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Title: Eight Harvard Poets
Author: Passos, J. R. Dos, Cummings, E. Estlin, Damon, S. Foster, Mitchell, R. S., Hillyer, Robert, 1895-1961
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.

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EIGHT HARVARD POETS

  E. ESTLIN CUMMINGS
  S. FOSTER DAMON
  J. R. DOS PASSOS
  ROBERT HILLYER
  R. S. MITCHELL
  WILLIAM A. NORRIS
  DUDLEY POORE
  CUTHBERT WRIGHT

[Illustration]

  NEW YORK
  LAURENCE J. GOMME
  1917



  Copyright, 1917, by
  LAURENCE J. GOMME

  VAIL-BALLOU COMPANY
  BINGHAMTON AND NEW YORK



CONTENTS


                                                          PAGE
  E. ESTLIN CUMMINGS

  Thou in Whose Sword-Great Story Shine the Deeds            3
  A Chorus Girl                                              4
  This is the Garden                                         5
  It May not Always be so                                    6
  Crepuscule                                                 7
  Finis                                                      8
  The Lover Speaks                                           9
  Epitaph                                                   10


  S. FOSTER DAMON

  Incessu Patuit Deus                                       13
  You Thought I had Forgotten                               15
  Venice                                                    16
  The New Macaber                                           18
  To War                                                    20
  Calm Day, with Rollers                                    21
  Phonograph--Tango                                         22
  Decoration                                                24
  Threnody                                                  25


  J. R. DOS PASSOS

  The Bridge                                                29
  Salvation Army                                            30
  Incarnation                                               32
  Memory                                                    34
  Saturnalia                                                37
  "Whan that Aprille"                                       39
  Night Piece                                               40


  ROBERT HILLYER

  Four Sonnets from a Sonnet-Sequence                       45
  A Sea Gull                                                49
  Domesday                                                  50
  To a Passepied by Scarlatti                               52
  Elegy for Antinous                                        53
  Song                                                      54
  "My Peace I Leave with You"                               55
  The Recompense                                            56


  R. S. MITCHELL

  Poppy Song                                                59
  Love Dream                                                62
  The Island of Death                                       64
  From the Arabian Nights                                   66
  Threnody                                                  68
  Helen                                                     70
  Largo                                                     72
  Lazarus                                                   73
  A Crucifix                                                74
  Neith                                                     75
  A Farewell                                                77


  WILLIAM A. NORRIS

  Of Too Much Song                                          81
  Wherever My Dreams Go                                     82
  Out of the Littleness                                     83
  Nahant                                                    84
  Qui Sub Luna Errant                                       85
  Across the Taut Strings                                   86
  Escape                                                    87
  On a Street Corner                                        88
  Sea-burial                                                89


  DUDLEY POORE

  A Renaissance Picture                                     93
  The Philosopher's Garden                                  95
  The Tree of Stars                                         96
  After Rain                                                97
  Cor Cordium                                               99
  The Withered Leaf, the Faded Flower be Mine              105


  CUTHBERT WRIGHT

  The End of It                                            109
  The New Platonist                                        110
  The Room Over the River                                  112
  The Fiddler                                              114
  Falstaff's Page                                          116
  A Dull Sunday                                            117

       *       *       *       *       *



E. ESTLIN CUMMINGS



[THOU IN WHOSE SWORD-GREAT STORY SHINE THE DEEDS]


  Thou in whose sword-great story shine the deeds
  Of history her heroes, sounds the tread
  Of those vast armies of the marching dead,
  With standards and the neighing of great steeds
  Moving to war across the smiling meads;
  Thou by whose page we break the precious bread
  Of dear communion with the past, and wed
  To valor, battle with heroic breeds;

  Thou, Froissart, for that thou didst love the pen
  While others wrote in steel, accept all praise
  Of after ages, and of hungering days
  For whom the old glories move, the old trumpets cry;
  Who gav'st as one of those immortal men
  His life that his fair city might not die.



A CHORUS GIRL


  When thou hast taken thy last applause, and when
  The final curtain strikes the world away,
  Leaving to shadowy silence and dismay
  That stage which shall not know thy smile again,
  Lingering a little while I see thee then
  Ponder the tinsel part they let thee play;
  I see the red mouth tarnished, the face grey,
  And smileless silent eyes of Magdalen.

  The lights have laughed their last; without, the street
  Darkling, awaiteth her whose feet have trod
  The silly souls of men to golden dust.
  She pauses, on the lintel of defeat,
  Her heart breaks in a smile--and she is Lust ...
  Mine also, little painted poem of God.

  This is the garden: colors come and go,
  Frail azures fluttering from night's outer wing,
  Strong silent greens serenely lingering,
  Absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
  This is the garden: pursed lips do blow
  Upon cool flutes within wide glooms, and sing,
  Of harps celestial to the quivering string,
  Invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

  This is the garden. Time shall surely reap,
  And on Death's blade lie many a flower curled,
  In other lands where other songs be sung;
  Yet stand They here enraptured, as among
  The slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
  Some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.

  It may not always be so; and I say
  That if your lips, which I have loved, should touch
  Another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
  His heart, as mine in time not far away;
  If on another's face your sweet hair lay
  In such a silence as I know, or such
  Great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
  Stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

  If this should be, I say if this should be--
  You of my heart, send me a little word;
  That I may go unto him, and take his hands,
  Saying, Accept all happiness from me.
  Then shall I turn my face, and hear one bird
  Sing terribly afar in the lost lands.



CREPUSCULE


  I will wade out
                 till my thighs are steeped in burn-
  ing flowers
  I will take the sun in my mouth
  and leap into the ripe air
                             Alive
                                   with closed eyes
  to dash against darkness
                           in the sleeping curves of my
  body
  Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
  with chasteness of sea-girls
                               Will I complete the mystery
  of my flesh
  I will rise
              After a thousand years
  lipping
  flowers
          And set my teeth in the silver of the moon



FINIS


  Over silent waters
                     day descending
                                    night ascending
  floods the gentle glory of the sunset
  In a golden greeting
                        splendidly to westward
  as pale twilight
                   trem-
                         bles
                              into
                                   Darkness
  comes the last light's gracious exhortation
                                        Lifting up to peace
  so when life shall falter
                            standing on the shores of the
  eternal
  god
      May I behold my sunset
  Flooding
          over silent waters



THE LOVER SPEAKS


  Your little voice
                    Over the wires came leaping
  and I felt suddenly
  dizzy
         With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers
  wee skipping high-heeled flames
  courtesied before my eyes
                            or twinkling over to my side
  Looked up
  with impertinently exquisite faces
  floating hands were laid upon me
  I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing
  up
  Up
  with the pale important
                         stars and the Humorous
                                                moon
  dear girl
  How I was crazy how I cried when I heard
                                           over time
  and tide and death
  leaping
  Sweetly
           your voice



EPITAPH


  Tumbling-hair
                picker of buttercups
                                     violets
  dandelions
  And the big bullying daisies
                              through the field wonderful
  with eyes a little sorry
  Another comes
                also picking flowers

       *       *       *       *       *



S. FOSTER DAMON



INCESSU PATUIT DEUS


  The little clattering stones along the street
  Dance with each other round my swimming feet;
  The street itself, as in some crazy dream,
  Streaks past, a half-perceived material stream.

  Brighter than early dawn's most brilliant dye
  Are blown clear bands of color through the sky,
  That swirl and sweep and meet, to break and foam
  Like rainbow veils upon a bubble's dome.

  Yours are the songs that burst about my ears,
  Or blow away as many-colored spheres.

  You are the star that made the skies all bright,
  Yet tore itself away in flaming flight;
  You are the tree that suddenly awoke;
  You are the rose that came to life and spoke....

  Guided by you, how we might stroll towards death,
  Our only music one another's breath,
  Through gardens intimate with hollyhocks,
  Where silent poppies burn between the rocks,
  By pools where birches bend to confidants
  Above green waters scummed with lily-plants.

  There we might wander, you and I alone,
  Through gardens filled with marble seats moss-grown,
  And fountains--water-threads that winds disperse--
  While in the spray the birds sit and converse.

  And when the fireflies mix their circling glow
  Through the dark plants, then gently might I know
  Your lips, light as the wings of the dragon-flies....

  --Merely dreams, fluttering in my eyes....



[YOU THOUGHT I HAD FORGOTTEN]


  You thought I had forgotten. Well, I had!
  (Although I never guessed I could forget
  Those few great moments when we both went mad.)

  The other day at someone's tea we met,
  Smiling gayly, bowed, and went our several ways,
  Complacent with successful coldness.--Yet

  Suddenly I was back in the old days
  Before you felt we ought to drift apart.
  It was some trick--the way your eyebrows raise,

  Your hands--some vivid trifle. With a start
  Then I remembered how I lived alone,
  Writing bad poems and eating out my heart

  All for your beauty.--How the time has flown!



VENICE


  In a sunset glowing of crimson and gold,
  She lies, the glory of the world,
  A beached king's galley, whose sails are furled,
  Who is hung with tapestries rich and old.

  Beautiful as a woman is she,
  A woman whose autumn of life is here,
  Proud and calm at the end of the year
  With the grace that now is majesty.

  The sleeping waters bathe her sides,
  The warm, blue streams of the Adrian Sea;
  She dreams and drowses languorously,
  Swayed in the swaying of the tides.

  She is a goddess left for us,
  Veiled with the softening veils of time;
  Her blue-veined breasts are now sublime,
  Her moulded torso glorious.

  The pity that we must come and go--!
  While the old gold and the marble stays,
  Forever gleaming its soft strong blaze,
  Calm in the early evening glow.

  And still the sensitive silhouettes
  Of the gondolas pass and leave no track,
  Light on the tides as lilies, and black
  In the rippling waters of long sunsets.



THE NEW MACABER


  The pleasant graveyard of my soul
  With sentimental cypress trees
  And flowers is filled, that I may stroll
  In meditation, at my ease.

  The little marble stones are lost
  In flowers surging from the dead;
  Nor is there any mournful ghost
  To wail until the night is sped.

  And while night rustles through the trees,
  Dragging the stars along, I know
  The moon is rising on the breeze,
  Quivering as in a river's flow.

  And ah! that moon of silver sheen!
  It is my heart hung in the sky;
  And no clouds ever float between
  The grave-flowers and my heart on high.

  I do not read upon each stone
  The name that once was carven there;
  I merely note new blossoms blown
  And breathe the perfume of the air.

  Thus walk I through my wonderland
  While all the evening is atune,
  Beneath the cypress trees that stand
  Like candles to the barren moon.



TO WAR


  The music beats, up the chasmed street,
  Then flares from around the curve;
  The cheers break out from the waving crowd:
  --Our soldiers march, superb!
        Over the track-lined city street
      The young men, the grinning men, pass.

  Last night they danced to that very tune;
  Today they march away;
  Tomorrow, perhaps no band at all,
  Or the band beside the grave.
        Above, in the long blue strip of sky,
      The whirling pigeons, the thoughtless pigeons, pass.

  Another band beats down the street;
  Contending rhythms clash;
  New melodies win place, then fade,
  And the flashing legs move past.
        Down the cheering, grey-paved street
      The fringed flags, the erect flags, pass.



CALM DAY, WITH ROLLERS


  Always the ships that move in mystery, on the dim horizon,
  Shadow-filled sails of dreams, sliding over the blue-grey ocean,
  Far from the rock-edged shore where willow-green waves are rushing,
  And white foam-people leap, to stand erect for the moment.

  Ho! ye sails that seem to wander in dream-filled meadows,
  Say, is the shore where I stand the only field of struggle,
  Or are ye hit and battered out there by waves and wind-gusts
  As ye tack over a clashing sea of watery echoes?



PHONOGRAPH--TANGO


  Old dances are simplified of their yearning, bleached by Time.
              Yet from one black disc
  we tasted again the bite of crude Spanish passion.

  ... He had got into her courtyard.
  She was alone that night.
  Through the black night-rain, he sang to her window bars:

          _Love me, love--ah, love me!_
          _If you will not, I can follow_
          _Into the highest of mountains;_
          _And there, in the wooden cabin,_
          _I will strangle you for your lover._

  --That was but rustling of dripping plants in the dark.
  More tightly under his cloak, he clasped his guitar.

          _Love, ah-h! love me, love me!_
          _If you will do this, I can buy_
          _A fringed silk scarf of yellow,_
          _A high comb carved of tortoise;_
          _Then we will dance in the Plaza._

  She was alone that night.
  He had broken into her courtyard.
  Above the gurgling gutters
  he heard--
  surely--
  a door unchained?

  The passage was black; but he risked it--
  death in the darkness--
  or her hot arms--(_love--love me ah-h-h!_)

  "A good old tune," she murmured
  --and I found we were dancing.



DECORATION


  A little pagan child-god plays
  Beyond the far horizon haze,
  And underneath the twilight trees
  He blows a bubble to the breeze,
  Which is borne upward in the night
  And makes the heavens shine with light.
  But soon it sinks to earth again,
  And, hitting hills, it bursts! And then
  With foam the skies are splashed and sprayed;
  And that's how all the stars are made.



THRENODY


  She is lain with high things and with low.
      She lies
      With shut eyes,
  Rocked in the eternal flow
    Of silence evermore.

  Desperately immortal, she;
      She stands
      With wide hands
  Dim through the veil of eternity,
    Behind the supreme door.

       *       *       *       *       *



J. R. DOS PASSOS



THE BRIDGE


  The lonely bridge cuts dark across the marsh
  Whose long pools glow with the light
  Of a flaring summer sunset.
  At this end limp bushes overhang,
  Palely reflected in the amber-colored water;
  Among them a constant banjo-twanging of frogs,
  And shrilling of toads and of insects
  Rises and falls in chorus rhythmic and stirring.

  Dark, with crumbling railing and planks,
  The bridge leads into the sunset.
  Across it many lonely figures,
  Their eyes a-flare with the sunset,
  Their faces glowing with its colors,
  Tramp past me through the evening.

  I am tired of sitting quiet
  Among the bushes of the shore,
  While the dark bridge stretches onward,
  And the long pools gleam with light;
  I am tired of the shrilling of insects
  And the croaking of frogs in the rushes,
  For the wild rice in the marsh-pools
  Waves its beckoning streamers in the wind,
  And the red sky-glory fades.



SALVATION ARMY


  A drum pounds out the hymn,
  Loud with gaudy angels, tinsel cherubim,
  To drown the fanfare of the street,
  And with exultant lilting beat,
  To mingle the endless rumble of carts,
  The scrape of feet, the noise of marts
  And dinning market stalls, where women shout
  Their wares, and meat hangs out--
  Grotesque, distorted by the gas flare's light--
  Into one sacred rhythm for the Devil's spite.

  A woman's thin, raucous voice
  Carries the tune, bids men rejoice,
  Bathe in God's mercy,
  Draw near and learn salvation, see
  With their own eyes the mystery.
  Cymbals, at the hands of a tired girl,
  Slim wisp amid the swirl
  Of crowded streets, take up the tune,
  Monotonously importune.
  Faces are wan in the arc-light's livid glare;
  A wind gust carries the band's flare
  Of song, in noisy eddies echoing,
  Round lonely black street-corners,

  Till, with distance dimming,
  It fades away,
  Among the silent, dark array
  Of city houses where no soul stirs.

  The crowd thins, the players are alone;
  In their faith's raucous monotone,
  Loud with gaudy angels, tinsel cherubim,
  A drum pounds out the hymn.



INCARNATION


  Incessantly the long rain falls,
  Slanting on black walls,
  Which glisten gold where a street lamp shines.

  In a shop-window, spangled in long lines,
  By rain-drops all a-glow,
  An Italian woman's face
  Flames into my soul as I go
  Hastily by in the turbulent darkness;--
  An oval olive face,
  With the sweetly sullen grace
  Of the Virgin when first she sees,
  Amid her garden's silver lilies,
  The white-robed angel gleam,
  And softly, as by a sultry dream,
  Feels all her soul subdued unto the fire
  And radiance of her ecstasy.
  So in some picture, on which as on a lyre,
  An old Italian painter laboriously has played
  His soul away, his love, all his desire
  For fragrant things afar from earth,
  Shines the Madonna, as with a veil overlaid
  By incense-smoke and dust age-old,
  At whose feet, in time of dearth
  Or need, a myriad men have laid
  Their sorrows and arisen bold.

  Incessantly the long rain falls,
  Slanting on black walls.
  But through the dark interminable streets,
  Along pavements where rain beats
  Its sharp tattoo, and gas-lamps shine,
  Greenish gold in the solitude,
  The vision flames through my mood
  Of that Italian woman's face,
  Through the dripping window-pane.



MEMORY


  Between rounded hills,
  White with patches of buckwheat, whose fragrance fills
  The little breeze that makes the birch-leaves quiver,
  Beside a rollicking swift river,
  Light green in the deeps,--
  Like your eyes in sunshine,--
  Winds the canal,
  Lazy and brown as a water-snake,
  Full of dazzle and sheen where the breeze sweeps
  The water with gossamer garments, that shake
  The reeds standing sentinel,
  And the marginal line
  Of birches and willows.

  Our little steamer pulls its way
  With jingle of bells and panting throb
  Of old engines.
  In stiff array
  The water-reeds wave,
  And solemnly sway
  To the wash and swell of our passing.
  Among the reeds the ripples sob,
  And die away,
  'Till the canal is still again, save
  For a kingfisher's flashing
  Across the noon shimmer.

  I stood beside you in the bow,
  Watched the sunlight lose itself among your hair,
  That the breeze tugged at.
  Bright as the shattered sun-rays, where the prow
  Cut the still water,
  The warm light caught and tangled there,
  Red gold amid your hair.

  You were very slim in your blue serge dress....
  We talked of meaningless things, education,
  Agreed that unless,
  Something were changed disaster would come to the nation.
  You smiled when I pointed where
  A group of birches shivered in the green wood-shadow,
  Up to their knees in water, white and fair
  As dryads bathing.
  A row
  Of flat white houses and a wharf
  Glided in sight.
  The hoarse whistle shrieked for a landing;
  Bells jangled.... You were standing
  A slim blue figure amid the wharf's crowd;
  The little steamer creaked against the side, loud
  Screamed the whistle again....

  Monotonously the solemn reeds
  Waved to our passing;
  Ahead the canal shimmered, blotched green by the water-weeds.
  With a grinding swing
  And see-saw of sound,
  The steamer slunk down the canal.

  I never even knew your name....

  That night from a dingy hotel room,
  I saw the moon, like a golden gong,
  Redly loom
  Across the lake; like a golden gong
  In a temple, which a priest ere long
  Will strike into throbbing song,
  To wake some silent twinkling city to prayer.
  The lake waves were flakes of red gold,
  Burnished to copper,
  Gold, red as the tangled gleam
  Of sunlight in your hair.



SATURNALIA


          In earth's womb the old gods stir,
          Fierce chthonian dieties of old time.
          With cymbals and rattle of castanets,
          And shriek of slug-horns, the North Wind
          Bows the oak and the moaning fir,
  On russet hills and by roadsides stiff with rime.

          In nature, dead, the life gods stir,
          From Rhadamanthus and the Isles,
          Where Saturn rules the Age of Gold,
          Come old, old ghosts of bygone gods;
          While dim mists earth's outlines blur,
  And drip all night from lichen-greened roof-tiles.

          In men's hearts the mad gods rise
          And fill the streets with revelling,
          With torchlight that glances on frozen pools,
          With tapers starring the thick-fogged night,
          A-dance, like strayed fireflies,
  'Mid dim mad throngs who Saturn's orisons sing.

          In driven clouds the old gods come,
          When fogs the face of Apollo have veiled;
          A fear of things, unhallowed, strange,
          And a fierce free joy flares in the land.
          Men mutter runes in language dead,
          By night, with rumbling drum,
  In quaking groves where the woodland spirits are hailed.

          To earth's brood of souls of old,
          With covered heads and aspen wands,
          Mist-shrouded priests do ancient rites;
          The black ram's fleece is stained with blood,
          That steams, dull red on the frozen ground;
          And pale votaries shiver with the cold,
  That numbs the earth, and etches patterned mirrors on the ponds.



"WHAN THAT APRILLE ..."


  Is it the song of a meadow lark
  Off the brown, sere salt marshes,
  Or the eager patches in dooryards
  Of yellow and pale lilac crocuses;
  Or else the suburban street golden with sunlight,
  And the bare branches of elm trees
  Twined in the delicate sky?
  Or is it the merry piping
  Of a distant hurdy-gurdy?--
  That makes me so weary and faint with desire
  For strange lands and new scents;
  For the rough-rhythmed clank
  Of train couplings at night,
  And the stormy, gay-tinted sunrises
  That shade with purple the contours
  Of far-off, unfamiliar hills.



NIGHT PIECE


  A silver web has the moon spun,
  A silver web upon all the sky,
  Where the frail stars quiver, every one
  Like tangled gnats that hum and die.

  The moon has tangled the dull night
  In her silver skein and set alight
  Each dew-damp branch with milky flame.
  And huge the moon broods on the night.

  My soul is caught in the web of the moon,
  Like a shrilling gnat in a spider's web.
  Importunate memories shrill in my ears
  Like the gnats that die in the spider web.

  Lovely as death, in the moon's shroud,
  Were town streets, grey houses, dim,
  Full of strange peace in the silent night.
  As we walked our footsteps clattered loud.
  We felt the night as a troubled song ...
  Oh, the triumphing sense of life a-throb.
  Behind those walls, in those dark streets,
  Like the sound of a river, swift, unseen,
  Flowing in darkness. Oh, the hoarse
  Half-heard murmur swirling beneath
  The snowy beauty of moonlight....

  And that other night,
  When the river rippled with faint spears
  Of street lights vaguely reflected. Grey
  The evening, like an opal; low,
  A grey moon shrouded in sea fog:
  Air pregnant with spring; rasp of my steps
  Beside the lapping water; within
  The dark. Down the worn out years a sob
  Of broken loves; old pain
  Of dead farewells; and one face
  Fading into grey....

  A silver web has the moon spun,
  A silver web over all the sky.
  In her flooding glory, one by one,
  Like gnats in a web the stars die.

       *       *       *       *       *



ROBERT HILLYER



FOUR SONNETS FROM A SONNET-SEQUENCE


I

  Quickly and pleasantly the seasons blow
  Over the meadows of eternity,
  As wave on wave the pulsings of the sea
  Merge and are lost, each in the other's flow.
  Time is no lover; it is only he
  That is the one unconquerable foe,
  He is the sudden tempest none can know,
  Winged with swift winds the none may hope to flee.

  Fair child of loveliness, these endless fears
  Are nought to us; let us be gods of stone,
  And set our images beyond the years
  On some high mount where we can be alone.
  And thou shalt ever be as now thou art,
  And I shall watch thee with untroubled heart.


II

  Then judge me as thou wilt, I cannot flee,
  I cannot turn away from thee forever,
  For there are bonds that wisdom cannot sever
  And slaves with souls far freer than the free.
  Such strong desires the universal Giver
  With unknown plan has buried deep in me
  That the exquisite joy of watching thee
  Has dominated all my life's endeavor.

  Thou weariest of having me so near,
  I feel the scorn thou hast within thy heart,
  And yet thy face has never seemed so dear
  As now, when I am minded to depart.
  Though thou shouldst drive me hence, I love thee so
  That I would watch thee when thou dost not know.


III

  Fly, joyous wind, through all the wakened earth
  Now when the portals of the dawn outpour
  A myriad wonders from the radiant store
  Of spring's deep passion and loud-ringing mirth.
  Cry to the world that I despair no more,
  Heart greets my heart and hope has proved its worth;
  Fly where the legions of the sun have birth,
  Chant everywhere and everywhere adore.


  Circle the basking hills in fragrant flight,
  Shout Rapture! Rapture! if sweet sorrow passes,
  And whisper low in intimate delight
  My love-song to the undulating grasses.
  Grief is no more, love rises with the spring,
  O fly, free wind, and Rapture! Rapture! sing.


IV

  Long after both of us are scattered dust
  And some strange souls perchance shall read of thee,
  Finding the yearnings that have crushed from me
  These poor confessions of my love and trust,
  I know how misinterpreted will be
  These lines, for men will laugh, or more unjust,
  Thinking not once of love, but only lust,
  Will stain the vesture of our memory.

  And yet a few there may be who will feel
  My deep devotion and my true desires,
  And know that these unhappy words reveal
  Only new images in changeless fires;
  And they perchance will linger with a sigh
  To think that beauty such as thine must die.



A SEA GULL


  Grey wings, O grey wings against a cloud,
  Over the rough waves flashing,
  Whose was the scream, startling and loud,
  Keen through the skies,--was it thine,
  Over the moaning wind and the whine
  Of the wide seas dashing?
  Whose was the scream that I heard
  In the midst of the hurrying air?
  Was it thine, lost bird,
  Or the voice of an old despair
  Chanting from years long dead,
  Inexorable spirit flying
  On tempest wings that passed and fled
  Through the storm crying?



DOMESDAY


  The garlands and the songs of May
  Shall welcome in the Judgment Day;
  About the basking country-side
  Blossom the souls of them that died.
  O Dead awake! Arise in bloom
  Upon the joyous dawn of doom.

  They rise up from the bleeding earth
  In gracious legions of re-birth,
  Each as a flower or a tree
  Of verdant immortality.
  And hosts of glad-voiced angels sing
  In the rippling groves of spring.

  From the grave of youth there grows
  A passionately-petaled rose,
  Where the virgin whitely lies
  A lily fair as Paradise.
  And in that old oak's leafy glee
  Some gouty sire makes sport of me.

  O Dead of yore and yesterday
  All hail the resurrecting May!
  Beside you in the flowering grass
  The feet of youth and love shall pass,
  And we that greet you with a smile
  Shall join you in a little while.



TO A PASSEPIED BY SCARLATTI


  Strange little tune so thin and rare
  Like scents of roses of long ago,
  Quavering lightly upon the strings
  Of a violin, and dying there
  With a dancing flutter of delicate wings;
  Thy courtly joy and thy gentle woe,
  Thy gracious gladness and plaintive fears
  Are lost in the clamorous age we know,
  And pale like a moon in the lurid day;
  A phantom of music, strangely fled
  From the princely halls of the quiet dead,
  Down the long lanes of the vanished years
  Echoing frailly and far away.



ELEGY FOR ANTINOUS


  Come, let us hasten hence and weep no more,
  The sinking sea flows on its tranquil ways,
  Night looms serenely at the eastern door
  And trails the last cloud into lifeless haze.
  Antinous is dead, we kneel before
  The portals of our past in vain, nor raise
  The laughing phantoms of our yesterdays
  Upon this desolate and empty shore.

  Now deepening pools of shadow overflow
  Into the sea of dark; a far-off bell
  Sobs with a sweet vibration long and slow
  A last farewell, forevermore, farewell;
  And will He wake and hear? We cannot tell;
  And will He answer? Ah, we do not know.



SONG


  O crimson rose, O crimson rose,
  Crushed lightly in two little hands;
  A child's soft kiss was in your heart,
  A child's warm breath was in your soul.

  The child is gone, O crimson rose,
  And stained and hardened are the hands,
  And who shall find your golden heart
  And who shall kiss your withered soul?

  Happy are you, O crimson rose,
  But I have stains upon my hands;
  You died with kisses in your heart,
  I live with sorrow in my soul.



"MY PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU"


  He pondered long, and watched the darkening space
  Close the red portals whence the hours had run,
  As like young wistful angels, one by one,
  The stars cast timid flowers about His face.
  "Yea, now another scarlet day is done!"
  He cried in anguish, and with sudden grace
  Stretched forth His arms, as though He would erase
  The few, dim embers of the scattered sun.

  "The scarlet day is done, and soon the light
  Will wake again my desecrated skies.
  Oh, that another dawn might never rise!--
  My foolish children!" Through the vast of night
  The young stars shivered in a silver horde
  Before the Infinite Sorrow of their Lord.



THE RECOMPENSE


  When the last song is sung, and the last spark
  Of light dies out forever, and the dark,
  The voiceless dark eternal shrouds the earth;
  When the last cries of pain and shouts of mirth
  Sink in the desolate silences of space;
  Where then shall flower the beauty of your face,
  O Love the laughing, Youth the rose-in-hand,
  In what unknown and undiscovered land
  Shall flower then the beauty of your face?

  I know not but I know that all returns
  At last unchanged, and to the heart that yearns
  Shall be repaid all loneliness and loss.
  Sometime with shadowy sails shall fly across
  The shoreless ocean of infinity
  A ship from out the past, and the great sea
  Of life shall bear you from the strange worlds over
  The waves, and back again to the old lover.

  Yes, in some future far beyond surmise
  You will dream here with half-remembering eyes,
  And I shall write these words, content awhile
  In the slow round of time to see you smile.

       *       *       *       *       *



R. S. MITCHELL



POPPY SONG


I

  Footsteps soft as fall the rose's
  Petals on a dewy lawn,
  Shaken when the wind uncloses
  Golden gateways for the dawn;

  Laughter light as is the swallows'
  Chatter in the evening sky,
  Wafted upward from the hollows
  Where the limpid waters lie;

  Weeping faint as is the willow's
  By the margin of the lake,
  Trembling into tiny billows
  That the silent teardrops make;

  Phantoms fitful and uncertain
  As the pearly autumn rain,
  Sweeping on in cloudy curtain
  Down the wide way of the plain.


II

  Oh, unhappy now to waken
  When the dream had scarce begun!
  Out of gentle twilight taken
  Into realms of burning sun:

  Oh, unhappy now to find me
  Lost 'neath heavens hot with noon;
  All that fairy land behind me;
  Poppy fields and rising moon!

  Drawbridge and portcullis screeching,
  Bugles braying soon and late;
  Who are they that come beseeching,
  Calling at my castle gate?

  Drive them hence, for they encumber
  Days and nights with waking pain;
  Tell them that I lie and slumber
  Under poppies, wet with rain.

  Who art thou that bendest praying
  Over me with clasped palms;
  Dim through surging darkness, saying
  Words of prayer and murmured psalms?

  Who art thou that kneelest weeping
  By the border of my bed?
  Cease thou, for I was but sleeping--
  Dreaming, only, and not dead!


III

  Phantoms flitting and uncertain
  Sweeping round the endless plain;
  Autumn twilight's dusky curtain,
  Drowsy poppies, drenched with rain.



LOVE DREAM


  Strange that on warp and woof of dreams
      Fancy should weave the web of truth,
  And yet this fairy figment seems
      Part of a half-forgotten youth
  Stolen from days I thought were sped
  Out of the world beyond the dead.

  Smiled she not when at the edge
      Of evening we walked alone
  Plucking spring's blossoms from the hedge
      That she might wear them as her own,
  Or do I hold a hopeless tryst
  Here with a shadow, made of mist?

  Now as will crumpled rose leaves, pent
      By fingers we can never know,
  Rouse with the richness of their scent,
      Thoughts of a summer long ago,
  All the expanse of land and sea
  Speaks with a thousand tongues to me.

  'Twas from coast we watched slow form,
      Out of the frosty ocean's breath,
  The blue-gray ramparts of the storm
      Flashing with signal fires of death,
  Whilst with a murmur, far and wide,
  Swept in the low wind with the tide.

  Then, at last, when lips were dumb
      With fear of parting, did we wend
  Along the meadow lanes that come
      From nowhere, and in nothing end,
  And, smiling, kiss, though ill at ease,
  Under the rustling orchard trees.

  But will the promise given keep?
      Can the heart love still when 'tis dead?
  What if the spirit, waked from sleep,
      Never recall the words it said?
  Dwell in a dreamland, or else be
  Lost in life's eternity?



THE ISLAND OF DEATH


  There is an island in a silent sea
      That rises--four, rough, rugged walls--on high
  Above the ocean in calm majesty.
      A mountain of despair against the sky!
      About its summit soaring seagulls fly,
  Or rest them in its lofty cypress trees,
      And greet the black barge bearing those who die
  Upon our earth to everlasting ease
  And pleasant lives that know not man's eternities.

  White halls and palaces their dwellings stand;
      These shadowy souls are all unknown to graves
  And live, faint phantoms in a fairy land
      Of dreams and idleness. They hear the waves
      Sing, and the winds come calling from the caves
  Of night beyond the ocean, and the cry
      Of screaming gulls; stare at each ship that braves
  This wilderness of waters, and glides by
  In awe-struck silence, ever fearing to draw nigh.

  The sun, descending, sows the sea with gold,
      And showers splendour through the fading skies,
  Whilst from the murky waters they behold
      The moon, a shape of silver, slow arise.
      And every evening, as the daylight dies,
  There comes that bark of death, whose white sail seems
      An angel in the dark. A while it lies
  Below them in the harbour, then there gleams
  A new shape on the stairs up to that land of dreams.



FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS


  Then, as the whispering evening crossed the sea,
  Sweeping the waters with her veil of grey,
  Wave-worn and weary of the ocean, we
  Beheld the enchanted island far away--
  Half hidden in the twilight low it lay
  On the horizon like a lazy cloud,
  Its coasts encompassed with long lines of spray.
  We spread the sails and swiftly the ship plowed
  The purple path ahead until the surf sang loud.

  Between the cliffs, by the faint stars, we found
  A gloomy gate, and boldly sailing in,
  Watched the dark mountains slowly closing round,
  And heard faint echoes of the ocean's din
  Melting like spirits' voices, fleet and thin;
  When of a sudden, as we faltered nigh,
  Out of the hills where only night had been
  A mist of minarets and towers high,
  Rose like the yellow light of morning in the sky.

  Gazing we drifted toward that golden bloom
  Of palaces whose light glowed on our sail;
  There we floated wrapped in wild perfume;
  Then music burst upon us in a gale;
  Grave, deep-toned trumpets and the lyre's long wail,
  And farther, the faint sound of singing men.
  We grasped our oars--but slowly, as will pale
  The morning star, the vision faded, then
  The empty dark swept in and all was night again!



THRENODY


  Have you forgotten me,
      O my beloved?
  Have you deserted me
      Now in the autumn?

  See where the swallows fly
      South o'er the ocean:
  Soon will the winter wind
      Sweep the Ægean.

  Up from the vineyard comes
      Music of laughter;
  Far through the valleys they
      Gather the harvest.

  Westward the evening star
      Sinks in the mountains;
  Pale 'neath the rising moon
      Lies Mytilene.

  Here where the headland looks
      Wide o'er the water,
  I have brought laurel leaves,
      Decking your barrow.

  Why do I linger now
      Vainly lamenting?
  O it is lonely, love,--
      Lonely in Lesbos!



HELEN


  Again the voices of the hunting horns
  And the new moon, low lying on the hills,
  Tell that the summer night is on its way.--
  O languid heart, shalt thou much longer watch
  This pale procession of the silent hours
  Melt into shadows of unending years?
  Much longer feed on yearning and despair
  And all the anguish of departed time?
  Tomorrow is as yesterday; today
  No nearer than the morning when there stood
  In Leda's palace, asking for my hand,
  Tall Menelaus with his yellow hair;
  No nearer now than the first time these hands
  Dared linger in caress upon the curls
  Of him whose dark eyes laughed their love to mine.
  'Tis only as if one short, restless sleep
  Lay over the wide chasm of the years
  Beyond which loom lost faith and ruined Troy.
  The night wind brings, as twenty summers since,
  The silver-breasted swallows from the Nile
  To quiet Sparta, nestled in her hills,
  Locked inland from the voices of the sea;
  And far across the porticos I hear
  The ivory shuttle singing in the loom
  'Midst maidens' chatter, as in olden days;
  And men still murmur as they pass me by:
  "Lo, look on her, the wonder of the world,
  Beauteous Helen, Lacedæmon's Queen!"
  I watch them gaze intently on my face
  As they would keep it in their memory
  Forever, and the very while they gaze
  I see the flame of Troy gleam in their eyes.

  I think sometimes I have already passed
  Into the kingdom of untroubled death,
  And wandering lonely amongst them I knew
  In Hellas or that land beyond the seas,
  Behold each shadow as it passes by
  Shrink half involuntarily, and turn,
  And veil its face and vanish in the gloom.
  Whilst out of that dim distance whence my steps
  Are moving and to which they shall return
  After an interval of endless years,
  There comes a voice that calls me from afar:
  "Art thou not Helen, dowered of the gods
  With all that man can covet? Wert thou not
  Created the most beautiful of earth,
  And is not beauty wisdom, wisdom power?
  What hast thou done with their almighty gift?"
  And then, ere I would answer, silence falls
  Around me, and the dark divides, and I
  See the blue twilight on the Spartan hills.



LARGO


  Thou only from this sorrow wert relief,
  Inviolate death, grave deity of rest,
  Wherein all things past somehow seem the best
  That ever could have come to be. Proud grief
  Her lustrous torch hath lighted in this brief
  Dim time before the dark, when the wide west
  Fades where illimitable skies suggest
  Days vanished in the beauty of belief.

  As one unto a battle come, that stands
  Aloof awhile, beholding friend and foe
  Clashing in conflict, till his soul commands
  He, too, prest on whither the bugles blow,
  Lifting his eyes sees over wasted lands
  Life's dust and shadow drifting to and fro.



LAZARUS


  At morn we passed a hall where song
      And dance had been and wine flowed free,
      And where, 'mid wrecks of revelry,
  Had lain the feasters all night long.

  They saw us through the mist of dawn,
      And, turning, called us to their feast--
      The sound of lutes and cymbals ceased--
  But one He fixed His gaze upon.

  In whose wide eyes there seemed to be--
      Behind the laughing, wine-flushed face
      And tilted ivy-crown's gay grace--
  Faint glimpses of Eternity.

  Then sad, the Master bowed His head,
      And, through the rosy twilight, dim,
      Walked up and softly spake to him:
  "Art thou not he that late was dead?"

  The drinker raised his cup on high,
      And murmured: "Priest of Nazareth,
      I am he thou didst raise from death--
  Lo, thus I wait again to die!"



A CRUCIFIX


  This was the cross of God on which men's eyes
    Dwelt with the love of dead divinity,
    As they who by the desolate orient sea
  In battle made their sainted sacrifice,
  Dreaming their boundless striving should devise
    A symbol whereby men might know that he
    Who wins his way on earth to victory,
  Thus in his consummated sorrow dies.

  All things are sacred to that tender sight:
    Time's ancient altars whence strange incense curled
  Innocent to the unknown gods; the light
    Of love is thine; faith's banner is unfurled,
  Even where the farthest watchmen, through the night,
    Call on the cloud-wrapped ramparts of the world.



NEITH


  Somehow the spirit of that day--
      Rain-clouded streets and brooding air--
      Determined me to live and dare,
  Living, to laugh the world away.

  As in a crystal dreamers see
      Out of unwinding mists arise
      The splendors of some paradise
  Woven of gold and ivory;

  Deep in the globe of thought I saw
      Dawn from tempestuous dust that form
      Toward which the endless ages storm
  Uproarious--to break with awe.

  Of all things ignorant, yet wise,
      Sitting enthroned at life's last goal,
      Dividing body from the soul,
  Looking at each with flameless eyes.

  Immutable, unknown, unsung,
      Through triumph and delight unearned,
      Through sorrow undeserved, I learned
  Salvation from thy wordless tongue.

  Then flying the embracing gloom
      Of burnt-out days and parched desire,
      I built my soul an altar fire
  Of laughter in the face of doom.



A FAREWELL


  Nay: by this desolate sea our troubled ways
  Shall separate forever; swift hath sped
  The hour of youth, and yet to hang the head,
  Lamenting lost things of departed days,
  Were only from that shadowland to raise
  A wraith, that whispering of the quiet dead,
  Would mimic the strange life of love; instead,
  Let us relent and hail the past with praise.

  Go, then; and should inevitable fate
  Lead us at last beyond the world of men
  Where laurel and applause content no more,
  Whither the soul takes silence for its mate,
  There might we meet, and, smiling, once again
  Clasp hands and part upon some windy shore.

       *       *       *       *       *



WILLIAM A. NORRIS



OF TOO MUCH SONG


  Sedges, have you sung too much,
      Sedges gray along the shore?
  Can this autumn tempest touch
      Answering chords in you no more?
  Is the summer all forgot?--
      Now the ice is dark and strong
  That has bound you to the spot--
      Did you die of too much song?

  Something in me is a harp
      Played by every wanton breeze.
  Moaning soft and piping sharp
      Are its wondrous melodies.
  Is the playing over-fast
      Though the answer now is strong?
  Like the sedges at the last
      Will it die of too much song?



[WHEREVER MY DREAMS GO]


  Wherever my dreams go, you are always there,
  And you and I have gone to many a land,
  Seeing high hills at dawn and desert sand,
  Temples and mosques and people bowed in prayer.
  We too have prayed in many places where
  Beauty has come as I have clasped your hand,
  And through long silence learned to understand
  The dumb sweet language of your eyes and hair.

  We have been lovers in all fair romances
  Beyond the rising or the sunken sun.
  There have been foes to meet, and I have done
  Great deeds beneath the splendor of your glances....
  And yet I dreamed alone; you could not guess
  What joy you brought into my loneliness.



[OUT OF THE LITTLENESS]


  Out of the littleness that wraps my days,
  The oppressive mist of gray and common things,
  Sometimes my dream on its audacious wings,
  Dripping with golden fire, above the haze,
  Flashes and veers against the sudden blaze
  Of sunlight. There no other wings may gleam
  But only yours, companioning my dream
  In its strange flight up new and radiant ways.

  And once, I thought, in a far solitude,
  The black waves moaned and broke unutterably
  On a stern cliff where hand in hand we stood.
  There were none near us when the dark had gone,--
  Only the clean wind of a sailless sea,
  And you and I alone in the great dawn.



NAHANT


  Last night the sea was an enchanted moan
  And a pale pathway that the moonlight made.
  All night it sorrowed in the dark alone,
  Groping with ghostly fingers, half afraid,
  Up the great rocks and sobbing back again,
  Weary of search, yet still unsatisfied.
  It seemed to have the voice of all dead men
  And all fair women who had ever died.

  But now the sun has risen, and the spray
  Leaps into sudden light along the shore.
  Each little wave has caught a golden ray--
  As if the dawn had never come before.
  Beyond the cliffs brown fishing boats go by
  Under the reach of the wide laughing sky.



QUI SUB LUNA ERRANT


  In a strange land they dwell, too far away
  From sunlight and the common mirth of men
  Ever to come within our casual ken.
  We see them not, but if by chance we stray
  Down cypress aisles when the wan summer day
  Draws to a thin and sickly close, we hear
  Murmur of mad speech by some watery weir
  Or languid laughter and faint sound of play.

  They never see the dawn; like the pale moths
  That haunt lugubrious shadows of dim trees
  They celebrate their lunar mysteries
  At woodland shrines, where with green thyrsus rods
  And weak limbs wrapped in silken sensuous cloths
  They chant the names of their dead pagan gods.



[ACROSS THE TAUT STRINGS]


  Across the taut strings of my yearning soul
  Pass fingers of all fleet and beautiful things:
  Comings of dawn and moonlight glimmerings,
  Mid-summer hush and Sabbath bells that toll
  Over broad fields, a sound of thrushes' wings
  Near sunset hour, a girl with lips apart,
  Wonder and laughter,--these have touched my heart
  And left their music lingering on its strings.

  At twilight of some gray, eventual year,
  A few late friends will turn, with trembling breath,
  From the raw mound of earth that hides my face....
  Yet I shall still find beauty, even in death,
  And some lone traveller of the night will hear
  An echo of music in that quiet place.



ESCAPE


  They danced beneath the stars, a crazy rout
  With antic steps that had some little grace;
  And one leapt high with song and frenzied shout,
  And one ran silent with a gleaming face.

  They danced until the shy moon looking down
  Deemed herself lost above some Grecian glade;
  A mile away the trim New England town
  Echoed the Bacchanalian din they made.

  And still they danced, until the moon sank low,
  Blushing a little, and night's diadem
  Of stars grew pale before the eastern glow....
  And with the dawn their keepers came for them.



ON A STREET CORNER


  But all the time you spoke I did not hear
  The words you said. I only heard a far
  Faint sound of summer waters and a clear
  Calling of music from some lonely star.
  I thought I heard the lisp of falling dew
  In a dark meadow where no breezes stirred....
  Then all at once the noisy street, and you
  Smiling at me because I had not heard!



SEA-BURIAL


  Over the sands the swollen tide came creeping,
  Over the sands beneath the gleaming moon;
  At first it seemed a child's uncertain croon,
  And then a sound of many mourners weeping.
  Then all at once a crested wave was sweeping
  Around the still form in the moonlight there,
  Twining its silver fingers in her hair....
  And yet it could not rouse her from her sleeping.

  With dawn the tide went seaward, bearing her
  In its strong arms that clung so tenderly,
  And laid her in a strange place far away
  Where the tall seaweeds rise and never stir....
  And there she sleeps, while pass alternately
  The brooding night and the green luminous day.

       *       *       *       *       *



DUDLEY POORE



A RENAISSANCE PICTURE


  Calm little figure, ivy-crowned,
  How long beneath the barren tree
  Where this pale, martyred god has found
  Surcease from his long agony,
  You watch with an untroubled gaze
  Life move on its accustomed ways!

  Within your childish heart there dwells
  No sorrow that uprising dims
  Your eye, whence not a teardrop wells
  For pity of those writhen limbs,
  Or for the travail of a race
  Consummate in one lifeless face.

  Though tinkling caravans go by
  Forever over twilight sands,
  With myrrh and cassia laden high
  For other shrines in other lands,
  No weight of grief thereat you know,
  But softly on your pan-pipes blow.

  From what dim mountain have you strayed,
  Where, ringed by the Hellenic seas,
  You dwelt in an untrodden glade
  Sacred to woodland deities,
  Along whose faint paths went at dawn
  Endymion or a dancing faun?

  From groves where sacrificing throngs
  Called you by some fair Grecian name,
  With ritual meet and choric songs,
  Strange, that to this dark hill you came
  To seek, unmindful of their loss,
  A refuge underneath the cross.

  There is some deeper secret lies
  Hidden out of human sight
  In keeping of those tranquil eyes
  That shine with such immortal light,
  And in their shadows gleam and glow
  While still upon your pipes you blow.

  All but inscrutable, your gaze
  Declares your place is even here,
  Sharing this martyr's cup of praise,
  And year by sadly westering year,
  Till the last altar lights grow dim,
  Dividing sovereignty with him.



THE PHILOSOPHER'S GARDEN


  Some strange and exquisite desire
  Has thrilled this flowering almond tree
  Whose branches shake so wistfully,
  Else wherefore does it bloom in fire?
  Why scatter pollen on the air,
  Marry its pale buds each to each,
  The year's unkindly tempests bear,
  Or to the calm clear sunlight reach?

  Yet I can give that hope no name,
  Nor that divine emotion share,
  For, though I see it flowering there,
  Because our speech is not the same
  The passionate secret must lie hid
  Burdened with unexpressed delight,
  Where none of all man's race can bid
  It forth, or voice its beauty right.

  There's nought in earth or heaven knows
  That hope for which our being longs,
  The stars are busied with their songs,
  The universal springtime flows
  From sun to sun in scorn of man,
  Careless if he be quick or dead,
  Or if this earth, as it began,
  Be voiceless and untenanted.



THE TREE OF STARS


  There stands a tree where no man knows,
  And like an earthly tree it grows,
  Save that upon its branches wide
  The earth and all the stars beside,
  The chilly moon and the great sun,
  The little planets, one by one,
  Are hung like fruit to redden there
  And ripen in the heavenly air.

  And when the seeds are round and full
  The watchful gods will come and pull
  The ripened fruit from off the tree;
  And then that heavenly company
  Will bear the shining planets in
  And garner them in a deep bin
  And sort them out, and save the seed
  To plant new trees in time of need.



AFTER RAIN


  All day the heavy skies have lowered,
  Long beaten by autumnal rain;
  The lilac's withered leaves lie showered
  Where little rain-pools star the plain;
  All things that for a season flowered
  Sink back to earth again.

  Strange, then, that with the year's decrease
  And out of gathering dusk you rise
  Seeking love's ultimate surcease,
  Phantom, whose memory-haunted eyes
  Know that there never can be peace
  Hoped-for, till memory dies.

  In vain where these dead leaves lie strown
  Where all things, bending earthward, fail,
  Like a young spirit newly flown,
  Flower-fragile, blossom-like and pale,
  You search; and must fly back, a blown
  Rose leaf on the cold gale.

  You might have rested but for this:
  That love's intense flame burning through
  The shuddering body with a kiss
  Woke in the prisoned spirit, too,
  So keen an ecstasy of bliss
  As could, for all they made amiss,
  Nor life nor death undo.



_COR CORDIUM_


  Deep in a heart, beneath o'er-hanging boughs,
  Love built himself a house,
  And whoso entered in, Love bade him stay,
  Nor ever from that feast to come away
  Dissatisfied or weary of the fare
  Love set him there.

  Forever through the groves and glades
  Kind thoughts went softly to and fro,
  And memories like white-footed maids
  With gentle tread would come and go
  Among the ever-garrulous trees.
  And through the branches overhead
  I know not what sweet spirits strayed,
  Or what commandant spirit led
  Their mazy dances, but one played
  So deftly on a psaltery
  That they for joy must needs keep singing;
  All the chambers of Love's house
  With that sweet minstrelsy were ringing.
  Faces to the windows came,
  Tears to happy eyelids started,
  Feeling, as by sudden flame,
  Their cares and their sad hearts disparted,
  Each old clinging sorrow dead.

  All who ever guested there
  To each other, murmuring, said:
  "In this heart breathes purer air,
  The thoughts that move across this sky
  Have had a more mysterious birth,
  Are lovelier, float more statelily
  Than clouds across the sky of earth."
  All guests within that heart's deep wood,
  All friends together in that house,
  High converse held with an ærial brood,
  With spirit-folk kept delicate carouse;
  None ever turned ungreeted from that door.
  (Sorrow himself was guest a weary while,)
  But yesterday when I passed by once more,
  Met me no welcoming smile,
  Nor any breath the unwavering branch to stir,
  Silent each glad ærial chorister;
  Three drowsy poppies brooded by the wall,
  Lonely and tall.

  Then, as I leaned above their crimson bloom,
  The flower of day grew old and witheréd,
  Night with a sigh sat down beside her loom
  Winding her shuttle with a silver thread.
  Suddenly from the starlit plains of air
  Ethereal tumult, airy tempest blew,
  Immortal music showering everywhere,
  Flashed to the earth in an harmonious dew,
  Leaped jubilant from cloud to craggy cloud,
  Binding the moon in a melodious chain,
  Storming the troubled stars, a luminous crowd,
  Dropping in fiery streaks to earth again.
  From out the windows of God's house
  Faint as a far-echoing wave,
  The angels, bending their calm brows,
  Song for song in answer gave;
  And faster than a falcon flies,
  Thronging spirits in a cluster
  Passed before my dazzled eyes,
  Shedding an ærial lustre,
  Burning with translucent fire,
  Shaking from their dewy wings
  Wild, ineffable desire
  Of starry and immortal things,
  Torturing with delicious pain
  Past telling sweet, the bewildered heart,
  Piercing the poor mortal brain
  With beauty, a keen fiery dart.
  Ah! Even as an oracle
  Whose soul a god has breathed upon,
  The beauteousness unbearable
  Possessed me so all strength was gone.
  Smitten by a barbéd joy,
  My sense with rapturous pain grew dim,
  Joy pierced me as it would destroy.
  Still higher rose the celestial hymn.
  And then of all that starry throng
  That streamed toward the upper sky,
  One spirit darted down again,
  And stood upon a bough near by.
  "Even I unsealed thy sight," he said.
  Alas, that shape I did not know,
  For he was so transfigured,
  So circled by the unearthly glow
  Of his pulsating aureole;
  I who so well the flesh had known
  I did not know the soul.
  With troubled eyes he bended down,
  And all about me where I stood
  Every blossom, every tree,
  All the branches of that wood
  Were trembling in their ecstasy.
  They knew ere I had half divined.
  But at his voice old dreams awoke
  In dusty chambers of the mind,
  And when again he softly spoke
  With sudden tears mine eyes were wet.
  And lowlier still he bent his head:
  "Dost thou, dear friend, not know me yet?"
  "Yes, for I know thy voice," I said.
  "Dear Phantom, this immortal guise,
  This disembodied self of thine,
  Hath dazed mine unacquainted eyes.
  Thou dweller on the steps divine,
  Thou image of a god's desire,
  Thou spark of the celestial flame
  Art fashioned out of wind and fire
  And elements without a name;
  What sacred fingers mingled them
  And trembled with a god's delight?
  Thy body is a burning gem,
  Thy limbs are chrysolite.
  A glory hangs about thy head
  For thou in thine immortal lot
  In heaven's own light art garmented.
  I know thee, yet I know thee not."
  Then he, with shining eyes half shut,
  Radiantly standing there:
  "I did but change my leafy hut
  For a mansion in the air,
  The eerie wood, the enchanted ground,
  The dim, bird-haunted glades we trod,
  Grew all untuneful when I found
  A dwelling in the heart of God.
  I latched the gate at dawn of day,
  I planted poppies by the door,
  To His retreats I came away
  And I shall wander thence no more.
  The windy heights are all my love,
  The spheral lights, the spheral chimes,
  The trailing fires, the hosts that move
  In concourse through sidereal climes;
  I troop with the celestial choirs;
  We have not any wish to be
  Sad pilgrims, torn by sad desires,
  Wayfarers of mortality.
  The husk of flesh we have put by;
  The dark seeds planted in the earth
  Have blossomed in the upper sky,
  In airy gardens have new birth."

  There did he make an end, for O
  Those spirits, singing, darted by again,
  And at the showering sound he trembled so
  I saw his earthly dalliance gave him pain,
  And cried in sorrow, "O my friend, farewell!
  Now from the luminous, paradisal bands,
  Gabriel, Israfel, Ithuriel,
  Beckon to you with their exulting hands."



THE WITHERED LEAF, THE FADED FLOWER BE MINE


  The withered leaf, the faded flower be mine,
  The broken shrine,
  All things that knowing beauty for a day
  Have passed away
  To dwell in the illimitable wood
  Of quietude,
  Undying, radiant, young,
  Passed years among.

  No blighting wind upon their beauty blows,
  The altar glows
  With flames unquenchable and bright
  By day, by night;
  Secure from envious time's deflowering breath
  They know no death,
  But silently, imperishably fair,
  Grow lovelier there.

  He who adores too much the impending hour,
  The budding flower,
  Who knows not with what dyes an hour that's dead
  Is garmented,
  Who walks with glimmering shapes companionless,
  He cannot guess
  With how great love and thankfulness I praise
  The yesterdays.

       *       *       *       *       *



CUTHBERT WRIGHT



THE END OF IT


  We met, and on the decorous drive touched hands,
  "Good-bye; a pleasant trip to you," I said.
  The sunlight slept upon the still uplands,
  Your figure fading in the dusty red
  I watched awhile, then turned with casual face
  To where a torrent glimmered down a glade,
  No human voice troubled the lovely place,
  Only the fall a cruel music made.

  A time I lay and marked with curious stare
  The keen sun-lances quiver on the lawn,
  And thought on shrines all voiceless now and bare,
  The holy genius of their boughs withdrawn,
  Till with hoarse cry the train that you were on
  Stabbed the indifference of the empty air ...

  Then I awoke and knew that you were gone.



THE NEW PLATONIST

_Circa 1640_


  Our loves as flowers fall to dust;
  The noblest singing hath an end;
  No man to his own soul may trust,
  Nor to the kind arms of his friend;
  Yet have I glimpsed by lonely tree,
  Bright baths of immortality.

  My faultless teachers bid me fare
  The cypress path of blood and tears,
  Treading the thorny wold to where
  The painful Cross of Christ appears;
  'Twas on another, sunnier hill
  I met you first, my miracle.

  The painted windows burn and flame
  Up through the music-haunted air;
  These were my gods--and then you came
  With flowers crowned and sun-kissed hair,
  Making this northern river seem
  Some laughter-girdled Grecian stream.

  When the fierce foeman of our race
  Marshals his lords of lust and pride,
  You spring within a moment's space,
  Full-armed and smiling to my side;
  O golden heart! The love you gave me
  Alone has saved and yet will save me.

  Perchance we have no perfect city
  Beyond the wrack of these our wars,
  Till Death alone in sacred pity
  Wash with long sleep our wounds and scars;
  So much the more I praise in measure
  The generous gods for you, my treasure.



THE ROOM OVER THE RIVER


  Good-night, my love, good-night;
  The wan moon holds her lantern high,
  And softly threads with nodding light
  The violet posterns of the sky,
  Below, the tides run swift and bright
  Into the sea.

  Odours and sounds come in to us,
  Faint with the passion of this night,
  One little dream hangs luminous
  Above you in the scented light;
  Roses and mist, stars and bright dew
  Draw down to you.

  How often in the dewy brake,
  I've heard above the sighing weirs,
  The night-bird singing for your sake
  His lonely song of love and tears;
  He too, sad heart, hath turned to rest,
  And sleep is best.

  Flower of my soul! Let us be true
  To youth and love and all delight,
  Clean and refreshed and one with you
  I would be ever as to-night,
  And heed not what the day will bring,
  Nor anything.

  And now the moon is safe away,
  Far off her carriage lampions flare,
  Lost in the sunken roads of day,
  They vanish in the icy air.
  Good-night, my love, good-night,
  Good-night.



THE FIDDLER


  Once more I thought I heard him plain,
  That unseen fiddler in the lane,
  Under the timid twilight moon,
  Playing his visionary strain.

  No other soul was in the place
  As up the hill I came apace;
  Though once I heard him every day,
  I never once have seen his face.

  It was my immemorial year,
  When rhymes came fast and blood beat clear;
  He too, perchance, was then alive,
  Now separate ghosts, we wander here.

  Sometimes his ghostly rondelay
  Broke on my dream at dawn of day,
  And through my open window stole
  The perfumed marvel of the May.

  Sometimes in midnight lanes I heard
  The twitter of a darkling bird,
  As hidden from the ashen moon,
  The pathos of his music stirred.

  O happy time! How goodly seemed
  The dauntless timeless dream I dreamed,
  Those dear imaginary sins,
  The joys that in one torrent streamed.

  When moon and stars go out for aye,
  And I am dead and castaway,
  This autumn city I have loved
  Will know me not, but he will stay.

  In faded suburbs he will play.
  Some other boy's brief morn away,
  Till sapphire windows palely burn
  Amid the undefeated gray.

  And yet--sometimes I seem to know
  I shall not 'scape his phantom bow;
  More paramount than death or pain,
  This ghost will follow where I go.

  In some well-kept untroubled hell
  Where frustrate souls like mine may dwell,
  I shall look up and hear his note
  Coming across the asphodel.

  No shades will gather at his tune
  To dance their ghostly rigadoon,
  Only that lonely voice will cleave
  The everlasting afternoon.



FALSTAFF'S PAGE

_To Reginald Sheffield_


  In blaze of curls and cowslip-colored coat
  He pranks a way before the wheezing Knight.
  Tall Windsor shows no blossom like this wight
  By park or sedgy pool or bearded moat;
  A skylark burbles in that milk-white throat,
  And I have heard him down a singing stream,
  Ere the brute morn shattered my happy dream
  Upon the sill, and weeping I awoke.

  We had a music once; a poesie
  Sweet as a maiden, lissome as this lad,
  Full of rich merriment and gentle joy;

  That other England lives and laughs in thee,
  A peal of morris-music, blithe and glad,
  Thou spray of bloom! Thou flower of a boy!



A DULL SUNDAY

(_After Debussy_)


  It has been a long day,
  A long, long day;
  And now in floods of twilight,
  In long green waves of sunset softly flowing,
  Evening.
  It is evening over the great towns,
  It is evening in our hearts.

  And though the last frail tendrils
  And flowers of incense
  Have long ago uncurled themselves around
  The cynical Cathedral,
  I hear the thin white voices of children,
  Little girls and little boys,
  Calling the name of Jesus
  And His most Sacred Heart,
  Singing about a kind of parish heaven,
  A little walled city, all golden and lilac,
  Like the one seen by François Villon's mother
  In an old, bituminous, smoke-bitten painting
  Of the Middle Ages.

  And in this faith she wished to live and die.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcriber's Note: Untitled poems whose titles are omitted in the body
of the text as originally published have had their conventional "first
line" titles (as seen in the table of contents) added to the body of this
transcription. They are enclosed in square brackets as an indication to
the reader.]





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