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Title: Eidola
Author: Manning, Frederic
Language: English
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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 "Eidola" ***

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Internet Archive)



 EIDOLA
 BY FREDERIC MANNING

 [Greek: skias eidôlon]
         AESCHYLUS

 LONDON
 JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
 1917



 BY FREDERIC MANNING

 POEMS.                         3_s._ 6_d._ net
 SCENES AND PORTRAITS.          6_s._ net
 THE VIGIL OF BRUNHILD.         2_s._ 6_d._ net

 LONDON: JOHN MURRAY



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



 TO
 THE COUNTESS OF ANCASTER



CONTENTS


                                                            PAGE

 THE CHOOSERS                                                 1
 SACRIFICE                                                    3
 RELIEVED                                                     5
 REACTION                                                     6
 THE OLD CALVARY                                              9
 THE GUNS                                                    10
 THE SIGN                                                    12
 A SHELL                                                     14
 THE FACE                                                    15
 WIND                                                        16
 BOIS DE MAMETZ                                              18
 THE TRENCHES                                                22
 LEAVES                                                      25
 TRANSPORT                                                   27
 [Greek: autarkeia]                                          29
 EPIGRAM, R. B.                                              31
 NOW                                                         32
 GROTESQUE                                                   35
 DESIRE                                                      36
 BLUE AND GOLD                                               38
 GANHARDINE'S SONG                                           39
 THE SOUL'S ANSWER                                           41
 WINTER                                                      42
 THE FAUN                                                    43
 THE CUP                                                     44
 PAROLES SANS MUSIQUE                                        45
 DANAE                                                       47
 WORSHIP                                                     49
 TO A GIRL                                                   50
 EROS ATHANATOS                                              52
 DEMETER MOURNING                                            54
 THE LOST ANGEL                                              57
 THE MOCKING SONG                                            59
 THE MOTHER                                                  63
 MEDITATION                                                  65
 THE HONEY GATHERER                                          67
 CROCUS SONG                                                 70
 THE IMAGE SELLER                                            72
 SIMAETHA                                                    74
 TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS                                      76
 HURLEYWAYNE                                                 78
 TO SÀÏ                                                      80
 THE SHEPHERDS' CAROL OF BETHLEHEM                           82
 PAST                                                        85
 THE BELOVED                                                 86



EIDOLA



THE CHOOSERS


 O ye! Fragile, tremulous
 Haunters of the deep glades,
 Whose fingers part the leaves
 Of beech and aspen ere ye slip thro',
 Shall I see ye again?

 Men have said unto me:
 These are but flying lights and shadows,
 Light on the beech-boles, clouds shadowing the corn-fields,
 The wind in the flame of birches in autumn,
 Wind shadowing the clear pools.
 But ye cried, laughing, down the wind:
 _Men are but shadows, but a vain breath!_

 So here cometh unto me
 That cry from the rejoicing air:
 Men are but shadows! And prone about me
 I see them, hushed and sleeping in the hut,
 Made solemn and holy by the night,
 In the dead light o' the moon:
 Shadowy, swathed in their blankets,
 As sleep, in hewn sepulchral caves,
 Egypt's and Asia's kings.
 While between them are the footsteps
 Of glittering presences, who say: Lo, one
 To be a sword upon my thigh!
 And the sleepers stir restlessly and murmur
 As between them pass
 The bright-mailed choosers of the dead.

 Shall I see ye again, O flying feet
 O' the forest-haunters, while I couch silent,
 In a wet brake o' blossom,
 Dark ivy wreathing your whiteness;
 Ere I am torn from the scabbard:
 (Lo, one
 To be a sword upon my thigh!)
 Knowing no longer that earth
 Lieth in the dews, shining and sacred?



SACRIFICE


 Love suffereth all things.
 And we,
 Out of the travail and pain of our striving,
 Bring unto thee the perfect prayer:
 For the heart of no man uttereth love,
 Suffering even for love's sake.

 For us no splendid apparel of pageantry,
 Burnished breast-plates, scarlet banners and trumpets
 Sounding exultantly.
 But the mean things of the earth hast thou chosen,
 Decked them with suffering,
 Made them beautiful with the passion for rightness,
 Strong with the pride of love.

 Yea, tho' our praise of thee slayeth us,
 Yet love shall exalt us beside thee triumphant,
 Dying, that these live:
 And the earth again be beautiful with orchards,
 Yellow with wheatfields,
 And the lips of others praise thee, tho' our lips
 Be stopped with earth, and songless.

 But we shall have brought thee their praises,
 Brought unto thee the perfect prayer:
 For the lips of no man uttereth love,
 Suffering even for love's sake.

 O God of sorrows,
 Whose feet come softly thro' the dews,
 Stoop thou unto us,
 For we die so thou livest,
 Our hearts the cups of thy vintage:
 And the lips of no man uttereth love,
 Suffering even for love's sake.



RELIEVED

FOR S. J. KIMM


 We are weary and silent,
 There is only the rhythm of marching feet;
 Tho' we move tranced, we keep it
 As clock-work toys.

 But each man is alone in this multitude;
 We know not the world in which we move,
 Seeing not the dawn, earth pale and shadowy,
 Level lands of tenuous grays and greens;
 For our eye-balls have been seared with fire.

 Only we have our secret thoughts,
 Our sense floats out from us, delicately apprehensive,
 To the very fringes of our being,
 Where light drowns.



REACTION


 What make you here, Aphrodite,
 Lady of the Golden Cymbals,
 Would you dance to awaken earth again
 As of old on Ida?
 Here are no threshing-floors....

 Men call you delicate, a lover of softness:
 Making thine images of ivory, stained with sanguine;
 Strewing frail petals of roses before you;
 Bringing you soft stuffs of sea-dyes,
 Vermilion and saffron sandals,
 Floating wimples of filmy webs, that veil you,
 As clear water the glittering limbs
 Of a nymph beloved of Pan.

 But you come among us,
 With sleepy eyelids, and a sleep-soft smile,
 Ere we have scraped our boots of the mud
 That is half human....
 You come, tho' we are killing the lice in our shirts,
 To fill our eyes with the wine of your vision,
 Tho' we are weary, and our hearts
 Emptied of the old jests.

 _Satia te sanguine_
 You come among men; laughing
 At the ramp of the strange beasts
 Roaring our songs in estaminets,
 With our hands hungry for life again.
 You are come curious of our crude intoxications,
 The savage pleasures and the gross lusts,
 Being weary of the veiled lights, the whispers,
 The languid colours, and rare spiced meats
 That of old delighted you
 In Paphos.

 You would couch with us in the golden straw
 Of these great Gothic barns,
 With curious curved beams arching, as in shadowy aisles;
 While through the broken mud-wall
 Light rays,
 Like the golden dust
 On Danae poured.

 And we turn from the harshness of swords,
 Hungering for you....
 And know not that your breasts,
 Carven delicately of ivory and gold,
 The lips, red and subtile,
 Are born of the bitter sea-foam and bright blood.



THE OLD CALVARY

TO THE REV. D. L. PROSSER


 It is propped in a corner of the yard,
 Where vines wreathe it
 With leaves and delicate tendrils;
 A mutilated trunk,
 Worn, and gray with weather stains;
 Lichens cling to its flesh as a leprosy.

 But for a moment I stood in adoration,
 Reverent, as the sun-rays
 Struck between the glistening leaves;
 Lighting the frail, lean form,
 The shrunken flanks,
 That knew more suffering than held
 The agonies of Laocoon.

 For the memory of many prayers clung to it,
 Tenderly, and glistening,
 Even as the delicate vine
 To the sacred flesh.



THE GUNS


 Menace, hidden, but pulsing in the air of night:
 Then a throbbing thunder, split and seared
 With the scarlet flashes of innumerable shells,
 And against it, suddenly, a shell, closer;
 A purr that changes to a whine
 Like a beast of prey that has missed its kill,
 And again, closer.

 But even in the thunder of the guns
 There is a silence: and the soul groweth still.
 Yea, it is cloaked in stillness:
 And it is not fear.

 But the torn and screaming air
 Trembles under the onset of warring angels
 With terrible and beautiful faces;
 And the soul is stilled, knowing these awful shapes,
 That burden the night with oppression,
 To be but the creatures of its own lusts.



THE SIGN


 We are here in a wood of little beeches:
 And the leaves are like black lace
 Against a sky of nacre.

 One bough of clear promise
 Across the moon.

 It is in this wise that God speaketh unto me.
 He layeth hands of healing upon my flesh,
 Stilling it in an eternal peace.
 Until my soul reaches out myriad and infinite hands
 Toward him;
 And is eased of its hunger.

 And I know that this passes:
 This implacable fury and torment of men,
 As a thing insensate and vain:
 And the stillness hath said unto me,
 Over the tumult of sounds and shaken flame,
 Out of the terrible beauty of wrath,
 _I alone am eternal._

 One bough of clear promise
 Across the moon.



A SHELL


 Here we are all, naked as Greeks,
 Killing the lice in our shirts:
 Suddenly the air is torn asunder,
 Ripped as coarse silk,
 Then a dull thud....
 We are all squatting.



THE FACE


 Out of the smoke of men's wrath,
 The red mist of anger,
 Suddenly,
 As a wraith of sleep,
 A boy's face, white and tense,
 Convulsed with terror and hate,
 The lips trembling....

 Then a red smear, falling....
 I thrust aside the cloud, as it were tangible,
 Blinded with a mist of blood.
 The face cometh again
 As a wraith of sleep:
 A boy's face delicate and blonde,
 The very mask of God,
 Broken.



WIND


 Blow, wind! Strip the great trees
 That are like ebony against a sky of jade,
 Ebony fretted and contorted.
 Blow, hunt the piled clouds that lash the earth with rain;
 Roar among the swayed branches; sing shrilly in the grass,
 Burdening the pines with the music of pain;
 For mine eyes desire the stars.

 Drown the senseless thunder of the guns,
 Stream on the ways of air hurrying before thee
 The yellow leaves, and the tawny, and scarlet,
 Till my soul dance with them,
 Dance delightedly as a child or a kitten
 Catching at the gay leaves laughingly,
 For I would forget, I would forget and laugh again.

 Sing, thou great wind; smite the harp of the wood,
 For in thee the souls of slain men are singing exultant,
 Now free of the air, feather-footed! Yea, they swim therein
 Toward the green twilight, surging
 Naked and beautiful with playing muscles,
 Yea, even the naked souls of men
 Whose beauty is a fierce thing, and slayeth us
 Like the terrible majesty of the gods;
 Blow, thou great wind, scatter the yellowing leaves.



BOIS DE MAMETZ

FOR H. L.


 Men have marred thee, O Mother:
 Autumn hath now no tawny and gilded leaves;
 Nor murmuring among sleepy boughs;
 But stark and writhen as a woman ravished,
 With twisted tortured limbs,
 Are Mametz' woods.

 Hath not thy child, Persephone, tall men,
 Yea, even all the children of the earth,
 Bringing her tribute?
 But the reapers sing not in thy wheatfields:
 Tall sheaves wait ungarnered,
 Though swallows are shrilling in the skies.

 We are reaped, who were thy reapers, and slain our songs;
 We are torn as Iason, beloved of thee, Mother:
 Heavy the clay upon our lips,
 The gray rats fear us not, but pass quickly, sated,
 Over prone trunks, rent limbs, dead faces,
 That are ashen under the moon.

 Love, who begat us, shall Love slay us utterly?
 Shall we not mingle with earth, as with sleep,
 Dream into grasses, leafage, flowers,
 Such being our very flesh; and shudder
 In the glitter of thin shivering poplars,
 That tremble like slim girls shaken
 At a caress,
 Bowed in a clear, keen wind?

 Lo, in us the glory of a new being,
 A wonder, a terror, an exultation,
 Even in the filth of our shambles,
 Loosened as lightnings upon us, devouring us;
 Till we be but a shaken wrath of flames,
 A many-tongued music of thunder,
 Beyond the thunder of guns.
 And we fail beneath it,
 Sink into our ashes, cower as dogs;
 While the glory of many shaken flames
 Drowns in the gray of thy dawns,
 That reveal unto us
 Earth wasted and riven with iron and fire.
 Desolate!

 Thou hast turned from us....
 Even so thou art lovely,
 As a woman grown old in sorrows,
 With patient kindly eyes,
 From whom hath passed the shadow of desire;
 And her ears keep the whispers of many lovers,
 As things heard in sleep.
 But thou heed'st not our prayers, our strivings,
 The moans of our anguish,
 Our mute agonies;
 Though thy loins bare us in travail,
 Though thou art the bride of our desiring,
 Yea, and the child of our desire,
 In triple deity;
 Knowing things past, and things to come, when both
 Meet on the instant, rounding to a who
 This intense keen edge of flame
 Consuming our poor dust.

 Sit'st thou thus wisely silent,
 With subtile and inviolate eyes,
 Knowing us but the shadow of thy substance,
 As transitory as the leaves?

 Wiselier even....
 Knowing us from the matter of our lives:
 Not the sweet leaves the wind stirs,
 But the wind,
 Whose passage the leaves shadoweth.

 There are no leaves now in thy woods, Mametz.



THE TRENCHES


 Endless lanes sunken in the clay,
 Bays, and traverses, fringed with wasted herbage,
 Seed-pods of blue scabious, and some lingering blooms;
 And the sky, seen as from a well,
 Brilliant with frosty stars.
 We stumble, cursing, on the slippery duck-boards,
 Goaded like the damned by some invisible wrath,
 A will stronger than weariness, stronger than animal fear,
 Implacable and monotonous.

 Here a shaft, slanting, and below
 A dusty and flickering light from one feeble candle
 And prone figures sleeping uneasily,
 Murmuring,
 And men who cannot sleep,
 With faces impassive as masks,
 Bright, feverish eyes, and drawn lips,
 Sad, pitiless, terrible faces,
 Each an incarnate curse.

 Here in a bay, a helmeted sentry
 Silent and motionless, watching while two sleep,
 And he sees before him
 With indifferent eyes the blasted and torn land
 Peopled with stiff prone forms, stupidly rigid,
 As tho' they had not been men.

 Dead are the lips where love laughed or sang,
 The hands of youth eager to lay hold of life,
 Eyes that have laughed to eyes,
 And these were begotten,
 O love, and lived lightly, and burnt
 With the lust of a man's first strength: ere they were rent,
 Almost at unawares, savagely; and strewn
 In bloody fragments, to be the carrion
 Of rats and crows.

 And the sentry moves not, searching
 Night for menace with weary eyes.



LEAVES


 A frail and tenuous mist lingers on baffled and intricate branches;
 Little gilt leaves are still, for quietness holds every bough;
 Pools in the muddy road slumber, reflecting indifferent stars;
 Steeped in the loveliness of moonlight is earth, and the valleys,
 Brimmed up with quiet shadow, with a mist of sleep.

 But afar on the horizon rise great pulses of light,
 The hammering of guns, wrestling, locked in conflict
 Like brute, stone gods of old struggling confusedly;
 Then overhead purrs a shell, and our heavies
 Answer, with sudden clapping bruits of sound,
 Loosening our shells that stream whining and whimpering precipitately,
 Hounding through air athirst for blood.

 And the little gilt leaves
 Flicker in falling, like waifs and flakes of flame.



TRANSPORT


 The moon swims in milkiness,
 The road glimmers curving down into the wooded valley
 And with a clashing and creaking of tackle and axles
 The train of limbers passes me, and the mules
 Splash me with mud, thrusting me from the road into puddles,
 Straining at the tackle with a bitter patience,
 Passing me....
 And into a patch of moonlight,
 With beautiful curved necks and manes,
 Heads reined back, and nostrils dilated,
 Impatient of restraint,
 Pass two gray stallions,
 Such as Oenetia bred;
 Beautiful as the horses of Hippolytus
 Carven on some antique frieze.
 And my heart rejoices seeing their strength in play,
 The mere animal life of them,
 Lusting,
 As a thing passionate and proud.

 Then again the limbers and grotesque mules.



[Greek: autarkeia]


 I am alone: even ranked with multitudes:
 And they alone, each man.
          So are we free.
 For some few friends of me, some earth of mine,
 Some shrines, some dreams I dream, some hopes that emerge
 From the rude stone of life vaguely, and tend
 Toward form in me: the progeny of dreams
 I father; even this England which is mine
 Whereof no man has seen the loveliness
 As with mine eyes: and even too, my God
 Whom none have known as I: for these I fight,
 For mine own self, that thus in giving self
 Prodigally, as a mere breath in the air,
 I may possess myself, and spend me so
 Mingling with earth, and dreams, and God: and being
 In them the master of all these in me,
 Perfected thus.
          Fight for your own dreams, you.



EPIGRAM, R. B.


 Earth held thee not, whom now the gray seas hold,
 By the blue Cyclades, and even the sea
 Palls but the mortal, for men's hearts enfold,
 Inviolate, the untamed youth of thee.



NOW


 I praise ye for the noble and prodigal virtues,
 That are spendthrift of all,
 Giving and taking with a light hand;
 For this moment only is ours:

 Of old ye were provident, and frugal,
 With the parsimony of peace.
 Now ye will jeopard your lives for a song,
 For a mere breath, the shadow of a desire;
 Cloaking your valour with a jest,
 Veiling its holiness,
 Lest wisdom deem ye fools;
 The vain wisdom of peace.

 The old and hoary craft,
 That seeth not the brightness of the sun,
 That hideth in the earths of foxes,
 That weigheth love, and delight, and laughter,
 Against minted gold.
 The wise ...
 These but traffic in our gems,
 They are but the merchants of our pleasure
 Miserly!

 Who shall hoard up life
 As it were but a heap of golden discs?
 For it hath the lightest of light feet,
 This quarry of our chase:
 As it were Proteus,
 Flowing from shape to shape under our hands....
 Who shall spread a net to entoil it
 Or snare it as a bird?

 Ye play with life as with a gamester,
 Full of doubles and shifts,
 And ye laugh at each turn of the game,
 Your hearts hawking at a chance
 With a keen-edged zest.
 Ye know not what ye seek,
 Having it always.

 Ye have stolen of my riches;
 But ye have given me of your dearth
 The last fragment of your broken bread
 And gone hungry yourselves:
 Despising the matter of our lives,
 The faults and incompleteness
 Of the crude earth,
 From which we are moulding,
 With cunning and nimble fingers,
 Images of desire.

 Let us laugh and understand each other,
 For how could I blame you, my friends,
 When ye are so generous
 With the fruit of your thefts?

 Yea, this moment is sufficient:
 And being artists, after our diverse manners,
 When each white dawn cometh
 Build we the earth anew:
 Repenting not
 Yesterdays now drowned in dark, nor desiring
 The hastening to-morrows.



GROTESQUE


 These are the damned circles Dante trod,
 Terrible in hopelessness,
 But even skulls have their humour,
 An eyeless and sardonic mockery:
 And we,
 Sitting with streaming eyes in the acrid smoke,
 That murks our foul, damp billet,
 Chant bitterly, with raucous voices
 As a choir of frogs
 In hideous irony, our patriotic songs.



DESIRE


 I would sing thy face
 Sitting here in the firelight;
 Mid the senseless noise of guns
 Comes it as a flower between the flames.

 Sea-blue thine eyes, and bright as hawk's are,
 Yet frail thy face as an image in clear water
 As a pearl lying there, hidden or plain, when light
 Wavers upon it: mobile as thy moods are
 Or faint as a star in the mist's milk:
 And frail thine hands,
 Delicate,
 Hovering in infinite slow gesture, nigh speech
 Hesitating, poised,
 Fragile: they would not mar
 Gray bloom on a ripe plum.

 I would sing thy face
 To forget this....
 But thy face sings to me from the slim flames
 And my praise is silence, and my prayer.



BLUE AND GOLD


 Blue and gold are April days,
 All the wealth of spring unrolled
 Down the wet, bird-haunted ways
 Blue and gold.
 In their rapture uncontrolled,
 From the trees the blackbirds raise
 Songs of triumph, clear and bold:
 And the distance is blue haze,
 Where the hills the fields enfold,
 Like still seas in sheltered bays
 Blue and gold.



GANHARDINE'S SONG


 When my lady climbs the stair,
 From the wet, surf-beaten sands,
 Loosening her cloak of hair,
 With her slender, foam-white hands,
 All my soul cries out in me:
 What fair things God maketh be!

 Praise her white, and red, and gold;
 Praise her lips made sweet with mirth,
 Her grave eyes, that dreaming hold
 Tears, which tremble ere their birth!
 Yet what song shall snare the feet
 Of white dawn upon the wheat?

 Surely earth's swift-changing grace,
 Starry waters, starry skies
 Fallen in some flower-loved place,
 Speak such peace as speak her eyes;
 There earth's sudden wonders are
 Glassed, as waters glass a star.

 When my lady climbs the stair,
 Every wandering golden tress
 Streams out, through the living air,
 Like a flame for loveliness,
 And my soul cries out in me:
 What fair things God maketh be.



THE SOUL'S ANSWER


 My soul said unto me: Yea, God is wise
 With wisdom far too bright for our weak eyes.
 I answered thus my soul: Yea, God is wise!

 My soul said unto me: Yea, God is good
 And maketh love to be our daily food.
 I answered thus my soul: Yea, God is good!

 I sent my soul from me that it might tell
 The damned and make a Heaven where was Hell,
 It smiled and said: Nay, fear not, all is well!



WINTER

TO U. A. T.


 Bare are the boughs where Love took cover,
         Once in the spring:
 Nor bird to bird, nor lover to lover,
         Whisper or sing.

 A low moon floodeth the level meadows
         With frosty light:
 Sheep come softly through mist as shadows,
         Grey in the night.

 And over pasture and plough and fallow
         My dreams go,
 For thy mouth to kiss and thine hands to hallow,
         Thine heart to know.



THE FAUN


 Kore, O Kore, where art thou fled,
 Now that the spring blows white in the land?
 Shake out the honeyed locks o' thine head;
 Plunder the lilies that lie to thine hand,
 Glistering saffron loved of the bees
 Murmuring in them, till shadows grow long
 With dew-dropping silence under the trees,
 Ere break the voluptuous thrillings of song
 From the brown-throated sweet harbourers there
 Raptured and grieving under the stars....



THE CUP


 Ye mock me, wantons, that I come among you
 Drunken, bedecked with garlands
 Like a white sacrificial bull.
             Laugh then!
 So Cypris laughing shakes one petal down
 From her rose-braided hair,
 Honeyed with kisses, to perfume
 The glowing purple that brims up this gold.
 Laugh then, and mock, but kiss me! For what man
 Would come among you sober? Wise, I come
 Borne on Silenus' ass to praise Eros.



PAROLES SANS MUSIQUE

FOR JELLY D'ARÀNYI


 Ah, the night! The eyes!
 You are white beneath the plum-blossoms,
 As an oread beneath the shadow
 Of flowering branches: immobile,
 Among things fugitive and frail.
 For God hath filled you with the memory
 Of things forgotten by man; and your eyelids
 Close upon lost splendours.
 Yea! They are heavy with the secrets of time;
 Troubled by the strangeness of beauty.
 But mine heart knoweth the secret
 Of your subtile lips and eyes: the silence
 Wherein throng presently, with maddening cymbals,
 With bright-tressed torches, the maenads,
 Their cool flesh wreathed with dark vines.

 Ah, the night! The eyes!
 Honey pale are you, pallid as ivory:
 An amber grape, whose sweetness will be wine
 On some king's lip!
         Here 'mid these golds and purples,
 These dusked magnificences,
 Amid strange faces
 Only your face against the plum-blossom
 Know I: remembering
 Bright spear heads in the moonlight
 By the still tents, the red embers,
 The strings and flutes of pain....
 And again the weariness of desiring.

 Ah, the night! The eyes!



DANAE


 Thou, whom the gray seas bare more fierce than they.
 O bitter Love! Have pity on his weeping,
 Smite me with pain; lo, I am all thy prey!
 Sleep thou, my son, as all the world is sleeping;
 Sleep thou, my babe; and sleep, thou bitter sea;
 And sleep, O grief, within the heart of me.

 Ashen thy fruit, O Love, thy crown is pain!
 Sweet were thy words to me, thy soft caresses.
 Child of my heart, O gain beyond all gain.
 Sleep, while I shelter thee with arms and tresses!
 Sleep thou, my babe, and sleep, thou bitter sea;
 And sleep, O grief, within the heart of me.

 Yea, I am thine, O Love. I am thy spoil!
 Sleep thou, my son, sleep softly till the morrow!
 Love, thou hast snared me in thy golden toil,
 Still the loud seas though thou still not my sorrow!
 Sleep thou, my babe; and sleep, thou bitter sea;
 And sleep, O grief, within the heart of me.



WORSHIP


 Earth, sea, and skies,
 For me are in thine eyes,
 Yea, thou for me
 Holdest within thyself eternity.

 As the dew's sphere
 Encloses all the clear
 Fires hung in the night,
 The thin moon and the shaken seas delight.

 And there the rose
 Where seraphs throne them, glows
 Quiring God's name,
 With music that is sound of joy made flame.

 God's very grace
 Is perfect in thy face,
 Mirrored such wise
 That I mine own soul there imparadise.



TO A GIRL

(MISS E. F.)


 Thy face, which love renews ever with loveliness,
 Is known and strange as earth, from night each dawn is new:
 Stirred with such restless beauty
 As water that wind shadoweth.

 How may love snare thy soul, or know the ways thereof?
 Subtile as flame it is, and secret as the dews:
 Even thus closely folded
 Love hath thee not, but followeth.

 From change to change, nor surfeiteth his ecstasy
 That from so brief a joy desireth new delight,
 As tho' the sweet life in thee
 Were fugitive and bodiless.

 Nay, love, in thee all change immortal is; nor dies,
 Being the soul of thee that pastures on brief joy:
 And this earth's shows mere seeming
 In thy clear love's eternity.



EROS ATHANATOS


 As a rose bends in rain
 Your face is bowed into mine arms,
 Spilling its golden drops there:
 And the fragrance of wet roses
 Is in my nostrils,
 And the long bright tendrils of your hair
 Upon me.

 Under my hand you tremble as a reed
 When wind ruffles the water;
 Such great joy floweth beneath my fingers,
 And the rain passes, and the wind strews
 The ripples with crimson petals
 Bright as blood upon their polished silver.

 But my delight of you
 Fragrant and humid in mine arms,
 Of a white body convulsive, shaken
 With the soul's passion; lips fierce, eager,
 Passes not, but as a song, as a breath passes,
 To hide it in a silence, a sleep,
 Among cherishing dews, being music:
 Nor the mere lute, nor the singer,
 But the shaped passion of a god
 Embodied in us,
 Beyond us, eternal, exultant.



DEMETER MOURNING


 I have seen her in sorrow, as one blind
 With grief, across the furrows on soiled feet
 Pass, as the cold gray dawn came with cold wind,
 Gray as fine steel and keen with bitter sleet,
 Beneath the white moon waning in the skies:
 And I grew holy gazing in her eyes.

 Then her voice came: Ah! but thou wert too fair
 To seek among the dim realms of the dead
 Love: and what hands will tremble in thine hair
 Or lips faint on thy lips? The clear stars shed
 All night their dews on me: and the wind's breath
 Pierced; and my heart grew hungry too for death.

 O flower! O clear pool mirroring the trees,
 Whose sight was all my soul! O golden one,
 Whose hair was like the corn, and rippling seas
 Of new-sprung grasses where the light winds run!
 O thou, whose breath was music, and whose mirth
 Ran like bright water o'er the thirsting earth.

 Surely now where the frail, dim shadows dwell
 Thou hast sown all the marvel of Earth's flowers
 And lit with wonder all the ways of Hell
 And winged the feet of their slow-footed hours,
 While I sit lonely by the water-springs
 On the bare earth where not one linnet sings!

 The dead leaves fluttered round her, and she sate
 There by the well-side filmed with silver frost,
 Like some old woman, stricken in her fate,
 With no more heart to wail what she hath lost:
 And silence grew about her, as though grief
 Stilled the rude winds, and every withered leaf.



THE LOST ANGEL


 Thy love is as clear rivers to a thirsty land,
 Even as the rivers of earth bringing the wonder of boughs,
 The rivers of thy love have filled up the channels of time.
 Earth is a lure unto mine eyes. Lo! now I love
 The fragile fleeting days, warm lips of women.
 Delights that slip away as fish through water.
 O, God, thou knowest what is in my heart.

 Soiled am I now with dust, and frustrate glories
 Wane, and are tarnished on my darkened brows;
 Yea, all my love is for the joys that perish.
 How may mine eyes behold my naked soul
 No more arrayed in wings of my desire?
 The cold rains smite me, and the winds of sorrow
 Have driven me down the bitter ways of time.
 O, God, thou knowest what is in my heart.

 How shall I come again into my peace,
 So heavy is the darkness on eyes and feet?
 One sayeth: Lo, now, God's lost angel crowned
 With broken hopes, and clothed with grief, and mute,
 Sitting with his despair through the long starless night,
 I, God's lost angel. Even thus I grow
 Starry amid the solitudes, yea, crowned
 With my despair, throned even in my fall,
 O, God, thou knowest what is in my heart.



THE MOCKING SONG


 Surely now in the spring-time shall I waken my singing
 And song shall blossom out of my lips,
 Glowing, as gloweth the golden crocus of Zeus.

 For the soft white flakes of the winter have covered me over
 With a deep stillness not to be told,
 And my heart hath gathered honey of many dreams.

 Now may they blossom as flames, tawny and eager,
 Shaking out their bright hair on the wind.
 The soft wind that streameth through the long green, rippling grasses.

 Yea, like a bee, my heart hath fed on the honey of flowers
 And is made drunken, and full of strength,
 Full of the blood-red wine that is fierce and exultant.

 But ye have turned your faces from song and from dreaming,
 Ye stirred in the winter and wakened,
 Your grain was garnered and threshed, yet a hunger filled you.

 But the breasts of Earth had filled me, mine eyes had garnered
 Many-coloured may, and sweet, red apples,
 Through every sense had I drunk up her strength, and was sated.

 What have ye, O wise ones? The corn ye reaped ye shall sow,
 Ye shall watch for rains and tempests;
 Only I hearing the hail on the roofs shall be gladdened.

 Ye, being mockers, said: What profiteth him his singing?
 Ye stored not the sweetness in your hearts,
 Ye are bent double with the burden of the past, fearful of Time.

 Ye go forth into the furrows, but who shall come to the reaping?
 Lo, now the golden grain falleth to earth!
 Though ye be rich in this wise, yet are ye desolate.

 I have gleaned in the hedgerows and wild glades of the forest,
 And that sweetness sufficeth to me:
 For sweet it is to feel the rain upon face and hair.

 Surely ye have this day: but the wise sweetness in my heart
 Is the honey of all days which ye have not.
 So shall my soul mock you, when dying, lo! ye are empty.

 Even so when I hungered ye gave me bread,
 With hard words ye gave it me.
 So give I this song unto you with hard words in mockery.



THE MOTHER


 She hath such quiet eyes,
 That feed on all earth's wonders! She will sit
 Here in the orchard, and the bewildering beauty
 Of blossoming boughs lulls her as day grows late
 And level sunlight streameth through the tree-stems
 Lying as pale gold on the green fallows, and gilding the fleeces
 Of the slow-feeding sheep in the pastures.
 While in her there stirs,
 A dream, a delight, a wonder her being knew not,
 Yet now remembers, wistfully, as a thing long lost,
 Sunken in dim, green, lucid sea-caves;
 And her desire goeth out from her, toward God, through the twilight,
 Lost, too, in the waters of unfathomable silence.

 But the child, gazing upward,
 Sees the glory of the apple-blossom suddenly scattered,
 As a bird flies through the branches;
 And he reaches toward the soft, white fluttering petals
 That light upon his face, and laughs; and she
 Stoops over him quickly with sudden, hot, passionate kisses,
 Smiling for all her tears.



MEDITATION


 Even tho' I descend into the darkness of deep valleys,
 Yet have mine eyes beheld the light,
 And my heart treasureth it.

 One, seeing thy face, loseth it not in dreams.
 It shall abide with him through all the days;
 And his heart treasureth it.

 Earth dieth in the darkness, but when dawn cometh
 Slowly the trees and hills grow into the light....
 The heart of darkness cherisheth the dawn.

 Who shall forget thee having seen thy face?
 I have dreamed in my sleep of thee, as a man dreameth of a maiden.

 Yea! the silence and darkness held thee as a dream.
 Lo! I have seen thee. How shall I forget?

 Thy beauty is treasured up in my heart.



THE HONEY GATHERER


 I would drink of the honeyed wine that is heavy with poppies
 Until my trembling eyelids close, and only the murmur
 Of Life I should know: as the murmur of seas to one sleeping.
 Glide now the soft, slim feet
 Of white dreams that are lovely and fugitive
 To whom thy sorrow is alien, my beloved!
 Sweetly their feet stir the young grasses, they lie coiled
 In clear dark waters, or couched in the thickets,
 Their whiteness dappled with shadow,
 So might I forget again the sword of thy beauty
 And the desire that looked out from thine eyes, until mine heart leapt
 Forth to meet it, and was seared in the flame.
 Life was as a net about me, and mine hands might not rend it,
 But I lay in fear among the toils, and afar
 Mine ears strained to catch the footsteps of the hunter.

 Honey and poppies!
 Until desire is drowned within me, until sleep
 Hath builded a world that is gateless,
 A world of beautiful luminous waters
 Through which the white dreams slip and swim,
 Pearled with fine spray, their bright hair floating,
 To whom love and desire and sorrow are foolishness
 And thy beauty a shadow, that the wind breaketh.
 And thy body but dust for the wind's pasture
 And thy sorrow but a murmur of waters....
 There are they, the exultant, the swan-throated;
 Through the night cometh the sound of their trumpets,
 Until mine heart is drunken with their wine.

 Honey and poppies!
 Until sleep is heavy upon me as a garment,
 Until the winged joys come.
 But even then, O my beloved! is desire and a grieving;
 Even in the deep waters my soul remembereth
 How it hath been troubled by thy hands.



CROCUS SONG

FOR M. C.


 The first flame, the first spear of the spring,
 A thing perfected of the dews and fire,
 Saffron in hoar-frost, brightened as with wine:
 Thou blossoming in the heart of me!
                               Ah, golden
 Is she whose love hath led me through the world
 A thing of dews and fire, of wine and saffron!
     Gray willows veiling my beloved
     Bend above her,
     As though you would love her,
     Now clear water shadoweth her whiteness.

 Ere brown bees go abroad murmuring,
 One saffron crocus hath made glad desire,
 To follow on swift feet slim feet of thine;
 Love wakening for joy of thee,
                               Beholden
 As golden petals of one flower unfurled,
 Brimmed up with dews and fire, with wine and saffron.
     Clear waters shadowing her whiteness
     Flow beside her,
     As tho' you would hide her,
     Jealous that mine eyes have my beloved.



THE IMAGE SELLER


 I would bring them again unto you,
 The gods with broad and placid brows;
 And for you have I wrought their images
 Of carven ivory and gold;
 That your lips may be shaped to praise them,
 And your praises be laughter and all delights of the body,
 Dancing and exultation, a dance of torches
 In scarlet sandals, with burnished targes:
 A dance of boys by the wine-press
 Naked, with must-stained purple thighs:
 Of young girls by the river in saffron vesture
 Dancing to smitten strings and reed flutes.
 Praise then mine images: Helios; Artemis,
 With a leash of straining hounds: and the Foam-born.

 Turning from love to sleep, drowsy and smiling,
 With the fluttering of doves and dreams about her
 And, softer than silk, Hephaistos' golden net.
 Lo, Bacchus and his painted beasts!
 Praise ye mine images!
 A dryad whom clinging ivy holds while laughs
 The swarthy centaur pursuing; and a troop
 Of small Pans delicate and deformed.
 Yet your lips praise not,
 Crying: We too would be deathless as these are,
 We, the hunted! But dance and adore them,
 Praise my sweet grave gods of the blue, and the earth-born!
 Praise their strong grace and swiftness!
 For in these gods mine hands have wrought,
 In these alone are ye deathless.



SIMAETHA

FOR D. S. D.


 Thou art wine, Simaetha! When mine eyes drink thee
 My blood flames with the golden joy thou art,
 Bewildering me, until thy loveliness
 Is veiled in its own light: nor know I then
 Pure brows, and placid lips and eyes, and hair
 With wind and sunlight glorious: but all
 Are mingled in one flame. O thou, in me,
 Art shrined, as none hath seen thee, as gods live
 Whom Time shall not consume; nor rusts thy gold
 Ever, so hath my soul enclosed thee round
 With its divine air. Yea, thy very life,
 Which flows through all the guises of thy moods,
 Escaping as they die, and laughs and weeps
 And builds again its beauty, have I set
 Beyond the jeopards of rough time: yea! all
 Thine ivory, imperilled loveliness,
 And winey sanguine where the cheek's curve takes
 Light as a bloom upon it, not to pass
 So there be God.
       Thy praise hath made speech song
 And song from lip to lip flies, and black ships
 Bear it from sea to sea; and on some quay
 Where rise tall masts, and gay booths flank the ways
 A tumbler sings it; and an alien air
 Trembles with thee, while strange men wonder, dumb
 To see thee pass: thou being all my song.



TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS


 Gross, sensual faces herded; and then you
 With magical wide eyes came. Eyes that kept
 The mirth of dews at dawn in them, and slept
 To the tumult of the street. They held the blue,
 Sweet, flowering spaces under pines; and knew
 Cropped lawns, where naked dryads dancing leapt
 To the clash of golden cymbals, while there crept
 Furtively on white bellies through the dew,
 To glut on grace, ambiguous fauns, whose eyes
 Burned glittering with desire: until the horn
 Of the moon turned ashen; and through the still trees
 The lithe shapes feed: and dawn brimmed up the skies
 With winey gold, and walked upon the corn;
 And murmuring through the vines came gleaming bees.



HURLEYWAYNE

FOR M. S.


 Such cool peace as fills
 Green solitudes with trembling light at eve,
 Fresh after summer thunder: and thin leaves
 Stir gleaming, and grow still; then the green light
 Alone moves, pulsing in pooled air, that shakes
 No more with sound. Quiet brims full; then break
 As dropping rain hurrying elfin feet,
 A silvery foam of sound blown as white spray,
 Sparkling with great bright bubbles: no sound to sense,
 Bright foam upon blue pools of quiet tossed:
 And a sight of waven manes that gleam
 Shaken in the twilight under luminous leaves;
 And challenging fairy horns that invite to the chace
 Gay, light o' heart. And the galloping host,
 Winding their horns, rush by as wind in the grass,
 Shimmering; and the horns from afar ring out,
 Farther and farther away.



TO SÀÏ


 You chase the blue butterflies,
 The shining dew is shaken by your feet,
 That are white in the young grasses;
 Swift, you hesitate, poised;
 And they elude you; fluttering
 In the windless gold.

 Sàï is small,
 But a little child,
 With little sorrows;
 Yet her tears shine with laughter,
 Her face comes and goes between the wet leaves,
 As a face in sleep
 Comes and goes between green shadows,
 As moving lights hide and shine in the marshes.

 I shall not look at her,
 Lest she should hide from mine eyes
 In the shadow.
 I bring her pale honey in a comb, apples
 Sweet and smelling; and leave them beside me;
 Then comes she softly.
 There is a bee in the willow-weed,
 From flower to flower it climbs, and I watch it
 Till the honey and apples are eaten.
 Sàï is quite close to me; now she has gone
 She has forgotten me.

 Sàï is small,
 But a little child.



 THE SHEPHERDS' CAROL OF
 BETHLEHEM


 A golden star hangs in the night,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 And all the fields are clad in white:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 What maketh Mary's face so pale?
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 It is the hour of her travail:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 She lies between an ass and beast,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 Three kings come riding from the east:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 They have ridden out of the lands afar:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 In ermine furs and cramasie,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 A duffle cloak will shelter me:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 The kings have stooped to Mary's hem,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 But her eyes travel away from them:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 What gifts have we to bring the Lord?
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 Neither a sceptre, nor a sword:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 We bring no gifts but milk and cheese:
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 And a fleece of wool for Mary's knees:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold:
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 But a fleece to shield Him from the cold:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 Down miry ways, tho' storms be wild,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 A warm soft fleece for a naked child:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 Now Mary turns her face to sleep:
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 While we go back to tend our sheep:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 The sparks fly from the crackling thorn,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 Our God was in a stable born:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 Tho' three wise kings rode from the east,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 He was born between an ass and beast:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow.

 I saw no trail of starry light,
 Heigh-ho, the bitter winds blow!
 I heard a child wail in the night:
 I saw three shepherds out in the snow!



PAST


 We played in this garden, long ago,
 Long ago! Wind stirs the young grasses;
 Petals drift from the apple-boughs,
 Like snow, that covers up everything,
 Everything!



THE BELOVED

(TO THE COUNTESS OF KINTORE)


 Love, when they told me you were dead, I replied not;
  I smiled, and they thought me mad.
 They wept anointing thy body, they swathed thee in linen bands
  and laid thee in the earth.
 Their hands touched thee as a thing sacred, they mourned for thee
  with shaken hearts.
 It was dawn, my beloved, and they came in, into my room, where I lay
  close to sleep smiling, and they told me you were dead.
 I smiled hearing the swallows coming and going under the eaves,
  and they told me you were dead.
 The earth dreamed in dews, the sheep were in the pastures,
  and they told me you were dead.

 O my beloved, these knew thee not.



Certain of these poems have appeared in _The Spectator_, _Poetry_, _The
Forum_, _The Quest_, and _The Windsor Magazine_. My thanks are due to
the Editors of these periodicals for permission to reprint them.



 PRINTED BY
 HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD.,
 LONDON AND AYLESBURY,
 ENGLAND.





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