They built his mound of the rough, red ground,
By the dip of a desert dell,
Where all things sweet are killed by the heat,
And scattered o'er flat and fell;
In a burning zone they left him alone,
Past the uttermost western plain,
And the nightfall dim heard his funeral hymn
In the voices of wind and rain.
The songs austere of the forests drear,
And the echoes of clift and cave,
When the dark is keen where the storm hath been,
Fleet over the far-away grave.
And through the days when the torrid rays
Strike down on a coppery gloom,
Some spirit grieves in the perished leaves,
Whose theme is that desolate tomb.
No human foot or paw of brute
Halts now where the stranger sleeps;
But cloud and star his fellows are,
And the rain that sobs and weeps.
The dingo yells by the far iron fells,
The plover is loud in the range,
But they never come near to the slumberer here,
Whose rest is a rest without change.
Ah! in his life, had he mother or wife,
To wait for his step on the floor?
Did beauty wax dim while watching for him
Who passed through the threshold no more?
Doth it trouble his head? He is one with the dead;
He lies by the alien streams;
And sweeter than sleep is death that is deep
And unvexed by the lordship of dreams.
ALL NIGHT long the sea out yonder—all night long the wailful sea,
Vext of winds and many thunders, seeketh rest unceasingly!
Seeketh rest in dens of tempest, where, like one distraught with pain,
Shouts the wild-eyed sprite, Confusion—seeketh rest, and moans in vain:
Ah! but you should hear it calling, calling when the haggard sky
Takes the darks and damps of Winter with the mournful marsh-fowl’s cry;
Even while the strong, swift torrents from the rainy ridges come
Leaping down and breaking backwards—million-coloured shapes of foam!
Then, and then, the sea out yonder chiefly looketh for the boon
Portioned to the pleasant valleys and the grave sweet summer moon:
Boon of Peace, the still, the saintly spirit of the dew-dells deep—
Yellow dells and hollows haunted by the soft, dim dreams of sleep.
All night long the flying water breaks upon the stubborn rocks—
Ooze-filled forelands burnt and blackened, smit and scarred with lightning shocks;
But above the tender sea-thrift, but beyond the flowering fern,
Runs a little pathway westward—pathway quaint with turn on turn—
Westward trending, thus it leads to shelving shores and slopes of mist:
Sleeping shores, and glassy bays of green and gold and amethyst!
There tread gently—gently, pilgrim; there with thoughtful eyes look round;
Cross thy breast and bless the silence: lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground for ever, stranger! All the quiet silver lights
Dropping from the starry heavens through the soft Australian nights—
Dropping on those lone grave-grasses—come serene, unbroken, clear,
Like the love of God the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, there the daily wind doth blow
In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.
King Saul At Gilboa
With noise of battle and the dust of fray,
Half hid in fog, the gloomy mountain lay;
But Succoth’s watchers, from their outer fields,
Saw fits of flame and gleams of clashing shields;
For, where the yellow river draws its spring,
The hosts of Israel travelled, thundering!
There, beating like the storm that sweeps to sea
Across the reefs of chafing Galilee,
The car of Abner and the sword of Saul
Drave Gaza down Gilboa’s southern wall;
But swift and sure the spears of Ekron flew,
Till peak and slope were drenched with bloody dew.
“Shout, Timnath, shout!” the blazing leaders cried,
And hurled the stone and dashed the stave aside.
“Shout, Timnath, shout! Let Hazor hold the height,
Bend the long bow and break the lords of fight!”
From every hand the swarthy strangers sprang,
Chief leaped on chief, with buckler buckler rang!
The flower of armies! Set in Syrian heat,
The ridges clamoured under labouring feet;
Nor stayed the warriors till, from Salem’s road,
The crescent horns of Abner’s squadrons glowed.
Then, like a shooting splendour on the wing,
The strong-armed son of Kish came thundering;
And as in Autumn’s fall, when woods are bare,
Two adverse tempests meet in middle air,
So Saul and Achish, grim with heat and hate,
Met by the brook and shook the scales of Fate.
For now the struggle swayed, and, firm as rocks
Against the storm-wind of the equinox,
The rallied lords of Judah stood and bore,
All day, the fiery tides of fourfold war.
But he that fasted in the secret cave
And called up Samuel from the quiet grave,
And stood with darkness and the mantled ghosts
A bitter night on shrill Samarian coasts,
Knew well the end — of how the futile sword
Of Israel would be broken by the Lord;
How Gath would triumph, with the tawny line
That bend the knee at Dagon’s brittle shrine;
And how the race of Kish would fall to wreck,
Because of vengeance stayed at Amalek.
Yet strove the sun-like king, nor rested hand
Till yellow evening filled the level land.
Then Judah reeled before a biting hail
Of sudden arrows shot from Achor’s vale,
Where Libnah, lapped in blood from thigh to heel,
Drew the tense string, and pierced the quivering steel.
There fell the sons of Saul, and, man by man,
The chiefs of Israel, up to Jonathan;
And while swift Achish stooped and caught the spoil,
Ten chosen archers, red with sanguine toil,
Sped after Saul, who, faint and sick, and sore
With many wounds, had left the thick of war.
He, like a baffled bull by hunters pressed,
Turned sharp about, and faced the flooded west,
And saw the star-like spears and moony spokes
Gleam from the rocks and lighten through the oaks —
A sea of splendour! How the chariots rolled
On wheels of blinding brightness manifold!
While stumbling over spike and spine and spur
Of sultry lands, escaped the son of Ner
With smitten men. At this the front of Saul
Grew darker than a blasted tower wall;
And seeing how there crouched upon his right,
Aghast with fear, a black Amalekite,
He called, and said: “I pray thee, man of pain,
Red from the scourge, and recent from the chain,
Set thou thy face to mine, and stoutly stand
With yonder bloody sword-hilt in thy hand,
And fall upon me.” But the faltering hind
Stood trembling, like a willow in the wind.
Then further Saul: “Lest Ashdod’s vaunting hosts
Should bear me captive to their bleak-blown coasts,
I pray thee, smite me! seeing peace has fled,
And rest lies wholly with the quiet dead.”
At this a flood of sunset broke, and smote
Keen, blazing sapphires round a kingly throat,
Touched arm and shoulder, glittered in the crest,
And made swift starlights on a jewelled breast.
So, starting forward, like a loosened hound,
The stranger clutched the sword and wheeled it round,
And struck the Lord’s Anointed. Fierce and fleet
Philistia came, with shouts and clattering feet;
By gaping gorges and by rough defile
Dark Ashdod beat across a dusty mile;
Hot Hazor’s bowmen toiled from spire to spire,
And Gath sprang upwards, like a gust of fire;
On either side did Libnah’s lords appear,
And brass-clad Timnath thundered in the rear.
“Mark, Achish, mark!” — South-west and south there sped
A dabbled hireling from the dreadful dead.
“Mark, Achish, mark!” — The mighty front of Saul,
Great in his life and god-like in his fall!
This was the arm that broke Philistia’s pride,
Where Kishon chafes his seaward-going tide;
This was the sword that smote till set of sun
Red Gath, from Michmash unto Ajalon,
Low in the dust. And Israel scattered far!
And dead the trumps and crushed the hoofs of war!
So fell the king, as it was said by him
Who hid his forehead in a mantle dim
At bleak Endor, what time unholy rites
Vexed the long sleep of still Samarian heights;
For, bowed to earth before the hoary priest,
Did he of Kish withstand the smoking feast,
To fast, in darkness and in sackcloth rolled,
And house with wild things in the biting cold,
Because of sharpness lent to Gaza’s sword,
And Judah widowed by the angry Lord.
So silence came. As when the outer verge
Of Carmel takes the white and whistling surge,
Hoarse, hollow noises fill the caves, and roar
Along the margin of the echoing shore,
Thus war had thundered; but as evening breaks
Across the silver of Assyrian lakes,
When reapers rest, and through the level red
Of sunset, peace, like holy oil, is shed,
Thus silence fell. But Israel’s daughters crept
Outside their thresholds, waited, watched, and wept.
Then they that dwell beyond the flats and fens
Of sullen Jordan, and in gelid glens
Of Jabesh-Gilead — chosen chiefs and few —
Around their loins the hasty girdle drew,
And faced the forests, huddled fold on fold,
And dells of glimmering greenness manifold.
What time Orion in the west did set
A shining foot on hills of wind and wet;
These journeyed nightly till they reached the capes
Where Ashdod revelled over heated grapes;
And while the feast was loud and scouts were turned,
From Saul’s bound body cord by cord they burned,
And bore the king athwart the place of tombs,
And hasted eastward through the tufted glooms;
Nor broke the cake nor stayed the step till morn
Shot over Debir’s cones and crags forlorn.
From Jabesh then the weeping virgins came;
In Jabesh then they built the funeral flame;
With costly woods they piled the lordly pyre,
Brought yellow oils and fed the perfect fire;
While round the crescent stately elders spread
The flashing armour of the mighty dead,
With crown and spear, and all the trophies won
From many wars by Israel’s dreadful son.
Thence, when the feet of evening paused and stood
On shadowy mountains and the roaring flood,
(As through a rushing twilight, full of rain,
The weak moon looked athwart Gadara’s plain),
The younger warriors bore the urn, and broke
The humid turf about a wintering oak,
And buried Saul; and, fasting, went their ways,
And hid their faces seven nights and days.
Euterpe: A Cantanta
Hail to thee, Sound!—The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life—
in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music;
in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle;
the children’s lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality;
when far from home; at evening—the whole ending with an allegorical chorus,
rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation
of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history
of the world.
No. 1 Chorus
All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time
Calliope’s son took the lyre,
And lulled in the heart of their clime
The demons of darkness and fire;
Since Eurydice’s lover brought tears
To the eyes of the Princes of Night,
Thou hast been, through the world’s weary years,
A marvellous source of delight—
Yea, a marvellous source of delight!
In the wind, in the wave, in the fall
Of the water, each note of thine dwells;
But Euterpe hath gathered from all
The sweetest to weave into spells.
She makes a miraculous power
Of thee with her magical skill;
And gives us, for bounty or dower,
The accents that soothe us or thrill!
Yea, the accents that soothe us or thrill!
All hail to thee, Sound! Let us thank
The great Giver of light and of life
For the music divine that we’ve drank,
In seasons of peace and of strife,
Let us gratefully think of the balm
That falls on humanity tired,
At the tones of the song or the psalm
From lips and from fingers inspired—
Yea, from lips and from fingers inspired.
No. 2 Quartette and Chorus
When, in her sacred fanes
God’s daughter, sweet Religion, prays,
Euterpe’s holier strains
Her thoughts from earth to heaven raise.
The organ notes sublime
Put every worldly dream to flight;
They sanctify the time,
And fill the place with hallowed light.
No. 3 Soprano Solo
Yea, and when that meek-eyed maiden
Men call Charity, comes fain
To raise up spirits, laden
With bleak poverty and pain:
Often, in her cause enlisted,
Music softens hearts like stones;
And the fallen are assisted
Through Euterpe’s wondrous tones.
No. 4 Orchestral Intermezzo
No. 5 Chorus
Beautiful is Sound devoted
To all ends humane and high;
And its sweetness never floated
Like a thing unheeded by.
Power it has on souls encrusted
With the selfishness of years;
Yea, and thousands Mammon-rusted,
Hear it, feel it, leave in tears.
No. 6 Choral Recitative
(Men’s voices only)
When on the battlefield, and in the sight
Of tens of thousands bent to smite and slay
Their human brothers, how the soldier’s heart
Must leap at sounds of martial music, fired
With all that spirit that the patriot loves
Who seeks to win, or nobly fall, for home!
No. 7 Triumphal March
No. 8 Funeral Chorus
Slowly and mournfully moves a procession,
Wearing the signs
Of sorrow, through loss, and it halts like a shadow
Of death in the pines.
Come from the fane that is filled with God’s presence,
Sad sounds and deep;
Holy Euterpe, she sings of our brother,
We listen and weep.
Death, like the Angel that passed over Egypt,
Struck at us sore;
Never again shall we turn at our loved one’s
Step at the door.
No. 9 Chorus
(Soprano voices only)
But, passing from sorrow, the spirit
Of Music, a glory, doth rove
Where it lightens the features of beauty,
And burns through the accents of love—
The passionate accents of love.
No. 10 Lullaby Song—Contralto
The night-shades gather, and the sea
Sends up a sound, sonorous, deep;
The plover’s wail comes down the lea;
By slope and vale the vapours weep,
And dew is on the tree;
And now where homesteads be,
The children fall asleep,
A low-voiced wind amongst the leaves,
The sighing leaves that mourn the Spring,
Like some lone spirit, flits and grieves,
And grieves and flits on fitful wing.
But where Song is a guest,
A lulling dreamy thing,
The children fall to rest,
No. 11 Waltz Chorus
When the summer moon is beaming
On the stirless waters dreaming,
And the keen grey summits gleaming,
Through a silver starry haze;
In our homes to strains entrancing
To the steps, the quickly glancing
Steps of youths and maidens dancing,
Maidens light of foot as fays.
Then the waltz, whose rhythmic paces
Make melodious happy places,
Brings a brightness to young faces,
Brings a sweetness to the eyes.
Sounds that move us like enthralling
Accents, where the runnel falling,
Sends out flute-like voices calling,
Where the sweet wild moss-bed lies.
No. 12 Ballad—Tenor
When twilight glides with ghostly tread
Across the western heights,
And in the east the hills are red
With sunset’s fading lights;
Then music floats from cot and hall
Where social circles met,
By sweet Euterpe held in thrall—
Their daily cares forget.
What joy it is to watch the shine
That hallows beauty’s face
When woman sings the strains divine,
Whose passion floods the place!
Then how the thoughts and feelings rove
At song’s inspiring breath,
In homes made beautiful by love,
Or sanctified by death.
What visions come, what dreams arise,
What Edens youth will limn,
When leaning over her whose eyes
Have sweetened life for him!
For while she sings and while she plays,
And while her voice is low,
His fancy paints diviner days
Than any we can know.
No. 13 Drinking Song
(Men’s voices only)
But, hurrah! for the table that heavily groans
With the good things that keep in the life:
When we sing and we dance, and we drink to the tones
That are masculine, thorough and blithe.
Good luck to us all! Over walnuts and wine
We hear the rare songs that we know
Are as brimful of mirth as the spring is of shine,
And as healthy and hearty, we trow.
Then our glasses we charge to the ring of the stave
That the flush to our faces doth send;
For though life is a thing that winds up with the grave,
We’ll be jolly, my boys, to the end.
Yes, jolly, my boys, to the end!
No. 14 Recitative—Bass
When far from friends, and home, and all the things
That bind a man to life, how dear to him
Is any old familiar sound that takes
Him back to spots where Love and Hope
In past days used to wander hand in hand
Across high-flowered meadows, and the paths
Whose borders shared the beauty of the spring,
And borrowed splendour from autumnal suns.
No. 15 Chorus
(The voices accompanied only by the
violins playing “Home, Sweet Home”.)
Then at sea, or in wild wood,
Then ashore or afloat,
All the scenes of his childhood
Come back at a note;
At the turn of a ballad,
At the tones of a song,
Cometh Memory, pallid
And speechless so long;
And she points with her finger
To phantom-like years,
And loveth to linger
In silence, in tears.
No. 16 Solo—Bass
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go,
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow;
In the yellow flame of evening, at the setting of the day,
Sounds that lighten, fall, and lighten, flicker, faint, and fade away;
What they are, behold, we know not, but their honey slakes and slays
Half the want which whitens manhood in the stress of alien days.
Even as a wondrous woman, struck with love and great desire,
Hast thou been to us, EUTERPE, half of tears and half of fire;
But thy joy is swift and fitful, and a subtle sense of pain
Sighs through thy melodious breathings, takes the rapture from thy strain.
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go.
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.
No. 17 Recitative—Soprano
And thus it is that Music manifold,
In fanes, in Passion’s sanctuaries, or where
The social feast is held, is still the power
That bindeth heart to heart; and whether Grief,
Or Love, or Pleasure form the link, we know
’Tis still a bond that makes Humanity,
That wearied entity, a single whole,
And soothes the trouble of the heart bereaved,
And lulls the beatings in the breast that yearns,
And gives more gladness to the gladdest things.
No. 18 Finale—Chorus
Now a vision comes, O brothers, blended
With supremest sounds of harmony—
Comes, and shows a temple, stately, splendid,
In a radiant city by the sea.
Founders, fathers of a mighty nation,
Raised the walls, and built the royal dome,
Gleaming now from lofty, lordly station,
Like a dream of Athens, or of Rome!
And a splendour of sound,
A thunder of song,
Rolls sea-like around,
Comes sea-like along.
The ringing, and ringing, and ringing,
Of voices of choristers singing,
Inspired by a national joy,
Strike through the marvellous hall,
Fly by the aisle and the wall,
While the organ notes roam
From basement to dome—
Now low as a wail,
Now loud as a gale,
And as grand as the music that builded old Troy.