Ask me not, Dear, what thing it is
That makes me love you so;
What graces, what sweet qualities,
That from your spirit flow:
For I have but this old reply,
That you are you, that I am I.

My heart leaps when you look on me,
And thrills to hear your voice.
Lies, then, in these the mystery
That makes my soul rejoice?
I only know, I love you true;
Since I am I, and you are you.

Burned from the ore’s rejected dross,
The iron whitens in the heat.
With plangent strokes of pain and loss
The hammers on the iron beat.
Searched by the fire, through death and dole
We feel the iron in our soul.

O dreadful Forge! if torn and bruised
The heart, more urgent comes our cry
Not to be spared but to be used,
Brain, sinew, and spirit, before we die.
Beat out the iron, edge it keen,
And shape us to the end we mean.

England’s Poet

To other voices, other majesties,
Removed this while, Peace shall resort again.
But he was with us in our darkest pain
And stormiest hour: his faith royally dyes
The colours of our cause; his voice replies
To all our doubt, dear spirit! heart and vein
Of England's old adventure! his proud strain
Rose from our earth to the sea--breathing skies.

Even over chaos and the murdering roar
Comes that world--winning music, whose full stops
Sounded all man, the bestial and divine;
Terrible as thunder, fresh as April drops.
He stands, he speaks, the soul--transfigured sign
Of all our story, on the English shore.

As In The Dusty Lane To Fern Or Flower

As in the dusty lane to fern or flower,
Whose freshness in hot noon is dried and dead,
Sweet comes the dark with a full--falling shower,
And again breathes the new--washed, happy head:

So when the thronged world round my spirit hums,
And soils my purer sense, and dims my eyes,
So grateful to my heart the evening comes,
Unburdening its still rain of memories.

Then in the deep and solitary night
I feel the freshness of your absent grace,
Sweetening the air, and know again the light
Of your loved presence, musing on your face,

Until I see its image, clear and whole,
Shining above me, and sleep takes my soul.

As In The Dusty Lane To Fern Or Flower

As in the dusty lane to fern or flower,
Whose freshness in hot noon is dried and dead,
Sweet comes the dark with a full--falling shower,
And again breathes the new--washed, happy head:

So when the thronged world round my spirit hums,
And soils my purer sense, and dims my eyes,
So grateful to my heart the evening comes,
Unburdening its still rain of memories.

Then in the deep and solitary night
I feel the freshness of your absent grace,
Sweetening the air, and know again the light
Of your loved presence, musing on your face,

Until I see its image, clear and whole,
Shining above me, and sleep takes my soul.

Naked reality, and menace near
As fire to scorching flesh, shall not affright
The spirit that sees, with danger--sharpened sight,
What it must save or die for; not the mere
Name, but the thing, now doubly, trebly dear,
Freedom; the breath those hands would choke; the light
They would put out; the clean air they would blight,
Making earth rank with hate, and greed, and fear.

Now no man's loss is private: all share all.
Oh, each of us a soldier stands to--day,
Put to the proof and summoned to the call;
One will, one faith, one peril. Hearts, be high,
Most in the hour that's darkest! Come what may,
The soul in us is found, and shall not die.

Pricking Thorns

My spirit to--day that sprang
To meet the laughing morn
Is clouded and forlorn
And chafes with hidden pang.
For teasing care and fret
Stifle her sweet desire
And with small dust beset
Her eager fire.

Not so my darkened breast
Deep in its depth was stirred
When Sorrow, the dusky bird,
With me prepared her nest.
I on her wing would rise
And over city and sea
Voyage with gazing eyes
Mournful, yet free.

Then from these pricking thorns
I pluck an omen bright!
Since most their trivial spite
The soul indignant scorns,
With joy vast as despair
Alone she mates, I know;
And, born to an ample air,
Claims a great foe.

What Shall I Say To Thee, My Spirit, So Soon Dejected

What shall I say to thee, my spirit, so soon dejected,
Unaccountably conquered, where thou seemed'st strong?
Life, that, yesterday, the sun's own glory reflected,
Darkened now, like a train of captives, crawls along.

Alas! 'tis an old trouble, vainly drugged to sleep.
Let it wake outright; be proved, confronted, known.
Desire however endless, love however deep
Still must search and hunger: thou art still alone.

Alone, alone! Ah, little avails with childish tears
In the night's silent darkness to struggle against thy pain;
With hands stretched out in a prayer that seems to reach no ears,
And desolate repetition of that forlorn refrain.

Alone into the world thou camest, and wast not afraid.
Out of it must thou go, with no hand to clasp thine.
Thou fear'st not death: why now need'st thou another's aid
To live thine own life out, nor falter and repine?

What Shall I Say To Thee, My Spirit, So Soon Dejected

What shall I say to thee, my spirit, so soon dejected,
Unaccountably conquered, where thou seemed'st strong?
Life, that, yesterday, the sun's own glory reflected,
Darkened now, like a train of captives, crawls along.

Alas! 'tis an old trouble, vainly drugged to sleep.
Let it wake outright; be proved, confronted, known.
Desire however endless, love however deep
Still must search and hunger: thou art still alone.

Alone, alone! Ah, little avails with childish tears
In the night's silent darkness to struggle against thy pain;
With hands stretched out in a prayer that seems to reach no ears,
And desolate repetition of that forlorn refrain.

Alone into the world thou camest, and wast not afraid.
Out of it must thou go, with no hand to clasp thine.
Thou fear'st not death: why now need'st thou another's aid
To live thine own life out, nor falter and repine?

The Fourth Of August

Now in thy splendour go before us.
Spirit of England, ardent-eyed,
Enkindle this dear earth that bore us
In the hour of peril purified.

The cares we hugged drop out of vision,
Our hearts with deeper thought dilate,
We step from days of sour division
Into the grandeur of our fate.

For us the glorious dead have striven,
They battled that we might be free.
We to their living cause are given;
We arm for men that are to be.

Among the nations nobliest chartered,
England recalls her heritage.
In her is that which is not bartered,
Which force can neither quell nor cage.

17 For her immortal stars are burning
18 With her the hope that's never done,
19 The seed that's in the Spring's returning,
20 The very flower that seeks the sun.

She fights the force that feeds desire on
Dreams of a prey to seize and kill,
The barren creed of blood and iron,
Vampire of Europe's wasted will…

Endure, O Earth! and thou, awaken,
Purged by this dreadful winnowing-fan,
O wronged, untameable, unshaken
Soul of divinely suffering man.

We grudged not those that were dearer than all we possessed,
Lovers, brothers, sons.
Our hearts were full, and out of a full heart
We gave our belovèd ones.

Because we loved, we gave. In the hardest hour
When at last--so much unsaid
In the eyes--they went, simply, with tender smile,
Our hearts to the end they read.

They to their deeds! To things that their soul hated,
And yet to splendours won
From smoking hell by the spirit that moved in them:
But we to endure alone.

Their hearts rested on ours; their homing thoughts
Met ours in the still of the night.
We ached with the ache of the long waiting, and throbbed
With the throbs of the surging fight.

O had we failed them, then were we desolate now
And separated indeed.
What should have comforted, what should have helped us then
In the time of our bitter need!

But now, though sorrow be ever fresh, sorrow
Is tender as love; it knows
That of love it was born, and Love with the shining eyes
The hard way chose.

And out of deeps eternal, night and day,
A strength our sorrow frees,
Flooding us, full as the tide up the rivers flows
From the depth of the silent seas;

A strength that is mightier far than we, yet a strength
Whereof our spirit is breath,
Hope of the world, that is strange to hazard and fear,
To the wounds of Time, and Death.

Out of these throes that search and sear
What is it so deep arises in us
Above the shaken thoughts of fear,--
Whatever thread the Fates may spin us,--
Above the horror that would drown
And tempest that would strike us down?

It is to stand in cleansing light,
The cloud of dullard habit lifted,
To use a certainty of sight
And breathe an air by peril sifted,
The things that once we deemed of price
Consumed in smoke of sacrifice.

It is to feel the world we knew
Changed to a wonder past our knowing;
The grass, the trees, the skiey blue,
The very stones are inly glowing
With something infinite behind
These shadows, ardently divined.

We went our ways; each bosom bore
Its spark of separate desire;
But each now kindles to the core
With faith from this transfusing fire,
Whereto our inmost longings run
To be made infinitely one

With that which nothing can destroy,
Which lives when all is crushed and taken,
The home of dearer than our joy,
By all save by the soul forsaken,--
The soul that strips her clean of care
Because she breathes her native air,

Yet not in scorn of lovely earth
And human sweetness born of living,
For these are grown of dearer worth,
A gift more precious in the giving,
Since through this raiment's hues and lines
The glory of the spirit shines.

Faces of radiant youth, that go
Like rivers singing to the sea!
You count no careful cost; you know;
Of that far secret you are free;
And life in you its splendour spending
Sings the stars' song that has no ending.

O hush, sweet birds, that linger in lonely song!
Hold in your evening fragrance, wet May--bloom!
But drooping branches and leaves that greenly throng,
Darken and cover me over in tenderer gloom.
As a water--lily unclosing on some shy pool,
Filled with rain, upon tremulous water lying,
With joy afraid to speak, yet fain to be sighing
Its riches out, my heart is full, too full.

Votaries that have veiled their secret shrine
In veils of incense falteringly that rise,
And stealing in milky clouds of wavering line
Round soaring pillars hang like adoring sighs,
They watch the smoke ascending soft as thought,
Till wide in the fragrant dimness peace is shed,
And out of their perfect vision the world is fled,
Because the heart sees pure when the eye sees not.

I too will veil my joy that is too divine
For my heart to comprehend or tongue to speak.
The whole earth is my temple, and Love the shrine
That all the hearts of the world worship and seek.
But the incense cloud I burn to veil my bliss
Is woven of air and waters and living sun,
Colour and odour and music and light made one.
Come down, O night, and take from me all but this!

I dreamed of wonders strange in a strange air;
But this my joy, my dream, my wonder, is near
As grass to the earth, that clings so close and fair,
Nourished by all it nourishes. O most dear,
I dreamed of beauty pacing enchanted ground,
But you with beauty over my waiting soul,
As the blood steals over the cheek at a heart--throb, stole!
In the beating of my heart I have known you, I have found.

Incredulous world, be far, and tongues profane!
For now in my spirit there burns a steadfast faith.
No longer I fear you, earth's sad bondage vain,
Nor prison walls of Time, nor the gates of Death.
For the marvel that was most marvellous is most true;
To the music that moves the universe moves my heart,
And the song of the starry worlds I sing apart
In the night and shadow and stillness, Love, for you.

In Carissimam Memoriam A.S.P.

To whom but thee, my youth to dedicate,
My youth, which these few leaves have sought to save,
Should I now come, although I come too late,
Alas! and can but lay them on thy grave?

To whom but thee? From thee, I know, they stole
Their happier music, all their finer part:
O could they breathe but something of thy soul,
Something of thine incomparable heart!

What was there lovely, that thou didst not love?
What troubled spirit could ever grasp thy hand,
Nor know what answering springs within thee strove
To soothe his wound; to feel, to understand?

Too much hadst thou of pain, and fret, and care;
Yet surely thou wast meant for joy: to whom
Life, that had given thee days so hard to bear,
Could still yield moments of so rare a bloom.

That longing in me, which can never sleep,
To live my own life, to be bravely free,
What is that longing, but the passion deep,
The sweet endeavour, to be true to thee?

Still in my mind the solemn morning shines;
Still with me, all too clearly pictured, dwell
The day, the hour, with all their mournful signs,
When we bade thee, O friend of friends, farewell.

Austerely fair, the vast cathedral, filled
With February sunshine, marbles old,
Pillar on pillar, arch on arch revealed:
The light, the stillness, on my grief took hold;

Hushed within those gray walls, that could not change,
Where kneeling sorrow heavenly comfort hears;
Appeased by their eternal strength, that, strange
Itself to pain, permitted human tears.

There that worn heart, those arms in longing strained
Beyond, beyond, toward the unknown shore,
Entered repose, their long--loved peace attained.
Sweetly she sleeps. O shall we wish her more?

I climbed the high tower, up steep stairs of stone.
Under the clear sun plains without a wave,
Various and busy, in the morning shone:
The world about me, but below, thy grave.

White flowers marked it. Now, my flowers' poor grace
I bring, to bloom or fade; I little care,
Ah, let them fade, and die in that dear place!
It is enough, if they have faded there.

An Ode
Soul of England, dost thou sleep,
Lulled or dulled, thy mighty youth forgotten?
Of the world's wine hast thou drunk too deep?
Hast thou sown more than thy hands can reap?
Turn again thine ear
To that song severe
In thine hour of storm and war begotten!

Here in towered London's throng,
In her streets, with Time's new murmur seething,
Milton pacing mused his haughty song;
Here he sleeps out feud, fret, and wrong.
Nay, that spirit august
Tramples death's low dust,
Still for us is kindled, burning, breathing.

He, on whose earth--darkened sight
Rose horizons of the empyrean
And the ordered spheres' unhasting flight;
He who saw, where round the heart of Light
Seraphs ardent--eyed
Flamed in circle wide,
Quiring music of their solemn paean,

When through space a trouble ran
(Like a flush on serene skies arisen)
That from this dim spot of earth began--
Rumour of the world's new marvel, Man,
From whose heart--beat sped
Hope, hazard, and dread
Past earth's borders to hell's fiery prison:

He who saw the Anarch's hate
Tower, winged for woe; the serpent charming
Eve in her imperilled bower; the Gate
Barred, and those two forms that desolate
Mid the radiant spheres
Wept first human tears;
Earlier war in heaven and angels arming:

He who, like his Samson, bowed,
Toiling, hardly--tasked and night--enfolded,
Steered his proud course to one purpose vowed,
As an eagle beats through hailing cloud
Strong--winged and alone,
Seeking skies unknown:
He whose verse, majestically moulded,

Moves like armed and bannered host
Streaming irresistible, or abounding
River in a land's remoteness lost,
Poured from solitary peaks of frost,
And far histories brings
Of old realms and kings,
With high fates of fallen Man resounding:

This is England's voice that rang
Over Europe; this the soul unshaken
That from darkness a great splendour sang,
Beauty mightier for the cost and pang;
Of our blood and name
Risen, our spirits to claim,
To enlarge, to summon, to awaken.

The little waves fall in the wintry light
On idle sands along the bitter shore.
The piling clouds are all a pale suspended flight;
They tarry and are moved no more.

Thin rushes tremble about the naked dune;
A hovering sail sinks down the utmost sea;
With wreckage and old foam the unending sands are strewn;
And the waves heap their dumbness over me.

This is the earth that lasts beyond our dreams
Of time, and rushing onward without rest,
Deludes us with her trancing silences, yet teems
Fiercely, and burns within her breast,

Insatiate of youth, this old, old Earth,
Who uses our spent ashes for her need,
Shaping the delicate marvel of her youngest birth,
And still she kindles a new seed,

Intent on the unborn creature of her thought
And busy in the waste: O even here,
Though masked as in a calm of dumb frustration, naught
Stays her, no pang nor any fear,

But subtly, with a touch invisible,
She is changing and compelling; and me too,
Me too, upon the secret stream of that deep will
She moves to a destiny ever new.

And yet this hour my spirit hides its face,
And, backward turned, sighs out an idle pain
For the remembered paths these feet may not retrace
And the hours that cannot come again.

O hours of heavenly madness in delight
That felt the swiftness and the throb of wings,
That stole the burning soul of naked summer night
And the moons of the perfumed springs,

Not now to you my longing stretches hands,
But to lost hours, that had no fruit, no seed.
Like fading of low light beyond forgotten lands,
They have passed and are dead indeed.

And once, for once, unrecking Earth, you seem
With me to linger and to acquiesce,
To share the desolation of my doubt and dream,
And to ponder upon barrenness.

The wind lulls on the waste, and has no will.
The foiled tides hush and falter at their bound,
A little sand is blown, then all again is still;
And the clouds hang their silence around,

With such an absence felt in the lone skies,
Suppression of such tears, profoundly sprung
In long--remembering looks of unconversing eyes,
As when the old bury the young.

Well is it, shrouded Sun, thou spar'st no ray
To illumine this sad street! A light more bare
Would but discover more this bald array
Of roofs dejected, window patched that stare
From sordid walls: for the shy breath of Spring,
Her cheek of flowers, or fragrance of her hair,
Thou could'st not, save to cheated memory, bring.

Alas! I welcome this dull mist, that drapes
The path of the heavy sky above the street,
Casting a phantom dimness on these shapes
That pass, by toil disfeatured, with slow feet
And with mistrustful eyes; though in the mud
Children the play of ages old repeat,
Because of quenchless wanting in their blood.

Yet oh, what clouds of heaviness deter
My spirit; what sad vacancy impedes!
I am like some far--ventured traveller,
Whom, in a forest vast, entangled weeds
Have hindered; over whom green darkness fills
The inextricable boughs and stifling feeds
A poisonous fear, that sinks on him and chills.

Nor finds he faith, amid the monstrous trees
Rooted in silence, peopled with strange cries
And stealthy shadows (where alone he sees
Rank growths of the hot marsh, but watching eyes
Imagines), to believe the self--same bark
He leans on, lifts to the unclouded skies
Its crest victorious from that cradle dark.

I with like pain and languor am opprest:
Me too a forest upon poison fed,
Me too the marsh and the rank weeds infest.
Almost I trace in the dumb pall o'erhead
A net of stubborn boughs that dimly mesh
The air; I stifle: like a chain of lead
They weigh upon my soul, they bind my flesh.

I cannot breathe: the last and worst despair
Begins to invade me, numbing even desire
That panted for sweet draughts of light and air.
Dumb walls against me with blind heaven conspire:
Incredible the sun seems now, a ghost
I dreamed of in my dreams; unreal fire.
The light is blotted out, the blue is lost.

Was it mirage, the glow I fancied warm
On human cheeks, the beauty of my kind?
I feel it fading from me, a brief charm
Flying at touch. Blow hither, storms of wind!
Strike hither, strong sun, to my dulled heart's core!
Awake, disturb me, lest mine eyes grow blind,
By fatal use to a foul dream resigned,
Accept for Nature's body this, her sore.

She is not fair, as some are fair,
Cold as the snow, as sunshine gay:
On her clear brow, come grief what may,
She suffers not too stern an air;
But, grave in silence, sweet in speech,
Loves neither mockery nor disdain;
Gentle to all, to all doth teach
The charm of deeming nothing vain.

She joined me: and we wandered on;
And I rejoiced, I cared not why,
Deeming it immortality
To walk with such a soul alone.
Primroses pale grew all around,
Violets, and moss, and ivy wild;
Yet, drinking sweetness from the ground,
I was but conscious that she smiled.

The wind blew all her shining hair
From her sweet brows; and she, the while,
Put back her lovely head, to smile
On my enchanted spirit there.
Jonquils and pansies round her head
Gleamed softly; but a heavenlier hue
Upon her perfect cheek was shed,
And in her eyes a purer blue.

There came an end to break the spell;
She murmured something in my ear;
The words fell vague, I did not hear,
And ere I knew, I said farewell;
And homeward went, with happy heart
And spirit dwelling in a gleam,
Rapt to a Paradise apart,
With all the world become a dream.

Yet now, too soon, the world's strong strife
Breaks on me pitiless again;
The pride of passion, hopes made vain,
The wounds, the weariness of life.
And losing that forgetful sphere,
For some less troubled world I sigh,
If not divine, more free, more clear,
Than this poor, soiled humanity.

But when, in trances of the night,
Wakeful, my lonely bed I keep,
And linger at the gate of Sleep,
Fearing, lest dreams deny me light;
Her image comes into the gloom,
With her pale features moulded fair,
Her breathing beauty, morning bloom,
My heart's delight, my tongue's despair.

With loving hand she touches mine,
Showers her soft tresses on my brow,
And heals my heart, I know not how,
Bathing me with her looks divine.
She beckons me; and I arise;
And, grief no more remembering,
Wander again with rapturous eyes
Through those enchanted lands of Spring.

Then, as I walk with her in peace,
I leave this troubled air below,
Where, hurrying sadly to and fro,
Men toil, and strain, and cannot cease:
Then, freed from tyrannous Fate's control,
Untouched by years or grief, I see
Transfigured in that child--like soul
The soiled soul of humanity.

In Memory Of George Calderon

Wisdom and Valour, Faith,
Justice,--the lofty names
Of virtue's quest and prize,--
What is each but a cold wraith
Until it lives in a man
And looks thro' a man's eyes?

On Chivalry as I muse,
The spirit so high and clear
It cannot soil with aught
It meets of foul misuse;
It turns wherever burns
The flame of a brave thought;

And wheresoever the moan
Of the helpless and betrayed
Calls, from near or far,
It replies as to its own
Need, and is armed and goes
Straight to its sure pole--star;--

No legendary knight
Renowned in an ancient cause
I warm my thought upon.
There comes to the mind's sight
One whom I knew, whose hand
Grasped mine: George Calderon.

Him now as of old I see
Carrying his head with an air
Courteous and virile,
With the charm of a nature free,
Daring, resourceful, prompt,
In his frank and witty smile.

By Oxford towers and streams
Who shone among us all
In body and brain so bold?
Who shaped so firm his themes
Crystal--hard in debate?
And who hid a heart less cold?

Lover of strange tongues,
Whether in snowy Russia,
Or tropic island bowers
Listening to the songs
Of the soft--eyed islanders,
Crowned with Tahitian flowers,

A maker of friends he went.
Yet who divined him wholly
Or his secret chivalries?--
Was all that accomplishment,
Wit, alertness, grace,
But a kind of blithe disguise?

Restless in curious thought
And subtle exploring mind,
He mixt his modern vein
With a strain remotely brought
From an older blood than ours,
Proud loyalties of Spain.

Was it the soul of a sword?
For a bright sword leapt from sheath
Upon that August day
When war's full thunder stored
Over Europe, suddenly crashed,
And a choice upon each man lay.

Others had left their youth
In the taming years; and some
Doubted; some made moan.
To meet the peril of truth
With aught but a gay courage
Was not for Calderon.

Wounded from France he came.
His spirit halted not;
In that long battle afar,
Fruitless in all but fame,
Athos and Ida saw
Where sank his gallant star.

O well could I set my mood
To a mournful falling measure
For a friend dear and dead!
And well could memory brood
Singing of youth's delight
And lost adventure fled.

But that so fearless friend
With his victorious smile
My mourning mood has chid.
He went to the very end;
He counted not the cost;
What he believed, he did.

Shall we but turn from braggart pride
Our race to cheapen and defame?
Before the world to wail, to chide,
And weakness as with vaunting claim?
Ere the hour strikes, to abdicate
The steadfast spirit that made us great,
And rail with scolding tongues at fate?

If England's heritage indeed
Be lost, be traded quite away
For fatted sloth and fevered greed;
If, inly rotting, we decay;
Suffer we then what doom we must,
But silent, as befits the dust
Of them whose chastisement was just.

But rather, England, rally thou
Whatever breathes of faith that still
Within thee keeps the undying vow
And dedicates the constant will.
For such yet lives, if not among
The boasters, or the loud of tongue
Who cry that England's knell is rung.

The faint of heart, the small of brain,
In thee but their own image find:
Beyond such thoughts as these contain
A mightier Presence is enshrined.
Nor meaner than their birthright grown
Shall these thy latest sons be shown,
So thou but use them for thine own.

By those great spirits burning high
In our home's heaven, that shall be stars
To shine, when all is history
And rumour of old, idle wars;
By all those hearts which proudly bled
To make this rose of England red;
The living, the triumphant dead;

By all who suffered and stood fast
That Freedom might the weak uphold,
And in men's ways of wreck and waste
Justice her awful flower unfold;
By all who out of grief and wrong
In passion's art of noble song
Made Beauty to our speech belong;

By those adventurous ones who went
Forth overseas, and, self--exiled,
Sought from far isle and continent
Another England in the wild,
For whom no drums beat, yet they fought
Alone, in courage of a thought
Which an unbounded future wrought;

Yea, and yet more by those to--day
Who toil and serve for naught of gain,
That in thy purer glory they
May melt their ardour and their pain;
By these and by the faith of these,
The faith that glorifies and frees,
Thy lands call on thee, and thy seas.

If thou hast sinned, shall we forsake
Thee, or the less account us thine?
Thy sores, thy shames on us we take.
Flies not for us thy famed ensign?
Be ours to cleanse and to atone;
No man this burden bears alone;
England, our best shall be thine own.

Lift up thy cause into the light!
Put all the factious lips to shame!
Our loves, our faiths, our hopes unite
And strike into a single flame!
Whatever from without betide,
O purify the soul of pride
In us; thy slumbers cast aside;
And of thy sons be justified!

The Cathedral Porch

Towering, towering up to the noon--blaze,
Up to the hot blue, up to blinding gold,
Pillar and pinnacle, arch and corbel, scrolled,
Flowered and tendrilled, soar, aspire and raise
The giant porch, with kings and prophets old
High in their niches, like one shout of praise,
From earth to heaven.--In shadow of the door
Cringeing, a beggar stands;
He holds out abject hands;
His lips for pity and alms mechanically implore.

Splendour of air and the bright splintered beam
Carve all afresh in strong reverberate glow
As if even now the passionate master--blow
Struck from the stone the shapes of beauty's dream.
Can a mere hand ever have fashioned so
Desire's adventure, god--like force, supreme
Sky--scaling joy?--The beggar's toneless drone
Comes from his laughterless
Accepted wretchedness
As from a long--dried well, where off--cast clutter's thrown.

Prophet and saint and kingly king, whose eyes,
Flashing authority, gaze and awe, you came
From wombs of flesh, though now enthroned in fame.
A mother heard the helpless wailing cries
Of voices that have won the world's acclaim
By wisdom, suffering, truth. August you rise
Above this wreck, by whom the children run
Careless with dancing limb,
And laugh, and mock at him;
And beggar, children, towering porch are equal in the sun.

From the opened door bursts upon glorious wings
Music: the shadowy silence moves with sound
That overflows and rolls returning round.
As if to itself, the pillared grandeur sings
Of deeper than all thought has ever found,
Of richer than the heart's imaginings,
Of higher than all hope has dared to see.
Like comment of a crow,
Dulled, reiterate, slow,
The human plaint croaks answer: Vanity! look on me!

Who made the stark unfeatured quarry--block
Live in those song--like pillars? And who smote
The ancient silence into note on note
Melodious as the river from the rock?
Out of the heart of man such splendours float
As make his vileness and his misery mock
The prisoned soul: which shall bespeak him more,
Grandeur of stone and sound,
Or fawning abject, bound
To his abasement, close as to a dungeon floor?

Sunken eyes, craving hands, defeated shape,
Whom to look on so humbles, you appear
But as the avoided husk, shrivelled and sere,
Cast by the spirit that springs up to escape
To its own reality and radiance there
For ever fresh as young bloom on a grape,
Triumphing to be human, yet to win
An amplitude beyond
Dull care and fancy fond,
And breathe the light that man was born to glory in.

Yet littleness, and envy, and obscure pain
Were mortised into that magnificence!
Trading his wretchedness for pity's pence,
Though this poor ruin from the depth complain,
Slave to his self--lamenting impotence,
Nor can his proud humanity regain;
O Wonder of Man, in his indignity,
Forfeit, disgrace, and rue,
Shares he not still in you?
Did not man sink so low, could he aspire so high?

The wind has fal'n asleep; the bough that tost
Is quiet; the warm sun's gone; the wide light
Sinks and is almost lost;
Yet the April day glows on within my mind
Happy as the white buds in the blue air,
A thousand buds that shone on waves of wind.
Now evening leads me wooingly apart.
The young wood draws me down these shelving ways
Deeper, as if it drew me to its heart.

What stills my spirit? What awaits me here?
So motionless the budded hazels spring,
So shadowy and so near!
My feet make not a sound upon this moss,--
Greenest gloom, scented with cold primroses.
A ripple, shy as almost to be mute,
Secretly wanders among further trees;
Else the clear evening brims with loneliness,
With stillness luminous and absolute.

The pause between sunsetting and moonrise
Exhales a strangeness. It melts out in dream
The experience of the wise.
This purity of sharpened sweet spring smells
Comes like a memory lost since I was born.
My own heart changes into mystery!
There is some presence nears through all these spells
Out of the darkened bosom of the earth:
Not I the leaf, but the leaf touches me.

Who seeks me? What shy lover, whose approach
Makes spiritual the white flowers on the thorn?
Who seems to breathe up round me,--perfume strange!--
June and its bloom unborn?
Shy as a virgin passion is the spring!
I could have Time cease now, so there should live
This blossom in the stillness of my heart,--
Earth's earth, yet immaterial as a sense
Enriched to understand, love, hope, forgive.

Now, now, if ever, could the spirit catch,
Beyond the ear's range, thrills of airy sound.
I tremble, as at the lifting of a latch.
Am I not found?
This magical clear moment in the dusk
Is like a crystal dewy--brimming bowl
Imperilled upon lifting hands: I dread
The breathing of the shadow that shall spill
This wonder, and with it my very soul.

A dead bough cracks under my foot. The charm
Breaks; I am I now, in a gloom aware
Of furtive, flitting wing, and hunted eyes,
And furry feet a--scare.
Fear, it is fear exiles us each apart;
We are all bound and prisoned in our fear;
From the dark shadow of our own selves we flee.
Ah, but that moment, open--eyed, erect,
I had stept out of all fear, and was free.

How sweet it was in youth's shy giving--time
Finding the sudden friend, whose thoughts ran out
With yours in natural chime;
Who knew, before speech, what the lips would tell!
No need to excuse, to hide or to defend
From him, in whom your dearest thought shone new
And not a fancy stirred for him in vain.
So was it, as with a so perfect friend,
In that rare moment I have lost again.

But lo, a whiteness risen beyond the hill:
The moon--dawn! A late bird sings somewhere; hark
The long, low, loitering trill!
Like water--drops it falls into the dark.
The earth--sweetness holds me in its fragrant mesh.
Oh, though I know that I am bound afar,
Yet, where the grass is, there I also grew.
Blood knows more than the brain. Am I perhaps
Most true to earth when I seem most untrue?

The wind has fal'n asleep; the bough that tost
Is quiet; the warm sun's gone; the wide light
Sinks and is almost lost;
Yet the April day glows on within my mind
Happy as the white buds in the blue air,
A thousand buds that shone on waves of wind.
Now evening leads me wooingly apart.
The young wood draws me down these shelving ways
Deeper, as if it drew me to its heart.

What stills my spirit? What awaits me here?
So motionless the budded hazels spring,
So shadowy and so near!
My feet make not a sound upon this moss,--
Greenest gloom, scented with cold primroses.
A ripple, shy as almost to be mute,
Secretly wanders among further trees;
Else the clear evening brims with loneliness,
With stillness luminous and absolute.

The pause between sunsetting and moonrise
Exhales a strangeness. It melts out in dream
The experience of the wise.
This purity of sharpened sweet spring smells
Comes like a memory lost since I was born.
My own heart changes into mystery!
There is some presence nears through all these spells
Out of the darkened bosom of the earth:
Not I the leaf, but the leaf touches me.

Who seeks me? What shy lover, whose approach
Makes spiritual the white flowers on the thorn?
Who seems to breathe up round me,--perfume strange!--
June and its bloom unborn?
Shy as a virgin passion is the spring!
I could have Time cease now, so there should live
This blossom in the stillness of my heart,--
Earth's earth, yet immaterial as a sense
Enriched to understand, love, hope, forgive.

Now, now, if ever, could the spirit catch,
Beyond the ear's range, thrills of airy sound.
I tremble, as at the lifting of a latch.
Am I not found?
This magical clear moment in the dusk
Is like a crystal dewy--brimming bowl
Imperilled upon lifting hands: I dread
The breathing of the shadow that shall spill
This wonder, and with it my very soul.

A dead bough cracks under my foot. The charm
Breaks; I am I now, in a gloom aware
Of furtive, flitting wing, and hunted eyes,
And furry feet a--scare.
Fear, it is fear exiles us each apart;
We are all bound and prisoned in our fear;
From the dark shadow of our own selves we flee.
Ah, but that moment, open--eyed, erect,
I had stept out of all fear, and was free.

How sweet it was in youth's shy giving--time
Finding the sudden friend, whose thoughts ran out
With yours in natural chime;
Who knew, before speech, what the lips would tell!
No need to excuse, to hide or to defend
From him, in whom your dearest thought shone new
And not a fancy stirred for him in vain.
So was it, as with a so perfect friend,
In that rare moment I have lost again.

But lo, a whiteness risen beyond the hill:
The moon--dawn! A late bird sings somewhere; hark
The long, low, loitering trill!
Like water--drops it falls into the dark.
The earth--sweetness holds me in its fragrant mesh.
Oh, though I know that I am bound afar,
Yet, where the grass is, there I also grew.
Blood knows more than the brain. Am I perhaps
Most true to earth when I seem most untrue?

Lovely word flying like a bird across the narrow seas,
When winter is over and songs are in the skies,
Peace, with the colour of the dawn upon the name of her,
A music to the ears, a wonder to the eyes;
Peace, bringing husband back to wife and son to mother soon,
And lover to his love, and friend to friend,
Peace, so long awaited and hardly yet believed in,
The answer of faith, enduring to the end;
Tears are in our joy, because the heavy night is gone from us
And morning brings the prisoner's release.
How shall we sing her beauty and her blessedness,
Saying at last to one another, Peace?

Guns that boomed from shore to shore
And smote the heart with distant dread
Speak no more.
The terror that bestrode the air,
That under ocean kept his lair,
Now is fled.

I see, as on a misty morn
When a great ship towering glides
To anchor, out of battle borne,
And looms above her dinted sides,--
Burning through the mist at last
The sun flames on her splintered mast
And the torn flag that from it floats,
And cheering from a thousand throats
Bursts from her splendour and her scars,--
So I see our England come,
Come at last from all her wars
Proudly home.

Now let us praise the dead that are with us to--day
Who fought and fell before the morning shone,
Happy and brave, an innumerable company;
This day is theirs, the day their deeds have won
Glory to them, and from our hearts a thanksgiving
In humbleness and awe and joy and pride.
We will not say that their place shall know no more of them,
We will not say that they have passed and died:
They are the living, they that bought this hour for us
And spilt their blood to make the world afresh.
One with us, one with our children and their heritage,
They live and move, a spirit in the flesh.

With innocence of flowers and grass and dew
Earth covers up her shame, her wounds, her rue.
She pardons and remits; she gives her grace,
Where men had none, and left so foul a trace.
Peace of the earth, peace of the sky, begins
To sweeten and to cleanse our strifes and sins,
The furious thunderings die away and cease.
But what is won, unless the soul win peace?

Not with folding of the hands,
Not with evening fallen wide
Over waste and weary lands,
Peace is come; but as a bride.
It is the trumpets of the dawn that ring;
It is the sunrise that is challenging.

Lovely word, flying like a light across the happy Land,
When the buds break and all the earth is changed,
Bringing back the sailor from his watch upon the perilled seas,
Rejoining shores long severed and estranged,
Peace, like the Spring, that makes the torrent dance afresh
And bursts the bough with sap of beauty pent,
Flower from our hearts into passionate recovery
Of all the mind lost in that banishment.
Come to us mighty as a young and glad deliverer
From wrong's old canker and out--dated lease,
Then will we sing thee in thy triumph and thy majesty,
Then from our throes shall be prepared our peace.

Midsummer Vigil

Night smiles on me with her stars,
Mystic, pure, enchanted, lone.
Light, that only heaven discloses,
Is in heaven that no cloud mars;
Here, through murmuring darkness blown,
Comes the scent of unseen roses.

Now the world is all asleep;
Drowsy man dull rest is taking.
I with whispering trees apart
My deserted vigil keep.
Light leaves in the light wind shaking
Echo back my beating heart.

And the garden's perfumes thrill me
Like a touch or whispered name:
Heliotrope and lavender
Slumber--odoured lilies, fill me
With their breath, like subtlest flame;
Vague desire and yearning stir.

Shadowy elms above me, crowned
With mysterious foliage, dim
Mid the stars, against the skies,
Hidden lawn and alley bound,
Full of voices, full of dream,
Fragrant breathings and long sighs.

Wishes, that with eager tongues
Strive among the soft--blown boughs,
Each an amorous messenger;
Dreams, that glide in noiseless throngs;
Wingèd flight of earnest vows;
Listening with hushed breath I hear.

This intoxicating sweetness
That the perfumed air exhales,
Stir of thoughts and dear desires,
Joys that faint with their own fleetness,
Passion that for utterance fails;
Whither burns it? where aspires?

'Tis for her, whose worshipped hand
Holds my heart, for life, for death.
Ah, could she, could she but come
Hither, where Love's witching wand
Holds the midnight's thoughtful breath,
While the stars are glittering dumb!

Come, that into that sweet ear
I might pour what until now
Never heart brought tongue to tell,
Mistress ne'er had bliss to hear,
Lover with his hundredth vow
Vainly sought to syllable.

Pale with transport when I take
'Twixt my hands her face, and look
Deep into her brimming eyes,
Passionately fain to speak,
How my trembling murmurs mock
Those unuttered ecstacies!

And when cheek to cheek is prest,
And the pulse of her pure being
Throbs from her veins into mine,
Love in torment from my breast
Cries athirst for language, freeing
In sweet speech his pangs divine.

How should language, weak and vain,
Bear the burden of such joy?
How should words the meaning reach
Of that charm's ecstatic pain;
Charm which words would but destroy
Of devotion beyond speech?

But to--night, dear, Love is kind,
And those jealous bonds that mesh
The heart's tongue--tied truth sets free.
Undivided, unconfined
By those walls of human flesh,
Look, my heart is bared to thee!

Seeing, thou shalt want not eyes;
Hearing, thou shalt need not ears;
Purged, our spirits shall burn through
Tedious day's necessities.
O to cast off doubts and fears!
To touch truth, and feel it true!

Thou my tender thought shalt find
Ever, like a quick--eyed slave,
Watching for thy wish unspoken;
In my inmost treasury shrined
Looks and tones thy spirit gave,
Faith's for ever cherished token!

Come, O come, where'er thou art!
Ere this rich hour past reprieve
In the garish daylight die,
Hear me, Sweet, and my heart's heart,
My soul's soul, believe, receive,
Poured into a single sigh!

To the People of the United States
Now is the time of the splendour of Youth and Death.
The spirit of man grows grander than men knew.
The unbearable burden is borne, the impossible done;
Though harder is yet to do
Before this agony end, and that be won
We seek through blinding battle, in choking breath,--
The New World, seen in vision! Land of lands,
In the midst of storms that desolate and divide,
In the hour of the breaking heart, O far--descried,
You build our courage, you hold up our hands.

Men of America, you that march to--day
Through roaring London, supple and lean of limb,
Glimpsed in the crowd I saw you, and in your eye
Something alert and grim,
As knowing on what stern call you march away
To the wrestle of nations; saw your heads held high
And, that same moment, far in a glittering beam
High over old and storied Westminster
The Stars and Stripes with England's flag astir,
Sisterly twined and proud on the air astream.

Men of America, what do you see? Is it old
Towers of fame and grandeur time--resigned?
The frost of custom's backward--gazing thought?
Seek closer! You shall find
Miracles hour by hour in silence wrought;
Births, and awakenings; dyings never tolled;
Invisible crumble and fall of prison--bars.
O, wheresoever his home, new or decayed,
Man is older than all the things he has made
And yet the youngest spirit beneath the stars.

Rock--cradled, white, and soaring out of the sea,
I behold again the fabulous city arise,
Manhattan! Queen of thronged and restless bays
And of daring ships is she.
O lands beyond, that into the sunset gaze,
Limitless, teeming continent of surmise!
I drink again that diamond air, I thrill
To the lure of a wonder more than the wondrous past,
And see before me ages yet more vast
Rising, to challenge heart and mind and will.

What sailed they out to seek, who of old came
To that bare earth and wild, unhistoried coast?
Not gold, nor granaries, nay, nor a halcyon ease
For the weary and tempest--tost:
The unshaken soul they sought, possessed in peace.
What seek we now, and hazard all on the aim?
In the heart of man is the undiscovered earth
Whose hope's our compass; sweet with glorious passion
Of men's good--will; a world to forge and fashion
Worthy the things we have seen and brought to birth.

Taps of the Drum! Now once again they beat:
And the answer comes; a continent arms. Dread,
Pity, and Grief, there is no escape. The call
Is the call of the risen Dead.
Terrible year of the nations' trampling feet!
An angel has blown his trumpet over all
From the ends of the earth, from East to uttermost West,
Because of the soul of man, that shall not fail,
That will not make refusal, or turn, or quail,
No, nor for all calamity, stay its quest.

And here, here too, is the New World, born of pain
In destiny--spelling hours. The old world breaks
Its mould, and life runs fierce and fluid, a stream
That floods, dissolves, re--makes.
Each pregnant moment, charged to its extreme,
Quickens unending future, and all's vain
But the onward mind, that dares the oncoming years
And takes their storm, a master. Life shall then
Transfigure Time with yet more marvellous men.
Hail to the sunrise! Hail to the Pioneers!

The Snows Of Spring

O wailing gust, what hast thou brought with thee,
What sting of desolation? But an hour,
And brave was every shy new--opened flower
Smiling in sun beneath a budding tree.
Now over black hills the skies stoop and lour;
Now on this lonely upland the shrill blast
Thrusts under brown dead crumpled leaves to find
Soft primroses that were unfolding fast;
Now the fair Spring cries through the shuddering wood
Lamenting for her darlings to the wind
That ravishes their youth with laughter rude.

The whole air darkens, sweeping up in storm.
What breath is this of what far power that slays?
What God in blank and towering cloud arrays
His muffled, else intolerable form?
What beautiful Medusa's frozen gaze?
Lo, out of gloom the first flakes floating pale,
Lost like a dreamer's thoughts! They shall lie deep
To--morrow on green shoot, on petal frail
And living branches borne down in despair
By the mere weight of that soft--nesting sleep,
Though all the earth look still and white and fair.

Phantasmal and extreme as some blind plain
Upon the far side of the moon, unknown
Deep Polar solitudes of ice enthrone
In the white night of mountain and moraine
The power of that cold Sleep that dwells alone,
Absolute in remotest idleness.
Yet from his fancied lips the freezing breath
Wandering about the world's warm wilderness
Has drifted on the north wind even hither
These gently whispering syllables of death
Among the English flowers, our Spring to wither.

Not only the brief tender flowers, ah me!
Suffer such desolation, but we too
Who boast our godlike liberty to do
Whate'er we will, and range all climes, ev'n we
Must still abide its coming and our rue.
It breathes in viewless winds and gently falls
Over our spirits, till desire grown sere,
Faith frozen into words, custom like walls
Of stone imprison us, and we acquiesce.
More than the raging elements to fear
Is snow--soft death that comes like a caress.

Life lives for ever: Death of her knows naught.
Our souls through radiant mystery are led,
Clothed in fresh raiment as the old is shed.
But Death the unchanging has no aim, no thought,
Deaf, blind, indifferent, feeds not yet is fed,
Moves not yet crushes, is not rent yet rends:
For as from icebergs killing airs are blown,
His cold sleep to our life--warm ardour sends
Frost wreathing round us delicate as rime,
Making most real what should be dream alone
To the free spirit, the gnawing tooth of time.

Who shall escape, since death and life inweave
Their threads so subtly? Yet may truth be wooed
In our own natures, shaken off the brood
Of thoughts not ours, beliefs our lips believe
But our hearts own not,--alien fortitude.
These are of death; and with his realm conspire
Faint souls that drowse in ignorance unjust,
That with the world corrupt their true desire,
And dully hate and stagnantly despise.
Already they begin to die, to rust;
But those that love are always young and wise.

O Love, my Love, the dear light of whose eyes
Shines on the world to show me all things new,
Falsehood the falser and the true more true,
And tenfold precious all my soul must prize,
Since from our life's core love so deeply grew,
O let us cleave fast to the heavenly powers
That brought us this, whose unseen spirit flows
Pure as the wind and sensitive as flowers.
They are with us! Let the storm--gathering night
Cover the bleak earth with these whirling snows,
Our hands are joined, our hearts are brimmed with light.

Europe, Mdcccci To Napoleon

Soars still thy spirit, Child of Fire?
Dost hear the camps of Europe hum?
On eagle wings dost hover nigher
At the far rolling of the drum?
To see the harvest thou hast sown
Smilest thou now, Napoleon?

Long had the world in blinded mirth
Or suffering patience dreamed content,
When lo! like thunder over earth
Thy challenge pealed, the skies were rent:
Thy terrible youth rose up alone
Against the old world on its throne.

With shuddering then the peoples gazed,
And such a stupor bound them dumb
As those fierce Colchian ranks amazed
Who saw the youthful Jason come,
And challenging the War God's name
Step forth, his fiery yoke to tame.

He took those dread bulls by the horn,
Harnessed their fury to his will,
And in the furrow swiftly torn
The dragon's teeth abroad did spill:
When lo! behind his trampling heel
The furrow flowered into steel!

A spear, a plume, a warrior sprung--
Arm'd gods in wrath by hundreds; he
Faced all, and full amidst them flung
His magic helmet: instantly
Their swords upon themselves they drew,
And shouting each the other slew.

But no Medean spell was thine,
Napoleon, nor anointed charm;
Thy will was as a fate divine
To wavering men who watched thine arm
Drive on through Europe old thy plough.
The harvest ripens even now!

Time's purple flauntings, king and crown,
Old custom's tall and idle weeds,
Were tossed aside and trampled down,
While thou didst scatter fiery seeds,
That in the gendering lap of earth
Prepared a new world's Titan birth.

Then in thy path from underground,
Where long benumbed in trance they froze,
The Nations, giant forms unbound,
Slow to their aching stature rose;
And through their wintry veins again
Slow flushed the streams of life in pain.

Thy thunder, O Napoleon, passed,
But these whom thou hadst stirred to life,
On them the imperious doom was cast
Of inextinguishable strife.
For peace they longed, but blood and tears
Still blinded the tempestuous years.

A hundred years have flown, and still
For peace they pine; peace tarries yet.
These groaning armies Europe fill,
And war's red planet hath not set.
O mockery of peace, that gnaws
Their hearts for so abhorred a cause!

Is peace so easy? Nay, the names
That are most dear and most divine
To men, are like the heavenly flames
That farthest from possession shine.
Peace, love, truth, freedom, unto these
The way is through the storming seas.

Ye wakened nations, now no more
You battle for a monarch's whim;
The cause is now in your heart's core,
Your soul must strive through every limb;
They who with all their soul contend
Bear more, but to a nobler end.

Be patient in your strife! And thou,
O England, dearer than the rest;
England, with proud looks on thy brow,
England, with trouble at thy breast,
Seek on in patient fortitude
Strong peace, most worthy to be wooed.

Take up thy task, O nobly born!
With both hands grasp thy destiny.
Easy is ignorance, easy scorn,
And fluent pride, unworthy thee.
Grand rolls the planet of thy fate:
Be thy just passions also great!

Turn from the sweet lure of content,
Rise up among the beds of ease;
Be all thy will as a bow bent,
Thy sure on--coming like thy seas.
Purge clear within thy deep desires
To be our burning altar--fires!

Then welcome peril, so it bring
Thy true soul leaping into light;
A glory for our mouths to sing
And for our deeds to match in might,
Till thou at last our hope enthrone,
And make indeed thy peace our own.

High on the mountain, shrouded in vast trees,
The stillness had the chastity of frost.
I trod the fallen pallors of the moon.
The path was paven stone: I was not lost,
But followed whither it should lead me soon
Into the mountain’s midmost secrecies.

Wandering into the mind, sweet, luminous, warm
Remembrances of the body,—
Smell of the woods in the irradiated noonday,
Flushes of foliage,
The ridged horizon opening far and blue,—
Came with a breathing of colour, and then sank
Remote as flames gleam in a dark pane glassed.
Earth had rolled onward into regions new,
And all the darkness at my senses drank,
Aware now, subtly, as of a frontier passed.

On either side the trees unending rose.
No shadowy sound stirred amid all their plumes.
Each seemed a separate and a soaring night,
Black canopies of cold uncounted tombs.
Pilgrims had here fallen on their repose:
Graven with names, their tablets gleamed upright.

And softly as the fallen lightness of a willow-leaf
On the liquid stealing
Of water unrippled, profound, my spirit was stolen
By the crystal silence.
And with me it seemed invisible others went,
Spirits unhistoried, of such dim surmise
As in the dark the tremble of a leaf.
With them I went, and Night was eloquent
Of things that are not in the day’s belief,
And made me of those things, like a blind man, wise.

Obscurity at last relented round
A glimmering space: the inmost Shrine appeared.
Before it, motionless as any tree,
Praying, a pilgrim stood. There was a sound
Of water in the distance hardly heard:
But most that living man astonished me.

Many stone lanterns made a clustered shining
As if in a wondrous
Cavern of lost and intricate shadows, enclosing
The light’s clear vigil;
But the air behind that solitary form
Was trembling like a veil of trembling light,
Where from an urn rose endless incense-fume
That left a ghostly fragrance on the night.
It seemed a spirit sighing to resume
The touch of what was breathing, human, warm.

Bare-headed, sandalled, still that pilgrim prayed,
Unconscious of all else but his heart’s prayer.
Out of his breast a broken murmur deep
Came with his frosted breathing on the air
Before the shrine in its tree-guarded shade
Where that great Saint continued in his sleep.

It seemed that from Time’s beginning he had stood there
In a hushed vastness,
Solitary, erect, amid the unimagined motion
Of worlds unnumbered,
Absorbed, secure in his small star of light.
And now that ceaseless, fugitive frail smoke
Appeared to me like shadowy souls in flight
Woven together into a veil of breath
That wavered as their little life awoke
And passed for ever into birth or death.

What prayer was his that mingled with the mist
Of the forgotten sighings of the dead?
I knew not; yet in him I seemed to share
Longings that still were patient to persist
Through Time and Death from lips that once were red.
In that one image all my kind stood there.
Lover of the body, lover of the divine sun,
Of earth’s replenished
Fullness and change and savour of life rejoicing
Careless of all care,
Me now the Silence for its vessel chose
And filled from wells unsounded by the mind.
No other need I had, and could not less
Than to be wholly to this spell resigned
And dark communion with the spirit that knows
Vigil and frost and solitariness.

Fragments we are, and none has seen the whole.
Only some moment wins us to restore
The touch of infinite companionship.
I that had journeyed from so far a shore
Found at the world’s end the same pilgrim soul,
And the old sorrow, no flight can outstrip.

Now in the midst of the irradiated noonday
Suddenly absent,
While in my ear is the sound of familiar voices,
Light talk and laughter,
My thought has in an instant flown the seas;
A great remoteness occupies my heart;
And there arises on my inward sight
The shadowy apparition of vast trees.
A pathway opens; I am stolen apart,
And I ascend a mountain in the night.

Ode For September

On that long day when England held her breath,
Suddenly gripped at heart
And called to choose her part
Between her loyal soul and luring sophistries,
We watched the wide, green--bosomed land beneath
Driven and tumultuous skies;
We watched the volley of white shower after shower
Desolate with fierce drops the fallen flower;
And still the rain's retreat
Drew glory on its track,
And still, when all was darkness and defeat,
Upon dissolving cloud the bow of peace shone back.
So in our hearts was alternating beat,
With very dread elate;
And Earth dyed all her day in colours of our fate.

But oh, how faint the image we foretold
In fancies of our fear
Now that the truth is here!
And we awake from dream yet think it still a dream.
It bursts our thoughts with more than thought can hold;
And more than human seem
These agonies of conflict; Elements
At war! yet not with vast indifference
Casually crushing; nay,
It is as if were hurled
Lightnings that murdered, seeking out their prey;
As if an earthquake shook to chaos half the world,
Equal in purpose as in power to slay;
And thunder stunned our ears
Streaming in rain of blood on torrents that are tears.

Around a planet rolls the drum's alarm.
Far where the summer smiles
Upon the utmost isles,
Danger is treading silent as a fever--breath.
Now in the North the secret waters arm;
Under the wave is Death:
They fight in the very air, the virgin air,
Hovering on fierce wings to the onset: there
Nations to battle stream;
Earth smokes and cities burn;
Heaven thickens in a storm of shells that scream;
The long lines shattering break, turn and again return;
And still across a continent they teem,
Moving in myriads; more
Than ranks of flesh and blood, but soul with soul at war!

All the hells are awake: the old serpents hiss
From dungeons of the mind;
Fury of hate born blind,
Madness and lust, despairs and treacheries unclean;
They shudder up from man's most dark abyss.
But there are heavens serene
That answer strength with strength; they stand secure;
They arm us from within, and we endure.
Now are the brave more brave,
Now is the cause more dear,
The more the tempests of the darkness rave
As, when the sun goes down, the shining stars are clear.
Radiant the spirit rushes to the grave.
Glorious it is to live
In such an hour, but life is lovelier yet to give.

Alas! what comfort for the uncomforted,
Who knew no cause, nor sought
Glory or gain? they are taught,
Homeless in homes that burn, what human hearts can bear.
The children stumble over their dear dead,
Wandering they know not where.
And there is one who simply fights, obeys,
Tramps, till he loses count of nights and days,
Tired, mired in dust and sweat,
Far from his own hearth--stone;
A common man of common earth, and yet
The battle--winner he, a man of no renown,
Where ``food for cannon'' pays a nation's debt.
This is Earth's hero, whom
The pride of Empire tosses careless to his doom.

Now will we speak, while we have eyes for tears
And fibres to be wrung
And in our mouths a tongue.
We will bear wrongs untold but will not only bear;
Not only bear, but build through striving years
The answer of our prayer,
That whosoever has the noble name
Of man, shall not be yoked to alien shame;
That life shall be indeed
Life, not permitted breath
Of spirits wrenched and forced to others' need,
Robbed of their nature's joy and free alone in death.
The world shall travail in that cause, shall bleed,
But deep in hope it dwells
Until the morning break which the long night foretells.

O children filled with your own airy glee
Or with a grief that comes
So swift, so strange, it numbs,
If on your growing youth this page of terror bite,
Harden not then your senses, feel and be
The promise of the light.
O heirs of Man, keep in your hearts not less
The divine torrents of his tenderness!
'Tis ever war: but rust
Grows on the sword; the tale
Of earth is strewn with empires heaped in dust
Because they dreamed that force should punish and prevail.
The will to kindness lives beyond their lust;
Their grandeurs are undone:
Deep in man's suffering soul are all his victories won.

The Voices Of The Ocean

All the night the voices of ocean around my sleep
Their murmuring undulation sleepless kept.
Rocked in a dream I slept,
Till drawn from trances deep
At the invocation of morning calling strong,
I felt through sanguine eyelids light suffuse
My brain, and woke to a wonder of glad hues,
And over the trembling choir of birds that throng
Among the tamarisk and the glittering dews
I heard, O sea, thy song.

A charm has lured my feet, and I to the beach come down,
The bright abandoned beach, the curving strand,
And stripping upon the sand
I meet the salt spray o'er my body blown,
Embracing swift the jubilant waves that send
Their triumphing surges shouting to the shores around,
Until in a rushing splendour senses drowned
The solid earth forgetting, haste to spend
Their ever--fresh delight in the glory of swift sound
And the thunder without end.

But now from the wave withdrawn in indolent ease
Again desire upsprings to know thy heart.
I pace by the foam apart
Or linger in shadow shy, removed from any breeze.
Come, thou hast more to tell, thou hast not done,
I will be patient, all day lying in wait to hear
Upon the warm rock ledges hearkening near,
Of all thy thousand tones to lose not one,
While the shattered surf blows o'er me, leaping clear
To the seaward--journeying sun.

Radiant, hurrying delight of crests that dance and advance,
Careless, arrogant legions, tossing their milky manes;
How the wet light leaps and rains
From shivered plumes that melt in a lightning glance
And splendour of airy tresses backward blown!
What shouts of exultation, laughter sweet,
Wail of vanishing hosts and sighs of defeat,
Irresistible menace and anguished moan;
A thousand voices mingle in triumph and retreat:
But tell me, O sea, thine own!

Surely to happy mirth thou wooest my desire;
Willing is my heart with thy young waves to roam,
Lightly tripping foam,
Ever laughing nearer, ever dancing higher.
Sweeter than all glory, where the spirit wills
With heart outpoured in song triumphant as the tide,
With eager, open heart, ever to ride and ride!
Yet now at height of joy what tumult fills
Thy rushing strength? A sudden gloom invades thy pride
Resisted, an anger thrills.

Mutinous indignation that heavy Fate defies,
The ignorant rocks that set their sullen jaws,
In thy white flames that never pause
Rebelliously upleaping, my own heart I recognise.
I see the world's embattled towers uplift their height,
The wise, distrusting faces of them that trample truth;
I see the bodies slain of hopeless hoping youth;
And dark my heart upswells to the vainly echoing fight,
Cries of the helpless, tears of idle ruth,
And the wrong I cannot right.

Melancholy, to thee must I my vows resign?
The bitterness of my spirit give away
To the bitter broken spray?
O down--drawn sighing streams, with you repine?
Cover me, heavy waters, that I may hide my face
In darkness, nor behold the ruined flowers I sowed
Desolately forsaken that so sweetly glowed.
Defeated too am I, and languish in my place,
And still as glory fades, I bear a heavier load,
And the desert spreads apace.

Figures of sorrow now in my remembrance stand,
I see the face of her that her children ask for bread--
She turns away her head:
The face of him that all day toils on a stony land;
Women that ere the morning to their woe awake;
And him that sightless hears the murmur gaily streams,
Knocking weary the pavement that opens not for him.
O loud bewailing waves, you tremble as you break,
And you lift your dirges wild as you vanish into dream
For these and for my sake.

But hark! what voice emerges from the lamenting choir?
Surely Love is speaking! My heart trembles to hear.
Now no more I fear,
I cast my grief behind, I have but one desire;
To give my soul entire, nor to count any cost,
To pour my heart in passionate unreason sweet,
To follow and to follow with ever faithful feet
The steps adored of Love, whatever peril crossed,
With bliss or woe extreme my longing to complete,
In love divinely lost.

Sea, was this thy errand? Ah, but hush;
Again the wild lament, again the strife!
And now in mirth of life
Thy gleeful waters all overriding rush.
O have I heard at last? For now thy voices call
Mingled and sounding clear in a mighty voice as one.
In my heart they mingle that rejecteth none;
Sorrow that no longer shall my head appal,
Love, my sweetest joy; pain that I fear to shun;
I need, I need them all.

When life begins anew,
And Youth, from gathering flowers,
From vague delights, rapt musings, twilight hours,
Turns restless, seeking some great deed to do,
To sum his fostered dreams; when that fresh birth
Unveils the real, the thronged and spacious Earth,
And he awakes to those more ample skies,
By other aims and by new powers possessed:
How deeply, then, his breast
Is filled with pangs of longing! how his eyes
Drink in the enchanted prospect! Fair it lies
Before him, with its plains expanding vast,
Peopled with visions, and enriched with dreams;
Dim cities, ancient forests, winding streams,
Places resounding in the famous past,
A kingdom ready to his hand!
How like a bride Life seems to stand
In welcome, and with festal robes arrayed!
He feels her loveliness pervade
And pierce him with inexplicable sweetness;
And, in her smiles delighting, and the fires
Of his own pulses, passionate soul!
Measure his strength by his desires,
And the wide future by their fleetness,
As his thought leaps to the long--distant goal.

So eagerly across that unknown span
Of years he gazes: what, to him,
Are bounds and barriers, tales of Destiny,
Death, and the fabled impotence of man?
Already, in his marching dream,
Men at his sun--like coming seem
As with an inspiration stirred, and he
To kindle with new thoughts degenerate nations,
In sordid cares immersed so long;
Thrilled with ethereal exultations
And a victorious expectancy,
Even such as swelled the breasts of Bacchus' throng,
When that triumphal burst of joy was hurled
Upon the wondering world;
When from the storied, sacred East afar,
Down Indian gorges clothed in green,
With flower--reined tigers and with ivory car
He came, the youthful god;
Beautiful Bacchus, ivy--crowned, his hair
Blown on the wind, and flushed limbs bare,
And lips apart, and radiant eyes,
And ears that caught the coming melodies,
As wave on wave of revellers swept abroad;
Wreathed with vine--leaves, shouting, trampling onwards,
With tossed timbrel and gay tambourine.

Alas! the disenchanting years have rolled
On hearts and minds becoming cold:
Mirth is gone from us; and the world is old.
O bright new--comer, filled with thoughts of joy,
Joy to be thine amid these pleasant plains,
Know'st thou not, child, what surely coming pains
Await thee, for that eager heart's annoy?
Misunderstanding, disappointment, tears,
Wronged love, spoiled hope, mistrust and ageing fears,
Eternal longing for one perfect friend,
And unavailing wishes without end?
Thou proud and pure of spirit, how must thou bear
To have thine infinite hates and loves confined,
Schooled, and despised? How keep unquenched and free
Mid others' commerce and economy
Such ample visions, oft in alien air
Tamed to the measure of the common kind?
How hard for thee, swept on, for ever hurled
From hour to hour, bewildered and forlorn,
To move with clear eyes and with steps secure,
To keep the light within, fitly to scorn
These all too possible and easy goals,
Trivial ambitions of soon--sated souls.
And, patient in thy purpose, to endure
The pity and the wisdom of the world.

Vain, vain such warning to those happy ears!
Disturb not their delight! By unkind powers
Doomed to keep pace with the relentless Hours,
He, too, ere long, shall feel Earth's glory change;
Familiar names shall take an accent strange,
A deeper meaning, a more human tone;
No more passed by, unheeded or unknown,
The things that then shall be beheld through tears.

Yet, O just Nature, thou
Who, if men's hearts be hard, art always mild;
O fields and streams, and places undefiled,
Let your sweet airs be ever on his brow,
Remember still your child.
Thou too, O human world, if old desires,
If thoughts, not alien once, can move thee now,
Teach him not yet that idly he aspires
Where thou hast failed; not soon let it be plain,
That all who seek in thee for nobler fires,
For generous passion, spend their hopes in vain:
Lest that insidious Fate, foe of mankind,
Who ever waits upon our weakness, try
With whispers his unnerved and faltering mind,
Palsy his powers; for she has spells to dry,
Like the March blast, his blood, turn flesh to stone,
And, conjuring action with necessity,
Freeze the quick will, and make him all her own.

Come, then, as ever, like the Wind at morning!
Joyous, O Youth, in the aged world renew
Freshness to feel the eternities around it,
Rain, stars, and clouds, light and the sacred dew.
The strong sun shines above thee:
That strength, that radiance bring!
If Winter come to Winter,
When shall men hope for Spring?

The Antagonists

Caverns mouthed with blackness more than night,
Fever--jungle deep in strangling brier,
Venom--breeding slime that loathest light,
Who has plumbed your secret? who the blind desire
Hissing from the viper's lifted jaws,
Maddening the beast with scent of prey
Tracked through savage glooms on robber paws
Till the slaughter gluts him red and reeking? Nay,
Man, this breathing mystery, this intense
Body beautiful with thinking eyes,
Master of a spirit outsoaring sense,
Spirit of tears and laughter, who has measured all the skies,--
Is he also the lair
Of a lust, of a sting
That hides from the air
Yet is lurking to spring
From the nescient core
Of his fibre, alert
At the trumpet of war
And hungry to hurt,
When he hears from abysses of time
Aboriginal mutters, replying
To something he knew not within him,
And the Demon of Earth crying:

``I am the will of the Fire
That bursts into boundless fury;
I am my own implacable desire.

``I am the will of the Sea
That shoulders the ships and breaks them;
There is none other but me.''

Heavy forests bred them,
The race that dreamed.
In the bones of savage earth
Their dreams had birth:
Darkness fed them.
And the full brain grossly teemed
With thoughts compressed, with rages
Obstinate, stark, obscure--
Thirsts no time assuages,
But centuries immure.
As the sap of trees, behind
Crumpled bark of bossy boles,
Presses up its juices blind,
Buried within their souls
The dream insatiate still
Nursed its fierceness old
And violent will,
Haunted with twilight where the Gods drink full
Ere they renew their revelry of slaying,
And warriors leap like the lion on the bull,
And harsh horns in the northern mist are braying.
Tenebrous in them lay the dream
Like a fire that under ashes
Smoulders heavy--heaped and dim
Yet with spurted stealthy flashes
Sends a goblin shadow floating
Crooked on the rafters--then
Sudden from its den
Springs in splendour. So should burst
Destiny from dream, from thirst
Rapture gloating
On a vision of earth afar
Stretched for a prize and a prey;
And the secular might of the Gods re--risen
Savage and glorious, waiting its day,
Should shatter its ancient prison
And leap like the panther to slay,
Magnificent! Storm, then, and thunder
The haughty to crush with the tame,
For the world is the strong man's plunder
Whose coming is swifter than flame;
And the nations unready, decayed,
Unworthy of fate or afraid,
Shall be stricken and torn asunder
Or yield in shame.

The Dream is fulfilled.
Is it this that you willed,
O patient ones?
For this that you gave
Young to the grave
Your valiant sons?
For this that you wore
Brave faces, and bore
The burden heart--breaking--
Sublimely deceived,
You that bled and believed--
For the Dream? or the Waking?

No drum--beat, pulsing challenge and desire,
Sounded, no jubilant boast nor fierce alarm
Cried throbbing from enfevered throats afire
For glory, when from vineyard, forge, and farm,
From wharf and warehouse, foundry, shop, and school,
From the unreaped cornfield and the office--stool
France called her sons; but loth, but grave,
But silent, with their purpose proud and hard
Within them, as of men that go to guard
More than life, yet to dare
More than death: France, it was their France to save!
Nor now the fiery legend of old fames
And that imperial Eagle whose wide wings
Hovered from Vistula to Finistère,
Who plucked the crown from Kings,
Filled her; but France was arming in her mind:
The world unborn and helpless, not the past
Victorious with banners, called her on;
And she assembled not her sons alone
From city and hamlet, coast and heath and hill,
But deep within her bosom, deeper still
Than any fear could search, than any hope could blind,
Beyond all clamours of her recent day,
Hot smouldering of the faction and the fray,
She summoned her own soul. In the hour of night,
In the hush that felt the armed tread of her foes,
Like a star, silent out of seas, it rose.

Most human France! In those clear eyes of light
Was vision of the issue, and all the cost
To the last drop of generous blood, the last
Tears of the orphan and the widow; and yet
She shrank not from the terror of the debt,
Seeing what else were with the cause undone,
The very skies barred with an iron threat,
The very mind of freedom lost
Beneath that shadow bulked across the sun.
Therefore did she abstain
From all that had renowned her, all that won
The world's delight: thought--stilled
With deep reality to the heart she burned,
And took upon her all the load of pain
Foreknown; and her sons turned
From wife's and children's kiss
Simply, and steady--willed
With quiet eyes, with courage keen and clear,
Faced Eastward.--If an English voice she hear,
That has no speech worthy of her, let this
Be of that day remembered, with what pride
Our ancient island thrilled to the oceans wide,
And our hearts leapt to know that England then,
Equal in faith of free and loyal men,
Stept to her side.

Rolled in a smouldering mist, wrapt in an ardent cloud,
Over ridged roofs, over the buried roar
That comes and goes
Where shadowy London mutters at the core
Of meeting streets interminably ploughed
Through blackness built and steepled and immense
With felt, unfeatured, waste magnificence,
The night shudders and glows.
Ensanguined skies, that lower and lift and change
Each instant! sullen with a spectral rose
Upon the towered horizon; but more near
A lurid vapour, throbbing up the gloom,
Glares like a furnace fume;
Exhausted pallors hover faint and strange;
Dull fiery flushes melt and reappear;
While over all in lofty glimpses far
Spaces of silence and blue dream disclose
The still eye of a star.

Muffled in burning air, so dumb
Above this monstrous ever--trembling hum,
What hide you, heavens? What sombre presences,
What powers pass over? What dim--legioned host,
What peopled pageantries,
With gleam of arms and robes that crimsoned trail,
In silent triumph or huge mockery hail?
O, is it the tumultuous--memoried ghost
Of some lost city, fabulous and frail,
Stoops over London; Susa, Thebes, or Tyre,
Rebuilded out of mist and fire?
No, rather to its secret self revealed
The soul of London burning in the skies
Her desolations and her majesties!

There, there is all unsealed:
Terror and hope, ecstasy and despair
Their apparition yield,
While still through kindled street and shadowy square
The faces pass, the uncounted faces crowd,--
Rages, lamentings, joys, in masks of flesh concealed.

Down a grimed lane, around a bare--benched room,
Seven shapes of men are sunken, heads upon hands bowed.
--O spent and mad desires, lost in the fiery cloud,
What dungeon fled you from?
Across the river's glittering gloom,
Under the towered chimes, a youth steps, bright
With dream that all the future clothes,
Into this new, enchanted land.
Incessant stream the faces into light!
From his wife's hand
Behold a drunkard snatch the toil--earned pence,
And strike her on the patient face with oaths.
But over trees, upon a balcony,
To a young girl life murmurs up immense
Its strange delight,
And in her pulses to her spirit sings.
Along an alley thronged and flaring
A woman's loud self--loathing laughter rings.
The old prowler leers. Fierce cries a mob incense.
(Still the red Night her stormy heart is baring.)
A bent blind beggar taps along the stones.
The indifferent traffic roars and drones.
Blank under a high torch
Gapes a house--ruin, propped with beams; beneath
Some shadow--guarded and neglected porch
A girl and boy
(Whence flowered, O Night, yon soft and fearful rose?)
Press timid lips and breathe,
Speechless, their joy.
Hither and thither goes
The homeless outcast; students turn the page
By lamplight; the physician sentences;
Dull--eyed or jovial, tavern--loungers drink;
The applauded actor steps upon the stage;
Mothers with far thoughts watch upon their knees
Where children slumber; revellers stamp and shout;
Long--parted bosoms meet in sobbed embrace;
Hope, behind doors, ebbs from the waiting face;
Locked bodies sway and swell
With pain of unendurable farewell:
No instant, but some debt of terror's paid,
Some shame exacted, measureless love poured out,
Weak hearts are helped, strong men are torn,
Wild sorrow in dear arms is comforted,
The last peace dawns upon the newly dead,
And in hushed rooms is heard wail of the newly born.

What ferments rise and mingle,
Night, on your cloudy mirror! what young fire
Shoots, and what endless lassitudes expire!
Yet out of one flesh wrought,
None separate, none single!
Hater and hated, seeker and sought,
O restless, O innumerable shapes,
Kneaded by one all--urging thought,
That none diverts, that none escapes;
So thirsted for, if not in pride, in shame,
If not with tenderness, with railing curse,
If not with hands that cherish, hands that maim,
Life, how vast! Life, how brief!
Eternally wooed and wooing,
That some would stifle, and some hotly seize,
And some by cunning trap into their mesh,
Or plunder in the darkness like a thief;
And these from rapturous pangs of flesh
Would crush to maddening wine, and these
In still renunciation lure to their soul's ease.
Though never in a single heart contained,
Though depth of it no wisest seer may plumb,
Though height of it no hero wholly gained,
Heavenly and human, twined in all our throes
Of passion that in blind heat overflows
To charge the night with thick and shuddering fume,
And felt in every cry, in every deed
Defaced or freed,
Ah, spent at such a dear and cruel cost,--
Possessed a moment, and then, like yon height
Of stars, clouded in our own selves and lost,--
Lives the supreme
Reality, diviner than all dream.

Now all the heaven like a huge smithy glows,
Hollow and palpitating dusk and glare!
Ah, forge of God, where blows
The blast of an incredible flame, what might
Shapes to what uses there
Each obdurate iron or molten fiery part
Of the one infinite wrought human heart,
In tears, love, anger, beauty and despair
Throbbing for ever, under the red night?

Mother And Child

By old blanched fibres of gaunt ivy bound,
The hollow crag towers under noon's blue height.
Ribbed ledges, lizard--haunted crannies white,
Cushioned with stone--crop and with moss embrowned,
Cool that clear shadow from the outer glare
Above a grassy mound,
Where she that sits, muses with lips apart
And eyes dream--filled beneath the abundant hair
And lets the thoughts flower idly from her heart.

Thoughts of a mother! For her child amid
Light blossoms that a brook's cold ripple fledge,
Wind--shaken at the shadow's glowing edge,
Plays with a child's intentness; now half--hid,
And now those gay curls caught in frolic sun
Toss to the breeze unbid.
And through the thoughts of her who watches shine
With quiverings of felicity that run
Through all her being, as through water wine.

Her thoughts flow out to the stream's endless tune.
Ah, what full sea could all that hope contain?
Then apprehensions vivid like a pain
Wing after, swift as through this airy noon
The swallow skims and flashes past recall
But O returns how soon,
Back in a heart's beat! So her fears have sped
Far as the last loss--homing out of all
The deep horizon to that golden head.

The Child, amid the blossom, nothing recks.
His eyes a flame--winged dragon--fly pursue
Over stirred heads of mint and borage blue
In warm and humming air; on slender necks
Marsh--flowers peep toward him over juicy rush,
And the wild parsley flecks
With powdery pale bloom stalks his bare feet bruise,
And hot herb--odours mingle where they crush
Deep in the green growth and the matted ooze.

How smoothly clear along his ankle slips
The water, gliding to the pebbled cool!
He laughs with those young ripples of the pool.
Then the wind lifts a long spray's leafy tips,
And dashes him with drops of twinkling fire
As in the stream it dips,
Where over shadows bright with wavering mesh
Bramble and thorn and apple--scented brier
Their roots and low leaves thirstily refresh.

His mother calls. Now over thymy sod
The boy comes, yet he lingers; the flowers keep
His feet among them, clustering fair and deep.
Red crane's--bill shakes its seed; milk--campions nod,
By the rough sorrel little pansies hide;
Slim spikes of golden--rod
Above the honeyed purple clover flame;
And, where the sheltered dew has scarcely dried,
Cling worts, close--leaved, each with its own wild name.

What secret purpose infinitely wrought,
Each in its lovely kind and character,
These breathing creatures in the light astir,
Articulating new an endless thought
That still with some last difference must refine
The likeness it had sought?
Some bloom to mateless glory will unfold,
A grace undreamed some airy tendril twine,
Some leaf be veined with unimagined gold.

Thee, too, Child, with life budding in thy face
And quickening thy sweet senses, O thee too,
For whom the old earth maketh herself all new,
Each hour compels with unreturning pace
From the vague twilight being that keeps thee kin
To all the unconscious race,
Compels thee onward; for thy spirit apart
The habitation is prepared within;
The separate mind, the solitary heart.

It is a prison the slow days shall build,
When, disentwining from the world around,
Thou shalt at last gaze out of eyes unbound
On alien earth, with other purpose filled,--
Thou with the burden of identity,
Thou separately willed,
And feel at last the difference thine own
Mid thy companions, saying, ``This is I,
I, and none other in the world's mind alone.''

Even now thine eyes are lifted from the flowers,
And the sky fills them: boundless and all pure,
Regions afar to thrilling silence lure.
Ah, how to charm the fret of future hours
Shall to thy mind come as from wells of light
And time--forgetting powers,
Words large and blue and liquid as the sky;
The absolution of the infinite,
And sea--like murmur of eternity!

Shalt thou not long then, when the dark hours wring
Thy heart with pangs of mortal loss and doom,
That old unsevered being to resume
With its kind ignorance, relinquishing
This self that is so exquisitely made
For sorrow; time's dull sting
To lose, and the sharp anguish, and the wrong;
Into life's universal glow to fade,
And all thy weakness in that whole make strong?

Yet O thou heart so surely doomed to bleed,
Thou out of boundless and unshaped desire
Compacted essence single and entire,
Rejoice! In thee Earth doth herself exceed
O tarrier among flowers, of thee the unplumbed
Infinities have need;
Or how shall all that dumbness speak, and how
Those wandering blind energies be summed
As in a star? Rejoice that thou art thou!

Mighty the powers that desolate and kill,
Armies of waste and winter: and alone
Thou comest against them in the might of one
World--challenging and world--accusing will.
Yet mightier thou that canst thy might refrain,
The world's want to fulfil,
Thy soul disprison from time's mortal hour,
To pardon and pity changing that old pain,
And in thy heart the eternal Love let flower

All faith inhabits in thy Mother's eyes,
Yet she already hath all thy pangs foreknown
And in thy separation felt her own.
Far from her feet follow thy destinies!
There is no step she hath not trod before.
Her loss she glorifies
To spend on thee her all; and to defend
The divine hope which in her womb she bore,
Those arms of love wide as the earth extend.

Rending the waters of a night unknown
The ship with tireless pulses bore me,
On the shadowy deck musing late and lone,
Over waste ocean.
The rustling of the cordage in the dewy wind
And the sound of idle surges
Falling prolonged and for ever again upthrown
Drowsed me; I slept, I dreamed.

Out of the seas that streamed
In ghostly turbulence moving and glimmering about me
I saw the rising of vast and visionary forms.

Like clouds, like continents of cloud, they rose,
August as the shape of storms
In the silence before the thunder, or of mountains
Alone in a sky of sunken light: they rose
Slowly, with shrouded grandeur
Of queenly bosom and shoulder; and afar
Their countenances were lifted, although veiled,
Although heavy as with thought and with silence,
In the heights where dimly gathered
Star upon solitary star.

And it seemed to me, as I dreamed,
That these were the forms of the Sibyls of old,
Prophetesses whose eyes were aflame with interior fire,
Who passionately prophesied and none comprehended,
In the womb of whose thought was quickened the world's desire,
Who saw, and because they saw, chastised
With voices terribly chanting on the wind
The folly of the faithlessness of men.

But not as they haunted then
In cavernous and wild places,
Each inaccessibly sequestered
And sought with furtive steps
Through wizard leaves of whispering laurel feared,
Now to me they appeared.
But rather like Queens of fabulous dominion,
Like Queens, voices of a voiceless people,
Queens of old time, with aweing faces,
With burdened brows but with proud eyes,
Assembled in solemn parley, to shape
Futurity and the nations' glory and doom,
They were met in the night together.

And lo! beneath them
The immeasurable circle of the gloom
Phantasmally disclosed
In apparition all the coasts of the world,
Veined with rivers afar to the frozen mountains.
And I saw the shadow of maniac Death
Like a reveller there stagger glutted and gloating.
I saw murdered cities
That raised like a stiffened arm
One blackened tower to heaven; I saw
Processions of the homeless crawling into the distances;
And sullen leagues of interminable battle;
And peoples arming afar; the very earth,
The very bowels of the earth infected
With the rages and the agonies of men.
For a moment the vision gleamed, and then was gone.
Gloom rushed down like rain.
But out of the midst of the darkness
My flesh was aware of a sound,
The peopled sound of moving millions
And the voices of human pain.

I lifted my gaze to the Sibyls,
The Sibyls of the Continents, where they rose
Looking one on another.
Ancestral Asia, mother of musing mind,
Was there; and over against her
Towered in the gates of the West a shape
Of youth gigantic, troubled and vigilant;
Patient with eager dumbness in dark eyes,
Africa rose; and ardent out of the South
The youngest of those great sisters; and proud,
With fame upon her for mantle, and regal--browed,
The stature of Europe old.
It seemed they listened to the murmur
Of the anguished lands beneath them
In sombre reverberation rising and upward rolled.
Everywhere battle and arming for battle,
Famine and torture, odour of burning and blood,
Doubt, hatred, terror,
Rage and lamenting!

I heard sweet Pity crying between the earth and sky:
But who had leisure for her call? or who hearkened to her cry?

Not with our vision, and not with our horizon
The gaze of the Sibyls was filled.
Their trouble was trouble beyond the shaping of our fear,
Their hope full--sailed upon oceans beyond our ken;
Their thoughts were the thoughts that build
Towers for the dawn unseen.

But nearer than ever before
They drew to each other, sister to shrouded sister,
Queen to superb Queen.
What counsel took they together? or what word
Of power and of parturition
Passed their lips? What saw they,
Conferring among the stars?
My blood tingled, and I heard
Syllables, O too vast
For capacity of my ears; yet within me,
In the innermost bones and caves of my being
I felt a voice like the voice of a sea,
And the sound of it seemed to be crying: ``Endure!
Humble yourselves, O dreamers of dreams,
In whose bosom is peril fiercer than fire or beast,
Humble yourselves, O desolaters of your own dreams,
Then arise and remember!
Though now you cry in astonishment and anguish
`What have we done to the beauty of the world
That ruins about us in ashes and blood?'
Remember the Spirit that moulded and made you
In the beauty of the body
Shaped as the splendour of speech to thought,
The Spirit that wills with one desire,
With infinite else unsatisfied desire,
Peace not made by conquerors and armies,
Peace born in the soul, that asks not shelter or a pillow.
The peace of truth, unshaken amid the thunder,
Unaffrighted by fury of shrivelling fire,
And neither time nor tempest,
Neither slumber nor calamity,
Neither rending of the flesh nor breaking of the heart,
Shall stay you from that desire.''

That sound floated like a cloud in heaven,
Lingering; and like an answer
Came the sound of the rushing of spirits triumphant,
Of young men dying for a cause.

I lifted my eyes in wonder,
And silence filled me.
And with the silence I was aware
Of a breath moving in the glimmer of the air.
The stars had vanished; but again
I beheld those Sibyls august
Over stilled ocean,
And on their faces the dawn.
Even as I looked they lifted up their heads,
They lifted their heads, like eagles
That slowly shake and widen their wondrous wings;
They arose and vanished like the stars.
The light of the changed world, the world new--born,
Brimmed over the silence of the seas;
But even in the rising of its beam
I remembered the light in their eyes.

The dripping of the boughs in silence heard
Softly; the low note of some lingering bird
Amid the weeping vapour; the chill fall
Of solitary evening upon all
That stirs and hopes and apprehends and grieves,
With pining odours of the ruined leaves
Have like a dew distilled upon my heart
The air of death: but now recoiling start
Longing and keen remembrance out of sighs;
And forward the desiring spirit flies
Toward the wild peace of that illumined shore,
Which, left behind her, yet still shines before;
To Douro, rushing through the mighty hills.
Now his great stream with fancied splendour fills
Even this brooding twilight; a swift ghost,
Journeying forever to the glimmering coast,
Where his majestic voice is heard afar,
Exulting dim upon that ocean bar.
O Douro, gliding by dark woods, and fleet
Beneath thy shadowy rocks in the noon heat,
How my heart faints to follow after thee
On one true course to my deep destined sea!
To take no care of dimness or sunshine,
Urged ever by an inward way divine,
Nor falter in this heavy gloom that brings
So thick upon me lamentable things
Of earth, and hinders the swift spirit's wings,
And clouds the steadfast vision that sustains
Alone the trembling heart amid perpetual pains.

Dear friend, who thirstest, even as I, to be
Heir and possessor of sweet liberty,
Once more in memory let us pluck the hour
That bloomed so perfect, and renew the power
Of joy within our wondering breasts, to feel
That freshness of eternal things, and heal
All our unhappy thoughts in those pure rays.
Not yet the last of these delightful days
Into the dark unwillingly has flown,
And thou and I upon a hill o'ergrown,
That indolently shadows Douro stream,
Together watch the wonderful clear dream
Of evening. Under the dark shore of pines
Noiselessly running, the wide water shines.
Curving afar, from where the mountains lift
Their burning heads, through many a forest rift
The River comes, scenting the spaces free
In this broad channel, of his welcoming sea.
No more by silent precipices hewn
Out of the night, murmuring a lonely tune
To craggy Fregeneda; nor where shines
Regoa, throned among her purple vines,
Impetuously seeking valleys new;
But smoothing his broad mirror to the hue
And peace of heaven, unhasting now he flows
And with the sky unfathomably glows,
Even as on yonder shore the woods receive
In their empurpled bosoms the warm eve.
As when a lover gazes tenderly
Upon his loved one, and, as tender, she
Hushes her heart, her joy to realize,
So hushed, so lovely, so contented lies
Earth, by that earnest--gazing glory blest.
But on this hither bank that fervent West
Is hidden behind us, and the stems around
Spring shadowy from the bare and darkling ground.
Only a single pine out of the shade
Emerges, in what splendour soft arrayed!
Magical clearness, warming to the sight
As to the touch it would be: plumed with light,
Motionless upward the tree soars and burns.
But now the dews upon the freshened ferns
In the dim hollow gather, and cool scent
Of herbage with the pine's pure odour blent,
And voices of the villagers below
As home, with music, up the stream they row,
Greet us descending; every blossom sleeps,
And bluer and more blue the evening steeps
Water and fragrant grass and the straight stems
In tender mystery. Down a path that hems
The hollow, to our waiting boat we come.
Pale purple flames shining amid the gloom
Signal the autumn crocus: look, afar,
Betwixt the tree--tops, the first--ventured star!
Soon gliding homeward under shadowy shores
And deepened sky, to the repeated oars'
Strong chime we hasten. Now along pale sand
Our ripple leaps in silver; now the land,
High over the swift water darkly massed,
Echoes our falling blades as we go past;
Until, enthroned upon her hills divine,
The city nears us: lights begin to shine
Scarce from the stars distinguished, so the gloom
Has mingled earth and sky; more steeply loom
The banks on either side, at intervals
Tufted with trees, or crowned with winding walls;
And now at last the river opens large,
Filled with the city's murmur; from his marge,
Slope over slope, the glimmering terraces
Rise, and their scattered lamps' bright images
Cast on the wavering water; and we hear
The sound of soft bells, and cries faint or near
From the dim wharves, or anchored ships, whose spars
Entangle in dark meshes the white stars.
And pale smoke rising blue on the blue air
Sleeps in a thin cloud under heights that bear
Towers and roofs lofty against the west,
Where yet a clearness lingers. Now the breast
Of Douro heaves, foreboding whither bound
His currents hasten, and with joyous sound,
As though the encountering brine new pulses gave,
Lifts, to outrace our speed, his buoyant wave.
For, hearken, up the peaceful evening borne
Out of the wide sea--gates, low thunders warn
Of Ocean beating with his sleepless surge
Along the wild sand--marges: the deep dirge
Of mariners, that wakes the widow's ear
At night, far inland, terrible and near.
Fainter, this eve, he murmurs than as oft
His troubled music: here, by distance soft,
The abrupt volley, the sharp shattering roar,
And seethe of foam flung tumbling up the shore,
Mingle in one wide rumour, that all round
Is heard afar, robing the air with sound.
Deep in my heart I hear it. The still night
Deepens, as we ascend the homeward height,
And loud or low, in following intervals,
Over the hills the sound unwearied falls;
And as upon my bed my heavy eyes
Close up, the drowsing mind re--occupies.

O what a vision floats into my sleep!
As a night--shutting flower, my senses keep
The live day's lingering odours and warm hues,
That thought and motion with themselves transfuse,
Till sound and light and perfume are but one,
Mingled in fires of the embracing sun.
Yet still I am aware of Ocean stirred
Far off, and like a grave rejoicing heard.
Am I awake, or in consenting dreams
Pour thither all my thought's tumultuous streams?
His voice, to meet them, a deep answer sends:
My soul, to listen, her light wing suspends,
And, pillowed upon undulating sound,
For all desire hath satisfaction found.
He calls her thither, where the winds uncage
Vast longing, that the unsounded seas assuage.
Breeze after breeze her wingèd pinnace bears
Over the living water, that prepares
Still widening mystery: she her speed the more
Urges, exulting to have lost the shore,
Supported by the joy that sets her free,
Delighted mistress of her destiny,
Fills the wide night with beating of her wing,
And is content, for ever voyaging
By timeless courses, over worlds unknown,
Lifted and lost, abounding and alone.

The Burning Of The Leaves

Now is the time for the burning of the leaves.
They go to the fire; the nostril pricks with smoke
Wandering slowly into a weeping mist.
Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves!
A flame seizes the smouldering ruin and bites
On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist.

The last hollyhock's fallen tower is dust;
All the spices of June are a bitter reek,
All the extravagant riches spent and mean.
All burns! The reddest rose is a ghost;
Sparks whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild
Fingers of fire are making corruption clean.

Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare,
Time for the burning of days ended and done,
Idle solace of things that have gone before:
Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there;
Let them go to the fire, with never a look behind.
The world that was ours is a world that is ours no more.

They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.

Never was anything so deserted
As this dim theatre
Now, when in passive grayness the remote
Morning is here,
Daunting the wintry glitter of the pale,
Half--lit chandelier.

Never was anything disenchanted
As this silence!
Gleams of soiled gilding on curved balconies
Empty; immense
Dead crimson curtain, tasselled with its old
And staled pretence.

Nothing is heard but a shuffling and knocking
Of mop and mat,
Where dustily two charwomen exchange
Leisurely chat.
Stretching and settling to voluptuous sleep
Curls a cat.

The voices are gone, the voices
That laughed and cried.
It is as if the whole marvel of the world
Had blankly died,
Exposed, inert as a drowned body left
By the ebb of the tide.

Beautiful as water, beautiful as fire,
The voices came,
Made the eyes to open and the ears to hear,
The hand to lie intent and motionless,
The heart to flame,
The radiance of reality was there,
Splendour and shame.

Slowly an arm dropped, and an empire fell.
We saw, we knew.
A head was lifted, and a soul was freed.
Abysses opened into heaven and hell.
We heard, we drew
Into our thrilled veins courage of the truth
That searched us through.

But the voices are all departed,
The vision dull.
Daylight disconsolately enters
Only to annul.
The vast space is hollow and empty
As a skull.

Cold springs among black ruins? Who shall say
Whither or whence they stream?
If it could be that such translated light
As comes about a dreamer when he dreams--
And he believes with a belief intense
What morning will deride--if such a light
Of neither night nor day
Nor moon nor sun
Shone here, it would accord with what it broods upon,--
Disjected fragments of magnificence!
A loneliness of light, without a sound,
Is shattered on wrecked tower and purpled wall
(Fire has been here!)
On arch and pillar and entablature,
As if arrested in the act to fall.
Where a home was, is a misshapen mound
Beneath nude rafters. Still,
Fluent and fresh and pure,
At their own will
Amid this lunar desolation glide
Those living springs, with interrupted gleam,
As if nothing had died:
But who will drink of them?

Stooping and feeble, leaning on a stick,
An old man with his vague feet stirs the dust,
Searching a strange world for he knows not what
Among haphazard stone and crumbled brick.
He cannot adjust
What his eyes see to memory's golden land,
Shut off by the iron curtain of to--day:
The past is all the present he has got.
Now, as he bends to peer
Into the rubble, he picks up in his hand
(Death has been here!)
Something defaced, naked and bruised: a doll,
A child's doll, blankly smiling with wide eyes
And oh, how human in its helplessness!
Pondered in weak fingers
He holds it puzzled: wondering, where is she
The small mother
Whose pleasure was to clothe it and caress,
Who hugged it with a motherhood foreknown,
Who ran to comfort its imagined cries
And gave it pretty sorrows for its own?
No one replies.

Beautiful, wearied head
Leant back against the arm upthrown behind,
Why are your eyes closed? Is it that they fear
Sight of these vast horizons shuddering red
And drawing near and near?
God--like shape, would you be blind
Rather than see the young leaves dropping dead
All round you in foul blasts of scorching wind,
As if the world, O disinherited,
That your own spirit willed
Since upon earth laughter and grief began
Should only in final mockery rebuild
A palace for the proudest ruin, Man?

Or are those eyes closed for the inward eye
To see, beyond the tortures of to--day,
The hills of hope, serene in liquid light
Of reappearing sky--
This black fume and miasma rolled away?
Yet oh how far thought speeds the onward sight!
The unforeshortened vision opens vast.
Hill beyond hill, year upon year amassed,
Age beyond age and still the hills ascend,
Height superseding height,
Though each had seemed (but only seemed) the last,
And still appears no end,
No end, but all an upward path to climb,
To conquer--at what cost!
Labouring on, to be lost
On the mountains of Time.

What are they burning, what are they burning,
Heaping and burning in a thunder--gloom?
Rubbish of the old world, dead things, merely names,
Truth, justice, love, beauty, the human smile,
All flung to the flames!
They are raging to destroy, but first defile;
Maddened, because no furnace will consume
What lives, still lives, impassioned to create.
Ah, your eyes open: open, and dilate.
Transfigured, you behold
The python that was coiled about your feet,
Muscle on muscle, in slow malignant fold,
Tauten and tower, impending opposite,--
A fury of greed, an ecstasy of hate,
Concentred in the small and angry eye.
Your hand leaps out in the action to defy,
And grips the unclean throat, to strangle it.

From shadow to shadow the waters are gliding, are gone,
They mirror the ruins a moment, the wounds and the void;
But theirs is the sweetness of silence in places apart:
They retain not a stain, in a moment they shine as they shone,
They stay not for bound or for bar, they have found out a way
Far from the gnawing of greed and the envious heart.

The freshness of leaves is from them, and the springing of grass,
The juice of the apple, the rustle of ripening corn;
They know not the lust of destruction, the frenzy of spite;
They give and pervade, and possess not, but silently pass;
They perish not, though they be broken; continuing streams,
The same in the cloud and the glory, the night and the light.

Nothing of itself is in the still'd mind, only
A still submission to each exterior image,
Still as a pool, accepting trees and sky,

A candid mirror that never a breath disturbs
Nor drifted leaf,--as if of a single substance
With every shape and colour that it encloses,--

When, alone and lost in the morning's white silence,
Drowsily drowsing eyes, empty of thought,
Accept the blank breadth of the opposite wall.

Lying in my bed, motionless, hardly emerged
From clouds of sleep,--a solitary cloud
Is not more vague in the placeless blue of ether

Than I, with unapportioned and unadjusted
Senses, that put off trouble of understanding,
Even the stirring of wonder, and acquiesce.

The early light brims over the filled silence.
Memory stirs not a wave or a shadow within me.
Only the wall is the world; there stops my sight.

If he should bend his bow, that great Archer
There before me, if tautened and all erect
Slowly he should draw the arrow back to his ear,

Suddenly I should see the curve of his tense body
Alter, and O at the leap of the sighted arrow
The arms descend, shoulder and hip relax.

But hidden in his face, hidden the bow behind him.
I see the square of the buckle that clasps embossed
The belt girding the slenderness of his loins,

The smooth and idle energy of his arms,
And under the mould of breast and flank I feel
The invisible veins and warm blood pulsing through them.

But why is his face hidden? And why does my heart
Beat with a fear that he may be all disclosed
Terrible in calm, terrible in beauty and power?

For his eyes must surely be filled with the far mountains,
Rivers and great plains be his eyes' possession;
And full in the centre of his concentred vision

Stands his victim, he who is soon to be stricken,
Soon to fall, with the arrow pouncing upon him,
The arrow that carries the light and scorn of his eyes.

Why do you hide your face, glorious Archer?
If I could see you, then though the arrow pierced me
Gazing upon you, it were a glory to fall.

Will you at last, seizing the bow, bend it?
Now, as I gaze? A thrilling of fear rushes
Blind in my veins: fear? is it fear, or hope?

As if all my gaze were fixt on a drop of water
Suspended, about to fall and still not falling,
A liquid jewel of slowly increasing splendour

As the rain retreats and the shadow of cloud is lifted
And all light comes to enclose itself in the circle
Of a single drop, so is this suspended moment.

The stillness moves. Tripping of feet; shadows;
Voices. The hospital wakes to its ritual round.
The moment breaks; the drop, the bright drop falls.

A sponge has prest its coldness over my spirit.
Shape and colour abandon their apparition,
Subside into place in the order of usual things.

And another mind returns with the day's returning,
Weaving its soft invisible meshes around me.
This is the daylight, bald on the plain wall.

Cracks in the paint, a trickle of random lines,
A trailing scrawl that a child might trace with a stick
As he runs idly about the ebb--tide sands--

Is it out of these I supposed a towering image
There on the blankness? Are you gone, my Archer,
You who were living more than the millions waking?

No, you are there still! It was I released you
Out of the secret world wherein you are hidden.
You are there, there; and the arrow is flying, flying....

And yet patient, as if nothing were endangered,
We do small things and keep the little commandments,--
We and our doings a scribble upon the wall.

(November 11)
Thunder in the night! Vague, ghostly, remote
It rolls. The world sleeps. Suddenly splitting the air,
Stumbles a crash: and a million sleepers awake,
Each in his silence menaced, and all aware.

The aroused and secret spirit in each listens,
Companioned by an invisible listening host,
And sees the blackness gashed with quaking light,
Surrendered then to sounds of a world lost

In a heart--shaking convulsion of senseless force,
Wandering and warring blasts of a monstrous breath,
Legendary Chaos throned in heaven and dealing
Purposeless darts, and the air vivid with death.

But we, we are men, that walk upright in the sun,
That judge, question, remember, and foresee.
What have we to do with blind demons of air?
We choose and act; aim, reason, and are free.

Thunder in the night! As stupefying and sudden,
The stumbling crash of the nations into flame
Woke us aghast! We looked, we heard; we knew
That from us men the inhuman chaos came.

From reason, frenzy; from knowledge, blindness; from pity,
Cruelty! Trapped in Necessity's iron net,
To be free, to be free, we battled, and hoped the dawn,
Nor counted cost, if flesh could pay the debt.

O beauty broken! O glory of thought exiled!
O flowers in a furnace tossed! O joy defaced!
O sense and soul grown used in the fire, assenting
To brute futility, torture, and waste, waste!

The Spirit of Man in anguish amid the cloud
And the antiphons of thunder, and earth upheaved,
Beheld amazed the deeds of its body, and rose
In them to a splendour strange and unconceived.

They who simply heard the call of their own land,
The fields, the hills, the hamlets that they knew,
Hurt and in peril, and questioned not, but went,
To a fibre deep in the very body true;

They who high in hope of youth and flame of faith
Streamed to the storm with a beating heart of pride
Because that threat towered black against the sun,
Who fell, and made a radiance where they died;

They who would not for their soul's sake stand apart,
They who took upon themselves the world's red stain,
Who saw, who loathed, yet would not bear to watch
The struggle of others in unpartner'd pain;

They who still, when the mind sickened, and faith darkened,
And falsehood clung as the mud clung, and the cloud
Confused, and horror gnawed, endured to death,
Still seeing the star to which their course was vowed;

Them we name over, them we recall to--day,
Whose dear bodies in foreign earth are laid.
Ours is the light to breathe, and a world to mould:
But over them all is sleep; their hands are stayed.

Have we only remembering tears, and flowers to strew?
They are crying to us with the cry of the unfulfilled,
Like the earth aching for spring, when frosts are late.
Are we the answer? Or shall they twice be killed?

Their pain is upon us, pain of hope imperilled.
They are crying to us with the spirit's untold desires.
Heart, brain, and hand, the will and the vision--all,
And more than all, the Cause of Man requires.

We stumble and plod; by little and little we gain.
Old folly tempts, old habit about us twines.
But to--day our eyes are lifted, and hearts with them;
And near, as the stillness falls, the Vision shines.

I lay upon my bed in the great night:
The sense of my body drowsed;
But a clearness yet lingered in the spirit,
By soft obscurity housed.

As an inn to a traveller on a long road,
Happy sleep appeared.
I should come there, to the room of waiting dreams,
In the time that slowly neared;

But still amid memory's wane fancy delighted,
Like wings in the afterglow
Dipping to the freshness of the waves of living,
To recover from long--ago

A touch or a voice, then soaring aloft and afar
The free world to range.
At last, on the brink of the dark, by subtle degrees
Came a chilling and a change.

Solitude sank to my marrow and pierced my veins.
Though I roam and though I learn
All the wonder of earth and of men, it is here
In the end I must return,

To the something alone that in each of us breathes and sleeps,
Profound, isolate, still,
And must brave the giant world, and from hour to hour
Must prove its own will;

To this self, unexcused and unglorified, drawn
From its fond shadows, and bare,
Wherein no man that has been, none that is or shall be,
Shares, or can ever share.

And it tingled through me how all use and disguise
Hide nothing: none
Avails to shield, neither pleader nor protector,
But the truth of myself alone.

And the days that have made me, have I not made them also?
Are they not drops of my blood?
What have I done with them? Flower they still within me,
Or lie, trodden in the mud?

Why for god--like freedom an irreplaceable Here,
An irrevocable Now?
They were heavy like strong chains about my bosom,
Like hard bonds upon my brow.

The moments oozing out of the silence seemed
From my very heart lost
In the stream of the worlds: I felt them hot like tears
And of more than riches' cost.

Yet what was it alien in me stood and rebelled
And cried, Nevertheless
My passion is mine, my strength and my frailty; I am not
Thrall unto Time's duress!

Then suddenly rose before me, older than all,
Night of the soft speech,
With murmur of tender winds, yet terrible with stars
Beyond fancy's reach;

Without foundation, without summit, without
Haven or refuge, Night
Palpitating with stars that dizzy thought and desire
In their unimagined flight,

O these most terrible! vast surmises, touching
The pulse of a fear unknown,
Where all experience breaks like a frail bubble,
And the soul is left alone,

Alone and abandoned of all familiar uses,--
Itself the only place
It knows,--a question winged, barbed and burning
In the answerless frost of Space.

I was afraid; but my heart throbbed faster, fiercer.
I trembled, but cried anew:
I am strange to you, O Stars! O Night, I am your exile,
I have no portion in you.

Though you shall array your silences against me,
I know you and defy.
Though I be but a moth in an abyss of ages,
This at least is not yours; it is I.

O blessèd be the touch of thought
That marries moments from afar,
That finds the thing it had not sought,
And smells a spice no treasure bought,
And learns what never sages taught,
And sees this earth a dazzling star!

As in the sheen of a lamp unseen,
The lamp of memory shrouded long,
There sprang before me, sweet as song,
The vision of a branch of bloom,
A swaying branch of blossom scented;
And in that bloom amid the gloom
My heart was luminously tented.

A score of years was melted, and I was young
And the world young with me,
When in innocence of delight I laid me down
Beneath a certain tree.

The breathing splendour of that remembered May
Had yet seven days to spill
In fragrant showers of fairy white and red
And in notes from the blackbird's bill,

When I laid me down on a bank by the water's edge:
In the glowing shadow I lay.
My very body was drenched in a speechless joy
Whose cause I could not say.

The sky was poured in singing rivers of blue;
The ripple danced in sight;
Close to the marge was a coloured pebble; it burned
Amid kisses of liquid light.

Like a hurry of little flames the tremble of gleams
Shivered up through the leaves and was gone.
Like a shaking of heavenly bells was the sound of the leaves
In the tower of branches blown.

And odours wandering each from its honeyed haunt
Over the air stole,
Like memories out of a world before the world,
Seeking the private soul.

But I knew not where my soul was: in that hour
Neither time nor place it knew!
It was trembling high in the topmost blossom that drank
Of the glory of airy blue;

It was dark in the root that sucked of the plenteous earth;
It was lovely flames of fire;
It was water that murmured round and around the world;
It was poured in the sun's desire.

Not the bird, but the bird's bright, wayward swiftness;
Not the flowers in magic throng,
But the shooting, the breathing and the perfumed breaking;
Not the singer it was, but the song.

I touched the flesh of my body, and it was strange.
It seemed that my spirit knew
It was I no more; yet the earth and the sky answered
And cried aloud, It is you!

Then into my blood the word of my being thrilled,
(Not a nerve but aware)--It is I!
Yet I could not tell my thought from the green of the grass,
My bliss from the blue of the sky

Overbrimmed, overflowing, I rose like one who has drunk
Of a radiance keener than wine.
I stood on the marvellous earth, and felt my blood
As the stream of a power divine.

Laughter of children afar on the air came to me
And touched me softly home.
There were tears in me like trembling dew; I knew not
Where they had stolen from.

Who is not my brother, and who is not my sister?
O wonder of human eyes,
Have I passed you by, nor perceived how luminous in you
All infinity lies?

Love opened my eyes and opened my ears; not one,
But his soul is as mine is to me!
I heard like a ripple around the world breaking
The voices of children in glee;

I saw the beauty, secret as starlit wells,
Treasured in the bosoms of the old.
I heard like the whisper of leaf to leaf in the nightwind
Hopes that the tongue never told.

Was it the grass that quivered about me? I felt
Not that, but the hearts beating
Close to my own, unnumbered as blades of the grass,
And the dead in the quick heart meeting;

And I knew the dreams of wandering sorrow and joy
Breathed in the sleep of the night
From the other side of the earth, that for me was glowing
To the round horizon's light;

The earth that moves through the light and the dark for ever,
As a dancer moves among
The maze of her sister stars, with a silent speed
In a dance that is always young:

And the heart of my body knew that it shared in all;
It was there, not alone nor afraid.
It throbbed in the life that can never be destroyed,
In the things Time never made.