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Title: Grass of Parnassus
Author: Lang, Andrew
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Grass of Parnassus" ***

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Transcribed from the 1888 Longmans, Green and Co. edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                            GRASS OF PARNASSUS

                            RHYMES OLD AND NEW

                                                            BY ANDREW LANG

                                * * * * *

                         LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
                    AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET

                          _All rights reserved_

                                * * * * *

                                PRINTED BY

                                * * * * *

E. M. S.

                                  * * * * *

                 _Primâ dicta mihi_, _summâ dicenda Camenâ_.

                                  * * * * *

   The years will pass, and hearts will range,
   _You_ conquer Time, and Care, and Change.
   Though Time doth still delight to shed
   The dust on many a younger head;
   Though Care, oft coming, hath the guile
   From younger lips to steal the smile;
   Though Change makes younger hearts wax cold,
   And sells new loves for loves of old,
   Time, Change, nor Care, hath learned the art
   To fleck your hair, to chill your heart,
   To touch your tresses with the snow,
   To mar your mirth of long ago.
   Change, Care, nor Time, while life endure,
   Shall spoil our ancient friendship sure,
   The love which flows from sacred springs,
   In ‘old unhappy far-off things,’
   From sympathies in grief and joy,
   Through all the years of man and boy.

   Therefore, to you, the rhymes I strung
   When even this ‘brindled’ head was young
   I bring, and later rhymes I bring
   That flit upon as weak a wing,
   But still for you, for yours, they sing!

                                * * * * *

MANY of the verses and translations in this volume were published first
in _Ballads and Lyrics of Old France_ (1872).  Though very sensible that
they have the demerits of imitative and even of undergraduate rhyme, I
print them again because people I like have liked them.  The rest are of
different dates, and lack (though doubtless they need) the excuse of
having been written, like some of the earlier pieces, during College
Lectures.  I would gladly have added to this volume what other more or
less serious rhymes I have written, but circumstances over which I have
no control have bound them up with _Ballades_, and other toys of that

It may be as well to repeat in prose, what has already been said in
verse, that Grass of Parnassus, the pretty Autumn flower, grows in the
marshes at the foot of the Muses’ Hill, and other hills, not at the top
by any means.

Several of the versions from the Greek Anthology have been published in
the _Fortnightly Review_, and the sonnet on Colonel Burnaby appeared in
_Punch_.  These, with pieces from other serials, are reprinted by the
courteous permission of the Editors.

The verses that were published in _Ballades and Lyrics_, and in _Ballads
and Verses Vain_ (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York), are marked in the
contents with an asterisk.


                  _DEEDS OF MEN_
SEEKERS FOR A CITY                                3
THE WHITE PACHA                                   6
MIDNIGHT, JANUARY 25, 1886                        8
ADVANCE, AUSTRALIA                                9
COLONEL BURNABY                                  11
MELVILLE AND COGHILL                             12
TO RHODOCLEIA                                    15
CLEVEDON CHURCH                                  21
TWILIGHT ON TWEED *                              23
METEMPSYCHOSIS *                                 25
LOST IN HADES *                                  26
A STAR IN THE NIGHT *                            27
A SUNSET ON YARROW *                             28
ANOTHER WAY                                      29
                  _HESPEROTHEN_ *
THE SEEKERS FOR PHÆACIA                          33
A SONG OF PHÆACIA                                35
THE DEPARTURE FROM PHÆACIA                       37
A BALLAD OF DEPARTURE                            39
CIRCE’S ISLE REVISITED                           42
THE LIMIT OF LANDS                               44
MARTIAL IN TOWN                                  49
APRIL ON TWEED                                   51
TIRED OF TOWNS                                   53
SCYTHE SONG                                      55
PEN AND INK                                      56
A DREAM                                          58
THE SINGING ROSE                                 59
A REVIEW IN RHYME                                62
COLINETTE *                                      63
A SUNSET OF WATTEAU *                            65
NIGHTINGALE WEATHER *                            67
LOVE AND WISDOM *                                69
GOOD-BYE *                                       71
AN OLD PRAYER *                                  73
À LA BELLE HÉLÈNE *                              74
SYLVIE ET AURÉLIE *                              76
A LOST PATH *                                    78
THE SHADE OF HELEN *                             79
SHE                                              83
HERODOTUS IN EGYPT                               84
GÉRARD DE NERVAL *                               85
RONSARD *                                        86
LOVE’S MIRACLE *                                 87
DREAMS *                                         88
TWO SONNETS OF THE SIRENS *                      89
HYMN TO THE WINDS *                              93
MOONLIGHT *                                      94
THE GRAVE AND THE ROSE *                         95
A VOW TO HEAVENLY VENUS *                        96
OF HIS LADY’S OLD AGE *                          97
SHADOWS OF HIS LADY *                            98
APRIL *                                          99
AN OLD TUNE *                                   103
OLD LOVES *                                     104
A LADY OF HIGH DEGREE *                         106
IANNOULA *                                      108
THE MILK WHITE DOE *                            109
HELIODORE                                       112
THE PROPHET                                     113
LAIS                                            114
CLEARISTA                                       115
THE FISHERMAN’S TOMB                            116
OF HIS DEATH                                    117
RHODOPE                                         118
TO A GIRL                                       119
TO THE SHIPS                                    120
A LATE CONVERT                                  121
THE LIMIT OF LIFE                               122
TO DANIEL ELZEVIR                               123
                 _THE LAST CHANCE_
THE LAST CHANCE                                 127


   _PALE star that by the lochs of Galloway_,
      _In wet green places ’twixt the depth and height_
   _Dost keep thine hour while Autumn ebbs away_,
      _When now the moors have doffed the heather bright_,
      _Grass of Parnassus_, _flower of my delight_,
   _How gladly with the unpermitted bay_—
   _Garlands not mine_, _and leaves that not decay_—
      _How gladly would I twine thee if I might_!

   _The bays are out of reach_!  _But far below_
      _The peaks forbidden of the Muses’ Hill_,
   _Grass of Parnassus_, _thy returning snow_
      _Between September and October chill_
   _Doth speak to me of Autumns long ago_,
      _And these kind faces that are with me still_.


                           αειδε δ’ αρα κλέα ανδρων

                          _COLONEL IAN HAMILTON_

   To you, who know the face of war,
   You, that for England wander far,
   You that have seen the Ghazis fly
   From English lads not sworn to die,
   You that have lain where, deadly chill,
   The mist crept o’er the Shameful Hill,
   You that have conquered, mile by mile,
   The currents of unfriendly Nile,
   And cheered the march, and eased the strain
   When Politics made valour vain,
   Ian, to you, from banks of Ken,
   We send our lays of Englishmen!


    “Believe me, if that blissful, that beautiful place, were set on a
    hill visible to all the world, I should long ago have journeyed
    thither. . . But the number and variety of the ways!  For you know,
    _There is but one road that leads to Corinth_.”

                                          HERMOTIMUS (Mr Pater’s Version).

    “The Poet says, _dear city of Cecrops_, and wilt thou not say, _dear
    city of Zeus_?”

                                                             M. ANTONINUS.

   _TO Corinth leads one road_, you say:
   Is there a Corinth, or a way?
   Each bland or blatant preacher hath
   His painful or his primrose path,
   And not a soul of all of these
   But knows the city ’twixt the seas,
   Her fair unnumbered homes and all
   Her gleaming amethystine wall!

   Blind are the guides who know the way,
   The guides who write, and preach, and pray,
   I watch their lives, and I divine
   They differ not from yours and mine!

   One man we knew, and only one,
   Whose seeking for a city’s done,
   For what he greatly sought he found,
   A city girt with fire around,
   A city in an empty land
   Between the wastes of sky and sand,
   A city on a river-side,
   Where by the folk he loved, he died. {4a}

   Alas! it is not ours to tread
   That path wherein his life he led,
   Not ours his heart to dare and feel,
   Keen as the fragrant Syrian steel;
   Yet are we not quite city-less,
   Not wholly left in our distress—
   Is it not said by One of old,
   _Sheep have I of another fold_?
   Ah! faint of heart, and weak of will,
   For us there is a city still!

   _Dear city of Zeus_, the Stoic says, {4b}
   The Voice from Rome’s imperial days,
   _In Thee meet all things_, _and disperse_,
   _In Thee_, _for Thee_, _O Universe_!
   _To me all’s fruit thy seasons bring_,
   _Alike thy summer and thy spring_;
   _The winds that wail_, _the suns that burn_,
   _From Thee proceed_, _to Thee return_.

   _Dear city of Zeus_, shall _we_ not say,
   Home to which none can lose the way!
   Born in that city’s flaming bound,
   We do not find her, but are found.
   Within her wide and viewless wall
   The Universe is girdled all.
   All joys and pains, all wealth and dearth,
   All things that travail on the earth,
   God’s will they work, if God there be,
   If not, what is my life to me?

   Seek we no further, but abide
   Within this city great and wide,
   In her and for her living, we
   Have no less joy than to be free;
   Nor death nor grief can quite appal
   The folk that dwell within her wall,
   Nor aught but with our will befall!


   VAIN is the dream!  However Hope may rave,
   He perished with the folk he could not save,
   And though none surely told us he is dead,
   And though perchance another in his stead,
   Another, not less brave, when all was done,
   Had fled unto the southward and the sun,
   Had urged a way by force, or won by guile
   To streams remotest of the secret Nile,
   Had raised an army of the Desert men,
   And, waiting for his hour, had turned again
   And fallen on that False Prophet, yet we know
   GORDON is dead, and these things are not so!
   Nay, not for England’s cause, nor to restore
   Her trampled flag—for he loved Honour more—
   Nay, not for Life, Revenge, or Victory,
   Would he have fled, whose hour had dawned to die.
   He will not come again, whate’er our need,
   He will not come, who is happy, being freed
   From the deathly flesh and perishable things,
   And lies of statesmen and rewards of kings.
   Nay, somewhere by the sacred River’s shore
   He sleeps like those who shall return no more,
   No more return for all the prayers of men—
   Arthur and Charles—they never come again!
   They shall not wake, though fair the vision seem:
   Whate’er sick Hope may whisper, vain the dream!


   TO-MORROW is a year since Gordon died!
      A year ago to-night, the Desert still
      Crouched on the spring, and panted for its fill
   Of lust and blood.  Their old art statesmen plied,
   And paltered, and evaded, and denied;
      Guiltless as yet, except for feeble will,
      And craven heart, and calculated skill
   In long delays, of their great homicide.

   A year ago to-night ’twas not too late.
      The thought comes through our mirth, again, again;
   Methinks I hear the halting foot of Fate
      Approaching and approaching us; and then
   Comes cackle of the House, and the Debate!
      Enough; he is forgotten amongst men.



   Sons of the giant Ocean isle
      In sport our friendly foes for long,
   Well England loves you, and we smile
   When you outmatch us many a while,
      So fleet you are, so keen and strong.

   You, like that fairy people set
      Of old in their enchanted sea
   Far off from men, might well forget
   An elder nation’s toil and fret,
      Might heed not aught but game and glee.

   But what your fathers were you are
      In lands the fathers never knew,
   ’Neath skies of alien sign and star
   You rally to the English war;
      Your hearts are English, kind and true.

   And now, when first on England falls
      The shadow of a darkening fate,
   You hear the Mother ere she calls,
   You leave your ocean-girdled walls,
      And face her foemen in the gate.


                συ δ’ εν στροφάλιγγι κονίης
    κεισο μέγας μεγαλωστι, λελασμένος ιπποσυνάων

   THOU that on every field of earth and sky
      Didst hunt for Death, who seemed to flee and fear,
   How great and greatly fallen dost thou lie
      Slain in the Desert by some wandering spear:
   ‘Not here, alas!’ may England say, ‘not here
      Nor in this quarrel was it meet to die,
      But in that dreadful battle drawing nigh
   To thunder through the Afghan passes sheer:

   Like Aias by the ships shouldst thou have stood,
      And in some glen have stayed the stream of flight,
      The bulwark of thy people and their shield,
   When Indus or when Helmund ran with blood,
      Till back into the Northland and the Night
      The smitten Eagles scattered from the field.’


                     (THE PLACE OF THE LITTLE HAND.)

   DEAD, with their eyes to the foe,
      Dead, with the foe at their feet,
   Under the sky laid low
      Truly their slumber is sweet,
   Though the wind from the Camp of the Slain Men blow,
      And the rain on the wilderness beat.

   Dead, for they chose to die
      When that wild race was run;
   Dead, for they would not fly,
      Deeming their work undone,
   Nor cared to look on the face of the sky,
      Nor loved the light of the sun.

   Honour we give them and tears,
      And the flag they died to save,
   Rent from the rain of the spears,
      Wet from the war and the wave,
   Shall waft men’s thoughts through the dust of the years,
      Back to their lonely grave!



  (Rhodocleia was beloved by Rufinus, one of the late poets of the Greek

   STILL, Rhodocleia, brooding on the dead,
   Still singing of the meads of asphodel,
      Lands desolate of delight?
   Say, hast thou dreamed of, or rememberèd,
      The shores where shadows dwell,
         Nor know the sun, nor see the stars of night?

   There, ’midst thy music, doth thy spirit gaze
      As a girl pines for home,
      Looking along the way that she hath come,
   Sick to return, and counts the weary days!
   So wouldst thou flee
      Back to the multitude whose days are done,
   Wouldst taste the fruit that lured Persephone,
   The sacrament of death; and die, and be
      No more in the wind and sun!

   Thou hast not dreamed it, but rememberèd
      I know thou hast been there,
   Hast seen the stately dwellings of the dead
      Rise in the twilight air,
   And crossed the shadowy bridge the spirits tread,
      And climbed the golden stair!

   Nay, by thy cloudy hair
      And lips that were so fair,
   Sad lips now mindful of some ancient smart,
      And melancholy eyes, the haunt of Care,
   I know thee who thou art!
      That Rhodocleia, Glory of the Rose,
   Of Hellas, ere her close,
      That Rhodocleia who, when all was done
      The golden time of Greece, and fallen her sun,
   Swayed her last poet’s heart.

   With roses did he woo thee, and with song,
      With thine own rose, and with the lily sweet,
         The dark-eyed violet,
         Garlands of wind-flowers wet,
   And fragrant love-lamps that the whole night long
         Burned till the dawn was burning in the skies,
         Praising _thy golden eyes_,
      _And feet more silvery than Thetis’ feet_!

   But thou didst die and flit
      Among the tribes outworn,
         The unavailing myriads of the past:
      Oft he beheld thy face in dreams of morn,
   And, waking, wept for it,
            Till his own time came at last,
         And then he sought thee in the dusky land!
   Wide are the populous places of the dead
   Where souls on earth once wed
         May never meet, nor each take other’s hand,
   Each far from the other fled!

   So all in vain he sought for thee, but thou
      Didst never taste of the Lethæan stream,
            Nor that forgetful fruit,
      The mystic pom’granate;
   But from the Mighty Warden fledst; and now,
      The fugitive of Fate,
      Thou farest in our life as in a dream,
            Still wandering with thy lute,
   Like that sweet paynim lady of old song,
   Who sang and wandered long,
      For love of her Aucassin, seeking him!
   So with thy minstrelsy
      Thou roamest, dreaming of the country dim,
   Below the veilèd sky!

   There doth thy lover dwell,
      Singing, and seeking still to find thy face
      In that forgetful place:
         Thou shalt not meet him here,
         Not till thy singing clear
   Through all the murmur of the streams of hell
         Wins to the Maiden’s ear!
   May she, perchance, have pity on thee and call
         Thine eager spirit to sit beside her feet,
   Passing throughout the long unechoing hall
      Up to the shadowy throne,
         Where the lost lovers of the ages meet;
      Till then thou art alone!


         ‘_Our Faith and Troth_
      _All time and space controules_
   _Above the highest sphere we meet_
   _Unseen_, _unknowne_, _and greet as Angels greet_.’

                                              Col. RICHARD LOVELACE.  1649


                               IN MEMORIAM
                                  H. B.

   WESTWARD I watch the low green hills of Wales,
      The low sky silver grey,
   The turbid Channel with the wandering sails
      Moans through the winter day.
   There is no colour but one ashen light
      On tower and lonely tree,
   The little church upon the windy height
      Is grey as sky or sea.
   But there hath he that woke the sleepless Love
      Slept through these fifty years,
   There is the grave that has been wept above
      With more than mortal tears.
   And far below I hear the Channel sweep
      And all his waves complain,
   As Hallam’s dirge through all the years must keep
      Its monotone of pain.

                                  * * * * *

   Grey sky, brown waters, as a bird that flies,
      My heart flits forth from these
   Back to the winter rose of northern skies,
      Back to the northern seas.
   And lo, the long waves of the ocean beat
      Below the minster grey,
   Caverns and chapels worn of saintly feet,
      And knees of them that pray.
   And I remember me how twain were one
      Beside that ocean dim,
   I count the years passed over since the sun
      That lights me looked on him,
   And dreaming of the voice that, save in sleep,
      Shall greet me not again,
   Far, far below I hear the Channel sweep
      And all his waves complain.


   THREE crests against the saffron sky,
      Beyond the purple plain,
   The kind remembered melody
      Of Tweed once more again.

   Wan water from the border hills,
      Dear voice from the old years,
   Thy distant music lulls and stills,
      And moves to quiet tears.

   Like a loved ghost thy fabled flood
      Fleets through the dusky land;
   Where Scott, come home to die, has stood,
      My feet returning stand.

   A mist of memory broods and floats,
      The Border waters flow;
   The air is full of ballad notes,
      Borne out of long ago.

   Old songs that sung themselves to me,
      Sweet through a boy’s day dream,
   While trout below the blossom’d tree
      Plashed in the golden steam.

                                  * * * * *

   Twilight, and Tweed, and Eildon Hill,
      Fair and too fair you be;
   You tell me that the voice is still
      That should have welcomed me.



   I SHALL not see thee, nay, but I shall know
      Perchance, the grey eyes in another’s eyes,
   Shall guess thy curls in gracious locks that flow
      On purest brows, yea, and the swift surmise
      Shall follow and track, and find thee in disguise
   Of all sad things, and fair, where sunsets glow,
   When through the scent of heather, faint and low,
      The weak wind whispers to the day that dies.

   From all sweet art, and out of all old rhyme,
      Thine eyes and lips are light and song to me;
   The shadows of the beauty of all time,
      In song or story are but shapes of thee;
   Alas, the shadowy shapes! ah, sweet my dear,
      Shall life or death bring all thy being near?


   I DREAMED that somewhere in the shadowy place,
      Grief of farewell unspoken was forgot
      In welcome, and regret remembered not;
   And hopeless prayer accomplished turned to praise
   On lips that had been songless many days;
      Hope had no more to hope for, and desire
      And dread were overpast, in white attire
   New born we walked among the new world’s ways.

   Then from the press of shades a spirit threw
      Towards me such apples as these gardens bear;
   And turning, I was ’ware of her, and knew
      And followed her fleet voice and flying hair,—
   Followed, and found her not, and seeking you
      I found you never, dearest, anywhere.


   THE perfect piteous beauty of thy face
      Is like a star the dawning drives away;
      Mine eyes may never see in the bright day
   Thy pallid halo, thy supernal grace;
   But in the night from forth the silent place
      Thou comest, dim in dreams, as doth a stray
      Star of the starry flock that in the grey
   Is seen, and lost, and seen a moment’s space.

   And as the earth at night turns to a star,
      Loved long ago, and dearer than the sun,
   So in the spiritual place afar,
      At night our souls are mingled and made one,
   And wait till one night fall, and one dawn rise,
   That brings no noon too splendid for your eyes.


   The wind and the day had lived together,
      They died together, and far away
   Spoke farewell in the sultry weather,
   Out of the sunset, over the heather,
      The dying wind and the dying day.

   Far in the south, the summer levin
      Flushed, a flame in the grey soft air:
   We seemed to look on the hills of heaven;
   You saw within, but to me ’twas given
      To see your face, as an angel’s, there.

   Never again, ah surely never
      Shall we wait and watch, where of old we stood,
   The low good-night of the hill and the river,
   The faint light fade, and the wan stars quiver,
      Twain grown one in the solitude.


   _COME to me in my dreams_, _and then_,
   _One saith_, _I shall be well again_,
   _For then the night will more than pay_
   _The hopeless longing of the day_.

   Nay, come not _thou_ in dreams, my sweet,
   With shadowy robes, and silent feet,
   And with the voice, and with the eyes
   That greet me in a soft surprise.

   Last night, last night, in dreams we met,
   And how, to-day, shall I forget,
   Or how, remembering, restrain
   Mine incommunicable pain?

   Nay, where thy land and people are,
   Dwell thou remote, apart, afar,
   Nor mingle with the shapes that sweep
   The melancholy ways of Sleep.

   But if, perchance, the shadows break,
   If dreams depart, and men awake,
   If face to face at length we see,
   Be thine the voice to welcome me.


   By the example of certain Grecian mariners, who, being safely returned
   from the war about Troy, leave yet again their old lands and gods,
   seeking they know not what, and choosing neither to abide in the fair
   Phæacian island, nor to dwell and die with the Sirens, at length end
   miserably in a desert country by the sea, is set forth the _Vanity of
   Melancholy_.  And by the land of Phæacia is to be understood the place
   of Art and of fair Pleasures; and by Circe’s Isle, the place of bodily
   delights, whereof men, falling aweary, attain to Eld, and to the
   darkness of that age.  Which thing Master Françoys Rabelais feigned,
   under the similitude of the Isle of the Macræones.


   THERE is a land in the remotest day,
      Where the soft night is born, and sunset dies;
   The eastern shore sees faint tides fade away,
      That wash the lands where laughter, tears, and sighs
   Make life,—the lands below the blue of common skies.

   But in the west is a mysterious sea,
      (What sails have seen it, or what shipmen known?)
   With coasts enchanted where the Sirens be,
      With islands where a Goddess walks alone,
   And in the cedar trees the magic winds make moan.

   Eastward the human cares of house and home,
      Cities, and ships, and unknown gods, and loves;
   Westward, strange maidens fairer than the foam,
      And lawless lives of men, and haunted groves,
   Wherein a god may dwell, and where the Dryad roves.

   The gods are careless of the days and death
      Of toilsome men, beyond the western seas;
   The gods are heedless of their painful breath,
      And love them not, for they are not as these;
   But in the golden west they live and lie at ease.

   Yet the Phæacians well they love, who live
      At the light’s limit, passing careless hours,
   Most like the gods; and they have gifts to give,
      Even wine, and fountains musical, and flowers,
   And song, and if they will, swift ships, and magic powers.

   It is a quiet midland; in the cool
      Of the twilight comes the god, though no man prayed,
   To watch the maids and young men beautiful
      Dance, and they see him, and are not afraid,
   For they are neat of kin to gods, and undismayed.

   Ah, would the bright red prows might bring us nigh
      The dreamy isles that the Immortals keep!
   But with a mist they hide them wondrously,
      And far the path and dim to where they sleep,—
   The loved, the shadowy lands, along the shadowy deep.


   THE languid sunset, mother of roses,
      Lingers, a light on the magic seas,
   The wide fire flames, as a flower uncloses,
      Heavy with odour, and loose to the breeze.

   The red rose clouds, without law or leader,
      Gather and float in the airy plain;
   The nightingale sings to the dewy cedar,
      The cedar scatters his scent to the main.

   The strange flowers’ perfume turns to singing,
      Heard afar over moonlit seas:
   The Siren’s song, grown faint in winging,
      Falls in scent on the cedar trees.

   As waifs blown out of the sunset, flying,
      Purple, and rosy, and grey, the birds
   Brighten the air with their wings; their crying
      Wakens a moment the weary herds.

   Butterflies flit from the fairy garden,
      Living blossoms of flying flowers;
   Never the nights with winter harden,
      Nor moons wax keen in this land of ours.

   Great fruits, fragrant, green and golden,
      Gleam in the green, and droop and fall;
   Blossom, and bud, and flower unfolden,
      Swing, and cling to the garden wall.

   Deep in the woods as twilight darkens,
      Glades are red with the scented fire;
   Far in the dells the white maid hearkens,
      Song and sigh of the heart’s desire.

   Ah, and as moonlight fades in morning,
      Maiden’s song in the matin grey,
   Faints as the first bird’s note, a warning,
      Wakes and wails to the new-born day.

   The waking song and the dying measure
      Meet, and the waxing and waning light
   Meet, and faint with the hours of pleasure,
      The rose of the sea and the sky is white.


                              THE PHÆACIANS.

   WHY from the dreamy meadows,
      More fair than any dream,
   Why seek ye for the shadows
      Beyond the ocean stream?

   Through straits of storm and peril,
      Through firths unsailed before,
   Why make you for the sterile,
      The dark Kimmerian shore?

   There no bright streams are flowing,
      There day and night are one,
   No harvest time, no sowing,
      No sight of any sun;

   No sound of song or tabor,
      No dance shall greet you there;
   No noise of mortal labour
      Breaks on the blind chill air.

   Are ours not happy places,
      Where gods with mortals trod?
   Saw not our sires the faces
      Of many a present god?

                               THE SEEKERS.

   Nay, now no god comes hither,
      In shape that men may see;
   They fare we know not whither,
      We know not what they be.

   Yea, though the sunset lingers
      Far in your fairy glades,
   Though yours the sweetest singers,
      Though yours the kindest maids,

   Yet here be the true shadows,
      Here in the doubtful light;
   Amid the dreamy meadows
      No shadow haunts the night.

   We seek a city splendid,
      With light beyond the sun;
   Or lands where dreams are ended,
      And works and days are done.


   FAIR white bird, what song art thou singing
      In wintry weather of lands o’er sea?
   Dear white bird, what way art thou winging,
      Where no grass grows, and no green tree?

   I looked at the far-off fields and grey,
      There grew no tree but the cypress tree,
   That bears sad fruits with the flowers of May,
      And whoso looks on it, woe is he.

   And whoso eats of the fruit thereof
   Has no more sorrow, and no more love;
   And who sets the same in his garden stead,
   In a little space he is waste and dead.


   THE weary sails a moment slept,
      The oars were silent for a space,
   As past Hesperian shores we swept,
      That were as a remembered face
   Seen after lapse of hopeless years,
      In Hades, when the shadows meet,
   Dim through the mist of many tears,
      And strange, and though a shadow, sweet.

   So seemed the half-remembered shore,
      That slumbered, mirrored in the blue,
   With havens where we touched of yore,
      And ports that over well we knew.
   Then broke the calm before a breeze
      That sought the secret of the west;
   And listless all we swept the seas
      Towards the Islands of the Blest.

   Beside a golden sanded bay
      We saw the Sirens, very fair
   The flowery hill whereon they lay,
      The flowers set upon their hair.
   Their old sweet song came down the wind,
      Remembered music waxing strong,—
   Ah now no need of cords to bind,
      No need had we of Orphic song.

   It once had seemed a little thing
      To lay our lives down at their feet,
   That dying we might hear them sing,
      And dying see their faces sweet;
   But now, we glanced, and passing by,
      No care had we to tarry long;
   Faint hope, and rest, and memory
      Were more than any Siren’s song.


   Ah, Circe, Circe! in the wood we cried;
   Ah, Circe, Circe! but no voice replied;
      No voice from bowers o’ergrown and ruinous
   As fallen rocks upon the mountain side.

   There was no sound of singing in the air;
   Faded or fled the maidens that were fair,
      No more for sorrow or joy were seen of us,
   No light of laughing eyes, or floating hair.

   The perfume, and the music, and the flame
   Had passed away; the memory of shame
      Alone abode, and stings of faint desire,
   And pulses of vague quiet went and came.

   Ah, Circe! in thy sad changed fairy place,
   Our dead youth came and looked on us a space,
      With drooping wings, and eyes of faded fire.
   And wasted hair about a weary face.

   Why had we ever sought the magic isle
   That seemed so happy in the days erewhile?
      Why did we ever leave it, where we met
   A world of happy wonders in one smile?

   Back to the westward and the waning light
   We turned, we fled; the solitude of night
      Was better than the infinite regret,
   In fallen places of our dead delight.


   BETWEEN the circling ocean sea
      And the poplars of Persephone
      There lies a strip of barren sand,
   Flecked with the sea’s last spray, and strown
   With waste leaves of the poplars, blown
      From gardens of the shadow land.

   With altars of old sacrifice
   The shore is set, in mournful wise
      The mists upon the ocean brood;
   Between the water and the air
      The clouds are born that float and fare
   Between the water and the wood.

   Upon the grey sea never sail
   Of mortals passed within our hail,
      Where the last weak waves faint and flow;
   We heard within the poplar pale
   The murmur of a doubtful wail
      Of voices loved so long ago.

   We scarce had care to die or live,
   We had no honey cake to give,
      No wine of sacrifice to shed;
   There lies no new path over sea,
   And now we know how faint they be,
      The feasts and voices of the dead.

   Ah, flowers and dance! ah, sun and snow!
   Glad life, sad life we did forego
      To dream of quietness and rest;
   Ah, would the fleet sweet roses here
   Poured light and perfume through the drear
      Pale year, and wan land of the west.

   Sad youth, that let the spring go by
   Because the spring is swift to fly,
      Sad youth, that feared to mourn or love,
   Behold how sadder far is this,
   To know that rest is nowise bliss,
      And darkness is the end thereof.



   LAST night, within the stifling train,
      Lit by the foggy lamp o’erhead,
      Sick of the sad Last News, I read
   Verse of that joyous child of Spain,

   Who dwelt when Rome was waxing cold,
      Within the Roman din and smoke.
      And like my heart to me they spoke,
   These accents of his heart of old:—

   “_Brother_, _had we but time to live_,
      _And fleet the careless hours together_,
   _With all that leisure has to give_
      _Of perfect life and peaceful weather_,

   “_The Rich Man’s halls_, _the anxious faces_,
   _The weary Forum_, _courts_, _and cases_
      _Should know us not_; _but quiet nooks_,
   _But summer shade by field and well_,
      _But county rides_, _and talk of books_,
   _At home_, _with these_, _we fain would dwell_!

   “_Now neither lives_, _but day by day_
      _Sees the suns wasting in the west_,
   _And feels their flight_, _and doth delay_
      _To lead the life he loveth best_.”

   So from thy city prison broke,
      Martial, thy wail for life misspent,
   And so, through London’s noise and smoke
      My heart replies to the lament.

   For dear as Tagus with his gold,
      And swifter Salo, were to thee,
   So dear to me the woods that fold
      The streams that circle Fernielea!


   AS birds are fain to build their nest
      The first soft sunny day,
   So longing wakens in my breast
      A month before the May,
   When now the wind is from the West,
      And Winter melts away.

   The snow lies yet on Eildon Hill,
      But soft the breezes blow.
   If melting snows the waters fill,
      We nothing heed the snow,
   But we must up and take our will,—
      A fishing will we go!

   Below the branches brown and bare,
      Beneath the primrose lea,
   The trout lies waiting for his fare,
      A hungry trout is he;
   He’s hooked, and springs and splashes there
      Like salmon from the sea!

   Oh, April tide’s a pleasant tide,
      However times may fall,
   And sweet to welcome Spring, the Bride,
      You hear the mavis call;
   But all adown the water-side
      The Spring’s most fair of all.


   ‘When we spoke to her of the New Jerusalem, she said she would rather
   go to a country place in Heaven.’

                                         _Letters from the Black Country_.

   I’M weary of towns, it seems a’most a pity
      We didn’t stop down i’ the country and clem,
   And you say that I’m bound for another city,
      For the streets o’ the New Jerusalem.

   And the streets are never like Sheffield, here,
      Nor the smoke don’t cling like a smut to _them_;
   But the water o’ life flows cool and clear
      Through the streets o’ the New Jerusalem.

   And the houses, you say, are of jasper cut,
      And the gates are gaudy wi’ gold and gem;
   But there’s times I could wish as the gates was shut—
      The gates o’ the New Jerusalem.

   For I come from a country that’s over-built
      Wi’ streets that stifle, and walls that hem,
   And the gorse on a common’s worth all the gilt
      And the gold of your New Jerusalem.

   And I hope that they’ll bring me, in Paradise,
      To green lanes leafy wi’ bough and stem—
   To a country place in the land o’ the skies,
      And not to the New Jerusalem.


   MOWERS, weary and brown, and blithe,
      What is the word methinks ye know,
   Endless over-word that the Scythe
      Sings to the blades of the grass below?
   Scythes that swing in the grass and clover,
      Something, still, they say as they pass;
   What is the word that, over and over,
      Sings the Scythe to the flowers and grass?

   _Hush_, _ah hush_, the Scythes are saying,
      _Hush_, _and heed not_, _and fall asleep_;
   _Hush_, they say to the grasses swaying,
      _Hush_, they sing to the clover deep!
   _Hush_—’tis the lullaby Time is singing—
      _Hush_, _and heed not_, _for all things pass_,
   _Hush_, _ah hush_! and the Scythes are swinging
      Over the clover, over the grass!


   YE wanderers that were my sires,
      Who read men’s fortunes in the hand,
   Who voyaged with your smithy fires
      From waste to waste across the land,
   Why did you leave for garth and town
      Your life by heath and river’s brink,
   Why lay your gipsy freedom down
      And doom your child to Pen and Ink?

   You wearied of the wild-wood meal
      That crowned, or failed to crown, the day;
   Too honest or too tame to steal
      You broke into the beaten way;
   Plied loom or awl like other men,
      And learned to love the guineas’ chink—
   Oh, recreant sires, who doomed me then
      To earn so few—with Pen and Ink!

   Where it hath fallen the tree must lie.
      ’Tis over late for _me_ to roam,
   Yet the caged bird who hears the cry
      Of his wild fellows fleeting home,
   May feel no sharper pang than mine,
      Who seem to hear, whene’er I think,
   Spate in the stream, and wind in pine,
      Call me to quit dull Pen and Ink.

   For then the spirit wandering,
      That slept within the blood, awakes;
   For then the summer and the spring
      I fain would meet by streams and lakes;
   But ah, my Birthright long is sold,
      But custom chains me, link on link,
   And I must get me, as of old,
      Back to my tools, to Pen and Ink.


   WHY will you haunt my sleep?
      You know it may not be,
   The grave is wide and deep,
      That sunders you and me;
   In bitter dreams we reap
      The sorrow we have sown,
   And I would I were asleep,
      Forgotten and alone!

   We knew and did not know,
      We saw and did not see,
   The nets that long ago
      Fate wove for you and me;
   The cruel nets that keep
      The birds that sob and moan,
   And I would we were asleep,
      Forgotten and alone!


                 ‘_La Rose qui chante et l’herbe qui égare_.’

   _WHITE Rose on the grey garden wall_,
      _Where now no night-wind whispereth_,
   _Call to the far-off flowers_, _and call_
      _With murmured breath and musical_
   _Till all the Roses hear_, _and all_
      _Sing to my Love what the White Rose saith_.

   White Rose on the grey garden wall
      That long ago we sung!
   Again you come at Summer’s call,—
   Again beneath my windows all
      With trellised flowers is hung,
   With clusters of the roses white
   Like fragrant stars in a green night.

   Once more I hear the sister towers
      Each unto each reply,
   The bloom is on those limes of ours,
   The weak wind shakes the bloom in showers,
      Snow from a cloudless sky;
   There is no change this happy day
   Within the College Gardens grey!

   St. Mary’s, Merton, Magdalen—still
      Their sweet bells chime and swing,
   The old years answer them, and thrill
   A wintry heart against its will
      With memories of the Spring—
   That Spring we sought the gardens through
   For flowers which ne’er in gardens grew!

   For we, beside our nurse’s knee,
      In fairy tales had heard
   Of that strange Rose which blossoms free
   On boughs of an enchanted tree,
      And sings like any bird!
   And of the weed beside the way
   That leadeth lovers’ steps astray!

   In vain we sought the Singing Rose
      Whereof old legends tell,
   Alas, we found it not mid those
   Within the grey old College close,
      That budded, flowered, and fell,—
   We found that herb called ‘Wandering’
   And meet no more, no more in Spring!

   Yes, unawares the unhappy grass
      That leadeth steps astray,
   We trod, and so it came to pass
   That never more we twain, alas,
      Shall walk the self-same way.
   And each must deem, though neither knows,
   That _neither_ found the Singing Rose!


   A LITTLE of Horace, a little of Prior,
   A sketch of a Milkmaid, a lay of the Squire—
   These, these are ‘on draught’ ‘At the Sign of the Lyre!’

   A child in Blue Ribbons that sings to herself,
   A talk of the Books on the Sheraton shelf,
   A sword of the Stuarts, a wig of the Guelph,

   A _lai_, a _pantoum_, a _ballade_, a _rondeau_,
   A pastel by Greuze, and a sketch by Moreau,
   And the chimes of the rhymes that sing sweet as they go,

   A fan, and a folio, a ringlet, a glove,
   ’Neath a dance by Laguerre on the ceiling above,
   And a dream of the days when the bard was in love,

   A scent of dead roses, a glance at a pun,
   A toss of old powder, a glint of the sun,
   They meet in the volume that Dobson has done!

   If there’s more that the heart of a man can desire,
   He may search, in his Swinburne, for fury and fire;
   If he’s wise—he’ll alight ‘At the Sign of the Lyre!’


                   FOR A SKETCH BY MR. G. LESLIE, R.A.

   FRANCE your country, as we know;
      Room enough for guessing yet,
   What lips now or long ago,
      Kissed and named you—Colinette.
   In what fields from sea to sea,
      By what stream your home was set,
   Loire or Seine was glad of thee,
      Marne or Rhone, O Colinette?

   Did you stand with maidens ten,
      Fairer maids were never seen,
   When the young king and his men
      Passed among the orchards green?
   Nay, old ballads have a note
      Mournful, we would fain forget;
   No such sad old air should float
      Round your young brows, Colinette.

   Say, did Ronsard sing to you,
      Shepherdess, to lull his pain,
   When the court went wandering through
      Rose pleasances of Touraine?
   Ronsard and his famous Rose
      Long are dust the breezes fret;
   You, within the garden close,
      You are blooming, Colinette.

   Have I seen you proud and gay,
      With a patched and perfumed beau,
   Dancing through the summer day,
      Misty summer of Watteau?
   Nay, so sweet a maid as you
      Never walked a minuet
   With the splendid courtly crew;
      Nay, forgive me, Colinette.

   Not from Greuze’s canvases
      Do you cast a glance, a smile;
   You are not as one of these,
      Yours is beauty without guile.
   Round your maiden brows and hair
      Maidenhood and Childhood met
   Crown and kiss you, sweet and fair,
      New art’s blossom, Colinette.



   The silk sail fills, the soft winds wake,
      Arise and tempt the seas;
   Our ocean is the Palace lake,
   Our waves the ripples that we make
      Among the mirrored trees.


   Nay, sweet the shore, and sweet the song,
      And dear the languid dream;
   The music mingled all day long
   With paces of the dancing throng,
      And murmur of the stream.

   An hour ago, an hour ago,
      We rested in the shade;
   And now, why should we seek to know
   What way the wilful waters flow?
      There is no fairer glade.


   Nay, pleasure flits, and we must sail,
      And seek him everywhere;
   Perchance in sunset’s golden pale
   He listens to the nightingale,
         Amid the perfumed air.

   Come, he has fled; you are not you,
      And I no more am I;
   Delight is changeful as the hue
   Of heaven, that is no longer blue
      In yonder sunset sky.


   Nay, if we seek we shall not find,
      If we knock none openeth;
   Nay, see, the sunset fades behind
   The mountains, and the cold night wind
      Blows from the house of Death.


    ‘Serai-je nonnette, oui ou non?
    Semi-je nonnette? je crois que non.
    Derrière chez mon père
    Il est un bois taillis,
    Le rossignol y chante
    Et le jour et la nuit.
    Il chante pour les filles
    Qui n’ont pas d’ami;
    Il ne chant pas pour moi,
    J’en ai un, Dieu merci.’—_Old French_.

                                * * * * *

   I’LL never be a nun, I trow,
   While apple bloom is white as snow,
      But far more fair to see;
   I’ll never wear nun’s black and white
   While nightingales make sweet the night
      Within the apple tree.

   Ah, listen! ’tis the nightingale,
   And in the wood he makes his wail,
      Within the apple tree;
   He singeth of the sore distress
   Of many ladies loverless;
      Thank God, no song for me.

   For when the broad May moon is low,
   A gold fruit seen where blossoms blow
      In the boughs of the apple tree,
   A step I know is at the gate;
   Ah love, but it is long to wait
      Until night’s noon bring thee!

   Between lark’s song and nightingale’s
   A silent space, while dawning pales,
      The birds leave still and free
   For words and kisses musical,
   For silence and for sighs that fall
      In the dawn, ’twixt him and me.


    ‘When last we gathered roses in the garden
    I found my wits, but truly you lost yours.’

                                                       _The Broken Heart_.

   JULY and June brought flowers and love
   To you, but I would none thereof,
   Whose heart kept all through summer time
   A flower of frost and winter rime.
   Yours was true wisdom—was it not?
   Even love; but I had clean forgot,
   Till seasons of the falling leaf,
   All loves, but one that turned to grief.
   At length at touch of autumn tide
   When roses fell, and summer died,
   All in a dawning deep with dew,
   Love flew to me, Love fled from you.
   The roses drooped their weary heads,
   I spoke among the garden beds;
   You would not hear, you could not know,
   Summer and love seemed long ago,
   As far, as faint, as dim a dream,
   As to the dead this world may seem.
   Ah sweet, in winter’s miseries,
   Perchance you may remember this,
   How Wisdom was not justified
   In summer time or autumn tide,
   Though for this once below the sun,
   Wisdom and Love were made at one;
   But Love was bitter-bought enough,
   And Wisdom light of wing as Love.


   KISS me, and say good-bye;
      Good-bye, there is no word to say but this,
      Nor any lips left for my lips to kiss,
   Nor any tears to shed, when these tears dry;
   Kiss me, and say, good-bye.

   Farewell, be glad, forget;
      There is no need to say ‘forget,’ I know,
      For youth is youth, and time will have it so,
   And though your lips are pale, and your eyes wet,
      Farewell, you must forget.

   You shall bring home your sheaves,
      Many, and heavy, and with blossoms twined
      Of memories that go not out of mind;
   Let this one sheaf be twined with poppy leaves
   When you bring home your sheaves.

   In garnered loves of thine,
      The ripe good fruit of many hearts and years,
      Somewhere let this lie, grey and salt with tears;
   It grew too near the sea wind, and the brine
   Of life, this love of mine.

   This sheaf was spoiled in spring,
      And over-long was green, and early sere,
      And never gathered gold in the late year
   From autumn suns, and moons of harvesting,
   But failed in frosts of spring.

   Yet was it thine, my sweet,
      This love, though weak as young corn withered,
      Whereof no man may gather and make bread;
   Thine, though it never knew the summer heat;
   Forget not quite, my sweet.


    Χαιρέ μοι, ω βασίλεια, διαμπερες, εις ο κε γηρας
    Ελθη και θάνατος, τά τ’ επ’ ανθρώποισι πέλονται.

                                                          _Odyssey_, XIII.

   MY prayer an old prayer borroweth,
   Of ancient love and memory—
   ‘Do thou farewell, till Eld and Death,
   That come to all men, come to thee.’
   Gently as winter’s early breath,
   Scarce felt, what time the swallows flee,
   To lands whereof no man knoweth
   Of summer, over land and sea;
   So with thy soul may summer be,
   Even as the ancient singer saith,
   ‘Do thou farewell, till Eld and Death,
   That come to all men, come to thee.’


                              AFTER RONSARD.

   MORE closely than the clinging vine
      About the wedded tree,
   Clasp thou thine arms, ah, mistress mine!
      About the heart of me.
   Or seem to sleep, and stoop your face
      Soft on my sleeping eyes,
   Breathe in your life, your heart, your grace,
      Through me, in kissing wise.
   Bow down, bow down your face, I pray,
      To me, that swoon to death,
   Breathe back the life you kissed away,
      Breathe back your kissing breath.
   So by your eyes I swear and say,
      My mighty oath and sure,
   From your kind arms no maiden may
      My loving heart allure.
   I’ll bear your yoke, that’s light enough,
      And to the Elysian plain,
   When we are dead of love, my love,
      One boat shall bear us twain.
   They’ll flock around you, fleet and fair,
      All true loves that have been,
   And you of all the shadows there,
      Shall be the shadow queen.
   Ah, shadow-loves and shadow-lips!
      Ah, while ’tis called to-day,
   Love me, my love, for summer slips,
      And August ebbs away.


                      IN MEMORY OF GÉRARD DE NERVAL.

   TWO loves there were, and one was born
      Between the sunset and the rain;
   Her singing voice went through the corn,
   Her dance was woven ’neath the thorn,
      On grass the fallen blossoms stain;
   And suns may set, and moons may wane,
   But this love comes no more again.

   There were two loves and one made white,
      Thy singing lips, and golden hair;
   Born of the city’s mire and light,
   The shame and splendour of the night,
      She trapped and fled thee unaware;
   Not through the lamplight and the rain
   Shalt thou behold this love again.

   Go forth and seek, by wood and hill,
      Thine ancient love of dawn and dew;
   There comes no voice from mere or rill,
   Her dance is over, fallen still
      The ballad burdens that she knew:
   And thou must wait for her in vain,
   Till years bring back thy youth again.

   That other love, afield, afar
      Fled the light love, with lighter feet.
   Nay, though thou seek where gravesteads are,
   And flit in dreams from star to star,
      That dead love shalt thou never meet,
   Till through bleak dawn and blowing rain
   Thy soul shall find her soul again.


Plotinus, the Greek philosopher, had a certain proper mode of ecstasy,
whereby, as Porphyry saith, his soul, becoming free from the deathly
flesh, was made one with the Spirit that is in the world.

   ALAS, the path is lost, we cannot leave
      Our bright, our clouded life, and pass away
   As through strewn clouds, that stain the quiet eve,
      To heights remoter of the purer day.
   The soul may not, returning whence she came,
      Bathe herself deep in Being, and forget
   The joys that fever, and the cares that fret,
      Made once more one with the eternal flame
   That breathes in all things ever more the same.
      She would be young again, thus drinking deep
   Of her old life; and this has been, men say,
      But this we know not, who have only sleep
   To soothe us, sleep more terrible than day,
      Where dead delights, and fair lost faces stray,
   To make us weary at our wakening;
      And of that long lost path to the Divine
   We dream, as some Greek shepherd erst might sing,
      Half credulous, of easy Proserpine,
   And of the lands that lie ‘beneath the day’s decline.’


Some say that Helen went never to Troy, but abode in Egypt; for the gods,
having made in her semblance a woman out of clouds and shadows, sent the
same to be wife to Paris.  For this shadow then the Greeks and Trojans
slew each other.

   WHY from the quiet hollows of the hills,
   And extreme meeting place of light and shade,
   Wherein soft rains fell slowly, and became
   Clouds among sister clouds, where fair spent beams
   And dying glories of the sun would dwell,
   Why have they whom I know not, nor may know,
   Strange hands, unseen and ruthless, fashioned me,
   And borne me from the silent shadowy hills,
   Hither, to noise and glow of alien life,
   To harsh and clamorous swords, and sound of war?

   One speaks unto me words that would be sweet,
   Made harsh, made keen with love that knows me not,
   And some strange force, within me or around,
   Makes answer, kiss for kiss, and sigh for sigh,
   And somewhere there is fever in the halls
   That troubles me, for no such trouble came
   To vex the cool far hollows of the hills.

   The foolish folk crowd round me, and they cry,
   That house, and wife, and lands, and all Troy town,
   Are little to lose, if they may keep me here,
   And see me flit, a pale and silent shade,
   Among the streets bereft, and helpless shrines.

   At other hours another life seems mine,
   Where one great river runs unswollen of rain,
   By pyramids of unremembered kings,
   And homes of men obedient to the Dead.
   There dark and quiet faces come and go
   Around me, then again the shriek of arms,
   And all the turmoil of the Ilian men.

   What are they? even shadows such as I.
   What make they?  Even this—the sport of gods—
   The sport of gods, however free they seem.
   Ah, would the game were ended, and the light,
   The blinding light, and all too mighty suns,
   Withdrawn, and I once more with sister shades,
   Unloved, forgotten, mingled with the mist,
   Dwelt in the hollows of the shadowy hills.



                               To H. R. H.

   NOT in the waste beyond the swamps and sand,
      The fever-haunted forest and lagoon,
   Mysterious Kôr thy walls forsaken stand,
      Thy lonely towers beneath the lonely moon,
      Not there doth Ayesha linger, rune by rune
   Spelling strange scriptures of a people banned.
      The world is disenchanted; over soon
   Shall Europe send her spies through all the land.

   Nay, not in Kôr, but in whatever spot,
      In town or field, or by the insatiate sea,
   Men brood on buried loves, and unforgot,
      Or break themselves on some divine decree,
   Or would o’erleap the limits of their lot,
      There, in the tombs and deathless, dwelleth SHE!


   HE left the land of youth, he left the young,
      The smiling gods of Greece; he passed the isle
   Where Jason loitered, and where Sappho sung,
      He sought the secret-founted wave of Nile,
      And of their old world, dead a weary while,
   Heard the priests murmur in their mystic tongue,
      And through the fanes went voyaging, among
   Dark tribes that worshipped Cat and Crocodile.

   He learned the tales of death Divine and birth,
   Strange loves of Hawk and Serpent, Sky and Earth,
      The marriage, and the slaying of the Sun.
   The shrines of gods and beasts he wandered through,
   And mocked not at their godhead, for he knew
      Behind all creeds the Spirit that is One.


   OF all that were thy prisons—ah, untamed,
   Ah, light and sacred soul!—none holds thee now;
      No wall, no bar, no body of flesh, but thou
   Art free and happy in the lands unnamed,
   Within whose gates, on weary wings and maimed,
      Thou still would’st bear that mystic golden bough
      The Sibyl doth to singing men allow,
   Yet thy report folk heeded not, but blamed.
      And they would smile and wonder, seeing where
   Thou stood’st, to watch light leaves, or clouds, or wind,
      Dreamily murmuring a ballad air,
   Caught from the Valois peasants; dost thou find
      A new life gladder than the old times were,
   A love more fair than Sylvie, and as kind?


   MASTER, I see thee with the locks of grey,
      Crowned by the Muses with the laurel-wreath;
      I see the roses hiding underneath,
   Cassandra’s gift; she was less dear than they.
   Thou, Master, first hast roused the lyric lay,
      The sleeping song that the dead years bequeath,
      Hast sung thine answer to the lays that breathe
   Through ages, and through ages far away.

   And thou hast heard the pulse of Pindar beat,
      Known Horace by the fount Bandusian!
   Their deathless line thy living strains repeat,
      But ah, thy voice is sad, thy roses wan,
   But ah, thy honey is not honey-sweet,
      Thy bees have fed on yews Sardinian!


   WITH other helpless folk about the gate,
   The gate called Beautiful, with weary eyes
      That take no pleasure in the summer skies,
   Nor all things that are fairest, does she wait;
   So bleak a time, so sad a changeless fate
      Makes her with dull experience early wise,
      And in the dawning and the sunset, sighs
   That all hath been, and shall be, desolate.

   Ah, if Love come not soon, and bid her live,
      And know herself the fairest of fair things,
   Ah, if he have no healing gift to give,
      Warm from his breast, and holy from his wings,
   Or if at least Love’s shadow in passing by
   Touch not and heal her, surely she must die.


   HE spake not truth, however wise, who said
      That happy, and that hapless men in sleep
      Have equal fortune, fallen from care as deep
   As countless, careless, races of the dead.
   Not so, for alien paths of dreams we tread,
      And one beholds the faces that he sighs
      In vain to bring before his daylit eyes,
   And waking, he remembers on his bed;

   And one with fainting heart and feeble hand
   Fights a dim battle in a doubtful land
      Where strength and courage were of no avail;
   And one is borne on fairy breezes far
   To the bright harbours of a golden star
      Down fragrant fleeting waters rosy pale.


    ‘Les Sirènes estoient tant intimes amies et fidelles compagnes de
    Proserpine, qu’elles estoient toujours ensemble.  Esmues du juste
    deul de la perte de leur chère compagne, et enuyées jusques au
    desepoir, elles s’arrestèrent à la mer Sicilienne, où par leurs
    chants elles attiroient les navigans, mais l’unique fin de la volupté
    de leur musique est la Mort.’

                                                     PONTUS DE TYARD, 1570

   THE Sirens once were maidens innocent
      That through the water-meads with Proserpine
   Plucked no fire-hearted flowers, but were content
      Cool fritillaries and flag-flowers to twine,
      With lilies woven and with wet woodbine;
   Till once they sought the bright Ætnæan flowers,
   And their glad mistress fled from summer hours
      With Hades, far from olive, corn, and vine.
   And they have sought her all the wide world through
      Till many years, and wisdom, and much wrong
   Have filled and changed their song, and o’er the blue
      Rings deadly sweet the magic of the song,
   And whoso hears must listen till he die
   Far on the flowery shores of Sicily.

   So is it with this singing art of ours,
      That once with maids went maidenlike, and played
      With woven dances in the poplar-shade,
   And all her song was but of lady’s bowers
   And the returning swallows, and spring flowers,
      Till forth to seek a shadow-queen she strayed,
      A shadowy land; and now hath overweighed
   Her singing chaplet with the snow and showers.
   Yes, fair well-water for the bitter brine
      She left, and by the margin of life’s sea
         Sings, and her song is full of the sea’s moan,
   And wild with dread, and love of Proserpine;
      And whoso once has listened to her, he
         His whole life long is slave to her alone.




                             DU BELLAY, 1550.

   TO you, troop so fleet,
   That with winged wandering feet,
      Through the wide world pass,
   And with soft murmuring
   Toss the green shades of spring
      In woods and grass,
   Lily and violet
   I give, and blossoms wet,
      Roses and dew;
   This branch of blushing roses,
   Whose fresh bud uncloses,
      Wind-flowers too.

   Ah, winnow with sweet breath,
   Winnow the holt and heath,
      Round this retreat;
   Where all the golden mom
   We fan the gold o’ the corn,
      In the sun’s heat.


                              JACQUES TAHUREAU.

   THE high Midnight was garlanding her head
      With many a shining star in shining skies,
   And, of her grace, a slumber on mine eyes,
      And, after sorrow, quietness was shed.
   Far in dim fields cicalas jargonèd
      A thin shrill clamour of complaints and cries;
   And all the woods were pallid, in strange wise,
      With pallor of the sad moon overspread.

   Then came my lady to that lonely place,
   And, from her palfrey stooping, did embrace
      And hang upon my neck, and kissed me over;
   Wherefore the day is far less dear than night,
   And sweeter is the shadow than the light,
      Since night has made me such a happy lover.


                               VICTOR HUGO.

   THE Grave said to the Rose,
      ‘What of the dews of morn,
   Love’s flower, what end is theirs?’
      ‘And what of souls outworn,
   Of them whereon doth close
      The tomb’s mouth unawares?’
   The Rose said to the Grave.

   The Rose said, ‘In the shade
      From the dawn’s tears is made
   A perfume faint and strange,
      Amber and honey sweet.’
      ‘And all the spirits fleet
   Do suffer a sky-change,
      More strangely than the dew,
      To God’s own angels new,’
   The Grave said to the Rose.


                                DU BELLAY.

   We that with like hearts love, we lovers twain,
   New wedded in the village by thy fane,
   Lady of all chaste love, to thee it is
   We bring these amaranths, these white lilies,
   A sign, and sacrifice; may Love, we pray,
   Like amaranthine flowers, feel no decay;
   Like these cool lilies may our loves remain,
   Perfect and pure, and know not any stain;
   And be our hearts, from this thy holy hour,
   Bound each to each, like flower to wedded flower.



   When you are very old, at evening
   You’ll sit and spin beside the fire, and say,
      Humming my songs, ‘Ah well, ah well-a-day!
   When I was young, of me did Ronsard sing.’
   None of your maidens that doth hear the thing,
      Albeit with her weary task foredone,
      But wakens at my name, and calls you one
   Blest, to be held in long remembering.

   I shall be low beneath the earth, and laid
   On sleep, a phantom in the myrtle shade,
      While you beside the fire, a grandame grey,
   My love, your pride, remember and regret;
   Ah, love me, love! we may be happy yet,
      And gather roses, while ’t is called to-day.


                            JACQUES TAHUREAU.

   WITHIN the sand of what far river lies
   The gold that gleams in tresses of my Love?
      What highest circle of the Heavens above
   Is jewelled with such stars as are her eyes?
   And where is the rich sea whose coral vies
      With her red lips, that cannot kiss enough?
   What dawn-lit garden knew the rose, whereof
      The fled soul lives in her cheeks’ rosy guise?

   What Parian marble that is loveliest
   Can match the whiteness of her brow and breast?
      When drew she breath from the Sabæan glade?
   Oh happy rock and river, sky and sea,
   Gardens, and glades Sabæan, all that be
      The far-off splendid semblance of my maid!


                           RÉMY BELLEAU, 1560.

   APRIL, pride of woodland ways,
      Of glad days,
   April, bringing hope of prime,
      To the young flowers that beneath
      Their bud sheath
   Are guarded in their tender time;

   April, pride of fields that be
      Green and free,
   That in fashion glad and gay,
   Stud with flowers red and blue,
      Every hue,
   Their jewelled spring array;

   April, pride of murmuring
      Winds of spring,
   That beneath the winnowed air,
   Trap with subtle nets and sweet
      Flora’s feet,
   Flora’s feet, the fleet and fair;

   April, by thy hand caressed,
      From her breast,
   Nature scatters everywhere
   Handfuls of all sweet perfumes,
      Buds and blooms,
   Making faint the earth and air.

   April, joy of the green hours,
      Clothes with flowers
   Over all her locks of gold
   My sweet Lady; and her breast
      With the blest
   Buds of summer manifold.

   April, with thy gracious wiles,
      Like the smiles,
   Smiles of Venus; and thy breath
   Like her breath, the gods’ delight,
      (From their height
   They take the happy air beneath;)

   It is thou that, of thy grace,
      From their place
   In the far-off isles dost bring
   Swallows over earth and sea,
      Glad to be
   Messengers of thee, and Spring.

   Daffodil and eglantine,
      And woodbine,
   Lily, violet, and rose
   Plentiful in April fair,
      To the air,
   Their pretty petals to unclose.

   Nightingales ye now may hear,
      Piercing clear,
   Singing in the deepest shade;
   Many and many a babbled note
      Chime and float,
   Woodland music through the glade.

   April, all to welcome thee,
      Spring sets free
   Ancient flames, and with low breath
   Wakes the ashes grey and old
      That the cold
   Chilled within our hearts to death.

   Thou beholdest in the warm
      Hours, the swarm
   Of the thievish bees, that flies
   Evermore from bloom to bloom
      For perfume,
   Hid away in tiny thighs.

   Her cool shadows May can boast,
      Fruits almost
   Ripe, and gifts of fertile dew,
   Manna-sweet and honey-sweet,
      That complete
   Her flower garland fresh and new.

   Nay, but I will give my praise
      To these days,
      Named with the glad name of Her {102}
   That from out the foam o’ the sea
      Came to be
   Sudden light on earth and air.


                            GÉRARD DE NERVAL.

   THERE is an air for which I would disown
      Mozart’s, Rossini’s, Weber’s melodies,—
   A sweet sad air that languishes and sighs,
      And keeps its secret charm for me alone.

   Whene’er I hear that music vague and old,
      Two hundred years are mist that rolls away;
   The thirteenth Louis reigns, and I behold
      A green land golden in the dying day.

   An old red castle, strong with stony towers,
      The windows gay with many-coloured glass;
   Wide plains, and rivers flowing among flowers,
      That bathe the castle basement as they pass.

   In antique weed, with dark eyes and gold hair,
      A lady looks forth from her window high;
   It may be that I knew and found her fair,
      In some forgotten life, long time gone by.


                              HENRI MURGER.

   LOUISE, have you forgotten yet
      The corner of the flowery land,
   The ancient garden where we met,
      My hand that trembled in your hand?
   Our lips found words scarce sweet enough,
      As low beneath the willow-trees
   We sat; have you forgotten, love?
      Do you remember, love Louise?

   Marie, have you forgotten yet
      The loving barter that we made?
   The rings we changed, the suns that set,
      The woods fulfilled with sun and shade?
   The fountains that were musical
      By many an ancient trysting tree—
   Marie, have you forgotten all?
      Do you remember, love Marie?

   Christine, do you remember yet
      Your room with scents and roses gay?
   My garret—near the sky ’twas set—
      The April hours, the nights of May?
   The clear calm nights—the stars above
      That whispered they were fairest seen
   Through no cloud-veil?  Remember, love!
      Do you remember, love Christine?

   Louise is dead, and, well-a-day!
      Marie a sadder path has ta’en;
   And pale Christine has passed away
      In southern suns to bloom again.
   Alas! for one and all of us—
      Marie, Louise, Christine forget;
   Our bower of love is ruinous,
      And I alone remember yet.


   I be pareld most of prise,
   I ride after the wild fee.

                                  * * * * *

   Will ye that I should sing
   Of the love of a goodly thing,
      Was no vilein’s may?
   ’Tis all of a knight so free,
   Under the olive tree,
      Singing this lay.

   Her weed was of samite fine,
   Her mantle of white ermine,
      Green silk her hose;
   Her shoon with silver gay,
   Her sandals flowers of May,
      Laced small and close.

   Her belt was of fresh spring buds,
   Set with gold clasps and studs,
      Fine linen her shift;
   Her purse it was of love,
   Her chain was the flower thereof,
      And Love’s gift.

   Upon a mule she rode,
   The selle was of brent gold,
      The bits of silver made;
   Three red rose trees there were
   That overshadowed her,
      For a sun shade.

   She riding on a day,
   Knights met her by the way,
      They did her grace:
   ‘Fair lady, whence be ye?’
   ‘France it is my countrie,
      I come of a high race.

   ‘My sire is the nightingale,
   That sings, making his wail,
      In the wild wood, clear;
   The mermaid is mother to me,
   That sings in the salt sea,
      In the ocean mere.’

   ‘Ye come of a right good race,
   And are born of a high place,
      And of high degree;
   Would to God that ye were
   Given unto me, being fair,
      My lady and love to be.’


                            ROMAIC FOLK-SONG.

   ALL the maidens were merry and wed
      All to lovers so fair to see;
   The lover I took to my bridal bed
      He is not long for love and me.

   I spoke to him and he nothing said,
      I gave him bread of the wheat so fine;
   He did not eat of the bridal bread,
      He did not drink of the bridal wine.

   I made him a bed was soft and deep,
      I made him a bed to sleep with me;
   ‘Look on me once before you sleep,
      And look on the flower of my fair body.

   ‘Flowers of April, and fresh May-dew,
      Dew of April and buds of May;
   Two white blossoms that bud for you,
      Buds that blossom before the day.’


                            FRENCH VOLKS-LIED.

   IT was a mother and a maid
      That walked the woods among,
   And still the maid went slow and sad,
      And still the mother sung.

   ‘What ails you, daughter Margaret?
      Why go you pale and wan?
   Is it for a cast of bitter love,
      Or for a false leman?’

   ‘It is not for a false lover
      That I go sad to see;
   But it is for a weary life
      Beneath the greenwood tree.

   ‘For ever in the good daylight
      A maiden may I go,
   But always on the ninth midnight
      I change to a milk-white doe.

   ‘They hunt me through the green forest
      With hounds and hunting men;
   And ever it is my fair brother
      That is so fierce and keen.’

                                  * * * * *

   ‘Good-morrow, mother.’  ‘Good-morrow, son;
      Where are your hounds so good?’
   ‘Oh, they are hunting a white doe
      Within the glad greenwood.

   ‘And three times have they hunted her,
      And thrice she’s won away;
   The fourth time that they follow her
      That white doe they shall slay.’

                                  * * * * *

   Then out and spoke the forester,
      As he came from the wood,
   ‘Now never saw I maid’s gold hair
      Among the wild deer’s blood.

   ‘And I have hunted the wild deer
      In east lands and in west;
   And never saw I white doe yet
      That had a maiden’s breast.’

   Then up and spake her fair brother,
      Between the wine and bread:
   ‘Behold I had but one sister,
      And I have been her dead.

   ‘But ye must bury my sweet sister
      With a stone at her foot and her head,
   And ye must cover her fair body
      With the white roses and red.

   ‘And I must out to the greenwood,
      The roof shall never shelter me;
   And I shall lie for seven long years
      On the grass below the hawthorn tree.’



   POUR wine, and cry again, again, again!
      _To Heliodore_!
   And mingle the sweet word ye call in vain
      With that ye pour!
   And bring to me her wreath of yesterday
      That’s dank with myrrh;
   _Hesternæ Rosæ_, ah my friends, but they
      Remember her!
   Lo the kind roses, loved of lovers, weep
      As who repine,
   For if on any breast they see her sleep
      It is not mine!



   I KNEW it in your childish grace
      The dawning of Desire,
   ‘Who lives,’ I said, ‘will see that face
      Set all the world on fire!’
   They mocked; but Time has brought to pass
      The saying over-true;
   Prophet and martyr now, alas,
      I burn for Truth,—and you!



   LAIS that bloomed for all the world’s delight,
      Crowned with all love lilies, the fair and dear,
   Sleeps the predestined sleep, nor knows the flight
      Of Helios, the gold-reined charioteer:
   Revel, and kiss, and love, and hate, one Night
      Darkens, that never lamp of Love may cheer!



   FOR Death, not for Love, hast thou
      Loosened thy zone!
   Flutes filled thy bower but now,
      Morning brings moan!
   Maids round thy bridal bed
      Hushed are in gloom,
   Torches to Love that led
      Light to the tomb!


                         (LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM.)

   THERIS the Old, the waves that harvested
      More keen than birds that labour in the sea,
   With spear and net, by shore and rocky bed,
      Not with the well-manned galley laboured he;
   Him not the star of storms, nor sudden sweep
      Of wind with all his years hath smitten and bent,
   But in his hut of reeds he fell asleep,
      As fades a lamp when all the oil is spent:
   This tomb nor wife nor children raised, but we
   His fellow-toilers, fishers of the sea.



   AH Love, my Master, hear me swear
   By all the locks of Timo’s hair,
   By Demo, and that fragrant spell
   Wherewith her body doth enchant
   Such dreams as drowsy lovers haunt,
   By Ilias’ mirth delectable.
   And by the lamp that sheds his light
   On love and lovers all the night,
   By those, ah Love, I swear that thou
   Hast left me but one breath, and now
   Upon my lips it fluttereth,
   Yet _this_ I’ll yield, my latest breath,
   Even this, oh Love, for thee to Death!



   THOU hast Hera’s eyes, thou hast Pallas’ hands,
   And the feet of the Queen of the yellow sands,
   Thou hast beautiful Aphrodite’s breast,
   Thou art made of each goddess’s loveliest!
   Happy is he who sees thy face,
   Happy who hears thy words of grace,
   And he that shall kiss thee is half divine,
   But a god who shall win that heart of thine!



   BELIEVE me, love, it is not good
   To hoard a mortal maidenhood;
   In Hades thou wilt never find,
   Maiden, a lover to thy mind;
   Love’s for the living! presently
   Ashes and dust in death are we!



   O GENTLE ships that skim the seas,
   And cleave the strait where Hellé fell,
   Catch in your sails the Northern breeze,
      And speed to Cos, where she doth dwell,
      My Love, and see you greet her well!
   And if she looks across the blue,
   Speak, gentle ships, and tell her true,
   ‘He comes, for Love hath brought him back,
   No sailor, on the landward tack.’

   If thus, oh gentle ships, ye do,
      Then may ye win the fairest gales,
   And swifter speed across the blue,
      While Zeus breathes friendly on your sails.


                           (PAULUS SILENTIARIUS.)

   I THAT in youth had never been
   The servant of the Paphian Queen,
   I that in youth had never felt
   The shafts of Eros pierce and melt,
   Cypris! in later age, half grey,
   I bow the neck to _thee_ to-day.
   Pallas, that was my lady, thou
   Dost more triumphant vanquish now,
   Than when thou gained’st, over seas,
   The apple of the Hesperides.


   THIRTY-SIX is the term that the prophets assign,
   And the students of stars to the years that are mine;
   Nay, let thirty suffice, for the man who hath passed
   Thirty years is a Nestor, and _he_ died at last!


                         (FROM THE LATIN OF MÉNAGE.)

   WHAT do I see!  Oh gods divine
   And goddesses,—this Book of mine,—
   This child of many hopes and fears,—
   Is published by the Elzevirs!
   Oh perfect Publishers complete!
   Oh dainty volume, new and neat!
   The Paper doth outshine the snow,
   The Print is blacker than the crow,
   The Title-Page, with crimson bright,
   The vellum cover smooth and white,
   All sorts of readers do invite,
   Ay, and will keep them reading still,
   Against their will, or with their will!
   Thus what of grace the Rhymes may lack
   The Publisher has given them back,
   As Milliners adorn the fair
   Whose charms are something skimp and spare.
   Oh _dulce decus_, Elzevirs!
   The pride of dead and dawning years,
   How can a poet best repay
   The debt he owes your House to-day?
   May this round world, while aught endures,
   Applaud, and buy, these books of yours!
   May purchasers incessant pop,
   My Elzevirs, within your shop,
   And learned bards salute, with cheers,
   The volumes of the Elzevirs,
   Till your renown fills earth and sky,
   Till men forget the Stephani,
   And all that Aldus wrought, and all
   Turnebus sold in shop or stall,
   While still may Fate’s (and Binders’) shears
   Respect, and spare, the Elzevirs!



   WITHIN the streams, Pausanias saith,
      That down Cocytus valley flow,
   Girdling the grey domain of Death,
      The spectral fishes come and go;
   The ghosts of trout flit to and fro.
      Persephone, fulfil my wish,
   And grant that in the shades below
      My ghost may land the ghosts of fish.

    Φη λογοποιος ανήρ, δνοφερων εντοσθε ρεέθρων
       οσσα πέριξ Αιδην εις ’Αχέροντα ρέει
    ιχθύες ως αν’ αφεγγες υδωρ σκιαι αισσουσιν
       ειδωλ’ ειδώλοις νηχόμενα πτερύγων.
    Φερσεφόνη, συ θανόντι δ’ εμοι κρήηνον εέλδωρ,
       καν Αιδη σκιερους ιχθύας εξερύσαι.

                                                                     L. C.

                                * * * * *

                                PRINTED BY

                                * * * * *


{4a}  January 26, 1885.

{4b}  M. Antoninus iv 23.

{39}  From the Romaic.

{102}  Aphrodite—Avril.

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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.