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Title: Poems in Many Lands
Author: Rodd, Rennell
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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                          POEMS IN MANY LANDS

                           Ballantyne Press
                        CHANDOS STREET, LONDON

                          POEMS IN MANY LANDS


                             RENNELL RODD


                  DAVID BOGUE, 3, ST. MARTIN’S PLACE
                        TRAFALGAR SQUARE, W.C.


The kind reception my first small volume of “Songs in the South” met
with, has induced me to include a few of those poems in this more
complete volume of early lyrics.

I have to acknowledge the permission to reprint one or two poems which
have been previously published in magazines, or as songs.

R. R.

_December, 1882._



A STAR-DREAM                                                           1

THE DAISY                                                              3

“THOSE DAYS ARE LONG DEPARTED”                                         4

IN APRIL                                                               6

IN THE WOODS                                                           7

A SUMMER SONG                                                          8

THE BURDEN OF AUTUMN                                                  10

“TO WONDER AND BE STILL”                                              11

AN ANSWER                                                             13

THE POET                                                              14

VICTORY                                                               15

“AH! WILD SWANS”                                                      16

DAY’S END                                                             19

FROM THE ROADSIDE                                                     20

A DIRGE FOR LOVE                                                      22

NOS COLLINES D’AUTREFOIS                                              24

THE TWO GATES                                                         25

GETTATI AL VENTO                                                      26

THE SEA-KING’S GRAVE                                                  29

DISILLUSION                                                           33

ON THE BORDER HILLS                                                   35

WHEN HE HAD FINISHED                                                  36

THE LONELY BAY                                                        37

MUSIC                                                                 40

WHAT HOLDS THEE BACK                                                  41

WORDS FOR MUSIC                                                       42

BELLA DONNA                                                           47

JOSEPH BARA                                                           46

IN CHARTRES CATHEDRAL                                                 53

BY THE ANNIO                                                          55

BY THE CRUCIFIX                                                       58

“UNE HEURE VIENDRA QUI TOUT PAIERA”                                   60

IN THE ALPS                                                           61

IN NÔTRE DAME DE                                                      62

TWO SONNETS                                                           67

AT LANUVIUM                                                           69

A ROMAN MIRROR                                                        71

THE SONG OF THE DEAD CHILD                                            73

NIGHT AT AVIGNON                                                      78

WHERE THE RHONE GOES DOWN TO THE SEA                                  80

AT TIBER MOUTH                                                        82

GARIBALDI IN ROME                                                     88

ἙΡΑΝ ΤΩΝ ἉΔΥΝΑΤΩΝ                                                     89

TRANSLATIONS                                                          92

AVE ATQUE VALE                                                        96

“IF ANY ONE RETURN”                                                   99

HIC JACET                                                            101

“WHEN I AM DEAD”                                                     103

ST. CATHARINE OF EGYPT                                               105

ATALANTA                                                             109

THEORETIKOS                                                          111

ROME--I. FROM THE HILL OF GARDENS                                    114

     II. IN THE COLISEUM                                             116

    III. IN A CHURCH                                                 117


      I. SUNSET                                                      120

     II. TWILIGHT                                                    121

    III. STORM                                                       122

A LAST WORD                                                          124

        A STAR-DREAM.

    There was a night when you and I
      Looked up from where we lay,
    When we were children, and the sky
      Was not so far away.

    We looked towards the deep dark blue
      Beyond our window bars,
    And into all our dreaming drew
      The spirit of the stars.

    We did not see the world asleep--
      We were already there!
    We did not find the way so steep
      To climb that starry stair.

    And faint at first and fitfully,
      Then sweet and shrill and near,
    We heard the eternal harmony
      That only angels hear;

    And many a hue of many a gem
      We found for you to wear,
    And many a shining diadem
      To bind about your hair.

    We saw beneath us faint and far
      The little cloudlets strewn,
    And I became a wandering star,
      And you became my moon.

    Ah! have you found our starry skies?
      Where are you all the years?
    Oh, moon of many memories!
      Oh, star of many tears!

        THE DAISY.

    With little white leaves in the grasses,
      Spread wide for the smile of the sun,
    It waits till the daylight passes,
      And closes them one by one.

    I have asked why it closed at even,
      And I know what it wished to say:
    There are stars all night in the heaven,
      And I am the star of day.


    Those days are long departed,
      Gone where the dead dreams are,
    Since we two children started
      To look for the morning star.

    We asked our way of the swallow
      In his language that we knew,
    We were sad we could not follow
      So swift the dark bird flew.

    We set our wherry drifting
      Between the poplar trees,
    And the banks of meadows shifting
      Were the shores of unknown seas.

    We talked of the white snow prairies
      That lie by the Northern lights,
    And of woodlands where the fairies
      Are seen in the moonlit nights.

    Till one long day was over
      And we grew too tired to roam,
    And through the corn and clover
      We slowly wandered home.

    Ah child! with love and laughter
      We had journeyed out so far;
    We who went in the big years after
      To look for another star;

    But I go unbefriended
      Through wind and rain and foam,--
    One day was hardly ended
      When the angel took you home.

        IN APRIL.

    The diamond dew lies cool
      In the violet cups athirst,
      The buds are ready to burst,
    The heart of the spring is full;
    Great clouds dream over the sky,
      The drops on the grass-blades glisten,
      The daffodil droops to listen
    As the wind from the South goes by,
    For it came through the sea cliffs hollow,
      With the dawning over the bay,
    And the swallow, it said, the swallow,
      The swallow comes home to-day.

        IN THE WOODS.

              This is a simple song
                That the world sings every day,
              Hark! as ye pass along
                Ye that go by the way!
    For the nightingale up in the oak-bough sings,
      “_Be loyal, be true, true, true_,”
    And the wood-dove sits with its folded wings,
      And answers “_to you, to you_.”
    And the thrush in the hedge, “_I am glad, be glad_,”
      And the linnet, “_let love, let live_,”
    And the wind in the rushes says, “_why so sad!_”
      And the wind in the trees “_forgive!_”
    While ever so high in the skies above
      The heart of the lark o’erflows,
    And “_I love, I love, and I love_,”
      Is the only song he knows.
              Hark! as ye pass along
                Ye that go by the way!
              This is the simple song
                That the world sings every day.

        A SUMMER SONG.

    Summer in the world and morning, the far hills were in the mist,
    And we watched the river borders, how the rush and ripple kist,
    While the bird sang “Whither, whither,” and the wind said,
       “Where I list.”

    And we saw the yellow kingcup, and the arrowhead look through,
    From the silent, shallow waters, where the mirrored skies were blue,
    And the flags about the swan’s nest kept the secret that we knew.

    In the hedge a thrush was singing, where the wild hopclusters are,
    And the lowly ragged-robin, with its frailly fretted star,
    While a soft wind brought the fragrance of the meadow-sweet from far.

    All its blushing bells a’ ringing, on a bank the foxglove grows,
    Where the honeysuckle tangles in the thorns of the wild rose,
    And a sudden sea of blue-bells from the wood-side overflows.

    And we watched the silver crescent of the wings of the wild dove
    Circle swiftly in the sunlight through the aspen tops above,
    And we felt the great world’s heart beat, in the gladness of our love.


    We are dying, said the flowers,
      All the days are out of tune,
    Spent are all the sungold hours,
      And the glory that was June,
    Dying, dying said the flowers.
      The snow will hide the garden bed
        While they sleep underground,
      Wild winds will drift it overhead,
        But they will slumber sound.

    We are going, said the swallows,
      All the singing days are done,
    Summer’s over, winter follows,
      And we seek a warmer sun,
    Going southward, said the swallows.
      And I must watch them all depart
        And find no song to sing,
      Oh take the autumn from my heart
        And give me back the spring!


    Oft in the starry middle night
      I vex my heart in vain,
    To set its mystic music right,
      And find the hidden strain.

    To-night the summer moon is strong,
      The little clouds drift past,--
    The wonder is too deep for song--
      The silence speaks at last.

    “Thou canst not match those harmonies
      On moon-enamoured lute,
    Serenely silent arch the skies,
      And the great stars are mute;

    “Thou canst not tune to thine unrest
      Their solemn calm above;
    In silence thou shalt worship best,
      And reverently love.

    “Beyond this night in which thou art,
      There is a voice of spheres,
    Which the eternal in thine heart
      Remembers and reveres.

    “But how they sing in unison
      Earth’s ear hath never heard,
    So only in thine heart rings on
      The song that has no word.”

        AN ANSWER.

    Take again thy shallow hearted reason
      Groping dimly through the night in which thou art!
    Very harmless fall the arrows of thy treason
      On the worship and the wonder in my heart.

    I have drunk the everlasting fountains
      Flowing downward from the infinite to me,
    Seen the wonder of the moonrise in the mountains
      And the glory of the sunset on the sea.

        THE POET.

    HE will come again as oft of old among you,
      With his burden to fulfil;--
    Did ye hearken ever to the songs they sung you
      Till the song was still?

    HE will bear again the scorn, the idle wonder,
      And heart-hunger and love’s need;
    You will drown the sound of music in your thunder,
      And he will not heed.

    Singing unperplexed above the mocking laughter
      Till his day be overpast;
    Till the music dies, and silence follows after
      And ye turn at last,--

    Then when all the echoes breathe it and ye know it,
      Ye will seek him to revere;
    Cry aloud, and call him, master, lover, poet!
      And he will not hear.


    This then--to live and have no joy thereof,
    To thirst and hunger and be very tired,
    To walk unloved, or know if one should love
    It were a bitter thing that he desired,
    To have no home in all the earth, to be
    Mocked and derided and outcast of men,
    To squander love and labour, and to see
    No fruit of it, and yet to love, and then
    Bearing all slander silently alway,
    Serenely when the last reproach is hurled
    To look Death in the face alone, and say
    “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”


    “Ah! wild swans winging southward, I would fly with you to-night;
    Southward, ever swiftly southward, through the autumn grey twilight.

    “You will leave these downs and gullies, and the white cliffs far behind,
    Sailing on above the waters in the music of the wind.

    “And the seamen on their highway looking up will see you fly,
    Like a misty shadow moving o’er the moon-illumined sky.

    “Day and night and all things changing,--sunny skies and overcast,--
    Till the cloud-engirdled mountains and the snowy peaks are passed.

    “We should near the lands of laughter and the vines and olive trees,
    Watch the little sails at sundown sparkle out on summer seas;

    “Day and night and ever flying till we reached the wonderland,
    And the seaward branching river, and the desert ways of sand;

    “Saw beneath us standing lonely that grave bird that never sings,
    Like a solemn sentry guarding by the giant tombs of kings.

    “And I think it would be sunset when our journeying was done,
    And the silver of your plumage would be crimsoned in the sun;

    “In a pleasant land of palm-trees, where the lotus lilies grow,
    And the fruits of many flood-tides by the river borders blow;

    “There forgetting and forgotten, and not any one to hear,
    I would sing to you, that sing not, all the winter of the year.”

    Brighter burn the stars and colder, twilight deepens into night,
    Moans the wind among the willows, and the swans fade out of sight.

        DAY’S END.

    We watched how robed in royal red
      The slow sun sailed to rest,
    Through crimson cloud streaks islandèd
      In seas of glory o’er the west,
    I held your hand, and I heard you say,
    “What have we done for the world to-day?”

    While still the mountain-heather glowed
      All songs were hushed, and through
    The twilight east the young moon showed
      Her frail white crescent in the blue;
    The silence sank profound and deep,
    The ways of earth were full of sleep;
    And the spirit of silence seemed to say,
    “What have ye done for the world to-day?”


    Peace be with the little red-roofed church out yonder,
      With its quiet English village gathered round;
    With shade of great beech-trees on the grave-mounds under,
      And leaves of the Autumn over all the ground!

    There go the rooks at even homeward flying!
      The sweet sense of home lies over all that land;
    The glow is on the tower of the daylight dying,
      And lovers in the shadow are walking hand-in-hand.

    Here comes no voice from the middle world to move them,
      All the year round no memorable thing;
    Yet the great skies arch as beautiful above them,
      All the year through there are birds with them that sing.

    Ah! well with you who calm and little knowing,
      Here in submission to your uneventful days,
    Leave the mad world to its coming and its going,
      Safe with God’s shadow on your evening ways!


    “What is this pitiful song ye sing,
      Shades of the passing hours?
    What is this beautiful young dead thing,
      Borne on a bier of flowers?”

    “This is dead Love who, all night through,
      Beat at the fast-closed door;
    Wept his heart out waiting for you,
      Now he will beat no more!

    “Here he dwelt for a night and day,
      Longer he might not wait;
    Never again will he pass this way,
      Therefore we sing ‘too late!’”

    “Ah, but the door of my heart within,
      Was it not alway wide?
    Had he not wings to have entered in,
      Why did he beat outside?”

    “Once he came, though his eyes were blind,
      Up to the outer door;
    The way within was too hard to find,
      Peace! For he wakes no more.”

    “Yet ye knew I had waited long,
      Was I not always true?
    How could I will sweet Love this wrong--
      Where do ye bear him to?”

    “Back to the land where he lives again,
      Over the westward strand;
    Over the waves and the cloud domain,
      Into the rainbow land!”

    “Then, sweet spirits, do this for grace,
      Set my heart on his bier;
    So, when he comes to his resting-place,
      Love may awake and hear!”


    Can you remember when we dwelt together,
      In the golden land of childhood long ago;
    Up on our mountain heights in the clear weather,
      How we longed to see the valleys down below?

    Lands so lovely never found we after,--
      Oh, our winters with the wonder of their snows;
    Oh, the swallows of our spring-time, and the laughter,
      Oh, the starnight of our summers and the rose!

    Well-belovèd in that land were all the faces,
      None are like them of these dwellers in the plain;
    Oh, why did we come down from our high places!
      We can never climb the bitter hills again!

        THE TWO GATES.

    Two gates--and one was morning’s, gold with gleams
        Of sudden sunlight, and clear skies above
        Ways where the air is musical with love,
    And summer singing in a land of streams:

    One sad with twilight and low sound that seems
        Like the marred song-voice of a broken heart,
        Where life and love sit evermore apart,
    And look back longing to the gate of dreams.

    Time was, I wandered in those sunlit lands,
      And felt the glamour in my wakening eyes;
    But now with sword aflame the angel stands,
        Pointing the threshold of the gate of gloom;
      While through the monotone of human cries,
        Upsoars this pitiless, “fulfil thy doom!”



    The sea swallows wheel and fly
      To their homes in the grey cliff-side;
    And the silent ships drift by,
      The world and its ways are wide!

    Oh, which of you wandering sails
      Will carry a word from me?
    Spread all your wings in the gales,
      Fly fast to her northern sea!

    Go say to my heart’s desired,
      Too long from her side I roam,
    And say I am tired, tired,
      And I would she would call me home!


    I thought that I wandered, wandered,
      All night till the dawn of day,
    And I came to the house she dwells in,
      A hundred miles away:

    So I watched the hills grow golden,
      I heard the birds begin,
    And she came to open her window,
      And let the morning in.

    But when she would not greet me,
      And I called to her all in vain,
    I awoke, and knew I was dreaming,
      But I could not sleep again.

       *       *       *       *       *


    What shadow is this of dead delight,
      That thou art dreaming of?
    Oh, heart, what ails thee in the evenlight,
      And is it thine old burden love,
    That wistful-eyed, like one who roams,
      I stand and watch from far,
    The peace of sunset over quiet homes,
      And the belovéd evening star?


    Are not the heavens wide? And yet,
      Until all journeyings be done,
    No star shall change the orbit set,
      That marks its journey round the sun.

    And, sweet, we travel down our days,
      As the stars wander in their sky;
    We cannot change our fated ways,
      But meet and greet and hasten by.


        I breathed a name once and again,
        I said a bitter thing in my pain,
    “I gave you all my love, and I spent it all in vain!”

        Then I saw a form across the night
        Glide down the stars in a veil of light,
    And I said, “Who are you, dweller of the Infinite?”

        And I heard a voice on the stilly air,
        “You chide amiss in your own despair;
    Lo, I am the soul of her love, and I follow you everywhere!”


    High over the wild sea-border, on the furthest downs to the west,
    Is the green grave-mound of the Norseman, with the yew-tree
      grove on its crest.
    And I heard in the winds his story, as they leapt up salt from the wave,
    And tore at the creaking branches that grow from the sea-king’s grave.
    Some son of the old-world Vikings, the wild sea-wandering lords,
    Who sailed in a snake-prowed galley, with a terror of twenty swords.
    From the fiords of the sunless winter, they came on an icy blast,
    Till over the whole world’s sea-board the shadow of Odin passed,
    Till they sped to the inland waters and under the South-land skies,
    And stared on the puny princes, with their blue victorious eyes.
    And they said he was old and royal, and a warrior all his days,
    But the king who had slain his brother lived yet in the island ways;
    And he came from a hundred battles, and died in his last wild quest,
    For he said, “I will have my vengeance, and then I will take my rest.”

    He had passed on his homeward journey, and the king of the
       isles was dead;
    He had drunken the draught of triumph, and his cup was the
    And he spoke of the song and feasting, and the gladness of things to be,
    And three days over the waters they rowed on a waveless sea;
    Till a small cloud rose to the shoreward, and a gust broke
       out of the cloud,
    And the spray beat over the rowers, and the murmur of winds was loud
    With the voice of the far-off thunders, till the shuddering
       air grew warm,
    And the day was as dark as at even, and the wild god rode on the storm.
    But the old man laughed in the thunder as he set his casque on his brow,
    And he waved his sword in the lightning and clung to the painted prow.
    And a shaft from the storm-god’s quiver flashed out from the
      flame-flushed skies,
    Rang down on his war-worn harness and gleamed in his fiery eyes,
    And his mail and his crested helmet, and his hair, and his
       beard burned red;
    And they said, “It is Odin calls;” and he fell, and they found him dead.

    So here, in his war-guise armoured, they laid him down to his rest,
    In his casque with the rein-deer antlers, and the long grey beard
       on his breast;
    His bier was the spoil of the islands, with a sail for a shroud beneath,
    And an oar of his blood-red galley, and his battle-brand in the sheath;
    And they buried his bow beside him, and planted the grove of yew,
    For the grave of a mighty archer, one tree for each of his crew;
    Where the flowerless cliffs are sheerest, where the sea-birds
       circle and swarm,
    And the rocks are at war with the waters, with their jagged
       grey teeth in the storm;
    And the huge Atlantic billows sweep in, and the mists enclose
    The hill with the grass-grown mound where the Norseman’s yew-tree grows.


    Ah! what would youth be doing
      To hoist his crimson sails,
    To leave the wood-doves cooing,
      The song of nightingales;
    To leave this woodland quiet
      For murmuring winds at strife,
    For waves that foam and riot
      About the seas of life?

    From still bays, silver sanded,
      Wild currents hasten down
    To rocks where ships are stranded
      And eddies where men drown.
    Far out, by hills surrounded,
      Is the golden haven gate,
    And all beyond unbounded
      Are shoreless seas of fate.

    They steer for those far highlands
      Across the summer tide
    And dream of fairy islands
      Upon the further side.
    They only see the sunlight,
      The flashing of gold bars;
    But the other side is moonlight
      And glimmer of pale stars.

    They will not heed the warning
      Blown back on every wind,
    For hope is born with morning,
      The secret is behind.
    Whirled through in wild confusion,
      They pass the narrow strait,
    To the sea of disillusion
      That lies beyond the gate.


    So the dark shadows deepen in the trees
      That crown the border mountains, all the air
    Is filled with mist-begotten phantasies
      Shaped and transfigured in the sunset glare.
    What wildly spurring warrior-wraiths are these?
      What tossing headgear, and what red-gold hair?
    What lances flashing, what far trumpet’s blare,
      That dies along the desultory breeze?

    Slow night comes creeping with her misty wings
      Up to the hill’s crest, where the yew trees grow;
    About their shadow-haunted circle clings
      The rumour of an unrecorded woe,
    Old as the battle of those border kings
      Slain in the darkling hollow-lands below.


    When He had finished, first his orbèd sun
    Blazed through the startled firmament, and all
    His hosts cried glory, and the stars each one
    Sang joy together,--then did there not fall
    A peace of solemn silence on His world,
    A moment’s hush before one leaf was stirred
    Or one wave o’er the ocean mirror curled!
    Lo! then it was the carol of a bird
    Gave the joy-note of being, up the sky
    Some lark’s song mounted and the young greenwood
    Woke to a matin of wild melody,--
    And He looked down and saw that it was good.


    Hollowed and worn by tide on tide
    The rocks are steep, to the water’s side;
    Never a swimmer might hope to land
    With the sheer, sheer rocks upon either hand;
    Never a ship dare enter in
    For the sunken reefs are cruel and thin;
    Only at times a plaintive moan
    Comes from yon arch in the caverned stone,
    When the seals that dwell in the ocean cave
    Rise to look through the lifting wave;
    Only the gulls as they float or fly
    Answer the waves with their wind-borne cry.

      Weeds of the waste uptossed lie there
    On the sandy space that the tide leaves bare,
    Ever at ebb some waif or stray
    That ever the flood wave washes away,
    And round and round in the lonely bay.

      And one dwells there in the caves below
    That only the seals and the seagulls know,
    And the haunting spirit is passing fair
    With sea-flowers set in her grey-green hair,
    But she looks not oft to the daylight skies
    For the sunshine dazzles her ocean eyes;
    But now and again the sea-winds say,
    In the twilight hour of after-day,
    They have seen her look through her veil of spray.

      Stilled are the waves when she lies asleep
    And the stars are mirrored along the deep,
    The gulls are at rest on the rifted rocks
    And slumbering round are the ocean flocks,
    Where the waving oarweeds lull and lull
    And the calm of the water is beautiful.

      But ever and aye in the moonless night,
    When the waves are at war and the surf is white,
    When the storm-wind howls in the dreary sky,
    And the storm-clouds break as it whirls them by;
    When it tears the boughs from the churchyard tree
    And they think in the world of the folk at sea,
    When the great cliffs quake in the thunder’s crash
    And the gulls are scared at the lightning flash,
    You will hear her laugh in the depths below,
    Where the moving swell is a sheet of snow,
    Mocking the mariner’s shriek of woe.

      Let us away, for the sky grows wild
    And the wind has the voice of a moaning child!
    And if she looked through her veil of spray,
    And called and beckoned, you might not stay;
    You would leap from the height to her cold embrace
    And drown in the smile of her wanton face!
    She would carry you under the mazy waves
    From deep to deep of her ocean caves,
    Hold you fast with the things that be
    Held in the drifts of the drifting sea,
    Round and round for eternity!
    The sun goes under, away, away!
    It’s dark and weird by the lonely bay.


    What angel viol, effortless and sure,
      Speaks through the straining silence, whence, ah whence
    That tremulous low joy, so keen, so pure
      That all existence narrows to one sense,
          Lapped round and round
          In rapture of sweet sound?
    Oh, how it wins along the steep, and loud and loud,
      Over the chasm and the cloud,
        Swells in its lordly tide
    Higher and higher, and undenied,
          Full throated to the star!--
    Then lowlier, softer, dreaming dies and dies
          Over the closing eyes,
      Dies with my spirit away, afar,
          Swayed as on ocean’s breast
          Dies into rest.


    What holds thee back then? Hast thou aught to do,
    And fearest for the venture, art thou too,
    So light a thing that every wind blows through?

    What hast thou envied in the lives of these,
    That thou should’st heed to please them or displease
    And fill thine own with mirrored mockeries?

    This arm of thine is thine alone, and strong
    To thy free service through thy whole life long,
    Hear thine heart’s voice, it will not lead thee wrong!



    The autumn wind goes sighing
      Through the quivering aspen tree,
    The swallows will be flying
      Toward their summer sea;
    The grapes begin to sweeten
      On the trellised vine above,
    And on my brows have beaten
      The little wings of love.
    Oh wind if you should meet her
      You will whisper all I sing!
    Oh swallow fly to greet her,
      And bring me word in spring!


    I see your white arms gliding,
      In music o’er the keys,
    Long drooping lashes hiding
      A blue like summer seas:
    The sweet lips wide asunder,
      That tremble as you sing,
    I could not choose but wonder,
      You seemed so fair a thing.

    For all these long years after
      The dream has never died,
    I still can hear your laughter,
      Still see you at my side;
    One lily hiding under
      The waves of golden hair;
    I could not choose but wonder,
      You were so strangely fair.

    I keep the flower you braided
      Among those waves of gold,
    The leaves are sere and faded,
      And like our love grown old.
    Our lives have lain asunder,
      The years are long, and yet,
    I could not choose but wonder.
      I cannot quite forget.


    All through the golden weather
      Until the autumn fell,
    Our lives went by together
      So wildly and so well.--

    But autumn’s wind uncloses
      The heart of all your flowers,
    I think as with the roses,
      So hath it been with ours.

    Like some divided river
      Your ways and mine will be,
   --To drift apart for ever,
      For ever till the sea.

    And yet for one word spoken,
      One whisper of regret,
    The dream had not been broken
      And love were with us yet.


    I remember low on the water
        They hung from the dripping moss,
    In the broken shrine of some streamgod’s daughter
        Where the north and south roads cross;
      And I plucked some sprays for my love to wear,
      Some tangled sprays of maidenhair.

    So you went north with the swallow
        Away from this southern shore,
    And the summers pass, and the winters follow,
        And the years, but you come no more,
      You have roses now in your breast to wear,
      And you have forgotten the maidenhair.

    And the sound of the echoing laughter,
        The songs that we used to sing,
    To remember these in the years long after
        May seem but a foolish thing,--
      Yet I know to me they are always fair
      My withered sprays of maidenhair.


    The wide seas lay before us
      The moon was late to rise,
    The skies were starry o’er us
      And Love was in our eyes;
    And “like those stars, abiding,”
      You whispered “Love shall be,”
    Then one great star went gliding
      Right down into the sea.

    Since then beyond recalling
      How many moons have set!
    And still the stars keep falling,
      But the sky is starry yet:
    And I look up and wonder
      If they can hear and know,
    For still we walk asunder,
      And that was years ago.

        BELLA DONNA.

    Two tear-drops of the bluest seas
      Were prisoned in those laughing eyes,
    And soft as wind in summer trees
      The music of her low replies;
    A sunbeam caught entangled there
    Makes light in all her golden hair;

    The wild rose where the wild bees sip
      Is not so delicate as this,
    And yet that little rose-curled lip
      Is very poisonous to kiss,
    And they were stars of wintry skies
    That lit the lustre in her eyes.

    And she will smile and bid you stay
      And love a little at her will,
    And love a little--and betray
      But smile as ever sweetly still;
    She knows that roses fade away,
    To-morrows turn to yesterday.

    She walks the smooth and easy ways
      Apparelled in her queenly dress,
    She hears no word that is not praise,
      And ever of her loveliness;
    And she will kill, that cannot hate,
      Dispassionately passionate.

        JOSEPH BARA.

    In the year of battles, ninety-three,
    In Vendée, by the westward sea,
    The word was whispered--_Liberty_.

    There was a child that would not stay,
    When he watched them arm and ride away,
    For the sword was bared in la Vendée.

    Thirteen years, and girl-like fair,
    With blue wide eyes and yellow hair--
    And the word had moved him unaware.

    “Mother,” he said, “if I were old,
    My arm should win the young ones gold--
    A boy’s life may be dearly sold.

    “Mother, the hearts of the children bleed,
    There are lips enough for one hand to feed,
    And the youngest born have the greater need.”

    In the year of battles, ninety-three,
    In Vendée by the westward sea,
    He rode to fight for liberty.

    They wondered how his stedfast eye
    Could see the strong men bleed and die,
    His shrill lips shape the battle cry.

    At Chollet, in the month Frimaire
    They found the lion in his lair,
    And long the struggle wavered there.

    Till wide and scattered, man with man,
    The bloody waves of battle ran,
    The boy was leading in the van.

    His bugle at his waist he wore,
    His sword-arm pointing straight before,
    And on his brow the tricolore.

    Horse and rider overthrown,
    Lay about him stark as stone,
    The bugle boy stood all alone.

    They closed about him menacing,
    To strike him seemed a murderous thing;
    “Take life, cry homage to the King!”

    Fearless their bayonets he eyed,
    The dead he loved were at his side,
    And “Vive la République,” he cried.

    Sword thrust and bayonet
    In his young heart’s-blood met,
    The groan died in his lips hard set,
    And through his eyes shone life’s regret.

    O’er his torn and bleeding breast
    All the storm of battle pressed,--
    He lay lowly with the rest.

    When the bitter fight was done
    There they found their little one,
    Stark and staring at the sun.

    Freedom, let thy banners wave,
    Where he lies among the brave,
    For that young fresh life he gave!

    Song above the names that die
    Shrine his name in memory!


    Through yonder windows stained and old,
    Four level rays of red and gold
      Strike down the twilight dim,
    Four lifted heads are aureoled
      Of the sculptured cherubim,
    And soft like sounds on faint winds blown
      Of voices dying far away,
    The organ’s dreamy undertone,
      The murmur while they pray;
    And I sit here alone, alone,
      And have no word to say;
    Cling closer shadows, darker yet,
      And heart be happy to forget.

    And now, the mystic silence--and they kneel,
      A young priest lifts a star of gold,--
    And then the sudden organ peal!
      Ave and Ave! and the music rolled
    Along the carven wonder of the choir,
    Thrilled canopy and spire,
    Up till the echoes mingled with the song;
      And now a boy’s flute note that rings
    Shrill sweet and long,
      Ave and Ave, louder and more loud,
    Rises the strain he sings,
      Upon the angel’s wings!
      Right up to God!

    And you that sit there in the lowliest place,
      With lips that hardly dare to move;
    You with the old sad furrowed face,
      Dream on your dream of love!
    For you, glide down the music’s swell
      The folding arms of peace,
    For me wild thoughts, I dare not tell
      Desires that never cease.
    For you the calm, the angel’s breast,
      Whose dim foreknowledge is at rest;
    For me the beat of broken wings,
    The old unanswered questionings.

        BY THE ANNIO.


    Here where shallows ripple by,
    And the woody banks are high,
    Every little wind that frets
    Waves the scent of violets;
    Here the greening beech has made
    Such a palace of cool shade,
    You and I would rather sit
    Silent in the shade of it,
    Seeking questions and replies
    Only through each other’s eyes.
    Sweet, than climb the thorny ways
    Up their barren hills of praise.
    In the gloom of yonder glen
    Hides the crimson cyclamen,
    And the tall narcissus still
    Lingers near the reedy rill,
    In the ooze the rushes grow
    Pipes for merry lips to blow;
    Here the songs that we shall sing
    Shall be all of love or spring;
    Here the emerald dragon-fly
    Flits and stays and passes by,
    While the bird that overhead
    Mocked our song, grows unafraid,
    Splashing till his breast be cool
    At the margin of the pool.
    In my hand the hand I hold
    Lies more daintily than gold;
    On your lips is all the praise
    I would barter for my lays,
    In your eyes I look to see
    Witness of my sovereignty.
    They that long for high estate
    Turn to look for love too late,
    Climbing on at last they find
    Love has long been left behind;
    Sweet, we do not envy these
    In our riverland of trees.

    Seldom feet of mortals pass
    Here along the dewy grass;
    Only in the loneliest spot,
    Where the woodman enters not,
    Spirits of these groves and springs
    Make their nightly wanderings.
    Never now they walk at day
    Since the Satyrs fled away,
    Only when the fireflies gleam
    Up the winding wooded stream,
    You may hear low silver tones,
    Like the ripple on the stones,
    Asking some familiar star
    Where their olden lovers are.
    Listen, listen, up above
    All the branches sing of love!
    When the world is tired of May,
    When the springtide fades away,
    When the clouds draw over head,
    And the moon of love is dead,
    When the joy is no more new,
    Seek we other work to do!
    Only while the heart is young
    Let no other song be sung!


    He tells his story with his young sad eyes,
      The rags are drooping from his sunburnt breast,
      He had sat down a little while to rest,
    Far off the country of his longing lies;

    He sits there looking at his bare bruised feet
      And sees the rich man and the priest pass by,
      There where the crucifix is planted high
    On the grass bank outside the village street.

    Beside him lies his little flageolet--
      The children danced that morning when he played,
      Laughed loud to hear the music that he made;--
    Now the day closes and he wanders yet.

    Oh, if some one of all the folk who pass,
      Would turn and speak one word and hear him though,
      And help! It were so small a thing to do;
    And all they see him lying in the grass.

    So the day ended, and the evening sun
      Cast the long shadows down; he turned and saw
      The crucifix blood-red, and in mute awe,
    He crossed himself, and shuddered, and went on.

    And then, it seemed that the pale form above
      Moved slowly, lifting up the thorn-crowned head,
      And the drooped eyelids opened, and he said,
    “Oh, ye who make profession of your love,

    “With voices echoing a hollow cry,
      My name is ever on your lips, and yet
      I wander wearily and ye forget,
    I am as nothing to you passers by,

    “I had no heed of any shame or loss,
      And will ye leave me tired and homeless still
      Oh, call my name by any name ye will,
    But leave me not for ever on my cross!”


    It was a tomb in Flanders, old and grey,
      A knight in armour, lying dead, unknown
      Among the long-forgotten, yet the stone
    Cried out for vengeance where the dead man lay;

    No name was chiselled at his side to say
      What wrongs his spirit thirsted to atone,
      Only the armour with green moss o’ergrown,
    And those grim words no years had worn away.

    It may be haply in the songs of old
      His deeds were wonders to sweet music set,
      His name the thunder of a battle call,
    Among the things forgotten and untold;
      His only record is the dead man’s threat--
      “An hour will come that shall atone for all!”

        IN THE ALPS.

    It is spring by now in the world, but here
    The doom of winter on all the year;
    A little brown bird flits to and fro,
    Watching perhaps for a rift of blue
    Where the mists divide and the sky looks through,
    Or a crocus-bell in the half-thawed snow.

    Little brown bird, have you no nest here
    When winds blow cold in the long starlight?
    Never a tree, and the fields so white--
    And are you ever a wayfarer?
    It is spring by now in the vales below,
    And why do you stay in the world of snow?

        IN NOTRE DAME DE....

     There were two had died one day
     So they told me by the way;
     “One, ah well, poor soul,” they said,
     “Better off that he is dead,
     Such a poor man!--but the other
     He was our good prefect’s brother;
     Rich! And surely of great worth;--”
     Both at one now--earth and earth!--
     “Half the town is deep in prayer;
     Round him at our Lady’s there;
     But the poor man’s funeral
     Is in the church outside the wall;
     Aye, our Lady’s nave is wide,
     Would you lay them side by side?”
     So I followed both these dead;--
     Where the poor man’s pall was spread,
     Boarded in his box of deal,
     There were only six to kneel,
         And a priest that hurried through
         Such quick office as would do.
     _Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
       Et lux perpetua luceat ei._

     Oh, but here how good to see
     The great sable canopy!
     All the columns shrouded o’er,
     The rich curtains at the door,
     And the purple velvet pall,
     And the high catafalque o’er all,
     Where a hundred tapers glow
     On the same pale face of death below.--
     All the good town’s folk are there,
     Some to weep and some to stare;
     Little recks _he_ how ye weep,
     Very sound he lies asleep;
     Little recks _he_ how ye pray,
     For his ears are sealed alway!
       Many a monk to thumb his beads,
     Chant his canticles and creeds;
     Aye and here with quivering lips
     O’er his meagre finger-tips
     Prays the priest, and all the while
     Drones the deep organ thrill; and then
     Along the gloomy curtained aisle,
     Swells the full chant again;
    _Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
      Et lux perpetua luceat ei._

        Now beyond the city wall
        Winds his pomp of funeral;
        Feebly do those tapers flare
        In the sunshine’s summer glare,
        Loud above their chanting swells
        The horror of the tolling bells,
      Tapers burn where light is needed
        For the living, not the dead!
      Aye, and if your chants be heeded,
        For the living be they said!
      Where were all this folk who pray
      When the poor man passed this way?

        Long ago the spirit fled,
      All of him that was of worth,
      In his sojourning on earth;
      Wherefore o’er a body dead,
      Need long litanies be said?

        Shall the jewelled cross he presses
      In those bony hands of his,
      Aught avail, when death caresses
      With his equal mouldering kiss?
      Shall the rosary they twined
      Round and round his stiffened wrists,
      Hold his body sanctified
      From the worms, the socialists?
        _Gaudea sempiterna possideat!_

        So the two that died one day
      Travelled down the selfsame way,
      One in simple coffin board
      Painted cross along it scored,
      One with all his high estate
      Graven on the silver plate,
      All the pomp that he could save
      To adorn him in the grave,
      Lily wreaths of eucharis
      To cover those poor bones of his,
      From the graveyard’s mouldy sod,--
      But the poor man’s soul and this
        Went the same way up to God!
    _In Paradisum deducant te angeli,
      Æternam habeas requiem!_
        By the sable shrouded door,
        Of our Lady’s church once more!
    Softly came low music floating from above,
        And a voice seemed to breathe its cadence through;
      “Peace, peace! Lo this we did it of our love,
        There was so little we could do!”
    _Requiem æternam dona iis, Domine,
      Et lux æterna luceat iis._

        TWO SONNETS.


    When the last bitterness was past, she bore
      Her singing Cæsar to the Garden Hill,
    Her fallen pitiful dead emperor.
    She lifted up the beggar’s cloak he wore
    --The one thing living that he would not kill--
    And on those lips of his that sang no more,
      That world-loathed head which she found lovely still,
    Her cold lips closed, in death she had her will.

    Oh wreck of the lost human soul left free
      To gorge the beast thy mask of manhood screened!
        Because one living thing, albeit a slave,
        Shed those hot tears on thy dishonoured grave,
    Although thy curse be as the shoreless sea,
      Because she loved, thou art not wholly fiend.


    Is this the man by whose decree abide
      The lives of countless nations, with the trace
      Of fresh tears wet upon the hard cold face?
   --He wept, because a little child had died.

    They set a marble image by his side,
      A sculptured Eros, ready for the chase;
      It wore the dead boy’s features, and the grace
    Of pretty ways that were the old man’s pride.

    And so he smiled, grown softer now, and tired
      Of too much empire, and it seemed a joy
    Fondly to stroke and pet the curly head,
    The smooth round limbs so strangely like the dead,
      To kiss the white lips of his marble boy
    And call by name his little heart’s-desired.

        AT LANUVIUM.

    “_Festo quid potius die
    Neptuni faciam._”
         HORACE, _Odes_, iii. 28.

    Spring grew to perfect summer in one day,
      And we lay there among the vines, to gaze
    Where Circe’s isle floats purple, far away
      Above the golden haze;

    And on our ears there seemed to rise and fall
      The burden of an old world song we knew,
    That sang, “To-day is Neptune’s festival,
      And we, what shall we do?”

    Go down brown-armed Campagna maid of mine,
      And bring again the earthen jar that lies
    With three years’ dust above the mellow wine;
      And while the swift day dies.

    You first shall sing a song of waters blue,
      Paphos and Cnidos in the summer seas,
    And one who guides her swan-drawn chariot through
      The white-shored Cyclades;

    And I will take the second turn of song,
      Of floating tresses in the foam and surge
    Where Nereid maids about the sea-god throng;
      And night shall have her dirge.


    They found it in her hollow marble bed,
      There where the numberless dead cities sleep,
      They found it lying where the spade struck deep,
    A broken mirror by a maiden dead.

    These things--the beads she wore about her throat
      Alternate blue and amber all untied,
      A lamp to light her way, and on one side
    The toll-men pay to that strange ferry-boat.

    No trace to-day of what in her was fair!
      Only the record of long years grown green
      Upon the mirror’s lustreless dead sheen,
    Grown dim at last, when all else withered there.

    Dead, broken, lustreless! It keeps for me
      One picture of that immemorial land,
      For oft as I have held thee in my hand
    The dull bronze brightens, and I dream to see

    A fair face gazing in thee wondering wise,
      And o’er one marble shoulder all the while
      Strange lips that whisper till her own lips smile,
    And all the mirror laughs about her eyes.

    It was well thought to set thee there, so she
      Might smooth the windy ripples of her hair
      And knot their tangled waywardness, or ere
    She stood before the queen Persephone.

    And still it may be where the dead folk rest
      She holds a shadowy mirror to her eyes,
      And looks upon the changelessness and sighs,
    And sets the dead land lilies in her breast.


         FLORENCE, ’81.

    By the light of their waxen tapers, I saw not ever a tear,
    For the child in its bridal garment, the little dead child on the bier.

    Some child of the poor;--I wonder, was it glad that the years were done,
    This flower that fell in spring tide, and had hardly looked on the sun?

    They have decked her in burial raiment, they have twined a
       wreath for her hair;
    Ah child, you had never in life such delicate dress to wear!

    And the man in the pilgrim’s habit has covered the marble head,
    And carried it out for ever to the sleeping place of the dead.

    Rest, little one, have no fear, you will hardly turn in your sleep,
    Though the moon and the stars are clouded, and the grave they
       have made be deep!

    But an hour before the dawning there will come one down on the night,
    With the wings and the brows of an angel, in wonder-robes of white.

    He will smile in your eyes of wonder, he will take your hand in his hand,
    And gather you up in his arms and pass from the sleeping land.

    Then after a while, at morning, you will come to the lands that lie
    On the other side of the sunrise between the cloud and the sky,

    And here is the place of resting with the wings of your angel furled,
    For the feet that are tired with travel in the dusty ways of the world.

    And here is the children’s meeting, the length of a summer’s day,
    You will gather you crowns of roses, in the deep meadow lands at play.

    While up through the clouds dividing, like a sweet bewildering dream,
    You will watch the wings of the angels drift by in an endless stream;

    Such marvellous robes are o’er them, and whiter are some than snows,
    And some like the April blossom, and some like the pale primrose.

    For these are the hues of day-dawn that you saw from the world of old,
    And the first light over the mountains was shed from their
       crowns of gold;

    And many go by with weeping, for ever, the long night through,
    The tears of the sorrowing angels fall over the earth in dew;

    Till your eyes grow weary of wonder as you sit in the long cool grass,
    And many will bend and kiss you of the wonderful forms that pass;

    With your head on the breast of the angel there will steal down
       over your eyes
    The sleep of the long forgetting, and the dream where memory dies,

    As the flowers are washed in the night-time, when the dew drops
       down from above,
    You will reck no more of the winter, and hunger, and want of love.

    Then at last it will seem like even when you waken, and hand in hand
    You will pass with your angels guiding, to the utmost verge of the land;

    And I think you will hear far voices growing musical there, and loud,
    As you pass, with an unfelt swiftness, from luminous cloud to cloud;

    Till the light shall turn to a glory, that seemed but a lone faint star,
    That will be the gate of Heaven, where the souls of the children are.


    No cloud between the myriad stars and me,--
      Soft music moving o’er a sleeping land
    Of winds that fret about the cypress tree,
      And Rhone’s swift rapids rippling past the sand.
    Arch over arch, and tower on battled wall,
      Against the violet deepness of the skies;--
    And one grey spire set high above them all,
      Where round the hill the moon begins to rise.
    An hour’s knell rings softly out once more
      From unseen cloisters, where the misty bridge
    Fades in the distance of the further shore,
    And nearer spires repeat it o’er and o’er;
      One great blue star peers through the seaward ridge;

    A hollow footfall up the echoing street
      Goes wandering out to silence, and the breeze
    Drops faint and fainter, here beneath my feet
      The grass is all with violets overstrewn;
    Oh listen, listen; in yon garden trees
      Do you not hear the lute that lovers use!
    One sets the discord of its strings atune;--
    And in the dreamland of the risen moon
      They sing some olden love-song of Vaucluse.


    A sweet still night of the vintage time,
      Where the Rhone goes down to the sea;
    The distant sound of a midnight chime
      Comes over the wave to me.
    Only the hills and the stars o’erhead
      Bring back dreams of the days long dead,
    While the Rhone goes down to the sea.

      The years are long, and the world is wide,
    And we all went down to the sea;
      The ripples splash as we onward glide,
    And I dream they are here with me--
      All lost friends whom we all loved so,
    In the old mad life of long ago,
      Who all went down to the sea.

    So we passed in the golden days
      With the summer down to the sea.
    They wander still over weary ways,
      And come not again to me.
    I am here alone with the night wind’s sigh,
      The fading stars, and a dream gone by,
    And the Rhone going down to the sea.


    The low plains stretch to the west with a glimmer of rustling weeds,
    Where the waves of a golden river wind home by the marshy meads;
    And the fresh wind born of the sea grows faint with a sickly breath,
    As it stays in the fretting rushes and blows on the dews of death.
    We came to the silent city, in the glare of the noontide heat,
    When the sound of a whisper rang through the length of the lonely street;
    No tree in the clefted ruin, no echo of song nor sound,
    But the dust of a world forgotten lay under the barren ground.
    There are shrines under these green hillocks to the beautiful
       gods that sleep,
    Where they prayed in the stormy season for lives gone out on the deep;
    And here in the grave street sculptured, old record of loves and tears,
    By the dust of the nameless slave, forgotten a thousand years.
    Not ever again at even shall ship sail in on the breeze,
    Where the hulls of their gilded galleys came home from a hundred seas,
    For the marsh plants grow in her haven, the marsh birds breed in her bay,
    And a mile to the shoreless westward the water has passed away.
    But the sea-folk gathering rushes come up from the windy shore,
    So the song that the years have silenced grows musical there once more;
    And now and again unburied, like some still voice from the dead,
    They light on the fallen shoulder and the lines of a marble head.
    But we went from the sorrowful city and wandered away at will,
    And thought of the breathing marble and the words that are music still.
    How full were their lives that laboured, in their fetterless
       strength and far
    From the ways that our feet have chosen as the sunlight is from the star,
    They clung to the chance and promise that once while the years are free
    Look over our life’s horizon as the sun looks over the sea,
    But we wait for a day that dawns not, and cry for unclouded skies,
    And while we are deep in dreaming the light that was o’er us dies;
    We know not what of the present we shall stretch out our hand to save
    Who sing of the life we long for, and not of the life we have;
    And yet if the chance were with us to gather the days misspent,
    Should we change the old resting-places, the wandering ways we went?
    They were strong, but the years are stronger; they are grown
       but a name that thrills,
    And the wreck of their marble glory lies ghost-like over their hills.
    So a shadow fell o’er our dreaming for the weary heart of the past,
    For the seed that the years have scattered, to reap so little at last.
    And we went to the sea-shore forest, through a long colonnade of pines,
    Where the skies peep in and the sea, with a flitting of silver lines.
    And we came on an open place in the green deep heart of the wood
    Where I think in the years forgotten an altar of Faunus stood;
    From a spring in the long dark grasses two rivulets rise and run
    By the length of their sandy borders where the snake lies
       coiled in the sun.
    And the stars of the white narcissus lie over the grass like snow,
    And beyond in the shadowy places the crimson cyclamens grow;
    Far up from their wave home yonder the sea-winds murmuring pass,
    The branches quiver and creak and the lizard starts in the grass.
    And we lay in the untrod moss and pillowed our cheeks with flowers,
    While the sun went over our heads, and we took no count of the hours;
    From the end of the waving branches and under the cloudless blue,
    Like sunbeams chained for a banner, the thread-like gossamers flew.
    And the joy of the woods came o’er us, and we felt that our
       world was young
    With the gladness of years unspent and the sorrow of life unsung.
    So we passed with a sound of singing along to the seaward way,
    Where the sails of the fishermen folk came homeward over the bay;
    For a cloud grew over the forest and darkened the sea-god’s shrine,
    And the hills of the silent city were only a ruby line.
    But the sun stood still on the waves as we passed from the fading shores,
    And shone on our boat’s red bulwarks and the golden blades of the oars,
    And it seemed as we steered for the sunset that we passed
       through a twilight sea,
    From the gloom of a world forgotten to the light of a world to be.


JUNE 29-30, 1849.

    St. Peter’s eve, from dim Janiculum
      The battle’s thunder drowned the bells that tolled,
    The great guns flashed, but that night as of old
      We kept St. Peter’s vigil, and the dome
    Blazed with its myriad little lamps of gold,
    And all the river ran with yellow foam,
      While on the torchlit Capitol unrolled
    The banner blew of our Republic, Rome,

    Then silence fell with treacherous midnight,--
      An hour ere dawn we heard a wild alarm,
      The blast of bugles, the swift call to arm,
    We sang his war hymn and fell in to fight;
      Then as dawn gathered on the Esquiline
      Our grand old lion gave the battle sign.


    So now I know we shall not any more,
      As we have done in these last golden days,
      Go hand in hand along life’s pleasant ways,
    Walk heart with heart together as before.

    It seems we cannot choose but wear the chain
      Fate winds about our little lives. Ah sweet,
      What wall is set between us that your feet
    Must wander alway where I gaze in vain!

    Could we have climbed together! How these bars
      Had melted in the fire of love; the road
      Had known our footsteps where the wise men trod,
    And our sure ways had ended with the stars!

    We had atoned for passion!--passed above
      All fleeting shadows of the world’s desire,
      Made pure our spirits at a holier fire,
    And in the lap of morning laid our love.

    One law I knew, one right, one starward way,
      One hope to make our lives divine, one love
      In this one life, one star of truth above,
    And one great desert where the rest go stray.

    Life had no more to give, if that we two
      Had let the world go gladly, grasp and reach
      Strained ever upward, leaning each on each,
    Had seen one star-ray of the pure and true.

    Had we but climbed together! Oh my light,
      My star, my moon, and art thou clouded o’er?
      And we that were together, evermore
    Must stand apart and stare across the night!

    One life it seems must take its tale of days,
      And as it may make service of its own,
      But ah! the infinite help of love!--alone
    The heart grows faint and weary of dispraise.

    I shall be braver on the way I go,
      Hearing that voice forever, for whose sake,
      What burthen had I not bowed down to take,
    What shame or peril, had it helped you so!

    This must content me, to have loved, who lose
      In this hard world where little loves live on,
      No man will love you as I might have done,
    Sweet heart, too holy for the world to choose!

    Therefore be strong, remembering love’s past,
      Climb on for ever in the steep old way
      That haply so a moment’s space we may
    Meet on the verge of changes at the last.

    That at the end of all these journeyings,
      Crossing the borderland of time and space
      We two may stand together face to face,
    Whose hearts were set upon abiding things,
    And through the cloud-veil of Eternity
      Our eyes may meet at last in the full light, and see.


_From the Italian of Stecchetti._


    When the sere leaves fall and you come one
      To find me under the graveyard stone,
    It will be in a corner hidden away,
      With beds of flowers about it grown.

    Then gather and wreathe in your golden hair
    The flowers that grow from my heart laid there.

    They will be love’s message I might not bring,
    And the rest of the songs that I meant to sing.


    Floweret born in the hedge-row shade
      Set out of sight alone,
    Love like thee must hide his head
    Love like thee must live unknown.

    No smile of the sun, and thou wilt die,
      Thorns round thee and above,
    No smile of hope, and love will die,
    And none take heed.--Poor love! Poor love!

       *       *       *       *       *

_From the German of Heine._


    How the mirrored moonbeams quiver
      On the waters’ fall and rise,
    Yet the moon serene as ever
      Wanders through the quiet skies.

    Like the mirrored moonlight’s fretting
      Are the dreams I have of you,
    For my heart will beat, forgetting
      You are ever calm and true.


    So fair and pure and holy,
      So flowerlike thou art,
    And while I gaze the shadow
      Grows deeper on my heart;
    I want my hands to rest on
      That head of thine in prayer,
    That God will keep thee alway
      So holy pure and fair.


    The leaves are falling, falling,
      The yellow treetops wave,
    Ah, all delight and beauty
      Is drawing to the grave.

    About the wood’s crest flicker
      The wan sun’s laggard rays,
    They are the parting kisses
      Of fleeting summer days.

    Meseems I should be shedding
      The heart’s-tears from my eyes,
    The day will keep recalling
      The time of our good-byes.

    I knew that you were dying
      And I must pass away,
    Oh I was the waning summer,
      And you were the wood’s decay.


    From my tears that have fallen a flower
      Is springing along the vale,
    And the sighs I have sighed endower
      The song of a nightingale.

    And, child, if you’ll be my lover,
      The flowers shall all be yours,
    And the bird with its song shall hover
      For ever before your doors.



    And he is gone!--like strain of viols parted--
        Back to the infinite from whence he came,
    And we sit here, bereft and weary hearted,
        New songs may wake, but not again the same.

    Our hearts were lutes, whereon he used to play,
        Now evermore is silence on that key,
    And thought grows chilly like a sunless day
        That greys the ripple on the haggard sea.

    Those lips were cold that lingering we kissed,
        There came no pressure from the old true hand,
    A little while and through the twilight mist
        We scarce shall trace his footprints in the sand.


    This was the end love made,--the hard-drawn breath,
    The last long sigh that ever man sighs here;
    And then for us, the great unanswered fear,
    Will love live on,--the other side of death?

    Only a year, and I had hoped to spend
    A life of pleasant communing, to be
    A kindred spirit holding fast to thee,
    We never thought that love had such an end.

    This was the end love made, for our delight,
    For one sweet year he cannot take away;--
    Those tapers burning in the dim half-light,
    Those kneeling women with a cross that pray,
    And there, beneath green leaves and lilies white,
    Beyond the reach of love, our loved one lay.


    He had the poet’s eyes,
    --Sing to him sleeping,--
    Sweet grace of low replies,
    --Why are we weeping?

    He had the gentle ways,
    --Fair dreams befall him!--
    Beauty through all his days,
    --Then why recall him?--

    That which in him was fair
      Still shall be ours:
    Yet, yet my heart lies there
      Under the flowers.


    I would we had carried him far away
      To the light of this south sun land,
    Where the hills lean down to some red-rocked bay
    And the sea’s blue breaks into snow-white spray
      As the wave dies out on the sand.

    Not there, not there, where the winds deface!
      Where the storm and the cloud race by!
    But far away in this flowerful place
    Where endless summers retouch, retrace,
      What flowers find heart to die.

    And if ever the souls of the loved, set free,
      Come back to the souls that stay,
    I could dream he would sit for a while with me,
    Where I sit by this wonderful tideless sea,
      And look to the red-rocked bay,

    By the high cliff’s edge where the wild weeds twine,
      And he would not speak or move,
    But his eyes would gaze from his soul at mine,--
    My eyes that would answer without one sign,
      And that were enough for love.

    And I think I should feel as the sun went round
      That he was not there any more,
    But dews were wet on the grass-grown mound
    On the bed of my love lying underground,
      And evening pale on the shore.

        HIC JACET.

    Did you play here, child,
      The whole spring through,
    And smiled and smiled
      And never knew?--
    Where the shade is cool
      And the grass grows deep,
    One that was beautiful
      Lies in his sleep.

    Ah no, child, never
      Will he arise;
    The sleep was for ever
      That closed his eyes.
    And his bed is strewn
      Deep underground,
    He was tired so soon,
      And now sleeps sound.

    When the first birds sing
      We can hear them, dear,
    And in early spring
      There are snowdrops here;
    For the flowers love him
      That lies below,
    And ever above him
      The daisies grow.

    “Shall we look down deep
      Where he hides away?
    Shall we find him asleep?”
      Yes, child, some day.
    But his palace gate
      Is so hard to see,
    We two must wait
      For the angel’s key.


    When I am dead, my spirit
      Shall wander far and free
    Through realms the dead inherit
      Of earth, and sky, and sea;
    Through morning dawn and gloaming,
      By midnight moons at will,
    By shores where the waves are foaming,
      By seas where the waves are still.
    I, following late behind you,
      In wingless sleepless flight,
    Will wander till I find you,
      In sunshine or twilight;
    With silent kiss for greeting
      On lips, and eyes, and head,
    In that strange after-meeting
      Shall love be perfected.
    We shall lie in summer breezes,
      And pass where whirlwinds go,
    And the Northern blast that freezes
      Shall bear us with the snow.
    We shall stand above the thunder,
      And watch the lightnings hurled
    At the misty mountains under,
      Of the dim forsaken world,
    We shall find our footsteps’ traces,
      And passing hand in hand
    By old familiar places,
      We shall laugh, and understand.


    There was a king’s one daughter long ago,
    In ways of summer, where the swallows go,
    For whom no prince was found in any land
    Fair lived and clean to wed so white a hand;
    Who lying wakeful on a moonless night
    Saw the dim ways grow tremulous with light,
    As the sun’s dawning glory, and was aware
    Of a pale woman standing shrouded there,
    With hands locked in another’s hands, whose eyes
    Shone like the starriest wonder of the skies.

    And the pale woman bending o’er her bed
    Unveiled the pity in her eyes, and said,
    “Lo this is he whose blameless days were sweet,
    If thou could’st love him, and thy love was meet.”
    And yet he turned those lustrous brows away,
    And a sad voice seemed evermore to say
    Across the stillness of a world that slept,
    “Not mine, not mine,”--so all night through she wept
    And never heard the singing nightingales.

    Then awhile after when the cloudy sails
    Of many a day had winged across the sky,
    And she had gathered all the mystery
    From a lone hermit in a desert wood,
    He came once more in the night-time and stood
    And set a bridal ring upon her hand
    To be his lady in his father’s land.
    So in a little while her rumour grew
    Till the rough Roman angered--her they slew
    Being too sweet and wise for that rude time
    That murdered pity and made love a crime.

    And the wise men were glad when she was dead,
    For they had failed of reason--she had said,
    “When I come up into my kingdom there
    And my Lord greets me, and I speak him fair,
    Then will I take him by the hand with me
    And lead him down, how far so e’er it be,
    Until we find the old man, Socrates,
    And the fair souls who followed, for all these
    Will be together, and I will bid him take
    Their hands in his and love them for my sake,
    Because of old they brought me near his side.”

    It was the time of even when she died;
    And a fair choir of angels swept along
    The dying afterglow, before their song
    The gates were loosed and through the broken bars
    They bore her skyward under the chill stars,
    Westward--but once alighting as they flew.
    In a deep meadow-land, with soft night-dew,
    They washed the tender wounded throat, and kissed
    The cords that bound her delicate soft wrist,
    And at their kiss the fetters fell in twain
    And the white robe grew faultless of one stain.
    Then onward, ever onward, all night through,
    Till lustreless the moon of morning grew
    In the pale sky where one star lingered yet.

    Some dark-browed fisher, as he cast his net
    And woke a ripple on the waveless calm,
    Looked up and heard the passing angels’ psalm,
    And through the ripple of the water-rings
    He saw the gleam of rainbow-tinted wings
    Drift o’er the glassing bosom of the sea.

    There where the grave of innocence should be,
    High up between the rock ridge and the sky,
    Upon the holy summit Sinai,
    Above the red sea’s summer-tranced wave
    They laid their burden in a marble grave.
    And there her beauty fleeteth not, decay
    Can never steal her loveliness away,
    But like a carven image evermore
    Sleeps on now with her still hands folded o’er
    The saint’s white lily ever blossoming,--
    All that was earthly of so fair a thing.


    Wait not along the shore, they will not come;
    The suns go down beyond the windy seas,
    Those weary sails shall never wing them home
              O’er this white foam;
              No voice from these
    On any landward wind that dies among the trees.

    Gone south, it may be, rudderless, astray,
    Gone where the winds and ocean currents bore,
    Out of all tracks along the sea’s highway
              This many a day,
              To some far shore
    Where never wild seas break, or any fierce winds roar.

    For there are lands ye never recked of yet
    Between the blue of stormless sea and sky,
    Beyond where any suns of yours have set,
              Or these waves fret;
              And loud winds die
    In cloudless summertide, where those far islands lie.

    They will not come! for on the coral shore
    The good ship lies, by little waves caressed,
    All stormy ways and wanderings are o’er,
              No more, no more!
              But long sweet rest,
    In cool green meadow-lands, that lie along the West.

    Or if beneath far fathom depths of waves
    She lies heeled over by the slow tide’s sweep,
    Deep down where never any swift sea raves,
              Through ocean caves,
              A dreaming deep
    Of softly gliding forms, a glimmering world of sleep.

    Then have they passed beyond the outer gate
    Through death to knowledge of all things, and so
    From out the silence of their unkown fate
              They bid us wait,
              Who only know
    That twixt their loves and ours the great seas ebb and flow.



    He dwelt unblinded with eternal truth,
    Through long communion perfected, not once
    Did he misdeem the prelude for the song,
    And looking onward, to his ample view
    That long to-come when he should be no more
    Outweighed the moment of his passing here.
      And he was happy, and his peace was full,
    Having outlived the struggle--not as those
    Who take the world on faith, and rest content
    With the old verdicts, question, wonder not,
    But feeling trusting loving are at peace.
      He sought and found one little germ of truth,
    Made pure his spirit of all chance and change,
    Held fast on things abiding, learned to stand
    On ever loftier summits-till at last
    TI is brow grew starry and his searching eyes
    Blue with the mirrored distance, and he heard
    The everlasting music, Time and space
    Were part with every heart-beat, and almost
    God seemed to whisper in his listening ear.
    What need for him of all your wonder world?
    He made the wonder visible--enough
    This little handful of the common clay
    A seed to sow therein, and then to watch
    The hidden forces quicken into life,
    Till leaf by leaf some flower-star unfolds,
    One flower of all the flowers, because the sun
    Is in the skies, one sun of all the suns.
    Search but the structure of one daisy’s heart
    Your lore has no such miracle as this!--
    And look at all the infinite device,
    The texture of the leaves of all the trees--
    Is there not marvel here enough? And yet
    Ye crave new signs and wonders to convince
    And wander lost upon your devious ways.
    Ye will but gaze upon a part, and grow
    In little wisdom overwise, therefore
    Your partial grasp is barren to conceive
    The thought Infinity, Time wilders yet
    Because ye measure with your finite gauge,
    And Motion maddens through your own unrest.
      He let the world go gladly, hand in hand
    He walked with Reason, till thought strained away
    And God grew nearer,--so he built his mind
    A bridge to span from sun to sun of all
    The starry systems;--like a faint far dream
    The changing pageant of men’s lives unrolled,
    And he stood by serenely,--but with him
    The calm was struggle in a lordlier way,
    Absorbed and dwelling with eternal truth,
    Whose star o’ershone him; till it seemed that life
    And death were one, and from the throbbing brow
    The craving died away,--and now he rests
    With that fair choir from many times whose souls
    Have earned the right of knowledge after death.



    The outline of a shadowy city spread
    Between the garden and the distant hill--
    And o’er yon dome the flame-ring lingers still,
    Set like the glory on an angel’s head:
    The light fades quivering into evening blue
    Behind the pine-tops on Ianiculum;
    The swallow whispered to the swallow “come!”
    And took the sunset on her wings, and flew.

    One rift of cloud the wind caught up suspending
    A ruby path between the earth and sky;
    Those shreds of gold are angel wings ascending
    From where the sorrows of our singers lie;
    They have not found those wandering spirits yet,
    But seek for ever in the red sunset.

    Pass upward angel wings! Seek not for these,
    They sit not in the cypress-planted graves;
    Their spirits wander over moonlit waves,
    And sing in all the singing of the seas;
    And by green places in the spring-tide showers,
    And in the re-awakening of flowers.

    Some pearl-lipped shell still dewy with sea foam
    Bear back to whisper where their feet have trod;
    They are the earth’s for evermore; fly home!
    And lay a daisy at the feet of God.

            II.--IN THE COLISEUM.

    Night wanes; I sit in the ruin alone;
    Beneath, the shadow of arches falls
    From the dim outline of the broken walls;
    And the half-light steals o’er the age-worn stone
    From a midway arch where the moon looks through
    A silver shield in the deep, deep blue.

    This is the hour of ghosts that rise;--
    Line on line of the noiseless dead--
    The clouds above are their awning spread;
    Look into the shadow with moon-dazed eyes,
    You will see the writhing of limbs in pain,
    And the whole red tragedy over again.

    The ghostly galleys ride out and meet,
    The Cæsar sits in his golden chair,
    His fingers toy with his women’s hair,
    The water is blood-red under his feet,--
    Till the owl’s long cry dies down with the night,
    And one star waits for the dawning light.

            III.--IN A CHURCH.

    This was the first shrine lit for Queen Marie;
      And I will sit a little at her feet,
      For winds without howl down the narrow street
    And storm-clouds gather from the westward sea.

    Sweet here to watch the peasant people pray,
      While through the crimson shrouded-window falls
      Low light of even, and the golden walls
    Grow dim and dreamful at the end of day.

    Till from these columns fades their marble sheen,
      And lines grow soft and mystical,--these wraiths
      That watch the service of the changing faiths,
    To Mary mother from the Cyprian queen.

    But aye for me this old-word colonnade
      Seems open to blue summer skies once more,
      These altars pass, and on the polished floor
    I see the lines of chequered light and shade;

    I seem to see the dark-browed Lybian lean
      To cool the tortured burning of the lash,
      I see the fountains as they leap and flash,
    The rustling sway of cypress set between.

    And now yon friar with the bare feet there,
      Is grown the haunting spirit of the place;
      Ah! brown-robed friar with the shaven face,
    The saints are weary of thy mumbled prayer.

    From matins’ bell to the slow day’s decline
      He sits and thumbs his endless round of beads,
      Draws out the dreary cadence of his creeds,
    And nods assent to each familiar line.

    But she the goddess whose white star is set,
      Whose fane was pillaged for this sombre shrine,
      Could she look down upon those lips of thine,
    And hear thee mutter, would she still regret?

    There came a sound of singing on my ear,
      And slowly glided through the far-off door
      A glimmer of grey forms like ghosts, they bore
    A dead man lying on his purple bier.

    Some poor man’s soul, so little candle smoke
      Went curling upwards by the uncased shroud,
      And then a sudden thunder-clap broke loud,
    And drowned the droning of the priest who spoke.

    So all the shuffling feet passed out again
      To lightnings flashing through the wet and wind,
      And while I lingered in the gate behind
    The dead man travelled through the storm and rain.


            I. SUNSET.

    One autumn evening from the west-most steep
    I watched the daylight passing o’er the deep;--
    Down from the setting sun the great waves rolled
    Along its seaward path of molten gold,
    All the dark ocean rocks like capes of brass
    Gleamed where the foam had washed them, and the grass
    Grew glorious with that light, and the long swell
    Line after line that followed, rose and fell
    And shattered into frosted gold, the sky
    Arched splendour over splendour,--isles that lie
    Of crimson cloudland in pale seas of blue
    Red bars of flame with one star peeping through,
    Silent for glory; and the sea’s monotone
    Grew part with silence;--the great world rolled on
    And the sun watched along the waves, until
    The glow died upwards on the western hill,
    And the shade saddened over all the sea
    Reaching away, starward away from me
    Into the twilight and Eternity.

            II. TWILIGHT.

    Late evening now, and overclouded skies
    To-night we shall not see the young moon rise;
    The twilight deepens, and on either hand
    The cliffs are lost in mystic shadowland.
    Only low sound of breakers as they die
    Pale shimmer of waters and a pale still sky
    Where darkness gathers on the moving sea,
    And yet the child laughs light of heart with me!

    Still deeper now;--one little brown-sailed bark
    Glides past us seaward, drifting into dark,
    The only light is on the white sea-foam
    And the lamp by the crucifix: Come home!

            III. STORM.

    Night grows on the heaving ocean
      With its ominous white foam flakes,
    And the dizzy eternal motion
      Where the crest of the wave line breaks,
    With surge and swirl on the shingle
      Blown on by the keen sea wind,
    Surf waves that recoil and mingle
      With the hurrying surf behind.

    Low over the sea line yonder
      The gathering cloud-ranks form,
    With a gleam of the sunset under
      The fringe of the boding storm.
    Along the dim cliffs hollows
      The voice of the water moans,
    Where the wave as it follows follows
      Tears on at the yielding stones.

    The last day gleam departed,
      Wild gusts of a storm blast came,
    And out of the cloud gloom darted
      The flash of the lightning flame,

    And the pale, pale sea grew haggard
      A moment under the flash,
    And the line of the dark rocks staggered
      And reeled from the thunder-crash:

    Long loudly sullenly pealing
      It died in the cliffs afar,--
    And I saw that a woman was kneeling
      At the cross by the harbour bar.

        A LAST WORD.

    Time now to close these pages, far away
      And fainter the old hills of childhood fade,
      The very graves where the young dreams are laid
    Are hidden deep in autumn leaves to-day.

    It may be they have brought thee nearer truth,
      These hasting years, but fain wouldst thou have stayed
      In the old land where trust was unbetrayed,
    And love was honest in the eyes of youth.

    And now it’s winter, and the moon of snow
      Blind mists of doubt, and chill unfriendly rain,
    But somewhere, sometime in the year, we know
      It must be spring and flowertime again.
    Do thou but keep, though winter days be long,
    Thy young love loyal, and thy young faith strong.

                         LONDON AND EDINBURGH

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Poems in Many Lands" ***

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