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Title: Poems, 1914-1919
Author: Baring, Maurice
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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                           POEMS: 1914-1919

                    _OTHER WORKS BY_ MAURICE BARING


                     WHAT I SAW IN RUSSIA
                     A YEAR IN RUSSIA
                     THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE
                     THE MAINSPRINGS OF RUSSIA
                     LANDMARKS IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE
                     RUSSIAN ESSAYS AND STUDIES
                     AN OUTLINE OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE
                     DEAD LETTERS
                     DIMINUTIVE DRAMAS
                     LOST DIARIES
                     FORGET-ME-NOT AND LILY OF THE VALLEY
                     THE GLASS MENDER
                     THE GREY STOCKING
                     COLLECTED POEMS
                     ROUND THE WORLD IN ANY NUMBER OF DAYS
                     R.F.C. H.Q.



                           POEMS: 1914-1919

                                  BY
                                MAURICE
                                BARING

                                LONDON
                             MARTIN SECKER

                   LONDON: MARTIN SECKER (LTD) 1920


                                  To
                                 N.L.



                        CONTENTS


                    In Memoriam A.H., 11
                    Diffugere Nives, 1917, 19
                    Julian Grenfell, 22
                    Pierre, 23
                    Icarus, 24
                    Epitaph, 25
                    August, 1918, 26
                    Vita Nuova, 29
                    Italy, 31
                    Seville, 32
                    Greece, 33
                    Russia, 34
                    A June Night in Russia, 35
                    Harvest in Russia, 36
                    Dostoyevsky, 37
                    Beethoven, 38
                    Mozart, 39
                    Wagner, 40
                    Shelley, 41
                    Phèdre, 42
                    The Wounded, 43
                    Sonnets: 1913-1914, 47
                    Elegy on the Death of Juliet’s Owl, 55
                    Le Prince Errant, 57

                        ERRATA.

                    Page 19, line 13 for, read;
                    Page 25, line 2 for latest, read last
                    Page 43, line 13 for obedient to, read remembering

The Sonnet on page 24 has been translated from the French.



                               1915-1918
                     ἐν Τροίη ἀπόλοντο, ϕιλης ἀπὀ πατρίδος ἀίης



        IN MEMORIAM, A.H.

(_Auberon Herbert, Captain Lord Lucas, R.F.C.; killed November 3,
1916._)

        Νωμᾶται δ’έν ἀτρυγέτῳ χάει


    The wind had blown away the rain
    That all day long had soaked the level plain.
    Against the horizon’s fiery wrack,
    The sheds loomed black.
    And higher, in their tumultuous concourse met,
    The streaming clouds, shot-riddled banners, wet
    With the flickering storm,
    Drifted and smouldered, warm
    With flashes sent
    From the lower firmament.
    And they concealed--
    They only here and there through rifts revealed
    A hidden sanctuary of fire and light,
    A city of chrysolite.

    We looked and laughed and wondered, and I said:
    That orange sea, those oriflammes outspread
    Were like the fanciful imaginings
    That the young painter flings
    Upon the canvas bold,
    Such as the sage and the old
    Make mock at, saying it could never be
    And you assented also, laughingly.
    I wondered what they meant,
    That flaming firmament,
    Those clouds so grey so gold, so wet so warm,
    So much of glory and so much of storm,
    The end of the world, or the end
    Of the war--remoter still to me and you, my friend.

    Alas! it meant not this, it meant not that:
    It meant that now the last time you and I
    Should look at the golden sky,
    And the dark fields large and flat,
    And smell the evening weather,
    And laugh and talk and wonder both together.

    The last, last time. We nevermore should meet
    In France or London street,
    Or fields of home. The desolated space
    Of life shall nevermore
    Be what it was before.
    No one shall take your place.
    No other face
    Can fill that empty frame.
    There is no answer when we call your name.
    We cannot hear your step upon the stair.
    We turn to speak and find a vacant chair.
    Something is broken which we cannot mend.
    God has done more than take away a friend
    In taking you; for all that we have left
    Is bruised and irremediably bereft.
    There is none like you. Yet not that alone
    Do we bemoan;
    But this; that you were greater than the rest,
    And better than the best.

    O liberal heart fast-rooted to the soil,
    O lover of ancient freedom and proud toil,
    Friend of the gipsies and all wandering song,
    The forest’s nursling and the favoured child
    Of woodlands wild--
    O brother to the birds and all things free,
    Captain of liberty!
    Deep in your heart the restless seed was sown;
    The vagrant spirit fretted in your feet;
    We wondered could you tarry long,
    And brook for long the cramping street,
    Or would you one day sail for shores unknown,
    And shake from you the dust of towns, and spurn
    The crowded market-place--and not return?
    You found a sterner guide;
    You heard the guns. Then, to their distant fire,
    Your dreams were laid aside;
    And on that day, you cast your heart’s desire
    Upon a burning pyre;
    You gave your service to the exalted need,
    Until at last from bondage freed,
    At liberty to serve as you loved best,
    You chose the noblest way. God did the rest.

    So when the spring of the world shall shrive our stain,
    After the winter of war,
    When the poor world awakes to peace once more,
    After such night of ravage and of rain,
    You shall not come again.
    You shall not come to taste the old Spring weather,
    To gallop through the soft untrampled heather,
    To bathe and bake your body on the grass.
    We shall be there, alas!
    But not with you. When Spring shall wake the earth,
    And quicken the scarred fields to the new birth,
    Our grief shall grow. For what can Spring renew
    More fiercely for us than the need of you?

    That night I dreamt they sent for me and said
    That you were missing, “missing, missing--dead”:
    I cried when in the morning I awoke,
    And all the world seemed shrouded in a cloak;
    But when I saw the sun,
    And knew another day had just begun,
    I brushed the dream away, and quite forgot
    The nightmare’s ugly blot.
    So was the dream forgot. The dream came true.
    Before the night I knew
    That you had flown away into the air
    Forever. Then I cheated my despair.
    I said
    That you were safe--or wounded--but not dead.
    Alas! I knew
    Which was the false and true.

    And after days of watching, days of lead,
    There came the certain news that you were dead
    You had died fighting, fighting against odds,
    Such as in war the gods
    Æthereal dared when all the world was young;
    Such fighting as blind Homer never sung,
    Nor Hector nor Achilles never knew;
    High in the empty blue.

    High, high, above the clouds, against the setting sun,
    The fight was fought, and your great task was done.

    Of all your brave adventures this the last
    The bravest was and best;
    Meet ending to a long embattled past,
    This swift, triumphant, fatal quest,
    Crowned with the wreath that never perisheth,
    And diadem of honourable death;
    Swift Death aflame with offering supreme
    And mighty sacrifice,
    More than all mortal dream;
    A soaring death, and near to Heaven’s gate;
    Beneath the very walls of Paradise.
    Surely with soul elate,
    You heard the destined bullet as you flew,
    And surely your prophetic spirit knew
    That you had well deserved that shining fate.

    Here is no waste,
    No burning Might-have-been,
    No bitter after-taste,
    None to censure, none to screen,
    Nothing awry, nor anything misspent;
    Only content, content beyond content,
    Which hath not any room for betterment.

    God, Who had made you valiant, strong and swift,
    And maimed you with a bullet long ago,
    And cleft your riotous ardour with a rift,
    And checked your youth’s tumultuous overflow,
    Gave back your youth to you,
    And packed in moments rare and few
    Achievements manifold
    And happiness untold,
    And bade you spring to Death as to a bride,
    In manhood’s ripeness, power and pride,
    And on your sandals the strong wings of youth.
    He let you leave a name
    To shine on the entablatures of truth,
    Forever:
    To sound forever in answering halls of fame.

    For you soared onwards to that world which rags
    Of clouds, like tattered flags,
    Concealed; you reached the walls of chrysolite,
    The mansions white;
    And losing all, you gained the civic crown
    Of that eternal town,
    Wherein you passed a rightful citizen
    Of the bright commonwealth ablaze beyond our ken.

    Surely you found companions meet for you
    In that high place;
    You met there face to face
    Those you had never known, but whom you knew;
    Knights of the Table Round,
    And all the very brave, the very true,
    With chivalry crowned;
    The captains rare,
    Courteous and brave beyond our human air;
    Those who had loved and suffered overmuch,
    Now free from the world’s touch.
    And with them were the friends of yesterday,
    Who went before and pointed you the way;
    And in that place of freshness, light and rest,

    Where Lancelot and Tristram vigil keep
    Over their King’s long sleep,
    Surely they made a place for you,
    Their long-expected guest,
    Among the chosen few,
    And welcomed you, their brother and their friend,
    To that companionship which hath no end.

    And in the portals of the sacred hall
    You hear the trumpet’s call,
    At dawn upon the silvery battlement,
    Re-echo through the deep
    And bid the sons of God to rise from sleep,
    And with a shout to hail
    The sunrise on the city of the Grail:
    The music that proud Lucifer in Hell
    Missed more than all the joys that he forwent.
    You hear the solemn bell
    At vespers, when the oriflammes are furled;
    And then you know that somewhere in the world,
    That shines far-off beneath you like a gem,
    They think of you, and when you think of them
    You know that they will wipe away their tears,
    And cast aside their fears;
    That they will have it so,
    And in no otherwise;
    That it is well with them because they know,
    With faithful eyes,
    Fixed forward and turned upwards to the skies,
    That it is well with you,
    Among the chosen few,
    Among the very brave, the very true.



        DIFFUGERE NIVES, 1917

           _To J. C. S._


    The snows have fled, the hail, the lashing rain,
            Before the Spring.
    The grass is starred with buttercups again,
            The blackbirds sing.

    Now spreads the month that feast of lovely things
            We loved of old.
    Once more the swallow glides with darkling wings
            Against the gold.

    Now the brown bees about the peach trees boom
            Upon the walls;
    And far away beyond the orchard’s bloom
            The cuckoo calls.

    The season holds a festival of light,
            For you, for me,
    The shadows are abroad, there falls a blight
            On each green tree.

    And every leaf unfolding, every flower
            Brings bitter meed;
    Beauty of the morning and the evening hour
            Quickens our need.

    All is reborn, but never any Spring
            Can bring back this;
    Nor any fullness of midsummer bring
            The voice we miss.

    The smiling eyes shall smile on us no more;
            The laughter clear,
    Too far away on the forbidden shore,
            We shall not hear.

    Bereft of these until the day we die,
            We both must dwell;
    Alone, alone, and haunted by the cry:
            “Hail and farewell!”

    Yet when the scythe of Death shall near us hiss
            Through the cold air,
    Then on the shuddering marge of the abyss
            They will be there.

    They will be there to lift us from sheer space
            And empty night;
    And we shall turn and see them face to face
            In the new light.

    So shall we pay the unabated price
            Of their release,
    And found on our consenting sacrifice
            Their lasting peace.

    The hopes that fall like leaves before the wind,
            The baffling waste,
    And every earthly joy that leaves behind
            A mortal taste.

    The uncompleted end of all things dear,
            The clanging door
    Of Death, forever loud with the last fear,
            Haunt them no more.

    Without them the awakening world is dark
            With dust and mire;
    Yet as they went they flung to us a spark,
            A thread of fire.

    To guide us while beneath the sombre skies
            Faltering we tread,
    Until for us like morning stars shall rise
            The deathless dead.



        JULIAN GRENFELL


    Because of you we will be glad and gay,
    Remembering you, we will be brave and strong;
    And hail the advent of each dangerous day,
    And meet the last adventure with a song.
    And, as you proudly gave your jewelled gift,
    We’ll give our lesser offering with a smile,
    Nor falter on that path where, all too swift,
    You led the way and leapt the golden stile.

    Whether new paths, new heights to climb you find,
    Or gallop through the unfooted asphodel,
    We know you know we shall not lag behind,
    Nor halt to waste a moment on a fear;
    And you will speed us onward with a cheer,
    And wave beyond the stars that all is well.



        PIERRE


    I saw you starting for another war,
    The emblem of adventure and of youth,
    So that men trembled, saying: “He forsooth
    Has gone, has gone, and shall return no more.”
    And then out there, they told me you were dead,
    Taken and killed; how was it that I knew,
    Whatever else was true, that was not true?
    And then I saw you pale upon your bed,

    Scarcely two years ago, when you were sent
    Back from the margin of the dim abyss;
    For Death had sealed you with a warning kiss,
    And let you go to meet a nobler fate:
    To serve in fellowship, O fortunate:
    To die in battle with your regiment.



        ICARUS


    Here fell the daring Icarus in his prime,
    He who was brave enough to scale the skies;
    And here bereft of plumes his body lies,
    Leaving the valiant envious of that climb.
    O rare performance of a soul sublime,
    That with small loss such great advantage buys!
    Happy mishap! fraught with so rich a prize,
    That bids the vanquished triumph over time.

    So new a path his youth did not dismay,
    His wings but not his noble heart said nay;
    He had the glorious sun for funeral fire;
    He died upon a high adventure bent;
    The sea his grave, his goal the firmament.
    Great is the tomb, but greater the desire.



        EPITAPH


    Here murdered by the frenzied, not the free,
    Lies the latest monarch of a star-crossed line;
    Anointed Emperor by right divine,
    From Arctic icefields to the Aral sea,
    From Warsaw to the walls of Tartary.
    His country’s travail claimed a high design;
    Too stubborn to respond, he shrank supine
    Before the large demand of destiny.

    Bereft of crown, and throne, and hearth and name,
    Grief lent him majesty, and suffering
    Gave him a more than regal diadem.
    His people kissed the desecrated hem
    Of robes not now of splendour but of shame,
    And knelt before their undiminished King.



        AUGUST, 1918

    (_In a French Village._)


    I hear the tinkling of the cattle bell,
    In the broad stillness of the afternoon;
    High in the cloudless haze the harvest moon
    Is pallid as the phantom of a shell.
    A girl is drawing water from a well,
    I hear the clatter of her wooden shoon;
    Two mothers to their sleeping babies croon,
    And the hot village feels the drowsy spell.

    Sleep, child, the Angel of Death his wings has spread;
    His engines scour the land, the sea, the sky;
    And all the weapons of Hell’s armoury
    Are ready for the blood that is their bread;
    And many a thousand men to-night must die,
    So many that they will not count the Dead.



    POEMS WRITTEN

    BEFORE THE WAR



        VITA NUOVA


    I watched you in the distance tall and pale,
    Like a swift swallow in a pearly sky;
    Your eyelids drooped like petals wearily,
    Your face was like a lily of the vale.
    You had the softness of all Summer days,
    The silver radiance of the twilight hour,
    The mystery of bluebell-haunted ways,
    The passion of the white syringa’s flower.

    I watched you, and I knew that I had found
    The long-delaying, long-expected Spring;
    I knew my heart had found a tune to sing;
    That strength to soar was in my spirit’s wing;
    That life was full of a triumphant sound,
    That death could only be a little thing.

                    Ω Κάλα, ὧ χαρίεσσα

    I saw you by the Summer candlelight:--
    You put to shame the sparkle of the gems,
    The lights, the flashing of the diadems,
    The moon and all the stars of Summer night.
    I saw you in the radiant morning hour:--
    You put to shame the white rose and the red;
    Your chiselled lips, your little lovely head,
    Were fairer than the petals of a flower.

    And on the shaven surface of the lawn,
    You moved like music, and you smiled like dawn,--
    The leaves, the flowers, the dragon-flies, the dew,
    Beside you seemed the stuff of coarser clay;
    And all the glory of the Summer day
    A background for the wonder that was you.



        ITALY


    The almond trees of Tuscany in flower,
    Narcissus and the tulip growing wild;
    White oxen; and like a lily undefiled,
    Beyond the misty plain, the marble tower;
    The roses and the corn upon the hill,
    The Judas-tree against the solid blue;
    The fire-flies, and the downy owl’s too-whoo,
    Thy Aziola, Shelley, plaintive still.

    The lisp of Baiæ’s phosphorescent foam;
    And Venice like a bubble made of dew,
    A shell transfigured with the rainbow’s hue;
    The Appian Way beneath a sullen sky,
    (The shepherd’s pipe is like a seagull’s cry)
    And in a silver rift, eternal Rome.



        SEVILLE


    The orange blossoms in the Alcazar,
    Where roses and syringas are in flower;
    The blinding glory of the morning hour;
    The eyes that gleam behind a twisted bar;
    The women on the balconies,--a smile;
    The barrel-organs, and the blazing heat;
    The awning hanging high across the street;
    A dark mantilla in a sombre aisle.

    A fountain tinkling in a shady court;
    The gold arena of the bull-ring’s feast;
    The coloured crowd acclaiming perilous sport;
    The sudden silence when they hold their breath,
    While the _torero_ gently plays with death,
    And flicks the horns of the tremendous beast.



        GREECE


    The Spring had scattered poppies on the land,
    The Spring was saying her secret to the breeze;
    In the translucent shallows of green seas,
    A fisherman, a trident in his hand,
    Was casting shining fishes to the sand,
    And wading in the water to his knees;
    And still I hear the crickets and the bees,
    The hidden hoofs, the ringing saraband.

    I see the temples above the breaking foam,
    The pillars pink as dawn in the silver dust;
    The Parthenon at sunset large and dim,
    Smouldering against the purple mountain’s crust;
    And far away on the ocean’s blazing rim,
    The phantom ship that brought Ulysses home.



        RUSSIA


    What can the secret link between us be?
    Why does your song’s unresting ebb and flow
    Speak to me in a language that I know?
    Why does the burden of your mystery
    Come like the message of a friend to me?
    Why do I love your vasts of corn or snow,
    The tears and laughter of your sleepless woe,
    The murmur of your brown immensity?

    I cannot say, I only know that when
    I hear your soldiers singing in the street,
    I know it is with you that I would dwell;
    And when I see your peasants reaping wheat,
    Your children playing on the road, your men
    At prayer before a shrine, I wish them well.



        A JUNE NIGHT IN RUSSIA


    A concert. Hark to the prelude’s opening bar!
    Played by the sheep bells tinkling on the hill;
    Dogs bark and frogs are croaking near the mill,
    The watchman’s rattle beats the time afar.
    Like water bubbling in a magic jar,
    The nightingale begins a liquid trill,
    Another answers; and the world’s so still,
    You’d think that you could hear that falling star.

    I scarcely see for light the stars that swim
    Aloof in skies not dark but only dim.
    The women’s voices echo far away.
    And on the road two lovers sing a song:
    They sing the joy of love that lasts a day:
    The sorrow of love that lasts a whole life long.



        HARVEST IN RUSSIA


    The breeze has come at last. The day was long;
    And in the lustrous air the dark bats fly;
    And Hark! It is the reapers passing by,
    I hear the burden of their peaceful song.
    A voice intones; and swift the answering throng
    Take up the theme and build the harmony;
    The music swells and soars into the sky
    And dies away intense, and clear and strong.

    Now through the trees the stately shapes I see
    Of women with the attributes of toil,
    Calm in their sacerdotal majesty;
    And backward, through the drifting mist of years,
    I see the festal rites that blessed the soil,
    As old as the first drop of mortal tears.



        DOSTOYEVSKY


    You healed the sore, you made the fearful brave,
    They bless you for your lasting legacy;
    The balm, the tears, the fragrant charity
    You sought and treasured in your living grave.
    The gifts you humbly took you greatly gave,
    For solace of the soul in agony,
    When through the bars the brutal passions pry,
    And mock the bonds of the celestial slave.

    You wandered in the uttermost abyss;
    And there, amidst the ashes and the dust,
    You spoke no word of anger or of pride;
    You found the prints of steps divine to kiss;
    You looked right upwards to the stars, you cried:
    “_Hosanna to the Lord, for He is just._”



        BEETHOVEN


    More mighty than the hosts of mortal kings,
    I hear the legions gathering to their goal;
    The tramping millions drifting from one pole,
    The march, the counter-march, the flank that swings.
    I hear the beating of tremendous wings,
    The shock of battle and the drums that roll;
    And far away the solemn belfries toll,
    And in the field the careless shepherd sings.

    There is an end unto the longest day.
    The echoes of the fighting die away.
    The evening breathes a benediction mild.
    The sunset fades. There is no need to weep,
    For night has come, and with the night is sleep,
    And now the fiercest foes are reconciled.



        MOZART


    The sunshine, and the grace of falling rain,
    The fluttering daffodil, the lilt of bees,
    The blossom on the boughs of almond trees,
    The waving of the wheat upon the plain--
    And all that knows not effort, strife or strain,
    And all that bears the signature of ease,
    The plunge of ships that dance before the breeze
    The flight across the twilight of the crane:
    And all that joyous is, and young, and free,
    That tastes of morning and the laughing surf;
    The dawn, the dew, the newly turned-up turf,
    The sudden smile, the unexpressive prayer,
    The artless art, the untaught dignity,--
    You speak them in the passage of an air.



        WAGNER


    O strange awakening to a world of gloom,
    And baffled moonbeams and delirious stars,
    Of souls that moan behind forbidden bars,
    And waving forests swept by wings of doom;
    Of heroes falling in unhappy fight,
    And winged messengers from eyries dim;
    And mountains ringed with flame, and shapes that swim
    In the deep river’s green translucent night.

    O restless soul, for ever seeking bliss,
    Thirsty for ever and unsatisfied,
    Whether the woodland starts to the echoing horn,
    Or dying Tristram moans by shores forlorn,
    Or Siegfried rides through fire to wake his bride,
    And shakes the whirling planets with a kiss.



        SHELLEY


    Singer of cloud and star and rushing stream,
    Let me bring but one garland to thy shrine,
    For when a boy I drank of the dews divine
    That in thy rainbow-coloured chalice gleam.
    I scaled the silver ladder of thy dream,
    And dizzy with the wonder of that wine,
    I heard the song, and saw the eyes that shine
    Unveiled, within the sanctuary supreme.

    Then, like Actæon I became the prey,
    The hunted quarry of remorseless hounds;
    Hark! in the distance I can hear them bay!
    But in my heart the vision and the voice
    Endure; and though they slay me, I rejoice--
    I saw that light, I heard those starry sounds.



        PHÈDRE


    Her gesture is the soaring of a hymn,
    Her voice has robbed the spoil of Hybla’s bees;
    And like the frozen music of a frieze,
    Calm, as she moves majestic, every limb.
    Clear as a crystal beaker’s sounding rim,
    Her heart gives voice to sobbing melodies,
    And her frame trembles, swept by passion’s breeze,
    And sultry clouds her blazing eyes bedim.

    A faery caught in her own fatal snare,
    A wounded eagle struggling to be free,
    Whose Kingdom was the snow and the sun’s flame
    More queenly than all empresses is she,
    Discrowned albeit, defeated and in despair;
    The stricken lily puts the rose to shame.



        THE WOUNDED


    The wounded lie and groan upon the plain;
    And one there is whom it is vain to lift;
    So give him water. It is the last gift,
    And very soon he shall not thirst again.
    All white and gold the Chief with a troop of horse
    Trots by. The soldier opens smiling eyes;
    And at the latest gasp of life he cries:
    “Long live!” with all his feeble flickering force.
    Before he said his say he died content.
    And we, the wounded on life’s battlefield,
    Enrolled and sent to war to fight and die,
    When conquered by our mortal wound, we cry
    “Long live!” obedient to our sacrament,
    When God with all His universe rides by.

    Manchuria, 1904.



        SONNETS: 1913-1914



        I


    I saw you smiling over broken flowers,
    Yourself a flower unbroken and more rare
    Than petals that make sweet the moonlit air,
    And load with scent the Summer’s golden hours.
    Your perfect head, the ripple of your hair,
    Like the soft sun that shines through April showers,
    Leans from a fairyland of twinkling towers,
    And beckons me to an enchanted stair.

    Your eyes, your eyes, divide me from my sleep;
    The echo of your laughter makes me weep,
    You fill the measureless world, you frailest thing!
    And in the silence of my deepest dream,
    Your beauty wanders like a whispering stream,
    And brushes past me like an angel’s wing.



        II


    To-night the thoughts of you drift round my bed
    Like thistledown; I weave them into rhymes;
    And as I fall to sleep I hear their chimes
    Building sweet music high above my head,
    And prayers and poems all in praise of you;
    And, happy in my fading dream, I say:
    “There will be something ready with the day
    To send to her, to speak for me, to sue.”

    But when the morning comes, the nimble words
    Have fled into the air like frightened birds,
    That answer my soft whistle with a scream;
    And only the recalcitrant thoughts remain;
    The baffled blind desire to find again
    The accents that were docile in my dream.



        III


    I think God made your soul for better things
    Than idly laughing with the noisy crew.
    I think He meant the spirit that is you
    To soar above the world with silver wings;
    To hear the music of celestial strings;
    To keep the flame within you always true
    Unto your own high pole; and pure as dew
    The fountain that within you sometimes sings.

    I think you are an exile in the noise
    Of busy markets; alien to the toys
    That dazzle others, firing them with greed;
    And, like a seagull, lost upon the land,
    You long for the large breakers and the sand,
    The strong salt air, the surf, the drifting weed.



        IV


    The world was waiting for the thunder’s birth,
    To-day, and cloud was piled on sullen cloud:
    Then strong, and straight, and clean, and cool, and loud
    The rain came down, and drenched the stifling earth.
    The heavy clouds have lifted and rolled by;
    The riotous wet leaves with music ring,
    And now the nightingale begins to sing,
    And tender as a rose-leaf is the sky.

    I wonder if some day this stifling care
    That weighs upon my heart will fall in showers?
    I wonder if the hot and heavy hours
    Will roll away and leave such limpid air,
    And if my soul will riot in the rain,
    And sing as gladly as that bird again?



        V


    I picked this cornflower in the rustling rye,
    These briar roses from a luscious hedge,
    This purple iris in the woodland sedge.
    It was the quaver of the dragon-fly,
    Dropped like a piece of azure from the sky,
    That led me to that pool amongst the trees--
    And there I lay and listened to the bees,
    And murmured sadly to myself: “Good-bye.”

    Good-bye! these perished petals that I send
    Will tell you that this truly is the end;
    Good-bye to you and to the golden hours.
    These briar roses grew beside the stream--
    No, no! I shall not send you faded flowers--
    I need them for the grave of my lost dream.

    Sosnofka, June 1914



        1914-1915



        ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF JULIET’S OWL


    Juliet has lost her little downy owl,
    The bird she loved more than all other birds
    He was a darling bird, so white, so wise,
    Like a monk hooded in a snowy cowl,
    With sun-shy scholar’s eyes,
    He hooted softly in diminished thirds;
    And when he asked for mice,
    He took refusal with a silent pride--
    And never pleaded twice.
    He was a wondrous bird, as dignified
    As any Diplomat
    That ever sat
    By the round table of a Conference.

    He was delicious, lovable and soft.
    He understood the meaning of the night,
    And read the riddle of the smiling stars.
    When he took flight,
    And roosted high aloft,
    Beyond the shrubbery and the garden fence,
    He would return and seek his safer bars,
    All of his own accord; and he would plead
    Forgiveness for the trouble and the search,
    And for the anxious heart he caused to bleed,
    And settle once again upon his perch,
    And utter a propitiating note,
    And take the heart
    Of Juliet by his pretty winning ways.
    His was the art
    Of pleasing without effort easily.
    His fluffy throat,
    His sage round eye,
    Sad with old knowledge, bright with young amaze,
    Where are they now? ah! where?
    Perchance in the pale halls of Hecate,
    Or in the poplars of Elysium,
    He wanders careless and completely free.
    But in the regions dumb,
    And in the pallid air,
    He will not find a sweet, caressing hand
    Like Juliet’s; not in all that glimmering land
    Shall he behold a silver planet rise
    As splendid as the light of Juliet’s eyes.
    Therefore in weeping with you, Juliet,
    Oh! let us not forget,
    To drop with sprigs of rosemary and rue,
    A not untimely tear
    Upon the bier,
    Of him who lost so much in losing you.



        LE PRINCE ERRANT


    I am the Prince of unremembered towers
    Destroyed before the birth of Babylon;
    And I was there when all the forest shone
    While pale Medea culled her deadly flowers.
    I heard the iron weeping of the King,
    When Orpheus sang to life his buried joy;
    And I beheld upon the walls of Troy
    The woman who made of death a little thing.

    I heard the horn that shook the mountain tall,
    When Roland lay a-dying, and the call
    That fevered Tristram whispered o’er the sea,
    And brought Iseult of Cornwall to his side.
    I saw the Queen of Egypt like a bride
    Go glorious to her dead Mark Antony.

    CENTER
    Printed in England
    at The Westminster Press
    411a Harrow Road
    London W. 9





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