THE poem entitled Rouge Gagne, by Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, has been pronounced by some critics to be her most original and powerful poem, after her Battle Hymn; and one of her oldest friends recently supplied a supplement to it on her late birthday. Both poems are here printed. It is to be remembered that in the game of “Rouge et Noir” the announcement by the dealer, “ Rouge gagne” implies that the red wins, while the phrase “ Donner de la couleur ” means simply to follow suit and accept what comes.
The circle’s drawn, the bets are paid :
I stake my gold upon the red.
The river of life, so swift divine,
In red all radiantly shine.
Lie dinted hearts, and diamonds good,
The red for faith and hardihood.
On errand from a virgin heart,
To win its glorious counterpart.
The velvet robe that sovereigns wear,
The red revealment could not spare.
By fields of ice, and raging floods,
Take the red passion from the gods.
But human hearts are faint and frail
Till Love meets Love, and bids it hail.
I see the flaming arch o’erhead:
I stake my life upon the red.
With hair still golden on her head,
Dame Julia of the Valley said.
And while her patient years unfold
They yield the white and not the gold.
The brown, the green, the red pass by,
And whitest top is next the sky.
Dame Julia sings in loftier light,
“ I stake my life upon the white ! ”