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Title: Starved Rock
Author: Masters, Edgar Lee
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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Libraries)



Transcriber's Notes:
Italics are indicated by _underscores_.



                   STARVED ROCK



               THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

       NEW YORK . BOSTON . CHICAGO . DALLAS
              ATLANTA . SAN FRANCISCO

             MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

            LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA
                     MELBOURNE

         THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

                      TORONTO



                   STARVED ROCK

                        BY

                 EDGAR LEE MASTERS

  Author of "Spoon River Anthology," "Songs and
       Satires," "The Great Valley," "Toward
                  the Gulf," etc.


                     New York

               THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

                       1919

               _All rights reserved_



                  COPYRIGHT, 1919
             BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

 Set up and electrotyped. Published, October, 1919



Certain of these poems first appeared in _Reedy's Mirror_, _Poetry_,
_The Cosmopolitan_, _The Yale Review_ and _The New York Sun_.



  CONTENTS


                                          PAGE

  STARVED ROCK                               1
  HYMN TO THE DEAD                           5
  CREATION                                  10
  THE WORLD'S DESIRE                        13
  TYRANNOSAURUS: OR BURNING LETTERS         16
  LORD BYRON TO DOCTOR POLIDORI             22
  THE FOLDING MIRROR                        29
  A WOMAN OF FORTY                          33
  WILD BIRDS                                34
  A LADY                                    36
  THE NEGRO WARD                            40
  WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE                        44
  FOR A PLAY                                47
  CHICAGO                                   49
  THE WEDDING FEAST                         54
  BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON                  58
  THE DREAM OF TASSO                        60
  THE CHRISTIAN STATESMAN                   69
  THE LAMENT OF SOPHONIA                    77
  AT DECAPOLIS                              79
  WINGED VICTORY                            83
  OH YOU SABBATARIANS!                      88
  PALLAS ATHENE                             90
  AT SAGAMORE HILL                          95
  TO ROBERT NICHOLS                        101
  BONNYBELL: THE BUTTERFLY                 103
  HYMN TO AGNI                             109
  EPITAPH FOR US                           111
  BOTTICELLI TO SIMONETTA                  114
  FLOWER IN THE GARDEN                     115
  INEXORABLE DEITIES                       117
  ARIELLE                                  119
  SOUNDS OUT OF SORROW                     121
  MOURNIN' FOR RELIGION                    122
  THYAMIS                                  124
  I SHALL GO DOWN INTO THIS LAND           126
  SPRING LAKE                              128
  THE BARBER OF SEPO                       138
  THEY'D NEVER KNOW ME NOW                 145
  NEL MEZZO DEL CAMMIN                     156
  THE OAK TREE                             160
  THE HOUSE ON THE HILL                    162
  WASHINGTON HOSPITAL                      163
  NEITHER FAITH NOR BEAUTY CAN REMAIN      170



                   STARVED ROCK


  As a soul from whom companionships subside
  The meaningless and onsweeping tide
  Of the river hastening, as it would disown
  Old ways and places, left this stone
  Of sand above the valley, to look down
  Miles of the valley, hamlet, village, town.

       *       *       *       *       *

  It is a head-gear of a chief whose head,
  Down from the implacable brow,
  Waiting is held below
  The waters, feather decked
  With blossoms blue and red,
  With ferns and vines;
  Hiding beneath the waters, head erect,
  His savage eyes and treacherous designs.

       *       *       *       *       *

  It is a musing memory and memorial
  Of geologic ages
  Before the floods began to fall;
  The cenotaph of sorrows, pilgrimages
  Of Marquette and LaSalle.
  The eagles and the Indians left it here
  In solitude, blown clean
  Of kindred things: as an oak whose leaves are sere
  Fly over the valley when the winds are keen,
  And nestle where the earth receives
  Another generation of exhausted leaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Fatigued with age its sleepless eyes look over
  Fenced fields of corn and wheat,
  Barley and clover.
  The lowered pulses of the river beat
  Invisibly by shores that stray
  In progress and retreat
  Past Utica and Ottawa,
  And past the meadow where the Illini
  Shouted and danced under the autumn moon,
  When toddlers and papooses gave a cry,
  And dogs were barking for the boon
  Of the hunter home again to clamorous tents
  Smoking beneath the evening's copper sky.
  Later the remnant of the Illini
  Climbed up this Rock, to die
  Of hunger, thirst, or down its sheer ascents
  Rushed on the spears of Pottawatomies,
  And found the peace
  Where thirst and hunger are unknown.

       *       *       *       *       *

  This is the tragic and the fateful stone
  Le Rocher or Starved Rock,
  A symbol and a paradigm,
  A sphinx of elegy and battle hymn,
  Whose lips unlock
  Life's secret, which is vanishment, defeat,
  In epic dirges for the races
  That pass and leave no traces
  Before new generations driven in the blast
  Of Time and Nature blowing round its head.
  Renewing in the Present what the Past
  Knew wholly, or in part, so to repeat
  Warfare, extermination, old things dead
  But brought to life again
  In Life's immortal pain.

       *       *       *       *       *

  What Destinies confer,
  And laughing mock
  LaSalle, his dreamings stir
  To wander here, depart
  The fortress of Creve Coeur,
  Of broken heart,
  For this fort of Starved Rock?
  After the heart is broken then the cliff
  Where vultures flock;
  And where below its steeps the savage skiff
  Cuts with a pitiless knife the rope let down
  For water. From the earth this Indian town
  Vanished and on this Rock the Illini
  Thirsting, their buckets taken with the knife,
  Lay down to die.

       *       *       *       *       *

  This is the land where every generation
  Lets down its buckets for the water of Life.
  We are the children and the epigone
  Of the Illini, the vanished nation.
  And this starved scarp of stone
  Is now the emblem of our tribulation,
  The inverted cup of our insatiable thirst,
  The Illini by fate accursed,
  This land lost to the Pottawatomies,
  They lost the land to us,
  Who baffled and idolatrous,
  And thirsting, spurred by hope
  Kneel upon aching knees,
  And with our eager hands draw up the bucketless rope.

       *       *       *       *       *

  This is the tragic, the symbolic face,
  Le Rocher or Starved Rock,
  Round which the eternal turtles drink and swim
  And serpents green and strange,
  As race comes after race,
  War after war.
  This is the sphinx whose Memnon lips breathe dirges
  To empire's wayward star,
  And over the race's restless urges,
  Whose lips unlock
  Life's secret which is vanishment and change.



                 HYMN TO THE DEAD


  O, you who have gone from the ways of cities,
  From the peopled places, the streets of strife,
  From offices, markets, rooms, retreats,
  Pastoral ways, hamlets, everywhere from the earth,
  And have made of the emptiness of your departure
  A land, a country, a realm all your own,
  Set above the hills of our vision, an empire
  Within, around, above our empire of days,
  Of pain and clamorous tongues;
  An empire which out of a sovereign silence
  Stretches its power over the restless multitude
  Of our thoughts, and the ceaseless music of our beings,
  And surrounds us even as the air we breathe--
  O ye majestic Dead, hear our hymn!

       *       *       *       *       *

  The clown, the wastrel and the fool in life
  Are lifted up by you, O Death!
  The least of these who has entered in
  Your realm, O Death,
  Is greater than the greatest of us,
  And by a transfiguration has been clothed
  With the glory and the wonder of nature.
  He has drunk of the purple cup of apotheosis,
  And passed through the mystical change,
  And accomplished the cycle of being.
  He has risen from the lowlands of earth
  Into the air on wings of breath.
  He has rejected the shell of the body, feet and hands,
  He has become one with the majesty of Time,
  And taken the kingdom of triumph
  Whether it be cessation or bliss.
  For he has entered into the kingdom of primal powers,
  Being or ceasing to be,
  Even as he has re-entered the womb of nature.
  Or he has found peace,
  States of wisdom, or vision--
  Hail! realm of Silence,
  Whence comes the unheard symphony too deep for strings,
  Hail, infinite Light,
  Darkness to eyes of flesh--
  All hail!

       *       *       *       *       *

  What are we, the living, beside you the dead?
  We of daily hunger, daily food, daily ablutions,
  The daily rising and lying down,
  Waking and sleep;
  The daily care of the body's needs;
  And daily desire to pass the gift of life;
  And daily fears of the morrow to come;
  And daily pains for things that are gone;
  And daily longing for things that fly us;
  And sorrow that follows wherever we go;
  And love that mocks us, and peace that breaks,
  And shame that tracks us, and want that gnaws.
  But O ye Dead! Ye great ones,
  Triumphant over these, released
  From the duties of dust, all chains of desire,
  And made inhabitants of breathless spaces,
  Immanent in a realm of calm,
  Rulers of a sphere of tideless air,
  Victors returned from the war of death in life,
  Victors over death in death!

       *       *       *       *       *

  For the growing soul turns in
  Even as the seed turns in on itself,
  And becomes hard, transparent,
  An encased life, condensed
  In the process of saving itself
  From rains that beat in the fall,
  And frosts that descend from skies grown cold.
  And we who shed away old thoughts and hopes,
  Days and dreams of life
  Turn in, grow clear like grains of rice,
  Until the realm of death
  Is as snow delivered land
  Luring the seed--
  And it becomes our home, our country,
  Our native land that calls us back
  From this sojourn of adventure,
  And place of profit;
  For O ye majestic Dead, your absence draws us,
  If it be naught but absence still you summon,
  Your absence has become a very Presence,
  A Power, a hierarchy of Life!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Even as leaves enrich the earth
  Layer on layer,
  Even as bodies of men enrich the soil
  Generation on generation,
  So do the spirits of those departed
  Enrich our soil of life
  With delights, wisdoms, purest hopes,
  And shapes of beauty.
  But oh beyond all these, is our life enriched
  With exalted contemplations
  Of you, O glorious Dead,
  Who have eaten of the tree of life and become gods,
  Friendly divinities to us who remain,
  Dear familiars, as you were with us
  Fathers, children, lovers, friends.
  Ye who sense with the inner eye,
  Since nothing in our days of living
  Moves uncolored of your splendors,
  Presences to which all things relate!

       *       *       *       *       *

  O realm of the Dead,
  Black Mountain, if you be,
  Which darkens heaven,
  And shadows earth,
  Round which our spirits flutter
  Like startled moths.
  Black mountain with whose blackness
  The light of life is mixed,
  Whereof all hues are made:
  All thoughts, all lofty wanderings of the soul,
  All meanings, divinations
  Of briefest hours, and frailest joys,
  All wonders of the spectrum of the soul
  Out of life and death!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Realm of the Dead! Supreme Reality
  All Hail!



                     CREATION


  Passion flower unfolding in darkness!
  Glow-worm under a spray of lilac!
  Flame on the altar of love!
  Beloved in your chamber!
  The phoenix moon rising from the ashes of day
  Spreads her wings of saffron fire
  Above the enchanted garden.
  And I brush away the leaves of night
  To find the star of my love.
  I part the curtains about the altar,
  I enter your chamber, beloved.

       *       *       *       *       *

  I have entered your chamber, beloved,
  I have found my star.
  Between kisses and whispers
  And the silken touch of flesh
  Breast to breast, lips to lips,
  Our souls are seeking and drifting!
  As an albatross hovers and flies
  With the running sea...
  Powers of body, powers of spirit,
  Divinities
  Awakened never before,
  Hidden in nerves asleep, in veins without a tide
  Flow through us.
  I give you my life, beloved,
  For life of you, given to me--
  O bride of love!

       *       *       *       *       *

  O hair of fire! O breasts of light,
  Like double stars!
  O voice like a lute that whispers
  At midnight, in a bower of roses!
  O body luminous as the nebulous waste
  Across the midnight,
  Pour on my breast, my hands, my brow
  The sacred fire,
  As our flesh becomes one
  Upborne by your breasts,
  White as bridal blossoms
  Where there is yet no milk,
  But only eddying blood
  Circling in whirlpools of delirious ecstasy
  In time with the blood of me.
  Our lips together, our bodies together
  While the yearning urn of porphyry
  Waits to drink the silver stream,
  And thirsts to drink,
  And poises like a gold fish waiting
  For the stream of silver fire....

       *       *       *       *       *

  But oh, hands of me that clasp your sunny head,
  Drawing it close to my breast,
  In rapture of its beauty!
  O temple of your spirit!
  Spirit of you which I woo and would win,
  In rapture without will,
  In rapture blind, save for the inspired urge,
  In rapture seeking further rapture,
  In rapture to wed your spirit fully,
  And all your spirit, which my spirit
  Through the unity of flesh would reach
  And win, and keep--
  Bride of lightning!
  Bride of Life!

       *       *       *       *       *

  As when the butterfly slowly moves his wings
  Drawing from the virgin core of honeysuckles
  The sweetest drop of dew:--
  So pause his wings spread wide
  When all is gained.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Goddess of the white dawn,
  Let my beloved sleep--
  Robins that sing at dawn,
  Wake not my beloved!
  I sleep with my beloved,
  And she sleeps with me,
  And a life sleeps now
  That will wake!



              THE WORLD'S DESIRE


  At Philae, in the temple of Isis,
  The fruitful and terrible goddess,
  Under a running panel of the sacred ibis,
  Is pictured the dead body of Osiris
  Waiting the resurrection morn.
  And a priest is pouring water blue as iris
  Out of a pitcher on the stalk of corn
  That from the body of the god is growing,
  Before the rising tides of the Nile are flowing.
  And over the pictured body is this inscription
  In the temple of Isis, the Egyptian:
  This is the nameless one, whom Isis decrees
  Not to be named, the god of life and yearning,
  Osiris of the mysteries,
  Who springs from the waters ever returning.

  At the gate of the Lord's house,
  Ezekiel, the prophet, beheld the abomination of Babylon:
  Women with sorrow on their brows
  In lamentation, weeping
  For the bereavement of Ishtar and for Tammuz sleeping,
  And for the summer gone.
  Tammuz has passed below
  To the house of darkness and woe,
  Where dust lies on the bolt and on the floor
  Behind the winter's iron door;
  And Ishtar has followed him,
  Leaving the meadows gray, the orchards dim
  With driving rain and mist,
  And winds that mourn.
  Ishtar has vanished, and all life has ceased;
  No flower blossoms and no child is born.

  But not as Mary Magdalen came to the tomb,
  The women in the gardens of Adonis,
  Crying, "The winter sun is yet upon us,"
  Planted in baskets seeds of various bloom,
  Which sprouted like frail hopes, then wilted down
  For the baskets' shallow soil.
  Then for a beauty dead, a futile toil,
  For leaves that withered, yellow and brown,
  From the gardens of Adonis into the sea,
  They cast the baskets of their hope away:
  A ritual of the things that cease to be,
  Brief loveliness and swift decay.

  And O ye holy women, who at Delphi
  Roused from sleep the cradled Dionysius,
  Who with an April eye
  Looked up at them,
  Before the adorable god, the infant Jesus,
  Was found at Bethlehem!

  For at Bethlehem the groaning world's desire
  For spring, that burned from Egypt up to Tyre,
  And from Tyre to Athens beheld an epiphany of fire:
  The flesh fade flower-like while the soul kept breath
  Beyond the body's death,
  Even as nature which revives;
  In consummation of the faith
  That Tammuz, the Soul, survives,
  And is not sacrificed
  In the darkness where the dust
  Lies on the bolt and on the floor,
  And passes not behind the iron door
  Save it be followed by the lover Christ,
  The Ishtar of the faithful trust,
  Who knocks and says: "This soul, which winter knew
  In life, in death at last,
  Finds spring through me, and waters fresh and blue.
  For lo, the winter is past;
  The rain is over and gone.
  I open! It is dawn!"



      TYRANNOSAURUS: OR BURNING LETTERS


    Trees of the forest ground to pulp,
    Rolled into sheets and rabbit tracked
    With nut-gall or with nigrosine--
    Then look at spirits thrill, or gulp
    A lost delight, a rising spleen
    For love that grew intense or slacked...

    Here are the letters, torn in bits,
    Crammed in the basket, look how full!
    Our little fireplace scarce admits
    So much that once was beautiful.
    Here where we sat and dreamed together
    In March, and now when we should be
    Friends in the glory of June weather,
    We tear our letters up--oh, me!
    Call Jane to take the basket down,
    And throw these on the furnace fire.
    Let ashes drift about the town
    Of what was our desire!

    What are we to the gods, I wonder?
    Perhaps two crickets in the grass,
    Who meet and drop their stomachs' plunder
    To touch antennæ as they pass.
    So kissing in such soul communion
    The gardener's step is heard, and quick
    The crickets break their spirits' union,
    Hide under logs or bits of brick.
    Does guilty conscience stir the crickets?
    What does he care? Why not a snap.
    He's trimming out the hazel thickets
    For a tennis court and shooting trap....
    You are afraid of God! Not that?
    Some step has frightened you, I know.
    Well, then it's gossip the alley-cat.
    At least our hands grow cold as snow,
    Relax their touch, and then we come,
    Tear up the letters, sit and stare
    Some moments, wholly dumb!

    If we are crickets, still our breasts
    Contain for us things real enough.
    The gods may laugh, their interests
    Are what? I wonder--not the love
    Such as we knew. To be a god
    Through love is what I hoped, and rise
    Above the level of the clod.
    They said it can't be, who are wise,
    That's not the way to win the prize:
    Or if it be, I don't know how;
    Or you are not the one with whom
    I might have won it. Well, my brow
    Is turned into a whitened tomb
    With all uncleanness in it; dreams
    Rotting away with hopes as fair...
    To me, the liver, nothing seems
    Won that is lost. I can't invert,
    Sophisticate the facts, or swear
    My evil good. A hurt's a hurt,
    A loss a loss, a scar a scar,
    A spirit frustrate is inert.
    To stretch your hands toward a star
    And lose the star, or have it die
    To ashes like a rocket, alters
    The aspect of your being's sky.
    You've learned no praise from earthly psalters
    Can win the star, or else you've learned
    The star you touched was quickly turned
    To ashes while it burned.

    Hell! Let us face it. Here it is
    We had some walks, some precious talks,
    Some hours of paradise and bliss.
    Our blossom opened, we inhaled
    All of its fragrance, now I scowl
    Because our wonder blossom paled
    For lack of water in the bowl
    Tipped over by the alley-cat,
    Or what not, change, distrust or fear;
    Your pride, your will, a hovering gnat
    I struck at striking you, a blear
    Of eyes a moment, making blind
    My vision, yours.... Or there's the age,
    The age is frightful to my mind,
    Nothing to do but stand it--well
    I sit here and say "hell."

    For it's really hell to have a will,
    It's hell to hope and to believe,
    That good can swallow up the ill,
    That gods are working, will achieve.
    They may be, yet they disregard
    Our cricket feelings, so we shrill
    Sonnets and elegies round the yard...
    Let's talk a bit of chlorophyll:
    The sun was useless for our life,
    No wine, no beef, no watercress
    Until this chlorophyll grew rife
    Millions of years since, more or less.
    And if no wine or beef, no love,
    No pulp, no paper, nigrosine,
    No letters which are made thereof.
    Think! All we found and lost has been
    Through chlorophyll.

                            And just suppose
    Nature should lose the secret power
    For making chlorophyll, the rose
    We cherished would not come to flower.
    No other man and woman more
    Would burn their letters grieving--yet
    We may be rising, for who knows
    There may be something vastly better
    Than love to flame and flay and fret,
    And hate this letter and that letter,
    Once rid of chlorophyll, in case
    A subtler substance could be given
    To this poor globe out of heaven--
    We are a weak, if growing race!

    Here, then, I think is a moral for us,
    Another is tyrannosaurus--
    Tyrannosaurus, what of him,
    The monarch of this world one time,
    Back in the æons wet and dim?
    He faded like a pantomime.
    And he could, well, step over trees,
    Crunch up bowlders like cracking nuts,
    Flip horses away like bumble-bees,
    Stretch out in valleys as if they were ruts;
    And hide a man in his nostril's hole,
    And crush young forestry just like weeds.
    He came and went, and what's your soul,
    And what is mine with their crying needs?
    And love that seemed eternal once,
    Given of God to lift, inspire,
    Well--now do we see? Was I dunce
    Drunk with the wine of soul's desire?
    Who made that wine, why did I drink it?
    Why did I want it? What's the game?
    Are spirits chaos? I scarce can think it.
    Why fly for the light and get the flame?
    Is love for souls of us chlorophyll
    That makes us eatable, sweet and crisp
    For Gods that raise us to feed their fill?
    Who lives, the dreamer, the will o' the wisp?
    Do Gods live, vanish, return again?
    Who in the devil has love or luck?
    One thing is true, there's rapture and pain.
    As for the rest, I pass the buck.
    Something occurs, and God knows what,
    Tyrannosaurus fades like a ghost.
    That throws a light on our little lot,
    Love that is won, love that is lost.
    Even a hundred years from now,
    If this poor earth is rolling still,
    Hearts will quiver, break or bow--
    Provided the plants have chlorophyll.

    Oh well! Oh hell! We must be heroic,
    And it helps to scan a million of years.
    And to think of monstrous beasts mesoic,
    Brightens, though it dries no tears.
    I'll dream for life of our walks by the river--
    That was March and it's now July.
    And this remains: I'll love you forever--
    Burn up the letters now--Good by!



           LORD BYRON TO DOCTOR POLIDORI


    No more of searching, Doctor--let it go.
    It can't be lost. I have a memory
    I put it in a drawer, or again
    I seem to see me tuck it in a pocket
    Of some portmanteau. If you find the letter
    Deliver it to Moore. But if it's lost,
    The story is not lost. I tell you this
    To save the story from my side. Attend!
    It was this way:

                              Allegra had become
    A child requiring care, and nutritive
    Instruction in religion, morals, well,
    They call me blasphemer and sensualist,
    But read my poems. Christianity
    Was never of rejected things with me.
    The Decalogue is good enough, I think.
    And Shelley's theories, atheist speculations
    I never shared--nor social dreams. The scheme
    Of having all things, women, too, in common
    Means common women. I have sinned, I know--
    I call it sin. The marriage vow I honor,
    And woman's virtue. Though I stray, I hold
    That women should be chaste, though man is not.
    That's why I placed Allegra in a convent....

    Now to the letter, and my story of it.

    The mother, Claire, Claire Claremont, as you know--
    Pined for Allegra; would possess the child
    And take her from the convent--where? No doubt
    To Shelley's nest, where William Godwin's daughter
    Raised on free love, and Shelley preaching it,
    And Claire in whom 'tis bred, hold sway, who read,
    Talk, argue, dream of freedom, all the things
    Opposed to what is in the present order.
    You know the notes to "Queen Mab." Well, I say
    This suits me not.

                              So Shelley and his wife,
    Mary, the planet of an hour, since quenched,
    Conceive I keep Allegra where she is
    From wounded pride, or pique. Hell fire! They think
    I'm hurt for thinking Claire and Shelley join
    Their lips in love, and masque my jealousy
    By just this pose of morals, make reprisal
    Under a lying flag, and keep Allegra
    To punish Claire and sate my jealousy
    By this hypocrisy--It makes me laugh.

    But to pursue. A maid who was discharged
    From Shelley's household told the credible tale
    That Claire was Shelley's mistress, and the Hoppners
    Heard and believed--why not? As she is fair,
    And Shelley wrote "Love is like understanding
    Which brighter grows gazing on many truths,
    Increases by division," that himself
    Could not accept the code, a man should choose
    One woman and leave all the rest, why not?
    As for myself, I have not preached this doctrine,
    Though living it as men do in the world....

    Oh yes, I know this love called spiritual,
    Of which old maids, whose milk has gone to brain
    And curdled in the process, and who hate me
    For taking men and women as they are,
    Talk to create belief for self and others.

    Denial makes philosophies, religions.
    Indulgence leaves one sane, objectifies
    The eternal womanly, freeing brain of fumes,
    To work with master hands with love and life.

    The story rose, however.

                                Then comes Shelley
    Bearing a letter from his wife, denying
    That Claire and Shelley loved, you understand--
    By the flesh. Sweet, was it not? Naïve!
    This letter I should hand the Hoppners, who
    Believed the story, and who held a place
    Persuasive touching poor Allegra. Well,
    So Shelley comes and makes the point, the child
    Is in ill health, Claire, too, in a decline,
    And hands this letter to me for the Hoppners.

    And I've misplaced it. Frankly, from the first,
    Had no fixed purpose to deliver it.
    What principle makes me collaborator
    With such fantastic business? To resume:
    He acted like the boy he was. I smiled--
    Against the flaming rage that burned his face--
    My mocking smile, he thought, the Don Juan
    Upcurved my lips. I read his very thought
    Between words spoken; words that he suppressed:
    It was that I was glad that Claire was ill
    Because of that male mood when love of man
    Finds sustenance where suffering lays low
    The object of desire: If she suffers,
    The man subdues, devours her. She escapes
    If free of love. Oh yes, and this he thought:
    That I was glad she suffered, since my glory
    Had failed to hold her, failed to satisfy
    Her noble heart! God's wounds! Why Shelley thought
    She turned to him and with his spirit found
    A purity of peace and sweetest friendship,
    And faith that saves and serves, as men and women
    Are to each other souls to serve and save!
    Poor fool! I read it all, or pieced it out
    With words that I picked up from time to time....

    There was this further thing: I am a man,
    So say they, who accepts the dying creed
    That woman's love is lawless and a toy
    When given if no priest has sanctified it--
    Not quite, perhaps. The point is further on.

    In any case 'tis this: that this belief,
    Mine or part mine, and coloring my acts,
    Shadowed no whit the brow of Lady Claire.
    And that I, greatest lover of my time,
    Had won this lady's body but to lose
    The lady's soul, a soul that slipped and fled
    Out of the hands that clasped her flesh, because
    She knew me through her gift, thought less of me,
    And no wise felt herself bound to my life
    Because she gave her body. Kept her mind,
    Soul, free, untouched by that gift, by the gift
    Was cognizant of what is false and poor--
    (I use some words I heard) in me. And thus
    I lost her soul, though earlier I had gained
    What seemed all to me, all I had the genius
    To comprehend in woman! Then comes Shelley
    And finds her soul, the genuine prize, and I
    Grow sullen with a consciousness of vision
    Inferior to his. All this they thought.
    Oh Jesus, what a lie!

    I have loved Nature, love her now: and woman
    Is Nature, and my love for nature means
    Inclusion of the sex. I have not soared
    To heights that sickened me and made me laugh
    At what I sought--or turned from it. No moons
    Behind the clouds; no terrors and no symbols,
    No Emilia Vivianni's have I had.
    I know, believe me, love for woman calls
    A man's soul up to heights too rare to live in.
    I have not risen, therefore, will not rise
    Where thinking stops, because the blood leaves brain
    Therefore have had no falls, and no recoils
    Chasing the Plato vision, the star, the wonder,
    The beauty and the terror, harmony
    Of nature's art; the passion that would make
    The loved one of the self-same womb with me,
    A sister, spouse or angel, dæmon, pilot
    Of life and fate.

                          How much of truth is here?

    Dreams seen most vividly by Petrarch, Dante,
    Who loved without achievement, balking nature,
    Till Passion, like an involute, pressed in
    Harder and harder on its starving leaves,
    Becomes a fragrance--sublimate of self
    Sucked out of sorrow's earth, at last becomes
    A meditative madness. All is written
    Fairly across my page. "She walks in beauty:"
    "When we two parted," "Could love like a river,"
    "Bright be the place of thy soul." Lines, lines
    In "Harold," "Don Juan." Yes, I have loved,
    But saw how far love lures, how far to venture,
    Knowing what can and what cannot be made
    Of the mystery, the wonder, therefore never
    Have had to laugh at self; find Vivianni
    A housemaid shelling corn--not threading pearls.
    Or sit, with idiot eyes, my bones half broken,
    Icarus bumped amid a field of stones.

    I know the hour of farewell. I have said it
    When my heart trembled, stopped as when a horse
    Braces its terrored feet to keep from plunging
    Over the precipice. Farewell! Farewell!
    I know to say, and turn, and pass my way.

    Why! For that matter, even now behold!
    Do I feel less than Shelley would in this?
    I leave the Countess for the war in Greece.
    What's done is done. What's lived is lived. Come, Doctor,
    Let's practice with the pistols. Mother of God,
    What is this thing called Life?



                THE FOLDING MIRROR


    A folding mirror! What may it be?
    Nothing? Or something? Let me see!
    Its silver chain is hung to the sky
    On a planet nail. And it fronts my eye.
    No stars reflect themselves at first,
    The mirrors are dustless, vacant and clean.
    Not even my face shows--am I cursed?
    What may the mirrors mean?

       *       *       *       *       *

    I watch like a cat that waits to mangle
    A breathless rat in an alley nook.
    And a little figure steps into the angle
    Made by the folding mirrors. Look!
    His thin legs wobble, bend and dangle
    Like radish roots. He takes the crook
    Out of his arms and raises them up,
    As if in panic, or supplication.
    He bends and peers, whines like a pup,
    Walks to and fro in his desperation,
    Pinches his arms and beats his breast;
    Runs quivering fingers between his hair,
    Wavers for weariness, sighs for rest,
    Looks up to the planet that seems to bear
    The silver chain like a brad in the wall.
    Upsprings, searches the mirrors again;
    Sees for the first the prodigal
    Waste of stars in the black inane.
    Stamps with his feet upon the void
    He stands on, paces on, why, he wonders
    Is he upborned like an asteroid?
    Hark! The limitless blackness thunders:
    The Infinite growls, he whirls and shivers,
    Runs to cover the mirrors to climb.
    They yield like the waters of phantom rivers.
    He acts like a soul new born that quivers
    Before the mirrors of Space and Time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Now what's to do? He must fill in.
    This emptiness with horror is shod.
    When did this pageant of things begin?
    Somewhere hiding there is a God.
    Some one drove that planet nail
    Into the blue wall; some one hung
    The silver chain. And what is the tale
    Of the mirrors here in the blackness swung?
    The soul is naked, weak and alone,
    And sees its nakedness in the glass.
    It must create from wood and stone,
    Wire and reeds, color and brass.
    It must create though it be but a mime,
    Make a reality all its own
    Before the mirror of white called Time,
    Before the mirror of blue called Space.
    Clasp the vastness between their folds,
    Find laws, raise altars, dream of a face--
    Make that real which the hope beholds.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Our terrored manikin commences,
    Fattens his littleness with clothes.
    With crowns and miters puffs his senses,
    Crushes the grape to drown his woes.
    Fills full the mirrors with faces. Now
    They are dancing before them, age and youth,
    Laurels or thorns are bound on a brow.
    They hunt and slay for a thing called Truth.
    Dig for treasure, toil for riches,
    Struggle for place--it is well enough!
    Some lift their busts into chosen niches.
    All are hungry for peace and love.
    And only a few are blind, dispute
    The thing is a dream. If there be worth
    It lies in the strings of the lyre or lute,
    Sounds that never return to earth;
    Dreams to seeing eyes reflected,
    Caught from infinite realms afar.
    How could they be seen, or recollected
    Except for the Real--except for a Star?

       *       *       *       *       *

    God in the blackness, whirlwind, lightning,
    God in the blinding fire of the sun
    Before these empty mirrors brightening
    See what we do, what we have done!
    Out of an astral substance molding
    Music and laws for our hearts' control,
    Yes, and a hope that the mirrors' folding
    Lets slip through a growing soul.
    Are you not proud of us, do you not pity?
    Is all the glory thine alone?
    Then if it be, you must take the city
    Builded, demolished stone from stone.
    All of our madness, weariness, error,
    Blindness, weakness, pain and loss,
    Fumbling feebly before the mirror,
    Yours is the crown, but yours the cross!
    Yours is the juice of grape or poppies
    To fill the void with a make believe;
    Yours the hope where never a prop is,
    The opiates, too, that dull, deceive,
    No less than nature that lifts eternal
    Vision of Life to quiet the heart:
    Verse and color that stamp the infernal
    Dragon of Fear with the feet of Art.
    Yours and ours the consolations
    In loneliness and in terror wrought
    Out of our spirits' desolations,
    Out of our spirits' love and thought!



                 A WOMAN OF FORTY


  Eyes that have long looked on the world,
  Taken and stored the soul of outward things,
  Dread to look on themselves,
  In the mirror to gaze upon their mirrorings!

  There to behold what time has done, what thought
  Has changed their look and light.
  I have lost my face through sorrow and dreams
  And dare not find it, lest it smite

  This self to-day, since I may not restore
  My old self who in gladness without terror
  Beheld and knew myself
  Each morning in the mirror!

  In the long quest of love I may have found
  A spirit after whom my passion lusted.
  But I had trust not giving love,
  I have given love to hearts I have not trusted.

  One thing has come that I would never see,
  Hidden or trembling in my eyes:
  Love in the mirror shown fatigued and mild,
  Hopeless and wise.



                    WILD BIRDS


  The wild birds among the reeds
  Cry, exult and stretch their wings.
  Out of the sky they drift
  And sink to the water's rushes.
  But the wild birds beat their wings and cry
  To the newcomer out of the sky!

  Is he a stranger, this wild bird out of the sky?
  Or do they cry to him because of remembered places
  And remembered days
  Spent together
  In the north-land, or the south-land?

  Is this the ecstasy of renewal,
  Or the ecstasy of beginning?
  For the wild bird touches his bill
  Against a mate;
  He brushes her wing with his wing;
  He quivers with delight
  For the cool sky of blue,
  And the touch of her wing!

  The wild birds fly up from the reeds of the water,
  Some for the south,
  Some for the north.
  They are gone--
  Lost in the sky!

  In what water do these mates of a morning
  Exult on the morrow?
  What wild birds will cry to them as they sink
  Out of an unknown sky?
  To whose cry will she quiver
  Through her burnished wings to-morrow,
  In the north-land,
  In the south-land,
  Far away?



                      A LADY


  She sleeps beneath a canopy of carnation silk,
  Embroidered with Venetian lace,
  Between linens that crush in the hand
  Soft as down.
  Waking, she looks through a window
  Curtained with carnation silk,
  Embroidered with Venetian lace,
  The walls are hung with velvet
  Embossed with a _fleur de lis_,
  And around her is the silence of richness,
  Where foot-falls are like exhalations
  From carpets of moss.
  Little clocks tinkle.
  Medallions priceless as jewels
  Lie by jars suspiring like coals of fire.
  And a maid prepares the bath,
  Tincturing delicious water with exquisite essences.
  And she is served with coffee
  In cups as thin as petals,
  Sitting amid pillows that breathe
  The souls of freesia!

  All things are hers:
  Fishes from all seas,
  Fruits from all climes.
  The city lies at her command,
  And is summoned by buttons
  Which are pressed for her.
  Noiselessly feet move on many floors,
  Serving her.
  Wheels that turn under coaches
  Of crystal and ebony,
  And yachts dreaming in strange waters,
  And wings--all are hers!
  And she is free:
  Her husband comes and goes
  From his suite below hers.
  She never sees him,
  Nor knows his ways, nor his days.

  But she is very weary
  And all alone amid her servants,
  And guests that come and go.
  Her lips are red,
  Her skin is soft and smooth--
  But the page blurs before her eyes.
  Her eyelids are languid,
  And droop from weariness,
  Though she will not rest
  From the long pursuit of love!
  Her hair is white;
  The skin of her faultless neck
  Edges in creases
  As she turns her perfect head.
  And the days dawn and die.
  What day that dawns will bring her love?
  And day by day she waits for the dawn
  Of a new life, a great love!

  But every morning brings its remembrance
  Of the increasing years that are gone.
  And every evening brings its fear
  Of death which must come,
  Until her nerves are shaken
  Like a woman's hair in the wind--
  What must be done?
  Some one tells her that God is love.
  And when the fears come
  She says to self over and over,
  "God is love! God is love!
  All is well."
  And she wins a little oblivion,
  Through saying "God is love,"
  From the truth in her heart which cries:
  "Love is life,
  Love is a lover,
  And love is God!"

  She is a flower
  Which the spring has nourished,
  And the summer exhausted.
  Fall is at hand.
  Weird zephyrs stir her leaves and blossoms;
  And she says to herself, "It is not fall,
  For God is love!"

  My poor flower!
  May this therapy ease you into sleep,
  And the folding of jewelless hands!
  You are beginning to be sick
  Of the incurable disease of age,
  And the weariness of futile flesh!



                  THE NEGRO WARD


    Scarce had I written: it were best
    To crush this love, to give you up,
    Drink at one draught the bitter cup,
    And kill this new life in my breast,
    Than Parker's breathing seemed to give
    Ominous sound the end was near.
    I did so want this man to live--
    This negro soldier, dear.

    'Twas three in the morning, all was still
    But Parker's rattle in the throat,
    Outside I heard the whippoorwill.
    The new moon like an Indian boat
    Hung just above the darkened grove,
    Where you and I had pledged our love,
    When you were here. Such precious hours,
    Such fleeting moments then were ours...
    Alone here in the silent ward,
    With Parker dying, I was scared.
    His breath came short, his lips were blue.
    I asked him: "Is there something more,
    Parker, that I can do for you?"
    "Please hold my hand," he said. Before
    I took it, it was growing cold--
    Death, how quick it comes!

    Then next I seemed to hear the drums--
    For I had fainted for his eyes
    That stared with such a wide surprise,
    As the lids fell apart they stared,
    As if they saw what to behold
    Had startled his poor soul which fared
    Where it would not. I heard the drums,
    The bugle next, lay there so faint
    With Parker's eyes still in my view,
    Like bubble motes which flit and paint
    Themselves upon the heaven's blue.
    An orderly had mailed meanwhile
    That letter, to you, there I lay
    Too weak to write again, unsay
    What I had written.

                            Down the aisle,
    Between our beds a step I heard,
    A voice: "Our order's here, we leave
    In half an hour for France." I stirred
    Like a dead thing, could scarce conceive
    What tragedy was come. No chance
    To write you or to telegraph.
    In twelve hours more, as in a trance
    I looked from Ellis Island, where
    My chums could gayly talk and laugh.
    In two hours more we sailed for France.
    All this was hard, but still to bear
    The knowledge of you, your despair,
    Or change, or bitterness, if you thought
    That letter came from me, was wrought
    Out of a heart that could not stake
    Its own blood for your sake.

    I will come back to you at length
    If I but live and have the strength.
    How will you like me with hair white,
    And wasted cheeks, deep lined and pale?
    It all began that dreadful night
    Of Parker's death, the strain and fright,
    The letter it seemed best to write--
    From then to now I have been frail.
    Our ship just missed a submarine,
    And here the hardships, gas-gangrene,
    The horrors and the deaths have stripped
    My life of everything. Is it to prove
    For duty, you, though bloody-lipped,
    And fallen my unconquerable love
    For country and for you through all,
    Whatever fate befall?

    What is my soul's great anguish for?
    For what this tragedy of war?
    For what the fate that says to us:
    Part hands and be magnanimous?
    For what the judgment which decrees
    The mother love in me to cease?
    For separation, hopeless miles
    Of land and water us between?
    For what the devil force that smiles
    At man's immedicable pain?

    I have not lost my faith in God.
    Life has grown dark, I only say:
    Dear God, my feet have lost the way.
    Religion, wisdom do not give
    A place to stand, a space to live.
    I have not lost my faith in love,
    That somehow it must rise above
    The clouds of earth, I still can rest
    In dreams sometimes upon your breast.
    But, oh, it seems sometimes a play
    Where gods are picking a bouquet:
    The blossom of war, my soul or yours
    More fragrant grown as it endures....



                WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE


  Homer saw nations, armies, multitudes--
  You saw them in the intimate interludes
  Of Brutus' soul at midnight in a tent
  When the infection festers the event.
  Ulysses' course is changed by the sea's trough.
  You saw an epoch when a hat blows off.
  Orestes fled the Furies, won his peace
  Through Apollo in old Greece.
  But who unbars the mouse traps of your world,
  Or kills the ambushed serpent where it's curled?
  Your Fates return, and Fortinbras draws in
  On Hamlet's impotence and Gertrude's sin.
  All oceans in a raindrop, drops of dew
  Containing perfect heavens starred and blue;
  Angels who mother Calibans, and hopes
  Are of your vision--great mosaics hued
  With thoughts of princes, poets, misanthropes,
  Reveal their minute colors closer viewed.
  Atomies, maggots, worms or gilded flies,
  Nothing too small or foul is for your eyes.
  You made a culture of dreams lost or won
  Like Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson.
  You looked in heaven when the lightning shone,
  Then saw a fairy's whip of cricket bone.
  For gods and men bacteriologist
  Of spiritual microbes hidden which subsist
  In moments of red joy--calm satirist
  Of worlds forsaken for a woman's hair,
  Kings slain, states crumbled, heroes false or fair,
  The madness of the flesh, love on the wrack,
  A white maid married to a soldier black.
  Incests, adulteries and secret sins,
  The fall of monarchs and of manikins.
  All men at last a rattling empty pod,
  All men destroyed like flies for sport of God.
  All Life at last an idiot's furious tale--
  You had the strength to say this and not quail!
  For you what were the unities, the rules
  Of Plautus, Corneille or the Grecian schools?
  Flame through a pipe will sing, perhaps, when blown
  Against the craftsman's silver, but the tone
  Of worlds in conflagration, that's to be
  The sacred fire with wings outspread and free,
  Wherein an Athens falls, a Sidon stands,
  And where a freezing clown may warm his hands.

  If you could empty out a tiger's brain
  And wire up its spinal cord again
  To Sappho's brain, it would no doubt devour
  The tiger's nerves and sinews in an hour.
  Such muscles and such bones could not endure
  The avid hunger of a fire so pure.
  And you, Will Shakspeare, spirit sensitive,
  You lived past fifty, that is long to live
  And feed a flame like yours, and let the flame
  Remake itself and lap at flesh and frame.
  I say with Jesus, wisdom's eyes are blind
  To seek a poet out and think to find
  A slender reed that's shaken by the wind.
  Come cyclops of the counter, millionaires,
  Lawyers and statesmen in the world's affairs,
  And thin away like flesh which acid eats
  Under the passion even of John Keats.
  But if you felt and saw love, agony,
  As Shakspeare knew them you would quickly die.
  There is no tragedy like the gift of song,
  It keeps you mortal but demands you strong;
  It gives you God's eyes blurred with human tears,
  And crowns a thousand lives in fifty years.
  Enter the breathless silence where God dwells,
  See and record all heavens and all hells!



                    FOR A PLAY


  Love began with both of them so gently
  Meeting, neither thought nor looked intently.
  Afterward her breath invoked the fire--
  Breath to breath set burning their desire.

  Is there aught in flesh or is it spirit
  Conscious of its kindred soul when near it?
  Woe to flesh or soul that's wholly wakened
  While the other's soul-depths lie unshakened!

  How could she give him all sacred blisses,
  Long embraces, in the darkness kisses,
  If she was not his, all else forgetting,
  Lovers gone and other loves' regretting?

  That was just the place her gold was leadened--
  Flesh there too alive, to him all deadened.
  She could harp not to his playing wholly,
  Yet his heart strings trembled for her solely.

  So this love play hastened to the curtain.
  Each one spoke his lines in accents certain,
  While at times behind the wings her glances
  Warmed the prompter's treasonous advances.

  Is there greater martyrdom than this is?
  You have staked your soul where the abyss is.
  You have given all--oh sorry barter
  You have lit the fire for you the martyr.

  You will still love on, or turn to hating,
  Days depart, your heart stays in its waiting,
  Where's the blame? She gave her heart's half measure,
  All she had, for all your soul's full treasure.

  What's the half to keep, could you achieve it?
  What your treasure if you could retrieve it?
  Never more shall you again bestow it...
  Now you have a song if you're a poet.

  Now you're ever dumb if song's denied you,
  You shall be more dumb than all beside you,
  While your soul is shaken by its torrents--
  Dante songless in a Dante Florence.

  Age shall not make strong, nor deeper learning.
  Grief grows clearer with your eye's discerning.
  Pass the years, but oh the soil grows faster--
  Richer for the roots of your disaster.

  Ends the play--for what is life but dying?
  What is love but fire forever crying?
  What your soul but love's pure carbon fuel?
  Love and life make ashes of the jewel!



                      CHICAGO

                         I

  On the gray paper of this mist and fog
  With dust for the erasure and with smoke
  For drawing crayons, be this charcoal scrawl:
  The breed of Gog in the kingdom of Magog,
  Skyscrapers, helmeted, stand sentinel
  Amid the obscuring fumes of coal and coke,
  Raised by enchantment out of the sand and bog.
  This sky-line, the Sierras of the lake,
  Cuts with dulled teeth,
  Which twist and break,
  The imponderable and drifting steam.
  And restlessly beneath
  This man-created mountain chain,
  Like the flow of a prairie river
  Endlessly by day and night, forever
  Along the boulevards pedestrians stream
  In a shuffle like dancers to a low refrain:
  Forever by day and night
  Pursuing as of old the lure of delight,
  And the ghosts of pleasure or pain.
  Their rhythmic feet sound like the falling of rain,
  Or the hush of the waves, when the roar
  Is blown by a wind off shore.


                        II

  From a tower like a mountain promontory
  The cesspool of a railroad lies to view
  Fouling the marble of the city's glory:
  A crapulous sluice of garbage and of cars
  Where engines rush and whistle, smudge the blue
  With filth like the trail of slugs.
  It is a trench of steel which bars
  Free access to the common shore, and hugs
  In a coil of lazar arms the boulevard.
  Cattle and hogs delivered here for slaughter
  Corrupt the loveliness of the water front.
  They low and grunt,
  Switched back and forth within the tangled yard.
  But from this tower the amethystine water,
  The water of jade or slate,
  Is visible with its importunate
  Gestures against the sky to still retreats
  In Michigan, of quiet woods and hills
  Beyond the simmering passion of these streets,
  And all their endless ills....


                       III

  But over the switch yard stands the Institute
  Guarded by lions on the avenue,
  Colossal lions standing for attack;
  Between whose feet luminous and resolute
  Children of the city passing through
  To palettes, compasses, the demoniac
  Spirit of the city shall subdue.
  Lions are in the loop and jackals too.
  They have no trainers but the alderman,
  Who uses them to hunt with, but in time
  The city shall behold its nobler plan
  Achieved by hands that rhyme,
  Workers who architect and build,
  And out of thought its substance re-arrange,
  Till all its prophecies shall be fulfilled.
  Through numbers, science and art
  The city shall know change,
  And win dominion over water and light,
  The cyclop's mastery of the mart;
  The devils overcome,
  Which stalk the squalid ways by night
  Of poverty and the slum,
  Where the crook is spawned, the burglar and the bum.
  These youths who pass the lions shall assuage
  The city's thirst and hunger,
  And save it from the wastage and the wage
  Of the demagogue, the precinct monger.


                        IV

  This is the city of great doges hidden
  In guarded offices and country places.
  The city strives against the things forbidden
  By the doges, on whose faces
  The city at large never looks;
  Doges who could accomplish if they would
  In a month the city's beauty and good.
  Yet this city in a hundred years has risen
  Out of a haunt of foxes, wolves and rooks,
  And breaks asunder now the bars of the prison
  Of dead days and dying. It has spread
  For many a rood its boundaries, like the sprawled
  And fallen Hephaestos, and has tenanted
  Its neighborhoods increasing and unwalled
  With peoples from all lands.
  From Milwaukee Avenue to the populous mills
  Of South Chicago, from the Sheridan Drive
  Through forests where the water smiles
  To Harlem for miles and miles.
  It reaches out its hands,
  Powerful and alive
  With dreams to touch tomorrow, which it wills
  To dawn and which shall dawn....
  And like lights that twinkle through the stench
  And putrid mist of abattoirs,
  Great souls are here, separate and withdrawn,
  Companionless, whom darkness cannot quench.
  Seeing they are the chrysalis which must feed
  Upon its own thoughts and the life to be,
  Its flight among the stars.
  Beauty is here, like half protected flowers,
  Blooms and will cast its multiplying seed,
  Until one mass of color shall succeed
  The shaley places of these arid hours.


                         V

  Chicago! by this inland sea
  In the land of Lincoln, in the state
  Of souls who held the nation's fate,
  City both old and young, I consecrate
  Your future years to truth and liberty.
  Be this the record frail and incomplete
  Of one who saw you, mingled with the masses
  Along these magical mountain passes
  With restless yet with hopeful feet.
  Could they return to see you who have slept
  These fifty years, who laid your first foundations!
  And oh! could we behold you who have kept
  Their promises for you, when new generations
  Shall walk this boulevard made fair
  In chiseled marble, looking at the lake
  Of clearer water under a bluer air.
  We who shall sleep then nor awake,
  Have left the labor to you and the care
  Ask great fulfillment, for ourselves a prayer!



                 THE WEDDING FEAST


    Said the chief of the marriage feast to the groom,
      Whence is this blood of the vine?
    Men serve at first the best, he said,
      And at the last, poor wine.

    Said the chief of the marriage feast to the groom,
      When the guests have drunk their fill
    They drink whatever wine you serve,
      Nor know the good from the ill.

    How have you kept the good till now
      When our hearts nor care nor see?
    Said the chief of the marriage feast to the groom,
      Whence may this good wine be?

    Said the chief of the marriage feast, this wine
      Is the best of all by far.
    Said the groom, there stand six jars without
      And the wine fills up each jar.

    Said the chief of the marriage feast, we lacked
      Wine for the wedding feast.
    How comes it now one jar of wine
      To six jars is increased?

    Who makes our cup to overflow?
      And who has the wedding blest?
    Said the groom to the chief of the feast, a stranger
      Is here as a wedding guest.

    Said the groom to the chief of the wedding feast,
      Moses by power divine
    Smote water at Meribah from the rock,
      But this man makes us wine.

    Said the groom to the chief of the wedding feast,
      Elisha by power divine
    Made oil for the widow to sell for bread,
      But this man, wedding wine.

    He changed the use of the jars, he said,
      From an outward rite and sign:
    Where water stood for the washing of feet,
      For heart's delight there's wine.

    So then 'tis he, said the chief of the feast,
      Who the wedding feast has blest?
    Said the groom to the chief of the feast, the stranger
      Is the merriest wedding guest.

    He laughs and jests with the wedding guests,
      He drinks with the happy bride.
    Said the chief of the wedding feast to the groom,
      Go bring him to my side.

    Jesus of Nazareth came up,
      And his body was fair and slim.
    Jesus of Nazareth came up,
      And his mother came with him.

    Jesus of Nazareth stands with the dancers
      And his mother by him stands.
    The bride kneels down to Jesus of Nazareth
      And kisses his rosy hands.

    The bridegroom kneels to Jesus of Nazareth
      And Jesus blesses the twain.
    I go a way, said Jesus of Nazareth,
      Of darkness, sorrow and pain.

    After the wedding feast is labor,
      Suffering, sickness, death,
    And so I make you wine for the wedding,
      Said Jesus of Nazareth.

    My heart is with you, said Jesus of Nazareth,
      As the grape is one with the vine.
    Your bliss is mine, said Jesus of Nazareth,
      And so I make you wine.

    Youth and love I bless, said Jesus,
      Song and the cup that cheers.
    The rosy hands of Jesus of Nazareth
      Are wet with the young bride's tears.

    Love one another, said Jesus of Nazareth,
      Ere cometh the evil of years.
    The rosy hands of Jesus of Nazareth
      Are wet with the bridegroom's tears.

    Jesus of Nazareth goes with his mother,
      The dancers are dancing again.
    There's a woman who pauses without to listen,
      'Tis Mary Magdalen.

    Forth to the street a Scribe from the wedding
      Goes with a Sadducee.
    Said the Scribe, this shows how loose a fellow
      Can come out of Galilee!



           BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON

  By the waters of Babylon by the sea,
  On the sand where the waters died,
  The sea wind and the tide
  Drowned the words you spoke to me.

  The sea fell at our feet. The sand
  Hushed the whispering waters, near
  The babble of boats by the pier
  Was the ictus to the roar on the strand.

  By the waters of Babylon a grief to be,
  The waiting ships in the bay,
  Awed the words we would say
  Against the sound of the sea:

  For France was below the waters, and the west
  Behind me where the rains
  Come in November on the window panes,
  And the blast shakes the ruined nest

  Under the dripping eaves. What then remains
  But memory of the waters of Babylon,
  And the ships like swan after swan,
  Under the drone of angry hydroplanes?

  By the waters of Babylon we did not weep,
  Though love comes and is gone,
  As the wind is, as waters drawn
  In spray from the deep.

  Neither for things foreseen and ominous,
  For newer hands that somewhere wait
  To thrill afresh, the reblossomed fate
  Did we surrender dolorous....

  Change now is yours beyond the waters, nights
  Of waiting and of doubt have dimmed desire.
  Our hands are calm before the dying fire
  Of lost delights.

  Babylon by the sea knows us no more.
  Between the surge's hushes
  When on the sand the water rushes
  There is no voice of ours upon the shore.



                THE DREAM OF TASSO


    O Earth that walls these prison bars--O Stones
    Which shut my body in--could I be free
    If these fell and the grated door which groans
    For every back scourged hither oped for me?
    Freedom were what to travel you, O Earth,
    When my heart makes its daily agony?
    And longing such as mine cannot ungirth
    Its bands and its mortality o'erleap.
    Our life is love unsatisfied from birth,
    Our life is longing waking or asleep,
    And mine has been a vigil of quick pain.
    O Leonora, thus it is I keep
    Grief in my heart and weariness of brain.

    How did I know these chains and bars are wrought
    Of frailer stuff than space, that I could gain
    In earth no respite, but a vision brought
    The truth, O Leonora? It was this:
    I dreamed this hopeless love, so long distraught
    Was never caged, but from the first was bliss,
    And moved like music from the meeting hour
    To the rapt moment of the earliest kiss
    Bestowed upon your hands, to gathering flower
    Of lips so purely yielded, the embrace
    Tender as dawn in April when a shower
    Quenches with gentleness each flowering place;
    So were your tears of gladness--so my hands
    Which stroked your golden hair, your sunny face,
    Even as flying clouds o'er mountain lands
    Caress with fleeting love the morning sun.

    Now I was with you, and by your commands.
    Your love was mine at last completely won,
    And waited but the blossom. How you sang,
    Laughed, ran about your palace rooms and none
    Closed doors against me, desks and closets sprang
    To my touch open, all your secrets lay
    Revealed to me in gladness--and this pang
    Which I had borne in bitterness day by day
    Was gone, nor could I bring it back, or think
    How it had been, or why--this heart so gay
    In sudden sunshine could no longer link
    Itself with what it was.

                          Look! Every room
    Had blooms your hands had gathered white and pink,
    And drained from precious vases their perfume.
    And fruits were heaped for me in golden bowls,
    And tapestries from many an Asian loom
    Were hung for me, and our united souls
    Shone over treasure books--how glad you were
    To listen to my epic, from the scrolls
    Of Jerusalem, the holy sepulcher.
    Still as a shaft of light you sat and heard
    With veilèd eyes which tears could scarcely blur,
    But flowed upon your cheek with every word.
    And your hand reached for mine--you did not speak,
    But let your silence tell how you were stirred
    By love for me and wonder! What to seek
    In earth and heaven more? Heaven at last
    Was mine on earth, and for a sacred week
    This heaven all of heaven.

                                    So it passed
    This week with you--you served me ancient wine.
    We sat across a table where you cast
    A cloth of chikku, or we went to dine
    There in the stately room of heavy plate.
    Or tiring of the rooms, the day's decline
    Beheld us by the river to await
    The evening planet, where in elfin mood
    You whistled like the robin to its mate,
    And won its answering call. Then through the wood
    We wandered back in silence hand in hand,
    And reached the sacred portal with our blood
    Running so swift no ripples stirred the sand
    To figures of reflection.

                                    Once again
    Within your room of books, upon the stand
    The reading lights are brought to us, and then
    You read to me from Plato, and my heart
    Breathes like a bird at rest; the world of men,
    Strife, hate, are all forgotten in this art
    Of life made perfect. Or when weariness
    Comes over us, you dim the lamp and start
    The blue light back of Dante's bust to bless
    Our twilight with its beauty.

                                    So the time
    Passes too quickly--our poor souls possess
    Beauty and love a moment--and our rhyme
    Which captures it, creates the illusion love
    Has permanence, when even at its prime
    Decay has taken it from the light above,
    Or darkness underneath.

                                    I must recur
    To our first sleep and all the bliss thereof.
    How did you first come to me, how confer
    On me your beauty? That first night it was
    The blue light back of Dante, but a blur
    Of golden light our spirits, when you pass
    Your hand across my brow, our souls go out
    To meet each other, leave as wilted grass
    Our emptied bodies. Then we grow devout,
    And kneel and pray together for the gift
    Of love from heaven, and to banish doubt
    Of change or faithlessness. Then with a swift
    Arising from the prayer you disappear.
    I sleep meanwhile, you come again and lift
    My head against your bosom, bringing near
    A purple robe for me, and say, "Wear this,
    And to your chamber go." And thus I hear,
    And leave you; on my couch, where calm for bliss
    I wait for you and listen, hear your feet
    Whisper their secret to the tapestries
    Of your ecstatic coming--O my sweet!
    I touched your silken gown, where underneath
    Your glowing flesh was dreaming, made complete
    My rapture by upgathering, quick of breath,
    Your golden ringlets loosened--and at last
    Hold you in love's embrace--would it were Death!...
    For soon 'twixt love and sleep the night was past,
    And dawn cob-webbed the chamber. Then I heard
    One faintest note and all was still--the vast
    Spherule of heaven was pecked at by a bird
    As it were to break the sky's shell, let the light
    Of morning flood the fragments scattered, stirred
    By breezes of the dawn with passing night.
    We woke together, heard together, thrilled
    With speechless rapture! Were your spirit's plight
    As mine is with this vision, had I willed
    To torture you with absence? Would I save
    Your spirit if its anguish could be stilled
    Only among the worms that haunt the grave?

    My dream goes on a little: Day by day,
    These seven days we lived together, gave
    Our spirits to each other. With dismay
    You watched my hour's departure. On you crept
    Light shadows after moments sunny, gay.
    But when the hour was come, you sat and wept,
    And said to me: "I hear the rattling clods
    Upon the coffin of our love." You stepped
    And stood beside the casement, said "A god's
    Sarcophagus this room will be as soon
    As you have gone, and mine shall be the rod's
    Bitterness of memory both night and noon
    Amid the silence of this palace." So
    I spoke and said, "If you would have the boon--
    O Leonora, do I live to know
    This hope too passionate made consummate?--
    Yet if it be I shall return, nor go
    But to return to you, and make our fate
    Bound fast for life." How happy was your smile,
    Your laughter soon,--and then from door to gate
    I passed and left you, to be gone awhile
    Around Ferrara.

                                  In three days, it seemed,
    I came again, and as I walked each mile
    Counting to self--my feet lagged as I dreamed--
    And said ten miles, nine miles, eight miles, at last
    One mile, so many furlongs, then I dreamed
    Your reading lamps were lighted for me, cast
    Their yellow beams upon the mid-night air.
    But oh my heart which stopped and stood aghast
    To see the lamp go out and note the glare
    Of blue light set behind the Dante mask!
    Who wore my robe of purple false and fair?
    Who drank your precious vintage from the flask
    Roman and golden whence I drank so late?
    Who held you in his arms and thus could ask?
    Receive your love? Mother of God! What fate
    Was mine beneath the darkness of that sky,
    There at your door who could not leave or wait,
    And heard the bird of midnight's desolate cry?
    And saw at last the blue light quenched, and saw
    A taper lighted in my chamber--why
    This treachery, Leonora? Why withdraw
    The love you gave, or eviler, lead me here,
    O sorceress, before whom heaven's law
    Breaks and is impotent--whose eyes no tear
    Of penitence shall know, whose spirit fares
    Free, without consequence, as a child could sear
    Its fellow's hands with flame, or unawares,
    Or with premeditation, and then laugh and turn
    Upon its play. For you, light heart, no snares
    Or traps of conscience wait, who thus could spurn
    A love invited.

                                  Thus about your lawn
    I listened till the stars had ceased to burn,
    But when I saw the imminence of the dawn
    And heard our bird cry, I could stand no more,
    My heart broke and I fled and wandered on
    Down through the valley by the river's shore.
    For when the bird cried, did you wake with him?
    Did you two gaze as we had gazed before
    Upon that blissful morning? I was dim
    Of thought and spirit, by the river lay
    Watching the swallows over the water skim,
    And plucking leaves from weeds to turn or stay
    The madness of my life's futility,
    Grown blank as that terrific dawn--till day
    Flooded upon me, noon came, what should be?
    Where should I go? What prison chains could rest
    So heavily on the spirit, as that free,
    But vast and ruined world?

                        O arrowed breast
    Of me, your Tasso! And you came and drew
    The arrows out which kept the blood repressed,
    And let my wounds the freer bleed: 'Twas you
    By afternoon who walked upon an arm
    More lordly than mine is. You stopped nor knew,
    I saw him take your body lithe and warm
    Close to his breast, yes, even where we had stood
    Upon our day, embraced--feed on the charm
    Of widened eyes and swiftly coursing blood.
    I watched you walk away and disappear
    In the deep verdure of the river wood,
    Too faint to rise and fly, crushed by the fear
    Of madness, sudden death!

                        This was my dream,
    From which I woke and saw again the sheer
    Walls of my prison, which no longer seem
    The agony they did, even though the cell
    Is the hard penalty and the cursed extreme
    Hate in return for love. But oh you hell,
    You boundless earth to wander in and brood--
    Great prison house of grief in which to dwell,
    Remembering love forgotten, pride subdued,
    And love desired and found and lost again.
    That is the prison which no fortitude
    Can suffer, and the never dying pain
    From which the spacious luring of the earth
    Tempts flight for spirit freedom, but in vain!

    Ah Leonora! Even from our birth
    We build our prisons! What are walls like these
    Beside the walls of memory, or the dearth
    Of hope in all this life, the agonies
    Of spiritual chains and gloom? I suffer less,
    Imprisoned thus, than if the memories
    Of love bestowed and love betrayed should press
    Round my unresting steps. And I send up
    To heaven thanks that spared that bitterness,
    That garden of the soul's reluctant cup!



              THE CHRISTIAN STATESMAN


    He hears his father pray when he's a boy:
    "Jesus we know, the Savior, and we ask,
    In Thy great plenitude of mercy, grace,
    Forgiveness for our waywardness; we invoke
    Thy blessing, and may righteousness and peace
    Prevail in all the earth. Meekly we rest
    Upon the precious promise of Thy word.
    Gather us home with Thine own people, Lord,
    And all the glory shall be Thine."

                                            So much
    To show the father's prayer which he heard.
    The father is a saint, a quietist,
    Save that he has his hatreds, strong enough:
    Turns face of stone and silence to the men
    Whose ways of life are laid in sin, he thinks
    And calls them dirty dogs and scalawags,
    Because they vote a ticket he dislikes,
    Or love a game of cards, a glass of beer,
    Or go to see the County Fair, where once
    A drunken bus-man drives upon a boy
    And kills him. Then the saint is all aflame,
    And tries to have the fair put out for good.
    And so the son, who will become at last
    The Christian Statesman, hears his father pray,
    And prays himself, and takes the lesson in
    Of godliness, the Bible as the source
    Of truth infallible, divine.

                                        This boy
    Is blessed with health, a body without flaw,
    His forehead is a little low, perhaps,
    And has a transverse dent which keeps the brain
    Shaped to the skull; a perfect brain is sphered,
    As perfect things are circles; but a brain
    Something below perfection, which is fed
    By a great body and an obdurate will,
    And sense of moral purpose will go far,
    Farther than better brains in craft of states,
    For some years anyway, if a voice be given
    Which reaches to the largest crowded room,
    To speak the passionate moralities
    Which come into that brain creased straight across
    The forehead with a dent.

                                He goes to school,
    And from the first believes he has a mission
    To make the world a better place, avows
    His mission in the world, bends all his strength
    To make his armor ready: health of body,
    A blameless life, hard studies, practices
    With word and voice.

                            It is a country college
    Where he matriculates--the father wished it;
    A college where the boys are mostly poor,
    And waste no time, have not the cash to buy
    Delight, if they desired.

                                    He ruminates
    Upon the pebbles and Demosthenes,
    And sets his will to be an orator
    That he may herald truth and save the world.
    After much toil, re-writing, he delivers
    A speech he calls, "Ich Dien," and loses out
    Against a youth who speaks on Liberty.
    And then he uses Gladstone for his theme,
    The Christian Statesman; for exordium
    Tells of the ermine which will die before
    It suffers soilure--that was Gladstone--yes!
    But still he cannot win the prize; a boy
    Who talks about the labors of Charles Darwin,
    His suffering and sacrifice, is awarded
    The prize this time--a boy who had the wit
    To speak in praise of Darwin's virtues--saying
    Nothing about his hellish doctrines, thus
    Winning the cautious judges to his theme.

    But is our little Gladstone crushed, dismayed?
    He plucks up further strength and takes a hint:
    A larger subject may bring down the prize.
    He thinks of Thomas Jefferson--but then
    Jefferson was a deist, took the Bible
    And cut out everything but Jesus' words.
    "Yet I can speak on what was good in him,
    His work for liberty, the Declaration,
    And close my eyes to all his heterodoxy."
    Then something of this plan crept like a snake
    Into his brain, he petted it with hands:
    Be ye as wise as serpents, and as doves
    Harmless, he smiled--and went to work again,
    And won the prize.

                        And now he has stepped forth
    Into the world's arena to become
    A Savior, an evangel, as he thinks,
    In truth a pest. He runs for Congress first
    And when his manager takes out a check
    And shows him, given by the local brewery,
    Another check a bank gives, he maintains
    A smiling silence, thinking to himself,
    Jesus accepted gifts from publicans,
    And if I am elected then this money,
    However dirty, will be purified
    By what I do.

                        But then he was defeated.
    He thinks the banks and breweries did the trick.
    In truth they knew the Christian Statesman, knew
    The oleaginous smile and silver voice
    Concealed the despot. Did he scourge them then?
    Well, scarcely then--he wrote a public letter
    And said the people had decided it.
    And what the people said was law. He nerved
    His purpose for another trial--that body
    So big and flawless could not be exhausted--
    That voice still carried to the farthest corner,
    That oily smile deceived the multitude
    That he was hurt, embittered, only waited
    To see if body, voice and oily smile
    Could win by any means; if not, the scourge
    Would be brought forth, the smile dropped, the complaints
    Against the breweries, what not, opened up,
    Unmasked. For when your hope is gone, you're free
    To scold and tell your bitterness.

                                    And then
    He made a third and last attempt, though edging
    Toward the sophistry that moral questions
    Make those political, and by this means
    Trying to win the churches. Still he stuck
    To matters economic, as before
    Took what the breweries gave to help his cause,
    His campaign fund. By this time many more
    Had found him out, and knew him for a voice
    And tireless body nourishing a brain
    As mediocre as the world contained,
    And only making louder noise because
    Of body strong and voice mellifluous.
    They put him down for good: the Christian Statesman
    Had cause to think he was no statesman, or
    No Christian, or the electorate not Christian.
    And so he took the mask off, dropped the smile,
    And let his mouth set like a concrete crack
    And went about to punish men, while seeming
    To save the world.

                            Out of that indentation,
    That fosse of mediocrity, came up
    A crocodile with wagging tail upreared,
    And smile toothed to the gullet--it was this:
    Questions political are moral questions,
    And moral questions are political,
    And terms convertible are equipollent,
    And wholly true. Therefore, I rise to preach
    To moral America, draw audiences
    In churches, of the churches. If I win
    Majorities upon--no matter what--
    A law will blossom; as all moral questions
    Are equally political, procure
    For their adoption the majority.
    Upon this fortress I can stand and shoot--
    Who can attack me, since I seek for self
    Nothing, but for my country righteousness?
    And as an instrument of God I punish
    My enemies as well.

                                  Who are my enemies?
    The intelligencia, as they call themselves,
    Who flaunt the Bible wholly or in part,
    Or try to say that Darwin's evolution
    Honors the Deity more than Genesis.
    Who are my enemies? The thinkers, yes,
    The strivers for a higher culture, yes,
    The scorners of old fashioned ways, the things
    Really American!--I know the crowd--
    That smart minority I overwhelm,
    Blot out, drown out, by massing under me
    The great majority, the common folk,
    Believers in the Bible--first for them!
    And on the way the vile saloon I crush,
    The abominable brewery--then I take away
    From banqueters and diners, diners out,
    The seekers after happiness, not God,
    The cocktail and the wine they love so well.
    This is a moral question, being so
    Is also a political--the majority
    Can do what they desire. I am consistent,
    For from the first I've preached the people's rule,
    Abided by the people's voice and taken
    Defeat with grace because the people gave it.
    So now I say the people have the right
    To pass upon all questions. As I said
    When starting as a public man, the people
    Could have what Government they desired, in fact
    A King, or despotism, if they voted for it.
    For all this talk of rights, or realms of right,
    Or individual preferences, beliefs
    And courses in the world is swallowed up
    By right of the majority--the serpent
    Of Moses, so to speak, which swallowed up
    All other serpents.

                        If he thought so much
    The Christian Statesman thought this way--at least
    He acted out a part which seemed to say
    He analyzed so far. He went to work
    To make his country just a despotism
    Not governed by a King, but by the people
    Laying the hand of law on everything
    Most intimate and private, having thought
    For moral aspects, as all politics
    Are moral in their essence, to repeat.

    Did not the Christian Statesman have revenge
    In building his theocracy, who saw
    All bills of right and fruit of revolution
    Ground into mortar, made into a throne
    For Demos?

                And behold King Demos now!
    A slouch hat for a crown upon his brow,
    Stuffed full of bacon and of apple pie,
    The Christian Statesman leaning on his shoulder
    A tableau of familiarity.
    The Christian Statesman having lost his hair
    Betrays the Midas ears--the oily smile
    Beams on the republic he has overthrown!



              THE LAMENT OF SOPHONIA


    You who have wasted this June for me,
    Bitter be the seed of your love.

    Long midnights by the sea
    Have I waited for your return,
    Counting the stars--
    Bitter be the seed of your love.

    And as stars go out in the crocus light of dawn,
    As waters drip from a failing fountain,
    So passed these days of June.
    As a boy strips from a stalk of snap-dragons
    The perfect blossoms,
    And treads them into the earth,
    So you have taken the June days from me--
    Bitter be the seed of your love.

    On my couch by the sea,
    My golden curls loosened,
    Resting after the cool ablution of evening waters,
    My body white as whitecaps, under the moon,
    My eyes large as the fox's lurking in darkness,
    I have waited for your return.

    May the scourge of Asia mar your beautiful body,
    Beloved!
    You have wasted my loveliest June.
    As the unheeding wind
    Drives the falling cherry blossoms
    Into the purple waves,
    So you have scattered my days of June--
    Bitter be the seed of your love!

    I have distilled henbane for you,
    Beloved,
    And put it in a crystal vial.
    The moon of October will shine,
    Then you will come to me,
    Your wanderings and treasons finished!
    And when you slip exhausted from my arms
    I will give you wine from a golden cup,
    And pour the henbane in it--
    I shall give you henbane for the poison of defeated love;
    I shall kiss your dead lips, Beloved.

    Then I shall drink, too.
    Our bodies shall feed the worms
    As these June days have fed my writhing sorrow,
    Beloved murderer of my June!



                   AT DECAPOLIS
                   MARK, CHAP. V


                         I

                  THE ACCUSATION

    I am a farmer and live
    Two miles from Decapolis.
    Where is the magistrate? Tell me
    Where the magistrate is!

    Here I had made provision
    For children and wife,
    And now I have lost my all;
    I am ruined for life.

    I, a believer, too,
    In the synagogues.--
    What is the faith to me?
    I have lost my hogs.

    Two thousand hogs as fine
    As ever you saw,
    Drowned and choked in the sea--
    I want the law!

    They were feeding upon a hill
    When a strolling teacher
    Came by and scared my hogs--
    They say he's a preacher,

    And cures the possessed who haunt
    The tombs and bogs.
    All right; but why send devils
    Into my hogs?

    They squealed and grunted and ran
    And plunged in the sea.
    And the lunatic laughed who was healed,
    Of the devils free.

    Devils or fright, no matter
    A fig or straw.
    Where is the magistrate, tell me--
    I want the law!


                        II

           JESUS BEFORE MAGISTRATE AHAZ

    Ahaz, there in the seat of judgment, hear,
      If you have wit to understand my plea.
    Swine-devils are too much for swine, that's clear,
      Poor man possessed of such is partly free,

    Is neither drowned, destroyed at once, his chains
      May pluck while running, howling through the mire
    And take a little gladness for his pains,
      Some fury for unsatisfied desire.

    But hogs go mad at once. All this I knew,--
      But then this lunatic had rights. You grant
    Swine-devils had him in their clutch and drew
      His baffled spirit. How significant,

    As they were legion and so named, the point
      Is, life bewildered, torn in greed and wrath.
    Desire puts a spirit out of joint.
      Swine-devils are for swine, who have no path.

    But man with many lusts, what is his way,
      Save in confusion, through accustomed rooms?
    He prays for night to come, and for the day
      Amid the miry places and the tombs.

    But hogs run to the sea. And there's an end.
      Would I might cast the swinish demons out
    From man forever. Yet the word attend.
      The lesson of the thing what soul can doubt?

    What is the loss of hogs, if man be saved?
      What loss of lands and houses, man being free?
    Clothed in his reason sits the man who raved,
      Clean and at peace, your honor. Come and see.

    Your honor shakes a frowning head. Not loth,
      Speaking more plainly, deeper truth to draw;
    Do your judicial duty, yet I clothe
      Free souls with courage to transgress the law

    By casting demons out from self, or those
      Like this poor lunatic whom your synagogues
    Would leave to battle singly with his woes--
      What is a man's soul to a drove of hogs?

    Which being lost, men play the hypocrite
      And make the owner chief in the affair.
    You banish me for witchcraft. I submit.
      Work of this kind awaits me everywhere.

    And into swine where better they belong,
      Casting the swinish devils out of men
    The devils have their place at last, and then
      The man is healed who had them--where's the wrong

    Save to the owner? Well, your synagogues
      Make the split hoof and chewing of the cud
    The test of lawful flesh. Not so are hogs.
      This rule has been the statute from the flood.

    Ahaz, your judgment has a fatal flaw.
      Is it not so with judges first and last--
    You break the law to specialize the law?--
      This is the devil that from you I cast.



                  WINGED VICTORY


  Icarus, Daedalus, Medea's dragons,
  Pegasus, Leonardo, Swedenborg,
  Cyrano de Bergerac, with dew-filled flagons,
  Bacon, who schemed with chemicals and forge,
  Lana, of copper spheres of air exhausted,
  Therefore made light to rise
  Up where the pathless ways are frosted
  In the blue vitriol of the skies.

  Montgolfier, Franklin, von Zeppelin, Watt,
  Edison, an engine must be, spiral springs,
  Nor steam move not these more than condor wings
  Of heaven's Argonaut,
  Gathering the sun-set clouds for golden fleece.
  Santos Dumont and Langley, over these
  The Americans, the brothers Wright.
  America finds wings for flight.
  At last out of the New World wings are born
  To wheel far up where cold is, and a light
  Dazzling and immaculate,
  In the heights where stands the temple of the Morn.
  Winged Victory more beautiful than Samothrace's
  For the New World opening the gate
  Of heaven at last, where mortals enter in
  Unconquerably and win
  The great escape from earth, the measureless spaces
  Of air across the inimical abyss
  Between ethereal precipice and precipice.
  Hail! spirits of the race's
  Courage to be free, adventurers
  Of infinite desire!
  Hail! seed of the ancient wars,
  Of burning glasses, catapults, Greek fire!
  Hail! final conquerors,
  Out of whose vision greater vision springs--
  America with wings!

  The vulture lags behind, the Gorgones,
  Revealed or ambushed in the thunder clouds,
  Would tear from heaven these audacities
  Of deathless spirit, shatter them and spill
  The blasphemy of genius from the sky.
  Gods are you, flyers, whom no danger shrouds,
  No terror shakes the will.
  Gods are you though you suffer and must die,
  Men winged as gods who fly!

  Borelli, in the centuries that are gone,
  With feathers made him wings, but steel
  Soars for the petrol demon's toil,
  Fed by the sap of trees far under earth
  In the long eons past turned into oil.
  The petrol demon in the enchanted coil
  Of lightning howls and spins the invisible wheel
  Which had its birth
  In the rapt vision of Archimides.
  Borelli, in the centuries that are gone,
  With feathers made him wings. But now a swan,
  A steel-borne beetle cleaves the immensities,
  Fed with fire of amber and oil of trees,
  And soars against the sun,
  And over mountains, seas!

  Flight more auspicious than the flight of cranes
  In Homer's Troyland, or than eagles flying
  Toward Imaus when the midnight wanes.
  Victorious flight! symbol of man defying
  Low dungeons of the spirit, darkness, chains.
  Flight beyond superstition and the reigns
  Of tyrannies where thought of man should be
  Swift as his thought is free.
  Flight of an era born to-day
  That puts the past and all its dead away.

  Locusts of the new Jehovah sent to scourge
  All Pharaohs who enslave.
  Hornets with multiple eyes,
  Scorning surprise,
  And armed to purge
  The despot and the knave
  Out of the fairer land where men shall live,
  Winning all things which were so fugitive
  Of wisdom, happiness and peace,
  Of hope, of spiritual release
  From fear of life, life's mean significance,
  Till life be ordered, not a thing of chance.

  The hopelessness of him who cried
  Vanity of Vanities
  Was justified,
  But now no longer must abide.
  Failure was his, and failure filled the hours
  Of our fathers in the past--let it depart.
  Triumph is come, and triumph must be ours.
  The archangels of earth through Israel,
  Through India and Greece
  Shall find us wings for life and for increase
  Of living, and shall battle down the hell
  Whose fires still smolder and profane.
  Life and the human heart
  In living must become the aeroplane,
  Not the yoked oxen and the cart.
  Let but the thought of East and West be blent,
  Europe, America, the Orient,
  To give life wings as Time's last great event:
  The final glory of wings to the soul of man
  In an order of life human, but divine,
  Fashioned in carefulest thought, powerful but of delicate design,
  As the wings of the aeroplane are.
  Where spirit of man is used to the full, but saved,
  As the petrol demon, in this dragon of war,
  Uses and saves his power.
  Where neither thought, truth, love nor gifts, nor any flower
  Of spirit of man, so mangled or enslaved
  In the eras gone, is wasted or depraved.

  Man shall no longer crawl, the curse is raised
  With winning of his wings.
  Dust he no more shall eat,
  Who crawls not, but from feet
  Has risen to wings!
  Man shall no longer python be.
  These wings are prophecies of a world made free!
  Man shall no longer crawl, the curse is raised.
  He has soared to the gate of heaven and gazed
  Into the meadows of infinity,
  Winged and with lightning shod,
  Beyond the old day's lowering cloud and murk.
  The heavens declare the glory of God,
  Man shows His handiwork!



               OH YOU SABBATARIANS!


  Oh you sabbatarians, methodists and puritans;
  You bigots, devotees and ranters;
  You formalists, pietists and fanatics,
  Teetotalers and hydropots,
  You thin ascetics, androgynous souls,
  Chaste and epicene spirits,
  Eyes blind to color, ears deaf to sound,
  Fingers insensitive,
  Do what you will,
  Make what laws you choose--
  Yet there are high spaces of rapture
  Which you can never touch,
  They are beyond you and hidden from you.

  We leave you to the dull assemblies,
  Charades, cantatas and lectures;
  The civic meetings where you lie and act
  And work up business;
  The teas of forced conversation,
  And receptions of how-de-dos,
  And stereotyped smiles;
  The church sociables;
  And the calls your young men of clammy hands
  And fetid breath
  Pay to anæmic virgins--

  These are yours;
  Take them--
  But I tell you
  In places you know not of,
  We, the free spirits, the livers,
  Guests at the wedding feast of life,
  Drinkers of the wine made by Jesus,
  Worshipers of fire and of God,
  Who made the grape,
  And filled the veins of His legitimate children
  With ethereal flame--
  We the lovers of life in unknown places
  Shall taste of ancient wine,
  And put flowers in golden vases,
  And open precious books of song,
  And look upon dreaming Buddhas,
  And marble masks of genius.
  We shall hear the sound of stringed instruments,
  Voicing the dreams of great spirits.
  We shall know the rapture of kisses
  And long embraces,
  And the sting of folly.
  We shall entwine our arms in voluptuous sleep,
  And in the misery of your denials
  And your cowardice and your fears
  You shall not even dream that we exist.

  Unintelligible weeds! We, the blossoms of life's garden,
  Flourish on the hills of variable winds--
  We perish, but you never live.



                   PALLAS ATHENE


  Athene! Virgin! Goddess! Queen! descend,
  Come to us and befriend.
  Set up your shrine among us and defend
  Our realm against corruptions which impend.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Divinity of order and of law,
  Most powerful and wise,
  Our land reclaim.
  Patron of the assemblies of the free,
  Our cities shame!
  Dethrone our bastard Demos, partisans
  Of Moody, Campbell, all the Wesleyans.
  Come down with awe,
  Enceladus and Pallas strike, who rise
  Against your father and his hierarchy.
  Smite the giants Superstition, Force,
  Fanaticism, Ignorance and Faith
  In village gods, and bury them beneath
  Volcanic mountains. Yoke them to the course
  And labor of your wisdom. Fling your shield,
  Medusa faced, before the brows of clay,
  Who rule our clattering day;
  Flash it before their brows and make
  Stones for the pavement of the way
  Whereon you drive your chariot, golden-wheeled.
  Descend, O Goddess, for the memory's sake
  And for the hope's sake of your son,
  Franklin, your herald, Washington,
  Who dreamed to make perpetual
  Our Parthenon, column, court and hall.
  And save it from the donjon, minaret,
  The cross, the spire, the vane, the parapet!

       *       *       *       *       *

  We have no god but Jesus,
  No god but Billiken.
  Nature and Dionysius
  Come back again!
  Jehovah is an alien tyrant, rules us
  From arid Palestine,
  Who mouths a heaven that fools us,
  And curses the olive and vine,
  And the smiles of the lyric nine.
  Gods are they, hard and full of wrath
  Who drive us on the unintelligible path.
  Gods are they, and unreckoning of their work
  Too puerile or despotic, or with feet
  That drip blood on a mercy seat.
  They nerve our hands with hatred's dirk,
  Or weaken us with poison sweet.
  Drug us to mumble this is life, who feel
  In our delirium, no less, that life
  Is an ocean that breaks the grist stones and the wheel
  Set up to feed this world of strife
  By Mary's son, Mary the wife--
  Come from the Islands of the Blest,
  Goddess, and give us wisdom, vision, rest.
  Reveal a Beauty for our hearts to love.
  The wooden ark of Moses, overlaid
  With strips of gold,
  And all the spurious covenant thereof
  By which our life is obelised
  We would no more behold,
  Who have so vainly with it temporized.
  Fruitless our spirits have these centuries prayed
  Before the Janus cross,
  The oracle that speaks in riddles, asks
  Penitence, obedience, tasks
  Which nature interdicts.
  We are the body on the crucifix,
  Not Jesus; we, the race, are crucified,
  And die upon the cross,
  For centuries have died.
  Come and restore our loss
  Of truth, the eyes of spirits undeceived,
  Courage with nature, strike the opiate joss
  To ruin with your sword,
  O most adored!
  Give us Reality, O lover of men,
  Republics, cities, lands.
  Uplift our eyes to Beauty, once perceived
  We may rebuild the Areopagus,
  With wiser eyes and hands.
  Bring Thought, the Argus, consciousness
  That looks before and after,
  And grace perpetual of Mnemosyne--
  Remembering we shall be free!
  Save us, O Goddess, from the drifting crowd,
  Wondering, witless, loud,
  The lovers of the minute who possess
  No reverence and no laughter!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Goddess! with silver helmet, guardian
  You may be, if we worship at your shrine,
  Before the gates of Boston and New York,
  Chicago, San Francisco, through the span
  Of continents and isles; your heart incline
  Toward our turbulent blood from many climes,
  Worships and times.
  Lift from our necks the brass and jeweled torque
  Of restless zealots and of idiot mouths;
  The locusts swarm, the land is cursed with drouths,
  Bring rain and dew,
  Plant olive trees,
  Set on our hills the emblem of the vine;
  Bring to our hearts the lofty purities
  Of song and laughter, wisdom, and renew
  Temples of beauty and academies!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Set up your golden altar
  In Parthenons in every village and shire.
  The crucifix and psalter,
  The ikons and the toys of vain desire
  We cast into the fire.
  We keep the lover Jesus, for his hope,
  His humanism and his flaming zeal.
  He will approach your altar, he will kneel
  At last before you, for the horoscope
  Of life misread in youth
  And youthful dreams and faith.
  Goddess! our globe that hungers for the truth
  Between the roar of life, silence of death
  Cannot be stayed or cowed. But, oh, descend
  First to our soil, Atlantis, and befriend.
  Make us a light across the fathomless sea
  Of centuries to be,
  Even as Athens is, divinity!



                 AT SAGAMORE HILL


    All things proceed as though the stage were set
    For acts arranged. I have not learned the part,
    The day enacts itself. I take the tube,
    Find daylight at Jamaica, know the place
    Through some rehearsal, all the country know
    Which glides along the window, is not seen
    For definite memory. At Oyster Bay
    A taxi stands in readiness; in a trice
    We circle strips of water, slopes of hills,
    Climb where a granite wall supports a hill,
    A mass of blossoms, ripening berries, too,
    And enter at a gate, go up a drive,
    Shadowed by larches, cedars, silver willows.
    This taxi just ahead is in the play,
    Is here in life as I had seen it in
    The crystal of prevision, reaches first
    The porte cochere. This moment from the door
    Comes Roosevelt, and greets the man who leaves
    The taxi just ahead, then waits for me,
    Puts a strong hand that softens into mine,
    And says, O, this is bully!

                                      We go in.
    He leaves my antecessor in a room
    Somewhere along the hall, and comes to me
    Who wait him in the roomy library.
    How are those lovely daughters? Oh, by George!
    I thought I might forget their names, I know--
    It's Madeline and Marcia. Yes, you know
    Corinne adores the picture which you sent
    Of Madeline--your boy, too? In the war!
    That's bully--tea is coming--we must talk,
    I have five hundred things to ask you--set
    The tea things on this table, Anna--now,
    Do you take sugar, lemon? O, you smoke!
    I'll give you a cigar.

                                The talk begins.
    He's dressed in canvas khaki, flannel shirt,
    Laced boots for farming, chopping trees, perhaps;
    A stocky frame, curtains of skin on cheeks
    Drained slightly of their fat; gash in the neck
    Where pus was emptied lately; one eye dim,
    And growing dimmer; almost blind in that.
    And when he walks he rolls a little like
    A man whose youth is fading, like a cart
    That rolls when springs are old. He is a moose,
    Scarred, battered from the hunters, thickets, stones;
    Some finest tips of antlers broken off,
    And eyes where images of ancient things
    Flit back and forth across them, keeping still
    A certain slumberous indifference
    Or wisdom, it may be.

                            But then the talk!
    Bronze dolphins in a fountain cannot spout
    More streams at once: Of course the war, the emperor,
    America in the war, his sons in France,
    The dangers, separation, let them go!
    The fate has been appointed--to our task,
    Live full our lives with duty, go to sleep!
    For I say, he exclaims, the man who fears
    To die should not be born, nor left to live.
    It's Celtic poetry, free verse. He says:
    You nobly celebrate in your Spoon River
    The pioneers, the soldiers of the past,
    Why do you flout our Philippine adventure?
    No difference, Colonel, in the stock, the difference
    Lies in the causes. Well, another stream:
    Mark Hanna, Quay and others, what I hate,
    He says to me, is the Pharisee--I can stand
    All other men. And you will find the men
    So much maligned had gentle qualities,
    And noble dreams. Poor Quay, he loved the Indians,
    Sent for me when he lay there dying, said,
    Look after such a tribe when I am dead.
    I want to crawl upon a sunny rock
    And die there like a wolf. Did he say that,
    Colonel, to you? Yes! and you know, a man
    Who says a thing like that has in his soul
    An orb of light to flash that meaning forth
    Of heroism, nature.

                                  Time goes on,
    The play is staged, must end; my taxi comes
    In half an hour or so. Before it comes,
    Let's walk about the farm and see my corn.
    A fellow on the porch is warming heels
    As we go by. I'll see him when you go,
    The Colonel says.

                The rail fence by the corn
    Is good to lean on as we stand and talk
    Of farming, cattle, country life. We turn,
    Sit for some moments in a garden house
    On which a rose vine clambers all in bloom,
    And from this hilly place look at the strips
    Of water from the bay a mile beyond,
    Below some several terraces of hills
    Where firs and pines are growing. This resembles
    A scene in Milton that I've read. He knows,
    Catches the reminiscence, quotes the lines--and then
    Something of country silence, look of grass
    Where the wind stirs it, mystical little breaths
    Coming between the roses; something, too,
    In Vulcan's figure; he is Vulcan, too,
    Deprived his shop, great bellows, hammer, anvil,
    Sitting so quietly beside me, hands
    Spread over knees; something of these evokes
    A pathos, and immediately in key
    With all of this he says: I have achieved
    By labor, concentration, not at all
    By gifts or genius, being commonplace
    In all my faculties.

                                  Not all, I say.
    One faculty is not, your over-mind,
    Eyed front and back to see all faculties,
    Govern and watch them. If we let you state
    Your case against you, timid born, you say,
    Becoming brave, asthmatic, growing strong:
    No marksman, yet becoming skilled with guns;
    No gift of speech, yet winning golden speech;
    No gift of writing, writing books, no less
    Of our America to thrill and live--
    If, as I say, we let you state your case
    Against you as you do, there yet remains
    This over-mind, and that is what--a gift
    Of genius or of what? By George, he says,
    What are you, a theosophist? I don't know.
    I know some men achieve a single thing,
    Like courage, charity, in this incarnation;
    You have achieved some twenty things. I think
    That this is going some for a man whose gifts
    Are commonplace and nothing else.

                                  We rise
    And saunter toward the house--and there's the man
    Still warming heels; my taxi, too, has come.
    We are to meet next Wednesday in New York
    And finish up some subjects--he has thoughts
    How I can help America, if I drop
    This line or that a little, all in all.

       *       *       *       *       *

    But something happens; I have met a loss;
    Would see no one, and write him I am off.
    And on that Wednesday flashes from the war
    Say Quentin has been killed: we had not met
    If I had stayed to meet him.

                                        So, good-by
    Upon the lawn at Sagamore was good-by,
    Master of Properties, you stage the scene
    And let us speak and pass into the wings!
    One thing was fitting--dying in your sleep--
    A touch of Nature, Colonel, you who loved
    And were beloved of Nature, felt her hand
    Upon your brow at last to give to you
    A bit of sleep, and after sleep perhaps
    Rest and rejuvenation; you will wake
    To newer labors, fresher victories
    Over those faculties not disciplined
    As you desired them in these sixty years.



                TO ROBERT NICHOLS


    England has found another voice in you
      Of beauty and of truth,
    True to their soul, as you are true--
      Singer and soldier, yet a youth.

    Out of the trenches and the rage of blood,
      The hatred and the lies
    You, like a wounded sky-lark, in a flood
      Pour forth these melodies,

    Of a spirit which has suffered, yet has soared
      Above the stench of hell and death's defeats.
    I look at you, as often I have pored
      On the death mask of Keats.

    Or the face of him quickly and gladly going
      The waves of the sea under,
    To the land of man's unknowing,
      Or the land of wonder.

    And the war had you! what can it give
      In return for souls like yours
    Mangled or blotted out?--who shall forgive
      The war while time endures?

    Back of the shouting mob, the brazen bands,
      The soldiers marching well,
    Gangrene cries out and Rupert Brooke's hands
      Clutch in a hemorrhage of hell.

    Yet you found God through this? through war,
      Through love found vision, perhaps peace?
    Keep them in your breast like the morning star--
      May their light increase.

    Waves on the sea's breast catch the light
      While the hollows between
    Are dark--you are a wave whose height
      Is smitten by the Light unseen,

    Urged by the Sea's power to the glory
      Of the christening sun.
    When the calm comes and darkness, transitory
      Be your doubt, or none.

    These words from me who have the hard way traveled
      Of pain and thought,
    In a weaving never wholly unraveled,
      Or wholly wrought,

    For your spirit and your songs, gladness
      For the hope of you, and praise
    To life, who gave you out of the world's madness
      In these our days.



             BONNYBELL: THE BUTTERFLY


    As I shall die, let your belief
    Find in these words too poor and brief
    My soul's essential self.

                                My grief
    Down to the day I knew you locks
    Its secret word in paradox:
    I who loved truth could not be true,
    Could only love the truth and glow
    With words of truth who loved it so,
    Even while I dishonored you.
    I who loved constancy was false,
    And heeded but in part the calls
    Of loveliness for love and you.
    I am but half of that I hoped,
    And that half hardly more than words
    I cheered my soul with as it groped:
    As from their bowers of rain the birds
    Sing feebly, pining for the sun.
    As I am all of this, by fate
    Lose what I could so well have won,
    Life leaves me half articulate,
    My failure, nature half-expressed,
    Or wholly hidden in my breast.
    Yes, dear, the secret of me lies
    Where words scarce come to analyze.
    Yet who knows why he is this or that?
    What moves, defeats him, works him ill?
    What blood ancestral of the bat
    Narrows his music to the shrill
    Squeak of a flitting thing that hunts
    For gnats, which never singing, fronts
    The full moon flooding down the vale,
    The perfect soul, the nightingale!

    You have wooed music all your life,
    And I have sought for love. I think
    My soul was marked, dear, by a wife
    Who loved a man immersed in drink,
    Who crushed her love which would not die.
    If this be true, my soul's great thirst
    Was blended with a fault accursed.
    My mother's love is my soul's cry.
    My father's vileness, lies and lusts,
    His cruel heart, inconstancy
    That kept my mother with the crusts
    Of life to gnaw, are in my blood.
    My rainbow wings I scarce can loose,
    Or if I free them, there's the mud
    That weighs and mars their use.

    You have wooed music. But suppose
    The hampered hours and poverty
    Broke down your spirit's harmony,
    Then if you found you could achieve
    The music in you, if you could
    But pick a pocket or deceive,
    Which would you call the greater good--
    The music or a sin withstood?
    Suppose you passed a window where
    The violin of your despair
    Lay ready for your hands! At last
    You stole it as you hurried past,
    And hid it underneath your rags
    Until you reached your attic room,
    Then tuned the strings and burned the tags.
    And drew the bow till lyric fire
    Should all your thieving thoughts consume:
    In such case what is your desire--
    The music or the violin?
    And what in such case is your sin?
    And if they caught you in your theft,
    Would you, just to be honest, dear,
    Forefront your thief-self as your deft
    And dominant genius, or the ear
    Which tortured you?

                            Would you not say,
    Music intrigues me night and day?
    My soul is the musician's. First
    In my soul's love is music. Would
    You falsify to keep your good?
    Deny your theft, or put the worst
    Construction on your soul, obscure
    Thereby your soul's investiture
    Of music's gift and music's lure?
    If you were flame you would pretend
    What you would fain be to the end,
    Keep your good name and keep as well
    The violin. May this not be
    In some realm an integrity?

    Now for myself, dear, though I lack
    The gift of utterance to explain
    My life's pursuit and passion, pain,
    Or why I acted thus, concealed
    Thoughts that you hold were best revealed,
    Your eyes to heal themselves must track
    And find my soul's way in its quest
    Followed from girlhood without rest.
    Music is not its hope, but love....
    And I saw somehow I could lift
    My life through you, and rise above
    What I had been. And since your gift
    Of love saw me as truthful, true
    I kept that best side to your view,
    And hoped to be what you desired
    If I but struggled, still aspired.
    And as for lapses, even while
    I fooled you with the wanton's smile,
    He was my lover till you came
    To light my life with purer flame.
    Was it, beloved, so great a sin?
    He was a practice violin.
    Oh, how I knew this when your strings
    Sang to me afterward when I slept
    Upon your breast again. I wept,
    Do you remember? I was grieving
    Neither for him, nor your deceiving,
    Rather (how strange is life) that he
    Was prelude to your harmony;
    Rather that while I walked with him,
    With you I found the cherubim,
    Left my old self at last with wings,
    Saw beauty clear where it was dim
    Before through my imaginings.

    Do you suppose the primrose knows
    What skill adds petals to its crown?
    How many failures laugh and frown
    Upon the hand that crosses, sows?
    The hand is ignorant of the power
    Obedient in the primrose flower
    To the hand's skill that toils to add
    New petals till the flower be clad
    In fuller glory. What's the bond
    Between us two, that I respond
    To what you are? Nor do you know
    What lies within me fain to grow
    Under your hand.

                                  But if the worm
    Should call itself the butterfly,
    Since it will soon become one, I
    Better to be myself affirm
    That I am Beauty, Truth--for you
    I would be Beauty, Truth, imbue
    Your life with love and loveliness.
    And you can make me Beauty, Truth,
    And I can bring you soul success
    If you but train my flower whose youth
    Still may be governed, keep erect
    My hope in this poor earthen sod.
    I think this is a task which God
    Appoints for us. We may neglect
    The task in this life, but to find
    It is a task we leave behind,
    Only to meet it, till we see
    Our fate worked out in lives to be.

    O, from my lesser self to spread
    My golden wings above your head,
    Through love of love and you discard
    The sting, the rings of green, the shard.
    Oh, to be Psyche, passion tried
    Through flesh, desire, purified!
    Love is my lode-star, music yours--
    Souls must go where the lode-star lures.



                   HYMN TO AGNI


  God of fire,
  God of the flame of our love,
  Beyond whose might no God is,
  And none in the realm of birth,
  Agni! Adored one,
  May we never suffer in thy friendship!

  Thou, who art re-born each day,
  And whose symbol is the sacred drill
  Wherewith fire is made for the temple,
  Morning by morning,
  Freshly create our love as the sun awakes,
  Preserve our love, O Agni!

  The crocuses, the dandelions,
  The golden forsythia
  Perished in May.
  But roses burn on the altar of earth,
  Bridal blossoms, whitest of fire,
  Dance in the winds of June.
  Agni, remember us,
  Remember our love!

  We have prayed to you, powerful one--
  Thou whose name is first
  In the first of the sacred hymns;
  Thou to whom sacrifices pass
  To the Gods, thou messenger of the Gods,
  Thou who art born a little lower than the most high Indra
  Hast heard our prayer--
  Hear still our prayer:
  Abide with us, O Agni, and befriend;
  Make our hearts as temples,
  And our desire as the drill,
  Wherewith fire is created
  For the sacred sacrifice of love,
  And for a light to our spirits--
  Turn not away from our prayers,
  O Agni!

  Here before the fire of the Sun of June
  Kneeling
  Hand in hand,
  Our eyes closed before the splendor of your spirit
  Hear our prayer, O Agni:
  May we never suffer in thy friendship.



                 EPITAPH FOR US


    One with the turf, one with the tree
    As we are now, you soon shall be,
    As you are now, so once were we.

    The hundred years we looked upon
    Were Goethe and Napoleon.
    Now twice a hundred years are gone,

    And you gaze back and contemplate,
    Lloyd George and Wilson, William's hate,
    And Nicholas of the bloody fate;

    Us, too, who won the German war,
    Who knew less what the strife was for
    Than you, now that the conqueror

    Lies with the conquered. You will say:
    "Here sleep the brave, the grave, the gay,
    The wise, the blind, who lost the way."

    But for us English, for us French,
    Americans who held the trench,
    You will not grieve, though the rains drench

    The hills and valleys, being these.
    Who pities stocks, or pities trees?
    Or stones, or meadows, rivers, seas?

    We are with nature, we have grown
    At one with water, earth, and stone--
    Man only is separate and alone,

    Earth sundered, left to dream and feel
    Illusion still in pain made real,
    The hope a mist, but fire the wheel.

    But what was love, and what was lust,
    Memory, passion, pain or trust,
    Returned to clay and blown in dust,

    Is nature without memory--
    Yet as you are, so once were we,
    As we are now, you soon shall be,

    Blind fellows of the indifferent stars
    Healed of your bruises, of your scars
    In love and living, in the wars.

    Come to us where the secret lies
    Under the riddle of the skies,
    Surrender fingers, speech, and eyes.

    Sink into nature and become
    The mystery that strikes you dumb,
    Be clay and end your martyrdom.

    Rise up as thought, the secret know.
    As passionless as stars bestow
    Your glances on the world below,

    As a man looks at hand or knee.
    What is the turf of you, what the tree?
    Earth is a phantom--let it be.



               BOTTICELLI TO SIMONETTA


    I would give you all my heart, and I have given
      All my heart to you to have and keep
    With your heart, where my heart has found its heaven
      In a light immortal, and a peace like sleep.
    Here is my heart, for you to have and treasure,
      Your woman's heart will treasure it,
    For a love that only love may find a measure,
      And only love like yours can measure it.

    In absence and in separation praying
      Before your love, my heart receive,
    My heart which kneels to you, so gently laying
      Hands of deep prayer, too reverent to grieve
    For lives divided, yet compassionate,
      As my poor heart is pitiful for yours.
    These hearts of ours, that know so deep a fate,
      Even as a heart that silently endures,
    Lie on an altar of consuming fire,
      Our hearts together, taking life thereof.
    Ashes must come of two hearts which aspire
      To God, who has given love.



           FLOWER IN THE GARDEN


    Flower in the garden,
    Wholly itself and free,
    Yearning and joyous,
    Breathing its charm
    To the passer-by
    On the sighing air--
    Beloved flower!
    Flower desired for something beyond
    Itself as a flower;
    Giving the promise of ecstasy
    Beyond its own being,
    Its place in the garden--
    A shadowed flame
    Of an absolute!

    Flower that I have taken
    From its place in the garden
    To realize the ultimate Beauty;
    Flower in the vase at my side,
    Breathing a sweeter life
    Into the air I breathe,
    A spirit that makes me faint,
    Sorrowful with a strange languor.
    Flower no less beautiful,
    But revealing an essence
    That changes my flower.
    O, my flower that is with me but lost,
    Lost in the disclosure of other hues,
    Other scents!

    Flower of passion, flower of love,
    Flower that I have won and lost,
    Mystical flower!



              INEXORABLE DEITIES


    Deities!
    Inexorable revealers,
    Give me strength to endure
    The gifts of the Muses,
    Daughters of Memory.
    When the sky is blue as Minerva's eyes
    Let me stand unshaken;
    When the sea sings to the rising sun
    Let me be unafraid;
    When the meadow lark falls like a meteor
    Through the light of afternoon,
    An unloosened fountain of rapture,
    Keep my heart from spilling
    Its vital power;
    When at the dawn
    The dim souls of crocuses hear the calls
    Of waking birds,
    Give me to live but master the loveliness.
    Keep my eyes unharmed from splendors
    Unveiled by you,
    And my ears at peace
    Filled no less with the music
    Of Passion and Pain, growth and change.

       *       *       *       *       *

    But O ye sacred and terrible powers,
    Reckless of my mortality,
    Strengthen me to behold a face,
    To know the spirit of a beloved one
    Yet to endure, yet to dare!



                   ARIELLE


  Arielle! Arielle!
  Gracious and fanciful,
  Laughing and joyous!
  Arielle girlish, queenly, majestical;
  Deep eyed for memory,
  Pensive for dreams.
  Arielle crowned with the light of thought,
  Mystical, reverent,
  Musing on the splendor of life,
  And the blossom of love
  Pressed into her hands--
  Arielle!

  Music awakes in the hall!
  Shadowy pools and glistening willows,
  And elfin shapes amid silver shadows
  Are made into sound!
  Arielle listens with hidden eyes,
  Sitting amid her treasures,
  A presence like a lamp of alabaster,
  A yearning gardenia
  That broods in a shaft of light...
  Arielle clapping hands and running
  About her rooms,
  Arranging cloths of gold and jars of crystal,
  And vases of ruby cloisonne.
  Arielle matching blues and reds:
  Pomegranates, apples in bowls of jade.
  Arielle reposing, lost in Plato,
  In the contemplation of Agni.
  Arielle, the cup to her lips,
  A laughing Thalia!
  Arielle!

  The breath of morning moves through the casement window--
  Arielle taking the cool of it on her brow,
  And the ecstasy of the robin's song into her heart.
  Arielle in prayer at dawn
  Laying hands upon secret powers:
  Lead me in the path of love to my love.
  Arielle merging the past and the present,
  As light increases light--
  Arielle adored--
  Arielle!



              SOUNDS OUT OF SORROW


  Of all sounds out of the soul of sorrow
  These I would hear no more:
  The cry of a new-born child at midnight;
  The sound of a closing door,

  That hushes the echo of departing feet
  When the loneliness of the room
  Is haunted with the silence
  Of a dead god's tomb;

  The songs of robins at the white dawn,
  Since I may never see
  The eyes they waked in the April
  Now gone from me;

  Music into whose essence entered
  The soul of an hour:--
  A face, a voice, the touch of a hand,
  The scent of a flower.



               MOURNIN' FOR RELIGION


  Brothers and sisters, I'm mournin' for religion,
  But I can't get religion, it's my woman interferin'.
  I sing and I pray, and I'm real perseverin',
  But I can't get religion,
  That's all I have to say.
  I know there is a fountain, a Jesus, a comforter,
  A heaven, a Jerusalem, a day of Pentecost,
  Salvation for the wishin', blood for sin's remission,
  A covenant, a promise for souls that are lost.
  But I can't get religion, the salvation feelin',
  The vision of the Lamb, forgiveness and healin'.
  I have a sort of numbness
  When I see the mourners kneelin'.
  I have a kind of dumbness
  When the preacher is appealin'.
  I have a kind of wariness, even contrariness,
  Even while I'm fearin'
  The bottomless pit and the shut gates of heaven.
  It's my woman interferin'--

  For you see when they say:
  Come to the mercy seat, come, come,
  The spirit and the bride
  Say come, come,
  I think of my woman who bore so many children;
  I think of her a cookin' for harvesters in summer;
  I think of her a lyin' there, a dyin' there, the neighbors
  Who came in to fan her and how she never murmured;
  And then I seem to grow number and number,
  And something in me says:
  Why didn't Jesus help her for to die,
  Why did Jesus always pass her by,
  Let her break her health down as I was growing poorer,
  Let her lie and suffer with no medicine to cure her,
  I wouldn't treat a stray dog as Jesus acted to her.
  If these are devil words, I'm a child of the devil.
  And this is why I'm dumb
  As the spirit and the bride say come!

       *       *       *       *       *

  I am old and crippled--sixty in December.
  And I wonder if it's God that stretches out and hands us
  Troubles we remember?
  I'm alone besides, I need the Comforter,
  All the children's grown up, livin' out in Kansas.
  My old friend Billy died of lung fever....
  But the worst of it is I'm really a believer,
  Expect to go to hell if I don't get religion.
  And I need this religion to stop this awful grievin'
  About my woman lyin' there in the cemetery,
  And you can't stop that grievin' simply by believin'.
  So I mourn for religion,
  I mourn for religion,
  My old heart breaks for religion!



                     THYAMIS


    Thyamis, a gallant of Memphis,
    Where melons were served
    Iced with snow from the Mountains of the Moon;
    Thyamis, a philanderer in Alexandris
    Rich in parchments and terebinth,
    Lies here in the museum.
    His lips are brown as peach leather,
    Through which his teeth are sticking,
    White as squash seeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Knowing that he must die and leave her
    He slew the lovely Chariclea
    Who sailed with him on the Nile
    Under the moon of Egypt.
    This is the body of Chariclea
    Undesiring the arms of Thyamis.
    This is the remnant of Chariclea,
    Wrapped in a gunny sack,
    Rotted with gums and balsams.

       *       *       *       *       *

    As the sands of the desert are stirred
    By the wind when the sun sets,
    The open door of the museum
    Lets in the wind to shake
    The cerements of Chariclea,
    And the stray hairs on the forsaken head
    Of Thyamis.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Of desire long dead;
    Of a murder done in the days of Pharaoh;
    Of Thyamis dying who took to death
    The lovely Chariclea;
    Of Chariclea who shrank
    From the love death of Thyamis
    The multitude passes, unknowing.

       *       *       *       *       *



          I SHALL GO DOWN INTO THIS LAND


    I shall go down into this land
    Of the great Northwest:
    This land of the free ordinance,
    This land made free for the free
    By the patriarchs.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Shall it be Michigan,
    Or Illinois,
    Or Indiana?
    These are my people,
    These are my lovers, my friends--
    Mingle my dust with theirs,
    Ye sacred powers!

       *       *       *       *       *

    Clouds, like convoys on infinite missions,
    Bound for infinite harbors
    Float over the length of this land.
    And in the centuries to come
    The rocks and trees of this land will turn,
    These fields and hills will turn
    Under unending convoys of clouds--
    O ye clouds!
    Drench my dust and mingle it
    With the dust of the pioneers;
    My mates, my friends,
    Toilers and sufferers,
    Builders and dreamers,
    Lovers of freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

    O Earth that looks into space,
    As a man in sleep looks up,
    And is voiceless, at peace,
    Divining the secret--
    I shall know the secret
    When I go down into this land
    Of the great Northwest!

       *       *       *       *       *

    Draw my dust
    With the dust of my beloved
    Into the substance of a great rock,
    Upon whose point a planet flames,
    Nightly, in a thrilling moment
    Of divine revelation
    Through endless time!



                   SPRING LAKE

[Greek: Bê de' kat' Oulhympio karhênôn chôomenys kêr.]

                                         --_Iliad._

                         I

            Some thought a bomb hit
            Trotter's garage.
            Some thought a comet
            Blew up the Lodge.
            Milem Alkire was riding in a Dodge,
    Saw the water splashing, and a great light flashing,
    And a thousand arrows flying from the heaven's glow;
    And heard a great banging and a howling clanging
    Of a bull-hide's string to a monstrous bow.


                        II

    Milem Alkire became a changed man,
    So the thing began, guess it if you can.
    He turned in an hour from a man who was sour
    To a singing, dancing satyr like Pan.
    He hobbled and clattered as if nothing mattered
    Down in his cellar for any strange fellow,
    Bringing up the bottles, clinking, winking,
    For the crowd that was drinking.
    All against the statutes in such case provided.

    Drew well water to cool the wine off,
    Polished up the glasses with a humorous cough.
    Milem Alkire for years had resided
    A quiet, pious, law abiding citizen
    Turned in an hour to a wag who derided
    The feelings of the people, the village steeple,
    And the ways that befit a man--
    This Spring Lake citizen.


                       III

    And about the time
    That Milem Alkire
    Became a wine seller,
    And begetter of crime,
    With parties on his lawn
    From mid-night to dawn,
    Making the wine free
    Under the pine tree,
    Starling Turner's wife ran away,
    A woman who before was anything but gay.
    Never had a lover in her life, so they say,
    But like other clay, had the longing to stray.
    She saw a cornet player,
    An idler, a strayer,
    And left her husband furious threatening to slay her,
    And cursing musicians who have no honest missions.
    So Starling Turner, a belated learner
    Of life as music, laughter, folly,
    Grew suddenly jolly, forgot his melancholy,
    Became a dancer and rounded up the fiddlers,
    Got up a contest of fifty old fiddlers,
    With prizes for fiddling from best to middling:
    A set of fine harness for the best piece of fiddling.
    Work stopped, business stopped, all went mad,
    Mad about music, the preachers looked sad
    For music, the like of which the village never had....
    The children in the street were shockingly bad,
    And danced like pixies scantily clad;
    Knocked away the crutches from venerable hobblers,
    Threw pebbles at the windows of grocers and cobblers,
    Made fun of the preachers, the grammar school teachers,
    Stole spring chickens and turkey gobblers,
    Roasted hooked geese in front of the police.
    Till the quidnuncs decided it wasn't any use,
    The devil had let a thousand devils loose.


                        IV

    Then folks began to read old books forbidden.
    Carpenters orated and expatiated
    On Orphic doctrines and wisdoms long hidden,
    A Swede who couldn't speak began to talk Greek.
    There were meetings in the park from dawn to dark.
    And wild talk of razing the village, effacing
    The plain little houses and the town replacing
    With carved stone, columns and temples gracing
    Gardens and vistas the water front embracing.
    And others would create a brand new state.
    So fire broke out in the strangest places.
    The belated traveler beheld elfin faces
    Springing from nothing, to vanish in a second.
    Potatoes unthrown went whizzing round corners.
    Voices were heard and white fingers beckoned,
    Till all the wise ones, doubters and scorners
    Although they winced, in some way evinced
    That their minds were convinced.
    Something was wrong,
    The evidence was strong,
    The air was full of song:
    You woke out of sleep and heard a violin,
    A harp or a horn;
    And rose up and followed the sound growing thin
    At the break of morn.


                         V

    Music, music, music was blown
    Over the waters, out of the woodlands,
    Grassy valleys and sunny meadow lands
    In the mid spaces, tone on tone.
    The pasturing flocks were sleeker grown
    And multiplied in a way unknown....
    And little Alice bright of eye
    Dreamed and began to prophesy:
    And said the strayer, the cornet player,
    Who took Starling Turner's wife away,
    Is coming back at an early day:
    Look out, said Alice, to Imogene,
    Red-lipped, bright-eyed, turned eighteen,
    You have danced too much on the village green.
    Look out for the cornet player, I mean.
    I know who he is for my eyes are keen.
    Your blood is desiring, but yet serene.
    I know his face and his bright desire,
    Laurel leaves are around his brow;
    He carries a horn, but sometimes a lyre.
    His eyes are blue and his face is fire.
    Look out, said Alice, his touch is dire,
    Keep to the house, or the church's spire.


                        VI

    And what was next? The girl disappeared.
    As Alice feared, no fate interfered.
    A posse collected, hunted and peered,
    Raced through the night till their eyes were bleared,
    And looked for Imogene, cried and cheered
    When a clew was found, or a doubt was cleared.
    A posse with pitch-forks, scythes and axes,
    Shot-guns, pistols, knives and rifles,
    Hunts for Imogene, never relaxes,
    Runs over meadows for luring trifles:
    The wave of grain or a weed that tosses;
    And curse and say what a terrible loss is
    Come to Spring Lake: a wife's enticed,
    And then this fairest maid is abducted.
    Why are the innocent sacrificed?
    We are a people well conducted.
    What is the curse, or is it the war?

    Why is it every one here is housing
    Fiddlers, idlers, fancy dancers.
    At Milem Alkire's why carousing;
    Everything that the good abhor
    In lovers and romancers?
    The world is mad, the village is mad,
    Even the cattle bellow and run.
    Old maid, young maid, man and lad
    Have eaten of something half insane;
    Such antics never before were done
    And never it seems may be again
    Under the shining sun.
    And now comes villainy out of the fun.
    Come with the torch, come with the halter,
    Gather the posse, stay nor falter,
    Catch the scoundrel who spoiled our peace
    And hang him up in the maple tree's
    Highest branch. For what is the law
    If it can't slip the noose and draw
    This minstrel man to a thing of awe?


                       VII

    Then the pastor said: Talk of the gallows
    Is just the thing for it's righteous malice;
    And we need hearts with piety callous
    For work like this, I might say salus
    Populi, but bright-eyed Alice
    Can help us in this matter kinetic
    Who has grown psychic and grown prophetic,
    Sees round corners, and looks through doors
    And spies old treasure under the floors.
    And I have heard that Alice averred,
    The cornet player's the self-same bird
    Who enticed the wife of Starling Turner
    And kidnapped Imogene; he will spurn her
    Later for some one else, unless we
    Capture and hang the vile sojourner;
    So now for Alice, he said, and bless me!


                      VIII

    Alice came out to lead the mob
    Catch the scoundrel and finish the job.
    Down to Fruitport before it is dark
    Come, said Alice, Joan of Arc.
    Farmers, butchers, cobblers, dentists,
    Lawyers, doctors, preachers, druggists
    Hustled and ran in the afternoon,
    Following Alice who led the way
    Chanting an ancient roundelay,
    A wild and haunting tune.
    Her hair streamed over her little shoulders
    Back in the wind for all beholders.
    And her little feet were as swift and white
    As waves that dance in the noonday light.
    Youths were panting, middle aged men
    Had to rest and resume again.
    She ran the posse almost to death,
    All were gasping and out of breath.
    At last they halted upon the ridge.
    There! said Alice, beside the bridge
    Under its shadow. Look, he's there
    Weaving lilies in Imogene's hair;
    His musical instrument laid aside
    Now he has charmed the maiden pride
    Of Imogene who is not his bride,
    Come, said Alice, before they hide.


                        IX

    They ran from the ridge,
    Looked under the bridge.
    There! he escapes, said Alice, the fay.
    Where? Howled the mob! which is the way?
    There's Imogene wrapped as if in a trance,
    Said the preacher, there where the waters dance.
    I saw as it were a shaft of light
    Steal from her side, vanish from sight.
    The cobbler said: it was like a comet;
    The druggist, water by a bomb hit.
    Yes, said the lawyer, I heard a splashing
    And saw a light as of waters flashing
    Or a thousand arrows of splendor flying
    I heard a booming, banging, clanging
    Of a bull's hide string, it was terrifying.
    No, said Alice, this form of light,
    That stole away and vanished from sight,
    That was the fellow, said Alice, the sprite.
    Go after him, follow through meadow and hollow
    The God Apollo, the great Apollo!


                         X

    They went to Imogene then and took her,
    Spoke to her, slapped her hands and shook her,
    Asked her who it was that forsook her,
    Why she had left her home and wandered,
    What was the dream she sat and pondered,
    And Imogene said, it's a dream of dread,
    Now that the glory of it is fled.
    Where am I now, where is my lover?
    God of my dreams, singer and rover.
    I danced with the muses in flowering meadows;
    We lay on lawns of whispering shadows;
    We walked by moonlight where pine trees stood
    Feathery clear in the crystal flood;
    He gave me honey and grapes for food.
    We rode on the clouds and counted the stars.
    He sang me songs of the ancient wars.
    He told me of cities and temples builded
    Under his hand, we waded rivers
    By star-light and by sun-light gilded;
    By shades where the green of the laurel shivers.
    But it came to this, and this I see:
    Life is beautiful if you are free,
    If you live yourself like the laurel tree.


                        XI

    Then some of them teased her, the posse seized her,
    They tore the lilies out of her hair.
    Back to the village, exclaimed the preacher,
    Back to your home, exclaimed the teacher.
    You've been befooled, said Alice, the fay,
    And back went Imogene in despair,
    Weeping all the way!



                THE BARBER OF SEPO


    Trimmed but not cut too short; the temples shaved,
    Neck clipped around, not shaved, an oil shampoo,
    You have a world of time before the train
    And when it comes it stops ten minutes--then
    The depot's just a block away.

                                        Oh yes,
    This is my own, my native town. But when
    I earn the money to get out, I go.
    I've had my share of bad luck--seems to me
    Without my fault, as least life's actinism
    Makes what we call our luck or lack of luck....

    Go down this street a block, find Burney Cole
    And ask him why I was not graduated
    From Sepo's High School at the time he was.
    It was this way: I fell in love that spring
    With Lillie Balzer, and it ended us,
    Lillie and me, for finishing that year.
    I thought of Lillie morning, noon and night
    And Lillie thought of me, and so we flunked.
    That thinned the class to Burney Cole, and he
    Stood up and spoke twelve minutes scared to death.
    Progress of Science was his theme, committed
    To memory, the gestures timed, they trained him
    Out in the woods near Big Creek.

                                      Lil and I
    Sat there and laughed--the town was in the hall,
    Applause terrific, bouquets thick as hops.
    And when they handed Burney his diploma
    The crowd went wild.
                          How does this razor work?
    Not shaving you too close? I try to please...
    Burney was famous for a night, you see.
    They thought his piece was wonderful, such command
    Of language, depth of thought beyond his years.
    Next morning with his ears and cheeks still burning,
    Flushed like a god, as Keats says, Burney stood
    Behind the counter in the grocery store
    Beginning then to earn the means to take
    A course in Science--when a customer
    Came in and said: a piece of star tobacco,
    Young fellow, hurry! Such is fame--one night
    You're on a platform gathering in bouquets,
    Next morning without honor and forgotten,
    Commanded like a boot-black.

                              Five years now
    Burney has clerked, some say has given up
    The course in science, and I hate to ask him...
    But as for me, there was a lot of talk,
    And Lillie went away, began to sport.
    She's been around the world, is living now
    In Buenos Ayres. Love's a funny thing:
    It levels ranks, puts monarch or savant
    Beside the chorus girl and in her hands.
    I stayed here, did not have to leave for shame,
    But Lillie changed my life.

                                When she was gone
    My conscience hurt me, and that very fall
    When I was most susceptible, responsive,
    And penitent, we had a great revival.
    And just to use the lingo: after much
    Wrestling at the Seat of Mercy, prayers
    And ministrations then I saw the light,
    Became converted, got the ecstasy.
    I wrote to Lillie who was in Chicago
    To seek salvation, told her of myself.
    She wrote back, you are cracked--go take a pill....
    I know you've come to get your hair trimmed, shaved,
    Also to hear my story--you shall hear.
    The elders saw in me a likely man
    And said there is a preacher. First I knew
    They had a purse made up to send me off
    To learn theology, and so I went.

    I plunged into the stuff that preachers learn:
    The Hebrew language, Aramaic and Syriac;
    The Hebrew ideas--rapid survey--oh, yes,
    Rapid survey, that was the usual thing.
    Histories of Syria and Palestine;
    Theology of the Synoptics, eschatology.
    Doctrine of the Trinity, Docetism,
    And Christian writings to Eusebius.
    Well, in the midst of all of this what happens?
    A fellow shows me Draper and this stuff
    Went up like shale and soft rock in a blast.
    My room mate was John Smith, he handed me
    This book of Draper's. What do you suppose?
    This scamp was there to get at secret things,
    Was laughing in his sleeve, had no belief.
    He used to say: "They'd never know me now."
    By which he meant he was a different person
    In some round dozen places, and each place
    Was different from the others, he was native
    To each place, played his part there, was unknown
    As fitted to another, hence his words
    "They'd never know me now."

                                    And so it was
    This John Smith acted through the course, came through
    A finished preacher. But they found me out
    As soon as Draper gnawed my faith in two.
    The good folks back in Sepo took away
    The purse they lent and left me high and dry.
    So I came back and learned the barber's trade,
    And here I am. But when I save enough
    I mean to start a little magazine
    To show what is the matter. Do you know?

    It's something on the shelf--not booze or jam:
    It's that old bible, precious family bible,
    That record of the Hebrew thought and life--
    That book that takes a course of years to study,
    Requires Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Coptic
    And epigraphy, metaphysics, not
    Because the book itself is rich in these
    But just because when you would know a book
    In every character and turn of phrase
    And know what's back of it and went into it
    You draw the learning of the world, that's all.
    Take Plato, if you will, and study him
    After this manner, you will travel far
    In every land and realm. But this is nothing.
    The preachers are a handful to the world.
    They eat this dead stuff like bacteria
    That clean away decay. The harm is here
    Among the populace, the country, all
    That makes for life as life.

                              See what I mean?
    We have three thousand people in this town.
    Say in this state there are a thousand towns,
    And say in every town on every Sunday
    In every year this book is taught and preached
    To every human being from the time
    It's five years old as long as it will stand
    And let itself be taught--what have you done?
    You have created, kept intact a body,
    An audience and voting strength--for whom,
    The reformer, the fanatic, non-conformist,
    The man of principle who wants a law
    And those who, whether consciously or not,
    Live in the illusion that there is an end,
    A consummation, fifth act to this world,
    Millennium, as they say; and at the last
    When you get rid of sin (but they must say
    What sin is) then the world will be at peace,
    Life finished, perfect, nothing more to do
    But tend to business and enjoy yourself
    And die in peace, reach heaven. Don't you see?
    These people are deluded. For this stuff
    Called life is like a pan of bread you knead:
    You push it down one place and up it puffs
    In another place. And so while they control
    The stuff of life through Hebrew influence
    Of duty, business, fear, ascetism
    And yes, materialism, for it is that,
    The dough escaped, puffs out, the best of it,
    Its greater, part escapes us. So I say
    That bible taught in every village, hamlet
    And all its precepts, curses, notables,
    Preached fifty times a year creates the crowd
    That runs the country at the bidding of
    Your mediocrities, your little statesmen,
    Your little editors and moralists.
    And that's your culture, your American
    _Kultur_....

                        I'll finish you with eggs, it's better
    Than soap is for the hair. You've lots of time.
    I think I'll start my magazine next year.
    Step down this way--over the bowl, that's it--
    A moment while I ring this money up.
    As I was saying--is the water cold?--
    Now back into the chair--as I was saying
    That book upon the shelf has made our culture.
    We must undo it....
    Yes, your train is whistling--so long!



             THEY'D NEVER KNOW ME NOW


    Let's sit here very quiet, self-controlled,
    Talk quietly, under this glorious tree,
    The internes are too far away to hear.
    They will stand there if we are calm.

                                      You look
    Much better than you did. And as for me,
    Since I tried leaping from my window, I
    Seem on the mend, sleep better, do not feel
    So much like running, flying from the fears
    As I did three weeks since. Here is my tale:

    My first step in this world was as a soldier,
    Turned seventeen and off to free the Cubans.
    I landed at Matanzas, served my time.
    Oh Liberty! Oh! struggles to make free
    All peoples, everywhere! And when I saw
    The American republic move to strike
    The chains of tyranny, I said: I die
    For such a cause, or live to see it won--
    How glorious! My youthful mind was full
    Of Byron, Shelley, Paine, and many more--
    And when I saw my republic go to war,
    Just as a good Samaritan, I said,
    This is my hour, I'm on the pinnacle,
    Life is divine at last.

                              But on a sudden
    A north wind froze my waters, caught my stars
    To points of vision which before had been
    Mixed in the fluent time. We up and stole
    The Philippines, spit on our sacred charter,
    Turned all the thing to guts, until I heard
    Their growl alone which I thought spirit voices
    When we had warred for Cuba! 'Twas enough;
    What was my country? Just a mass of slickers
    Talking philanthropy and five per cent,
    A pious, blundering booby lodged at last
    In a great cæcum mouthing Destiny.
    God, with a leader just an actor-man,
    Clean shaven, shifty, shallow, whored upon
    By mercantilists and their butcher creed.
    I mean McKinley, Hanna. Write it down:
    They barbarized our Grecian temple, placed
    Cheap colored windows in its marble walls--
    May history be their hell.

                            But as for me,
    They talked of God so much, I said at last
    I'll learn all they can teach concerning God.
    This restless soldier spirit led me on,
    And just because I sensed the faithless age,
    Loveless and purposeless except for gold,
    The adventurer in me began to crop.
    Oh yes, the Cuban business started me.
    And so I went to college to prepare
    For the ministry, as they thought, go through the course
    Called theological, saying for the first:
    "They'd never know me now."

                              I see at last
    I am not one but many minds at once,
    And many personalities. As a boy
    I took the color of the leaves or wall
    Where I was resting, climbing. If in truth
    I lived three months with an uncle, then they said
    You look just like your uncle. When I worked
    Under a lawyer's tutelage, they said:
    How much your face resembles his. I knew
    My face and voice and gestures simulated
    Those I admired or lived with. But besides
    I took a certain pleasure, impish, maybe,
    In egging on, agreeing with, the souls
    Whom I sought out; I used to tell my uncle,
    A man of firmest piety, what I heard
    Of blasphemy about the village, just
    To hear him deprecate it, look with dark
    And flashing eyes upon such sin, while I,
    With serious face and earnest sympathy
    With what he felt, was laughing in my sleeve.
    Here is the germ then of my after life:
    The faculty that harmonized my hue
    Of spirit with the place, the person, while
    Something in me, perhaps supremest self,
    Stood quite aloof and smiled.

                                  But, as I said,
    When our Republic left its hill of vision,
    Descended to the place of herding hogs,
    This self of me, the adventurer, rose up
    And led me forth to play with life, and first
    To try theology, as I have said...
    I was a wonder bred among the crew
    Of quiet, gate-toothed, crook-nosed psychopaths,
    The foul-breathed, thick-lipped onanists who filled
    The seminary, stared at me to see
    How I learned Sanscrit, could defend and rout
    The atheistic speculations. Well,
    What I enjoyed most was to get a crowd
    Of celibates and talk of chastity,
    And get them in a glow, and say to them:
    The mind is fortified by abstinence,
    The spirit clarified and lifted up--
    I got a thrill somehow. But all the time
    I knew a girl named Ella. Oftentimes
    Lying beside her I would shriek with laughter
    And she would ask, what is the matter, John?
    And I would say: I'm thinking of a song
    I heard one time: "They'd never know me now."
    And Ella said: If Dr. Simpson knew
    That you were here with me, you'd take a fall
    Out of the Seminary's second floor....

    But I went through and didn't fall. And thought
    This is a way to live, I'll preach awhile,
    And see what comes. I took a church and preached,
    Was known as Smith the eloquent, the earnest.
    But all the time I heard a voice that said:
    "They'd never know me now." When I came in
    The Sunday School and little children flocked
    About my knees and patient teachers looked
    With white, pure faces at me, then that voice
    "They'd never know me now" was in my ear....

    Well, to go on, a widow in my church
    Young, beautiful and rich began to beat
    Her wings around my flame, and on the Sunday
    I preached about the rich young man, she came,
    Invited me to dinner. We commenced,
    Were married in six months. And to conserve
    Her properties I studied law, at last
    Was spending days with brokers, business men,
    Began to tell her that my health was failing,
    Saw doctors frequently to play the part.
    And then she said: You must resign your charge,
    Your health is breaking, dear. And I resigned
    To spend the time in checking mortgages,
    Collecting rents:--"They'd never know me now"...

    We went the round of summer places, travel,
    Saw Europe, China, India and the Isles.
    Near Florence had a villa for a time,
    Met people of all kinds, when I was forty
    I had a thousand selves, but if I had
    A self in truth it was submerged or scrawled
    Like a palimpsest all over and so lost.
    I didn't know myself, was anything
    To every one, and everything to all.
    I felt the walking age come on me now:
    A polar bear in a terrible rhythm swings
    His body back and forth behind the bars,
    And I would walk in restlessness or think
    Of other skies and places, teased and stung
    By memories of my other selves, by wonder
    About what may be happening here or there;
    What are they doing now? What is she doing?
    There were a dozen shes to wonder about,
    And if you think of one you wish to see,
    And dream she knows delight apart from you,
    You simply thrill, the wings you lost revolve,
    Like thumbs, vestigial stubs--but there you sit.
    Thank God the aeroplane came on to help,
    And wipe out distance, for you find at last
    Distance is tragedy, terrifies the soul
    With space which must be mastered by the soul.

    And so I bought a hydroplane. Perhaps
    Would be upon my lawn at sun-down holding
    These children on my knees, a lovely picture!
    Then as a fish darts out of darkened water
    Into a water sun-lit, there would come
    A thought--we'll say of Alice--in two hours
    I'd be upon her little sleeping porch
    Two hundred miles away, beneath the stars
    Of middle summer, having killed that space,
    And found the hour I wanted--hearing too
    "They'd never know me now" sung in my ears.

    And I remember when we were in Florence
    My tribe had gone to Milan for some weeks,
    And I was quite alone, too bored to live.
    One listless afternoon who should come in?
    My wife's friend Constance--but to tell the truth
    More friend of mine than hers, for all my life
    I seemed to have these secret understandings,
    And was two persons to a twain who thought
    They were the bond, whereas the bond existed
    Between myself and one, and to the other
    Was not so much as dreamed.

                            And Constance brought
    A certain Countess with her. In a glance
    We two, the Countess and myself, beheld
    A flame that joined our hands. And in a week
    The Countess took me on her yacht to Capri,
    And round the Mediterranean. No one knew,
    Not Constance, nor my wife, for I returned
    Before she came from Milan.

                              Oh that week!
    That breeze that sung the port-holes, waters blue
    And stars at night and music; and the Countess
    Whose voice was like a lute of gold, who lived,
    Knew life, was unafraid. She heard me say
    "They'd never know me now." And softly murmured
    Smiling the while: il lupo cangia
    Il pelo ma non il vizio
    Adding, Qual matto! Something yet remains
    That makes you charming! Oh the feasts and wine,
    The songs and poems, till at last too soon
    We anchored in the bay of Naples. When
    I saw Vesuvius, then I felt again
    That sinking of the heart that I had known,
    That sickness, strange, nostalgia, from a boy,
    Of which a word again. But now it was
    Precursive of the end, the finished idyll.
    The Countess took my hand, with misty eyes--
    They let me off and rowed me to the dock,
    I caught the train to Florence, magically
    Before I had forgotten, seemed to be
    Upon the yacht still, was in truth alone
    Amid the silence of my dining room,
    Supping alone--"They'd never know me now!"

    Later I had the fever, was delirious
    And saw myself receding as if backing
    Into a funnel toward the little end,
    And growing smaller as the funnel narrowed
    Until I was so small I held myself
    Within the palm's hand of my other self,
    Laughed like a devil, scared the nurse to death,
    Saying "They'd never know me now--just look!"
    My wife too had the fever. I awoke
    Out of this illness, found that she was gone,
    Had died a week before and for a week
    Had been entombed while I was raving--then
    If any real self of me ever was it came
    Back to me then. I bowed my head and wept
    And scanned my life back:

                            What was that in me
    Which made me homesick from a boy right through
    This life of mine, not for my home, for something,
    Some place, some hand, some scene, which made me dread
    All partings, overwhelmed me with a grief
    For ended raptures, kept my brain too full
    Of memories, never lost, that grew until
    I lost myself, and seemed a thousand selves
    Wandering through a thousand years, how restless!

    Then mutterings shook our skies! Another war,
    France, Germany and England, so it seemed
    Best to return here to America.
    I gathered up the children--all but one,
    The boy eighteen escaped me, ran away
    And joined the English army. Now I saw
    One self of me repeated, that which went
    To free the Cubans! Curse these freedom wars!
    They shipped him off to India, soon he had
    His fill of liberty. But I came back
    And here I am. "They'd never know me now!"

    For what is left of me, what ever was
    To be peeled off to realest core? The soldier
    Gone out of me entirely; long ago,
    The dreamer of a better world; the self
    That said I'm on the pinnacle, took arms
    To free the Cubans; self of me that hungered
    For pyramids and mountains, ancient streams,
    Nile and the Ganges; self of me that turned
    To be a father holding on his knees
    A romping bevy; self of me that dreamed
    One heart, one hand enough, oh even the self
    That dreamed there is a hand a heart for me,
    Who found in truth no solace in the wife
    But only a teasing, torturing recollection
    That I had missed the one, or missed the many.

    So I was in America again,
    Had fled the war and plunged into the war:--
    The waves roared yonder, but the shores were here
    Where wreckage, putrid monsters were thrown up,
    Corpses of ancient liberties and bones
    Of treasured beauty; and I saw the Land
    Don every despot weapon, as it did
    When I fought for the Cubans, even worse.
    They shipped my boy to Africa; in spite
    Of censorship I pieced the picture out,
    Knew what he suffered, how they took his faith
    And dimmed its flame with ordure. Then came forth
    That father self of me. I brooded on
    His blue eyes, gentle ways, sat terrified
    And tried to trace the days through and the years
    When he had slipped from just a little boy
    Into a stripling, soldier finally--
    While I--what was I doing? Oh, my God,
    Living these other selves, oblivious
    That this boy was. I'd jump from soundest sleep
    Thinking of him in Africa, and seized
    With dreams that I must fly to him. O years
    Wherein I lost that boy. How could I live
    So many lives and not lose out of some,
    Some precious thing? Well, then I broke at last,
    They brought me here: "They'd never know me now."



               NEL MEZZO DEL CAMMIN


    You call this a world! Cloud cuckoo town,
    Nephelo coccygia, warp and woof,
    Now at the last I write it down,
    Since I no longer have the proof
    To show it isn't opera bouffe,
    A moving picture film and scene;
    Stage world, with the glue between
    The angels' feathers, the devil's hoof
    Neither violent nor venene.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Eheu! The middle of the way too--
    Gethsemane and left in the lurch.
    Storms frowning up the dying day too,
    Bending a weed that was a birch.
    I can step right over the tallest church.
    Trumpets have shrunk to trumpet toys,
    Tottle-te-toot! I hear the clocks
    Ticking in paper breasts. What noise!
    Gorges and towering rocks
    Are just the canvas He employs,
    With gelatine rivers and candy lochs,
    Shored in with painted blocks.

    I passed through a jungle where smoky mosses
    Hung from the trees, the crocodile
    Slept or clambered about the fosses;
    Buzzards roosting, not very vile;
    Rivers of red-ink shed for crosses.
    Centaurs with arrows file on file
    Drew and shouted: he seems to smile
    Let's make him weep a while.

    Look out for the lion! Said I, with a scowl,
    Let the lion growl:
    Cat-gut scraped in the painted wings.
    Does the terrible tiger howl:
    Tin cans and resined strings.
    Do the dead gibber and does the owl
    Hoot where the shroud is slipping, clings?
    Who pressed the squeaky springs
    In the death bird that it sings?

    And you, sir! Well, one time I was sure
    You carried a poisoned dart!
    And now you're empty space as pure
    As the sky when clouds are blown apart.
    Ether! Radium! Nothing! A cure
    For grit and dust which start
    Grief in this Waterbury heart.

    For I had trod the cobra, found
    He is but calico, cotton stuffed.
    The boa chased me round and round,
    Hyenas tracked me, licked and snuffed,
    And made my poor heart flutter and pound,
    Until I saw the mirror is all,
    And the wood became a rare-bit dream
    With monstrous faces and figures packed.
    And then you ask: Is the mirror cracked,
    Or is it so bright that it casts a beam
    Through all the shadow scheme?

    One time I saw a river's bank
    Shaved down with spades as sheer as a wall,
    Wasp holes, snake holes cut in two
    Brought these molds of earth to view.
    I turned away where the air was blank
    And here was a thing fantastical:
    Space was cored like the honey comb
    With forms of things that crawl and roam,
    Animals, men. As I am alive
    I saw the form of a horse and cow
    Edged with air and hollow as space.
    But a horse and cow began to thrive
    In just a second, a drifting mist
    Flowed into the molds before my face.
    And the animals moved, I don't know how,
    Out of the all surrounding mesh,
    Creatures of bone and flesh!

    And it was just the same with men. I vow
    I saw an astral stuff poured in
    Pockets of air and men became
    Voices talking of good and evil,
    Virtue, courage, vice and sin,
    God and the devil.

    For the all unfolding Air is what?
    The Great Idea, if so I may say,
    A sort of Ocean leaping to waves.
    And what do you care if they pass away?
    They sink to their source, not into graves.
    Beasts may vanish, races decay,
    The Ocean will always remain the same;
    With new waves rising, no two alike;
    Waves that are little and waves that rise
    In storms and touch the skies.

    R. Browning, you were a man of power,
    But I don't think much of your tower.
    And I see no use of blowing a horn,
    The tower is merely papier-maché,
    And comes no higher than to my knees.
    I step right over it--pick a flower,
    Purple, it may be, called heart's ease
    And go with the way of the seas.

    For I am an optimist better than you:
    This dream is hell, but it's all to the good:
    The Ocean is water in calm or flood.
    There's nothing wrecked, or wrongly wrought,
    There's nothing real but Thought!



                   THE OAK TREE


    The oak in later August,
    Before his leaves are strewn,
    And the sky is blue as June,
    Trembles from trunk to branches
    For frosts that will be soon
    From the valleys of the moon!

    For breezes blown in August
    Veer north with cold and rain;
    And the oak tree sighs and shivers
    For lights that shift and wane:
    As a strong man sees the specters
    Of age, disease and pain,
    The oak flings up to heaven
    His branches in the rain.

    September comes, September
    Spreads out a sky that chills.
    The owl hoots and the cricket
    Beside the roadway shrills,
    And on the stricken hills.
    But the oak tree, the oak tree
    Still flaunts his shining leaves.
    No change has come but swallows
    Who fled the summer eaves!

    But when October breezes,
    And cold November gales
    Descend upon the oak tree
    What strength of him avails,
    Grown naked to the tempest,
    For life that sleeps and fails?
    O oak tree, oak tree,
    The winter snow prevails!
    It cannot be your branches,
    It is the wind that wails!



              THE HOUSE ON THE HILL


  Eagle, your broken wings are tangled
  Among the mountain ferns
  On a ledge of rock on high.
  Below the yawning chasm turns
  To blackness, but the evening planet burns
  Above the gulf in a gold and purple sky!

  Vultures and kites
  Fly to their rookeries
  In the rocks
  With swift and ragged wings against the lights.
  From levels and from leas
  Haste the returning flocks.
  Foxes have holes and serpents the grass for flight.
  Eagle, arise! It is night.

  The world's wanderer finds you
  As he climbs the mountains
  In the unending quest.
  Can you spread wings across the darkening chasm
  To the craggy nest,
  Where the foreboding mate lies still?
  Croak for the evening star,
  And beat your shattered wings against your breast!
  Across the gulf the wanderer sees afar
  A light in the house on the hill!



                WASHINGTON HOSPITAL


    That's right, sponge off his face. My name? Oh, yes,
    James Frothingham, a reverend, have the church
    At the corner of Ayer and Knox Streets, Methodist.
    As I was passing by a vile saloon
    Some men were entering the back room, saying
    Is he dead or drunk, and such things. I looked in,
    Went in at last and saw this fellow there,
    Hunched, doubled down into a chair asleep,
    Mud on his face as you saw, clothes bespattered,
    The smell of drink upon him. Then we took him
    And brought him here, I helped, a Christian duty.
    But more important, if he wakes I'm here
    To bring his soul to Christ before he dies--
    And he is dying. Yes, it's plain enough
    The snows of death are falling. Sponge his face,
    And wash his hands! I never saw such hands
    Slender and beautiful! Now you have sponged
    His face, look at that brow--it terrifies--
    He looks now like a god--who is this man?
    I'll tell you all I know: These men were talking
    And this is what they said: This is the fellow
    They voted yesterday from booth to booth,
    They voted him twenty times, and kept him drunk
    To vote him. First they found him at the station,
    A little tipsy, talking of his griefs.
    The conductor put him off here, being drunk.
    And so these fellows for election day
    Took him in hand and voted him around,
    This was the talk.

                        Look at the curse of drink!
    If he had touched no drink, he had not been
    Tipsy to fall into these ruffian hands,
    Who gave him drink and drink and used him thus
    To violate the suffrage, lose his life
    Through drink, as he will lose it. He is dying,
    Death comes of Sin--what plainer truth than this?
    Sin blinds, too, for that brow could comprehend
    All things by using what God gave to it.
    I do not know his name, with your permission
    I'll search his pockets--yes, here is a letter--
    No signature, looks like a draught--I'll read:

    "Why have you wounded me with words like these:
    'He has great genius but no moral sense,'
    And written to another! Oh my love!
    By this love which I bear you, by the God
    Who reigns in heaven do I swear to you
    My soul is like a wandering star, consumed
    By its own passion, fire, and the eternal
    Longing for the eternal, wandering, erring,
    But flaming, loving light, aspiring to
    The Light of Lights, some sun, I do not know.
    It is incapable of aught but honor.
    And save for follies, trifles in excess,
    Which I lament, but which in men of wealth,
    Or worldly power would never raise a word,
    I can recall no act of mine to bring
    A blush to your cheek or to mine.

                                        My love,
    My erring which has counted, by the test
    Of strength or weakness for the game of life,
    Has been Quixotic honor, chivalry.
    And to indulge this feeling I have paid,
    Though it has been my true voluptuousness,
    My highest, purest pleasure. Yes, for this
    I threw away a fortune, glad to throw it,
    Rather than suffer wrong, though trivial,
    As worldly men would count it:--for a father's
    Laughter at my writing turned away
    To follow voices, and defied his will
    To harness me to business. So it is
    To keep my spirit spotless from the world,
    As I have visioned things, I came at last
    By this deserted shore, alone, alone,
    Now quite alone since you withdrew yourself,
    Took back your hand and left me to my way,
    Traveled so long that I can see the tomb
    At the vista's end not very far.

                                            Oh, love,
    Why is there not a heart that loves but mine?
    If you had been a Magdalen, I had pressed
    Your head against my breast and kept you there--
    But you--my spirit drifts with stricken wings--
    But you because of gossip, crawling words
    About my drinking, lies as I shall prove,
    Can hold a handkerchief upon your eyes
    To hide tumultuous tears, extend your hand
    And say farewell forever, cut our lives
    Of days or months, fragile and trivial
    Asunder--when your hand, your faith, your love
    Had cured me of my spirit's desolation,
    My terror of this solitude in life--
    Or if it cured me not, I had been eased,
    And you had gained for giving--what have you
    For your decision? Sorrow, if you love me,
    Perhaps a conscience whisper that you failed
    In justice, sacrifice; perhaps the thought
    Life with me drinking, to the excess you thought,
    Is better than a life where I am not.
    What have you gained? In a few years we two
    Will be at one with earth--before it comes
    Are not sweet hours together worth the cost
    Of a little drink? You who have riches, need not
    My labors for your bread, but need my love,
    Which you crush out. But as to drink, I swear
    I do not drink."

                              Ahem! the fellow stirs
    But will not wake, I fear. You heard that last:
    He swears he does not drink. Drink and untruth
    Go always hand in hand. This letter's long--
    Let's see what he comes up with at the last:

    "But as to drink, I swear I do not drink--
    How if I drank could I produce the works
    I have produced? A giant's task, when drink
    Sustains me not, is not my nutriment
    As hock and soda water were for Byron,
    But sets me flaming wild, a little drink
    Will set me flaming, poisons me, I know.
    And yet I must partake of drink sometimes
    For life is flying, is recession, we
    Are shrinking back into ourselves, at last
    The arms we shrank from close about us--death's.
    And there are souls born lonely; I am one.
    And gifted with the glance of looking through
    The shams, the opera bouffe, and I am one.
    Often after a stretch of toil when I
    Come out of the trance of writing spent and wracked,
    I used to walk to High Bridge, sit and muse,
    (For this brain never stops and that's my curse,)
    Upon this monstrous world and why it is;
    And why the souls who love the beautiful,
    And love it only and are doomed to speak
    Its wonder and its terror are alone,
    Misunderstood and hunted, fouled by falsehood,
    Have crumbs upon the steps, are licked by dogs,
    Or else are starved. And why it is that I
    Must go about, a beggar, with my songs
    Exchanging them for bread. And then it is
    When this poor brain like the creative stuff,
    The central purpose, whirls, as I have written,
    And will not stop--drink! for oblivion,
    For rest, to get away from self, back faster
    From the pursuing Nothing.

                              Yet, my love,
    Think out what causes judgments, standards, tastes;
    And why it was that Southey, Wordsworth won
    The organic national praise and Shelley lost,
    And Byron lost it--Southey the sycophant,
    Wordsworth the dull adherent, renegade--
    These two against these spirits who came here
    To sing of Liberty--and look at me,
    A wanderer and a poor, rejected man,
    While usurers, slave owners rule the land,
    And the cities reek with hypocrites, who step
    On Freedom and on Beauty, are rewarded,
    Praised, fed and honored for it. Then behold
    Your friend who loves you, hunted, buffeted,
    For a little drink, when in spite of drink and even
    Because of drink, who knows? I have achieved,
    Written these books. And what is life beside,
    Whether with drink or whether with abstinence,
    Except to sing your song and die, what course
    Can stave the event, the wage of life, not sin?
    Oh if you knew what love I have for you!
    All of my powers are not enough to tell
    How all my heart is yours, how I have found
    Eternal things through you, cannot surrender
    Your love, your heart, without I lose some life,
    Some vital part of me--and yet farewell,
    For you have willed it so, and I submit.
    I rise up in my loneliness, seek the sun
    To shine about me in my loneliness,
    Submit and say farewell."

                            He spoke some words!
    What was it that he said? His head rolls over.
    The man is dead! What was it that he said?
    Something about "no more" it seemed to me.
    Whom shall we notify? Go tell the police!
    Here! wait, I overlooked some writing--yes,
    A name is on this letter--why, look here,
    It's EDGAR ALLAN POE!--I know that name--
    He wrote a poem once about sleigh bells--
    His brow looks whiter, bigger than it did.
    Cover him with a sheet--I'll tell the police!



        NEITHER FAITH NOR BEAUTY CAN REMAIN


    Neither faith nor beauty can remain:
    Change is our life from hour to hour,
    Pain follows after pain,
    As ruined flower lies down with ruined flower.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Now you are mine. But in a day to be
    Beyond the seas, in cities strange and new
    To-day will be a memory
    Of a day ephemerally true.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Last night with cheek pressed close to cheek
    Through the brief hours we slept.
    It must be always so, I heard you speak,
    Love found, forever must be kept.

       *       *       *       *       *

    But already we were changed, even as the day
    Invisibly transforms its light.
    We prayed together then for dawn's delay,
    Praying, praying through the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Against the change which takes all loveliness,
    The truth our desperate hearts would keep,
    The memory to be, when comfortless,
    Save for the memory we shall yearn for sleep;

       *       *       *       *       *

    Against the sinking flame which no more lights
    Our faces, neither any more desired
    Through desireless days and nights,
    And senses fast expiring and expired.


                     THE END

     Printed in the United States of America.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:
Inconsistent hyphenation left as is.
pg vii Shakespeare changed to Shakspeare for consistency
pg 48 martydom changed to martyrdom





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