May it
not be by the commingling of two souls that
think together and feel together? I love to think
that certain acts, incidents, occurrences, may be
represented by souls which are ever about us, in-
fluencing us for good or evil. Why should not
my memory be in itself a living soul? Dreams



98 Love Alone Is Lord

who can tell us what dreams are how they come
to us? Why may we not think of them as the
fantastic masques played by those spirits which
are visible only to us when sleep has come, and
we have been borne to another world, where the
souls of our acts nay, the souls of our very
thoughts have a form? ... I am. carried
away. All that I meant to say is that you and I
have come together, and that that what am I
to say?"

"That the result is that soul which is a poem,"
said she. "A poem is immortal if it has a soul
within it. I think that yours will have a germ of
that immortality about it, Byron."

" I have read it every day, and I tell you that
I have not yet thought of it, except as something
impersonal," said he. "I think I can criticise it
as if I had not held the pen that wrote it. It is
not a thing to be praised; it is not a thing to be
blamed; but it is Something. It is a distinct
something a distinct voice. It is not loud, it is
not deep, it may travel no distance; it may be
lost in the empty air before it falls upon any ear ;
but, believe me, it is a voice, Mary; it is not
merely a hollow echo of the voice of another.
There! I have talked enough about it."

"You will bring it to me," she said. "You
will read it to me, and I shall never forget it."

"It is scarce worth remembering," said he.
" But you shall have it. It shall go back to you,
my Mary."



Love Alone Is Lord 99

"Back to me?"

"Back to you. The stars are given to the
night by the sea, but when the blank night has
been made glad with starlight, the stars return
unto the sea again. You shall have the song
which.you lent me."

He had risen when speaking, and when he had
spoken he bent down and kissed her hand, which
was resting on the back of the seat whiter than
the carved marble. He walked away without
another word.

The girl felt greatly moved. It seemed to her
that she had been talking, not with a youth who
was some years younger than herself, but with a
man who had had experience of life everything
that made up life. He had left her glowing in
the thought that she had brought to the surface
that spring of poetry which had previously been
welling up unseen and unsuspected even by him-
self in his nature. It was she who had given him
the impulse for which he was waiting. If she had
not come to him he might have continued silent,
perplexed by those vague yearnings of which he
had spoken, not knowing what they meant or how
they would be satisfied.

This thought sent a delightful glow through
every part of her body a glow of pride she
thought it was pride and affection. She be-
lieved that the pleasure which she felt arose from
the thought that he was one of the household to
which she belonged her kinsman. She was proud



ioo Love Alone Is Lord

of herself also, in that she had persisted in stop-
ping the coach and carrying him. with her to
Annesley Hall. She had often been present when
her father and some of their neighbours had
talked about the young Lord Byron. She had
observed the head-shakings of the men when they
mentioned the name of his mother. She had seen
the mother in London , and therefore she under-
stood quite well what their head-shakings meant.
She had seen the way the men cast their eyes up
to heaven, raising hopeless hands in the same
direction, when the name of his father was men-
tioned. She had heard as much about his father
as enabled her to understand why the attitude of
people who had also known him should be expres-
sive of despair. She had seen the boy with the
large eyes and the auburn curls during the visit
which she and her mother had paid to Mrs. Byron,
and she had pitied him, having seen his mother.
She had often wondered what would be the future
of this youth with a title, the mention of the name
of whose parents had compelled that head-shak-
ing and eye-raising. She had pitied him with all
her heart, following the lead of her mother in this
respect. She knew that he would need all the
sympathy which she could offer him; and then
that fortunate moment came when she found
herself able to be his friend; and the result he
had told her what was the result of her friendli-
ness. He had found out that he was a poet, and
she was proud of having done this. She had not



Love Alone Is Lord 101

made him a poet, but she had made him know
that he was one.

Her eyes had been full of tears when he told her
the story ; and now those tears began to fall when
she thought of what he must have suffered, never
having- known that sympathy which her instinct
told her meant life to such a temperament as his.
She had heard that he was of a peculiar disposi-
tion. The son of one of the Chaworths' neigh-
bours had been at Harrow-on-the-Hill for three
terms while Byron was there, and he had brought
home a schoolboy's report of his schoolfellow.
He had been a milksop when he first went to
school, but he had greatly improved until, toward
the end of his third term, he was almost as ready
as the most pugnacious boy in his house to enter
into a fight with fists on any point of offended
honour; in addition, he had proved, more than
once, that he was highly gifted as an organiser of
insubordination; and he could swim oh, yes,
he certainly could swim. Of course, it could not
be expected that he should be a cricketer, or that
he should do anything in the fives-court ; but that
was no reason why he should wish to be let alone
when these games were going on. It was a pity,
the narrator thought, that a fellow who had so
much in him as to be able to box in spite of his
unsteadiness on his pins, should have taken to
wandering about the fields alone, or lying under
a tree, doing absolutely nothing but thinking.
The boy who spent his time thinking, when he



102 Love Alone Is Lord

might have been boxing, could, in his opinion,
come to no good.

Mary had heard something of this report, and
she felt that she was grossly astray in sympa-
thising with young Byron. But now she knew
that she was justified in her sympathy. A poet
among a pack of young barbarians was like an
Italian greyhound in a kennel of foxhounds, like
a linnet in a rookery. She could understand
how it was that he found himself wandering
away from the other boys, idling under trees,
where only the faint sound of the shouts of the
playing fields could be heard; his schoolmates
could not understand it, however, nor, for that
matter, could Byron himself. He had, she could
see, fought manfully to be a commonplace school-
boy like the rest, but he had been born a poet,
and he could no more shake himself free from his
destiny than a swallow can avoid skimming
through the hollows of the clouds, although it
may have been hatched in the eaves of a hen-
house.

But she understood, and felt a glow of pleasure
while she thought:

" It was through me that the mystery was re-
vealed to him."



CHAPTER IX

BYRON had never before in his life known
such gladness as he felt when he mounted
the horse which he had been riding since he had
come to Annesley, and sent it at a gallop across
the open country that lay outside the spacious
grounds that surrounded the Hall. He now felt
as if he had no longing for anything, as if he had
attained to the summit of his desire. He was
young enough and fresh enough to feel that, hav-
ing reached the summit of his desire, there was
no more climbing to be done, or that the horizon
of his hopes was only widened when he stood on
that high peak.

What more could he hope for in the world than
this which he had reached this consciousness
that he was a poet, and that he loved the only
girl in the world who was worthy of being loved?
He had loved her from the first. If he had ever
before fancied that he was in love and he had
had one or two such fancies he now knew that it
had only been because there was something that
pertained to Mary Chaworth in each of his loves.
They were like pale shadows of her; they were
what the perfume of the rose is to the rose itself.
One becomes aware, walking on the confines of a
garden, of a delicate scent softening the air, and

103



104 Love Alone Is Lord

one breathes of the scent with delight ; and then
one suddenly comes upon the glory of the rose.
He had been on the confines of many a rose-
garden, and the perfume had pleased him; but
until now he had never seen the glory of the rose.

Love had entered into his life at the same
moment that that other mystery had been revealed
to him it must have been at the very moment,
for he found it impossible to say whether the
poetry came to him as the result of his loving,
or if he loved because he had sung. Yes, it was
certain that both mysteries had been revealed to
him at the one moment or was it that the two
were one; and, if they were, was he to assume
that, having told her of the one, there was no need
for him to say a word of the other?

Surely she knew that he loved her, and could
he doubt that she returned his love? Could any-
one doubt that it was the instinct of love the
divinity in love that had led her to the spot where
he lay asleep? It was the romance of Cymon and
Iphigenia reversed; it was the maiden who had
come upon the sleeping swain ; and the result was
the same. He had not failed to see the glistening
of her eyes while he was telling her his story. He
did not want any further sign than this. She
had been led to him by love. She had spoken to
him in a voice that was an echo of his own, and
the tears of love had been in her eyes.

Was it any wonder that he felt that he had
attained the summit of happiness? Had life



Love Alone Is Lord 105

anything better to offer him than this exhilaration
this sense of exaltation of a calm passion of
perfect peace? He looked around on the world
as if it was the world that he had conquered.
But, indeed, all that he desired at that moment
was that the world could share his happiness.
It was too much for one human being to contain.
He had enough for all the world.

He did not return until late in the evening.
Mary and he were to sup alone this evening ; her
father and mother were dining with the Bram-
leys at Colwick, and would not return until
night. He had brought his verses down from
his room, and had left the manuscript on a jasper
pedestal bearing a gilt figure of Diana with her
quiver, in the great square hall. On the opposite
side of the hall there was a companion pedestal,
but of onyx, carrying a figure of the poised Mer-
cury on his ball. Each pedestal stood at the side
of the frame of a life-sized picture ; the Diana was
beneath a portrait by Gainsborough of a gentle-
man in the uniform of a deputy lieutenant, the
Mercury was beneath that of a graceful young
woman by Thornhill. Byron knew that Mary
would ask him to keep his promise in regard to
the reading the verses to her ; but he did not like
to show himself too ready to put them into her
hand. Thus he had refrained from keeping the
manuscript in his pocket; but he had placed it
where he could find it at a moment's notice.
Climbing the long staircase gave him some trouble.



io6 Love Alone Is Lord

All this evening he felt shy and self-conscious,
though it was delightful to be left alone with her ;
and, indeed, Mary herself seemed not quite at
ease. There was a certain amount of constraint
in their conversation, especially when the ser-
vants were in the room. She asked him how he
had enjoyed his ride, if his horse had gone well,
and if he had tried it again upon any of the
fences. He replied in the baldest fashion, and
praised the plums. They were on his plate before
him, and he was in a position to judge of their
appearance as well as their flavour, for he scarcely
raised his eyes from where they lay. He pre-
ferred them to peaches, he affirmed, and when she
asked him why, he said that they were like
negresses ; peaches were like he lost his courage,
for the butler was still in the room, and he
thought that perhaps the man might fancy that
he was going too far in the absence of the elders
if he had said what was in his mind in regard to
the complexion of the peaches.

Mary gave a laugh and said :

"Yes, I agree with you; but why should you
find it pleasanter to eat a mulatto plum than a
Circassian peach?"

" It is more natural, is it not?" said he.

" It is the difference between black-faced mut-
ton and white. I suppose you had magnificent
mutton in Scotland. Papa thinks that the
Welsh is not to be compared to the Highland."

So they talked of all that was commonplace, as



Love Alone Is Lord 107

people do who have a great deal to talk about
that is not commonplace. And even when they
went together into one of the drawing-rooms, she
did not at once spring to the topic that was near-
est her heart, and he seemed to have forgotten the
promise that he had given her. The piano was
open, and on the stand between the silver candle-
sticks there stood open a book of songs, which had
recently been published, and was to be found on
a good many pianos throughout the kingdom.
A patriotic young Irishman, named Thomas
Moore, had collected some of the beautiful melo-
dies of his native land, and had wedded them to
verses of his own writing, the result being a much
happier union than that which had just been
brought about between the two islands.

" I have found the most glorious song in the
book," she cried, when he had strayed to the
piano and begun listlessly to turn over the pages
of the music book. " I must sing it to you to-
night. You are sure to like it. It might have
been written by the Genius of Patriotism. There
is the swing of a broadsword in every line; and
now and again you may perceive the glitter of
the steel in the sunlight as it makes its clean cut."

"Mr. Moore's verses are never wanting in
glitter, that is their quality," said Byron. "It
seems to me that he is not only the collector
of melodies, but the discoverer of melody as
well."

"I only wish I could do justice to this one,"



io8 Love Alone Is Lord

said she. "I think it is an appropriate choice
to-night, for it is called The Minstrel Boy."

He gave a startled flush, and then a laugh.

"Sing it to me, Mary," he whispered.

She struck a chord, and then the melody of the
Irish race awoke, with its wild flashes of enthus-
iasm, alternating with its soft melancholy, its
bursting bars of hopefulness, its passionate de-
spair the history of the land of its birth. A
lost cause wails through its music, and its glints
of brightness are like the glints of sunlight that
sweep through its sorrowful clouds, showing the
emerald patches on the Irish mountain for a
moment only.

"Listen to this," said Mary Chaworth.

The minstrel boy to the war is gone ;

In the ranks of death you '11 find him.
His father's sword he has girded on,

And his wild harp slung behind him.
"Land of Song," said the warrior bard,

"Though all the world betray thee,
One sword at least thy rights shall guard,

One faithful harp shall praise thee."

The minstrel fell, but the foeman's chain

Could not bring that proud soul under.
The harp he loved ne'er spoke again,

For he tore its chords asunder;
And said, "No chain shall sully thee,

Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,

They shall never sound in slavery!"



Love Alone Is Lord 109

The girl ended, not with the crash of the last
battle, not with the melancholy of minor chords,
but with a note of victory the rallying trumpet
music of a triumph.

"That is for you, my dear Cousin Byron," she
cried." " That song is for you, my poor minstrel,
going out to war with the world with a sword that
you have not yet learned to wield, but that you
will surely wield in the cause of liberty. Your
sword and your harp will ever be on the side of
liberty, Byron, whatever may happen, promise
me that, dear."

The tears that had been in her voice were now
shining in her eyes. It was not with tears that
his eyes were flashing. He felt like the young
knight whose sword has just been bound to his
thigh by the lady of his choice. What could he
not achieve when wearing the favour of such a
lady as this, who was now standing before him
with her hands on his shoulders, her eyes look-
ing down into his, full of earnestness, and the
tears which are the earnest of an inheritance of
tenderness?

" I swear it to you, Mary," he said. " You have
put the sword into my hand, and I will use it
against your enemies all the enemies that would
assail you and whatever you hold dear. It will
go hard with us if we do not succeed in crushing
at least some of them. Trust me, Mary, you
may trust me."

"Indeed, I will always trust you, whatever



1 10 Love Alone Is Lord

may happen, and a great deal will happen that
will be difficult to bear," she said, still looking
into his face through her overflowing eyes.

Suddenly her hands dropped from his shoulders,
she turned away from him with a quick movement,
almost spasmodic. She felt sure that he heard



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