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Title: Ardours and Endurances - Also a Faun's Holiday & Poems and Phantasies
Author: Nichols, Robert Malise Bowyer
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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  ARDOURS AND ENDURANCES



  [Illustration: _Malcolm Arbuthnot_
                              _1915_]



  ARDOURS AND
  ENDURANCES

  ALSO A FAUN'S HOLIDAY &
  POEMS AND PHANTASIES BY

  ROBERT NICHOLS

  Author of "Invocation: War Poems and Others"

  [Illustration]

  NEW YORK
  FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
  PUBLISHERS



CONTENTS


  BOOK I
  ARDOURS AND ENDURANCES

    THE SUMMONS:                                                  PAGE
       I. To----                                                     4
      II. The Past                                                   5
     III. The Reckoning                                              6

    FAREWELL TO PLACE OF COMFORT                                     7

    THE APPROACH:
       I. In the Grass: Halt by Roadside                            12
      II. The Day's March                                           13
     III. Nearer                                                    15

    BATTLE:
       I. Noon                                                      18
      II. Night Bombardment                                         19
     III. Comrades: An Episode                                      22
      IV. Behind the Lines: Night, France                           27
       V. At the Wars                                               28
      VI. Out of Trenches: The Barn, Twilight                       30
     VII. Battery moving up to a New Position from Rest Camp: Dawn  32
    VIII. Eve of Assault: Infantry going down to Trenches           35
      IX. The Assault                                               37
       X. The Last Morning                                          42
      XI. Fulfilment                                                44

    THE DEAD:
       I. The Burial in Flanders                                    46
      II. Boy                                                       48
     III. Plaint of Friendship by Death Broken                      51
      IV. By the Wood                                               55

    THE AFTERMATH:
       I. At the Ebb                                                58
      II. Alone                                                     60
     III. Thanksgiving                                              61
      IV. Annihilated                                               62
       V. Shut of Night                                             63
      VI. The Full Heart                                            65
     VII. Sonnet: Our Dead                                          66
    VIII. Deliverance                                               67

  BOOK II
  A FAUN'S HOLIDAY                                                  69

  BOOK III
  POEMS AND PHANTASIES

    A TRIPTYCH:
          First Panel: The Hill                                    140
      II. Second and Centre Panel: The Tower                       146
     III. Third Panel: The Tree                                    150

    FOUR SONGS FROM "THE PRINCE OF ORMUZ":
       I. The Prince of Ormuz sings to Badoura                     154
      II. The Song of the Princess Beside the Fountain             155
     III. The Song of the Prince in Disguise                       156
      IV. The Princess Badoura's Last Song to her Lover            157

    THE GIFT OF SONG                                               160

    FRAGMENTS FROM "ORESTES":
       I. Warning Unheeded                                         164
      II. Orestes to the Furies                                    167

    BLACK SONGS:
       I. At Braydon                                               170
      II. Midday on the Edge of the Downs                          172
     III. In Dorsetshire                                           173

    MAN'S ANACREONTIC                                              176

    THE BLACKBIRD                                                  179

    CHANGE                                                         180

    TRANSFIGURATION                                                181

    PLAINT OF PIERROT ILL-USED                                     183

    GIRL'S SONG FROM "THE TAILOR"                                  188

    LAST SONG IN AN OPERA                                          190

    DANAË: MYSTERY IN EIGHT POEMS                                  191

    THE ECSTASY                                                    199

    THE WATER-LILY                                                 201

    DEEM YOU THE ROSES                                             202

    THE PASSION                                                    203

    LAST WORDS                                                     206



My thanks are due to the editor of the _Times_ and of the _Nation_, to
the editors of the _Palatine Review_, and to Messrs. Blackwell, Oxford,
the publishers of "Oxford Poetry, 1915," and "Oxford Poetry, 1916," for
permission to reprint certain of these poems.

                                                           R. M. B. N.
  1917.



INTRODUCTION


1. _Of the nature of the poet_:

"We are (often) so impressed by the power of poetry that we think of it
as something made by a wonderful and unusual person: we do not realize
the fact that all the wonder and marvel is in our own brains, that the
poet is ourselves. He speaks our language better than we do merely
because he is more skilful with it than we are; his skill is part of our
skill, his power of our power; generations of English-speaking men and
women have made us sensible to these things, and our sensibility comes
from the same source that the poet's power of stimulating it comes from.
Given a little more sensitiveness to external stimuli, a little more
power of associating ideas, a co-ordination of the functions of
expression somewhat more apt, a sense of rhythm somewhat keener than the
average--given these things we should be poets, too, even as he is....
_He is one of us._"


2. _Of what English poetry consists_:

"English poetry is not a rhythm of sound, but a rhythm of ideas, and the
flow of attention-stresses (_i.e._, varying qualities of words and
cadence) which determines its beauty is inseparably connected with the
thought; for each of them is a judgment of identity, or a judgment of
relation, or an expression of relation, and not a thing of mere empty
sound.... He who would think of it as a pleasing arrangement of vocal
sounds has missed all chance of ever understanding its meaning. There
awaits him only the barren generalities of a foreign prosody, tedious,
pedantic, fruitless. And he will flounder ceaselessly amid the scattered
timbers of its iambuses, spondees, dactyls, tribrachs, never reaching
the firm ground of truth."

  "AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ENGLISH POETRY,"[1]
  _by_ MARK LIDDELL.

    [1] _Published by Grant Richards (1902). This remarkable book,
    establishing English poetry as a thing governed from within by
    its own necessities, and not by rules of æsthetics imposed on
    it from without, formulates principles which, unperceived,
    have governed English poetry from the earliest times, which
    find their greatest exemplar in Shakespeare, and which, though
    beginning to be realized by the less pedantic of the moderns,
    are in its pages for the first time lucidly expounded
    and--such is their adequacy--can, in the end, only be regarded
    as indubitably proven._--R. M. B. N., 1917.


       *       *       *       *       *



BOOK I

ARDOURS AND ENDURANCES


  TO THE MEMORY OF MY TRUSTY AND GALLANT FRIENDS:
  HAROLD STUART GOUGH (_King's Royal Rifle Corps_)
  AND RICHARD PINSENT (_the Worcester Regiment_)

  "For what is life if measured by the space,
  Not by the act?"

    BEN JONSON.



THE SUMMONS


I.--TO----

  Asleep within the deadest hour of night
  And, turning with the earth, I was aware
  How suddenly the eastern curve was bright,
  As when the sun arises from his lair.
  But not the sun arose: it was thy hair
  Shaken up heaven in tossing leagues of light.

  Since then I know that neither night nor day
  May I escape thee, O my heavenly hell!
  Awake, in dreams, thou springest to waylay
  And should I dare to die, I know full well
  Whose voice would mock me in the mourning bell,
  Whose face would greet me in hell's fiery way.


II.--THE PAST

  How to escape the bondage of the past?
  I fly thee, yet my spirit finds no calms
  Save when she deems her rocked within those arms
  To which, from which she ne'er was caught or cast.

  O sadness of a heart so spent in vain,
  That drank its age's fuel in an hour:
  For whom the whole world burning had not power
  To quick with life the smouldered wick again!


III.--THE RECKONING

  The whole world burns, and with it burns my flesh.
  Arise, thou spirit spent by sterile tears;
  Thine eyes were ardent once, thy looks were fresh,
  Thy brow shone bright amid thy shining peers.
  Fame calls thee not, thou who hast vainly strayed
  So far for her; nor Passion, who in the past
  Gave thee her ghost to wed and to be paid;
  Nor Love, whose anguish only learned to last.

  Honour it is that calls: canst thou forget
  Once thou wert strong? Listen; the solemn call
  Sounds but this once again. Put by regret
  For summons missed, or thou hast missed them all.
  Body is ready, Fortune pleased; O let
  Not the poor Past cost the proud Future's fall.



FAREWELL TO PLACE OF COMFORT



FAREWELL TO PLACE OF COMFORT


  For the last time, maybe, upon the knoll
  I stand. The eve is golden, languid, sad....
  Day like a tragic actor plays his rôle
  To the last whispered word, and falls gold-clad.
  I, too, take leave of all I ever had.

  They shall not say I went with heavy heart:
  Heavy I am, but soon I shall be free;
  I love them all, but O I now depart
  A little sadly, strangely, fearfully,
  As one who goes to try a Mystery.

  The bell is sounding down in Dedham Vale:
  Be still, O bell! too often standing here
  When all the air was tremulous, fine, and pale,
  Thy golden note so calm, so still, so clear,
  Out of my stony heart has struck a tear.

  And now tears are not mine. I have release
  From all the former and the later pain;
  Like the mid-sea I rock in boundless peace,
  Soothed by the charity of the deep sea rain....
  Calm rain! Calm sea! Calm found, long sought in vain.

  O bronzen pines, evening of gold and blue,
  Steep mellow slope, brimmed twilit pools below,
  Hushed trees, still vale dissolving in the dew,
  Farewell! Farewell! There is no more to do.
  We have been happy. Happy now I go.



THE APPROACH


I.--IN THE GRASS: HALT BY ROADSIDE

  In my tired, helpless body
  I feel my sunk heart ache;
  But suddenly, loudly
  The far, the great guns shake.

  Is it sudden terror
  Burdens my heart? My hand
  Flies to my head. I listen....
  And do not understand.

  Is death so near, then?
  From this blaze of light
  Do I plunge suddenly
  Into Vortex? Night?

  Guns again! the quiet
  Shakes at the vengeful voice....
  It is terrible pleasure.
  I do not fear: I rejoice.


II.--THE DAY'S MARCH

  The battery grides and jingles,
  Mile succeeds to mile;
  Shaking the noonday sunshine,
  The guns lunge out awhile,
  And then are still awhile.

  We amble along the highway;
  The reeking, powdery dust
  Ascends and cakes our faces
  With a striped, sweaty crust.

  Under the still sky's violet
  The heat thróbs on the air....
  The white road's dusty radiance
  Assumes a dark glare.

  With a head hot and heavy,
  And eyes that cannot rest,
  And a black heart burning
  In a stifled breast,

  I sit in the saddle,
  I feel the road unroll,
  And keep my senses straightened
  Toward to-morrow's goal.

  There, over unknown meadows
  Which we must reach at last,
  Day and night thunders
  A black and chilly blast.

  Heads forget heaviness,
  Hearts forget spleen,
  For by that mighty winnowing
  Being is blown clean.

  Light in the eyes again,
  Strength in the hand,
  A spirit dares, dies, forgives,
  And can understand!

  And, best! Love comes back again
  After grief and shame,
  And along the wind of death
  Throws a clean flame.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The battery grides and jingles,
  Mile succeeds to mile;
  Suddenly battering the silence
  The guns burst out awhile.

       *       *       *       *       *

  I lift my head and smile.


III.--NEARER

  Nearer and ever nearer....
  My body, tired but tense,
  Hovers 'twixt vague pleasure
  And tremulous confidence.

  Arms to have and to use them
  And a soul to be made
  Worthy if not worthy;
  If afraid, unafraid.

  To endure for a little,
  To endure and have done:
  Men I love about me,
  Over me the sun!

  And should at last suddenly
  Fly the speeding death,
  The four great quarters of heaven
  Receive this little breath.



BATTLE


I.--NOON

  It is midday: the deep trench glares....
  A buzz and blaze of flies....
  The hot wind puffs the giddy airs....
  The great sun rakes the skies.

  No sound in all the stagnant trench
  Where forty standing men
  Endure the sweat and grit and stench,
  Like cattle in a pen.

  Sometimes a sniper's bullet whirs
  Or twangs the whining wire;
  Sometimes a soldier sighs and stirs
  As in hell's frying fire.

  From out a high cool cloud descends
  An aeroplane's far moan....
  The sun strikes down, the thin cloud rends....
  The black speck travels on.

  And sweating, dizzied, isolate
  In the hot trench beneath,
  We bide the next shrewd move of fate
  Be it of life or death.


II.--NIGHT BOMBARDMENT

  Softly in the silence the evening rain descends....
  The soft wind lifts the rain-mist, flurries it, and spends
  Its grief in mournful sighs, drifting from field to field,
  Soaking the draggled sprays which the low hedges wield
  As they labour in the wet and the load of the wind.
  The last light is dimming; night comes on behind.

  I hear no sound but the wind and the rain,
  And trample of horses, loud and lost again
  Where the waggons in the mist rumble dimly on
  Bringing more shell.
                        The last gleam is gone.
  It is not day or night; only the mists unroll
  And blind with their sorrow the sight of my soul.

  I hear the wind weeping in the hollow overhead:
  She goes searching for the forgotten dead
  Hidden in the hedges or trodden into muck
  Under the trenches, or maybe limply stuck
  Somewhere in the branches of a high lonely tree--
  He was a sniper once. They never found his body.

  I see the mist drifting. I hear the wind and rain,
  And on my clammy face the oozed breath of the slain
  Seems to be blowing. Almost I have heard
  In the shuddering drift the lost dead's last word:

  Go home, go home, go to my house;
  Knock at the door, knock hard, arouse
  My wife and the children--that you must do--
  What do you say?--Tell the children, too--
  Knock at the door, knock hard, arouse
  The living. Say: the dead won't come back to this house.
  O ... but it's cold--I soak in the rain--
  Shrapnel found me--I shan't come home again--
  No, not home again!

                        The mourning voices trail
  Away into rain, into darkness ... the pale
  Soughing of the night drifts on in between.

  _The Voices were as if the dead had never been._

  O melancholy heavens, O melancholy fields,
  The glad, full darkness grows complete and shields
  Me from your appeal.
                      With a terrible delight
  I hear far guns low like oxen at the night.
  Flames disrupt the sky.
                        The work is begun.
  "Action!" My guns crash, flame, rock and stun
  Again and again. Soon the soughing night
  Is loud with their clamour and leaps with their light.

  The imperative chorus rises sonorous and fell:
  My heart glows lighted as by fires of hell.
  Sharply I pass the terse orders down.
  The guns blare and rock. The hissing rain is blown
  Athwart the hurtled shell that shrilling, shrilling goes
  Away into the dark, to burst a cloud of rose
  Over German trenches.
                      A pause: I stand and see
  Lifting into the night like founts incessantly
  The pistol-lights' pale spores upon the glimmering air....
  Under them furrowed trenches empty, pallid, bare....
  And rain snowing trenchward ghostly and white.

  O dead in the hedges, sleep ye well to-night!


III.--COMRADES: AN EPISODE

  Before, before he was aware
  The 'Verey' light had risen ... on the air
  It hung glistering....
                    And he could not stay his hand
  From moving to the barbed wire's broken strand.
  A rifle cracked.
                    He fell.
  Night waned. He was alone. A heavy shell
  Whispered itself passing high, high overhead.
  His wound was wet to his hand: for still it bled
  On to the glimmering ground.
  Then with a slow, vain smile his wound he bound,
  Knowing, of course, he'd not see home again--
  Home whose thought he put away.
                                  His men
  Whispered: "Where's Mister Gates?" "Out on the wire."
  "I'll get him," said one....
                          Dawn blinked, and the fire
  Of the Germans heaved up and down the line.
  "Stand to!"
    Too late! "I'll get him." "O the swine!
  When we might get him in yet safe and whole!"
  "Corporal didn't see 'un fall out on patrol,
  Or he'd 'a got 'un." "Sssh!"
                              "No talking there."
  A whisper: "'A went down at the last flare."
  Meanwhile the Maxims toc-toc-tocked; their swish
  Of bullets told death lurked against the wish.
  No hope for him!
                  His corporal, as one shamed,
  Vainly and helplessly his ill-luck blamed.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Then Gates slowly saw the morn
  Break in a rosy peace through the lone thorn
  By which he lay, and felt the dawn-wind pass
  Whispering through the pallid, stalky grass
  Of No-Man's Land....
                        And the tears came
  Scaldingly sweet, more lovely than a flame.
  He closed his eyes: he thought of home
  And grit his teeth. He knew no help could come....

       *       *       *       *       *

  The silent sun over the earth held sway,
  Occasional rifles cracked and far away
  A heedless speck, a 'plane, slid on alone,
  Like a fly traversing a cliff of stone.

  "I must get back," said Gates aloud, and heaved
  At his body. But it lay bereaved
  Of any power. He could not wait till night....
  And he lay still. Blood swam across his sight.
  Then with a groan:
  "No luck ever! Well, I must die alone."

  Occasional rifles cracked. A cloud that shone,
  Gold-rimmed, blackened the sun and then was gone....
  The sun still smiled. The grass sang in its play.
  Someone whistled: "Over the hills and far away."
  Gates watched silently the swift, swift sun
  Burning his life before it was begun....

  Suddenly he heard Corporal Timmins' voice:
      "Now then,
  'Urry up with that tea."
                  "Hi Ginger!" "Bill!" His men!
  Timmins and Jones and Wilkinson (the 'bard'),
  And Hughes and Simpson. It was hard
  Not to see them: Wilkinson, stubby, grim,
  With his "No, sir," "Yes, sir," and the slim
  Simpson: "Indeed, sir?" (while it seemed he winked
  Because his smiling left eye always blinked)
  And Corporal Timmins, straight and blonde and wise,
  With his quiet-scanning, level, hazel eyes;
  And all the others ... tunics that didn't fit....
  A dozen different sorts of eyes. O it
  Was hard to lie there! Yet he must. But no:
  "I've got to die. I'll get to them. I'll go."

  Inch by inch he fought, breathless and mute,
  Dragging his carcase like a famished brute....
  His head was hammering, and his eyes were dim;
  A bloody sweat seemed to ooze out of him
  And freeze along his spine.... Then he'd lie still
  Before another effort of his will
  Took him one nearer yard.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        The parapet was reached.
  He could not rise to it. A lookout screeched:
  "Mr. Gates!"
                Three figures in one breath
  Leaped up. Two figures fell in toppling death;
  And Gates was lifted in. "Who's hit?" said he.
  "Timmins and Jones." "Why did they that for me?--
  I'm gone already!" Gently they laid him prone
  And silently watched.
              He twitched. They heard him moan
  "Why for me?" His eyes roamed round, and none replied.
  "I see it was alone I should have died."
  They shook their heads. Then, "Is the doctor here?"
  "He's coming, sir; he's hurryin', no fear."
  "No good....
                  Lift me." They lifted him.
  He smiled and held his arms out to the dim,
  And in a moment passed beyond their ken,
  Hearing him whisper, "O my men, my men!"

    IN HOSPITAL, LONDON,
      _Autumn, 1915_.


IV.--BEHIND THE LINES: NIGHT, FRANCE

  At the cross-roads I halt
  And stand stock-still....
  The linked and flickering constellations climb
  Slowly the spread black heaven's immensity.

  The wind wanders like a thought at fault.

  Within the close-shuttered cottage nigh
  I hear--while its fearful, ag'd master sleeps like the dead--
  A slow clock chime
  With solemn thrill
  The most sombre hour of time,
  And see stand in the cottage's garden chill
  The two white crosses, one at each grave's head....

  O France, France, France! I loved you, love you still;
  But, Oh! why took you not my life instead?


V.--AT THE WARS

  Now that I am ta'en away,
  And may not see another day,
  What is it to my eye appears?
  What sound rings in my stricken ears?
  Not even the voice of any friend
  Or eyes beloved-world-without-end,
  But scenes and sounds of the countryside
  In far England across the tide:
  An upland field when Spring's begun,
  Mellow beneath the evening sun....
  A circle of loose and lichened wall
  Over which seven red pines fall....
  An orchard of wizen blossoming trees
  Wherein the nesting chaffinches
  Begin again the self-same song
  All the late April day-time long....
  Paths that lead a shelving course
  Between the chalk scarp and the gorse
  By English downs; and, O! too well
  I hear the hidden, clanking bell
  Of wandering sheep.... I see the brown
  Twilight of the huge empty down....
  Soon blotted out! for now a lane
  Glitters with warmth of May-time rain,
  And on a shooting briar I see
  A yellow bird who sings to me.

  O yellow-hammer, once I heard
  Thy yaffle when no other bird
  Could to my sunk heart comfort bring;
  But now I would not have thee sing,
  So sharp thy note is with the pain
  Of England I may not see again!
  Yet sing thy song: there answereth
  Deep in me a voice which saith:
  "_The gorse upon the twilit down,
  The English loam so sunset brown,
  The bowed pines and the sheep-bells' clamour,
  The wet, lit lane and the yellow-hammer,
  The orchard and the chaffinch song,
  Only to the Brave belong.
  And he shall lose their joy for aye
  If their price he cannot pay,
  Who shall find them dearer far
  Enriched by blood after long War._"


VI.--OUT OF TRENCHES: THE BARN, TWILIGHT

  In the raftered barn we lie,
  Sprawl, scrawl postcards, laugh and speak--
  Just mere men a trifle weary,
  Worn in heart, a trifle weak:
  Because alway
  At close of day
  Thought steals to England far away....
  "Alf!" "O ay."
  "Gi' us a tune, mate." "Well, wot say?"
  "Swipe 'The Policeman's 'Oliday'...."
  "_Tiddle-iddle-um-tum_,
  _Tum_-TUM."

  Sprawling on my aching back,
  Think I nought; but I am glad--
  Dear, rare lads of pick and pack!
  Aie me too! I'm sad.... I'm sad:
  Some must die
  (Maybe I):
  O pray it take them suddenly!
  "Bill!" "Wot ho!"
  "Concertina: let it go--
  'If you were the Only Girl.'" "Cheero!"
  "_If you were the Only Girl._"

  Damn. 'Abide with Me....' Not now!--
  Well ... if you must: just your way.
  It racks me till the tears nigh flow.
  The tune see-saws. I turn, I pray
  Behind my hand,
  Shaken, unmanned,
  In groans that God may understand:
  Miracle!
  "Let, let them all survive this hell."
  Hear 'Trumpeter, what are you sounding?' swell.
  (My God! I guess indeed too well:
  The broken heart, eyes front, proud knell!)
  Grant but mine sound with their farewell.
  "_It's the Last Post I'm sounding._"


VII.--BATTERY MOVING UP TO A NEW POSITION FROM REST CAMP: DAWN


  Not a sign of life we rouse
  In any square close-shuttered house
  That flanks the road we amble down
  Toward far trenches through the town.

  The dark, snow-slushy, empty street....
  Tingle of frost in brow and feet....
  Horse-breath goes dimly up like smoke.
  No sound but the smacking stroke

  Of a sergeant flings each arm
  Out and across to keep him warm,
  And the sudden splashing crack
  Of ice-pools broken by our track.

  More dark houses, yet no sign
  Of life.... An axle's creak and whine....
  The splash of hooves, the strain of trace....
  Clatter: we cross the market place.

  Deep quiet again, and on we lurch
  Under the shadow of a church:
  Its tower ascends, fog-wreathed and grim;
  Within its aisles a light burns dim....

  When, marvellous! from overhead,
  Like abrupt speech of one deemed dead,
  Speech-moved by some Superior Will,
  A bell tolls thrice and then is still.

  And suddenly I know that now
  The priest within, with shining brow,
  Lifts high the small round of the Host.
  The server's tingling bell is lost

  In clash of the greater overhead.
  Peace like a wave descends, is spread,
  While watch the peasants' reverent eyes....

  The bell's boom trembles, hangs, and dies.

  O people who bow down to see
  The Miracle of Calvary,
  The bitter and the glorious,
  Bow down, bow down and pray for us.

  Once more our anguished way we take
  Toward our Golgotha, to make
  For all our lovers sacrifice.
  Again the troubled bell tolls thrice.

  And slowly, slowly, lifted up
  Dazzles the overflowing cup.

  O worshipping, fond multitude,
  Remember us too, and our blood.

  Turn hearts to us as we go by,
  Salute those about to die,
  Plead for them, the deep bell toll:
  Their sacrifice must soon be whole.

  Entreat you for such hearts as break
  With the premonitory ache
  Of bodies, whose feet, hands, and side,
  Must soon be torn, pierced, crucified.

  Sue for them and all of us
  Who the world over suffer thus,
  Who have scarce time for prayer indeed,
  Who only march and die and bleed.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The town is left, the road leads on,
  Bluely glaring in the sun,
  Toward where in the sunrise gate
  Death, honour, and fierce battle wait.


VIII.--EVE OF ASSAULT: INFANTRY GOING DOWN TO TRENCHES

  Downward slopes the wild red sun.
  We lie around a waiting gun;
  Soon we shall load and fire and load.
  But, hark! a sound beats down the road.

  "'Ello! wot's up?" "Let's 'ave a look!"
  "Come on, Ginger, drop that book!"
  "Wot an 'ell of bloody noise!"
  "It's the Yorks and Lancs, meboys!"

  So we crowd: hear, watch them come--
  One man drubbing on a drum,
  A crazy, high mouth-organ blowing,
  Tin cans rattling, cat-calls, crowing....

  And above their rhythmic feet
  A whirl of shrilling loud and sweet,
  Round mouths whistling in unison;
  Shouts: "'O's goin' to out the 'Un?

  "Back us up, mates!" "Gawd, we will!"
  "'Eave them shells at Kaiser Bill!"
  "Art from Lancashire, melad?"
  "Gi' 'en a cheer, boys; make 'en glad."

  "'Ip 'urrah!" "Give Fritz the chuck."
  "Good ol' bloody Yorks!" "Good-luck!"
  "Cheer!"
            I cannot cheer or speak
  Lest my voice, my heart must break.


IX.--THE ASSAULT

     NOTE.--(1) "Zero" is the hour agreed upon by the Staff when
     the infantry are to go over the parapet and advance to the
     assault. (2) Guns are said to "lift" when, after pounding the
     front line of the enemy, they lengthen their range and set up
     a barrier of fire behind his front line to prevent supports
     moving up. Our infantry then advance.

  The beating of the guns grows louder.
  "_Not long, boys, now._"
  My heart burns whiter, fearfuller, prouder.
  Hurricanes grow
  As guns redouble their fire.
  Through the shaken periscope peeping,
  I glimpse their wire:
  Black earth, fountains of earth rise, leaping,
  Spouting like shocks of meeting waves.
  Death's fountains are playing.
  Shells like shrieking birds rush over;
  Crash and din rises higher.
  A stream of lead raves
  Over us from the left ... (we safe under cover!)
  Crash! Reverberation! Crash!
  Acrid smoke billowing. Flash upon flash.
  Black smoke drifting. The German line
  Vanishes in confusion, smoke. Cries, and cry
  Of our men, "_Gah, yer swine!
  Ye're for it_" die
  In a hurricane of shell.

  One cry:
  "_We're comin' soon! look out!_"
  There is opened hell
  Over there; fragments fly,
  Rifles and bits of men whirled at the sky:
  Dust, smoke, thunder! A sudden bout
  Of machine guns chattering....
  And redoubled battering,
  As if in fury at their daring!...

  No good staring.

  Time soon now ... home ... house on a sunny hill....
  Gone like a flickered page:
  Time soon now ... zero ... will engage....

  A sudden thrill--
  "Fix bayonets!"
  Gods! we have our fill
  Of fear, hysteria, exultation, rage,
  Rage to kill.

  My heart burns hot, whiter and whiter,
  Contracts tighter and tighter,
  Until I stifle with the will
  Long forged, now used
  (Though utterly strained)--
  O pounding heart,
  Baffled, confused,
  Heart panged, head singing, dizzily pained--
  To do my part.

  Blindness a moment. Sick.
  There the men are!
  Bayonets ready: click!
  Time goes quick;
  A stumbled prayer ... somehow a blazing star
  In a blue night ... where?
  Again prayer.
  The tongue trips. Start:
  How's time? Soon now. Two minutes or less.
  The gun's fury mounting higher....
  Their utmost. I lift a silent hand. Unseen I bless
  Those hearts will follow me.
  And beautifully,
  Now beautifully my will grips.
  Soul calm and round and filmed and white!

  A shout: "Men, no such order as retire"
  I nod.
          The whistle's 'twixt my lips....
  I catch
  A wan, worn smile at me.
  Dear men!
  The pale wrist-watch....
  The quiet hand ticks on amid the din.
  The guns again
  Rise to a last fury, to a rage, a lust:
  Kill! Pound! Kill! Pound! Pound!
  Now comes the thrust!
  My part ... dizziness ... will ... but trust
  These men. The great guns rise;
  Their fury seems to burst the earth and skies!

  They lift.

  Gather, heart, all thoughts that drift;
  Be steel, soul,
  Compress thyself
  Into a round, bright whole.
  I cannot speak.

  Time. Time!

  I hear my whistle shriek,
  Between teeth set;
  I fling an arm up,
  Scramble up the grime
  Over the parapet!
  I'm up. Go on.
  Something meets us.
  Head down into the storm that greets us.
  A wail.
  Lights. Blurr.
  Gone.
  On, on. Le[)a]d. Le[)a]d. Hail.
  Spatter. Whirr! Whirr!
  "_Toward that patch of brown;
  Direction left._" Bullets a stream.
  Devouring thought crying in a dream.
  Men, crumpled, going down....
  Go on. Go.
  Deafness. Numbness. The loudening tornado.
  Bullets. Mud. Stumbling and skating.
  My voice's strangled shout:
  "_Steady pace, boys!_"
  The still light: gladness.
  "_Look, sir. Look out!_"
  Ha! ha! Bunched figures waiting.
  Revolver levelled quick!
  Flick! Flick!
  Red as blood.
  Germans. Germans.
  Good! O good!
  Cool madness.


X.--THE LAST MORNING

  Come now, O Death,
  While I am proud,
  While joy and awe are breath,
  And heart beats loud!

  While all around me stand
  Men that I love,
  The wind blares aloud, the grand
  Sun wheels above.

  Naked I stand to-day
  Before my doom,
  Welcome what comes my way,
  Whatever come.

  What is there more to ask
  Than that I have?--
  Companions, love, a task,
  And a deep grave!

  Come then, Eternity,
  If thou my lot;
  Having been thus, I cannot be
  As if I had not.

  Naked I wait my doom!
  Earth enough shroud!
  Death, in thy narrow room
  Man can lie proud!


XI.--FULFILMENT

  Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
  Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
  Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir
  More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.

  Faces cheerful, full of whimsical mirth,
  Lined by the wind, burned by the sun;
  Bodies enraptured by the abounding earth,
  As whose children we are brethren: one.

  And any moment may descend hot death
  To shatter limbs! pulp, tear, blast
  Beloved soldiers who love rough life and breath
  Not less for dying faithful to the last.

  O the fading eyes, the grimed face turned bony,
  Oped mouth gushing, fallen head,
  Lessening pressure of a hand shrunk, clammed, and stony!
  O sudden spasm, release of the dead!

  Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
  Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
  O loved, living, dying, heroic soldier,
  All, all, my joy, my grief, my love, are thine!



THE DEAD


I.--THE BURIAL IN FLANDERS

(H. S. G., YPRES, 1916)

  Through the light rain I think I see them going,
  Through the light rain under the muffled skies;
  Across the fields a stealthy wet wind wanders,
  The mist bedews their tunics, dizzies their brains.

  Shoulder-high, khaki shoulder by shoulder,
  They bear my Boy upon his last journey.
  Night is closing. The wind sighs, ebbs, and falters....
  They totter dreaming, deem they see his face.

  Even as Vikings of old their slaughtered leader
  Upon their shoulders, so now bear they on
  All that remains of Boy, my friend, their leader,
  An officer who died for them under the dawn.

  O that I were there that I might carry,
  Might share that bitter load in grief, in pride!...
  I see upon bronze faces love, submission,
  And a dumb sorrow for that cheerful Boy.

  Now they arrive. The priest repeats the service.
  The drifting rain obscures.
                              They are dispersed.
  The dying sun streams out: a moment's radiance;
  The still, wet, glistening grave; the trod sward steaming.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Sudden great guns startle, echoing on the silence.
  Thunder. Thunder.
  HE HAS FALLEN IN BATTLE.
  (O Boy! Boy!)
  Lessening now. The rain
  Patters anew. Far guns rumble and shudder
  And night descends upon the desolate plain.

    LAWFORD,
      _September, 1916_.


II.--BOY

  In a far field, away from England, lies
  A Boy I friended with a care like love;
  All day the wide earth aches, the cold wind cries,
  The melancholy clouds drive on above.

  There, separate from him by a little span,
  Two eagle cousins, generous, reckless, free,
  Two Grenfells, lie, and my Boy is made man,
  One with these elder knights of chivalry.

  Boy, who expected not this dreadful day,
  Yet leaped, a soldier, at the sudden call,
  Drank as your fathers, deeper though than they,
  The soldier's cup of anguish, blood, and gall,

  Not now as friend, but as a soldier, I
  Salute you fallen; for the Soldier's name
  Our greatest honour is, if worthily
  These wayward hearts assume and bear the same:

  The Soldier's is a name none recognize,
  Saving his fellows. Deeds are all his flower.
  He lives, he toils, he suffers, and he dies,
  And if not all in vain this is his dower:

  The Soldier is the Martyr of a nation,
  Expresses but is subject to its will;
  His is the Pride ennobles Resignation,
  As his the rebel Spirit-to-fulfil.

  Anonymous, he takes his country's name,
  Becomes its blindest vassal--though its lord
  By force of arms; its shame is called his shame,
  As its the glory gathered by his sword.

  Lonely he is: he has nor friend nor lover,
  Sith in his body he is dedicate....
  His comrades only share his life, or offer
  Their further deeds to one more heart oblate.

  Living, he's made an 'Argument Beyond'
  For others' peace; but when hot wars have birth,
  For all his brothers' safety becomes bond
  To Fate or Whatsoever sways this Earth.

  Dying, his mangled body, to inter it,
  He doth bequeath him into comrade hands;
  His soul he renders to some Captain Spirit
  That knows, admires, pities, and understands!

  All this you knew by that which doth reside
  Deeper than learning; by apprehension
  Of ancient, dark, and melancholy pride
  You were a Soldier true, and died as one.

  All day the cold wind cries, the clouds unroll;
  But to the cloud and wind I cry, "Be still!"
  What need of comfort has the heroic soul?
  What soldier finds a soldier's grave is chill?

    LAWFORD,
      _September, 1916_.


III.--PLAINT OF FRIENDSHIP BY DEATH BROKEN

(R. P., LOOS, 1915)

  God, if Thou livest, Thine eye on me bend,
  And stay my grief and bring my pain to end:
  Pain for my lost, the deepest, rarest friend
      _Man ever had, whence groweth this despair_.

  I had a friend: but, O! he is now dead;
  I had a vision: for which he has bled:
  I had happiness: but it is fled.
      _God help me now, for I must needs despair._

  His eyes were dark and sad, yet never sad;
  In them moved sombre figures sable-clad;
  They were the deepest eyes man ever had,
      They were my solemn joy--_now my despair_.

  In my perpetual night they on me look,
  Reading me slowly; and I cannot brook
  Their silent beauty, for nor crack nor nook
      Can cover me but they shall find me there.

  His face was straight, his mouth was wide yet trim;
  His hair was tangled black, and through its dim
  Softness his perplexed hand would writhe and swim--
      Hands that were small on arms strong-knit yet spare.

  He stood no taller than our common span,
  Swam but nor farther leaped nor faster ran;
  I know him spirit now, who seemed a man.
      _God help me now, for I must needs despair._

  His voice was low and clear, yet it could rise
  And beat in indignation at the skies;
  Then no man dared to meet his fire-filled eyes,
      And even I, his own friend, did not dare.

  With humorous wistfulness he spoke to us,
  Yet there was something more mysterious,
  Beyond his words or silence, glorious:
      I know not what, but we could feel it there.

  I mind now how we sat one winter night
  While past his open window raced the bright
  Snow-torrent golden in the hot firelight....
      I see him smiling at the streamered air.

  I watched him to the open window go,
  And lean long smiling, whispering to the snow,
  Play with his hands amid the fiery flow
      And when he turned it flamed amid his hair.

  Without arose a sudden bell's huge clang
  Until a thousand bells in answer rang
  And midnight Oxford hummed and reeled and sang
      Under the whitening fury of the air.

  His figure standing in the fiery room....
  Behind him the snow seething through the gloom....
  The great bells shaking, thundering out their doom....
      Soft Fiery Snow and Night his being were.

  Yet he could be simply glad and take his choice,
  Walking spring woods, mimicking each bird voice;
  When he was glad we learned how to rejoice:
      If the birds sing, 'tis to my spite they dare.

  All women loved him, yet his mother won
  His tenderness alone, for Moon and Sun
  And Rain were for him sister, brother, lovèd one,
      And in their life he took an equal share.

  Strength he had, too; strength of unrusted will
  Buttressed his natural charity, and ill
  Fared it with him who sought his good to kill:
      He was its Prince and Champion anywhere.

  Yet he had weakness, for he burned too fast;
  And his unrecked-of body at the last
  He in impatience on the bayonets cast,
      Body whose spirit had outsoared them there.

  I had a friend, but, O! he is now dead.
  Fate would not let me follow where he led.
  In him I had happiness. But he is dead.
      _God help me now, for I must needs despair._

  God, if Thou livest, and indeed didst send
  Thine only Son to be to all a Friend,
  Bid His dark, pitying eyes upon me bend,
      And His hand heal, or _I must needs despair_.

    IN HOSPITAL,
      _Autumn_, 1915.


IV.--BY THE WOOD

  How still the day is, and the air how bright!
  A thrush sings and is silent in the wood;
  The hillside sleeps dizzy with heat and light;
  A rhythmic murmur fills the quietude;
  A woodpecker prolongs his leisured flight,
  Rising and falling on the solitude.

  But there are those who far from yon wood lie,
  Buried within the trench where all were found.
  A weight of mould oppresses every eye,
  Within that cabin close their limbs are bound,
  And there they rot amid the long profound,
  Disastrous silence of grey earth and sky.

  These once, too, rested where now rests but one,
  Who scarce can lift his panged and heavy head,
  Who drinks in grief the hot light of the sun,
  Whose eyes watch dully the green branches spread,
  Who feels his currents ever slowlier run,
  Whose lips repeat a silent '... Dead! all dead!'

  O youths to come shall drink air warm and bright,
  Shall hear the bird cry in the sunny wood,
  All my Young England fell to-day in fight:
  That bird, that wood, was ransomed by our blood!

  I pray you when the drum rolls let your mood
  Be worthy of our deaths and your delight.

    1916.



THE AFTERMATH


I.--AT THE EBB

  Alone upon the monotonous ocean's verge
  I take my stand, and view with heavy eye
  The grey wave rise. I hear its sullen surge,
  Its bubbling rush and sudden downward sigh....

  My friends are dead ... there fades from me the light
  Of her warm face I loved; upon me stare
  In the dull noon or deadest hour of night
  The smiling lips and chill eyes of Despair.

  A light wind blows.... I hear the low wave steal
  In and collapse like a despondent breath.
  My life has ebbed: I neither see nor feel:
  I am suspended between life and death.

  Again the wave caves in. O, I am worn
  Smoother than any pebble on the beach!
  I would dissolve to that whence I was born,
  Or alway bide beyond the long wave's reach.

  O Will, thou only strengthener of man's heart
  When all is gone--love and the love of friends,
  When even Earth's comfort has become a part
  Of that futility nor breaks nor mends:

  Strengthen me now against these utmost wrongs;
  Stay my wrecked spirit within thy control,
  That men may find some fury in my songs
  Which, like strong wine, shall fortify the soul.

    BENEATH GOLD CAP,
      _June_, 1916.


II.--ALONE

  The grey wind and the grey sea
  Tossing under the long grey sky....
  My heart is lonelier than the wind;
  My heart is emptier than the sky,
  And beats more heavily
  Than the cold surge beneath the gull,
  Wheeling with his reiterant cry
  Of loneliness.... All, all is lone:
  Alone!...
            And so am I.


III.--THANKSGIVING

  Amazement fills my heart to-night,
  Amaze and awful fears;
  I am a ship that sees no light,
  But blindly onward steers.

  Flung toward heaven's toppling rage,
  Sunk between steep and steep,
  A lost and wondrous fight I wage
  With the embattled deep.

  I neither know nor care at length
  Where drives the storm about;
  Only I summon all my strength
  And swear to ride it out.

  Yet give I thanks; despite these wars,
  My ship--though blindly blown,
  Long lost to sun or moon or stars--
  Still stands up alone.
  I need no trust in borrowed spars;
  My strength is yet my own.


IV.--ANNIHILATED

  Upon the sweltering sea's enormous round,
  Asmoke, adazzle, brown and brown and gold,
  A hushed light falls....
                      Then clouds without a sound
  Darken the sea within their curtain's fold.

  The sombre clouds through which the sick sun climbs
  Smoke slowly on. Below there is no breath.
  The long black beach turns livid.
                                    The sea chimes.
  I taste the fulness of my spirit's death.


V.--SHUT OF NIGHT

  The sea darkens. Waves roar and rush.
  The wind rises. The last birds haste.
  One star over eve's bitter flush
  Spills on the spouting waste.

  Loud and louder the darkened sea.
  The wind shrills on a monotone.
  Sky and deep, wrecked confusedly,
  Travail and cry as one.

  Long I look on the deepening sky,
  The chill star, the forlorn sea breaking;
  For what does my spirit cry?
  For what is my heart so aching?

  Is it home? but I have no home.
  Is it tears? but I no more weep.
  Is it love? love went by dumb.
  Is it sleep? but I would not sleep.

  Must I fare, then, in fear and fever
  On a journey become thrice far--
  Whose sun has gone down for ever,
  Whose night brings no guiding star?

  The wind roars, and an ashen beam
  Waving up shrinks away in haste.
  The waves crash. The star's trickling gleam
  Travels the warring waste.

  I look up. In the windy height
  The lone orb, serene and afar,
  Shakes with excess of her light....

  Beauty, be thou my star!


VI.--THE FULL HEART

  Alone on the shore in the pause of the night-time
  I stand and I hear the long wind blow light;
  I view the constellations quietly, quietly burning;
  I hear the wave fall in the hush of the night.

  Long after I am dead, ended this bitter journey,
  Many another whose heart holds no light
  Shall your solemn sweetness, hush, awe, and comfort,
  O my companions, Wind, Waters, Stars, and Night.

    NEAR GOLD CAP,
      1916.


VII.--SONNET: OUR DEAD

  They have not gone from us. O no! they are
  The inmost essence of each thing that is
  Perfect for us; they flame in every star;
  The trees are emerald with their presences.
  They are not gone from us; they do not roam
  The flaw and turmoil of the lower deep,
  But have now made the whole wide world their home,
  And in its loveliness themselves they steep.

  They fail not ever; theirs is the diurn
  Splendour of sunny hill and forest grave;
  In every rainbow's glittering drop they burn;
  They dazzle in the massed clouds' architrave;
  They chant on every wind, and they return
  In the long roll of any deep blue wave.


VIII.--DELIVERANCE

  Out of the Night! out of the Night I come:
  Free at last: the whole world is my home:
  I have lost self: I look not on myself again,
  But if I do I see a man among men.

  Out of the Night! out of the Night, O Flesh:
  Soul I know not from Body within thy mesh:
  Accepting all that is, I cannot divide the same:
  I accept the smoke because I accept the flame.

  Out of the Night! out of the Night, O Friends:
  O all my dead, think ye our friendship ends?
  Harold, Kenneth, Dick, many hearts that were true,
  While I breathe breath, I am breathing you.

  Out of the Night! out of the Night, O Power:
  Many a fight to be won, many an awful hour;
  Many an hour to wish death ere I go to death,
  Many an hour to bless breath ere I cease from breath.

  Out of the Night! out of the Night, O Soul:
  Give thanks to the Night: Night and Day are the Whole.
  I count mere life-breath nothing now I know Life's worth
  Lies all in spending! that known, love Life and Earth.


       *       *       *       *       *



BOOK II

A FAUN'S HOLIDAY


  TO MY BROTHER
  PHILIP NICHOLS


  '_O Fantaisie, emporte-moi sur tes ailes pour désennuyer
  ma tristesse!_'

    FLAUBERT.


    Roughly planned in Spring, 1914, at Oxford. "Midday in
    Arcadia" composed July, 1914; "Catch for Spring" adapted from
    version of 1912 during the same month: both at Grayshott.
    Taken up again in February, 1916, continued at the Hut, Bray,
    and, after being frequently interrupted, finished on February
    18, 1917, at Ilsington.

    The author intends the "hulli" and the "lulli" of the Faun's
    call in 'Faun's Rally' to be pronounced as if they rhymed with
    such a word as "fully."



A FAUN'S HOLIDAY


I

  Hark! a sound. Is it I sleep?                         _Of the Faun's
  Wake I? or do my senses keep                            Awakening._
  Commune yet with thoughtful night
  And dream they feel, not see, the light
  That, with a chord as if a lyre
  Were upward swept by tongues of fire,
  Spreads in all-seeing majesty
  Over crag, dale, curved shore, and sea?

  If this be sleep, I do not sleep.
  I hear the little woodnote weep
  Of a shy, darkling bird which cries
  In a sweet-fluted, sharp surprise
  At glimpse of me, the faun-beast, sleeping
  Nigh under her. My crook'd leg, sweeping
  Some dream away, perhaps, awoke her,
  For dew shook from a bough doth soak her.

  And all elsewhere how still it is!--
  The mist beyond the precipice
  Smokes gently up. The bushes hang
  Over the gulph 'cross which I sprang
  Last midnight,--though the unicorn,
  Who with clanged hooves and lowered horn
  Raging pursued, now hidden lies
  Amid the cragside dewberries
  And sweats his frosty flanks in sleep,
  Dreaming he views again my leap
  Thrice hazardous.
                    The silver chasm
  Sighs, and many a blithe phantasm
  Turns in the sunlight's quivering ray.
  I couch in peace. Thoughts fond and gay
  Feed on my sense of maiden hours
  And earth refreshed by suns and showers
  Of nightly dew and heavy quiet.--
  Though last night rang with dinning riot:
  Dionysos in headlong mood
  Ranged through the labyrinthine wood;
  Fleet maids sped, yelping, on with him,
  Brandishing a torn heifer's limb,
  Dissonant cymbals, or black bowl
  Of wine and blood; a wolfish howl
  Fled ululant with them....
                              Now there is
  Depth, the white mist, the great sun, peace.

  Too numb such sunshine!--Let me hence                 _Of the Faun's
  Out of the solemn imminence                            Descent from
  Of yon chill spire whose shadow creeps                the Mountain._
  Toward me from the stagnant deeps
  Of the ravine. For now I will
  Descend and take again my fill
  Of fancy wild and musing joy,
  Such as each dawn brings to alloy
  The long affliction of a spirit
  Who a complete world did inherit,
  And feels it crumbling.
                          I will down
  Whither twin bluffs of sheer stone frown
  Over sunk seas of billowing pine
  Terrace on terrace, line on line,
  Below whose heads the broad downs slope
  Away, away till senses grope
  At something rather felt than seen:
  The sea,--not wave-tops, but a sheen
  Under the dazed and distant sky....
  Curled on a cliff-top let me lie.
  (For yonder, hap, a breeze is blowing,
  And the sun's first gleam is showing
  Under far wreckage: since our height
  Inherits day while yet their light
  Quakes gold under the low clouds' rift.)
  Down, then! Miraculously swift
  These limbs the gods have given me!...
  Couched mid the gorse, anon I see,
  Opposing this my bluff, the face
  Of the sheer rock, and 'long it trace
  A sill scarce ample for a goat,
  Yet midway in the ledge-path note
  A cave's mouth, which thick creepers hide
  Fallen in a silvery tide
  From a slant crevice overhead.
  And, lo! the creeper stirs, is shed--
  And all falls quiet.
                        Till at last
  Issues a voice deep, young and vast:


II

    _Centaur._ Up! the ag'd centaurs lie yet sleeping,
  While crouch I palled of this cavern lair              THE CENTAUR'S
  And watch the stretched sea-eagle sweeping             MORNING SONG.
  Down the grey-blue drizzling air.
  The sea-nymphs, too, will now be waking,
  If sickle-eyed they have not played
  Across the moonlight sets me aching,
  Longing and slinking, half afraid,
  Down the feathery, tawny sand
  On sighing tread
  Deep into banks of glistering shell,
  To halt in dread
  Lest my hoof-scrunch break the spell
  Of the syren-chants that swell
  From the dim shoals toward the land.

  But this morn the breeze is blowing
  Freshly: I hear lightly flowing
  From the bending giant beam
  Bars the forehead of our door
  The golden raindrops in a stream
  Pattering on the steamy floor.

    _Faun._ It is the Centaur's voice I hear!
  Young and lusty, deep and clear:
  And the Panisks at his voice
  In their fastnesses rejoice,
  Emerging from the creviced crag
  Or cave beneath the mountain's jag,
  Merry, shaggy, light of hoof,
  To run along the narrow roof,
  And upon the shelvèd height
  Dance before the swimming light.

    _Centaur._ And I see upon the ledge,
  Astir over the hanging edge,                           THE CENTAUR'S
  A russet briar cold with dew                           MORNING SONG
  And beyond, forlornly pent                             (_continued_)
  In a grey cloud's gliding rent,
  A pure pool of the brightest blue:
  So near it seems I've but to cast
  A flint out on the forward vast
  To mark it flashing blithely through!

  And now at last!
  At last
  The great Sun,
  The Sudden One,
  Stamps upon the cloudy floor;
  The heavens are split, and through the floor
  Heaven's golden treasures tumbling pour....
  And the Sun himself, divine,
  Doth descend
  In such a bursting blaze of shine
  That his glorious hair is shook
  Over the wide world's craggiest end!
  And, even I, I dare not look.

       *       *       *       *       *

  I will shout! I will ramp!
  Just three bounds: then out and stamp
  Where the air like water is
  Eddying up over the precipice;--
  Wind with an edge to it, sea-damp,
  Blowing from the canyon's race
  Where the dripping sea-wind heaves
  Through a tunnel of the rocks
  Sea-water up in thunderous sheaves
  Against the precipitous water-rapids,
  To whip from off th' high-hurtled shocks
  Bursts of mist which soak the leaves
  Of each scented bush that cleaves
  To the cliffs. Till Fauns and Lapiths
  Dance in the sun-bewildered brakes,
  Till even flushed Silenus wakes,
  And--with a short deep-throated troll
  To the wind and to the wine,
  Both delirious, both divine!--
  Starts, as he drains the tilted bowl,
  At din, to rolling uproar grown,
  Of rocks dislodged and bounding down,
  With splinter of pines and flint-shocked flashes,
  From the ridge whereon we dance
  In a loud exuberance
  Of rattling hoofs whose echoes drown
  The squealing joy or reedy pining
  Of Pan's pipe, where Pan reclining
  Plays in the clouded mountain's crown!


III

    _Faun._ It is the Centaur's voice I hear.
  The creeper tresses toss with fear,                  _The Faun hails
  Then part before a pow'rful hand.                     the Centaur._
  See, see, O see the Centaur stand
  With ruggëd head erect and proud,
  Whose rounded mouth yet chants aloud
  The Joy of Mind fulfilled in Force:
  Glory of Man, glory of Horse.

  Hail thou, the sov'reign of the hill!
  Hail thou, upon whose locks distil
  Fresh dews when mid majestic night
  Thou pacest, hid, along the height.
  Thine are the solitudes of snow
  Between bare peaks, thy hooves also
  Are heard within the dusk defile
  Where Titans of a sunless while
  Fashioned huge sphinxes in whose eyes
  The Kite now skulks or, girding, cries.
  Thine, too, the sole and sinking pine
  Burned by the sunset--ay, and thine
  The ledges whence a sudden sift
  Of snow sighs downward, thine the swift
  Uproar of avalanche and all
  The mountain echoes. To thee call,
  When the snow melts and there are seen
  Crocuses blazing mid the green
  Of the dewed grass, the Sylvan folk:
  The Dryads from the leafless oak
  Or budded elder, that at length
  Thou mayst release them by the strength
  Of thy tough fingers; 'tis on thee
  The nymphs cry should the runnels be
  Exhausted of the midsummer sun,
  Sith, stamping, thou canst make to run
  The hoarded waters of the wold.
  And among men thou art of old
  Thought's emblem: for to thee belong
  All gifts of deep, wise, epic song.
  Hail, then, whom Earth and mankind hails.
  And Ocean, whose high-spouting whales
  And dripping serpents, that arise
  Swinging their gold crests to the skies
  To drink in all thy bold descant
  Hail, though they cannot view thee chant,
  As I who now behold in sooth
  Thy lighted eyes and singing mouth.

  O grape-hung locks! glorious face,                 _Of the Centaur's
  Capacious frame, sinewy grace                           Beauty._
  Of arm that lifts a skully lyre
  Whose dithyramb whirls ever higher!
  Deep breast-bone, belly, curvèd thews--
  Such as the tussling oak doth use
  Upon the crumbled scarp to grip--
  Striking from trunk down through the hip
  Into the stallion's massive shoulders
  Glossy as moonlit ice-bound boulders!
  Stiff, stalwart forelegs, heavy hoof
  Yet fleeter far on heights aloof
  Than ev'n such doubled hares as race
  Blue 'thwart dim fells, or, speck in space,
  Osprey, gale-swept across the tides!
  Thy man's trunk glisters; on thy sides
  A soft and silver shagginess,
  Inviting slim hands to caress,
  Hangs dewy----

    _Centaur._      Faun, Faun, art thou near?

    _Faun._ Behold me stand, proud Centaur, here
  Upon the bluff where 'neath me lies
  The sunned pool of the precipice.

    _Centaur._ Faun, in my veins the blood 'gins race,
  The new sun sweats upon my face,                            _Of the
  Dazzles my pupils, golden swims                            Centaur's
  Over my flushed and fervid limbs.                           Ardour._
  I feel in me my spirit rise
  Griffon-like flogging up tall skies.
  Now is the Morning of the World,
  And through my heart a flood is hurled
  Of onerous joyance, of desire
  To clutch the sun and spill its fire
  Down heaven's blue bulwarks! to snatch life
  And drain its lusty full in strife
  Of all my body with the bent
  Wrestle of every element:
  Close with the whirlwind, front the tide
  And turn its moony press aside.

  But in the world I cannot find
  A match in strength, a foe in mind....
  At dawn, at eve the waters burn;
  All night the constellations turn
  Round the dark pole, and none knows why....
  None seeks to know save only I
  And thou, O Faun. We are alone....
  Yet sometimes, when the wind is gone
  And all below shines sunned and still,
  I feel depart from me the will
  Merely to know, to know and wait:
  I would do more: I would create.
  Though what I know not; but I would
  Spend this my mind and hardihood.
  Yet find no means save physic force:--
  Sing as a man, stride as a horse.
  Then stride I? Swift I overcome
  The fleetest. Sing I? All are dumb.
  Natheless my heart demands in grief
  Ardour, endurance and relief;
  Asks, but receives not.

    _Faun._               Shall not I
  Echo thy pain, whom Fates deny
  Answer to thought,--as they to thee
  The lust-of-action's fill? But we
  Accept too much, O Sire. 'Twere best,
  Though idly, to fulfil our zest.

  Four leagues this canyon runs between                     _Of the
  Us twain or ever there is seen                           Challenge._
  The arch of rock whose massy grace
  Bridges yon gap of golden space.
  Deignest thou, then, to race with me
  From such tall eyries to the sea,
  If even now I upward leap?

    _Centaur._ Leap then! I catch thee e'er the steep
  Subsides in woodland or in down.


IV

  Away! My rapping footfalls drown                       _And of the
  All but the sobbing of the wind                         Manner of
  Within my ears and loud behind                         the Running._
  The thunder of the Centaur's hooves
  Where, like a hailstorm, down he moves.
  Past me the spun pines rock and hiss,
  Behind my feet stones pelted whizz,
  Hills rise before me, backward flow,
  The bare downs, bright'ning, mount below....
  On. On. Down. Down. But, ah, no more!
  My breath comes keener than the frore
  Indraught of age-long mountain frost;
  My head turns dizzy, feet are lost.
  Yet scamper feet! A rock--a mound:
  Rap! Rap! I soar it at a bound.
  On. On. Down. Down. A sudden brook,
  And now--in mid-air--lo! there look
  Laughingly up at me the eyes
  Of Hyads, and their fading cries
  Ring in my ears. Can they have seen
  The Centaur hurtle by between
  Them and the clouds? The downs up-fly.
  Now earth's bowl rocks and reels the sky
  And through my chilly flaming tears
  The molten sun swoops, bursts, and veers....

  Still rap my hoofs, though but the sound
  Tells me they yet rocket the ground.
  The uproar loudens more behind.
  My crook'd legs cross, my eyes go blind.
  I claw the sky: for, O! I can
  Scarce lurch. I feel the sudden fan
  Of the great Centaur's galey breath
  Upon my nape, and like chill death
  His hand descends. But, ah! he laughs
  Even as Bacchus when he quaffs
  In jest or taunt a double bowl.
  I, choking, reel, and, tripping, roll                      _The Faun
  Wildly aside. See! as I fall                                 falls._
  A rampant shape majestical
  Storms vehement by, and, storming, swings
  Hand across rushing lyre, which rings
  To strains, like rolling breakers tossed
  High o'er an adamantine coast,
  In praise of elemental Mirth,
  Strength, Beauty and the Golden Earth!


V

  Beyond the rocks, below the trees,                         _Of Downs
  The great downs lie; nought but the breeze                  beloved
  Is heard upon them. All day long                            by Pan._
  The shadows of the great clouds throng
  Across their sides: a noiseless rout.
  Sometimes a peewit, blown about
  By airy surge, cries a lone cry
  Ere hurtled down the clarid sky;
  Sometimes is heard a shepherd's voice
  Shouting, and after it the noise
  Of many-pattering crowded sheep
  Herded within the gay dog's keep,
  Who also, barking, shouts. Save these
  Nought breaks the breezy silences
  Of the green sun-swept, cloud-swept spaces....

  Such downs Pan loves, and ofttime places
  His lonely altars on them.
                            I
  One of such now behold. A high
  Mound bears it, and its nakedness
  Of festal fruit and fragrant dress
  Hints 'tis new-built.
                        Up, then, and sound
  A rally to the sacred ground:

    _Faun._ Come ye, merry shepherds all,
            Hulli-lulli-li-lo!                           FAUN'S RALLY.
  Listen to my piping call:
            Hulli-li-lo!
  Hasten to Pan's festival;
            Leave your sheep.
  Cannot Pan a shrewd watch keep
            O'er his own?
  Safe are they as pent in stall;
  Safe are they, for Pan has thrown
  Fear about them like a wall.

  Wherefore, shepherds, hither run.

  I have set my pipes to lip;
  Now they cry despondingly
  As mid shaken locks I dip.
  Now shrill--as hark!--I lift them high
  To swirl the tune about the sky!
  Up and down and round the sky
  Till want I further force to blow....
  Wherefore, shepherds, hither run,
  Dance behind me as I skip;
  Strike the tóssed támbours in únison,
  Dance, dance and make to dance the sun
  To your Hulli-li-lo!

    _Shepherds._ Faun, I come. I hear. We hear--

    _Faun._ This my Hulli-li-lo:
  Now afar and now anear.

    _Shepherds._ Never sped the midnight deer
  Half so fast
  'Fore Diana's star-ringed spear
  As now haste we to appear
  At thy Hulli-li-lo!

    _Faun._ Joy, O shepherds, at the sound:
            Hulli-lulli-li-lo!
  Pan's new altar I have found:
            Hulli-li-lo!
  Cowslips prank its holy mound,
  With ivy have I wreathed it round--
            But not yet
  Is the altar's dress complete
  Till with flowers its horns are bound.

    _Shepherds._ Faun, we hear, and from the brook
  Flags are pulled; and now we hook
  Honeysuckle high, low
  Down to us with shepherd's crook;
  Breathing floss,
  Clematis twines, rushy stook,
  Apple blossom, down is shook
  At thy Hulli-li-lo!

    _Faun._ Wreathe the pedestal anew;
            Hulli-lulli-li-lo!
  Scatter violets scattering dew;
            Hulli-li-lo!
  Honey that the brown bees brew
  Pour, and rosy blossoms strew;
            Spill such wine
  As in dim-bloomed clusters grew
  On your father's father's vine.
  Dance you now.
  I my pipe cease--thus--to blow:
  Dance you on.
  Dance about the sacred mound,
  Dance when every sound is gone....
  Now the timbrels softly, sprightly
  Beat, and foot it gaily, lightly;
  Tiptoe o'er the secret ground,
  Dance the round.

  Next, to the sole, trilling flute
  And your own subduèd laughter
  Flutter all in throngs and mazes,
  Chase in streams of ardent faces,
  With bright eyes and oped mouth mute.
  Now alone,
  One by one,
  Dance and dream, and dreaming float
  Till the multitude drifts after,
  And I wake a quicker note:
  Clap your hands aloft and cry;
  Surge in line tumultuously;
  Cry, and with a whirl of voices
  Fright the pigeons whickering by!
  Praise the God of field and fold!
  Shout until the hills have told,
  By their sudden echoes flying,
  Flying, crying, falling, dying,
  That upon his name we call,
  Who beside the river lying
  Hears us keep his festival.


VI

  Wearied of solitary hills,                          _The Faun enters
  On which the wannish sunlight spills,                  the Valley._
  And which the glooms of high clouds cross,
  Clouds wandering ever at a loss
  About th' immeasurable sky,
  I will descend. And by-and-by
  Glimpse beneath the shouldered down
  A hamlet reeking golden-brown;
  Creep through a willow copse to view
  Under an orchard avenue,
  A lithe girl in a sun-splashed smock
  Calling her perchëd pigeon flock,
  And as they coo and flutter over
  Laughing and carolling of her lover.

    _Girl._ '_Little pigeon, grave and fleet_'--
  All the golden grain you'd eat,
  Greedy! let the little bird
  Pick some. Sweet, your cooing's heard;
  You shall have this. There! Be bolder:
  Light you now upon my shoulder....
  Cooroo? Cooroo in my ear?
  Darling, yes, I hear, I hear:
  From this hand, then, you shall pluck it.
  Foolish love! your wings have struck it,
  Spilt the grain the grass among.
  --Flutter! Flutter!--where's my song?
  '_Little pigeon, grave and fleet_'--
  Too late now your wings you beat
  By my face: look in the ground;
  There, they say, all gold is found.

  Little pigeon, grave and fleet,                     THE PIGEON SONG.
    Eye-of-fire, sweet Snowy-wings,
  Think you that you can discover
    On what great green down my lover
  Lies by his sunny sheep and sings?

  If you can, O go and greet
    Him from me; say: She is waiting....
  Not for him, O no! but, sweet,
    Say June's nigh and doves, remating,
  Fill the dancing noontide heat
    With melodious debating.

  Say the swift swoops from the beam;
    Soon the cuckoo must cease calling;
  Kingcups flare beside the stream,
    That not glides now but runs brawling;
  That wet roses are asteam
    In the sun and will be falling.

  Say the chestnut sheds his bloom;
    Honey from straw hivings oozes;
  There's a nightjar in the coombe;
    Venus nightly burns, and chooses
  Most to blaze above my room;
    That the laggard 'tis that loses.

  Say the nights are warm and free,
    And the great stars swarm above him;
  But soon starless night must be.
    Yet if all these do not move him,
  Tell, O tell--but not too plainly!--
    That I long for him and love him.

  Little pigeon, grave and fleet,
    Fly you swiftly, tell him this;
  And I'll give you grain so golden
    Midas' self has ne'er beholden
  Aught so gold, and--yes!--a kiss.

  Smiling at her eager voice,
  I will grant the girl her choice,
  Whispering to the pigeon: "Lo!
  Yon's the way for you to go:
  Over the willows, past the copse,
  To where a sylph-like lime-tree tops
  A lonely knoll; then on and on
  Toward where yesternight there shone
  A silver comet, scarce descried,
  Against the fainting eventide."


VII

  Away then! crashing through the wood,                 _Of the Faun's
  Prancing in a whimsey mood,                              Whimseys._
  To yowl as a she-wolf does at dark
  Until th' infuriate watch-dogs bark;
  Or bid hushed tales of ghosts go round,
  Of warnings heard, but nothing found,
  By whistling at the village boor;
  Or poke my rogue face round a door
  And scare a huffy wife to fits,
  Who swears, "'Tis Pan himself!" or, "It's
  That grizzled sailor-man who slew
  His mate 'twixt Bogs and Dead Man's Yew!"
  Next through the dairy steal to slake
  My thirst with cream, with honeycake
  Cram my sweet maw; slip in the churn
  A farm cat, that the tub may turn
  And fright maid Molly. I will seek
  Strawberries and stain chin, mouth and cheek
  With nuzzling in their scarlet bowl;
  Then in the goodman's bed I'll roll
  Because he loves me not; I'll sing
  Until the crowded rafters ring
  The while about my ears I hang
  Bobbed cherries.... Lastly I will clang
  Among the clattering pots and pans,
  Shout, cry "Oh help!" snatch up a man's
  Cloak, and slip out.
                        Whoop! Whoop! They run:         _The Pursuit._
  The hare once spied, the hunt's begun!--
  Goodman and goodman's wife, pert Polly,
  Clown Colin, Wiggen and maid Molly,
  Pant, crying, "Thief!" The while behind
  Shrunk Dorcas hops, and fills the wind
  With apish merriment, shrill malice,
  And cries of--"Well run, Poll! Run, Alice!
  Run, child! The master's cloak and all!
  How sad the goodman's ta'en a fall!
  Mistress down, too--he! he! what pity!
  Run, Alice child, my bird, my pretty;
  Show 'em how nimble thou canst be,--
  Ay, but the girl runs prettily.
  Run, Hobbinol, thou gawky man!
  Thou mayest kiss if catch thou can!
  Odd's me! and what's it all about?
  A thief? That mischief Faun!"
                                A shout
  Startles the pigeons from the croft:
  "We've circled him!" "He's in the loft."
  But as they, silent, crowd unto 't
  I jump. For am not I a goat?
  From out the hayloft's height I leap
  O'er their craned heads into the deep
  Grass of the orchard. Thence I run
  Across lush meadows. One by one
  They fall behind....
                        A scarecrow I
  Now seek, and 'bout it carefully
  Enwrap the newly pilfered cloak....
  Scarecrows are such poor crazy folk....


VIII

  So to a thorny thicket dense                               _The Faun
  With rosy-coloured may-bloom, whence                         hides._
  I can hear a torrent rumble,
  And, peering forth, behold it tumble
  Cumbrously into a pool whose white
  Tumult sears the giddied sight.
  There, half dozed, silent, smile to hear
  A babble of voices drawing near,
  Spy many a boy and laughing lass
  Racing hands-linked across the grass.

    _Boys and Girls._ Now has the blue-eyed Spring
  Sped dancing through the plain.                           A CATCH
  Girls weave a daisy chain;                               FOR SPRING.
  Boys race beside the sedge;
  Dust fills the blinding lane;
  May lies upon the hedge:
      All creatures love the spring!

  The clouds laugh on, and would
  Dance with us if they could;
  The larks ascend and shrill;
  A woodpecker fills the wood;
  Jays laugh crossing the hill:
      All creatures love the spring!

  The lithe cloud-shadows chase
  Over the whole earth's face,
  And where winds ruffling veer
  O'er wooded streams' dark ways
  Mad fish upscudding steer:
      All creatures love the spring!

  Into the dairy cool
  Run, girls, to drink thick cream!
  Race, boys, to where the stream
  Winds through a rumbling pool,
  And your bright bodies fling
  Into the foaming cool!
      For we'll enjoy our spring!


IX

  Seaward my forest way I'll take,                  _Of the Faun's
  And at a pool's lit quietude slake              Journey to the Sea._
  My thirst, and feel a dull flame creep
  Like the first flux of tidal sleep
  Through all my limbs. Yet, when I sink
  Sleepward, start wide-eyed up to drink
  The sunned wood's wet deliciousness,
  Touch flowers, and feel the sun's caress
  About my locks, and wander on,
  Or pause to smile up at the sun,
  Guarding my eyes with glowing hand,
  Or, leaned against a beech-trunk, stand
  Watching between the branches' rift,
  As they gently wave and lift
  To the bland breeze softly blowing,
  The noiseless clouds serenely going
  Slowly to the hid, low sea
  I can hear breathing slumberously.
  Till from the woodland I emerge,
  Greeted by a louder surge,
  And from the bushy cliff-top spy
  How the hollow bay doth lie
  One quiver and murmur under the sun,
  And how the lightsome wind-puffs run
  Chasing each other crookedly,
  Over the idly heaving sea.

  Next I will turn my eyes, perhaps,                        _Of the
  To where the languid waters lapse                       Sea-Horses._
  Glittering over a sunburned rock
  Round which the shrieking white gulls flock....
  Thus browsing in my solitude,
  I may remember I've a feud
  With the Sea-Horses, once who drave
  Me from the sea-light of their cave.
  Enough! and, crashing down, I come
  To find them drowsing in their home....
  So creep I with a crooked stick
  To where a blinding pool is quick
  With green electric water-snakes.
  Sprawling across a rock which bakes
  I stir the molten till they boil
  And up my hawthorn kick and coil;
  Then scamper, rocketing, to the cave,
  Hurl the stick in. Hark! how they rave,
  And plunge up clattering, kicking, neighing,
  Till Triton on his horn 'gins braying,
  And each hasteneth to belabour
  With hooves or tear with teeth his neighbour,
  And from the cavern's blueness rush
  Into the simmering beach's hush,
  To stand, with heaving flanks, agaze
  At the hot stones and still sea's blaze:
  Then stampede, scattering high and wide
  A hail of stones and glittering tide.


X

  I will walk the sunny wood,                             _Of the Faun
  Deep and tranquil as my mood,                              in his
  And watch how the honeyed sunlight is                   Meditation._
  Hung in the great boughs of the trees,
  And the pattern the branchwork weaves
  Under the panoply of leaves,
  And how high up two butterflies
  Pass, vaulting, out into the skies.
  Or, entering a silent glade,
  Draw a sharp breath and stand dismayed
  At beauty which doth straight present
  Such a spasm of ravishment
  Sight is confused, and doth confess
  Her wreck in voiceless tenderness:
  Seeing the flower-decked cherry-trees--
  Unruffled ever by any breeze,
  Unburned by bright dawn's fiery chill--
  Standing celestially still....

  Or lay me down 'neath chestnut boughs,
  And drowse and dream and dream and drowse,
  Drunk with the greenness overhead,
  Until a blossom of sharp red,
  Shook from her high and scalding place,
  Splash with chill scent my upturned face.


XI

  But, lo! amid the woodland green                         _Of the
  What mantles of strange blue are seen?                 Philosopher._
  What sage is he who slowly leads
  Disciples on and little heeds
  The holiness of sylvan haunt,
  Where even the silver bird dare chant
  But seldom? where the sunlight lies
  Here scalding gold, and yonder dies
  Into a humid, still, green gloom?
  Hath not he in the forum room
  To vent himself, that now with rude
  Rabble he scareth Solitude
  From her ultimate hiding-place?
  Now steps he forward a slow pace,
  And 'gins his discourse. Hear him prate,
  O woods, to silence consecrate;
  Hear him, O flowers, whose golden eyes
  Speak more than all Man's orat'ries!--

    _Philosopher._ Meanwhile, though nations in distress
  Cower at a comet's loveliness                              _And his
  Shaken across the midnight sky;                            Oration._
  Though the wind roars, and Victory,
  A virgin fierce, on vans of gold
  Stoops through the cloud's white smother rolled
  Over the armies' shock and flow
  Across the broad green hills below,
  Yet hovers and will not circle down
  To cast t'ward one the leafy crown;
  Though men drive galleys' golden beaks
  To isles beyond the sunset peaks,
  And cities on the sea behold
  Whose walls are glass, whose gates are gold,
  Whose turrets, risen in an hour,
  Dazzle between the sun and shower,
  Whose sole inhabitants are kings
  Six cubits high with gryphon's wings
  And beard and mien more glorious
  Than Midas or Assaracus;
  Though priests in many a hill-top fane
  Lift anguished hands--and lift in vain--
  Toward the sun's shaft dancing through
  The bright roof's square of wind-swept blue;
  Though 'cross the stars nightly arise
  The silver fumes of sacrifice;
  Though a new Helen bring new scars,
  Pyres piled upon wrecked golden cars,
  Stacked spears, rolled smoke, and spirits sped
  Like a streaked flame toward the dead:
  Though all these be, yet grows not old
  Delight of sunned and windy wold,
  Of soaking downs aglare, asteam,
  Of still tarns where the yellow gleam
  Of a far sunrise slowly breaks,
  Or sunset strews with golden flakes
  The deeps which soon the stars will throng.

  For earth yet keeps her undersong
  Of comfort and of ultimate peace,
  That whoso seeks shall never cease
  To hear at dawn or noon or night.
  Joys hath she, too, joys thin and bright,
  Too thin, too bright, for those to hear
  Who listen with an eager ear,
  Or course about and seek to spy,
  Within an hour, eternity.
  First must the spirit cast aside
  This world's and next his own poor pride
  And learn the universe to scan
  More as a flower less as a man.
  Then shall he hear the lonely dead
  Sing and the stars sing overhead,
  And every spray upon the heath
  And larks above and ants beneath;
  The stream shall take him in her arms;
  Blue skies shall rest him in their calms;
  The wind shall be a lovely friend,
  And every leaf and bough shall bend
  Over him with a lover's grace.
  The hills shall bare a perfect face
  Full of a high solemnity;
  The heavenly clouds shall weep, and be
  Content as overhead they swim
  To be high brothers unto him.
  No more shall he feel pitched and hurled
  Uncomprehended into this world
  For every place shall be his place,
  And he shall recognize its face.
  At dawn he shall upon his path;
  No sword shall touch him, nor the wrath
  Of the ranked crowd of clamorous men.
  At even he shall home again,
  And lay him down to sleep at ease,
  One with the Night and the Night's peace.
  Ev'n Sorrow, to be escaped of none,
  But a more deep communion
  Shall be to him, and Death at last
  No more dreaded than the Past,
  Whose shadow in the brain of earth
  Informs him now and gave him birth.

  Up, O Faun, up! is he a man                              _The Faun's
  So dares affront the great god Pan?                         Anger._
  Creep I now close....
                        (Has he not heard
  Ever the lamb cry as the bird
  Descends upon its helpless head
  To pluck its eyes out? Blank with dread
  Did he ne'er press in stumbling haste
  Over the wide moor's tossing waste?
  Or, stripped to plunge, did never eye
  The sunned pool smiling treacherously,
  Despair and terror in his heart?
  Hate on him!)
                See: he draws apart
  That with himself he may commune
  The while to a low murmuring tune
  Wrung from a golden-stringëd lyre
  The young men chant. Hist! Draws he nigher?

  Now crouch I mid a thicket where
  The spicy hedge-rose warms the air
  With giddy scent, and for an hour
  Woos with her open-bosomed flower
  The full gaze of her lord the sun,
  And through whose thorns the sunbeams run
  Spangling the cavern of the brake
  With chequered shade such as the snake
  Loves to repose in, that the heat
  Upon his sullen coils may beat,
  Breeding within his ancient heart
  Such malice that his tongue must dart
  Flickering in silence out and in,
  The while adown his withered skin,
  From horns above his murderous eyes,
  The cold surge shudders, ebbs, and dies.

  And now yon comes, with solemn head               _And of the Trick
  Sunk upon breast, with laurel spread               the Faun played,
  About his thought-bewrinkled brows.              thereby symbolizing
  All hail, philosopher! I rouse                     the Rule of Pan
  Thee by a low and single hiss.                       in Nature._
  He is frozen still. A sudden bliss
  Seizes me, and a branch I shake
  As gently as an unseen snake
  Swinging toward him.
                        But he stands,
  Clasps and unclasps his gradual hands
  In silence save for one long sigh
  Of terror.
              And I draw more nigh.
  Beneath his glazèd eyes I sway
  Three leaves upon one stilly spray:
  He blenches.
                Ha! it was well done,
  That final hiss.
                    I am alone:
  For with a harsh cry he has fled
  Hideously stumbling, and is led
  Speechless away.
                    The lyre, forgot,
  Lies in the grass....


XII

                          I know a spot                _Of the Spring,
  Where, to the sound of water sighing,                 Frequent Haunt
  The Naiads, when the sun is lying                     of the Lonely
  Heavy on mead and fronded tree,                          Naiads._
  When birds are silent and the bee
  Swoons in the dewed heart of the rose,
  Sing hushedly.
                  I will repose
  Upon its banks and to the spring
  An answer make with hands that cling
  Over this lost lyre's murmurous chords
  And with their voiced quiet mingle words
  Such as my shrouded soul affords
  When the warm blood within my veins
  Throbs heavily, and the noon sun reigns,
  Who would heaven and earth unite
  In one blaze of arduous light,
  Till dark woods, fields, bronzed sky, and deep,
  In one maniac dull dream sleep.


XIII

    _The Naiads._ Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
  Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep:                   THE NAIADS'
  For our kisses lightlier run                                MUSIC.
  Than the traceries of the sun
  By the lolling water cast
  Up grey precipices vast,
  Lifting smooth and warm and steep
  Out of the palely shimmering deep.

  Come, ye sorrowful, and take
  Kisses that are but half awake:
  For here are eyes O softer far
  Than the blossom of the star
  Upon the mothy twilit waters,
  And here are mouths whose gentle laughters
  Are but the echoes of the deep
  Laughing and murmuring in its sleep.

  Come, ye sorrowful, and see
  The raindrops flaming goldenly
  On the stream's eddies overhead
  And dragonflies with drops of red
  In the crisp surface of each wing
  Threading slant rains that flash and sing,
  Or under the water-lily's cup,
  From darkling depths, roll slowly up
  The bronze flanks of an ancient bream
  Into the hot sun's shattered beam,
  Or over a sunk tree's bubbled bole
  The perch stream in a golden shoal:
  Come, ye sorrowful; our deep
  Holds dreams lovelier than sleep.

  But if ye sons of Sorrow come
  Only wishing to be numb:
  Our eyes are sad as bluebell posies,
  Our breasts are soft as silken roses,
  And our hands are tenderer
  Than the breaths that scarce can stir
  The sunlit eglantine that is
  Murmurous with hidden bees.
  Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
  Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep.

  Come, ye sorrowful, for here
  No voices sound but fond and clear
  Of mouths as lorn as is the rose
  That under water doth disclose,
  Amid her crimson petals torn,
  A heart as golden as the morn;
  And here are tresses languorous
  As the weeds wander over us,
  And brows as holy and as bland
  As the honey-coloured sand
  Lying sun-entranced below
  The lazy water's limpid flow:
  Come, ye sorrowful, and steep
  Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep.

  Sweet water-voices! now must I                            _The Faun
  Unto your sorrowings reply.                                prepares
  But hark! or ever there can sound                         to reply._
  On the lull air the first profound
  Few murmurs of my lyre's grave strings,
  A voice uprises. Who now sings
  The noon's and his own tristfulness?
  A slim youth--in a shepherd's dress,
  Yet without sheep--who careless lies
  Upon the hill. His shepherd guise
  Tokens, perhaps, a poet's heart
  Which joys in wandering apart
  From the dinned ways where chariots roll,
  From the shrill sophist with his shoal
  Of gapers, from the angry mart,
  From the full eyes and empty heart
  Of babbling women, from the neat
  Aridity of paven street,
  A heart that wandering, musing, sings
  The joy, depth, pain of simple things:

    _The Youth._ The earth is still; only the white sun climbs
  Through the green silence of the branching limes,          MIDDAY IN
  Whose linked flowers hanging from the still tree-top        ARCADIA.
  Distil their soundless syrup drop by drop,
  While 'twixt the starry bracket of their lips
  The black bee drowsing floats and drowsing sips.
  The flimsy leaves hang on the bright blue air
  Calm-suspended. Deep peace is everywhere
  Filled with the murmurous rumour of high noon.
  Earth seems with open eyes to sink and swoon.
  In the sky peace: where nothing moves
  Save the sun that smiles and loves.
  A quivering peace is on the grass.
  Through the noon gloam butterflies pass,
  White and hot blue, only to where
  They can float flat and dream on the soft air....
  The trees are asleep, beautiful, slumbrous trees!
  Stirred only by the passion of the breeze,
  That, like a warm wave welling over rocks,
  Loosens and lifts the mass of drowsing locks.
  Earth, too, under the profound grass
  Sleeps and sleeps, and softly heaves her slumbrous mass.
  The earth sleeps. Sleeps the newly-buried clay
  Or doth divinity trouble it to live alway?

  No voice uplifts from under the rapt crust.
  The dust cries to the unregarding dust.

  Over the hill the stopped notes of twin reeds
  Speak like drops from an old wound that bleeds:
  A yokel's pipe an ancient pastoral sings
  Above the innumerable murmur of hid wings.
  I hear the cadence, sorrowful and sweet,
  The oldest burthen of the earth repeat:
  All love, all passion, all strife, all delight
  Are but the dreams that haunt earth's visioned night.
  In her eternal consciousness the stir
  Of Alexander is no more to her
  Than you or I: being all part of dreams,
  The shadowiest shadow of a thing that seems,
  The images the lone pipe-player sees,
  Sitting and playing to the lone, noon breeze.
  One note, one life!
                      They sleep: soon we as these!


XIV

  Now plunge I into deepest woods,
  Where everlastingly there broods
  Such quiet and glamour as must be
  Beneath the threshing upper sea.
  Here burns no sun, but tawny light
  Pervades the vistas still and bright
  Of mazy boles and fallen leaves....
  I press yet on. At length there cleaves
  The twilit hush a pillared gleam.
  The leafed floor rises. 'Tis a beam
  Of sunlight fallen in a dell
  Beyond the mound. There will I dwell,
  Soothed by sunned quietude. For there
  A carved rock spouts and moists the air
  With gross-mouthed pour and rising spray....
  But hark! what festive cries are they                   _Of the
  Which greet me as I top the mound?                   Satyrs' Feast._
  Below, dispersed and sunk around
  The green and golden of the glen,
  Lie satyrs; in a leafy den,
  Silenus, crowned with vines and roses,
  Drowses and starts, blinks, drinks, and dozes.
  Banqueting dishes strew the grass,
  Goblets of gold and peacock glass,
  Flagons, urns, many a brimming bowl,
  And horns from which the flushed fruits roll.
  High o'er the feast a fronded ash
  Hangs full of sunlight, and the splash
  Of the spring's leap or gurgeing flow
  Into the rippled pool below,
  Where lilies rock, shakes up a bright
  Eddy of golden tremulous light
  Over the leaves. The Oread,
  In a hooded lynx pelt clad,
  Smiles where she lolls ... the while twin fauns
  With stamping hooves and butting horns
  Join combat for a dripping cup
  She bears.
              But now a shout goes up
  At sight of me:

    _Satyr._        "We feast, we feast;
  For, lo! the flaming sun hath ceased               _The Invitation._
  To climb the curve of arid sky,
  And his meridian holds on high,
  Narrowing with his scorching beams
  The chestnut's shade, exhausting streams,
  Stilling the woodland singer's note,
  Piercing the eyes, shrinking the throat,
  Saddening the heart of man and beast.
  Yet grieve not we but sprawl and feast.
  Leap down, O Faun, then, from thy rocks,
  Leap down to us. Bedew thy locks
  With such cool spicy nards as dwell
  Within this ribbed and rosy shell;
  Around thy scalded temples twine
  Sprays of this fountain-wetted vine,
  And from this golden jorum sip
  Nectarous liquor--ay, and lip
  Smooth nectarines, thy sunk teeth clench
  In melon dripping sherds, and quench
  Thy salty thirst anew in flow
  Of sparkled or dark wines that glow
  With sober warmth and merriment,
  Until our gladdened voices blent
  Awake the vigour of our feet,
  And up we start the grass to beat
  With fervent foot, drink, dance again,
  And, ever at the loud refrain
  Clashing our cups, dance on and on,
  Till the noontide lull is gone."

  So join I them, and drink and sup,
  And fill again the great bowl up;
  And, drenched thus down, spin lusty tales
  Of topping bouts 'twixt men and whales;
  Of the East's Emperor who hath
  A pool of wine to be his bath;
  Of Hercules his thirst, and how
  He did all Ethiopia plough,
  And plant with vines, his thirst to sate.
  We will discuss the Ideal State,
  Whose sky is covered by a vine,
  Whose hills are cheese, whose rivers wine,
  Whose trees bear loaves brown, crisp and sweet,
  Whose citizens do nought but eat,
  But eat and drink, drink, eat, and snore,
  And eat again, and wish no more
  Than so to drink, snore, eat; who find
  In this true liberty of mind
  And true equality, in this
  Fraternity, law, earthly bliss.
  So swill again and yet again,
  Till a fire flushes all the brain
  And, trolling lustily and long,
  Each hearty throat bursts into song.

    _Faun and Satyrs._ Avaunt, mild-eyed Melancholy!
  Welcome, Mirth and mænad Folly!                         A DITHYRAMB
  See about the lifted bowl,                              TO DIONYSOS.
  Wrinkled on its bossy scroll,
  Ribald nymphs and satyrs jolly
  Tussle with a prancing goat;
  While Silenus, kneeling, drolly
  Proffers a dry bowl unto 't----
  Ay, and round the mazer's brim
  Boisterous Mermen shouting swim,
  And each burly arm lifts up,
  Wine that o'erbrims its conchëd cup;
  Wherefore pour a triple potion:
  If such can be dry in ocean,
  'Tis as Titans we must sup!

  Avaunt, brow and visage pious:
  None but Bacchus boys come nigh us!
  Raise the bowl and shout his name:
  Io, Bacchus! for a flame
  Chafes in our blood, O Bromios!
  Fire no water e'er could quench,
  And its heat must scorify us
  If with wine we do not drench.
  Wherefore overbrim the cup:
  This to Jove now drink I up,
  Who upon thy first of days
  Snátched thee and cówed thy natal blaze,
  Even as 'tis now the merry
  Strength of this thy vintaged berry,
  That the scorching danger stays.

  To the vine now! let its golden
  Leaves about our brows be folden.
  To the swarthy hand that trims it!
  To the grape! the sun that dims it!
  To the pipe that doth embolden
  Purpled stamping feet to riot
  O'er the vatted winepress olden!
  To the cavern's depth, chill, quiet!
  Last to wine's own ruddy sprite,
  Wakes in rheumy eyes a light--
  Ay, and ripens youth to man;
  Wine which more works than wisdom can;
  Wine that welcomes hardy morrows;
  Wine that turns to song our sorrows;
  Wine the only magian!

  Deep now! every bowl enhances
  The world's beauty; see there dances
  In the sky the leaping sun!
  'Nay, can thine eye catch but one?'
  'Six now spin.' 'A seventh advances,
  Flares and vomits, swerves and blazes,
  Now bursts and countlessly it prances,
  Pulsing to my frantic paces!'
  'I flame,--gyrate!' 'I shoot out heat!'
  'My tricked speech trips, and trip my feet!'
  'The earth runs round and heav'n is wheeling!'
  'I sway; I reel.' 'Earth's wrecked and reeling!'
  'Dance on.' 'Earth's gone.' 'All's white and clear!'
  'Ah! Ah! Behind the blaze I hear
  The Oread's laughter pealing!'

  Avaunt, grief! Descend, O holy
  Fierce Bacchic rapture, divine folly!


XV

  Forth from the forest wend I slowly,               _Of the Faun's
  While in my ears yet rings the holy             Further Wanderings._
  Dithyramb. The noon is past,
  But the sun rages. There is cast
  A dumbness yet o'er earth and sky.
  Down to the river then will I,
  Slowly about its depths to swim,
  While the stream fondles every limb
  And soothes its ache. Deep I will dip,
  And, blowing, raise my locks, that drip
  Till the slim Hyads troop to see,
  And revel, too, and play with me,
  Hanging my ears with humid weed
  Or mounting me as water steed.
  Then, musing I will on, and so
  Stray to where a silver slow
  River circles through the meads,
  Wherein the mooching great ox feeds,
  And turns a slow eye round the sky,
  Wondering if he can ever die.
  And there, mayhap, 'twill come to pass
  I'll hear a sweet voice in the grass,
  And yet shall mark no singer nigh,
  Till, gently peering, I espy
  A solemn, elfish child who sits
  Unseen mid towering grass, and knits
  An endless, endless daisy chain,
  Crooning the while some soft refrain
  Her mother sings her when she closes
  Her twilit eyes.

    _Little Girl._    Three red, red, roses--
  One each for father and mother, and one,
  The reddest of all, for her baby son.
  None for wee Amoret? Oh, none! for she
  Some day, when she grows up, a red rose will be!

  Then, crossed-legged mid the meadow-sweet,            _Of the Faun's
  I will sink down, laugh low, and greet                 Converse with
  Her blue, inquiring, childish eyes                       a Small
  With mine, sharp, merry, brown, and wise,               She-Child._
  And tell her tales--of Jack who slew
  Ten giants; or Mirabel who flew
  On a white owl to find the Prince
  And give to him the Golden Quince
  Would change him from a roaring bull
  To a youth blithe and beautiful;
  Or tales of the Goblin and the Sloth,
  Who watched the moon and swore an oath
  To find out what she was: how these
  Explored her mines and found her--cheese.

  Thus will I sit and both amuse
  Until I rise and beg excuse:
  Off 'to El Raschid in Assyria'
  Or 'the Grand-Duchess of Illyria,'
  Or 'to ask the maiden moon
  Why one only of her shoon
  She left us last night in the sky,
  And not her silver self, and why
  She always climbs the self-same track?
  Lets no one ever see her back?'


XVI

  But neither to the moon go I
  Or to the river gliding by,
  But to the woods, therein to move
  Among the quiet glades I love,
  Desiring nought but aye to see
  The beech, ash, oak, and chestnut tree....
  Till I a nymph meet who persuades
  Me to the broadest of the glades,
  Around whose smooth and sunken space
  The far woods lie. For in this place,
  Deserted but for a mid-grove
  Of maiden trees, bower of the dove,
  Pan plays, and should the sylvans chance,
  Nymphs, fauns, and sylvans, join in dance.


  XVII

  On either hand the slender trees                    _Of the Immortal
  Bow to the caressing breeze,                             Dance._
  And shake their shocks of silver light
  Against skies marbled greenish-white,
  Save where, within a rent of blue,
  The tilted slip of moon glints through,
  Glittering upon us as we dance
  With a soft extravagance
  Of limbs as blonde as autumn boughs,
  And gold locks floating from moony brows.
  While anguished Pan the pipes doth blow
  Fond and tremulous and low,
  And anon the timbrel shakes.
  --It is his sudden heart that breaks
  For springs before the world grew old,
  Rich vales, and hill-tops fiery cold!--
  He watches the scarce moving skies,
  The trees, the glittering revelries,
  The moon, the dancers lemon-clad:
  The world fantastical and sad.

  The high-flung timbrels pulse and knock;
  We follow in a dancing flock,
  Touching each other's finger-tips,
  While from between our parted lips
  The solemn melodies repeat
  The rhythm of our shaken feet.
  Then faster! and the round we trace,
  Hair flowing from elated face,
  Eyes lit, breast bare, with lifted knees,
  And hands that toss as toss the trees....
  And slow again ... with cumulate motion,
  As the long draw and plunge of ocean
  Bursting in a cloud of spray
  Up a white, deserted bay
  Of the sun-circled green Bermooths,
  Whose blistering sands the cool foam soothes....
  Next the bewildering pipes may sing
  Some simple melody of spring,
  Whose cadences remember yet
  Sadly lost springs that we forget.
  To which as dances April rain
  On a still pool where leans no stain,
  Save of the cloud's pure splendour spread
  Gloriously overhead,
  Our fast-flickering feet shall twinkle,
  And our golden anklets tinkle,
  While fair arms in aery sleeves
  Shiver as the poplar's leaves.

  And all the while shall Pan sit by
  And play, and pause, perhaps, to sigh,
  Viewing the scarce-moving skies,
  The hushed and glittering revelries,
  The infant moon, the slender trees
  Silvering to the shivery breeze,
  The fair, lorn dancers lemon-clad:
  The world fantastical and sad.


XVIII

  Thus may we dance the light away
  Of yet one more unmemoried day.
  But, the dance ended, I will go
  Beyond the reach of pipes that blow
  A sadness thrilling through my veins....

  For now within my spirit reigns                          _The Faun's
  Shadow: before whose brooding face,                       Sadness._
  Silent, there trail on gliding pace
  A multitude of restless Fears,
  Obscure Griefs and obscurer Tears,
  Bewildered Sighs, waned Phantasies,
  And all disastrous Presences,
  Mutely prophetic of a Woe
  I know not yet, but I shall know.

  Such power Pan's grief hath to oppress,
  And Memory!--since now I guess
  Only too well that there must come
  Twilight, Calamity, and Doom.

  For once I saw beneath an oak
  A bard so aged it seemed he woke
  That moment from a sleep of years
  And in his voice were sleep and tears....
  Till, wide-eyed, he, raging, spake,
  Rocking as when woodlands shake
  Under the first urge of the wind,
  Whose roaring murk lightens behind.

    _Prophetic Bard._ "Be warned! I feel the world grow old,
  And off Olympus fades the gold                              _The
  Of the simple passionate sun;                             Prophecy._
  And the Gods wither one by one:
  Proud-eyed Apollo's bow is broken,
  And throned Zeus nods nor may be woken
  But by the song of spirits seven
  Quiring in the midnight heaven
  Of a new world no more forlorn,
  Sith unto it a Babe is born,
  That in a propped, thatched stable lies,
  While with darkling, reverend eyes
  Dusky Emperors, coifed in gold,
  Kneel mid the rushy mire, and hold
  Caskets of rubies, urns of myrrh,
  Whose fumes enwrap the thurifer
  And coil toward the high dim rafters
  Where, with lutes and warbling laughters,
  Clustered cherubs of rainbow feather,
  Fanning the fragrant air together,
  Flit in jubilant holy glee,
  And make heavenly minstrelsy
  To the Child their Sun, whose glow
  Bathes them His cloudlets from below....
  Long shall this chimed accord be heard,
  Yet all earth hushed at His first word:
  Then shall be seen Apollo's car
  Blaze headlong like a banished star;
  And the Queen of heavenly Loves
  Dragged downward by her dying doves;
  Vulcan, spun on a wheel, shall track
  The circle of the zodiac;
  Silver Artemis be lost,
  To the polar blizzards tossed;
  Heaven shall curdle as with blood;
  The sun be swallowed in the flood;
  The universe be silent save
  For the low drone of winds that lave
  The shadowed great world's ashen sides
  As through the rustling void she glides.
  Then shall there be a whisper heard
  Of the Grave's Secret and its Word,
  Where in black silence none shall cry
  Save those who, dead-affrighted, spy
  How from the murmurous graveyards creep
  The figures of eternal sleep.
  Last: when 'tis light men shall behold,
  Beyond the crags, a flower of gold
  Blossoming in a golden haze,
  And, while they guess Zeus' halls now blaze
  Shall in the blossom's heart descry
  The saints of a new hierarchy!"

  He ceased ... and in the morning sky
  Zeus' anger threatened murmurously.
  I sped away. The lightning's sword
  Stabbed on the forest. But the word
  Abides with me. I feel its power
  Most darkly in the twilit hour,
  When Night's eternal shadow, cast
  Over earth hushed and pale and vast,
  Darkly foretells the soundless Night
  In which this orb, so green, so bright,
  Now spins, and which shall compass her
  When on her rondure nought shall stir
  But snow-whorls which the wind shall roll
  From the Equator to the Pole....

  For everlastingly there is                            _Of the Final
  Something Beyond, Behind: I wis                      Nature of Pan._
  All Gods are haunted, and there clings,
  As hound behind fled sheep, the things
  Beyond the Universe's ken:
  Gods haunt the Half-Gods, Half-Gods men,
  And Man the brute. Gods, born of Night,
  Feel a blacker appetite
  Gape to devour them; Half-Gods dread
  But jealous Gods; and mere men tread
  Warily lest a Half-God rise
  And loose on them from empty skies
  Amazement, thunder, stark affright,
  Famine and sudden War's thick night,
  In which loud Furies hunt the Pities
  Through smoke above wrecked, flaming cities.

  For Pan, the Unknown God, rules all.
  He shall outlive the funeral,
  Change, and decay, of many Gods,
  Until he, too, lets fall his rods
  Of viewless power upon that minute
  When Universe cowers at Infinite!


XIX

  So far my mind runs, yet I see
  How little faun-philosophy
  Repays my heart would learn, not teach....
  Better laugh long, lie, suck a peach
  Couched under tiger-lily flowers
  Which daze the low hot sun with showers
  Of fragrance, while the dusty bee
  Drones, fumbles, falls luxuriantly
  Within their throats; couched, turn a song
  Of flowers all the flowers among:

  There is a vale beyond blue Ida's mount,            THE FAUN'S
    And thither often would I, piping, stray           AFTERNOON
  To listen to the music of a fount                      SONG.
    That spelt her tears out in a Dorian lay.

  "Long, long ago," she wept, "Narcissus came
    Wandering down the sunny-shafted glade;
  Full weary was he of the lamp's gold flame
    Wavering beneath the dusky colonnade.

  "For at the fall of night forth from the dim
    Gardens stole Echo; kneeling by his bed,
  With small sweet love-words she importuned him
    Who watched the lamp flame idle overhead.

  "Dry was her hot flushed cheek and dark the fire
    In her great eyes; her lips roamed warm and light
  Over his arm; her murmurs of desire
    Mixed with the many murmurs of the night.

  "In vain! He came to rest and sing with me
    And loll his fingers in the liquid cool,
  And drop slow tears, slow tears luxuriously
    Into the shadowy motion of the pool.

  "With tongue scarce audible I wooed the lad,
    Whispering how beneath the drumming fall
  Slumbers a rapt, deep lake, so blue, so sad,
    That no fish swim it, nor about it call

  "Delighting birds from green-bowered shore to shore,
    Nor doth the nightingale, when June begins
  And the moon mounts a pattin of bright or,
    Hymn her long sorrows and her lord's black sins.

  "And the boy answered, answered me, and mourned
    The loveliness of Echo. 'Yet,' sighed he,
  'My soul is fled, and long, thou knowest, bourned
    In what far dell none knoweth, love, but thee

  "'Who farest thither! Sweeter to my ears
    Are thy quiet voices and the gentle breast
  Of rambling water sweeter than my dear's.'
    Then murmured I, 'Lean lower, love, and rest.'

  "There was no sound through all the sleeping wood,
    Save one sharp cry from Echo, open-lipped,
  Who, as she followed, from afar did spy
    How to my arms my lover downward slipped.

  "Softly I rocked him down into the pool,
    Shutting his ears to the loud torrents' din,
  And kissed and bore him through the portals cool,
    And laid him sleeping the blue halls within.

  "So I returned; but never to me came
    Another as beautiful, nor shall come.
  Lonely I flow, and, flowing, lisp his name,
    Till the sky waste and all the earth be dumb."

  So sang the spring, and, answering my look,
    Through the dark wood from the spring's fountain-head
  Flock upon flock of eyed narcissi shook,
    And the brook wept in sorrow for the dead.

  Ah, Death again! nothing can fend
  Us from the Sibyl of the End,
  Whose delight 'tis to find new forms,
  Now in dull sighs, anon in storms,
  Singing, and ever of the same:
  The trusting heart betrayed; the flame
  Whirled in a night on cities proud;
  Lightnings from skies undimmed by cloud;
  The wide grave yawned before swift feet;
  The small success that brings defeat;
  The smiling lips and deadly eyes
  Of Destiny walking in disguise.


XX

  But now the sun sinks I will go                         _Of the
  Whither two full streams meet and flow,              Evening River._
  Murmuring as in wedded sleep
  Through evening meadows dim and deep.
  There will I watch the slow trout rise
  At the myriad simmering flies,
  And listen to the water flowing
  With such faint sounds there is no knowing
  Whether its spirit laughs or weeps
  Among the dreams wherein it sleeps.

  Sunken amid the twilight grass,
  I will watch the water pass,
  Weaving ever dimmer tales
  And dimmer as the evening pales....
  Till from the calm the silent lark
  Drops to the meadows hushed and dark,
  While in the stagnant silver west,
  Above the tranquil poplars' crest,
  There glimmers through the murky bar
  The slowly climbing Hesperal Star.

  Thus brooding by the hazy stream,
  I shall hear the water dream
  Tinkily on, and I shall see,
  As my eyes close quietly.
  Into a soft and long repose,
  The lone star like a silver rose
  Fade with me on the drifting stream
  Into the quiet night of dream.

  Yet sleep I not; for lo! there wakes                    _Of Night's
  From the dim water-meadow brakes                        Rhapsodist._
  A quiring: voice as if a star,
  Fallen to earth from midnight far
  Beyond the haze of highest cloud,
  Bewailed her errëd path aloud.
  It is the nightingale who sings,
  Fanning soft air with whirrëd wings,
  Probing the dark with jewelled eyes.
  How oft, how sad, how loud she cries!
  And all the echoes answer her;
  The night airs through the close wood stir
  The stars that through the eddies climb
  Glitter; the silver waters chime;
  The lily bows her dewy head....

  I, too, a sudden tear have shed.
  For, ah! what voice is this can make
  The vagrant heart within me ache?
  That stirs an ancient tenderness,
  A new need to console, love, bless
  All things that 'neath this warm night sky
  Rejoice and suffer, age and die?
  Hunger is in my heart like bliss,--
  I stretch my arms out and I kiss,
  Gathered in sad and sweet embrace,
  The whole world's dark and simple face.


XXI

  I wander forth. About my feet                          _Of the
  The sward is fresh and doubly sweet                  Second Singer._
  The loved air on my salvëd brow.
  Be still. Be still. For hearken: now
  A second voice behind the grove
  Uprises tremulous with love.
  How hushed, how moody is the strain!
  Pleading--O, surely, not in vain!
  Sombrely rises every note,
  Lingers, and in dark dells remote
  Echoes until another come.

  Philomel herself falls dumb.

  Philomel herself falls dumb,
  Mindful of her shadowy home;
  Of a slowly falling surge
  Sounding its unending dirge
  On an alien ocean's verge;
  Of a rain-smitten tower that stood
  Fronting the calm, pale rolling flood;
  Of a slim sister's beauty glows,
  Fatefuller than a midnight rose;
  Of the birth, growth, and scheming dire,
  Of an accursëd King's desire;
  Of night-long vigil, tongueless wrack,
  And the last exultation black
  O'er loathly offering, feasting sour,
  A fell cry in the lonely tower,
  Raging pursuit, flight's vain endeavour,
  And Vengeance stilling all for ever.--
  Save the voice that nightly cries
  To the slowly wheeling skies
  Of unrest resolved in calm,
  Time's tears fallen like a balm,
  Sorrows that dead hearts have wrung,
  By the sad Enthusiast sung,
  Sweeter than Euphrosyne's tongue.

  O tremulous voice! who is 't that shakes
  The night with fervour?
                          Through the brakes
  Softly I thread ... emerge, and now
  Across the rising meadow's brow
  I glimpse, beside the farther wood,
  Under the shadow of its hood,
  A glimmering shape that does not move.
  It is the shepherd and his love:
  Close, close they stand, swooning and dim;
  Her shadowed face looks up at him,
  Her sighing breath his forehead warms;
  He sings, she leans within his arms.

    _The Shepherd._ Now arched dark boughs hang dim and still;
  The deep dew glistens up the hill;                    THE SHEPHERD'S
  Silence trembles. All is still.                         NIGHT SONG.

  Now the sweet siren of the woods,
  Philomel, passionately broods,
  Or, darkling, hymns love's wildest moods.

  Danaë, fainting in her tower,
  Feels a sudden sun swim lower,
  Gasps beneath the starry shower.

  Venus in the pomegranate grove
  Flutters like a fluttering dove
  Under young Adonis' love.

  Leda longs until alight
  In the reeds those wings of white
  She hears beat the upper night.

  Golden now the glowing moon,
  Diana over Endymion
  Downward bends as in a swoon.

  Wherefore, since the gods agree,
  Youth is sweet and Night is free,
  And Love pleasure, should not we?

  Song whose desire her kisses bless!                     _The Faun
  Song that wreaks wounds no lips redress,                is struck
  O wounding song! Such loneliness                       with Sorrow._
  Falls, like a stun blow from behind,
  That my hands grope, my eyes go blind.
  I gasp....
            Away, Away, O heart!
  Lone, wretched Faun, depart, depart;
  Hide thyself, wretched, utterly,
  Climb to the clouds where none may see
  And mock thy causeless misery!

  What joy is mine? what is 't I have:
  Immortal life? would 'twere a grave.
  Thus, thus to suffer world-without-end,
  No love, no hope, no goal, no friend!

  And the proud, morning Centaur, how
  Fares he? what lot doth Fate allow?--
  More wretched yet! to live and be
  Perfection's lone epitome.

  To feel in him a fecund power,
  And lack on which to spend that dower!...
  I mind me now that once I heard
  Wise, gentle Pan pronounce this word:
  "_Whoever like a God would shine
  Must share the loneliness divine._"
  Ah! to be Gods, then, is to be
  One fierce eternal agony.
  Yet, being Gods, such feel no pain;
  Their strength is equal to their bane.
  While I, poor half-god and half-beast,
  I would be man, the last and least
  Of men!
          O reasoning vain:
  Were I but man and one in pain,
  I could not by my utmost wipe
  One tear away. But now this pipe
  Hangs from my neck, god Pan's elect                _He takes Comfort
  Gift to his children to perfect                     in the Uncommon
  In awe, joy, grief, and loneliness.                  Gift of God._
  Sound, pipe, and with thy note express
  All this my heart! to thee I give
  All the long days that I must live.

  I wander on, I fade in mist,
  O peopled World, and dost thou list?
  Pipe on, difficult pipes of mine;
  There is something in me divine,
  And it must out. For this was I
  Born, and I know I cannot die
  Until, perfected pipe, thou send
  My utmost: God, which is


    THE END.


       *       *       *       *       *



BOOK III

POEMS AND PHANTASIES


  To
  MR. AND MRS. MOISEIWITSCH



A TRIPTYCH


I.--FIRST PANEL: THE HILL

  On a day in Maytime mild
  Mary sat on a hill-top with her child.
  (Overhead in the calm sky's arching
  The curled white clouds went slowly marching....
  But underneath the blue abyss
  All was stiller than water is
  Leagues under the surface of the sea.)
  And all about her thick and free
  Blossomed the dear familiar flowers.
  There, while her boy played through the hours,
  And the high sun shook gold upon her,
  Mary plaited a garland in his honour
  Who should be the King of Kings;
  And when 'tis done this song she sings,
  As Jesus, tired and happy, rests
  Curled in the hollow of her breasts:

      "In the shadow of my dress,
        Out of the sun
      And his fierce caress,
        Sleep, my son.

  "Soft the air about the hill,
  Scented, sunny, clear, and still;
  Below in the woods the daffodil
  Nods, and the shy anemone
  Creeps up from the thicket to look on thee,
  And ten thousand daisies meet
  In an ocean of stars about thy feet.

  "Daisies have I strung for thee,
          Darling boy,
  Wee white blossoms that shall be
          Dappled, ah! so rosily
            With thy blood,
  When they nail thee to the wood
  Cleft from out the crooked tree.
            Can it be,
  Daisies innocent and good,
  That ye star black Calvary?

  "Buttercups I make thy crown,
          Darling boy.
    (Lullaby, O lullaby!)
  Son of sorrow, son of joy,
  Pain and Paradise thou art,
  Thou that sighest nestling down
  In my breast, over my heart
            That is a lake
  Where the hidden tear-drops ache
          To be free,
  Till mounting upward for thy sake
            Out they break,
  Down they plash on me and thee.

  "And Heaven in her charity
  Drops seven tears on me and thee.

  "This thy little childhood's crown,
          Flower on flower,
  Wear thou in thy lullaby
  Till thou facest the soldiers' frown
          In thine iron hour,
  Till the thorn they crown thee by
          They press down:
  Ah, the sharp points in my heart!
  Ah, the sword, the sudden smart
  Flaying me as 'twere a flame!
  Crowned indeed, my son, thou art
  With red flowers of pain and shame!

    "Birds and butterflies and trees,
    And the long hush of the breeze
  Shimmering over the silken grass,
    What wouldst thou have more than these?...
    In the stall the ox and ass
    Gazed on thee with tender eyes;
    All things love thee; yet there lies
    Some hid thing in thee breeds fear--
    Brims not falls thy mother's tear.
    Wherefore, baby, must thou go?
    Rose, to be torn in sunder so?
  Little bonny limbs, little bonny face,
    My lamb, my torment, my disgrace!

    "O baby, are thine eyelids closed
    Faster than my eyes supposed?
    With foxes must thy bed be maken,
    A beggar with beggars must thou go,
    To be at last forsworn, forsaken?
    And bear alone thy cross also
    Anigh to the foot of a bare hill?
    To hang gibbeted and abhorred,
    For passers-by to wish thee ill?
    And to thrust against thy will
  Through thy mother's bosom the sharpest sword?

    "O baby, breathing so quietly,
    Have thou mercy upon me!
          That in thy madness
    On thy lonely journey farest,
    That understandest not nor carest
          For me and my sadness!
    Woe indeed! thou dost not know
    Man cometh into this world in sorrow
    To spend in grief to-night, to-morrow
    In sorrow the third day to go!

    "O sleep, dear baby, and, heart, sleep;
    Turn to thy slumber, golden, deep,
    Of present possible happiness.
    Let drop the daisies one by one
    Over his body and his dress;
    Afflicted eyes, see but thy son
    Who sleeps secure from hurt, from harm,
    Clasped to my breast, closed in my arm,
  Who murmurs as the flowers by the faint wind shaken,
    And, putting forth sweet, sleepy hands,
    Feels for the kisses he demands....
    Slowly, belov'd, dost thou awaken,
    And sure, in heaven there is no sign:
    It is not true that thou shalt be taken,
  Who for ever, for ever art mine, art mine!"

  Into the west the calm white sun
  Floated and sank. The day was done.
  Mary returned, and as she went,
  Above her, in the firmament,
  The stars, that are the flowers of God,
  Mirrored the flowery earth she trod.
  Thus bore she on her destined child,
  And while she wept, behold! he smiled,
  And stretched his arms seeking a kiss....
  Softly she kissed him, and a bliss,
  Deeper than all her human tears,
  Flooded her and put out her fears.

    OXFORD,
      _Early Spring_, 1914.


II.--SECOND AND CENTRE PANEL: THE TOWER

  It was deep night, and over Jerusalem's low roofs
  The moon floated, drifting through high vaporous woofs.
  The moonlight crept and glistened silent, solemn, sweet,
  Over dome and column, up empty, endless street;
  In the closed, scented gardens the rose loosed from the stem
  Her white showery petals; none regarded them;
  The starry thicket breathed odours to the sentinel palm;
  Silence possessed the city like a soul possessed by calm.

  Not a spark in the warren under the giant night,
  Save where in a turret's lantern beamed a grave, still light:
  There in the topmost chamber a gold-eyed lamp was lit--
  Marvellous lamp in darkness, informing, redeeming it!
  For, set in that tiny chamber, Jesus, the blessed and doomed,
  Spoke to the lone apostles as light to men entombed;
  And spreading his hands in blessing, as one soon to be dead,
  He put soft enchantment into spare wine and bread.

  The hearts of the disciples were broken and full of tears,
  Because their lord, the spearless, was hedgëd about with spears;
  And in his face the sickness of departure had spread a gloom,
  At leaving his young friends friendless.
                    They could not forget the tomb.
  He smiled subduedly, telling, in tones soft as voice of the dove,
  The endlessness of sorrow, the eternal solace of love;
  And lifting the earthly tokens, wine and sorrowful bread,
  He bade them sup and remember one who lived and was dead.
  And they could not restrain their weeping.
                      But one rose up to depart,
  Having weakness and hate of weakness raging within his heart,
  And bowed to the robed assembly whose eyes gleamed wet in the light.
  Judas arose and departed: night went out to the night.

  Then Jesus lifted his voice like a fountain in an ocean of tears,
  And comforted his disciples and calmed and allayed their fears.
  But Judas wound down the turret, creeping from floor to floor,
  And would fly; but one leaning, weeping, barred him beside the door.
  And he knew her by her ruddy garment and two yet-watching men:
  Mary of Seven Evils, Mary Magdalen.
  And he was frighted at her. She sighed: "I dreamed him dead.
  We sell the body for silver...."
                        Then Judas cried out and fled
  Forth into the night!... The moon had begun to set;
  A drear, deft wind went sifting, setting the dust afret;
  Into the heart of the city Judas ran on and prayed
  To stern Jehovah lest his deed make him afraid.

  But in the tiny lantern, hanging as if on air,
  The disciples sat unspeaking. Amaze and peace were there.
  For _his_ voice, more lovely than song of all earthly birds,
  In accents humble and happy spoke slow, consoling words.

  Thus Jesus discoursed, and was silent, sitting upright, and soon
  Past the casement behind him slanted the sinking moon;
  And, rising for Olivet, all stared, between love and dread,
  Seeing the torrid moon a ruddy halo behind his head.

    GRAYSHOTT,
      _July_, 1914.


III.--THIRD PANEL: THE TREE

  The crookëd tree creaked as its loaded bough dipped
  And suddenly jerked up. The rope had slipped,
  And hideously Judas fell, and all the grass
  Was soused and reddened where he was,
  And the tree creaked its mirth....
                                 Mid the hot sky
  Appeared immediate dots tiny and high,
  Till downward wound in batlike herds
  Black, monstrous, gawky birds,
  And, narrowing their rustling rings,
  Alit, talons foremost. And with flat wings
  Flapped in the branches, and glared, and croaked and croaked,
  While no compassionate human came and cloaked
  The thing that stared up at the giddy day
  With pale blue eyeballs and wry-lipped display
  Of yellow teeth closed on the blue, bit tongue.
  Overhead the light in silence hung,
  And fiercely showed the sweaty, knotted hands
  Clutching the rope about the swollen glands....
  And the birds croaked and croaked, evilly eyeing
  The thing so lying,
  Which no commiserate pity came and cloaked,
  But which soaked
  The earth, so that the flies
  Dizzily swung over its winkless eyes,
  And in a crawling, shiny, busy brood
  Blackened the sticky blood,
  And tickled the tongue-choked mouth that sought to cry
  Bitterly and beseechingly
  Against the judgment of th' unflinching sky.

  The poor dead, lonely thing had not a shroud
  From that still, frightful glare until a cloud
  Of darkness, flowing like a dye
  Over the edges of the sky,
  Browned and put out the silent sun:
  A benison
  Of three hours' space.
  And it had power
  To put a shadow into that thing's face,
  And th' invisible birds fell silent by its grace.

  Thus Judas lay in shadow and all was still....
  Then faint light, like water, began again to fill
  The sky, and a whisper--came it from the grass,
  Whispering dry and sparse,
  Or from the air beyond the neighbouring hill?--
  Ebbed, as a spirit on a sigh
  Passing beyond alarm:
  "_It is finished!_"
  And there was calm
  Under the empty tree and in the brightening sky.

    GRAYSHOTT,
      _July_, 1914.



FOUR SONGS FROM "THE PRINCE OF ORMUZ"


I.--THE PRINCE OF ORMUZ SINGS TO BADOURA

  When she kisses me with her lips, I become
  A Roc, that giant, that fabulous bird
  And over the desert, vast, yellow, and dumb,
  I wheel, and my jubilant screaming is heard,
  A voice, an echo, high up and glad,
  Over the domes and green pools of Bagdad.

  But when she kisses me with her eyes,
  My heart melts in me; she is my sun;
  She strokes my snow; I am loosed, I arise:
  A brook of water I run, I run,
  Crystal water, sunny and sweet,
  Laughing and weeping to fawn at her feet.

    LAWFORD,
      _Easter_, 1914.


II.--THE SONG OF THE PRINCESS BESIDE THE FOUNTAIN

  My rose, or ever the three tears were shed
    I wished lie in its bosom, has fallen apart;
  Off their knapped golden hair all my pure pearls have sped
    Before their mid-ruby could burn on my heart.
  To-day is as yesterday; as to-day so to-morrow;
  But fallen my rose, pearls, tears,
                                     Fallen in sorrow.
  Or ever I woke it was sunset to-day;
  As fast flows the fountain, as fast flows away,
                                     As fast fall away
  My rose and my tears, my pearls and my sorrow.

    IN HOSPITAL,
      _January_, 1916.


III.--THE SONG OF THE PRINCE IN DISGUISE

  The look in thine eyes can change me utterly;
  Thine eyes challenge: my heart is lighted,
  I am thy taper, I burn straight-pointed--
  Ay, even so doing I waste away.

  Bathe me in thy calm eyes' soft glances;
  I am thy slave, I bow, I worship;
  Bid me to steal, and I will steal gladly:
  Ah! bid me not, thou robbest my manhood.

  Let thine eyes smile: change comes upon me,
  I put forth blossoms, flowers of my passion,
  Roses crimson, alas! whose petals,
  Once white, now blush with blood of my heart.

  Gaze not on me: I burn, I perish;
  Gaze not on me: I am thy servant;
  Gaze not on me: I sink a-bleeding;
  Yet gaze! I cannot otherwise live.

    LAWFORD,
      _Easter_, 1914.


IV.--THE PRINCESS BADOURA'S LAST SONG TO HER LOVER

  I have poured my wine into a gold cup,
    I have plucked my roses, unfastened the stone
  From my bosom. Thou mayest drink my red wine up,
    Or spill where my jewel and roses are thrown.

  The golden-globed night deepens quickly over
    Me, afraid under its curtains. The spheres
  Stare. O gather me swiftly, my lover;
    Make me forget and forgive me these tears.

    LAWFORD,
      _Easter_, 1914.



THE GIFT OF SONG



THE GIFT OF SONG


  Beyond a hill and a river,
  Within a tower of stone,
  A Princess by a casement
  Dreamed, sitting still, alone.

  Her golden hair hung heavy
  Over her kirtle green;
  Her eyes were blue and lonely,
  Her tender mouth had been

  A joy for splendid kisses,
  It was so red, so red;
  But it was parted in singing,
  And, beginning her song, she said:

  "Three songs in my spirit:
  Elusive, tremulous, light.
  If you can feel their tremor,
  This gift is spended aright."

  Without in the silent garden
  The sunflowers dozed in the sun,
  Bees blackened their tawny faces,
  Their heads drooped one by one.

  Amid a stilly fig-tree,
  Hidden from sun and sight,
  A nightingale sang over
  The songs that rejoice the night.

  And browsing upon sweet grasses
  In the fair solitude,
  Half in sun, half in shadow,
  A lordly bay stag stood.

  Upon earth all was silent
  Save when the hid bird sung;
  In the dark blue afternoon heavens
  A silent half-moon hung.

       *       *       *       *       *

  As she commenced singing,
  The nightingale stopped. In the dead
  Silence the leaves flicked softly;
  The great stag turned his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Thus sung she alone, and only
  The stag, the fig-tree, the bird
  And pensive moon in the darkling heavens
  Her lovely singing heard.

  And as she finished singing,
  She bowed her golden head
  Low, O low, on her shaking bosom,
  And, ending her song, she said:

  "Three songs in my spirit:
  Elusive, tremulous, light.
  You have felt their tremor;
  This gift is spended aright."

  The nightingale lifted her voice up,
  The moon fled out of the skies,
  The fig-tree split, and two tears rolled
  Out of the great stag's eyes.

  Now, when she had done singing,
  She closed her eyes, and her breath
  Went out as she lay down backward
  And folded her hands in death.

    LYME REGIS,
      _July_ 6, 1916.



FRAGMENTS FROM A DRAMA ON THE SUBJECT OF ORESTES


I.--WARNING UNHEEDED

  _Kassandra._
  I cried in the halls where the feast will be set;
  The hurrying servants whom I met
  Brushed me aside, asked why I tarried.
  On their black woolly heads gold platters they carried,
  Piled high with rich fruits; betwixt jewelled hands,
  Goblets of crystal, white blossoming wands,
  Urns breathing incense: all these to be set
  Where Truth's feast and the feasters too soon shall be met.

  The guest shall turn as he laughs and sups,
  Reaching his hand for the golden wine;
  His face shall change as he sees next to him
  A mouth that mocks, eyes that look through him,
  A head sink her glistening brow 'twixt the cups,
  Locks blackening his stoup with a liquor of brine.

  In the scrolls of the platter of gold there has bled
  The juice of fruit battered and hairy and red;
  The goblets of crystal are fissured and cracked
  Like ice the bronze tyre of the chariot has wracked,
  And the blossoms curl withered because of the heat
  Of urns overset by the slip of red feet
  When the reveller fell forward unable to save
  His eyes from the torch, his groin from the glaive.

  _Chorus._
  For Truth rejected returns as Pain.

  _Kassandra._
  Under the trestles the guests lie slain;
  The curtains upon the gold cords pull
  Heavily, sagging like nets that are full,
  For curved in the trough and propped in the fold
  The red, red catch lies tossed and rolled;
  The halls and corridors reek with the flood;
  The pillars are trickled with cyphers of blood;
  Rent garlands lie trampled over the floors;
  Rusty footprints lead out through the high bronze doors
  To the starlit night and the whispering plain:

  _Chorus._
  For Truth rejected returns as Pain.

  _Kassandra._
  I weep for the ruin of a high, proud house;
  Moths fret the still curtains; down the throne runs a mouse;
  The sun fades on the floors heaped high with dead leaves;
  The moon runs on the rills that run from the eaves;
  Brown clogs the peristyle; the air has a tang;
  Weeds rot on the terrace; the hanging gates clang;
  The wind is a weariness; man lives in vain

  _Chorus._
  Where Truth rejected returns as Pain.

      1914-1916.


II.--ORESTES TO THE FURIES

  Ye are no madman's dreams, then!...
                      Out sword! Backward tread
  O curs that circle the bright blade ye dread.
  Back to where dead-eyed Hate, your shameful priest,
  Prepares your bowl of blood, your fleshy feast:
  Where in the thronged and long-hushed marketplace
  Ten thousand faces gaze on one pale face;
  Where the lost victim feels the lonely ban
  Of death terrific loosed by man on man;
  Where black blood froths, where drives the whirring wheel;
  Where hands, ears, lips fall lopped of instant steel;
  Where the intent and dazzling pincher plies
  Till to the silent tortures Anguish cries
  At once for death! and when sharp death is given,
  Others, corded and swooned, antic and sick, are driven
  Under the axe, whose sheeny flash and fall
  Bids the block ring as pile beneath the maul,
  Till Man's protest dies to a whisper, dumb
  Beneath the maddened rolling of Death's drum!

      1915.



BLACK SONG


I.--AT BRAYDON

  Day wanes slowly;
  On the hill no sound
  Save the wind uttering
  Chords low ... few ... profound.

  How the west smokes and quivers!
  It sears, it blinds my sight;
  I am burned out wholly,
  Hide me from the light.

  Within dear arms yoke me,
  Gather me. I am sped
  Into your little bosom
  Press, hide my childish head.

  How long I have struggled
  I know not; but the past
  Seems twice livelong,
  Beaten at the last!

  My soul leaps and shudders
  In pain none understands;
  With your clear voice calm it,
  Soothe it with your hands.

  I can say only
  --So lost am I, so distressed--
  "I love you: I am tired."
  You must guess the rest.

  I love you: I am tired.
  I give you my soul,
  It hurts me. Hate has lamed it.
  Take it; make it whole.

      _Late Summer_, 1916.


II.--MIDDAY ON THE EDGE OF THE DOWNS

  Stillness falls and a glare.
  The woods in darkness lie.
  The fields are stretched and stare
  Under the empty sky.
  Vacant the ways of the air,
  Along which no birds fly.
  Only the high sun's flare
  Spills on the empty sky.

  I lift my aching eyes
  From the dry wilderness:
  Across me a peewit flies
  With gestures meaningless....
  Mine are his piping cries
  At this world's emptiness!

      1913.


III.--IN DORSETSHIRE

  Cold and bare the sunlight
  Drifted across the hill,
  Round which the sea wind's current
  Unfathomable and chill,
  From dawn to silver sunset
  Poured now faint, now shrill.

  "How to comfort you,
  Share any part?
  Even to understand you
  Too deep an art!
  Yet I'd comfort you,
  Tear out my heart."

  "Do not look on me,
  Dry eyes for my sake;
  Do not smooth my forehead
  Your hands make me ache;
  O, and turn away your kisses
  Or heart must break."

  Cold and bare the sunlight
  Drifted across the hill,
  Only the sea-wind's current,
  Unfathomable and chill,
  Heard such speech gather,
  Bewail itself ... fall still.

  Toward the hill then zigzagged
  One wind-harried plover--
  Rocked for a moment....
  Cried to love and lover
  The top of loneliness
  Ere he heeled over.



MAN'S ANACREONTIC AND OTHER POEMS



MAN'S ANACREONTIC


  Kiss! Kiss me and kiss again,
  Make kissing almost pain;
  Close your fingers close on mine,
  And our grappling looks entwine;
  Kiss again, and when that's done
  Blind me with each facing sun
  Of your clear and golden eyes,
  Till my spirit in me dies,
  And endures a long eclipse
  Till rekindled at your lips.

  From this minute I pursue
  The intense Idea that's you--
  Your you's Being. I would draw
  You from Obscurity's dusk maw
  Into my hands--whate'er you are,
  Moth or spirit, gnome or star.
  Yet I would not filch a part,
  Misty soul or flaming heart,
  Which left but, as doth the snake,
  A pale tissue. I will take
  And shut all your sweetness up
  In the gold walls of a cup,
  Sandalled feet to sweeping hair,
  Soul, brain, body, all you are--
  Curled as a mermaid coiled in brine,
  Now drunk one gush of giddy wine!

  Nay, as a strange lump of snow
  In my two hands you shall go,
  And I'll bare my browny breast,
  Press you there, where now you rest!
  Ay, and bless the frozen smart
  As you melt into my heart!

  Come, I'll twine you round my brows:
  A defiant diadem,
  Poets of your light shall sing.
  Satraps by you swear stout vows
  Eyeing my twice-marvellous gem--
  You: the emerald in my ring.

  Thus I'll keep you night and day,
  Since no stone can run away--
  And might dare a pleasure splendid:
  Toss my ring into the air,
  Watch it spinning, heart suspended,
  Lest it slip me unaware,
  Fall clean through my finger bars,
  Shatter in ten thousand stars!
  Yet you shall not be my ring;
  You shall not be any thing,
  Crown or stone set cunningly,
  Time can separate from me.

  No! I'll find an alchemist,
  With a beard of cobwebs grey
  And fired eyes like moonstones kissed
  By the last gold beam of day,
  And older and gentler than a fish,
  And wiser than an elephant;
  And when I've told him what we wish,
  Bribe or force him work our want.

  We two shall opposëd stand,
  Each touch other's finger-tip;
  At a slow pass of his hand
  And a soft word from his lip,
  We will incline smilingly,
  And as drops together run,
  Shaking off the he and she,
  Close and be forever one.

    GRAYSHOTT,
      _Summer_, 1914.



THE BLACKBIRD


  I stand in a sunny garden;
    A blackbird sings overhead:
  "I'm alive ... I've a love ... the sun's shining
    And where's the man would be dead?"

  "Blackbird, make an ending of fluting
    That song down your orange beak:
  I'm alive ... I've a love ... the sun's shining,
    And--I am the man you seek."

    STAMFORD,
      _May_, 1913.



CHANGE


  Behold, the tides are awake!
  Under the high moon's light,
  Broad bands of silver, they glitter and quake,
  Moving out into the night.

  Off from the shore they slide,
  Out, out into the blue:
  And I am turned to a shimmering tide
  Flooding on outward to you!

    HENGISTBURY HEAD,
      _Spring_, 1915.



TRANSFIGURATION


  Two feet apart, straight-limbed on the heathered hill
  We lie, under the wavering haze
  Of the sun, even as two logs that lie still
  In the heart of a blaze.
  Side by side we lie through the long
  Late noon together;
  On us the light wind stoops his strong,
  Hot, sweet scents of heather.
  No word breaks the air that smothers,
  Lest we miss
  The dull heart-beat of the earth below each other's,
  And the soft kiss
  Of breathless heather upon heather, while the sun
  Beats on us encouraging the swiftening blood,
  Till up the limbs and through the ears it run,
  A thin, red singing flood.

  Love hath put in me might,
  That was so weak;
  I am strong with light,
  My senses seek
  Something indefinable, afar;
  They go wandering, and return....
  With the light drunk off a star
  They calmly burn,
  Even as the immense sun burns on us
  Till evening turns watery those beams of his;
  And, rising from that joyance onerous,
  I stoop a kiss
  Lighter than the balls of fluff
  The wind sways across the heath,
  Though each invisible, hot puff
  Scarce rocks a spray beneath.

  I sit, and it is so still,
  Now wind and sun have gone home,
  I can almost hear distil
  The dew in the gloam.
  And from the clear and cool
  Of the twilit air,
  That is still as a pool
  Iced over and bare,
  I catch at length
  The thought I have been searching for:
  Did I absorb the sun's or just your strength,
  Or Something More?

      _Summer_, 1914.



PLAINT OF PIERROT ILL-USED


  I am Pierrot, and was born
  On some February morn
  When through glistering rain shone down
  The full moon on Paris town.
  (Ah the moonshine in my head!)

  For, upon the fatal minute
  When the moon's heart changes in it
  And the tides their flow reverse,
  I, for better or for worse,
  Born was. (Better been born dead
  Than with moonwork in my head!)

  Clown stood foster, but another
  Got me of Clown's wife my mother,
  And as suited my poor station,
  Thieving was made my profession:
  Doorsteps often were my bed
  (Frosty moonshine in my head).

  Yet while Pierrot was a thief--
  Miracle beyond belief,
  Chance fantastic as divine!--
  I fell in with Columbine:
  Dark eyes, lips of mournful red
  (Dark-bright moonshine in my head).

  At the corner of the street
  She and I by night would meet;
  Met, but never told our love,
  While th' ironic moon above
  In her reverie smiled, and shed
  Tranquil radiance round each head.

  Till my father by a breath
  Stifled at the hands of Death,
  "--Since no other children were--
  Assigned me as only heir."
  (Silver sequins heaped and spread:
  Billowing silver in my head.)

  So, in search of fitting knowledge,
  Poor Pierrot was sent to college,
  Where Pantaloon and Pantaloon
  In answerless riddles o' the moon
  Crammed more moonshine in his head.

  Home, then, Pierrot by-and-by
  Hurried spent, resolved to sigh
  Headache, heartache, and the rest,
  Out on Columbine's white breast,
  White as the moon's cloudy bed
  (Hush the moonshine in my head).

  But, while gone, had entered in
  Spangled, smiling Harlequin;
  Laughter cynic and unholy:
  "Pah! Pierrot's poor melancholy!"
  Turned but not a word I said
  (Moons like swords within my head!)

  Forth: but money burns so bright!
  Let it burn, then, left and right:
  "Where, O where, is Punchinello?
  Scaramouch too, that gay fellow?
  A brisk life it is we'll lead:
  Drown the moonshine in my head!"

  Midnight: Venus by an urn,
  Roses and rose lanterns burn,
  Wine, fount's purl, and mandoline....
  Pulcinella waits within,
  Faithless she--but in her bed:
  No more moonlight in my head!

  Ah!...
          yet dawns a dreary morrow:
  'Spend at ease, and owe in sorrow,'
  With light purse to her begone,
  If but as a hanger-on!
  (Dread and moonlight in my head.)

  Home then: catch upon the way--
  'Harlequin fled yesterday.
  Bankruptcy of his employ.'
  Surging of relief and joy:
  Welcome then? past words unsaid?
  Surge of moonlight through my head.

  So on, beating, to her street:
  What sight Pierrot's eyes doth greet?
  One coach at her door arrives,
  From the back another drives....
  Strange! (mere moonlight in the head).

  Pull the bell: is she within?
  'I must see Miss Columbine.'
  Maid with finger laid by nose,
  Better not inquire too close--
  _Such puts bullets through the head!_

  Now I wander back and forth;
  Pierrot goes east, south, west, north;
  Shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders,
  Till the more acute beholders,
  Watching him, have hazarded,--
  'Touch of something in the head?'

  I am Pierrot, and was born
  On some far forgotten morn
  When the cold moon on the pane
  Struck and, signless, 'gan to wane,
  When the tides their flow reversed;
  And I bear, uncured, accursed,
  Aching until I am dead,
  Moonlight, moonlight in my head!

    DEVONSHIRE,
      _November_, 1916.



GIRL'S SONG FROM "THE TAILOR"[2]

    [2] "The Tailor," opera-buffa in three acts, being Op. 10 of
    Bernard van Dieren.


  O silver bird, fly down, fly down,
    Bring thy fair gifts to him and me:
  A purse contains a minted crown,
    A golden ring for me.
  Ah! lovely bird, fly down, fly down.

  But upon the highest bough
    See amid the leaves he swings,
  Pipes three notes of laughter low,
    Flirts, and folds his flashy wings.
  Ah! lovely bird, fly down, fly down.

  What is't, bird, thy soul demands?
    Come, I'll rock thee in my breast;
  I will stroke thee with my hands;
    Where none rested thou shalt rest....
  Ah! lovely bird, fly down, fly down.

  Jewels wouldst thou, then, O bird?
    See, among the sunny grass
  A tear has fallen unseen, unheard,
    Brighter than ever diamond was.

  Hark! Hark! His joy my voice doth drown:
  See, see, he leaps, floats, dives him down!

      1916.



LAST SONG IN AN OPERA


  From the apple bough many petals fly tossed of the wind,
  Yet goldenly heavy it hangs on blue autumn eves
    (_All things come unto him whose heart believes_).
  The dove, though the tempest-swept sun her bright eyes blind,
                Beats onward fast.
    Till with clapped, sailing wings down at the last
            To the loved cote she come.
    _Ah, the long way of Love, but Love comes home!_

  The silver river wanders and circles time out of mind,
  Yet turns at length where the sea tosses her smoking sheaves
    (_All things come unto him whose heart believes_).
  So golden-feathered Love beats his high course, though blind,
                Until that hour
    When, downward stooping through the flaming shower,
            Into the heart he come.
    _Ah, the long way of Love, but Love comes home!_

      1916.



DANAË

MYSTERY IN EIGHT POEMS



DANAË: MYSTERY IN EIGHT POEMS


I

  "What with clangour, clangour of iron din,
    Do they beat till daylight ring?
  What heat, that I see the night air spin,
    And sparks dance over the scaffolding?

  "The birds have flown because of their strife
    Hammering difficult metal;
  Their reek has taken my roses' life,
    Dripping white petal on petal.

  "What glows gold taller than earthly tree
    In that maze of mast on mast
  Of the scaffolding? What can it be
    They build so secret and fast?"


II

  "What art mooning at, fool?
  Some wanton boy and his limbs?
  Such dreams should be put to school:
  I'll chasten these fleshly whims!"

  He has shot the bolts on her room
  In the brazen tower.
  "Remain there, ninny: your doom
  Till the sand sifts your last hour!"

  With eyes grieving on space,
  Has she sight among all these blind?
  Because of her dreaming face....
  How harshly the great keys grind!

  They have gone. She clenches her hands,
  She struggles and makes soft moan....
  Then smiles, for she understands:
  The soul is never alone.


III

  "Last night as I was sitting,
  My faint heart ceased to beat,
  Listening in the silence
  To the tread of nearing feet.

  "Through the tower dumb in midnight
  They passed from floor to floor,
  Till at length they halted
  Hard without my door.

  "I knew 'twas Thou who stood'st there,
  With but a door's divide!
  With a wild and longing motion
  I strode and flung it wide.

  "Out into velvet darkness
  My whirring eyeballs stare.
  I whisper. Nothing answers.
  And there is no one there."


IV

CANTICLE

  "O Day so bright,
    Bring thou my Love to me,
  In blinding, deep delight
        And ecstasy.

  "O Night so wide,
    So black, keep close till He,
  The light within my side
        Seen, comes to me.

  "O wandering Wind,
    Sing in His ears the sum
  Of longing, mad His mind,
         Compel He come.

  "Earth I adore,
    From whom to whom I go,
  Bring Him to me before
        I return so.

  "Sun, nought doth let
    In journey or depart;
  Make Him, arisen, set
        Within my heart.

  "O high white Moon,
    Alone and glittering,
  As you pull ocean soon,
        My Belovëd bring.

  "O swelling Sea,
    Cavernous in your sweep,
  Make Him ingulph, drown me
        Far in His deep.

  "O Day, O Night,
    O Moon, O Sun, O Sea,
  O Wind, bring my Delight!
        Bring Him to me!"


V

  In the second watch of the night
  The amazed guards saw with affright
          Gold stars fall in a shower:
  Coins of gold in a sweeping flight,
          They silently broke on the tower.

  And the tower's top turned a rose
          Of enwreathed, ruddy light,
  And, like men smit of their foes,
          The guards fell at the sight....

  And the Rose possessed the tower alone
          All the blue, windless night.


VI

  "Soft torrential wind
    Falls through the vast, still deep
  Like thick dreams pouring behind
    The opened gates of sleep:
      _Ah, not so swift, Lord, not so bright,
        Lest I be blown--a feather;
      Not so white, not so white,
        Lest I be withered altogether._

  "Earth shifts under my feet,
    Glory breaks over my head;
  Speechlessly my wings I beat,
    And fall mute in breathless dread:
      _Ah, not so swift, Lord, not so bright,
        Lest I be blown--a feather;
      Not so white, not so white,
        Lest I be wilted altogether._"

VII

  "Mine is a heavenly Lover,
  In Him I am wholly blest;
  My heart it is His coffer
  Wherein His gold doth rest.

  "Dead in the metal tower
  I lie till night doth come,
  When in a golden shower
  He bursts the midnight dome.

  "And, caught beyond releasing,
  I yield me to His claim,
  And by my creature ceasing
  All that He is I am."


VIII

  The silver sun looks down
  On the silent tower;
  The guards awaken, nor own
  To the unguarded hour.

  They eye each other's face,
  But to speak none durst;
  As though the night were ungraced,
  Silent they are dispersed.

  The cruel King climbs, doth draw
  Near, then by he creeps,
  Marking in rage and awe
  The smile in which she sleeps.

    STAMFORD,
      _Autumn_, 1912, _and Autumn_, 1913.



THE ECSTASY


  I lay upon a headland hill:
    The sun spilt out his gold;
  The wind blew with a fluttering thrill;
    The skies were blue and cold.

  All day above the little cove
    I heard the long wind flow;
  The clouds foamed in the blue above,
    The blue sea foamed below.

  All day the bare sun fiercely burned;
    All day in the profound
  And quivering grass my body turned,
    One with Earth's turning round.

  Till, fledged amid her fluid rings,
    My soul began to rouse,
  And slowly beat her silver wings
    Within her darkened house.

  Then with vans lifted up for flight,
    With stretched and fiery crest,
  Upward she leaped toward the light
    And drew from out my breast.

  How long I lay while she was fled,
    And on the cliff below
  My body lay stiff, dark, and dead,
    I knew not nor may know.

  But long it seemed. Sped beyond sight
    My soul enjoyed release;
  Beyond the clouds, within the light,
    She entered into peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

  To-day, amid a world of men,
    How often must I cry:
  "Happy I never was but then
    Nor shall be till I die!"

    NEAR GOLD CAP,
      _Late Summer_, 1916.



THE WATER-LILY


  The Lily floated white and red,
    Pouring its scent up to the sun;
  The rapt sun floating overhead
    Watched no such other one.

  None marked it as it spread abroad
    And beautifully learned to cease:
  But Beauty is its own reward,
    Being a form of Peace.

      1913.



DEEM YOU THE ROSES....


  Deem you the roses taste no pleasure
    Unfolding hour by hour
  Toward, through starlit peace and sunny leisure,
    Their sharpest moment, when they dower
    This great green world, this rustling place,
    Active in music, light, and grace,
  With their hid hearts, their golden treasure,
    Odours so deep they overpower?

  See how, hazed in the sunny weather,
    The silken roses swim,
  Nodding heads frail as a high cloud's feather,
    Expressing Joy in Beauty's Hymn.
    And, hark! from many a hidden face
    Echoes I hear through silver space:
  The Morning Stars that sing together,
    And the delighting Seraphim!

    LAWFORD,
      _Early Summer_, 1916.



THE PASSION


  Those whose Love, unborn to sight,
    Never did itself disclose
    Save in water's cry; a rose;
  Meteor furrowing the night;

  Mote of any turning ray;
    Pipe of bird mid sunset's flush;
    Rain stilled, leaves flame-wet, and hush
  Of a rainbow's fire and spray;

  Any straight road leads afar
    'Cross a hill-brow--What's beyond?
    Seven hung notes of music fond;
  Seven dark poplars, one white star;

  Cloud lifting a tower aloft;
    Light and play and shadowy grace
    Of the soul behind a face
  Flitting by on motion soft;

  Lonely figure on a height;
    Those whose love but shines a hint
    Fainter than the far sea's glint
  To the inland gazer's sight--

  These alone, and but in part,
    Guess of what my songs are spun,
    And Who holds communion
  Subtly with my troubled heart.

  But the substance of my grief
    Scarcely can their thought surmise,
    Who but glimpse through these my eyes
  Joy as fathomless as brief.

  Others in this strange world flung,
    Orphans, too, of Destiny,
    Have the virtue, but not I,
  Keeps heart crystal, single tongue;

  And know not, whose hearts are whole,
    How--when sickened and unclean,
    Unfit or to see, be seen--
  Close thorns pack and prick the soul.

  Yet though here soul suffereth,
    Complicate by vision's light,
    Never would I cede this right
  Of a sharpened life and death.

  For I keep in confidence
    In my breast a subtle faith
    'Scapes alway by narrow scathe
  And I draw my succour thence.

  One Day, or maybe one Night--
    Living? dying?--I shall see
    The Rose open gloriously
  On its heart of living light.

  Know what any bird may mean,
    Meteor in my heart shall rest,
    Spelled on my brain blaze th' unguessed
  Words of the rainbow's dazzling sheen.

  O the hour for which I wait!
    Lovers of the Secret Love
    Watch with me, and we will prove
  Constancy can be elate.

  For the sigil we have now
    Is but echo, shadow, less
    Than a nothing's nothingness,
  To what that hour will allow:

  Lost and found! The Shining Ones!
    Music, passion, scent, delight,
    Light and depth and space and height:
  Heaven and its seven suns!

    DORSET SQUARE,
      _October_, 1916.



LAST WORDS


  O let it be
  Just such an eve as this when I must die!
  To see the green bough soaking, still against a sky
  Washed clean after the rain.
  To watch the rapturous rainbow flame and fly
  Into the gloom where drops fall goldenly,
  And in my heart to feel the end of pain.
  The end of pain: the late, the long expected!--
  To see the skies clear in a sudden minute,
  The grey disparting on the blue within it,
  And on the low far sea the clouds collected.

  In that deep quiet die to all has been,
  To be renewed, to bud, to flower again:
  My second spring!--whose hope was nigh rejected
  Before I go hence and am no more seen.

  To hear the blackbird ring out, gay and bold,
  The low renewal of the ringdove's moan
  From among high, sheltered boughs, and ceaseless fall
  Pitter, pitter, patter,
  A dribble of gold
  From leaves nodding each on the other one,
  The hush, calm piping and the slow, sweet mood!
  To drink the ripe warm scent of soaking matter,
  Wet grass, wet leaves, wet wood,
  Wet mould,
  The saddest and the grandest scent of all.

  So when my dying eyes have loved the trees
  Till with huge tears turned blind,
  When the vague ears for the last time have hearkened
  To the cool stir of the long evening breeze,
  The blackbird's tireless call,
  Having drunk deep of earth-scent strong and kind,
  Come then, O Death, and let my day be darkened.

  I shall have had my all.

    LAWFORD,
      _April_, 1916.





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