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Flint and Feather by E. Pauline Johnson

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As sinks the sun within that world of wine.

I seem to hear a bar of music float
And swoon into the west;
My ear can scarcely catch the whispered note,
But something in my breast
Blends with that strain, till both accord in one,
As cloud and colour blend at set of sun.

And twilight comes with grey and restful eyes,
As ashes follow flame.
But O! I heard a voice from those rich skies
Call tenderly my name;
It was as if some priestly fingers stole
In benedictions o'er my lonely soul.

I know not why, but all my being longed
And leapt at that sweet call;
My heart outreached its arms, all passion thronged
And beat against Fate's wall,
Crying in utter homesickness to be
Near to a heart that loves and leans to me.


Soulless is all humanity to me
To-night. My keenest longing is to be
Alone, alone with God's grey earth that seems
Pulse of my pulse and consort of my dreams.

To-night my soul desires no fellowship,
Or fellow-being; crave I but to slip
Thro' space on space, till flesh no more can bind,
And I may quit for aye my fellow kind.

Let me but feel athwart my cheek the lash
Of whipping wind, but hear the torrent dash
Adown the mountain steep, 'twere more my choice
Than touch of human hand, than human voice.

Let me but wander on the shore night-stilled,
Drinking its darkness till my soul is filled;
The breathing of the salt sea on my hair,
My outstretched hands but grasping empty air.

Let me but feel the pulse of Nature's soul
Athrob on mine, let seas and thunders roll
O'er night and me; sands whirl; winds, waters beat;
For God's grey earth has no cheap counterfeit.


What of the days when we two dreamed together?
Days marvellously fair,
As lightsome as a skyward floating feather
Sailing on summer air--
Summer, summer, that came drifting through
Fate's hand to me, to you.

What of the days, my dear? I sometimes wonder
If you too wish this sky
Could be the blue we sailed so softly under,
In that sun-kissed July;
Sailed in the warm and yellow afternoon,
With hearts in touch and tune.

Have you no longing to re-live the dreaming,
Adrift in my canoe?
To watch my paddle blade all wet and gleaming
Cleaving the waters through?
To lie wind-blown and wave-caressed, until
Your restless pulse grows still?

Do you not long to listen to the purling
Of foam athwart the keel?
To hear the nearing rapids softly swirling
Among their stones, to feel
The boat's unsteady tremor as it braves
The wild and snarling waves?

What need of question, what of your replying?
Oh! well I know that you
Would toss the world away to be but lying
Again in my canoe,
In listless indolence entranced and lost,
Wave-rocked, and passion tossed.

Ah me! my paddle failed me in the steering
Across love's shoreless seas;
All reckless, I had ne'er a thought of fearing
Such dreary days as these,
When through the self-same rapids we dash by,
My lone canoe and I.



Because, dear Christ, your tender, wounded arm
Bends back the brier that edges life's long way,
That no hurt comes to heart, to soul no harm,
I do not feel the thorns so much to-day.

Because I never knew your care to tire,
Your hand to weary guiding me aright,
Because you walk before and crush the brier,
It does not pierce my feet so much to-night.

Because so often you have hearkened to
My selfish prayers, I ask but one thing now,
That these harsh hands of mine add not unto
The crown of thorns upon your bleeding brow.


To-night I hunger so,
Beloved one, to know
If you recall and crave again the dream
That haunted our canoe,
And wove its witchcraft through
Our hearts as 'neath the northern night we sailed the northern stream.

Ah! dear, if only we
As yesternight could be
Afloat within that light and lonely shell,
To drift in silence till
Heart-hushed, and lulled and still
The moonlight through the melting air flung forth its fatal spell.

The dusky summer night,
The path of gold and white
The moon had cast across the river's breast,
The shores in shadows clad,
The far-away, half-sad
Sweet singing of the whip-poor-will, all soothed our souls to rest.

You trusted I could feel
My arm as strong as steel,
So still your upturned face, so calm your breath,
While circling eddies curled,
While laughing rapids whirled
From boulder unto boulder, till they dashed themselves to death.

Your splendid eyes aflame
Put heaven's stars to shame,
Your god-like head so near my lap was laid--
My hand is burning where
It touched your wind-blown hair,
As sweeping to the rapids verge, I changed my paddle blade.

The boat obeyed my hand,
Till wearied with its grand
Wild anger, all the river lay aswoon,
And as my paddle dipped,
Thro' pools of pearl it slipped
And swept beneath a shore of shade, beneath a velvet moon.

To-night, again dream you
Our spirit-winged canoe
Is listening to the rapids purling past?
Where, in delirium reeled
Our maddened hearts that kneeled
To idolize the perfect world, to taste of love at last.


Into the rose gold westland, its yellow prairies roll,
World of the bison's freedom, home of the Indian's soul.
Roll out, O seas! in sunlight bathed,
Your plains wind-tossed, and grass enswathed.

Farther than vision ranges, farther than eagles fly,
Stretches the land of beauty, arches the perfect sky,
Hemm'd through the purple mists afar
By peaks that gleam like star on star.

Fringing the prairie billows, fretting horizon's line,
Darkly green are slumb'ring wildernesses of pine,
Sleeping until the zephyrs throng
To kiss their silence into song.

Whispers freighted with odour swinging into the air,
Russet needles as censers swing to an altar, where
The angels' songs are less divine
Than duo sung twixt breeze and pine.

Laughing into the forest, dimples a mountain stream,
Pure as the airs above it, soft as a summer dream,
O! Lethean spring thou'rt only found
Within this ideal hunting ground.

Surely the great Hereafter cannot be more than this,
Surely we'll see that country after Time's farewell kiss.
Who would his lovely faith condole?
Who envies not the Red-skin's soul,

Sailing into the cloud land, sailing into the sun,
Into the crimson portals ajar when life is done?
O! dear dead race, my spirit too
Would fain sail westward unto you.


I am sailing to the leeward,
Where the current runs to seaward
Soft and slow,
Where the sleeping river grasses
Brush my paddle as it passes
To and fro.

On the shore the heat is shaking
All the golden sands awaking
In the cove;
And the quaint sand-piper, winging
O'er the shallows, ceases singing
When I move.

On the water's idle pillow
Sleeps the overhanging willow,
Green and cool;
Where the rushes lift their burnished
Oval heads from out the tarnished
Emerald pool.

Where the very silence slumbers,
Water lilies grow in numbers,
Pure and pale;
All the morning they have rested,
Amber crowned, and pearly crested,
Fair and frail.

Here, impossible romances,
Indefinable sweet fancies,
Cluster round;
But they do not mar the sweetness
Of this still September fleetness
With a sound.

I can scarce discern the meeting
Of the shore and stream retreating,
So remote;
For the laggard river, dozing,
Only wakes from its reposing
Where I float.

Where the river mists are rising,
All the foliage baptizing
With their spray;
There the sun gleams far and faintly,
With a shadow soft and saintly,
In its ray.

And the perfume of some burning
Far-off brushwood, ever turning
To exhale
All its smoky fragrance dying,
In the arms of evening lying,
Where I sail.

My canoe is growing lazy,
In the atmosphere so hazy,
While I dream;
Half in slumber I am guiding,
Eastward indistinctly gliding
Down the stream.


Night of Mid-June, in heavy vapours dying,
Like priestly hands thy holy touch is lying
Upon the world's wide brow;
God-like and grand all nature is commanding
The "peace that passes human understanding";
I, also, feel it now.

What matters it to-night, if one life treasure
I covet, is not mine! Am I to measure
The gifts of Heaven's decree
By my desires? O! life for ever longing
For some far gift, where many gifts are thronging,
God wills, it may not be.

Am I to learn that longing, lifted higher,
Perhaps will catch the gleam of sacred fire
That shows my cross is gold?
That underneath this cross--however lowly,
A jewel rests, white, beautiful and holy,
Whose worth can not be told.

Like to a scene I watched one day in wonder:--
A city, great and powerful, lay under
A sky of grey and gold;
The sun outbreaking in his farewell hour,
Was scattering afar a yellow shower
Of light, that aureoled

With brief hot touch, so marvellous and shining,
A hundred steeples on the sky out-lining,
Like network threads of fire;
Above them all, with halo far outspreading,
I saw a golden cross in glory heading
A consecrated spire:

I only saw its gleaming form uplifting,
Against the clouds of grey to seaward drifting,
And yet I surely know
Beneath the seen, a great unseen is resting,
For while the cross that pinnacle is cresting,
An Altar lies below.

. . . . .

Night of Mid-June, so slumberous and tender,
Night of Mid-June, transcendent in thy splendour
Thy silent wings enfold
And hush my longing, as at thy desire
All colour fades from round that far-off spire,
Except its cross of gold.


When each white moon, her lantern idly swinging,
Comes out to join the star night-watching band,
Across the grey-green sea, a ship is bringing
For me a letter, from the Motherland.

Naught would I care to live in quaint old Britain,
These wilder shores are dearer far to me,
Yet when I read the words that hand has written,
The parent sod more precious seems to be.

Within that folded note I catch the savour
Of climes that make the Motherland so fair,
Although I never knew the blessed favour
That surely lies in breathing English air.

Imagination's brush before me fleeing,
Paints English pictures, though my longing eyes
Have never known the blessedness of seeing
The blue that lines the arch of English skies.

And yet my letter brings the scenes I covet,
Framed in the salt sea winds, aye more in dreams
I almost see the face that bent above it,
I almost touch that hand, so near it seems.

Near, for the very grey-green sea that dashes
'Round these Canadian coasts, rolls out once more
To Eastward, and the same Atlantic splashes
Her wild white spray on England's distant shore.

Near, for the same young moon so idly swinging
Her threadlike crescent bends the selfsame smile
On that old land from whence a ship is bringing
My message from the transatlantic Isle.

Thus loves my heart that far old country better,
Because of those dear words that always come,
With love enfolded in each English letter
That drifts into my sun-kissed Western home.


(The following poems are from the author's second book, "Canadian
Born," first published in 1903.)


We first saw light in Canada, the land beloved of God;
We are the pulse of Canada, its marrow and its blood:
And we, the men of Canada, can face the world and brag
That we were born in Canada beneath the British flag.

Few of us have the blood of kings, few are of courtly birth,
But few are vagabonds or rogues of doubtful name and worth;
And all have one credential that entitles us to brag--
That we were born in Canada beneath the British flag.

We've yet to make our money, we've yet to make our fame,
But we have gold and glory in our clean colonial name;
And every man's a millionaire if only he can brag
That he was born in Canada beneath the British flag.

No title and no coronet is half so proudly worn
As that which we inherited as men Canadian born.
We count no man so noble as the one who makes the brag
That he was born in Canada beneath the British flag.

The Dutch may have their Holland, the Spaniard have his Spain,
The Yankee to the south of us must south of us remain;
For not a man dare lift a hand against the men who brag
That they were born in Canada beneath the British flag.



What dream you in the night-time
When you whisper to the moon?
What say you in the morning?
What do you sing at noon?
When I hear your voice uplifting,
Like a breeze through branches sifting,
And your ripples softly drifting
To the August airs a-tune.


Lend me your happy laughter,
Ste. Marie, as you leap;
Your peace that follows after
Where through the isles you creep.
Give to me your splendid dashing,
Give your sparkles and your splashing,
Your uphurling waves down crashing,
Then, your aftermath of sleep.


Pillowed and hushed on the silent plain,
Wrapped in her mantle of golden grain,

Wearied of pleasuring weeks away,
Summer is lying asleep to-day,--

Where winds come sweet from the wild-rose briers
And the smoke of the far-off prairie fires;

Yellow her hair as the goldenrod,
And brown her cheeks as the prairie sod;

Purple her eyes as the mists that dream
At the edge of some laggard sun-drowned stream;

But over their depths the lashes sweep,
For Summer is lying to-day asleep.

The north wind kisses her rosy mouth,
His rival frowns in the far-off south,

And comes caressing her sunburnt cheek,
And Summer awakes for one short week,--

Awakes and gathers her wealth of grain,
Then sleeps and dreams for a year again.



Lady Lorgnette, of the lifted lash,
The curling lip and the dainty nose,
The shell-like ear where the jewels flash,
The arching brow and the languid pose,
The rare old lace and the subtle scents,
The slender foot and the fingers frail,--
I may act till the world grows wild and tense,
But never a flush on your features pale.
The footlights glimmer between us two,--
You in the box and I on the boards,--
I am only an actor, Madame, to you,
A mimic king 'mid his mimic lords,
For you are the belle of the smartest set,
Lady Lorgnette.


Little Babette, with your eyes of jet,
Your midnight hair and your piquant chin,
Your lips whose odours of violet
Drive men to madness and saints to sin,--
I see you over the footlights' glare
Down in the pit 'mid the common mob,--
Your throat is burning, and brown, and bare,
You lean, and listen, and pulse, and throb;
The viols are dreaming between us two,
And my gilded crown is no make-believe,
I am more than an actor, dear, to you,
For you called me your king but yester eve,
And your heart is my golden coronet,
Little Babette.



The long red flats stretch open to the sky,
Breathing their moisture on the August air.
The seaweeds cling with flesh-like fingers where
The rocks give shelter that the sands deny;
And wrapped in all her summer harmonies
St. Andrews sleeps beside her sleeping seas.

The far-off shores swim blue and indistinct,
Like half-lost memories of some old dream.
The listless waves that catch each sunny gleam
Are idling up the waterways land-linked,
And, yellowing along the harbour's breast,
The light is leaping shoreward from the west.

And naked-footed children, tripping down,
Light with young laughter, daily come at eve
To gather dulse and sea clams and then heave
Their loads, returning laden to the town,
Leaving a strange grey silence when they go,--
The silence of the sands when tides are low.



Speak of you, sir? You bet he did. Ben Fields was far too sound
To go back on a fellow just because he weren't around.
Why, sir, he thought a lot of you, and only three months back
Says he, "The Squire will some time come a-snuffing out our track
And give us the surprise." And so I got to thinking then
That any day you might drop down on Rove, and me, and Ben.
And now you've come for nothing, for the lad has left us two,
And six long weeks ago, sir, he went up beyond the blue.

Who's Rove? Oh, he's the collie, and the only thing on earth
That I will ever love again. Why, Squire, that dog is worth
More than you ever handled, and that's quite a piece, I know.
Ah, there the beggar is!--come here, you scalawag! and show
Your broken leg all bandaged up. Yes, sir, it's pretty sore;
I did it,--curse me,--and I think I feel the pain far more
Than him, for somehow I just feel as if I'd been untrue
To what my brother said before he went beyond the blue.

You see, the day before he died he says to me, "Say, Ned,
Be sure you take good care of poor old Rover when I'm dead,
And maybe he will cheer your lonesome hours up a bit,
And when he takes to you just see that you're deserving it."
Well, Squire, it wasn't any use. I tried, but couldn't get
The friendship of that collie, for I needed it, you bet.
I might as well have tried to get the moon to help me through,
For Rover's heart had gone with Ben, 'way up beyond the blue.

He never seemed to take to me nor follow me about,
For all I coaxed and petted, for my heart was starving out
For want of some companionship,--I thought, if only he
Would lick my hand or come and put his head aside my knee,
Perhaps his touch would scatter something of the gloom away.
But all alone I had to live until there came a day
When, tired of the battle, as you'd have tired too,
I wished to heaven I'd gone with Ben, 'way up beyond the blue.

. . . . .

One morning I took out Ben's gun, and thought I'd hunt all day,
And started through the clearing for the bush that forward lay,
When something made me look around--I scarce believed my mind--
But, sure enough, the dog was following right close behind.
A feeling first of joy, and than a sharper, greater one
Of anger came, at knowing 'twas not me, but Ben's old gun,
That Rove was after,--well, sir, I just don't mind telling you,
But I forgot that moment Ben was up beyond the blue.

Perhaps it was but jealousy--perhaps it was despair,
But I just struck him with the gun and broke the bone right there;
And then--my very throat seemed choked, for he began to whine
With pain--God knows how tenderly I took that dog of mine
Up in my arms, and tore my old red necktie into bands
To bind the broken leg, while there he lay and licked my hands;
And though I cursed my soul, it was the brightest day I knew,
Or even cared to live, since Ben went up beyond the blue.

I tell you, Squire, I nursed him just as gently as could be,
And now I'm all the world to him, and he's the world to me.
Look, sir, at that big, noble soul, right in his faithful eyes,
The square, forgiving honesty that deep down in them lies.
Eh, Squire? What's that you say? _He's got no soul?_ I tell you, then,
He's grander and he's better than the mass of what's called men;
And I guess he stands a better chance than many of us do
Of seeing Ben some day again, 'way up beyond the blue.


"Wreck and stray and castaway."--SWINBURNE.

Once more adrift.
O'er dappling sea and broad lagoon,
O'er frowning cliff and yellow dune,
The long, warm lights of afternoon
Like jewel dustings sift.

Once more awake.
I dreamed an hour of port and quay,
Of anchorage not meant for me;
The sea, the sea, the hungry sea
Came rolling up the break.

Once more afloat.
The billows on my moorings press't,
They drove me from my moment's rest,
And now a portless sea I breast,
And shelterless my boat.

Once more away.
The harbour lights are growing dim,
The shore is but a purple rim,
The sea outstretches grey and grim.
Away, away, away!

Once more at sea,
The old, old sea I used to sail,
The battling tide, the blowing gale,
The waves with ceaseless under-wail
The life that used to be.


Little brown baby-bird, lapped in your nest,
Wrapped in your nest,
Strapped in your nest,
Your straight little cradle-board rocks you to rest;
Its hands are your nest;
Its bands are your nest;
It swings from the down-bending branch of the oak;
You watch the camp flame, and the curling grey smoke;
But, oh, for your pretty black eyes sleep is best,--
Little brown baby of mine, go to rest.

Little brown baby-bird swinging to sleep,
Winging to sleep,
Singing to sleep,
Your wonder-black eyes that so wide open keep,
Shielding their sleep,
Unyielding to sleep,
The heron is homing, the plover is still,
The night-owl calls from his haunt on the hill,
Afar the fox barks, afar the stars peep,--
Little brown baby of mine, go to sleep.


Hard by the Indian lodges, where the bush
Breaks in a clearing, through ill-fashioned fields,
She comes to labour, when the first still hush
Of autumn follows large and recent yields.

Age in her fingers, hunger in her face,
Her shoulders stooped with weight of work and years,
But rich in tawny colouring of her race,
She comes a-field to strip the purple ears.

And all her thoughts are with the days gone by,
Ere might's injustice banished from their lands
Her people, that to-day unheeded lie,
Like the dead husks that rustle through her hands.



I swing to the sunset land--
The world of prairie, the world of plain,
The world of promise and hope and gain,
The world of gold, and the world of grain,
And the world of the willing hand.

I carry the brave and bold--
The one who works for the nation's bread,
The one whose past is a thing that's dead,
The one who battles and beats ahead,
And the one who goes for gold.

I swing to the "Land to Be,"
I am the power that laid its floors,
I am the guide to its western stores,
I am the key to its golden doors,
That open alone to me.


I swing to the land of morn;
The grey old east with its grey old seas,
The land of leisure, the land of ease,
The land of flowers and fruits and trees,
And the place where we were born.

Freighted with wealth I come;
For he who many a moon has spent
Far out west on adventure bent,
With well-worn pick and a folded tent,
Is bringing his bullion home.

I never will be renowned,
As my twin that swings to the western marts,
For I am she of the humbler parts,
But I am the joy of the waiting hearts;
For I am the Homeward-bound.


A trail upwinds from Golden;
It leads to a land God only knows,
To the land of eternal frozen snows,
That trail unknown and olden.

And they tell a tale that is strange and wild--
Of a lovely and lonely mountain child
That went up the trail from Golden.

A child in the sweet of her womanhood,
Beautiful, tender, grave and good
As the saints in time long olden.

And the days count not, nor the weeks avail;
For the child that went up the mountain trail
Came never again to Golden.

And the watchers wept in the midnight gloom,
Where the canyons yawn and the Selkirks loom,
For the love that they knew of olden.

And April dawned, with its suns aflame,
And the eagles wheeled and the vultures came
And poised o'er the town of Golden.

God of the white eternal peaks,
Guard the dead while the vulture seeks!--
God of the days so olden.

For only God in His greatness knows
Where the mountain holly above her grows,
On the trail that leads from Golden.


Music, music with throb and swing,
Of a plaintive note, and long;
'Tis a note no human throat could sing,
No harp with its dulcet golden string,--
Nor lute, nor lyre with liquid ring,
Is sweet as the robin's song.

He sings for love of the season
When the days grow warm and long,
For the beautiful God-sent reason
That his breast was born for song.

Calling, calling so fresh and clear,
Through the song-sweet days of May;
Warbling there, and whistling here,
He swells his voice on the drinking ear,
On the great, wide, pulsing atmosphere
Till his music drowns the day.

He sings for love of the season
When the days grow warm and long,
For the beautiful God-sent reason
That his breast was born for song.


Beyond a ridge of pine with russet tips
The west lifts to the sun her longing lips,

Her blushes stain with gold and garnet dye
The shore, the river and the wide far sky;

Like floods of wine the waters filter through
The reeds that brush our indolent canoe.

I beach the bow where sands in shadows lie;
You hold my hand a space, then speak good-bye.

Upwinds your pathway through the yellow plumes
Of goldenrod, profuse in August blooms,

And o'er its tossing sprays you toss a kiss;
A moment more, and I see only this--

The idle paddle you so lately held,
The empty bow your pliant wrist propelled,

Some thistles purpling into violet,
Their blossoms with a thousand thorns afret,

And like a cobweb, shadowy and grey,
Far floats their down--far drifts my dream away.


Who is it lacks the knowledge? Who are the curs that dare
To whine and sneer that they do not fear the whelps in the Lion's lair?
But we of the North will answer, while life in the North remains,
Let the curs beware lest the whelps they dare are the Riders of the Plains;
For these are the kind whose muscle makes the power of the Lion's jaw,
And they keep the peace of our people and the honour of British law.

A woman has painted a picture,--'tis a neat little bit of art
The critics aver, and it roused up for her the love of the big British heart.
'Tis a sketch of an English bulldog that tigers would scarce attack,
And round and about and beneath him is painted the Union Jack.
With its blaze of colour, and courage, its daring in every fold,
And underneath is the title, "What we have we'll hold."
'Tis a picture plain as a mirror, but the reflex it contains
Is the counterpart of the life and heart of the Riders of the Plains;
For like to that flag and that motto, and the power of that bulldog's jaw,
They keep the peace of our people and the honour of British law.

These are the fearless fighters, whose life in the open lies,
Who never fail on the prairie trail 'neath the Territorial skies,
Who have laughed in the face of the bullets and the edge of the rebels' steel,
Who have set their ban on the lawless man with his crime beneath their heel;
These are the men who battle the blizzards, the suns, the rains,
These are the famed that the North has named the "Riders of the Plains,"
And theirs is the might and the meaning and the strength of the bulldog's jaw,
While they keep the peace of the people and the honour of British law.

These are the men of action, who need not the world's renown,
For their valour is known to England's throne as a gem in the British crown;
These are the men who face the front, whose courage the world may scan,
The men who are feared by the felon, but are loved by the honest man;
These are the marrow, the pith, the cream, the best that the blood contains,
Who have cast their days in the valiant ways of the Riders of the Plains;
And theirs is the kind whose muscle makes the power of old England's jaw,
And they keep the peace of her people and the honour of British law.

Then down with the cur that questions,--let him slink to his craven den,--
For he daren't deny our hot reply as to "who are our mounted men."
He shall honour them east and westward, he shall honour them south and north,
He shall bare his head to that coat of red wherever that red rides forth.
'Tis well that he knows the fibre that the great North-West contains,
The North-West pride in her men that ride on the Territorial plains,--
For of such as these are the muscles and the teeth in the Lion's jaw,
And they keep the peace of our people and the honour of British law.

[2] The above is the Territorial pet name for the North-West Mounted
Police, and is in general usage throughout Assiniboia, Saskatchewan
and Alberta. At a dinner party in Boston the writer was asked, "Who
are the North-West Mounted Police?" and when told that they were the
pride of Canada's fighting men the questioner sneered and replied,
"Ah! then they are only some of British Lion's whelps. We are not
afraid of them." His companions applauded the remark.


The sky-line melts from russet into blue,
Unbroken the horizon, saving where
A wreath of smoke curls up the far, thin air,
And points the distant lodges of the Sioux.

Etched where the lands and cloudlands touch and die
A solitary Indian tepee stands,
The only habitation of these lands,
That roll their magnitude from sky to sky.

The tent poles lift and loom in thin relief,
The upward floating smoke ascends between,
And near the open doorway, gaunt and lean,
And shadow-like, there stands an Indian Chief.

With eyes that lost their lustre long ago,
With visage fixed and stern as fate's decree,
He looks towards the empty west, to see
The never-coming herd of buffalo.

Only the bones that bleach upon the plains,
Only the fleshless skeletons that lie
In ghastly nakedness and silence, cry
Out mutely that naught else to him remains.


My heart forgot its God for love of you,
And you forgot me, other loves to learn;
Now through a wilderness of thorn and rue
Back to my God I turn.

And just because my God forgets the past,
And in forgetting does not ask to know
Why I once left His arms for yours, at last
Back to my God I go.


Unknown to you, I walk the cheerless shore.
The cutting blast, the hurl of biting brine
May freeze, and still, and bind the waves at war,
Ere you will ever know, O! Heart of mine,
That I have sought, reflected in the blue
Of these sea depths, some shadow of your eyes;
Have hoped the laughing waves would sing of you,
But this is all my starving sight descries--


Far out at sea a sail
Bends to the freshening breeze,
Yields to the rising gale
That sweeps the seas;


Yields, as a bird wind-tossed,
To saltish waves that fling
Their spray, whose rime and frost
Like crystals cling


To canvas, mast and spar,
Till, gleaming like a gem,
She sinks beyond the far
Horizon's hem.


Lost to my longing sight,
And nothing left to me
Save an oncoming night,--
An empty sea.

[3] For this title the author is indebted to Mr. Charles G. D.
Roberts. It occurs in his sonnet, "Rain."


You didn't know Billy, did you? Well, Bill was one of the boys,
The greatest fellow you ever seen to racket an' raise a noise,--
An' sing! say, you never heard singing 'nless you heard Billy sing.
I used to say to him, "Billy, that voice that you've got there'd bring
A mighty sight more bank-notes to tuck away in your vest,
If only you'd go on the concert stage instead of a-ranchin' West."
An' Billy he'd jist go laughin', and say as I didn't know
A robin's whistle in springtime from a barnyard rooster's crow.
But Billy could sing, an' I sometimes think that voice lives anyhow,--
That perhaps Bill helps with the music in the place he's gone to now.

The last time that I seen him was the day he rode away;
He was goin' acrost the plain to catch the train for the East next day.
'Twas the only time I ever seen poor Bill that he didn't laugh
Or sing, an' kick up a rumpus an' racket around, and chaff,
For he'd got a letter from his folks that said for to hurry home,
For his mother was dyin' away down East an' she wanted Bill to come.
Say, but the feller took it hard, but he saddled up right away,
An' started across the plains to take the train for the East, next day.
Sometimes I lie awake a-nights jist a-thinkin' of the rest,
For that was the great big blizzard day, when the wind come down from west,
An' the snow piled up like mountains an' we couldn't put foot outside,
But jist set into the shack an' talked of Bill on his lonely ride.
We talked of the laugh he threw us as he went at the break o' day,
An' we talked of the poor old woman dyin' a thousand mile away.

Well, Dan O'Connell an' I went out to search at the end of the week,
Fer all of us fellers thought a lot,--a lot that we darsn't speak.
We'd been up the trail about forty mile, an' was talkin' of turnin' back,
But Dan, well, he wouldn't give in, so we kep' right on to the railroad track.
As soon as we sighted them telegraph wires says Dan, "Say, bless my soul!
Ain't that there Bill's red handkerchief tied half way up that pole?"
Yes, sir, there she was, with her ends a-flippin' an' flyin' in the wind,
An' underneath was the envelope of Bill's letter tightly pinned.
"Why, he must a-boarded the train right here," says Dan, but I kinder knew
That underneath them snowdrifts we would find a thing or two;
Fer he'd writ on that there paper, "Been lost fer hours,--all hope is past.
You'll find me, boys, where my handkerchief is flyin' at half-mast."



When did you sink to your dreamless sleep
Out there in your thunder bed?
Where the tempests sweep,
And the waters leap,
And the storms rage overhead.

Were you lying there on your couch alone
Ere Egypt and Rome were born?
Ere the Age of Stone,
Or the world had known
The Man with the Crown of Thorn.

The winds screech down from the open west,
And the thunders beat and break
On the amethyst
Of your rugged breast,--
But you never arise or wake.

You have locked your past, and you keep the key
In your heart 'neath the westing sun,
Where the mighty sea
And its shores will be
Storm-swept till the world is done.


Plains, plains, and the prairie land which the sunlight floods and fills,
To the north the open country, southward the Cyprus Hills;
Never a bit of woodland, never a rill that flows,
Only a stretch of cactus beds, and the wild, sweet prairie rose;
Never a habitation, save where in the far south-west
A solitary tepee lifts its solitary crest,
Where Neykia in the doorway, crouched in the red sunshine,
Broiders her buckskin mantle with the quills of the porcupine.

Neykia, the Sioux chief's daughter, she with the foot that flies,
She with the hair of midnight and the wondrous midnight eyes,
She with the deft brown fingers, she with the soft, slow smile,
She with the voice of velvet and the thoughts that dream the while,--
"Whence come the vague to-morrows? Where do the yesters fly?
What is beyond the border of the prairie and the sky?
Does the maid in the Land of Morning sit in the red sunshine,
Broidering her buckskin mantle with the quills of the porcupine?"

So Neykia, in the westland, wonders and works away,
Far from the fret and folly of the "Land of Waking Day."
And many the pale-faced trader who stops at the tepee door
For a smile from the sweet, shy worker, and a sigh when the hour is o'er.
For they know of a young red hunter who oftentimes has stayed
To rest and smoke with her father, tho' his eyes were on the maid;
And the moons will not be many ere she in the red sunshine
Will broider his buckskin mantle with the quills of the porcupine.


Halifax sits on her hills by the sea
In the might of her pride,--
Invincible, terrible, beautiful, she
With a sword at her side.

To right and to left of her, battlements rear
And fortresses frown;
While she sits on her throne without favour or fear
With her cannon as crown.

Coast guard and sentinel, watch of the weal
Of a nation she keeps;
But her hand is encased in a gauntlet of steel,
And her thunder but sleeps.


At Crow's Nest Pass the mountains rend
Themselves apart, the rivers wend
A lawless course about their feet,
And breaking into torrents beat
In useless fury where they blend
At Crow's Nest Pass.

The nesting eagle, wise, discreet,
Wings up the gorge's lone retreat
And makes some barren crag her friend
At Crow's Nest Pass.

Uncertain clouds, half-high, suspend
Their shifting vapours, and contend
With rocks that suffer not defeat;
And snows, and suns, and mad winds meet
To battle where the cliffs defend
At Crow's Nest Pass.


There was a man--a Jew of kingly blood,
But of the people--poor and lowly born,
Accused of blasphemy of God, He stood
Before the Roman Pilate, while in scorn
The multitude demanded it was fit
That one should suffer for the people, while
Another be released, absolved, acquit,
To live his life out virtuous or vile.

"Whom will ye have--Barabbas or this Jew?"
Pilate made answer to the mob, "The choice
Is yours; I wash my hands of this, and you,
Do as you will." With one vast ribald voice
The populace arose and, shrieking, cried,
"Give us Barabbas, we condone his deeds!"
And He of Nazareth was crucified--
Misjudged, condemned, dishonoured for their needs.

And down these nineteen centuries anew
Comes the hoarse-throated, brutalized refrain,
"Give us Barabbas, crucify the Jew!"
Once more a man must bear a nation's stain,--
And that in France, the chivalrous, whose lore
Made her the flower of knightly age gone by.
Now she lies hideous with a leprous sore
No skill can cure--no pardon purify.

And an indignant world, transfixed with hate
Of such disease, cries, as in Herod's time,
Pointing its finger at her festering state,
"Room for the leper, and her leprous crime!"
And France, writhing from years of torment, cries
Out in her anguish, "Let this Jew endure,
Damned and disgraced, vicarious sacrifice.
The honour of my army is secure."

And, vampire-like, that army sucks the blood
From out a martyr's veins, and strips his crown
Of honour from him, and his herohood
Flings in the dust, and cuts his manhood down.
Hide from your God, O! ye that did this act!
With lesser crimes the halls of Hell are paved.
Your army's honour may be still intact,
Unstained, unsoiled, unspotted,--but unsaved.

[4] Written after Dreyfus was exiled.


Methinks I see your mirror frame,
Ornate with photographs of them.
Place mine therein, for, all the same,
I'll have my little laughs at them.

For girls may come, and girls may go,
I think I have the best of them;
And yet this photograph I know
You'll toss among the rest of them.

I cannot even hope that you
Will put me in your locket, dear;
Nor costly frame will I look through,
Nor bide in your breast pocket, dear.

For none your heart monopolize,
You favour such a nest of them.
So I but hope your roving eyes
Seek mine among the rest of them.

For saucy sprite, and noble dame,
And many a dainty maid of them
Will greet me in your mirror frame,
And share your kisses laid on them.

And yet, sometimes I fancy, dear,
You hold me as the best of them.
So I'm content if I appear
To-night with all the rest of them.



To none the city bends a servile knee;
Purse-proud and scornful, on her heights she stands,
And at her feet the great white moaning sea
Shoulders incessantly the grey-gold sands,--
One the Almighty's child since time began,
And one the might of Mammon, born of clods;
For all the city is the work of man,
But all the sea is God's.


And she--between the ocean and the town--
Lies cursed of one and by the other blest:
Her staring eyes, her long drenched hair, her gown,
Sea-laved and soiled and dank above her breast.
She, image of her God since life began,
She, but the child of Mammon, born of clods,
Her broken body spoiled and spurned of man,
But her sweet soul is God's.


And only where the forest fires have sped,
Scorching relentlessly the cool north lands,
A sweet wild flower lifts its purple head,
And, like some gentle spirit sorrow-fed,
It hides the scars with almost human hands.

And only to the heart that knows of grief,
Of desolating fire, of human pain,
There comes some purifying sweet belief,
Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief.
And life revives, and blossoms once again.


There's wine in the cup, Vancouver,
And there's warmth in my heart for you,
While I drink to your health, your youth, and your wealth,
And the things that you yet will do.
In a vintage rare and olden,
With a flavour fine and keen,
Fill the glass to the edge, while I stand up to pledge
My faith to my western queen.

Then here's a Ho! Vancouver, in wine of the bonniest hue,
With a hand on my hip and the cup at my lip,
And a love in my life for you.
For you are a jolly good fellow, with a great, big heart, I know;
So I drink this toast
To the "Queen of the Coast."
Vancouver, here's a Ho!

And here's to the days that are coming,
And here's to the days that are gone,
And here's to your gold and your spirit bold,
And your luck that has held its own;
And here's to your hands so sturdy,
And here's to your hearts so true,
And here's to the speed of the day decreed
That brings me again to you.

Then here's a Ho! Vancouver, in wine of the bonniest hue,
With a hand on my hip and the cup at my lip,
And a love in my life for you.
For you are a jolly good fellow, with a great, big heart, I know;
So I drink this toast
To the "Queen of the Coast."
Vancouver, here's a Ho!


Little Lady Icicle is dreaming in the north-land
And gleaming in the north-land, her pillow all a-glow;
For the frost has come and found her
With an ermine robe around her
Where little Lady Icicle lies dreaming in the snow.

Little Lady Icicle is waking in the north-land,
And shaking in the north-land her pillow to and fro;
And the hurricane a-skirling
Sends the feathers all a-whirling
Where little Lady Icicle is waking in the snow.

Little Lady Icicle is laughing in the north-land,
And quaffing in the north-land her wines that overflow;
All the lakes and rivers crusting
That her finger-tips are dusting,
Where little Lady Icicle is laughing in the snow.

Little Lady Icicle is singing in the north-land,
And bringing from the north-land a music wild and low;
And the fairies watch and listen
Where her silver slippers glisten,
As little Lady Icicle goes singing through the snow.

Little Lady Icicle is coming from the north-land,
Benumbing all the north-land where'er her feet may go;
With a fringe of frost before her
And a crystal garment o'er her,
Little Lady Icicle is coming with the snow.


I am the one who loved her as my life,
Had watched her grow to sweet young womanhood;
Won the dear privilege to call her wife,
And found the world, because of her, was good.
I am the one who heard the spirit voice,
Of which the paleface settlers love to tell;
From whose strange story they have made their choice
Of naming this fair valley the "Qu'Appelle."

She had said fondly in my eager ear--
"When Indian summer smiles with dusky lip,
Come to the lakes, I will be first to hear
The welcome music of thy paddle dip.
I will be first to lay in thine my hand,
To whisper words of greeting on the shore;
And when thou would'st return to thine own land,
I'll go with thee, thy wife for evermore."

Not yet a leaf had fallen, not a tone
Of frost upon the plain ere I set forth,
Impatient to possess her as my own--
This queen of all the women of the North.
I rested not at even or at dawn,
But journeyed all the dark and daylight through--
Until I reached the Lakes, and, hurrying on,
I launched upon their bosom my canoe.

Of sleep or hunger then I took no heed,
But hastened o'er their leagues of waterways;
But my hot heart outstripped my paddle's speed
And waited not for distance or for days,
But flew before me swifter than the blade
Of magic paddle ever cleaved the Lake,
Eager to lay its love before the maid,
And watch the lovelight in her eyes awake.

So the long days went slowly drifting past;
It seemed that half my life must intervene
Before the morrow, when I said at last--
"One more day's journey and I win my queen!"
I rested then, and, drifting, dreamed the more
Of all the happiness I was to claim,--
When suddenly from out the shadowed shore,
I heard a voice speak tenderly my name.

"Who calls?" I answered; no reply; and long
I stilled my paddle blade and listened. Then
Above the night wind's melancholy song
I heard distinctly that strange voice again--
A woman's voice, that through the twilight came
Like to a soul unborn--a song unsung.

I leaned and listened--yes, she spoke my name,
And then I answered in the quaint French tongue,
"Qu'Appelle? Qu'Appelle?" No answer, and the night
Seemed stiller for the sound, till round me fell
The far-off echoes from the far-off height--
"Qu'Appelle?" my voice came back, "Qu'Appelle? Qu'Appelle?"
This--and no more; I called aloud until
I shuddered as the gloom of night increased,
And, like a pallid spectre wan and chill,
The moon arose in silence in the east.

I dare not linger on the moment when
My boat I beached beside her tepee door;
I heard the wail of women and of men,--
I saw the death-fires lighted on the shore.
No language tells the torture or the pain,
The bitterness that flooded all my life,--
When I was led to look on her again,
That queen of women pledged to be my wife.
To look upon the beauty of her face,
The still closed eyes, the lips that knew no breath;
To look, to learn,--to realize my place
Had been usurped by my one rival--Death.
A storm of wrecking sorrow beat and broke
About my heart, and life shut out its light
Till through my anguish some one gently spoke,
And said, "Twice did she call for thee last night."

I started up--and bending o'er my dead,
Asked when did her sweet lips in silence close.
"She called thy name--then passed away," they said,
"Just on the hour whereat the moon arose."

Among the lonely Lakes I go no more,
For she who made their beauty is not there;
The paleface rears his tepee on the shore
And says the vale is fairest of the fair.
Full many years have vanished since, but still
The voyageurs beside the campfire tell
How, when the moonrise tips the distant hill,
They hear strange voices through the silence swell.
The paleface loves the haunted lakes they say,
And journeys far to watch their beauty spread
Before his vision; but to me the day,
The night, the hour, the seasons are all dead.
I listen heartsick, while the hunters tell
Why white men named the valley The Qu'Appelle.


There is no song his colours cannot sing,
For all his art breathes melody, and tunes
The fine, keen beauty that his brushes bring
To murmuring marbles and to golden Junes.

The music of those marbles you can hear
In every crevice, where the deep green stains
Have sunken when the grey days of the year
Spilled leisurely their warm, incessant rains

That, lingering, forget to leave the ledge,
But drenched into the seams, amid the hush
Of ages, leaving but the silent pledge
To waken to the wonder of his brush.

And at the Master's touch the marbles leap
To life, the creamy onyx and the skins
Of copper-coloured leopards, and the deep,
Cool basins where the whispering water wins

Reflections from the gold and glowing sun,
And tints from warm, sweet human flesh, for fair
And subtly lithe and beautiful, leans one--
A goddess with a wealth of tawny hair.


Sounds of the seas grow fainter,
Sounds of the sands have sped;
The sweep of gales,
The far white sails,
Are silent, spent and dead.

Sounds of the days of summer
Murmur and die away,
And distance hides
The long, low tides,
As night shuts out the day.


(These miscellaneous poems are all of later date.)


Measures of oil for others,
Oil and red wine,
Lips laugh and drink, but never
Are the lips mine.

Worlds at the feet of others,
Power gods have known,
Hearts for the favoured round me
Mine beats, alone.

Fame offering to others
Chaplets of bays,
I with no crown of laurels,
Only grey days.

Sweet human love for others,
Deep as the sea,
God-sent unto my neighbour--
But not to me.

Sometime I'll wrest from others
More than all this,
I shall demand from Heaven
Far sweeter bliss.

What profit then to others,
Laughter and wine?
I'll have what most they covet--
Death, will be mine.



Born on the breast of the prairie, she smiles to her sire--the sun,
Robed in the wealth of her wheat-lands, gift of her mothering soil,
Affluence knocks at her gateways, opulence waits to be won.
Nuggets of gold are her acres, yielding and yellow with spoil,
Dream of the hungry millions, dawn of the food-filled age,
Over the starving tale of want her fingers have turned the page;
Nations will nurse at her storehouse, and God gives her grain for wage.


He needs must leave the trapping and the chase,
For mating game his arrows ne'er despoil,
And from the hunter's heaven turn his face,
To wring some promise from the dormant soil.

He needs must leave the lodge that wintered him,
The enervating fires, the blanket bed--
The women's dulcet voices, for the grim
Realities of labouring for bread.

So goes he forth beneath the planter's moon
With sack of seed that pledges large increase,
His simple pagan faith knows night and noon,
Heat, cold, seedtime and harvest shall not cease.

And yielding to his needs, this honest sod,
Brown as the hand that tills it, moist with rain,
Teeming with ripe fulfilment, true as God,
With fostering richness, mothers every grain.


Up the dusk-enfolded prairie,
Foot-falls, soft and sly,
Velvet cushioned, wild and wary,
Then--the coyote's cry.

Rush of hoofs, and roar and rattle,
Beasts of blood and breed,
Twenty thousand frightened cattle,
Then--the wild stampede.

Pliant lasso circling wider
In the frenzied flight--
Loping horse and cursing rider,
Plunging through the night.

Rim of dawn the darkness losing
Trail of blackened soil;
Perfume of the sage brush oozing
On the air like oil.

Foothills to the Rockies lifting
Brown, and blue, and green,
Warm Alberta sunlight drifting
Over leagues between.

That's the country of the ranges,
Plain and prairie land,
And the God who never changes
Holds it in His hand.



Know by the thread of music woven through
This fragile web of cadences I spin,
That I have only caught these songs since you
Voiced them upon your haunting violin.


October's orchestra plays softly on
The northern forest with its thousand strings,
And Autumn, the conductor wields anon
The Golden-rod-- The baton that he swings.


There is a lonely minor chord that sings
Faintly and far along the forest ways,
When the firs finger faintly on the strings
Of that rare violin the night wind plays,
Just as it whispered once to you and me
Beneath the English pines beyond the sea.


The lost wind wandering, forever grieves
Low overhead,
Above grey mosses whispering of leaves
Fallen and dead.
And through the lonely night sweeps their refrain
Like Chopin's prelude, sobbing 'neath the rain.


The wild grape mantling the trail and tree,
Festoons in graceful veils its drapery,
Its tendrils cling, as clings the memory stirred
By some evasive haunting tune, twice heard.



It is the blood-hued maple straight and strong,
Voicing abroad its patriotic song.


Its daring colours bravely flinging forth
The ensign of the Nation of the North.


Elfin bell in azure dress,
Chiming all day long,
Ringing through the wilderness
Dulcet notes of song.
Daintiest of forest flowers
Weaving like a spell--
Music through the Autumn hours,
Little Elfin bell.


And then the sound of marching armies 'woke
Amid the branches of the soldier oak,
And tempests ceased their warring cry, and dumb
The lashing storms that muttered, overcome,
Choked by the heralding of battle smoke,
When these gnarled branches beat their martial drum.


A sweet high treble threads its silvery song,
Voice of the restless aspen, fine and thin
It trills its pure soprano, light and long--
Like the vibretto of a mandolin.


The cedar trees have sung their vesper hymn,
And now the music sleeps--
Its benediction falling where the dim
Dusk of the forest creeps.
Mute grows the great concerto--and the light
Of day is darkening, Good-night, Good-night.
But through the night time I shall hear within
The murmur of these trees,
The calling of your distant violin
Sobbing across the seas,
And waking wind, and star-reflected light
Shall voice my answering. Good-night, Good-night.


Sob of fall, and song of forest, come you here on haunting quest,
Calling through the seas and silence, from God's country of the west.
Where the mountain pass is narrow, and the torrent white and strong,
Down its rocky-throated canyon, sings its golden-throated song.

You are singing there together through the God-begotten nights,
And the leaning stars are listening above the distant heights
That lift like points of opal in the crescent coronet
About whose golden setting sweeps the trail to Lillooet.

Trail that winds and trail that wanders, like a cobweb hanging high,
Just a hazy thread outlining mid-way of the stream and sky,
Where the Fraser River canyon yawns its pathway to the sea,
But half the world has shouldered up between its song and me.

Here, the placid English August, and the sea-encircled miles,
There--God's copper-coloured sunshine beating through the lonely aisles
Where the waterfalls and forest voice for ever their duet,
And call across the canyon on the trail to Lillooet.



Crown of her, young Vancouver; crest of her, old Quebec;
Atlantic and far Pacific sweeping her, keel to deck.
North of her, ice and arctics; southward a rival's stealth;
Aloft, her Empire's pennant; below, her nation's wealth.
Daughter of men and markets, bearing within her hold,
Appraised at highest value, cargoes of grain and gold.


All the long day the vapours played
At blindfold in the city streets,
Their elfin fingers caught and stayed
The sunbeams, as they wound their sheets
Into a filmy barricade
'Twixt earth and where the sunlight beats.

A vagrant band of mischiefs these,
With wings of grey and cobweb gown;
They live along the edge of seas,
And creeping out on foot of down,
They chase and frolic, frisk and tease
At blind-man's buff with all the town.

And when at eventide the sun
Breaks with a glory through their grey,
The vapour-fairies, one by one,
Outspread their wings and float away
In clouds of colouring, that run
Wine-like along the rim of day.

Athwart the beauty and the breast
Of purpling airs they twirl and twist,
Then float away to some far rest,
Leaving the skies all colour-kiss't--
A glorious and a golden West
That greets the Lifting of the Mist.


You are belted with gold, little brother of mine,
Yellow gold, like the sun
That spills in the west, as a chalice of wine
When feasting is done.

You are gossamer-winged, little brother of mine,
Tissue winged, like the mist
That broods where the marshes melt into a line
Of vapour sun-kissed.

You are laden with sweets, little brother of mine,
Flower sweets, like the touch
Of hands we have longed for, of arms that entwine,
Of lips that love much.

You are better than I, little brother of mine,
Than I, human-souled,
For you bring from the blossoms and red summer shine,
For others, your gold.


It is dusk on the Lost Lagoon,
And we two dreaming the dusk away,
Beneath the drift of a twilight grey,
Beneath the drowse of an ending day,
And the curve of a golden moon.

It is dark in the Lost Lagoon,
And gone are the depths of haunting blue,
The grouping gulls, and the old canoe,
The singing firs, and the dusk and--you,
And gone is the golden moon.

O! lure of the Lost Lagoon,--
I dream to-night that my paddle blurs
The purple shade where the seaweed stirs,
I hear the call of the singing firs
In the hush of the golden moon.


Out of the night and the north;
Savage of breed and of bone,
Shaggy and swift comes the yelping band,
Freighters of fur from the voiceless land
That sleeps in the Arctic zone.

Laden with skins from the north,
Beaver and bear and raccoon,
Marten and mink from the polar belts,
Otter and ermine and sable pelts--
The spoils of the hunter's moon.

Out of the night and the north,
Sinewy, fearless and fleet,
Urging the pack through the pathless snow,
The Indian driver, calling low,
Follows with moccasined feet.

Ships of the night and the north,
Freighters on prairies and plains,
Carrying cargoes from field and flood
They scent the trail through their wild red blood,
The wolfish blood in their veins.



Love, was it yesternoon, or years agone,
You took in yours my hands,
And placed me close beside you on the throne
Of Oriental lands?

The truant hour came back at dawn to-day,
Across the hemispheres,
And bade my sleeping soul retrace its way
These many hundred years.

And all my wild young life returned, and ceased
The years that lie between,
When you were King of Egypt, and The East,
And I was Egypt's queen.


I feel again the lengths of silken gossamer enfold
My body and my limbs in robes of emerald and gold.
I feel the heavy sunshine, and the weight of languid heat
That crowned the day you laid the royal jewels at my feet.

You wound my throat with jacinths, green and glist'ning serpent-wise,
My hot, dark throat that pulsed beneath the ardour of your eyes;
And centuries have failed to cool the memory of your hands
That bound about my arms those massive, pliant golden bands.

You wreathed around my wrists long ropes of coral and of jade,
And beaten gold that clung like coils of kisses love-inlaid;
About my naked ankles tawny topaz chains you wound,
With clasps of carven onyx, ruby-rimmed and golden bound.

But not for me the Royal Pearls to bind about my hair,
"Pearls were too passionless," you said, for one like me to wear,
I must have all the splendour, all the jewels warm as wine,
But pearls so pale and cold were meant for other flesh than mine.

But all the blood-warm beauty of the gems you thought my due
Were pallid as a pearl beside the love I gave to you;
O! Love of mine come back across the years that lie between,
When you were King of Egypt--Dear, and I was Egypt's Queen.


Cards, and swords, and a lady's love,
That is a tale worth reading,
An insult veiled, a downcast glove,
And rapiers leap unheeding.
And 'tis O! for the brawl,
The thrust, the fall,
And the foe at your feet a-bleeding.

Tales of revel at wayside inns,
The goblets gaily filling,
Braggarts boasting a thousand sins,
Though none can boast a shilling.
And 'tis O! for the wine,
The frothing stein,
And the clamour of cups a-spilling.

Tales of maidens in rich brocade,
Powder and puff and patches,
Gallants lilting a serenade
Of old-time trolls and catches.
And 'tis O! for the lips
And the finger tips,
And the kiss that the boldest snatches.

Tales of buckle and big rosette,
The slender shoe adorning,
Of curtseying through the minuet
With laughter, love, or scorning.
And 'tis O! for the shout
Of the roustabout,
As he hies him home in the morning.

Cards and swords, and a lady's love,
Give to the tale God-speeding,
War and wassail, and perfumed glove,
And all that's rare in reading.
And 'tis O! for the ways
Of the olden days,
And a life that was worth the leading.


All yesterday the thought of you was resting in my soul,
And when sleep wandered o'er the world that very thought she stole
To fill my dreams with splendour such as stars could not eclipse,
And in the morn I wakened with your name upon my lips.

Awakened, my beloved, to the morning of your eyes,
Your splendid eyes, so full of clouds, wherein a shadow tries
To overcome the flame that melts into the world of grey,
As coming suns dissolve the dark that veils the edge of day.

Cool drifts the air at dawn of day, cool lies the sleeping dew,
But all my heart is burning, for it woke from dreams of you;
And O! these longing eyes of mine look out and only see
A dying night, a waking day, and calm on all but me.

So gently creeps the morning through the heavy air,
The dawn grey-garbed and velvet-shod is wandering everywhere
To wake the slumber-laden hours that leave their dreamless rest,
With outspread, laggard wings to court the pillows of the west.

Up from the earth a moisture steals with odours fresh and soft,
A smell of moss and grasses warm with dew, and far aloft
The stars are growing colourless, while drooping in the west,
A late, wan moon is paling in a sky of amethyst.

The passing of the shadows, as they waft their pinions near,
Has stirred a tender wind within the night-hushed atmosphere,
That in its homeless wanderings sobs in an undertone

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