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Title: Selections from Modern Poets - Made by J. C. Squire - Sassoon, Joyce, Graves...
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Language: English
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SELECTIONS FROM MODERN POETS

MADE BY J. C. SQUIRE

LONDON: MARTIN SECKER

1921



PREFATORY NOTE


No Poet represented in this book was over fifty when, in 1919, I began
to compile it. The eldest of them all was born in 1870.

Many good and some great living poets are therefore missing from its
pages. Nothing is here by Mr Hardy or Mr Bridges, by Mr A. E. Housman,
Mr Yeats, _Æ,_ Mr Binyon, Mr Hewlett, Mr Herbert Trench, Mr Gosse, Mr
Austin Dobson, Mr Doughty, Mr Kipling, Sir Henry Newbolt, Mrs Meynell,
Mrs Woods, Mr Wilfrid Blunt, and others whose names must appear in
any comprehensive anthology from living poets. The date, 1870, was
arbitrarily chosen: so would any other date have been. But some date I
had to fix, for my object was to illustrate what many of us think an
exceptional recent flowering.

I do not propose to analyse the tendencies, in idea and in method,
exhibited in the poems here collected. These things are always
better seen at a distance; and anyhow the materials are here for
the production of an analysis by the reader himself, if he is eager
for one. But I will express one opinion, and call attention to one
phenomenon. The opinion is that the majority of the poems in this book
have merit and that many more could have been printed without lowering
the standard. And the phenomenon is the simultaneous appearance--the
result of underlying currents of thought and feeling--of a very large
number of poets who write only or mainly in lyrical forms. Several
living poets of the highest repute have won their reputation solely on
short poems, and there are, and have been, a very large number indeed
who have written one or two good poems.

The better production of our generation has been mainly lyrical and
it has been widely diffused. Where is the ambitious work on a large
scale? Where is the twentieth century poet who is fulfilling the usual
functions of the greatest poets: to display human life in all its range
and variety, or to exercise a clear and powerful influence on the
thought of mankind with regard to the main problems of our existence?
These questions are asked; possibly Echo may give its traditional and
ironic answer.

There are several observations, however, which should be made. One is
that the great doctrinal poets have not always become widely recognised
as such in their own prime, their general vogue being posthumous.
Another is that we cannot possibly tell what a poet now living and
young may or may not do before he dies. But though I have my own views
on this subject I do not think that the age, even if admitted to be
purely lyrical, stands in need of defence. It is of no use asking a
poetical renascence to conform to type, for there isn't any type.
There are marked differences in the features of all those English
poetical movements which have chiefly contributed to the body of our
"immortal" poetry. In the Elizabethan age we had the greatest diversity
of production: a multitude of great and small men, with much genius,
or but a spark of it blown to life by the favourable wind, produced
works in every form and on every scale. The age of Herbert and Vaughan,
of Crashaw, Herrick, Marvell, Carew, Suckling, Lovelace, Corbet,
Habington, is memorable almost solely for its lyrical work. The era
of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats was an age during
which a vast amount of great poetry was written by a few great poets;
there was very little healthy undergrowth. Should our literary age be
remembered by posterity solely as an age during which fifty men had
written lyrics of some durability for their truth and beauty, it would
not be remembered with contempt. It is in that conviction that I have
compiled this anthology.

It is irritating to feel that even within its own limits it does
not appear to myself--not to mention others--as good or as nearly
representative as it might have been. Permission could not be obtained
to print Mr Masefield's _Biography_ and his _August 1914,_ which I
personally happen to prefer to any of his shorter works. Since the time
in 1919-20 when I was compiling the book two volumes have come out from
which I should like to have made large seleetions: Edmund Blunden's
_The Waggoner_ and the late Wilfrid Owen's _Poems._ Each of these poets
is inadequately represented here; and a few things by others, who do
not appear here at all, came to my notice when it was too late to put
them in.

I have to thank the living poets from whose works I have drawn for
permitting me to use everything I wanted. I am grateful to Mrs
Brooke and Rupert Brooke's literary executor, Mr Edward Marsh (whose
"Georgian" collections have been a great stimulus and help to me) for
permission to use a selection from Brooke; to Mrs J. E. Flecker for
poems by her husband; to Lady Desborough for the poems by her son,
Julian Grenfell; to Lord Dunsany for the poems by Francis Ledwidge; to
Mrs Thomas Macdonagh and Mrs Joseph Plunkett for the poems by their
husbands; to Mrs Owen for her son Wilfrid Owen's _Strange Meeting;_
to Professor W. R. Sorley for the poems by his son, Charles Sorley;
to Lady Glenconner for those by her son, Edward Wyndham Tennant; to
Mrs Edward Thomas for the poems (published too late for him ever to
know-how people would admire them) by Edward Thomas.

Finally, almost every publisher in the kingdom has assisted the book
with permission to reprint copyright poems. The full list of publishers
and works is as follows: Messrs Bell (Edward L. Davison, _Poems_);
Blackwell (E. Wyndham Tennant, _Worple Flit_); Burns' Oates and
Washbourne (G. K. Chesterton, _Poems_); Cambridge University Press (C.
H. Sorley, _Marlborough and other Poems_); Chatto and Windus (Robert
Nichols, _Ardours and Endurances, Aurelia,_ Wilfred Owen, _Poems_);
Collins (F. Brett Young, _Poems_); Constable (Gordon Bottomley,
_Annual of New Poetry,_ 1917, W. de la Mare, _Collected Poems_);
Dent (G. K. Chesterton, _The Wild Knight_); Duckworth (H. Belloc,
_Poems,_ D. H. Lawrence, _Love Poems,_ Sturge Moore, _Collected Poems_);
Fifield (W. H. Davies, _Collected Poems_); Heffer (A. Y. Campbell,
_Poems_); Heinemann (Robert Graves, _Fairies and Fusiliers,_ John
Masefield, _Lollingdon Downs,_ Siegfried Sassoon, _The Old Huntsman,
Counter-Attack, War Poems_); Herbert Jenkins (Francis Ledwidge,
_Poems_); Lane (Lascelles Abercrombie, _Emblems of Love_); Macmillan
(Ralph Hodgson, _Poems,_ James Stephens, _Songs from the Clay_);
Elkin Mathews (Gordon Bottomley, _Chambers of Imagery,_ James Joyce,
_Chamber Music,_ Sturge Moore, _The Vinedresser_); Maunsel and Roberts
(Padraic Colum, _Poems,_ Seumas O'Sullivan, _The Twilight People,_
Joseph Plunkett, _Poems_); Methuen (G. K. Chesterton, _The Ballad of
the White Horse,_ W. H. Davies, _The Bird of Paradise,_ I. A. Williams,
_Poems_); Palmer (Francis Burrows, _The Green Knight_); Poetry Bookshop
(Frances Cornford, _Poems,_ Harold Monro, _Children of Love, Strange
Meetings_); Seeker (Martin Armstrong, _The Buzzards,_ Maurice Baring,
_Poems_ 1914-1919, J. E. Flecker, _Collected Poems,_ Robert Graves,
_Country Sentiment,_ Edward Shanks, _The Queen of China_); Selwyn and
Blount (Robin Flower, _Hymensea,_ John Freeman, _Poems New and Old,_
Edward Thomas, _Collected Poems_); Sidgwick & Jackson (Edmund Blunden,
_The Waggoner,_ Rupert Brooke, _Collected Poems,_ John Drinkwater,
_Olton Pools,_ R. C. K. Ensor, _Odes,_ Ivor Gurney, _Severn and Somme,_
R. Macaulay, _The Two Blind Countries,_ W. J. Turner, _The Hunter, The
Dark Fire_); Talbot Press and Fisher Unwin (T. Macdonagh, _Poems_).

                                                                J. C. SQUIRE.



    LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE



    MARRIAGE SONG


    Come up, dear chosen morning, come,
    Blessing the air with light,
    And bid the sky repent of being dark:
    Let all the spaces round the world be white,
    And give the earth her green again.
    Into new hours of beautiful delight,
    Out of the shadow where she has lain,
    Bring the earth awake for glee,
    Shining with dews as fresh and clear
    As my beloved's voice upon the air.
    For now, O morning chosen of all days, on thee
    A wondrous duty lies:
    There was an evening that did loveliness foretell;
    Thence upon thee, O chosen morn, it fell
    To fashion into perfect destiny
    The radiant prophecy.
    For in an evening of young moon, that went
    Filling the moist air with a rosy fire,
    I and my beloved knew our love;
    And knew that thou, O morning, wouldst arise
    To give us knowledge of achieved desire.
    For, standing stricken with astonishment,
    Half terrified in the delight,
    Even as the moon did into clear air move
    And made a golden light,
    Lo there, croucht up against it, a dark hill,
    A monstrous back of earth, a spine
    Of hunchèd rock, furred with great growth of pine,
    Lay like a beast, snout in its paws, asleep;
    Yet in its sleeping seemed it miserable,
    As though strong fear must always keep
    Hold of its heart, and drive its blood in dream.
    Yea, for to our new love, did it not seem,
    That dark and quiet length of hill,
    The sleeping grief of the world?--Out of it we
    Had like imaginations stept to be
    Beauty and golden wonder; and for the lovely fear
    Of coming perfect joy, had changed
    The terror that dreamt there I
    And now the golden moon had turned
    To shining white, white as our souls that burned
    With vision of our prophecy assured:
    Suddenly white was the moon; but she
    At once did on a woven modesty
    Of cloud, and soon went in obscured:
    And we were dark, and vanisht that strange hill.
    But yet it was not long before
    There opened in the sky a narrow door,
    Made with pearl lintel and pearl sill;
    And the earth's night seem'd pressing there,--
    All as a beggar on some festival would peer,--
    To gaze into a room of light beyond,
    The hidden silver splendour of the moon.
    Yea, and we also, we
    Long gazed wistfully
    Towards thee, O morning, come at last,
    And towards the light that thou wilt pour upon us soon!


    II

    O soul who still art strange to sense,
    Who often against beauty wouldst complain,
    Doubting between joy and pain
    If like the startling touch of something keen
    Against thee, it hath been
    To follow from an upland height
    The swift sun hunting rain
    Across the April meadows of a plain,
    Until the fields would flash into the air
    Their joyous green, like emeralds alight
    Or when in the blue of night's mid-noon
    The burning naked moon
    Draws to a brink of cloudy weather near,
    A breadth of snow, firm and soft as a wing,
    Stretcht out over a wind that gently goes,--
    Through the white sleep of snowy cloud there grows
    An azure-border'd shining ring,
    The gleaming dream of the approaching joy of her;--
    What now wilt thou do, Soul? What now,
    If with such things as these troubled thou wert?
    How wilt thou now endure, or how
    Not now be strangely hurt?--When
    utter beauty must come closer to thee
    Than even anger or fear could be;
    When thou, like metal in a kiln, must lie
    Seized by beauty's mightily able flame;
    Enjoyed by beauty as by the ruthless glee
    Of an unescapable power;
    Obeying beauty as air obeys a cry;
    Yea, one thing made of beauty and thee,
    As steel and a white heat are made the same!
    --Ah, but I know how this infirmity
    Will fail and be not, no, not memory,
    When I begin the marvellous hour.
    This only is my heart's strain'd eagerness,
    Long waiting for its bliss.--
    But from those other fears, from those
    That keep to Love so close,
    From fears that are the shadow of delight,
    Hide me, O joys; make them unknown to-night!


    III

    Thou bright God that in dream earnest to me last night,
    Thou with the flesh made of a golden light,
    Knew I not thee, thee and thy heart,
    Knew I not well, God, who thou wert?
    Yea, and my soul divinely understood
    The light that was beneath thee a ground,
    The golden light that cover'd thee round,
    Turning my sleep to a fiery morn,
    Was as a heavenly oath there sworn
    Promising me an immortal good:
    Well I knew thee, God of Marriages, thee and thy flame!
    Ah, but wherefore beside thee came
    That fearful sight of another mood?
    Why in thy light, to thy hand chained,
    Towards me its bondage terribly strained,
    Why came with thee that dreadful hound,
    The wild hound Fear, black, ravenous, and gaunt?
    Why him with thee should thy dear light surround?
    Why broughtest thou that beast to haunt
    The blissful footsteps of my golden dream?--
    All shadowy black the body dread,
    All frenzied fire the head,--
    The hunger of its mouth a hollow crimson flame,
    The hatred in its eyes a blaze
    Fierce and green, stabbing the ruddy glaze,
    And sharp white jetting fire the teeth snarl'd at me,
    And white the dribbling rage of froth,--
    A throat that gaped to bay and paws working violently,
    Yet soundless all as a winging moth;
    Tugging towards me, famishing for my heart;--
    Even while thou, O golden god, wert still
    Looking the beautiful kindness of thy will
    Into my soul, even then must I be,
    With thy bright promise looking at me,
    Then bitterly of that hound afraid?--
    Darkness, I know, attendeth bright,
    And light comes not but shadow comes:
    And heart must know, if it know thy light,
    Thy wild hound Fear, the shadow of love's delight.
    Yea, is it thus? Are we so made
    Of death and darkness, that even thou,
    O golden God of the joys of love,
    Thy mind to us canst only prove,
    The glorious devices of thy mind,
    By so revealing how thy journeying here
    Through this mortality, doth closely bind
    Thy brightness to the shadow of dreadful Fear?--
    Ah no, it shall not be! Thy joyous light
    Shall hide me from the hunger of fear to-night.


    IV

    For wonderfully to live I now begin.
    So that the darkness which accompanies
    Our being here, is fasten'd up within
    The power of light that holdeth me;
    And from these shining chains, to see
    My joy with bold misliking eyes,
    The shrouded figure will not dare arise.
    For henceforth, from to-night,
    I am wholly gone into the bright
    Safety of the beauty of love:
    Not only all my waking vigours plied
    Under the searching glory of love,
    But knowing myself with love all satisfied
    Even when my life is hidden in sleep;
    As high clouds, to themselves that keep
    The moon's white company, are all possest
    Silverly with the presence of their guest;
    Or as a darken'd room
    That hath within it roses, whence the air
    And quietness are taken everywhere
    Deliciously by sweet perfume.


    EPILOGUE

    What shall we do for Love these days?
    How shall we make an altar-blaze
    To smite the horny eyes of men
    With the renown of our Heaven,
    And to the unbelievers prove
    Our service to our dear god, Love?
    What torches shall we lift above
    The crowd that pushes through the mire,
    To amaze the dark heads with strange fire?
    I should think I were much to blame,
    If never I held some fragrant flame
    Above the noises of the world,
    And openly 'mid men's hurrying stares,
    Worshipt before the sacred fears
    That are like flashing curtains furl'd
    Across the presence of our lord Love.
    Nay, would that I could fill the gaze
    Of the whole earth with some great praise
    Made in a marvel for men's eyes,
    Some tower of glittering masonries,
    Therein such a spirit flourishing
    Men should see what my heart can sing:
    All that Love hath done to me
    Built into stone, a visible glee;
    Marble carried to gleaming height
    As moved aloft by inward delight;
    Not as with toil of chisels hewn,
    But seeming poised in a mighty tune.
    For of all those who have been known
    To lodge with our kind host, the sun,
    I envy one for just one thing:
    In Cordova of the Moors
    There dwelt a passion-minded King,
    Who set great bands of marble-hewers
    To fashion his heart's thanksgiving
    In a tall palace, shapen so
    All the wondering world might know
    The joy he had of his Moorish lass.
    His love, that brighter and larger was
    Than the starry places, into firm stone
    He sent, as if the stone were glass
    Fired and into beauty blown.

    Solemn and invented gravely
    In its bulk the fabric stood,
    Even as Love, that trusteth bravely
    In its own exceeding good
    To be better than the waste
    Of time's devices; grandly spaced,
    Seriously the fabric stood.
    But over it all a pleasure went
    Of carven delicate ornament,
    Wreathing up like ravishment,
    Mentioning in sculptures twined
    The blitheness Love hath in his mind;
    And like delighted senses were
    The windows, and the columns there
    Made the following sight to ache
    As the heart that did them make.
    Well I can see that shining song
    Flowering there, the upward throng
    Of porches, pillars and windowed walls,
    Spires like piercing panpipe calls,
    Up to the roof's snow-cloud flight;
    All glancing in the Spanish light
    White as water of arctic tides,
    Save an amber dazzle on sunny sides.
    You had said, the radiant sheen
    Of that palace might have been
    A young god's fantasy, ere he came
    His serious worlds and suns to frame;
    Such an immortal passion
    Quiver'd among the slim hewn stone.
    And in the nights it seemed a jar
    Cut in the substance of a star,
    Wherein a wine, that will be poured
    Some time for feasting Heaven, was stored.

    But within this fretted shell,
    The wonder of Love made visible,
    The King a private gentle mood
    There placed, of pleasant quietude.
    For right amidst there was a court,
    Where always musked silences
    Listened to water and to trees;
    And herbage of all fragrant sort,--Lavender,
    lad's-love, rosemary,
    Basil, tansy, centaury,--
    Was the grass of that orchard, hid
    Love's amazements all amid.
    Jarring the air with rumour cool,
    Small fountains played into a pool
    With sound as soft as the barley's hiss
    When its beard just sprouting is;
    Whence a young stream, that trod on moss,
    Prettily rimpled the court across.
    And in the pool's clear idleness,
    Moving like dreams through happiness,
    Shoals of small bright fishes were;
    In and out weed-thickets bent
    Perch and carp, and sauntering went
    With mounching jaws and eyes a-stare;
    Or on a lotus leaf would crawl,
    A brinded loach to bask and sprawl,
    Tasting the warm sun ere it dipt
    Into the water; but quick as fear
    Back his shining brown head slipt
    To crouch on the gravel of his lair,
    Where the cooled sunbeams broke in wrack,
    Spilt shatter'd gold about his back.

    So within that green-veiled air,
    Within that white-walled quiet, where
    Innocent water thought aloud,--
    Childish prattle that must make
    The wise sunlight with laughter shake
    On the leafage overbowed,--
    Often the King and his love-lass
    Let the delicious hours pass.
    All the outer world could see
    Graved and sawn amazingly
    Their love's delighted riotise,
    Fixt in marble for all men's eyes;
    But only these twain could abide
    In the cool peace that withinside
    Thrilling desire and passion dwelt;
    They only knew the still meaning spelt
    By Love's flaming script, which is
    God's word written in ecstasies.

    And where is now that palace gone,
    All the magical skill'd stone,
    All the dreaming towers wrought
    By Love as if no more than thought
    The unresisting marble was?
    How could such a wonder pass?
    Ah, it was but built in vain
    Against the stupid horns of Rome,
    That pusht down into the common loam
    The loveliness that shone in Spain.
    But we have raised it up again!
    A loftier palace, fairer far,
    Is ours, and one that fears no war.
    Safe in marvellous walls we are;
    Wondering sense like builded fires,
    High amazement of desires,
    Delight and certainty of love,
    Closing around, roofing above
    Our unapproacht and perfect hour
    Within the splendours of love's power.



    MARTIN ARMSTRONG



    THE BUZZARDS


    When evening came and the warm glow grew deeper,
      And every tree that bordered the green meadows
      And in the yellow cornfields every reaper
    And every corn-shock stood above their shadows
    Flung eastward from their feet in longer measure,
    Serenely far there swam in the sunny height
    A buzzard and his mate who took their pleasure
    Swirling and poising idly in golden light.

    On great pied motionless moth-wings borne along,
      So effortless and so strong,
    Cutting each other's paths together they glided,
    Then wheeled asunder till they soared divided
    Two valleys' width (as though it were delight
    To part like this, being sure they could unite
    So swiftly in their empty, free dominion),
    Curved headlong downward, towered up the sunny steep,
    Then, with a sudden lift of the one great pinion,
    Swung proudly to a curve, and from its height
    Took half a mile of sunlight in one long sweep.

    And we, so small on the swift immense hillside,
    Stood tranced, until our souls arose uplifted
      On those far-sweeping, wide,
    Strong curves of flight--swayed up and hugely drifted,
    Were washed, made strong and beautiful in the tide
    Of sun-bathed air. But far beneath, beholden
    Through shining deeps of air, the fields were golden
    And rosy burned the heather where cornfields ended.

    And still those buzzards whirled, while light withdrew
    Out of the vales and to surging slopes ascended,
    Till the loftiest flaming summit died to blue.



    MAURICE BARING



    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;
    But 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 a year 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.



    HILAIRE BELLOC



    THE SOUTH COUNTRY


    When I am living in the Midlands
      That are sodden and unkind,
    I light my lamp in the evening:
      My work is left behind;
    And the great hills of the South Country
      Come back into my mind.

    The great hills of the South Country
      They stand along the sea;
    And it's there walking in the high woods
      That I could wish to be,
    And the men that were boys when I was a boy
      Walking along with me.

    The men that live in North England
      I saw them for a day;
    Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
      Their skies are fast and grey;
    From their castle-walls a man may see
      The mountains far away.

    The men that live in West England
      They see the Severn strong,
    A-rolling on rough water brown
      Light aspen leaves along.
    They have the secret of the Rocks,
      And the oldest kind of song.

    But the men that live in the South Country
      Are the kindest and most wise,
    They get their laughter from the loud surf,
      And the faith in their happy eyes
    Comes surely from our Sister the Spring
      When over the sea she flies;
    The violets suddenly bloom at her feet,
      She blesses us with surprise.

    I never get between the pines
      But I smell the Sussex air;
    Nor I never come on a belt of sand
      But my home is there.
    And along the sky the line of the Downs
      So noble and so bare.

    A lost thing could I never find,
      Nor a broken thing mend:
    And I fear I shall be all alone
      When I get towards the end.
    Who will there be to comfort me
      Or who will be my friend?

    I will gather and carefully make my friends
      Of the men of the Sussex Weald,
    They watch the stars from silent folds,
      They stiffly plough the field,
    By them and the God of the South Country
      My poor soul shall be healed.

    If I ever become a rich man,
      Of if ever I grow to be old,
    I will build a house with deep thatch
      To shelter me from the cold,
    And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
      And the story of Sussex told.

    I will hold my house in the high wood
      Within a walk of the sea,
    And the men that were boys when I was a boy
      Shall sit and drink with me.



    THE NIGHT


    Most holy Night, that still dost keep
    The keys of all the doors of sleep,
    To me when my tired eyelids close
        Give thou repose.

    And let the far lament of them
    That chant the dead day's requiem
    Make in my ears, who wakeful lie,
        Soft lullaby.

    Let them that knaw the horned moth
    By my bedside their memories clothe.
    So shall I have new dreams and blest
        In my brief rest.

    Fold your great wings about my face,
    Hide dawning from my resting-place,
    And cheat me with your false delight,
        Most Holy Night.



    SONG

    INVITING THE INFLUENCE OF A YOUNG
    LADY UPON THE OPENING YEAR.


    I

    You wear the morning like your dress
      And all with mastery crowned;
    When as you walk your loveliness.
      Goes shining all around.
    Upon your secret, smiling way
      Such new contents were found,
    The Dancing Loves made holiday
      On that delightful ground.


    II

    Then summon April forth, and send
      Commandment through the flowers;
    About our woods your grace extend
      A queen of careless hours.
    For oh, not Vera veiled in vain,
      Nor Dian's sacred Ring,
    With all her royal nymphs in train
      Could so lead on the Spring.



    THE FALSE HEART


    I said to Heart, "How goes it?"
                      Heart replied:
    "Right as a Ribstone Pippin!"
                      But it lied.



    HANNAKER MILL (1913)


    Sally is gone that was so kindly;
      Sally is gone from Hannaker Hill,
    And the briar grows ever since then so blindly;
      And ever since then the clapper is still...
      And the sweeps have fallen from Hannaker Mill.

    Hannaker Hill is in desolation;
      Ruin a-top and a field unploughed.
    And Spirits that call on a falling nation,
      Spirits that loved her calling aloud,
      Spirits abroad in a windy cloud.

    Spirits that call and no one answers--
      Hannaker's down and England's done.
    Wind and thistle for pipe and dancers,
      And never a ploughman under the sun:
      Never a ploughman, never a one.



    TARANTELLA


    Do you remember an Inn,
    Miranda?
    Do you remember an Inn?
    And the tedding and the spreading
    Of the straw for a bedding,
    And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
    And the wine that tasted of the tar?
    And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
    (Under the dark of the vine verandah)?
    Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
    Do you remember an Inn?
    And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
    Who hadn't got a penny,
    And who weren't paying any,
    And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
    And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
    Of the clap
    Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
    Of the girl gone chancing,
    Glancing,
    Dancing,
    Backing and advancing,
    Snapping of the clapper to the spin
    Out and in--
    And the Ting, Tong, Tang of the guitar!
    Do you remember an Inn,
    Miranda?
    Do you remember an Inn?

        Never more;
        Miranda,
        Never more.
        Only the high peaks hoar:
        And Aragon a torrent at the door.
        No sound
        In the walls of the Halls where falls
        The tread
        Of the feet of the dead to the ground.
        No sound:
        Only the boom
        Of the far Waterfall like Doom.



    ON A DEAD HOSTESS


    Of this bad world the loveliest and the best
    Has smiled, and said good-night, and gone to rest.



    EDMUND BLUNDEN



    ALMSWOMEN


    At Quincey's moat the squandering village ends,
    And there in the almshouse dwell the dearest friends
    Of all the village, two old dames that cling
    As close as any trueloves in the spring.
    Long, long ago they passed three-score-and-ten,
    And in this doll's house lived together then;
    All things they have in common being so poor,
    And their one fear, Death's shadow at the door.
    Each sundown makes them mournful, each sunrise
    Brings back the brightness in their failing eyes.

    How happy go the rich fair-weather days
    When on the roadside folk stare in amaze
    At such a honeycomb of fruit and flowers
    As mellows round their threshold; what long hours
    They gloat upon their steepling hollyhocks,
    Bee's balsams, feathery southernwood and stocks,
    Fiery dragons'-mouths, great mallow leaves
    For salves, and lemon plants in bushy sheaves,
    Shagged Esau's Hands with five green finger-tips!
    Such old sweet names are ever on their lips.
    As pleased as little children where these grow
    In cobbled pattens and worn gowns they go,
    Proud of their wisdom when on gooseberry shoots
    They stuck egg-shells to fright from coming fruits
    The brisk-billed rascals; waiting still to see
    Their neighbour owls saunter from tree to tree
    Or in the hushing half-light mouse the lane
    Long-winged and lordly.

                         But when those hours wane
    Indoors they ponder, scared by the harsh storm
    Whose pelting saracens on the window swarm,
    And listen for the mail to clatter past
    And church clock's deep bay withering on the blast;
    They feed the fire that flings a freakish light
    On pictured kings and queens grotesquely bright,
    Platters and pitchers, faded calendars,
    And graceful hour-glass trim with lavenders.
    Many a time they kiss and cry, and pray
    Both may be summoned in the self-same day,
    And wiseman linnet tinkling in his cage
    End too with them the friendship of old age,
    And all together leave their treasured room
    Some bell-like evening when the May's in bloom.



    GLEANING


    Along the baulk the grasses drenched in dews
    Soak through the morning gleaners' clumsy shoes,
    And cloying cobwebs trammel their brown cheeks
    While from the shouldering sun the dewfog reeks.
    Then soon begun, on ground where yesterday
    The rakers' warning-sheaf forbade their way,
    Hard clucking dames in great white hoods make haste
    To cram their lap-bags with the barley waste,
    Scrambling as if a thousand were but one,
    Careless of stabbing thistles. Now the sun
    Gulps up the dew and dries the stubs, and scores
    Of tiny people trundle out of doors
    Among the stiff stalks, where the scratched hands
    Red ants and blackamoors and such as fly;
    Tunbellied, too, with legs a finger long,
    The spider harvestman; the churlish, strong
    Black scorpion, prickled earwig, and that mite
    Who shuts up like a leaden shot in fright
    And lies for dead. And still before the rout
    The young rats and the field mice whisk about
    And from the trod whisp out the leveret darts
    Bawled at by boys that pass with blundering carts
    Top-heavy to the red-tiled barns. And still
    The children feed their cornsacks with goodwill,
    And farm wives ever faster stoop and flounce.
    The hawk drops down a plummet's speed to pounce
    The nibbling mouse or resting lark away,
    The lost mole tries to pierce the mattocked clay
    In agony and terror of the sun.

    The dinner hour and its grudged leisure won,
    All sit below the pollards on the dykes,
    Rasped with the twinge of creeping barley spikes:
    Sweet beyond telling now the small beer goes
    From the hooped hardwood bottles, the wasp knows,
    And even hornets whizz from the eaten ash--
    Then crusts are dropt and switches snatched to slash,
    While, safe in shadow of the apron thrown
    Aside the bush which years before was grown
    To snap the poacher's nets, the baby sleeps.
    Now toil returns, in red-hot fluttering light,
    And far afield the weary rabble creeps,
    Oft clutching blind wheat black among the white,
    That smutches where it touches quick as soot--Oft
    gaping where the landrail seems afoot,
    Who with such magic throws his baffling speech,
    Far off he sounds when scarce beyond arm's reach.
    Mongrels are left to mind the morning's gain,
    But squinting knaves can slouch to steal the grain;
    Now close the farm the fields are gleaned agen,
    Where the boy droves the turkey and white hen
    To pick the shelled sweet corn; their hue and cry
    Answers the gleaners' gabble, and sows trudge
    With little pigs to play and rootle there
    And all the fields are full of din and blare.

    So steals the time past, so they glean and gloat;
    The hobby-horses whir, the moth's dust coat
    Blends with the stubble, scarlet soldiers fly
    In airy pleasure; but the gleaners' eye
    Sees little but their spoil, or robin flower
    Ever on tenterhooks to shun the shower,
    Their weather-prophet never known astray;
    When he folds up, then toward the hedge glean they.
    But now the dragon of the sky droops, pales,
    And wandering in the wet grey western vales,
    Stumbles, and passes, and the gleaning's done.
    The farmer, with fat hares slung on his gun,
    Gives folk goodnight as down the ruts they pull
    The creaking two-wheeled hand carts bursting full,
    And whimpering children cease their teasing squalls,
    While left alone the supping partridge calls--
    Till all at home is stacked from mischief's way
    To thrash and dress the first wild, windy day,
    And each good wife crowns weariness with pride,
    With such small riches more than satisfied.



    GORDON BOTTOMLEY



    THE PLOUGHMAN


    Under the long fell's stony eaves
    The ploughman, going up and down,
    Ridge after ridge man's tide-mark leaves,
    And turns the hard grey soil to brown.

    Striding, he measures out the earth
    In lines of life, to rain and sun;
    And every year that comes to birth
    Sees him still striding on and on.

    The seasons change, and then return;
    Yet still, in blind, unsparing ways,
    However I may shrink or yearn,
    The ploughman measures out my days.

    His acre brought forth roots last year;
    This year it bears the gloomy grain;
    Next Spring shall seedling grass appear;
    Then roots and corn and grass again.

    Five times the young corn's pallid green
    I have seen spread and change and thrill;
    Five times the reapers I have seen
    Go creeping up the far-off hill:

    And, as the unknowing ploughman climbs
    Slowly and inveterately,
    I wonder long how many times
    The corn will spring again for me.



    BABEL: THE GATE OF THE GOD


    Lost towers impend, copeless primeval props
    Of the new threatening sky, and first rude digits
    Of awe remonstrance and uneasy power
    Thrust out by man when speech sank back in his throat:
    Then had the last rocks ended bubbling up
    And rhythms of change within the heart begun
    By a blind need that would make Springs and Winters;
    Pylons and monoliths went on by ages,
    Mycenae and Great Zimbabwe came about;
    Cowed hearts in This conceived a pyramid
    That leaned to hold itself upright, a thing
    Foredoomed to limits, death and an easy apex;
    Then postulants for the stars' previous wisdom
    Standing on Carthage must get nearer still;
    While in Chaldea an altitude of God
    Being mooted, and a Saurian unearthed
    Upon a mountain stirring a surmise
    Of floods and alterations of the sea,
    A round-walled tower must rise upon Senaai
    Temple and escape to God the ascertained.
    These are decayed like Time's teeth in his mouth,
    Black cavities and gaps, yet earth is darkened
    By their deep-sunken and unfounded shadows
    And memories of man's earliest theme of towers.

    Space--the old source of time--should be undone,
    Eternity defined, by men who trusted
    Another tier would equal them with God.
    A city of grimed brick-kilns, squat truncations,
    Hunched like spread toads yet high beneath their circles
    Of low packed smoke, assemblages of thunder
    That glowed upon their under sides by night
    And lit like storm small shadowless workmen's toil.
    Meaningless stumps, unturned bare roots, remained
    In fields of mashy mud and trampled leaves,
    While, if a horse died hauling, plasterers
    Knelt on a plank to clip its sweaty coat.
    A builder leans across the last wide courses;
    His unadjustable unreaching eyes
    Fail under him before his glances sink
    On the clouds' upper layers of sooty curls
    Where some long lightening goes like swallow downward,
    But at the wider gallery next below
    Recognize master masons with pricked parchments:
    That builder then, as one who condescends
    Unto the sea and all that is beneath him,
    His hairy breast on the wet mortar calls
    "How many fathoms is it yet to heaven!"
    On the next eminence the orgulous King
    Nimrond stands up conceiving he shall live
    To conquer God, now that he knows where God is:
    His eager hands push up the tower in thought...
    Again, his shaggy inhuman height strides down
    Among the carpenters because he has seen
    One shape an eagle-woman on a door-post:
    He drives his spear-beam through him for wasted
    day.

    Little men hurrying, running here and there,
    Within the dark and stifling walls, dissent
    From every sound, and shoulder empty hods:
    "The God's great altar should stand in the crypt
    Among our earth's foundations"--"The God's great altar
    Must be the last far coping of our work"--
    "It should inaugurate the broad main stair"--
    "Or end it"--"It must stand toward the East!"
    But here a grave contemptuous youth cries out
    "Womanish babblers, how can we build God's altar
    Ere we divine its foreordained true shape?"
    Then one "It is a pedestal for deeds"--
    "'Tis more and should be hewn like the King's brow"--
    "It has the nature of a woman's bosom"--
    "The tortoise, first created, signifies it"--
    "A blind and rudimentary navel shows
    The source of worship better than horned moons."
    Then a lean giant "Is not a calyx needful?"--
    "Because round grapes on statues well expressed
    Become the nadir of incense, nodal lamps,
    Yet apes have hands that but and carved red crystals"--
    "Birds molten, touchly tale veins bronze buds crumble
    Ablid ublai ghan isz rad eighar ghaurl ..."
    Words said too often seemed such ancient sounds
    That men forget them or were lost in them;
    The guttural glottis-chasms of language reached
    A rhythm, a gasp, were curves of immortal thought.

    Man with his bricks was building, building yet,
    Where dawn and midnight mingled and woke no birds,
    In the last courses, building past his knowledge
    A wall that swung--for towers can have no tops,
    No chord can mete the universal segment,
    Earth has no basis. Yet the yielding sky,
    Invincible vacancy, was there discovered--
    Though piled-up bricks should pulp the sappy balks,
    Weight generate a secrecy of heat,
    Cankerous charring, crevices' fronds of flame.



    THE END OF THE WORLD


    The snow had fallen many nights and days;
    The sky was come upon the earth at last,
    Sifting thinly down as endlessly
    As though within the system of blind planets
    Something had been forgot or overdriven.
    The dawn now seemed neglected in the grey
    Where mountains were unbuilt and shadowless trees
    Rootlessly paused or hung upon the air.
    There was no wind, but now and then a sigh
    Crossed that dry falling dust and rifted it
    Through crevices of slate and door and casement.
    Perhaps the new moon's time was even past.
    Outside, the first white twilights were too void
    Until a sheep called once, as to a lamb,
    And tenderness crept everywhere from it;
    But now the flock must have strayed far away.
    The lights across the valley must be veiled,
    The smoke lost in the greyness or the dusk.
    For more than three days now the snow had thatched
    That cow-house roof where it had ever melted
    With yellow stains from the beasts' breath inside;
    But yet a dog howled there, though not quite lately.
    Someone passed down the valley swift and singing,
    Yes, with locks spreaded like a son of morning;
    But if he seemed too tall to be a man
    It was that men had been so long unseen,
    Or shapes loom larger through a moving snow.
    And he was gone and food had not been given him.
    When snow slid from an overweighted leaf
    Shaking the tree, it might have been a bird
    Slipping in sleep or shelter, whirring wings;
    Yet never bird fell out, save once a dead one--
    And in two days the snow had covered it.
    The dog had howled again--or thus it seemed
    Until a lean fox passed and cried no more.
    All was so safe indoors where life went on
    Glad of the close enfolding snow--O glad
    To be so safe and secret at its heart,
    Watching the strangeness of familiar things.
    They knew not what dim hours went on, went
    For while they slept the clock stopt newly wound
    As the cold hardened. Once they watched the road,
    Thinking to be remembered. Once they doubted
    If they had kept the sequence of the days,
    Because they heard not any sound of bells.
    A butterfly, that hid until the Spring
    Under a ceiling's shadow, dropt, was dead.
    The coldness seemed more nigh, the coldness deepened
    As a sound deepens into silences;
    It was of earth and came not by the air;
    The earth was cooling and drew down the sky.
    The air was crumbling. There was no more sky.
    Rails of a broken bed charred in the grate,
    And when he touched the bars he thought the sting
    Came from their heat--he could not feel such cold ...
    She said "O do not sleep,
    Heart, heart of mine, keep near me. No, no; sleep.
    I will not lift his fallen, quiet eyelids,
    Although I know he would awaken then--He
    closed them thus but now of his own will.
    He can stay with me while I do not lift them."



    ATLANTIS


    What poets sang in Atlantis? Who can tell
    The epics of Atlantis or their names?
    The sea hath its own murmurs, and sounds not
    The secrets of its silences beneath,
    And knows not any cadences enfolded
    When the last bubbles of Atlantis broke
    Among the quieting of its heaving floor.

    O, years and tides and leagues and all their billows
    Can alter not man's knowledge of men's hearts--
    While trees and rocks and clouds include our being
    We know the epics of Atlantis still:
    A hero gave himself to lesser men,
    Who first misunderstood and murdered him,
    And then misunderstood and worshipped him;
    A woman was lovely and men fought for her,
    Towns burnt for her, and men put men in bondage,
    But she put lengthier bondage on them all;
    A wanderer toiled among all the isles
    That fleck this turning star or shifting sea,
    Or lonely purgatories of the mind,
    In longing for his home or his lost love.

    Poetry is founded on the hearts of men:
    Though in Nirvana or the Heavenly courts
    The principle of beauty shall persist,
    Its body of poetry, as the body of man,
    Is but a terrene form, a terrene use,
    That swifter being will not loiter with;
    And, when mankind is dead and the world cold,
    Poetry's immortality will pass.



    NEW YEAR'S EVE, 1913


    O, Cartmel bells ring soft to-night,
      And Cartmel bells ring clear
    But I lie far away to-night,
      Listening with my dear;

    Listening in a frosty land
      Where all the bells are still
    And the small-windowed bell-towers stand
      Dark under heath and hill.

    I thought that, with each dying year,
      As long as life should last
    The bells of Cartmel I should hear
      Ring out an aged past:

    The plunging, mingling sounds increase
      Darkness's depth and height,
    The hollow valley gains more peace
      And ancientness to-night:

    The loveliness, the fruitfulness,
      The power of life lived there
    Return, revive, more closely press
      Upon that midnight air.

    But many deaths have place in men
      Before they come to die;
    Joys must be used and spent, and then
      Abandoned and passed by.

    Earth is not ours; no cherished space
     Can hold us from life's flow,
    That bears us thither and thence by ways
      We knew not we should go.

    O, Cartmel bells ring loud, ring clear,
      Through midnight deep and hoar,
    A year new-born, and I shall hear
      The Cartmel bells no more.



    TO IRON-FOUNDERS AND OTHERS


    When you destroy a blade of grass
      You poison England at her roots:
    Remember no man's foot can pass
      Where evermore no green life shoots.

    You force the birds to wing too high
      Where your unnatural vapours creep:
    Surely the living rocks shall die
      When birds no rightful distance keep.

    You have brought down the firmament
      And yet no heaven is more near;
    You shape huge deeds without event,
      And half made men believe and fear.

    Your worship is your furnaces,
      Which, like old idols, lost obscenes,
    Have molten bowels; your vision is
      Machines for making more machines.

    O, you are buried in the night,
      Preparing destinies of rust;
    Iron misused must turn to blight
      And dwindle to a tettered crust.

    The grass, forerunner of life, has gone,
      But plants that spring in ruins and shards
    Attend until your dream is done:
      I have seen hemlock in your yards.

    The generations of the worm
      Know not your loads piled on their soil;
    Their knotted ganglions shall wax firm
      Till your strong flagstones heave and toil.

    When the old hollowed earth is cracked,
      And when, to grasp more power and feasts,
    Its ores are emptied, wasted, lacked,
      The middens of your burning beasts

    Shall be raked over till they yield
      Last priceless slags for fashionings high,
    Ploughs to make grass in every field,
      Chisels men's hands to magnify.



    RUPERT BROOKE

    _Born 1887_
    _Died at Lemnos 1915_



    SONNET


    Oh! Death will find me, long before I tire
      Of watching you; and swing me suddenly
    Into the shade and loneliness and mire
      Of the last land! There, waiting patiently,

    One day, I think, I'll feel a cool wind blowing,
      See a slow light across the Stygian tide,
    And hear the Dead about me stir, unknowing,
      And tremble. And _I_ shall know that you have died.

    And watch you, a broad-browed and smiling dream,
      Pass, light as ever, through the lightless host,
    Quietly ponder, start, and sway, and gleam--
      Most individual and bewildering ghost!--

    And turn, and toss your brown delightful head
    Amusedly, among the ancient Dead.



    THE SOLDIER


    If I should die, trunk only this of me:
      That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
      Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England's, breathing English air,
      Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
      A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
        Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
      And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
        In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.



    THE TREASURE


    When colour goes home into the eyes,
      And lights that shine are shut again,
    With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
      Behind the gateways of the brain;
    And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
    The rainbow and the rose:--

    Still may Time hold some golden space.
      Where I'll unpack that scented store
    Of song and flower and sky and face,
      And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
    Musing upon them; as a mother, who
    Has watched her children all the rich day through,
    Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
    When children sleep, ere night.

    _August,_ 1914.



    THE GREAT LOVER


    I have been so great a lover I filled my days
    So proudly with the splendour of Love's praise,
    The pain, the calm, and the astonishment,
    Desire illimitable, and still content,
    And all dear names men use, to cheat despair
    For the perplexed and viewless streams that bear
    Our hearts at random down the dark of life.
    Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife
    Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far,
    My night shall be remembered for a star
    That outshone all the suns of all men's days.
    Shall I not crown them with immortal praise
    Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me
    High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see
    The inenarrable godhead of delight?
    Love is a flame:--we have beaconed the world's night.
    A city:--and we have built it, these and I.
    An emperor:--we have taught the world to die.
    So, for their sakes I loved, ere I go hence,
    And the high cause of Love's magnificence,
    And to keep loyalties young, I'll write those names
    Golden for ever, eagles, crying flames,
    And set them as a banner, that men may know,
    To dare the generations, burn, and blow
    Out on the wind of Time, shining and streaming......

    These I have loved:
             White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
    Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;
    Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong
    Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
    Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
    And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
    And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
    Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
    Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
    Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
    Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
    Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
    Impassioned beauty of a great machine;
    The benison of hot water; furs to touch;
    The good smell of old clothes; and other such--
    The comfortable smell of friendly ringers,
    Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
    About dead leaves and last year's ferns ...
                                        Dear names,
    And thousand other throng to me! Royal flames;
    Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
    Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing;
    Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
    Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
    Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
    That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
    And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
    Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
    Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
    And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
    And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;--
    All these have been my loves. And these shall pass,
    Whatever passes not, in the great hour,
    Nor all my passion, all my prayers, have power
    To hold them with me through the gate of Death.
    They'll play deserter, turn with the traitor breath,
    Break the high bond we made, and sell Love's trust
    And sacramented covenant to the dust.
    --Oh, never a doubt but, somewhere, I shall wake,
    And give what's left of love again; and make
    New friends, now strangers....
                            But the best I've known,
    Stays here, and changes, breaks, grows old, is blown
    About the winds of the world, and fades from
    brains Of living men, and dies.
                                        Nothing remains.

    O dear my loves, O faithless, once again
    This one last gift I give: that after men
    Shall know, and later lovers, far removed,
    Praise you, 'All these were lovely'; say, 'He loved.'



    CLOUDS


    Down the blue night the unending columns press
      In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
      Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
    Up to the white moon's hidden loveliness.
    Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
      And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
      As who would pray good for the world, but know
    Their benediction empty as they bless.

    They say that the Dead die not, but remain
      Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
        I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
    In wise majestic melancholy train,
      And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
    And men, coming and going on the earth.

    _The Pacific_



    THE OLD VICARAGE, GRANTCHESTER


                 _Cafe des Western, Berlin._


    Just now the lilac is in bloom,
    All before my little room;
    And in my flower-beds, I think,
    Smile the carnation and the pink;
    And down the borders, well I know,
    The poppy and the pansy blow ...
    Oh! there the chestnuts, summer through,
    Beside the river make for you
    A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep
    Deeply above; and green and deep
    The stream mysterious glides beneath,
    Green as a dream and deep as death.--
    Oh, damn! I know it I and I know
    How the May fields all golden show,
    And when the day is young and sweet,
    Gild gloriously the bare feet
    That run to bathe ...
           _Du lieber Gott!_

    Here am I, sweating, sick and hot,
    And there the shadowed waters fresh
    Lean up to embrace the naked flesh.
    _Temperamentvoll_ German Jews
    Drink beer around; and _there_ the dews
    Are soft beneath a morn of gold.
    Here tulips bloom as they are told;
    Unkempt about those hedges blows
    An English unofficial rose;
    And there the unregulated sun
    Slopes down to rest when day is done,
    And wakes a vague unpunctual star,
    A slippered Hesper; and there are
    Meads towards Haslingfield and Coton
    Where _das Betreten's_ not _verboten_..

    _ἐίθε γενοιμην_ ... would I were
    In Grantchester, in Grantchester!--
    Some, it may be, can get in touch
    With Nature there, or Earth, or such.
    And clever modern men have seen
    A Faun a-peeping through the green,
    And felt the Classics were not dead,
    To glimpse a Naiad's reedy head,
    Or hear the Goat-foot piping low ...
    But these are things I do not know.
    I only know that you may lie
    Day long and watch the Cambridge sky,
    And, flower-lulled in sleepy grass,
    Hear the cool lapse of hours pass,
    Until the centuries blend and blur
    In Grantchester, in Grantchester ...
    Still in the dawnlit waters cool
    His ghostly Lordship swims his pool,
    And tries the strokes, essays the tricks,
    Long learnt on Hellespont, or Styx;
    Dan Chaucer hears his river still
    Chatter beneath a phantom mill;
    Tennyson notes, with studious eye,
    How Cambridge waters hurry by ...
    And in that garden, black and white
    Creep whispers through the grass all night;
    And spectral dance, before the dawn,
    A hundred Vicars down the lawn;
    Curates, long dust, will come and go
    On lissom, clerical, printless toe;
    And oft between the boughs is seen
    The sly shade of a Rural Dean ...
    Till, at a shiver in the skies,
    Vanishing with Satanic cries,
    The prim ecclesiastic rout
    Leaves but a startled sleeper-out,
    Grey heavens, the first bird's drowsy calls,
    The falling house that never falls.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    God! I will pack, and take a train,
    And get me to England once again!
    For England's the one land, I know,
    Where men with Splendid Hearts may go;
    And Cambridgeshire, of all England,
    The shire for Men who Understand;
    And of _that_ district I prefer
    The lovely hamlet Grantchester.
    For Cambridge people rarely smile,
    Being urban, squat, and packed with guile;
    And Royston men in the far South
    Are black and fierce and strange of mouth;
    At Over they fling oaths at one,
    And worse than oaths at Trumpington,
    And Ditton girls are mean and dirty,
    And there's none in Harston under thirty,
    And folks in Shelford and those parts
    Have twisted lips and twisted hearts,
    And Barton men make cockney rhymes,
    And Co ton's full of nameless crimes,
    And things are done you'd not believe
    At Madingley on Christmas Eve.
    Strong men have run for miles and miles
    When one from Cherry Hinton smiles;
    Strong men have blanched and shot their wives
    Rather than send them to St. Ives;
    Strong men have cried like babes, bydam,
    To hear what happened at Babraham.
    But Grantchester, ah, Grantchester!
    There's peace and holy quiet there,
    Great clouds along pacific skies,
    And men and women with straight eyes,
    Lithe children lovelier than a dream,
    A bosky wood, a slumbrous stream,
    And little kindly winds that creep
    Round twilight corners, half asleep.
    In Grantchester their skins are white,
    In Grantchester their skins are white,
    They bathe by day, they bathe by night;
    The women there do all they ought;
    The men observe the Rules of Thought.
    They love the Good; they worship Truth;
    They laugh uproariously in youth;
    (And when they get to feeling old,
    They up and shoot themselves, I'm told)

    Ah God! to see the branches stir
    Across the moon at Grantchester!
    To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
    Unforgettable, unforgotten
    River smell, and hear the breeze
    Sobbing in the little trees.
    Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand,
    Still guardians of that holy land?
    The chestnuts shade, in reverend dream,
    The yet unacademic stream?
    Is dawn a secret shy and cold
    Anadyomene, silver-gold?
    And sunset still a golden sea
    From Haslingfield to Madingley?
    And after, ere the night is born,
    Do hares come out about the corn?
    Oh, is the water sweet and cool
    Gentle and brown, above the pool?
    And laughs the immortal river still--
    Under the mill, under the mill?
    Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
    And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
    Deep-meadows yet, for to forget
    The lies, and truths, and pain?... oh! yet
    Stands the Church clock at ten to three
    And is there honey still for tea?



    THE BUSY HEART


    Now that we've clone our best and worst, and parted,
      I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.
    (O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)
      I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
    Women with child, content; and old men sleeping;
      And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;
    And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping;
      And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;
    And evening hush, broken by homing wings;
      And Song's nobility, and Wisdom holy,
    That live, we dead. I would think of a thousand things,
      Lovely and loveable, and taste them slowly,
    One after one, like tasting a sweet food.
    I have need to busy my heart with quietude.



    DINING-ROOM TEA


    When you were there, and you, and you,
    Happiness crowned the night; I too,
    Laughing and looking, one of all,
    I watched the quivering lamplight fall
    On plate and flowers and pouring tea
    And cup and cloth; and they and we
    Flung all the dancing moments by
    With jest and glitter. Lip and eye
    Flashed on the glory, shone and cried,
    Improvident, unmemoried;
    And fitfully and like a flame
    The light of laughter went and came.
    Proud in their careless transience moved
    The changing faces that I loved.

    Till suddenly, and otherwhence,
    I looked upon your innocence;
    For lifted clear and still and strange
    From the dark woven flow of change
    Under a vast and starless sky
    I saw the immortal moment lie.
    One instant I, an instant, knew
    As God knows all. And it and you
    I, above Time, oh, blind! could see
    In witless immortality.
    I saw the marble cup; the tea,
    Hung on the air, an amber stream;
    I saw the fire's unglittering gleam,
    The painted flame, the frozen smoke.
    No more the flooding lamplight broke
    On flying eyes and lips and hair;
    But lay, but slept unbroken there,
    On stiller flesh, and body breathless,
    And lips and laughter stayed and deathless,
    And words on which no silence grew.
    Light was more alive than you.

    For suddenly, and otherwhence,
    I looked on your magnificence.
    I saw the stillness and the light,
    And you, august, immortal, white,
    Holy and strange; and every glint
    Posture and jest and thought and tint
    Freed from the mask of transiency,
    Triumphant in eternity,
    Immote, immortal.

                       Dazed at length
    Human eyes grew, mortal strength
    Wearied; and Time began to creep.
    Change closed about me like a sleep.
    Light glinted on the eyes I loved.
    The cup was filled. The bodies moved.
    The drifting petal came to ground.
    The laughter chimed its perfect round.
    The broken syllable was ended.
    And I, so certain and so friended,
    How could I cloud, or how distress
    The heaven of your unconsciousness?
    Or shake at Time's sufficient spell,
    Stammering of lights unutterable?
    The eternal holiness of you,
    The timeless end, you never knew,
    The peace that lay, the light that shone.
    You never knew that I had gone
    A million miles away, and stayed
    A million years. The laughter played
    Unbroken round me; and the jest
    Flashed on. And we that knew the best
    Down wonderful hours grew happier yet.
    I sang at heart, and talked, and eat,
    And lived from laugh to laugh, I too,
    When you were there, and you, and you.



    FRANCIS BURROWS



    THE PRAYER TO DEMETER


    Mother whose hair I grasp, whose bosom I tread,
      Thy son adopted. Thou who dost so charm me
      And in thy lappels of affection warm me,
    Heap all thine other misery on my head;

    Madness alone of evils do I dread,
      Against its imminent presence guard and arm me,
      Suffer its broad flung shadow not to harm me
    But plunge me rather with the naked dead.

    Yet if it must come, let it be entire;
      Cast then upon me unillumined night,
    One whole eclipse not knowing any fire
      To give it record of the former light.
    Complete destruction of the heart's desire,
      A ruin of thought and audience and sight.



    THE GIANT'S DIRGE


    Remember him who battled here,
    What was his living character?
    To friends an heart for ever filled
      With love and with compassion brave;
    To foes a power never stilled
      In pushing vengeance to the grave;
    Where is his spirit gone now, O where?

    What of his ten grand paces here
    Whose motion was a perfect sphere?
    To friends a making unafraid,
      A sure defence, a wall of glass.
    To foes a hidden trap well laid
      To catch them stalking through the grass;
    Where is he walking now, O where?

    What of his power who is here
    Enclosed within the sepulchre?
    To friends an eager sword of joy,
      A shield to nestle underneath.
    To foes whose love is to destroy,
      A stumbling block, a hidden death;
    Where is his power gone now, O where?

    What of his eye that floated here
    Like sky-born dewy gossamer?
    To friends the ever-sought desire,
      The hope achieved, the loving cup;
    To foes an unassaulted fire,
      A furnace withering them up.
    Where is he shining now, O where?

    What of the head that breathed so here
    And the hair beloved so, is it sere;
    To friends a shadow shedding stars,
      Like blessings, from the upper deep;
    To foes a poisoned tree that mars
      Men's lives thereunder laid asleep.
    Where does it blossom now, O where?

    He lives, is living everywhere,
    Where human hearts are, he is there.
    To friends a soul of certainty
      That love though lost is more than none.
    To foes an inability
      To say, "We slew him, we alone,
    His soul is here, we slew him here."



    THE UNFORGOTTEN


    There is a cave beneath the throne of grace
    Where these have honoured and remembered place;
    Strong hairy men, huge-jawed, with wiry limbs,
    Half hid in mist, the heroes of old times.
    They lie among the pots and flints and beads
    Their friends once buried with them as the needs
    Of the after-life, to hunt with and to slay with,
    And flay and cook, or in repose to play with.
    Here he who shaped the flint and bound to axe
    And arrow first; who made the thread of flax
    And hemp to weave; and he who to the plough
    Harnessed and tamed the bull and milked the cow;
    Who taught to bake and grind and till the seed
    Of corn sufficient for the future's need;
    And he who said: "These are my children, these;
    My blood between them and their enemies;
    For when I age and cannot win my meat,
    They shall become new head and hands and feet";
    And he who said: "Let none of our tribe die
    Slain by ourselves with violence. For why,
    Our foes are plentiful, our friends are few,
    Our living scarce. All may have work to do,
    As hunting, warring, digging for the strong,
    Or potting, cooking, weaving for the young,
    The old, the weak, yet for adornment skilled"--
    Too early born and by his brethren killed.
    Here he who dreamed a strange dream in the night,
    And from his rushes springing swat with fright,
    But thought and said with opened eyes, "'Tis beauty,"
    And terror left him. Those who spoke of duty,
    Mercy and truth, and taught the undying soul,
    And many more. And many a grunt and growl
    They give in friendly dreams; when haunches quiver
    And nostrils widen, and hands do twitch and shiver.
    And often one awakes, and blinks, half speaks,
    And yawns and licks and blows upon his cheeks:

    Pure spirits laugh, and with a kindly eye
    The father views their rough-haired majesty.



    THE WELL


    See this plashing fount enshrined,
    Some ancient people roofed and lined;
    Some memory here of a forlorn rime,
    A thought, a breath of a thought sublime
    A sobbing under the wings of time.

    See the ancient people's grave:
    No Andromache, no slave
    Water here for a master draws,
    No slaves longer laugh and pause.
    All's strange language and new laws.

    O words, be good to impart assurance
    Of hope, of memory, of endurance,
    O flourish grass upon our tomb,
    Grant us, sunk in a little room,
    Both a sepulchre and home.



    EGYPTIAN


    The pyramid is built, is built,
      And stone by stone the sphinx;
    Upon the ground the wine is spilt,
      And deep the builder drinks.
    _Deeply the wise man in the desert thinks.

    Hark to the lanterned gondolas!
      The stream is incense-calmed;
    We smoke, we draw the gods with praise,
      They walk amongst us charmed.
    Cries _"Never are the desert-sands disarmed."_

    Our building toil is done, is done,
      All strifes and quarrels cease;
    And slaves and masters are at one,
      And enemies at peace.
    Cries: _"Yet the sands are stirred and wars increase."_

    Riches and joy and thankfulness
      By our rich river are;
    To see our noble work and bless
      Shall travellers come afar.
    Cries: _"Yes, a jew, but many more for war."_



    LIFE


    When I consider this, that bare
    Water and earth and common air
    Combine together to compose
    A being who breathes and stands and goes
    With eyes to see the sun, with brain
    To contemplate his origin,
    I marvel not at death and pain
    But rather how he should have been.



    A. Y. CAMPBELL



    ANIMULA VAGULA


    Night stirs but wakens not, her breathings climb
      To one slow sigh; the strokes of many twelves
    From unseen spires mechanically chime,
      Mingling like echoes, to frustrate themselves;
    My soul, remember Time.

    The tones like smoke into the stillness curl,
      The slippered hours their placid business ply,
    And in thy hand there lies occasion's pearl;
      But thou art playing with it absently
    And dreaming, like a girl.



    A BIRD


    His haunts are by the brackish ways
      Where rivers and sea-currents meet;
    He is familiar with the sprays,
      Over the stones his flight is fleet.

    Low, low he flutters, like a rat
      That scampers up a river-bank;
    Swift, lizard-like, he scours the flat
      Where pools are wersh and weeds are dank,

    The fresh green smell of inland groves,
      The pureness of the upper air,
    Are poorer than his pungent coves
      That hold strange spices everywhere.

    Strong is the salt of open sea;
      Far out, the virgin brine is keen:
    No home is there for such as he,
      Out of the beach he is not seen.

    By shallows and capricious foams
      Are the queer corners he frequents,
    And in an idle humour roams
      The borderland of elements.



    THE DROMEDARY


    In dreams I see the Dromedary still,
      As once in a gay park, l saw him stand i
      A thousand eyes in vulgar wonder scanned
    His humps and hairy neck, and gazed their fill
    At his lank shanks and mocked with laughter shrill.
      He never moved: and if his Eastern land
      Flashed on his eye with stretches of hot sand,
    It wrung no mute appeal from his proud will.
    He blinked upon the rabble lazily;
      And still some trace of majesty forlorn
    And a coarse grace remained: his head was high,
      Though his gaunt flanks with a great mange were worn:
    There was not any yearning in his eye,
      But on his lips and nostril infinite scorn.



    THE PANIC


    Pale in her evening silks she sat
      That but a week had been my bride;
    Then, while the stars we wondered at,
      Without a word she left my side;
    Devious and silent as a bat,
      I watched her round the garden glide.

    Soon o'er the moonlit lawn she streamed,
      Then floated idly down the glade;
    Now like a forest nymph she seemed,
      Now like a light within a shade:
    She turned, and for a moment gleamed,
      And suddenly I saw her fade.

    I had been held in tranced stare
      Till she had vanished from my sight;
    Then did I start in wild despair,
      And followed fast in mad affright;
    What if herself a spirit were
      And had so soon rejoined the night?



    G. K. CHESTERTON



    WINE AND WATER


    Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale,
    He ate his egg with a ladle in an egg-cup big as a pail,
    And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and the fish he took was Whale,
    But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail,
    And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
    "I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine."

    The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
    As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
    The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
    And Noah he cocked his eye and said, "It looks like rain, I think,
    The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
    But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine."

    But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod,
    Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
    And you can't get wine at a P.S.A., or chapel, or Eisteddfod,
    But the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God,
    And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine,
    But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.



    THE ROLLING ENGLISH ROAD


    Before the Roman came to Rye or out of Severn strode,
    The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
    A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
    And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
    A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread,
    The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

    I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
    And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
    But I did bash their bagginets because they came arrayed
    To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
    When you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
    The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

    His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
    Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
    The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
    But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
    God pardon us, nor harden us: we did not see so clear
    The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

    My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
    Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
    But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
    And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
    But there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
    Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.



    THE DONKEY


    When fishes flew and forests walked
      And figs grew upon thorn,
    Some moment when the moon was blood
      Then surely I was born;

    With monstrous head and sickening cry
      And ears like errant wings,
    The devil's walking parody
      On all four-footed things.

    The tattered outlaw of the earth,
      Of ancient crooked will;
    Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
      I keep my secret still.

    Fools! For I also had my hour;
      One far fierce hour and sweet _i_
    There was a shout about my ears,
      And palms before my feet.



    THE SECRET PEOPLE


    Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
    For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet.
    There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
    There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
    There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
    There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
    You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
    Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

    The fine French kings came over in a nutter of flags and dames.
    We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
    The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
    There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
    And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
    And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
    They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
    Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
    The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak,
    The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

    And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
    He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
    The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
    And the men of the new religion, with their Bibles in their boots,
    We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
    And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
    We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
    And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

    A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
    Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
    They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
    And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and never scorned us again.
    Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
    Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
    In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
    We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
    We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
    The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
    And the man who seemed to be more than man we strained against and broke;
    And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

    Our path of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
    But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain
    He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
    He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
    Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
    Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse _i_
    We only know the last sad squires ride slowly towards the sea,
    And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

    They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
    Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
    They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
    They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
    And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
    Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

    We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
    Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
    It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
    Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
    It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
    God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
    But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
    Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.



    FROM THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE


    Far northward and far westward
        The distant tribes drew nigh,
    Plains beyond plains, fell beyond fell,
    That a man at sunset sees so well,
    And the tiny coloured towns that dwell
        In the comers of the sky.

    But dark and thick as thronged the host,
        With drum and torch and blade,
    The still-eyed King sat pondering,
    As one that watches a live thing,
        The scoured chalk; and he said,

    "Though I give this land to Our Lady,
        That helped me in Athelney,
    Though lordlier trees and lustier sod
    And happier hills hath no flesh trod
    Than the garden of the Mother of God
        Between Thames side and the sea,

    "I know that weeds shall grow in it
        Faster than men can burn;
    And though they scatter now and go,
    In some far century, sad and slow,
    I have a vision, and I know
        The heathen shall return.

    "They shall not come with warships,
        They shall not waste with brands,
    But books be all their eating,
        And ink be on their hands.

    "Not with the humour of hunters
        Or savage skill in war,
    But ordering all things with dead words,
    Strings shall they make of beasts and birds
        And wheels of wind and star.

    "They shall come mild as monkish clerks,
        With many a scroll and pen;
    And backward shall ye turn and gaze,
    Desiring one of Alfred's days,
        When pagans still were men.

    "The dear sun dwarfed of dreadful suns,
        Like fiercer flowers on stalk,
    Earth lost and little like a pea
    In high heaven's towering forestry,
    --These be the small weeds ye shall see
        Crawl, covering the chalk.

    "But though they bridge St. Mary's sea,
        Or steal St. Michael's wing--Though
    they rear marvels over us,
        Greater than great Vergilius
    Wrought for the Roman king;

    "By this sign you shall know them,
        The breaking of the sword,
    And Man no more a free knight,
        That loves or hates his lord.

    "Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
        The sign of the dying fire;
    And Man made like a half-wit,
        That knows not of his sire.

    "What though they come with scroll and pen,
        And grave as a shaven clerk,
    By this sign you shall know them,
        That they ruin and make dark;

    "By all men bond to Nothing,
        Being slaves without a lord,
    By one blind idiot world obeyed,
        Too blind to be abhorred;

    "By terror and the cruel tales
        Of curse in bone and kin,
    By weird and weakness winning,
    Accursed from the beginning,
    By detail of the sinning,
        And denial of the sin;

    "By thought a crawling ruin,
        By life a leaping mire,
    By a broken heart in the breast of the world,
        And the end of the world's desire;

    "By God and man dishonoured,
        By death and life made vain,
    Know ye the old barbarian,
        The barbarian come again again--

    "When is great talk of trend and tide,
        And wisdom and destiny,
    Hail that undying heathen
        That is sadder than the sea.

    "In what wise men shall smite him,
        Or the Cross stand up again,
    Or charity, or chivalry,
    My vision saith not; and I see
    No more; but now ride doubtfully
        To the battle of the plain."

    And the grass-edge of the great down
        Was clean cut as a lawn,
    While the levies thronged from near and far,
    From the warm woods of the western star,
    And the King went out to his last war
        On a tall grey horse at dawn.

    And news of his far-off fighting
        Came slowly and brokenly
    From the land of the East Saxons,
        From the sunrise and the sea,

    From the plains of the white sunrise,
        And sad St. Edmund's crown,
    Where the pools of Essex pale and gleam
        Out beyond London Town--

    In mighty and doubtful fragments,
        Like faint or fabled wars,
    Climbed the old hills of his renown,
    Where the bald brow of White Horse Down
        Is close to the cold stars.

    But away in the eastern places
        The wind of death walked high,
    And a raid was driven athwart the raid,
    The sky reddened and the smoke swayed,
        And the tall grey horse went by.

    The gates of the great river
        Were breached as with a barge,
    The walls sank crowded, say the scribes,
    And high towers populous with tribes
        Seemed leaning from the charge.

    Smoke like rebellious heavens rolled
        Curled over coloured flames,
    Billowed in monstrous purple dreams
        In the mighty pools of Thames.

    Loud was the war on London wall,
        And loud in London gates,
    And loud the sea-kings in the cloud
    Broke through their dreaming gods, and loud
        Cried on their dreadful fates.

    And all the while on White Horse Hill
        The horse lay long and wan,
    The turf crawled and the fungus crept,
    And the little sorrel, while all men slept,
        Unwrought the work of man.

    With velvet finger, velvet foot,
        The fierce soft mosses then
    Crept on the large white commonweal
    All folk had striven to strip and peel,
    And the grass, like a great green witch's wheel,
        Unwound the toils of men.

    And clover and silent thistle throve,
        And buds burst silently,
    With little care for the Thames Valley
        Or what things there might be--

    That away on the widening river,
        In the eastern plains for crown
    Stood up in the pale purple sky
    One turret of smoke like ivory;
    And the smoke changed and the wind went by,
        And the King took London Town.



    PADRAIC COLUM



    THE OLD WOMAN OF THE ROADS


    O, to have a little house!
    To own the hearth and stool and all!
    The heaped up sods upon the fire
    The pile of turf again' the wall!

    To have a clock with weights and chains,
    And pendulum swinging up and down!
    A dresser filled with shining delph,
    Speckled with white and blue and brown!

    I could be busy all the day
    Cleaning and sweeping hearth and floor,
    And fixing on their shelf again
    My white and blue and speckled store!

    I could be quiet there at night
    Beside the fire and by myself,
    Sure of a bed, and loth to leave
    The ticking clock and shining delph!

    Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
    And roads where there's never a house or bush,
    And tired I am of bog and road,
    And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!


    And I am praying to God on high,
    And I am praying Him night and day,
    For a little house--a house of my own--Out
    of the wind's and rain's way.



    FRANCES CORNFORD



    AUTUMN EVENING


    The shadows flickering, the daylight dying,
    And I upon the old red sofa lying,
    The great brown shadows leaping up the wall,
    The sparrows twittering; and that is all.

    I thought to send my soul to far-off lands,
    Where fairies scamper on the windy sands,
    Or where the autumn rain comes drumming down
    On huddled roofs in an enchanted town.

    But O my sleepy soul, it will not roam,
    It is too happy and too warm at home:
    With just the shadows leaping up the wall,
    The sparrows twittering; and that is all.



    W. H. DAVIES



    DAYS TOO SHORT


    When Primroses are out in Spring,
      And small, blue violets come between;
      When merry birds sing on boughs green,
    And rills, as soon as born, must sing;

    When butterflies will make side-leaps,
      As though escaped from Nature's hand
      Ere perfect quite; and bees will stand
    Upon their heads in fragrant deeps;

    When small clouds are so silvery white
      Each seems a broken rimmed moon--When
      such things are, this world too soon,
    For me, doth wear the veil of Night.



    THE EXAMPLE


    Here's an example from
        A Butterfly;
    That on a rough, hard rock
        Happy can lie;
    Friendless and all alone
        On this unsweetened stone.

    Now let my bed be hard
        No care take I;
    I'll make my joy like this
        Small Butterfly;
    Whose happy heart has power
        To make a stone a flower.



    THE EAST IN GOLD


    Somehow this world is wonderful at times,
      As it has been from early morn in May;
    Since I first heard the cock-a-doodle-do,
      Timekeeper on green farms--at break of day.

    Soon after that I heard ten thousand birds,
      Which made me think an angel brought a bin
    Of golden grain, and none was scattered yet--
      To rouse those birds to make that merry din.

    I could not sleep again, for such wild cries,
      And went out early into their green world;
    And then I saw what set their little tongues
      To scream for joy--they saw the East in gold.



    THE HAPPY CHILD


    I saw this day sweet flowers grow thick--
    But not one like the child did pick.

    I heard the packhounds in green park--
    But no dog like the child heard bark.

    I heard this day bird after bird--But
    not one like the child has heard.

    A hundred butterflies saw I--But
    not one like the child saw fly.

    I saw the horses roll in grass--
    But no horse like the child saw pass.

    My world this day has lovely been--
    But not like what the child has seen.



    A GREAT TIME


    Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad,
      Beyond the town, where wild flowers grow--
    A rainbow and a cuckoo, Lord,
      How rich and great the times are now!
           Know, all ye sheep
           And cows, that keep
    On staring that I stand so long
      In grass that's wet from heavy rain--
    A rainbow and a cuckoo's song
      May never come together again;
           May never come
           This side the tomb.



    THE WHITE CASCADE


    What happy mortal sees that mountain now,
    The white cascade that's shining on its brow;

    The white cascade that's both a bird and star,
    That has a ten-mile voice and shines as far?

    Though I may never leave this land again,
    Yet every spring my mind must cross the main

    To hear and see that water-bird and star
    That on the mountain sings, and shines so far.



    IN MAY


    Yes, I will spend the livelong day
    With Nature in this month of May;
    And sit beneath the trees, and share
    My bread with birds whose homes are there;
    While cows lie down to eat, and sheep
    Stand to their necks in grass so deep;
    While birds do sing with all their might,
    As though they felt the earth in flight.
    This is the hour I dreamed of, when
    I sat surrounded by poor men;
    And thought of how the Arab sat
    Alone at evening, gazing at
    The stars that bubbled in clear skies;

    And of young dreamers, when their eyes
    Enjoyed methought a precious boon
    In the adventures of the Moon
    Whose light, behind the Clouds' dark bars,
    Searched for her stolen flocks of stars.
    When I, hemmed in by wrecks of men,
    Thought of some lonely cottage then,
    Full of sweet books; and miles of sea,
    With passing ships, in front of me;
    And having, on the other hand,
    A flowery, green, bird-singing land.



    THUNDERSTORMS


    My mind has thunderstorms,
      That brood for heavy hours:
    Until they rain me words,
      My thoughts are drooping flowers
    And sulking, silent birds.

    Yet come, dark thunderstorms,
      And brood your heavy hours;
    For when you rain me words
      My thoughts are dancing flowers
    And joyful singing birds.



    SWEET STAY-AT-HOME


    Sweet Stay-at-Home, sweet Well-content,
    Thou knowest of no strange continent:
    Thou hast not felt thy bosom keep
    A gentle motion with the deep;
    Thou hast not sailed in Indian seas,
    Where scent comes forth in every breeze.
    Thou hast not seen the rich grape grow
    For miles, as far as eyes can go;
    Thou hast not seen a summer's night
    When maids could sew by a worm's light;
    Nor the North Sea in spring send out
    Bright trees that like birds flit about
    In solid cages of white ice--
    Sweet Stay-at-Home, sweet Love-one-place.
    Thou hast not seen black fingers pick
    White cotton when the bloom is thick,
    Nor heard black throats in harmony;
    Nor hast thou sat on stones that lie
    Flat on the earth, that once did rise
    To hide proud kings from common eyes.
    Thou hast not seen plains full of bloom
    Where green things had such little room
    They pleased the eye like fairer flowers--
    Sweet Stay-at-Home, all these long hours.
    Sweet Well-content, sweet Love-one-place,
    Sweet, simple maid, bless thy dear face;
    For thou hast made more homely stuff
    Nurture thy gentle self enough;
    I love thee for a heart that's kind--
    Not for the knowledge in thy mind.



    EDWARD L. DAVISON



    THE TREES


    I did not know your names and yet I saw
      The handiwork of Beauty in your boughs,
    I worshipped as the Druids did, in awe,
      Feeling at Spring my pagan soul arouse
    To see your leaf-buds open to the day,
      And dull green moss upon your ragged girth,
    The hoary sanctity of your decay,
      Life and Death glimmering upon the Earth.



    IN THIS DARK HOUSE


    I shall come back to die
    From a far place at last
    After my life's carouse
    In the old bed to lie,
    Remembering the past
      In this dark house.

    Because of a clock's chime
    In the long waste of night
    I shall awake and wait
    At that calm lonely time
    Each smell and sound and sight
    Mysterious and innate:
    Some shadow on the wall
    When curtains by the door
    Move in a draught of wind;
    Or else a light footfall
    In a near corridor;
    Even to feel the kind
    Caress of a cool hand
    Smoothing the draggled hair
    Back from my shrunken brow,
    And strive to understand
    The woman's presence there,
    And whence she came, and how.

    What gust of wind that night
    Shall mutter her lost name
    Through windows open wide,
    And twist the nickering light
    Of a sole candle's flame
    Smoking from side to side,
    Till the last spark it blows
    Sets a moth's wings aflare
    As the faint flame goes out?

    Some distant door may close;
    Perhaps a heavy chair
    On bare floors dragged about
    O'er the low ceiling sound,
    And the thin twig of a tree
    Knock on my window-pane
    Till all the night around
    Is listening with me,
    While like a noise of rain
    Leaves rustle in the wind.

    Then from the inner gloom
    The scratching of a mouse
    May echo down my mind
    And sound around the room
      In this dark house.

    The vague scent of a flower,
    Smelt then in that warm air
    From gardens drifting in,
    May slowly overpower
    The vapid lavender,
    Till feebly I begin
    To count the scents I knew
    And name them one by one,
    And search the names for this.

    Dreams will be swift and few
    Ere that last night be done,
    And gradual silences
    In each long interim
    Of halting time awake
    Confuse all conscious sense.
    Shadows will grow more dim,
    And sound and scent forsake
    The dark ere dawn commence,

    In the new morning then,
    So fixed the stare and fast,
    The calm unseeing eye
    Will never close again.

        .    .    .    .

    I shall come back at last
    To this dark house to die.



    WALTER DE LA MARE



    THE LISTENERS


    "Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
      Knocking on the moonlit door;
    And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
      Of the forest's ferny floor:
    And a bird flew up out of the turret,
      Above the Traveller's head:
    And he smote upon the door again a second time;
      "Is there anybody there?" he said.
    But no one descended to the Traveller;
      No head from the leaf-fringed sill
    Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
      Where he stood perplexed and still.
    But only a host of phantom listeners
      That dwelt in the lone house then
    Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
      To that voice from the world of men:
    Stood thronging the faint moon beams on the dark stair,
      That goes down to the empty hall,
    Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
      By the lonely traveller's call.
    And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
      Their stillness answering his cry,
    While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
      'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
    For he suddenly smote on the door, even
      Louder, and lifted his head:--
    "Tell them I came, and no one answered,
      That I kept my word," he said.
    Never the least stir made the listeners,
      Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
      From the one man left awake:
    Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
      And the sound of iron on stone
    And how the silence surged softly backward
      When the plunging hoofs were gone.



    ARABIA


    Far are the shades of Arabia,
      Where the Princes ride at noon,
    'Mid the verdurous vales and thickets,
      Under the ghost of the moon;
    And so dark is that vaulted purple
      Flowers in the forest rise
    And toss into blossom 'gainst the phantom stars
      Pale in the noonday skies.

    Sweet is the music of Arabia
      In my heart, when out of dreams
    I still in the thin clear mirk of dawn
      Descry her gliding streams;
    Hear her strange lutes on the green banks
      Ring loud with the grief and delight
    Of the dim-silked, dark-haired Musicians
      In the brooding silence of night.

    They haunt me--her lutes and her forests;
    No beauty on earth I see
    But shadowed with that dream recalls
      Her loveliness to me.
    Still eyes look coldly upon me,
      Cold voices whisper and say--
    "He is crazed with the spell of far Arabia,
    They have stolen his wits away."



    MUSIC


    When music sounds, gone is the earth I know,
    And all her lovely things even lovelier grow;
    Her flowers in vision flame, her forest trees
    Lift burdened branches, stilled with ecstasies.

    When music sounds, out of the water rise
    Naiads whose beauty dims my waking eyes,
    Rapt in strange dream burns each enchanted face,
    With solemn echoing stirs their dwelling-place.

    When music sounds, all that I was I am
    Ere to this haunt of brooding dust I came;
    And from Time's woods break into distant song
    The swift-winged hours, as I hasten along.



    THE SCRIBE


    What lovely things
    hand hath made,
    The smooth-plumed bird
    In its emerald shade,
    The seed of the grass,
    The speck of stone
    Which the wayfaring ant
    Stirs, and hastes on.

    Though I should sit
    By some tarn in Thy hills,
    Using its ink
    As the spirit wills
    To write of Earth's wonders
    Its live willed things,
    Flit would the ages
    On soundless wings
    Ere unto Z
    My pen drew nigh,
    Leviathan told,
    And the honey-fly;
    And still would remain
    My wit to try--My
    worn reeds broken.
    The dark tarn dry,
    All words forgotten--
    Thou, Lord, and I.



    THE GHOST


    "Who knocks?" "I, who was beautiful
    Beyond all dreams to restore,
    I from the roots of the dark thorn am hither,
    And knock on the door."

    "Who speaks?" "I--once was my speech
    Sweet as the bird's on the air,
    When echo lurks by the waters to heed;
    'Tis I speak thee fair."

    "Dark is the hour!" "Aye, and cold."
    "Lone is my house." "Ah, but mine?"
    "Sight, touch, lips, eyes gleamed in vain."
    "Long dead these to thine."

    Silence. Still faint on the porch
    Broke the flames of the stars.
    In gloom groped a hope-wearied hand
    Over keys, bolts, and bars.

    A face peered. All the grey night
    In chaos of vacancy shone;
    Nought but vast sorrow was there--
    The sweet cheat gone.



    CLEAR EYES


    Clear eyes so dim at last,
      And cheeks outlive their rose.
    Time, heedless of the past,
      No loving kindness knows;
    Chill unto mortal lip
      Still Lethe flows.

    Griefs, too, but brief while stay,
      And sorrow, being o'er,
    Its salt tears shed away,
      Woundeth the heart no more.
    Stealthily lave these waters
      That solemn shore.

    Ah, then, sweet face burn on,
      While yet quick memory lives!
    And Sorrow, ere thou art gone,
      Know that my heart forgives--
    Ere yet, grown cold in peace,
      It loves not, nor grieves.



    FARE WELL


    When I lie where shades of darkness
    Shall no more assail mine eyes,
    Nor the rain make lamentation
        When the wind sighs;
    How will fare the world whose wonder
    Was the very proof of me?
    Memory fades, must the remembered
        Perishing be?

    Oh, when this my dust surrenders
    Hand, foot, lip to dust again,
    May those loved and loving faces
        Please other men!
    May the rusting harvest hedgerow
    Still the Traveller's Joy entwine,
    And as happy children gather
        Posies once mine.

    Look thy last on all things lovely,
    Every hour. Let no night
    Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
        Till to delight
    Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
    Since that all things thou wouldst praise
    Beauty took from those who loved them
        In other days.



    ALL THAT'S PAST


    Very old are the woods;
      And the buds that break
    Out of the briar's boughs,
      When March winds wake,
    So old with their beauty are--
      Oh, no man knows
    Through what wild centuries
      Roves back the rose.

    Very old are the brooks;
      And the rills that rise
    When snow sleeps cold beneath
      The azure skies
    Sing such a history
      Of come and gone,
    Their every drop is as wise
      As Solomon.

    Very old are we men;
      Our dreams are tales
    Told in dim Eden
      By Eve's nightingales;
    We wake and whisper awhile,
      But, the day gone by,
    Silence and sleep like fields
      Of Amaranth lie.



    THE SONG OF THE MAD PRINCE


    Who said, "Peacock Pie"?
      The old King to the sparrow:
    Who said, "Crops are ripe"?
      Rust to the harrow:
    Who said, "Where sleeps she now?
      Where rests she now her head,
    Bathed in Eve's loveliness"?--
      That's what I said.

    Who said, "Ay, mum's the word"?
      Sexton to willow:
    Who said, "Green dust for dreams,
      Moss for a pillow"?
    Who said, "All Time's delight
      Hath she for narrow bed;
    Life's troubled bubble broken"?--
      That's what I said.



    JOHN DRINKWATER



    BIRTHRIGHT


    Lord Rameses of Egypt sighed
      Because a summer evening passed;
    And little Ariadne cried
      That summer fancy fell at last
    To dust; and young Verona died
      When beauty's hour was overcast.

    Theirs was the bitterness we know
      Because the clouds of hawthorn keep
    So short a state, and kisses go
      To tombs unfathomably deep,
    While Rameses and Romeo
      And little Ariadne sleep.



    MOONLIT APPLES


    At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
    And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
    Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
      A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

    A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
    There is no sound at the top of the house of men
    Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
      Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

    They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
    On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
    Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
      And quiet is the steep stair under.

    In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep,
    And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
    Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
      On moon-washed apples of wonder.



    R. C. K. ENSOR



    ODE TO REALITY


        O Real, O That Which Is,
        Beyond all earthly bliss
    My spirit prays to be at one with Thee;
        Away from that which seems,
        From unenduring dreams,
    From vain pursuits and vainer meeds set free.

        How rosy to our eyes
        The mists of error rise,
    The proud pavilions that we weave at will I
        How glittering the ray
        Of that illusive day,
    The hills how grand, the vales how green and still!

        And how inviting yet
        The service of deceit,
    Paid by the crowd that does not understand,
        Parents and friends and foes
        All bowing down to those
    Who against Thee have lifted up their hand!

        Ah, but on whomsoever
        Amid such glib endeavour
    Thy light has shined in sudden sovereignty,
        He who has fallen and heard
        Thy spirit-searching word:
    _Why kick against the pricks? Why outrage Me?

        He can no longer stay
        There in the easy way,
    No longer please himself with make-believe,
        No longer shape at will
        The forms of good and ill
    And what he shall reject and what receive.

        Nor may he dwell content
        In self-aggrandisement,
    To the deep wrong of modern Mammon blind;
        Nor can he drown his cares
        Among the doctrinaires,
    Who think by sowing hate to save mankind.

        For every scheme of vision
        He sees as the condition
    Not of the truest only but the best--
        The riches of all wealth,
        The beauty of Beauty's self--
    That on Thee and within Thee it should rest.

        By Thee our bounds are set;
        Thou madest us; and yet
    O Mother, when we strain to see Thy face,
        Still dost Thou tease our prying
        With masks and mystifying,
    Still hold us at arm's length from Thy embrace!

        Yet would I rather in act
        Plough with the iron Fact
    And earn at least some harvest that is bread,
        Than rich and popular
        In gay Imposture's car
    Dazzle mankind and leave them still unfed.

        Rather would I in thought
        Miss all that I had sought,
    Still pining on Negation's desert isle,
        Than with the current float
        In Pragmatism's boat
    Down to the fatal shore where sirens smile.

        Rather would I be thrown
        Against Thine altar-stone,
    Unsanctified, unpitied, unreprieved,
        Than in some other shrine
        Sup the priests' meat and wine,
    Taking the wages of a world deceived.



    JAMES ELROY FLECKER

    _Born 1884_
    _Died 1915_



    RIOUPEROUX


    High and solemn mountains guard Riouperoux,
    --Small untidy village where the river drives a mill:
    Frail as wood anemones, white, and frail were you,
    And drooping a little, like the slender daffodil.

    Oh I will go to France again, and tramp the valley through,
    And I will change these gentle clothes for clog and corduroy,
    And work with the mill-hands of black Rioupéroux,
    And walk with you, and talk with you, like any other boy.



    WAR SONG OF THE SARACENS


    We are they who come faster than fate: we are they who ride early
        or late:
    We storm at your ivory gate: Pale Kings of the Sunset, beware!
    Not on silk nor in samet we lie, not in curtained solemnity die
    Among women who chatter and cry, and children who mumble a prayer.
    But we sleep by the ropes of the camp, and we rise with a shout,
        and we tramp
    With the sun or the moon for a lamp, and the spray of the wind in
        our hair.

    From the lands, where the elephants are, to the forts of Merou
        and Balghar,
    Our steel we have brought and our star to shine on the ruins of Rum.
    We have marched from the Indus to Spain, and by God we will go
        there again;
    We have stood on the shore of the plain where the Waters of
        Destiny boom.
    A mart of destruction we made at Jalula where men were afraid,
    For death was a difficult trade, and the sword was a broker of doom;

    And the Spear was a Desert Physician who cured not a few of ambition,
    And drave not a few to perdition with medicine bitter and strong:
    And the shield was a grief to the fool and as bright as a desolate pool,
    And as straight as the rock of Stamboul when their cavalry thundered
        along:
    For the coward was drowned with the brave when our battle sheered up
        like a wave,
    And the dead to the desert we gave, and the glory to God in our song.



    THE OLD SHIPS


    I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep
    Beyond the village which men still call Tyre,
    With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep
    For Famagusta and the hidden sun
    That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
    And all those ships were certainly so old
    Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
    Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
    The pirate Genoese
    Hell-raked them till they rolled
    Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
    But now through friendly seas they softly run,
    Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green,
    Still patterned with the vine and grapes in
    gold.

    But I have seen,
    Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
    And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay,
    A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
    And, wonder's breath indrawn,
    Thought I--who knows--who knows--but in that same
    (Fished up beyond _Ææa,_ patched up new
    --Stern painted brighter blue--)
    That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
    (Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
    From Troy's doom-crimson shore,
    And with great lies about his wooden horse
    Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.

    It was so old a ship--who knows, who knows?
    --And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
    To see the mast burst open with a rose,
    And the whole deck put on its leaves again.



    STILLNESS


    When the words rustle no more,
      And the last work's done,
    When the bolt lies deep in the door,
      And Fire, our Sun,
    Falls on the dark-laned meadows of the floor;

    When from the clock's last chime to the next chime
      Silence beats his drum,
    And Space with gaunt grey eyes and her brother Time
      Wheeling and whispering come,
    She with the mould of form and he with the loom of rhyme:

    Then twittering out in the night my thought-birds flee,
      I am emptied of all my dreams:
    I only hear Earth turning, only see
      Ether's long bankless streams,
    And only know I should drown if you laid not your hand on me.



    AREIYA


    This place was formed divine for love and us to dwell;
      This house of brown stone built for us to sleep therein;
    Those blossoms haunt the rocks that we should see and smell;
      Those old rocks break the hill that we the heights should win.

    Those heights survey the sea that there our thoughts should sail
      Up the steep wall of wave to touch the Syrian sky:
    For us that sky at eve fades out of purple pale,
      Pale as the mountain mists beneath our house that lie.

    In front of our small house are brown stone arches three;
      Behind it, the low porch where all the jasmine grows;
    Beyond it, red and green, the gay pomegranate tree;
      Around it, like love's arms, the summer and the rose.

    Within it sat and wrote in minutes soft and few
    This worst and best of songs, one who loves it, and you.



    THE QUEEN'S SONG


    Had I the power
          To Midas given of old
    To touch a flower
          And leave the petals gold
    I then might touch thy face,
          Delightful boy,
    And leave a metal grace,
          A graven joy.

    Thus would I slay,--
          Ah, desperate device!
    The vital day
          That trembles in thine eyes,
    And let the red lips close
          Which sang so well,
    And drive away the rose
          To leave a shell.

    Then I myself,
          Rising austere and dumb
    On the high shelf
          Of my half-lighted room,
    Would place the shining bust
          And wait alone,
    Until I was but dust,
          Buried unknown.

    Thus in my love
          For nations yet unborn,
    I would remove
          From our two lives the morn,
    And muse on loveliness
          In mine arm-chair,
    Content should Time confess
          How sweet you were.



    BRUMANA


    Oh shall I never never be home again?
    Meadows of England shining in the rain
    Spread wide your daisied lawns: your ramparts green
    With briar fortify, with blossom screen
    Till my far morning--and O streams that slow
    And pure and deep through plains and playlands go,
    For me your love and all your kingcups store,
    And--dark militia of the southern shore,
    Old fragrant friends--preserve me the last lines
    Of that long saga which you sung me, pines,
    When, lonely boy, beneath the chosen tree
    I listened, with my eyes upon the sea.

    O traitor pines, you sang what life has found
    The falsest of fair tales.
    Earth blew a far-horn prelude all around,
    That native music of her forest home,
    While from the sea's blue fields and syren dales
    Shadows and light noon-spectres of the foam
    Riding the summer gales
    On aery viols plucked an idle sound.

    Hearing you sing, O trees,
    Hearing you murmur, "There are older seas,
    That beat on vaster sands,
    Where the wise snailfish move their pearly towers
    To carven rocks and sculptured promont'ries,"
    Hearing you whisper, "Lands
    Where blaze the unimaginable flowers."

    Beneath me in the valley waves the palm,
    Beneath, beyond the valley, breaks the sea;
    Beneath me sleep in mist and light and calm
    Cities of Lebanon, dream-shadow-dim,
    Where Kings of Tyre and Kings of Tyre did rule
    In ancient days in endless dynasty,
    And all around the snowy mountains swim
    Like mighty swans afloat in heaven's pool.

    But I will walk upon the wooded hill
    Where stands a grove, O pines, of sister pines,
    And when the downy twilight droops her wing
    And no sea glimmers and no mountain shines
    My heart shall listen still.
    For pines are gossip pines the wide world through
    And full of runic tales to sigh or sing.

    'Tis ever sweet through pine to see the sky
    Mantling a deeper gold or darker blue.
    'Tis ever sweet to lie
    On the dry carpet of the needles brown,
    And though the fanciful green lizard stir
    And windy odours light as thistledown
    Breathe from the lavdanon and lavender,
    Half to forget the wandering and pain,
    Half to remember days that have gone by,
    And dream and dream that I am home again!



    HYALI


    Στὸ Γυαλὶ στὸ γαλἄζιο βρἄχο

    Island in blue of summer floating on,
      Little brave sister of the Sporades,
    Hail and farewell! I pass, and thou art gone,
      So fast in fire the great boat beats the seas.

    But slowly fade, soft Island! Ah to know
      Thy town and who the gossips of thy town,
    What flowers flash in thy meadows, what winds blow
      Across thy mountain when the sun goes down.

    There is thy market, where the fisher throws
      His gleaming fish that gasp in the death-bright dawn:
    And there thy Prince's house, painted old rose,
      Beyond the olives, crowns its slope of lawn.

    And is thy Prince so rich that he displays
      At festal board the flesh of sheep and kine?
    Or dare he--summer days are long hot days--
    Load up with Asian snow his Coan wine?

    Behind a rock, thy harbour, whence a noise
      Of tarry sponge-boats hammered lustily:
    And from that little rock thy naked boys
      Like burning arrows shower upon the sea.

    And there by the old Greek chapel--there beneath
      A thousand poppies that each sea-wind stirs
    And cyclamen, as honied and white as death,
      Dwell deep in earth the elder islanders.

    ***

    Thy name I know not, Island, but _his_ name
      I know, and why so proud thy mountain stands,
    And what thy happy secret, and Who came
      Drawing his painted galley up thy sands.

    For my Gods--Trident Gods who deep and pale
      Swim in the Latmian Sound, have murmured thus:
    "To such an island came with a pompous sail
      On his first voyage young Herodotus."

    Since then--tell me no tale how Romans built,
      Saracens plundered--or that bearded lords
    Rowed by to fight for Venice, and here spilt
      Their blood across the bay that keeps their swords.

    That old Greek day was all thy history:
      For that did Ocean poise thee as a flower.
    Farewell: this boat attends not such as thee:
      Farewell: I was thy lover for an hour!

    Farewell! But I who call upon thy caves
      Am far like thee,--like thee, unknown and poor.
    And yet my words are music as thy waves,
      And like thy rocks shall down through time endure.



    THE GOLDEN JOURNEY TO SAMARKAND


    PROLOGUE


    We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage
      And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die,
    We Poets of the proud old lineage
      Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why,--

    What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales
      Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest,
    Where nevermore the rose of sunset pales,
      And winds and shadows fall toward the West:

    And there the world's first huge white-bearded kings
      In dim glades sleeping, murmur in their sleep,
    And closer round their breasts the ivy clings,
      Cutting its pathway slow and red and deep.

    And how beguile you? Death has no repose
      Warmer and deeper than that Orient sand
    Which hides the beauty and bright faith of those
      Who made the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    And now they wait and whiten peaceably,
      Those conquerors, those poets, those so fair:
    They know time comes, not only you and I,
      But the whole world shall whiten, here or there;

    When those long caravans that cross the plain
      With dauntless feet and sound of silver bells
    Put forth no more for glory or for gain,
      Take no more solace from the palm-girt wells,

    When the great markets by the sea shut fast
      All that calm Sunday that goes on and on:
    When even lovers find their peace at last,
      And Earth is but a star, that once had shone.



    EPILOGUE


    _At the Gate of the Sun, Bagdad, in olden time_

    THE MERCHANTS (_together_)

    Away, for we are ready to a man!
      Our camels sniff the evening and are glad.
    Lead on, O Master of the Caravan:
      Lead on the Merchant-Princes of Bagdad.

    THE CHIEF DRAPER

    Have we not Indian carpets dark as wine,
      Turbans and sashes, gowns and bows and veils,
    And broideries of intricate design,
      And printed hangings in enormous bales?

    THE CHIEF GROCER

    We have rose-candy, we have spikenard,
      Mastic and terebinth and oil and spice,
    And such sweet jams meticulously jarred
      As God's own Prophet eats in Paradise.

    THE PRINCIPAL JEWS

    And we have manuscripts in peacock styles
      By Ali of Damascus; we have swords
    Engraved with storks and apes and crocodiles,
      And heavy beaten necklaces, for Lords.

    THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN

    But you are nothing but a lot of Jews.

    THE PRINCIPAL JEWS

    Sir, even dogs have daylight, and we pay.

    THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN

    But who are ye in rags and rotten shoes,
      You dirty-bearded, blocking up the way?

    THE PILGRIMS

    We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
      Always a little further: it may be
    Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow,
      Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
    White on a throne or guarded in a cave
      There lives a prophet who can understand
    Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
      Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    THE CHIEF MERCHANT

    We gnaw the nail of hurry. Master, away!

    ONE OF THE WOMEN

      O turn your eyes to where your children stand.
    Is not Bagdad the beautiful? O stay!

    THE MERCHANTS (_in chorus_)

    We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

    AN OLD MAN

    Have you not girls and garlands in your homes,
      Eunuchs and Syrian boys at your command?
    Seek not excess: God hateth him who roams!

    THE MERCHANTS (_in chorus_)

    We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    A PILGRIM WITH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE

    Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells
      When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
    And softly through the silence beat the bells
      Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

    A MERCHANT

    We travel not for trafficking alone:
      By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
    For lust of knowing what should not be known
      We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN

    Open the gate, O watchman of the night!

    THE WATCHMAN

      Ho, travellers, I open. For what land
    Leave you the dim-moon city of delight?

    THE MERCHANTS (_with a shout_)
    We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    [_The Caravan passes through the gate_]

    THE WATCHMAN (_consoling the women_)

    What would ye, ladies? It was ever thus.
      Men are unwise and curiously planned.

    A WOMAN

    They have their dreams, and do not think of us.

    VOICES OF THE CARAVAN (_in the distance, singing_)
    We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.



    ROBIN FLOWER



    LA VIE CEREBRALE


    I am alone--alone;
    There is nothing--only I,
    And, when I will to die,
    All must be gone.

    Eternal thought in me
    Puts on the dress of time
    And builds a stage to mime
    Its listless tragedy.

    And in that dress of time
    And on that stage of space
    I place, change, and replace
    Life to a wilful rime.

    I summon at my whim
    All things that are, that were:
    The high incredible air,
    Where stars--my creatures--swim.

    I dream, and from my mind
    The dead, the living come;
    I build a marble Rome,
    I give it to the wind.

    Athens and Babylon
    I breathe upon the night,
    Troy towers for my delight
    And crumbles stone by stone.

    I change with white and green
    The seasons hour by hour;
    I think--it is a flower,
    Think--and the flower has been.

    Men, women, things, a stream
    That wavers and flows by,
    A lonely dreamer, I
    Build and cast down the dream.

    And one day weary grown
    Of all my brain has wrought,
    I shall destroy my thought
    And I and all be gone.



    THE PIPES


    With the spring awaken other springs,
    Those swallows' wings are shadowed by other wings
    And another thrush behind that glad bird sings.

    A multitude are the flowers, but multitudes
    Blossom and waver and breathe from forgotten woods,
    And in silent places an older silence broods.

    With the spring long-buried springs in my heart awaken,
    Time takes the years, but the springs he has not taken,
    My thoughts with a boy's wild thoughts are mixed and shaken.

    And here amid inland fields by the down's green shoulder
    I remember an ancient sea and mountains older,
    Older than all but time, skies sterner and colder.

    When the swift spring night on the sea and the mountains fell
    In the hush of the solemn hills I remember well
    The far pipes calling and the tale they had to tell.

    Sad was the tale, ah! sad beyond all saying
    The lament of the lonely pipes in the evening playing
    Lost in the glens, in the still, dark pines delaying.

    And now with returning spring I remember all,
    On southern fields those mountain shadows fall,
    Those wandering pipes in the downland evening call.



    SAY NOT THAT BEAUTY


    Say not that beauty is an idle thing
      And gathered lightly as a wayside flower
    That on the trembling verges of the spring
      Knows but the sweet survival of an hour.
    For 'tis not so. Through dedicated days
      And foiled adventure of deliberate nights
    We lose and find and stumble in the ways
      That lead to the far confluence of delights.
    Not with the earthly eye and fleshly ear,
      But lifted far above mortality,
    We see at last the eternal hills, and hear
      The sighing of the universal sea;
    And kneeling breathless in the holy place
    We know immortal Beauty face to face.



    JOHN FREEMAN



    THE WAKERS


    The joyous morning ran and kissed the grass
    And drew his fingers through her sleeping hair,
      And cried, "Before thy flowers are well awake
      Rise, and the lingering darkness from thee shake.

    "Before the daisy and the sorrel buy
    Their brightness back from that close-folding night,
      Come, and the shadows from thy bosom shake,
      Awake from thy thick sleep, awake, awake!"

    Then the grass of that mounded meadow stirred
    Above the Roman bones that may not stir
      Though joyous morning whispered, shouted, sang:
      The grass stirred as that happy music rang.

    O, what a wondrous rustling everywhere!
    The steady shadows shook and thinned and died,
      The shining grass flashed brightness back for brightness,
      And sleep was gone, and there was heavenly lightness.

    As if she had found wings, light as the wind,
    The grass flew, bent with the wind, from east to west,
      Chased by one wild grey cloud, and flashing all
      Her dews for happiness to hear morning call ...

    But even as I stepped out the brightness dimmed,
    I saw the fading edge of all delight.
      The sober morning waked the drowsy herds,
      And there was the old scolding of the birds.



    THE BODY


    When I had dreamed and dreamed what woman's beauty was,
      And how that beauty seen from unseen surely flowed,
    I turned and dreamed again, but sleeping now no more:
      My eyes shut and my mind with inward vision glowed.

    "I did not think!" I cried, seeing that wavering shape
      That steadied and then wavered, as a cherry bough in June
    Lifts and falls in the wind--each fruit a fruit of light;
      And then she stood as clear as an unclouded moon.

    As clear and still she stood, moonlike remotely near;
      I saw and heard her breathe, I years and years away.
    Her light streamed through the years, I saw her clear and still,
      Shape and spirit together mingling night with day.

    Water falling, falling with the curve of time
      Over green-hued rock, then plunging to its pool
    Far, far below, a falling spear of light;
      Water falling golden from the sun but moonlike cool:

    Water has the curve of her shoulder and breast,
      Water falls as straight as her body rose,
    Water her brightness has from neck to still feet,
      Water crystal-cold as her cold body flows.

    But not water has the colour I saw when I dreamed,
      Nor water such strength has. I joyed to behold
    How the blood lit her body with lamps of fire
      And made the flesh glow that like water gleamed cold.

    A flame in her arms and in each finger flame,
      And flame in her bosom, flame above, below,
    The curve of climbing flame in her waist and her thighs;µ
      From foot to head did flame into red flame flow.

    I knew how beauty seen from unseen must rise,
      How the body's joy for more than body's use was made.
    I knew then how the body is the body of the mind,
      And how the mind's own fire beneath the cool skin played.

    O shape that once to have seen is to see evermore,
      Falling stream that falls to the deeps of the mind,
    Fire that once lit burns while aught burns in the world,
      Foot to head a flame moving in the spirit's wind!

    If these eyes could see what these eyes have not seen--
      The inward vision clear--how should I look for
    Knowing that beauty's self rose visible in the world
      Over age that darkens, and griefs that destroy?



    STONE TREES


    Last night a sword-light in the sky
    Flashed a swift terror on the dark.
    In that sharp light the fields did lie
    Naked and stone-like; each tree stood
    Like a tranced woman, bound and stark.
        Far off the wood
    With darkness ridged the riven dark.

    The cows astonished stared with fear,
    And sheep crept to the knees of cows,
    And comes to their burrows slid,
    And rooks were still in rigid boughs,
    And all things else were still or hid.
        From all the wood
    Came but the owl's hoot, ghostly, clear.

    In that cold trance the earth was held
    It seemed an age, or time was nought.
    Sure never from that stone-like field
    Sprang golden corn, nor from those chill
    Gray granite trees was music wrought.
        In all the wood
    Even the tall poplar hung stone still.

    It seemed an age, or time was none ...
    Slowly the earth heaved out of sleep
    And shivered, and the trees of stone
    Bent and sighed in the gusty wind,
    And rain swept as birds nocking sweep.
        Far off the wood
    Rolled the slow thunders on the wind.

    From all the wood came no brave bird,
    No song broke through the close-fall'n night,
    Nor any sound from cowering herd:
    Only a dog's long lonely howl
    When from the window poured pale light.
        And from the wood
    The hoot came ghostly of the owl.



    MORE THAN SWEET


    The noisy fire,
    The drumming wind,
    The creaking trees,
    And all that hum
    Of summer air
    And all the long inquietude
    Of breaking seas--

    Sweet and delightful are
    In loneliness.
    But more than these
    The quiet light
    From the morn's sun
    And night's astonished moon,
    Falling gently upon breaking seas.

    Such quietness
    Another beauty is--
    Ah, and those stars
    So gravely still
    More than light, than beauty pour
    Upon the strangeness
    Of the heart's breaking seas.



    WAKING


    Lying beneath a hundred seas of sleep
    With all those heavy waves flowing over me,
    And I unconscious of the rolling night
    Until, slowly, from deep to lesser deep
    Risen, I felt the wandering seas no longer cover me
    But only air and light ...

    It was a sleep
    So dark and so bewilderingly deep
    That only death's were deeper or completer,
    And none when I awoke stranger or sweeter.
    Awake, the strangeness still hung over me
    As I with far-strayed senses stared at the light.

    I--and who was I?
    Saw--oh, with what unaccustomed eye!
    The room was strange and everything strange
    Like a strange room entered by wild moonlight;
    And yet familiar as the light swept over me
    And I rose from the night.

    Strange--yet stranger I.
    And as one climbs from water up to land
    Fumbling for weedy steps with foot and hand,
    So I for yesterdays whereon to climb
    To this remote and new-struck isle of time.
    But I found not myself nor yesterday--

    Until, slowly, from deep to lesser deep
    Risen, I felt the seas no longer over me
    But only air and light.
    Yes, like one clutching at a ring I heard
    The household noises as they stirred,
    And holding fast I wondered, What were they?

    I felt a strange hand lying at my side,
    Limp and cool. I touched it and knew it mine.
    A murmur, and I remembered how the wind died
    In the near aspens. Then
    Strange things were no more strange.
    I travelled among common thoughts again;

    And felt the new-forged links of that strong chain
    That binds me to myself, and this to-day
    To yesterday. I heard it rattling near
    With a no more astonished ear.
    And I had lost the strangeness of that sleep,
    No more the long night rolled its great seas over me.

    --O, too anxious I!
    For in this press of things familiar
    I have lost all that clung
    Round me awaking of strangeness and such sweetness.
    Nothing now is strange
    Except the man that woke and then was I.



    THE CHAIR


    The chair was made
    By hands long dead,
    Polished by many bodies sitting there,
    Until the wood-lines flowed as clean as waves.

    Mine sat restless there,
    Or propped to stare
    Hugged the low kitchen with fond eyes
    Or tired eyes that looked at nothing at all.

    Or watched from the smoke rise
    The flame's snake-eyes,
    Up the black-bearded chimney leap;
    Then on my shoulder my dull head would drop.

    And half asleep
    I heard her creep--Her
    never-singing lips shut fast,
    Fearing to wake me by a careless breath.

    Then, at last,
    My lids upcast,
    Our eyes met, I smiled and she smiled,
    And I shut mine again and truly slept.

    Was I that child
    Fretful, sick, wild?
    Was that you moving soft and soft
    Between the rooms if I but played at sleep?

    Or if I laughed,
    Talked, cried, or coughed,
    You smiled too, just perceptibly,
    Or your large kind brown eyes said, O poor boy!

    From the fireside I
    Could see the narrow sky
    Through the barred heavy window panes,
    Could hear the sparrows quarrelling round the
    lilac;

    And hear the heavy rains
    Choking in the roof-drains:--
    Else of the world I nothing heard
    Or nothing remember now. But most I loved

    To watch when you stirred
    Busily like a bird
    At household doings; with hands floured
    Mixing a magic with your cakes and tarts.

    O into me, sick, froward,
    Yourself you poured;
    In all those days and weeks when I
    Sat, slept, woke, whimpered, wondered and slept again.

    Now but a memory
    To bless and harry me
    Remains of you still swathed with care;
    Myself your chief care, sitting by the hearth

    Propped in the pillowed chair,
    Following you with tired stare,
    And my hand following the wood lines
    By dead hands smoothed and followed many years.



    THE STARS IN THEIR COURSES


    And now, while the dark vast earth shakes and rocks
    In this wild dream-like snare of mortal shocks,
    How look (I muse) those cold and solitary stars
    On these magnificent, cruel wars?--Venus,
    that brushes with her shining lips
    (Surely!) the wakeful edge of the world and mocks
    With hers its all ungentle wantonness?--Or
    the large moon (pricked by the spars of ships
    Creeping and creeping in their restlessness),
    The moon pouring strange light on things more strange,
    Looks she unheedfully on seas and lands
    Trembling with change and fear of counter-change?

    O, not earth trembles, but the stars, the stars!
    The sky is shaken and the cool air is quivering.
    I cannot look up to the crowded height
    And see the fair stars trembling in their light,
    For thinking of the starlike spirits of men
    Crowding the earth and with great passion quivering:--
    Stars quenched in anger and hate, stars sick with pity.
    I cannot look up to the naked skies
    Because a sorrow on dark midnight lies,
    Death, on the living world of sense;
    Because on my own land a shadow lies
    That may not rise;
    Because from bare grey hillside and rich city
    Streams of uncomprehending sadness pour,
    Thwarting the eager spirit's pure intelligence...
    How look (I muse) those cold and solitary stars
    On these magnificent, cruel wars?

    Stars trembled in broad heaven, faint with pity.
    An hour to dawn I looked. Beside the trees
    Wet mist shaped other trees that branching rose,
    Covering the woods and putting out the stars.
    There was no murmur on the seas,
    No wind blew--only the wandering air that grows
    With dawn, then murmurs, sighs,
    And dies.
    The mist climbed slowly, putting out the stars,
    And the earth trembled when the stars were gone;
    And moving strangely everywhere upon
    The trembling earth, thickened the watery mist.

    And for a time the holy things are veiled.
    England's wise thoughts are swords; her quiet hours
    Are trodden underfoot like wayside flowers,
    And every English heart is England's wholly.
    In starless night
    A serious passion streams the heaven with light.
    A common beating is in the air--
    The heart of England throbbing everywhere.
    And all her roads are nerves of noble thought,
    And all her people's brain is but her brain;
    And all her history, less her shame,
    Is part of her requickened consciousness.
    Her courage rises clean again.

    Even in victory there hides defeat;
    The spirit's murdered though the body survives,
    Except the cause for which a people strives
    Burn with no covetous, foul heat.
    Fights she against herself who infamously draws
    The sword against man's secret spiritual laws,
    But thou, England, because a bitter heel
    Hath sought to bruise the brain, the sensitive will,
    The conscience of the world,
    For this, England, art risen, and shalt fight
    Purely through long profoundest night,

    Making their quarrel thine who are grieved like thee;
    And (if to thee the stars yield victory)
    Tempering their hate of the great foe that hurled
    Vainly her strength against the conscience of the world.

    I looked again, or dreamed I looked, and saw
    The stars again and all their peace again.
    The moving mist had gone, and shining still
    The moon went high and pale above the hill.
    Not now those lights were trembling in the vast
    Ways of the nervy heaven, nor trembled earth:
    Profound and calm they gazed as the soft-shod hours passed.
    And with less fear (not with less awe,
    Remembering, England, all the blood and pain)
    How look, I cried, you stern and solitary stars
    On these disastrous wars!

    August, 1914.



    SHADOWS


    The shadow of the lantern on the wall,
    The lantern hanging from the twisted beam,
    The eye that sees the lantern, shadow and all.

    The crackle of the sinking fire in the grate,
    The far train, the slow echo in the coombe,
    The ear that hears fire, train and echo and all.

    The loveliness that is the secret shape
    Of once-seen, sweet and oft-dreamed loveliness,
    The brain that builds shape, memory, dream and all ...

    A white moon stares Time's thinning fabric through,
    And makes substantial insubstantial seem,
    And shapes immortal mortal as a dream;
    And eye and brain flicker as shadows do
    Restlessly dancing on a cloudy wall.



    ROBERT GRAVES



    STAR-TALK


    "Are you awake, Gemelli,
      This frosty night?"
    "We'll be awake till reveille,
    Which is Sunrise," say the Gemelli,
    "It's no good trying to go to sleep:
    If there's wine to be got we'll drink it deep,
      But rest is hopeless to-night,
      But rest is hopeless to-night."

    "Are you cold too, poor Pleiads,
      This frosty night?"
    "Yes, and so are the Hyads:
    See us cuddle and hug," say the Pleiads,
    "All six in a ring: it keeps us warm:
    We huddle together like birds in a storm:
    It's bitter weather to-night,
    It's bitter weather to-night."

    "What do you hunt, Orion,
    This starry night?"
    "The Ram, the Bull and the Lion
    And the Great Bear," says Orion,
    "With my starry quiver and beautiful belt
    I am trying to find a good thick pelt
      To warm my shoulders to-night,
      To warm my shoulders to-night."

    "Did you hear that, Great She-bear,
      This frosty night?"
    "Yes, he's talking of stripping _me_ bare
    Of my own big fur," says the She-bear.
    "I'm afraid of the man and his terrible arrow:
    The thought of it chills my bones to the marrow,
      And the frost so cruel to-night!
      And the frost so cruel to-night!"

    "How is your trade, Aquarius,
      This frosty night?"
    "Complaints is many and various
    And my feet are cold," says Aquarius,
    "There's Venus objects to Dolphin-scales,
    And Mars to Crab-spawn found in my pails,
      And the pump has frozen to-night,
      And the pump has frozen to-night."



    TO LUCASTA ON GOING TO THE WARS--
    FOR THE FOURTH TIME


    It doesn't matter what's the cause,
      What wrong they say we're righting,
    A curse for treaties, bonds and laws,
      When we're to do the fighting!
    And since we lads are proud and true,
      What else remains to do?

    Lucasta, when to France your man
    Returns his fourth time, hating war,
    Yet laughs as calmly as he can
      And flings an oath, but says no more,
    That is not courage, that's not fear--Lucasta
    he is Fusilier,
      And his pride sends him here.

    Let statesmen bluster, bark and bray
      And so decide who started
    This bloody war, and who's to pay
      But he must be stout-hearted,
    Must sit and stake with quiet breath,
      Playing at cards with Death.

    Don't plume yourself he fights for you;
    It is no courage, love or hate
    That lets us do the things we do;
      It's pride that makes the heart so great;
    It is not anger, no, nor fear--Lucasta
    he's a Fusilier,
      And his pride keeps him here.



    NOT DEAD


    Walking through trees to cool my heat and pain,
    I know that David's with me here again.
    All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
    Caressingly I stroke
    Rough bark of the friendly oak.
    A brook goes bubbling by: the voice is his.
    Turf burns with pleasant smoke;
    I laugh at chaffinch and at primroses.
    All that is simple, happy, strong, he is.
    Over the whole wood in a little while
    Breaks his slow smile.



    IN THE WILDERNESS


    Christ of his gentleness
    Thirsting and hungering,
    Walked in the wilderness;
    Soft words of grace He spoke
    Unto lost desert-folk
    That listened wondering.
    He heard the bittern's call
    From ruined palace wall,
    Answered them brotherly.
    He held communion
    With the she-pelican
    Of lonely piety.
    Basilisk, cockatrice,
    Flocked to His homilies,
    With mail of dread device,
    With monstrous barbed stings,
    With eager dragon-eyes;
    Great rats on leather wings
    And poor blind broken things,
    Foul in their miseries.
    And ever with Him went,
    Of all His wanderings
    Comrade, with ragged coat,
    Gaunt ribs--poor innocent--
    Bleeding foot, burning throat,
    The guileless old scape-goat;
    For forty nights and days
    Followed in Jesus' ways,
    Sure guard behind Him kept,
    Tears like a lover wept.



    NEGLECTFUL EDWARD


    _Nancy_

    Edward back from the Indian Sea,
    "What have you brought for Nancy?"

    _Edward_

    "A rope of pearls and a gold earring,
    And a bird of the East that will not sing.
    A carven tooth, a box with a key--"

    _Nancy_

    "God be praised you are back," says she,
    "Have you nothing more for your Nancy?"

    _Edward_

    "Long as I sailed the Indian Sea
    I gathered all for your fancy:
    Toys and silk and jewels I bring,
    And a bird of the East that will not sing:
    What more can you want, dear girl, from me?"

    _Nancy_

    "God be praised you are back," said she,
    "Have you nothing better for Nancy?"

    _Edward_

    "Safe and home from the Indian Sea
    And nothing to take your fancy?"

    _Nancy_

    "You can keep your pearls and your gold earring,
    And your bird of the East that will not sing,
    But, Ned, have you _nothing_ more for me
    Than heathenish gew-gaw toys?" says she,
    "Have you nothing better for Nancy?"



    JULIAN GRENFELL

    _Born 1888_
    _Killed in Action 1915_



    TO A BLACK GREYHOUND


    Shining black in the shining light,
    Inky black in the golden sun,
    Graceful as the swallow's flight,
    Light as swallow, winged one,
    Swift as driven hurricane,
    Double-sinewed stretch and spring,
    Muffled thud of flying feet--
    See the black dog galloping,
    Hear his wild foot-beat.

    See him lie when the day is dead,
    Black curves curled on the boarded floor.
    Sleepy eyes, my sleepy-head--
    Eyes that were aflame before.
    Gentle now, they burn no more;
    Gentle now and softly warm,
    With the fire that made them bright
    Hidden--as when after storm
    Softly falls the night.



    INTO BATTLE


    The naked earth is warm with Spring,
      And with green grass and bursting trees
    Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
      And quivers in the sunny breeze;
    And Life is Colour and Warmth and Light,
      And a striving evermore for these;
    And he is dead who will not fight;
      And who dies fighting has increase.

    The fighting man shall from the sun
      Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
    Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
      And with the trees to newer birth;
    And find, when fighting shall be done,
      Great rest, and fullness after dearth.

    All the bright company of Heaven
      Hold him in their high comradeship,
    The Dog-Star and the Sisters Seven,
      Orion's Belt and sworded hip.

    The woodland trees that stand together,
      They stand to him each one a friend,
    They gently speak in the windy weather;
      They guide to valley and ridges' end.

    The kestrel hovering by day,
      And the little owls that call by night,
    Bid him be swift and keen as they,
      As keen of ear, as swift of sight.

    The blackbird sings to him, "Brother, brother,
      If this be the last song you shall sing
    Sing well, for you may not sing another;
      Brother, sing."

    In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
      Before the brazen frenzy starts,
    The horses show him nobler powers;
      O patient eyes, courageous hearts

    And when the burning moment breaks,
      And all things else are out of mind,
    And only Joy of Battle takes
      Him by the throat, and makes him blind

    Through joy and blindness he shall know,
      Not caring much to know, that still,
    Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
      That it be not the Destined Will.

    The thundering line of battle stands,
      And in the air Death moans and sings;
    But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
      And Night shall fold him in soft wings.



    IVOR GURNEY



    TO THE POET BEFORE BATTLE


    Now, youth, the hour of thy dread passion comes:
    Thy lovely things must all be laid away;
    And thou, as others, must face the riven day
    Unstirred by rattle of the rolling drums,
    Or bugles' strident cry.  When mere noise numbs
    The sense of being, the fear-sick soul doth sway,
    Remember thy great craft's honour, that they may say
    Nothing in shame of poets. Then the crumbs
    Of praise the little versemen joyed to take
    Shall be forgotten: then they must know we are,
    For all our skill in words, equal in might
    And strong of mettle as those we honoured; make
    The name of poet terrible in just war,
    And like a crown of honour upon the fight.



    SONG OF PAIN AND BEAUTY

    To M. M. S.


    O may these days of pain,
      These wasted-seeming days,
    Somewhere reflower again
      With scent and savour of praise,
    Draw out of memory all bitterness
      Of night with Thy sun's rays.

    And strengthen Thou in me
      The love of men here found,
    And eager charity,
      That, out of difficult ground,
    Spring like flowers in barren deserts, or
      Like light, or a lovely sound.

    A simpler heart than mine
      Might have seen beauty clear
    When I could see no sign
      Of Thee, but only fear.
    Strengthen me, make me to see
      Thy beauty always
    In every happening here.

    _In Trenches, March_ 1917.



    RALPH HODGSON



    EVE


    Eve, with her basket, was
    Deep in the bells and grass,
    Wading in bells and grass
    Up to her knees,
    Picking a dish of sweet
    Berries and plums to eat,
    Down in the bells and grass
    Under the trees.

    Mute as a mouse in a
    Corner the cobra lay,
    Curled round a bough of the
    Cinnamon tall......
    Now to get even and
    Humble proud heaven and
    Now was the moment or
    Never at all.

    "Eva!" Each syllable
    Light as a flower fell,
    "Eva!" he whispered the
    Wondering maid,
    Soft as a bubble sung
    Out of a linnet's lung,
    Soft and most silverly
    "Eva!" he said.

    Picture that orchard sprite,
    Eve, with her body white,
    Supple and smooth to her
    Slim finger tips,
    Wondering, listening,
    Eve with a berry
    Half way to her lips.

    Oh had our simple Eve
    Seen through the make-believe!
    Had she but known the
    Pretender he was!
    Out of the boughs he came
    Whispering still her name
    Tumbling in twenty rings
    Into the grass.

    Here was the strangest pair
    In the world anywhere;
    Eve in the bells and grass
    Kneeling, and he
    Telling his story low....
    Singing birds saw them go
    Down the dark path to
    The Blasphemous Tree.

    Oh what a clatter when
    Titmouse and Jenny Wren
    Saw him successful and
    Taking his leave!
    How the birds rated him,
    How they all hated him!
    How they all pitied
    Poor motherless' Eve!

    Picture her crying
    Outside in the lane,
    Eve, with no dish of sweet
    Berries and plums to eat,
    Haunting the gate of the
    Orchard in vain......
    Picture the lewd delight
    Under the hill to-night--
    "Eva!" the toast goes round,
    "Eva!" again.



    THE BULL


    See an old unhappy bull,
    Sick in soul and body both,
    Slouching in the undergrowth
    Of the forest beautiful,
    Banished from the herd he led,
    Bulls and cows a thousand head.

    Cranes and gaudy parrots go
    Up and down the burning sky;
    Tree-top cats purr drowsily
    In the dim-day green below;
    And troops of monkeys, nutting, some,
    All disputing, go and come;

    And things abominable sit
    Picking offal buck or swine,
    On the mess and over it
    Burnished flies and beetles shine,
    And spiders big as bladders lie
    Under hemlocks ten foot high;

    And a dotted serpent curled
    Round and round and round a tree,
    Yellowing its greenery,
    Keeps a watch on all the world,
    All the world and this old bull
    In the forest beautiful.

    Bravely by his fall he came:
    One he led, a bull of blood
    Newly come to lustihood,
    Fought and put his prince to shame,
    Snuffed and pawed the prostrate head
    Tameless even while it bled.

    There they left him, every one,
    Left him there without a lick,
    Left him for the birds to pick,
    Left him there for carrion,
    Vilely from their bosom cast
    Wisdom, worth and love at last.

    When the lion left his lair
    And roared his beauty through the hills,
    And the vultures pecked their quills
    And flew into the middle air,
    Then this prince no more to reign
    Came to life and lived again,

    He snuffed the herd in far retreat,
    He saw the blood upon the ground,
    And snuffed the burning airs around
    Still with beevish odours sweet,
    While the blood ran down his head
    And his mouth ran slaver red.

    Pity him, this fallen chief,
    All his splendour, all his strength,
    All his body's breadth and length
    Dwindled down with shame and grief,
    Half the bull he was before,
    Bones and leather, nothing more.

    See him standing dewlap-deep
    In the rushes at the lake,
    Surly, stupid, half asleep,
    Waiting for his heart to break
    And the birds to join the flies
    Feasting at his bloodshot eyes,--

    Standing with his head hung down
    In a stupor, dreaming things:
    Green savannas, jungles brown,
    Battlefields and bellowings,
    Bulls undone and lions dead
    And vultures flapping overhead.

    Dreaming things: of days he spent
    With his mother gaunt and lean
    In the valley warm and green,
    Full of baby wonderment,
    Blinking out of silly eyes
    At a hundred mysteries;

    Dreaming over once again
    How he wandered with a throng
    Of bulls and cows a thousand strong,
    Wandered on from plain to plain,
    Up the hill and down the dale,
    Always at his mother's tail;

    How he lagged behind the herd,
    Lagged and tottered, weak of limb,
    And she turned and ran to him
    Blaring at the loathly bird
    Stationed always in the skies,
    Waiting for the flesh that dies.

    Dreaming maybe of a day
    When her drained and drying paps
    Turned him to the sweets and saps,
    Richer fountains by the way,
    And she left the bull she bore
    And he looked to her no more;

    And his little frame grew stout,
    And his little legs grew strong,
    And the way was not so long;
    And his little horns came out,
    And he played at butting trees
    And boulder-stones and tortoises,

    Joined a game of knobby skulls
    With the youngsters of his year,
    All the other little bulls,
    Learning both to bruise and bear,
    Learning how to stand a shock
    Like a little bull of rock.

    Dreaming of a day less dim,
    Dreaming of a time less far,
    When the faint but certain star
    Of destiny burned clear for him,
    And a fierce and wild unrest
    Broke the quiet of his breast.

    And the gristles of his youth
    Hardened in his comely pow,
    And he came to righting growth,
    Beat his bull and won his cow,
    And flew his tail and trampled off
    Past the tallest, vain enough,

    And curved about in splendour full
    And curved again and snuffed the airs
    As who should say Come out who dares I
    And all beheld a bull, a Bull,
    And knew that here was surely one
    That backed for no bull, fearing none.

    And the leader of the herd
    Looked and saw, and beat the ground,
    And shook the forest with his sound,
    Bellowed at the loathly bird
    Stationed always in the skies,
    Waiting for the flesh that dies.

    Dreaming, this old bull forlorn,
    Surely dreaming of the hour
    When he came to sultan power,
    And they owned him master-horn,
    Chiefest bull of all among
    Bulls and cows a thousand strong.

    And in all the tramping herd
    Not a bull that barred his way,
    Not a cow that said him nay,
    Not a bull or cow that erred
    In the furnace of his look
    Dared a second, worse rebuke;

    Not in all the forest wide,
    Jungle, thicket, pasture, fen,
    Not another dared him then,
    Dared him and again defied;
    Not a sovereign buck or boar
    Came a second time for more.

    Not a serpent that survived
    Once the terrors of his hoof
    Risked a second time reproof,
    Came a second time and lived,
    Not a serpent in its skin
    Came again for discipline;

    Not a leopard bright as flame,
    Flashing fingerhooks of steel,
    That a wooden tree might feel,
    Met his fury once and came
    For a second reprimand,
    Not a leopard in the land.

    Not a lion of them all
    Not a lion of the hills,
    Hero of a thousand kills,
    Dared a second fight and fall,
    Dared that ram terrific twice,
    Paid a second time the price....

    Pity him, this dupe of dream,
    Leader of the herd again
    Only in his daft old brain,
    Once again the bull supreme
    And bull enough to bear the part
    Only in his tameless heart.

    Pity him that he must wake;
    Even now the swarm of flies
    Blackening his bloodshot eyes
    Bursts and blusters round the lake,
    Scattered from the feast half-fed,
    By great shadows overhead.

    And the dreamer turns away
    From his visionary herds
    And his splendid yesterday,
    Turns to meet the loathly birds
    Flocking round him from the skies,
    Waiting for the flesh that dies.



    THE SONG OF HONOUR


    I climbed a hill as light fell short,
    And rooks came home in scramble sort,
    And filled the trees and flapped and fought
    And sang themselves to sleep;
    An owl from nowhere with no sound
    Swung by and soon was nowhere found,
    I heard him calling half-way round,
    Holloing loud and deep;
    A pair of stars, faint pins of light,
    Then many a star, sailed into sight,
    And all the stars, the flower of night,
    Were round me at a leap;
    To tell how still the valleys lay
    I heard a watchdog miles away......
    And bells of distant sheep.

    I heard no more of bird or bell,
    The mastiff in a slumber fell,
    I stared into the sky,
    As wondering men have always done,
    Since beauty and the stars were one,
    Though none so hard as I.

    It seemed, so still the valleys were,
    As if the whole world knelt at prayer,
    Save me and me alone;
    So pure and wide that silence was
    I feared to bend a blade of grass,
    And there I stood like stone.

    There, sharp and sudden, there I heard--
    _Ah! some wild lovesick singing bird_
    _Woke singing in the trees?_
    _The nightingale and babble-wren_
    _Were in the English greenwood then,_
    _And you heard one of these?_

    The babble-wren and nightingale
    Sang in the Abyssinian vale
    That season of the year!
    Yet, true enough, I heard them plain,
    I heard them both again, again,
    As sharp and sweet and clear
    As if the Abyssinian tree
    Had thrust a bough across the sea,
    Had thrust a bough across to me
    With music for my ear!

    I heard them both, and oh! I heard
    The song of every singing bird
    That sings beneath the sky,
    And with the song of lark and wren
    The song of mountains, moths and men
    And seas and rainbows vie!

    I heard the universal choir
    The Sons of Light exalt their Sire
    With universal song,
    Earth's lowliest and loudest notes,
    Her million times ten million throats
    Exalt Him loud and long,
    And lips and lungs and tongues of Grace
    From every part and every place
    Within the shining of His face
    The universal throng.

    I heard the hymn of being sound
    From every well of honour found
    In human sense and soul:
    The song of poets when they write
    The testament of Beautysprite
    Upon a flying scroll,
    The song of painters when they take
    A burning brush for Beauty's sake
    And limn her features whole--

    The song of men divinely wise
    Who look and see in starry skies
    Not stars so much as robins' eyes,
    And when these pale away
    Hear flocks of shiny pleiades
    Among the plums and apple trees
    Sing in the summer day--
    The song of all both high and low
    To some blest vision true,
    The song of beggars when they throw
    The crust of pity all men owe
    To hungry sparrows in the snow,
    Old beggars hungry too--
    The song of kings of kingdoms when
    They rise above their fortune men,
    And crown themselves anew,--

    The song of courage, heart and will
    And gladness in a fight,
    Of men who face a hopeless hill
    With sparking and delight,
    The bells and bells of song that ring
    Round banners of a cause or king
    From armies bleeding white--

    The songs of sailors every one
    When monstrous tide and tempest run
    At ships like bulls at red,
    When stately ships are twirled and spun
    Like whipping-tops and help there's none
    And mighty ships ten thousand ton
    Go down like lumps of lead--

    And songs of fighters stern as they
    At odds with fortune night and day,
    Crammed up in cities grim and grey
    As thick as bees in hives,
    Hosannas of a lowly throng
    Who sing unconscious of their song,
    Whose lips are in their lives--

    And song of some at holy war
    With spells and ghouls more dread by far
    Than deadly seas and cities are,
    Or hordes of quarrelling kings--
    The song of fighters great and small,
    The song of pretty fighters all,
    And high heroic things--

    The song of lovers--who knows how
    Twitched up from place and time
    Upon a sigh, a blush, a vow,
    A curve or hue of cheek or brow,
    Borne up and off from here and now
    Into the void sublime!

    And crying loves and passions still
    In every key from soft to shrill
    And numbers never done,
    Dog-loyalties to faith and friend,
    And loves like Ruth's of old no end,
    And intermission none--

    And burst on burst for beauty and
    For numbers not behind,
    From men whose love of motherland
    Is like a dog's for one dear hand,
    Sole, selfless, boundless, blind--
    And song of some with hearts beside
    For men and sorrows far and wide,
    Who watch the world with pity and pride
    And warm to all mankind--

    And endless joyous music rise
    From children at their play,
    And endless soaring lullabies
    From happy, happy mother's eyes,
    And answering crows and baby cries,
    How many who shall say!
    And many a song as wondrous well
    With pangs and sweets intolerable
    From lonely hearths too gray to tell,
    God knows how utter gray!

    And song from many a house of care
    When pain has forced a footing there
    And there's a Darkness on the stair
    Will not be turned away--

    And song--that song whose singers come
    With old kind tales of pity from
    The Great Compassion's lips,
    That makes the bells of Heaven to peal
    Round pillows frosty with the feel
    Of Death's cold finger tips--

    The song of men all sorts and kinds,
    As many tempers, moods and minds
    As leaves are on a tree,
    As many faiths and castes and creeds,
    As many human bloods and breeds
    As in the world may be;

    The song of each and all who gaze
    On Beauty in her naked blaze,
    Or see her dimly in a haze,
    Or get her light in fitful rays
    And tiniest needles even,
    The song of all not wholly dark,
    Not wholly sunk in stupor stark
    Too deep for groping Heaven--

    And alleluias sweet and clear
    And wild with beauty men mishear,
    From choirs of song as near and dear
    To Paradise as they,
    The everlasting pipe and flute
    Of wind and sea and bird and brute,
    And lips deaf men imagine mute
    In wood and stone and clay;

    The music of a lion strong
    That shakes a hill a whole night long,
    A hill as loud as he,
    The twitter of a mouse among
    Melodious greenery,
    The ruby's and the rainbow's song,
    The nightingale's--all three,
    The song of life that wells and flows
    From every leopard, lark and rose
    And everything that gleams or goes
    Lack-lustre in the sea.

    I heard it all, each, every note
    Of every lung and tongue and throat,
    Ay, every rhythm and rhyme
    Of everything that lives and loves
    And upward, ever upward moves
    From lowly to sublime!
    Earth's multitudinous Sons of Light,
    I heard them lift their lyric might
    With each and every chanting sprite
    That lit the sky that wondrous night
    As far as eye could climb!

    I heard it all, I heard the whole
    Harmonious hymn of being roll
    Up through the chapel of my soul
    And at the altar die,
    And in the awful quiet then
    Myself I heard Amen, Amen,
    Amen I heard me cry!
    I heard it all, and then although
    I caught my flying senses, oh,
    A dizzy man was I!
    I stood and stared; the sky was lit,
    The sky was stars all over it,
    I stood, I knew not why,
    Without a wish, without a will,
    I stood upon that silent hill
    And stared into the sky until
    My eyes were blind with stars and still
    I stared into the sky.



    REASON HAS MOONS


    Reason has moons, but moons not hers
      Lie mirror'd on her sea,
    Confounding her astronomers,
      But, O! delighting me.



    JAMES JOYCE



    STRINGS IN THE EARTH


    Strings in the earth and air
      Make music sweet;
    Strings by the river where
      The willows meet.

    There's music along the river
      For Love wanders there,
    Pale flowers on his mantle,
      Dark leaves on his hair.

    All softly playing,
      With head to the music bent,
    And fingers straying
      Upon an instrument.



    I HEAR AN ARMY


    I hear an army charging upon the land,
      And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
    Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
      Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.

    They cry unto the night their battle-name:
      I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
    They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
      Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

    They come shaking in triumph their long green hair:
      They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
    My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
      My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?



    D. H. LAWRENCE



    SERVICE OF ALL THE DEAD


    Between the avenues of cypresses,
    All in their scarlet cloaks, and surplices
    Of linen, go the chaunting choristers,
    The priests in gold and black, the villagers.

    And all along the path to the cemetery
    The round, dark heads of men crowd silently,
    And black-scarved faces of women-folk, wistfully
    Watch at the banner of death, and the mystery.

    And at the foot of a grave a father stands
    With sunken head, and forgotten, folded hands;
    And at the foot of a grave a woman kneels
    With pale shut face, and neither hears nor feels

    The coming of the chaunting choristers
    Between the avenues of cypresses,
    The silence of the many villagers,
    The candle-flames beside the surplices.



    FRANCIS LEDWIDGE

    _Killed in Action, 1917,_



    IN FRANCE


    The silence of maternal hills
    Is round me in my evening dreams;
    And round me music-making rills
    And mingling waves of pastoral streams.

    Whatever way I turn I find
    The path is old unto me still.
    The hills of home are in my mind,
    And there I wander as I will.

    _February 3rd, 1917.



    THOMAS MACDONAGH


    He shall not hear the bittern cry
    In the wild sky, where he is lain,
    Nor voices of the sweeter birds
    Above the wailing of the rain.

    Nor shall he know when loud March blows
    Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
    Blowing to flame the golden cup
    Of many an upset daffodil.

    But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor,
    And pastures poor with greedy weeds,
    Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn
    Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.



    IN SEPTEMBER


    Still are the meadowlands, and still
    Ripens the upland com,
    And over the brown gradual hill
    The moon has dipped a horn.

    The voices of the dear unknown
    With silent hearts now call,
    My rose of youth is overblown
    And trembles to the fall.

    My song forsakes me like the birds
    That leave the rain and grey,
    I hear the music of the words
    My lute can never say.



    ROSE MACAULAY



    TRINITY SUNDAY


    As I walked in Petty Cury on Trinity Day,
      While the cuckoos in the fields did shout,
    Right through the city stole the breath of the may,
      And the scarlet doctors all about

    Lifted up their heads to snuff at the breeze,
      And forgot they were bound for great St. Mary's
    To listen to a sermon from the Master of Caius,
      And "How balmy," they said, "the air is!"

    And balmy it was; and the sweet bells rocking
      Shook it till it rent in two
    And fell, a torn veil; and like maniacs mocking
      The wild things from without passed through.

    Wild wet things that swam in King's Parade
      The days it was a marshy fen,
    Through the rent veil they did sprawl and wade
      Blind bog-beasts and Ugrian men.

    And the city was not. (For cities are wrought
      Of the stuff of the world's live brain.
    Cities are thin veils, woven of thought,
      And thought, breaking, rends them in twain.)

    And the fens were not. (For fens are dreams
      Dreamt by a race long dead;
    And the earth is naught, and the sun but seems:
      And so those who know have said.)

    So veil beyond veil inimitably lifted:
      And I saw the world's naked face,
    Before, reeling and baffled and blind, I drifted
      Back within the bounds of space.

    ***

    I have forgot the unforgettable.
      All of honey and milk the air is.
    God send I do forget.... The merry winds swell
      In the scarlet gowns bound for St. Mary's.



    THOMAS MACDONAGH

    _Born 1878._


    _Executed after Easter Week Rising, 1916._



    INSCRIPTION ON A RUIN


    I stood beside the postern here,
      High up above the trampling sea,
    In shadow, shrinking from the spear
      Of light, not daring hence to flee.

    The moon beyond the western cliff
      Had passed, and let the shadow fall,
    Across the water to the skiff
      That came on to the castle wall.

    I heard below murmur of words
      Not loud, the splash upon the strand,
    And the long cry of darkling birds.
      The ivory horn fell from my hand.



    THE NIGHT HUNT


    In the morning, in the dark,
    When the stars begin to blunt,
    By the wall of Barn a Park
    Dogs I heard and saw them hunt;
    All the parish dogs were there,
    All the dogs for miles around,
    Teeming up behind a hare,
    In the dark, without a sound.

    How I heard I scarce can tell--
    'Twas a patter in the grass--
    And I did not see them well
    Come across the dark and pass;
    Yet I saw them and I knew
    Spearman's dog and Spellman's dog
    And, beside my own dog too,
    Leamy's from the Island Bog.

    In the morning when the sun
    Burnished all the green to gorse,
    I went out to take a run
    Round the bog upon my horse;
    And my dog that had been sleeping
    In the heat beside the door
    Left his yawning and went leaping
    On a hundred yards before.

    Through the village street we passed--
    Not a dog there raised a snout--
    Through the street and out at last
    On the white bog road and out
    Over Barna Park full pace,
    Over to the silver stream,
    Horse and dog in happy race,
    Rider between thought and dream.

    By the stream, at Leamy's house,
    Lay a dog--my pace I curbed--
    But our coming did not rouse
    Him from drowsing undisturbed;
    And my dog, as unaware
    Of the other, dropped beside
    And went running by me there
    With my horse's slackened stride.

    Yet by something, by a twitch
    Of the sleeper's eye, a look
    From the runner, something which
    Little chords of feeling shook,
    I was conscious that a thought
    Shuddered through the silent deep
    Of a secret--I had caught
    Something I had known in sleep.



    JOHN MASEFIELD



    C. L. M.


    In the dark womb where I began
    My mother's life made me a man.
    Through all the months of human birth
    Her beauty fed my common earth.
    I cannot see, nor breathe, nor stir,
    But through the death of some of her.

    Down in the darkness of the grave
    She cannot see the life she gave.
    For all her love, she cannot tell
    Whether I use it ill or well,
    Nor knock at dusty doors to find
    Her beauty dusty in the mind.

    If the grave's gates could be undone,
    She would not know her little son,
    I am so grown. If we should meet
    She would pass by me in the street,
    Unless my soul's face let her see
    My sense of what she did for me.

    What have I done to keep in mind
    My debt to her and womankind?
    What woman's happier life repays
    Her for those months of wretched days?
    For all my monthless body leeched
    Ere Birth's releasing hell was reached?

    What have I done, or tried, or said
    In thanks to that dear woman dead?
    Men triumph over women still,
    Men trample women's rights at will,
    And man's lust roves the world untamed.

    ***

    O grave, keep shut lest I be shamed.



    WHAT AM I, LIFE?


    What am I, Life? A thing of watery salt
    Held in cohesion by unresting cells
    Which work they know not why, which never halt,
    Myself unwitting where their master dwells.
    I do not bid them, yet they toil, they spin;
    A world which uses me as I use them,
    Nor do I know which end or which begin,
    Nor which to praise, which pamper, which condemn.
    So, like a marvel in a marvel set,
    I answer to the vast, as wave by wave
    The sea of air goes over, dry or wet,
    Or the full moon comes swimming from her cave,
    Or the great sun comes north, this myriad I
    Tingles, not knowing how, yet wondering why.



    HAROLD MONRO



    JOURNEY


    I

    How many times I nearly miss the train
    By running up the staircase once again
    For some dear trifle almost left behind.
    At that last moment the unwary mind
    Forgets the solemn tick of station-time;
    That muddy lane the feet must climb--
    The bridge--the ticket--signal down--
    Train just emerging beyond the town:
    The great blue engine panting as it takes
    The final curve, and grinding on its brakes
    Up to the platform-edge... The little doors
    Swing open, while the burly porter roars.
    The tight compartment fills: our careful eyes
    Go to explore each other's destinies.
    A lull. The station-master waves. The train
    Gathers, and grips, and takes the rails again,
    Moves to the shining open land, and soon
    Begins to tittle-tattle a tame tattoon.


    II

    They ramble through the country-side,
    Dear gentle monsters, and we ride
    Pleasantly seated--so we sink
    Into a torpor on the brink
    Of thought, or read our books, and understand
    Half them and half the backward-gliding land:
    (Trees in a dance all twirling round;
    Large rivers flowing with no sound;
    The scattered images of town and field,
    Shining flowers half concealed.)
    And, having settled to an equal rate,
    They swing the curve and straighten to the straight,
    Curtail their stride and gather up their joints,
    Snort, dwindle their steam for the noisy points,
    Leap them in safety, and, the other side,
    Loop again to an even stride.

    The long train moves: we move in it along.
    Like an old ballad, or an endless song,
    It drones and wimbles its unwearied croon--
    Croons, drones, and mumbles all the afternoon.

    Towns with their fifty chimneys close and high,
    Wreathed in great smoke between the earth and sky,
    It hurtles through them, and you think it must
    Halt--but it shrieks and sputters them with dust,
    Cracks like a bullet through their big affairs,
    Rushes the station-bridge, and disappears
    Out to the suburb, laying bare
    Each garden trimmed with pitiful care;
    Children are caught at idle play,
    Held a moment, and thrown away.
    Nearly everyone looks round.
    Some dignified inhabitant is found
    Right in the middle of the commonplace--
    Buttoning his trousers, or washing his face.


    III

    Oh the wild engine! Every time I sit
    In any train I must remember it.
    The way it smashes through the air; its great
    Petulant majesty and terrible rate:
    Driving the ground before it, with those round
    Feet pounding, eating, covering the ground;
    The piston using up the white steam so
    You cannot watch it when it come or go;
    The cutting, the embankment; how it takes
    The tunnels, and the clatter that it makes;
    So careful of the train and of the track,
    Guiding us out, or helping us go back;
    Breasting its destination: at the close
    Yawning, and slowly dropping to a doze.


    IV

    We who have looked each other in the eyes
    This journey long, and trundled with the train,
    Now to our separate purposes must rise,
    Becoming decent strangers once again.
    The little chamber we have made our home
    In which we so conveniently abode,
    The complicated journey we have come,
    Must be an unremembered episode.
    Our common purpose made us all like friends.
    How suddenly it ends!
    A nod, a murmur, or a little smile,
    Or often nothing, and away we file.
    I hate to leave you, comrades. I will stay
    To watch you drift apart and pass away.
    It seems impossible to go and meet
    All those strange eyes of people in the street.
    But, like some proud unconscious god, the train
    Gathers us up and scatters us again.



    SOLITUDE


    When you have tidied all things for the night,
    And while your thoughts are fading to their sleep,
    You'll pause a moment in the late firelight,
    Too sorrowful to weep.

    The large and gentle furniture has stood
    In sympathetic silence all the day
    With that old kindness of domestic wood;
    Nevertheless the haunted room will say:
    "Some one must be away."

    The little dog rolls over half awake,
    Stretches his paws, yawns, looking up at you,
    Wags his tail very slightly for your sake,
    That you may feel he is unhappy too.

    A distant engine whistles, or the floor
    Creaks, or the wandering night-wind bangs a door.

    Silence is scattered like a broken glass.
    The minutes prick their ears and run about,
    Then one by one subside again and pass
    Sedately in, monotonously out.

    You bend your head and wipe away a tear.
    Solitude walks one heavy step more near.



    MILK FOR THE CAT


    When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
    And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
    The little black cat with bright green eyes
    Is suddenly purring there.

    At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
    She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
    But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour
    She is never late.

    And presently her agate eyes
    Take a soft large milky haze,
    And her independent casual glance
    Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.

    Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
    Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
    Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
    One breathing, trembling purr.

    The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
    The two old ladies stroke their silk:
    But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
    Transformed to a creeping lust for milk:

    The white saucer like some full moon descends
    At last from the clouds of the table above;
    She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
    Transfigured with love.

    She nestles over the shining rim,
    Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
    Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
    Is doubled under each bending knee.

    A long dim ecstasy holds her life;
    Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
    Till her tongue has curled the last half drop,
    Then she sinks back into the night,

    Draws and dips her body to heap
    Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
    Lies defeated and buried deep
    Three or four hours unconscious there.



    T. STURGE MOORE



    SENT FROM EGYPT WITH A FAIR ROBE
    OF TISSUE TO A SICILIAN VINE-DRESSER.

    276 B.C.


    Put out to sea, if wine thou wouldest make
    Such as is made in Cos: when open boat
    May safely launch, advice of pilots take;
    And find the deepest bottom, most remote
    From all encroachment of the crumbling shore,
    Where no fresh stream tempers the rich salt wave,
    Forcing rash sweetness on sage ocean's brine;
    As youthful shepherds pour
    Their first love forth to Battos gnarled and grave,
    Fooling shrewd age to bless some fond design.

    Not after storm! but when, for a long spell,
    No white-maned horse has raced across the blue,
    Put from the beach! lest troubled be the well--
    Less pure thy draught than from such depth were due.
    Fast close thy largest jars, prepared and clean!
    Next weigh each buoyant womb down through the flood,
    Far down! when, with a cord the lid remove,
    And it will fill unseen,
    Swift as a heart Love smites sucks back the blood:--
    This bubbles, deeper born than sighs, shall prove.

    If thy bowed shoulders ache, as thou dost haul--
    Those groan who climb with rich ore from the mine;
    Labour untold round Ilion girt a wall;
    A god toiled that Achilles' arms might shine;
    Think of these things and double knit thy will!
    Then, should the sun be hot on thy return,
    Cover thy jars with piles of bladder weed,
    Dripping, and fragrant still
    From sea-wolds where it grows like bracken-fern:
    A grapnel dragged will soon supply thy need.

    Home to a tun-convey thy precious freight!
    Wherein, for thirty days, it should abide,
    Closed, yet not quite closed from the air, and wait
    While, through dim stillness, slowly doth subside
    Thick sediment. The humour of a day,
    Which has defeated youth and health and joy,
    Down, through a dreamless sleep, will settle thus,
    Till riseth maiden gay
    Set free from all glooms past--or else a boy
    Once more a school-friend worthy Troilus.

    Yet to such cool wood tank some dream might dip:
    Vision of Aphrodite sunk to sleep,
    Or of some sailor let down from a ship,
    Young, dead, and lovely, while across the deep,
    Through the calm night, his hoarse-voiced comrades chaunt--
    So far at sea, they cannot reach the land
    To lay him perfect in the warm brown earth.
    Pray that such dreams there haunt!
    While, through damp darkness, where thy tun doth stand,
    Cold salamanders sidle round its girth.

    Gently draw off the clear and tomb it yet
    For other twenty days in cedarn casks!
    Where through trance, surely, prophecy will set;
    As, dedicated to light temple-tasks,
    The young priest dreams the unknown mystery.
    Through Ariadne, knelt disconsolate
    In the sea's marge, so welled back warmth which throbbed
    With nuptial promise: she
    Turned; and, half-choked through dewy glens, some great,
    Some magic drone of revel coming sobbed.

    Of glorious fruit, indeed, must be thy choice,
    Such as has fully ripened on the branch,
    Such as due rain, then sunshine, made rejoice,
    Which, pulped and coloured, now deep bloom doth blanch;
    Clusters like odes for victors in the games,
    Strophe on strophe globed, pure nectar all!
    Spread such to dry,--if Helios grant thee grace,
    Exposed unto his flames
    Two days, or, if not, three; or, should rain fall;
    Stretch them on hurdles in the house four days.

    Grapes are not sharded chestnuts, which the tree
    Lets fall to burst them on the ground, where red
    Rolls forth the fruit, from white-lined wards set free,
    And all undamaged glows 'mid husks it shed;
    Nay, they are soft and should be singly stripped
    From off the bunch, by maiden's dainty hand,
    Then dropped through the cool silent depth to sink
    (Coy, as herself hath slipped,
    Bathing, from shelves in caves along the strand)

    Till round each dark grape water barely wink;
    Since some nine measures of sea-water fill
    A butt of fifty, ere the plump fruit peep,
    --Like sombre dolphin shoals when nights are still,
    Which penned in Proteus' wizard circle sleep,
    And 'twixt them glinting curves of silver glance
    If Zephyr, dimpling dark calm, counts them o'er.--
    Let soak thy fruit for two days thus, then tread!
    While bare-legged bumpkins dance,
    Bright from thy bursting press arched spouts shall pour,
    And gurgling torrents towards thy vats run red.

    Meanwhile the maidens, each with wooden rake,
    Drag back the skins and laugh at aprons splashed;
    Or youths rest, boasting how their brown arms ache,
    So fast their shovels for so long have flashed,
    Baffling their comrades' legs with mounting heaps.
    Treble their labour! still the happier they,
    Who at this genial task wear out long hours,
    Till vast night round them creeps,
    When soon the torch-light dance whirls them away;
    For gods who love wine double all their powers.
    Iacchus is the always grateful god!
    His vineyards are more fair than gardens far;
    Hanging, like those of Babylon, they nod
    O'er each Ionian cliff and hill-side scar!
    While Cypris lends him saltness, depth, and peace;
    The brown earth yields him sap for richest green;
    And he has borrowed laughter from the sky;
    Wildness from winds; and bees
    Bring honey.--Then choose casks which thou hast seen
    Are leakless, very wholesome, and quite dry!

    That Coan wine the very finest is,
    I do assure thee, who have travelled much
    And learned to judge of diverse vintages.
    Faint not before the toil! this wine is such
    As tempteth princes launch long pirate barks;--From
    which may Zeus protect Sicilian bays,
    And, ere long, me safe home from Egypt bring,
    Letting no black-sailed sharks
    Scent this king's gifts, for whom I sweeten praise
    With those same songs thou didst to Chloe sing!

    I wrote them 'neath the vine-cloaked elm, for thee.
    Recall those nights! our couches were a load
    Of scented lentisk; upward, tree by tree,
    Thy father's orchard sloped, and past us flowed
    A stream sluiced for his vineyards; when, above,
    The apples fell, they on to us were rolled,
    But kept us not awake.--O Laco, own
    How thou didst rave of love!
    Now art thou staid, thy son is three years old;
    But I, who made thee love-songs, live alone.

    Muse thou at dawn o'er thy yet slumbering wife!--
    Not chary of her best was nature there,
    Who, though a third of her full gift of life
    Was spent, still added beauties still more rare;
    What calm slow days, what holy sleep at night,
    Evolved her for long twilight trystings fraught
    With panic blushes and tip-toe surmise:
    And then, what mystic might--
    All, with a crowning boon, through travail brought!
    Consider this and give thy best likewise!

    Ungrateful be not! Laco, ne'er be that!
    Well worth thy while to make such wine 'twould be;
    I see thy red face 'neath thy broad straw hat,
    I see thy house, thy vineyards, Sicily!--
    Thou dost demur, good but too easy friend!
    Come, put those doubts away! thou hast strong lads,
    Brave wenches; on the steep beach lolls thy ship
    Where vine-clad slopes descend,
    Sheltering our bay, that headlong rillet glads,
    Like a stripped child fain in the sea to dip.



    A SPANISH PICTURE


    Thy life is over now, Don Juan:
    Thy fingers are so shrunk
    That all their rings from off their cold tips crowd,
    Where limp thy hand hath sunk;

    On a trestle-table laid, Don Juan,
    A half-mask near thine ear,
    A visor black in which void gape two gaps
    Where through thou oft didst leer.

    Thou waitest for the priests, Don Juan,
    To bear thee to thy grave;
    Thou'rt theirs at length beyond all doubt, but ha!
    Hast now no soul to save.

    Thou wast brought home last night, Don Juan,
    Upon a stable door;
    Beneath a young nun's casement, found dropped dead,
    Where thou hadst wooed of yore:

    To pay their trouble then, Don Juan,
    Those base grooms took thy sword;
    A rapier to fetch gold, with shagreened sheath,
    Wrought hand-grip, and silk cord;

    Which, with thy fame enhanced, Don Juan,
    Were worth hidalgo's rent;
    Yet on which now, at most, some few moidore
    May by some fop be spent.

    Dull brown a cloak enwraps, Don Juan,
    Both thy lean shanks, one arm,
    That old bird-cage thy breast, where like magpie
    Thy heart hopped on alarm.

    Yet out beyond thy cloak, Don Juan,
    Thrust prim white-stocking'd feet--Silk-stocking'd
    feet that in quadrille pranced round--
    Slippers high-heeled and neat;

    Thy silver-buckled shoes, Don Juan,
    No more shall tread a floor,
    Beside their heels upon the board lies now
    A half-peeled onion's core:

    Munching, a crone, that knew, Don Juan,
    Thy best contrived plots,
    Hobbles about the room, whose gaunt stone walls
    Drear echo as she trots;

    She makes her bundle up, Don Juan;
    She'll not forget thy rings,
    Thy buckles, nor silk stockings; nay, not she!
    They'll go with her few things.

    Those lids she hath pulled down, Don Juan,
    That lowered ne'er for shame;
    No spark from beauty more in thy brain pan,
    Shall make its tinder flame:

    Thou hast enjoyed all that, Don Juan,
    Which good resolves doth daunt,
    Which hypocrites doth tempt to stake vile souls,
    Which cowards crave and want;

    Thou wast an envied man, Don Juan,
    Long shalt be envied still;
    Thou hadst thy beauty as the proud pard hath,
    And instinct trained to skill.



    A DUET


    "Flowers nodding gaily, scent in air,
    "Flowers posied, flowers for the hair,
    "Sleepy flowers, flowers bold to stare--
    "Oh, pick me some!"

    "Shells with lip, or tooth, or bleeding gum,
    "Tell-tale shells, and shells that whisper 'Come,'
    "Shells that stammer, blush, and yet are dumb--"
    "Oh, let me hear!"

    "Eyes so black they draw one trembling near,
    "Brown eyes, caverns flooded with a tear,
    "Cloudless eyes, blue eyes so windy clear--"
    "Oh, look at me!"

    "Kisses sadly blown across the sea,
    "Darkling kisses, kisses fair and free,
    "Bob-a-cherry kisses 'neath a tree--"
    "Oh, give me one!"

    Thus sang a king and queen in Babylon.



    THE GAZELLES


    When the sheen on tall summer grass is pale,
    Across blue skies white clouds float on
    In shoals, or disperse and singly sail,
    Till, the sun being set, they all are gone:

    Yet, as long as they may shine bright in the sun,
    They flock or stray through the daylight bland,
    While their stealthy shadows like foxes run
    Beneath where the grass is dry and tanned:

    And the waste, in hills that swell and fall,
    Goes heaving into yet dreamier haze;
    And a wonder of silence is over all
    Where the eye feeds long like a lover's gaze:

    Then, cleaving the grass, gazelles appear
    (The gentler dolphins of kindlier waves)
    With sensitive heads alert of ear;
    Frail crowds that a delicate hearing saves,

    That rely on the nostrils' keenest power,
    And are governed from trance-like distances
    By hopes and fears, and, hour by hour,
    Sagacious of safety, snuff the breeze.

    They keep together, the timid hearts;
    And each one's fear with a panic thrill
    Is passed to an hundred; and if one starts
    In three seconds all are over the hill.

    A Nimrod might watch, in his hall's wan space,
    After the feast, on the moonlit floor,
    The timorous mice that troop and race,
    As tranced o'er those herds the sun doth pour;

    Like a wearied tyrant sated with food
    Who envies each tiniest thief that steals
    Its hour from his abstracted mood,
    For it living zest and beauty reveals.

    He alone, save the quite dispassionate moon,
    Sees them; she stares at the prowling pard
    Who surprises their sleep and, ah! how soon
    Is riding the weakest or sleepiest hard!

    Let an agony's nightmare course begin,
    Four feet with five spurs a piece control,
    Like a horse thief reduced to save his skin
    Or a devil that rides a human soul!

    The race is as long as recorded time,
    Yet brief as the flash of assassin's knife;
    For 'tis crammed as history is with crime
    'Twixt the throbs at taking and losing life;

    Then the warm wet clutch on the nape of the neck,
    Through which the keen incisors drive;
    Then the fleet knees give, down drops the wreck
    Of yesterday's pet that was so alive.

    Yet the moon is naught concerned, ah no!
    She shines as on a drifting plank
    Far in some northern sea-stream's flow
    From which two numbed hands loosened and sank.

    Such thinning their number must suffer; and worse
    When hither at times the Shah's children roam,
    Their infant listlessness to immerse
    In energy's ancient upland home:

    For here the shepherd in years of old
    Was taught by the stars, and bred a race
    That welling forth from these highlands rolled
    In tides of conquest o'er earth's face:

    On piebald ponies or else milk-white,
    Here, with green bridles in silver bound,
    A crescent moon on the violet night
    Of their saddle cloths, or a sun rayed round,--

    With tiny bells on their harness ringing,
    And voices that laugh and are shrill by starts,
    Prancing, curvetting, and with them bringing
    Swift chetahs cooped up in light-wheeled carts,

    They come, and their dainty pavilions pitch
    In some valley, beside a sinuous pool,
    Where a grove of cedars towers in which
    Herons have built, where the shade is cool;

    Where they tether their ponies to low hung boughs,
    Where long through the night their red fires gleam,
    Where the morning's stir doth them arouse
    To their bath in the lake, as from dreams to a dream.

    And thence in an hour their hunt rides forth,
    And the chetahs course the shy gazelle
    To the east or west or south or north,
    And every eve in a distant vale

    A hetacomb of the slaughtered beasts
    Is piled; tongues loll from breathless throats;
    Round large jet eyes the horsefly feasts--
    Jet eyes, which now a blue film coats:

    Dead there they bleed, and each prince there
    Is met by his sister, wife, or bride--
    Delicious ladies with long dark hair,
    And soft dark eyes, and brows arched wide,

    In quilted jacket, embroidered sash,
    And tent-like skirts of pleated lawn;
    While their silk-lined jewelled slippers flash
    Round bare feet bedded like pools at dawn:

    So choicefully prepared to please,
    Young, female, royal of race and mood,
    In indolent compassion these
    O'er those dead beauteous creatures brood:

    They lean some minutes against their friend,
    A lad not slow to praise himself,
    Who tells how this one met his end
    Out-raced, or trapped by leopard stealth,

    And boasts his chetahs fleetest are;
    Through his advice the chance occurred,
    That leeward vale by which the car
    Was well brought round to head the herd.

    Seeing him bronzed by sun and wind,
    She feels his power and owns him lord,
    Then, that his courage may please her mind,
    With a soft coy hand half draws his sword,

    Just shudders to see the cold steel gleam,
    And drops it back in the long curved sheath;
    She will make his evening meal a dream
    And surround his sleep like some rich wreath

    Of heavy-lidded flowers bewitched
    To speak soft words of ecstasy
    To wizard king old, wise, and enriched
    With all save youth's and love's sweet glee.

    But, while they sleep, the orphaned herd
    And wounded stragglers, through the night
    Wander in pain, and wail unheard
    To the moon and the stars so cruelly bright:

    Why are they born? ah! why beget
    They in the long November gloom
    Heirs of their beauty, their fleetness,--yet
    Heirs of their panics, their pangs, their doom?

    That to princely spouses children are born
    To be daintily bred and taught to please,
    Has a fitness like the return of morn:
    But why perpetuate lives like these?

    Why, with horns that jar and with fiery eyes,
    Should the male stags fight for the shuddering does
    Through the drear dark nights, with frequent cries
    From tyrant lust or outlawed woes?

    Doth the meaningless beauty of their lives
    Rave in the spring, when they course afar
    Like the shadows of birds, and the young fawn strives
    Till its parents no longer the fleetest are?

    Like the shadows of flames which the sun's rays throw
    On a kiln's blank wall, where glaziers dwell,
    Pale shadows as those from glasses they blow,
    Yet that lap at the blank wall and rebel,--

    Even so to my curious trance-like thought
    Those herds move over those pallid hills,
    With fever as of a frail life caught
    In circumstance o'er-charged with ills;

    More like the shadow of lives than life,
    Or most like the life that is never born
    From baffled purpose and foredoomed strife,
    That in each man's heart must be hidden from scorn

    Yet with something of beauty very rare
    Unseizable, fugitive, half discerned;
    The trace of intentions that might have been fair
    In action, left on a face that yearned

    But long has ceased to yearn, alas!
    So faint a trace do they leave on the slopes
    Of hills as sleek as their coats with grass;
    So faint may the trace be of noblest hopes.

    Yet why are they born to roam and die?
    Can their beauty answer thy query, O soul?
    Nay, nor that of hopes which were born to fly,
    But whose pinions the common and coarse day stole.

    Like that region of grassy hills outspread,
    A realm of our thoughts knows days and nights
    And summers and winters, and has fed
    Ineffectual herds of vanished delights.



    ROBERT NICHOLS



    TO ------

    Asleep within the deadest hour of night
    And turning with the earth, I was aware
    How suddenly the eastern curve was bright,
    As when the sun arises from his lair.
    But not the sun arose: it was thy hair
    Shaken up heaven in tossing leagues of light.

    Since then I know that neither night nor day
    May I escape thee, O my heavenly hell!
    Awake, in dreams, thou springest to waylay
    And should I dare to die, I know full well
    Whose voice would mock me in the mourning bell,
    Whose face would greet me in hell's fiery way.



    FAREWELL TO PLACE OF COMFORT


    For the last time, maybe, upon the knoll
    I stand. The eve is golden, languid, sad....
    Day like a tragic actor plays his role
    To the last whispered word, and falls gold-clad.
    I, too, take leave of all I ever had.

    They shall not say I went with heavy heart:
    Heavy I am, but soon I shall be free;
    I love them all, but O I now depart
    A little sadly, strangely, fearfully,
    As one who goes to try a Mystery.

    The bell is sounding down in Dedham Vale:
    Be still, O bell! too often standing here
    When all the air was tremulous, fine, and pale,
    Thy golden note so calm, so still, so clear,
    Out of my stony heart has struck a tear.

    And now tears are not mine. I have release
    From all the former and the later pain;
    Like the mid-sea I rock in boundless peace,
    Soothed by the charity of the deep sea rain....
    Calm rain! Calm sea! Calm found, long sought in vain.

    O bronzen pines, evening of gold and blue,
    Steep mellow slope, brimmed twilit pool below,
    Hushed trees, still vale dissolving in the dew,
    Farewell! Farewell! There is no more to do.
    We have been happy. Happy now I go.



    THE FULL HEART


    Alone on the shore in the pause of the night-time
    I stand and I hear the long wind blow light;
    I view the constellations quietly, quietly burning;
    I hear the wave fall in the hush of the night.

    Long after I am dead, ended this bitter journey,
    Many another whose heart holds no light
    Shall your solemn sweetness, hush, awe, and comfort,
    O my companions, Wind, Waters, Stars, and Night.

    _Near Gold Cap,_ 1916.



    THE TOWER


    It was deep night, and over Jerusalem's low roofs
    The moon floated, drifting through high vaporous woofs.
    The moonlight crept and glistened silent, solemn, sweet,
    Over dome and column, up empty, endless street;
    In the closed, scented gardens the rose loosed from the stem
    Her white showery petals; none regarded them;
    The starry thicket breathed odours to the sentinel palm;
    Silence possessed the city like a soul possessed by calm.

    Not a spark in the warren under the giant night,
    Save where in a turret's lantern beamed a grave, still light:
    There in the topmost chamber a gold-eyed lamp was lit--
    Marvellous lamp in darkness, informing, redeeming it!
    For, set in that tiny chamber, Jesus, the blessed and doomed,
    Spoke to the lone apostles as light to men entombed;
    And spreading His hands in blessing, as one soon to be dead,
    He put soft enchantment into spare wine and bread.

    The hearts of the disciples were broken and full of tears,
    Because their Lord, the spearless, was hedged about with spears;
    And in His face the sickness of departure had spread a gloom
    At leaving His young friends friendless.
                   They could not forget the tomb.
    He smiled subduedly, telling, in tones soft as voice of the dove,
    The endlessness of sorrow, the eternal solace of love;
    And lifting the earthly tokens, wine and sorrowful bread,
    He bade them sup and remember One who lived and was dead.
    And they could not restrain their weeping.
                          But one rose up to depart,
    Having weakness and hate of weakness raging within his heart,
    And bowed to the robed assembly whose eyes gleamed wet in the light.
    Judas arose and departed; night went out to the night.

    Then Jesus lifted His voice like a fountain in an ocean of tears,
    And comforted His disciples and calmed and allayed their fears.
    But Judas wound down the turret, creeping from floor to floor,
    And would fly; but one leaning, weeping, barred him beside the door.
    And he knew her by her ruddy garment and two yet-watching men:
    Mary of Seven Evils, Mary Magdalen.
    And he was frighted at her. She sighed: 'I dreamed Him dead.
    We sell the body for silver ...'
                     Then Judas cried out and fled
    Forth into the night!... The moon had begun to set;
    A drear, deft wind went sifting, setting the dust afret,
    Into the heart of the city Judas ran on and prayed
    To stern Jehovah lest his deed make him afraid.
    But in the tiny lantern, hanging as if on air,
    The disciples sat unspeaking. Amaze and peace were there.
    For _His_ voice, more lovely than song of all earthly birds,
    In accents humble and happy spoke slow, consoling words.

    Thus Jesus discoursed, and was silent, sitting upright, and soon
    Past the casement behind Him slanted the sinking moon;
    And, rising for Olivet, all stared, between love and dread,
    Seeing the torrid moon a ruddy halo behind His head.



    FULFILMENT


    Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
    Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
    Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir
    More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.

    Faces cheerful, full of whimsical mirth,
    Lined by the wind, burned by the sun;
    Bodies enraptured by the abounding earth,
    As whose children we are brethren: one.

    And any moment may descend hot death
    To shatter limbs! pulp, tear, blast
    Beloved soldiers who love rough life and breath
    Not less for dying faithful to the last.

    O the fading eyes, the grimed face turned bony,
    Oped mouth gushing, fallen head,
    Lessening pressure of a hand shrunk, clammed, and stony!
    O sudden spasm, release of the dead!

    Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
    Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
    O loved, living, dying, heroic soldier,
    All, all, my joy, my grief, my love, are thine!



    THE SPRIG OF LIME


    He lay, and those who watched him were amazed
    To see unheralded beneath the lids
    Twin tears, new gathered at the price of pain,
    Start and at once run crookedly athwart
    Cheeks channelled long by pain, never by tears.
    So desolate too the sigh next uttered
    They had wept also, but his great lips moved,
    And bending down one heard, '_A sprig of lime;
    Bring me a sprig of lime._' Whereat she stole
    With dumb signs forth to pluck the thing he craved.

    So lay he till a lime-twig had been snapped
    From some still branch that swept the outer grass
    Far from the silver pillar of the hole
    Which mounting past the house's crusted roof
    Split into massy limbs, crossed boughs, a maze
    Of close-compacted intercontorted staffs
    Bowered in foliage wherethrough the sun
    Shot sudden showers of light or crystal spars
    Or wavered in a green and vitreous flood.

    And all the while in faint and fainter tones
    Scarce audible on deepened evening's hush
    He framed his curious and last request,
    For '_lime, a sprig of lime._' Her trembling hand
    Closed his loose fingers on the awkward stem
    Covered above with gentle heart-shaped leaves
    And under dangling, pale as honey-wax,
    Square clusters of sweet-scented starry flowers.

    She laid his bent arm back upon his breast,
    Then watched above white knuckles clenched in prayer.
    He never moved. Only at last his eyes
    Opened, then brightened in such avid gaze
    She feared the coma mastered him again ...
    But no; strange sobs rose chuckling in his throat,
    A stranger ecstasy suffused the flesh
    Of that just mask so sun-dried, gouged and old
    Which few--too few!--had loved, too many feared.
    'Father,' she cried; 'Father!'
                                 He did not hear.

    She knelt and kneeling drank the scent of limes,
    Blown round the slow blind by a vesperal gust,
    Till the room swam. So the lime incense blew
    Into her life as once it had in his,
    Though how and when and with what ageless charge
    Of sorrow and deep joy how could she know?

    Sweet lime that often at the height of noon
    Diffusing dizzy fragrance from your boughs,
    Tasselled with blossoms mere innumerable
    Than the black bees, the uproar of whose toil
    Filled your green vaults, winning such metheglyn
    As clouds their sappy cells, distil, as once
    Ye used, your sunniest emanations
    Toward the window where a woman kneels--She
    who within that room in childish hours
    Lay through the lasting murmur of blanch'd noon
    Behind the sultry blind, now full now flat,
    Drinking anew of every odorous breath,
    Supremely happy in her ignorance
    Of Time that hastens hourly and of Death
    Who need not haste. Scatter your fumes, O lime,
    Loose from each hispid star of citron bloom,
    Tangled beneath the labyrinthine boughs,
    Cloud on such stinging cloud of exhalations
    As reek of youth, fierce life and summer's prime,
    Though hardly now shall he in that dusk room
    Savour your sweetness, since the very sprig,
    Profuse of blossom and of essences,
    He smells not, who in a paltering hand
    Clasps it laid close his peaked and gleaming face
    Propped in the pillow. Breathe silent, lofty lime,
    Your curfew secrets out in fervid scent
    To the attendant shadows! Tinge the air
    Of the midsummer night that now begins,
    At an owl's oaring flight from dusk to dusk
    And downward caper of the giddy bat
    Hawking against the lustre of bare skies,
    With something of th' unfathomable bliss
    He, who lies dying there, knew once of old
    In the serene trance of a summer night
    When with th' abundance of his young bride's hair
    Loosed on his breast he lay and dared not sleep,
    Listening for the scarce motion of your boughs,
    Which sighed with bliss as she with blissful sleep,
    And drinking desperately each honied wave
    Of perfume wafted past the ghostly blind
    Knew first th' implacable and bitter sense
    Of Time that hastes and Death who need not haste.
    Shed your last sweetness, limes!
                              But now no more.
    She, fruit of that night's love, she heeds you not,
    Who bent, compassionate, to the dim floor
    Takes up the sprig of lime and presses it
    In pain against the stumbling of her heart,
    Knowing, untold, he cannot need it now.



    SEUMAS O'SULLIVAN



    THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE


    It is a whisper among the hazel bushes;
      It is a long low whispering voice that fills
    With a sad music the bending and swaying rushes;
      It is a heart beat deep in the quiet hills.

    Twilight people, why will you still be crying,
      Crying and calling to me out of the trees?
    For under the quiet grass the wise are lying,
      And all the strong ones are gone over the seas.

    And I am old, and in my heart at your calling
      Only the old dead dreams a-fluttering go;
    As the wind, the forest wind, in its falling
      Sets the withered leaves fluttering to and fro.



    WILFRED OWEN

    _Born 1893,_
    _Killed in Action, 1918._



    STRANGE MEETING


    It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
    Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
    Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
    Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
    Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
    Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
    With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
    Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
    And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall.
    With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
    Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
    And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
    "Strange, friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn."
    "None," said the other, "save the undone years."
    The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
    Was my life also; I went hunting wild
    After the wildest beauty in the world,
    Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
    But mocks the steady running of the hour,
    And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
    For by my glee might many men have laughed,
    And of my weeping something has been left,
    Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
    The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
    Now men will go content with what we spoiled,
    Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
    They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
    None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
    Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
    Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
    To miss the march of this retreating world
    Into vain citadels that are not walled.
    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
    I would have poured my spirit without stint
    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
    I knew you in this death: for so you frowned
    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
    I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
    Let us sleep now......



    JOSEPH PLUNKETT

    _Born 1887._
    _Executed after the Easter Week Rising, 1916._



    I SEE HIS BLOOD UPON THE ROSE


    I see His blood upon the rose
    And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
    His body gleams amid eternal snows,
    His tears fall from the skies.

    I see His face in every flower;
    The thunder and the singing of the birds
    Are but His voice--and carven by His power
    Rocks are His written words.

    All pathways by His feet are worn,
    His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
    His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
    His cross is every tree.



    SIEGFRIED SASSOON



    'IN THE PINK'


    So Davies wrote: 'This leaves me in the pink.
    Then scrawled his name: 'Your loving sweet-heart, Willie'
    With crosses for a hug. He'd had a drink
    Of rum and tea; and, though the barn was chilly,
    For once his blood ran warm; he had pay to spend.
    Winter was passing; soon the year would mend.

    He couldn't sleep that night. Stiff in the dark
    He groaned and thought of Sundays at the farm,
    When he'd go out as cheerful as a lark
    In his best suit to wander arm-in-arm
    With brown-eyed Gwen, and whisper in her ear
    The simple silly things she liked to hear.

    And then he thought: to-morrow night we trudge
    Up to the trenches, and my boots are rotten.
    Five miles of stodgy clay and freezing sludge,
    And everything but wretchedness forgotten.
    To-night he's in the pink; but soon he'll die.
    And still the war goes on; _he_ don't know why.



    THE DEATH-BED


    He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
    Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
    Aqueous-like floating rays of amber light,
    Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep,--
    Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
    Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.

    Some one was holding water to his mouth,
    He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
    Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
    The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
    Water--calm, sliding green above the weir;
    Water--a sky-lit alley for his boat,
    Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers
    And shaken hues of summer: drifting down,
    He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.

    Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
    Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.
    Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
    Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
    Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
    Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.

    Rain; he could hear it rustling through the dark
    Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
    Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
    That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
    Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace
    Gently and slowly washing life away.
        .    .    .    .    .
    He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
    Leaped like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
    His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
    But some one was beside him; soon he lay
    Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
    And Death, who'd stepped toward him, paused and stared.

    Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
    Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
    Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
    He's young; he hated war; how should he die
    When cruel old campaigners win safe through?

    But Death replied: 'I choose him.' So he went,
    And there was silence in the summer night;
    Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
    Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.



    COUNTER-ATTACK


    We'd gained our first objective hours before
    While dawn broke like a face with blinking eyes,
    Pallid, unshaved and thirsty, blind with smoke.
    Things seemed all right at first. We held their line,
    With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed,
    And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench.
        The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs
        High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps;
        And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud,
        Wallowed like trodden sand-bags loosely filled;
        And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair,
        Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime.
        And then the rain began,--the jolly old rain!
    A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
    Staring across the morning blear with fog;
    He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
    And then, of course, they started with five-nines
    Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud.
    Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst,
    Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
    While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
    He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
    Sick for escape,--loathing the strangled horror
    And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

    An officer came blundering down the trench:
    "Stand-to and man the fire-step!"  On he went ...
    Gasping and bawling, "Fire-step... Counter-attack!"
        Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
        Down the old sap: machine-guns on the left;
        And stumbling figures looming out in front.
        "O Christ, they're coming at us!" Bullets spat,
    And he remembered his rifle ... rapid fire ...
    And started blazing wildly ... Then a bang
    Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
    To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
    And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
    Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans ...
    Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
    Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.



    DREAMERS


    Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
      Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
    In the great hour of destiny they stand,
      Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
    Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
      Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
    Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
      They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

    I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
      And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
    Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
      And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
    Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
      And going to the office in the train.



    EVERYONE SANG


    Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
    And I was filled with such delight
    As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
    Winging wildly across the white
    Orchards and dark-green fields; on--on--and out of sight.

    Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
    And beauty came like the setting sun:
    My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
    Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
    Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.



    EDWARD SHANKS



    A NIGHT-PIECE


    Come out and walk. The last few drops of light
    Drain silently out of the cloudy blue;
    The trees are full of the dark-stooping night,
          The fields are wet with dew.

    All's quiet in the wood but, far away,
    Down the hillside and out across the plain,
    Moves, with long trail of white that marks its way,
          The softly panting train.

    Come through the clearing. Hardly now we see
    The flowers, save dark or light against the grass,
    Or glimmering silver on a scented tree
          That trembles as we pass.

    Hark now! So far, so far ... that distant song ...
    Move not the rustling grasses with your feet.
    The dusk is full of sounds, that all along
          The muttering boughs repeat.

    So far, so faint, we lift our heads in doubt.
    Wind, or the blood that beats within our ears,
    Has feigned a dubious and delusive note,
          Such as a dreamer hears.

    Again ... again! The faint sounds rise and fail.
    So far the enchanted tree, the song so low ...
    A drowsy thrush? A waking nightingale?
          Silence. We do not know.



    THE GLOW-WORM


    The pale road winds faintly upward into the dark skies,
    And beside it on the rough grass that the wind invisibly stirs,
    Sheltered by sharp-speared gorse and the berried junipers,
    Shining steadily with a green light, the glow-worm lies.

    We regard it; and this hill and all the other hills
    That fall in folds to the river, very smooth and steep,
    And the hangers and brakes that the darkness thickly fills
    Fade like phantoms round the light and night is deep, so deep,--

    That all the world is emptiness about the still flame
    And we are small shadows standing lost in the huge night.
    We gather up the glow-worm, stooping with dazzled sight,
    And carry it to the little enclosed garden whence we came,

    And place it on the short grass. Then the shadowy flowers fade,
    The walls waver and melt and the houses dis-appear
    And the solid town trembles into insubstantial shade
    Round the light of the burning glow-worm, steady and clear.



    THE HALT


    _"Mark time in front! Rear fours cover! Company--halt!_
    _Order arms! Stand at--ease! Stand easy."_
      A sudden hush:
    And then the talk began with a mighty rush--
    "You weren't ever in step--The sergeant.--It wasn't my fault--
    Well, the Lord be praised at least for a ten minutes' halt."
      We sat on a gate and watched them easing and shifting;
      Out of the distance a faint, keen breath came drifting,
    From the sea behind the hills, and the hedges were salt.

    Where do you halt now? Under what hedge do you lie?
      Where the tall poplars are fringing the white French roads?
    And smoke I have not seen discolours the foreign sky?
    Is the company resting there as we rested together
      Stamping its feet and readjusting its loads
    And looking with wary eyes at the drooping weather?



    A HOLLOW ELM


    What hast thou not withstood;
          Tempest-despising tree,
    Whose bleak and riven wood
          Gapes now so hollowly,
    What rains have beaten thee through many years,
    What snows from off thy branches dripped like tears?

    Calmly thou standest now
          Upon thy sunny mound;
    The first spring breezes flow
          Past with sweet dizzy sound;
    Yet on thy pollard top the branches few
    Stand stiffly out, disdain to murmur too.

    The children at thy foot
          Open new-lighted eyes,
    Where, on gnarled bark and root,
          The soft, warm sunshine lies--
    Dost thou, upon thine ancient sides, resent
    The touch of youth, quick and impermanent?

    These, at the beck of spring,
          Live in the moment still;
    Thy boughs unquivering,
          Remembering winter's chill,
    And many other winters past and gone,
    Are mocked, not cheated, by the transient sun.

    Hast thou so much withstood,
          Tempest-despising tree,
    That now thy hollow wood
          Stiffens disdainfully
    Against the soft spring airs and soft spring rain,
    Knowing too well that winter comes again?



    THE RETURN


    I

    Now into hearts long empty of the sun
    The morning comes again with golden light
    And all the shades of the half-dusk are done
    And all the crevices are suddenly bright.
    So gradually had love lain down to sleep,
    We knew it not; but when we saw his head
    Pillowed and sunken in a trance so deep
    We whispered shuddering that he was dead.
    Then you like Psyche took the light and leant
    Over the monster lying in his place,
    Daring, despairing, trembling as you bent ...
    But love raised up his new-awakening face
    And into our hearts long empty of the sun
    We felt the sky-distilled bright liquor run.


    II

    When love comes back that went in mist and cloud
    He comes triumphant in his pomp and power;
    Voices that muttered long are glad and loud
    To mark the sweetness of the sudden hour.
    How could we live so long in that half-light?
    That opiate shadow, where the deadened nerves
    So soon forget how hills and winds are bright,
    That drugged and sleepy dusk, that only serves
    With false shades to conceal the emptiness
    Of hearts whence love has stolen unawares,
    Where creeping doubts and dumb, dull sorrows press
    And weariness with blind eyes gapes and stares.
    This was our state, but now a happy song
    Rings through our inner sunlight all day long.


    III

    When that I lay in a mute agony,
    I nothing saw nor heard nor felt nor thought,
    The inner self, the quintessential me,
    In that blind hour beyond all sense was brought
    Hard against pain. I had no body, no mind,
    Nought but the point that suffers joy or loss,
    No eyes in sudden blackness to be blind,
    No brain for swift regrets to run across.
    But when you touched me, when your hot tears fell,
    The point that had been nothing else but pain
    Changed into rapture by a miracle,
    In which all raptures known before were vain.
    Thus loss which bared the utmost shivering nerve
    For joy's precursor in the heart did serve.



    CLOUDS


    Over this hill the high clouds float all day
    And trail their long, soft shadows on the grass,
    And now above the meadows make delay
    And now with regular, swift motion pass.
    Now comes a threatening drift from the south-west,
    In smoky colours drest,
    That spills far out upon the chequered plain
    Its burden of dark rain;
    Then hard behind a stately galleon
    Sails onward with its piled and carven towers
    Stiff sculptured like a heap of marble flowers,
    Rigid, unaltering, a miracle
    Of moulded surfaces, whereon the light
    Shines steadily, intolerably bright;
    Now on a livelier wind a wandering bell
    Of delicate vapour comes, invisibly hung,
    Like feathers from the seeding thistle flung,
    And saunters wantonly far out of sight.
    O God, who fill'st with shifting imagery
    The blue page of the sky,
    Thus writ'st thou also, with as vague a pen,
    In the immenser hearts of dreaming men.



    THE ROCK POOL


    This is the Sea. In these uneven walls
          A wave lies prisoned. Far and far away,
    Outward to ocean, as the slow tide falls,
          Her sisters, through the capes that hold the bay,
    Dancing in lovely liberty recede.
          But lovely in captivity she lies,
    Filled with soft colours, where the waving weed
          Moves gently, and discloses to our eyes
    Blurred shining veins of rock and lucent shells
          Under the light-shot water, and here repose
    Small quiet fish, and dimly-glowing bells
          Of sleeping sea-anemones that close
    Their tender fronds and will not now awake
    Till on these rocks the waves returning break.



    THE SWIMMERS


    The cove's a shining plate of blue and green,
    With darker belts between
    The trough and crest of the slow-rising swell,
    And the great rocks throw purple shadows down,
    Where transient sun-sparks wink and burst and drown
    And glimmering pebbles lie too deep to tell,
    Hidden or shining as the shadow wavers.
    And everywhere the restless sun-steeped air
    Trembles and quavers,
    As though it were
    More saturate with light than it could bear.

    Now come the swimmers from slow-dripping caves,
    Where the shy fern creeps under the veined roof,
    And wading out meet with glad breast the waves.
    One holds aloof,
    Climbing alone the reef with shrinking feet,
    That scarce endure the jagged stones' dull beat
    Till on the edge he poises
    And flies to cleave the water, vanishing
    In wreaths of white, with echoing liquid noises,
    And swims beneath, a vague, distorted thing.
    Now all the other swimmers leave behind
    The crystal shallow and the foam-wet shore
    And sliding into deeper water find
    A living coolness in the lifting flood,
    And through their bodies leaps the sparkling blood,
    So that they feel the faint earth's drought no more.
    There now they float, heads raised above the green,
    White bodies cloudily seen,
    Farther and farther from the brazen rock,
    On which the hot air shakes, on which the tide
    Fruitlessly throws with gentle, soundless shock
    The cool and lagging wave. Out, out they go,
    And now upon a mirrored cloud they ride
    Or turning over, with soft strokes and slow,
    Slide on like shadows in a tranquil sky.
    Behind them, on the tall, parched cliff, the dry
    And dusty grasses grow
    In shallow ledges of the arid stone,
    Starving for coolness and the touch of rain.
    But, though to earth they must return again,
    Here come the soft sea-airs to meet them, blown
    Over the surface of the outer deep,
    Scarce moving, staying, falling, straying, gone,
    Light and delightful as the touch of sleep...
    One wakes and splashes round,
    And, as by magic, all the others wake
    From that sea-dream, and now with rippling sound
    Their rapid arms the enchanted silence break.
    And now again the crystal shallows take
    The gleaming bedies whose cool hour is done;
    They pause upon the beach, they pause and sigh
    Then vanish in the caverns one by one.

    Soon the wet foot-marks on the stones are dry:
    The cove sleeps on beneath the unwavering sun.



    THE STORM


    We wake to hear the storm come down,
      Sudden on roof and pane;
    The thunder's loud and the hasty wind
      Hurries the beating rain.

    The rain slackens, the wind blows gently,
      The gust grows gentle and stills,
    And the thunder, like a breaking stick,
      Stumbles about the hills.

    The drops still hang on leaf and thorn,
      The downs stand up more green;
    The sun comes out again in power
      And the sky is washed and clean.



    C. H. SORLEY

    _Born 1895,_
    _Killed in Action 1915._



    GERMAN RAIN


    The heat came down and sapped away my powers.
    The laden heat came down and drowned my brain,
    Till through the weight of overcoming hours
                  felt the rain.

    Then suddenly I saw what more to see
    I never thought: old things renewed, retrieved,
    The rain that fell in England fell on me,
                  And I believed.



    ALL THE HILLS AND VALES


    All the hills and vales along
    Earth is bursting into song,
    And the singers are the chaps
    Who are going to die perhaps.
            O sing, marching men,
            Till the valleys ring again.
            Give your gladness to earth's keeping,
            So be glad, when you are sleeping.

    Cast away regret and rue,
    Think what you are marching to.
    Little live, great pass.
    Jesus Christ and Barabbas
    Were found the same day.
    This died, that went his way.
            So sing with joyful breath.
            For why, you are going to death.
            Teeming earth will surely store
            All the gladness that you pour.

    Earth that never doubts nor fears,
    Earth that knows of death, not tears,
    Earth that bore with joyful ease
    Hemlock for Socrates,
    Earth that blossomed and was glad
    'Neath the cross that Christ had,
    Shall rejoice and blossom too
            When the bullet reaches you.
            Wherefore, men marching
            On the road to death, sing!
            Pour your gladness on earth's head,
            So be merry, so be dead.

    From the hills and valleys earth
    Shouts back the sound of mirth,
    Tramp of feet and lilt of song
    Ringing all the road along.
    All the music of their going,
    Ringing swinging glad song-throwing,
    Earth will echo still, when foot
    Lies numb and voice mute.
            On, marching men, on
            To the gates of death with song.
            Sow your gladness for earth's reaping,
            So you may be glad, though sleeping.
            Strew your gladness on earth's bed,
            So be merry, so be dead.



    JAMES STEPHENS



    DEIRDRE


    Do not let any woman read this verse;
    It is for men, and after them their sons
    And their sons' sons.

    The time comes when our hearts sink utterly;
    When we remember Deirdre and her tale,
    And that her lips are dust.

    Once she did tread the earth: men took her hand;
    They looked into her eyes and said their say,
    And she replied to them.

    More than a thousand years it is since she
    Was beautiful: she trod the waving grass;
    She saw the clouds.

    A thousand years! The grass is still the same,
    The clouds as lovely as they were that time
    When Deirdre was alive.

    But there has never been a woman born
    Who was so beautiful, not one so beautiful
    Of all the women born.

    Let all men go apart and mourn together;
    No man can ever love her; not a man
    Can ever be her lover.

    No man can bend before her: no man say--
    What could one say to her? There are no words
    That one could say to her!

    Now she is but a story that is told
    Beside the fire! No man can ever be
    The friend of that poor queen.



    THE GOAT PATHS


    The crooked paths go every way
        Upon the hill--they wind about
        Through the heather in and out
    Of the quiet sunniness.
    And there the goats, day after day,
        Stray in sunny quietness,
    Cropping here and cropping there,
        As they pause and turn and pass,
    Now a bit of heather spray
        Now a mouthful of the grass.

    In the deeper sunniness,
        In the place where nothing stirs,
    Quietly in quietness,
        In the quiet of the furze,
    For a time they come and lie
    Staring on the roving sky.

    If you approach they run away,
        They leap and stare, away they bound,
        With a sudden angry sound,
    To the sunny quietude;
        Crouching down where nothing stirs
        In the silence of the furze,
    Crouching down again to brood
    In the sunny solitude.

    If I were as wise as they
        I would stray apart and brood,
    I would beat a hidden way
    Through the quiet heather spray
        To a sunny solitude;
    And should you come I'd run away,
        I would make an angry sound,
        I would stare and turn and bound
    To the deeper quietude,
        To the place where nothing stirs
        In the silence of the furze.

    In that airy quietness
        I would think as long as they;
    Through the quiet sunniness
        I would stray away to brood
    By a hidden beaten way
        In a sunny solitude.

    I would think until I found
        Something I can never find,
    Something lying on the ground,
        In the bottom of my mind.



    THE FIFTEEN ACRES


        I cling and swing
        On a branch, or sing
    Through the cool, clear hush of
            Morning, O:
        Or fling my wing
        On the air, and bring
    To sleepier birds a warning, O:
        That the night's in flight,
        And the sun's in sight,
    And the dew is the grass adorning, O:
        And the green leaves swing
        As I sing, sing, sing,
            Up by the river,
              Down the dell,
            To the little wee nest,
              Where the big tree fell,
            So early in the morning, O.

        I flit and twit
        In the sun for a bit
    When his light so bright is shining, O:
        Or sit and fit
        My plumes, or knit
    Straw plaits for the nest's nice lining, O
        And she with glee
        Shows unto me
    Underneath her wings reclining, O:
        And I sing that Peg
        Has an egg, egg, egg,
            Up by the oat-field,
              Round the mill
            Past the meadow
              Down the hill,
            So early in the morning, O.

        I stoop and swoop
        On the air, or loop
    Through the trees, and then go soaring, O:
        To group with a troop
        On the gusty poop
    While the wind behind is roaring, O:
        I skim and swim
        By a cloud's red rim
    And up to the azure flooring, O:
        And my wide wings drip
        As I slip, slip, slip
            Down through the rain-drops,
              Back where Peg
            Broods in the nest
              On the little white egg
            So early in the morning, O.



    EDWARD WYNDHAM TENNANT

    _Born 1895._
    _Killed in Action 1916._



    HOME THOUGHTS IN LAVENTIE


      Green gardens in Laventie!
        Soldiers only know the street
      Where the mud is churned and splashed about
        By battle-wending feet;
    And yet beside one stricken house there is a glimpse of grass,
        Look for it when you pass.

      Beyond the Church whose pitted spire
        Seems balanced on a strand
      Of swaying stone and tottering brick
        Two roofless ruins stand,
    And here behind the wreckage where the _back_ wall should have been
        We found a garden green.

      The grass was never trodden on,
        The little path of gravel
      Was overgrown with celandine,
        No other folk did travel
    Along its weedy surface, but the nimble-footed mouse
        Running from house to house.

      So all among the vivid blades
        Of soft and tender grass
      We lay, nor heard the limber wheels
        That pass and ever pass,
    In noisy continuity until their stony rattle
        Seems in itself a battle.

      At length we rose up from this ease
        Of tranquil happy mind,
      And searched the garden's little length
        A fresh pleasaunce to find;
    And there, some yellow daffodils and jasmine hanging high
        Did rest the tired eye.

      The fairest and most fragrant
        Of the many sweets we found,
      Was a little bush of Daphne flower
        Upon a grassy mound,
    And so thick were the blossoms set and so divine the scent
        That we were well content.

      Hungry for Spring I bent my head,
        The perfume fanned my face,
      And all my soul was dancing,
        In that lovely little place,
    Dancing with a measured step from wrecked and shattered towns
        Away......upon the Downs.

      I saw green banks of daffodil,
        Slim poplars in the breeze,
      Great tan-brown hares in gusty March
        A-couching on the leas;
    And meadows with their glittering streams, and silver scurrying dace,
        Home--what a perfect place.

    _Belgium, March,_ 1916.



    EDWARD THOMAS

    _Born 1877._
    _Killed in Action 1017._



    ASPENS


    All day and night, save winter, every weather,
    Above the inn, the smithy, and the shop,
    The aspens at the cross-roads talk together
    Of rain, until their last leaves fall from the top.

    Out of the blacksmith's cavern comes the ringing
    Of hammer, shoe, and anvil; out of the inn
    The clink, the hum, the roar, the random singing--The
    sounds that for these fifty years have been.

    The whisper of the aspens is not drowned,
    And over lightless pane and footless road,
    Empty as sky, with every other sound
    Not ceasing, calls their ghosts from their abode.

    A silent smithy, a silent inn, not fails
    In the bare moonlight or the thick-furred gloom,
    In tempest or the night of nightingales,
    To turn the cross-roads to a ghostly room.

    And it would be the same were no house near.
    Over all sorts of weather, men, and times,
    A spens must shake their leaves and men may hear
    But need not listen, more than to my rhymes.

    Whatever wind blows, while they and I have leaves
    We cannot other than an aspen be
    That ceaselessly, unreasonably grieves,
    Or so men think who like a different tree.



    THE BROOK


    Seated once by a brook, watching a child
    Chiefly that paddled, I was thus beguiled.
    Mellow the blackbird sang and sharp the thrush
    Not far off in the oak and hazel brush,
    Unseen. There was a scent like honeycomb
    From mugwort dull. And down upon the dome
    Of the stone the cart-horse kicks against so oft
    A butterfly alighted. From aloft
    He took the heat of the sun, and from below,
    On the hot stone he perched contented so,
    As if never a cart would pass again
    That way; as if I were the last of men
    And he the first of insects to have earth
    And sun together and to know their worth,
    I was divided between him and the gleam,
    The motion, and the voices, of the stream,
    The waters running frizzled over gravel,
    That never vanish and for ever travel.
    A grey flycatcher silent on a fence
    And I sat as if we had been there since
    The horseman and the horse lying beneath
    The fir-tree-covered barrow on the heath,
    The horseman and the horse with silver shoes,
    Galloped the downs last. All that I could lose
    I lost. And then the child's voice raised the dead.
    "No one's been here before" was what she said
    And what I felt, yet never should have found
    A word for, while I gathered sight and sound.



    THE BRIDGE


    I have come a long way to-day:
    On a strange bridge alone,
    Remembering friends, old friends,
    I rest, without smile or moan,
    As they remember me without smile or moan.

    All are behind, the kind
    And the unkind too, no more
    To-night than a dream. The stream
    Runs softly yet drowns the Past,
    The dark-lit stream has drowned the Future and the Past.

    No traveller has rest more blest
    Than this moment brief between
    Two lives, when the Night's first lights
    And shades hide what has never been,
    Things goodlier, lovelier, dearer, than will be or have been.



    LIGHTS OUT


    I have come to the borders of sleep,
    The unfathomable deep
    Forest where all must lose
    Their way, however straight,
    Or winding, soon or late;
    They cannot choose.

    Many a road and track
    That, since the dawn's first crack,
    Up to the forest brink,
    Deceived the travellers
    Suddenly now blurs,
    And in they sink.

    Here love ends,
    Despair, ambition ends,
    All pleasure and all trouble,
    Although most sweet or bitter,
    Here ends in sleep that is sweeter
    Than tasks most noble.

    There is not any book
    Or face of dearest look
    That I would not turn from now
    To go into the unknown
    I must enter and leave alone
    I know not how.

    The tall forest towers;
    Its cloudy foliage lowers
    Ahead, shelf above shelf;
    Its silence I hear and obey
    That I may lose my way
    And myself.



    WORDS


    Out of us all
    That make rhymes,
    Will you choose
    Sometimes--
    As the winds use
    A crack in the wall
    Or a drain,
    Their joy or their pain
    To whistle through--
    Choose me,
    You English words?

    I know you:
    You are light as dreams,
    Tough as oak,
    Precious as gold,
    As poppies and corn,
    Or an old cloak:
    Sweet as our birds
    To the ear,
    As the linnet note
    In the heat
    Of Midsummer:
    Strange as the races
    Of dead and unborn:
    Strange and sweet
    Equally.
    And familiar,
    To the eye,
    As the dearest faces
    That a man knows,
    And as lost homes are:
    But though older far
    Than oldest yew,--
    As our hills are, old,--
    Worn new
    Again and again:
    Young as our streams
    After rain:
    And as dear
    As the earth which you prove
    That we love.

    Make me content
    With some sweetness
    From Wales
    Whose nightingales
    Have no wings,--
    From Wiltshire and Kent
    And Herefordshire,
    And the villages there,--
    From the names, and the things,
    No less.
    Let me sometimes dance
    With you,
    Or climb
    Or stand perchance
    In ecstasy,
    Fixed and free
    In a rhyme,
    As poets do.



    TALL NETTLES


    Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
    These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
    Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
    Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

    This corner of the farmyard I like most:
    As well as any bloom upon a flower
    I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
    Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.



    THE PATH


    Running along a bank, a parapet
    That saves from the precipitous wood below
    The level road, there is a path. It serves
    Children for looking down the long smooth steep,
    Between the legs of beech and yew, to where
    A fallen tree checks the sight: while men and women
    Content themselves with the road, and what they see
    Over the bank, and what the children tell.
    The path, winding like silver, trickles on,
    Bordered and ever invaded by thinnest moss
    That tries to cover roots and crumbling chalk
    With gold, olive, and emerald, but in vain.
    The children wear it. They have flattened the bank
    On top, and silvered it between the moss
    With the current of their feet, year after year.
    But the road is houseless, and leads not to school.
    To see a child is rare there, and the eye
    Has but the road, the wood that overhangs
    And underyawns it, and the path that looks
    As if it led on to some legendary
    Or fancied place where men have wished to go
    And stay; till, sudden, it ends where the wood ends.



    SWEDES


    They have taken the gable from the roof of clay
    On the long swede pile. They have let in the sun
    To the white and gold and purple of curled fronds
    Unsunned. It is a sight more tender-gorgeous
    At the wood-corner where Winter moans and drips
    Than when, in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings,
    A boy crawls down into a Pharaoh's tomb
    And, first of Christian men, beholds the mummy,
    God and monkey, chariot and throne and vase,
    Blue pottery, alabaster, and gold.

    But dreamless long-dead Amen-hotep lies.
    This is a dream of Winter, sweet as Spring.



    W. J. TURNER



    ROMANCE


    When I was but thirteen or so
      I went into a golden land,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Took me by the hand.

    My father died, my brother too,
      They passed like fleeting dreams.
    I stood where Popocatapetl
      In the sunlight gleams.

    I dimly heard the Master's voice
      And boys far-off at play,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Had stolen me away.

    I walked in a great golden dream
      To and fro from school--
    Shining Popocatapetl
      The dusty streets did rule.

    I walked home with a gold dark boy
      And never a word I'd say,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Had taken my speech away:

    I gazed entranced upon his face
      Fairer than any flower--
    O shining Popocatapetl
      It was thy magic hour:

    The houses, people, traffic seemed
      Thin fading dreams by day,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      They had stolen my soul away!



    THE CAVES OF AUVERGNE


    He carved the red deer and the bull
      Upon the smooth cave rock,
    Returned from war with belly full,
      And scarred with many a knock,
    He carved the red deer and the bull
      Upon the smooth cave rock.

    The stars flew by the cave's wide door,
      The clouds wild trumpets blew,
    Trees rose in wild dreams from the floor,
      Flowers with dream faces grew
    Up to the sky, and softly hung
      Golden and white and blue.

    The woman ground her heap of corn,
      Her heart a guarded fire;
    The wind played in his trembling soul
      Like a hand upon a lyre,
    The wind drew faintly on the stone
      Symbols of his desire:

    The red deer of the forest dark,
      Whose antlers cut the sky,
    That vanishes into the mirk
      And like a dream flits by,
    And by an arrow slain at last
      Is but the wind's dark body.

    The bull that stands in marshy lakes
      As motionless and still
    As a dark rock jutting from a plain
      Without a tree or hill;
    The bull that is the sign of life,
      Its sombre, phallic will.

    And from the dead, white eyes of them
      The wind springs up anew,
    It blows upon the trembling heart,
      And bull and deer renew
    Their flitting life in the dim past
      When that dead Hunter drew.

    I sit beside him in the night,
      And, fingering his red stone,
    I chase through endless forests dark
      Seeking that thing unknown,
    That which is not red deer or bull,
      But which by them was shown:

    By those stiff shapes in which he drew
      His soul's exalted cry,
    When flying down the forest dark
      He slew and knew not why,
    When he was filled with song, and strength
      Flowed to him from the sky.

    The wind blows from red deer and bull,
      The clouds wild trumpets blare.
    Trees rise in wild dreams from the earth,
      Flowers with dream faces stare,
    _O Hunter, your own shadow stands_
      _Within your forest lair!_



    ECSTASY


    I saw a frieze on whitest marble drawn
    Of boys who sought for shells along the shore,
    Their white feet shedding pallor in the sea,
    The shallow sea, the spring-time sea of green
    That faintly creamed against the cold, smooth pebbles.

    The air was thin, their limbs were delicate,
    The wind had graven their small eager hands
    To feel the forests and the dark nights of Asia
    Behind the purple bloom of the horizon,
    Where sails would float and slowly melt away.

    Their naked, pure, and grave, unbroken silence
    Filled the soft air as gleaming, limpid water
    Fills a spring sky those days when rain is lying
    In shattered bright pools on the wind-dried roads,
    And their sweet bodies were wind-purified.

    One held a shell unto his shell-like ear
    And there was music carven in his face,
    His eyes half-closed, his lips just breaking open
    To catch the lulling, mazy, coralline roar
    Of numberless caverns filled with singing seas.

    And all of them were hearkening as to singing
    Of far off voices thin and delicate,
    Voices too fine for any mortal mind
    To blow into the whorls of mortal ears--
    And yet those sounds flowed from their grave, sweet faces.

    And as I looked I heard that delicate music,
    And I became as grave, as calm, as still
    As those carved boys. I stood upon that shore,
    I felt the cool sea dream around my feet,
    My eyes were staring at the far horizon:

    And the wind came and purified my limbs,
    And the stars came and set within my eyes,
    And snowy clouds rested upon my shoulders,
    And the blue sky shimmered deep within me,
    And I sang like a carven pipe of music.



    KENT IN WAR


    The pebbly brook is cold to-night,
      Its water soft as air,
    A clear, cold, crystal-bodied wind
      Shadowless and bare,
    Leaping and running in this world
      Where dark-horned cattle stare:

    Where dark-horned cattle stare, hoof-firm
      On the dark pavements of the sky,
    And trees are mummies swathed in sleep,
      And small dark hills crowd wearily:
    Soft multitudes of snow-grey clouds
      Without a sound march by.

    Down at the bottom of the road
      I smell the woody damp
    Of that cold spirit in the grass,
      And leave my hill-top camp--
    Its long gun pointing in the sky--And
      take the Moon for lamp.

    I stop beside the bright cold glint
      Of that thin spirit of the grass,
    So gay it is, so innocent!
      I watch its sparkling footsteps pass
    Lightly from smooth round stone to stone,
      Hid in the dew-hung grass.

    My lamp shines in the globes of dew,
      And leaps into that crystal wind
    Running along the shaken grass
      To each dark hole that it can find--
    The crystal wind, the Moon my lamp,
      Have vanished in a wood that's blind.

    High lies my small, my shadowy camp,
      Crowded about by small dark hills;
    With sudden small white flowers the sky
      Above the woods' dark greenness fills;
    And hosts of dark-browed, muttering trees
      In trance the white Moon stills.

    I move among their tall grey forms,
      A thin moon-glimmering, wandering Ghost,
    Who takes his lantern through the world
      In search of life that he has lost,
    While watching by that long lean gun
      Upon his small hill post.



    DEATH


    When I am dead a few poor souls shall grieve
    As I grieved for my brother long ago.
      Scarce did my eyes grow dim,
      I had forgotten him;
    I was far-off hearing the spring winds blow,
      And many summers burned
    When, though still reeling with my eyes aflame,
      I heard that faded name
    Whispered one Spring amid the hurrying world
      From which, years gone, he turned.

    I looked up at my windows and I saw
    The trees, thin spectres sucked forth by the moon.
      The air was very still
      Above a distant hill;
    It was the hour of night's full silver moon.
      "O art thou there my brother?" my soul cried;
    And all the pale stars down bright rivers wept,
      As my heart sadly crept
    About the empty hills, bathed in that light
      That lapped him when he died.

    Ah! it was cold, so cold; do I not know
    How dead my heart on that remembered day!
      Clear in a far-away place
      I see his delicate face
    Just as he called me from my solitary play,
      Giving into my hands a tiny tree.
    We planted it in the dark, blossomless ground
      Gravely, without a sound;
    Then back I went and left him standing by
      His birthday gift to me.

    In that far land perchance it quietly grows
    Drinking the rain, making a pleasant shade;
      Birds in its branches fly
      Out of the fathomless sky
    Where worlds of circling light arise and fade,
      Blindly it quivers in the bright flood of day,
    Or drowned in multitudinous shouts of rain
      Glooms o'er the dark-veiled plain--Buried
    below, the ghost that's in his bones
      Dreams in the sodden clay.

    And, while he faded, drunk with beauty's eyes
    I kissed bright girls and laughed deep in dumb trees,
      That stared fixt in the air
      Like madmen in despair
    Gaped up from earth with the escaping breeze.
      I saw earth's exaltation slowly creep
    Out of their myriad sky-embracing veins.
      I laughed along the lanes,
    Meeting Death riding in from the hollow seas
      Through black-wreathed woods asleep.

    I laughed, I swaggered on the cold, hard ground
    Through the grey air trembled a falling wave--
      "Thou'rt pale, O Death!" I cried,
      Mocking him in my pride;
    And passing I dreamed not of that lonely grave,
      But of leaf-maidens whose pale, moon-like hands
    Above the tree-foam waved in the icy air,
      Sweeping with shining hair
    Through the green-tinted sky, one moment fled
      Out of immortal lands.

    One windless Autumn night the Moon came out
    In a white sea of cloud, a field of snow;
      In darkness shaped of trees,
      I sank upon my knees
    And watched her shining, from the small wood below--
      Faintly Death flickered in an owl's far cry--
    We floated soundless in the great gulf of space,
      Her light upon my face--Immortal,
    shining in that dark wood I knelt
      And knew I could not die.

    And knew I could not die--O Death did'st thou
    Heed my vain glory, standing pale by thy dead?
      There is a spirit who grieves
      Amid earth's dying leaves;
    Was't thou that wept beside my brother's bed?
      For I did never mourn nor heed at all
    Him passing on his temporal elm-wood bier;
      I never shed a tear.
    The drooping sky spread grey-winged through my soul,
      While stones and earth did fall.

    That sound rings down the years--I hear it yet--
    All earthly life's a winding funeral--
      And though I never wept,
      But into the dark coach stept,
    Dreaming by night to answer the blood's sweet call,
      She who stood there, high breasted, with small wise lips,
    And gave me wine to drink and bread to eat,
      Has not more steadfast feet,
    But fades from my arms as fade from mariners' eyes
      The sea's most beauteous ships.

    The trees and hills of earth were once as close
    As my own brother, they are becoming dreams
    And shadows in my eyes;
    More dimly lies
    Guaya deep in my soul, the coastline gleams
    Faintly along the darkening crystalline seas.
    Glimmering and lovely still, 'twill one day go;
    The surging dark will flow
    Over my hopes and joys, and blot out all
    Earth's hills and skies and trees.

    I shall look up one night and see the Moon
    For the last time shining above the hills,
      And thou, silent, wilt ride
      Over the dark hillside.
    'Twill be, perchance, the time of daffodils--
      _"How come those bright immortals in the woods?_
    _Their joy being young, did'st thou not drag them all_
      _Into dark graves ere Fall?"_
    Shall life thus haunt me, wondering, as I go
      To thy deep solitudes?

    There is a figure with a down-turned torch
    Carved on a pillar in an olden time,
      A calm and lovely boy
      Who comes not to destroy
    But to lead age back to its golden prime.
      Thus did an antique sculptor draw thee, Death,
    With smooth and beauteous brow and faint sweet smile,
      Nor haggard, gaunt and vile,
    And thou perhaps art Him to whom men may
      Unvexed, give up their breath.

    But in my soul thou sittest like a dream
    Among earth's mountains, by her dim-coloured seas;
      A wild unearthly Shape
      In thy dark-glimmering cape,
    Piping a tune of wavering melodies,
      Thou sittest, ay, thou sittest at the feast
    Of my brief life among earth's bright-wreathed flowers,
      Stemming the dancing hours
    With sombre gleams until abrupt, thou risest
      And all, at once, is ceased.



    SOLDIERS IN A SMALL CAMP


    There is a camp upon a rounded hill
    Where men do sleep more closely to the stars,
    And tree-like shapes stand at its entrances,
    Beside the small, dark, shadow-soldiery.

    Deep in the gloom of days of isolation,
    Withdrawn, high up from the low, murmuring town,
    Those shadows sit, drooping around their fires,
    Or move as winds dark-waving in a wood.

    Staring at cattle on a neighbouring hill
    They are oblivious as is stone or grass--The
    clouds passed voiceless over, and the sun
    Rose, and lit trees, and vanished utterly.

    Then in the awful beauty of the world,
    When stars are singing in dark ecstasy,
    Those ox-like soldiers sit collected round
    A thin, metallic echo of human song:

    And click their feet and clap their hands in time,
    And wag their heads, and make the white ghost owl
    Flit from its branch--but still those tree-like shapes
    Stand like archangels dark-winged in the sky.

    And presently the soldiers cease to stir;
    The thin voice sinks and all at once is dead;
    They lie down on their planks and hear the wind,
    And feel the darkness fumbling at their souls.

    They lie in rows as stiff as tombs or trees,
    Their eyeballs imageless, like marble still;
    And secretly they feel that roof and walls
    Are gone and that they stare into the sky.

    It is so black, so black, so black, so black,
    Those black-winged shapes have stretched across the world,
    Have swallowed up the stars, and if the sun
    Rises again, it will be black, black, black.



    A RITUAL DANCE


    I--THE DANCE


    In the black glitter of night the grey vapour forest
    Lies a dark Ghost in the water, motionless, dark,
    Like a corpse by the bank fallen, and hopelessly rotting
    Where the thin silver soul of the stars silently dances.

    The flowers are closed, the birds are carved on the trees,
    When out of the forest glide hundreds of spear-holding shadows,
    In smooth dark ivory bodies their eyeballs gleaming
    Forming a gesturing circle beneath the Moon.
    The bright-eyed shadows, the tribe in ritual gathered,
    Are dancing and howling, the embryo soul of a nation:
    In loud drum-beating monotonous the tightly stretched skins
    Of oxen that stared at the stars are singing wild paeans:

    Wild paeans for food that magically grew in the clearings
    When he that was slain was buried and is resurrected,
    And a green mist arose from the mud and shone in the Moon,
    A great delirium of faces, a new generation.

    The thin wafer Moon it is there, it is there in the sky,
    The hand-linked circle raise faces of mad exaltation--
    Dance, O you Hunters, leap madly upon the flung shields,
    Shoot arrows into the sky, thin moon-seeking needles:

    Now you shall have a harvest, a belly-full rapture,
    There shall be many fat women, full grown, and smoother than honey,
    Their limbs like ivory rounded, and firm as a berry,
    Their lips full of food and their eyes full of hunger for men!

    The heat of the earth arises, a faint love mist
    Wan with over-desiring, and in the marshes
    Blindly the mud stirs, clouding the dark shining water,
    And troubling the still soft swarms of fallen stars.

    There is bright sweat upon the bodies of cattle,
    Great vials of life motionless in the moonlight,
    Breathing faint mists over the warm, damp ground;
    And the cry of a dancer rings through the shadowy forest.

    The tiger is seeking his mate and his glassy eyes
    Are purple and shot with starlight in the grass shining,
    The fiery grass tortured out of the mud and writhing
    Under the sun, now shivering and pale in the Moon.

    The shadows are dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing:
    The grey vapour amis of the forest lie dreaming around them;
    The cold, shining moonlight falls from their bodies and faces,
    But caught in their eyes lies prisoned and faintly gleaming:

    And they return to their dwellings within the grey forest,
    Into their dark huts, burying the moonlight with them,
    Burying the trees and the stars and the flowing river,
    And the glittering spears, and their dark, evocative gestures.


    II--SLEEP

    Hollow the world in the moonlit hour when the birds are shadows small,
    Lost in the swarm of giant leaves and myriad branches tall;
    When vast thick boughs hang across the sky like solid limbs of night,
    Dug from still quarries of grey-black air by the pale transparent light,
    And the purple and golden blooms of the sun, each crimson and
       spotted flower,
    Are folded up or have faded away, as the still intangible power
    Floats out of the sky, falls shimmering down, a silver-shadowy bloom,
    On the spear-pointed forest a fragile crown, in the soul a soft,
       bright gloom;
    Hollow the world when the shadow of man lies prone and still on its floor,
    And the moonlight shut from his empty heart weeps softly against his door,
    And his terror and joy but a little dream in the corner of his house,
    And his voice dead in the darkness 'mid the twittering of a mouse.


    III.

    Hollow the world! hollow the world!
      And its dancers shadow-grey;
    And the Moon a silver-shadowy bloom
      Fading and fading away;
    And the forest's grey vapour, and all the trees
      Shadows against the sky;
    And the soul of man and his ecstasies
      A night-forgotten cry.
    Hollow the world! hollow the world!



    IOLO ANEURIN WILLIAMS



    FROM A FLEMISH GRAVEYARD

    JANUARY 1915


    A year hence may the grass that waves
    O'er English men in Flemish graves,
    Coating this clay with green of peace
    And softness of a year's increase,
    Be kind and lithe as English grass
    To bend and nod as the winds pass;
    It was for grass on English hills
    These bore too soon the last of ills.

    And may the wind be brisk and clean,
    And singing cheerfully between
    The bents a pleasant-burdened song
    To cheer these English dead along;
    For English songs and English winds
    Are they that bred these English minds.

    And may the circumstantial trees
    Dip, for these dead ones, in the breeze,
    And make for them their silver play
    Of spangled boughs each shiny day.
    Thus may these look above, and see
    And hear the wind in grass and tree,
    And watch a lark in heaven stand,
    And think themselves in their own land.



    A MONUMENT

    (AFTER AN ANCIENT FASHION)


    Traveller, turn a mournful eye
    Where my lady's ashes lie;
    If thou hast a sweet thine own
    Pity me, that am alone;--
    Yet, if thou no lover be,
    Nor hast been, I'll pity thee.



    FRANCIS BRETT YOUNG



    SONG OF THE DARK AGES


    We digged our trenches on the down
      Beside old barrows, and the wet
    White chalk we shovelled from below;
    It lay like drifts of thawing snow
      On parados and parapet;

    Until a pick neither struck flint
      Nor split the yielding chalky soil,
    But only calcined human bone:
    Poor relic of that Age of Stone
      Whose ossuary was our spoil.

    Home we marched singing in the rain,
      And all the while, beneath our song,
    I mused how many springs should wane
    And still our trenches scar the plain:
      The monument of an old wrong.

    But then, I thought, the fair green sod
      Will wholly cover that white stain,
    And soften, as it clothes the face
    Of those old barrows, every trace
      Of violence to the patient plain.

    And careless people, passing by
      Will speak of both in casual tone:
    Saying: "You see the toil they made
    The age of iron, pick and spade,
      Here jostles with the Age of Stone."

    Yet either from that happier race
      Will merit but a passing glance;
    And they will leave us both alone:
    Poor savages who wrought in stone--Poor
      Poor savages who fought in France.



    BÊTE HUMAINE


    Riding through Ruwu swamp, about sunrise,
    I saw the world awake; and as the ray
    Touched the tall grasses where they sleeping lay,
    Lo, the bright air alive with dragonflies:
    With brittle wings aquiver, and great eyes
    Piloting crimson bodies, slender and gay.
    I aimed at one, and struck it, and it lay
    Broken and lifeless, with fast-fading dyes ...
    Then my soul sickened with a sudden pain
    And horror, at my own careless cruelty,
    That in an idle moment I had slain
    A creature whose sweet life it is to fly:
    Like beasts that prey with tooth and claw ...
        Nay, they
    Must slay to live, but what excuse had I?



    THE GIFT


    Marching on Tanga, marching the parch'd plain
    Of wavering spear-grass past Pangani river,
    England came to me--me who had always ta'en
    But never given before--England, the giver,
    In a vision of three poplar-trees that shiver
    On still evenings of summer, after rain,
    By Slapton Ley, where reed-beds start and quiver
    When scarce a ripple moves the upland grain.
    Then I thanked God that now I had suffered pain
    And, as the parch'd plain, thirst, and lain awake
    Shivering all night through till cold daybreak:
    In that I count these sufferings my gain
    And her acknowledgment. Nay, more, would fain
    Suffer as many more for her sweet sake.



    THE LEANING ELM


    Before my window, in days of winter hoar
    Huddled a mournful wood;
    Smooth pillars of beech, domed chestnut, sycamore,
    In stony sleep they stood:
    But you, unhappy elm, the angry west
    Had chosen from the rest,
    Flung broken on your brothers' branches bare,
    And left you leaning there
    So dead that when the breath of winter cast
    Wild snow upon the blast,
    The other living branches, downward bowed,
    Shook free their crystal shroud
    And shed upon your blackened trunk beneath
    Their livery of death......

    On windless nights between the beechen bars
    I watched cold stars
    Throb whitely in the sky, and dreamily
    Wondered if any life lay locked in thee:
    If still the hidden sap secretly moved
    As water in the icy winterbourne
    Floweth unheard:
    And half I pitied you your trance forlorn:
    You could not hear, I thought, the voice of any bird,
    The shadowy cries of bats in dim twilight
    Or cool voices of owls crying by night ...
    Hunting by night under the horned moon:
    Yet half I envied you your wintry swoon,
    Till, on this morning mild, the sun, new-risen
    Steals from his misty prison;
    The frozen fallows glow, the black trees shaken
    In a clear flood of sunlight vibrating awaken:
    And lo, your ravaged hole, beyond belief
    Slenderly fledged anew with tender leaf
    As pale as those twin vanes that break at last
    In a tiny fan above the black beech-mast
    Where no blade springeth green
    But pallid bells of the shy helleborine.
    What is this ecstasy that overwhelms
    The dreaming earth? See, the embrownèd elms
    Crowding purple distances warm the depths of the wood:
    A new-born wind tosses their tassels brown,
    His white clouds dapple the down:
    Into a green flame bursting the hedgerows stand.

    Soon, with banners flying, Spring will walk the land....
    There is no day for thee, my soul, like this,
    No spring of lovely words. Nay, even the kiss
    Of mortal love that maketh man divine
    This light cannot outshine:
    Nay, even poets, they whose frail hands catch
    The shadow of vanishing beauty, may not match
    This leafy ecstasy. Sweet words may cull
    Such magical beauty as time may not destroy;
    But we, alas, are not more beautiful:
    We cannot flower in beauty as in joy.
    We sing, our mused words are sped, and then
    Poets are only men
    Who age, and toil, and sicken ... This maim'd tree
    May stand in leaf when I have ceased to be.



    PROTHALAMION


    When the evening came my love said to me:
      Let us go into the garden now that the sky is cool;
    The garden of black hellebore and rosemary
      Where wild woodruff spills in a milky pool.

    Low we passed in the twilight, for the wavering heat
      Of day had waned; and round that shaded plot
    Of secret beauty the thickets clustered sweet:
      Here is heaven, our hearts whispered, but our lips spake not.

    Between that old garden and seas of lazy foam
      Gloomy and beautiful alleys of trees arise
    With spire of cypress and dreamy beechen dome,
      So dark that our enchanted sight knew nothing but the skies

    Veiled with a soft air, drench'd in the roses' musk
      Or the dusky, dark carnation's breath of clove:
    No stars burned in their deeps, but through the dusk
      I saw my love's eyes, and they were brimmed with love.

    No star their secret ravished, no wasting moon
      Mocked the sad transience of those eternal hours:
    Only the soft unseeing heaven of June,
      The ghosts of great trees, and the sleeping flowers.

    For doves that crooned in the leafy noonday now
      Were silent; the night-jar sought his secret covers,
    Nor even a mild sea-whisper moved a creaking bough--
      Was ever a silence deeper made for lovers?

    Was ever a moment meeter made for love?
      Beautiful are your close lips beneath my kiss;
    And all your yielding sweetness beautiful--
      Oh, never in all the world was such a night as this!



    INDEX


    LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE:
    Marriage Song
    Epilogue

    MARTIN ARMSTRONG:
    The Buzzards

    MAURICE BARING:
    Diffugere Nives, 1917
    Julian Grenfell
    Pierre

    HILAIRE BELLOC:
    The South Country
    The Night
    Song
    The False Heart
    Hannaker Mill (1913)
    Tarantella
    On a Dead Hostess

    EDMUND BLUNDEN:
    Almswomen
    Gleaning

    GORDON BOTTOMLEY:
    The Ploughman
    Babel: The Gate of the God
    The End of the World
    Atlantis
    New Year's Eve, 1913
    To Iron-founders and Others

    RUPERT BROOKE:
    Sonnet
    The Soldier
    The Treasure
    The Great Lover
    Clouds
    The Old Vicarage, Grantchester
    The Busy Heart
    Dining-Room Tea

    FRANCIS BURROWS:
    The Prayer to Demeter
    The Giant's Dirge
    The Unforgotten
    The Well
    Egyptian
    Life

    A. Y. CAMPBELL:
    Animula Vagula
    A Bird
    The Dromedary
    The Panic

    G. K. CHESTERTON:
    Wine and Water
    The Rolling English Road
    The Secret People
    From the Ballad of the White Horse

    PADRAIC COLUM:
    The Old Woman of the Roads

    FRANCES CORNFORD:
    Autumn Evening

    W. H. DAVIES:
    Days Too Short
    The Example
    The East in Gold
    The Happy Child
    A Great Time
    The White Cascade
    In May
    Thunderstorms
    Sweet Stay-at-Home

    EDWARD L. DAVISON:
    The Trees
    In this Dark House

    WALTER DE LA MARE:
    The Listeners
    Arabia
    Music
    The Scribe
    The Ghost
    Clear Eyes
    Fare Well
    All That's Past
    The Song of the Mad Prince

    JOHN DRINKWATER:
    Birthright
    Moonlit Apples

    R. C. K. ENSOR:
    Ode to Reality, 171

    JAMES ELROY FLECKER:
    Riouperoux
    War Song of the Saracens
    The Old Ships
    Stillness
    Areiya
    The Queen's Song
    Brumana
    Hyali
    The Golden Journey to Samarkand--Prologue
    Epilogue

    ROBIN FLOWER:
    La Vie Cérébrale
    The Pipes
    Say not that Beauty

    JOHN FREEMAN:
    The Wakers
    The Body
    Stone Trees
    More Than Sweet
    Waking
    The Chair
    The Stars in Their Courses
    Shadows

    ROBERT GRAVES:
    Star-Talk
    To Lucasta on going to the Wars
    Not Dead
    In the Wilderness
    Neglectful Edward

    JULIAN GRENFELL:
    To a Black Greyhound
    Into Battle

    IVOR GURNEY:
    To the Poet before Battle
    Song of Pain and Beauty

    RALPH HODGSON:
    Eve
    The Bull
    The Song of Honour
    Reason has Moons

    JAMES JOYCE:
    Strings in the Earth
    I Hear an Army

    D. H. LAWRENCE:
    Service of All the Dead

    FRANCIS LEDWIDGE:
    In France
    Thomas Macdonagh
    In September

    ROSE MACAULAY:
    Trinity Sunday

    THOMAS MACDONAGH:
    Inscription on a Ruin
    The Night Hunt

    JOHN MASEFIELD:
    C. L. M.
    What Am I, Life?

    HAROLD MONRO:
    Journey
    Solitude
    Milk for the Cat

    STURGE MOORE:
    Sent from Egypt
    A Spanish Picture
    A Duet
    The Gazelles

    ROBERT NICHOLS:
    To ----
    Farewell to place of comfort
    The Full Heart
    The Tower
    Fulfilment
    The Sprig of Lime

    SEUMAS O'SULLIVAN:
    The Twilight People

    WILFRED OWEN:
    Strange Meeting

    JOSEPH PLUNKETT:
    I See His Blood Upon the Rose

    SIEGFRIED SASSOON:
    "In the Pink"
    The Death-Bed
    Counter-Attack
    Dreamers
    Everyone Sang

    EDWARD SHANKS:
    A Night Piece
    The Glow-Worm
    The Halt
    A Hollow Elm
    The Return
    Clouds
    The Rock Pool
    The Swimmers
    The Storm

    C. H. SORLEY:
    German Rain
    All the Hills and Vales

    JAMES STEPHENS:
    Deirdre
    The Goat-Paths
    The Fifteen Acres

    EDWARD WYNDHAM TENNANT:
    Homo Thoughts in Laventie

    EDWARD THOMAS:
    Aspens
    The Brook
    The Bridge
    Lights Out
    Words
    Tall Nettles
    The Path
    Swedes

    W. J. TURNER:
    Romance
    The Caves of Auvergne
    Ecstasy
    Kent in War
    Death
    Soldiers in a Small Camp
    A Ritual Dance

    IOLO ANEURIN WILLIAMS:
    From a Flemish Graveyard
    A Monument

    FRANCIS BRETT YOUNG:
    Song of the Dark Ages
    Bête Humaine
    The Gift
    The Leaning Elm
    Prothalamion





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Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

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



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