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第16章

Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image;For when I close my eyes, I see, very likely, St. Peter's, Or the Pantheon facade, or Michel Angelo's figures, Or, at a wish, when I please, the Alban hills and the Forum,--But that face, those eyes,--ah, no, never anything like them;Only, try as I will, a sort of featureless outline, And a pale blank orb, which no recollection will add to.

After all, perhaps there was something factitious about it;I have had pain, it is true: I have wept; and so have the actors.

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At the last moment I have your letter, for which I was waiting;I have taken my place, and see no good in inquiries.

Do nothing more, good Eustace, I pray you. It only will vex me.

Take no measures. Indeed, should we meet, I could not be certain;All might be changed, you know. Or perhaps there was nothing to be changed.

It is a curious history, this; and yet I foresaw it;I could have told it before. The Fates, it is clear, are against us;For it is certain enough I met with the people you mention;They were at Florence the day I returned there, and spoke to me even;Stayed a week, saw me often; departed, and whither I know not.

Great is Fate, and is best. I believe in Providence partly.

What is ordained is right, and all that happens is ordered.

Ah, no, that isn't it. But yet I retain my conclusion.

I will go where I am led, and will not dictate to the chances.

Do nothing more, I beg. If you love me, forbear interfering.

IX. Claude to Eustace.

Shall we come out of it all, some day, as one does from a tunnel?

Will it be all at once, without our doing or asking, We shall behold clear day, the trees and meadows about us, And the faces of friends, and the eyes we loved looking at us?

Who knows? Who can say? It will not do to suppose it.

X. Claude to Eustace,-from Rome.

Rome will not suit me, Eustace; the priests and soldiers possess it;Priests and soldiers:--and, ah! which is the worst, the priest or the soldier?

Politics, farewell, however! For what could I do? with inquiring, Talking, collating the journals, go fever my brain about things o'er Which I can have no control. No, happen whatever may happen, Time, I suppose, will subsist; the earth will revolve on its axis;People will travel; the stranger will wander as now in the city;Rome will be here, and the Pope the custode of Vatican marbles.

I have no heart, however, for any marble or fresco;I have essayed it in vain; 'tis in vain as yet to essay it:

But I may haply resume some day my studies in this kind;Not as the Scripture says, is, I think, the fact. Ere our death-day, Faith, I think, does pass, and Love; but Knowledge abideth.

Let us seek Knowledge;--the rest may come and go as it happens.

Knowledge is hard to seek, and harder yet to adhere to.

Knowledge is painful often; and yet when we know we are happy.

Seek it, and leave mere Faith and Love to come with the chances.

As for Hope,--to-morrow I hope to be starting for Naples.

Rome will not do, I see, for many very good reasons.

Eastward, then, I suppose, with the coming of winter, to Egypt.

XI. Mary Trevellyn to Miss Roper.

You have heard nothing; of course I know you can have heard nothing.

Ah, well, more than once I have broken my purpose, and sometimes, Only too often, have looked for the little lake steamer to bring him.

But it is only fancy,--I do not really expect it.

Oh, and you see I know so exactly how he would take it:

Finding the chances prevail against meeting again, he would banish Forthwith every thought of the poor little possible hope, which I myself could not help, perhaps, thinking only too much of;He would resign himself, and go. I see it exactly.

So I also submit, although in a different manner.

Can you not really come? We go very shortly to England.

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So go forth to the world, to the good report and the evil!

Go, little book! thy tale, is it not evil and good?

Go, and if strangers revile, pass quietly by without answer.

Go, and if curious friends ask of thy rearing and age, Say, 'I am flitting about many years from brain unto brain of Feeble and restless youths born to inglorious days:

But,' so finish the word, 'I was writ in a Roman chamber, When from Janiculan heights thundered the cannon of France.'

End

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