Virtue is Virtue, writ in ink or blood.
And Duty, Honour, Valour, are the same
Whether they cheer the thundering steps of Fame
Up echoing hills of Alma, or, more blest,
Walk with her in that band where she is least
Thro' smiling plains and cities doing good.
Yet, oh to sing them in their happier day!
Yon glebe is not the hind whose manhood mends
Its rudeness, yet it gains but while he spends,
And mulcts him rude. Even that sinless Lord
Whose feet wan Mary washed, went not His way
Uncoloured by the Galilean field;
And Honour, Duty, Valour, seldom wield
With stainless hand the immedicable sword.

Liberty To M. Le Diplomate

Thou fool who treatest with the sword, and not
With the strong arm that wields it! Thou insane
Who seest the dew-drops on the lion's mane,
But dost forget the lion! Oh thou sot,
Hugging thy drunken dream! Thou idiot
Who makest a covenant against the rain
With autumn leaves! Thou atheist who dost chain
This miserable body that can rot,
And thinkest it Me! Fool! for the swordless arm
Shall strike thee dead. Madman, the lion wakes,
And with one shake is dry. Sot, the day breaks
Shall sober even thee. Idiot, one storm
And thou art bare. Atheist, the corse is thine,
But lo, the unfettered soul immortal and divine!

A Health To The Queen

While the thistle bears
And the shamrock is green,
And the English rose
A health to the Queen!
A health to the Queen, a health to the Queen!
Fill high, boys, drain dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!

The thistle bears spears round its blossom,
Round its blossom the shamrock is green,
The rose grows and glows round the rose in its bosom,
We stand sword in hand round the Queen!
Our glory is green round the Queen!
We close round the rose, round the Queen!
The Queen, boys, the Queen! a health to the Queen!
Fill high, boys, drain dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!
Last post I'd a note from that old aunt of mine,
'T was meant for a hook, but she called it a line;
She says, I don't know why we're going to fight,
She's sure I don't know-and I'm sure she's quite right;
She swears I haven't looked at one sole protocol;
Tantara! tantara! I haven't, 'pon my soul!
Soho, blow trumpeter,
Trumpeter, trumpeter!
Soho, blow trumpeter, onward's the cry!
Fall, tyrants, fall-the devil care why!
A health to the Queen; a health to the Queen!
Fill high, boys, drain dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!

My granny came down-'pour vous voir, mon barbare,'
She brought in her pocket a map-du Tartare-
Drawn up, so she vowed, 'par un homme ah! si bon!'
With a plan for campaigning old Hal, en haut ton.
With here you may trick him, and here you may prick him,
And here-if you do it en roi-you may lick him,
But there he is sacred, and yonder-Oh, la!
He's as dear a sweet soul as your late grandpapa!
Soho, blow trumpeter,
Trumpeter, trumpeter!
Blow the charge, trumpeter, blare, boy, blare!
Fall, tyrants, fall-the devil care where!
A health to the Queen, a health to the Queen!
Fill high, boys, drain dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!

My cousin, the Yankee, last night did his best
To prove 'the Czar-bless you's-no worse than the rest.'
We wheeled the decanters out on to the lawn,
And he argued-and spat-in a circle till dawn.
Quoth I, 'If the game's half as thick as you say,
The more need for hounds, lad! Hunt's up! Harkaway!'
Soho, blow trumpeter!
Trumpeter, trumpeter!
Tally-ho, trumpeter, over the ditch-
Over the ditch, boys, the broad ditch at Dover!
Hands slack, boys, heels back, boys,
Yohoicks! we're well over!
Soho, blow, trumpeter! blow us to cover!
Blow, boy, blow,
Berlin, or Moscow,
Schoenbrun, or Rome,
So Reynard's at home,
The devil care which!
Hark, Evans! hark, Campbell! hark, Cathcart!-Halloo!
Heydey, harkaway! good men and true!
Harkaway to the brook,
You won't land in clover!
Leap and look!
High and dry!
Tantivy, full cry!
Full cry up the hill!
Hurrah, and it's over!
A burst and a kill.
While the thistle bears
And the shamrock is green,
And the English rose
A health to the Queen!
A health to the Queen, a health to the Queen!
Fill high, boys, drain dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!
The Queen, boys, the Queen! the Queen, boys, the Queen!
Full cry, high and dry, boys,
A health to the Queen!

(In Prospect Of War With America)


Oh worst of years, by what signs shall we know
So dire an advent? Let thy New-Year's-day
Be night. At the east gate let the sun lay
His crown: as thro' a temple hung with woe
Unkinged by mortal sorrow let him go
Down the black noon, whose wan astrology
Peoples the skyey windows with dismay,
To that dark charnel in the west where lo!
The mobled Moon! For so, at the dread van
Of wars like ours, the great humanity
In things not human should be wrought and wrung
Into our sight, and creatures without tongue
By the dumb passion of a visible cry
Confess the coming agony of Man.


Even now, this spring in winter, like some young
Fair Babe of Empire, ere his birth-bells ring,
Shewn to the people by a hoary King,
Stirs me with omens. What fine shock hath sprung
The fairy mines of buried life among
The clods? Above spring flow'rs a bird of spring
Makes February of the winds that sing
Yule-chants: while March, thro' Christmas brows, rimehung,
Looks violets: and on yon grave-like knoll
A girlish season sheds her April soul.
Ah is this day that strains the exquisite
Strung sense to finer fibres of delight
An aimless sport of Time? Or do its show'rs,
Smiles, birds and blooms betray the heart of conscious Pow'rs?


Methinks the innumerable eyes of ours
That must untimely close in endless night
Take in one sum their natural due of light:
Feather'd like summer birds their unlived hours
Sing to them: at their prison pitying flow'rs
Push thro' the bars a Future red and white,
Purple and gold: for them, for them, yon bright
Star, as an eye, exstils and fills, and pours
Its tear, and fills and weeps, to fill and weep:
For them that Moon from her wild couch on high
Now stretches arms that wooed Endymion,
Now swooning back against the sky stares down
Like some white mask of ancient tragedy
With orbless lids that neither wake nor sleep.


Hark! a far gun, like all war's guns in one,
Booms. At that sign, from the new monument
Of him who held the plough whereto he bent
His royal sword, and meekly laboured on,
Till when the verdict of mankind had gone
Against our peace, he, waiving our consent,
Carried the appeal to higher courts, and went
Himself to plead-She whom he loved and won,
The Queen of Earth and Sea,-her unrisen head
Bowed in a sorrowy cloud-takes her slow way
To her great throne, and, lifting up her day
Upon her land, and to that flag unfurl'd
Where wave the honour and the chastity
Of all our men and maidens living and dead,
Points westward, and thus breaks the silence of the world:-


'Since it is War, my England, and nor I
On you nor you on me have drawn down one
Drop of this bloody guilt, God's Will be done,
Here upon earth in woe, in bliss on high!
Peace is but mortal and to live must die,
And, like that other creature of the sun,
Must die in fire. Therefore, my English, on!
And burn it young again with victory!
For me, in all your joys I have been first
And in this woe my place I still shall keep,
I am the earliest widow that must weep,
My children the first orphans. The divine
Event of all God knows: but come the worst
It cannot leave your homes more dark than mine.'

'Mother, I hear a word
In the air!'
Play on, play on, my son,
The word thou hast heard is some bright sweet bird
That singeth, why and where
Who knows?
As who knows why and whither
The little wind blows
That bloweth hither and thither
But hardly stirs thy hair,
Hardly stirs the gossamers
Or a film of thy golden hair.

'Oh Mother, Mother dear,
Bend down, bend down to me!
Ah Mother, what dost thou hear?'
Hush, hush, my son,
I hear a word in the air.
'Ah Mother, why is thy face so white?
Ah Mother, Mother, why
Are thine eyes alight?
Ah Mother, why is thy face so red?
Mother, Mother, the hair of thine head-'

Silence, boy, we are near them,
Silence, boy, the dead, the dead,
I hear them, I hear them, I hear them!
They come, they come, they are here, they are gone,
And they cried, with a single cry,
The word is said, the night is fled,
Ere we knew it dawn 'tis day,
The graves are wide, the dead are up and away,
On the racing winds they race
To call the living land.
Boy, I am again a wife!
Boy, I saw thy father's face!
Round him rode the self-same band,
That went round him that great day
To Glory's latest Altar-place-
Went around and fell around,
When the red-legged assassin on the hill
With conjurations bloody and base
Jabbered the slanting sunset to his will,
And by such pests did so incriminate
The air with murder, that, when, weary and late,
Upon the well-won field the conqueror stood
Masters of all the eye could see,
The star-cracked and berotted victory
Burst in each glorious hand
And tore the sacred limits of sweet life,
And sluiced the dear heart's blood.
Ah God! if such blood could sink into the ground!

Up, up, my son, up, up, my soldier-son!
On with thy white-cross cap, while I
Bind me around with tri-colour
And let us go.
Whither? Whither they have gone before!
Haste! The dead have fleeter feet than ours.
See, the answering vales already move!
What is that, that like a moving sea
Floods towards the citied lilies of the towers
That soon shall ring

Well done, well done,
Thy little sword and gun,
Thou shalt wave the sword while I will cry
See, as we run the hamlets run,
The little towns are waving in the sun,
Hark the bells thunder, hark the trumpets blow
The mountains hear, the mists divide,
Look, look, on high,
The great tops crowned with joy and pride
Clang to the clanging vales below,
A thousand clarions blaze from side to side

What, must we rest again the little feet?
Cub of the Lion is thy dam too fleet?
Yet thou hast proved thy kind,
For see the misty miles behind,
And lo, before us what was dim is clear.
The city-walls, the city-gate,
The towers, the towers
That from our mountain seemed like flowers,
But hence like Pedestals that wait
The Statue of our Italy divine.

That Italy who, tho' she hath been hewn
In pieces,-as when the demons hew
An angel, whose immortal substance true
To his Eternal Image is not slain,
But from a thòusand falchions rears again
Still undivided by division
His everlasting beauty, whole and one-
When sounds the trump whereat the nations rise
Shall lift her unseamed body to the skies
And in her flesh see (God)-

My Love, my Lord,
I think the toil of glorious day is done.
I see thee leaning on thy jewelled sword,
And a light-hearted child of France
Is dancing to thee in the sun,
And thus he carols in his dance.

'Oh, a gallant sans peur
Is the merry chasseur,
With his fanfaron horn and his rifle ping-pang!
And his grand havresack
Of gold on his back,
His pistol cric-crac!
And his sword cling-clang!

Oh, to see him blithe and gay
From some hot and bloody day,
Come to dance the night away till the bugle blows 'au rang,'
With a wheel and a whirl
And a wheeling waltzing girl,
And his bow, 'place aux dames!' and his oath 'feu et sang!'
And his hop and his fling
Till his gold and silver ring
To the clatter and the clash of his sword cling-clang!

But hark,
Thro' the dark,
Up goes the well-known shout!
The drums beat the turn out!
Cut short your coarting, Monsieur l' Amant!
Saddle! mount! march! trot!
Down comes the storm of shot,
The foe is at the charge! En avant!

His jolly havresack
Of gold is on his back,
Hear his pistol cric-crac! hear his rifle ping-pang!

Vive l' Empereur!
And where's the Chasseur?

He's in
Among the din
Steel to steel cling-clang!'

And thou within the doorway of thy tent
Leanest at ease with careless brow unbent,
Watching the dancer in as pleased a dream
As if he were a gnat i' the evening gleam,
And thou and I were sitting side by side
Within the happy bower
Where oft at this same hour
We watched them the sweet year I was a bride.

My Love, my Lord,
Leaning so grandly on thy jewelled sword,
Is there no thought of home to whisper thee,
None can relieve the weary guard I keep,
None wave the flag of breathing truce for me,
Nor sound the hours to slumber or to weep?
Once in a moon the bugle breaks thy rest,
I count my days by trumpets and alarms:
Thou liest down in thy warcloak and art blest,
While I, who cannot sleep but in thine arms,
Wage night and day fresh fields unknown to fame,
Arm, marshal, march, charge, fight, fall, faint, and die,
Know all a soldier can endure but shame,
And every chance of warfare but to fly.
I do not murmur at my destiny:
It can but go with love, with whom it came,
And love is like the sun-his light is sweet,
And sweet his shadow-welcome both to me!
Better for ever to endure that hurt
Which thou canst taste but once than once to lie
At ease when thou hast anguish. Better I
Be often sad when thou art gay than gay
One moment of thy sorrow. Tho' I pray
Too oft I shall win nothing of the sky
But my unfilled desire and thy desert
Can take it and still lack. Oh, might I stay
At the shut gates of heaven! that so I meet
Each issuing fate, and cling about his feet
And melt the dreadful purpose of his eye,
And not one power pass unimpleaded by
Whose bolt might be for thee! Aye, love is sweet
In shine or shade! But love hath jealousy,
That knowing but so little thinks so much!
And I am jealous of thee even with such
A fatal knowledge. For I wot too well
In the set season that I cannot tell
Death will be near thee. This thought doth deflour
All innocence from time. I dare not say
'Not now,' but for the instant cull the hour,
And for the hour reap all the doubtful day,
And for the day the year: and so, forlorn,
From morn till night, from startled night till morn,
Like a blind slave I bear thine heavy ill
Till thy time comes to take it: come when 't will
The broken slave will bend beneath it still.

The Young Man's Song

At last the curse has run its date!
The heavens grow clear above,
And on the purple plains of Hate,
We'll build the throne of Love!

One great heroic reign divine
Shall mock the Elysian isles,
And love in arms shall only shine
Less fair than Love in smiles!

Old Clio, burn thine ancient scroll,
The scroll of Rome and Greece!
Our war shall be a parable
On all the texts of peace,

And saints look down, with eyes of praise,
Where on our modern field
The new Samaritan forelays
The wrongs that other healed!

What virtue is beyond our prize?
What deed beneath you sun
More Godlike than the prodigies
We mortal men have done

We wearied of the lagging steed,
The dove had not a quill
To fledge the imaginable speed
Of our wild shaft of will;

'Ah, could each word be winged with wind,
And speech be swift as sight!'
We cursed the long arms of that blind
Dumb herald on the height,

Dark struggling with a mystery
He daily hid in shades,
As a ghost steams up on the eye,
Begins a Fate and fades.

'If, like a man, dull space could hear!
If, like a man, obey!'
We seized this earthly hemisphere,
This senseless skull of clay.

We drew from Heaven a breath of flame,
And thro' the lifeless whole
Did breathe it till the orb became
One brain of burning soul.

As he o'er whom a tyrant reigns,
It waits our sovran word,
And thinks along the living veins
The lightnings of its lord!

What Force can meet our matchless might?
What Power is not our slave?
We bound the angel of the light,
We scourged him in a cave.

And when we saw the prisoner pine
For his immortal land,
We wrung a ransom, half divine,
From that celestial hand

Whose skill the heavy chain subdued,
And all a captive's woe
Did tame to such a tempered good
As mortal eyes can know.

Who comes, who comes, o'er mountains laid,
Vales lifted, straightened ways?
'Tis he! the mightier horse we made
To serve our nobler days!

But now, unheard, I saw afar
His cloud of windy mane,
Now, level as a blazing star,
He thunders thro' the plain!

The life he needs, the food he loves,
This cold earth bears no more;
He fodders on the eternal groves
That heard the dragons roar,

Strong with the feast he roars and runs,
And, in his maw unfurled,
Evolves the folded fires of suns
That lit a grander world!

Yon bird, the swiftest in the sky,
Before him sprang, but he
Has passed her as a wind goes by
A struggler in the sea.

With forward beak and forward blows,
She slides back from his side;
While ever as the monster goes,
With needless power and pride,

Disdainful from his fiery jaws
He snorts his vital heat,
And, easy as his shadow, draws,
Long-drawn, the living street.

He's gone! Methinks that over him,
Like Curtius in the abyss,
I see great gulphs close rim to rim,
And Past and Future kiss!

Oh, Man! as from the flood sublime
Some alp rose calm and slow,
So from the exhaling floods of time
I see thy stature grow.

Long since thy royal brow, uncrowned,
Allegiant nature saw,
Long since thine eye of empire frowned
The heavenly thrones to awe;

And now the monarch's breast apart
Divides the sinking spray,
Fit dome for such gigantic heart
As warms so vast a sway.

Far o'er the watery wilds I see
Thy great right-arm upsurge,
Thy right-hand, armed with victory,
Is sunburst on the verge!

Arise, arise! oh, sword! and sweep
One universal morn!
Another throe, thou labouring Deep,
And all the god is born!

So sang a youth of glorious blood.
Below, the wind-hawk shook her wings,
And lower, in its kingdom, stood
A tower of ancient kings.

Above, the autumn sky was blue,
Far round the golden world was fair,
And, gun by gun, the ramparts blew
A battle on the air.

Fire away, fire away, boys must have their play,
There'll be hard work yet
Before sunset:
But what of the day when the boys have had their play?
When the boys have played, why then,
'Twill be time for the men,
And the bayonet!
But, men, as we've nothing to do till then,
And the match is on out there,
I think you and I may as well stand by
And see that the game goes fair.

No drummer! no tambourettes,
The earth is our drum wherever we come,
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets,
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets,
Where's the drumstick that ever could beat,
Where's the drumhead that ever could drum,
Like the mighty foot of our thousand feet,
And the earth that is dumb till we come and come?
Come and come and come and come
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets.

'Love your enemy'-yes, 'tis the Briton's grace!
I love him so well that I'd see his face.
Yon little ninepins all in a row,
How can I tell if I love 'em or no?
So hurrah, lads, up we go!
Here's to our nearer meeting,
And if when we come within greeting
I see my own special foe,
I'll leave him to Tom or John,
And find my work further on,
And perhaps he and I will shake hands by and bye
Side by side as we lie
(To-night on the gory slope of the hill
As the dew-tears drop from the sky above
At the silent thought
Of the friends whom we love
Better still),
And wait for the surgeon's cart
That's always coming and never comes,
And when a couple of bearers pass
I'll give him my turn,
Tho' the flesh-wounds smart,
And the bone-wounds burn,
And the life-tide's running dry
Because he's my enemy.
But that's when I've spiked up John's and Tom's
And Rosie's and Poll's and Marjorie's
And little Jack's and todlin May's
And the victory's won and the bloody day's
Done, and of flesh that is grass
Along the braes the bloody hay's
Made, that is made, hurrah!
With the bayonet.

For till you show me the Sacred Word
I'm for Peter and his good sword,
Only I hope if we'd drilled him here
He'd not have missed the head for the ear.

Gods, I'd give a Life's delights
To have been there that night of nights,
With ten such men as I see here now,
When they spat their sin on the Sinless Brow
And struck Him without let,-
And have heard the ten steels clash at my call
And seen the ten steels flash in the hall
As we did them all up to the wall,
High Priest, low Priest, Romans and all,

Great and small up to the wall,
Up to the wall with the bayonet.
I would keep or lose my right hand
By the love of every man here
For the dear native land.
There is not a man here this day
Of whom come what come can
I could speak with an accent of scorn.

Who feels his courage grow colder
At sight of the foe,
Whose conscience is bolder
Because we are shoulder to shoulder,
Who goes up the hill because we are men
And not because he is man,
He shall serve his country yet
But not with the bayonet.

Well done-I like your eyes,
Neither sunrise
Nor sunset.
Well done-I know the grips
That will tell to barrel and stock
What the beard hides on the lips:
No strain on the rein, no tug on the slips.
No drummer! no tambourettes!
The earth is our drum wherever we come,
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets,
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets,
Where's the drumstick that ever could beat,
Where's the drumhead that ever could drum,
Like the mighty foot of our thousand feet,
And the earth that is dumb till we come and come?
Till we come and come and come and come,
Bayonets, bayonets, bayonets, bayonets!

You are not dogs but Lions, and who
Holds Lions in leash? Hurrah,
My Lions! with just such a pack
I'd hunt down the gods of Olympus! Alack,
This mount is all an Olympus. Up there
You see the bird-popping goddikins-ten
To one I'll warrant you-bah!
What then?
Who cares while theirs is the ten to the one
And ours is the one to the ten?
Were't one to twenty which of us would shirk
The odds or the glory? You see
How the land lies?
This fox-cover up the long rise,
Then fifty paces of open, and then the breast-work.
Scatter the pack in cover, make them cast wide,
From wood-side to wood-side.
Go in like hounds and come out
At the top like men and lions-full swing
Up the wood, but when it's grey-blue
Overhead come together like men.
A halt for breath,
Slow-time and still as death
To the covert-edge, and then
The rush and the roar and the spring!
Hunt's up, my Lions, hie in, hurrah!

The Gaberlunzie's Walk

The Laird is dead, the laird is dead,
An' dead is cousin John,
His henchmen ten, an' his sax merrie men,
Forbye the steward's son.

An' his ain guid gray that he strode sae gay
When hunt was up an' on,
An' the win' blew fair, an' the grews pu'd sair,
An' dawn was on Maol-don,
An' the skeigh steeds neigh'd, an' the slot-hounds bay'd,
An' up gaed the mornin' sun,
An' awa' gaed the deer wi' the merrie men's cheer,
Awa' owre the auld Maol-don,
An' awa' wi' a shout ran the rabble an' the rout,
An' awa' rode cousin John,
Wi' his horn, his horn, thro' the merry merry morn,
His hunter's horn sae shrill!
An' 't was 'Ho, heigho, hereawa',
Hereawa', hereawa'!
Ho, heigho, hereawa'!'
A' roun' the hill!

Walie! walie! they're a' gane dead,
A' owre the seas an' awa'
The laird an' his men, the sax an' the ten,
They gaed to fight and to fa'.
An' walie, an' wae, an' hech! the weary day!
The laird is dead an' a'!

A' in ae grave by the margent o' the wave
Thegither they lay doun,
Sax feet deep, where dead men sleep,
A' i' the faeman's grun'.

Foremost i' the van, wi' his bagpipes i' his han',
The steward's ae braw son,
An' next the young laird-gin the guid Lord had spared!-
A' as he led them on,
Wi' his bonnie brow bare an' his lang fair hair,
An' his bluidy braid-sword drawn;
An' hard by his chief, that in life was sae lief,
In death cam cousin John,
Wi' his horn, his horn, thro' the merry merry morn,
His hunter's horn sae shrill
When 't was 'Ho, heigho, hereawa',
Hereawa', hereawa'!'
Ho, heigho, hereawa'!'
A' roun' the hill!

Gin ony uphauld the young Laird lies cauld,
An' cauld lies cousin John,
Sax feet deep, as dead men sleep,
A' i' the faeman's grun,'
A' in ae grave by the margent o' the wave,
Where doun they lay that day,
Wi' the henchmen ten, an' the sax merrie men,
Ask the gaberlunzie gray.
Step an' step, step an' step, gaed the gaberlunzie gray,
Faint an lame, wi' empty wame, he hirples on his way.
Step an' step, step an' step, an' owre the hill maun he,
His head is bent, his pipe is brent, he has na a bawbee.
Step an' step, step an' step, he totters thro' the mirk,
He hears the fox amang the cocks, the houlet by the kirk.
Step an' step, step an' step, an' as he climbs the hill
The auld auld moon is gaun doun; the nicht grows cauld an' still,
The breathin' kye aroun' him lie, the ingle-light is gane,
He wakes the yowes amang the knowes, an' still he gangs his lane.
His slow steps rouse the blethrin' grouse, the peewit fa's an' squeals,
The nicht-goat bleats amang the peats, an' still he speils an' speils,
Step an' step, step an' step, an' up the craigie stark,
An' mony a stane ane after ane gangs snirtlin' doun the dark.
Step an' step, step an' step, that gaberlunzie gray,
A' win's seem tint far far ahint as he gangs on his way.
He hears the burn amang the fern, he hears the stoatie cheep,
He hears the rustle, an' flit an' fussle, as the kae shifts her roost in her sleep.
Step an' step, step an' step, he gangs wi' troubled breath,
He feels the silence a' aboon, he feels the warl beneath;
Wheet an' wheet about his feet the startit mousie ran,
An' as he gaes his riskin' claes aye gar him start an' stan';
An' as he stan's wi' knotted han's, an' leans his chitterin' head,
He hears the sod his steps have trod a-tirlin' to his tread;
An' crisp foot-fa', an' sibblin sma' o' stealthy cony crappin',
An' click o' bat aboon his hat, like fairy fingers snappin',
An' ilka yird that ticked an' stirred, where swairdie there is nae,
As elfin shools the tittlin' mools gar'd rinkle doun the brae;
An' safter soun' alang the groun' the grass-taps thro' an' thro',
Gin owre the fiel's the wee bit chiel's were dealin' out the dew.
Step an' step, step an' step, an' hech! his freezin' bluid!
He gaes into the silence as ane gaes into a wood.
The mair the height, mair still the nicht, an' faster did he gang,
Step an' step, an' then a step, an' he listens hard an' lang!
He listens twice, he listens thrice, but why he disna ken;
His cauld skin skeared, an' clipped his beard; he stops an' lists agen.
There's somethin' creepin' thro' his banes, there's somethin' stirs his hair:
'Tis mair than use, he canna choose, he listens ten times mair!
He pits his pack fra his auld back, he sits him on a stane,
His eyelids fa', he gapes his jaw, an' harks wi' might an' main,
The mair he list the mair uprist his gray-locks wi' affright,
Till ilka hair that he might wear was stiff an' stark upright.
His sick heart stops, the low moon drops, the nicht is eerie chill!
Wi' sudden shout the dead cry out, like hunters at a kill,
Full cry, full cry, the win's sweep by, a horn, a horn is shrill!
An' 'tis 'Ho, heigho, hereawa',
Hereawa', hereawa'!
Ho, heigho, hereawa'!'
A' roun' the hill!

In War-Time A Psalm Of The Heart

Scourge us as Thou wilt, oh Lord God of Hosts;
Deal with us, Lord, according to our transgressions;
But give us Victory!
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Lift Thy wrath up from the day of battle,
And set it on the weight of other days!
Draw Thy strength from us for many days,
So Thou be with us on the day of battle,
And give us victory.
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Let the strong arm be as the flag o' the river,
The withered flag that flappeth o'er the river,
When all the flood is dried out of the river;

Let the brave heart be as a drunkard's bosom,
When the thick fume is frozen in the bosom,
And the bare sin lies shivering in the bosom;

Let the bold eye be sick and crazed with midnight,
Strained and cracked with aching days of midnight,
Swarmed and foul with creeping shapes of midnight;

So Thou return upon the day of battle,
So we be strong upon the day of battle,
Be drunk with Thee upon the day of battle,
So Thou shine o'er us in the day of battle,
Shine in the faces of our enemies,
Hot in the faces of our enemies,
Hot o'er the battle and the victory.
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Shame us not, oh Lord, before the wicked!
In our hidden places let Thy wrath
Afflict us; in the secret of our sin
Convince us; be the bones within our flesh
Marrowed with fire, and all the strings of life
Strung to the twang of torture; let the stench
Of our own strength torment us; the desire
Of our own glorious image in the sea
Consume us; shake the darkness like a tree,
And fill the night with mischiefs,-blights and dwales,
Weevils, and rots, and cankers! But, oh Lord,
Humble us not upon the day of battle,
Hide not Thy face upon the day of battle,
Let it shine o'er us on the day of battle,
Shine in the faces of our enemies,
Hot in the faces of our enemies,
Hot o'er the battle and the victory!
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Tho' Thou shouldst glorify us above measure,
Yet will we not forget that Thou art God!
Honour our land, oh Lord! honour our land!

Be Thou her armour in the day of battle,
Whereon the sword of man shall strike in vain!
For Thou canst find the place and leave no scar,
Sting of bee, nor fairy-spot nor mole,
Yet kill the germ within the core of life.

Oh lead her in the glory of her beauty,
So that the nations wonder at her beauty!
For Thou canst take her beauty by the heart
And throw the spout of sorrow from the fountain,
The flood of sorrow thro' the veins of joy.

Let her soul look out of her eyes of glory,
Lighten, oh Lord, fron awful eyes of glory!
For Thou canst touch the soul upon its throne,
The fortressed soul upon its guarded throne,
Nor scorch the sweet air of the populous splendour
That comes and goes about a leprous king.
Therefore fear not to bless us, oh Lord God!
And give us victory!
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Sight of home, if Thou wilt; kiss of love,
If Thou wilt; children at the knees of peace,
If Thou wilt; parents weeping in the door
Of welcome, if Thou wilt; but victory,
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Pangs if Thou wilt, oh Lord! Death if Thou wilt!
Labour and famine, frost and fire and storm,
Silent plague, and hurricane of battle,
The field-grave, and the wolf-grave, and the sea!
But victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

Consider, Lord, the oppressions of the oppressor,
And give us victory!
The tyrant sitteth on his golden throne
In palaces of silver, to his gates
The meeting winds blow good from all the world.
Who hath undone the mountain where he locks
His treasure? In the armoury of hell
Which engine is not his? His name infects
The air of every zone, and to each tongue
From Hecla to the Ganges adds a word
That kills all terms of pride. His servants sit
In empires round his empire; and outspread
As land beneath the water, oh, my God,
His kingdoms bear the half of all Thy stars!
Who hath out-told his princes? Who hath summed
His captains? From the number of his hosts
He should forget a nation and not lack!
Therefore, oh Lord God, give us victory!

The serf is in his hut; the unsacred sire
Who can beget no honour. Lo his mate
Dim thro' the reeking garlic-she whose womb
Doth shape his ignorant shame, and whose young slave
In some far field thickens a knouted hide
For baser generations. Their dull eyes
Are choked with feudal welfare; their rank limbs
Steam in the stye of plenty; their rude tongues,
That fill the belly from the common trough,
Discharge in gobbets of as gross a speech
That other maw the heart. Nor doth the boor
Refuse his owner's chattel tho' she breed
The rich man's increase, nor doth she disdain
The joyless usage of such limbs as toil
Yoked with the nobler ox, and take as mute
A beast's infliction; at her stolid side
The girl that shall be such a thing as she,
Suckles the babe she would not, with the milk
A bondmaid owes her master. Lord, Thou seest!
Therefore, oh Lord God, give us victory!

The captive straineth at the dungeon-grate.
Behold, oh Lord, the secret of the rock,
The dungeon, and the captive, and the chain!
Tho' it be hidden under forest leaves,
Tho' it be on the mountains among clouds,
Tho' they point to it as a crag o' the hill,
And say concerning it that the wind waileth,
Thou knowest the inner secret and the sin!
I see his white face at the dungeon bars,
As snow between the bars of winter trees.
He sinketh down upon the dungeon stones,
His white face making light within the dungeon,
The claspèd whiteness of his praying hands
Flickering a little light within the dungeon.
And thro' the darkness, thro' the cavern darkness,
Like to a runnel in a savage wood,
Sweet thro' the horror of the hollow dark
He sings the song of home in the strange land.

How long, oh Lord of thunder? Victory!
Lord God of vengeance, give us victory!
Victory, victory! oh, Lord, victory!
Oh, Lord, victory! Lord, Lord, victory!

The Mother's Lesson

Come hither an' sit on my knee, Willie,
Come hither an' sit on my knee,
An' list while I tell how your brave brither fell,
Fechtin' for you an' for me:
Fechtin' for you an' for me, Willie,
Wi' his guid sword in his han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

Ye min' o' your ain brither dear, Willie,
Ye min' o' your ain brither dear,
How he pettled ye aye wi' his pliskies an' play,
An' was aye sae cantie o' cheer:
Aye sae cantie o' cheer, Willie,
As he steppit sae tall an' sae gran',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

D'ye min' when the bull had ye doun, Willie,
D'ye min' when the bull had ye doun?
D'ye min' wha grippit ye fra the big bull,
D'ye min' o' his muckle red woun'?
D'ye min' o' his muckle red woun', Willie,
D'ye min' how the bluid doun ran?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

D'ye min' when we a' wanted bread, Willie,
the year when we a' wanted bread?
How he smiled when he saw the het parritch an' a',
An' gaed cauld an' toom to his bed:
Gaed awa' toom to his bed, Willie,
For the love o' wee Willie an' Nan?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

Next simmer was bright but an' ben, Willie,
Next simmer was bright but an' ben,
When there cam a gran' cry like a win' strang an' high
By loch, an' mountain, an' glen:
By loch, an' mountain, an' glen, Willie,
The cry o' a far forrin lan',
An' up loupit ilka brave man, Willie,
Up loupit ilka brave man.

For the voice cam saying, 'Wha 'll gang?' Willie,
The voice cam saying, 'Wha'll gang
To fecht owre the sea that the slave may be free,
An' the weak be safe fra' the strang?'
The weak be safe fra' the strang, Willie;
Rab looked on Willie an' Nan,
An' hech, but he was a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but he was a brave man!

I kent by his een he was gaun, Willie,
I kent by his een he was gaun,
An' he rose like a chief: twice we spak in our grief-
'Dinna gang!' 'My mither, I maun!'
When he said, 'My mither, I maun,' Willie,
I gied him his sword to his han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

An' sae it happened afar, Willie,
Sae it happened afar,
In the dead midnight there rose a great fecht,
An' Rab was first i' the war:
First i' the haur o' the war, Willie,
Wi' his guid sword in his han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

An' there cam' a dark wicked lord, Willie,
There cam' a dark wicked lord,
An' oh my guid God! on my bauld bairn he rode,
An' smote him wi' his sword:
Smote him wi' his sword, Willie,
But Rab had his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

He rushed on the fae in his might, Willie,
In his might to the fecht thro' the night,
An' he grippit him grim, an' the fae grippit him,
An' they rolled owre i' the fecht:
They rolled owre i' the fecht, Willie,
Rab wi' his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

When the gran' stowre cleared awa', Willie,
When the gran' stowre cleared awa',
An' the mornin' drew near in chitter an' in fear,
Still, still, in death they lay twa:
Still, still, in death they lay twa, Willie,
Rab wi' his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Then up fra the death-sod they bore him, Willie,
The young men an' maidens they bore him,
An' they mak the rocks ring 'gin my bairn were a king,
An' a' the sweet lassies greet owre him:
A' the sweet lassies greet owre him, Willie,
An' their proud lips kiss his cauld han',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

An' they big him a green grass grave, Willie,
They big him a green grass grave,
My ain lad! my ain! an' they write on the stane,
'Wha wad na sleep wi' the brave?'
An' wha wad na sleep wi' the brave, Willie?
Wha wad na dee for his lan'?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!

Noo come to yon press wi' me, Willie,
Come to yon press wi' me,
And I'll show ye somethin' o' auld lang syne,
When he was a bairnie like thee:
When he was a bairnie like thee, Willie,
And stood at my knee where ye stan',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

D'ye see this wee bit bannet, Willie,
-I min' weel the day it was new-
See how I haud it here to my heart,
His wee bit bannet o' blue:
His wee bit bannet o' blue, Willie,
Wi' its wee bit cockie an' ban'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

D'ye see his ba' and his stickie, Willie,
When he played at the ba';
Na, na, ye 're no to tak it in han',
Ye 're no sae brave an' sae braw!
But gin ye grow braw an' brave, Willie,
Aiblins I'se gie 't to your han',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

An' this was his Guid Buik, Willie,
The Guid Buik that he lo'ed,
Where he read the Word o' the great guid Lord
Wha bought us wi' His bluid.
An' will we spare our bluid, Willie,
To buy the dear auld lan'?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

They say he's dead an' gane, Willie,
They say he's dead and gane.
Wad God my bairnies a' were sons,
That ten might gang for ane:
Ten might gang for ane, Willie,
To save the dear auld lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

I'd no be lorn an' lane, Willie,
I'd no be lorn an' lane,
For gin I had him here by the han'
He could na be mair my ain:
He'd no be mair my ain, Willie,
Gin I grippit him by the han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

An' oh! gin ye gang fra me, Willie,
Gin ye gang as he gaed fra me,
Ye'll aye be still as near to my heart
As the noo when ye sit on my knee:
As the noo when ye sit on my knee, Willie,
An' I haud ye by the han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

'An' wad ye no greet at a', mither?
Wad ye no greet at a'?'
Aye, wad I greet my bonnie bonnie bairn!
'An' will ye no greet when I fa'?'
Will I no greet when ye fa', Willie?
God bless your bonnie wee han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
I kent weel ye'd be a brave man!

Aye, will I greet day an' night, Willie,
Aye, will I greet day an' night!
But gin ye can see fra your heaven doun to me,
Ye'se no be wae at the sight:
Ye'se no be wae at the sight, Willie,
E'en in your bright blessed lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
I kent weel ye'd be a brave man.

Ye ken how I greet sae sair, Willie,
Ye ken how I greet sae sair,
When ye're no my ain guid bairnie the day,
An' my een are cloudy wi' care:
My een are cloudy wi' care, Willie,
An' I lean doun my head on my han',
An' think 'Will ye be a guid man, Willie,
Ah, will ye grow a guid man?'

Ye ken when I did na greet sae, Willie,
Ye ken when I did na greet sae!
Gran' gran' are a proud mither's tears,
An' the gate that she gangs in her wae:
The gate that she gangs in her wae, Willie,
Wi' her foot on her ain proud lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Ye min' how ye saw me greet, Willie,
Ye min' how ye saw me greet,
When the great news cam' to the toun at e'en,
An' we heard the shout in the street:
We heard the shout in the street, Willie,
An' the death-word it rode an' it ran.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Ye min' how I lift up mine ee', Willie,
Ye min' how I lift up mine ee',
An' smiled as I smile when I stan' i' the door,
An see ye come toddlin' to me:
See ye come toddlin' to me, Willie,
An' smile afar off where I stan'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Thank God for ilk tear I let fa', Willie,
Thank God for ilk tear I let fa',
For oh, where they wipe awa' tears fra' a' een,
Sic tears they wad no wipe awa':
Sic tears they wad no wipe awa', Willie,
Tho' there's nane may be sad i' that lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Noo to your play ye maun gang, Willie,
Noo to your play ye maun gang,
An' belyve, my ain wee, ye'll come back to my knee,
And I'se sing ye an auld Scots sang:
I'se sing ye an auld Scots sang, Willie,
A sang o' the dear auld lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

An' aye d'ye min' what I say, Willie,
What ye heard your auld mither say,
Better to dee a brave man an' free,
Than to live a fause coward for aye:
Than to live a fause coward for aye, Willie,
An' stan' by the shame o' your lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

It's brave to be first at the schule,
It's brave to be cock o' the class,
It's brave to thwack a strang fule,
It's brave to win a wee lass,
It's brave to be first wi' the pleugh,
An' first i' the reel an' strathspey,
An' first at the tod i' the cleugh,
An' first at the stag at bay.

It's brave to be laird o' the glen,
It's brave to be chief o' the clan,
But he that can dree for his neebor to dee,
Oh, he's the true brave man:
He's the true brave man, Willie,
An' the fame o' his name sall be gran'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

When The Rain Is On The Roof

Lord, I am poor, and know not how to speak,
But since Thou art so great,
Thou needest not that I should speak to Thee well.
All angels speak unto Thee well.

Lord, Thou hast all things: what Thou wilt is Thine.
More gold and silver than the sun and moon;
All flocks and herds, all fish in every sea;
Mountains and valleys, cities and all farms;
Cots and all men, harvests and years of fruit.
Is any king arrayed like Thee, who wearest
A new robe every morning? Who is crowned
As Thou, who settest heaven upon thy head?
But as for me-
For me, if he be dead, I have but Thee!
Therefore, because Thou art my sole possession,
I will not fear to speak to Thee who art mine,
For who doth dread his own?

Lord, I am very sorrowful. I know
That Thou delightest to do well; to wipe
Tears from all eyes; to bind the broken-hearted;
To comfort them that mourn; to give to them
Beauty for ashes, and to garb with joy
The naked soul of grief. And what so good
But Thou that wilt canst do it? Which of all
Thy works is less in wonder and in praise
Than this poor heart's desire? Give me, oh Lord,
My heart's desire! Wilt Thou refuse my prayer
Who givest when no man asketh? How great things,
How unbesought, how difficult, how strange,
Thou dost in daily pleasure! Who is like Thee,
Oh Lord of Life and Death? The year is dead;
It smouldered in its smoke to the white ash
Of winter: but Thou breathest and the fire
Is kindled, and Thy summer bounty burns.
This is a marvel to me. Day is buried;
And where they laid him in the west I see
The mounded mountains. Yet shall he come back;
Not like a ghost that rises from his grave.
But in the east the palace gates will ope,
And he comes forth out of the feast, and I
Behold him and the glory after him,
Like to a messaged angel with wide arms
Of rapture, all the honour in his eyes,
And blushing with the King. In the dark hours
Thou hast been busy with him: for he went
Down westward, and he cometh from the east,
Not as toil-stained from travel, tho' his course
And journey in the secrets of the night
Be far as earth and heaven. This is a sum
Too hard for me, oh Lord; I cannot do it.
But Thou hast set it, and I know with Thee
There is an answer. Man also, oh Lord,
Is clear and whole before Thee. Well I know
That the strong skein and tangle of our life
Thou holdest by the end. The mother dieth-
The mother dieth ere her time, and like
A jewel in the cinders of a fire,
The child endures. Also, the son is slain,
And she who bore him shrieks not while the steel
Doth hack her sometime vitals, and transfix
The heart she throbbed with. How shall these things be?
Likewise, oh Lord, man that is born of woman,
Who built him of her tenderness, and gave
Her sighs to breathe him, and for all his bones-
Poor trembler!-hath no wherewithal more stern
Than bowels of her pity, cometh forth
Like a young lion from his den. Ere yet
His teeth be fangled he hath greed of blood,
And gambols for the slaughter: and being grown,
Sudden, with terrible mane and mouthing thunder,
Like a thing native to the wilderness
He stretches toward the desert; while his dam,
As a poor dog that nursed the king of beasts,
Strains at her sordid chain, and, with set ear,
Hath yet a little longer, in the roar
And backward echo of his windy flight,
Him, seen no more. This also is too hard-
Too hard for me, oh Lord! I cannot judge it.
Also the armies of him are as dust.
A little while the storm and the great rain
Beat him, and he abideth in his place,
But the suns scorch on him, and all his sap
And strength, whereby he held against the ground,
Is spent; as in the unwatched pot on the fire,
When that which should have been the children's blood
Scarce paints the hollow iron. Then Thou callest
Thy wind. He passeth like the stowre and dust
Of roads in summer. A brief while it casts
A shadow, and beneath the passing cloud
Things not to pass do follow to the hedge,
Swift heaviness runs under with a show,
And draws a train, and what was white is dark;
But at the hedge it falleth on the fields-
It falleth on the greenness of the grass;
The grass between its verdure takes it in,
And no man heedeth. Surely, oh Lord God,
If he has gone down from me, if my child
Nowhere in any lands that see the sun
Maketh the sunshine pleasant, if the earth
Hath smoothed o'er him as waters o'er a stone,
Yet is he further from Thee than the day
After its setting? Shalt Thou not, oh Lord,
Be busy with him in the under dark,
And give him journey thro' the secret night,
As far as earth and heaven? Aye, tho' Thou slay me
Yet will I trust in Thee, and in his flesh
Shall he see God! But, Lord, tho' I am sure
That Thou canst raise the dead, oh what has he
To do with death? Our days of pilgrimage
Are three-score years and ten; why should he die?
Lord, this is grievous, that the heathen rage,
And because they imagined a vain thing,
That Thou shouldst send the just man that feared Thee,
To smite it from their hands. Lord, who are they,
That this my suckling lamb is their burnt-offering?
That with my staff, oh Lord, their fire is kindled,
My ploughshare Thou dost beat into Thy sword,
The blood Thou givest them to drink is mine?
Let it be far from Thee to do to mine
What if I did it to mine own, Thy curse
Avengeth. Do I take the children's bread
And give it to the dogs? Do I rebuke
So widely that the aimless lash comes down
On innocent and guilty? Do I lift
The hand of goodness by the elbowed arm
And break it on the evil? Not so. Not so.
Lord what advantageth it to be God
If Thou do less than I?

Have mercy on me!
Deal not with me according to mine anger!
Thou knowest if I lift my voice against Thee,
'Tis but as he who in his fierce despair
Dasheth his head against the dungeon-stone,
Sure that but one can suffer. Yet, oh Lord,
If Thou hast heard-if my loud passion reached
Thine awful ear-and yet, I think, oh Father,
I did not rage, but my most little anger
Borne in the strong arms of my mighty love
Seemed of the other's stature-oh, good Lord,
Bear witness now against me. Let me see
And taste that Thou art good. Thou who art slow
To wrath, oh pause upon my quick offence,
And show me mortal! Thou whose strength is made
Perfect in weakness, ah, be strong in me,
For I am weak indeed! How weak, oh Lord,
Thou knowest who hast seen the unlifted sin
Lie on the guilty tongue that strove in vain
To speak it. Call my madness from the tombs!
Let the dumb fiend confess Thee! If I sinned
In silence, if I looked the fool i' the face
And answered to his heart, 'There is no God,'
Now in mine hour stretch forth Thy hand, oh Lord,
And let me be ashamed. As when in sleep
I dream, and in the horror of my dream
Fall to the empty place below the world
Where no man is: no light, no life, no help,
No hope! And all the marrow in my bones
Leaps in me, and I rend the night with fear!
And he who lieth near me thro' the dark
Stretcheth an unseen hand, and all is well.
Tho' Thou shouldst give me all my heart's desire,
What is it in Thine eyes? Give me, oh God,
My heart's desire! my heart's desire, oh God!
As a young bird doth bend before its mother,
Bendeth and crieth to its feeding mother,
So bend I for that good thing before Thee.
It trembleth on the rock with many cries,
It bendeth with its breast upon the rock,
And worships in the hunger of its heart.
I tremble on the rock with many cries,
I bend my beating breast against the rock,
And worship in the hunger of my heart.
Give me that good thing ere I die, my God!
Give me that very good thing! Thou standest, Lord,
By all things, as one standeth after harvest
By the threshed corn, and, when the crowding fowl
Beseech him, being a man and seeing as men,
Hath pity on their cry, respecting not
The great and little barley, but at will
Dipping one hand into the golden store
Straweth alike; nevertheless to them
Whose eyes are near their meat and do esteem
By conscience of their bellies, grain and grain
Is stint or riches. Let it, oh my God,
Be far from Thee to measure out Thy gifts
Smaller and larger, or to say to me
Who am so poor and lean with the long fast
Of such a dreary dearth-to me whose joy
Is not as Thine-whose human heart is nearer
To its own good than Thou who art in heaven-
'Not this but this:' to me who if I took
All that these arms could compass, all pressed down
And running over that this heart could hold,
All that in dreams I covet when the soul
Sees not the further bound of what it craves,
Might filch my mortal infinite from Thine
And leave Thee nothing less. Give me, oh Lord,
My heart's desire! It profiteth Thee nought
Being withheld; being given, where is that aught
It doth not profit me? Wilt Thou deny
That which to Thee is nothing, but to me
All things? Not so. Not so. If I were God
And Thou--Have mercy on me! oh Lord! Lord!

Lord, I am weeping. As Thou wilt, oh Lord,
Do with him as Thou wilt; but oh, my God,
Let him come back to die! Let not the fowls
O' the air defile the body of my child,
My own fair child that when he was a babe
I lift up in my arms and gave to Thee!
Let not his garment, Lord, be vilely parted,
Nor the fine linen which these hands have spun
Fall to the stranger's lot! Shall the wild bird
-That would have pilfered of the ox-this year
Disdain the pens and stalls? Shall her blind young,
That on the fleck and moult of brutish beasts
Had been too happy, sleep in cloth of gold
Whereof each thread is to this beating heart
As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies
Hum o'er him! Lo, a feather from the crow
Falls in his parted lips! Lo, his dead eyes
See not the raven! Lo, the worm, the worm
Creeps from his festering horse! My God! my God!

Oh Lord, Thou doest well. I am content.
If Thou have need of him he shall not stay.
But as one calleth to a servant, saying
'At such a time be with me,' so, oh Lord,
Call him to Thee! Oh bid him not in haste
Straight whence he standeth. Let him lay aside
The soilèd tools of labour. Let him wash
His hands of blood. Let him array himself
Meet for his Lord, pure from the sweat and fume
Of corporal travail! Lord, if he must die,
Let him die here. Oh take him where Thou gavest!

And even as once I held him in my womb
Till all things were fulfilled, and he came forth,
So, oh Lord, let me hold him in my grave
Till the time come, and Thou, who settest when
The hinds shall calve, ordain a better birth;
And as I looked and saw my son, and wept
For joy, I look again and see my son,
And weep again for joy of him and Thee!

The Youth Of England To Garibaldi's Legend

O ye who by the gaping earth
Where, faint with resurrection, lay
An empire struggling into birth,
Her storm-strown beauty cold with clay,
The free winds round her flowery head,
Her feet still rooted with the dead,

Leaned on the unconquered arms that clave
Her tomb like Judgment, and foreknew
The life for which you rent the grave,
Would rise to breathe, beam, beat for you,
In every pulse of passionate mood,
A people's glorious gratitude,-

But heard, far off, the mobled woe
Of some new plaintiff for the light;
And leave your dear reward, and go
In haste, yet once again to smite
The hills, and, like a flood, unlock
Another nation from the rock;

Oh ye who, sure of nought but God
And death, go forth to turn the page
Of life, and in your heart's best blood
Date anew the chaptered age;
Ye o'er whom, as the abyss
O'er Curtius, sundered worlds shall kiss,

Do ye dream what ye have done?
What ye are and shall be? Nay,
Comets rushing to the sun,
And dyeing the tremendous way
With glory, look not back, nor know
How they blind the earth below.

From wave to wave our race rolls on,
In seas that rise, and fall, and rise;
Our tide of Man beneath the moon
Sets from the verge to yonder skies;
Throb after throb the ancient might
In such a thousand hills renews the earliest height.

'Tis something, o'er that moving vast,
To look across the centuries
Which heave the purple of a past
That was, and is not, and yet is,
And in that awful light to see
The crest of far Thermopylæ,

And, as a fisher draws his fly
Ripple by ripple, from shore to shore,
To draw our floating gaze, and try
The more by less, the less by more,
And find a peer to that sublime
Old height in the last surge of time.

'Tis something: yet great Clio's reed,
Greek with the sap of Castaly,
In her most glorious word midway
Begins to weep and bleed;
And Clio, lest she burn the line
Hides her blushing face divine,

While that maternal muse, so white
And lean with trying to forget,
Moves her mute lips, and, at the sight,
As if all suns that ever set
Slanted on a mortal ear
What man can feel but cannot hear,

We know, and know not how we know,
That when heroic Greece uprist,
Sicilia broke a daughter's vow,
And failed the inexorable tryst,-
We know that when those Spartans drew
Their swords-too many and too few!-

A presage blanched the Olympian hill
To moonlight: the old Thunderer nods;
But all the sullen air is chill
With rising Fates and younger gods.
Jove saw his peril and spake: one blind
Pale coward touched them with mankind.

What, then, on that Sicanian ground
Which soured the blood of Greece to shame,
To make the voice of praise resound
A triumph that, if Grecian fame
Blew it on her clarion old,
Had warmed the silver trump to gold!

What, then, brothers! to brim o'er
The measure Greece could scarcely brim,
And, calling Victory from the dim
Of that remote Thessalian shore,
Make his naked limbs repeat
What in the harness of defeat

He did of old; and, at the head
Of modern men, renewing thus
Thermopylæ, with Xerxes fled
And every Greek Leonidas,
Untitle the proud Past and crown
The heroic ages in our own!

Oh ye, whom they who cry 'how long'
See, and-as nestlings in the nest
Sink silent-sink into their rest;
Oh ye, in whom the Right and Wrong
That this old world of Day and Night
Crops upon its black and white,

Shall strike, and, in the last extremes
Of final best and worst, complete
The circuit of your light and heat;
Oh ye who walk upon our dreams,
And live, unknowing how or why
The vision and the prophecy,

In every tabernacled tent-
Eat shew-bread from the altar, and wot
Not of it-drink a sacrament
At every draught and know it not-
Breathe a nobler year whose least
Worst day is as the fast and feast

Of men-and, with such steps as chime
To nothing lower than the ears
Can hear to whom the marching spheres
Beat the universal time
Thro' our Life's perplexity,
March the land and sail the sea,

O'er those fields where Hate hath led
So oft the hosts of Crime and Pain-
March to break the captive's chain,
To heal the sick, to raise the dead,
And, where the last deadliest rout
Of furies cavern, to cast out

Those Dæmons,-ay, to meet the fell
Foul belch of swarming Satan hot
From Ætna, and down Ætna's throat
Drench that vomit back to hell-
In the east your star doth burn;
The tide of Fate is on the turn;

The thrown powers that mar or make
Man's good lie shed upon the sands,
Or on the wave about to break
Are flotsam that nor swims nor stands;
Earth is cold and pale, a-swoon
With fear; to the watch-tower of noon

The sun climbs sick and sorrowful,
Or, like clouded Cæsar, doth fold
His falling greatness to behold
Some crescent evil near the full.
Hell flickers; and the sudden reel
Of fortune, stopping in mid-wheel

Till the shifted current blows,
Clacks the knocking balls of chance
And the metred world's advance
Pauses at the rhythmic close;
One stave is ended, and the next
Chords its discords on the vext

And tuning Time: this is the hour
When weak Nature's need should be
The Hero's opportunity,
And heart and hand are Right and Power,
And he who will not serve may reign,
And who dares well dares nought in vain.

Behind you History stands a-gape;
On either side the incarnadine
Hot nations in whom war's wild wine
Burns like vintage thro' the grape,
See you, ruddy with the morn
Of Freedom, see you, and for scorn

As on that old day of wrath
The hosts drew off in hope and doubt,
And the shepherd-boy stept out
To sling Judæa upon Gath,
Furl in two, and, still as stone,
Like a red sea let you on.

On! ay tho' at war's alarms
That sea should flood into a foe!
On! the horns of Jericho
Blow when Virtue blows to arms.
Numberless or numbered-on!
Men are millions, God is one.

On! who waits for favouring gales?
What hap can ground your Argosy?
A nation's blessings fill your sails,
And tho' her wrongs scorched ocean dry,
Yet ah! her blood and tears could roll
Another sea from pole to pole.

On! day round ye, summer bloom
Beneath, in your young veins the bliss
Of youth! Who asks more? Ask but this,
-And ask as One will ask at Doom-
If lead be true, if steel be keen?
If hearts be pure, if hands be clean?

On! night round ye, the worst roak
Of Fortune poisoning all youth's bliss;
Each grass a sword, each Delphic oak
An omen! Who dreads? Dread but this,-
Blunted steel and lead unsure,
Hands unclean and hearts impure!

Full of love to God and man
As girt Martha's wageless toil;
Gracious as the wine and oil
Of the good Samaritan;
Healing to our wrongs and us
As Abraham's breast to Lazarus;

Piteous as the cheek that gave
Its patience to the smiter, still
Rendering nought but good for ill,
Tho' the greatest good ye have
Be iron, and your love and ruth
Speak but from the cannon's mouth-

On! you servants of the Lord,
In the right of servitude
Reap the life He sowed, and blood
His frenzied people with the sword,
And the blessing shall be yours,
That falls upon the peacemakers!

Ay, tho' trump and clarion blare,
Tho' your charging legions rock
Earth's bulwarks, tho' the slaughtered air
Be carrion, and the encountered shock
Of your clashing battles jar
The rung heav'ns, this is Peace, not War

With that two-edged sword that cleaves
Crowned insolence to awe,
And whose backward lightning leaves
Licence stricken into law,
Fill, till slaves and tyrants cease,
The sacred panurgy of peace!

Peace, as outraged peace can rise
When her eye that watched and prayed
Sees upon the favouring skies
The great sign, so long delayed,
And from hoofed and trampled sod
She leaps transfigured to a god,

Meets amid her smoking land
The chariot of careering War,
Locks the whirlwind of his car,
Wrests the thunder from his hand,
And, with his own bolt down-hurl'd,
Brains the monster from the world!

Hark! he comes! His nostrils cast
Like chaff before him flocks and men.
Oh proud, proud day, in yonder glen
Look on your heroes! Look your last,
Your last: and draw in with the passionate eye
Of love's last look the sights that paint eternity.

He comes-a tempest hides their place!
'Tis morn. The long day wanes. The loud
Storm lulls. Some march out of the cloud,
The princes of their age and race;
And some the mother earth that bore
Such sons hath loved too well to let them leave her more.

But oh, when joy-bells ring
For the living that return,
And the fires of victory burn,
And the dancing kingdoms sing,
And beauty takes the brave
To the breast he bled to save,

Will no faithful mourner weep
Where the battle-grass is gory,
And deep the soldier's sleep
In his martial cloak of glory,
Sleeps the dear dead buried low?
Shall they be forgotten? Lo,

On beyond that vale of fire
This babe must travel ere the child
Of yonder tall and bearded sire
His father's image hath fulfilled,
He shall see in that far day
A race of maidens pale and grey.

Theirs shall be nor cross nor hood,
Common rite nor convent roof,
Bead nor bell shall put to proof
A sister of that sisterhood;
But by noonday or by night
In her eyes there shall be light.

And as a temple organ, set
To its best stop by hands long gone,
Gives new ears the olden tone
And speaks the buried master yet,
Her lightest accents have the key
Of ancient love and victory.

And, as some hind, whom his o'erthrown
And dying king o'er hill and flood
Sends laden with the fallen crown,
Breathes the great trust into his blood
Till all his conscious forehead wears
The splendid secret that he bears,

For ever, everywhere the same,
Thro' every changing time and scene,
In widow's weeds and lowly name
She stands a bride, she moves a queen;
The flowering land her footstep knows;
The people bless her as she goes,

Whether upon your sacred days
She peers the mightiest and the best,
Or whether, by the common ways,
The babe leans from the peasant's breast,
While humble eyelids proudly fill,
And momentary Sabbaths still

The hand that spins, the foot that delves,
And all our sorrow and delight
Behold the seraph of themselves
In that pure face where woe grown bright
Seems rapture chastened to the mild
And equal light of smiles unsmiled.

And if perchance some wandering king,
Enamoured of her virgin reign,
Should sue the hand whose only ring
Is the last link of that first chain,
Forged by no departed hours, and seen
But in the daylight that hath been,

She pauses ere her heart can speak,
And, from below the source of tears,
The girlhood to her faded cheek
Goes slowly up thro' twenty years,
And, like the shadow in her eyes,
Slowly the living Past replies,

In tones of such serene eclipse
As if the voices of Death and Life
Came married by her mortal lips
To more than Life or Death-'A wife
Thou wooest; on yonder field he died
Who lives in all the world beside.'

Oh, ye who, in the favouring smile
Of Heaven, at one great stroke shall win
The gleaming guerdons that beguile
Glory's grey-haired Paladin
Thro' all his threescore jousts and ten,
-Love of women, and praise of men,

The spurs, the bays, the palm, the crown,-
Who, from your mountain-peak among
Mountains, thenceforth may look along
The shining tops of deeds undone,
And take them thro' the level air
As angels walk from star to star,

We from our isle-the ripest spot
Of the round green globe-where all
The rays of God most kindly fall,
And warm us to that temperate lot
Of seasoned change that slowly brings
Fruition to the orb of things,

We from this calm in chaos, where
Matter running into plan
And Reason solid in a man
Mediate the earth and air,
See ye winging yon far gloom,
Oh, ministering spirits! as some

Blest soul above that, all too late,
From his subaltern seat in heaven
Looks round and measures fate with fate,
And thro' the clouds below him driven
Beholds from that calm world of bliss
The toil and agony of this,

And, warming with the scene rehearst,
Bemoans the realms where all is won,
And sees the last that shall be first,
And spurns his secondary throne,
And envies from his changeless sphere
The life that strives and conquers here.

But ere toward fields so old and new
We leap from joys that shine in vain,
And rain our passion down the blue
Serene-once more-once more-to drain
Life's dreadful ecstasy, and sell
Our birthright for that oxymel

Whose stab and unction still keep quick
The wound for ever lost and found,
Lo, o'erhead, a cherubic
And legendary lyre, that round
The eddying spaces turns a dream
Of ancient war! And at the theme

Harps to answering harps, on high,
Call, recall, that but a strait
Of storm divides our happy state
From that pale sleepless Mystery
Who pines to sit upon the throne
He served ere falling to his own.

Grass From The Battle-Field

Small sheaf
Of withered grass, that hast not yet revealed
Thy story, lo! I see thee once more green
And growing on the battle-field,
On that last day that ever thou didst grow!

I look down thro' thy blades and see between
A little lifted clover leaf
Stand like a cresset: and I know
If this were morn there should be seen
In its chalice such a gem
As decks no mortal diadem
Poised with a lapidary skill
Which merely living doth fulfil
And pass the exquisite strain of subtlest human will.
But in the sun it lifteth up
A dry unjewelled cup,
Therefore I see that day doth not begin;
And yet I know its beaming lord
Hath not yet passed the hill of noon,
Or thy lush blades
Would be more dry and thin,
And every blade a thirsty sword
Edged with the sharp desire that soon
Should draw the silver blood of all the shades.
I feel 't is summer. This whereon I stand
Is not a hill, nor, as I think, a vale;
The soil is soft upon the generous land,
Yet not as where the meeting streams take hand
Under the mossy mantle of the dale.
Such grass is for the meadow. If I try
To lift my heavy eyelids, as in dreams
A power is on them, and I know not why.
Thou art but part; the whole is unconfest:
Beholding thee I long to know the rest.
As one expands the bosom with a sigh,
I stretch my sight's horizon; but it seems,
Ere it can widen round the mystery,
To close in swift contraction, like the breast.
The air is held, as by a charm,
In an enforcèd silence, as like sound
As the dead man the living. 'T is so still,
I listen for it loud.
And when I force my eyes from thy sole place
And see a wider space,
Above, around,
In ragged glory like a torn
And golden-natured cloud,
O'er the dim field a living smoke is warm;
As in a city on a sabbath morn
The hot and summer sunshine goes abroad
Swathed in the murky air,
As if a god
Enrobed himself in common flesh and blood,
Our heavy flesh and blood,
And here and there
As unaware
Thro' the dull lagging limbs of mortal make,
That keep unequal time, the swifter essence brake.

But hark a bugle horn!
And, ere it ceases, such a shock
As if the plain were iron, and thereon
An iron hammer, heavy as a hill,
Swung by a monstrous force, in stroke came down
And deafened Heaven. I feel a swound
Of every sense bestunned.
The rent ground seems to rock,
And all the definite vision, in such wise
As a dead giant borne on a swift river,
Seems sliding off for ever,
When my reviving eyes,
As one that holds a spirit by his eye
With set inexorable stare,
Fix thee: and so I catch, as by the hair,
The form of that great dream that else had drifted by.
I know not what that form may be;
The lock I hold is all I see,
And thou, small sheaf! art all the battle-field to me.

The wounded silence hath not time to heal
When see! upon thy sod
The round stroke of a charger's heel
With echoing thunder shod!
As the night-lightning shows
A mole upon a momentary face,
So, as that gnarled hoof strikes the indented place,
I see it, and it goes!
And I hear the squadrons trot thro' the heavy shell and shot,
And wheugh! but the grass is gory!
Forward ho! blow to blow, at the foe in they go,
And 'tis hieover heigho for glory!

The rushing storm is past,
But hark! upon its track the far drums beat,
And all the earth that at thy roots thou hast
Stirs, shakes, shocks, sounds, with quick strong tramp of feet
In time unlike the last.
Footing to tap of drum
The charging columns come;
And as they come their mighty martial sound
Blows on before them as a flaming fire
Blows in the wind; for, as old Mars in ire
Strode o'er the world encompassed in a cloud,
So the swift legion, o'er the quaking ground,
Strode in a noise of battle. Nigh and nigher
I heard it, like the long swell gathering loud
What-time a land-wind blowing from the main
Blows to the burst of fury and is o'er,
As if an ocean on one fatal shore
Fell in a moment whole, and threw its roar
Whole to the further sea: and as the strain
Of my strong sense cracked in the deafened ear,
And all the rushing tumult of the plain
Topped its great arch above me, a swift foot
Was struck between thy blades to the struck root,
And lifted: as into a sheath
A sudden sword is thrust and drawn again
Ere one can gasp a breath.
I was so near,
I saw the wrinkles of the leather grain,
The very cobbler's stitches, and the wear
By which I knew the wearer trod not straight;
An honest shoe it seemed that had been good
To mete the miles of any country lane,
Nor did one sign explain
'T was made to wade thro' blood.
My shoe, soft footstooled on this hearth, so far
From strife, hath such a patch, and as he past
His broken shoelace whipt his eager haste.

An honest shoe, good faith! that might have stood
Upon the threshold of a village inn
And welcomed all the world: or by the byre
And barn gone peaceful till the day closed in,
And, scraped at eve upon some homely gate,
Ah, Heaven! might sit beside a cottage fire
And touch the lazy log to softer flames than war.

Long, long, thou wert alone,
I thought thy days were done,
Flat as ignoble grass that lies out mown
By peaceful hands in June, I saw thee lie.
A worm crawled o'er thee, and the gossamer
That telegraphs Queen Mab to Oberon,
Lengthening his living message, passed thee by.
But rain fell: and thy strawed blades one by one
Began to stir and stir.

And as some moorland bird
Whom the still hunter's stalking steps have stirred,
When he stands mute, and nothing more is heard,
With slow succession and reluctant art
Grows upward from her bed,
Each move a muffled start,
And thro' the silent autumn covert red
Uplifts a throbbing head
That times the ambushed hunter's thudding heart;
Or as a snow-drop bending low
Beneath a flake of other snow
Thaws to its height when spring winds melt the skies,
And drip by drip doth mete a measured rise;

Or as the eyelids of a child's fair eyes
Lift from her lower lashes slow and pale
To arch the wonder of a fairy tale;
So thro' the western light
I saw thee slowly rearing to thy height.

Then when thou hadst regained thy state,
And while a meadow-spider with three lines
Enschemed thy three tall pillars green,
And made the enchanted air between
Mortal with shining signs,
(For the loud carrion-flies were many and late),

Betwixt thy blades and stems
There fell a hand,
Soft, small and white, and ringed with gold and gems;
And on those stones of price
I saw a proud device,
And words I could not understand.

Idly, one by one,
The knots of anguish came undone,
The fingers stretched as from a cramp of woe,
And sweet and slow
Moved to gracious shapes of rest,
Like a curl of soft pale hair
Drying in the sun.
And then they spread,
And sought a wonted greeting in the air,
And strayed
Between thy blades, and with each blade
As with meeting fingers played
And tresses long and fair.
Then again at placid length it lay,
Stretched as to kisses of accustomed lips;
And again in sudden strain
Sprang, falling clenched with pain,
Till the knuckles white,
Thro' the evening gray,
Whitened and whitened as the snowy tips
Of far hills glimmer thro' the night.
But who shall tell that agony
That beat thee, beat thee into bloody clay
Red as the sards and rubies of the rings;
As when a bird, fast by the fowler's net,
A moment doth forget
His fetters, and with desperate wings
A-sudden springs and falls,
And (while from happy clouds the skylark calls)
Still feebler springs
And fainter falls,
And still untamed upon the gory ground
With failing strength renews his deadly wound?
At length the struggle ceased; and my fixed eye
Perceived that every finger wan
Did quiver like the quivering fan
Of a dying butterfly,
Nor long I watched until
Even the humming in the air was still.
Then I gazed and gazed,
Nor once my aching eyeballs raised
Till a poor bird that had a meadow nest
Came down, and like a shadow ran
Among the shadowy grass.
I followed with mine eyes; and with a strain
Pursued her, till six cubits' length beyond
Thy central sheaf, I found
A sight I could not pass.
The hacked and haggard head
Of a huge war-horse dead.
The evening haze hung o'er him like a breath,
And still in death
He stretched drawn lips of rage that grinned in vain;
A sparrow chirped upon
His wound, and in his dying slaver fed,
Or picked those teeth of stone
That bit with lifeless jaws the purple tongue of pain.

But I remembered that dead hand
I left to trace the childless lark,
And back o'er those six cubits of grass-land,
Blade by blade, and stalk by stalk,
As one doth walk
Who, mindful, counts by dark
Along the garden palings to the gate,
I felt along the vision to where late
There lay that dead hand white;
But now methought that there was something more
Than when I looked before,
And what was more was sweeter than the rest;
As when upon the moony half of night
Aurora lays a living light,
Softer than moonshine, yet more bright.
And as I looked I was aware
Another hand was on the hand,
A smaller hand, more fair
But not more white, as is the warm delight
That curves and curls and coyly glows
About the blushing heart of the white rose
More fair but not more white
Than those broad beauties that expand
And fall, and falling blanch the morning air.

Both hands lay motionless,
The living on the dead. But by and by
The living hand began to move and press
The cold dead flesh, and took its silent way
So often o'er the unrespective clay,
In such long-drawn caress
Of pleading passion, such an ecstacy
Of supplicating touch, that as they lay
So like, so unlike, twined with the fond art
And all the dear delay
And dreadful patience of a desperate heart,
Methought that to the tenement
From which it lately went,
The naked life had come back, and did try
By every gate to enter. While I thought,
With sudden clutch of new intent
The living grasp had caught
The dead compliance. Slowly thro'
The dusky air she raised it, and aloft,
While all her fingers soft
And every starting vein
Tightened as in a rack of pain,
Held it one straining moment fixed and mute,
And let it go.
And with a thud upon the sod,
It fell like falling fruit.

Then there came a cry,
Tearless, bloodless, dry
Of every sap of sorrow but its own-
It had no likeness among living cries;
And to my heart my streaming blood was blown
As if before my eyes
A dead man sprang up dead, and dead fell down.
The carrion-hunting winds that prowl the wold,
Frenzied for prey, sweep in and bear it on,
Far, far and further thro' the shrieking cold,
And still the yelling pack devour it as they run.
And silence, like a want of air,
Was round me, and my sense burned low,
And darkness darkened; and the glow
Of the living hand being gone,
The dead hand showed like a pale stone
Full fathom five
Under a quiet bay.
But still my sight did dive
To reach it where it lay,
And still the night grew dark, and by degrees
The dead thing glimmered with a drownèd light,
As faces seem and sink in depths of darkening seas.
Then, while yet
My set eyes saw it, as the sage doth set
His glass to some dim glimpse afar
That palpitates from mote to star,
It was touched and hid;
Touched and hid, as when a deep sea-weed
Hides some white sea-sorrow. All
My sight uprose, and all my soul
(As one who presses at the pane
When a city show goes by),
Crowded into the fixed eye,
And filled the starting ball.
Nor filled in vain.
I began to feel
The air had something to reveal.
Beyond the blank indifference
Was underlined another sense,
Was rained a gracious influence;
And tho' the darkness was so deep,
I knew it was not wholly dead,
Nor empty, as we feel in sleep
That some one standeth by the bed.
I beheld, as who should look
In trance upon a sealèd book.
I perceived that in a place
The night was lighter, as the face
Of an Indian Queen when love
Draws back the dark blood from her sick
Pale cheek
Behind the sable curtain that doth not move.

No outer light was shed,
But as the mystery
Before my stronger will did slowly yield,
I saw, as in that dark hour before morn
When the shocks of harvest corn
Exhale about the midnight field
The wealth of yellow suns, and breathe a gentle day.
I saw the shape of a fair bended head,
And hair pale streaming long and low
Veiling the face I might not know,
And dabbling all the ground with sweet uncertain woe.
Much I questioned in my mind
Of her form and kind,
But my stern compelling eye
Brought no other answer from the air,
Nor did my rude hand dare
Profane that agony.
I watched apart
With such a sweet awe in my heart
As looks up dumb into the sky
When that goddess, lorn and lone,
Who slew grim winter like a polar bear,
And threw his immemorial white
Upon her granite throne,
Sits all unseen as Death,
Save for the loss of many a hidden star
And for the wintry mystery of her breath,
And at a far-sight that she sees,
Bowed by her great despair,
Bendeth her awful head upon her knees,
And all her wondrous hair
Dishevels golden down the northern night.
At length my weary gaze
Rents: and, haze in haze
Pervolving as in glad release,
I saw each separate shade
Slide from his place and fade,
And all the flowering dark did winter back
Into its undistinguished black.
So the sculptor doth in fancy make
His formèd image in the formless stone,
And while his spells compel,
Can see it there full well,
The ivory kernel in the ivory shell,
But shakes himself and all the god is gone.
And have I seen thee but an hour?
And shalt thou never tell
Thy story, oh thou broken flower,
Thou midnight asphodel
Among the battle grass?

Too soon! too soon!
But while I bid thee stay,
Night, like a cloud, dissolves into the day,
And from the city clock I hear the stroke of noon.