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´╗┐Title: Dreams and Dust
Author: Marquis, Don, 1878-1937
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dreams and Dust" ***

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  So let them pass, these songs of mine,
  Into oblivion, nor repine;
  Abandoned ruins of large schemes,
  Dimmed lights adrift from nobler dreams,

  Weak wings I sped on quests divine,
  So let them pass, these songs of mine.
  They soar, or sink ephemeral--
  I care not greatly which befall!

  For if no song I e'er had wrought,
  Still have I loved and laughed and fought;
  So let them pass, these songs of mine;
  I sting too hot with life to whine!

  Still shall I struggle, fail, aspire,
  Lose God, and find Gods in the mire,
  And drink dream-deep life's heady wine--
  So let them pass, these songs of mine.



  I AM mine own priest, and I shrive myself
  Of all my wasted yesterdays.  Though sin
  And sloth and foolishness, and all ill weeds
  Of error, evil, and neglect grow rank
  And ugly there, I dare forgive myself
  That error, sin, and sloth and foolishness.
  God knows that yesterday I played the fool;
  God knows that yesterday I played the knave;
  But shall I therefore cloud this new dawn o'er
  With fog of futile sighs and vain regrets?

  This is another day!  And flushed Hope walks
  Adown the sunward slopes with golden shoon.
  This is another day; and its young strength
  Is laid upon the quivering hills until,
  Like Egypt's Memnon, they grow quick with song.
  This is another day, and the bold world
  Leaps up and grasps its light, and laughs, as leapt
  Prometheus up and wrenched the fire from Zeus.

  This is another day--are its eyes blurred
  With maudlin grief for any wasted past?
  A thousand thousand failures shall not daunt!
  Let dust clasp dust; death, death--I am alive!
  And out of all the dust and death of mine
  Old selves I dare to lift a singing heart
  And living faith; my spirit dares drink deep
  Of the red mirth mantling in the cup of morn.


  FLEET across the grasses
    Flash the feet of Spring,
  Piping, as he passes
  Fleet across the grasses,
  "Follow, lads and lasses!
    Sing, world, sing!"
  Fleet across the grasses
    Flash the feet of Spring!

  _Idle winds deliver
    Rumors through the town,
  Tales of reeds that quiver,
  Idle winds deliver,
  Where the rapid river
    Drags the willows down--
  Idle winds deliver
    Rumors through the town._

  In the country places
    By the silver brooks
  April airs her graces;
  In the country places
  Wayward April paces,
    Laughter in her looks;
  In the country places
    By the silver brooks.

  _Hints of alien glamor
    Even reach the town;
  Urban muses stammer
  Hints of alien glamor,
  But the city's clamor
    Beats the voices down;
  Hints of alien glamor
    Even reach the town._


  WHERE the singers of Saturn find tongue,
    Where the Galaxy's lovers embrace,
  Our world and its beauty are sung!
    They lean from their casements to trace
    If our planet still spins in its place;
  Faith fables the thing that we are,
    And Fantasy laughs and gives chase:
  This earth, it is also a star!

  Round the sun, that is fixed, and hung
    For a lamp in the darkness of space
  We are whirled, we are swirled, we are flung;
    Singing and shining we race
    And our light on the uplifted face
  Of dreamer or prophet afar
    May fall as a symbol of grace:
  This earth, it is also a star!

  Looking out where our planet is swung
    Doubt loses his writhen grimace,
  Dry hearts drink the gleams and are young;--
    Where agony's boughs interlace
    His Garden some Jesus may pace,
  Lifting, the wan avatar,
    His soul to this light as a vase!
  This earth, it is also a star!

  Great spirits in sorrowful case
    Yearn to us through the vapors that bar:
  Canst think of that, soul, and be base?--
    This earth, it is also a star!


  IT shifts and shifts from form to form,
    It drifts and darkles, gleams and glows;
  It is the passion of the storm,
    The poignance of the rose;
  Through changing shapes, through devious
    By noon or night, through cloud or flame,
  My heart has followed all my days
    Something I cannot name.

  In sunlight on some woman's hair,
    Or starlight in some woman's eyne,
  Or in low laughter smothered where
    Her red lips wedded mine,
  My heart hath known, and thrilled to know,
    This unnamed presence that it sought;
  And when my heart hath found it so,
    _"Love is the name,"_ I thought.

  Sometimes when sudden afterglows
    In futile glory storm the skies
  Within their transient gold and rose
    The secret stirs and dies;
  Or when the trampling morn walks o'er
    The troubled seas, with feet of flame,
  My awed heart whispers, _"Ask no more,
    For Beauty is the name!"_

  Or dreaming in old chapels where
    The dim aisles pulse with murmurings
  That part are music, part are prayer--
    (Or rush of hidden wings)
  Sometimes I lift a startled head
    To some saint's carven countenance,
  Half fancying that the lips have said,
    _All names mean God, perchance!"_


  THERE is a legend that the love of God
  So quickened under Mary's heart it wrought
  Her very maidenhood to holier stuff....
  However that may be, the birth befell
  Upon a night when all the Syrian stars
  Swayed tremulous before one lordlier orb
  That rose in gradual splendor,
  Flooding the firmament with mystic light,
  And dropped upon the breathing hills
  A sudden music
  Like a distillation from its gleams;
  A rain of spirit and a dew of song!


  THE soul of the Spring through its body of earth
    Bursts in a bloom of fire,
  And the crocuses come in a rainbow riot of mirth....
    They flutter, they burn, they take wing, they
  Wings, motion and music and flame,
  Flower, woman and laughter, and all these the
  She is light and first love and the youth of the
  She is sandaled with joy ... she is lifted and
  She is flung, she is swirled, she is driven along
    By the carnival winds that have torn her away
    From the coronal bloom on the brow of the
  She is youth, she is foam, she is flame, she is
        visible Song!


  REACH over, my Undine, and clutch me a reed--
  Nymph of mine idleness, notch me a pipe--
  For I am fulfilled of the silence, and long
  For to utter the sense of the silence in song.

  Down-stream all the rapids are troubled with pebbles
    That fetter and fret what the water would utter,
  And it rushes and splashes in tremulous trebles;
    It makes haste through the shallows, its soul is

  But here all the sound is serene and outspread
    In the murmurous moods of a slow-swirling pool;
    Here all the sounds are unhurried and cool;
  Every silence is kith to a sound; they are wed,
  They are mated, are mingled, are tangled, are
  Every hush is in love with a sound, every sound
  By the law of its life to some silence is bound.

  Then here will we hide; idle here and abide,
  In the covert here, close by the waterside--
  Here, where the slim flattered reeds are aquiver
  With the exquisite hints of the reticent river,
    Here, where the lips of this pool are the lips
  Of all pools, let us listen and question and wait;
    Let us hark to the whispers of love and of death,
  Let us hark to the lispings of life and of fate--
  In this place where pale silences flower into sound
  Let us strive for some secret of all the profound
  Deep and calm Silence that meshes men 'round!
  There's as much of God hinted in one ripple's
    There's as much of Truth glints in yon
        dragon-fly's flight--
  There's as much Purpose gleams where yonder
        trout flashes
    As in--any book else!--could we read things

  Then nymph of mine indolence, here let us hide,
  Learn, listen, and question; idle here and abide
  Where the rushes and lilies lean low to the tide.


  "Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
   They had no poet and they died."--POPE.

  By Tigris, or the streams of Ind,
    Ere Colchis rose, or Babylon,
  Forgotten empires dreamed and sinned,
    Setting tall towns against the dawn,

  Which, when the proud Sun smote upon,
    Flashed fire for fire and pride for pride;
  Their names were ...  Ask oblivion! ...
    _"They had no poet, and they died."_

  Queens, dusk of hair and tawny-skinned,
    That loll where fellow leopards fawn ...
  Their hearts are dust before the wind,
    Their loves, that shook the world, are wan!

  Passion is mighty ... but, anon,
    Strong Death has Romance for his bride;
  Their legends ...  Ask oblivion! ...
    _"They had no poet, and they died."_

  Heroes, the braggart trumps that dinned
    Their futile triumphs, monarch, pawn,
  Wild tribesmen, kingdoms disciplined,
    Passed like a whirlwind and were gone;

  They built with bronze and gold and brawn,
    The inner Vision still denied;
  Their conquests ...  Ask oblivion! ...
    _"They had no poet, and they died."_

  Dumb oracles, and priests withdrawn,
    Was it but flesh they deified?
  Their gods were ...  Ask oblivion! ...
    _"They had no poet, and they died."_


  SHE is hot to the sea that crouches beside,
    Human and hot to the cool stars peering down,
    My passionate city, my quivering town,
  And her dark blood, tide upon purple tide,
  With throbs as of thunder beats,
    With leaping rhythms and vast, is swirled
  Through the shaken lengths of her veined streets...
    She pulses, the heart of a world!

  I have thrilled with her ecstasy, agony, woe--
  Hath she a mood that I do not know?
  The winds of her music tumultuous have seized
        me and swayed me,
    Have lifted, have swung me around
    In their whorls as of cyclonic sound;
  Her passions have torn me and tossed me and
        brayed me;
  Drunken and tranced and dazzled with visions
        and gleams,

    I have spun with her dervish priests;
    I have searched to the souls of her hunted beasts
      And found love sleeping there;
  I have soared on the wings of her flashing dreams;
      I have sunk with her dull despair;
  I have sweat with her travails and cursed with
        her pains;
    I have swelled with her foolish pride;
  I have raged through a thick red mist at one
        with her branded Cains,
    With her broken Christs have died.

  O beautiful half-god city of visions and love!
    O hideous half-brute city of hate!
  O wholly human and baffled and passionate town!
    The throes of thy burgeoning, stress of thy fight,
  Thy bitter, blind struggle to gain for thy body a
    I have known, I have felt, and been shaken
      Wakened and shaken and broken,
  For I hear in thy thunders terrific that throb
        through thy rapid veins
      The beat of the heart of a world.



  CLOTHED on with thunder and with steel
    And black against the dawn
  The whirling armies clash and reel....
    A wind, and they are gone
    Like mists withdrawn,
    Like mists withdrawn!

  Like clouds withdrawn, like driven sands,
    Earth's body vanisheth:
  One solid thing unconquered stands,
    The ghost that humbles death.
    All else is breath,
    All else is breath!

  Man rose from out the stinging slime,
    Half brute, and sought a soul,
  And up the starrier ways of time,
    Half god, unto his goal,

    He still must climb,
    He still must climb!

  What though worlds stagger, and the suns
    Seem shaken in their place,
  Trust thou the leaping love that runs
    Creative over space:
    Take heart of grace,
    Take heart of grace!

  What though great kingdoms fall on death
    Before the stabbing blade,
  Their brazen might was only breath,
    Their substance but a shade--
    Be not dismayed,
    Be not dismayed!

  Man's dream which conquered brute and clod
    Shall fail not, but endure,
  Shall rise, though beaten to the sod,
    Shall hold its vantage sure--
    As sure as God,
    As sure as God!


  A LITTLE while, with love and youth,
    He wandered, singing:--
      He felt life's pulses hot and strong
      Beat all his rapid veins along;
      He wrought life's rhythms into song:
        He laughed, he sang the Dawn!
      So close, so close to life he dwelt
      That at rare times and rapt he felt
      The fleshly barriers yield and melt;
        He trembled, looking on
      Creation at her miracles;
      His soul-sight pierced the earthly shells
      And saw the spirit weave its spells,
        The veil of clay withdrawn;--
  A little while, with love and youth,
    He wandered, singing!

  A little while, with age and death,
    He wanders, dreaming;--

      No more the thunder and the urge
      Of earth's full tides that storm the verge
      Of heaven with their sweep and surge
        Shall lift, shall bear him on;
      Where is the golden hope that led
      Him comrade with the mighty dead?
      The love that aureoled his head?--
        The glory is withdrawn!
      How shall one soar with broken wings?
      The leagued might of futile things
      Wars with the heart that dares and sings;--
        It is not always Dawn!
  A little while, with age and death,
    He wanders, dreaming.


  _Put by the sword_ (a dreamer saith),
    _The years of peace draw nigh!
  Already the millennial dawn
    Makes red the eastern sky!_

  Be not deceived.  It comes not yet!
    The ancient passions keep
  Alive beneath their changing masks.
    They are not dead.  They sleep.

  Surely peace comes.  As sure as Man
    Rose from primeval slime.
  That was not yesterday.  There's still
    A weary height to climb!

  And we can dwell too long with dreams
    And play too much with words,
  Forgetting our inheritance
    Was bought and held with swords.

  _But Truth_ (you say) _makes tyrants quail--
    Beats down embattled Wrong?_
  If truth be armed!  Be not deceived.
    The strife is to the strong.

  Words are not guns.  Words are not ships.
    And ships and guns prevail.
  Our liberties, that blood has gained,
    Are guarded, or they fail.

  Truth does not triumph without blows,
    Error not tamely yields.
  But falsehood closes with quick faith,
    Fierce, on a thousand fields.

  And surely, somewhat of that faith
    Our fathers fought for clings!
  Which called this freedom's hemisphere,
    Despite Earth's leagued kings.

  Great creeds grow thews, or else they die.
    Thought clothed in deed is lord.
  What are thy gods?  Thy gods brought love?
    They also brought a sword.

  Unchallenged, shall we always stand,
    Secure, apart, aloof?
  Be not deceived.  That hour shall come
    Which puts us to the proof.

  Then, that we hold the trust we have
    Safeguarded for our sons,
  Let us cease dreaming!  Let us have
    More ships, more troops, more guns!


  ABOVE, the baffled twilight fails; beneath, the
      blind snakes creep;
  Beside us glides the charnel shark, our pilot
      through the deep;
  And, lurking where low headlands shield from
      cruising scout and spy,
  We bide the signal through the gloom that bids
      us slay or die.

  All watchful, mute, the crouching guns that guard
      the strait sea lanes--
  Watchful and hawklike, plumed with hate, the
      desperate aeroplanes--
  And still as death and swift as fate, above the
      darkling coasts,
  The spying Wireless sows the night with troops
      of stealthy ghosts,

  While hushed through all her huddled streets the
      tide-walled city waits
  The drumming thunders that announce brute
      battle at her gates.

  Southward a hundred windy leagues, through
      storms that blind and bar,
  Our cheated cruisers search the waves, our captains
      seek the war;
  But here the port of peril is; the foeman's
      dreadnoughts ride
  Sullen and black against the moon, upon a sullen
  And only we to launch ourselves against their
      stark advance--
  To guide uncertain lightnings through these
      treacherous seas of chance!

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  And now a wheeling searchlight paints a signal on
      the night;
  And now the bellowing guns are loud with the
      wild lust of fight.

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  And now, her flanks of steel apulse with all the
      power of hell,
  Forth from the darkness leaps in pride a hateful
  The flagship of their Admiral--and now God help
      and save!--
  We challenge Death at Death's own game; we
      sink beneath the wave!

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  Ah, steady now--and one good blow--one straight
      stab through the gloom--
  Ah, good!--the thrust went home!--she founders--
      flounders to her doom!--
  Full speed ahead!--those damned quick-firing guns
      --but let them bark--
  What's that--the dynamos?--they've got us, men!
      --_Christ! in the dark!_



  HE speaks as straight as his rifles shot,
    As straight as a thrusting blade,
  Waiting the deed that shall trouble the truce
    His savage guns have made.

  "You have dared the wrath of a dozen states,"
    Was the challenge that he heard;
  "We can die but once!" said the grim old King
    As he gripped his mountain sword.

  "For I paid in blood for the town I took,
    The blood of my brave men slain,--
  And if you covet the town I took
    You must buy it with blood again!"

  Stern old King of the stark, black hills,
    Where the lean, fierce eagles breed,
  Your speech rings true as your good sword rings--
    And you are a king indeed!


    "The only book that the party had was a volume of Dickens.
  During the six months that they lay in the cave which they
  had hacked in the ice, waiting for spring to come, they read
  this volume through again and again."--_From a newspaper
  report of an antarctic expedition._

  HUDDLED within their savage lair
    They hearkened to the prowling wind;
  They heard the loud wings of despair ...
    And madness beat against the mind....
  A sunless world stretched stark outside
  As if it had cursed God and died;
  Dumb plains lay prone beneath the weight
  Of cold unutterably great;
    Iron ice bound all the bitter seas,
  The brutal hills were bleak as hate....
    Here none but Death might walk at ease!

  Then Dickens spoke, and, lo! the vast
    Unpeopled void stirred into life;

  The dead world quickened, the mad blast
    Hushed for an hour its idiot strife
  With nothingness....

                         And from the gloom,
    Parting the flaps of frozen skin,
    Old friends and dear came trooping in,
  And light and laughter filled the room....
  Voices and faces, shapes beloved,
    Babbling lips and kindly eyes,
  Not ghosts, but friends that lived and moved ...
    They brought the sun from other skies,
  They wrought the magic that dispels
    The bitterer part of loneliness ...
  And when they vanished each man dreamed
    His dream there in the wilderness....
  One heard the chime of Christmas bells,
  And, staring down a country lane,
  Saw bright against the window-pane
  The firelight beckon warm and red....
  And one turned from the waterside
  Where Thames rolls down his slothful tide
  To breast the human sea that beats
  Through roaring London's battered streets

  And revel in the moods of men....
    And one saw all the April hills
    Made glad with golden daffodils,
  And found and kissed his love again....

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  By all the troubled hearts he cheers
    In homely ways or by lost trails,
  By all light shed through all dark years
    When hope grows sick and courage quails,
  We hail him first among his peers;
    Whether we sorrow, sing, or feast,
  He, too, hath known and understood--
    Master of many moods, high priest
  Of mirth and lord of cleansing tears!


  LEADER no more, be judged of us!
    Hailed Chief, and loved, of yore--
  Youth, and the faith of youth, cry out:
    _Leader and Chief no more!_

  We dreamed a Prophet, flushed with faith,
    Content to toil in pain
  If that his sacrifice might be,
    Somehow, his people's gain.

  We saw a vision, and our blood
    Beat red and hot and strong:
  _"Lead us_ (we cried) _to war against
    Some foul, embattled wrong!"_

  We dreamed a Warrior whose sword
    Was edged for sham and shame;
  We dreamed a Statesman far above
    The vulgar lust for fame.

  We were not cynics, and we dreamed
    A Man who made no truce
  With lies nor ancient privilege
    Nor old, entrenched abuse.

  We dreamed ... we dreamed ...  Youth dreamed
        a dream!
    And even you forgot
  Yourself, one moment, and dreamed, too--
    Struck, while your mood was hot!

  Struck three or four good blows ... and then
    Turned back to easier things:
  The cheap applause, the blatant mob,
    The praise of underlings!

  Praise ... praise ... was ever man so filled,
    So avid still, of praise?
  So hungry for the crowd's acclaim,
    The sycophantic phrase?

  O you whom Greatness beckoned to ...
    O swollen Littleness
  Who turned from Immortality
    To fawn upon Success!

  O blind with love of self, who led
    Youth's vision to defeat,
  Bawling and brawling for rewards,
    Loud, in the common street!

  O you who were so quick to judge--
    Leader, and loved, of yore--
  Hear now the judgment of our youth:
    _Leader and Chief no more!_



  THE great guns slay from a league away, the death-bolts
      fly unseen,
  And bellowing hill replies to hill, machine to brute
  But still in the end when the long lines bend and
      the battle hangs in doubt
  They take to the steel in the same old way that
      their fathers fought it out--
  It is man to man and breast to breast and eye
      to bloodshot eye
  And the reach and twist of the thrusting wrist, as
      it was in the days gone by!

  Along the shaken hills the guns their drumming
      thunder roll--
  But the keen blades thrill with the lust to kill
      that leaps from the slayer's soul!

  For hand and heart and living steel, one pulse of
      hate they feel.
  Is your clan afraid of the naked blade?  Does it
      flinch from the bitter steel?
  Perish your dreams of conquest then, your swollen
      hopes and bold,
  For empire dwells with the stabbing blade, as it
      did in the days of old!



  EACH nation as it draws the sword
    And flings its standard to the air
  Petitions piously the Lord--
    Vexing the void abyss with prayer.

  O irony too deep for mirth!
    O posturing apes that rant, and dare
  This antic attitude!  O Earth,
    With your wild jest of wicked prayer!

  I dare not laugh ... a rising swell
    Of laughter breaks in shrieks somewhere--
  No doubt they relish it in Hell,
    This cosmic jest of Earth at prayer!




  A GHOST is the freak of a sick man's brain?
    Then why do ye start and shiver so?
  That's the sob and drip of a leaky drain?
    But it sounds like another noise we know!
    The heavy drops drummed red and slow,
  The drops ran down as slow as fate--
    Do ye hear them still?--it was long ago!--
  But here in the shadows I wait, I wait!

  Spirits there be that pass in peace;
    Mine passed in a whorl of wrath and dole;
  And the hour that your choking breath shall cease
    I will get my grip on your naked soul--
    Nor pity may stay nor prayer cajole--
  I would drag ye whining from Hell's own gate:
    To me, to me, ye must pay the toll!
  And here in the shadows I wait, I wait!

  The dead they are dead, they are out of the way?
    And a ghost is the whim of an ailing mind?
  Then why did ye whiten with fear to-day
    When ye heard a voice in the calling wind?
    Why did ye falter and look behind
  At the creeping mists when the hour grew late?
    Ye would see my face were ye stricken blind!
  And here in the shadows I wait, I wait!

  Drink and forget, make merry and boast,
    But the boast rings false and the jest is thin--
  In the hour that I meet ye ghost to ghost,
    Stripped of the flesh that ye skulk within,
    Stripped to the coward soul 'ware of its sin,
  Ye shall learn, ye shall learn, whether dead men
    Ah, a weary time has the waiting been,
  But here in the shadows I wait, I wait!


  LEAGUES before me, leagues behind,
    Clamor warring wastes of flood,
  All the streams of all the worlds
    Flung together, mad of mood;
  Through the canon beats a sound,
    Regular of interval,
  Distant, drumming, muffled, dull,
    Thunderously rhythmical;

  Crafts slip by my startled soul--
    Soul that cowers, a thing apart--
  They are corpuscles of blood!
    That's the throbbing of a heart!
  God of terrors!--am I mad?--
    Through my body, mine own soul,
  Shrunken to an atom's size,
    Voyages toward an unguessed goal!


  THE mother by the gallows-tree,
    The gallows-tree, the gallows-tree,
  (While the twitching body mocked the sun)
  Lifted to Heaven her broken heart
    And called for sympathy.

  Then Mother Mary bent to her,
    Bent from her place by God's left side,
  And whispered: "Peace--do I not know?--
    My son was crucified!"

  "O Mother Mary," answered she,
    "You cannot, cannot enter in
  To my soul's woe--you cannot know--
    For your son wrought no sin!"

  (And men whose work compelled them there,
    Their hearts were stricken dead;

  They heard the rope creak on the beam;
    I thought I heard the frightened ghost
    Whimpering overhead.)

  The mother by the gallows-tree,
    The gallows-tree, the gallows-tree,
  Lifted to Christ her broken heart
    And called in agony.

  Then Lord Christ bent to her and said:
    "Be comforted, be comforted;
  I know your grief; the whole world's woe
    I bore upon my head."

  "But O Lord Christ, you cannot know,
    No one can know," she said, "no one"--
  (While the quivering corpse swayed in the wind)--
  "Lord Christ, no one can understand
    Who never had a son!"


  LAZY and slow, through the snags and trees
    Move the sluggish currents, half asleep;
  Around and between the cypress knees,
    Like black, slow snakes the dark tides creep--
  How deep is the bayou beneath the trees?
  Croaks the big bullfrog of Reelfoot Lake
  From his hiding-place in the draggled brake.

  What is the secret the slim reeds know
  That makes them to shake and to shiver so,
  And the scared flags quiver from plume to foot?--
  The frogs pipe solemnly, deep and slow:
  "Look under
          the root!
                  Look under
                          the root!"

  The hoarse frog croaks and the stark owl hoots
  Of a mystery moored in the cypress roots.

  Was it love turned hate?  Was it friend turned foe?
  Only the frogs and the gray owl know,
    For the white moon shrouded her face in a mist
  At the spurt of a pistol, red and bright--
  At the sound of a shriek that stabbed the night--
    And the little reeds were frightened and whist;
  But always the eddies whimper and choke,
  And the frogs would tell if they could, for they
  "Deep, deep!
                  Deep, deep!
  And the dark tide slides and glisters and glides
  Snakelike over the secret it hides.


  YE are dead, they say, but ye swore, ye swore,
    Ye would come to me back from the sea!
  From out of the sea and the night, ye cried,
  Nor the crawling weed nor the dragging tide
    Could hold ye fast from me:--
    Come, ah, come to me!

  Three spells I have laid on the rising sun
    And three on the waning moon--
  Are ye held in the bonds of the night or the day
  Ye must loosen your bonds and away, away!
    Ye must come where I wait ye, soon--
    Ah, soon! soon! soon!

  Three times I have cast my words to the wind,
    And thrice to the climbing sea;
  If ye drift or dream with the clouds or foam
  Ye must drift again home, ye must drift again

   Wraith, ye are free, ye are free;
    Ghost, ye are free, ye are free!

  Are the coasts of death so fair, so fair?
    But I wait ye here on the shore!
  It is I that ye hear in the calling wind--
  I have stared through the dark till my soul is blind!
    O lover of mine, ye swore,
    Lover of mine, ye swore!


  _Oh, why do they hunt so hard, so hard, who have
      no need of food?
  Do they hunt for sport, do they hunt for hate, do
      they hunt for the lust of blood?_

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  If I were a god I would get me a spear, I would
      get me horse and dog,
  And merrily, merrily I would ride through covert
      and brake and bog,

  With hound and horn and laughter loud, over the
      hills and away--
  For there is no sport like that of a god with a
      man that stands at bay!

  Ho! but the morning is fresh and fair, and oh!
      but the sun is bright,
  And yonder the quarry breaks from the brush and
      heads for the hills in flight;

  A minute's law for the harried thing--then follow
      him, follow him fast,
  With the bellow of dogs and the beat of hoofs
      and the mellow bugle's blast.

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  _Hillo!  Halloo! they have marked a man! there is
      sport in the world to-day--
  And a clamor swells from the heart of the wood that
      tells of a soul at bay!


  WHERE tides of tossed wistaria bloom
    Foam up in purple turbulence,
  Where twining boughs have built a room
    And wing'd winds pause to garner scents
  And scattered sunlight flecks the gloom,
    She broods in pensive indolence.

  What is the thought that holds her thrall,
    That dims her sight with unshed tears?
  What songs of sorrow droop and fall
    In broken music for her ears?
  What voices thrill her and recall
    The poignant joy of happier years?

  She dreams 'tis not the winds which pass
    That whisper through the shaken vine;
  Whose footstep stirs the rustling grass
    None else that listened might divine;
  She sees her child that never was
    Look up with longing in his eyne.

  Unkissed, his lifted forehead gains
    A grace not earthly, but more rare--
  For since her heart but only feigns,
    Wherefore should love not feign him fair?
  Put blood of roses in his veins,
    Weave yellow sunshines for his hair?

  All ghosts of little children dead
    That wander wistful, uncaressed,
  Their seeking lips by love unfed,
    She fain would cradle on her breast
  For his sweet sake whose lonely head
    Has never known that tender rest.

  And thus she sits, and thus she broods,
    Where drifted blossoms freak the grass;
  The winds that move across her moods
    Pulse with low whispers as they pass,
  And in their eerier interludes
    She hears a voice that never was.


  MUCH listening through the silences,
    Much staring through the night,
  And lo! the dumb blind distances
    Are bridged with speech and sight!

  Magician Thought, informed of Love,
    Hath fixed her on the air--
  Oh, Love and I laughed down the fates
    And clasped her, here as there!

  Across the eerie silences
    She came in headlong flight,
  She stormed the serried distances,
    She trampled space and night!

  Oh, foolish scientists might give
    This miracle a name--
  But Love and I care but to know
    That when we called she came.

  And since I find the distances
    Subservient to my thought,
  And of the sentient silences
    More vital speech have wrought,

  Then she and I will mock Death's self,
    For all his vaunted might--
  There are no gulfs we dare not leap,
    As she leapt through the night!




  WE stood among the boats and nets;
    We saw the swift clouds fall,
  We watched the schooners scamper in
    Before the sudden squall;--
  The jolly squall strove lustily
    To whelm the sheltered street--
  The merry squall that piled the seas
  About the patient headland's knees
    And chased the fishing fleet.

  She laughed; as if with wings her mirth
  Arose and left the wingless earth
    And all tame things behind;
  Rose like a bird, wild with delight
  Whose briny pinions flash in flight
    Through storm and sun and wind.

  Her laughter sought those skies because
    Their mood and hers were one,
  For she and I were drunk with love
    And life and storm and sun!

  And while she laughed, the Sun himself
    Leapt laughing through the rain
  And struck his harper hand along
  The ringing coast; and that wind-song
    Whose joy is mixed with pain
  Forgot the undertone of grief
    And joined the jocund strain,
  And over every hidden reef
  Whereon the waves broke merrily
  Rose jets and sprays of melody
    And leapt and laughed again.



  We stood among the boats and nets ...
    We marked the risen moon
  Walk swaying o'er the trembling seas
    As one sways in a swoon;

  The little stars, the lonely stars,
    Stole through the hollow sky,
  And every sucking eddy where
  The waves lapped wharf or rotten stair
  Moaned like some stricken thing hid there
  And strangled with its own despair
    As the shuddering tide crept by.

  I loved her, and I hated her--
    Or did I hate myself because,
    Bound by obscure, strong, silken laws,
  I felt myself the worshiper
    Of beauty never wholly mine?
  With lures most apt to snare, entwine,
  With bonds too subtle to define,
  Her lighter nature mastered mine;
  Herself half given, half withheld,
  Her lesser spirit still compelled
  Its tribute from my franker soul:
    So--rebel, slave, and worshiper!--
    I loved her and I hated her.

  I gazed upon her, I, her thrall,
    And musing, murmured, _What if death_

  _Were just the answer to it all?--
    Suppose some dainty dagger quaffed
    Her life in one deep eager draught?--
  Suppose some amorous knife caressed
  The lovely hollow of her breast?"_--
  She turned a mocking look to mine:
  She read the thought within my eyne,
    She held me with her look--and laughed!

  Now who may tell what stirs, controls,
    And shapes mad fancies into facts?
  What trivial things may quicken souls
    To irrevocable, swift acts?
  Now who has known, who understood,
    Wherefore some idle thing
    May stab with deadlier sting
  Than well-considered insult could?--
  May spur the languor of a mood
  And rouse a tiger in the blood?--

  Ah, Christ!--had she not laughed just when
  That fancy came! ... for then ... and then ...
    A sudden mist dropped from the sky,

  A mist swept in across the sea ...
  A mist that hid her face from me ...
    A weeping mist all tinged with red,
  A dripping mist that smelt like blood ...
    It choked my throat, it burnt my brain ...
  And through it peered one sallow star,
    And through it rang one shriek of pain ...
  And when it passed my hands were red,
    My soul was dabbled with her blood;
  And when it passed my love was dead
    And tossed upon the troubled flood.



  But see! ... the body does not sink;
    It rides upon the tide
  (A starbeam on the dagger's haft),
    With staring eyes and wide ...
  And now, up from the darkling sea,
    Down from the failing moon,
  Are come strange shapes to mock at me ...
  All pallid from the star-pale sea,
    White from the paling moon ...

  Or whirling fast or wheeling slow
  Around, around the corpse they go,
  All bloodless o'er the sickened sea
    Beneath the ailing moon!

  And are they only wisps of fog
    That dance along the waves?
  Only shapes of mist the wind
    Drives along the waves?
  Or are they spirits that the sea
    Has cheated of their graves?
  The ghosts of them that died at sea,
  Of murdered men flung in the sea,
    Whose bodies had no graves?--
  Lost souls that haunt for evermore
  The sobbing reef and hollowed shore
    And always-murmuring caves?

  Ah, surely something more than fog,
    More than starlit mist!
  For starlight never makes a sound
    And fogs are ever whist--
  But hearken, hearken, hearken, now,
    For these sing as they dance!

  As airily, as eerily,
    They wheel about and whirl,
  They jeer at me, they fleer at me,
    They flout me as they swirl!
  As whirling fast or swaying slow,
  Reeling, wheeling, to and fro,
  Around, around the corpse they go,
    They chill me with their chants!
  These be neither men nor mists--
    Hearken to their chants:

  _Ever, ever, ever,
    Drifting like a blossom
  Seaward, with the starlight
    Wan upon her bosom--
  Ever when the quickened
    Heart of night is throbbing,
  Ever when the trembling
    Tide sets seaward, sobbing,
  Shall you see this burden
    Borne upon its ebbing:
  See her drifting seaward
    Like a broken blossom,_

  _Ever see the starlight
    Kiss her bruised bosom.

  Flight availeth nothing ...
    Still the subtle beaches
  Draw you back where Horror
    Walks their shingled reaches ...
  Ever shall your spirit
    Hear the surf resounding,
  Evermore the ocean
    Thwarting you and bounding;
  Vainly struggle inland!
    Lashing you and hounding,
  Still the vision hales you
    From the upland reaches,
  Goading you and gripping,
    Binds you to the beaches!

  Ever, ever, ever,
    Ever shall her laughter,
  Hunting you and haunting,
    Mock and follow after;
  Rising where the buoy-bell
    Clangs across the shallows,_

  _Leaping where the spindrift
    Hurtles o'er the hollows,
  Ringing where the moonlight
    Gleams along the billows,
  Ever, ever, ever,
    Ever shall her laughter,
  Hounding you and haunting,
    Whip and follow after!_



  I stood among the boats
  The sinking sun, the angry sun,
    Across the sullen wave
  Laid the sudden strength of his red wrath
    Like to a shaken glaive:--
  Or did the sun pause in the west
    To lift a sword at me,
    Or was it she, or was it she,
  Rose for an instant on some crest
  And plucked the red blade from her breast
    And brandished it at me?


  THE wraiths of murdered hopes and loves
    Come whispering at the door,
  Come creeping through the weeping mist
    That drapes the barren moor;
  But we within have turned the key
    'Gainst Hope and Love and Care,
  Where Wit keeps tryst with Folly, at
    The Tavern of Despair.

  And we have come by divers ways
    To keep this merry tryst,
  But few of us have kept within
    The Narrow Way, I wist;
  For we are those whose ampler wits
    And hearts have proved our curse--
  Foredoomed to ken the better things
    And aye to do the worse!

  Long since we learned to mock ourselves;
    And from self-mockery fell

  To heedless laughter in the face
    Of Heaven, Earth, and Hell.
  We quiver 'neath, and mock, God's rod;
    We feel, and mock, His wrath;
  We mock our own blood on the thorns
    That rim the "Primrose Path."

  We mock the eerie glimmering shapes
    That range the outer wold,
  We mock our own cold hearts because
    They are so dead and cold;
  We flout the things we might have been
    Had self to self proved true,
  We mock the roses flung away,
    We mock the garnered rue;

  The fates that gibe have lessoned us;
    There sups to-night on earth
  No madder crew of wastrels than
    This fellowship of mirth....
  (Of mirth ... drink, fools!--nor let it flag
    Lest from the outer mist
  Creep in that other company
    Unbidden to the tryst.

  We're grown so fond of paradox
    Perverseness holds us thrall,
  So what each jester loves the best
    He mocks the most of all;
  But as the jest and laugh go round,
    Each in his neighbor's eyes
  Reads, while he flouts his heart's desire,
    The knowledge that he lies.

  Not one of us but had some pearls
    And flung them to the swine,
  Not one of us but had some gift--
    Some spark of fire divine--
  Each might have been God's minister
    In the temple of some art--
  Each feels his gift perverted move
    Wormlike through his dry heart.

  If God called Azrael to Him now
    And bade Death bend the bow
  Against the saddest heart that beats
    Here on this earth below,
  Not any sobbing breast would gain
    The guerdon of that barb--

  The saddest ones are those that wear
    The jester's motley garb.

  Whose shout aye loudest rings, and whose
    The maddest cranks and quips--
  Who mints his soul to laughter's coin
    And wastes it with his lips--
  Has grown too sad for sighs and seeks
    To cheat himself with mirth;
  We fools self-doomed to motley are
    The weariest wights on earth!

  But yet, for us whose brains and hearts
    Strove aye in paths perverse,
  Doomed still to know the better things
    And still to do the worse,--
  What else is there remains for us
    But make a jest of care
  And set the rafters ringing, in
    Our Tavern of Despair?



  (D. V. M.)

  "Golden lads and lasses must
   Like chimney-sweepers come to dust."

  So young, but already the splendor
    Of genius robed him about--
  Already the dangerous, tender
    Regard of the gods marked him out--

  (On whom the burden and duty
    They bind, at his earliest breath,
  Of showing their own grave beauty,
    They love and they crown with death.)

  We were of one blood, but the olden
    Rapt poets spake out in his tone;
  We were of one blood, but the golden
    Rathe promise was his, his alone.

  And ever his great eye glistened
    With visions I could not see,
  Ever he thrilled and listened
    To voices withholden from me.

  Young lord of the realms of fancy,
    The bright dreams flocked to his call
  Like sprites that the necromancy
    Of a Prospero holds in thrall--

  Quick visions that served and attended,
    Elusive and hovering things,
  With a quiver of joy in the splendid
    Wild sweep of their luminous wings;

  He dwelt in an alien glamor,
    He wrought of its gleams a crown,--
  But the world, with its cruelty and clamor,
    Broke him and beat him down;

  So he passed; he was worn, he was weary,
    He was slain at the touch of life;--
  With a smile that was wistful and eerie
    He passed from the senseless strife;--

  So he ceased (is their humor satiric,
    These gods that make perfect and blight?)--
  He ceased like an exquisite lyric
    That dies on the breast of night.


  'TWIXT ancient Beersheba and Dan
  Another such a caravan
  Dazed Palestine had never seen
  As that which bore Sabea's queen
  Up from the fain and flaming South
  To slake her yearning spirit's drouth
    At wisdom's pools, with Solomon.

  With gifts of scented sandalwood,
  And labdanum, and cassia-bud,
  With spicy spoils of Araby
  And camel-loads of ivory
  And heavy cloths that glanced and shone
  With inwrought pearl and beryl-stone
    She came, a bold Sabean girl.

  And did she find him grave, or gay?
    Perchance his palace breathed that day
  With psalters sounding solemnly--
  Or cymbals' merrier minstrelsy--
  Perchance the wearied monarch heard
  Some loose-tongued prophet's meddling word;--
    None knows, no one--but Solomon!

  She looked--with eyne wherein were blent
  All ardors of the Orient;
  She spake--all magics of the South
  Were compassed in the witch's mouth;--
  He thought the scarlet lips of her
  More precious than En Gedi's myrrh,
    The lips of that Sabean girl;

  By many an amorous sun caressed,
  From lifted brow to amber breast
  She gleamed in vivid loveliness--
  And lithe as any leopardess--
  And verily, one blames thee not
  If thine own proverbs were forgot,
    O Solomon, wise Solomon!

  She danced for him, and surely she
  Learnt dancing from some moonlit sea

  Where elfin vapors swirled and swayed
  While the wild pipes of witchcraft played
  Such clutching music 'twould impel
  A prophet's self to dance to hell--
    So spun the light Sabean girl.

  He swore her laughter had the lilt
  Of chiming waters that are spilt
  In sprays of spurted melody
  From founts of carven porphyry,
  And in the billowy turbulence
  Of her dusk hair drowned soul and sense--
    Dark tides and deep, O Solomon!

  Perchance unto her day belongs
  His poem called the Song of Songs,
  Each little lyric interval
  Timed to her pulse's rise and fall;--
  Or when he cried out wearily
  That all things end in vanity
    Did he mean that Sabean girl?

  The bright barbaric opulence,
  The sun-kist Temple, Kedar's tents,--

  How many a careless caravan
  'Twixt Beersheba and ruined Dan,
  Within these forty centuries,
  Has flung their dust to many a breeze,
    With dust that was King Solomon!

  But still the lesson holds as true,
  O King, as when she lessoned you:
  _That very wise men are not wise
  Until they read in Folly's eyes
  The wisdom that escapes the schools,
  That bids the sage revise his rules
    By light of some Sabean girl!_


    "Archaeologists have discovered a love-letter among the ruins
  of Babylon."  --Newspaper report.

  _The world hath just one tale to tell, and it is very old,
  A little tale--a simple tale--a tale that's easy told:
  "There was a youth in Babylon who greatly loved a
  The world hath just one song to sing, but sings it
  A little song--a foolish song--the only song it hath:
  "There was a youth in Ascalon who loved a girl in

  Homer clanged it, Omar twanged it, Greece and
      Persia knew!--
  Nimrod's reivers, Hiram's weavers, Hindu, Kurd,
      and Jew--
  Crowning Tyre, Troy afire, they have dreamed
      the dream;
  Tiber-side and Nilus-tide brightened with the

  Oh, the suing, sighing, wooing, sad and merry
  Blisses tasted, kisses wasted, building Babel's
  Hearts were aching, hearts were breaking, lashes
      wet with dew,
  When the ships touched the lips of islands Sappho
  Yearning breasts and burning breasts, cold at last,
      are hid
  Amid the glooms of carven tombs in Khufu's
  Though the sages, down the ages, smile their cynic
  Man and maid, unafraid, put the schools to rout;
  Seek to chain love and retain love in the bonds of
  Vow to hold love, bind and fold love even unto

  _The dust of forty centuries has buried Babylon,
  And out of all her lovers dead rises only one;
  Rises with a song to sing and laughter in his eyes,
  The old song--the only song--for all the rest are lies!_

  _For, oh, the world has just one dream, and it is very
  'Tis youth's dream--a silly dream--but it is flushed
      with gold!_


  PEARL-SLASHED and purple and crimson and
      fringed with gray mist of the hills,
  The pennons of morning advance to the music of
      rock-fretted rills,
  The dumb forest quickens to song, and the little
      gusts shout as they fling
  A floor-cloth of orchard bloom down for the flashing,
quick feet of the Spring.

  To the road, gipsy-heart, thou and I!  'Tis the
      mad piper, Spring, who is leading;
  'Tis the pulse of his piping that throbs through
      the brain, irresistibly pleading;
  Full-blossomed, deep-bosomed, fain woman,
      light-footed, lute-throated and fleet,
  We have drunk of the wine of this Wanderer's song;
      let us follow his feet!

  Like raveled red girdles flung down by some
      hoidenish goddess in mirth
  The tangled roads reach from rim unto utter-most
      rim of the earth--
  We will weave of these strands a strong net, we
      will snare the bright wings of delight,--
  We will make of these strings a sweet lute that
      will shame the low wind-harps of night.

  The clamor of tongues and the clangor of trades
      in the peevish packed street,
  The arrogant, jangling Nothings, with iterant,
      dissonant beat,
  The clattering, senseless endeavor with dross of
      mere gold for its goal,
  These have sickened the senses and wearied the
      brain and straitened the soul.

  "Come forth and be cleansed of the folly of strife
      for things worthless of strife,
  Come forth and gain life and grasp God by foregoing
      gains worthless of life"--

  It was thus spake the wizard wildwood, low-voiced
      to the hearkening heart,
  It was thus sang the jovial hills, and the harper
      sun bore part.

  O woman, whose blood as my blood with the fire
      of the Spring is aflame,
  We did well, when the red roads called, that we
      heeded the call and came--
  Came forth to the sweet wise silence where soul
      may speak sooth unto soul,
  Vine-wreathed and vagabond Love, with the goal
      of Nowhere for our goal!

  What planet-crowned Dusk that wanders the
      steeps of our firmament there
  Hath gems that may match with the dew-opals
      meshed in thine opulent hair?
  What wind-witch that skims the curled billows
      with feet they are fain to caress
  Hath sandals so wing'd as thine art with a
      god-like carelessness?

  And dare we not dream this is heaven?--to wander
      thus on, ever on.
  Through the hush-heavy valleys of space, up the
      flushing red slopes of the dawn?--
  For none that seeks rest shall find rest till he
      ceaseth his striving for rest,
  And the gain of the quest is the joy of the road
      that allures to the quest.


  AND I would seek the country town
  Amid green meadows nestled down
  If I could only find the way
  Back to the Land of Yesterday!

  How I would thrust the miles aside,
    Rush up the quiet lane, and then,
  Just where her roses laughed in pride,
    Find her among the flowers again.
  I'd slip in silently and wait
  Until she saw me by the gate,
  And then ... read through a blur of tears
  Quick pardon for the selfish years.

  This time, this time, I would not wait
  For that brief wire that said, _Too late!_--
  If I could only find the way
  Into the Land of Yesterday.

  I wonder if her roses yet
    Lift up their heads and laugh with pride,
  And if her phlox and mignonette
    Have heart to blossom by their side;
  I wonder if the dear old lane
  Still chirps with robins after rain,
  And if the birds and banded bees
  Still rob her early cherry-trees....

  I wonder, if I went there now,
  How everything would seem, and how--
  But no! not now; there is no way
  Back to the Land of Yesterday.


  CEASE to call him sad and sober,
  Merriest of months, October!
  Patron of the bursting bins,
  Reveler in wayside inns,
  I can nowhere find a trace
  Of the pensive in his face;
  There is mingled wit and folly,
  But the madcap lacks the grace
  Of a thoughtful melancholy.
  Spendthrift of the seasons' gold,
  How he flings and scatters out
  Treasure filched from summer-time!--
  Never ruffling squire of old
  Better loved a tavern bout
  When Prince Hal was in his prime.
  Doublet slashed with gold and green;
  Cloak of crimson; changeful sheen,
  Of the dews that gem his breast;
  Frosty lace about his throat;

  Scarlet plumes that flaunt and float
  Backward in a gay unrest--
  Where's another gallant drest
  With such tricksy gaiety,
  Such unlessoned vanity?
  With his amber afternoons
  And his pendant poets' moons--
  With his twilights dashed with rose
  From the red-lipped afterglows--
  With his vocal airs at dawn
  Breathing hints of Helicon--
  Bacchanalian bees that sip
  Where his cider-presses drip--
  With the winding of the horn
  Where his huntsmen meet the morn--
  With his every piping breeze
  Shaking from familiar trees
  Apples of Hesperides--
  With the chuckle, chirp, and trill
  Of his jolly brooks that spill
  Mirth in tangled madrigals
  Down pebble-dappled waterfalls--
  (Brooks that laugh and make escape
  Through wild arbors where the grape

  Purples with a promise of
  Racy vintage rare as love)--
  With his merry, wanton air,
  Mirth and vanity and folly
  Why should he be made to bear
  Burden of some melancholy
  Song that swoons and sinks with care?
  Cease to call him sad or sober,--
  He's a jolly dog, October!


  THE Hours passed by, a fleet, confused crowd;
    With wafture of blown garments bright as fire,
  Light, light of foot and laughing, morning-browed,
    And where they trod the jonquil and the briar
  Thrilled into jocund life, the dreaming dells
  Waked to a morrice chime of jostled bells;--
  They danced! they danced! to piping such as
  The garnered music of a million Springs
    Into one single, keener ecstasy;--
  One paused and shouted to my questionings:
    "Lo, I am Youth; I bid thee follow me!"

  The Hours passed by; they paced, great lords and
    Crowned on with sunlight, robed in rich attire;
  Before their conquering word the brute deed
    And Ariel fancies served their large desire;

  They spake, and roused the mused soul that dwells
  In dust, or, smiling, shaped new heavens and
  Dethroned old gods and made blind beggars kings:
  "And what art thou," I cried to one, "that brings
    His mistress, for a brooch, the Galaxy?"--
  "I am the plumed Thought that soars and sings:
    Lo, I am Song; I bid thee follow me!"

  The Hours passed by, with veiled eyes endowed
    Of dream, and parted lips that scarce suspire,
  To breathing dusk and arrowy moonlight vowed,
    South wind and shadowy grove and murmuring
  Swaying they moved, as drows'd of wizard spells
  Or tranc'd with sight of recent miracles,
  And yet they trembled, down their folded wings
  Quivered the hint of sweet withholden things,
    Ah, bitter-sweet in their intensity!
  One paused and said unto my wonderings:
    "Lo, I am Love; I bid thee follow me!"

  The Hours passed by, through huddled cities loud
    With witless hate and stale with stinking mire:

  So cowled monks might march with bier and shroud
    Down streets plague-spotted toward some cleansing pyre;--
  Yet, lo! strange lilies bloomed in lightless cells,
  And passionate spirits burst their clayey shells
  And sang the stricken hope that bleeds and clings:
  Earth's bruised heart beat in the throbbing strings,
    And joy still struggled through the threnody!
  One stern Hour said unto my marvelings:
    "Lo, I am Life; I bid thee follow me!"

  The Hours passed by, the stumbling hours and
    Uncertain, prone to tears and childish ire,--
  The wavering hours that drift like any cloud
    At whim of winds or fortunate or dire,--
  The feeble shapes that any chance expells;
  Their wisdom useless, lacking the blood that swells
  The tensed vein: the hot, swift tide that stings
  With life.  Ah, wise! but naked to the slings
    Of fate, and plagued of youthful memory!
  A cracked voice broke upon my pityings:
    "Lo, I am Age; I bid thee follow me!"

  Ah, Youth! we dallied by the babbling wells
  Where April all her lyric secret tells;--
  Ah, Song! we sped our bold imaginings
  As far as yon red planet's triple rings;--
    O Life!  O Love!  I followed, followed thee!
  There waits one word to end my journeyings:
    "Lo, I am Death; I bid thee follow me!"



  _My dust in ruined Babylon
    Is blown along the level plain,
  And songs of mine at dawn have soared
    Above the blue Sicilian main._

  We are ourselves, and not ourselves ...
    For ever thwarting pride and will
  Some forebear's passion leaps from death
    To claim a vital license still.

  Ancestral lusts that slew and died,
    Resurgent, swell each living vein;
  Old doubts and faiths, new panoplied,
    Dispute the mastery of the brain.

  The love of liberty that flames
    From written rune and stricken reed
  Shook the hot hearts of swordsmen sires
    At Marathon and Runnymede.

  _What are these things we call our "selves"? ...
    Have I not shouted, sobbed, and died
  In the bright surf of spears that broke
    Where Greece rolled back the Persian tide?_

  Are we who breathe more quick than they
    Whose bones are dust within the tomb?
  Nay, as I write, what gray old ghosts
    Murmur and mock me from the gloom....

  They call ... across strange seas they call,
    Strange seas, and haunted coasts of time....
  They startle me with wordless songs
    To which the Sphinx hath known the rhyme.

  Our hearts swell big with dead men's hates,
    Our eyes sting hot with dead men's tears;
  We are ourselves, but not ourselves,
    Born heirs, but serfs, to all the years!

  _I rode with Nimrod ... strove at Troy ...
    A slave I stood in Crowning Tyre,
  A queen looked on me and I loved
    And died to compass my desire._


  EARTH loves to gibber o'er her dross,
    Her golden souls, to waste;
  The cup she fills for her god-men
    Is a bitter cup to taste.

  Who sees the gyves that bind mankind
    And strives to strike them off
  Shall gain the hissing hate of fools,
    Thorns, and the ingrate's scoff.

  Who storms the moss-grown walls of eld
    And beats some falsehood down
  Shall pass the pallid gates of death
    _Sans_ laurel, love or crown;

  For him who fain would teach the world
    The world holds hate in fee--
  For Socrates, the hemlock cup;
    For Christ, Gethsemane.


  "In Vishnu-land, what avatar?"

  PERCHANCE the dying gods of Earth
  Are destined to another birth,
  And worn-out creeds regain their worth
    In the kindly air of other stars--
  What lords of life and light hold sway
  In the myriad worlds of the Milky Way?
    What avatars in Mars?

  What Aphrodites from the seas
  That lap the plunging Pleiades
    Arise to spread afar
  The dream that was the soul of Greece?
    In Mars, what avatar?

  Which hundred moons are wan with love
    For dull Endymions?
  Which hundred moons hang tranced above
    Audacious Ajalons?

  What Holy Grail lures errants pale
    Through the wastes of yonder star?
  What fables sway the Milky Way?
    In Mars, what avatar?

  When morning skims with crimson wings
    Across the meres of Mercury,
  What dreaming Memnon wakes and sings
    Of miracles on Mercury?
  What Christs, what avatars,
  Claim Mars?


    Shall the shepherds of Arcady follow
  Pan's moods as he lolls by the shore
    Of the mere, or lies hid in the hollow;
    Shall they start at the sound of his reed-fashioned

  Fallen mute
    Are the strings of Apollo,
  His lyre and his lute;
    And the lips of the Memnons are mute
    And the gods of the North,--are they dead or
  Our Odin and Baldur and Thor?
    Are they drunk, or grown weary of worship and
  Our Odin and Baldur and Thor?

  And into what night have the Orient dieties
  Swart gods of the Nile, in dusk splendors arrayed,
    Brooding Isis and somber Osiris,
    You were gone ere the fragile papyrus,
  (That bragged you eternal!) decayed.

  The avatars
    But illumine their limited evens
  And vanish like plunging stars;
    They are fixed in the whirling heavens
  No firmer than falling stars;
  Brief lords of the changing soul, they pass
  Like a breath from the face of a glass,
    Or a blossom of summer blown shallop-like over
    The clover
  And tossed tides of grass.

  Sink to silence the psalms and the paeans
    The shibboleths shift, and the faiths,
  And the temples that challenged the aeons
    Are tenanted only by wraiths;
  Swoon to silence the cymbals and psalters,
    The worships grow senseless and strange,

  And the mockers ask, _"Where be thy altars?"_
    Crying, _"Nothing is changeless--but Change!"_

  Yes, nothing seems changeless, but Change.
  And yet, through the creed-wrecking years,
  One story for ever appears;
  The tale of a City Supernal--
  The whisper of Something eternal--
  A passion, a hope, and a vision
    That peoples the silence with Powers;
  A fable of meadows Elysian
    Where Time enters not with his Hours;--
  Manifold are the tale's variations,
    Race and clime ever tinting the dreams,
  Yet its essence, through endless mutations,
    Immutable gleams.

  Deathless, though godheads be dying,
    Surviving the creeds that expire,
  Illogical, reason-defying,
    Lives that passionate, primal desire;
  Insistent, persistent, forever
  Man cries to the silences, _Never_

  _Shall Death reign the lord of the soul,
  Shall the dust be the ultimate goal--
  I will storm the black bastions of Night!
    I will tread where my vision has trod,
  I will set in the darkness a light,
    In the vastness, a god!"_

  As the forehead of Man grows broader, so do
        his creeds;
  And his gods they are shaped in his image, and
        mirror his needs;
  And he clothes them with thunders and beauty,
        he clothes them with music and fire;
  Seeing not, as he bows by their altars, that he
        worships his own desire;
  And mixed with his trust there is terror, and
        mixed with his madness is ruth,
  And every man grovels in error, yet every man
        glimpses a truth.

  For all of the creeds are false, and all of the creeds
        are true;
  And low at the shrines where my brothers bow,
        there will I bow, too;

  For no form of a god, and no fashion
  Man has made in his desperate passion
  But is worthy some worship of mine;--
  Not too hot with a gross belief,
    Nor yet too cold with pride,
  I will bow me down where my brothers bow,
    Humble--but open-eyed!


  A FIERCE unrest seethes at the core
    Of all existing things:
  It was the eager wish to soar
    That gave the gods their wings.

  From what flat wastes of cosmic slime,
    And stung by what quick fire,
  Sunward the restless races climb!--
    Men risen out of mire!

  There throbs through all the worlds that are
    This heart-beat hot and strong,
  And shaken systems, star by star,
    Awake and glow in song.

  But for the urge of this unrest
    These joyous spheres were mute;
  But for the rebel in his breast
    Had man remained a brute.

  When baffled lips demanded speech,
    Speech trembled into birth--
  (One day the lyric word shall reach
    From earth to laughing earth)--

  When man's dim eyes demanded light
    The light he sought was born--
  His wish, a Titan, scaled the height
    And flung him back the morn!

  From deed to dream, from dream to deed,
    From daring hope to hope,
  The restless wish, the instant need,
    Still lashed him up the slope!

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  I sing no governed firmament,
    Cold, ordered, regular--
  I sing the stinging discontent
    That leaps from star to star!


  WHAT was his life, back yonder
    In the dusk where time began,
  This beast uncouth with the jaw of an ape
    And the eye and brain of a man?--
  Work, and the wooing of woman,
    Fight, and the lust of fight,
  Play, and the blind beginnings
    Of an Art that groped for light?--

  In the wonder of redder mornings,
    By the beauty of brighter seas,
  Did he stand, the world's first thinker,
    Scorning his clan's decrees?--
  Seeking, with baffled eyes,
  In the dumb, inscrutable skies,
  A name for the greater glory
    That only the dreamer sees?

  One day, when the afterglows,
    Like quick and sentient things,

    With a rush of their vast, wild wings,
  Rose out of the shaken ocean
    As great birds rise from the sod,
  Did the shock of their sudden splendor
  Stir him and startle and thrill him,
  Grip him and shake him and fill him
    With a sense as of heights untrod?--
  Did he tremble with hope and vision,
    And grasp at a hint of God?

  London stands where the mammoth
    Caked shag flanks with slime--
  And what are our lives that inherit
    The treasures of all time?
  Work, and the wooing of woman,
    Fight, and the lust of fight,
  A little play (and too much toil!)
    With an Art that gropes for light;
  And now and then a dreamer,
    Rapt, from his lonely sod
  Looks up and is thrilled and startled
    With a fleeting sense of God!


  THE creeds he wrought of dream and thought
    Fall from him at the touch of life,
    His old gods fail him in the strife--
  Withdrawn, the heavens he sought!

  Vanished, the miracles that led,
    The cloud at noon, the flame at night;
  The vision that he wing'd and sped
    Falls backward, baffled, from the height;

  Yet in the wreck of these he stands
    Upheld by something grim and strong;
    Some stubborn instinct lifts a song
  And nerves him, heart and hands:

  He does not dare to call it hope;--
    It is not aught that seeks reward--

  Nor faith, that up some sunward slope
    Runs aureoled to meet its lord;

  It touches something elder far
    Than faith or creed or thought in man,
    It was ere yet these lived and ran
  Like light from star to star;

  It touches that stark, primal need
    That from unpeopled voids and vast
  Fashioned the first crude, childish creed,--
    And still shall fashion, till the last!

  For one word is the tale of men:
    They fling their icons to the sod,
    And having trampled down a god
  They seek a god again!

  Stripped of his creeds inherited,
    Bereft of all his sires held true,
  Amid the wreck of visions dead
    He thrills at touch of visions new....

  He wings another Dream for flight....
    He seeks beyond the outmost dawn
    A god he set there ... and, anon,
  Drags that god from the height!

  .     .     .     .     .     .

  But aye from ruined faiths and old
    That droop and die, fall bruised seeds;
  And when new flowers and faiths unfold
    They're lovelier flowers, they're kindlier creeds.


  THE steam, the reek, the fume, of prayer
    Blown outward for a million years,
    Becomes a mist between the spheres,
  And waking Sentience struggles there.

  Prayer still creates the boon we pray;
    And gods we've hoped for, from those hopes
  Will gain sufficient form one day
    And in full godhood storm the slopes
  Where ancient Chaos, stark and gray,
  Already trembles for his sway.

  When that the restless worlds would fly
    Their wish created rapid wings,
  But not till aeons had passed by
    With dower of many idler things;
  And when dumb flesh demanded speech
    Speech struggled to the lips at last;--
    Now the unpeopled Void, and vast,

  Clean to that uttermost blank beach
  Whereto the boldest thought may reach
    That voyages from the vaguest past--
    (Dim realm and ultimate of space)--
  Is vexed and troubled, stirs and shakes,
  In prescience of a god that wakes,
    Born of man's wish to see God's face!

  The endless, groping, dumb desires,--
    The climbing incense thick and sweet,
  The lovely purpose that aspires,
    The wraiths of vapor wing'd and fleet
    That rise and run with eager feet
  Forth from a myriad altar fires:
    All these become a mist that fills
  The vales and chasms nebular;
    A shaping Soul that moves and thrills
  The wastes between red star and star!


  OUT of the soil and the slime,
  Reeking, they climb,

  Out of the muck and the mire,
  Rank, they aspire;

  Filthy with murder and mud,
  Black with shed blood,

  Lust and passion and clay--
  Dying, they slay;

  Stirred by vague hints of a goal,
  Seeking a soul!

  Groping through terror and night
  Up to the light:

  Life in the dust and the clod
  Sensing a God;

  Flushed of the glamor and gleam
  Caught from a dream;

  Stained of the struggle and toil,
  Stained of the soil,

  Ally of God in the end--
  Helper and friend--

  Hero and prophet and priest
  Out of the beast!


  CHRIST was of virgin birth, and, being slain,
  The creedists say, He rose from death again.
  Oh, futile age-long talk of death and birth!--
  His life, that is the one thing wonder-worth;
  Not how He came, but how He lived on earth.
  For if gods stoop, and with quaint jugglery
  Mock nature's laws, how shall that profit thee?--
  The nobler lesson is that mortals can
  Grow godlike through this baffled front of man!


  EACH race has died and lived and fought for the
      "true" gods of that poor race,
  Unconsciously, divinest thought of each race
      gilding its god's face.
  And every race that lives and dies shall make itself
      some other gods,
  Shall build, with mingled truth and lies, new icons
      from the world-old clods.
  Through all the tangled creeds and dreams and
      shifting shibboleths men hold
  The false-and-true, inwoven, gleams: a matted
      mass of dross and gold.
  Prove, then, thy gods in thine own soul; all others'
      gods, for thee, are vain;
  Nor swerved be, struggling for the goal, by bribe
      of joy nor threat of pain.

  As skulls grow broader, so do faiths; as old tongues
      die, old gods die, too,

  And only ghosts of gods and wraiths may meet
      the backward-gazer's view.
  Where, where the faiths of yesterday?  Ah,
      whither vanished, whither gone?
  Say, what Apollos drive to-day adown the flaming
      slopes of dawn?
  Oh, does the blank past hide from view forgotten
      Christs, to be reborn,
  The future tremble where some new Messiah-Memnon
      sings the morn?
  Of all the worlds, say any earth, like dust
      wind-harried to and fro,
  Shall give the next Prometheus birth; but say--at
      last--you do not know.

  How should I know what dawn may gleam beyond
      the gates of darkness there?--
  Which god of all the gods men dream?  Why
      should I whip myself to care?
  Whichever over all hath place hath shaped and
      made me what I am;
  Hath made me strong to front his face, to dare
      to question though he damn.

  Perhaps to cringe and cower and bring a shrine
      a forced and faithless faith
  Is far more futile than to fling your laughter in
      the face of Death.
  For writhe or whirl in dervish rout, they are not
      flattered there on high,
  Or sham belief to hide a doubt--no gods are mine
      that love a lie!
  Nor gods that beg belief on earth with portents
      that some seer foretells--
  Is life itself not wonder-worth that we must cry
      for miracles?
  Is it not strange enough we breathe?  Does every-
      thing not God reveal?
  Or must we ever weave and wreathe some creed
      that shall his face conceal?
  Some creed of which its prophets cry it holds
      the secret's all-in-all:
  Some creed which ever bye and bye doth crumble,
      totter, to its fall!
  Say any dream of all the dreams that drift and
      darkle, glint and glow,
  Holds most of truth within its gleams; but say
      --at last--you do not know.

  Oh, say the soul, from star to star, with victory
      wing'd, leap on through space
  And scale the bastioned nights that bar the secret's
      inner dwelling-place;
  Or say it ever roam dim glades where pallid
      wraiths of long-dead moons
  Flit like blown feathers through the shades, borne
      on the breath of sobbing tunes:
  Say any tide of any time, of all the tides that ebb
      and flow,
  Shall buoy us on toward any clime; but say--at
      last--you do not know!



  "King Pandion, he is dead;
   All thy friends are lapp'd in lead."

  DREAMERS, drinkers, rebel youth,
    Where's the folly free and fine
  You and I mistook for truth?
    Wits and wastrels, friends of wine,
    Wags and poets, friends of mine,
  Gleams and glamors all are fled,
    Fires and frenzies half divine!
  King Pandion, he is dead!

  Time's unmannerly, uncouth!
    Here's the crow's-foot for a sign!
  And, upon our brows, forsooth,
    Wits and wastrels, friends of wine,
    Time hath set his mark malign;
  Frost has touched us, heart and head,
    Cooled the blood and dulled the eyne:
  King Pandion, he is dead!

  Time's a tyrant without ruth:--
    Fancies used to bloom and twine
  Round a common tavern booth,
    Wits and wastrels, friends of wine,
    In that youth of mine and thine!
  'Tis for youth the feast is spread;
    When we dine now--we but dine!--
  King Pandion, he is dead!

  How our dreams would glow and shine,
  Wits and wastrels, friends of wine,
  Ere the drab Hour came that said:
  King Pandion, he is dead!


  VERY red are the roses of Sharon,
  But redder thy mouth,
  There is nard, there is myrrh, in En Gedi,
  From the uplands of Lebanon, heavy
  With balsam, the winds
  Drift freighted and scented and cedarn--
  But thy mouth is more precious than spices!

  Thy breasts are twin lilies of Kedron;
  White lilies, that sleep
  In the shallows where loitering Kedron
  Broadens out and is lost in the Jordan;
  Globed lilies, so white
  That David, thy King, thy beloved
  Declareth them meet for his gardens.

  Under the stars very strangely
  The still waters gleam;
  Deep down in the waters of Hebron

  The soul of the starlight is sunken,
  But deep in thine eyes
  Stirs a more wonderful secret
  Than pools ever learn of the starlight.


  A TOAST to the Fools!
    Pierrot, Pantaloon,
  Harlequin, Clown,
    Merry-Andrew, Buffoon--
  Touchstone and Triboulet--all of the tribe.--
  Dancer and jester and singer and scribe.
  We sigh over Yorick--(unfortunate fool,
  Ten thousand Hamlets have fumbled his skull!)--
  But where is the Hamlet to weep o'er the biers
    Of his brothers?
  And where is the poet solicits our tears
    For the others?
  They have passed from the world and left never
        a sign,
    And few of us now have the courage to sing
    That their whimsies made life a more livable
  We, that are left of the line,
  Let us drink to the jesters--in gooseberry wine!

  Then here's to the Fools!
  Flouting the sages
  Through history's pages
  And driving the dreary old seers into rages--
  The humbugging Magis
  Who prate that the wages
  Of Folly are Death--toast the Fools of all ages!
  They have ridden like froth down the whirlpools
        of time,
    They have jingled their caps in the councils of
  They have snared half the wisdom of life in a
    And tripped into nothingness grinning at fate--
  Ho, brothers mine,
  Brim up the glasses with gooseberry wine!

  Though the prince with his firman,
  The judge in his ermine,
  Affirm and determine
    Bold words need the whip,
  Let them spare us the rod and remit us the
  For Death has a quip

  Of the tomb and the vermin
    That will silence at last the most impudent lip!
  Is the world but a bubble, a bauble, a joke?
  Heigho, Brother Fools, now your bubble is broke,
  Do you ask for a tear?--or is it worth while?
  Here's a sigh for you, then--but it ends in a smile!
  Ho, Brother Death,
  We would laugh at you, too--if you spared us the


  "Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
    How does your garden grow?
  With silver bells and cockle-shells
    And pretty maids all in a row!"
  --Mother Goose.

  MARY, Mistress Mary,
    How does your garden grow?
  From your uplands airy,
  Mary, Mistress Mary,
  Float the chimes of faery
    When the breezes blow!
  Mary, Mistress Mary,
    How does your garden grow?

  With flower-maidens, singing
    Among the morning hills--
  With silvern bells a-ringing,
  With flower-maidens singing,
  With vocal lilies, springing
    By chanting daffodils;
  With flower-maidens, singing
    Among the morning hills!


  YOUR triolet should glimmer
    Like a butterfly;
  In golden light, or dimmer,
  Your triolet should glimmer,
  Tremble, turn, and shimmer,
    Flash, and flutter by;
  Your triolet should glimmer
    Like a butterfly.


  HELD and thrilled by the vision
    I stood, as the twilight died,
  Where the great bridge soars like a song
    Over the crawling tide--

  Stood on the middle arch--
    And night flooded in from the bay,
  And wonderful under the stars
    Before me the city lay;

  Girdled with swinging waters--
    Guarded by ship on ship--
  A gem that the strong old ocean
    Held in his giant grip;

  There was play of shadows above
    And drifting gleams below,
  And magic of shifting waves
    That darkle and glance and glow;

  Dusky and purple and splendid,
    Banded with loops of light,
  The tall towers rose like pillars,
    Lifting the dome of night;

  The gliding cars of traffic
    Slid swiftly up and down
  Like monsters, fiery mailed,
    Leaping across the town.

  Not planned with a thought of beauty;
    Built by a lawless breed;
  Builded of lust for power,
    Builded of gold and greed.

  Risen out of the trader's
    Brutal and sordid wars--
  And yet, behold! a city
    Wonderful under the stars!


  GALAHADS, Galahads, Percivals, gallop!
  Bayards, to the saddle!--the clangorous trumpets,
  Hoarse with their ecstasy, call to the mellay.
  Paladins, Paladins, Rolands flame-hearted,
  Olivers, Olivers, follow the bugles!

  Girt with the glory and glamor of power,
  Error sits throned in the high place of justice;
  Paladins, Paladins, youth noble-hearted,
  Saddle and spear, for the battle-flags beckon!
  Thrust the keen steel through the throat of the liar.

  Star (or San Grael) that illumines thy pathway,
  Follow it, follow that far Ideal!--
  Thine not the guerdon to gain it or grasp it;
  Soul of thee, passing, ascendeth unto it,
  Augmenting its brightness for them that come

  Heed then the call of the trumpets, the trumpets,
  Hoarse with the fervor, the frenzy of battle,--
  Paladins, Paladins, saddle! to saddle!
  Bide not, abide not, God's bugles are calling!--
  Thrust the sharp sword through the heart of the


  MY lands, not thine, we look upon,
  Friend Croesus, hill and vale and lawn.
    Mine every woodland madrigal,
    And mine thy singing waterfall
  That vaguely hints of Helicon.

  Mark how thine upland slopes have drawn
  A golden glory from the dawn!--
  _Fool's gold?_--thy dullness proves them all
      My lands--not thine!

  For when all title-deeds are gone,
  Still, still will satyr, nymph, and faun
    Through brake and covert pipe and call
    In dances bold and bacchanal--
  For them, for me, you hold in pawn,
      My lands--not thine!


  FORMAL, quaint, precise, and trim,
    You begin your steps demurely--
  There's a spirit almost prim
    In the feet that move so surely,
  So discreetly, to the chime
  Of the music that so sweetly
                    Marks the time.

  But the chords begin to tinkle
  And your feet they flash and flicker--
  Flash and flutter to a tricksy
                    Fickle meter;
  And you foot it like a pixie--
                    Only fleeter!

  Now our current, dowdy

  "Turkey-trots" and rowdy
  For they made you overseas
  In politer times than these,
  In an age when grace could please,
                    Ere St. Vitus
  Clutched and shook us, spine and knees;--
    Loosed a plague of jerks to smite us!

  Well, our day is far more brisk
    And our manner rather slacker),
  And you are nothing more than bisque
                    And lacquer--
  But you shame us with the graces
  Of courtlier times and places
                    When the cheap
  And vulgar wasn't "art"--
    When the faunal prance and leap
                    Weren't "smart."

  Have we lost the trick of wedding
                    Grace to pleasure?
  Must we clown it at the bidding
    Of some tawdry, common measure?

  Can't you school us in the graces
  Of your pose and dainty paces?--
  Now the chords begin to tinkle
  And your feet they flash and flicker--
  And you mock us as you featly
    Swing and flutter to the chime
  Of the music-box that sweetly
                    Marks the time!


  WHITE wing'd below the darkling clouds
    The driven sea-gulls wheel;
  The roused sea flings a storm against
    The towers of stone and steel.

  The very voice of ocean rings
    Along the shaken street--
  Dusk, storm, and beauty whelm the world
    Where sea and city meet--

  But what care they for flashing wings,
    Quick beauty, loud refrain,
  These huddled thousands, deaf and blind
    To all but greed and gain?


  THE sun-god stooped from out the sky
    To kiss the flushing sea,
  While all the winds of all the world
    Made jovial melody;
  The night came hurrying up to hide
    The lovers with her tent;
  The governed thunders, rank on rank,
    Stood mute with wonderment;
  The pale worn moon, a jealous shade,
    Peered from the firmament;
  The early stars, the curious stars,
    Came peering forth to see
  What mighty nuptials shook the world
    With such an ecstasy
  Whenas the sun-god left the sky
    To mingle with the sea.


  ALACK-A-DAY for poverty!
  What jewels my mind doth give to thee!

  Carved agate stone porphyrogene,
  Green emerald and beryl green,
  Deep sapphine and pale amethyst,
  Sly opal, cloaking with a mist
  The levin of its love elate,
  Shy brides' pearls, flushed and delicate,
  Sea-colored lapis lazuli,
  Sardonyx and chalcedony,
  Enkindling diamond, candid gold,
  Red rubies and red garnets bold:
  And all their humors should be blent
    In one intolerable blaze,
  Barbaric, fierce, and opulent,
    To dazzle him that dared to gaze!

  Alack-a-day for poverty:
  My rhymes are all you get of me!
  Yet, if your heart receive, behold!
  The worthless words are set in gold.


  I STILL remember how she moved
  Among the rathe, wild blooms she loved,
  (When Spring came tip-toe down the slopes,
  Atremble 'twixt her doubts and hopes,
  Half fearful and all virginal)--
  How Silvia sought this dell to call
  Her flowers into full festival,
  And chid them with this madrigal:

  _"The busy spider hangs the brush
    With filmy gossamers,
  The frogs are croaking in the creek,
    The sluggish blacksnake stirs,
  But still the ground is bare of bloom
    Beneath the fragrant firs.

  "Arise, arise, O briar rose,
    And sleepy violet!
  Awake, awake, anemone,
    Your wintry dreams forget--_

  _For shame, you tardy marigold,
    Are you not budded yet?

  "The Swallow's back, and claims the eaves
    That last year were his home;
  The Robin follows where the plow
    Breaks up the crusted loam;
  And Red-wings spies the Thrush and pipes:
    'Look!  Speckle-breast is come!'

  "Up, blooms! and storm the wooded slopes,
    The lowlands and the plain--
  Blow, jonquil, blow your golden horn
    Across the ranks of rain!
  To arms! to arms! and put to flight
    The Winter's broken train!"_

  She paused beside this selfsame rill,
  And as she ceased, a daffodil
  Held up reproachfully his head
  And fluttered into speech, and said:

  _"Chide not the flowers!  You little know
  Of all their travail 'neath the snow,_

    _Their struggling hours
  Of choking sorrow underground.
    Chide not the flowers!
  You little guess of that profound
    And blind, dumb agony of ours!
      Yet, victor here beside the rill,
  I greet the light that I have found,
      A Daffodil!"_

  And when the Daffodil was done
  A boastful Marigold spake on:

  _"Oh, chide the white frost, if you choose,
  The heavy clod, so hard to loose,
    The preying powers
  Of worm and insect underground.
    Chide not the flowers!
  For spite of scathe and cruel wound,
    Unconquered by the sunless hours,
      I rise in regal pride, a bold
  And golden-hearted, golden-crowned
      Marsh Marigold!"_

  And when she came no more, her creek
  Would not believe, but bade us seek

  Hither, yon, and to and fro--
  Everywhere that children go
    When the Spring
    Is on the wing
  And the winds of April blow--
  "I will never think her dead;
  "She will come again!" it said;
  And then the birds that use the vale,
  Broken-hearted, turned the tale
  Into syllables of song
  And chirped it half a summer long:

  _"Silvia, Silvia,
    Be our Song once more,
  Our vale revisit, Silvia,
    And be our Song once more:
  For joy lies sleeping in the lute;
  The merry pipe, the woodland flute,
  And all the pleading reeds are mute
    That breathed to thee of yore._

  _"Silvia, Silvia,
    Be our Moon again,_

  _Shine on our valley, Silvia,
  And be our Moon again:
  The fluffy owl and nightingale
  Flit silent through the darkling vale,
  Or utter only words of wail
    From throats all harsh with pain.

  "Silvia, Silvia,
    Be Springtime, as of old;
  Come clad in laughter, Silvia,
    Our Springtime, as of old:
  The waiting lowlands and the hills
  Are tremulous with daffodils
  Unblown, until thy footstep thrills
    Their promise into gold."_

  And, musing on her here, I too
  Must wonder if it can be true
  She died, as other mortals do.
  The thought would fit her more, to feign
    That, full of life and unaware
  That earth holds aught of grief or stain,
    The fairies stole and hold her where
  Death enters not, nor strife nor pain;--

  That, drowsing on some bed of pansies,
  By Titania's necromancies
  Her senses were to slumber lulled,
  Deeply sunken, steeped and dulled,
    And by wafture of swift pinions
  She was borne out through earth's portals
    To the fairy queen's dominions,
  To some land of the immortals.


  AND some still cry: _"What is the use?
    The service rendered?  What the gain?
  Heroic, yes!--but in what cause?
    Have they made less one earth-borne pain?
  Broadened the bounded spirit's scope?
  Or died to make the dull world hope?"_

  Must man still be the slave of Use?--
    But these men, careless and elate,
  Join battle with a burly world
    Or come to wrestling grips with fate,
  And not for any good nor gain
    Nor any fame that may befall--
  But, thrilling in the clutch of life,
    Heed the loud challenge and the call;--
  And grown to symbols at the last,
    Stand in heroic silhouette
    Against horizons ultimate,
    As towers that front lost seas are set;--

  The reckless gesture, the strong pose,
    Sharp battle-cry flung back to Earth,
  And buoyant humor, as a god
  Might say: _"Lo, here my feet have trod!"_--
    There lies the meaning and the worth!

  They bring no golden treasure home,
    They win no acres for their clan,
  Nor dream nor deed of theirs shall mend
    The ills of man's bedeviled span--
  Nor are they skilled in sleights of speech,
    (Nor overeager) to make plain
  The use they serve, transcending use,--
    The gain beyond apparent gain!


  WITH half-hearted levies of frost that make foray,
      retire, and refrain--
  Ambiguous bugles that blow and that falter to
      silence again--

  With banners of mist that still waver above them,
      advance and retreat,
  The hosts of the Autumn still hide in the hills,
      for a doubt stays their feet;--

  But anon, with a barbaric splendor to dazzle the
      eyes that behold,
  And regal in raiment of purple and umber and
      amber and gold,

  And girt with the glamor of conquest and scarved
      with red symbols of pride,
  From the hills in their might and their mirth on
      the steeds of the wind will they ride,

  To make sport and make spoil of the Summer,
      who dwells in a dream on the plain,
  Still tented in opulent ease in the camps of her
      indolent train.


  TIME steals from Love all but Love's wings;
  And how should aught but evil things,
    Or any good but death, befall
    Him that is thrall unto Time's thrall,
  Slave to the lesser of these Kings?

  O heart of youth that wakes and sings!
  O golden vows and golden rings!
    Life mocks you with the tale of all
      Time steals from Love!

  O riven lute and writhen strings,
  Dead bough whereto no blossom clings,
    The glory was ephemeral!
    Nor may our Autumn grief recall
  The passion of the perished Springs
      Time steals from Love!


  YOUR rondeau's tale must still be light--
  No bugle-call to life's stern fight!
    Rather a smiling interlude
    Memorial to some transient mood
  Of idle love and gala-night.

  Its manner is the merest sleight
  O' hand; yet therein dwells its might,
    For if the heavier touch intrude
      Your rondeau's stale.

  Fragrant and fragile, fleet and bright,
  And wing'd with whim, it gleams in flight
    Like April blossoms wind-pursued
    Down aisles of tangled underwood;--
  Nor be too serious when you write
      Your rondeau's tail!


  THEY haunt me, they tease me with hinted
  Withheld revelations,
  The songs that I may not utter;
  They lead me, they flatter, they woo me.
  I follow, I follow, I snatch
  At the veils of their secrets in vain--
  For lo! they have left me and vanished,
  The songs that I cannot sing.

  There are visions elusive that come
  With a quiver and shimmer of wings;--
  Shapes shadows and shapes, and the murmur
  Of voices;--
  Shapes, that out of the twilight
  Leap, and with gesture appealing
  Seem to deliver a message,
  And are gone 'twixt a breath and a breath;--
  Shapes that race in with the waves
  Moving silverly under the moon,

  And are gone ere they break into foam on the rocks
  And recede;--
  Breathings of love from invisible
  Blown somewhere out in the tender
  That die on the bosom of Silence;--
  And fleeter than thought,
  Vaguer than thought or emotion,
  What are these visitors?

  Out of the vast and uncharted
  Realms that encircle the visible world,
  With a glimmer of light on their pinions,
  They rush ...
  They waver, they vanish,
  Leaving me stirred with a dream of the ultimate
  A sense of the ultimate music,
  I never shall capture;--

  They are Beauty,
  Formless and tremulous Beauty,

  Beauty unborn;
  Beauty as yet unappareled
  In thought;
  Beauty that hesitates,
  Withdraws from the verge of birth,
  Retreats from the portals of life;--
  O Beauty for ever uncaptured!
  O songs that I never shall sing!


  WE have come "the primrose way,"
    Folly, thou and I!
  Such a glamor and a grace
  Ever glimmered on thy face,
  Ever such a witchery
  Lit the laughing eyes of thee,
  Could a fool like me withstand
  Folly's feast and beckoning hand?
  Drinking, how thy lips' caress
  Spiced the cup of waywardness!
  So we came "the primrose way,"
    Folly, thou and I!

  But now, Folly, we must part,
    Folly, thou and I!
  Shall one look with mirth or tears
  Back on all his wasted years,
  Purposes dissolved in wine,
  Pearls flung to the heedless swine?--

  Idle days and nights of mirth,
  Were they pleasures nothing worth?
  Well, there's no gainsaying we
  Squandered youth right merrily!
  But now, Folly, we must part,
    Folly, thou and I!


  THESE logs with drama and with dream are rife,
    For all their golden Summers and green Springs
  Through leaf and root they sucked the forest's life,
    Drank in its secret, deep, essential things,
  Its midwood moods, its mystic runes,
    Its breathing hushes stirred of faery wings,
  Its August nights and April noons;
  The garnered fervors of forgotten Junes
  Flare forth again and waste away;
    And in the sap that leaps and sings
    We hear again the chant the cricket flings
  Across the hawthorn-scented dusks of May.



  WE are deceived by the shadow, we see not the
      substance of things.
  For the hills are less solid than thought; and
      deeds are but vapors; and flesh
  Is a mist thrown off and resumed by the soul, as
      a world by a god.
  Back of the transient appearance dwells in
      ineffable calm
  The utter reality, ultimate truth; this seems and
      that is.


  I HAVE been down in a dark valley;
  I have been groping through a deep gorge;
  Far above, the lips of it were rimmed with moonlight,
  And here and there the light lay on the dripping
  So that it seemed they dripped with moonlight,
      not with water;
  So deep it was, that narrow gash among the hills,
  That those great pines which fringed its edge
  Seemed to me no larger than upthrust fingers
  Silhouetted against the sky;
  And at its top the vale was strait,
  And the rays were slant
  And reached but part way down the sides;
  I could not see the moon itself;
  I walked through darkness, and the valley's edge
  Seemed almost level with the stars,
  The stars that were like fireflies in the little trees.

  It was the midnight of defeat;
  I felt that I had failed;
  I was mocked of the gods;
  There was no way out of that gorge;
  The paths led no whither
  And I could not remember their beginnings;
  I was doomed to wander evermore,
  Thirsty, with the sound of mocking waters in
      mine ears,
  Groping, with gleams of useless light
  Splashed in ironic beauty on the rocks above.
  And so I whined.

  And then despair flashed into rage;
  I leapt erect, and cried:
  _"Could I but grasp my life as sculptors grasp the clay
  And knead and thrust it into shape again!--
  If all the scorn of Heaven were but thrown
  Into the focus of some creature I could clutch!--
  If something tangible were but vouchsafed me
  By the cold, far gods!--
  If they but sent a Reason for the failure of my life
  I'd answer it;
  If they but sent a Fiend, I'd conquer it!--_

  _But I reach out, and grasp the air,
  I rage, and the brute rock echoes my words in
  How can one fight the sliding moonlight on the cliffs?
  You gods, coward gods,
  Come down, I challenge you!--
  You who set snares with roses and with passion,
  You who make flesh beautiful and damn men through
      the flesh,
  You who plump the purple grape and then put poison
      in the cup,
  You who put serpents in your Edens,
  You who gave me delight of my senses and broke me
      for it,
  You who have mingled death with beauty,
  You who have put into my blood the impulses for
      which you cursed me,
  You who permitted my brain the doubts wherefore
      you damn me,
  Behold, I doubt you, gods, no longer, but defy!--
  I perish here?
  Then I will be slain of a god!
  You who have wrapped me in the scorn of your silence,
  The divinity in this same dust you flout_

  _Flames through the dust,
  And dares,
  And flings you back your scorn,--
  Come, face to face, and slay me if you will,
  But not until you've felt the weight
  Of all betricked humanity's contempt
  In one bold blow!--
  Speak forth a Reason, and I will answer it,
  Yes, to your faces I will answer it;
  Come garmented in flesh and I will fight with you,
  Yes, in your faces will I smite you, gods;
  Coward gods and tricksters that set traps
  In paradise!--
  Far gods that hedge yourselves about with silence
  And with distance;
  That mock men from the unscalable escarpments of
      your Heavens."_

  Thus I raved, being mad.
  I had no sooner finished speaking than I felt
  The darkness fluttered by approaching feet,
  And the silence was burned through by trembling
      flames of sound,
  And I was 'ware that Something stood by me.

  And with a shout I leapt and grasped that Being,
  And the Thing grasped me.
  We came to wrestling grips,
  And back and forth we swayed,
  Hand seeking throat, and crook'd knee seeking
  To encrook unwary leg,
  And spread toes grasping the uneven ground;
  The strained breast muscles cracked and creaked,
  The sweat ran in my eyes,
  The plagued breath sobbed and whistled through
      my throat,
  I tasted blood, and strangled, but still struggled
  The stars above me danced in swarms like yellow
  The shaken moonlight writhed upon the rocks;--
  But at the last I felt his breathing weaker grow,
  The tense limbs grow less tense,
  And with a bursting cry I bent his head right
  Back, back, until
  I heard his neck bones snap;
  His spine crunched in my grip;
  I flung him to the earth and knelt upon his breast

  And listened till the fluttering pulse was stilled.
  Man, god, or devil, I had wrenched the life from

  And lo!--even as he died
  The moonlight failed above the vale,--
  And somehow, sure, I know now how!--
  Between the rifted rocks the great Sun struck
  A finger down the cliff, and that red beam
  Lay sharp across the face of him that I had slain;
  And in that light I read the answer of the silent
  Unto my cursed-out prayer,
  For he that lay upon the ground was--I!
  I understood the lesson then;
  It was myself that lay there dead;
  Yes, I had slain my Self.


  No doubt the ordered worlds speed on
    With purpose in their wings;
  No doubt the ordered songs are sweet
    Each worthy angel sings;
  And doubtless it is wise to heed
    The ordered words of Kings;

  But how the heart leaps up to greet
    The headlong, rebel flight,
  Whenas some reckless meteor
    Blazes across the night!
  Some comet--Byron--Lucifer--
    Has dared to Be, and fight!

  No doubt but it is safe to dwell
    Where ordered duties are;
  No doubt the cherubs earn their wage
    Who wind each ticking star;

  No doubt the system is quite right!--
    Sane, ordered, regular;

  But how the rebel fires the soul
    Who dares the strong gods' ire!
  Each Byron!--Shelley!--Lucifer!--
    And all the outcast choir
  That chant when some Prometheus
    Leaps up to steal Jove's fire!


  BETTER a pauper, penniless, asleep on the kindly
  Better a gipsy, houseless, but near to the heart
      of God,

  That beats for ears not dulled by the clanking
      wheels of care--
  Better starvation and freedom, hope and the good
      fresh air

  Than death to the Something in him that was
      born to laugh and dream,
  That was kin to the idle lilies and the ripples of
      the stream.

  For out of the dreams of childhood, that careless
      come and go,
  The boy gains strength, unknowing, that the Man
      will prove and know.

  But these fools with their lies and their dollars,
      their mills and their bloody hands,
  Who make a god of a wheel, who worship their
      whirring bands,

  They are flinging the life of a people, raw, to the
      brute machines.
  Dull-eyed, weary, and old--old in his early teens--

  Stunted and stupid and twisted, marred in the
      mills of grief,
  Can your factories fashion a Man of this thing--
      a Man and a Chief?

  Dumb is the heart of him now, at the time when
      his heart should sing--
  Wasters of body and brain, what race will the
      future bring?

  What of the nation's nerve whenas swift crises
  What of the brawn that should heave the guns on
      the beck of the drum?

  Thieves of body and soul, who can neither think
      nor feel,
  Swine-eyed priests of little false gods of gold and

  Bow to your obscene altars, worship your loud
      mills then!
  Feed to Moloch and Baal the brawn and brains
      of men--

  But silent and watchful and hidden forever over
  The masters brood of those Mills that "grind
      exceeding small."

  And it needs no occult art nor magic to foreshow
  That a people who sow defeat they will reap the
      thing they sow.


  CONQUERORS leonine, lordly,
    Princes and vaunting kings,
  Ye are drunk with the sound of your braggart
    _But lo! ye are little things!

  Earth ... it is charnel with monarchs!
    And the puffs of dust that start
  Where your war steeds stamp with their ringing hoofs
    Were each some warrior's heart._

  Peoples imperial, mighty,
    Masterful, challenging fate,
  The tread of your cohorts shakes the hills--
    _But lo! ye are not great!

  Nations that swarm and murmur,
    Ye are moths that flutter and climb--
  Ye are whirling gnats, ye are swirling bees,
    Tossed in the winds of time!_

  Earth that is flushed with glory,
    A marvelous world ye are!
  _But lo! in the midst of a million stars
    Ye are only one pale star!

  A breath stirs the dark abysses....
    The deeps below the deep
  Are troubled and vexed ... and a thousand worlds
    Fall on eternal sleep!_



  HATH not man at his noblest
  An air of something more than man?--
  A hint of grace immortal,
  Born of his greatly daring to assist the gods
  In conquering these shaggy wastes,
  These desert worlds,
  And planting life and order in these stars?--
  So Woman at her best:
  Her eyes are bright with visions and with dreams
  That triumph over time;
  Her plumed thought, wing for wing, is mate with


  The world rolls on from dream to dream,
  And 'neath the vast impersonal revenges of its

  Crushed fools that cried defeat
  Lie dead amid the dust they prophesied--
  Ye doubters of man's larger destiny,
  Ye that despair,
  Look backward down the vistaed years,
  And all is battle--and all victory!
  Man fought, to be a man!
  Through painful centuries the slow beast fought,
  Blinded and baffled, fought to gain his soul;--
  Wild, hairy, shag, and feared of shadows,
  Yet the clouds
  Made him strange signals that he puzzled o'er;--
  Beast, child, and ape,
  And yet the winds harped to him, and the sea
  Rolled in upon his consciousness
  Its tides of wonder and romance;--
  Uncouth and caked with mire,
  And yet the stars said something to him, and the
  Declared itself a god;--
  The lagging cycles turned at last
  The pictures into thought,
  Thought flowered in soul;--
  But, oh, the myriad weary years
  Ere Caliban was Shakespeare's self
  And Darwin's ape had Darwin's brain!--
  The battling, battling, and the steep ascent,
  The fight to hold the little gained,
  The loss, the doubt, the shaken heart,
  The stubborn, groping slow recovery!--
  But looking backward toward the dim beginnings,
  You that despair,
  Hath he not climbed and conquered?
  Look backward and all's Victory!
  What coward looks forward and foresees defeat?


  Who climbed beside him, and who fought
  And suffered and was glad?
  Is she a lesser thing than he,
  Who stained the slopes with bloody feet, or stood
  Beside him on some hard-won eminence of hope
  Exulting as the bold dawn swept
  A harper hand along the ringing hills?
  Flesh of his flesh, and of his soul the soul,
  Hath she not fought, hath she not climbed?

  And how is she a lesser thing?--
  Nay, if she ever was
  'Twas we that made her so, who called her queen
  But kept her slave.


  Had she not courage for the fight?
  Hath she not courage for the years to come?
  Hath she not courage who descends alone--
  (How pitifully alone, except for Love!)
  Where man's thought even falters that would
  Into the shadowy abyss
  (Through vast and murmurous caverns dark with
      crowding dread
  And terrible with hovering wings),
  To battle there with Death?--to battle
  There with Death, and wrest from him,
  O Conqueror and Mother,


  Hath she too long dwelt dream-bound in the world
      of love,

  Unconscious of the sterner throes,
  The more austere, impersonal, wide faith,
  The urge that drives Christs to the cross
  Not for the love of one beloved,
  But for the love of all?
  If so, she wakes!
  Wakes and demands a share in all man's bolder
  The high, audacious ventures of the soul
  That thinks to scale the bastioned slopes
  And strike stark Chaos from his throne.
  We still stand in the dawn of time.
  Not meanly let us stand nor shaken with low
  For there beyond the verge and margin of gray cloud
  The future thrills with promise
  And the skies are tremulous with golden light;--
  She too would share those victories,
  Comrade, and more than comrade;--
  New times, new needs confront us now;
  We must evolve new powers
  To battle with;--
  We must go forward now together,
  Or perchance we fail!



  _A little while the tears and laughter,
    The willow and the rose--
  A little while, and what comes after
    No man knows.

  An hour to sing, to love and linger ...
    Then lutanist and lute
  Will fall on silence, song and singer
    Both be mute.

  Our gods from our desires we fashion....
    Exalt our baffled lives,
  And dream their vital bloom and passion
    Still survives;

  But when we're done with mirth and weeping,
    With myrtle, rue, and rose,
  Shall Death take Life into his keeping? ...
    No man knows._

  _What heart hath not, through twilight places,
    Sought for its dead again
  To gild with love their pallid faces? ...
    Sought in vain! ...

  Still mounts the Dream on shining pinion ...
    Still broods the dull distrust ...
  Which shall have ultimate dominion,
    Dream, or dust?

  A little while with grief and laughter,
    And then the day will close;
  The shadows gather ... what comes after
    No man knows!_

Note: In "The Parting," page 161, line 4, I have changed "they
face" to "thy face"; in "The Struggle," page 173, line 4, I have
changed "l!o" to "lo!"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dreams and Dust" ***

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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.