The sulky sage scarce condescends to see
This pretty world of sun and grass and leaves;
To him 'tis all illusion--only he
Is real amid the visions he perceives.
No sage am I, and yet, by Love's decree,
To me the world's a masque of shadows too,
And I a shadow also--since to me
The only real thing in life is--you.
WHITE bird of love, lie warm upon my breast,
White flower of love, lie cool against my face!
Teach me to dream again a little space
Ere this dream, too, sink earthward with the rest.
Teach me to dream my heart still pure as snow,
Teach me to dream my lips deserve this grace:
Then let me wake in some forgotten place,
And know you gone, but never see you go.
From The Tuscan
WHEN in the west the red sun sank in glory,
The cypress trees stood up like gold, fine gold;
The mother told her little child the story
Of the gold trees the heavenly gardens hold.
In golden dreams the child sees golden rivers,
Gold trees, gold blossoms, golden boughs and leaves,
Without, the cypress in the night wind shivers,
Weeps with the rain and with the darkness grieves.
I HEAR the waves to-night
Piteously calling, calling
Though the light
Of the kind moon is falling,
Like kisses, on the sea
That calls for sunshine, dear, as my soul calls for thee.
I see the sea lie gray
Wrinkling her brows in sorrow,
Hear her say:--
'Bright love of yesterday, return to-morrow,
Sun, I am thine, am thine!'
Oh sea, thy love will come again, but what of mine?
The Tree Of Knowledge
I PLUCKED the blossoms of delight
In many a wood and many a field,
I made a garland fair and bright
As any gardens yield.
But when I sought the living tree
To make new earth and Heaven new,
I found--alas for you and me--
Its roots were set in you.
Oh, dear my garden, where the fruit
Of lovely knowledge sweetly springs,
How jealously you guard the root
Of all enlightening things!
The December Rose
Here's a rose that blows for Chloe,
Fair as ever a rose in June was,
Now the garden's silent, snowy,
Where the burning summer noon was.
In your garden's summer glory
One poor corner, shelved and shady,
Told no rosy, radiant story,
Grew no rose to grace its lady.
What shuts sun out shuts out snow too;
From his nook your secret lover
Shows what slighted roses grow to
When the rose you chose is over.
That was the skylark we heard
Singing so high,
The little quivering bird
We saw, and the sky.
The earth was drenched with sun,
The sky was drenched with song;
We lay in the grass and listened,
Long and long and long.
I said, 'What a spell it is
Has made her rise
To pour out her world of bliss
In that world of skies!'
You said, 'What a spell must pass
Between sky and plain,
Since she finds in this world of grass
Her nest again!'
New Year Snow
THE white snow falls on hill and dale,
The snow falls white by square and street,
Falls on the town, a bridal veil,
And on the fields a winding-sheet.
A winding-sheet for last year's flowers,
For last year's love, and last year's tear,
A bridal veil for the New Hours,
For the New Love and the New Year.
Soft snow, spread out his winding-sheet!
Spin fine her veil, O bridal snow!
Cover the print of her dancing feet,
And the place where he lies low.
The Last Betrayal
AND I shall lie alone at last,
Clear of the stream that ran so fast,
And feel the flower roots in my hair,
And in my hands the roots of trees;
Myself wrapt in the ungrudging peace
That leaves no pain uncovered anywhere.
What--this hope left? this way not barred?
This last best treasure without guard?
This heaven free--no prayers to pay?
Fool--are the Rulers of men asleep?
Thou knowest what tears They bade thee weep,
But, when peace comes, 'tis thou wilt sleep, not They.
THE wild wind wails in the poplar tree,
I sit here alone.
O heart of my heart, come hither to me!
Come to me straight over land and sea,
My soul--my own!
Not now--the clock's slow tick I hear,
And nothing more.
The year is dying, the leaves are sere,
No ghost of the beautiful young crowned year
Knocks at my door.
But one of these nights, a wild, late night,
I, waiting within,
Shall hear your hand on the latch--and spite
Of prudence and folly and wrong and right,
I shall let you in.
WIDE downs all gray, with gray of clouds roofed over,
Chill fields stripped naked of their gown of grain,
Small fields of rain-wet grass and close-grown clover,
Wet, wind-blown trees--and, over all, the rain.
Does memory lie? For Hope her missal closes
So far away the may and roses seem;
Ah! was there ever a garden red with roses?
Ah! were you ever mine save in a dream?
So long it is since Spring, the skylark waking
Heard her own praises in his perfect strain;
Low hang the clouds, the sad year's heart is breaking,
And mine, my heart--and, over all, the rain.
THE sunshine of your presence lies
On the glad garden of my heart
And bids the leaves of silence part
To show the flowers to your dear eyes,
And flower on flower blooms there and dies
And still new buds awakened spring,
For sunshine makes the garden wise,
To know the time for blossoming.
Night is no time for blossoming,
Your garden then dreams otherwise,
Of vanished Summer, vanished Spring,
And how the dearest flower first dies.
Yet from your ministering eyes
Though night hath drawn me far apart
On the still garden of my heart
The moonlight of your memory lies.
The Magic Flower
THROUGH many days and many days
The seed of love lay hidden close;
We walked the dusty tiresome ways
Where never a leaf or blossom grows.
And in the darkness, all the while,
The little seed its heart uncurled,
And we by many a weary mile
Travelled towards it, round the world.
To the hid centre of the maze
At last we came, and there we found--
O happy day, O day of days!
--Twin seed-leaves breaking holy ground.
We dropped life's joys, a garnered sheaf,
And spell-bound watched, still hour by hour,
Magic on magic, leaf by leaf,
The unfolding of our love's white flower.
I gathered shells upon the sand,
Each shell a little perfect thing,
So frail, yet potent to withstand
The mountain-waves' wild buffeting.
Through storms no ship could dare to brave
The little shells float lightly, save
All that they might have lost of fine
Shape and soft colour crystalline.
Yet I amid the world's wild surge
Doubt if my soul can face the strife,
The waves of circumstance that urge
That slight ship on the rocks of life.
O soul, be brave, for He who saves
The frail shell in the giant waves,
Will bring thy puny bark to land
Safe in the hollow of His hand.
PLAGUE take the dull and dusty town,
Its paved and sordid mazes,
Now Spring has trimmed her pretty gown
With buttercups and daisies!
With half my heart I long to lie
Among the flowered grasses,
And hear the loving leaves that sigh
As their sweet Mistress passes.
Through picture-shows I make my way
While flower-crowned maids go maying,
And all the cultured things I say
That cultured folk are saying.
For I renounce Spring's darling face,
With may-bloom fresh upon it:
My Mistress lives in Grosvenor-place
And wears a Bond-street bonnet!
CHOKED with ill weeds my garden lay a-dying,
Hard was the ground, no bud had heart to blow,
Yet shone your smile there, with your soft breath sighing:
'Have patience, for some day the flowers will grow.'
Some weeds you killed, you made a plot and tilled it;
'My plot,' you said, 'rich harvest yet shall give,'
With sun-warmed seeds of hope your dear hands filled it,
With rain-soft tears of pity bade them live.
So, weak among the weeds that had withstood you,
One little pure white flower grew by-and-by;
You could not pluck my flower--alas! how should you?
You sowed the seed, but let the blossom die.
In The Rose Garden
RED roses bright, pink roses and white
That bud and blossom and fall;
The very sight of my heart's delight
Is more than worth them all!
Is worth far more than the whole sweet store
That ever a garden grew--
She plucked the best to die at her breast,
But it laughed and it bloomed anew!
The red rose lay at her lips to-day,
And flushed with the joy thereof;
She said a word that the white rose heard,
And the white rose paled with love.
But the west wind blows, and my lady goes,
And she leaves the world forlorn;
And every rose that the garden grows,
Might just as well be a thorn!
BIRDS in the green of my garden
Blackbirds and throstle and wren,
Wet your dear wings in the tears that are Spring's
And so to your singing again!
Birds in my blossoming orchard,
Chaffinch and goldfinch and lark,
Preen your bright wings, little happy live things;
The May trees grow white in the park!
Birds in the leafy wet woodlands,
Cuckoo and nightingale brown,
Sing to the sound of the rain on green ground--
The rain on green leaves dripping down!
Fresh with the rain of the May-time,
Rich with the promise of June,
Deep in her heart, where the little leaves part,
Love, like a bird, sings in tune!
AND it is fair and very fair
This maze of blossom and sweet air,
This drift of orchard snows,
This royal promise of the rose
Wherein your young eyes see
Such buds of scented joys to be.
A gay green garden, softly fanned
By the blythe breeze that blows
To speed your ship of dreams to the enchanted land.
But I--beyond the budding screen
Of green and red and white and green,
Behind the radiant show
Of things that cling and grow and glow
I see the plains where lie
The hopes of days gone by:
Gray breadths of melancholy, crossed
By winds that coldly blow
From that cold sea wherein my argosy is lost.
DELIA, my dear, delightful Lady,
Time flies in town, you say,
New gowns shine fresh as May,
The Park is glad and gay,
Ah--but the woods are green and shady--
Come, Delia, come away!
The crown your kneeling slaves award you
Is beauty's royal right;
Your beauty, Delia, might
Win crowns more sweet, more bright:
Your niggard world will not afford you
The crown of Heart's delight.
Sable your court will wear--to lose you;
My garden's dressed in green,
Such buds its leaves between
As never yet were seen;
There is no flower it can refuse you--
Come to your King, my Queen!
My window, framed in pear-tree bloom,
White-curtained shone, and softly lighted:
So, by the pear-tree, to my room
Your ghost last night climbed uninvited.
Your solid self, long leagues away,
Deep in dull books, had hardly missed me;
And yet you found this Romeo's way,
And through the blossom climbed and kissed me.
I watched the still and dewy lawn,
The pear-tree boughs hung white above you;
I listened to you till the dawn,
And half forgot I did not love you.
Od, dear! what pretty things you said,
What pearls of song you threaded for me!
I did not-till your ghost had fled-
Remember how you always bore me!
UNDER our lead we lie
While the sun and the snow go by,
And our shrouds lie close, lie close,
Like the leaves of a shut white rose
That knows not what summer knows
Before it is time to die.
You, in the sun, up there
Where the wild thyme scents the air;
Is it warm still--and sweet and gay
Up there in the wide blue day?
Do you pity us, shut away
From the fields where the flowers are fair?
Pity us here? shut in
In the dark, where the flowers begin?
The coins lie light on our eyes,
In our empty hands is the prize,
The treasure that fools and wise
Are breaking their hearts to win!
St. Valentine's Day
The South is a dream of flowers
With a jewel for sky and sea,
Rose-crowns for the dancing hours,
Gold fruits upon every tree;
But cold from the North The wind blows forth
That blows my love to me.
The stars in the South are gold
Like lamps between sky and sea;
The flowers that the forests hold.
Like stars between tree and tree;
But little and white Is the pale moon's light
That lights my love to me.
In the South the orange grove
Makes dusk by the dusky sea,
White palaces wrought for love
Gleam white between tree and tree,
But under bare boughs Is the little house
Warm-lit for my love and me.
O thrush, is it true?
Your song tells
Of a world born anew,
Of fields gold with buttercups, woodlands all blue
With hyacinth bells;
Of primroses deep
In the moss of the lane,
Of a Princess asleep
And dear magic to do.
Will the sun wake the princess? O thrush, is it true?
Will Spring come again?
Will Spring come again?
Now at last
With soft shine and rain
Will the violet be sweet where the dead leaves have lain?
Will Winter be past?
In the brown of the copse
Will white wind-flowers star through
Where the last oak-leaf drops?
Will the daisies come too,
And the may and the lilac? Will Spring come again?
O thrush, is it true?
NOT to the terrible God, avenging, bright,
Whose altars struck their roots in flame and blood,
Not to the jealous God, whose merciless might
The infamy of unclean years withstood;
But to the God who lit the evening star,
Who taught the flower to blossom in delight,
Who taught His world what love and worship are
We pray, we two, to-night.
To no vast Presence too immense to love,
To no enthronèd King too great to care,
To no strange Spirit human needs above
We bring our little, intimate, heart-warm prayer;
But to the God who is a Father too,
The Father who loved and gave His only Son
We pray across the cradle, I and you,
For ours, our little one!
The Forest Pool
LEAN down and see your little face
Reflected in the forest pool,
Tall foxgloves grow about the place,
Forget-me-nots grow green and cool.
Look deep and see the naiad rise
To meet the sunshine of your eyes.
Lean down and see how you are fair,
How gold your hair, your mouth how red;
See the leaves dance about your hair
The wind has left unfilleted.
What naiad of them can compare
With you for good and dear and fair?
Ah! look no more--the water stirs,
The naiad weeps your face to see,
Your beauty is more rare than hers,
And you are more beloved than she.
Fly! fly, before she steals the charms
The pool has trusted to her arms.
The Old Magic
Gray is the sea, and the skies are gray;
They are ghosts of our blue, bright yesterday;
And gray are the breasts of the gulls that scream
Like tortured souls in an evil dream.
There is white on the wings of the sea and sky,
And white are the gulls' wings wheeling by,
And white, like snow, is the pall that lies
Where love weeps over his memories.
For the dead is dead, and its shroud is wrought
Of good unfound and of wrong unsought;
Yet from God's good magic there ever springs
The resurrection of holy things.
See--the gold and blue of our yesterday
In the eyes and the hair of a child at play;
And the spell of joy that our youth beguiled
Is woven anew in the laugh of the child.
Town And Country
THE Sun tells to Trafalgar Square
His old and radiant story,
And touches in the young spring air
The pepper-pots to glory.
Spring's robe down Piccadilly floats,
The parks glow with her treasure,
And button-holes of morning coats
Rhyme with her royal pleasure.
Now persons beautifully dressed
In Bond-street shop and saunter,
And town--by Spring's soft breath caressed--
Would as its mistress vaunt her.
But far away from square and street,
Where willows shine and shiver,
The splendour of her silver feet
Is on the wood and river.
She laughs among the tree-roots brown,
Among the dewy clover,
For Spring coquets but with the town;
The country is her lover.
THE child was yours and none of mine,
And yet you gave it me to keep,
And bade me sew it raiment fine,
And wrap my kisses round its sleep.
I carried it upon my breast,
I fed it in a world apart,
I wrapped my kisses round its rest,
I rocked its cradle with my heart.
When in mad nights of rain and storm
You turned us homeless from your door,
I wrapped it close, I kept it warm,
And brought it safe to you once more.
But the last time you drove us forth,
The snow was wrapped about its head,
That night the wind blew from the North,
And on my heart the child was dead.
The child is mine and none of yours,
My life was his while he had breath,
What of your claim to him endures,
Who only gave him birth and death?
The Magic Ring
Your touch on my hand is fire,
Your lips on my lips are flowers.
My darling, my one desire,
Dear crown of my days and hours.
Dear crown of each hour and day
Since ever my life began.
Ah! leave me--ah! go away -
We two are woman and man.
To lie in your arms and see
The stars melt into the sun;
Till there is no you and me,
Since you and I are one.
To loose my soul to your breath,
To bare my heart to your life -
It is death, it is death, it is death!
I am not your wife.
The hours will come and will go,
But never again such an hour
When the tides immortal flow
And life is a flood, a flower . . .
Wait for the ring; it is strong,
It has a magic of might
To make all that was splendid and wrong
Sordid and right.
LAURELS, bring laurels, sheaves on sheaves,
Till England's boughs are bare of leaves!
Soon comes the flower more rare, more dear
Than any laurel this year weaves--
The Aloe of the hundredth year
Since from the smoke of Trafalgar
He passed to where the heroes are,
Nelson, who passed and yet is here,
Whose dust is fire beneath our feet,
Whose memory mans our fleet.
Laurels, bring laurels, since they hold
His England's tears in each green fold,
His England's joy, his England's pride,
His England's glories manifold.
Yet what was Victory since he died?
And what was Death since he lives yet,
Above a Nation's worship set,
Above her heroes glorified?--
Nelson, who made our flag a star
To lead where Victories are!
The Glow-Worm To Her Love
BENEATH cool ferns, in dewy grass,
Among the leaves that fringe the stream,
I hear the feet of lovers pass,
--I hide all day, and dream.
But when the night, with wide soft wings,
Droops on the trembling waiting wood,
And lulls the restless woodland things
Within its solitude,
Ah, then my soft green lamp I light,
That thou may'st find me by its fire--
Come, crown me, O my winged delight
My darling, my desire.
Yet they who praise the lamp I bear
Have never a word of praise for thee,
My love, my life, my King of Air,
Who lightest the lamp in me.
Thine, thine should be the praise they give
My King, who art all praise above,
Since but for thee I dream and live,
And light the lamp of love.
NOT in rich glebe and ripe green garden only
Does Summer weave her sweet resistless spells,
But in high hills, and moorlands waste and lonely,
The vast enchantment of her presence dwells.
Wide sky, and sky-wide waste of thyme and heather,
Perpetual sleepy hum of golden bees--
If you and I were only there together,
Free from the weight of all your garden's trees!
The north is mine; though bred by elm and meadow,
Pines, torrents, rocks, and moors my heart loves best;
I love the plover's wail, the cleft hill's shadow,
The sun-browned grass that is the skylark's nest.
Ah, yes! you too I love, dear wistful pleader,
You most I love, dear southern rose, half-blown,
And rather lounge with you beneath your cedar,
Than greet the moor's wide heaven-on-earth alone.
The snow is white on wood and wold,
The wind is in the firs,
So dead my heart is with the cold,
No pulse within it stirs,
Even to see your face, my dear,
Your face that was my sun;
There is no spring this bitter year,
And summer's dreams are done.
The snakes that lie about my heart
Are in their wintry sleep;
Their fangs no more deal sting and smart,
No more they curl and creep.
Love with the summer ceased to be;
The frost is firm and fast.
God keep the summer far from me,
And let the snakes' sleep last!
Touch of your hand could not suffice
To waken them once more;
Nor could the sunshine of your eyes
A ruined spring restore.
But ah-your lips! You know the rest:
The snows are summer rain,
My eyes are wet, and in my breast
The snakes' fangs meet again.
The Way Of The Wood
WHERE baby oaks play in the breeze
Among wood-sorrel and fringed fern,
Through the green garments of the trees
The quivering shafts of sunlight burn,
And all along the wet green ride
The dripping hazel-boughs between,
The spotted orchis, stiff with pride,
Stands guard before the eglantine.
Sweet chestnuts droop their long, sharp leaves
By knotted tree roots, mossed and brown,
Round which the honeysuckle weaves
Its scented golden wild-wood crown.
O wood, last year you saw us meet,
For her your leaves and buds were gay,
Your moss spread velvet for her feet.
Your flowers upon her bosom lay.
This year you wear your raiment bright,
As fair as ever yet you wore.
And, none the less, the world's delight
Walks in your ways no more, no more.
I WANDERED lonely by the sea,
As is my daily use,
I saw her drive across the lea
The gander and the goose.
The gander and the gray, gray goose,
She drove them all together;
Her cheeks were rose, her gold hair loose,
All in the wild gray weather.
'O dainty maid who drive the geese
Across the common wide,
Turn, turn your pretty back on these
And come and be my bride.
I am a poet from the town,
And, 'mid the ladies there,
There is not one would wear a crown
With half your charming air!'
She laughed, she shook her pretty head.
'I want no poet's hand;
Go read your fairy-books,' she said,
'For this is fairy-land.
My Prince comes riding o'er the leas;
He fitly comes to woo,
For I'm a Princess, and my geese
Were poets, once, like you!'
THERE are white moon daisies in the mist of the meadow
Where the flowered grass scatters its seeds like spray,
There are purple orchis by the wood-ways' shadow,
There are pale dog-roses by the white highway;
And the grass, the grass is tall, the grass is up for hay,
With daisies white like silver and buttercups like gold,
And it's oh! for once to play thro' the long, the lovely day,
To laugh before the year grows old!
There is silver moonlight on the breast of the river
Where the willows tremble to the kiss of night,
Where the nine tall aspens in the meadow shiver,
Shiver in the night wind that turns them white.
And the lamps, the lamps are lit, the lamps are glow-worms light,
Between the silver aspens and the west's last gold.
And it's oh! to drink delight in the lovely lonely night,
To be young before the heart grows old!
The Point Of View: Ii
In the wood of lost causes, the valley of tears,
Old hopes, like dead leaves, choke the difficult way;
Dark pinions fold dank round the soul, and it hears:
'It is night, it is night, it has never been day;
Thou hast dreamed of the day, of the rose of delight;
It was always dead leaves and the heart of the night.
Drink deep then, and rest, O thou foolish wayfarer,
For night, like a chalice, holds sleep in her hands.'
Then you drain the dark cup, and, half-drugged as you lie
In the arms of despair that is masked as delight,
You thrill to the rush of white wings, and you hear:
'It is day, it is day, it has never been night!
Thou hast dreamed of the night and the wood of lost leaves;
It was always noon, June, and red roses in sheaves,
Unlock the blind lids, and behold the light-bearer
Who holds, like a monstrance, the sun in his hands.'
The Fields Of Flanders
Last year the fields were all glad and gay
With silver daisies and silver may;
There were kingcups gold by the river's edge
And primrose stars under every hedge.
This year the fields are trampled and brown,
The hedges are broken and beaten down,
And where the primroses used to grow
Are little black crosses set in a row.
And the flower of hopes, and the flowers of dreams,
The noble, fruitful, beautiful schemes,
The tree of life with its fruit and bud,
Are trampled down in the mud and the blood.
The changing seasons will bring again
The magic of Spring to our wood and plain;
Though the Spring be so green as never was seen
The crosses will still be black in the green.
The God of battles shall judge the foe
Who trampled our country and laid her low. . . .
God! hold our hands on the reckoning day,
Lest all we owe them we should repay
ALL summer-time you said:
'Love has no need of shelter nor of kindness,
For all the flowers take pity on his blindness,
And lead him to his scented rose-soft bed.'
'He is a king,' you said.
'That I bow not the knee will never grieve him,
For all the summer-palaces receive him.'
But now Love has not where to lay his head.
'He is a god,' you said.
'His altars are wherever roses blossom.'
And summer made his altar of her bosom,
But now the altar is ungarlanded.
Take back the words you said:
Out in the rain he shivers broken-hearted;
Summer who bore him has with tears departed,
And o'er her grave he weeps uncomforted.
And you, for all you said,
Would weep too, if when dawn stills the wind's riot,
You found him on your threshold, pale and quiet,
Clasped him at last, and found the child was dead.