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Title: Songs of love and empire
Author: Nesbit, E. (Edith)
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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                       SONGS OF LOVE AND EMPIRE



                               SONGS OF
                            LOVE AND EMPIRE

                             By E. NESBIT

       AUTHOR OF “LAYS AND LEGENDS,” “A POMANDER OF VERSE,” ETC

                              WESTMINSTER
                       ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO
                                 1898

     “After Sixty Years” appeared on June 22, 1897, in the _Daily News_;
     “To the Queen of England” and many other verses in the _Pall Mall
     Gazette_; “A Song of Peace and Honour” and “A Song of Trafalgar” in
     the _Daily Chronicle_, and certain other verses in the _Athenæum_.
     To the Editors of these papers my thanks are due.

                           _TO HUBERT BLAND_

            _To you the harvest of my toil has come,_
              _ause of all that lies its sheaves between;_
              _ taught me first what Love and Empire mean,_
            _ to your hands I bring my harvest home._



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

ABSOLUTION                                                           167

ADVENTURER, THE                                                       58

AFTER SIXTY YEARS                                                     11

APPEAL, THE                                                           93

“AT EVENING TIME THERE SHALL BE LIGHT”                               150

AT THE SOUND OF THE DRUM                                              67

BALLAD OF THE WHITE LADY, THE                                         43

BETRAYED                                                             109

BY FAITH WITH THANKSGIVING                                            91

CHAINS INVISIBLE                                                     147

CHRISTMAS HYMN                                                       164

CROWN OF LIFE, THE                                                   157

DIRGE                                                                125

DISCRETION                                                            86

EBB-TIDE                                                             132

ENTREATY                                                              83

EVENING PRAYER                                                       162

EVENING SONG                                                         129

FAITH                                                                 62

FAUTE DE MIEUX                                                        99

FEBRUARY                                                             139

FOREST POOL, THE                                                      84

GHOST BEREFT, THE                                                     50

GOOSE GIRL, THE                                                       69

GUARDIAN ANGEL, THE                                                   74

HAUNTED                                                              123

HEART OF GRIEF, THE                                                  115

HEART OF JOY, THE                                                    113

HEART OF SADNESS, THE                                                111

IN ECLIPSE                                                           103

IN THE ENCHANTED TOWER                                                60

LAST ACT, THE                                                         97

“LOVE WELL THE HOUR”                                                 107

MAGNIFICAT                                                           159

MAIDENHOOD                                                           152

MEDWAY SONG                                                          144

MONK, THE                                                            155

NEW COLLEGE GARDENS, OXFORD                                          135

OFFERING, THE                                                         82

ON THE DOWNS                                                         133

OUT OF HOPE                                                          121

PEDLAR, THE                                                           71

PORTRAIT, A                                                           80

PRELUDE                                                               66

PROMISE OF SPRING, THE                                               141

QUEEN OF ENGLAND, THE                                                  3

REFUSAL, THE                                                          64

REQUIEM                                                              117

“SHEPHERDS ALL AND MAIDENS FAIR”                                      77

SONG IN AUTUMN                                                        95

SONG OF LONG AGO                                                     101

SONG OF PEACE AND HONOUR                                              35

SONG OF TRAFALGAR                                                     26

SPECIAL PLEADING                                                     105

SPRING SONG                                                           88

TEINT NEUTRE                                                         119

“THIS DESIRABLE MANSION”                                             131

TO A TULIP BULB                                                      137

TOO LATE                                                              90

TRAFALGAR DAY                                                         24

VAIN SPELL, THE                                                       55

WATERLOO DAY                                                          32



I



TO THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND

[JUNE 22, 1897]


    Come forth! the world’s aflame with flags and flowers,
      The shout of bells fills full the shattered air,
    This is the crown of all your golden hours,
      More than all other hours august and fair;
        This did the years prepare,
    A triumph for our Lady and our Queen,
    More rich than any king in any land hath seen.

    Clothed are your streets with scarlet, gold, and blue,
        Flowers under foot and banners over head,
    And while your people’s voice storms Heaven for you
        About your way are voiceless blessings shed,
            And over you are spread
    Wide wings of love, free love, tamed to your hand,
    Love that gold cannot buy, nor Majesty command.

    Not these mere visible millions only, share
        Your triumph--here all English hearts beat high,
    Nations far off your royal colours wear,
        And swell with unheard voice this loyal cry
            That strikes the English sky:
    A cloud of unseen witnesses is here
    To testify how great is England’s Queen, and dear.

    From out the grey-veiled past, long years away,
        Come visionary faces, vision-led,
    And splendid shapes that are not of our day,
        The spirits of the mute and mighty dead,
            To see how Time has sped
    The fortunes of their England, and behold
    How much more great she is than in the days of old.

    The world can see them not; but you can see--
        You the inheritor of all the past
    Wherein the dead, in noble heraldry,
        Blazoned the shield of England, and forecast
            The charge it bears at last--
    More splendid than the azure and the or
    Of the French lilies lost--long lost and sorrowed for.

    Here be the weaponed men, the English folk,
        Who in long ships across the swan’s bathfared,
    In whose rude tongue the voice of Freedom spoke,
        In whose rough hands the sword was bright and bared--
            The men who did and dared,
    And to their sons bequeathed the fighting blood
    That drives to Victory and will not be withstood.

    Here, in your ordered festival, O Queen,
        Mixed with the crowd and all unseen of these,
    On their long swords the wild Norse rovers lean
        And watch the progress of your pageantries,
            And on this young June breeze
    Float the bright pennons of the Cressy spears--
    Shine shadowy shafts that fell, as snow falls, at Poitiers.

    Here flutter phantom flags that once flew free
        Above the travail of the tournament;
    Here gleam old swords, once wet for Liberty;
        Old blood-stiff banners, worn with war and rent,
            Are with your fresh flowers blent,
    And by your crown, where love and fame consort,
    Shines the unvanquished cloven crown of Agincourt.

    Upon your river where, by day and night,
        Your world-adventuring ships come home again,
    Glide ghostly galleons, manned by men of might
        Who plucked the wings and singed the beard of Spain;
            The men who, not in vain,
    Saved to the children of a world new-trod
    The birth-tongue of our land, her freedom, and her God.

    Princes who lived to make our England great,
        Poets who wreathed her greatness with their song,
    Wise men who steered her heavy ship of State,
        Brave men who steered her battle-ships along,
            In spectral concourse throng
    To applaud the consummated power and pride
    Of that belovèd land for which they lived and died.

    The thousand un-named heroes who, sword-strong,
        Ploughed the long acre wherein Empire grows
    Wide as the world, and long as Time is long--
        These mark the crescence of the English rose
            Whose thorny splendour glows
    O’er far-off subject lands, by alien waves,
    A crown for England’s brow, a garland for her graves.

    And faces out of unforgotten years,
        Faces long hidden by death’s misty screen,
    Faces you still can scarcely see for tears,
        Will smile on you to-day and near you lean,
            O Mother, Wife, and Queen!
    With whispered love too sacred and too dear
    For any ear than yours, Mother and Wife, to hear.

    Lady, the crowd will vaunt to-day your fame,
        Daughter and heir of many mighty kings,
    The Queen of England, whose imperial name
        From England’s heart and lips tumultuous springs
            In prayers and thanksgivings,
    Because your greatness and her greatness shine
    Merged each in each, as stars their beams that intertwine.

    Yet in the inmost heart, where folded close
        The richest treasures of the poorest lie,
    Love, whose clear eyes see many secrets, knows
        A nobler name than Queen to call you by,
            And breathes it silently;
    But, ’mid His listening crowd of angels, One
    Shall speak your name and say, “Faithful and good, well done!”



AFTER SIXTY YEARS


    Ring, bells! flags, fly! and let the great crowd roar
      Its ecstasy. Let the hid heart in prayer
    Lift up your name. God bless you evermore,
      Lady, who have the noblest crown to wear
              That ever woman wore.
    A jewel, in the front of time, shall blaze
      This day, of all your days commemorate;
      With Time’s white bays your brows are laureate,
    And England’s love shall garland all your days.

           *       *       *       *       *

    When England’s crown, to Love’s acclaim, was laid
      On the soft brightness of a maiden’s hair,
    Amid delight, Love trembled, half afraid,
      To give that little head such weight to bear,--
              Bind on so slight a maid
    A kingdom’s purple--bid her hands hold high
      The sceptre and the heavy orb of power,
      To give to youth and beauty for a dower
    Care and a crown, sorrow and sovereignty.

    But from our hearts sprang an intenser flame
      When loyal Love met tender Love half way,
    And, in love’s script, wrote on the scroll of fame,
      Entwined with all the splendour of that day,
              The letters of her name.
    Then as fair roses grow ’mid leaves of green,
      Love amid loyalty grew strong and close,
      To hedge a pleasaunce round our Royal rose,
    Our sovereign maiden flower, our child, our Queen.

    The trumpets spake--in sonorous triumph shout,
      Their speech found echo in the hundred guns;
    From countless towers the answering bells rang out,
      And England’s heart spoke clamorous, through her sons,
              The exulting land throughout.
    Down streets ablaze with light the flags unfurled,
      Along dark, lonely hills the joy-fires crept,
      And eager swords within their scabbards leapt
    To guard our Lady and Queen against the world.

    Those swords are rusted now. Good men and true
      Dust in the dust are laid who held her dear;
    But from their grave the bright flower springs anew,
      Which for her festival we bring her here,
              The long years’ meed and due;
    The bud of homage graffed on chivalry.
      God took the souls that shrined the jewel of love,
      But made their sons inheritors thereof,
    In endless gold entail of loyalty.

    Time, compensating life, the fruit bestowed
      When in spent perfume passed the flower of youth;
    Her feet were set upon the upward road,
      Her face was turned towards the star of truth
              That in her soul abode.
    With youth the maid’s bright brow was garlanded
      But richer crowns adorn the dear white hair;
      The gathered love of all the years lies there,
    In coronal benediction on her head.

    She is of our blood, for hath not she, too, met
      The angels of delight and of despair?
    Does not she, too, remember and forget
      How bitter or how bright the lost days were?
              Her eyes have tears made wet;
    She has seen joy unveilèd even as we,
      Has laid upon cold clay the heart-warm kiss,
      She has known Sorrow for the king he is;
    She has held little children on her knee.

    Mother, dear Mother, these your children rise
      And call you blessèd, and shall we not, too,
    Who are your children in the greater wise,
      And love you for our land and her for you?
              The blessing sanctifies
    Your children as they breathe it at your knees,
      And, bringing little gifts from very far,
      Where the great nurseries of your Empire are,
    Your children’s blessings throng from over seas.

    On Love’s spread wings, and over leagues of space,
      Homage is borne from far-off sun-steeped lands;
    From many a domed mysterious Eastern place,
      Where Secresy holds Time between her hands,
              The children of your race
    Reach English hands towards your English throne;
      And from the far South turn blue English eyes,
      That never saw the blue of English skies,
    Yet call you Mother, and your land their own.

    Where ’mid great trees the mighty waters flow
      In arrogant submission to your sway,
    In fur of price your northern hunters go,
      And shafts of ardent greeting fly your way
              Across the splendid snow;
    And isles that with their coral, safe and small,
      Rock in the cradle of the tropic seas,
      In soft, strange speech join in the litanies
    That pride and prayer breathe at your festival.

    All round the world, on every far-off sea,
      In wind-ploughed oceans and in sun-kissed bays,
    By every busy wharf and chattering quay,
      Some cantle of your Empire sails or stays--
              Flaunts your supremacy
    Against the winds of all the world, and flies
      Your flag triumphant between blue and blue,
      Blazons to sun and star the name of you,
    And spreads your glory between seas and skies.

    There is no cottage garden, sunny-sweet,
      There is no pasture where our shepherds tend
    Their quiet flocks, no red-roofed village street,
      But holds for you the love-wish of a friend,
              Blent with high homage meet;
    No little farm among the cornfields lone,
      No little cot upon the uplands bare,
      But hears to-day in blessing and in prayer
    One name, Victoria, and that name your own.

    From the vast cities where the giant’s might,
      Pauseless, resistless, moves by night and day,
    From hidden mines where day is one with night,
      From weary lives whose days and nights are grey
              And empty of delight,
    From lives that rhyme to sunshine and the spring,
      From happiness at flood and hope at ebb,
      Rose the magnificent and mingled web
    That floats, your banner, at your thanksgiving.

    Throned on the surety of a splendid past,
      With present glory clothed as with the sun,
    Crowned with the future’s hopes, you know at last
      What treasure from the years your life has won;
              Behold, your hands hold fast
    The moon of Empire, and its sway controls
      The tides of war and peace, while in those hands
      Lies tender homage out of all the lands
    Against whose feet your furthest ocean rolls.

    How seems your life, looked back at through the years?
      Much love, much sorrow, dead desires, lost dreams,
    A great life lived out greatly; hidden tears,
      And smiles for daily wear; strong plans and schemes,
              And mighty hopes and fears;
    War in the South and murder in the East,
      And England’s heart-throbs echoed by your heart
      When loss, and labour, and sorrow were her part,
    Or when Fate bade her to some flower-crowned feast.

    Red battle-fields whereon your soldiers died,
      Green pastoral fields saved by the blood of these,
    Duty that bade mere sorrow stand aside,
      And love transforming anguish into ease;
              Long longing satisfied,
    Great secrets wrenched from Nature’s grudging breast,
      The fruit of knowledge plucked for all to eat,--
      These have you known, Life’s circle is complete,
    And, knowing these, you know what is Life’s best:

    The dear small secrets of our common life,
      The English woods and hills, the English home,
    The common joys and griefs of Mother and wife,
      Joy coming, going--griefs that go and come,
              Soul’s peace amid world’s strife;
    Hours when the Queen’s cares leave the woman free;
      Dear friendships, where the friend forgets the Queen
      And stoops to wear a dearer, homelier mien,
    And be more loved than mere Queens rise to be.

    And, in your hour of triumph, when you shine
      The centre of our triumph’s blazing star,
    And, gazing down your long life’s lustrous line,
      Behold how great your life-long glories are,
              Yet, in your heart’s veiled shrine,
    No splendour of all splendours that have been
      Will brim your eyes with tremulous thanksgivings,
      But little memories of little things--
    The treasures of the woman, not the Queen.

    Yet, Queen, because the love of you hath wound
      A golden girdle all about the earth,
    Because your name is as a trumpet sound
      To call toward you men of English birth
              From the world’s outmost bound,
    Because old kinsmen, long estranged from home,
      Come, with old foes, to greet you, friend and kin,
      With kindly eyes behold your guests come in,
    See from afar the long procession come!

    No Emperor in Rome’s Imperial days
      Knew ever such a triumph day as this,
    Though captive kings bore chains along his ways,
      Though tribute from the furthest isles was his,
              With pageant and with praise.
    For you--free kings and free republics grace
      Your triumph, and across the conquered waves
      Come gifts from friends, not tributes wrung from slaves,
    And praise kneels, clothed in love, before your face.

    Ring, bells! flags, fly! and let the great crowd roar
      Its ecstasy! Let the hid heart in prayer
    Lift up your name! God bless you evermore,
      Lady, who have the noblest crown to wear
              That ever monarch wore.
    For, ’mid this day’s triumphal voluntaries,
      Your name shines like the splendour of the sun,
      Because your name with England’s name is one,
    As Hers, thank God! is one with Liberty’s.



TRAFALGAR DAY


    Laurels, bring laurels, sheaves on sheaves,
    Till England’s boughs are bare of leaves!
      Soon comes the flower more rare, more dear
    Than any laurel this year weaves--
      The Aloe of the hundredth year
        Since from the smoke of Trafalgar
        He passed to where the heroes are,
      Nelson, who passed and yet is here,
        Whose dust is fire beneath our feet,
        Whose memory mans our fleet.

    Laurels, bring laurels, since they hold
    His England’s tears in each green fold,
      His England’s joy, his England’s pride,
    His England’s glories manifold.
      Yet what was Victory since he died?
        And what was Death since he lives yet,
        Above a Nation’s worship set,
      Above her heroes glorified?--
        Nelson, who made our flag a star
        To lead where Victories are!



A SONG OF TRAFALGAR


    Like an angry sun, like a splendid star,
        War gleams down the long years’ track;
    They strain at the leash, the dogs of war,
        And who shall hold them back?
    “Let loose the pack: we are English bred,
        We will meet them full and fair
    With the flag of England over our head,
        And his hand to keep it there!”

    So spake our fathers. Our flag, unfurled,
        Blew brave to the north and south;
    An iron answer we gave the world,
        For we spoke by the cannon’s mouth.
    But he who taught us the word to say
        Grew dumb as his Victory sang,
    And England mourned on her triumph day,
        And wept while her joy-bells rang.

    Long hour by hour, and long day by day,
        The swift years crept apace,
    The patient, the coral-insect way,
        To cover the dear dead face.
    O foolish rabble of envious years,
        Who wist not the dead must rise,
    His name is music still in our ears,
        His face a light to our eyes!

    Bring hither your laurels, the fading sign
        Of a deathless love and pride;
    These cling more close than the laurels twine,
        They are strong as the world is wide:
    At the feet of Virtue in Valour clad
        Shall glory and love be laid,
    While Glory sings to an English lad,
        Or Love to an English maid.

    Wherever the gleams of an English fire
        On an English roof-tree shine,
    Wherever the fire of a youth’s desire
        Is laid upon Honour’s shrine,
    Wherever brave deeds are treasured and told,
        In the tale of the deeds of yore
    Like jewels of price in a chain of gold
        Are the name and the fame he bore.

    Wherever the track of our English ships
        Lies white on the ocean foam,
    His name is sweet to our English lips
        As the names of the flowers at home;
    Wherever the heart of an English boy
        Grows big with a deed of worth,
    Such names as his name have begot the same,
        Such hearts will bring it to birth.

    They say that his England, grown tired and old,
        Lies drunk by her heavy hoard;
    They say her hands have the grasp of the gold
        But not the grip of the sword,
    That her robe of glory is rent and shred,
        And that winds of shame blow through:
    Speak for your England, O mighty Dead,
        In the deeds you would have her do!

    Small skill have we to fight with the pen
        Who fought with the sword of old,
    For the sword that is wielded of Englishmen
        Is as much as one hand can hold.
    Yet the pen and the tongue are safe to use,
        And the coward and the wise choose these;
    But fools and brave were our English crews
        When Nelson swept the seas.

    ’Tis the way of a statesman to fear and fret,
        To ponder and pause and plan,
    But the way of Nelson was better yet,
        For that was the way of a man;
    They would teach us smoothness, who once were rough,
        They have bidden us palter and pray,
    But the way of Nelson was good enough,
        For that was the fighting way.

    If Nelson’s England must stoop to bear
        What never honour should brook,
    In vain does the tomb of her hero wear
        The laurel his brow forsook;
    In vain was the speech from the lips of her guns,
        If now must her lips refrain;
    In vain has she made us, her living sons,
        Her dead have made her in vain.

    So here with your bays be the dear head crowned,
        Lay flowers where the dear dust lies,
    And wreathe his column with laurel round
        To point his fame to the skies;
    But the greenest laurel that ever grew
        Is the laurel that’s yet to win;
    Crowned with his laurels he waits for You
        To bring Your laurels in!



WATERLOO DAY

[JUNE 18]


    This is the day of our glory; this is our day to weep.
    Under her dusty laurels England stirs in her sleep;
    Dreams of her days of honour, terrible days that are dead,
    Days of the making of story, days when the sword was red,

    When all her fate and her future hung on the naked blade,
    When by the sword of her children her place in the world was made,
    When Honour sounded the trumpet and Valour leapt to obey,
    And Heroes bought us the Empire that statesmen would sell to-day.

    England, wanton and weary, sunk in a slothful ease,
    Has slain in her wars her thousands, but her tens of thousands in peace:
    And the cowards grieve for her glory; their glory is in their shame;
    They are glad of the moth in her banners, and the rust on her
       shining name.

    Oh, if the gods would send us a balm for our sick, sad years,
    Let them send us a sight of the scarlet, and the sound of
       the guns in our ears!
    For valour and faith and honour--these grow where the red flower grows,
    And the leaves for the Nation’s healing must spring from
       the blood of her foes.



A SONG OF PEACE AND HONOUR

[DECEMBER, 1895]

TO THE QUEEN


    Lady and Queen, for whom our laurels twine,
      Upon whose head the glories of our land
        In one immortal diadem are met,
      Embodied England, in whose woman-hand
        The sceptre of Imperial sway is set,
          Receive this song of mine!
    For you are England, and her bays grow green
      To deck your brow, your goodness lends her grace,
      And in our hearts your face is as Her face;
    The Mother-Country is the Mother-Queen.

           *       *       *       *       *

    We, men of England, children of her might,
      With all our Mother’s record-roll of glory,
        Great with her greatness, noble by her name,
      Drank with our mothers’ milk our Mother’s story,
        And in our veins the splendour of her fame
          Made strong our blood and bright;
    And to her absent sons her name has been
      Familiar music heard in distant lands,
      Heart of our heart and sinews of our hands,
    England, our Mother, our Mistress and our Queen!

    Out of the thunderous echoes of the past
      Through the gold-dust of centuries we hear
        Her voice, “O children of a royal line,
      Sons of her heart, whom England holdeth dear,
        Mine was the Past--make ye the future mine
          All glorious to the last!”
    And, as we hear her, cowards grow to men,
      And men to heroes, and the voice of fear
      Is as a whisper in a deaf man’s ear,
    And the dead past is quick in us again.

    Her robe is woven of glory and renown,
      Hers are the golden-laden Argosies,
        And lordship of the wild and watery ways,
      Her flag is blown across the utmost seas:
        Dead nations built her throne, and kingdoms blaze
          For jewels in her crown.
    Her Empire like a girdle doth enfold
      The world; her feet upon her foes are set;
      She wears the steel-wrought, blood-bright amulet
    Won by her children in the days of old.

    Yet in a treasury of such gems as these
      Which power and sovereignty and kingship fill
        To the vast limit of the circling sun,
      England, our Mother, in her heart holds still,
        As her most precious jewel, save only one,
          The priceless pearl of peace--
    Peace plucked from out the very heart of war
      Through the long agony of strenuous years,
      Made pure by blood and sanctified by tears,
    A pearl to lie where England’s treasures are.

    O peaceful English lanes all white with may,
      O English meadows where the grass grows tall,
        O red-roofed village, field and farm and fold
      Where the long shadows of the elm-trees fall
        On the wide pastures which the sun calls gold
          And twilit dew calls gray;--
    These are the home, the happy cradle-place
      Of every man who has our English tongue,
      Sprung from those loins from which our sires have sprung,
    Heirs of the glory of our mighty race!

    Brothers, we hold the pearl of priceless worth:
      Shall Peace, our pearl, by us be cast aside?
        Is it not more to us than all things are?
      Nay, Peace is precious as the world is wide,
        But England’s honour is more precious far
          Than all the heavens and earth.
    Were honour outcast from her supreme place
      Our pearl of Peace no more a pearl would shine,
      But, trampled under-foot of cowards and swine,
    Rot in the mire of a deserved disgrace.

    Know then, O ye our brothers over sea,
      We will not cast our pearl of Peace away,
        But, holding it, we wait; and if, at last,
      The whole world came against us in array,
        If all our glory into darkness passed,
          Our Empire ceased to be,
    Yet should we still have chosen the better part
      Though in the dust our kingdoms were cast down,
      Though lost were every jewel in our crown
    We still should wear our jewel in our heart.

    So, for our Mother’s honour, if it must
      Let Peace be lost, but lost the worthier way;
        Not trampled down, but given, for her sake
      Who forged of many an iron yesterday
        The golden song that gold-tongued fame shall wake
          When we are dust, in dust:
    For brotherhood and strife and praise and blame
      And all the world, even to our very land,
      Weighed in the balance, are as a grain of sand
    Against the honour of our English name!



II



THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE LADY


    Sir Geoffrey met the white lady
      Upon his marriage morn,
    Her eyes were blue as cornflowers are,
      Her hair was gold like corn.

    Sir Geoffrey gave the white lady
      A posy of roses seven,
    “You are the fairest May,” said he,
      “That ever strayed from Heaven.”

    Sir Geoffrey by the white lady
      Was lured away to shame,
    For seven long years of prayers and tears
      No tidings of him came.

    Then she who should have been his bride
      A mighty oath she swore,
    “For seven long years I have wept and prayed,
      Now I will pray no more.

    “Since God and all the saints of Heaven
      Bring not my lord to me,
    I will go down myself to hell
      And bring him back,” said she.

           *       *       *       *       *

    She crept to the white lady’s bower,
      The taper’s flame was dim,
    And there Sir Geoffrey lay asleep,
      And the white witch sat by him.

    Her arm was laid across his neck,
      Her gold hair on his face,
    And there was silence in the room
      As in a burial-place.

    And there were gems and carven cups,
      And ’broidered bridal gear--
    “Whose bridal is this?” the lady said,
      “And what knight have ye here?”

    “The good knight here ye know full well,
      He was your lord, I trow,
    But I have taken him from your side,
      And I am his lady now.

    “This seven year with right good cheer
      We twain our bridal keep,
    So take for your mate another knight
      And let my dear lord sleep.”

    Then up and spake Sir Geoffrey’s bride,
      “What bridal cheer is this?
    I would think scorn to have the lips
      Who could not have the kiss!

    “I would think scorn to take the half
      Who could not have the whole;
    I would think scorn to steal the body
      Who could not take the soul!

    “For, though ye hold his body fast
      This seven weary year,
    His soul walks ever at my side
      And whispers in my ear.

    “I would think scorn to hold in sleep
      What, if it waked, would flee,
    So let his body join his soul
      And both fare forth with me;
    “For I have learned a spell more strong
      Than yours that laid him low,
    And I will speak it for his sake
      Because I love him so!”

    The white lady threw back her hair,
      Her eyes began to shine--
    “His soul is thine these seven years?--
      To-night it shall be mine!

    “I have been brave to hold him here
      While seven long years befell,
    Rather than let a bridal be
      Whose seed should flower in hell.

    “I have not looked into his eyes
      Nor joined my lips to his,
    For fear his soul should spring to flame
      And shrivel at my kiss.

    “I have been brave to watch his sleep
      While the long hours come and go,
    To hold the body without the soul,
      Because I love him so.

    “But since his soul this seven year
      Has sat by thee,” she said,
    “His body and soul to-night shall lie
      Upon my golden bed.

    “Thou hast no need to speak the spell
      That thou hast learned,” said she,
    “For I will wake him from his sleep
      And take his soul from thee.”

    She stooped above him where he lay,
      She laid her lips on his;
    He stirred, he spake: “These seven long years
      I have waited for thy kiss.

    “My soul has hung upon thy lips
      And trembled at thy breath,
    Thou hast given me life in a cup to drink,
      As God will give me death.

    “Why didst thou fear to kill my soul
      Which only lives for thee?
    Thou hast put seven wasted years,
      O love, ’twixt thee and me.”



THE GHOST BEREFT


    The poor ghost came through the wind and rain
    And passed down the old dear road again.

    Thin cowered the hedges, the tall trees swayed
    Like little children that shrank afraid.

    The wind was wild and the night was late
    When the poor ghost came to the garden gate;

    Dank were the flower-beds, heavy and wet,
    The weeds stood up where the rose was set.

    The wind was angry, the rain beat sore
    When the poor ghost came to its own house-door.

    “And shall I find her a-weeping still
    To think how alone I lie and chill?

    “Or shall I find her happy and warm
    With her dear head laid on a new love’s arm?

    “Or shall I find she has learned to pine
    For another’s love, and not for mine?

    “Whatever chance, I have this to my store,
    She is mine, my own, for evermore!”

    So the poor ghost came through the wind and rain
    Till it reached the square bright window pane.

    “Oh! what is here in the room so bright?
    Roses and love, and a hid delight?

    “What lurks in the silence that fills the room?
    A cypress wreath from a dead man’s tomb?

    “What sleeps? What wakes? And oh! can it be
    Her heart that is breaking--and not for me?”

    Then the poor ghost looked through the window pane,
    Though all the glass was wrinkled with rain.

    “Oh, there is light, at the feet and head
    Twelve tall tapers about the bed.

    “Oh, there are flowers, white flowers and rare,
    But not the garland a bride may wear.

    “Jasmine white and a white white rose,
    But its scent is gone where the lost dream goes.

    “Straight lilies laid on the strait white bier--
    But the room is empty--she is not here!

    “Her body lies here, deserted, cold;
    And the body that loved it creeps in the mould.

    “Was there ever an hour when my Love, set free,
    Would not have hastened and come to me?

    “Can the soul that loved mine long ago
    Be hence and away, and I not know?

    “Oh, then God’s judgment is on me sore,
    For I have lost her for evermore!”

    And the poor ghost fared through the wind and rain
    To its own appointed place again.

           *       *       *       *       *

    But up in Heaven, where memories cease
    Because the blessed have won to peace,

    One pale saint shivered, and closer wound
    The shining raiment that wrapped her round.

    “Oh, fair is Heaven, and glad am I,
    Yet I fain would remember the days gone by.

    “The past is veiled, and I may not know,
    But I think there was sorrow, long ago;

    “The sun of Heaven is warm and bright,
    But I think there is rain on the earth to-night.

    “O Christ, because of Thine own sore pain
    Help all poor souls in the wind and rain.”



THE VAIN SPELL


    The house sleeps dark and the moon wakes white,
      The fields are alight with dew;
    “Oh, will you not come to me, Love, to-night?
      I have waited the whole night through,
                                      For I knew,
    O Heart of my heart, I knew by my heart,
      That the night of all nights is this,
    When elm shall crack and lead shall part,
    When moulds shall sunder and shot bolts start
      To let you through to my kiss.”

    So spake she alone in the lonely house.
      She had wrapped her round with the spell,
    She called the call, she vowed the vow,
      And the heart she had pledged knew well
    That this was the night, the only night,
      When the moulds might be wrenched apart,
    When the living and dead, in the dead of the night,
      Might clasp once more, in the grave’s despite,
    For the price of a living heart.

    But out in the grave the corpse lay white
      And the grave clothes were wet with dew;
    “Oh, will you not come to me, Love, to-night,
      I have waited the whole night through,
                                      For I knew
    That I dared not leave my grave for an hour
      Since the hour of all hours is near,
    When you shall come to the hollow bower,
    In a cast of the wind, in a waft of the Power,
      To the heart that to-night beats here!”

    The moon grows pale and the house sleeps still;
      Ah, God! do the dead forget?
    The grave is white and the bed is chill,
      But a guest may be coming yet.
    But the hour has come and the hour has gone
      That never will come again;
    Love’s only chance is over and done,
    And the quick and the dead are twain, not one,
      And the price has been paid in vain.



THE ADVENTURER


    The land of gold was far away,
      The sea a challenge roared between;
      I left my throne, my crown, my queen,
    And sailed out of the quiet bay.

    I met the challenge of the wave,
      The curses of the winds I mocked:
      The conquered wave my galley rocked,
    The wind became my envious slave.

    I brought much treasure from afar,
      Spices, and shells, and rich attire;
      Red rubies, fed with living fire,
    To lie where all my longings are.

    Heavy with spoil my keel ploughed low
      As slow we sailed into the bay,
      And long ago seemed yesterday
    And yesterday looked long ago.

    I came in triumph from the sea;
      Bent was my crown, my courts grown mean,
      And on my throne a faded queen
    Raised alien eyes, and looked at me.

    “My queen! These rubies let me lay
      Upon thy heart, as once my head ...”
      She smiled pale scorn: “My heart!” she said,
    And turned her weary eyes away.



IN THE ENCHANTED TOWER


    The waves in thunderous menace break
      Upon the rocks below my tower,
      And none will dare the Sea-king’s power
    And venture shipwreck for my sake.

    Yet once,--my lamp a path of light
      Across the darkling sea had cast--
      I saw a sail; at last, at last,
    It came towards me through the night.

    My lamp had been the beacon set
      To lead the ship through mist and foam,
      The ship that came to take me home,
    To that far land I half forget.

    But since my tower is built so high,
      And surf-robed rocks curl hid below,
      I quenched my lamp--and, weeping low
    I saw my ship go safely by!



FAITH


    Through the long night, the deathlong night,
      Along the dark and haunted way,
    I knew your hidden face was bright--
      More bright than any day.

    And when the faint, insistent moan
      Rose from some weed-grown wayside grave,
    I said, “I do not walk alone;
      ’Tis easy to be brave.”

    I never turned to speak with you,
      For all the way was dark and long,
    But all the shadows’ menace through
      Your silence was my song.

    I never sought to take your hand,
      For all the way was long and rough;
    I taught my soul to understand
      That love was strength enough.

    Then, suddenly, the ghosts drew near,
      A ghastly, gliding, tomb-white band;
    I called aloud for you to hear,
      My hand besought your hand.

    No voice, no touch--the thin ghosts glide
      Where in my dream I dreamed you were--
    Night, night, you are not by my side,
      You never have been there!



THE REFUSAL


    Mine is a palace fair to see,
      All hung with gold and silver things,
      It is more glorious than a king’s,
    And crownèd queens might envy me.

    Ah, no, I will not let you in!
      Stay rather at the gates and weep
      For all the splendour that I keep,
    The treasures that you cannot win.

    While you desire and I refuse,
      For both the palace still is here--
      Its turrets gold, its silver gear
    Are yours to wish for--mine to use.

    But if I let you in, I know
      The spell would break, the palace fade,
      And we stand, trembling and afraid,
    Lost in the dark where chill winds blow.



PRELUDE


    Out of the west when the sun was dying
    Clouds of white wings came flying, flying,
    Wheeling and whirling they swept away
    Into the heart of the eastern gray;
    But one white dove came straight to my breast
                Out of the west.

    Into the west when the dawn was pearly
    Clouds of white wings went, dewy-early,
    Straight from the world of the waning stars;
    O beating pinions! O prison bars!
    My dove flies free no more with the rest
                Into the west.



AT THE SOUND OF THE DRUM


    Are you going for a soldier with your curly yellow hair,
    And a scarlet coat instead of the smock you used to wear?
    Are you going to drive the foe as you used to drive the plough?
              Are you going for a soldier now?

    I am going for a soldier, and my tunic is of red
    And I’m tired of woman’s chatter, and I’ll hear the drum instead;
    I will break the fighting line as you broke your plighted vow,
              For I’m going for a soldier now.

    For a soldier, for a soldier are you sure that you will go,
    To hear the drums a-beating and to hear the bugles blow?
    I’ll make you sweeter music, for I’ll swear another vow--
              Are you going for a soldier now?

    I am going for a soldier if you’d twenty vows to make;
    You must get another sweetheart, with another heart to break,
    For I’m sick of lies and women and the harrow and the plough,
              And I’m going for a soldier now!



THE GOOSE-GIRL


    I wandered lonely by the sea,
      As is my daily use,
    I saw her drive across the lea
      The gander and the goose.
    The gander and the gray, gray goose,
      She drove them all together;
    Her cheeks were rose, her gold hair loose,
      All in the wild gray weather.

    “O dainty maid who drive the geese
      Across the common wide,
    Turn, turn your pretty back on these
      And come and be my bride.
    I am a poet from the town,
      And, ’mid the ladies there,
    There is not one would wear a crown
      With half your charming air!”

    She laughed, she shook her pretty head.
      “I want no poet’s hand;
    Go read your fairy-books,” she said,
      “For this is fairy-land.
    My Prince comes riding o’er the leas;
      He fitly comes to woo,
    For I’m a Princess, and my geese
      Were poets, once, like you!”



THE PEDLAR


    Fly, fly, my pretty pigeon, fly!
      And see if you can find him;
    He has blue eyes--you’ll know him by,--
      He wears a pack behind him.
    He’s gone away--ah! many a mile
      Because he could not please me,
    And, oh! ’twill be a weary while
      Ere next he comes to tease me.

    He carries wares of every kind,
      Fine ribbons, silks, and laces,
    Bargains to rhyme with every mind,
      And hues to suit all faces.
    He has gold rings and pretty things
      That other maids will throng for,
    Ah, pigeon! spread your pretty wings,
      And fly to him I long for.

    Tell him to turn and come again,
      For once I sent him packing;
    He offered me a bargain then,
      But wit and price were lacking.
    I have the price he asked of me,
      The wit that will not weigh it;
    Ah! bid him come again and see
      How gladly I will pay it.

    A heart of gold he offered me
      As ’twere a penny fairing,
    And only asked a worthless fee,
      This heavy heart I’m wearing.
    I would not then--now long and drear
      The white way winds behind him;
    Ah! seek him, seek him, Pigeon dear,
      But you will never find him!



THE GUARDIAN ANGEL


    When my good-nights and prayers are said
    And I am safe tucked up in bed,
    I know my guardian angel stands
    And holds my soul between his hands.

    I cannot see his wings of light
    Because I keep my eyes shut tight,
    For, if I open them, I know
    My pretty angel has to go.

    But through the darkness I can hear
    His white wings rustling very near;
    I know it is his darling wings,
    _Not_ Mother folding up my things!



III



“SHEPHERDS ALL AND MAIDENS FAIR”


    Pipe, shepherds, pipe, the summer’s ripe;
      So wreathe your crooks with flowers;
    The world’s in tune to Love and June,
      The days are rich in hours,
    In rosy hours, in golden hours--
      Love’s crown and fortune fair,
    So gather gold for Love to hold,
      And flowers for Love to wear!



    Sing, maidens, sing! A dancing ring
      Of pleasures speed your way;
    Too harsh and dry is fierce July,
      Too maiden-meek was May;
    But Love and June their old sweet tune
      Are singing at your ear:
    So learn the song and troop along
      To meet your shepherds dear!

    Oh, Chloris fair, a rose to wear,
      And gold to spend have I--
    When all are gay on this June day
      You would not bid me sigh?
    You would not scorn a swain forlorn--
      Each shepherd far and near
    Hastes to his sweet, with flying feet,
      As I towards my dear.

    No maids there be in Arcady
      But have their shepherds true;
    Must you alone despise the one
      Who only pipes for you?
    You have no ear my pipe to hear
      Though all for you it be;
    And I no eyes for her who sighs
      And only sings for me!



A PORTRAIT


    Like the sway of the silver birch in the breeze of dawn
          Is her dainty way;
    Like the gray of a twilight sky or a starlit lawn
          Are her eyes of gray;
    Like the clouds in their moving white
          Is her breast’s soft stir;
    And white as the moon and bright
          Is the soul of her.

    Like murmur of woods in spring ere the leaves be green,
          Like the voice of a bird
    That sings by a stream that sings through the night unseen,
          So her voice is heard.
    And the secret her eyes withhold
          In my soul abides,
    For white as the moon and cold
          Is the heart she hides.



THE OFFERING


    What will you give me for this heart of mine,
      No heart of gold--and yet my dearest treasure?
    It has its graces--it can ache and pine,
      And beat true time to your sweet voice’s measure;
      It bears your name, it lives but for your pleasure:
        What will you give me for this heart I bring,
        That holds my life, my joy, my everything?

    How can I ask a price, when all my prayer
      Is that, without return, you will but take it--
    Feed it with hope, or starve it to despair,
      Keep it to play with, mock it, crush it, break it,
      And, if your will lies there, at last forsake it?
        Its epitaph shall voice its deathless pride:
        “She held me in her hands until I died.”



ENTREATY


    O love, let us part now!
    Ours is the tremulous, low-spoken vow,
    Ours is the spell of meeting hands and eyes.
      The first, involuntary, sacred kiss
    Still on our lips in benediction lies.
    O Love, be wise!
      Love at its best is worth no more than this--
                          Let us part now!

    O Love, let us part now!
    Ere yet the roses wither on my brow,
    Ere yet the lilies wither in your breast,
      Ere the implacable hour shall flower to bear
    The seeds of deathless anguish and unrest.
    To part is best.
      Between us still the drawn sword flameth fair--
                          Let us part now!



THE FOREST POOL


    Lean down and see your little face
      Reflected in the forest pool,
    Tall foxgloves grow about the place,
      Forget-me-nots grow green and cool.
    Look deep and see the naiad rise
    To meet the sunshine of your eyes.

    Lean down and see how you are fair,
      How gold your hair, your mouth how red;
    See the leaves dance about your hair
      The wind has left unfilleted.
    What naiad of them can compare
    With you for good and dear and fair?

    Ah! look no more--the water stirs,
      The naiad weeps your face to see,
    Your beauty is more rare than hers,
      And you are more beloved than she.
    Fly! fly, before she steals the charms
    The pool has trusted to her arms.



DISCRETION


    Ah, turn your pretty eyes away!
      You would not have me love again?
    Love’s pleasure does not live a day,
        Immortal is Love’s pain,
        And I am tired of pain.

    I have loved once--aye, once or twice;
      The pleasure died, the pain lives here;
    I will not look in your sweet eyes,
        I will not love you, Dear,
        Lest you should grow too dear.

    For I am weary and afraid.
      Have I not seen why life was fair,
    And known how good a world God made,
        How sweet the blossoms were,
        How dear the green fields were?

    And I have found how life was gray,
      A mist-hung road, a quest in vain,
    Until once more Love smiled my way
        And fooled me once again,
        And taught me grief again.

    Now I will gather no more grief;
      I only ask to see the sky,
    The budding flower, the budding leaf,
        And put old dreamings by,
        The dreams Love tortures by.

    For, being wise, I love no more;
      You, if you will, snare with those eyes
    Some fool who never loved before,
        And teach him to be wise!
        For why should you be wise?



SPRING SONG


    Here’s the Spring-time, Sweet!
      Earth’s green gown is new,
    Lambs begin to bleat,
      Doves begin to coo,
      Birds begin to woo
              In the wood and lane;
      Sweet, the tale is true
              Spring is here again!

    I have been discreet
      All the winter through;
    Now, before your feet,
      Blossoms let me strew.
      Flowers, as yet, are few;
              Will my lady deign
      Take this flower or two?
              Spring is here again

    Make the year complete,
      Give the Spring her due!
    All the flowers entreat,
      All the song-birds sue.
      ’Twixt the green and blue
              Let Love wake and reign,
      Let me worship you--
              Spring is here again!



TOO LATE


    When Love, sweet Love, was tangled in my snare
      I clipped his wings, and dressed his cage with flowers,
      Made him my little joy for little hours,
    And fed him when I had a song to spare.
    And then I saw how good life’s good things were,
      The kingdoms and the glories and the powers.
      Flowers grew in sheaves and stars were shed in showers,
    And, when the great things wearied, Love was there.

    But when, within his cage, one winter day
      I found him lying still with folded wings,
        No longer fluttering, eager to be fed--
    Kingdoms and powers and glories passed away,
      And of life’s countless, precious, priceless things
        Nothing was left but Love--and Love was dead!



BY FAITH WITH THANKSGIVING


    Love is no bird that nests and flies,
    No rose that buds and blooms and dies,
    No star that shines and disappears,
    No fire whose ashes strew the years:
    Love is the god who lights the star,
      Makes music of the lark’s desire,
    Love tells the rose what perfumes are,
      And lights and feeds the deathless fire.

    Love is no joy that dies apace
    With the delight of dear embrace--
    Love is no feast of wine and bread,
    Red-vintaged and gold-harvested:
    Love is the god whose touch divine
      On hands that clung and lips that kissed,
    Has turned life’s common bread and wine
      Into the Holy Eucharist.



THE APPEAL


        All summer-time you said:
    “Love has no need of shelter nor of kindness,
    For all the flowers take pity on his blindness,
        And lead him to his scented rose-soft bed.”

        “He is a king,” you said.
    “That I bow not the knee will never grieve him,
    For all the summer-palaces receive him.”
        But now Love has not where to lay his head.

        “He is a god,” you said.
    “His altars are wherever roses blossom.”
    And summer made his altar of her bosom,
        But now the altar is ungarlanded.

        Take back the words you said:
    Out in the rain he shivers broken-hearted;
    Summer who bore him has with tears departed,
        And o’er her grave he weeps uncomforted.

        And you, for all you said,
    Would weep too, if when dawn stills the wind’s riot,
    You found him on your threshold, pale and quiet,
        Clasped him at last, and found the child was dead.



AUTUMN SONG


    “Will you not walk the woods with me?
      The shafts of sunlight burn
    On many a golden-crested tree
      And many a russet fern.
    The Summer’s robe is dyed anew,
      And Autumn’s veil of mist
    Is gemmed with little pearls of dew
      Where first we met and kissed.”

    “I will not walk the woodlands brown
      Where ghosts and mists are blown,
    But I will walk the lonely down
      And I will walk alone.
    Where Night spreads out her mighty wing
      And dead days keep their tryst,
    There will I weep the woods of Spring
      Where first we met and kissed.”



THE LAST ACT


    Never a ring or a lock of hair
      Or a letter stained with tears,
    No crown for the princely hour to wear,
      To be mocked of the rebel years.
    Not a spoken vow, not a written page
      And never a rose or a rhyme
    To tell to the wintry ear of age
      The tale of the summer time.

    Never a tear or a farewell kiss
      When the time is come to part;
    For the kiss would burn and the tear would hiss
      On the smouldering fire in my heart.
    But let me creep to the kindly clay,
      And nothing be left to tell
    How I played in your play a year and a day,
      And died when the curtain fell!



FAUTE DE MIEUX


    When the corn is green and the poppies red
      And the fields are crimson with love-lies-bleeding,
    When the elms are black deep overhead
      And the shade lies cool where the calves are feeding,
    When the blackbird whistles the song of June,
      When kine knee-deep in the pond are drowsing,
    Leave pastoral peace--come up through the noon
      To the high chalk downs where the sheep are browsing.

    Oh! sweet to dream in the noontide heat,
      On the scented bed of thyme and clover,
    With the air from the sea, blown keen and sweet,
      And the wings of the wide sky folded over,
    While, far in the blue, the skylark sings,
      Renounce desire and renounce endeavour,
    Forget life’s little unworthy things
      And dream that the dream will last for ever.

    The love of your life, in your heart’s hid shrine,
      With its gifts and its torments, leave it sighing,
    And I will bury the pain of mine
      In the selfsame grave where its joy is lying.
    Let me hold your hand for a quiet hour
      In the wild thyme’s scent and the clear blue weather,
    Then come what may, we have plucked one flower,
      This hour on the downs alone together.



SONG OF LONG AGO


            Long ago, long ago,
    When the hawthorn buds were pearly
    And the birds sang, late and early,
      All the songs that lovers know,
    How we lingered in the lane,
    Kissed and parted, kissed again,
      Parted, laggard foot and slow!
    What a pretty world we knew
    Dressed in moonlight, dreams and dew,
      Long ago, my first sweet sweetheart,
                        Long ago!

            Long ago, long ago,
    When the wind was on the river
    Where the lights and shadows shiver,
      And the streets were all aglow.
    In the gaudy gas-lit street
    We two parted, sweet, my sweet,
      And the crowd went to and fro,
    And your veil was wet with tears
    For the inevitable years--
      Long ago, my last sweet sweetheart,
                        Long ago!



IN ECLIPSE


    Pale veil of mist bound round the trees
      Pale fringe of rain upon the hills,
    Cold earth, cold sky and biting breeze
      That mock the withered daffodils.
    And yet so short a while ago,
      The sunlight on the quickened land
    Laughed at the memory of the snow,
      And we went hand in hand.

    Pale veil of doubt wound round my heart,
      Pale fringe of tears upon your eyes;
    Why did we choose the evil part?
      Why did we leave our Paradise?
    There were such green and pleasant ways
      Where you and I with happy heart
    Laughed at the old unhappy days,
      And now--we are apart.

    Will the sun shine again some day?
      Will you forgive me and forget?
    Chill is the east, the west is gray,
      And all our world with tears is wet.
    Ah! love, the world is wide and cold,
      The weary skies are wild with rain;
    Give me at least your hand to hold
      Till the sun shines again.



SPECIAL PLEADING


    The world’s a path all fresh and sweet,
      A sky all fresh and fair,
    With daisies underneath your feet
      And roses for your hair;
    Red roses for your pretty hair,
      Green trees to shade your way,
    And lavish blossoms everywhere,
      Because the time is May.

    How gold the sun shines through the green!
      How soft the turf is spread!
    How richly falls the shimmering sheen
      About your darling head!
    How in the dawn of Paradise
      Should you foresee the night?
    How, with the sunlight in your eyes,
      See aught beyond the light?

           *       *       *       *       *

    The world’s a path all rough and wild,
      A sky all black with fears,
    Among the ghosts, unhappy child,
      You stumble, blind with tears;
    The track is faint, and far the fold,
      And very far the day:
    Unless you have a hand to hold,
      How will you find the way?



“LOVE WELL THE HOUR”


    Heart of my heart, my life and light,
      If you were lost what should I do?
    I dare not let you from my sight,
      Lest Death should fall in love with you.

    Such countless terrors lie in wait.
      The gods know well how dear you are:
    What if they left me desolate
      And plucked and set you for their star?

    So hold my hand--the gods are strong,
      And perfect joy so rare a flower
    No man may hope to keep it long,
      And I might lose it any hour.

    So, kiss me close, my star, my flower,
      Thus shall the future spare me this:
    The thought that there was ever an hour
      We might have kissed and did not kiss.



BETRAYED


    I went back to our home to-day
      That still its robe of roses wore;
    My feet took the old easy way,
      And led me to our door.

    And you are gone and never more
      Those little feet of yours will come
    To meet me at the open door,
      The threshold of our home.

    The door unlatched did not protest:
      I entered, and the silence drew
    My steps towards the little nest
      That once I shared with you.

    There lay your fan, your open book,
      Your seam half-sewn, and I could see
    The window whence you used to look--
      Yes, once you looked--for me.

    Print of your little head caressed
      Our pillow still, and on the floor
    Still lay, dropped there when last you dressed,
      The scarf and rose you wore.

    All should have spoken of you plain,
      Yet, when I bade the silence tell
    Of you, my bidding was in vain,
      I could not break its spell.

    The silence would not speak, my dear,
      Till the last level light grew dim;
    Then, in the twilight I could hear;
      The silence spoke--of him.



THE HEART OF SADNESS


    It is not, Dear, because I am alone,
      I am lonelier when the rest are near,
    But that my place against your heart has grown
      Too dear to dream of when you are not here.

    I weep because my thoughts no more may roam
      To meet, half-way, your longing thoughts of me,
    To turn with these and spread glad wings for home,
      For the dear haven where I fain would be.

    When first we loved, I loved to steal away
      To show to solitude what love could do,
    To fill the waste space of the night and day
      With thousand-wingèd dreams that flew to you;
    But now through many tears I am grown wise
      To know how mighty and how dear love is;
    I dare not turn to him my longing eyes,
      Nor even in dreams lean out my face to his,

    Because, if once I let my caged heart go
      Through dreams to seek you, I should follow too
    Through wrong and right, through wisdom and through woe,
      Through heaven and hell, until I won to you!



THE HEART OF JOY


    Dear, do you sigh that your love may not stay with you,
          Laugh with and play with you,
          Weep with and pray with you,
              All his life through?
    Think, O my heart, if you never had found me,
    Crept through the cere-clothes the world has wound round me,
              What would you do?

    Wide is the world, and so many would sigh for you,
          Long for and cry for you,
          Weep for and die for you,
              You being you.
    I only I, am the man you could sigh for,
    Live for and suffer for, sorrow and die for,
              Twenty lives through.

    Think! Had I missed you! The world was so wide for us,
          Traps on each side for us,
          Nothing as guide for us,
              Yet I and you
    Found Life’s great treasure, the last and the first, love;
    Life’s little things, Time and Space, do their worst, love!
              What, after all, can they do?



THE HEART OF GRIEF


          You will not come again
          Along the deep-banked lane
    To where the field and fold so long have missed you;
          You know no more the way
          To where, so many a day
          Before the world grew gray,
              Your lover kissed you.

          The wonders and delights
          Of London days and nights
    Hold fast a soul not made for pastoral pleasures;
          The scent of mignonette
          Brings to you no regret,
          No withered flowers lie yet
              Among your treasures.

          And I, who long for you
          Sad and glad seasons through,
    Find my grief’s heart in knowing grief will find you;
          Some day you too will sigh,
          And lay a dead flower by,
          And weep to see joy lie
              At last behind you.

          What though the flower you hide
          With London wire be tied?
    What though the heart that broke your heart be rotten?
          You too at last must miss
          The smile, the word, the kiss,
          And know how hard it is
              To be forgotten.



REQUIEM


    Now veiled in the inviolable past
      Love lies asleep, who never more will wake;
      Nor would you wake him, even for my sake
    Who for your sake pray he sleep sound at last.

    What good thing had we of him--we who bore
      So long his yoke? what pleasant thing had we
      That we should weep his deathlong sleep to see,
    Or call on Life to waken him once more?

    A little joy he gave, and much of pain,
      A little pleasure, and enduring grief,
      One flower of joy, and pain piled sheaf on sheaf,
    Harvests of loss, for every bud of gain.

    Yet where he lies in this deserted place
      Divided by his narrow grave we sit,
      Welded together by the depths of it,
    Watching the years pass, with averted face.

    We do not mourn for him, for here is peace;
      The old unrest frets not these empty years;
      With him went smiles a few, and many tears,
    And peace is sweeter far than those or these.

    Only--we owe him nothing. If he gave,
      We too gave gifts--his gifts were less than ours:
      We gave the world, that held so many flowers
    For this--the world that only holds his grave.



TEINT NEUTRE


    Wide downs all gray, with gray of clouds roofed over,
      Chill fields stripped naked of their gown of grain,
    Small fields of rain-wet grass and close-grown clover,
      Wet, wind-blown trees--and, over all, the rain.

    Does memory lie? For Hope her missal closes
      So far away the may and roses seem;
    Ah! was there ever a garden red with roses?
      Ah! were you ever mine save in a dream?

    So long it is since Spring, the skylark waking
      Heard her own praises in his perfect strain;
    Low hang the clouds, the sad year’s heart is breaking,
      And mine, my heart--and, over all, the rain.



OUT OF HOPE


    If through the rain and wind along the street,
      Where the wet stone reflects the flickering gas,
    Some weeping autumn night your wandering feet,
      Lost in a lonely world, should chance to pass;
    If, passing many doors that welcomed you
      When robes of good renown your dear name wore,
    Your feet again, as once they used to do,
              Paused at my door,--

    Should I shut fast my heart for the old ill,
      The old wrong done, the sorrow and the sin?
    Or--only knowing that I love you still--
      Should I throw wide the door and let you in?
    Come--with your sins--my tears shall wash them all,
      The heart you broke still waits to be your home.
    Yet if you came.... Oh! lost beyond recall
              You never more will come.



HAUNTED


    The house is haunted; when the little feet
      Go pattering about it in their play,
    I tremble lest the little one should meet
      The ghosts that haunt the happy night and day.

    And yet I think they only come to me;
      They come through night of ease and pleasant day
    To whisper of the torment that must be
      If I some day should be, alas! as they.

    And when the child is lying warm asleep,
      The ghosts draw back the curtain of my bed,
    And past them through the dreadful dark I creep,
      Clasp close the child, and so am comforted.

    Cling close, cling close, my darling, my delight,
      Sad voices on the wind come thin and wild,
    Ghosts of poor mothers crying in the night--
      “Father, have pity--once I had a child!”



A DIRGE


                Let Summer go
    To other gardens; here we have no need of her.
    She smiles and beckons, but we take no heed of her,
      Who love not Summer, but bare boughs and snow.


                Set the snow free
    To choke the insolent triumph of the year,
    With birds that sing as though he still were here,
      And flowers that blow as if he still could see.

                Let the rose die--
    What ailed the rose to blow? she is not dear to us,
    Nor all the summer pageant that draws near to us;
      Let it be over soon, let it go by!

                Let winter come,
    With the wild mourning of the wind-tossed boughs
    To drown the stillness of the empty house
      To which no more the little feet come home.



IV



EVENING SONG


          When all the weary flowers,
          Worn out with sunlit hours,
          Droop o’er the garden beds
          Their little sleepy heads,
    The dewy dusk on quiet wings comes stealing;
          And, as the night descends,
          The shadows troop like friends
                        To bring them healing.

          So, weary of the light
          Of life too full and bright,
          We long for night to fall
          To wrap us from it all;
    Then death on dewy wings draws near and holds us,
          And like a kind friend come
          To children far from home,
                        With love enfolds us.

          But when the night is done,
          Fresh to the morning sun,
          Their little faces yet
          With night’s sweet dewdrops wet,
    The flowers awake to the new day’s new graces;
          And we, ah! shall we too
          Turn to the daydawn new
                        Our tear-wet faces?



“THIS DESIRABLE MANSION”


    The long white windows blankly stare
      Across the sodden, tangled grass,
    Weed-covered are the pathways where
      No footsteps ever pass;
    No whispers wake, no kisses die,
      No laughter thrills the dwindling flowers,
    Only the night hears sigh on sigh
      From ghosts of long-dead hours.

    None come here now to laugh or weep;
      The spider spins on stair and hall,
    And round the windows shadows creep,
      And loathly creatures crawl.
    Cold is the hearth; the door is fast;
      No guest the silent threshold sees
    Save ghosts out of the happy past,--
      And one who is as these.



EBB-TIDE


    Now the vexed clouds, wind-driven, spread wings of white,
      Long leaning wings across the sea and land.
    The waves creep back bequeathing to our sight
      The treasure-house of their deserted sand,
    And where the nearer waves curl white and low,
    Knee-deep in swirling brine the slow-foot shrimpers go.

    Pale breadth of sand, where clamorous gulls confer,
      Marked with broad arrows by their planted feet;
    White rippled pools, where late deep waters were
      And ever the white waves marshalled in retreat
    And the grey wind in sole supremacy
    O’er opal and amber cold of darkening sky and sea.



ON THE DOWNS


    The little moon is dead,
      Drowned in the flood of rain
    That drips from roof of byre and shed,
      And splashes in the lane:
    The leafless lean-flanked lane where last year’s leaves are spread.

    The sheep cower in the fold,
      Where the rain beats them blind,
    Where scarce the rotten hurdles hold
      Against the weary wind
    That moans with angry tears across the pathless wold.

    Dim lights across the down
      Show where the lone farms lie,
    The twisted trees have lost their brown,
      Are black against the sky,
    And far below blink lights, gay lights of Brighton town.

    Ah, was the moon once bright?
      And did the thyme smell sweet
    Where, between dewy dusk and light,
      The warm turf felt our feet,
    And bean-flowers scented all the enchanted summer night?

    Did sheep-bells tinkle clear
      Across the golden haze?
    Were the woods ever leafy-dear,
      In those forgotten days?
    The wet wind shrieks denial: no other voice speaks here.



NEW COLLEGE GARDENS, OXFORD


    On this old lawn, where lost hours pass
      Across the shadows dark with dew,
    Where autumn on the thick sweet grass
      Has laid a weary leaf or two,
    When the young morning, keenly sweet,
      Breathes secrets to the silent air,
    Happy is he whose lingering feet
      May wander lonely there.

    The enchantment of the dreaming limes,
      The magic of the quiet hours,
    Breathe unheard tales of other times
      And other destinies than ours;
    The feet that long ago walked here
      Still, noiseless, walk beside our feet,
    Poor ghosts, who found this garden dear,
      And found the morning sweet!

    Age weeps that it no more may hold
      The heart-ache that youth clasps so close,
    Pain finely shaped in pleasure’s mould,
      A thorn deep hidden in a rose.
    Here is the immortal thorny rose
      That may in no new garden grow--
    Its root is in the hearts of those
      Who walked here long ago.



TO A TULIP-BULB


            Sleep first,
        And let the storm and winter do their worst;
        Let all the garden lie
        Bare to the angry sky,
        The shed leaves shiver and die
            Above your bed;
        Let the white coverlet
        Of sunlit snow be set
            Over your sleeping head,
        While in the earth you sleep
        Where dreams are dear and deep,
        And heed nor wind nor snow,
        Nor how the dark moons go.
    In this sad upper world where Winter’s hand
    Has bound with chains of ice the weary land.
            Then wake
    To see the whole world lovely for Spring’s sake;
        The garden fresh and fair
        With green things everywhere,
        And winter’s want and care
            Banished and fled;
        Primrose and violet
        In every border set,
            With rain and sunshine fed.
        Then bless the fairy song
        That cradled you so long,
        And bless the fairy kiss
        That wakened you to this--
    A world where Winter’s dead and Spring doth reign
    And lovers whisper in the budding lane.



FEBRUARY


    The trees stand brown against the gray,
      The shivering gray of field and sky;
    The mists wrapt round the dying day
      The shroud poor days wear as they die:
    Poor day, die soon, who lived in vain,
    Who could not bring my Love again!

    Down in the garden breezes cold
      Dead rustling stalks blow chill between;
    Only, above the sodden mould,
      The wallflower wears his heartless green
    As though still reigned the rose-crowned year
    And summer and my Love were here.

    The mists creep close about the house,
      The empty house, all still and chill;
    The desolate and trembling boughs
      Scratch at the dripping window sill:
    Poor day lies drowned in floods of rain,
    And ghosts knock at the window pane.



THE PROMISE OF SPRING


    Just a whisper, half-heard,
    But our heart knows the word;
    Caresses that seem
    Like love’s lips in a dream;
        Yet we know she is here,
        The desirèd, the dear,
        The love of the year!
        In the murmur of boughs,
        In the softening of skies,
        In the sun on the house,
        In the daffodil’s green
        (Half an inch, half-unseen
        Mid the mournful brown mould
        Where the rotten leaf lies)
        Her story is told.

    O Spring, darling Spring,
    O sweet days of blue weather!
    The thrushes shall sing,
    Fields shall grow green again,
    Daisies be seen again,
    Hedges grow white;
    Then down the lane,
    Grown leafy again,
    Shall go lovers together--
    Lovers who see again
        Sunshine and showers,
        Perfume and flowers,
        Dewy dear hours,
            Dream and delight.

    Warm shall nests be again,
    Winter’s behind us;
    Springtime shall find us,
    Taking our hands,
    Lead us away from the cold and the snow,
    Into the green world where primroses grow.
    Winter, hard winter, forgotten, forgiven;
    All the old pain paid, to seventy times seven,
              All the new glory a-glow.
    Love, when Spring calls, will you still turn away?
    Winter has wooed you in vain, and shall May?
              Love, when Spring calls, will you go?



MEDWAY SONG

(_Air: Carnaval de Venise_)


    Let Housman sing of Severn shore,
      Of Thames let Arnold sing,
    But we will sing no river more
      Save this where crowbars ring.
    Let others sing of Henley,
      Of fashion and renown,
    But we will sing the thirteen locks
      That lead to Tonbridge town!
    Then sing the Kentish river,
      The Kentish fields and flowers,
    We waste no dreams on other streams
      Who call the Medway ours.

    When on the level golden meads
      The evening sunshine lies,
    The little voles among the reeds
      Look out with wondering eyes.
    The patient anglers linger
      The placid stream beside,
    Where still with towering tarry prow
      The stately barges glide.
    Then sing the Kentish river,
      The Kentish fields and flowers,
    We waste no dreams on other streams
      Who call the Medway ours.

    On Medway banks the May droops white,
      The wild rose blossoms fair,
    O’er meadow-sweet and loosestrife bright,
      For water nymphs to wear.
    And mid the blowing rushes
      Pan pipes a joyous song,
    And woodland things peep from the shade
      As soft we glide along.
    Then sing the Kentish river,
      The Kentish fields and flowers,
    We waste no dreams on other streams
      Who call the Medway ours.

    You see no freight on Medway boats
      Of fashions fine and rare,
    But happy men in shabby coats,
      And girls with wind-kissed hair.
    The world’s a pain forgotten,
      And very far away,
    The stream that flows, the boat that goes--
      These are our world to-day.
    Then sing the Kentish river,
      The Kentish fields and flowers,
    We waste no dreams on other streams
      Who call the Medway ours.



CHAINS INVISIBLE


    The lilies in my garden grow,
      Wide meadows ring my garden round,
    In that green copse wild violets blow,
      And pale, frail cuckoo flowers are found.
    For all you see and all you hear,
      The city might be miles away,
    And yet you feel the city near
      Through all the quiet of the day.

    Sweet smells the earth--wet with sweet rain--
      Sweet lilac waves in moonlight pale,
    And from the wood beyond the lane
      I hear the hidden nightingale.
    Though field and wood about me lie,
      Hushed soft in dew and deep delight,
    Yet can I hear the city’s sigh
      Through all the silence of the night.

    For me the skylark builds and sings,
      For me the vine her garland weaves;
    The swallow folds her glossy wings
      To build beneath my cottage eaves.
    But I can feel the giant near,
      Can hear his slaves by daylight weep,
    And, when at last the night is here,
      I hear him moaning in his sleep.

    Oh! for a little space of ground,
      Though not a flower should make it gay,
    Where miles of meadows wrapped me round,
      And leagues and leagues of silence lay.
    Oh! for a wind-lashed, treeless down,
      A black night and a rising sea,
    And never a thought of London town,
      To steal the world’s delight from me.



AT EVENING TIME THERE SHALL BE LIGHT


    The day was wild with wind and rain,
      One grey wrapped sky and sea and shore,
    It seemed our marsh would never again
      Wear the rich robes that once it wore.
    The scattered farms looked sad and chill,
      Their sheltering trees writhed all awry,
    And waves of mist broke on the hill
      Where once the great sea thundered by.

    Then God remembered this His land,
      This little land that is our own,
    He caught the rain up in His hand,
      He hid the winds behind His throne,
    He soothed the fretful waves to rest,
      He called the clouds to come away,
    And, by blue pathways, to the west,
      They went, like children tired of play.

    And then God bade our marsh put on
      Its holy vestment of fine gold;
    From marge to marge the glory shone
      On lichened farm and fence and fold;
    In the gold sky that walled the west,
      In each transfigured stone and tree,
    The glory of God was manifest,
      Plain for a little child to see!



MAIDENHOOD


    Through her fair world of blossoms fresh and bright,
      Veiled with her maiden innocence, she goes;
    Not all the splendour of the waxing light
      She sees, nor all the colour of the rose;
    And yet who knows what finer hues she sees,
      Hid by our wisdom from our longing eyes?
    Who knows what light she sees in skies and seas
      Which is withholden from our seas and skies?

    Shod with her youth the thorny paths she treads
      And feels not yet the treachery of the thorn,
    Her crown of lilies still its perfume sheds
      Where Love, the thorny crown, not yet is borne.
    Yet in the mystery of her peaceful way
      Who knows what fears beset her innocence,
    Who, trembling, learns that thorns will wound some day,
      And wonders what thorns are, and why, and whence?



V



THE MONK


    When in my narrow cell I lie,
      The long day’s penance done at last,
    I see the ghosts of days gone by,
      And hear the voices of the past.

    I see the blue-gray wood-smoke curled
      From hearths where life has rhymed to love,
    I see the kingdoms of the world--
      The glory and the power thereof,
    And cry, “Ah, vainly have I striven!”
      And then a voice calls, soft and low:
    “Thou gavest My Earth to win My Heaven;
      But Heaven-on-Earth thou mayest not know!”

    It is not for Thy Heaven, O Lord,
      That I renounced Thy pleasant earth--
    The ship, the furrow, and the sword--
      The dreams of death, the dreams of birth!

    Weary of vigil, fast, and prayer,
      Weak in my hope and in my faith--
    O Christ, for whom this cross I bear,
      Meet me beside the gate of Death!

    When the night comes, then let me rest
      (O Christ, who sanctifiest pain!)
    Falling asleep upon Thy breast,
      And, if Thou wilt, wake never again!



THE CROWN OF LIFE


    The days, the doubts, the dreams of pain
    Are over, not to come again,
    And from the menace of the night
    Has dawned the day-star of delight:
    My baby lies against me pressed--
    Thus, Mother of God, are mothers blessed!

    His little head upon my arm,
    His little body soft and warm,
    His little feet that cannot stand
    Held in the heart of this, my hand.
    His little mouth close on my breast--
    Thus, Mary’s Son, are mothers blessed.

    All dreams of deeds, all deeds of day
    Are very faint and far away,
    Yet you some day will stand upright
    And fight God’s foes, in manhood’s might,
    You--tiny, worshipped, clasped, caressed--
    Thus, Mother of God, are mothers blessed.

    Whatever grief may come to be
    This hour divine goes on for me.
    All glorious is my little span,
    Since I, like God, have made a man,
    A little image of God’s best--
    Thus, Mary’s Son, are mothers blessed.

    Come change, come loss, come worlds of tears,
    Come endless chain of empty years;
    They cannot take away the hour
    That gives me You--my bird, my flower!
    Thank God for this! Leave God the rest!--
    Thus, Mother of God, are mothers blessed.



MAGNIFICAT


    This is Christ’s birthday: long ago
      He lay upon His Mother’s knee,
    Who kissed and blessed Him soft and low--
      God’s gift to her, as you to me.

    My baby dear, my little one,
      The love that rocks this cradling breast
    Is such as Mary gave her Son:
      She was more honoured, not more blest.

    He smiled as you smile: not more sweet
      Than your eyes were those eyes of His,
    And just such little hands and feet
      As yours Our Lady used to kiss.

    The world’s desire that Mother bore:
      She held a King upon her knee:
    O King of all my world, and more
      Than all the world’s desire to me!

    I thank God on the Christmas morn,
      For He has given me all things good:
    This body which a child has borne,
      This breast, made holy for his food.

    High in high heaven Our Lady’s throne
      Beside her Son’s stands up apart:
    I sit on heaven’s steps alone
      And hold my king against my heart.

    Across dark depths she hears your cry;
      She sees your smile, through worlds of blue
    Who was a mother, even as I,
      And loved her Child, as I love you.

    And to her heart my babe is dear,
      Because she bore the Babe Divine,
    And all my soul to hers draws near,
      And loves Him for the sake of mine!



EVENING PRAYER


    Not to the terrible God, avenging, bright,
      Whose altars struck their roots in flame and blood,
    Not to the jealous God, whose merciless might
      The infamy of unclean years withstood;
    But to the God who lit the evening star,
      Who taught the flower to blossom in delight,
    Who taught His world what love and worship are
                    We pray, we two, to-night.

    To no vast Presence too immense to love,
      To no enthronèd King too great to care,
    To no strange Spirit human needs above
      We bring our little, intimate, heart-warm prayer;
    But to the God who is a Father too,
      The Father who loved and gave His only Son
    We pray across the cradle, I and you,
                    For ours, our little one!



CHRISTMAS HYMN


    O Christ, born on the holy day,
      I have no gift to give my King;
    No flowers grow by my weary way;
      I have no birthday song to sing.

    How can I sing Thy name and praise,
      Who never saw Thy face divine;
    Who walk in darkness all my days,
      And see no Eastern stars a-shine?

    Yet, when their Christmas gifts they bring,
      How can I leave Thy praise unsung?
    How stay from homage to the King,
      And hold a silent, grudging tongue?

    Lord, I found many a song to sing,
      And many a humble hymn of praise
    For Thy great Miracle of Spring,
      The wonder of the waxing days.

    When I beheld Thy days and years,
      Did I not sing Thy pleasant earth?
    The moons of love, the years of tears,
      The mysteries of death and birth?

    Have I not sung with all my soul
      While soul and song were mine to yield,
    Thy lightning crown, Thy cloud-control,
      The dewy clover of Thy field?

    Have I not loved Thy birds and beasts,
      Thy streams and woods, Thy sun and shade;
    Have I not made me holy feasts
      Of all the beauty Thou hast made?

    What though my tear-tired eyes, alas!
      Won never grace Thy face to see?
    I heard Thy footstep on the grass,
      Thy voice in every wind-blown tree.

    No music now I make or win,
      Yet, Lord, remember I have been
    The lover of Thy world, wherein
      I found nought common or unclean.

    Grown old and blind, I sing no more,
      Thy saints in heaven sing sweet and strong,
    Yet take the songs I made of yore
      For echoes to Thy birthday song.



ABSOLUTION


    Unbind thine eyes, with thine own soul confer,
      Look on the sins that made thy life unclean,
    Behold how poor thy vaunted virtues were,
      How weak thy faith, thy deeds how small and mean,
      How far from thy high dreams thy life hath been,
        How poor thy use of all thou hast received,
      How little of all God’s glory thou hast seen,
        How misconstrued that which thou hast perceived.

    Turn not thine eyes away from thine unworth,
      The cup of shame drink to the bitter lees;
    And when thou art lowerèd to the least on earth,
      And in the dust makest common cause with these,
      Then shall kind arms enfold thee, bringing peace,
        The Earth, thy Mother, shall assuage thy pain,
      Her woods and fields, Her quiet streams and seas
        Shall touch thy soul, and make thee whole again.

    But if thy heart holds fast one secret sin,
      If one vile script thy soul shrinks to erase,
    The mighty Mother cannot bring thee in
      Unto the happy, holy, healing place;
      But thou shalt weep in darkness, out of grace,
        And miss the light of beauty undefiled;
      For he who would behold Her, face to face,
        Must be in spirit as a little child.

       *       *       *       *       *


NOW BEING PUBLISHED

The New Popular Edition

OF THE

Works of
George Meredith

_Crown 8vo, 6s. each._

With Frontispieces by BERNARD PARTRIDGE, HARRISON MILLER, and others.

  THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL
  EVAN HARRINGTON
  SANDRA BELLONI
  VITTORIA
  RHODA FLEMING
  THE ADVENTURES OF HARRY RICHMOND
  BEAUCHAMP’S CAREER
  THE EGOIST
  DIANA OF THE CROSSWAYS
  ONE OF OUR CONQUERORS
  LORD ORMONT AND HIS AMINTA
  THE AMAZING MARRIAGE
  THE SHAVING OF SHAGPAT
  THE TRAGIC COMEDIANS
  SHORT STORIES
  SELECTED POEMS


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In the Tideway

By FLORA ANNIE STEEL

(_Author of “Miss Stuart’s Legacy,” “On the Face of the
Waters,” etc._)

6_s._


     “One has grown accustomed to the association of Mrs. Steel’s name
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     one of the salient features of modern fiction; but ‘In the
     Tideway,’ although dealing entirely with England and Scotland,
     presents the same keen and unerring grasp of character, the same
     faculty of conveying local atmosphere and colour, the same talent
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     originality of thought and expression.... It is too late in the day
     to speak of Mrs. Steel’s position. This is assured, but _this book
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     “Wonderfully bright and lively both in dialogue and
     incidents.”--_Scotsman._


     “Admirably written.”--_Glasgow Herald._

     “The story is beyond question powerful. The characters are
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     “As it is, the book is a sheer triumph of skill, one degree perhaps
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Dracula

BY BRAM STOKER

“One of the most enthralling and unique romances ever written.”--_The
Christian World._

     “The very weirdest of weird tales.”--_Punch._

     “Its fascination is so great that it is impossible to lay it
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     “It holds us enthralled.”--_The Literary World._

     “The idea is so novel that one gasps, as it were, at its
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     “Much loving and happy human nature, much heroism, much
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     ghastliness follows another in horrid swift succession the reader
     is always accompanied by images of devotion and
     friendliness.”--_Liverpool Daily Post._

     “A most fascinating narrative.”--_Dublin Evening Herald._

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     “A preternatural story of singular power. The book is bound to be a
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     “A decidedly able as exceptionally interesting and dramatically
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     “Arrests and holds the attention by virtue of new ideas, treated in
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     “Singularly entertaining.”--_Birmingham Daily Mail._

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The Folly of Pen Harrington

By JULIAN STURGIS. 6_s._

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_Author of “The Sin Eater,” “Pharais,” “The Mountain Lovers,” etc._
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_Crown 8vo, 6s. Illustrated._

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The Dark Way of Love

_From the French of M. Charles le Goffic._

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Some Observations of a Foster Parent

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The Amazing Marriage

BY GEORGE MEREDITH

_Crown 8vo, 6s._

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       *       *       *       *       *

London City Churches

BY

A. E. DANIELL

WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY

LEONARD MARTIN

WITH A MAP SHOWING THE POSITION OF EACH CHURCH

_Imperial 16mo, 6s._

The intention of this book is to present to the public a concise account
of each of the churches of the City of London. If any reader should be
induced to explore for himself these very interesting, but little known
buildings, wherein he cannot fail to find ample to reward him for his
pains, the object of the writer will have been attained.

This volume is profusely illustrated from drawings specially made by Mr.
Leonard Martin, and from photographs which have been prepared expressly
for this work.

     “The author of this book knows the City churches one and all, and
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     claims on the nation, as well as on the man in the street.”--_Leeds
     Mercury._

     “His interesting text is accompanied by numerous illustrations,
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_Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d._

The Shoulder of Shasta

BY BRAM STOKER

_Author of_ “_Dracula_.”

“Will be one of the most popular romances, in one volume, of the season
now opening. It is chiefly remarkable for the very marked and superior
descriptive power displayed by the author in his rich and inspiring
picture of the scenery of the Shasta Mountain.... So entirely
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composition is bold and lucid.... He is an accomplished artist, and
shows here at his best.... Mr. Bram Stoker will add widely to his
reputation by this.”--_Irish Times._

“A pure and well-told story.”--_Glasgow Herald._

“The story is charmingly written, and deserves to be read for its
brilliant open-air passages, and the portrait it contains of Grizzly
Dick.”--_Daily News._

“Mr. Bram Stoker has given the reading world one of the breeziest and
most picturesque tales of life on the Pacific slope that has been penned
for many a long day.”--_Daily Telegraph._

“Mr. Stoker seems quite at home in picturing the wild beauty of
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readable.”--_Globe._

“It is a capital story.”--_Bristol Times and Mirror._

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read and enjoyed.”--_Yorkshire Post._

“A pleasant story of life in Western America.... Fresh and
unconventional.”--_Publishers’ Circular._

“Mr. Bram Stoker’s new book is a peculiarly bright and breezy story of
Californian life.... There is nothing laboured in this description, no
straining after undue effect.... The language is simple, yet the effect
is always satisfying, and the word-picture is complete.”--_Liverpool
Daily Post._

“The narrative is entertaining throughout, with eloquent descriptions of
scenery.”--_Academy._

“Mr. Bram Stoker’s story is unflagging, full of vigour, and capital
reading from end to end; moreover, it conveys a vivid picture of life
and manners in a corner of the world better known to him than to the
majority of those who will read his book.”--_Standard._

The Fortune of a Spendthrift

AND OTHER ITEMS

BY R. ANDOM

_Author of “We Three and Troddles,” “The Strange Adventures of Roger
Wilkins,” etc., etc._

AND

FRED HAREWOOD

“Lightly, briskly, and pleasantly written.”--_Scotsman._

“The adventures of a spendthrift, which form the principal feature of
the book, are related with so much dramatic force that any
improbabilities of the plot are forgotten in the reader’s eagerness to
learn the _dénouement_.... Treated with freshness in a pleasant, graphic
style, and a lively interest is cleverly sustained.... They are all told
with spirit and vivacity, and show no little skill in their descriptive
passages.”--_Literary World._

“A collection of brightly-written short stories, well adapted for a
holiday afternoon.”--_Globe._

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       *       *       *       *       *

Dracula

By BRAM STOKER. _Price Six Shillings._

“The reader hurries on breathless from the first page to the last,
afraid to miss a single word.”--_Daily Telegraph._

“Unquestionably a striking example of imaginative power.”--_Morning
Post._

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across.”--_Truth._

“One of the best things in the supernatural line that we have been lucky
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“A story of very real power.”--_The Speaker._

“One of the weirdest romances of late years.”--_Lloyd’s Newspaper._

“We have never read any work which so powerfully affected the
imagination.”--_North British Daily Mail._

“Interesting almost to fascination.”--_Gloucester Journal._

“An exciting story from beginning to end.”--_The Newsagent._

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His Majesty’s Greatest Subject

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Chin-Chin-Wa

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A Sturdy Beggar and Lady Bramber’s
Ghost

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The Love of an Obsolete Woman

CHRONICLED BY HERSELF. _Cloth extra, 3s. 6d._

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Hans van Donder

A Romance of Boer Life.

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_Fcap. 8vo, 2s. 6d._

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Torriba By JOHN CAMERON GRANT.

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Madge o’ the Pool By WILLIAM SHARP.

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A Writer of Fiction A Novel.

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The Love of an Obsolete Woman

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The Parasite BY CONAN DOYLE

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“The Game of Polo”

By T. F. DALE

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Illustrated by LILLIAN SMYTHE, CUTHBERT BRADLEY, and CRAWFORD WOOD; and a
Photogravure Portrait of Mr. JOHN WATSON.

_Demy 8vo. One Guinea net._

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“Will doubtless be of great use to beginners.”--_Illustrated Sporting
and Dramatic._

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game.”--_The Globe._

The Art and Pastime of Cycling

By R. J. MACREDY AND A. J. WILSON

New Edition, and in a large measure rewritten. Profusely illustrated.

_Cloth, 1s. 6d. Paper Cover, 1s._

“One of the most complete books on Cycling--deals with every phase of
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“An eminently useful handbook.”--_South Africa._

“Full of information.”--_Scotsman._

“A great fund of useful and practical information.”--_The Field._

“The Fourth Edition of this book, and better than ever.... No cyclist’s
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With Plumer in Matabeleland

By FRANK W. SYKES

_With numerous Illustrations in the text, and 35 Full-page Plates and Two
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“Operations of the Force during the Rebellion of 1896 are described in
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_His book is one of the best of its class we have yet had the pleasure
of reviewing._”--_South Africa._

“The chapter on the Religion of the Matabele is well worth reading, so
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“The best illustrated and most generally interesting volume.... Frank,
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Imperial Defence

By Sir CHARLES DILKE and SPENSER WILKINSON

New and Revised Edition. _2s. 6d._

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The Paston Letters,

1422-1509

EDITED BY JAMES GAIRDNER

OF THE PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE

_3 Vols. Fcap. 8vo. With 3 Photogravure Frontispieces,
cloth gilt extra, or paper label uncut, 16s. net._

These letters are the genuine correspondence of a family in Norfolk
during the Wars of the Roses. As such, they are altogether unique in
character; yet the language is not so antiquated as to present any
serious difficulty to the modern reader. The topics of the letters
relate partly to the private affairs of the family, and partly to the
stirring events of the time: and the correspondence includes State
papers, love letters, bailiff’s accounts, sentimental poems, jocular
epistles, etc.

     “This edition, which was first published some twenty years ago, is
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     “Unquestionably the standard edition of these curious literary
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     “One of the monuments of English historical scholarship that needs
     no commendation.”--_Manchester Guardian._

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Boswell’s Life of Johnson

EDITED BY AUGUSTINE BIRRELL.

WITH FRONTISPIECES BY ALEX ANSTED, A REPRODUCTION OF
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS’ PORTRAIT.

_Six Volumes. Foolscap 8vo. Cloth, paper label, or gilt extra, 2s. net
per Volume. Also half morocco, 3s. net per Volume. Sold in Sets only._

“Far and away the best Boswell, I should say, for the ordinary
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“ ... We have good reason to be thankful for an edition of a very useful
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“The volumes, which are light, and so well bound that they open easily
anywhere, are exceedingly pleasant to handle and read.”--_St. James’s
Budget._

“This undertaking of the publishers ought to be certain of
success.”--_The Bookseller._

“Read him at once if you have hitherto refrained from that exhilarating
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again.”--_The Speaker._

“Constable’s edition will long remain the best both for the general
reader and the scholar.”--_Review of Reviews._

_In 48 Volumes_

CONSTABLE’S REPRINT

OF

The Waverley Novels

THE FAVOURITE EDITION OF

SIR WALTER SCOTT.

With all the original Plates and Vignettes (Re-engraved). In 48 Vols.

_Foolscap 8vo. Cloth, paper label title, 1s. 6d. net per Volume, or £3 12s.
the Set. Also cloth gilt, gilt top, 2s. net per Volume, or
£4 16s. the Set; and half leather gilt, 2s. 6d. net per Volume, or
£6 the Set._

“A delightful reprint. The price is lower than that of many inferior
editions.”--_Athenæum._

“The excellence of the print, and the convenient size of the volumes,
and the association of this edition with Sir Walter Scott himself,
should combine with so moderate a price to secure for this reprint a
popularity as great as that which the original editions long and fully
enjoyed with former generations of readers.”--_The Times._

“This is one of the most charming editions of the Waverley Novels that
we know, as well as one of the cheapest in the market.”--_Glasgow
Herald._

“Very attractive reprints.”--_The Speaker._

“ ... Messrs. Constable & Co. have done good service to the reading
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“The set presents a magnificent appearance on the bookshelf.”--_Black
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The Nation’s Awakening

By SPENSER WILKINSON

_Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d._

“The essence of true policy for Britain, the policy of common-sense,
lies, according to Mr. Wilkinson, in choosing for assertion and for
active defence those points in the extensive fringe of our world-wide
interests, and those moments of time at which our self-defence will
coincide with the self-defence of the world. This idea he works out in a
clever and vigorous fashion.”--_Glasgow Herald._

“He elaborates his views in four ‘books,’ dealing respectively with the
aims of the other Great Powers, the defence of British interests, the
organization of the Government, and ‘the idea of the nation,’ ... he
deprecates a policy of isolation, and advocates a closer alliance with
Germany.”--_Scotsman._

“We consider Mr. Wilkinson completely proves his case. We agree ... that
Mr. Spenser Wilkinson must make all men think. We welcome the volume, as
we have welcomed previous volumes from Mr. Wilkinson’s pen, as of the
highest value towards the formation of a national policy, of which we
never stood in greater need.”--_Athenæum._

“These essays show a wide knowledge of international
politics.”--_Morning Post._

BY THE SAME AUTHOR


The Volunteers and the National Defence

_Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d._


The Brain of an Army

_Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d._


The Command of the Sea

_Crown 8vo, paper, 1s._

The Brain of the Navy

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       *       *       *       *       *

_At all Booksellers and Bookstalls._

NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION,

REVISED AND BROUGHT UP TO DATE,

WITH A NEW CHAPTER ON THE LATE
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Problems of the Far East

Japan--Corea--China

BY THE

Rt. Hon. GEORGE N. CURZON, M.P.

_With numerous Illustrations and Maps. Extra Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d._

“Certainly the influence of Mr. Curzon’s thoughtful generalizations,
based as they are upon wide knowledge, and expressed in clear and
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“We dealt so fully with the other contents of Mr. Curzon’s volume at the
time of first publication, that it is only necessary to say that the
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and the light of which they are revised.”--_Glasgow Herald._

“Any one who desires to know anything of Japan, Corea, and China, will
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“All who have read the volume will admit that it is a valuable addition
to the literature dealing with the problems of the Far East.”--_Morning
Post._

“His impressions of travel, confirmed by a study of the best
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“‘Problems of the Far East’ is most informing, and deserves to be widely
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English Illustration. “The Sixties”: 1855-70.
By GLEESON WHITE. _Price £2 2s. net._

_With Numerous Illustrations by_ Sir E. BURNE-JONES; FORD MADOX BROWN;
BIRKET FOSTER; A. BOYD HOUGHTON; ARTHUR HUGHES; CHAS. KEENE; LORD
LEIGHTON, P.R.A.; G. DU MAURIER; Sir J. E. MILLAIS, P.R.A.; J. W. NORTH;
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     “We recognise the magnitude of the task undertaken by Mr. Gleeson
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     “Mr. Gleeson White has written a work worthy of a foremost place
     among the standard reference books on matters artistic. Messrs.
     Constable have produced the book in a truly sumptuous
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The Household of the Lafayettes. By
EDITH SICHEL. _Illustrated. Demy 8vo. 15s. net._


Songs for Little People. By NORMAN GALE.

_Profusely Illustrated by_ HELEN STRATTON. _Large Crown 8vo, 6s._

     “A delightful book.”--_Scotsman._

     “We cannot imagine anything more appropriate as a gift-book for
     children.”--_Glasgow Daily Mail._

     “This book, in truth, is one of the most tasteful things of its
     kind.”--_Whitehall Review._

     “Mr. Norman Gale is to be congratulated.”--_Black and White._

     “A delightful book in every way.”--_Academy._

The Selected Poems of GEORGE MEREDITH.

_Crown 8vo. 6s._


New Poems. By FRANCIS THOMPSON. _Fcap.
8vo., 6s. net._

     “The first thing to be done, and by far the most important, is to
     recognise and declare that we are here face to face with a poet of
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     “It confers a literary distinction upon the 60th year of the
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     “A true poet.... At any rate here unquestionably is a new poet, a
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     ZANGWILL, in the _Cosmopolitan_, Sept., 1895.

     “At least one book of poetry has been published this year that we
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     “Mr. Thompson’s is the essential poetry of essential
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CONSTABLE’S

Hand Atlas of India

A NEW SERIES of Sixty Maps and Plans
prepared from Ordnance and other Surveys
under the direction of

J. G. BARTHOLOMEW, F.R.G.S.,
F.R.S.E., &c.


_In half morocco, or full bound cloth, gilt top, 14s._

This Atlas is the first publication of its kind, and for tourists and
travellers generally it will be found particularly useful. There are
Twenty-two Plans of the principal towns of our Indian Empire, based on
the most recent surveys, and officially revised to date in India.

The Topographical Section Maps are an accurate reduction of the Survey
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The Military, Railway, Telegraph, and Mission Station Maps are designed
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                       ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO
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_Butler & Tanner._]





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