Oh ! why is the world as it is, we ask,
With tears in our voice, and a sigh :
For nothing remains but an unfinished task,
While beauty is only hypocrisy's mask,
The end of it all—but to die.

Believe me, the world is a place full of joy,
And happiness stretches afar:
Alas ! that the workings of man should destroy
The meaning of God, with the deeds they employ,
Oh ! why are we all as we are?

The Blind Plougman

Set my hands upon the plough.
My feet upon the sod ;
Turn my face towards the east,
And praise be to God !

Every year the rains do fall,
The seeds they stir and spring ;
Every year the spreading trees
Shelter birds that sing.

From the shelter of your heart.
Brother—drive out sin.
Let the little birds of faith
Come and nest therein,

God has made His sun to shine
On both you and me ;
God, who took away my eyes.
That my soul might see !

I have chosen a hill very solemn and tall,
To shelter me.
I have chosen a home very humble and small,
Where I would be.

I have chosen a wind very fragrant and gay,
To kiss my mouth.
I have chosen a view, stretching ever away,
When I look south.

I have chosen a glow that the sunlight shall bring
When morning calls.
I have chosen a choir of the thrushes to sing
When twilight falls.

I have chosen a shrine where my spirit may pray.
Blessing its birth.
I have chosen a breast where my head I can lay,
Sweet Mother Earth !

The faintness of my heart
When strife and evil rose,
The worse and lesser part
Which it for ever chose,
God knows.

The passions that have bound
My soul with chains of earth.
The sorrows that have found
Their home with me since birth.
The dearth

Of all these nobler things
That make existence fair,
The stain of sin that clings
Until we cease to care
For prayer,

All this must I atone:
And though eternal woes
My banished soul alone,
Must bear without repose,
Yet I am not afraid
To know God knows.

Autumn In Sussex

A GLORY is this autumn day.
That stretches far across the land,
To where the sea along the sand
Sings kindly, with a gentle lay
Upon its lips. The gleam and sway
Of burning leaves ignites the air
To strange soft fire ; serene and bare
The wide fields lie on either hand.

More lovely than the timid Spring
Who tells her beads of humble flowers,
More perfect than the sun-warmed hours
Of summer, gay with birds that sing.
Is this fulfilment earth doth bring
To offer up to God ; this deep
Vast prayer before the winter sleep.
This final tribute to His powers !

Ah ! Faith, I'd barter all I own to know
But one brief moment of your magic charm,
Whereby my spirit freed from earthly woe,
Might spread its wings towards immortal calm.
Is there no wisdom but it steals our peace?
No knowledge but it leads us to unrest?
My mind is weary, and would seek release
From thoughts terrestrial; those indeed are blessed
Upon whose hearts all simple holy things
Fall without question, as a drop of dew
Lights on a rose, and, though she gently swings,
Falls not to earth ! ah ! rose, if I were you,
I would thrice bless your dumbness, since thereby
Your fragrant lips may never question why.

To-day I hate that bitter creed,
Whereby the groaning soul is taught
That God Almighty finds the need
Of pain, ere true salvation 's wrought !

Dear God, who did create the trees,
The scented flowers, the misty view,
The uplands' breezy ecstasies,
The Ocean's iridescent blue,

The arches of the endless sky,
The magic of a day in Spring,
The down upon a butterfly,
The anthem that the skylarks sing.

All perfect growing harmonies,
Each tuneful sound and beauteous sight,
That lifts us from our miseries
To raptures of supreme delight,

Can I believe that Thou hast willed
Each bitter moment I have spent?
Whereby in anguish were fulfilled
Thy hard decrees of punishment?

To-day is June! Since early dawn
My heart has felt the sun's caress,
I bless the hour that I was born
To witness so much loveliness.

And I would have a God of love,
A tender God, who looks and smiles-
From some not distant throne above
Upon His fair created miles.

I know not who has placed the thorns
That pierce, on our human brow,
But I would pray on these sweet morns.
Dear God, Oh ! Let it not be Thou.

If I should pray, my prayer would be
For gratitude unlimited :
For gratitude so vast and deep,
That it would move my soul to weep
Great tears, and all the words I said
To be as organ notes sublime,
FuU-throati d flowing words of rhyme,
Whose like no mortal eye hath read.

Then would I kneel before the God
Whose matchless genius made the earth ;
The Poet-God, who sows the hours
With all the scented hosts of flowers.
Who gives the little winds their birth,
Who doth unloose the sea-song's might
To shake the very stars at night.
And fling the foam-flakes high in mirth.

Whose mind is fragrant as a grove
Of cedar trees in summer rain,
Whose thoughts dead poets gathered up,
And poured within the brimming cup
They offered to the world in vain.
Whose whisper masters caught, and wrote
Into their music note by note,
Immortal, haunting, strain on strain.

Whose image is revealed to all
Great lovers in the loved one's face.
Whose passion mystical and deep
Kindles the holy fires that sleep
Within the heart's most secret place.
Whose breath is incense on the shrine
Of earthly love, burning divine
And changeless, through all time and space !

The Laying Of Ghosts

Oh ! weary ghosts, be still !
Sad spectres of long dead delights,
Wan spirits of the days and nights
Wherein of joy we drank our fill,
Lie deep beneath the sod of years.
To-day, to-day is mine !
Ye shall not blight its fragrant flowers,
Nor mar the passing of its hours,
That love has rendered all divine,
By woeful sighs and falling tears.

This is the sphere of life,
Wherein the long forgotten dead
Unwelcome should forbear to tread,
Within my veins hot blood runs rife,
But ye are colder than the grave !
What would ye have of me?
What price that penance did not pay,
What sacrifice of human clay?
Must my delight again set free
Be tethered to a witless slave?

While still upon this earth
Ye lived, and 'neath the joyous sun
Were warm and fair to look upon,
I blest the hour that gave ye birth,
And all my life laid at your feet.
The homage of my youth
I daily offered at your shrine,
Nor counted dear those gifts of mine
Which sapped the very strength of truth,
And left her poor and incomplete.

Nor did condemn the lust,
The soul destroying tyranny,
With which ye wrought my misery,
For in my heart was endless trust,
My spirit, dauntless, knew no fear.
Ye cry that ye were slain
Alas ! it was not I who slew,
For all my hopes were buried too
Within that hour of death and pain,
And there remained not e'en a tear.

Nay, it was fate whose hand
Upraised to strike the awful blow
Decreed that ye must die, and go
Lamented to that shadow land
Of lost illusions perished soon !
Wherein the once-time-young
Thro' countless ages seek, nor find,
Their vanished youth ; with wandering mind
They sing the songs that once they sung,
But never may complete the tune.

Hence—hence ! it is not yet
The hour wherein I too must pass,
The sand runs still within the glass,
And I would live and fain forget
Those bygone things that once ye were.
My lips have touched the rose,
And in its perfumed breast the dew
Has quenched my thirst; and lo! anew
The petals of my heart unclose,
My pulses throb, my senses stir.

Ye shall not steal this day,
For love has risen to my aid,
See, I am brave and undismayed!
Hence—hence ! all things must pass away,
Back to your graves, obscure and deep !
I read aloud love's prayer,
Lift not again your haunting eyes
T'wards my new-found Paradise,
Lie still beside my lost despair,
And I command you—Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!


The world 's a beautiful world to-day,
A flame of gold and a dusk of gray,

Where Autumn leaves toss their gaudy crests
O'er still deep lanes, where the twilight rests.

Just overhead as I ride along
A hopeful thrush charms his thought to song,

And all that 's joyous within me springs
To meet the promise of which he sings.

Away to Heaven the melting view
Is soft with raptures of endless blue;

The trees and meadows, the hills and plains,
Like music woven of countless strains

Submerge, entwine, till the eye can see
No shade that is not a harmony.

As part of nature's most perfect whole
Each humble object conceives a soul,

No tiny flower in the distance lost,
But gives its colour, nor counts the cost ;

No drop of dew, but its feeble ray
An atom cast in the pearly gray

Is shining there, unperceived, content,
A dim star set in earth's firmament.

My horse treads gently, and makes scarce sound,
His hoofs sink deep in the marshy ground,

Yet 'neath the touch of my curbing rein
I feel the youth in his veins complain,

He lifts his head, and his eager eyes
Gaze far away where the moorland lies,

He whinnies often, as though to say
I would be free on this perfect day !

He too is filled with a happiness
His dumb soul treasures but can't express,

And in that gladness of wind and sun
I know my beast and myself are one.

The way is lonely, no passer by
Disturbs the stillness, my horse and l

Possess the earth, and the rippling air
Divine elixir to banish care

Has brought new strength to my heart and mind,
And swept all sorrowful things behind.

Oh ! Joy of living when youth is ours!
Oh ! Earth my Mother, thy fragrant bowers

Could they be fairer if Angels trod
Beneath their trees at the will of God?

Could fabled Heaven e'er compensate
For one such day, when the year is late,

And all the Summer has come to dwell
In long warm moments of dim farewell?

When skies are pale with the tears that bless
The soil, in falling for happiness?

And winds are fragrant with scent that flows
From out the bosom of some lone rose?

And brooks are drowsy with dusty gleams,
And languid thoughts of their winter dreams?

The fields are vital, and nude, and gray
With future promise of fruitful clay?

Ah ! no, my being could not believe,
My heart desire, nor my soul conceive,

A world more perfect, more dear, more true,
Than this fair Eden I'm riding through.

Crush these voluptuous grapes between your teeth,
Your small, strong teeth ! and let their purple pain
Be offered in a sacrificial rain
Of sun-warmed essence; while I twine a wreath
Of all their leaves, and place it just beneath
Your high-combed curls, to rest upon the plain
Of your white temples : though the Nymphs disdain
To grace our modern banquet, they bequeath
A sylvan fancy to my wayward dream.
This glint of candles on the silver round
Is yellow moonlight, mirrored in lone stream,
These flowers are springing from the sensuous ground,
And we are Dryads, 'tis a fitting theme
For you to sing; come—thrill the night with sound.

The shaded lamps that make the room seem dim
Scarcely revealing pictures on the wall;
Yet one so placed to let a halo fall
Upon your hair; you smile! yes, it's a whim
A Poet's fancy with a moonlit rim
Perhaps—and yet a harmless wish withal.
Don't quarrel with it, just sit there, those tall
White lilies make a background for your slim
Young body. Let the blinds be up, and night
Gaze through the windows with her purple eyes,
Dropping some ardent star from out its height
For very eagerness of glad surprise
At so much beauty, till your song's delight
Shall waft it back into the listening skies !

Where shall I find a corner in this room
Almost in darkness? Ah! that deep recess
Of languid cushions, eager to caress
My weary limbs ! from out its dreaming gloom
Made holy by the incense of perfume,
All unobserved and happy I'll confess
My senses to those roses, passionless,
And listening in their bowl of silver doom.
Sing, sing, sweet friend, but soft, though eagerly !
With tender pauses in between the notes
Filled up with little sighs, unconsciously—
These rose-dropped petals, they are fairy boats
Our souls may sail on lakes of melody
Adown whose ripples youth eternal floats.

Oh ! burning silence ! when the very air
Is warm with memories of sounds we love!
You cease to sing, yet from below, above,
Around me, in me, of me, everywhere,
That Music's spirit, tremulously fair
Flutters and flutters, like a wounded dove,
And cannot fly beyond this earthly groove !
Midway it pauses, hanging throbbing there.
I will not speak, lest it should seem profane
In such a presence; idle words of praise
Ye are but mortal sounds, with no refrain
That can endure beyond our passing days,
And so be silent ! silent with the pain
Of all deep feeling, that can find no phrase.

Kiss me good night, sweet minstrel, on the stairs !
I love your lips, they're neither pale nor red,
But like an after-glow, when day lies dead
Upon the mountains. Do they say soft prayers,
Those languid lips? to God, a God who cares,
And gathers such dear follies thread by thread
As each is woven in your mind, and shed
Like gold spun silk upon His field of tares?
You're silent! let it pass; who knows but you,
So strong in weakness, may compel God's ear
To listen for the smallest drop of dew
That all our thunders would disdain to hear :
And so, Sweet, if you pray, repeat anew
To God, that while you sang I wept a tear !

This morning while I light my cigarette
In this dim study with its endless view
Stretching away to hills whose eyes are blue
With secret thoughts, my thoughts are all regret,
Regret for broken interludes! and yet—
If it were otherwise, who knows but you
Might grow to pall, as things familiar do,
While now it seems worth while to not forget !
And so good-bye, my friend, drift out in smoke,
Vague, and intangible, a fleeting joy
That some stray match of fate in passing woke,
To burn awhile, like this small soothing toy
Between my lips: Time's galling iron yoke
Is not for us, we made and we'll destroy.