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Full text of "Poems"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



i 



POEMS 



POEMS 



BY WALTER DE LA MARE 



LONDON 
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W. 

1906 



PRINTED BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., 

LONDON AND AYLESBURY. 



Pie 

(" ■ 7 



tr 



TO 

HENRY NEWBOLT 



April, 1906 



759527 



The Author's thanks for permission to 
reprint are due to the Editors of the 
Monthly Review and the Spectator. 



CONTENTS 



CHARACTERS FROM SHAKESPEARE 



FALSTAFF 

MACBETH 

BANQUO 

MERCUTIO 

JULIET 

Juliet's nurse 
desdemona 

lAGO 
CASCA 
IMOGEN 
POLONIUS . 
OPHELIA . 
HAMLET . 



PAGE 
II 

13 

15 
16 

17 
18 
20 

21 

23 

24 

26 
28 

30 



^•*»W c/jt^OJ. i»«*gt JhuUU/ 4^%-^*^ 



8 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



•' COME ! " . 










. 32 


THE WINTER BOY 










. 33 


TEARS fC*t^"nt/ Toi<itte"j 










• 35 


SORCERY . 










. 36 


THE CHILDREN OF STARE 










• 38 


AGE .... 










. 40 


THE GLIMPSE . 










• 42 


REMEMBRANCE . 










. 44 


SHADOW . 










■ 45 


UNREGARDING . 










. 46 


TREACHERY 










. 47 


IN VAIN . 










. 48 


THE MIRACLE . 










• 49 


Ev'n ROSEMARY 










51 


" KEEP INNOCENCY ! " 










• 53 


THE PHANTOM . 










55 


VOICES 










57 


THULE . . . . 










59 


THE BIRTHNIGHT 










60 


THE DEATH-DREAM . 










61 


" WHERE IS THY VICTORY ? 


» 








63 


FOREBODING 










65 



CONTENTS 



SONNETS 



THE HAPPY ENCOUNTER 

COUP DE GRACE 

APRIL 

SEA-MAGIC (to R. I.) 

MESSENGERS 

IRREVOCABLE 

WINTER COMING 

THE MARKET-PLACE 

ANATOMY . 

"EV'n in the GRAVE 

OMNISCIENCE 

BRIGHT LIFE 

HUMANITY 



" GLORIA MUNDI " 



IDLENESS . 

GOLIATH . 

YOUTH 

THE VOICE OF MELANCHOLY 

PORTRAIT OF A BOY . 



PAGE 
67 

69 

70 

71 
72 

73 

74 

75 
76 

77 
78 
80 
81 

82 

85 

87 
90 

95 
99 



io 



CONTENTS 



UNPAUSING 

VAIN FINDING . 

VIRTUE 

NAPOLEON . 

ENGLAND . 

THE SEAS OF ENGLAND 

TRUCE 

EVENING . 

NIGHT 

THE UNIVERSE . 



PAGE 
. lOO 

. lot 

. 102 

. 103 

. 104 

. 105 

. 107 

. T08 

. 110 

. Ill 



MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD 



REVERIE . 

THE MASSACRE 

ECHO 

FEAR . 

THE MERMAIDS 

MYSELF 

AUTUMN . 

WINTER 

ENVOY — TO MY MOTHER 



113 
114 

116 

117 

119 

121 

123 

124 

126 



CHARACTERS FROM SHAKESPEARE 

FALSTAFF 

'TWAS in a tavern that with old age stooped 
And leaned rheumatic rafters o'er his head, — 
A blowzed, prodigious man which talked, and 

stared, 
And rolled, as if with purpose, a small eye 
Like a sweet Cupid in a cask of wine. 
I could not view his fatness for his soul, 
Which peeped like harmless lightnings and 

was gone ; 
As haps to voyagers of the summer air. 
And when he laughed, Time trickled 'neath 

those beams, 
As in a glass ; and when in self-defence 
He puffed that paunch, and wagged that huge, 

Greek head, 

Nosed like a Punchinello, then it seemed 

An hundred widows wept in his small voice, 

Now tenor, and now bass of drum my war. 

II 



12 FALSTAFF 

He smiled, compact of loam, this orchard 
man ; 

Mused like a midnight, webbed with moon- 
beam snares 

Of flitting Love ; woke— and a King he stood, 

Whom all the world hath in sheer jest refused 

For helpless laughter's sake. And then, for- 
fend! 

Bacchus and Jove reared vast Olympus there ; 

And Pan leaned leering from Promethean eyes. 

" Lord ! " sighed his aspect, weeping o'er the 
jest, 

" What simple mouse brought such a mountain 
forth ? " 



MACBETH 

Rose, like dim battlements, the hills and 

reared 
Steep crags into the fading primrose sky ; 
But in the desolate valleys fell small rain, 
Mingled with drifting cloud. I saw one come, 
Like the fierce passion of that vacant place, 
His face turned glittering to the evening sky ; 
His eyes, like grey despair, fixed satelessly 
On the still, rainy turrets of the storm ; 
And all his armour in a haze of blue. 
He held no sword, bare was his hand and 

clenched. 
As if to hide the inextinguishable blood 
Murder had painted there. And his wild mouth 
Seemed spouting echoes of deluded thoughts. 
Around his head, like vipers all distort. 
His locks shook, heavy-laden, at each stride. 

13 



14 MACBETH 

If fire may burn invisible to the eye ; 

O, if despair strive everlastingly ; 

Then haunted here the creature of despair, 

Fanning and fanning flame to lick upon 

A soul still childish in a withered hell. 



BANQUO 

What dost thou here far from thy native place ? 
What piercing influences of heav'n have stirred 
Thy heart's last mansion all-corruptible to 

wake, 
To move, and in the sweets of wine and fire 
Sit tempting madness with unholy eyes ? 
Begone, thou shudd'ring, pale anomaly ! 
The dark presses without on yew and thorn ; 
Stoops now the owl upon her lonely quest ; 
The pomp runs high here, and our beauteous 

women 
Seek no cold witness — O, let murder cry. 
Too shrill for human ear, only to God ! 
Come not in pow'r to wreak so wild a vengeance ! 
Thou know'st not now the limit of man's heart ; 
He is beyond thy knowledge : Gaze not then, 
Horror enthron'd lit with insanest light ! 



IS 



MERCUTIO 

Along an avenue of almond-trees 

Came three girls chattering of their sweethearts 

three. 
And lo ! Mercutio, with Byronic ease, 
Out of his philosophic eye cast all 
A mere flow'r'd twig of thought, whereat . . . 
Three hearts fell still as when an air dies out 
And Venus falters lonely o'er the sea. 
But when within the further mist of bloom 
His step and form were hid, the smooth child 

Ann 
Said, " La, and what eyes he had ! " and Lucy 

said, 
" How sad a gentleman ! " and Katharine, 
" I wonder, now, what mischief he was at." 
And these three also April hid away. 
Leaving the Spring faint with Mercutio. 



i6 



JULIET 

Sparrow and nightingale — did ever such 
Strange birds consort in one untravelled heart ? 
And yet what signs of summer, and what signs 
Of the keen snows humanity hath passed 
To come to this wild apple-day ! To think 
So young a throat might rave so old a tune ! 
Youth's amber eyes reflect such ardent stars, 
And capture heav'n with glancing ! Was she 

not 
Learn'd by some angel from her mother's womb 
At last to be Love's mistress ? doth not he 
Rest all his arrows now and mutely adream 
Seek his own peace in her Italian locks? 
Cometh not Romeo singing in the night ? — 
Singing of youth — whose clust'ring locks do nod 
And weave confusing shadows o'er his brow. 
Sing on bright tongue and quench these fears 

of silence ! — 
But at the end waits Death to pluck his bloom. 
Which is of yew the everlasting star. 

17 2 



JULIET'S NURSE 

In old-world nursery vacant now of children, 

With posied walls, familiar, fair, demure, 

And facing southward o'er romantic streets. 

Sits yet and gossips winter's dark away 

One gloomy, vast, glossy, and wise, and sly : 

And at her side a cherried country cousin. 

Her tongue claps ever like a ram's sweet bell ; 

There's not a name but calls a tale to mind — 

Some marrowy patty of farce or melodram ; 

There's not a soldier but hath babes in view ; 

There's not on earth what minds not of the 

midwife : 

' O, widowhood that left me still espoused ! ' 

Beauty she sighs o'er, and she sighs o'er gold ; 

Gold will buy all things, even a sweet husband, 

Else only Heav'n is left and — farewell youth ! 

Yet, strangely, in that money-haunted head, 

The sad, gemm'd crucifix and incense blue 

i8 



JULIET'S NURSE 19 

Is childhood come again. Her memory 
Is Hke an ant-hill which a twig disturbs, 
But twig stilled never. And to see her face, 
Broad with sleek homely beams ; her babied 

hands, 
Ever like 'lighting doves, and her small eyes — 
Blue wells a-twinkle, arch and lewd and 

pious — 
To dark'n all sudden into Stygian gloom, 
And paint disaster with uplifted whites. 
Is life's epitome. She prates and prates — 
A waterbrook of words o'er twelve small 

pebbles. 
And when she dies — some grey, long, summer 

evening, 
When the bird shouts of childhood thro' the 

dusk, 
'Neath night's faint tapers, — then her body 

shall 
Lie stiff with silks of sixty thrifty years. 



DESDEMONA 

A STONY tomb guards one who simply 

dreams 
Of peace that shines, tho' love went down in 

storm — 
Dreams ever a dark visage stoopeth o'er, 
Whose darkness is not hatred but a mask 
Love took for tend'rer loving. And when 

night 
Steals thro' the sky to mock Othello, then 
Rises she, counting at the windows high 
Star after star till all her prayer be told, 
And dawn repeat the glory of her end. 
But on one day, in affluence of June, 
At topmost flood of noon a shadow falls 
Sweet at her side, chill head to snowy foot ; 
And then it seems the cypresses obscure 
Whisper, ' O willow ! ' ; and a shrill bird 

swoops, 
As if the Moor had flown a silver soul 
To take her captive at the key of Heaven ! 

20 



lAGO 

A DARK lean face, a narrow, slanting eye 
Whose deeps of blackness one pale taper's 

beam 
Haunts with a flitting madness of desire ; 
A heart whose cinder at the breath of passion 
Glows to a momentary core of heat 
Almost beyond indifference to endure : — 
So parched lago frets his life away. 
His scorn works ever in a brain whose wit 
This world hath fools too many and gross to 

seek. 
Ever to live incredibly alone, 
Mask'd, shivering, deadly, with a simple Moor 
Of idiot gravity, and one pale flow'r 
Whose chill would quench in everlasting peace 
His soul's unmeasured flame — O paradox ! 
Might he but learn the trick ! — to wear her 

heart 
One fragile hour of heedless innocence, 
And then, farewell, and the incessant grave. 

21 



22 lAGO 

" O fool ! O villain ! "—'tis the shuttlecock 
Wit never leaves at rest. It is his fate 
To be a needle in a world of hay, 
Where honour is the flattery of the fool ; 
Sin, a tame bauble ; lies, a tiresome jest ; 
Virtue, a silly, whitewashed block of wood 
For words to fell. Ah ! but the secret lacking — 
The secret of the child, the bird, the night. 
Faded, flouted, bespattered, in days so far 
Hate cannot bitter them, nor wrath deny ; — 
Else were this Desdemona . . . Why ! 
Woman a harlot is, and life a nest 
Fouled by long ages of forked fools. And 

God— 
lago deals not with a tale so dull : 
T' have made the world — Fie on thee. Artisan ! 



CASCA 

Butchers are honest though their agile knives 
They wield with an engrossed dexterity. ^ 
To smile with natural hatred like a dog, 
Dull, fretful, thirsty ; — this is to be he 
Who may unheated lave in burning blood 
Hands white and large with idleness and sleep. 
He is earth's hero— this plain, bloated Casca. 
He glides like a great woman ; while a hare 
Squats in his shaggy breast, and stares, and 

trembles 
If peeps the lightning in. So, let him pass ; 
His bloody hands his chosen orators. 
There is much pig's flesh in a world of swine, 
White as the lily. 



23 



IMOGEN 

Ev'n she too dead ! all languor on her brow, 
All mute humanity's last simpleness, — 
And yet the roses in her cheeks unfall'n ! 
Can death haunt silence with a silver sound ? 
Can death, that hushes all music to a close, 
Pluck one sweet wire scarce-audible that 

trembles, 
As if a little child, called Purity, 
Sang heedlessly on of his dear Imogen? 
Surely if some young flow'rs of Spring were put 
Into the tender hollow of her heart, 
'Twould faintly answer, trembling in their 

petals. 

Poise but a wild bird's feather, it will stir 

On lips that even in silence wear the badge 

Only of truth ! Let but a cricket wake 

And sing of home, and bid her lids unseal 

The unspeakable hospitality of her eyes. 

24 



IMOGEN 25 

O childless soul, — call once her husband's name ! 
And even if indeed from these green hills 
Of England, far, her spirit flits forlorn, 
Back to its youthful mansion it will turn, 
Back to the floods of sorrow these sweet locks 
Yet heavy bear in drops ; and Night shall see 
Unwearying as her stars still Imogen, 
Pausing 'twixt death and life on one hush'd 
word. 



POLONIUS 

There haunts in Time's bare house an active 

ghost, 
Most flattered at his name, Polonius. 
He moves small fingers much, and all his speech 
Is like a sampler of precisest words, 
Set in the pattern of a simpleton. 
His mirth floats eerily down chill corridors ; 
His sigh— it is a sound that loves a keyhole; 
His tenderness a faint court-tarnisht thing ; 
His wisdom prates as from a wicker cage ; 
His very belly is a pompous nought ; 
His eye a page that hath forgot his errand. 
Yet in his bran — his spiritual bran — 
Lies hid a child's demure, small, silver whistle 
Which, to his horror, God blows, unawares, 
And sets men staring. And 'tis sad to think, 
Might he but don indeed thin flesh and blood, 

26 



POLONIUS 27 

And pace important to Law's inmost room, 
He'd see, much marvelling, one immensely wise, 
Named Bacon, who, at sound of his youth's step. 
Would turn and call him Cousin — for the 
likeness. 



OPHELIA 

There runs a crisscross pattern of small leaves 
Espalier, in a fading summer air, 
And there Ophelia walks, an azure flower, 
Whom wind, and snowflakes, and the sudden 

rain 
Of love's wild skies have purified to heav'n. 
There is a beauty past all weeping now 
In that sweet, crooked mouth, that vacant 

smile ; 
Only a lonely grey in those mad eyes, 
Which never on earth shall learn their loneli- 
ness. 
And when 'mid startled birds she sings lament, 
Mocking in hope the long voice of the stream, 
It seems her heart's lute hath a broken string. 
Ivy she hath, that to old ruin clings ; 
And rosemary, that sees remembrance fade ; 

And pansics, deeper than the gloom of dreams ; 

28 



OPHELIA 29 

But ah ! if utterable, would this earth 
Remain the base, unreal thing it is? 
Better be out of sight of peering eyes ; 
Out — out of hearing of all-useless words, 
Spoken of tedious tongues in heedless ears ! 
And lest, at last, the world should learn heart- 
secrets ; 
Lest that sweet wolf from some dim thicket 

steal ; 
Better the glassy horror of the stream ! 



HAMLET 

Umbrageous cedars, murmuring symphonies, 
Stoop'd in late twilight o'er dark Denmark's 

Prince : 
He sat, his eyes companioned with dream — 
Lustrous large eyes that held the world in view 
As some entranced child's a puppet show. 
Darkness gave birth to the all-trembling stars. 
And a far roar of long-drawn cataracts, 
Flooding immeasurable night with sound. 
He sat so still, his very thoughts took wing. 
And lightest Ariels the stillness haunted 
With midge-like measures ; but, at last, even 

they 
Sank 'neath the influences of his night 
The sweet dust shed faint perfume in the 

gloom ; 
Through all wild space the stars' bright arrows 

fell 

On the lone Prince — the troubled son of man — 

On Time's dark waters in unearthly trouble: 

30 



HAMLET 31 

Then, as the roar increased, and one fair tower 
Of cloud took sky and stars with majesty, 
He rose, his face a parchment of old age, 
Sorrow hath scribbled o'er, and o'er, and o'er. 



COME ! 

From an island of the sea 
Sounds a voice that summons me, — 
"Turn thy prow, sailor, come 
With the wind home ! " 

Sweet o'er the rainbow foam, 
Sweet in the treetops, " Come, 
Coral, cliff, and watery sand, 
Sea-wave to land ! 

" Droop not thy lids at night. 
Furl not thy sails from flight ! . . . ' 
Cease, cease, above the wave, 
Deep as the grave ! 

O, what voice of the salt sea 

Calls me so insistently? 

Echoes, echoes, night and day, — 

" Come, come away ! " 
32 



THE WINTER-BOY 

I SAW Jack Frost come louping o'er 

A hill of blinding snow ; 
And hooked upon his arm he bore 

A basket all aglow. 

Cherries and damsons, peach and pear, 
The faint and moonlike quince ; 

Never before were fruits as rare, 
And never have been since. 

" Come, will ye buy, ma'am ? " says he sweet ; 

And lo ! began to fly 
Flakes of bright, arrowy, frozen sleet 

From out the rosy sky. 

" Silver nor pence, ma'am, ask I ; but 
One kiss my cheek to warm, — 

One with your scarlet lips tight shut 
Can do }'ou, ma'am, no harm." 

33 3 



34 THE WINTER-BOY 

O, and I stooped in that still place 
And pressed my lips to his ; 

And his cold locks about my face 
Shut darkness in my eyes. 

Never, now never shall I be 
Lonely where snow is laid ; 

Sweet with his fruits comes louping he, 
And says the words he said. 

His shrill voice echoes, slily creep 

His fingers cold and lean, 
And lull my dazzled eyes asleep 

His icy locks between. 



TEARS 

They told me Pan was dead, but I 
Oft marvelled who it was that sang 
Down the green valleys languidly 
Where the grey elder-thickets hang. 

Sometimes I thought it was a bird 
My soul had charged with sorcery ; 
Sometimes it seemed my own heart heard 
Inland the sorrow of the sea. 

But even where the primrose sets 
The seal of her pale loveliness, 
I found amid the violets 
Tears of an antique bitterness. 



35 



SORCERY 

"What voice is that I hear 
Crying across the pool ? " 
"It is the voice of Pan you hear, 
Crying his sorceries shrill and clear, 
In the twilight dim and cool." 

" What song is it he sings, 

Echoing from afar ; 
While the sweet swallow bends her wings, 
Filling the air with twitterings. 
Beneath the brightening star ? " 

The woodman answered me. 

His faggots on his back : — 

" Seek not the face of Pan to see ; 

Flee from his clear note summoning thee 

To darkness deep and black ! 

36 



SORCERY 37 

" He dwells in thickest shade, 

Piping his notes forlorn 
Of sorrow never to be allayed ; 

Turn from his coverts sad 

Of twilight unto morn ! " 



't>' 



The Woodman passed away 
Along the forest path ; 
His axe shone keen and grey 
In the last beams of day : 
And all was still as death : — 

Only Pan singing sweet 
Out of Earth's fragrant shade ; 
I dreamed his eyes to meet, 
And found but shadow laid 
Before my tired feet. 

Comes no more dawn to me. 

Nor bird of open skies. 
Only his woods' deep gloom I see 
Till, at the end of all, shall rise, 

Afar and tranquilly. 

Death's stretching sea. 



THE CHILDREN OF STARE 

Winter is fallen early 
On the house of Stare ; 
Birds in reverberating flocks 
Haunt its ancestral box ; 
Bright are the plenteous berries 
In clusters in the air. 

Still is the fountain's music, 
The dark pool icy still, 
Whereon a small and sanguine sun 
Floats in a mirror on, 
Into a West of crimson. 
From a South of daffodil. 

'Tis strange to see young children 
In such a wintry house ; 
Like rabbits' on the frozen snow 
Their tell-tale footprints go ; 
Their laughter rings like timbrels 
'Neath evening ominous : — 
38 



THE CHILDREN OF STARE 39 
Their small and heightened faces 
Like wine-red winter buds ; 
Their frolic bodies gentle as 
Flakes in the air that pass, 
Frail as the twirling petal 
From the briar of the woods. 

Above them silence lours, 
Still as an arctic sea ; 
Light fails, night falls, the wintry moon 
Glitters, the crocus soon 
Will ope grey and distracted 
On earth's austerity : — 

Thick mystery, wild peril, 
Law like an iron rod : — 
Yet sport they on in Spring's attire. 
Each with his tiny fire 
Blown to a core of ardour 
By the awful breath of God. 



AGE 

This ugly old crone — 

Every beauty she had 

When a maid, when a maid. 

Her beautiful eyes, 

Too youthful, too wise, 

Seemed ever to come 

To so lightless a home — 

Cold and dull as a stone. 

And her cheeks — who would guess 

Cheeks cadav'rous as this 

Once with colours were gay 

As the flower on its spray ? 

Who would ever beJieve 

Aught could bring one to grieve 

So much as to make 

Lips bent for love's sake 

So thin and so grey ? 

O sweet Youth, come away ! 
40 



AGE 41 

All she asks is her lone, 
This old, desolate crone. 
She loves us no more ; 
She is too old to care 
For the charms that of yore 
Made her body so fair. 
Past repining, past care, 
She lives but to bear 
One or two fleeting years 
Earth's indiff 'rence : her tears 
Have lost now their heat ; 
Her hands and her feet 
Do but shake but to be 
Shed as leaves from a tree ; 
And her poor heart beats on 
Like a sea — the storm gone. 



THE GLIMPSE 

Art thou asleep ? or have thy wings 
Weaned of my unchanging skies ? 
Or, haply, is it fading dreams 
Are in my eyes? 

Not ev'n an echo in my heart 
Tells me the courts thy feet trod last, 
Bare as a leafless wood it is 
When summer's past. 

My inmost mind is but a book 
The reader dulls with lassitude, 
Wherein the same old, lovely words 
Sound poor and rude. 

Yet through this vapid surface, I 

Seem to see old-time deeps ; I see, 

Past the dark painting of the hour, 

Life's ecstasy, 
42 



THE GLIMPSE 43 

Only a moment ; as when day 
Is set, and in the shade of night, 
Through all the clouds that compassed her, 
Stoops into sight. 

Pale, changeless, everlasting Dian, 
Gleams on the prone Endymion, 
Troubles the dulness of his dreams, — 
And then is gone. 



REMEMBRANCE 

The sky was like a waterdrop 

In shadow of a thorn, 
Clear, tranquil, beautiful, 

Dark, forlorn. 

Lightning along its margin ran ; 

A rumour of the sea 
Rose in profundity and sank 

Into infinity. 

Lofty and few the elms, the stars 
In the vast boughs most bright ; 

I stood a dreamer in a dream 
In the unstirring night. 

Not wonder, worship, not ev'n peace 
Seemed in my heart to be : 

Only the memory of one. 
Of all mo.st dead to me. 
44 



SHADOW 

Even the beauty of the rose doth cast, 

When its bright, fervid noon is past, 

A still and lengthening shadow in the dust 

Till darkness come 

And take its strange dream home. 

The transient bubbles of the water paint 
'Neath their frail arch a shadow faint ; 
The golden nimbus of the windowed saint, 
Till shine the stars. 
Casts pale and trembling bars. 

The loveliest thing earth hath, a shadow hath, 
A dark and livelong hint of death. 
Haunting it ever till its last faint breath : 

Who, then, may tell 
The beauty of heav n's shadowless asphodel ? 



45 



UxNREGARDING 

Put by thy days like withered flowers 

In twilight hidd'n away ! 
Memory shall upbuild thee bowers 

Sweeter than they. 

Hoard not from swiftness of thy stream 
The shallowest cruse of tears ! 

Pools still as heav'n shall lovelier dream 
In future years. 

Squander thy love as she that flings 
Her soul away on night, — 

Lovely are love's far echoings, 
Height unto height ! 

O, make no compact with the sun, 

No compact with the moon ! 

Night falls full-cloaked, and light is gone. 

Sudden and soon. 
46 



TREACHERY 

She had amid her ringlets bound 
Green leaves to rival their dark hue ; 
How could such locks with beauty bound 
Dry up their dew, 
Wither them through and through ? 

She had within her dark eyes lit 
Sweet fires to burn all doubt away ; 
Yet did those fires, in darkness lit, 
Burn but a day,' 
Not ev'n till twilight stay. 

She had within a dusk of words 
A vow in simple splendour set ; 
How, in the memory of such words, 
Could she forget 
That vow — the soul of it ? 



47 



IN VAIN 

I KNOCKED upon thy door ajar, 
While yet the woods with buds were grey, 
Nought but a little child I heard 
Warbling at break of day, 

I knocked when June bad lured her rose 
To mask the sharpness of its thorn ; 
Knocked yet again, heard only yet 
Thee singing of the morn. 

The frail convolvulus had wreath'd 
Its cup, but the faint flush of eve 
Lingered upon thy Western wall ; 
Thou hadst no word to give. 

Once yet I came ; the winter stars 

Above thy house wheeled wildly bright ; 

Footsore I stood before thy door, — 

Wide open into night. 
48 



THE MIRACLE 

Who beckons the green ivy up 

Its solitary tower of stone? 
What spirit lures the bindweed's cup 

Unfaltering on ? 
Calls ev'n the starry lichen to climb 
By agelong inches endless Time? 

Who bids the hollyhock uplift 

Her rod of fast-sealed buds on hicrh ; 
Fling wide her petals silent, swift, 

Lovely to the sky? 
Since as she kindled, so she'll fade, 
Flow'r above flow'r in squalor laid. 

Ever the heavy billow rears 

All its sea-length in green, hushed wall ; 

But totters as the shore it nears, 

Foams to its fall ; 

Where was its mark ? on what vain quest 

Rose that great water from its rest ? 

49 4 



50 THE MIRACLE 

So creeps ambition on ; so climb 

Man's vaunting thoughts. He, set on high, 
Forgets his birth, small space, brief time, 

That he shall die ; 
Dreams blindly in his dark, still air ; 
Consumes his strength ; strips himself bare ; 

Rejects delight, ease, pleasure, hope, 
Seeking in vain, but seeking yet. 
Past earthly promise, earthly scope, 

On one aim set : 
As if like Chaucer's child he thought 
All but "O Alma!" nought. 



EVEN ROSEMARY 

I HAVE seen a grave this day, 
Yet no worm did therein lie ; — 
Only sweet Faith laid away, 

Lonely to die, 
Lonely as he lived, to die. 

There's no buds. Ev'n rosemary 
Hath sad dreams for smell withal ; 
Ev'n Hope's rose's leaf would be 

Restless to fall ; 
To have done, and fade, and fall. 

I will never walk again 

Where such brittle dust doth lie ; 

Where to weep were quite in vain ; 

Vain too to sigh, 
Only vain to weep and sigh. 
51 



52 EVEN ROSEMARY 

Flee afar, then, heart, lest thou. 
Quick with brooding on that spot, 
Feign to see a dead face now. 

Features forgot, 
Eyes ev'n Heaven shall open not ! 



KEEP INNOCENCY 

Like an old battle, youth is wild 
With bugle and spear, and counter cry, 
Fanfare and drummcry, yet a child 
Dreaming of that sweet chivalry, 
The piercing terror cannot see. 

He, with a mild and serious eye 
Along the azure of the years, 
Sees the sweet pomp sweep hurtling by ; 
But he sees not death's blood and tears, 
Sees not the plunging of the spears. 

And all the strident horror of 
Horse and rider in red defeat, 
Is only music fine enough 
To lull him into slumber sweet 
In fields where ewe and lambkin bleat. 

S3 



54 KEEP INNOCENCY 

O, if with such simplicity 
Himself take arms and suffer war ; 
With beams his targe shall gilded be, 
Tho' in the thickening gloom be far 
The steadfast light of any star ! 

Tho' hoarse War's eagle on him perch, 
Quickened with guilty lightnings, — there 
It shall in vain for terror search, 
Where a child's eyes 'neath bloody hair 
Gaze purely thro' the dingy air. 

And when the wheeling rout is spent, 
Tho' in the heaps of slain he lie ; 
Or lonely in his last content ; 
Quenchless shall burn in secrecy 
The flame Death knows his victors by. 



THE PHANTOM 

Wilt thou never come again, 

Beauteous one? 
Yet the woods are green and dim, 
Yet the birds' deluding cry 
Echoes in the hollow sky, 
Yet the falling waters brim 
The clear pool which thou wast fain 
To paint thy lovely cheek upon, 

Beauteous one! 

I may see the thorny rose 

Stir and wake 
The dark dewdrop on her gold; 
But thy secret will she keep 
Half-divulged— yet all untold, 
Since a child's heart woke from sleep. 

The faltering sunbeam fades and goes ; 
The night-bird whistles in the brake ; 

The willows quake ; 
Utter darkness falls ; the wind 

Sighs no more : 
55 



56 THE PHANTOM 

Yet it seems the silence yearns 
But to catch thy fleeting foot. 
Yet the wandering glowworm burns 
Lest her lamp should light thee not— 
Thee whom I shall never find. 
Though thy shadow lean before, 
Thou thyself return'st no more — 
Never more. 

All the world's woods, tree o'er tree. 

Come to nought. 
Birds, flow'rs, beasts, how transient they ! — 
Angels of a flying day ; 
Love is quenched ; dreams drown in sleep ; 
Ruin nods along the deep : 
Only thou immortally 

Hauntest on 
This poor earth in Time's flux caught ; 
Hauntest on, pursued — unwon, 
Phantom child of memory, 

Beauteous one ! 



VOICES 

Who is it calling by the darkened river 
Where the moss lies smooth and deep, 

And the dark trees lean unmoving arms, 
Silent and vague in sleep, 

And the bright-heeled constellations pass 
In splendour through the gloom ; — 

Who is it calling o'er the darkened river 
In music, " Come ! " ? 

Who is it wandering in the summer meadows 

Where the children stoop and play, 
'Mid the green faint-scented flowers, spinning 

The guileless hours away ? 
Who touches their bright hair ? who puts 

A wind-shell to each cheek, 
Whisp'ring betwixt its breathing silences, 
" Seek ! seek ! " ? 
57 



58 VOICES 

Who is it watching in the gathering twilight, 
When the curfew bird hath flown 

On eager wings, from song to silence, 
To its darkened nest alone ? 

Who takes for brightening eyes the stars, 
For locks the still moonbeam, 

Sighs through the dews of evening peacefully- 
Falling, "Dream!"? 

So are we haunted ; night and day 

Invisible witnesses 
Speak, or keep silent ; watch and wait ; 

Steadfast and slumberless : — 
Shades of the air, shades in the mind, 

Ghosts in the heart that weep 
In this thicket of all perplexities 
And tumult, "Sleep!" 



THULE 

If thou art sweet as they are sad 
Who on the shores of Time's salt sea 
Watch on the dim horizon fade 
Ships bearing love to night and thee ; 

If past all beacons Hope hath lit 
In the dark wanderings of the deep, 
They who unwilling traverse it 
Dream not till dawn unseal their sleep ; 

Ah, cease not in thy winds to mock 
Us who yet wake but cannot see 
Thy distant shores ; who at each shock 
Of the waves' onset faint for thee ! 



59 



THE BIRTHNIGHT 

Dearest, it was a night 
That in its darkness rocked Orion's stars ; 
A sighing wind ran faintly white 
Along the willows, and the cedar boughs 
Laid their wide hands in stealthy peace across 
The starry silence of their antique moss : 
No sound save rushing air. 
Cold, yet most sweet with Spring, 
And in thy mother's arms, couched weeping 

there, 

Thou, lovely thing. 



60 



THE DEATH-DREAM 

Who, now, put dreams into thy slumb'ring 

mind ? 
Who, with bright Fear's lean taper, crossed a 

hand 
Athwart its beam, and stooping, truth 

maligned, 
Spake so thy spirit speech should understand. 
And with a dread " He's dead ! " awaked a 

peal 
Of frenzied bells along the vacant ways 
Of thy poor earthly heart ; waked thee to 

steal. 
Like dawn distraught upon unhappy days. 
To prove nought, nothing? Was it Time's 

large voice 

Out of th' inscrutable future whispered so? 

Or but the horror of a little noise 

Earth wakes at dead of night? Or does Love 

know 

6i 



62 THE DEATH-DREAM 

When his sweet wings weary and droop, and 

ev'n 
In sleep cries audibly a shrill remorse? 
Or, haply, was it I who out of dream 
Stole but a little way where shadows course, — 
Called back to thee across the eternal stream ? 



"WHERE IS THY VICTORY?" 

None, none can tell where I shall be 

When the unclean earth covers me ; 

Only in surety if thou cry 

Where my perplexed ashes He, 

Know, 'tis but death's necessity 

That keeps my tongue from answering thee. 

Ev'n if no more my shadow may 

Lean for a moment in thy day ; 

No more the whole earth Hght'n as if 

Thou near, it had nought else to give :— 

Surely 'tis but Heav'n's strategy 

To prove death immortality. 

Yet should I sleep — and no more dream, 

Sad would the last awakening seem, 

If my cold heart, with love once hot, 

Had thee in sleep remember'd not : 

How could I wake to find that I 

Had slept alone, yet easefully ? 

63 



64 "WHERE IS THY VICTORY?" 

Or should in sleep glad visions come : 

Sick, in an alien land, for home 

Would be my eyes in their bright beam ; 

Awake, we know 'tis not a dream ; 

Asleep, some devil in the mind 

Might truest thoughts with false enwind. 

Life is a mockery if death 
Have the least power men say it hath. 
As to a hound that mewing waits, 
Death opens, and shuts to, his gates ; 
Else ev'a dry bones might rise and say, — 
" 'Tis ye are dead and laid away." 

Innocent children out of nought 

Build up a universe of thought, 

And out of silence fashion Heaven : 

So, dear, is this poor dying even, 

Seeing thou shalt be touched, heard, seen, 

Better than when dust stood between. 



FOREBODING 

Thou canst not see him standing by — 
Time — with a poppied hand 

Stealing thy youth's simplicity, 

Even as falls unceasingly 
His waning sand. 

He'll pluck thy childish roses as 
The summer from her bush 

Strips all the loveliness that was ; 

Ev'n to the silence evening has 
Thy laughter hush. 

Thy locks too faint for earthly gold, 

The meekness of thine eyes, 
He'll dark'n and dim, and to his fold 
Drive, 'gainst the night, thy stainless, old 
Innocencies ; 

^5 5 



eS FOREBODING 

Thy simple words confuse and mar, 
Thy tenderest thoughts delude, 
Draw a long cloud athwart thy star, 
Still with loud timbrels heav'n's far 
Faint interlude. 

Thou canst not see ; / see, dearest ; 

O, then, yet patient be, 
Tho' love refuse thy heart all rest, 
Tho' even love wax angry, lest 

Love should lose tJiee ? 



SONNETS 

THE HAPPY ENCOUNTER 

I SAW sweet Poetry turn troubled eyes 
On shaggy Science nosing in the grass, 
For by that way poor Poetry must pass 

On her long pilgrimage to Paradise. 

He snuffled, grunted, squealed ; perplexed by 
flies. 
Parched, weatherworn, and near of sight, 

alas ! 
From peering close where very little was 

In dens secluded from the open skies. 

But Poetry in bravery went down, 

And called his name, soft, clear, and fear- 
lessly ; 
Stooped low, and stroked his muzzle over- 
grown ; 

67 



68 THE HAPPY ENCOUNTER 

Refreshed his drought with dew ; wiped pure 

and free 
His eyes : and lo ! laughed loud for joy to 
see 
In those grey deeps the azure of her own. 



COUP DE GRACE 

So Malice sharp'd his pen, and nibbled it, 

And leered 'ncath faltering eyelids at the 
flame 

Of his calm candle till a notion came, 
Coarse, acrid, with a distant hint of wit. 
Once more he simmered, and once more he 
writ, 

Till not a dash was dull, a comma lame ; 

Then exquisitely failed to sign his name. 
Leaving the world to trace a slug by its spit. 

Such was the barb, O Keats, (vain tongues 
would have). 
Troubled in its calm flight thy lovely art ; 
Cankered thy youth, thy faith ; abashed the 
brave, 
Untarnishable sweetness of thy heart : 
How should these dullards dream tliey 
winged the dart 
That pierced thee, silent, in th' unansvvering 



grave ! 



69 



APRIL 

Come, then, with show'rs, I love thy cloudy 
face 

Gilded with splendour of the sunbeams 
thro' 

The heedless glory of thy locks : I know 
The arch, sweet languor of thy fleeting grace, 
The windy lovebeams of thy dwelling-place, 

Thy dim dells where in azure bluebells blow, 

The brimming rivers where thy lightnings go 
Harmless and full and swift from race to race. 

Thou tak'st all young hearts captive with 
thine eyes ; 
At rumour of thee the tongues of children ring 
Louder than bees ; the golden poplars rise 
Like trumps of peace ; and birds, on home- 
ward wing, 
Fly mocking echoes shrill along the skies. 

Above the waves' grave diapasoning. 

70 



SEA-MAGIC 

To R. I. 

My heart faints in me for the distant sea, 
The roar of London is the roar of ire 
The lion utters in his old desire 

For Libya out of dim captivity ; 

The long bright silver of Cheapside I see, 
Her gilded weathercocks on roof and spire 
Exulting eastward in the western fire ; 

All things recall one heart-sick memory : — 

Ever the rustle of the advancing foam, 
The surges' desolate thunder, and the cry 
As of some lone babe in the whispering sky ; 

Ever I peer into the restless gloom 
To where a ship clad dim and loftily 

Looms steadfast in the wonder of her home. 



71 



MESSENGERS 

A FEW all-faithful words, a glance from eyes 
That in their deeps hide hosts they cannot 

see — 
Phantoms of loveliest simplicity ; 
A transient touch — some bird's that twittering 

flies 
Into the primrose of the deepening skies; 
A child's pure cheek pressed cold and tran- 
quilly 
Upon a brow ashamed, in misery ; 
A voice that sings easefully echo-wise : 

Whence are they in a world so alien ? 

Are they the waterdrops of that vast flood 
Death shall unloose ? Shall all they hint, again 

In fulness be retold ? Shall this wild blood 

That rocks to them, lull down to stillness when 

These light-wing messengers flit back to God ? 

72 



IRREVOCABLE 

I SOMETIMES wonder what my life doth mean 
Now you are gone ; the long, bright days, 

the nights 
Of silence, the vicissitudes, the sights. 

The intrusive sounds, the dull, continuous 
scene — 

It only minds me of the might-have-been, 
And in itself a taper is that lights 
Its own dark solitude : my spirit fights 

In vain to pierce the veil and look within. 

The fountain of my tears is sealed and dry ; 

I do not grieve ; my laughter is a jest ; 
My prayers an arid bitterness ; each sigh 

The heedless habit of a tired breast. 
My heart is dead ; and when I come to die, 

Only to think of you no more were best. 



73 



WINTER COMING 

O, THOU art like an autumn to my days, 
Shining in still, sweet light on lonelier hours 
Of yellowing leaves, and well-nigh faded 
flowers ; 
In thy dear sight the birds renew their lays, 
But with how faint a cheer ! how meek their 
praise 
Rememb'ring April gone ! — his crystal 

showers, 
His heav'n-surmountingwind-engirdled towers, 
And all the graveness of his childlike ways. 

The hours press closer on to winter now ; 
In misty solitudes brief suns arise ; 
And all the wonder now hath left my eyes, 
And all my heart sinks to remember how 
Once, once we loved, we who are grown so 
wise — 
Youth vanished, winter coming — I and thou ! 

74 



THE MARKET-PLACE 

My mind is like a clamorous market-place ; 

All day in wind, rain, sun, its babel wells ; 

Voice answering to voice in tumult swells. 
Chaffering and laughing, pushing for a place, 

My thoughts haste on, gay, strange, poor, 
simple, base ; 

This one buys dust, and that a bauble sells : 

But none to any scrutiny hints or tells 
The haunting secrets hidd'n in each sad face. 
Ay, sad, 'neath sigh and smile, frown, laughter, 
jeer; 

Yet sad— like that still twilight in the West, 
Lonely with one sweet star serene and clear, 

Dwelling, when all this place is hushed to rest. 
On vacant stall, gold, refuse, worst and best. 

Abandoned utterly in haste and fear. 



75 



ANATOMY 

By chance, my fingers, resting on my face, 
Stayed suddenly where in its orbit shone 
The lamp of all things beautiful ; then on. 

Following more heedfully, did softly trace 

Each arch and prominence and hollow place 
That shall revealed be when all else is gone — 
Warmth, colour, roundness — to oblivion. 

And nothing left but darkness and disgrace. 

Life like a moment passed seemed then to be ; 
A transient dream this raiment that it wore ; 

While spelled my hand out its mortality. 
Made certain all that had seemed doubt 
before : 

Proved — O how vaguely, yet how lucidly! — 
How much death does : and yet can do no 
more. 



1^ 



EV'N IN THE GRAVE 

I LAID my inventory at the hand 

Of Death, who in his gloomy arbour sate ; 
And while he conned it, sweet and desolate 

I heard Love singing in that quiet land. 

He read the record even to the end — 
The heedless, livelong injuries of Fate, 
The burden of foe, the burden of love and 
hate ; 

The wounds of foe, the bitter wounds of friend : 

All, all, he read— ay, ev'n the indifference. 
The vain talk, vainer silence, hope and 
dream. 
He questioned me: "What scek'st thou then 
instead ? " 
I bowed my face in the pale evening gleam. 
Then gazed he on me with strange innocence : 
" Ev'n in the grave thou'lt have thyself," 

he said. 

77 



OMNISCIENCE 

" Strew me o'er with maiden flowers." 

Henry VIII. 

Why look'd'st thou on the beauties of the 

earth 
So gravely in thy deep omniscience ; 
Turn'd'st from the dews of their unclouded 

birth 
In woods where children call, and innocence 
Broods like a dream within a lovely face, 
To one wan hint, one backward glance on 

grief, 
On darken'd eyes beyond Time's fleeting 

grace — 
Death heavy and endless of a life too brief? 

O love immeasurably meek that scanned, 
Past all earth's fickle hopes, past beauty, lust, 

78 



OMNISCIENCE 79 

The tottering palaces of wind and sand, 
Pride and vain pomp, tears, ashes, rapture, 

dust, 
The unearthly tomb whose fading stone shall 

keep 
Man, till his Saviour come, at peace asleep ! 



BRIGHT LIFE 

"Come now," I said, "put off these webs of 
death. 
Distract this leaden yearning of thine eyes 
From h'chened banks of peace, sad mysteries 

Of dust fall'n-in where passed the flitting 
breath : 

Turn thy sick thoughts from him that slumbereth 
In moulder'd Hnen to the living skies. 
The sun's bright-clouded principalities. 

The salt deliciousness the sea-breeze hath ! 

Lay thy warm hand on earth's cold clods and 
think 
What exquisite greenness sprouts from these 
to grace 
The moving fields of summer ; on the brink 

Of arched waves the sea-horizon trace, 
Whence wheels night's galaxy ; and in silence 
sink 

Thy pride in rapture of life's dwelling-place ! " 

80 



HUMANITY 

' Ever exulting in thyself, on fire 
To flaunt the purple of the Universe, 
To strut and strut, and thy great part re- 
hearse ; 
Ever the slave of every proud desire ; 
Come now a little down where sports thy sire ! 
Choose thy small better from thy abounding 

worse I 
Prove thou thy lordship who hadst dust for 
nurse, 
And for thy swaddling the primeval mire ! " 

Then stooped our Manhood nearer, deep and 
still. 
As from earth's mountains an unvoyaged sea, 
Hushed my faint voice in its great peace until 

'T seemed but a bird's cry in eternity ; 
And in its future loomed the undreamable, 
And in its past slept simple men like me. 

8i 6 



GLORIA MUNDI 

Upon a bank, easeless with knobs of gold, 
Beneath a canopy of noonday smoke, 

I saw a measureless Beast, morose and bold, 
With eyes like one from filthy dreams awoke, 

Who stares upon the daylight in despair 

For very terror of the nothing there. 

This beast in one flat hand clutched vulture-wise 
A glitt'ring image of itself in jet, 

And with the other groped about its eyes 
To drive away the dreams that pestered it ; 

And never ceased its coils to toss and beat 

The mire encumbering its feeble feet. 

Sharp was its hunger, though continually 
It seemed a cud of stones to ruminate, 

And often like a dog let glittering lie 

This meatless fare, its foolish gaze to sate ; 

Once more convulsively to stoop its jaw, 

Or seize the morsel with an envious paw. 

82 



GLORIA MUNDI 83 

Indeed, it seemed a hidden enemy 

Must lurk within the clouds above that bank, 

It strained so wildly its pale, stubborn eye, 
To pierce its own foul vapours dim and 
dank ; 

Till, wearied out, it raved in wrath and foam 

Daring that Nought Invisible to come. 

Ay, and it seemed some strange delight to find 
In this unmeaning din, till, suddenly, 

As if it heard a rumour on the wind, 
Or far away its freer children cry, 

Lifting its face made-quiet, there it stayed 

Till died the echo its own rage had made. 

That place alone was barren where it lay ; 
Flow'rs bloomed beyond, utterly sweet and 
fair ; 
And ev'n its own dull heart might think to 
stay 
In livelong thirst of a clear river there, 
Flowing from unseen hills to unheard seas, 
Through a still vale of yew and almond trees. 



84 GLORIA MUNDI 

And then I spied in the lush green below 

Its tortured belly, One, like silver, pale, 
With fingers closed upon a rope of straw, 

That bound the Beast, squat neck to hoary 
tail ; 
Lonely in all that verdure faint and deep. 
He watched the monster as a shepherd sheep. 

I marvelled at the power, strength, and rage 
Of this poor creature in such slavery bound, 

Tettered with worms of fear ; forlorn with age ; 
Its blue wing-stumps stretched helpless on 
the ground ; 

While twilight faded into darkness deep, 

And he who watched it piped its pangs asleep. 



IDLENESS 

I SAW old Idleness, fat, with great cheeks 
Puffed to the huge circumference of a sigh, 
But past all tinge of apples long ago. 
His boyish fingers twiddled up and down 
The filthy remnant of a cup of physic 
That thick'd in odour all the while he stayed. 
His eyes were sad as fishes that swim up, 
And stare upon an element not theirs 
Through a thin skin of shrewish water, then 
Turn on a languid fin, and dip, dip, down, 
Into unplumbed, vast, oozy deeps of dream. 
His stomach was his master, and proclaimed it : 
And never were such meagre pupils set 
Before so vexed a tyrant, as his thoughts 
Before that gross epitome of ills. 
There seemed no notion i' him not of himself; 
And when upon the wan green of his eye 
I marked the gathering lustre of a tear, 

85 



86 IDLENESS 

Thought I myself should weep, until I caught 

A grey, smug smile of satisfaction smirch 

His pallid features at his misery. 

And much I laughed to see the little snares 

He'd set for pests to vex him : his great feet 

Prisoned in greater boots ; so narrow a stool 

To seat such elephantine parts as his ; 

Ay, and the book he read — a Hebrew Bible ; 

And, to incite a somewhat backward wit. 

An old, crabb'd, worm'd, Greek dictionary ; 

and — 
A foxy Ovid bound in dappled calf. 



GOLIATH 

Still as a mountain with dark pines and sun 
He stood between the armies, and his shout 
Rolled from the empyrean above the host ; — 
" Bid any little flea ye have come forth, 
And wince at death upon my finger-nail ! " 
He turned his large-boned face ; and all his 

steel 
Tossed into beams the lustre of the noon ; 
And all the shaggy horror of his locks 
Rustled like locusts in a field of corn ; 
The meagre pupil of his shameless eye 
Moved like a cormorant o'er a glassy sea. 
He stretched his limbs, and laughed into the 

air, 
To feel the groaning sinews of his breast, 
And the long gush of his swoll'n arteries 

pause : 
And, nodding, wheeled, tow'ring in all his 

height. 

87 



88 GOLIATH 

Then, like a wind that hushes, gazed and saw 

Down, down, far down upon the untroubled 

green 
A shepherd-boy that swung a little sling. 
Goliath shut his lids to drive that mote 
Which vexed the eastern azure of his eye 
Out of his vision ; and stared down again. 
Yet stood the youth there, ruddy in the flare 
Of his vast shield, nor spake, nor quailed, 

gazed up 
As one might scan a mountain to be scaled. 
Then, as it were, a voice unearthly still 
Cried in the cavern of his bristling ear, 
" His name is little Death ! " And, Hke the 

flush 
That dyes Sahara to its lifeless verge, 
His brow's bright brass flamed into sudden 

crimson ; 
And his great spear leapt upward, lightning-like. 
Shaking a dreadful thunder in the air ; 
Spun betwixt earth and sky, bright as a berg 
That hoards the sunlight in a myriad spires. 
Crashed : and struck echo thro' an army's 

heart. 



GOLIATH 89 

Then paused Goliath, and stared down again. 
And fleet-foot Fear from rolling orbs perceived 
Steadfast, unharmed, a stooping shepherd-boy 
Frowning upon the target of his face. 
And wrath tossed suddenly up once more his 

hand ; 
And a deep groan grieved all his strength in 

him. 
He breathed ; and, lost in dazzling darkness, 

prayed — 
Besought his reins, his gloating gods, his youth : 
And turned to smite what he no more could 

see. 
Then sped the singing pebble-messenger, 
The chosen of the Lord from Israel's brooks. 
Fleet to its mark, and hollowed a light path 
Down to the appalling Babel of his brain. 
And like the smoke of dreaming Souffriere 
Dust rose in cloud, spread wide, slow silted 

down 
Softly all softly on his armour's blaze. 



YOUTH 

With splendour shod sweeps Sirius through 

the night, 
But Youth yet brightlier runs his course than 

he. 
Youth hath the raiment of his childhood doffed 
At morning-prime by life's resounding sea, 
And lonely in beauty stands confronting 

Heaven. 
He strides lithe-limbed, magnificently armed ; 
His young head helmeted with high desire ; 
His heart a haven of braveries fleet and eager ; 
His eyes like heroes never to be subdued, 
And all man's passionate history in his blood. 
Youth is Adonis, panting for the chase. 
Scorning all languor, blandishment, all ease. 
Scorning to dally while the noon slips by. 
While rings the horn, fleets golden and sweet 

the hour, 

90 



YOUTH 91 

And bursts untamed Ambition through the 

glades. 
Oh, in what wrath he sees still Evening pour 
Her crystal vial from the darkening West ! 
Now is an end to day's bright prowess come ; 
The flaming sunbeams multitudinous 
Fade, as they kindled, on the unfolded rose. 
He loves not Night's pale solitary brows, 
Nor silver Hesper in the shadowy steep, 
But like a panther fretteth in his lair, 
Turning to slumb'r as to his strength's dis- 
grace ; 
To sigh in dream 'neath moonlight's arrowy 

showers, 
Marv'Hng what makes Apollo's lute so still. 
But dawn ascends. The night-watch'd stars 

shall not 
Cry from heav'n's battlements in vain of day. 
Earth wakens, cold with flowers, and the 

mists, 
Smitten of light, fly, fall in radiant dew. 
Birds mounting to the dayspring pour their 

throats ; 
And in like music she beguileth him : — 



92 YOUTH 

" Thou babe, here is my breast ! Thou foolish 

one, 
Strip off dull sleep ; thy mother — here am I ! " 
And frowning up he leaps to her smooth arms, 
As mounts the fledgling eagle tow'rd the sun , . . 
How hasten his echoing feet when sweet 

tongues call, 
And Love's unerring archery sings nigh ! 
Dim then with incense burns his heart of 

flame ; 
His thoughts are aisles where ever voices 

quire : 
And silence is divine with folded wings. 
He voyages at a hazard Arctic seas ; 
Scales, as for pastime, ice-encinctured Alps ; 
No torrent daunts him ; no abyss appals ; 
Wind ne'er so faintly the far horn of danger. 
Its echo tingles on a listening ear; 
Whithersoever summon it he'll follow, 
And vain were every bounty earth can squander 
To salve the sorrow for a deed undared. 
He pines to set desire beyond his scope, 
And beauteous childhood wells into his soul 
In covet of the fruits that droop and burn 



YOUTH 93 

Where rise th' unchanging terraces of death. 
What worth renown when all that dawn con- 
ceived 
Fades to a phantom in the chimes of night ? 
What worth the flattery of a myriad tongues 
If mute be the proud umpire of his heart ? 
He'll strive him for an amaranthine crown 
Outlasting laurel and the world's applause. 
Earth but a shadow is of beauty cast 
In trembling beams upon the stream of Time : 
He'll set his heart no more on shadows now ; 
But brood in envy of those high summits Man 
Hath left to sparkle in midmost heav'n alone ; 
Strive with smooth lead to plumb the un- 

answering deeps, 
Where Wisdom heark'ns the music of her wells. 
He'll walk in sure confederacy with truth. 
Betwixt him and the Hills Celestial falls 
Only a blinding avalanche of sun . . . 
Flow'rs, birds, the river rushing in its strength, 
The pine upon the mountains, the broad wind 
Burdened wilh snowy coldness, the salt sea, 
The shalms of morning — Youth's wild heart 

holds all ; — 



94 YOUTH 

All glory, all wonder, purity, beauty, grace. 
All things conceived of man, except defeat. 
So spurns he hope : his hope is certainty. 
And faith — while every act is faith trans- 
figured, 
How should through mournful shadows glance 

such eyes? 
God walketh in His brightness on the hills, 
And sitteth in the wonder of the bow, 
And calleth o'er the waters of delight : — 
What were all Time to prove all gratitude? 
What life's brief dust to Heav'n's unfading 

rose ? . . . 
How fleet a foot then Youth's for long pursuit ! 
How high a courage to search wisdom out. 
While he unwitting oft burns folly away ! 
Is aught too bold, too infinite, to dream 
Fate's arm may guard for babes to spring 

from him. 
Who flings his life down, drenched with rapture 

through, 
To buy unchallenged honour for his bones ? 



THE VOICE OF MELANCHOLY 

" Return from out thy stillness, though the 

dust 
Lie thick upon thy earthly beauty, though 
The ever-wandering shapes of Night creep 

through 
Youth's fallen tabernacle ! Now in long 
Surge of recurrent light the days swing by, 
Soundless above thine ears once musical, 
Unnumbered by a heart expert in love. 
Unmarked by those fall'n princes once thine 

eyes. — 
Oh, what defeat, bright warrior, what disgrace, 
To fret entwined in the bindweed's root. 
And rot like manna, lovelier than the rose ! 
Once thou would'st turn thy face enriched 

with smiles, 
Thy lips a thought asunder, and thy hair 
Shining within the sun's magnificent ray ; 

95 



96 THE VOICE OF MELANCHOLY 
Stand would'st thou like a beacon by deep 

seas : — 
All light, all excellence, all joy, gone now ; 
Even the classic beauty of thy face 
Melted like snow ; dark as a moon eclipsed ; 
Never to bright'n again 'neath endless night — " 
So did I brood, unanswered and alone, 
Crying, " Return, return ! " 

O simple fool ! 
What would'st thou out of the deep grave 

should rise ? 
What, from amid death's cypresses, awake ; 
Heave up the sod ; press back the fruited 

boughs ; 
And lift his eyes across the tombs on thee ? 
Would love burn there, or measureless re- 
proach ? 
Would Life's bright mantle, stiff with idiot 

pomp. 
Lie easy on shoulders whence a shroud had 

fall'n? 
Would Morn's shrill nightingale above his brows 
Ring sweet on ears long-sealed in echoless 

peace ? 



THE VOICE OF MELANCHOLY 97 

Would those grey hands caress earth's tarnish'd 

orb, 
And those still feet be amorous of spurs ? 
And that unutterably aged head, 
Darken'd with pansics fadeless, changeless, 

still. 
How would it don again youth's triple crown, 
Piercing the keenlier as its roses die ? 
Nay, but the very wind that stirred his hair 
Would seem a tempest to sleep deep as his ; 
And the perplexed galaxy of the stars 
Intolerable cressets to his eyes. 
Accustomed to a night as dark as his ; 
And the pale dew of daisied turf at dawn 
The wine of madness to lips dry as his. 
Oh, with what shuddering would those atoms 

meet ! 
With what a burning sluggardry that blood 
Creep thro' its long disused channels from 
The roaring chaos of his heart ! What grief 
Would wildly ring in the first words he said ! 
What sad astonishment besteep that brain. 
And tears more pitiable than infancy's 
Blur the estranged beauty of the dawn ! . . , 

7 



98 THE VOICE OF MELANCHOLY 
Leave thou his memory, as his dust, at rest ; 
Nor burden peace with lamentable cries ! 
There lurks no shadow in the crypt of death ; 
Nor any shadow in the height of heaven : 
Beyond the survey of the dark earth gone 
He bides encloistered ev'n from love's surmise. 
Cry then no more, " Return, return ! " — no 

more! 
Thy thoughts are shallow, thy experience brief ; 
Whence learnedst thou of the riches of the 

grave ? 



"PORTRAIT OF A BOY" 

VELASQUEZ 

At evens with the copious April clouds ; 
With meek, wild face he stands ; and in his 

eye 
Deeps where the empyrean ever broods, 
And in his mouth some femininity. — 
Ah ! for we know his secret, hath not life, 
So strangely shod his feet lest, suddenly. 
He should remember him — the babbling strife 
Of Venus' sparrows— lest he stoop and fly, 
Chafing at earth, into that April sky ? 



99 



UNPAUSING 

O SWEETEST, Stay ! 
One moment in thy lonely play 

Turn, child, and look 
Ev'n but a little on that great-leaf book, 
Whose livelong record when thine eyes are old 
Will seem, how lovely a tale, how briefly told ! 



100 



VAIN FINDING 

Ever before my face there went 

Betwixt earth's buds and me 
A beauty beyond earth's content, 

A hope — half memory : 
Till in the woods one evening — 

Ah ! eyes as dark as they, 
Fastened on mine unwontedly, 

Grey, and dear heart, how grey ! 



101 



VIRTUE 

Her breast is cold ; her hands how faint and 
wan ! 

And the deep wonder of her starry eyes, 

Seemingly lost in cloudless Paradise, 
And all earth's sorrow out of memory gone. 
Yet sings her clear voice unrelenting on 

Of loveliest impossibilities ; 

Though echo only answer her with sighs 
Of effort wasted and delights foregone. 

Spent, baffled, 'wildered, hated and despised, 

Her straggling warriors hasten to defeat ; 
By wounds distracted, and by night surprised, 
Fall where death's darkness and oblivion 
meet : 
Yet, yet — O breast how cold ! O hope how 

far! 
Grant my son's ashes lie where these men's 
are ! 

102 



NAPOLEON 

"What is the world, O soldiers? 
It is I : 
I, this incessant snow, 
This northern sky ; 
Soldiers, this solitude 
Through which we go 
Is I." 



'03 



ENGLAND 

No lovelier hills than thine have laid 
My tired thoughts to rest ; 

No peace of lovelier valleys made 
Like peace within my breast. 

Thine are the woods whereto my soul, 
Out of the noontide beam, 

Flees for a refuge green and cool 
And tranquil as a dream. 

Thy breaking seas like trumpets peal ; 

Thy clouds — how oft have I 
Watched their bright towers of silence steal 

Into infinity ! 

My heart within me faints to roam 
In thought ev'n far from thee : 

Thine be the grave whereto I come, 

And thine my darkness be. 

104 



THE SEAS OF ENGLAND 

The seas of England are our old delight ; 
Let the loud billow of the shingly shore 
Sing freedom on her breezes evermore 

To all earth's ships that sailing heave in sight 1 

The gaunt sea-nettle be our fortitude, 

Sturdily blowing where the clear wave sips ; 
O, be the glory of our men and ships 

Rapturous, woe-unheeding hardihood ! 

There is great courage in a land that hath 
Liberty guarded by the unearthly seas ; 
And ev'n to find peace at the last in these 

How many a sailor hath sailed down to death ! 

Their names are like a splendour in old song ; 

Their record shines like bays along the years ; 

Their jubilation is the cry man hears 
Sailing sun-fronted the vast deeps among. 

105 



io6 THE SEAS OF ENGLAND 

The seas of England are our old delight ; 
Let the loud billow of the shingly shore 
Sing freedom on her breezes evermore 

To all earth's ships that sailing heave in sight 



TRUCE 

Far inland here Death's pinions mocked the 
roar 

Of English seas ; 
We sleep to wake no more, 

Hushed, and at ease ; 
Till sound a trump, shore on to echoing shore, 
Rouse from a peace, unwonted then to war. 

Us and our enemies. 



107 



EVENING 

When twilight darkens, and one by one, 
The sweet birds to their nests have gone ; 
When to green banks the glow-worms bring 
Pale lamps to brighten evening ; 
Then stirs in his thick sleep the owl 
Thorough the dewy air to prowl. 

Hawking the meadows swiftly he flits, 
While the small mouse atrembling sits 
With tiny eye of fear upcast 
Until his brooding shape be past, 
Hiding her where the moonbeams beat, 
Casting black shadows in the wheat. 

Now all is still : the field-man is 

Lapped deep in slumb'ring silentness. 

Not a leaf stirs, but clouds on high 

Pass in dim flocks across the sky. 

Puffed by a breeze too light to move 

Aught but these wakeful sheep above. 

1 08 



EVENING 109 

O what an arch of h'ght now spans 
These fields by night no longer Man's ! 
Their ancient Master is abroad, 
Walking beneath the moonlight cold : 
His presence is the stillness, He 
Fills earth with beauteous mystery. 



NIGHT 

All from the light of the sweet moon 
Tired men lie now abed ; 

Actionless, full of visions, soon 
Vanishing, soon sped. 

The starry night afloat with beams 
Of crystal light scarce stirs : 

Only its birds — the cocks, the streams, 
Call 'neath heaven's Wanderers. 

All's silent ; all hearts still ; 
Love, cunning, fire fall'n low : 
When faint morn straying on the hill 
Sighs, and his soft airs flow. 



no 



THE UNIVERSE 

I HEARD a little child 'ncath many stars 
Talk as he ran along 

To some sweet riddle in his mind that 
seemed 

Atiptoe into song. 

In his dark eyes lay a wild universe, — 
Wild forests, peaks, and crests, 

Angels and fairies, giants, wolves and he 
Were that world's only guests. 

Elsewhere was home and mother, his warm 
bed:— 

Now, only God alone 
Could, arm'd with all His power and wisdom, 
make 

Earths richer than his own. 
Ill 



112 THE UNIVERSE 

O Man ! — thy dreams, thy passions, hopes, 
desires ! — 

He in his pity keep 
A homely bed where love may lull a child's 

Fond Universe asleep ! 



MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD. 

REVERIE 

Bring not bright candles, for his eyes 
In twih'ght have sweet company ; 

Bring not bright candles, else they fly— 
His phantoms fly — 

Gazing aggrieved on thee ! 

Bring not bright candles, startle not 
The phantoms of a vacant room, 

Flocking above a child that dreams — 
Deep, deep in dreams, — 

Hid, in the gathering gloom ! 

Bring not bright candles to those eyes 
That between earth and stars descry, 

Lovelier for the shadows there. 
Children of air. 

Palaces in the sky ! 

113 8 



THE MASSACRE 

The shadow of a poplar tree 

Lay in that lake of sun, 
As I with my little sword went in — 

Against a thousand, one. 

Haughty and infinitely armed, 

Insolent in their wrath. 
Plumed high with purple plumes they held 

The narrow meadow path. 

The air was sultry ; all was still ; 

The sun like flashing glass ; 
And snip-snap my light-whispering steel 

In arcs of light did pass. 

Lightly and dull fell each proud head, 

Spiked keen without avail, 
Till swam my uncontented blade 

With ichor green and pale. 
114 



THE MASSACRE 115 

And silence fell : the rushing sun 

Stood still in paths of heat, 
Gazing in waves of horror on 

The dead about my feet. 

Never a whir of wing, no bee 
Stirred o'er the shameful slain ; 

Nought but a thirsty wasp crept in, 
Stooped, and came out again. 

The very air trembled in fear ; 

Eclipsing shadow seemed 
Rising in crimson waves of gloom — 

On one who dreamed. 



ECHO 

"Who called?" I said, and the words 
Through the whispering glades, 

Hither, thither, baffled the birds — 
" Who called ? Who called ? " 

The leafy boughs on high 

Hissed in the sun ; 
The dark air carried my cry 

Faintingly on ; — 

Eyes in the green, in the shade, 

In the motionless brake, 
Voices that said what I said, 

For mockery's sake ; — 

" Who cares ? " I bawled thro' my tears ; 

The wind fell low : 
In the silence, "Who cares? who cares?" 

Wailed to and fro. 

ii6 



FEAR 

I KNOW where lurk 
The eyes of Fear ; 
I, I alone, 

Where shadowy-clear, 
Watching for me, 
Lurks Fear. 

'Tis ever still 
And dark, despite 
All singing and 
All candlelight, 
'Tis ever cold, 
And night. 

He touches me ; 
Says quietly, 
" Stir not, nor whisper, 
I am nigh ; 
Walk noiseless on, 
I am by ! " 
117 



ii8 FEAR 

He drives me 
As a dog a sheep ; 
Like a cold stone 
I cannot weep. 
He lifts me 
Hot from sleep 

In marble hands 
To where on high 
The jewelled horror 
Of his eye 

Dares me to struggle 
Or cry. 

No breast wherein 
To chase away 
That watchful shape ! 
Vain, vain to say 
" Haunt not with night 
The day ! " 



THE MERMAIDS 

Sand, sand ; hills of sand ; 

And the wind where nothing is 

Green and sweet of the land ; 
No grass, no trees, 
No bird, no butterfly. 

But hills, hills of sand, 
And a burning sky. 

Sea, sea ; mounds of the sea, 

Hollow, and dark, and blue. 
Flashing incessantly 

The whole sea through ; 
No flower, no jutting root. 
Only the floor of the sea, 
With foam afloat. 

Blow, blow, winding shells ; 

And the watery fish, 
Deaf to the hidden bells, 

In the waters plash ; 

119 



120 THE MERMAIDS 

No streaming gold, no eyes 
Watching along the waves, 
But far-blown shells, faint bells, 
From the darkling caves. 



MYSELF 

There is a garden grey 
With mists of autumntide ; 
Under the giant boughs, 
Stretched green on every side, 

Along the lonely paths, 

A little child like me, 

With face, with hands like mine, 

Plays ever silently ; 

On, on, quite silently, 

When I am there alone, 

Turns not his head ; lifts not his eyes ; 

Heeds not as he plays on. 

After the birds are flown 
From singing in the trees, 
When all is grey, all silent. 
Voices, and winds, and bees ; 

121 



122 MYSELF 

And I am there alone : 
Forlornly, silently, 
Plays in the evening garden 
Myself with me. 



AUTUMN 

There is wind where the rose was ; 
Cold rain where sweet grass was ; 

And clouds like sheep 

Stream o'er the steep 
Grey skies where the lark was. 

Nought gold where your hair was ; 
Nought warm where your hand was ; 

But phantom, forlorn, 

Beneath the thorn. 
Your ghost where your face was. 

Sad winds where your voice was ; 
Tears, tears where my heart was ; 

And ever with me, 

Child, ever with me, 
Silence where hope was. 



123 



WINTER 

Green Mistletoe ! 

Oh, I remember now 

A dell of snow, 

Frost on the bough ; 

None there but I : 

Snow, snow, and a wintry sky. 

None there but I, 

And footprints one by one, 

Zigzaggedly, 

Where I had run ; 

Where gimp and powdery 

A robin sat in the tree. 

And he whistled sweet ; 

And I in the crusted snow 

With snow-clubb'd feet 

Jigged to and fro, 

Till, from the day, 

The rose-light ebbed away. 
124 



WINTER 125 

And the robin flew 

Into the air, the air, 

The white mist through ; 

And small and rare 

The night-frost fell 

Into the calm and misty dell. 

And the dusk gathered low, 
And the silver moon and stars 
On the frozen snow 
Drew taper bars, 
Kindled winking fires 
In the hooded briers. 

And the sprawling Bear 
Growled deep in the sky ; 
And Orion's hair 
Streamed sparkling by : 
But the North sighed low, 
" Snow, snow, more snow ! " 



ENVOY 

TO MY MOTHER 

Thine is my all, how little when 'tis told 

Beside thy gold ! 
Thine the first peace, and mine the livelong 

strife ; 
Thine the clear dawn, and mine the night of 
life; 
Thine the unstain'd belief, 
Darkened in grief. 

Scarce ev'n a flow'r but thine its beauty and 
name, 
Dimm'd, yet the same ; 
Never in twilight comes the moon to me, 
Stealing thro' childhood's woods, but tells of 
thee, 
Falls, dear, on my wild heart, 
And takes thy part. 
126 



ENVOY 127 

Thou art the child, and I— how steeped in 



age! 



. A blotted page 
From that clear, Httle book Hfe's tak'n away : 
How could I read it dear, so dark's the day ? 

Be it all memory 

'Twixt thee and me ! 



Printed by Hazell, IVatson & Vincy, Ld., London and Aylesbury. 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 





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