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Title: Poems
Author: Stuart, Muriel
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 "Poems" ***

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POEMS


By

MURIEL STUART


  AUTHOR OF
  "CHRIST AT CARNIVAL,"
  "THE COCKPIT OF IDOLS"



1922

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN



SONGS IN CAPTIVITY
  By R. H. Sauter

BALLAD OF THE "ROYAL ANN"
  By Crosbie Garstin

POEMS OF ISAAC ROSENBERG


_LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN_



TO

CHANGE,

THE IMMORTAL FACTOR OF DELIVERANCE



_I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the Editors of_ The English
Review, The New World, Poetry in America, _and to_ Mr. Cecil Palmer,
_for several poems included in this volume_.



CONTENTS


  The Seed Shop
  Man and his Makers
  The New Aspasia
  A Song For Old Love
  Sic Transit
  Mrs. Effingham's Swan Song
  Annunciation
  Boys Bathing
  Lady Hamilton
  White Magic
  In the Orchard
  The Wood and the Shore
  The Tryst
  Leda
  The Harebell
  Words
  Shrift
  The Thief of Beauty
  Forgotten Dead, I Salute You
  Madala Goes by the Orphanage
  Obsession
  Enough
  In Memory of Douglas Vernon Cow
  The Cloudberry
  To ----
  For Fasting Days
  The Father
  Andromeda Unfettered



  THE SEED SHOP.

  Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
  Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
  Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry--
  Meadows and gardens running through my hand.

  Dead that shall quicken at the call of Spring,
  Sleepers to stir beneath June's magic kiss,
  Though birds pass over, unremembering,
  And no bee seek here roses that were his.

  In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams
  A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
  That will drink deeply of a century's streams,
  These lilies shall make summer on my dust.

  Here in their safe and simple house of death,
  Sealed in their shells a million roses leap;
  Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
  And in my hand a forest lies asleep.



  MAN AND HIS MAKERS.

  1.

  I am one of the wind's stories,
  I am a fancy of the rain,--
  A memory of the high noon's glories,
  The hint the sunset had of pain.

  2.

  They dreamed me as they dreamed all other;
  Hawthorn and I, I and the grass,
  With sister shade and phantom brother
  Across their slumber glide and pass.

  3.

  Twilight is in my blood, my being
  Mingles with trees and ferns and stones;
  Thunder and stars my lips are freeing,
  And there is sea-rack in my bones.

  4.

  Those that have dreamed me shall out-wake me,
  But I go hence with flowers and weeds;
  I am no more to those who make me
  Than other drifting fruit and seeds.

  5.

  And though I love them--mourn to leave them--
  Sea, earth and sunset, stars and streams,
  My tears, my passing do not grieve them...
  Other dreams have they, other dreams.



  THE NEW ASPASIA.

  If I have given myself to you and you,
  And if these pale hands are not virginal,
  Nor these bright lips beneath your own lips true,
  What matters it?  I do not stand nor fall
  By your old foolish judgments of desire:
  If this were Helen's way it is not mine;
  I bring you beauty, but no Troys to fire:
  The cup I hold brims not with Borgia's wine.
  You, so soon snared of sudden brows and breasts,
  Lightly you think upon these lips, this hair.
  My thoughts are kinder: you are pity's guests:
  Compassion's bed you share.

  It was not lust delivered me to you;
  I gave my wondering mouth for pity's sake,
  For your strange, sighing lips I did but break
  Many times this bread, and poured this wine anew.
  My body's woven sweetness and kindling hair
  Were given for heal of hurts unknown of me,
  For something I could slake but could not share.
  Sudden and rough and cruel I let you be,
  I gave my body for what the world calls sin,
  Even as for your souls the Nazarene
  Gave once.  Long years in pity I and He
  Have served you--Jesus and the Magdalen.

  As on the river in the fading light
  A rust-red sail across the evening creeps,
  Torching the gloom, and slowly sinks from sight,
  The blood may rise to some old face at night,
  Remembering old sins before it sleeps.
  So might you hence recall me, were I true
  To your sad violence.  Were I not free
  So me you might remember now; but you
  Were no more loved by me
  Than clouds at sunset, or the wild bird going
  About his pleasure on the apple tree,
  Or wide-blown roses swelling to the bee;
  No sweeter than flowers suddenly found growing
  In frost-bound dells, or, on the bare, high hills,
  The gold, unlaced, dew-drunken daffodils
  Shouting the dawn, or the brown river flowing
  Down quietly to the sea;
  Or day in twilight's hair bound safe and dim,
  Stirless in lavender, or the wind blowing,
  Tumbling the poppy's turban after him.

  I knew you as I knew these happy things,
  Passing, unwept, on wide and tranquil wings
  To their own place in nature; below, above
  Transient passion with its stains and stings.
  For this strange pity that you knew not of
  Was neither lust nor love.

  Do not repent, nor pity, nor regret.
  I do not seek your pardon, nor give you mine.
  Pass by, be silent, drop no tears, forget.
  Return not, make no sign
  When I am dead, nor turn your lips away
  From Phryne's silver limbs and Faustine's kiss.
  I need no pity.  No word of pity say.
  I have given a new sweet name and crown to this
  That served men's lust and was Aspasia.



  A SONG FOR OLD LOVE.

  There shall be a song for both of us that day
  Though fools say you have long outlived your songs,
  And when, perhaps, because your hair is grey,
  You go unsung, to whom all praise belongs,
  And no men kiss your hands--your fragile hands
  Folded like empty shells on sea-spurned sands.
  And you that were dawn whereat men shouted once
  Are sunset now, with but one worshipper,
  Then to your twilight heart this song shall be
  Sweeter than those that did your youth announce
  For your brave beautiful spirit is lovelier
  Than once your lovely body was to me.
  Your folded hands and your shut eyelids stir
  A passion that Time has crowned with sanctity.
  Young fools shall wonder why, your youth being over,
  You are so sung still, but your heart will know
  That he who loved your soul was your true lover
  And the last song alone was worthy you.



  SIC TRANSIT--

      "What did she leave?" ...
  Only these hungry miser-words, poor heart!
  Not "Did she love?"  "Did she suffer?"  "Was she sad
  From this green, bright and tossing world to part?"
  No word of "Do they miss her? do they grieve?"
  Only this wolf-thought for the gold she had...
      "What did she leave?"



  MRS. EFFINGHAM'S SWAN SONG.

  I am growing old: I have kept youth too long,
  But I dare not let them know it now.
  I have done the heart of youth a grievous wrong,
  Danced it to dust and drugged it with the rose,
  Forced its reluctant lips to one more vow.
  I have denied the lawful grey,
  So kind, so wise, to settle in my hair;
  I belong no more to April, but September has not taught me her repose.
  I wish I had let myself grow old in the quiet way
  That is so gracious....  I wish I did not care.
  My faded mouth will never flower again,
  Under the paint the wrinkles fret my eyes,
  My hair is dull beneath its henna stain,
  I have come to the last ramparts of disguise.
  And now the day draws on of my defeat.
  I shall not meet
  The swift, male glance across the crowded room,
  Where the chance contact of limbs in passing has
  Its answer in some future fierce embrace.
  I shall sit there in the corners looking on
  With the older women, withered and overblown,
  Who have grown old more graciously than I,
  In a sort of safe and comfortable tomb
  Knitting myself into Eternity.
  And men will talk to me because they are kind,
  Or as cunning or as courtesy demands;
  There will be no hidden question in their eyes
  And no subtle implication in their hands.
  And I shall be so grateful who have been
  So gracious, and so tyrannous, moving between
  Denial and surrender.  To-morrow I shall find
  How women live who have no lovers and no answer for life's
        grey monotonies.
  Upon my table will be no more flowers,
  They will bring me no more flowers till I am dead;
  There will be no violent, sweet, exciting hours,
  No wild things done or said.

  Yet sometimes I'm so tired of it all--
  This everlasting battle with the flesh,
  This pitiful slavery to the body's thrall--
  And then I do not want to lure or charm,
  I want to wear
  Soft, easy things, be comfortable and warm;
  I want to drowse at leisure in my chair.
  I do not want to wear a veil with heavy mesh,
  Or sit in shaded rooms afraid to face the light;
  I do not want to go out every night,
  And be bright and vivid and intense,
  Nor be on the alert and the defence
  With other women, fierce and afraid as I,
  Drawing a knife unseen as each goes by.

  I am so tired of men and making love,
  For every one's the same.
  There's nothing new in love beneath the sun;
  All love can say or do has long been said and done:
  I have eaten the fruit of knowledge long enough,
  Been over-kissed, over-praised and over-won.
  Why should I try to play still the old, foolish game?
  Because I have played the rose's part too long.
  Who plays the rose must pay the rose's price,
  And be a rose or nothing till it dies.
  And even then sometimes the blood will answer fierce and strong
  To the old hunger, to the old dance, old tune;
  I shall feel cruel and passionate and mad
  Though I have lost the look of June.
  The fever of the past will burn my hands
  As men who live long in intemperate lands
  Feel the old ague wring them, far removed
  From the old dreadful glitter of seas and sands.
  The rose dies hard in women who have had
  Lovers all their lives, and have been much loved.

  I am afraid to grow old now even if I would.
  I have fought too well, too long, and what was once
  A foolish trick to make the rose more strangely gay
  Is now a close-locked, mortal conflict of brain and blood--
  A feud too old to settle or renounce.
  I shall grow too tired to struggle, and the fight will end,
  And they will enter in at last--
  Nature and Time, long thwarted of their prey,
  Those old grey two, more cruel for the lips that said them "Nay,"
  For the bitterest foe is he who in the past
  Has been repulsed when he would fain be friend.

  I am sorry for women who are growing old,
  I do not blame them holding youth with shameful hold,
  Or doing desperate things to lips and eyes.
  They have so pitifully short a flowering time,
  So suddenly sweet a story so soon told.
  They only strive to keep what men have taught them most to prize--
  Men who have longer, fuller lives to live,
  Who are not stopped and broken in their prime,
  With their faces still to summer, Men do not know
  What Age says to a woman.  They would not wait
  To feel slip from their hands without a throe,
  Without a struggle, futile and desperate,
  All that has given them wealth and love and power
  Doomed, without hope or rumour of reprieve.
  They would not smile into the eyes of that advancing hour
  Who had bent all summer to their bow, and had flung
  The widest rose and kissed the keenest mouth
  And slept in the lordliest bed when they were young.
  That bitter twilight which sun-worshipping Youth
  Flies headlong keeps Age loitering on the hill,
  Uneager to fold such greyness to his breast,
  Knowing that none will thwart him of his will,
  None be before him on that quest.

  I am growing old.
  I was not always kind when I was young
  To women who were old, for Youth is blind--
  A small, green, bitter thing beneath its fragrant rind,
  And fanged against the old with boisterous tongue--
  Those whose poor morning heads are touched with rime,
  Walking before their misery like kings.
  I did not think that I should feel such stings,
  Nor flinch beneath such arrows.  But now I know.
  One day I shall be stupid and rather slow,
  And easily cowed and troubled in my mind,
  And tremulous, vaguely frightened, feeble and cold.
  I am growing old....  My God! how old, how old! ...
  I dare not tell them, but one day they will know...
  I hope they will be kind.



  ANNUNCIATION.

"The Lord appeared in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush and
behold, the bush burned with fire and the bush was not
consumed."--EXODUS iii. 2.


  When to your virgin heart, unstirred, ungiven,
  Upon the quiet mountain side untrod,
  The sudden naked fire came down from heaven,
  Burning you with the very breath of God,

  Was the sun lost?  Were all the sweet stars dim
  While God raised round your head those walls of light?
  Were you locked dumbly, terribly with Him,
  Within that burning temple day and night?

  What was it to have God there like a bird--
  God like a great, gold flower upon your breast--
  While He spake things that only one man heard,
  Face down before that glory manifest?

  When that strange flame went up the mountain side,
  Were your forsaken lips so burned with gold
  That the creatures of the wild stood off and cried,
  And in your breast no blossom dared unfold?

  Did you call back the startled birds to build,
  And put forth all your simple buds again,
  Forgetting how your branches once were filled,
  In sweet embrace of passing sun and rain?

  Or were all other birds forbidden sing
  After those great, gold plumes had made their nest?
  Was, in its strange and awful blossoming,
  That great, gold flower the last upon your breast?



  BOYS BATHING.

  Round them a fierce, wide, crazy noon
  Heaves with crushed lips and glowing sides
  Against the huge and drowsy sun.
  Beneath them turn the glittering tides
  Where dizzy waters reel with gold,
  And strange, rich trophies sink and rise
  From decks of sunken argosies.
  With shining arms they cleave the cold
  Far reaches of the sea, and beat
  The hissing foam with flash of feet
  Into bright fangs, while breathlessly
  Curls over them the amorous sea.

  Naked they laugh and revel there.
  One shakes the sea-drops from his hair,
  Then, singing, takes the bubbles: one
  Lies couched among the shells, the sands
  Telling gold hours between his hands:
  One floats like sea-wrack in the sun.
  The gods of Youth, the lords of Love,
  Greeks of eternal Thessaly,
  Mocking the powers they know not of,
  Naked and unembraced and free!
  To whom the Siren sings in vain
  To-day, to-morrow who shall be
  The destined sport of gods and men.

  Unseen the immortal ones are here,
  Remembering their mortal loves--
  The strange, sweet flesh, the lips that were
  Frail and most perishably fair.
  Diana leaves her whispering groves,
  And of Actæon dreams and sighs,
  And hears the hounds bay in the wood.
  Oh, Cythera, the trembling blood
  Upon one petal's paling mouth
  Before thee and this noon must rise
  While thou remember Adon's eyes!
  One mournful and complaining shade
  Beyond Avernus bows his head,
  Dreaming of one beloved youth
  Borne from him, lost and dazed and dead,
  Dragged by the nymphs' avenging hair
  Into the sea-bed oozing dim,
  In that cold twilight unaware
  Of each great sunrise over him.

        *      *      *      *      *

  One day, while still these waters run,
  And noon still heaves beneath this sun,
  You shall creep, unremembering,
  Whom Life has humbled and subdued,
  Ruined your bodies, tamed your blood,
  No more the lords of anything.
  But spent and racked with mortal pains,
  The slow tide pushing through your veins,
  Coldly you face this magic shore;
  For you the disenchanted noon
  Scarce haunted is with ghosts that were
  Once, and were you, and are no more.

  Faltering against the wind and sun
  That vainly seek your hair for gold,
  Stubborned with habit, grey and old,
  You know not why you wander here,
  Nor what vague dream pursues you still,
  For Life has taken fullest toll
  Of all your beauty; on each soul
  Love's hand has left his bitter mark,
  Has had of you his utmost will,
  And thrusts you headlong to the dark.

  And colder than these waters are
  The stream that takes your limbs at last:
  Earth's vales and hills drift slowly past...
  One shore far off, and one more far.



  LADY HAMILTON.

  Men wondered why I loved you, and none guessed
  How sweet your slow, divine stupidity,
  Your look of earth, your sense of drowsy rest,
  So rich, so strange, so all unlike my sea.
  After the temper of my sails, my lean
  Tall masts, you were the lure of harbour hours,--
  A sleepy landscape warm and very green,
  Where browsing creatures stare above still flowers.
  These salt hands holding sweetness, the leader led,
  A slave, too happy and too crazed to rule,
  Sea land-locked, brine and honey in one bed,
  And England's man your servant and your fool!
  My banqueting eyes foreswore my waiting ships;
  I was a silly landsman at your lips.



  WHITE MAGIC.

Is it not a wonderful thing to be able to force an astonished plant to
bear rare flowers which are foreign to it ... and to obtain a
marvellous result from sap which, left to itself, would have produced
corollas without beauty?--VIRGIL.


  I stood forlorn and pale,
  Pressed by the cold sand, pinched by the thin grass,
  Last of my race and frail
  Who reigned in beauty once when beauty was,
  Before the rich earth beckoned to the sea,
  Took his salt lips to taste,
  And spread this gradual waste--
  This ruin of flower, this doom of grass and tree.
  Each Spring could scarcely lift
  My brows from the sand drift
  To fill my lips with April as she went,
  Or force my weariness
  To its sad, summer dress:
  On the harsh beach I heard the grey sea rise,
  The ragged grass made ceaseless, dim lament,
  And day and night scarce changed the mournful skies.

  Foot on the sand, a shadow on the sea!
  A face leaned over me.
  Across each wasted limb
  Passed healingly a warm, great, god-like hand.
  I was drawn up to him,
  From my frail feet fell the last grains of sand.
  Then haste and darkness stooped and made me theirs;
  Deep handed me to deep;...
  I faded then as names fade from men's prayers,--
  As a sigh from lips at last made friends with sleep.

  But the same hand that bore me from the sea,
  Waking me tenderly,
  Bound me to a rough stranger of my race,--
  Me weary and pale to him and him to me.
  I turned my piteous face
  Aside ashamed; I struggled to be free.
  I slept, I dreamed, I woke to that embrace! ...

  Sweet tides stole through my veins,
  Strange fires and thrills and pains;
  To my cold lips the bloom crept back once more
  I glowed as a bride glows;
  I watched the days with delicate hands restore
  My kinship with the rose.
  About my throat my hair went like a flame,

  My brows were wreathed, in purple I was dressed,
  I bore a new bride's name,
  A great star burned my breast.
  No longer bound, I leaned the same sweet way
  As even a great Queen may
  Towards her lover.  Now astonished I
  Who was a beggar stand obediently
  Beside Cophetua.



  IN THE ORCHARD.

  "I thought you loved me."  "No, it was only fun."
  "When we stood there, closer than all?"  "Well, the harvest moon
  "Was shining and queer in your hair, and it turned my head."
  "That made you?"  "Yes."  "Just the moon and the light it made
  "Under the tree?"  "Well, your mouth, too."  "Yes, my mouth?"
  "And the quiet there that sang like the drum in the booth.
  "You shouldn't have danced like that."  "Like what?"  "So close,
  "With your head turned up, and the flower in your hair, a rose
  "That smelt all warm."  "I loved you.  I thought you knew
  "I wouldn't have danced like that with any but you."
  "I didn't know.  I thought you knew it was fun."
  "I thought it was love you meant."  "Well, it's done."  "Yes, it's done.
  "I've seen boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown
  "A kitten ... it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down
  "Into the pool while it screamed.  Is that fun, too?"
  "Well, boys are like that ... Your brothers..."  "Yes, I know.
  "But you, so lovely and strong!  Not you!  Not you!"
  "They don't understand it's cruel.  It's only a game."
  "And are girls fun, too?"  "No, still in a way it's the same.
  "It's queer and lovely to have a girl..."  "Go on."
  "It makes you mad for a bit to feel she's your own,
  "And you laugh and kiss her, and maybe you give her a ring,
  "But it's only in fun."  "But I gave you everything."
  "Well, you shouldn't have done it.  You know what a fellow thinks
  "When a girl does that."  "Yes, he talks of her over his drinks
  "And calls her a--"  "Stop that now.  I thought you knew."
  "But it wasn't with anyone else.  It was only you."
  "How did I know?  I thought you wanted it too.
  "I thought you were like the rest.  Well, what's to be done?"
  "To be done?"  "Is it all right?"  "Yes."  "Sure?"  "Yes, but why?"
  "I don't know.  I thought you were going to cry.
  "You said you had something to tell me."  "Yes, I know.
  "It wasn't anything really ... I think I'll go."
  "Yes, it's late.  There's thunder about, a drop of rain
  "Fell on my hand in the dark.  I'll see you again
  "At the dance next week.  You're sure that everything's right?"
  "Yes."  "Well, I'll be going."  "Kiss me..."  "Good night." ...
          "Good night."



  THE WOOD AND THE SHORE.

  The low bay melts into a ring of silver,
  And slips it on the shore's reluctant finger,
  Though in an hour the tide will turn, will tremble,
  Forsaking her because the moon persuades him.
  But the black wood that leans and sighs above her
  No hour can change, no moon can slave nor summon.
  Then comes the dark; on sleepy, shell-strewn beaches,
  O'er long, pale leagues of sand, and cold, clear water
  She hears the tide go out towards the moonlight.
  The wood still leans ... weeping she turns to seek him,
  And his black hair all night is on her bosom.



  THE TRYST.

  I raised the veil, I loosed the bands,
  I took the dead thing from its place.
  Like a warm stream in frozen lands
  My lips went wandering on her face,
      My hands burnt in her hands.

  She could not stay me, being dead;
  Her body here was mine to hold.
  What if her lips had lost their red?
  To me they always tasted cold
      With the cold words she said.

  Did my breath run along her hair,
  And free the pulse, and fire the brain,
  My wild blood wake her wild blood there?
  Her eyelids lifted wide again
      In a blue, sudden stare.

  Beneath my fierce, profane caress
  The whole white length of body moved;
  The drowsy bosom seemed to press
  As if against a breast beloved,
      Then fail for weariness.

  No, not that anguish!  Christ forbid
  That I should raise such dead!  I rose,
  Stifled the mouth with lilies, hid
  Those eyes, and drew the long hair close,
      And shut the coffin lid.

  My cold brow on the cold wood laid,
  Quiet and close to-night we lie.
  No cruel words her lips have said.
  I shall not take nor she deny.
      The dead is with the dead.



  LEDA.

  _Do you remember, Leda?_


  There are those who love, to whom Love brings
  Great gladness: such thing have not I.
  Love looks and has no mercy, brings
  Long doom to others.  Such was I.
  Heart breaking hand upon the lute,
  Touching one note only ... such were you.
  Who shall play now upon that lute
  Long last made musical by you?
  Sharp bird-beak in the swelling fruit,
  Blind frost upon the eyes of flowers.
  Who shall now praise the shrivelled fruit,
  Or raise the eyelids of those flowers?

  I dare not watch that hidden pool,
  Nor see the wild bird's sudden wing
  Lifting the wide, brown, shaken pool,
  But round me falls that secret wing,
  And in that sharp, perverse, sweet pain
  That is half-terror and half-bliss
  My withered hands are curled on pain
  That were so wide once after bliss.
  And gold is springing in my hair
  As my thoughts spring and flower with it,
  Though I sit hid in my grey hair,
  Without love or the pain of it.

  Yet, oh my Swan, if love have wings,
  As the gods tell us, you were love
  Who took and broke me with those wings.
  I, weak, and being far gone in love
  Let blushless things be breathed and done--
  Things flowered out now in bitter fruit
  That once done are no more undone
  Than last year's frost and last year's fruit.

  For what has come of love and me
  Who knew the first joy that loving is?
  Where has love led and beckoned me
  But to the end where nothing is?
  I have seen my blood beat out again
  Red in the hands of all my line,
  My sin has swelled and flowered again
  Corrupt and fierce through Sparta's line.
  Bred through me--bred through delicate hands
  And wandering eyes and wanton lips,
  Sighing after strange flesh as sighed these lips,
  Straying after new sin as strayed these hands.
  Mother of Helen!  She whose breasts
  To new desires unshaped the world;
  Above Troy's summit towered these breasts,
  Helen who wantoned with the world!
  Helen is dead (she had love enough
  To laugh at doom and mock at shrine)
  And Clytemnestra, quiet enough
  To-night beneath Apollo's shrine.
  And I am left, the source, the spring
  Of all their madness.  They are dead
  While I still sit here, the old spring
  That fouled them flows above the dead.

  But I have paid.  I have borne enough.
  I am very old in love and woe.
  For all souls these things are enough--
  Who have known love are the friends of woe.
  There those who love, and who escape,
  There are those who love and do not die.
  I loved, and there was no escape,
  Long since I died and daily die.
  And death alone makes hate and love
  Friends with each other and with sleep...
  All's quiet here that once was love,
  This that is left belongs to sleep.



  THE HAREBELL.

  You give no portent of impermanence
  Though before sun goes you are long gone hence,
  Your bright, inherited crown
  Withered and fallen down.

  It seems that your blue immobility
  Has been for ever, and must for ever be.
  Man seems the unstable thing,
  Fevered and hurrying.

  So free of joy, so prodigal of tears,
  Yet he can hold his fevers seventy years,
  Out-wear sun, rain and frost,
  By which you are soon lost.



  WORDS.

    Is it not brave to be a king, Techelles!--
    Usumcasane and Theridamas,
    Is it not passing brave to be a king,
    And ride in triumph through Persepolis?--MARLOWE.


  Bring the great words that scourge the thundering line
  With lust and slaughter--words that reek of doom
  And the lost battle and the ruined shrine;--
  Words dire and black as midnight on a tomb;
  Hushed speech of waters on the lip of gloom;
  Huge sounds of death and plunder in the night;--
  Words whose vast plumes above the ages meet,
  Girdling the lost, dark centuries in their flight,
  The slave of their unfetterable feet.

  Bring words as pure as rills of earliest Spring
  In some far cranny of the hillside born
  To stitch again the earth's green habiting;--
  Words lonely as the long, blue fields of morn;--
  Words on the wistful lyre of winds forlorn
  To the sad ear of grief from distance blown;
  Thin bleat of fawn and airy babble of birds;
  Sounds of bright water slipping on the stone
  Where the thrilled fountain pipes to woodland words.

  Bring passionate words from noontide's slumber roused,
  To slake the amorous lips of love with fruit,
  Dripping with honey, and with syrups drowsed
  To draw bee-murmurs from the dreaming lute--
  Words gold and mad and headlong in pursuit
  Of laughter; words that are too sweet to say
  And fade, unsaid, upon some rose's mouth;--
  Words soft as winds that ever blow one way,
  The summer way, the long way from the south.

  For such words have high lineage, and were known
  Of Milton once, whose heart on theirs still beats;
  Marlowe hurled forth huge stars to make them crown;
  They are stained still with the dying lips of Keats;
  As queens they trod the cloak in Shakespeare's streets;
  Pale hands of Shelley gently guard their flame;
  Chatterton's heart was burst upon their spears:
  Their dynasty unbroken, and their name
  Music in all men's mouths for all men's ears.

  But now they are lost, their lordliest 'scutcheon stained;
  Upon their ruined walls no trumpet rings;
  Their shrines defiled, their sacraments profaned:
  Men crown the crow, they have given the jackal wings.
  Slaves wear the peplum, beggars ride as kings.
  They couple foolish words and look for birth
  Of mighty emperor, Christ or Avatar,
  They mate with slaves from whom no king comes forth;
  No child is theirs who follow not the Star.

  _Lyric Apollo!  Thou art worshipped still!
  We quest for beauty on Thy hills like hounds,
  Let these poor rhymers babble as they will,
  Filling their pipes with shrill and crazy sounds.
  Poets still praise Thee, music still abounds,
  And Beauty knows the hour of Thy return,
  For the Gods live albeit temples burn,
  Suffer the fools their folly, let them be,
  Wreathing each other with their wreaths of straw,
  Trailing their pageants of the mud; but we
  Await Thy laurel on our brows with awe.
  And if Thou wreathe not, let us still be found
  Thy slaves: Thou dost not bind unworthy things.
  Them hast Thou chained not.  Better heads uncrowned
  Than mock regalia of the rabble's kings!_



  SHRIFT.

  I am not true, but you would pardon this
  If you could see the tortured spirit take
  Its place beside you in the dark, and break
  Your daily food of love and kindliness.
  You'd guess the bitter thing that treachery is,
  Furtive and on its guard, asleep, awake,
  Fearing to sin, yet fearing to forsake,
  And daily giving Christ the Judas kiss.

  But piteous amends I make each day
  To recompense the evil with the good;
  With double pang I play the double part
  Of all you trust and all that I betray.
  What long atonement makes my penitent blood,
  To what sad tryst goes my unfaithful heart!



  THE THIEF OF BEAUTY.

  The mind is Beauty's thief, the poet takes
  The golden spendthrift's trail among the blooms
  Where she stands tossing silver in the lakes,
  And twisting bright swift threads on airy looms.
  Her ring the poppy snatches, and the rose
  With laughter plunders all her gusty plumes.
  He steals behind her, gathering, as she goes
  Heedless of summer's end certain and soon,--
  Of winter rattling at the door of June.

  When Beauty lies hand-folded, pale and still,
  Forsaken of her lovers and her lords,
  And winter keeps cold watch upon the hill
  Then he lets fall his bale of coloured words.
  At frosty midnight June shall rise in flame,
  Move at his magic with her bells and birds;
  The rose will redden as he speaks her name,
  He shall release earth's frozen bosom there,
  And with great words shall cuff the whining air!



  FORGOTTEN DEAD, I SALUTE YOU.

  Dawn has flashed up the startled skies,
  Night has gone out beneath the hill
  Many sweet times; before our eyes
  Dawn makes and unmakes about us still
  The magic that we call the rose.
  The gentle history of the rain
  Has been unfolded, traced and lost
  By the sharp finger-tips of frost;
  Birds in the hawthorn build again;
  The hare makes soft her secret house;
  The wind at tourney comes and goes,
  Spurring the green, unharnessed boughs;
  The moon has waxed fierce and waned dim:
  He knew the beauty of all those
  Last year, and who remembers him?

  Love sometimes walks the waters still,
  Laughter throws back her radiant head;
  Utterly beauty is not gone,
  And wonder is not wholly dead.
  The starry, mortal world rolls on;
  Between sweet sounds and silences,
  With new, strange wines her beakers brim
  He lost his heritage with these
  Last year, and who remembers him?

  None remember him: he lies
  In earth of some strange-sounding place,
  Nameless beneath the nameless skies,
  The wind his only chant, the rain
  The only tears upon his face;
  Far and forgotten utterly
  By living man.  Yet such as he
  Have made it possible and sure
  For other lives to have, to be;
  For men to sleep content, secure.
  Lip touches lip and eyes meet eyes
  Because his heart beats not again:
  His rotting, fruitless body lies
  That sons may grow from other men.

  He gave, as Christ, the life he had--
  The only life desired or known;
  The great, sad sacrifice was made
  For strangers; this forgotten dead
  Went out into the night alone.
  There was his body broken for you,
  There was his blood divinely shed
  That in the earth lie lost and dim.
  Eat, drink, and often as you do,
  For whom he died, remember him.



  MADALA GOES BY THE ORPHANAGE.

  Unaware of its terror,
  And but half aware
  Of the world's beauty near her--
  Of sunlight on the stones,
  And trembling birds in the square,
  Lightly went Madala--
  A rose blown suddenly
  From Spring's gay mouth; part of the Spring was she.
  Warmed to her delicate bones,
  Cool in its linen her skin,
  Her hair up-combed and curled,
  Lightly she flowered on the sin
  And pain of the Spring-struck world.
  Down the street went crazy men,
  The winter misery of their blood
  Budding in new pain
  While beggars whined beside her,
  While the streets' daughters eyed her,--
  Poor flowers that kept midsummer
  With desperate bloom, and thrust
  Stale rose at each newcomer,
  And crime and hunger and lust
  Raged in the noisy dust.
  Lightly went Madala,
  Unshaken still of that spell,
  Coral beads and jade to buy,
  While her thoughts roamed easily--
  Thoughts like bees in lavender,--
  Thoughts gay and fragile as a robin's shell.
  Till suddenly she had come
  To grim age-stubborned wall
  Behind whose mask of bars
  Starts up in shame the Foundlings' Hospital.*
  At the gates to watch her pass
  A caged thing eyed her dumb,
  Most mercifully unaware
  Of its own hurt, but Madala
  Stopped short of Spring that day.
  The air grew pinched and wan,
  A hand came over the sun,
  Birds huddled, stones went grey.
  Her lace and linen white
  Seemed but her body's sin,
  Her flesh unscarred and bright
  Burnt like a leper's skin.

  Her mouth was stale with bread
  Flung her by strangers, she was fed,
  Housed, fathered by the State, and she had grown
  A thing belonging to, and loved by, none.
  Though the shut mouth said no word,
  From the caged thing she heard,
  "Who has wronged me, that this Spring
  "Gives me nothing and you everything,
  "Who alike were made,
  "Who beckon the same dreams?
  "You buy coral and jade,
  "I sew long hungry seams
  "To pay for charity..."
  Then Madala's heart, afraid,
  Cried the first selfish cry:
  "Is it my fault?  Can I
  "Help what the world has done?
  "Can the flower in the shade
  "Blame the flower in the sun?"
  Then quick the caged thing said,
  As if to ask pardon that its words had made
  Madala's spring so spoiled for her that day:
  "But there's a way, a way!
  "If flowers would share their Spring
  "There'd be sunshine enough for all the flowers.
  "Such sunshine you could bring,
  "Such joy that swings and flies
  "With posies your hours through,
  "So just beyond my hours.
  "If I could walk with you--
  "Not in pitiful two by two
  "Flayed by free children's eyes,
  "Your sister for an hour to be,
  "It would double joy and woo
  "Spring back to you, and more than Spring to me."

  Then something quaked in Madala,
  Quaked with magic, quaked with awe.
  Love-quickening, she became a part
  Of this caged thing, she was aware
  Of strange lips tugging at her heart.
  So clear the way was!  Tenderer
  Grew her eyes, and as they grew,
  Back to the flowers rushed the dew,
  The earth filled out with the sun,
  The cold birds in the square
  Unbundled and preened upon
  Their twigs in the softening air;
  The cold wind dwindled and dropped,
  And love and the world were one.
  Nearer drew Madala,
  At the dumb thing she smiled,
  And Spring that a child had stopped
  Came back from the eyes of a child.


* Guilford Street, London, the gates of which face the street.



  OBSESSION.

  I will not have roses in my room again,
  Nor listen to sonnets of Michael Angelo
  To-night nor any night, nor fret my brain
  With all the trouble of things that I should know.
  I will be as other women--come and go
  Careless and free, my own self sure and sane,
  As I was once ... then suddenly you were there
  With your old power ... roses were everywhere
  And I was listening to Michael Angelo.



  ENOUGH.

  _Did he forget?_ ... I do not remember,
  All I had of him once I still have to-day;
  He was lovely to me as the word "amber,"
  As the taste of honey and as the smell of hay.

  What if he forget if I remember?
  What more of love have you than I to say?
  I have and hold him still in the word "amber,"
  Taste of honey brings him, he comes back with the hay.



  IN MEMORY OF DOUGLAS VERNON COW

  This Poem, Dedicated to His Mother.


  To twilight heads comes Death as comes a friend,
  As with the gentle fading of the year
  Fades rose, folds leaf, falls fruit, and to their end
  Unquestioning draw near,
  Their flowering over, and their fruiting done,
  Fulfilled and finished and going down with the sun.

  But for June's heart there is no comforting
  When her full-throated rose
  Still quick with buds, still thrilling to the air,
  By some stray wind is tossed,
  Her swelling grain that goes
  Heavy to harvesting
  In a black gale is lost,
  And her round grape that purpled to the wine
  Is pinched by some chance frost.
  Ah, then cry out for that lost, lovely rose,
  For the stricken wheat, and for the finished vine!
  Such were you who sleep now, who have foregone
  So many of Life's rich secrets almost learned;
  Winning so much, so much as yet unwon,
  Yet to be dared, to discover, to reveal.
  Quick still with ardour, hand still at the wheel
  On wide and unsailed seas, eyes turning still
  Towards the morning, while the keen brain burned
  To the imperative will.

  Upon your summer Death seems to set his heel,
  Writes on the page "No more,"
  And brings the sign of sunset, shuts the door
  And the house is dark and the tired mourners sleep.
  Yet says he too, "Though quiet at last you lie,
  "And have done with laughter and strife and joy and care,
  "You have honour with your peace; and still you keep
  "Fullness of life and of felicity.
  "You have seen the Grail.  What need you of grey hair?
  "There are those who daily die,
  "Who have long out lived their welcome in the world,
  "Who are old and sad and tired and fain to cease
  "From the crowded earth, and the hours in tumult whirled,
  "Urgent and vain.  You are not such as these
  "Who have striven for laurels, and never knew the shade
  "Upon their brows, who would persuade the rose,
  "And never have come near it; till the head
  "Bows and the heart breaks, and the spirit knows
  "Only its failure, dim and featureless,--
  "Its weariness of all things dreamed and done,
  "When love and grief alike seem emptiness
  "And fame and man's unrecognition one."

  The full tide took you.  You went out with the sun,
  Not in the cringing ebb, not in the grey
  And tremulous twilight, when each lonely one
  To its last loneliness must creep away.
  Your genius has won its rich repose,
  Full laurelled, wearing still the unfaded rose.
  And as those who bid good-bye at snowdrop time
  Bear with them broken promises of Spring,
  So you in triumph,--in the glory men had in you,
  In Love's full worshipping,--
  High summer thoughts, untouched of Winter's rime,
  Went forth with honour, having fulfilled your Spring.
  The hands that built you felt you flower from her prayer,
  True to her vision true;
  Fearless and fine, shaped from her fashioning;
  Hands empty now, and yet not all unfilled,
  Having built and fired the generous heart and brain,
  Of the man you were; whose fervent spirit willed
  You to the service and healing and help of men.

  These things are hers, not to be lost nor changed
  With changes of death; for though the body die
  The golden deed is stamped eternally
  With the head of God.  The new and alien years
  Leave it still bright, unaltered, unestranged.
  Almost too proud, and too profound for tears
  Is the high memory that the desolate heart
  Shrines and is dumb, yet may for ever keep
  Unforbidden, the imperishable part,
  And what Love held, awake, he holds, asleep.



  THE CLOUDBERRY.

  Give me no coil of dæmon flowers--
  Pale Messalines that faint and brood
  Through the spent secret twilight hours
  On their strange feasts of blood.

  Give me wild things of moss and peat--
  The gipsy flower that bravely goes,
  The heather's little hard, brown feet,
  And the black eyes of sloes.

  But most of all the cloudberry
  That offers in her clean, white cup
  The melting snows--the cloudberry!
  Where the great winds go up

  To the hushed peak whose shadow fills
  The air with silence calm and wide--
  She lives, the Dian of the hills,
  And the streams course beside.



  TO ----

  Between two common days this day was hung
  When Love went to the ending that was his;
  His seamless robe was rent, his brow was wrung,
  He took at last the sponge's bitter kiss.

  A simple day the dawn had watched unfold
  Before the night had borne the death of love;
  You took the bread I blessed, and love was sold
  Upon your lips, and paid the price thereof.

  I changed then, as when soul from body slips,
  And casts its passion and its pain aside;
  I pledged you with most spiritual lips,
  And gave you hands that you had crucified.
  You who betrayed, kissed, crucified, forgot,
  You walked with Christ, poor fool, and knew it not!



  FOR FASTING DAYS.

  Are you my songs, importunate of praise?
  Be still, remember for your comforting
  That sweeter birds have had less leave to sing
  Before men piped them from their lonely ways.

  Greener leaves than yours are lost in every spring
  Rubies far redder thrust their eager rays
  Into the blindfold dark for many days
  Before men chose them for a finger-ring.

  Sing as you dare, not as men choose, receive not
  The passing fashion's prize, for dole or due--
  Men's summer-sweet unrecognition--grieve not:
  Oh, stoop not to them!  Better far that you
  Should go unsung than sing as you believe not,
  Should go uncrowned than to yourselves untrue.



  THE FATHER.

  The evening found us whom the day had fled,
  Once more in bitter anger, you and I,
  Over some small, some foolish, trivial thing
  Our anger would not decently let die.
  But dragged between us, shamed and shivering,
  Until each other's taunts we scarcely heard,
  Until we lost the sense of all we said,
  And knew not who first spoke the fatal word.
  It seemed that even every kiss we wrung
  We killed at birth with shuddering and hate,
  As if we feared a thing too passionate.
  However close we clung
  One hour, the next hour found us separate,
  Estranged, and Love most bitter on our tongue.
  To-night we quarrelled over one small head,
  Our fruit of last year's maying, the white bud
  Blown from our stormy kisses and the dead
  First rapture of our wild, estranging blood.
  You clutched him: there was panther in your eyes,
  We breathed like beasts in thickets; on the wall
  Our shadows swelled as in huge tyrannies,
  The room grew dark with anger, yet through all
  The shame and hurt and pity of it you were
  Still strangely and imperishably dear,
  As one who loves the wild day none the less
  That turns to naught the lilac's miracle,
  Breaking the unrecapturable spell
  Of the first may-tree, magic and mystery
  Utterly scattering of earth and sky.
  Making even the rose's loveliness
  A thing for pain to be remembered by.

  I said: "My son shall wear his father's sword."
  You said: "Shall hands once blossoms at my breast
  Be stained with blood?"  I answered with a word
  More bitter, and your own, the bitterest,
  Stung me to sullen anger, and I said:
  "My son shall be no coward of his line
  Because his mother choose"; you turned your head,
  And your eyes grew implacable on mine.
  And like a trodden snake you turned to meet
  The foe with sudden hissing ... then you smiled
  And broke our life in pieces at my feet,
  "Your child?" you said.  "_Your_ child?" ...



  ANDROMEDA UNFETTERED.

  ANDROMEDA (the spirit of woman).

  PERSEUS (the new spirit of man).

  CHORUS (1) Women who desire the old thrall.
         (2) Women who crave the new freedom.

The following poem is not a study of the economic struggle of women,
but of the deep-rooted antagonism of spirit which constitutes the
eternal sex-problem.


  ANDROMEDA.

  Chained to the years by the measureless wrong of man,
  Here I hang, here I suffer, here I cry,
  Since the light sprang forth from the dark, and the day began;
  Since the sky was sundered and saved from the sea,
  And the mouth of the beast was warm on the breast of the sod,
  And the birds' feet glittered like rings on the blossoming tree,
  And the rivers ran silver with scales, and the earth was thronged
  With creatures lovely and wild and sane and free;
  Till the Image of God arose from the dust and trod
  Woman and beast and bird into slavery.
  Who has wronged me?  Man who all earth has wronged:
  Who has mocked me?  Man, who made mock of God.

  CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.

      Nay, what do you seek?
      If of men we be chained,
      Our chains be of gold,
      If the fetters we break
      What conquest is gained?
  Shall the hill-top outspread a pavilion more safe than our
          palaces hold?

      Without toil we are fed,
      We have gold to our hire,
      We have kings at our thrall,
      And made smooth is our bed
      For the fools of desire.
  We falter the world with our eyelids, at our laughter men
          scatter and fall.

      What is freedom but danger,
      And death and disaster?
      We are safe: Fool, to crave
      The unknown, the stranger!
  More fettered the back than the burden; man bows; he is slave
          to a slave!

  ANDROMEDA.

  Yes, in most bitter waters have they drowned
  My spirit, and my soul grows grey on sleep!
  What if with wreaths my empty hands are bound?
  I am slave for all their roses, and I keep
  A tryst with cunning, and a troth with tears.
  Time has kissed out my lips, and I am dumb.
  I am so long called fool, I am become
  That fool--of street or shrine.  My body bears
  Burden of men and children.  I have been
  All that man has desired or dreamed of me.
  I have trodden a double-weary way--with Sin,
  Or with Sin's pale, cold sister Chastity.
  I am a thing of twilight.  I am afraid.
  Dull now and tame now; of myself so shamed.
  Fortressed against redemption; visited
  Of the old dream so seldom, as things tamed
  Forget the life that their wild brother leads.
  I am a hurt beast flinching at the light.
  I have been palaced from the sun, and night
  Runs in my blood, and all night's blushless deeds!

  CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.

  Oh world so blind, so dumb to our desiring,--
  To the vague cry and clamour of our being!
  Oh world so dark to our supreme aspiring,--
  To the pitiful strange travail of our freeing!
  We weary not for love and lips to love us;
  These have been ours too often and too long;
  We have been hived too close; too sweet above us
  Tastes the bee's mouth to our honey-wearied tongue.

  Not love, not love!  Love was our first undoing,
  We have lived too long on heart-beats.  None can tame
  The mind's new hunger, famished and pursuing,
  Unleashed, and crying its oppressor's name.

  All that the world could give man's mind inherits:
  Two paths were set us.  Baffled, weeping, yearning,
  Tossed between God and Man, rebellious spirits,
  We wandered, now escaped and unreturning.

  We are arming, waking, terribly unfolding,
  The spent world shudders in a new creation,
  A dread and pitiless flowering beholding,
  Burst from the dark root of our long frustration!

  ANDROMEDA.

  Did God but build this temple for desire
  That man defraud my birthright with a kiss?
  Did he not give me a spirit to aspire
  Beyond man's fortunes and necessities?

  Man chains the thing he fears, who fears the free;
  No wildest beast was tamed as I was tamed,
  No prey has been so tracked, no flesh so shamed;
  Man hunts no quarry as he hunted me.
  Of all the things created one alone
  Rose from the earth his equal; only the might
  Of his brute strength could bid my soul renounce
  Its claim--forswear its just, predestined right.
  To what poor shape of folly am I grown,
  In whom God breathed an equal spirit once!

  CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.

  Oh sheltering arms that have bound you,
  Oh hearts you have shaped to your will!
  The lordliest lovers have crowned you,
  They have knelt as they kneel to you still.

  Why speak you so ill of such lovers,
  Why question the will of such lords?
  For your lips, for your laughter, Love offers
  The world on a litter of swords,

  They have borne for you death and disasters,
  They have held you with kingdoms at stake.
  The kings of the earth and the masters
  Were poets and fools for your sake!

  ANDROMEDA.

  Was I made free for all their swords and songs?
  Do fairest songs sung to caged birds sound sweet?
  Did their spears hold the door whence came my wrongs?
  Did they sing my spirit and the hurt of it?
  There was no battle for my freedom's sake;
  They never sang for pity of me.  Not those
  Who laud it cage the eagle: not those who break
  The delicate stem most deeply love the rose.
  If we have taken the path towards the hills
  They have noosed our feet, they have kennelled us again.
  If we have dared for separate minds and wills,
  We have marched to men's laughter, and the mock of men.
  Oh, lords, if you be strong why fear to raise
  Our groping, pitiful bodies from the dust?
  If you were pre-ordained to shape our ways,
  Why has your power shaped that way so ill?
  Only the hireling master wreaks his will
  On slaves, lest rulers they become at last,
  And his poor hour of pride is waned and passed:
  The rightful lord fears never to be just.

  CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.

  Stars, you run your course unchidden;
  Sun, the sky puts forth no hand
  To constrain you; unforbidden
  Clouds in aery harness stand;
  And unchallenged comes the moon up, bright and slow upon the land.

  Dew, no shadow moves beside you
  To avert your glittering;
  Wind, your race is undenied you;
  Lightning, you have room to spring!
  For the great, free hand of Nature gives sweet leave to everything.

  One great law controls their being,--
  To their utmost bids them rise;
  From the snowdrop, her bell freeing,
  To the bow that leaps the skies;
  For the universal order of the world in freedom lies.

  But one lies here lost and driven
  From the free primeval way,
  From the rights that she was given,
  That she asks of man to-day;
  For her soul has faced her masters, and her spirit stands at bay.

  ANDROMEDA.

  I am the Last Begotten.  I am the Rose
  Flung for the bed of kings.  I am the Cause
  Of this world's ills, its follies and its woes;
  I am the unclean, the carnal, I make men pause
  From God.  I am Sex, and all vain bodily Lust
  That men desire and spit on, and would not lose
  For the bribe of Heaven.  I am the little Dust
  Blown from their bitter mouths.  I am the Way
  Of death.  I am the soiled and spotted One
  Bidden in silence to the Church's feast;
  Yea, of all bitterest foes the crafty priest
  Is mine; no hand has flung a crueller stone;
  Of all oppressors him I most accuse.
  I am the Fool that led the world astray,
  My motherhood the fruits of my first sin.
  I am the Slave to whom sick masters pray.
  I am the Mother.  I am Magdalen.
  I am the Dæmon, I drink at dead men's lips.
  My Grail is blood at midnight.  I am burned
  In witchcraft.  I am the Weal of the world's whips.
  No age has risen that has not seen me scorned.
  I am the Harlot, the Accursed Thing, the Prey;
  Bartered for bread; like cattle willed away;
  Sold at the shambles.  I am the Chastity
  Men breed for spoiling.  I am the Soul at bay.
  I am what men have made and marred of me.

  CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.

  Oh, behold, oh, beware,
  Andromeda! ...
  A wing on the air,
  A step on the sands!
  Oh be silent lest he
  Who is master prepare,
  As of old at your plea,
  A new chain for your hands.

  Oh, behold, oh, beware,
  Andromeda!
  She hears not, her cries
  Still tremble the air.
  O sands, set a snare
  For him.  Merciful skies,
  Uncradle your mist!
  O crag, break your breast
  In murdering stone!
  O lightning, untwist
  Your fang from the cloud!
  O winds, shriek aloud
  Till the sea heave and groan,
  And unlock its white thunder
  Till its legions be hurled,
  And the beach quake thereunder...
  Oh, Fool of the World!

  (PERSEUS _appears on the sands near_ ANDROMEDA.)

  PERSEUS.

  Who crieth with a cry long heard of me?

  ANDROMEDA.

  The rebel spirit of woman that would be free.

  PERSEUS.

  How is she named whose wild lips so crave?

  ANDROMEDA.

  This is the World's Fool.  This is the Slave.

  PERSEUS.

  Who has wronged her?

  ANDROMEDA.

  The ancient spirit of man.

  PERSEUS.

  Long was she chained?

  ANDROMEDA.

  Since the world began.

  PERSEUS.

  Who are her masters?

  ANDROMEDA.

  The lords of pride and of lust.

  PERSEUS.

  Whence comes she?

  ANDROMEDA,

  From dust.

  PERSEUS.

  Where goes she?

  ANDROMEDA.

  To dust!

  CHORUS OF FIRST WOMEN.

  Is he fooled by her hair,
  Is he tranced by her eyes,
  That he draweth him near,
  That he speaketh him wise? ...

  He has spoken again,
  He has taken her hands,
  He has loosened her chain,
  Unfettered she stands!

  PERSEUS.

  Stand there!  Behold the new, uncharted day--
  Not as a fool made sweet for fools to kiss;
  Not as a saint to whom sick masters pray;
  No more the sad shell singing of men's lust;
  No more the sum of priests' pale sophistries;
  But as men stand, unchallenged, equal, free,
  Each path to take and every race to run.
  Stand forth, O shining equal in the sun!
  Unfold, upspring, outblossom from the dust,
  O divinest playfellow even as we!

  ANDROMEDA.

  Where is he who chained me?  I am weak.
  I crouch still, whom the years forbade to stand.
  The chain is still remembered on my neck,
  There are the marks of slaves still in this hand.

  PERSEUS.

  No more shall he who chained you forge that chain;
  He has looked upon Medusa, and has seen
  What he has made of woman.  To him turned
  Is the last face (who shall never see again)
  With its hissing, furious hair, the eyelids burned
  With the eyes' hate, slime where the lips have been,
  That tumbled death upon him like a stone;
  And in your name Medusa smiled and spurned
  A dying face more dreadful than her own.

  ANDROMEDA.

  The shackled feet of centuries cannot keep
  Pace yet with feet that have outstripped the world.
  For the maimed even the riven way is steep.
  I am so strange to greatness, I am hurled
  Unsceptred to my glory!  I am now
  Almost what you have called me, as things take
  The colour of names men give them; as things grow
  Fierce if dubbed fierce, and weak if branded weak,
  And fools if given no name but foolishness.
  I have been branded fool in life and art,--
  Always a little lower, always the less,
  Until the intolerable prompting has grown part
  Of all I do; my labouring brain and heart
  By that self-doubt are shadowed and undone.
  Let me walk long beside you in the sun,
  Race, wrestle with you, grow wise and swift and strong.
  For I shall speak but foolish words at first
  Who was hindered of wisdom since the world began.
  I shall blunder and be so wayward who was nursed
  On fear and folly by the laws of man.

  PERSEUS.

  You shall not be less sweet that you are wise,
  And not less beautiful that you are strong.

  ANDROMEDA.

  I shall not see the scorn leap in your eyes?
  Your wisdom will not do my weakness wrong?

  PERSEUS.

  To the freed soul of woman I make my vow!
  Hand in hand we will walk in the sunrise now,
  No more implacable foes, but face to face,
  As masters of the world, and it shall be
  Under an equal law, with equal grace--
  A world where life is proud and sane and free.

  ANDROMEDA.

  Life must be borne.  Together let us bear it!
  There is no other answer to the vexed,
  Sad problem of the world.

  PERSEUS.

  Together, free of spirit,
  Of body free, one minded, equal sexed.

  ANDROMEDA.

  I claim of man a thousand centuries!
  Shall one poor decade serve to make me wise
  When men have knelt so long at wisdom's knees?

  PERSEUS.

  Till the last day grows dim to the last eyes!

  ANDROMEDA.

  Let us go forth.  Comrade and friend at last.

  PERSEUS.

  Comrade and friend!  For me a new days lies,
  Splendid and strange.  For you the night is passed.

  CHORUS OF SECOND WOMEN.

  They rise, they go forth, foot by foot, hand in hand.
  He goes not before, nor she after; together they stand.
  He is no less though she be the more.  Thus they meet,
  Long sundered whom life made for union, now at rest, now complete.
  They are separate and free, they are woven and one,
  And the world has grown quiet between them the battle is done.
  For this is the dream, the ideal, the designate plan,
  So slow of fulfilment, so sure,--God's prevision of man.
  Shared burden, shared wonder, shared wisdom and strife:
  In their fellowship only is found the perfection, of life.

  FINAL CHORUS.

      From what clear wells of wonder
      Upspringing and upspringing,
      From what rock cleft asunder
      Leaps this stream cool and bright?
      What secret joy thereunder
      Melodiously upflinging
  Its heart in ceaseless music upon the lyre of light?

      To what high aery choiring
      This hour her way is winging,
      Her dewy troth to plight?
      This golden hour aspiring
      Above the glad bells ringing,
  More sweet than sweet birds' music, more fleet than fleet
            birds' flight?

      What joy and hope here clinging,
      With gentle fingers twining
      In wrapt and mystic rite?
      What love unblind is bringing
      Two mortals swift and shining,
  With faces to the morning, with footsteps from the night?



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY WOODS AND SONS, LTD., LONDON, N.1.





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