To Portia at Belmont.

Quick from fog and frost away,1
Fly my song with greeting gay2
To fair Belmont’s lady fair.3
Up, my song, to purer air4
Up like soaring lark in spring !5
Quick as swallow dips his wing6
Slanting to the summer sea,7
Quick, away, with frolic glee,8
Humble greeting, greeting gay,9
To the Lady Portia !10
She is good and she is wise11
She has shapen destinies ;—12
Swift of tongue, of noble speech,13
Learning ever, wise to teach ;14
Wise in counsel, firm in deed,15
Helper in man’s utmost need ;16
Brave as wise, and true as brave,17
Quick to feel, and strong to save :18
Fly my little song, and pay19
Honour to great Portia.20
Wise she is,—and sweet withal,21
Queen at life’s great festival,22
Queen of laughter ; keen of wit,23
Quick to aim, and sure to hit,—24
Laughing light, and laughing ever,25
At the foolish jest and clever26
Laughing first and jesting after,27
For she scarce can speak for laughter,—28
Who our thousand follies sees,29
Antics, inconsistencies :30
Wiser than all men, more gay31
Than a child is Portia.32
Bright on Adriatic sea33
Plays the sunlight laughingly ;34
Soft on Belmont lawns by night35
Flows and spreads the fair moonlight ;36
Countless years has Venice stood 37
Steadfast on the shifting flood :38
Steadfast heart, unbroken will,39
Noble purpose, matchless skill,40
Tenderness of moon’s soft ray,41
Splendour of the southern day,42
Charm of Venus at her birth,43
Naught of malice, all of mirth,44
Laughter, learning, love, and play45
All good things are Portia.46
Fly, then, song across the sea,47
Fly to mirth and minstrelsy ;48
And when thou dost see the trees49
On fair Belmont’s terraces,50
Bow thee to thy lady’s knife,51
Kiss the hand that takes thy life ;52
Take one kiss and breathe one sigh53
When she cuts thy chord, then lie54
In her hand, beneath her smile ;55
She will laugh a little while56
For she laughs at little things57
Then perchance she’ll fold thy wings,58
Lay thee on her heart to rest ;59
Then my song art thou most blest60
On the home of trust and play,61
On the heart of Portia.62