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´╗┐Title: In the Great Steep's Garden
Author: Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1881-1941
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 "In the Great Steep's Garden" ***

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produced from images generously made available by The
Kentuckiana Digital Library)

             In the
          Great Steep's


 Poems by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

   Pictures by Kenneth Hartley

[Illustration: {A mountain scene}]

The Hill People.

    Their steps are light and exceedingly fleet:
    They pass me by in the hurrying street.

    I pause to look at a window's show--
    From the white-flecked alp the hill winds blow--

    And all at once it has passed me there,
    Lilting back to the land of the air,

    Back to the land of the great white stills:
    Is it only the wind that comes down from the hills?

           *       *       *       *       *

    Was it Pikes Peak Pixie or Cheyenne Shee
    That whispered a gay little rhyme to me?

    Or a gnome that lives in the heart of a stone
    And dances at dawn around Cameron's Cone?

    Did the haunting laugh of the Maid of the Corn,
    An Aztec memory trill on the morn?

    Or soft did the Navajo Shell-Woman speak
    As she passed with a hymn for the great white peak?

           *       *       *       *       *

    They touch me light with their finger tips
    And lay little snatches of song on my lips,

    And swift I am gone where the hill-streams flow,
    Where the pit-lark soars and the gentians blow.

    The tapers of blossoms flame under the tree
    And the pilgrim road unfolds for me,

    Lifting away where the hill-folk keep
    The gardens and cloisters and shrines of the Steep.

           *       *       *       *       *

    In charmed ways my feet are set:
    By what fair host is the palmer met

    And borne away to the great white stills?
    Is it only the wind that comes down from the hills?

[Illustration: Colorado Columbine]

Columbine in the Hills.

    A carnival gladdens the hills in June,
    And Columbine waltzes a gypsy tune;
    Or deep in the pleasance, happily met,
    She whirls with a gay little pirouette,
    Where the long trees lean in a twilight trance,
    Dreaming her over the seas to France.

        Or quiet under the aspen's shade,
        Misty-eyed little pensive maid,
        Musing under the Great Steep's tree,
        Is it for Pierrot?--where is he?

    A flutter of petticoats, buff and blue,
    Sashes and streamers and holiday tire,
    Columbine trips her a measure for you,
    Gayest heart of the waltzing choir.
    Under the pines I saw her dance,
    Lilting a gay little tune of France.

[Illustration: Small-leaved Saxifrage]


    The wide, wide sky was a crystal clear,
    A great blue dome that quivered near.

    And oh, the white-flowered miracle grown
    Out of the broad gray breast of a stone!

    Little plant, did you guess that when I heard
    You whisper your one sweet rune-telling word,

    Straight into the crystal I could see,
    And the Heart of the Sky leaned down to me?

[Illustration: Alpine Forget-me-not]

Alpine Forget-Me-Not.

    Before earth's dawn hour thought to wane,
    Where Paradise leaned over Iran's plain,
    A man god looked from his templed fane
      On a maiden wondrously fair:
    He saw her first in the Cashmere's danks,
    Singing at dawn by a river's banks,
    Where the long grass leaned to her, ranks on ranks,
      Forget-me-nots twined in her hair.

    O night of sorrow in Cashmere's fen--
    For a god may not wed with a maid of men--
    Driven in wrath was the man god then
      From the genii's holy mirth,
    Till the river-maid's hand shall scatter and pour
    The seeds of the little blue flowers she wore,
    From the happy lintels of heaven's own door
      To the uttermost ends of the earth.

    The Great Steep's Garden is musked and fair:
    Araby-sweet is the spice on the air:
    Ah, softly tread, have gentle care,
      Love's handmaid has passed this way.
    Did the long miles fret or the red suns beat?
    Did the great stones tear at her little white feet?
    Did the storm winds harry with stinging sleet,
      Or the mad seas bid her stay?

    Ah, Allah is great; but Love is great
    When the woman-heart needs make atoning and wait:
    She has led him back to the crystal gate,--
      Together they entered there.
    The Great Steep's Garden is musked today:
    The spices of Araby over it lay,
    For Love's handmaiden has passed this way,
      Forget-me-nots tressed in her hair.

[Illustration: Indian Paint Brush]

Indian Paint Brush.

    Brave bold warrior, standing afar
    On the summit place where the wind-torn pine
    At the battle front of the timberline
    Knows never an end of the harrowing war
    Of Life on Death!--and there arrayed
    In the trappings of battle and unafraid,
    Painted and feathered in hostile design,
    Indian chief on the marching line!

[Illustration: Arctic Gentian]

Arctic Gentian.

    Beyond the reach of the timberline,
      The long trail lifting, lifting,
    Past wizened gardens of low gaunt pine,
    Crouching out of the great storm's path:
    The last tree flees from the arctic wrath,
      But on is the white trail lifting.

    Cities and rivers and fields beseem
      A fantasy, fading, fading,
    Lost away in the myth of a dream:
    And the wide land reaches beyond our eyes,
    A Navajo carpet of strange soft dyes:
    Patterned with cities the great web lies,
      Woven with fantasies, fading.

    Rolls in the tide and the cloud waves toss,
      The reach of the long land merging:
    Where the still white surges part and cross
    The quivering vistas seem to be
    Of a lost land under the waves of a sea.
    O summit flower, what strange waves toss
      Below in the long, long surging!

[Illustration: Alpine Primrose]

Alpine Primrose.

    Happy Heart coming home from the far, far hills,
    How the primrose flamed in the arctic chills!
    And you heard the flutes of the summit birds:
    You will keep forever their sky-lost words,
    Happy Heart coming home from the hills.

Transcriber's Note

The handwritten image captions were, in some cases, very difficult to
make out. Following are transcriptions, with [notes] where there was
any doubt about content.

    Colorado Columbine (1/2 actual size)
    Aquilegia coerulea
    Cather Springs, June 27

    Small-leaved Saxifrage (1/3 actual size)
    Saxifraga parvifolia
    Pikes Peak, Aug. 15. 9300 ft. Altitude

    Alpine Forget-me-not (natural size)
    Mertensia alpina
    Pikes Peak, 12,500 ft. altitude

    Indian Paint Brush (natural size)
    [rest of caption unreadable, possibly Castilleja pruinosa]

    Arctic Gentian (natural size)
    Pikes Peak

    Alpine Primrose
    [rest of caption unreadable]

The first illustration had no caption; the one here in {braces} has
been added for descriptive purposes.

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