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Carl Sandburg

The Sea Hold

THE SEA is large.
The sea hold on a leg of land in the Chesapeake hugs an early sunset and a last morning star over the oyster beds and the late clam boats of lonely men.
Five white houses on a half-mile strip of land... five white dice rolled from a tube.

Not so long ago... the sea was large...
And to-day the sea has lost nothing... it keeps all.

I am a loon about the sea.
I make so many sea songs, I cry so many sea cries, I forget so many sea songs and sea cries.

I am a loon about the sea.
So are five men I had a fish fry with once in a tar-paper shack trembling in a sand storm.

The sea knows more about them than they know themselves.
They know only how the sea hugs and will not let go.

The sea is large.
The sea must know more than any of us.

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On The Wings Of Fantasy

early this morning
you wake up with nothing
to fret about

pre-valentine feeling
of having nobody
and feeling nothing
about the coming
day of the hearts

you say better have
nothing than
a head-ache

i say, babes,
not guts not glory
no pain no gain

and you say
it is not the end of the world

and i say
the world does not end
only humans

and you say
you don't have to beg
luck and love does not seem
to like each other

and i say
try the blessing side of love
try a little flirting like you are a bait
thrown in the sea of love
and get the share of your fish
in that big ocean

then you sighed.
because you don't believe that it's gonna happen anymore.

end of the conversation.

i could have said: try and try until you succeed.

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Cry, sleep and forget

Cry till your heart becomes light.
Share till your heart becomes light.
Sleep till you forget everything.
Cry, sleep and forget.
Forget and forgive.
Play, leaving the sorrow back.
Laugh, frightening the tear away.
Share, embarrassing the mistake.
Sleep, forgetting the heavy heart.
Cry, sleep and forget...

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The Lost Paradise

It was a spring
Early in the morning
A bird on the wing
Old lonely men were smoking and drinking
Past days remembering.
Day time I did nothing
Only reading
What else I had to do?
Except smoking and drinking.
I hear a lullaby
From far away
A sweet peculiar voice
Somewhere on the hills
Remembering my youth.
Oh! how I dreamed of her
Lost as a wounded soldier
The battle was over
We departed forever.
Oh! how I missed her
For my own fault
Still I can remember what she told.

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The Wind And The Sea

I STOOD by the shore at the death of day,
As the sun sank flaming red;
And the face of the waters that spread away
Was as gray as the face of the dead.
And I heard the cry of the wanton sea
And the moan of the wailing wind;
For love's sweet pain in his heart had he,
But the gray old sea had sinned.
The wind was young and the sea was old,
But their cries went up together;
The wind was warm and the sea was cold,
For age makes wintry weather.
So they cried aloud and they wept amain,
Till the sky grew dark to hear it;
And out of its folds crept the misty rain,
In its shroud, like a troubled spirit.
For the wind was wild with a hopeless love,
And the sea was sad at heart
At many a crime that he wot of,
Wherein he had played his part.
He thought of the gallant ships gone down
By the will of his wicked waves;
And he thought how the churchyard in the town
Held the sea-made widows' graves.
The wild wind thought of the love he had left
Afar in an Eastern land,
And he longed, as long the much bereft,
For the touch of her perfumed hand.
In his winding wail and his deep-heaved sigh
His aching grief found vent;
While the sea looked up at the bending sky
And murmured: 'I repent.'
But e'en as he spoke, a ship came by,
That bravely ploughed the main,
And a light came into the sea's green eye,
And his heart grew hard again.
Then he spoke to the wind: 'Friend, seest thou not
Yon vessel is eastward bound?
Pray speed with it to the happy spot
Where thy loved one may be found.'
And the wind rose up in a dear delight,
And after the good ship sped;
But the crafty sea by his wicked might
Kept the vessel ever ahead.
Till the wind grew fierce in his despair,
And white on the brow and lip.
He tore his garments and tore his hair,
And fell on the flying ship.
And the ship went down, for a rock was there,
And the sailless sea loomed black;
While burdened again with dole and care,
The wind came moaning back.
And still he moans from his bosom hot
Where his raging grief lies pent,
And ever when the ships come not,
The sea says: 'I repent,'

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Song of the Sea-Wind

When the sun sets over the long blue wave
I spring from my couch of rest,
And I hurtle and boom over leagues of foam
That toss in the weltering west,
I pipe a hymn to the headlands high,
My comrades forevermore,
And I chase the tricksy curls of foam
O'er the glimmering sandy shore.

The moon is my friend on clear, white nights
When I ripple her silver way,
And whistle blithely about the rocks
Like an elfin thing at play;
But anon I ravin with cloud and mist
And wail 'neath a curdled sky,
When the reef snarls yon like a questing beast,
And the frightened ships go by.

I scatter the dawn across the sea
Like wine of amber flung
From a crystal goblet all far and fine
Where the morning star is hung;
I blow from east and I blow from west
Wherever my longing be-
The wind of the land is a hindered thing
But the ocean wind is free!

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To Frinton-on-Sea by Train - The Annual Pilgrimage,1910

When in the large compartment,
Everyone was seated.
And all the luggage loaded,
The family group completed.

Excitement as the train now
Leaves the local station.
Everyone perceiving
A feeling of elation.

The Servants in the Third Class
All with faces radiant,
The train now fairly straining
Up it's first steep gradient.

Smoke rising from the engine,
Through the countryside it races,
Such a rattling and a clattering,
Rhythmic chugging as it paces.

Nurse is quietly rocking baby,
Mother dozing, Father reading.
Children gazing through the window,
Trees and streams seem to be speeding.

Realisation, train is stopping,
Doors are opening, whistles blare,
All alighting from the carriage,
Platforms busy. Great sea air!

Call the porter for the luggage,
What! No luggage, this can't be,
'Did you tip the porter Father? '
Mother calls out nervously.

Father fuming calls the Driver,
Calls ths Station Master too,
Sorry Sir, it's not our doing
We will send it on to you.

Father marching to the taxi,
Mother fretting following along,
Nurse with baby shrieking loudly
Children calling, 'What is wrong? '.

Father should have tipped the porter,
Much more than a farthing's worth,
So he didn't load the luggage,
In the 'First Class' luggage berth.

It arrived early next morning,
By the first train down the track,
So as to the moral of this story,
If you're too mean, watch out Jack!


© Ernestine Northover

This poem was written from a story handed down through the family, and the 'Father' was my husband's Great Grandfather, and it is absolutely true, he was a very mean man. A Farthing being the lowest coinage of that time. We have photos of them all sitting on the sand, in full dress with the ladies in huge feathered hats. A wonderful sight! ! ! !

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Towards the Sea

Warm sea salt and ocean's brine
Lifts dull spirits that contently reside
In the souls of broken pride
Rocking boats and clean white sails
Follow night's star's golden glares
To a place far, far away
Where grown youth can come to play
In one's faithful, soulful journey-
Now on the sea, there is no more yearning

We ourselves, mix into our own reality
As lone, but grateful submarines
Sinking low and diving deeper
Into a sea of equal dreamers
Towards the sea and ocean's way
Where there is no law to say
That this is what we do today
That this is what we have to face

In this sea of possibilities
Where the mind and body travel lightly
We all wait for tomorrow's wake
And towards the sea, we come to make
Future promises that we will lay
Down in stone and above the waves
And into what the sea cannot take
A simple life bound to it's way

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From The Upland To The Sea

Shall we wake one morn of spring,
Glad at heart of everything,
Yet pensive with the thought of eve?
Then the white house shall we leave,
Pass the wind-flowers and the bays,
Through the garth, and go our ways,
Wandering down among the meads
Till our very joyance needs
Rest at last; till we shall come
To that Sun-god’s lonely home,
Lonely on the hill-side grey,
Whence the sheep have gone away;
Lonely till the feast-time is,
When with prayer and praise of bliss,
Thither comes the country side.
There awhile shall we abide,
Sitting low down in the porch
By that image with the torch:
Thy one white hand laid upon
The black pillar that was won
From the far-off Indian mine;
And my hand nigh touching thine,
But not touching; and thy gown
Fair with spring-flowers cast adown
From thy bosom and thy brow.
There the south-west wind shall blow
Through thine hair to reach my cheek,
As thou sittest, nor mayst speak,
Nor mayst move the hand I kiss
For the very depth of bliss;
Nay, nor turn thine eyes to me.
Then desire of the great sea
Nigh enow, but all unheard,
In the hearts of us is stirred,
And we rise, we twain at last,
And the daffodils downcast,
Feel thy feet and we are gone
From the lonely Sun-Crowned one.
Then the meads fade at our back,
And the spring day ’gins to lack
That fresh hope that once it had;
But we twain grow yet more glad,
And apart no more may go
When the grassy slope and low
Dieth in the shingly sand:
Then we wander hand in hand
By the edges of the sea,
And I weary more for thee
Than if far apart we were,
With a space of desert drear
’Twixt thy lips and mine, O love!
Ah, my joy, my joy thereof!

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Four Songs Of Four Seasons

I. WINTER IN NORTHUMBERLAND
OUTSIDE the garden
The wet skies harden;
The gates are barred on
The summer side:
"Shut out the flower-time,
Sunbeam and shower-time;
Make way for our time,"
Wild winds have cried.
Green once and cheery,
The woods, worn weary,
Sigh as the dreary
Weak sun goes home:
A great wind grapples
The wave, and dapples
The dead green floor of the sea with foam.

Through fell and moorland,
And salt-sea foreland,
Our noisy norland
Resounds and rings;
Waste waves thereunder
Are blown in sunder,
And winds make thunder
With cloudwide wings;
Sea-drift makes dimmer
The beacon's glimmer;
Nor sail nor swimmer
Can try the tides;
And snowdrifts thicken
Where, when leaves quicken,
Under the heather the sundew hides.

Green land and red land,
Moorside and headland,
Are white as dead land,
Are all as one;
Nor honied heather,
Nor bells to gather,
Fair with fair weather
And faithful sun:
Fierce frost has eaten
All flowers that sweeten
The fells rain-beaten;
And winds their foes
Have made the snow's bed
Down in the rose-bed;
Deep in the snow's bed bury the rose.

Bury her deeper
Than any sleeper;
Sweet dreams will keep her
All day, all night;
Though sleep benumb her
And time o'ercome her,
She dreams of summer,
And takes delight,
Dreaming and sleeping
In love's good keeping,
While rain is weeping
And no leaves cling;
Winds will come bringing her
Comfort, and singing her
Stories and songs and good news of the spring.

Draw the white curtain
Close, and be certain
She takes no hurt in
Her soft low bed;
She feels no colder,
And grows not older,
Though snows enfold her
From foot to head;
She turns not chilly
Like weed and lily
In marsh or hilly
High watershed,
Or green soft island
In lakes of highland;
She sleeps awhile, and she is not dead.

For all the hours,
Come sun, come showers,
Are friends of flowers,
And fairies all;
When frost entrapped her,
They came and lapped her
In leaves, and wrapped her
With shroud and pall;
In red leaves wound her,
With dead leaves bound her
Dead brows, and round her
A death-knell rang;
Rang the death-bell for her,
Sang, "is it well for her,
Well, is it well with you, rose?" they sang.

O what and where is
The rose now, fairies,
So shrill the air is,
So wild the sky?
Poor last of roses,
Her worst of woes is
The noise she knows is
The winter's cry;
His hunting hollo
Has scared the swallow;
Fain would she follow
And fain would fly:
But wind unsettles
Her poor last petals;
Had she but wings, and she would not die.

Come, as you love her,
Come close and cover
Her white face over,
And forth again
Ere sunset glances
On foam that dances,
Through lowering lances
Of bright white rain;
And make your playtime
Of winter's daytime,
As if the Maytime
Were here to sing;
As if the snowballs
Were soft like blowballs,
Blown in a mist from the stalk in the spring.

Each reed that grows in
Our stream is frozen,
The fields it flows in
Are hard and black;
The water-fairy
Waits wise and wary
Till time shall vary
And thaws come back.
"O sister, water,"
The wind besought her,
"O twin-born daughter
Of spring with me,
Stay with me, play with me,
Take the warm way with me,
Straight for the summer and oversea."

But winds will vary,
And wise and wary
The patient fairy
Of water waits;
All shrunk and wizen,
In iron prison,
Till spring re-risen
Unbar the gates;
Till, as with clamor
Of axe and hammer,
Chained streams that stammer
And struggle in straits
Burst bonds that shiver,
And thaws deliver
The roaring river in stormy spates.

In fierce March weather
White waves break tether,
And whirled together
At either hand,
Like weeds uplifted,
The tree-trunks rifted
In spars are drifted,
Like foam or sand,
Past swamp and sallow
And reed-beds callow,
Through pool and shallow,
To wind and lee,
Till, no more tongue-tied,
Full flood and young tide
Roar down the rapids and storm the sea.

As men's cheeks faded
On shores invaded,
When shorewards waded
The lords of fight;
When churl and craven
Saw hard on haven
The wide-winged raven
At mainmast height;
When monks affrighted
To windward sighted
The birds full-flighted
Of swift sea-kings;
So earth turns paler
When Storm the sailor
Steers in with a roar in the race of his wings.

O strong sea-sailor,
Whose cheek turns paler
For wind or hail or
For fear of thee?
O far sea-farer,
O thunder-bearer,
Thy songs are rarer
Than soft songs be.
O fleet-foot stranger,
O north-sea ranger
Through days of danger
And ways of fear,
Blow thy horn here for us,
Blow the sky clear for us,
Send us the song of the sea to hear.

Roll the strong stream of it
Up, till the scream of it
Wake from a dream of it
Children that sleep,
Seamen that fare for them
Forth, with a prayer for them:
Shall not God care for them
Angels not keep?
Spare not the surges
Thy stormy scourges;
Spare us the dirges
Of wives that weep.
Turn back the waves for us:
Dig no fresh graves for us,
Wind, in the manifold gulfs of the deep.

O stout north-easter,
Sea-king, land-waster,
For all thine haste, or
Thy stormy skill,
Yet hadst thou never,
For all endeavour,
Strength to dissever
Or strength to spill,
Save of his giving
Who gave our living,
Whose hands are weaving
What ours fulfil;
Whose feet tread under
The storms and thunder;
Who made our wonder to work his will.

His years and hours,
His world's blind powers,
His stars and flowers,
His nights and days,
Sea-tide and river,
And waves that shiver,
Praise God, the giver
Of tongues to praise.
Winds in their blowing,
And fruits in growing;
Time in its going,
While time shall be;
In death and living,
With one thanksgiving,
Praise him whose hand is the strength of the sea.

II. SPRING IN TUSCANY
ROSE-RED lilies that bloom on the banner;
Rose-cheeked gardens that revel in spring;
Rose-mouthed acacias that laugh as they climb,
Like plumes for a queen's hand fashioned to fan her
With wind more soft than a wild dove's wing,
What do they sing in the spring of their time

If this be the rose that the world hears singing,
Soft in the soft night, loud in the day,
Songs for the fireflies to dance as they hear;
If that be the song of the nightingale, springing
Forth in the form of a rose in May,
What do they say of the way of the year?

What of the way of the world gone Maying,
What of the work of the buds in the bowers,
What of the will of the wind on the wall,
Fluttering the wall-flowers, sighing and playing,
Shrinking again as a bird that cowers,
Thinking of hours when the flowers have to fall?

Out of the throats of the loud birds showering,
Out of the folds where the flag-lilies leap,
Out of the mouths of the roses stirred,
Out of the herbs on the walls reflowering,
Out of the heights where the sheer snows sleep,
Out of the deep and the steep, one word.

One from the lips of the lily-flames leaping,
The glad red lilies that burn in our sight,
The great live lilies for standard and crown;
One from the steeps where the pines stand sleeping,
One from the deep land, one from the height,
One from the light and the might of the town.

The lowlands laugh with delight of the highlands,
Whence May winds feed them with balm and breath
From hills that beheld in the years behind
A shape as of one from the blest souls' islands,
Made fair by a soul too fair for death,
With eyes on the light that should smite them blind.

Vallombrosa remotely remembers,
Perchance, what still to us seems so near
That time not darkens it, change not mars,
The foot that she knew when her leaves were September's,
The face lift up to the star-blind seer,
That saw from his prison arisen his stars.

And Pisa broods on her dead, not mourning,
For love of her loveliness given them in fee;
And Prato gleams with the glad monk's gift
Whose hand was there as the hand of morning;
And Siena, set in the sand's red sea,
Lifts loftier her head than the red sand's drift.

And far to the fair south-westward lightens,
Girdled and sandalled and plumed with flowers,
At sunset over the love-lit lands,
The hill-side's crown where the wild hill brightens,
Saint Fina's town of the Beautiful Towers,
Hailing the sun with a hundred hands.

Land of us all that have loved thee dearliest,
Mother of men that were lords of man,
Whose name in the world's heart work a spell
My last song's light, and the star of mine earliest,
As we turn from thee, sweet, who wast ours for a span,
Fare well we may not who say farewell.

III. SUMMER IN AUVERGNE
THE sundawn fills the land
Full as a feaster's hand
Fills full with bloom of bland
Bright wine his cup;
Flows full to flood that fills
From the arch of air it thrills
Those rust-red iron hills
With morning up.

Dawn, as a panther springs,
With fierce and fire-fledged wings
Leaps on the land that rings
From her bright feet
Through all its lava-black
Cones that cast answer back
And cliffs of footless track
Where thunders meet.

The light speaks wide and loud
From deeps blown clean of cloud
As though day's heart were proud
And heaven's were glad;
The towers brown-striped and grey
Take fire from heaven of day
As though the prayers they pray
Their answers had.

Higher in these high first hours
Wax all the keen church towers,
And higher all hearts of ours
Than the old hills' crown,
Higher than the pillared height
Of that strange cliff-side bright
With basalt towers whose might
Strong time bows down.

And the old fierce ruin there
Of the old wild princes' lair
Whose blood in mine hath share
Gapes gaunt and great
Toward heaven that long ago
Watched all the wan land's woe
Whereon the wind would blow
Of their bleak hate.

Dead are those deeds; but yet
Their memory seems to fret
Lands that might else forget
That old world's brand;
Dead all their sins and days;
Yet in this red clime's rays
Some fiery memory stays
That sears their land.

IV. AUTUMN IN CORNWALL
THE year lies fallen and faded
On cliffs by clouds invaded,
With tongues of storms upbraided,
With wrath of waves bedinned;
And inland, wild with warning,
As in deaf ears or scorning,
The clarion even and morning
Rings of the south-west wind.

The wild bents wane and wither
In blasts whose breath bows hither
Their grey-grown heads and thither,
Unblest of rain or sun;
The pale fierce heavens are crowded
With shapes like dreams beclouded,
As though the old year enshrouded
Lay, long ere life were done.

Full-charged with oldworld wonders,
From dusk Tintagel thunders
A note that smites and sunders
The hard frore fields of air;
A trumpet stormier-sounded
Than once from lists rebounded
When strong men sense-confounded
Fell thick in tourney there.

From scarce a duskier dwelling
Such notes of wail rose welling
Through the outer darkness, telling
In the awful singer's ears
What souls the darkness covers,
What love-lost souls of lovers,
Whose cry still hangs and hovers
In each man's born that hears.

For there by Hector's brother
And yet some thousand other
He that had grief to mother
Passed pale from Dante's sight;
With one fast linked as fearless,
Perchance, there only tearless;
Iseult and Tristram, peerless
And perfect queen and knight.

A shrill-winged sound comes flying
North, as of wild souls crying
The cry of things undying,
That know what life must be;
Or as the old year's heart, stricken
Too sore for hope to quicken
By thoughts like thorns that thicken,
Broke, breaking with the sea.

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The Land Of The Dawning

Darkrose her shore in seas of amethyst
By tropic breezes kissed,
A summer land in watery wastes forlorn,
Her ranges floating in the snow-white mist
And gold of early morn.
The tides of Empire ebbed and flowed afar;
The thrones of nations in the dust were hurled,
Silent she slept beneath the morning star,
A virgin world.
Love, Birth, and Death, the stress of Age and Race,
Changed not her maiden face—
Unstocked her pastures and untilled her soil—
She who for labour builds a throne apace
Saw not her people toil;
Down the low valleys, up the stormy steeps,
Careless they roamed at will: the land was free
From desert stark to where the mangrove sleeps
Upon the sea.

There dropped no anchor at her river bars
Beneath the quiet stars;
No wandering sail her silent waters swept;
By waste and scrub, o’er plain and rocky scars
No alien footstep crept;
In feathery billows of her grassy seas
Some lonely mountain stretched its capes of blue;
Only the heavens above her and the breeze
Her secrets knew.

Where the wild grass grew rank on slopes forlorn
Rise fields of yellow corn,
And purple lucerne-bloom makes sweet the air;
The sullen mountain, lost in mists of morn,
Its golden heart lays bare.
Spoils of her pastures crowd full many a mart;
Her glittering treasure calls to many a land;
She has no secrets for the daring heart
And strong brown hand.

The smoke and thunder of her cities rise
To the same careless skies;
Her arteries thread the same wide sunlit leas,
Her fleets stretch forth their wings of enterprise
O’er the same summer seas.
She to the Nations cries: “No Past, no Fame,
No Memories quicken round my flag unfurled;
The mightier, therefore, shall I carve my name
Upon the World.”

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Oglethorpe

An Ode to be read on the laying of the foundation
stone of the new Oglethorpe University,
January, 1915, at Atlanta,
Georgia
I
AS when with oldtime passion for this Land
Here once she stood, and in her pride, sent forth
Workmen on every hand,
Sowing the seed of knowledge South and North,
More gracious now than ever, let her rise,
The splendor of a new dawn in her eyes;
Grave, youngest sister of that company,
That smiling wear
Laurel and pine
And wild magnolias in their flowing hair;
The sisters Academe,
With thoughts divine,
Standing with eyes a-dream,
Gazing beyond the world, into the sea,
Where lie the Islands of Infinity.
II
Now in these stormy days of stress and strain,
When Gospel seems in vain,
And Christianity a dream we've lost,
That once we made our boast;
Now when all life is brought
Face to grim face with naught,
And a condition speaking, trumpet-lipped,
Of works material, leaving Beauty out
Of God's economy; while, horror-dipped,
Lies our buried faith, full near to perish,
'Mid the high things we cherish,
In these tempestuous days when, to and fro
The serpent, Evil, goes and strews his way
With dragon's teeth that play
Their part as once they did in Jason's day;
And War, with menace loud,
And footsteps, metal-slow,
And eyes a crimson hot,
Is seen, against the Heaven a burning blot
Of blood and tears and woe:
Now when no mortal living seems to know
Whither to turn for hope, we turn to thee,
And such as thou art, asking 'What's to be?'
And that thou point the path
Above Earth's hate and wrath,
And Madness, stalking with his torch aglow
Amid the ruins of the Nations slow
Crumbling to ashes with Old Empire there
In Europe's tiger lair.
III
A temple may'st thou be,
A temple by the everlasting sea,
For the high goddess, Ideality,
Set like a star,
Above the peaks of dark reality:
Shining afar
Above the deeds of War,
Within the shrine of Love, whose face men mar
With Militarism,
That is the prism
Through which they gaze with eyes obscured of Greed,
At the white light of God's Eternity,
The comfort of the world, the soul's great need,
That beacons Earth indeed,
Breaking its light intense
With turmoil and suspense
And failing human Sense.
IV
From thee a higher Creed
Shall be evolved.
The broken lights resolved
Into one light again, of glorious light,
Between us and the Everlasting, that is God.—
The all-confusing fragments, that are night,
Lift up thy rod
Of knowledge and from Truth's eyeballs strip
The darkness, and in armor of the Right,
Bear high the standard of imperishable light!
Cry out, 'Awake! — I slept awhile! — Awake!
Again I take
My burden up of Truth for Jesus' sake,
And stand for what he stood for, Peace and Thought,
And all that's Beauty-wrought
Through doubt and dread and ache,
By which the world to good at last is brought!'
V
No more with silence burdened, when the Land
Was stricken by the hand
Of war, she rises, and assumes her stand
For the Enduring; setting firm her feet
On what is blind and brute:
Still holding fast
With honor to the past,
Speaking a trumpet word,
Which shall be heard
As an authority, no longer mute.
VI
Again, yea, she shall stand
For what Truth means to Man
For science and for Art and all that can
Make life superior to the things that weight
The soul down, things of hate
Instead of love, for which the world was planned;
May she demand
Faith and inspire it; Song to lead her way
Above the crags of Wrong
Into the broader day;
And may she stand
For poets still; poets that now the Land
Needs as it never needed; such an one
As he, large Nature's Son
Lanier, who with firm hand
Held up her magic wand
Directing deep in music such as none
Has ever heard
Such music as a bird
Gives of its soul, when dying,
And unconscious if it's heard.
VII
So let her rise, mother of greatness still,
Above all temporal ill;
Invested with all old nobility,
Teaching the South decision, self control
And strength of mind and soul;
Achieving ends that shall embrace the whole
Through deeds of heart and mind;
And thereby bind
Its effort to an end
And reach its goal.
VIII
So shall she win
A wrestler with sin,
Supremely to a place above the years,
And help men rise
To what is wise
And true beyond their mortal finite scan —
The purblind gaze of man;
Aiding with introspective eyes
His soul to see a higher plan
Of life beyond this life; above the gyves
Of circumstance that bind him in his place
Of doubt and keep away his face
From what alone survives;
And what assures
Immortal life to that within, that gives
Of its own self,
And through its giving, lives,
And evermore endures.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

An Elegy

High on his Patmos of the Southern Seas
Our northern dreamer sleeps,
Strange stars above him, and above his grave
Strange leaves and wings their tropic splendours wave,
While, far beneath, mile after shimmering mile,
The great Pacific, with its faery deeps,
Smiles all day long its silken secret smile.

Son of a race nomadic, finding still
Its home in regions furthest from its home,
Ranging untired the borders of the world,
And resting but to roam;
Loved of his land, and making all his boast
The birthright of the blood from which he came,
Heir to those lights that guard the Scottish coast,
And caring only for a filial fame;
Proud, if a poet, he was Scotsman most,
And bore a Scottish name.

Death, that long sought our poet, finds at last,
Death, that pursued him over land and sea:
Not his the flight of fear, the heart aghast
With stony dread of immortality,
He fled 'not cowardly';
Fled, as some captain, in whose shaping hand
Lie the momentous fortunes of his land,
Sheds not vainglorious blood upon the field,
Death! why at last he finds his treasure isle,
And he the pirate of its hidden hoard;
Life! 'twas the ship he sailed to seek it in,
And Death is but the pilot come aboard,
Methinks I see him smile a boy's glad smile
On maddened winds and waters, reefs unknown,
As thunders in the sail the dread typhoon,
And in the surf the shuddering timbers groan;
Horror ahead, and Death beside the wheel:
Then--spreading stillness of the broad lagoon,
And lap of waters round the resting keel.

Strange Isle of Voices! must we ask in vain,
In vain beseech and win no answering word,
Save mocking echoes of our lonely pain
From lonely hill and bird?
Island beneath whose unrelenting coast,
As though it never in the sun had been,
The whole world's treasure lieth sunk and lost,
Unsunned, unseen.
For, either sunk beyond the diver's skill,
There, fathoms deep, our gold is all arust,
Or in that island it is hoarded still.
Yea, some have said, within thy dreadful wall
There is a folk that know not death at all,
The loved we lost, the lost we love, are there.
Will no kind voice make answer to our cry,
Give to our aching hearts some little trust,
Show how 'tis good to live, but best to die?
Some voice that knows
Whither the dead man goes:
We hear his music from the other side,
Maybe a little tapping on the door,
A something called, a something sighed--
No more.
O for some voice to valiantly declare
The best news true!
Then, Happy Island of the Happy Dead,
How gladly would we spread
Impatient sail for you!

O vanished loveliness of flowers and faces,
Treasure of hair, and great immortal eyes,
Are there for these no safe and secret places?
And is it true that beauty never dies?
Soldiers and saints, haughty and lovely names,
Women who set the whole wide world in flames,
Poets who sang their passion to the skies,
And lovers wild and wise:
Fought they and prayed for some poor flitting gleam,
Was all they loved and worshipped but a dream?
Is Love a lie and fame indeed a breath,
And is there no sure thing in life--but death?
Or may it be, within that guarded shore,
He meets Her now whom I shall meet no more
Till kind Death fold me 'neath his shadowy wing:
She whom within my heart I softly tell
That he is dead whom once we loved so well,
He, the immortal master whom I sing.

Immortal! yea, dare we the word again,
If aught remaineth of our mortal day,
That which is written--shall it not remain?
That which is sung, is it not built for aye?
Faces must fade, for all their golden looks,
Unless some poet them eternalise,
Make live those golden looks in golden books;
Death, soon or late, will quench the brightest eyes--
'Tis only what is written never dies.
Yea, memories that guard like sacred gold
Some sainted face, they also must grow old,
Pass and forget, and think--or darest thou not!--
On all the beauty that is quite forgot.

Strange craft of words, strange magic of the pen,
Whereby the dead still talk with living men;
Whereby a sentence, in its trivial scope,
May centre all we love and all we hope;
And in a couplet, like a rosebud furled,
Lie all the wistful wonder of the world.

Old are the stars, and yet they still endure,
Old are the flowers, yet never fail the spring:
Why is the song that is so old so new,
Known and yet strange each sweet small shape and hue?
How may a poet thus for ever sing,
Thus build his climbing music sweet and sure,
As builds in stars and flowers the Eternal mind?
Ah, Poet, that is yours to seek and find!
Yea, yours that magisterial skill whereby
God put all Heaven in a woman's eye,
Nature's own mighty and mysterious art
That knows to pack the whole within the part:
The shell that hums the music of the sea,
The little word big with Eternity,
The cosmic rhythm in microcosmic things--
One song the lark and one the planet sings,
One kind heart beating warm in bird and tree--
To hear it beat, who knew so well as he?

Virgil of prose! far distant is the day
When at the mention of your heartfelt name
Shall shake the head, and men, oblivious, say:
'We know him not, this master, nor his fame.'
Not for so swift forgetfulness you wrought,
Day upon day, with rapt fastidious pen,
Turning, like precious stones, with anxious thought,
This word and that again and yet again,
Seeking to match its meaning with the world;
Nor to the morning stars gave ears attent,
That you, indeed, might ever dare to be
With other praise than immortality
Unworthily content.

Not while a boy still whistles on the earth,
Not while a single human heart beats true,
Not while Love lasts, and Honour, and the Brave,
Has earth a grave,
O well-beloved, for you!

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Memorials Of A Tour In Scotland, 1803

Now we are tired of boisterous joy,
Have romped enough, my little Boy!
Jane hangs her head upon my breast,
And you shall bring your stool and rest;
This corner is your own.

There! take your seat, and let me see
That you can listen quietly:
And, as I promised, I will tell
That strange adventure which befell
A poor blind Highland Boy.

A 'Highland' Boy!-why call him so?
Because, my Darlings, ye must know
That, under hills which rise like towers,
Far higher hills than these of ours!
He from his birth had lived.

He ne'er had seen one earthly sight
The sun, the day; the stars, the night;
Or tree, or butterfly, or flower,
Or fish in stream, or bird in bower,
Or woman, man, or child.

And yet he neither drooped nor pined,
Nor had a melancholy mind;
For God took pity on the Boy,
And was his friend; and gave him joy
Of which we nothing know.

His Mother, too, no doubt, above
Her other children him did love:
For, was she here, or was she there,
She thought of him with constant care,
And more than mother's love.

And proud she was of heart, when, clad
In crimson stockings, tartan plaid,
And bonnet with a feather gay,
To Kirk he on the Sabbath day
Went hand in hand with her.

A dog too, had he; not for need,
But one to play with and to feed;
Which would have led him, if bereft
Of company or friends, and left
Without a better guide.

And then the bagpipes he could blow-
And thus from house to house would go;
And all were pleased to hear and see,
For none made sweeter melody
Than did the poor blind Boy.

Yet he had many a restless dream;
Both when he heard the eagles scream,
And when he heard the torrents roar,
And heard the water beat the shore
Near which their cottage stood.

Beside a lake their cottage stood,
Not small like ours, a peaceful flood;
But one of mighty size, and strange;
That, rough or smooth, is full of change,
And stirring in its bed.

For to this lake, by night and day,
The great Sea-water finds its way
Through long, long windings of the hills
And drinks up all the pretty rills
And rivers large and strong:

Then hurries back the road it came-
Returns, on errand still the same;
This did it when the earth was new;
And this for evermore will do
As long as earth shall last.

And, with the coming of the tide,
Come boats and ships that safely ride
Between the woods and lofty rocks;
And to the shepherds with their flocks
Bring tales of distant lands.

And of those tales, whate'er they were,
The blind Boy always had his share;
Whether of mighty towns, or vales
With warmer suns and softer gales,
Or wonders of the Deep.

Yet more it pleased him, more it stirred,
When from the water-side he heard
The shouting, and the jolly cheers;
The bustle of the mariners
In stillness or in storm.

But what do his desires avail?
For He must never handle sail;
Nor mount the mast, nor row, nor float
Ill sailor's ship, or fisher's boat,
Upon the rocking waves.

His Mother often thought, and said,
What sin would be upon her head
If she should suffer this: 'My Son,
Whate'er you do, leave this undone;
The danger is so great.'

Thus lived he by Loch Leven's side
Still sounding with the sounding tide,
And heard the billows leap and dance,
Without a shadow of mischance,
Till he was ten years old.

When one day (and now mark me well,
Ye soon shall know how this befell)
He in a vessel of his own,
On the swift flood is hurrying down,
Down to the mighty Sea.

In such a vessel never more
May human creature leave the shore!
If this or that way he should stir,
Woe to the poor blind Mariner!
For death will be his doom.

But say what bears him?-Ye have seen
The Indian's bow, his arrows keen,
Rare beasts, and birds with plumage bright;
Gifts which, for wonder or delight,
Are brought in ships from far.

Such gifts had those seafaring men
Spread round that haven in the glen;
Each hut, perchance, might have its own;
And to the Boy they all were known-
He knew and prized them all.

The rarest was a Turtle-shell
Which he, poor Child, had studied well;
A shell of ample size, and light
As the pearly car of Amphitrite,
That sportive dolphins drew.

And, as a Coracle that braves
On Vaga's breast the fretful waves,
This shell upon the deep would swim,
And gaily lift its fearless brim
Above the tossing surge.

And this the little blind Boy knew:
And he a story strange yet true
Had heard, how in a shell like this
An English Boy, O thought of bliss!
Had stoutly launched from shore;

Launched from the margin of a bay
Among the Indian isles, where lay
His father's ship, and had sailed far-
To join that gallant ship of war,
In his delightful shell.

Our Highland Boy oft visited
The house that held this prize; and, led
By choice or chance, did thither come
One day when no one was at home,
And found the door unbarred.

While there he sate, alone and blind,
That story flashed upon his mind;-
A bold thought roused him, and he took
The shell from out its secret nook,
And bore it on his head.

He launched his vessel,-and in pride
Of spirit, from Loch Leven's side,
Stepped into it-his thoughts all free
As the light breezes that with glee
Sang through the adventurer's hair.

A while he stood upon his feet;
He felt the motion-took his seat;
Still better pleased as more and more
The tide retreated from the shore,
And sucked, and sucked him in.

And there he is in face of Heaven.
How rapidly the Child is driven!
The fourth part of a mile, I ween,
He thus had gone, ere he was seen
By any human eye.

But when he was first seen, oh me
What shrieking and what misery!
For many saw; among the rest
His Mother, she who loved him best,
She saw her poor blind Boy.

But for the child, the sightless Boy,
It is the triumph of his joy!
The bravest traveller in balloon,
Mounting as if to reach the moon,
Was never half so blessed.

And let him, let him go his way,
Alone, and innocent, and gay!
For, if good Angels love to wait
On the forlorn unfortunate,
This Child will take no harm.

But now the passionate lament,
Which from the crowd on shore was sent,
The cries which broke from old and young
In Gaelic, or the English tongue,
Are stifled-all is still.

And quickly with a silent crew
A boat is ready to pursue;
And from the shore their course they take,
And swiftly down the running lake
They follow the blind Boy.

But soon they move with softer pace;
So have ye seen the fowler chase
On Grasmere's clear unruffled breast
A youngling of the wild-duck's nest
With deftly-lifted oar;

Or as the wily sailors crept
To seize (while on the Deep it slept)
The hapless creature which did dwell
Erewhile within the dancing shell,
They steal upon their prey.

With sound the least that can be made,
They follow, more and more afraid,
More cautious as they draw more near;
But in his darkness he can hear,
And guesses their intent.

'Lei-gha-Lei-gha'-he then cried out,
'Lei-gha-Lei-gha'-with eager shout;
Thus did he cry, and thus did pray,
And what he meant was, 'Keep away,
And leave me to myself!'

Alas! and when he felt their hands--
You've often heard of magic wands,
That with a motion overthrow
A palace of the proudest show,
Or melt it into air:

So all his dreams-that inward light
With which his soul had shone so bright-
All vanished;-'twas a heartfelt cross
To him, a heavy, bitter loss,
As he had ever known.

But hark! a gratulating voice,
With which the very hills rejoice:
'Tis from the crowd, who tremblingly
Have watched the event, and now can see
That he is safe at last.

And then, when he was brought to land,
Full sure they were a happy band,
Which, gathering round, did on the banks
Of that great Water give God thanks,
And welcomed the poor Child.

And in the general joy of heart
The blind Boy's little dog took part;
He leapt about, and oft did kiss
His master's hands in sign of bliss,
With sound like lamentation.

But most of all, his Mother dear,
She who had fainted with her fear,
Rejoiced when waking she espies
The Child; when she can trust her eyes,
And touches the blind Boy.

She led him home, and wept amain,
When he was in the house again:
Tears flowed in torrents from her eyes;
She kissed him-how could she chastise?
She was too happy far.

Thus, after he had fondly braved
The perilous Deep, the Boy was saved;
And, though his fancies had been wild,
Yet he was pleased and reconciled
To live in peace on shore.

And in the lonely Highland dell
Still do they keep the Turtle-shell
And long the story will repeat
Of the blind Boy's adventurous feat,
And how he was preserved.

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The Lady Of Provence

'Courage was cast about her like a dress
Of solemn comeliness,
A gathered mind and an untroubled face
Did give her dangers grace.' ~ Donne.


The war-note of the Saracen
Was on the winds of France;
It had stilled the harp of the Troubadour,
And the clash of the tourney's lance.

The sounds of the sea, and the sounds of the night,
And the hollow echoes of charge and flight,
Were around Clotilde, as she knelt to pray
In a chapel where the mighty lay,
On the old Provencal shore;
Many a Chatillon beneath,
Unstirred by the ringing trumpet's breath,
His shroud of armour wore.
And the glimpses of moonlight that went and came
Through the clouds, like bursts of a dying flame,
Gave quivering life to the slumber pale
Of stern forms crouched in their marble mail,
At rest on the tombs of the knightly race,
The silent throngs of that burial-place.

They were imaged there with helm and spear,
As leaders in many a bold career -
And haughty their stillness looked and high,
Like a sleep whose dreams were of victory.
But meekly the voice of the lady rose
Through the trophies of their proud repose;
Meekly, yet fervantly, calling down aid,
Under their banners of battle she prayed;
With her pale fair brow, and her eyes of love,
Upraised to the Virgin's portrayed above,
And her hair flung back, till it swept the grave
Of a Chatillon with its gleamy wave.
And her fragile frame, at every blast,
That full of the savage war-horn passed,
Trembling, as trembles a bird's quick heart,
When it vainly strives from its cage to part -
So knelt she in her woe;
A weeper alone with the tearless dead -
Oh! they reck not of tears o'er their quiet shed,
Or the dust that stirred below!

Hark! a swift step! she hath caught its tone,
Through the dash of the sea, through the wild wind's moan
Is her lord returned with his conquering bands?
No! a breathless vassal before her stands!
- 'Hast thou been on the field? - Art thou come from the host?'
- 'from the slaughter, lady! - All, all is lost!
Our banners are taken, our knights laid low,
Our spearmen chased by the Paynim foe;
And thy lord,' his voice took a sadder sound-
'Thy lord - he is not on the bloody ground!
There are those who tell that the leader's plume
Was seen on the flight through the gathering gloom.'
- A change o'er her mien and her spirit passed;
She ruled the heart which had beat so fast,
She dashed the tears from her kindling eye,
With a glance, as of sudden royalty:
The proud blood sprang in a fiery flow,
Quick o'er bosom, and cheek, and brow,
And her young voice rose till the peasant shook
At the thrilling tone and the falcon-look:
- 'dost thou stand by the tombs of the glorious dead,
And fear not to say that their son hath fled?
Away! he is lying by lance and shield, -
Point me the path to his battle-field!'

The shadows of the forest
Are about the lady now;
She is hurrying through the midnight on,
Beneath the dark pine-bough.

There's a murmur of omens in every leaf,
There's a wail in the stream like the dirge of a chief;
The branches that rock to the tempest strife
Are groaning like things of troubled life;
The wind from the battle seems rushing by
With a funeral-march through the gloomy sky
The pathway is rugged, and wild, and long,
But her fame in the daring of love is strong,
And her soul as on swelling seas upborne,
And girded all fearful things to scorn.

And fearful things were around her spread,
When she reached the field of the warrior dead.
There lay the noble, the valiant, low -
Ay! but
one
word speaks of deeper woe;
There lay the
loved
- on each fallen head
Mothers' vain blessings and tears had shed;
Sisters were watching in many a home
For the fettered footstep, no more to come;
Names in the prayer of that night were spoken,
Whose claim unto kindred prayer was broken;
And the fire was heaped, and the bright wine poured
For those, now needing nor hearth nor board;
Only a requiem, a shroud, a knell,
And oh! ye beloved of women, farewell!

Silently, with lips compressed,
Pale hands clasped above her breast,
Stately brow of anguish high,
Deathlike cheek, but dauntless eye;
Silently, o'er that red plain,
Moved the lady 'midst the slain.

Sometimes it seemed as a charging cry,
Or the ringing tramp of a steed, came nigh;
Sometimes a blast of the Paynim horn,
Sudden and shrill from the mountain's borne;
And her maidens trembled; - but on
her
ear
No meaning fell with those sounds of fear;
They had less of mastery to shake her now,
Than the quivering, erewhile, of an aspen-bough.
She searched into many an unclosed eye,
That looked, without soul, to the starry sky;
She bowed down o'er many a shattered breast,
She lifted up helmet and cloven crest -
Not there, not there he lay!
'Lead where the most hath been dared and done,
Where the heart of the battle hath bled, - lead on!'
And the vassal took the way.

He turned to a dark and lonely tree
That waved o'er a fountain red;
Oh! swiftest
there
had the currents free
From noble veins been shed.

Thickest there the spear-heads gleamed,
And the scattered plumage streamed,
And the broken shields were tossed,
And the shivered lances crossed,
And the mail-clad sleepers round
Made the harvest of that ground.

He was there! the leader amidst his band
Where the faithful had made their last vain stand;
He was there! but affection's glance alone
The darkly-changed in that hour had known;
With the falchion yet in his cold hand grasped,
And a banner of France to his bosom clasped,
And the form that of conflict bore fearful trace,
And the face - oh! speak not of that dead face!
As it lay to answer love's look no more,
Yet never so proudly loved before!

She quelled in her soul the deep floods of woe,
The time was not yet for their waves to flow:
She felt the full presence, the might of death,
Yet there came no sob with her struggling breath,
And a proud smile shone o'er her pale despair,
As she turned to his follower - 'Your lord is there!
Look on him! know him by scarf and crest! -
Bear him away with his sires to rest!'

Another day, another night,
And the sailor on the deep
Hears the low chant of a funeral rite
From the lordly chapel sweep.

It comes with a broken and muffled tone,
As if that rite were in terror done:
Yet the song 'midst the seas hath a thrilling power,
And he knows 'tis a chieftain's burial hour.

Hurriedly, in fear and woe,
Through the aisle the mourners go;
With a hushed and stealthy tread,
Bearing on the noble dead;
Sheathed in armour of the field -
Only his wan face revealed,
Whence the still and solemn gleam
Doth a strange sad contrast seem
To the anxious eyes of that pale band,
With torches wavering in every hand,
For they dread each moment the shout of war,
And the burst of the Moslem scimitar.

There is no plumed head o'er the bier to bend,
No brother of battle, no princely friend:
No sound comes back like the sounds of yore,
Unto sweeping swords from the marble floor;
By the red fountain the valiant lie,
The flower of Provencal chivalry;
But
one
free step, and one lofty heart,
Bear through that scene to the last their part.

She hath led the death-train of the brave
To the verge of his own ancestral grave;
She hath held o'er her spirit long rigid sway,
But the struggling passion must now have way;
In the cheek, half seen through her mourning veil,
By turns does the swift blood flush and fail;
The pride on the lip is lingering still,
But it shakes as a flame to the blast might thrill;
Anguish and triumph are met at strife,
Rending the cords of her frail young life;
And she sinks at last on her warrior's bier,
Lifting her voice, as if death might hear.
'I have won thy fame from the breath of wrong,
My soul hath risen for thy glory strong!
Now call me hence, by thy side to be,
The world thou leavest has no place for me.
The light goes with thee, the joy, the worth-
Faithful and tender! Oh! call me forth!
Give me my home on thy noble heart, -
Well have we loved, let us both depart!' -
And pale on the breast of the dead she lay,
The living cheek to the cheek of clay;
The
living
cheek! - Oh! it was not vain,
That strife of the spirit to rend its chain;
She is there at rest in her place of pride,
In death how queen-like - a glorious bride!

Joy for the freed one! - she might not stay
When the crown had fallen from her life away;
She might not linger - a weary thing,
A dove with no home for its broken wing,
Thrown on the harshness of alien skies,
That know not its own land's melodies,
From the long heart-withering early gone;
She hath lived - she hath loved - her task is done!

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William and Helen

I.
From heavy dreams fair Helen rose,
And eyed the dawning red:
'Alas, my love, thou tarriest long!
O art thou false or dead?'-

II.
With gallant Fred'rick's princely power
He sought the bold Crusade;
But not a word from Judah's wars
Told Helen how he sped.

III.
With Paynim and with Saracen
At length a truce was made,
And every knight return'd to dry
The tears his love had shed.

IV.
Our gallant host was homeward bound
With many a song of joy;
Green waved the laurel in each plume,
The badge of victory.

V.
And old and young, and sire and son,
To meet them crowd the way,
With shouts, and mirth, and melody,
The debt of love to pay.

VI.
Full many a maid her true-love met,
And sobb'd in his embrace,
And flutt'ring joy in tears and smiles
Array'd full many a face.

VII.
Nor joy nor smile for Helen sad
She sought the host in vain;
For none could tell her William's fate,
In faithless, or if slain.

VIII.
The martial band is past and gone;
She rends her raven hair,
And in distraction's bitter mood
She weeps with wild despair.

IX.
'O rise, my child,' her mother said,
'Nor sorrow thus in vain;
A perjured lover's fleeting heart
No tears recall again.'-

X.
'O mother, what is gone, is gone,
What's lost for ever lorn:
Death, death alone can comfort me;
O had I ne'er been born!

XI.
'O break, my heart, - O break at once!
Drink my life-blood, Despair!
No joy remains on earth for me,
For me in Heaven no share.'-

XII.
'O enter not in judgement, Lord!'
The pious mother prays;
'Impute not guilt to thy frail child!
She knows not what she says.

XIII.
'O say thy pater noster, child,
O turn to God and grace!
His will, that turn'd thy bliss to bale,
Can change thy bale to bliss.'-

XIV.
'O mother, mother, what is bliss?
O mother, what is bale?
My William's love was heaven on earth,
Without it earth is hell.

XV.
'Why should I pray to ruthless Heaven,
Since my loved William's slain?
I only pray'd for William's sake,
And all my prayers were vain.'-

XVI.
'O take the sacrament, my child,
And check these tears that flow;
By resignation's humble prayer,
O hallow'd be thy woe!'-

XVII.
'No sacrament can quench this fire,
Or slake this scorching pain;
No sacrament can bid the dead
Arise and live again.

XVIII.
'O break, my heart, - O break at once!
Be thou my God, Despair!
Heaven's heaviest blow has fallen on me,
And vain each fruitless prayer.'-

XIX.
'O enter not in judgement, Lord,
With thy frail child of clay!
She knows not what her tongue has spoke;
Impute it not, I pray!

XX.
'Forbear, my child, this desperate woe,
And turn to God and grace;
Well can devotion's heavenly glow
Convert thy bale to bliss.'-

XXI.
'O mother, mother, what is bliss?
O mother, what is bale?
Without my William what were heaven,
Or with him what were hell?'-

XXII.
Wild she arraigns the eternal doom,
Upbraids each sacred power,
Till, spent, she sought her silent room,
All in the lonely tower.

XXIII.
She beat her breast, she wrung her hands,
Till sun and day were o'er,
And through the glimmering lattice shone
The twinkling of the star.

XXIV.
Then, crash! the heavy drawbridge fell
That o'er the moat was hung;
And, clatter! clatter! on its boards
The hoof of courser rung.

XXV.
The clank of echoing steel was heard
As off the rider bounded;
And slowly on the winding stair
A heavy footstep sounded.

XXVI.
And hark! and hark! a knock - Tap! tap!
A rustling stifled noise;-
Door-latch and tinkling staples ring;-
At length a whispering voice.

XXVII.
'Awake, awake, arise, my love!
How, Helen, dost thou fare?
Wak'st thou, or sleep'st? laugh'st thou or weep'st?
Hast thought on me, my fair?'-

XXVIII.
'My love! my love! - so late by night!-
I waked, I wept for thee:
Much have I borne since dawn of morn;
Where, William, couldst thou be?'-

XXIX.
'We saddle late - from Hungary
I rode since darkness fell;
And to its bourne we both return
Before the matin-bell.'-

XXX.
'O rest this night within my arms,
And warm thee in their fold!
Chill howls through hawthorn bush the wind:-
My love is deadly cold.'-

XXXI.
'Let the wind howl through hawthorn bush!
This night we must away;
The steed is wight, the spur is bright;
I cannot stay till day.

XXXII.
'Busk, busk, and boune! Thou mount'st behind
Upon my black barb steed:
O'er stock and stile, a hundred miles,
We haste to bridal bed.'-

XXXIII.
'To-night - to-night a hundred miles!-
O dearest William, stay!
The bell strikes twelve - dark, dismal hour!
O wait, my love, till day!'-

XXXIV.
'Look here, look here - the moon shines clear-
Full fast I ween we ride;
Mount and away! for ere the day
We reach our bridal bed.

XXXV.
'The black barb snorts, the bridle rings;
Haste, busk, and boune, and seat thee!
The feast is made, the chamber spread,
The bridal guests await thee.'-

XXXVI.
Strong love prevail'd: She busks, she bounes,
She mounts barb behind,
And round her darling William's waist
Her lily arms she twined.

XXXVII.
And, hurry! hurry! off they rode,
As fast as fast might be;
Spurn'd from the courser's thundering heels
The flashing pebbles flee.

XXXVIII.
And on the right, and on the left,
Ere they could snatch a view,
Fast, fast each mountain, mead, and plain,
And cot, and castle, flew.

XXXIX.
'Sit fast - dost fear? - The moon shines clear -
Fleet goes my barb - keep hold!
Fear'st thou?' - 'O no!' she faintly said;
'But why so stern and cold?

XL.
'What yonder rings? what yonder sings?
Why shrieks the owlet grey?'-
''Tis death-bells' clang, 'tis funeral song,
The body to the clay.

XLI.
'With song and clang, at morrow's dawn,
Ye may inter the dead:
To-night I ride with my young bride,
To deck our bridal bed.

XLII.
'Come with thy choir, thou coffin'd guest,
To swell our nuptial song!
Come, priest, to bless our marriage feast!
Come all, come all along!'-

XLIII.
Ceased clang and song; down sunk the bier;
The shrouded corpse arose:
And, hurry! hurry! all the train
The thundering steed pursues.

XLIV.
And, forward! forward! on they go;
High snorts the straining steed;
Thick pants the rider's labouring breath,
As headlong on they speed.

XLV.
'O William, why this savage haste?
And where thy bridal bed?'-
''Tis distant far, low, damp, and chill,
And narrow, trustless maid.'-

XLVI.
'No room for me?' - 'Enough for both;-
Speed, speed, my barb, thy course!'
O'er thundering bridge, through boiling surge
He drove the furious horse.

XLVII.
Tramp! tramp! along the land they rode,
Splash! splash! along the sea;
The scourge is wight, the spur is bright,
The flashing pebbles flee.

XLVIII.
Fled past on right and left how fast
Each forest, grove, and bower!
On right and left fled past how fast
Each city, town, and tower!

XLIX.
'Dost fear? dost fear? The moon shines clear,
Dost fear to ride with me?-
Hurrah! hurrah! the dead can ride!'-
'O William, let them be!-

L.
'See there, see there! What yonder swings
And creaks 'mid whistling rain?'-
'Gibbet and steel, th' accursed wheel;
A murderer in his chain.-

LI.
'Hollo! thou felon, follow here:
To bridal bed we ride;
And thou shalt prance a fetter dance
Before me and my bride.'-

LII.
And, hurry! hurry! clash, clash, clash!
The wasted form descends;
And fleet as wind through hazel bush
The wild career attends.

LIII.
Tramp! tramp! along the land they rode,
Splash! splash! along the sea;
The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
The flashing pebbles flee.

LIV.
How fled what moonshine faintly show'd!
How fled what darkness hid!
How fled the earth beneath their feet,
The heaven above their head!

LV.
'Dost fear? dost fear? The moon shines clear,
And well the dead can ride;
Does faithful Helen fear for them?'-
'O leave in peace the dead!'-

LVI.
'Barb! Barb! methinks I hear the cock;
The sand will soon be run:
Barb! Barb! I smell the morning air;
The race is wellnigh done.'

LVII.
Tramp! tramp! along the land they rode;
Splash! splash! along the sea;
The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
The flashing pebbles flee.

LVIII.
'Hurrah! hurrah! well ride the dead;
The bride, the bridge is come;
And soon we reach the bridal bed,
For, Helen, here's my home.'-

LIX.
Reluctant on its rusty hinge
Revolved an iron door,
And by the pale moon's setting beam
Were seen a church and tower.

LX.
With many a shriek and cry whiz round
The birds of midnight, scared;
And rustling like autumnal leaves
Unhallow'd ghosts were heard.

LXI.
O'er many a tomb and tombstones pale
He spurr'd the fiery horse,
Till sudden at an open grave
He check'd the wondrous course.

LXII.
The falling gauntlet quits the rein,
Down drops the casque of steel,
The cuirass leaves his shrinking side,
The spur his gory heel.

LXIII.
The eyes desert the naked skull,
The mould'ring flesh the bone,
Till Helen's lily arms entwine
A ghastly skeleton.

LXIV.
The furious barb snorts fire and foam,
And, with a fearful bound,
Dissolves at once in empty air,
And leaves her on the ground.

LXV.
Half seen by fits, by fits half heard,
Pale spectres flit along,
Wheel round the maid in dismal dance,
And howl the funeral song;

LXVI.
'E'en when the heart's with anguish cleft,
Revere the doom of Heaven,
Her soul is from her body reft;
Her spirit be forgiven!'

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Theologian's Tale; Torquemada

In the heroic days when Ferdinand
And Isabella ruled the Spanish land,
And Torquemada, with his subtle brain,
Ruled them, as Grand Inquisitor of Spain,
In a great castle near Valladolid,
Moated and high and by fair woodlands hid,
There dwelt, as from the chronicles we learn,
An old Hidalgo proud and taciturn,
Whose name has perished, with his towers of stone,
And all his actions save this one alone;
This one, so terrible, perhaps 't were best
If it, too, were forgotten with the rest;
Unless, perchance, our eyes can see therein
The martyrdom triumphant o'er the sin;
A double picture, with its gloom and glow,
The splendor overhead, the death below.

This sombre man counted each day as lost
On which his feet no sacred threshold crossed;
And when he chanced the passing Host to meet,
He knelt and prayed devoutly in the street;
Oft he confessed; and with each mutinous thought,
As with wild beasts at Ephesus, he fought.
In deep contrition scourged himself in Lent,
Walked in processions, with his head down bent,
At plays of Corpus Christi oft was seen,
And on Palm Sunday bore his bough of green.
His sole diversion was to hunt the boar
Through tangled thickets of the forest hoar,
Or with his jingling mules to hurry down
To some grand bull-fight in the neighboring town,
Or in the crowd with lighted taper stand,
When Jews were burned, or banished from the land.
Then stirred within him a tumultuous joy;
The demon whose delight is to destroy
Shook him, and shouted with a trumpet tone,
Kill! kill! and let the Lord find out his own!'

And now, in that old castle in the wood,
His daughters, in the dawn of womanhood,
Returning from their convent school, had made
Resplendent with their bloom the forest shade,
Reminding him of their dead mother's face,
When first she came into that gloomy place,--
A memory in his heart as dim and sweet
As moonlight in a solitary street,
Where the same rays, that lift the sea, are thrown
Lovely but powerless upon walls of stone.
These two fair daughters of a mother dead
Were all the dream had left him as it fled.
A joy at first, and then a growing care,
As if a voice within him cried, 'Beware!?
A vague presentiment of impending doom,
Like ghostly footsteps in a vacant room,
Haunted him day and night; a formless fear
That death to some one of his house was near,
With dark surmises of a hidden crime,
Made life itself a death before its time.
Jealous, suspicious, with no sense of shame,
A spy upon his daughters he became;
With velvet slippers, noiseless on the floors,
He glided softly through half-open doors;
Now in the room, and now upon the stair,
He stood beside them ere they were aware;
He listened in the passage when they talked,
He watched them from the casement when they walked,
He saw the gypsy haunt the river's side,
He saw the monk among the cork-trees glide;
And, tortured by the mystery and the doubt
Of some dark secret, past his finding out,
Baffled he paused; then reassured again
Pursued the flying phantom of his brain.
He watched them even when they knelt in church;
And then, descending lower in his search,
Questioned the servants, and with eager eyes
Listened incredulous to their replies;
The gypsy? none had seen her in the wood!
The monk? a mendicant in search of food!

At length the awful revelation came,
Crushing at once his pride of birth and name;
The hopes his yearning bosom forward cast,
And the ancestral glories of the past,
All fell together, crumbling in disgrace,
A turret rent from battlement to base.
His daughters talking in the dead of night
In their own chamber, and without a light,
Listening, as he was wont, he overheard,
And learned the dreadful secret, word by word;
And hurrying from his castle, with a cry
He raised his hands to the unpitying sky,
Repeating one dread word, till bush and tree
Caught it, and shuddering answered, 'Heresy!'

Wrapped in his cloak, his hat drawn o'er his face,
Now hurrying forward, now with lingering pace,
He walked all night the alleys of his park,
With one unseen companion in the dark,
The demon who within him lay in wait,
And by his presence turned his love to hate,
Forever muttering in an undertone,
'Kill! kill! and let the Lord find out his own!'

Upon the morrow, after early Mass,
While yet the dew was glistening on the grass,
And all the woods were musical with birds,
The old Hidalgo, uttering fearful words,
Walked homeward with the Priest, and in his room
Summoned his trembling daughters to their doom.
When questioned, with brief answers they replied,
Nor when accused evaded or denied;
Expostulations, passionate appeals,
All that the human heart most fears or feels,
In vain the Priest with earnest voice essayed;
In vain the father threatened, wept, and prayed;
Until at last he said, with haughty mien,
'The Holy Office, then, must intervene!'

And now the Grand Inquisitor of Spain,
With all the fifty horsemen of his train,
His awful name resounding, like the blast
Of funeral trumpets, as he onward passed,
Came to Valladolid, and there began
To harry the rich Jews with fire and ban.
To him the Hidalgo went, and at the gate
Demanded audience on affairs of state,
And in a secret chamber stood before
A venerable graybeard of fourscore,
Dressed in the hood and habit of a friar;
Out of his eyes flashed a consuming fire,
And in his hand the mystic horn he held,
Which poison and all noxious charms dispelled.
He heard in silence the Hidalgo's tale,
Then answered in a voice that made him quail:
'Son of the Church! when Abraham of old
To sacrifice his only son was told,
He did not pause to parley nor protest,
But hastened to obey the Lord's behest.
In him it was accounted righteousness;
The Holy Church expects of thee no less!'

A sacred frenzy seized the father's brain,
And Mercy from that hour implored in vain.
Ah! who will e'er believe the words I say?
His daughters he accused, and the same day
They both were cast into the dungeon's gloom,
That dismal antechamber of the tomb,
Arraigned, condemned, and sentenced to the flame,
The secret torture and the public shame.

Then to the Grand Inquisitor once more
The Hidalgo went, more eager than before,
And said: 'When Abraham offered up his son,
He clave the wood wherewith it might be done.
By his example taught, let me too bring
Wood from the forest for my offering!'
And the deep voice, without a pause, replied:
'Son of the Church! by faith now justified,
Complete thy sacrifice, even as thou wilt;
The Church absolves thy conscience from all guilt!'

Then this most wretched father went his way
Into the woods, that round his castle lay,
Where once his daughters in their childhood played
With their young mother in the sun and shade.
Now all the leaves had fallen; the branches bare
Made a perpetual moaning in the air,
And screaming from their eyries overhead
The ravens sailed athwart the sky of lead.
With his own hands he lopped the boughs and bound
Fagots, that crackled with foreboding sound,
And on his mules, caparisoned and gay
With bells and tassels, sent them on their way.

Then with his mind on one dark purpose bent,
Again to the Inquisitor he went,
And said: 'Behold, the fagots I have brought,
And now, lest my atonement be as naught,
Grant me one more request, one last desire,--
With my own hand to light the funeral fire!'
And Torquemada answered from his seat,
'Son of the Church! Thine offering is complete;
Her servants through all ages shall not cease
To magnify thy deed. Depart in peace!'

Upon the market-place, builded of stone
The scaffold rose, whereon Death claimed his own.
At the four corners, in stern attitude,
Four statues of the Hebrew Prophets stood,
Gazing with calm indifference in their eyes
Upon this place of human sacrifice,
Round which was gathering fast the eager crowd,
With clamor of voices dissonant and loud,
And every roof and window was alive
With restless gazers, swarming like a hive.

The church-bells tolled, the chant of monks drew near,
Loud trumpets stammered forth their notes of fear,
A line of torches smoked along the street,
There was a stir, a rush, a tramp of feet,
And, with its banners floating in the air,
Slowly the long procession crossed the square,
And, to the statues of the Prophets bound,
The victims stood, with fagots piled around.
Then all the air a blast of trumpets shook,
And louder sang the monks with bell and book,
And the Hidalgo, lofty, stern, and proud,
Lifted his torch, and, bursting through the crowd,
Lighted in haste the fagots, and then fled,
Lest those imploring eyes should strike him dead!

O pitiless skies! why did your clouds retain
For peasants' fields their floods of hoarded rain?
O pitiless earth! why open no abyss
To bury in its chasm a crime like this?

That night a mingled column of fire and smoke
From the dark thickets of the forest broke,
And, glaring o'er the landscape leagues away,
Made all the fields and hamlets bright as day.
Wrapped in a sheet of flame the castle blazed,
And as the villagers in terror gazed,
They saw the figure of that cruel knight
Lean from a window in the turret's height,
His ghastly face illumined with the glare,
His hands upraised above his head in prayer,
Till the floor sank beneath him, and he fell
Down the black hollow of that burning well.

Three centuries and more above his bones
Have piled the oblivious years like funeral stones;
His name has perished with him, and no trace
Remains on earth of his afflicted race;
But Torquemada's name, with clouds o'ercast,
Looms in the distant landscape of the Past,
Like a burnt tower upon a blackened heath,
Lit by the fires of burning woods beneath!

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Theologian's Tale; Torquemada

In the heroic days when Ferdinand
And Isabella ruled the Spanish land,
And Torquemada, with his subtle brain,
Ruled them, as Grand Inquisitor of Spain,
In a great castle near Valladolid,
Moated and high and by fair woodlands hid,
There dwelt, as from the chronicles we learn,
An old Hidalgo proud and taciturn,
Whose name has perished, with his towers of stone,
And all his actions save this one alone;
This one, so terrible, perhaps 't were best
If it, too, were forgotten with the rest;
Unless, perchance, our eyes can see therein
The martyrdom triumphant o'er the sin;
A double picture, with its gloom and glow,
The splendor overhead, the death below.

This sombre man counted each day as lost
On which his feet no sacred threshold crossed;
And when he chanced the passing Host to meet,
He knelt and prayed devoutly in the street;
Oft he confessed; and with each mutinous thought,
As with wild beasts at Ephesus, he fought.
In deep contrition scourged himself in Lent,
Walked in processions, with his head down bent,
At plays of Corpus Christi oft was seen,
And on Palm Sunday bore his bough of green.
His sole diversion was to hunt the boar
Through tangled thickets of the forest hoar,
Or with his jingling mules to hurry down
To some grand bull-fight in the neighboring town,
Or in the crowd with lighted taper stand,
When Jews were burned, or banished from the land.
Then stirred within him a tumultuous joy;
The demon whose delight is to destroy
Shook him, and shouted with a trumpet tone,
Kill! kill! and let the Lord find out his own!'

And now, in that old castle in the wood,
His daughters, in the dawn of womanhood,
Returning from their convent school, had made
Resplendent with their bloom the forest shade,
Reminding him of their dead mother's face,
When first she came into that gloomy place,--
A memory in his heart as dim and sweet
As moonlight in a solitary street,
Where the same rays, that lift the sea, are thrown
Lovely but powerless upon walls of stone.
These two fair daughters of a mother dead
Were all the dream had left him as it fled.
A joy at first, and then a growing care,
As if a voice within him cried, 'Beware!?
A vague presentiment of impending doom,
Like ghostly footsteps in a vacant room,
Haunted him day and night; a formless fear
That death to some one of his house was near,
With dark surmises of a hidden crime,
Made life itself a death before its time.
Jealous, suspicious, with no sense of shame,
A spy upon his daughters he became;
With velvet slippers, noiseless on the floors,
He glided softly through half-open doors;
Now in the room, and now upon the stair,
He stood beside them ere they were aware;
He listened in the passage when they talked,
He watched them from the casement when they walked,
He saw the gypsy haunt the river's side,
He saw the monk among the cork-trees glide;
And, tortured by the mystery and the doubt
Of some dark secret, past his finding out,
Baffled he paused; then reassured again
Pursued the flying phantom of his brain.
He watched them even when they knelt in church;
And then, descending lower in his search,
Questioned the servants, and with eager eyes
Listened incredulous to their replies;
The gypsy? none had seen her in the wood!
The monk? a mendicant in search of food!

At length the awful revelation came,
Crushing at once his pride of birth and name;
The hopes his yearning bosom forward cast,
And the ancestral glories of the past,
All fell together, crumbling in disgrace,
A turret rent from battlement to base.
His daughters talking in the dead of night
In their own chamber, and without a light,
Listening, as he was wont, he overheard,
And learned the dreadful secret, word by word;
And hurrying from his castle, with a cry
He raised his hands to the unpitying sky,
Repeating one dread word, till bush and tree
Caught it, and shuddering answered, 'Heresy!'

Wrapped in his cloak, his hat drawn o'er his face,
Now hurrying forward, now with lingering pace,
He walked all night the alleys of his park,
With one unseen companion in the dark,
The demon who within him lay in wait,
And by his presence turned his love to hate,
Forever muttering in an undertone,
'Kill! kill! and let the Lord find out his own!'

Upon the morrow, after early Mass,
While yet the dew was glistening on the grass,
And all the woods were musical with birds,
The old Hidalgo, uttering fearful words,
Walked homeward with the Priest, and in his room
Summoned his trembling daughters to their doom.
When questioned, with brief answers they replied,
Nor when accused evaded or denied;
Expostulations, passionate appeals,
All that the human heart most fears or feels,
In vain the Priest with earnest voice essayed;
In vain the father threatened, wept, and prayed;
Until at last he said, with haughty mien,
'The Holy Office, then, must intervene!'

And now the Grand Inquisitor of Spain,
With all the fifty horsemen of his train,
His awful name resounding, like the blast
Of funeral trumpets, as he onward passed,
Came to Valladolid, and there began
To harry the rich Jews with fire and ban.
To him the Hidalgo went, and at the gate
Demanded audience on affairs of state,
And in a secret chamber stood before
A venerable graybeard of fourscore,
Dressed in the hood and habit of a friar;
Out of his eyes flashed a consuming fire,
And in his hand the mystic horn he held,
Which poison and all noxious charms dispelled.
He heard in silence the Hidalgo's tale,
Then answered in a voice that made him quail:
'Son of the Church! when Abraham of old
To sacrifice his only son was told,
He did not pause to parley nor protest,
But hastened to obey the Lord's behest.
In him it was accounted righteousness;
The Holy Church expects of thee no less!'

A sacred frenzy seized the father's brain,
And Mercy from that hour implored in vain.
Ah! who will e'er believe the words I say?
His daughters he accused, and the same day
They both were cast into the dungeon's gloom,
That dismal antechamber of the tomb,
Arraigned, condemned, and sentenced to the flame,
The secret torture and the public shame.

Then to the Grand Inquisitor once more
The Hidalgo went, more eager than before,
And said: 'When Abraham offered up his son,
He clave the wood wherewith it might be done.
By his example taught, let me too bring
Wood from the forest for my offering!'
And the deep voice, without a pause, replied:
'Son of the Church! by faith now justified,
Complete thy sacrifice, even as thou wilt;
The Church absolves thy conscience from all guilt!'

Then this most wretched father went his way
Into the woods, that round his castle lay,
Where once his daughters in their childhood played
With their young mother in the sun and shade.
Now all the leaves had fallen; the branches bare
Made a perpetual moaning in the air,
And screaming from their eyries overhead
The ravens sailed athwart the sky of lead.
With his own hands he lopped the boughs and bound
Fagots, that crackled with foreboding sound,
And on his mules, caparisoned and gay
With bells and tassels, sent them on their way.

Then with his mind on one dark purpose bent,
Again to the Inquisitor he went,
And said: 'Behold, the fagots I have brought,
And now, lest my atonement be as naught,
Grant me one more request, one last desire,--
With my own hand to light the funeral fire!'
And Torquemada answered from his seat,
'Son of the Church! Thine offering is complete;
Her servants through all ages shall not cease
To magnify thy deed. Depart in peace!'

Upon the market-place, builded of stone
The scaffold rose, whereon Death claimed his own.
At the four corners, in stern attitude,
Four statues of the Hebrew Prophets stood,
Gazing with calm indifference in their eyes
Upon this place of human sacrifice,
Round which was gathering fast the eager crowd,
With clamor of voices dissonant and loud,
And every roof and window was alive
With restless gazers, swarming like a hive.

The church-bells tolled, the chant of monks drew near,
Loud trumpets stammered forth their notes of fear,
A line of torches smoked along the street,
There was a stir, a rush, a tramp of feet,
And, with its banners floating in the air,
Slowly the long procession crossed the square,
And, to the statues of the Prophets bound,
The victims stood, with fagots piled around.
Then all the air a blast of trumpets shook,
And louder sang the monks with bell and book,
And the Hidalgo, lofty, stern, and proud,
Lifted his torch, and, bursting through the crowd,
Lighted in haste the fagots, and then fled,
Lest those imploring eyes should strike him dead!

O pitiless skies! why did your clouds retain
For peasants' fields their floods of hoarded rain?
O pitiless earth! why open no abyss
To bury in its chasm a crime like this?

That night a mingled column of fire and smoke
From the dark thickets of the forest broke,
And, glaring o'er the landscape leagues away,
Made all the fields and hamlets bright as day.
Wrapped in a sheet of flame the castle blazed,
And as the villagers in terror gazed,
They saw the figure of that cruel knight
Lean from a window in the turret's height,
His ghastly face illumined with the glare,
His hands upraised above his head in prayer,
Till the floor sank beneath him, and he fell
Down the black hollow of that burning well.

Three centuries and more above his bones
Have piled the oblivious years like funeral stones;
His name has perished with him, and no trace
Remains on earth of his afflicted race;
But Torquemada's name, with clouds o'ercast,
Looms in the distant landscape of the Past,
Like a burnt tower upon a blackened heath,
Lit by the fires of burning woods beneath!

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William Butler Yeats

The Wanderings of Oisin: Book II

Now, man of croziers, shadows called our names
And then away, away, like whirling flames;
And now fled by, mist-covered, without sound,
The youth and lady and the deer and hound;
'Gaze no more on the phantoms,' Niamh said,
And kissed my eyes, and, swaying her bright head
And her bright body, sang of faery and man
Before God was or my old line began;
Wars shadowy, vast, exultant; faeries of old
Who wedded men with rings of Druid gold;
And how those lovers never turn their eyes
Upon the life that fades and flickers and dies,
Yet love and kiss on dim shores far away
Rolled round with music of the sighing spray:
Yet sang no more as when, like a brown bee
That has drunk full, she crossed the misty sea
With me in her white arms a hundred years
Before this day; for now the fall of tears
Troubled her song.

I do not know if days
Or hours passed by, yet hold the morning rays
Shone many times among the glimmering flowers
Woven into her hair, before dark towers
Rose in the darkness, and the white surf gleamed
About them; and the horse of Faery screamed
And shivered, knowing the Isle of Many Fears,
Nor ceased until white Niamh stroked his ears
And named him by sweet names.

A foaming tide
Whitened afar with surge, fan-formed and wide,
Burst from a great door matred by many a blow
From mace and sword and pole-axe, long ago
When gods and giants warred. We rode between
The seaweed-covered pillars; and the green
And surging phosphorus alone gave light
On our dark pathway, till a countless flight
Of moonlit steps glimmered; and left and right
Dark statues glimmered over the pale tide
Upon dark thrones. Between the lids of one
The imaged meteors had flashed and run
And had disported in the stilly jet,
And the fixed stars had dawned and shone and set,
Since God made Time and Death and Sleep: the other
Stretched his long arm to where, a misty smother,
The stream churned, churned, and churned - his lips apart,
As though he told his never-slumbering heart
Of every foamdrop on its misty way.
Tying the horse to his vast foot that lay
Half in the unvesselled sea, we climbed the stair
And climbed so long, I thought the last steps were
Hung from the morning star; when these mild words
Fanned the delighted air like wings of birds:
'My brothers spring out of their beds at morn,
A-murmur like young partridge: with loud horn
They chase the noontide deer;
And when the dew-drowned stars hang in the air
Look to long fishing-lines, or point and pare
An ashen hunting spear.
O sigh, O fluttering sigh, be kind to me;
Flutter along the froth lips of the sea,
And shores the froth lips wet:
And stay a little while, and bid them weep:
Ah, touch their blue-veined eyelids if they sleep,
And shake their coverlet.
When you have told how I weep endlessly,
Flutter along the froth lips of the sea
And home to me again,
And in the shadow of my hair lie hid,
And tell me that you found a man unbid,
The saddest of all men.'

A lady with soft eyes like funeral tapers,
And face that seemed wrought out of moonlit vapours,
And a sad mouth, that fear made tremulous
As any ruddy moth, looked down on us;
And she with a wave-rusted chain was tied
To two old eagles, full of ancient pride,
That with dim eyeballs stood on either side.
Few feathers were on their dishevelled wings,
For their dim minds were with the ancient things.

'I bring deliverance,' pearl-pale Niamh said.

'Neither the living, nor the unlabouring dead,
Nor the high gods who never lived, may fight
My enemy and hope; demons for fright
Jabber and scream about him in the night;
For he is strong and crafty as the seas
That sprang under the Seven Hazel Trees,
And I must needs endure and hate and weep,
Until the gods and demons drop asleep,
Hearing Acdh touch thc mournful strings of gold.'

'Is he so dreadful?'
'Be not over-bold,
But fly while still you may.'
And thereon I:
'This demon shall be battered till he die,
And his loose bulk be thrown in the loud tide.'
'Flee from him,' pearl-pale Niamh weeping cried,
'For all men flee the demons'; but moved not
My angry king-remembering soul one jot.
There was no mightier soul of Heber's line;
Now it is old and mouse-like. For a sign
I burst the chain: still earless, neNeless, blind,
Wrapped in the things of the unhuman mind,
In some dim memory or ancient mood,
Still earless, netveless, blind, the eagles stood.

And then we climbed the stair to a high door;
A hundred horsemen on the basalt floor
Beneath had paced content: we held our way
And stood within: clothed in a misty ray
I saw a foam-white seagull drift and float
Under the roof, and with a straining throat
Shouted, and hailed him: he hung there a star,
For no man's cry shall ever mount so far;
Not even your God could have thrown down that hall;
Stabling His unloosed lightnings in their stall,
He had sat down and sighed with cumbered heart,
As though His hour were come.

We sought the part
That was most distant from the door; green slime
Made the way slippery, and time on time
Showed prints of sea-born scales, while down through it
The captive's journeys to and fro were writ
Like a small river, and where feet touched came
A momentary gleam of phosphorus flame.
Under the deepest shadows of the hall
That woman found a ring hung on the wall,
And in the ring a torch, and with its flare
Making a world about her in the air,
Passed under the dim doorway, out of sight,
And came again, holding a second light
Burning between her fingers, and in mine
Laid it and sighed: I held a sword whose shine
No centuries could dim, and a word ran
Thereon in Ogham letters, 'Manannan';
That sea-god's name, who in a deep content
Sprang dripping, and, with captive demons sent
Out of the sevenfold seas, built the dark hall
Rooted in foam and clouds, and cried to all
The mightier masters of a mightier race;
And at his cry there came no milk-pale face
Under a crown of thorns and dark with blood,
But only exultant faces.

Niamh stood
With bowed head, trembling when the white blade shone,
But she whose hours of tenderness were gone
Had neither hope nor fear. I bade them hide
Under the shadowS till the tumults died
Of the loud-crashing and earth-shaking fight,
Lest they should look upon some dreadful sight;
And thrust the torch between the slimy flags.
A dome made out of endless carven jags,
Where shadowy face flowed into shadowy face,
Looked down on me; and in the self-same place
I waited hour by hour, and the high dome,
Windowless, pillarless, multitudinous home
Of faces, waited; and the leisured gaze
Was loaded with the memory of days
Buried and mighty. When through the great door
The dawn came in, and glimmered on the floor
With a pale light, I journeyed round the hall
And found a door deep sunken in the wall,
The least of doors; beyond on a dim plain
A little mnnel made a bubbling strain,
And on the runnel's stony and bare edge
A dusky demon dry as a withered sedge
Swayed, crooning to himself an unknown tongue:
In a sad revelry he sang and swung
Bacchant and mournful, passing to and fro
His hand along the runnel's side, as though
The flowers still grew there: far on the sea's waste
Shaking and waving, vapour vapour chased,
While high frail cloudlets, fed with a green light,
Like drifts of leaves, immovable and bright,
Hung in the passionate dawn. He slowly turned:
A demon's leisure: eyes, first white, now burned
Like wings of kingfishers; and he arose
Barking. We trampled up and down with blows
Of sword and brazen battle-axe, while day
Gave to high noon and noon to night gave way;
And when he knew the sword of Manannan
Amid the shades of night, he changed and ran
Through many shapes; I lunged at the smooth throat
Of a great eel; it changed, and I but smote
A fir-tree roaring in its leafless top;
And thereupon I drew the livid chop
Of a drowned dripping body to my breast;
Horror from horror grew; but when the west
Had surged up in a plumy fire, I drave
Through heart and spine; and cast him in the wave
Lest Niamh shudder.

Full of hope and dread
Those two came carrying wine and meat and bread,
And healed my wounds with unguents out of flowers
That feed white moths by some De Danaan shrine;
Then in that hall, lit by the dim sea-shine,
We lay on skins of otters, and drank wine,
Brewed by the sea-gods, from huge cups that lay
Upon the lips of sea-gods in their day;
And then on heaped-up skins of otters slept.
And when the sun once more in saffron stept,
Rolling his flagrant wheel out of the deep,
We sang the loves and angers without sleep,
And all the exultant labours of the strong.
But now the lying clerics murder song
With barren words and flatteries of the weak.
In what land do the powerless turn the beak
Of ravening Sorrow, or the hand of Wrath?
For all your croziers, they have left the path
And wander in the storms and clinging snows,
Hopeless for ever: ancient Oisin knows,
For he is weak and poor and blind, and lies
On the anvil of the world.

S. Patrick. Be still: the skies
Are choked with thunder, lightning, and fierce wind,
For God has heard, and speaks His angry mind;
Go cast your body on the stones and pray,
For He has wrought midnight and dawn and day.

Oisin. Saint, do you weep? I hear amid the thunder
The Fenian horses; atmour torn asunder;
Laughter and cries. The armies clash and shock,
And now the daylight-darkening ravens flock.
Cease, cease, O mournful, laughing Fenian horn!

We feasted for three days. On the fourth morn
I found, dropping sea-foam on the wide stair,
And hung with slime, and whispering in his hair,
That demon dull and unsubduable;
And once more to a day-long battle fell,
And at the sundown threw him in the surge,
To lie until the fourth morn saw emerge
His new-healed shape; and for a hundred years
So watred, so feasted, with nor dreams nor fears,
Nor languor nor fatigue: an endless feast,
An endless war.

The hundred years had ceased;
I stood upon the stair: the surges bore
A beech-bough to me, and my heart grew sore,
Remembering how I had stood by white-haired Finn
Under a beech at Almhuin and heard the thin
Outcry of bats.

And then young Niamh came
Holding that horse, and sadly called my name;
I mounted, and we passed over the lone
And drifting greyness, while this monotone,
Surly and distant, mixed inseparably
Into the clangour of the wind and sea.

'I hear my soul drop down into decay,
And Mananna's dark tower, stone after stone.
Gather sea-slime and fall the seaward way,
And the moon goad the waters night and day,
That all be overthrown.

'But till the moon has taken all, I wage
War on the mightiest men under the skies,
And they have fallen or fled, age after age.
Light is man's love, and lighter is man's rage;
His purpose drifts and dies.'

And then lost Niamh murmured, 'Love, we go
To the Island of Forgetfulness, for lo!
The Islands of Dancing and of Victories
Are empty of all power.'

'And which of these
Is the Island of Content?'

'None know,' she said;
And on my bosom laid her weeping head.

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The White Ship Henry I. Of England.—25th November 1120

By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)
King Henry held it as life's whole gain
That after his death his son should reign.
`Twas so in my youth I heard men say,
And my old age calls it back to-day.
King Henry of England's realm was he,
And Henry Duke of Normandy.
The times had changed when on either coast
“Clerkly Harry” was all his boast.
Of ruthless strokes full many an one
He had struck to crown himself and his son;
And his elder brother's eyes were gone.
And when to the chase his court would crowd,
The poor flung ploughshares on his road,
And shrieked: “Our cry is from King to God!”
But all the chiefs of the English land
Had knelt and kissed the Prince's hand.
And next with his son he sailed to France
To claim the Norman allegiance:
And every baron in Normandy
Had taken the oath of fealty.
'Twas sworn and sealed, and the day had come
When the King and the Prince might journey home:
For Christmas cheer is to home hearts dear,
And Christmas now was drawing near.
Stout Fitz-Stephen came to the King,—
A pilot famous in seafaring;
And he held to the King, in all men's sight,
A mark of gold for his tribute's right.
“Liege Lord! my father guided the ship
From whose boat your father's foot did slip
When he caught the English soil in his grip,
And cried: ‘By this clasp I claim command
O'er every rood of English land!’
“He was borne to the realm you rule o'er now
In that ship with the archer carved at her prow:
And thither I'll bear, an it be my due,
Your father's son and his grandson too.
The famed White Ship is mine in the bay;
From Harfleur's harbour she sails to-day,
With masts fair-pennoned as Norman spears
And with fifty well-tried mariners.”
Quoth the King: “My ships are chosen each one,
But I'll not say nay to Stephen's son.
“My son and daughter and fellowship
Shall cross the water in the White Ship.”
The King set sail with the eve's south wind,
And soon he left that coast behind.
The Prince and all his, a princely show,
Remained in the good White Ship to go.
With noble knights and with ladies fair,
With courtiers and sailors gathered there,
Three hundred living souls we were:
And I Berold was the meanest hind
In all that train to the Prince assign'd.
The Prince was a lawless shameless youth;
From his father's loins he sprang without ruth:
Eighteen years till then he had seen,
And the devil's dues in him were eighteen.
And now he cried: “Bring wine from below;
Let the sailors revel ere yet they row:
“Our speed shall o'ertake my father's flight
Though we sail from the harbour at midnight.”
The rowers made good cheer without check;
The lords and ladies obeyed his beck;
The night was light, and they danced on the deck.
But at midnight's stroke they cleared the bay,
And the White Ship furrowed the water-way.
The sails were set, and the oars kept tune
To the double flight of the ship and the moon:
Swifter and swifter the White Ship sped
Till she flew as the spirit flies from the dead:
As white as a lily glimmered she
Like a ship's fair ghost upon the sea.
And the Prince cried, “Friends, 'tis the hour to sing!
Is a songbird's course so swift on the wing?”
And under the winter stars' still throng,
From brown throats, white throats, merry and strong,
The knights and the ladies raised a song.
A song,—nay, a shriek that rent the sky,
That leaped o'er the deep!—the grievous cry
Of three hundred living that now must die.
An instant shriek that sprang to the shock
As the ship's keel felt the sunken rock.
'Tis said that afar—a shrill strange sigh—
The King's ships heard it and knew not why.
Pale Fitz-Stephen stood by the helm
'Mid all those folk that the waves must whelm.
A great King's heir for the waves to whelm,
And the helpless pilot pale at the helm!
The ship was eager and sucked athirst,
By the stealthy stab of the sharp reef pierc'd:
And like the moil round a sinking cup
The waters against her crowded up.
A moment the pilot's senses spin,—
The next he snatched the Prince 'mid the din,
Cut the boat loose, and the youth leaped in.
A few friends leaped with him, standing near.
“Row! the sea's smooth and the night is clear!”
“What! none to be saved but these and I?”
“Row, row as you'd live! All here must die!”
Out of the churn of the choking ship,
Which the gulf grapples and the waves strip,
They struck with the strained oars' flash and dip.
'Twas then o'er the splitting bulwarks' brim
The Prince's sister screamed to him.
He gazed aloft, still rowing apace,
And through the whirled surf he knew her face.
To the toppling decks clave one and all
As a fly cleaves to a chamber-wall.
I Berold was clinging anear;
I prayed for myself and quaked with fear,
But I saw his eyes as he looked at her.
He knew her face and he heard her cry,
And he said, “Put back! she must not die!”
And back with the current's force they reel
Like a leaf that's drawn to a water-wheel.
'Neath the ship's travail they scarce might float,
But he rose and stood in the rocking boat.
Low the poor ship leaned on the tide:
O'er the naked keel as she best might slide,
The sister toiled to the brother's side.
He reached an oar to her from below,
And stiffened his arms to clutch her so.
But now from the ship some spied the boat,
And “Saved!” was the cry from many a throat.
And down to the boat they leaped and fell:
It turned as a bucket turns in a well,
And nothing was there but the surge and swell.
The Prince that was and the King to come,
There in an instant gone to his doom,
Despite of all England's bended knee
And maugre the Norman fealty!
He was a Prince of lust and pride;
He showed no grace till the hour he died.
When he should be King, he oft would vow,
He'd yoke the peasant to his own plough.
O'er him the ships score their furrows now.
God only knows where his soul did wake,
But I saw him die for his sister's sake.
By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)
And now the end came o'er the waters' womb
Like the last great Day that's yet to come.
With prayers in vain and curses in vain,
The White Ship sundered on the mid-main:
And what were men and what was a ship
Were toys and splinters in the sea's grip.
I Berold was down in the sea;
And passing strange though the thing may be,
Of dreams then known I remember me.
Blithe is the shout on Harfleur's strand
When morning lights the sails to land:
And blithe is Honfleur's echoing gloam
When mothers call the children home:
And high do the bells of Rouen beat
When the Body of Christ goes down the street.
These things and the like were heard and shown
In a moment's trance 'neath the sea alone;
And when I rose, 'twas the sea did seem,
And not these things, to be all a dream.
The ship was gone and the crowd was gone,
And the deep shuddered and the moon shone,
And in a strait grasp my arms did span
The mainyard rent from the mast where it ran;
And on it with me was another man.
Where lands were none 'neath the dim sea-sky,
We told our names, that man and I.
“O I am Godefroy de l'Aigle hight,
And son I am to a belted knight.”
And I am Berold the butcher's son
Who slays the beasts in Rouen town.”
Then cried we upon God's name, as we
Did drift on the bitter winter sea.
But lo! a third man rose o'er the wave,
And we said, “Thank God! us three may He save!”
He clutched to the yard with panting stare,
And we looked and knew Fitz-Stephen there.
He clung, and “What of the Prince?” quoth he.
Lost, lost!” we cried. He cried, “Woe on me!”
And loosed his hold and sank through the sea.
And soul with soul again in that space
We two were together face to face:
And each knew each, as the moments sped,
Less for one living than for one dead:
And every still star overhead
Seemed an eye that knew we were but dead.
And the hours passed; till the noble's son
Sighed, “God be thy help! my strength's foredone!
“O farewell, friend, for I can no more!”
“Christ take thee!” I moaned; and his life was o'er.
Three hundred souls were all lost but one,
And I drifted over the sea alone.
At last the morning rose on the sea
Like an angel's wing that beat tow'rds me.
Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;
Half dead I hung, and might nothing note,
Till I woke sun-warmed in a fisher-boat.
The sun was high o'er the eastern brim
As I praised God and gave thanks to Him.
That day I told my tale to a priest,
Who charged me, till the shrift were releas'd,
That I should keep it in mine own breast.
And with the priest I thence did fare
To King Henry's court at Winchester.
We spoke with the King's high chamberlain,
And he wept and mourned again and again,
As if his own son had been slain:
And round us ever there crowded fast
Great men with faces all aghast:
And who so bold that might tell the thing
Which now they knew to their lord the King?
Much woe I learnt in their communing.
The King had watched with a heart sore stirred
For two whole days, and this was the third:
And still to all his court would he say,
“What keeps my son so long away?”
And they said: “The ports lie far and wide
That skirt the swell of the English tide;
And England's cliffs are not more white
Than her women are, and scarce so light
Her skies as their eyes are blue and bright;
And in some port that he reached from France
The Prince has lingered for his pleasaùnce.”
But once the King asked: “What distant cry
Was that we heard 'twixt the sea and sky?”
And one said: “With suchlike shouts, pardie!
Do the fishers fling their nets at sea.”
And one: “Who knows not the shrieking quest
When the sea-mew misses its young from the nest?”
'Twas thus till now they had soothed his dread,
Albeit they knew not what they said:
But who should speak to-day of the thing
That all knew there except the King?
Then pondering much they found a way,
And met round the King's high seat that day:
And the King sat with a heart sore stirred,
And seldom he spoke and seldom heard.
'Twas then through the hall the King was 'ware
Of a little boy with golden hair,
As bright as the golden poppy is
That the beach breeds for the surf to kiss:
Yet pale his cheek as the thorn in Spring,
And his garb black like the raven's wing.
Nothing heard but his foot through the hall,
For now the lords were silent all.
And the King wondered, and said, “Alack!
Who sends me a fair boy dressed in black?
“Why, sweet heart, do you pace through the hall
As though my court were a funeral?”
Then lowly knelt the child at the dais,
And looked up weeping in the King's face.
“O wherefore black, O King, ye may say,
For white is the hue of death to-day.
“Your son and all his fellowship
Lie low in the sea with the White Ship.”
King Henry fell as a man struck dead;
And speechless still he stared from his bed
When to him next day my rede I read.
There's many an hour must needs beguile
A King's high heart that he should smile,—
Full many a lordly hour, full fain
Of his realm's rule and pride of his reign:—
But this King never smiled again.
By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)

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Henry Van Dyke

Music

I

PRELUDE

Daughter of Psyche, pledge of that last night
When, pierced with pain and bitter-sweet delight,
She knew her Love and saw her Lord depart,
Then breathed her wonder and her woe forlorn
Into a single cry, and thou wast born?
Thou flower of rapture and thou fruit of grief;
Invisible enchantress of the heart;
Mistress of charms that bring relief
To sorrow, and to joy impart
A heavenly tone that keeps it undefiled,--
Thou art the child
Of Amor, and by right divine
A throne of love is thine,
Thou flower-folded, golden-girdled, star-crowned Queen,
Whose bridal beauty mortal eyes have never seen!


II

Thou art the Angel of the pool that sleeps,
While peace and joy lie hidden in its deeps,
Waiting thy touch to make the waters roll
In healing murmurs round the weary soul.
Ah, when wilt thou draw near,
Thou messenger of mercy robed in song?
My lonely heart has listened for thee long;
And now I seem to hear
Across the crowded market-place of life,
Thy measured foot-fall, ringing light and clear
Above the unmeaning noises and the unruly strife;
In quiet cadence, sweet and slow,
Serenely pacing to and fro,
Thy far-off steps are magical and dear.
Ah, turn this way, come close and speak to me!
>From this dull bed of languor set my spirit free,
And bid me rise, and let me walk awhile with thee


III

Where wilt thou lead me first?
In what still region
Of thy domain,
Whose provinces are legion,
Wilt thou restore me to myself again,
And quench my heart's long thirst?
I pray thee lay thy golden girdle down,
And put away thy starry crown:
For one dear restful hour
Assume a state more mild.
Clad only in thy blossom-broidered gown
That breathes familiar scent of many a flower,
Take the low path that leads thro' pastures green;
And though thou art a Queen,
Be Rosamund awhile, and in thy bower,
By tranquil love and simple joy beguiled,
Sing to my soul, as mother to her child.


IV

O lead me by the hand,
And let my heart have rest,
And bring me back to childhood land,
To find again the long-lost band
Of playmates blithe and blest.

Some quaint, old-fashioned air,
That all the children knew,
Shall run before us everywhere,
Like a little maid with flying hair,
To guide the merry crew.

Along the garden ways
We chase the light-foot tune,
And in and out the flowery maze,
With eager haste and fond delays,
In pleasant paths of June.

For us the fields are new,
For us the woods are rife
With fairy secrets, deep and true,
And heaven is but a tent of blue
Above the game of life.

The world is far away:
The fever and the fret,
And all that makes the heart grow gray,
Is out of sight and far away,
Dear Music, while I hear thee play
That olden, golden roundelay,
"Remember and forget!"


V

SLEEP SONG

Forget, forget!
The tide of life is turning;
The waves of light ebb slowly down the west:
Along the edge of dark some stars are burning
To guide thy spirit safely to an isle of rest.
A little rocking on the tranquil deep
Of song, to soothe thy yearning,
A little slumber and a little sleep,
And so, forget, forget!

Forget, forget,--
The day was long in pleasure;
Its echoes die away across the hill;
Now let thy heart beat time to their slow measure
That swells, and sinks, and faints, and falls, till all is still.
Then, like a weary child that loves to keep
Locked in its arms some treasure,
Thy soul in calm content shall fall asleep,
And so forget, forget.

Forget, forget,--
And if thou hast been weeping,
Let go the thoughts that bind thee to thy grief:
Lie still, and watch the singing angels, reaping
The golden harvest of thy sorrow, sheaf by sheaf;
Or count thy joys like flocks of snow-white sheep
That one by one come creeping
Into the quiet fold, until thou sleep,
And so forget, forget!

Forget, forget,--
Thou art a child and knowest
So little of thy life! But music tells
One secret of the world thro' which thou goest
To work with morning song, to rest with evening bells:
Life is in tune with harmony so deep
That when the notes are lowest
Thou still canst lay thee down in peace and sleep,
For God will not forget.


VI

HUNTING SONG

Out of the garden of playtime, out of the bower of rest,
Fain would I follow at daytime, music that calls to a quest.
Hark, how the galloping measure
Quickens the pulses of pleasure;
Gaily saluting the morn
With the long clear note of the hunting-horn
Echoing up from the valley,
Over the mountain side,--
Rally, you hunters, rally,
Rally, and ride!

Drink of the magical potion music has mixed with her wine,
Full of the madness of motion, joyful, exultant, divine!
Leave all your troubles behind you,
Ride where they never can find you,
Into the gladness of morn,
With the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
Swiftly o'er hillock and hollow,
Sweeping along with the wind,--
Follow, you hunters, follow,
Follow and find!

What will you reach with your riding? What is the charm of the chase?
Just the delight and the striding swing of the jubilant pace.
Danger is sweet when you front her,--
In at the death, every hunter!
Now on the breeze the mort is borne
In the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
Winding merrily, over and over,--
Come, come, come!
Home again, Ranger! home again, Rover!
Turn again, home!


VII

DANCE-MUSIC

Now let the sleep-tune blend with the play-tune,
Weaving the mystical spell of the dance;
Lighten the deep tune, soften the gay tune,
Mingle a tempo that turns in a trance.
Half of it sighing, half of it smiling,
Smoothly it swings, with a triplicate beat;
Calling, replying, yearning, beguiling,
Wooing the heart and bewitching the feet.
Every drop of blood
Rises with the flood,
Rocking on the waves of the strain;
Youth and beauty glide
Turning with the tide--
Music making one out of twain,
Bearing them away, and away, and away,
Like a tone and its terce--
Till the chord dissolves, and the dancers stay,
And reverse.

Violins leading, take up the measure,
Turn with the tune again,--clarinets clear
Answer their pleading,--harps full of pleasure
Sprinkle their silver like light on the mere.
Semiquaver notes,
Merry little motes,
Tangled in the haze
Of the lamp's golden rays,
Quiver everywhere
In the air,
Like a spray,--
Till the fuller stream of the might of the tune,
Gliding like a dream in the light of the moon,
Bears them all away, and away, and away,
Floating in the trance of the dance.

Then begins a measure stately,
Languid, slow, serene;
All the dancers move sedately,
Stepping leisurely and straitly,
With a courtly mien;
Crossing hands and changing places,
Bowing low between,
While the minuet inlaces
Waving arms and woven paces,--
Glittering damaskeen.
Where is she whose form is folden
In its royal sheen?
>From our longing eyes withholden
By her mystic girdle golden,
Beauty sought but never seen,
Music walks the maze, a queen.


VIII

THE SYMPHONY

Music, they do thee wrong who say thine art
Is only to enchant the sense.
For every timid motion of the heart,
And every passion too intense
To bear the chain of the imperfect word,
And every tremulous longing, stirred
By spirit winds that come we know not whence
And go we know not where,
And every inarticulate prayer
Beating about the depths of pain or bliss,
Like some bewildered bird
That seeks its nest but knows not where it is,
And every dream that haunts, with dim delight,
The drowsy hour between the day and night,
The wakeful hour between the night and day,--
Imprisoned, waits for thee,
Impatient, yearns for thee,
The queen who comes to set the captive free
Thou lendest wings to grief to fly away,
And wings to joy to reach a heavenly height;
And every dumb desire that Storms within the breast
Thou leadest forth to sob or sing itself to rest.

All these are thine, and therefore love is thine.
For love is joy and grief,
And trembling doubt, and certain-sure belief,
And fear, and hope, and longing unexpressed,
In pain most human, and in rapture brief
Almost divine.
Love would possess, yet deepens when denied;
And love would give, yet hungers to receive;
Love like a prince his triumph would achieve;
And like a miser in the dark his joys would hide.
Love is most bold:
He leads his dreams like armed men in line;
Yet when the siege is set, and he must speak,
Calling the fortress to resign
Its treasure, valiant love grows weak,
And hardly dares his purpose to unfold.
Less with his faltering lips than with his eyes
He claims the longed-for prize:
Love fain would tell it all, yet leaves the best untold.

But thou shalt speak for love. Yea, thou shalt teach
The mystery of measured tone,
The Pentecostal speech
That every listener heareth as his own.
For on thy head the cloven tongues of fire,--
Diminished chords that quiver with desire,
And major chords that glow with perfect peace,--
Have fallen from above;
And thou canst give release
In music to the burdened heart of love.

Sound with the 'cellos' pleading, passionate strain
The yearning theme, and let the flute reply
In placid melody, while violins complain,
And sob, and sigh,
With muted string;
Then let the oboe half-reluctant sing
Of bliss that trembles on the verge of pain,
While 'cellos plead and plead again,
With throbbing notes delayed, that would impart
To every urgent tone the beating of the heart.
So runs the andante, making plain
The hopes and fears of love without a word.

Then comes the adagio, with a yielding theme
Through which the violas flow soft as in a dream,
While horns and mild bassoons are heard
In tender tune, that seems to float
Like an enchanted boat
Upon the downward-gliding stream,
Toward the allegro's wide, bright sea
Of dancing, glittering, blending tone,
Where every instrument is sounding free,
And harps like wedding-chimes are rung, and trumpets blown
Around the barque of love
That sweeps, with smiling skies above,
A royal galley, many-oared,
Into the happy harbour of the perfect chord.


IX

IRIS

Light to the eye and Music to the ear,--
These are the builders of the bridge that springs
>From earths's dim shore of half-remembered things
To reach the spirit's home, the heavenly sphere
Where nothing silent is and nothing dark.
So when I see the rainbow's arc
Spanning the showery sky, far-off I hear
Music, and every colour sings:
And while the symphony builds up its round
Full sweep of architectural harmony
Above the tide of Time, far, far away I see
A bow of colour in the bow of sound.

Red as the dawn the trumpet rings,
Imperial purple from the trombone flows,
The mellow horn melts into evening rose.
Blue as the sky, the choir of strings
Darkens in double-bass to ocean's hue,
Rises in violins to noon-tide's blue,
With threads of quivering light shot through and through.
Green as the mantle that the summer flings
Around the world, the pastoral reeds in time
Embroider melodies of May and June.
Yellow as gold,
Yea, thrice-refined gold,
And purer than the treasures of the mine,
Floods of the human voice divine
Along the arch in choral song are rolled.
So bends the bow complete:
And radiant rapture flows
Across the bridge, so full, so strong, so sweet,
That the uplifted spirit hardly knows
Whether the Music-Light that glows
Within the arch of tones and colours seven
Is sunset-peace of earth, or sunrise-joy of Heaven.


X

SEA AND SHORE

Music, I yield to thee;
As swimmer to the sea
I give my Spirit to the flood of song:
Bear me upon thy breast
In rapture and at rest,
Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong;
From strife and struggle bring release,
And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.

Remember'd songs, most dear,
In living songs I hear,
While blending voices gently swing and sway
In melodies of love,
Whose mighty currents move,
With singing near and singing far away;
Sweet in the glow of morning light,
And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.

Music, in thee we float,
And lose the lonely note
Of self in thy celestial-ordered strain,
Until at last we find
The life to love resigned
In harmony of joy restored again;
And songs that cheered our mortal days
Break on the coast of light in endless hymns of praise.

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