Part 3 out of 5
Where is the beauty that was here?
TAKE CARE, TAKE CARE
Bind up, bind up your dark bright hair
And hide the smouldering sunken fire.
Let it be held no more than fair,
Nor yourself guess how rare, how rare
Its movement, colour and deep fire.
Your eyes they have their consciousness,
Your lips their grave reflective smile,
Your hands their cunning for distress:
Your hair has only beauteousness
And hid flame for its only guile.
That glowing hair on shoulders white
Is pride past sum: take care, take care!
Even to dream of wish'd delight
Too much perturbs the ebb of night--
Bind up, bind up your burning hair!
Thy hand my hand,
Thine eyes my eyes,
All of thee
Caught and confused with me:
My hand thy hand
My eyes thine eyes,
All of me
Sunken and discovered anew in thee....
A foreign mind,
By other yet uncaught;
A secret will
Strange as the wind:
The heart of thee
Bewildering with strange fire the heart in me.
Hand touches hand,
Eye to eye beckons,
But who shall guess
Though hand grasp hand
Though the eye quickens,
Still lone as night
Remain thy spirit and mine, past touch and sight.
THE SECOND FLOOD
How could I know, how could I guess
That here was your great happiness--
In mine? And how could I know
Your love infinite must grow?
Suddenly at dawn I wake
To see the cruse of colour break
Over the East, and then the gray
Creep up with light of common day ...
No, no, no! again that bright
Flashing, flushing, flooding light
Leading on day, until I ache
With love to see the dark world wake.
O, with such second flood your love
Painted my earth and heaven above,
With such wild magnificence
As bruised my heart in every sense,
In every nerve. Was ever man
Fit this renewed love to sustain?
Now in these days when Autumn's leaf
Is red and gold, and for a brief
Day the earth flowers ere it dies,
What if Spring came with new surprise,
Came ere the aspen shivered bare
Or the beech coins glittered in cold air,
Before the rough wind the maple stripped
And this bare moon on bare boughs stepped!
Vain thought--O, yet not wholly vain:
Even to me Love has come again,
Moving from your quick breast where he
Fluttered in his wondering infancy.
Your face has lost
The clearness it once wore,
And your brow smooth and white
Its look of light;
Your eyes that were
So careless, are how deep with care!
O, what has done
This cruelty to you?
Is it only Time makes strange
Your look with change,
Or something more
Than the worst pang Time ever bore?--
So bitter that it changes
Bright youth to madness,
Poisoning mere sadness ...
O, vain glass that shows
Less than the bitterness the heart knows.
BUT MOST THY LIGHT
I know how fire burns,
How from the wrangling fumes
Rose and amber blooms,
And slowly dies.
Nothing's so swift as fire,
There's nothing alive so fierce.
The lifted lances pierce,
Sink, and upspring.
Like an Indian sword it leaps
Out of the smoking sheath.
Even the winged feet of death
Learn speed from fire;
And pain its cunning learns;
Languor its sweet
From the decaying heat
That never dies.
I know how fire burns
Unguessed, save for tears,
When the thousand-fanged flame spears
The body's guard;
Or when the mind, the mind
Is ever-glowing wood,
And fire runs in the blood
When remorse burns and burns
And burns always, always--
The fire that surest slays
Or surest numbs.
I know how fire burns
But how I cannot tell.
And Heaven burns like Hell
Yet the Heart endures.
'Tis the immortal Flame
In mortal life that's bitter,
Or than all sweet sweeter
Though life burns down.
Teach me, fire, but this,
Nor alone destroying burn:--
Of thy warmth let me learn,
But most thy light.
IN THAT DARK SILENT HOUR
In that dark silent hour
When the wind wants power,
And in the black height
The sky wants light,
Stirless and black
In utter lack,
And not a sound
Escapes from that untroubled round:--
To wake then
In the dark, and ache then
Until the dark is gone--
Lonely, yet not alone;
Hearing another's breath
All the quiet beneath,
Knowing one sleeps near
That day held dear
And dreams held dear; but now
In this sharp moment--how
Share the moment's sweetness,
Forgo its completeness,
Nor be alone
Now the dark is grown
Spiritual and deep
More than in dreams and sleep?
O, it is pain, 'tis need
That so will plead
For a little loneliness.
If it be pain to miss
Loved touch, look and lip,
Yet is verier pain
In that dark silent hour
When the wind wants power,
And you, near or far, sleep,
And your released thoughts toward me creep
While I, imprisoned, awake,
To be for one
Long, little moment with myself alone.
ONCE THERE WAS TIME
Let no tears fall
If then they fell not.
If eyes told nothing,
Now let them tell not.
Once there was time
For words, looks and tears:
That time is past, is past--
Heart, thou shalt tell not!
Beyond any speech
Is silence bitter,
As between love and love
Nothing is sweeter.
Once there was time, time yet
For words, looks and tears ...
Past, past, past, past--
Nothing so bitter!
Now if tears come
That then fell never;
If eyes such sad, sad things
Look now for ever;
If words, looks or tears
Tremble with telling,
Oh, what returning voice is it whispers
_Never, never, never!_
SCATTER THE SILVER ASH LIKE SNOW
O, what insect is it
That burrows in the heart and frets
The heart's near nerves,
Leaving its unclean
Stigmata in the mind serene,
Making the proud how mean?
It is not common hate,
Anger has not such deadly cunning
To annul, to chill.
Wild anger is not
So cunning even while so hot;
Hate is too soon forgot.
There is no sword so sharp
With lightnings as the wanton tongue;
Nothing that burns like words--
Bubbling flames that spread
In the now unspiritual head,
By sleepless fevers fed.
O evil words that are
The knives of desolating thought!
And though words be still
The hot eyes yet dart
Burning deaths from this mad heart
Into that torn heart.
O Love, forget, forget,
Put by that glittering edge, put by;
Slay the insect with light;
Smother that smoky glow,
Scatter the silver ash like snow
When thy spring airs blow!
From far-off it came near
Deep-charactered and clear,
Until I saw the features close to mine
And the eyes unhappy shine.
It was Sorrow's face,
Wanting kindness and grace,
And wanting strength of silence, and the power
To abide a luckier hour.
The first fear turned to hating
As I saw him dumbly waiting,
For it was my true likeness that he wore
And would wear evermore:--
My face that was to be
When his years' misery
With here a little and there a little had made
My strong spirit afraid.
I saw his face and hated,
Seeing mine so sad-fated.
And then I struck and killed him, knowing that he
Had else slain me.
I HAVE NEVER LOVED YOU YET
I have never loved you yet, if now I love.
If Love was born in that bright April sky
And ran unheeding when the sun was high,
And slept as the moon sleeps through Autumn nights
While those dear steady stars burn in their heights:
If Love so lived and ran and slept and woke
And ran in beauty when each morning broke,
Love yet was boylike, fervid and unstable,
Teased with romance, not knowing truth from fable.
But Winter after Autumn comes and stills
The petulant waters and the wild mind fills
With silence; and the dark and cold are bitter,
O, bitter to remember past days sweeter.
Then Spring with one warm cloudy finger breaks
The frost and the heart's airless black soil shakes;
Love grown a man uprises, serious, bright
With mind remembering now things dark and light.
O, if young Love was beautiful, Love grown old
Experienced and grave is not grown cold.
Life's faithful fire in Love's heart burns the clearer
With all that was, is and draws darkling nearer.
I have never loved you yet, if now I love.
The pigeons, following the faint warm light,
Stayed at last on the roof till warmth was gone,
Then in the mist that's hastier than night
Disappeared all behind the carved dark stone,
Huddling from the black cruelty of the frost.
With the new sparkling sun they swooped and came
Like a cloud between the sun and street, and then
Like a cloud blown from the blue north were lost,
Vanishing and returning ever again,
Small cloud following cloud across the flame
That clear and meagre burned and burned away
And left the ice unmelting day by day.
... Nor could the sun through the roof's purple slate
(Though his gold magic played with shadow there
And drew the pigeons from the streaming air)
With any fiery magic penetrate.
Under the roof the air and water froze,
And no smoke from the gaping chimney rose.
The silver frost upon the window-pane
Flowered and branched each starving night anew,
And stranger, lovelier and crueller grew;
Pouring her silver that cold silver through,
The moon made all the dim flower bright again.
... Pouring her silver through that barren flower
Of silver frost, until it filled and whitened
A room where two small children waited, frightened
At the pale ghost of light that hour by hour
Stared at them till though fear slept not they slept.
And when that white ghost from the window crept,
And day came and they woke and saw all plain,
Though still the frost-flower blinded the window-pane,
And touched their mother and touched her hand in vain,
And wondered why she woke not when they woke;
And wondered what it was their sleep that broke
When hand in hand they stared and stared, so frightened;
They feared and waited, and waited all day long
While all the shadows went and the day brightened,
All the ill shadows but one shadow strong.
Outside were busy feet and human speech
And daily cries and horns. Maybe they heard,
Painfully wondering still, and each to each
Leaning, and listening if their mother stirred--
Hungering as the long slow hours grew old,
Though food within the cupboard idle lay
Beyond their thought, or but beyond their reach.
The soft blue pigeons all the afternoon
Sunned themselves on the roof or rose at play,
Then with the shrinking light fluttered away;
And once more came the icy hearted moon,
Staring down at the frightened children there
That could but shiver and stare.
... How many hours, how many days, who knows?
Neighbours there were who thought they had gone away
To return some luckier or luckless day.
No sound came from the room: the cold air froze
The very echo of the children's sighs.
And what they saw within each other's eyes,
Or heard each other's heart say as they peered
At the dead mother lying there, and feared
That she might wake, and then might never wake,
Who knows, who knows?
None heard a living sound their silence break.
In those cold days and nights how many birds
Flittering above the fields and streams all frozen
Watched hungrily the tended flocks and herds--
Earth's chosen nourished by earth's wise self-chosen!
How many birds suddenly stiffened and died
With no plaint cried,
The starved heart ceasing when the pale sun ceased!
And when the new day stepped from the same cold East
The dead birds lay in the light on the snow-flecked field,
Their song and beautiful free winging stilled.
I walked under snow-sprinkled hills at night,
And starry sprinkled, skies deep blue and bright.
The keen wind thrust with his knife against the thin
Breast of the wood as I went tingling by
And heard a weak cheep-cheep--no more--the cry
Of a bird that crouched the smitten wood within....
But no one heeded that sharp spiritual cry
Of the two children in their misery,
When in the cold and famished night death's shade
More terrible the moon's cold shadows made.
How was it none could hear
That bodiless crying, birdlike, sharp and clear?
I cannot think what they, unanswered, thought
When the night came again and shadows moved
As the moon through the ice-flower stared and roved,
And that unyielding Shadow came again.
That Shadow came again unseen and caught
The children as they sat listening in vain,
Their starved hearts failing ere the Shadow removed.
And when the new morn stepped from the same cold East
They lay unawakening in the barren light,
Their song and their imaginations bright,
Their pains and fears and all bewilderment ceased....
While the brief sun gave
New beauty to the death-flower of the frost,
And pigeons in the frore air swooped and tossed,
And glad eyes were more glad and grave less grave.
There is not pity enough in heaven or earth,
There is not love enough, if children die
Like famished birds--oh, less mercifully.
A great wrong's done when such as these go forth
Into the starless dark, broken and bruised,
With mind and sweet affection all confused,
And horror closing round them as they go.
There is not pity enough!
And I have made, children, these verses for you,
Lasting a little longer than your breath,
Because I have been haunted with your death;
So men are driven to things they hate to do.
Jesus, forgive us all our happiness,
As Thou dost blot out all our miseries.
AND THESE FOR YOU
NOT WITH THESE EYES
Let me not see your grief!
O, let not any see
Nor how your heart still rocks
Like a temple with long earthquake shocks.
Let me not see
These eyes have seen such wrong,
Yet remained cold:
Ills grown strong,
Corruption's many-headed worm
Destroying feet that moved so firm--
Shall these eyes see
And that black worm has crawled
Into the brain
Where thought had walked
Nobly, and love and honour moved as one,
And brave things bravely were begun....
Now, can thought see
Unabashed your grief?
Into that brain your grief
Has run like cleansing fire:
Through these unfaithful eyes has leapt
And touched honour where it lightly slept.
Now when I see
In memory your grief
There is no thought that's not
No love that sleeps,
No spiritual door that opens not
In the green quiet village of thought
Shining with light,
And silent to your silence.
I did not say, "Yes, we had better part
Since love is over or must be suppressed."
I did not say, "I'll hold you in my heart
Saint-like, and in the thought of your thought rest,
And pray for you and wish you happiness
In a better love than mine."
I was another man to another woman,
Tears falling or burnt dry were nothing then.
I struck your heart, I struck your mind; inhuman,
Future and past I stabbed and stabbed again,
Cursing the very thought of your happiness
In another love than mine:
--Then left you sick to death, and I like death.
It was a broken body bore me away--
A broken mind--poisoned by my own breath,
And love self-poisoned.... Was it but yesterday?
--Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive,
When through our bodies our two spirits burn
Escaping, and no more our true eyes turn
Outwards, and no more hands to fond hands yearn;
Then over those poor grassy heaps we'll meet
One morning, tasting still the morning's sweet,
Sensible still of light, dark, rain, cold, heat;
And see 'neath the green dust that dust of gray
Which was our useless bodies laid away,
Mocked still with menace of a Judgment Day.
We then that waiting dust at last will call,
Each to the other's,--"Rise up at last, O small
Ashes that first-love held loveliest of all!
"'Tis Judgment Day, arise!" And they will arise,
The dust will lift, and spine, ribs, neck, head, knees
At the sound remember their old unities,
And stand there, yours with mine, as once they stood
Beloved, obeyed, despised, with that swift blood,
Those looks and trembling lips, heart's pause and thud.
* * * * *
"And was it these that love-galled thought pursued
And with his immortality indued,
Nor was by their mortality quite subdued?
"This was the bony hand that held my hand,
The shoulders whereon all my world might stand:
They fell, but in their fall was I unmanned?
"This was the breast my eyes delighted in,
The ribs were faint as now under the skin:
They mouldered, but not my love mouldered within.
"Away, away! This was not truly thee--
A mortal bravery, Time's delinquency,
A dream that held me from thee, thee from me.
"It was not in these bodies that we drew
Near, nearer: never, never by these we knew
Transfusion past all sense of 'I' and 'You.'
"It was youth's blindness held the body so dear:
Slowly, slowly, year after bewildered year,
The dark thinned and the eyes of love grew clear,
"And thought following thought, enlinking each,
Ran where the delighting body could not reach,
And had speech when there was no voice for speech;
"So that we scarce grieved when those bodies died,
And our eyes more than our true spirits cried;
But as when trees fall, the free wind that sighed
"Awhile in their fond branches ceases not,
But sings a moment over the cumbered spot,
Then flies away:--our unentangled thought,
"Our vivid spirits of love, unbroken moved
And lifted no more sense-confined, and roved
And knew till then we had not utterly loved ...
"Leave now this dust!"
And then the dust will sink,
The upheaved mound to its old shape will shrink,
And we shall turn again from Time's dusk brink.
* * * * *
Will it be thus? It will be thus. Even now,
Though body to body submissively still bow,
'Tis not on body's blood that our loves grow.
Though I am old and you are old, though nerves
Slacken, and beauty slowly lose its curves,
And greedy Time the bone and sinew starves,
Like some lean Captain gloating over a town
That has not fallen, but will fall, every stone
O'erthrust and every bravery overthrown;
Who entering the defeated walls at last
Finds emptiness, and hears an escaping blast,
Triumphant from the shining east hills cast,
And knows defeat in victory.... O that rare
Music is ours, is ours--prelusive air
Caught from the Judgment music high and severe.
Will it indeed be thus? Yes, thus! The body burns,
Not with desire, and into pale smoke turns,
And there is only flame towards flame that yearns.
While that ill lecherous Time among the stones
Sits musing and rocking his old brittle bones,
Irked by long shadows, mocked by those bright far tones.
LIGHTING THE FIRE
You were a gipsy as you bent
Your dark hair over the black grate.
Hardly the west light above the hill
Showed your shadow, crooked and still.
The bellows hissed, and one bright spark
Deepened the hasty dark.
The bellows hissed, and the old smell
Crept on the air of smoking peat,
And round the spark a bubbling flame
Grew bright and loud. Sweeping the gloom
Lunatic shadows fled and came
Whirling about the room.
Then as you raised your head I saw
In the clear light of the bubbling fire
Your dark hair all lined with the gray
Sprinkled by years and sorrow and pain ...
Till as the bellows idle lay
Shadow swept back again.
Where are you going with eyes so dull,
You whose eyes were beautiful,
You whose hair with the light was gay,
And now is thin and harsh and gray?
Is it age alone or age and tears
That has slowly rubbed your beauty away?
Where were you going when your swift eyes
Were like merry birds under May skies?--
In your cheeks the colours fluttering brave
As you danced with the wind and ran with the wave.
From what bright star was your brightness caught?
What to your music the music gave?
Now is your beauty a thing of old,
The fire is sunken, the ashes cold.
But if sweet singing on your ear stray,
Or the praise is uttered of yesterday,
Or of courage and nobleness one word said--
Like a cloud Time's ravage is brushed away.
A winter sky of pale blue and pale gold,
Bare trees, a wind that made the wood-path cold,
And one slow-moving figure, gray and old.
We met where the soft path falls from the wood
Down to the village. As I came near she stood
And answered when I spoke, drawing the hood
Back from her face. I saw only her eyes,
Large and sad. I could not bear those eyes.
They were like new graves. I could not bear her eyes.
But what we said as each passed on is gone.
We looked and spoke and passed like strangers on,
I to the high wood, she towards the paling sun.
And there, where the clear-heavened small pool lies,
And the tallest beeches brush the bending skies,
In pool and tree I saw again her eyes.
Happy are they whom men and women love,
And you were happy as a river that flows
Down between lonely hills, and knows
The pang and virtue of that loneliness,
And moves unresting on until it move
Under the trees that stoop at the low brink
And deepen their cool shade, and drink
And sing and hush and sing again,
Breathing their music's many-toned caress;
While the river with his high clear music speaks
Sometimes of loneliness, of hills obscure,
Sometimes of sunlight dancing on the plain,
Or of the night of stars unbared and deep
Multiplied in his depths unbared and pure;
Sometimes of winds that from the unknown sea creep,
Sometimes of morning when most clear it breaks
Spilling its brightness on his breast like rain:--
And then flows on in loneliness again
Towards the unknown near sea.
Was it in mere happiness or pain?
There were things said that spoke of naked pain,
With nothing between the wound and the sharp-edged world;
Things seen that told of such perplexity
As darkened night with night: but was that pain?
And there were things created all delight,
Making delight fruitful a hundred fold:
Sweetness of earth, energy of sun and rain,
Colour and shape, flowers and grasses bright,
And the clear firm body of a bare lovely hill,
And woods around its feet fast caught and curled,
And the cold sweets of lonely travelled night....
And was that happiness?--or something more,
That gathered happiness and pain like flowers
Half perished, and let them perish; and brightened still
In those dark mental journeys of cold hours
That found you what you were and left you stronger,
Shutting a door and opening a door?...
O door that you have passed so quickly through,
Ere we well knew what man you were, nor knew
What you had shown in life but a little longer!
It was not pain nor happiness for you,
Not any named delight or pang of sense,
But swift fulfilment past all sense or thought
Of what you were with all that time could make you;
No separate gift, spiritual influence,
But something wrought
From your own heart, with all that life could make you.
BRING YOUR BEAUTY
Bring your beauty, bring your laughter, bring even your fears,
Bring the grief that is, the joy that was in other years,
Bring again the happiness, bring love, bring tears.
There was laughter once, there were grave, happy eyes,
Talk of firm earth, old earth-sweeping mysteries:
There were great silences under clear dark skies.
Now is silence, now is loneliness complete; all is done.
The thrush sings at dawn, too sweet, up creeps the sun:
But all is silent, silent, for all that was is done.
Yet bring beauty and bring laughter, and bring even tears,
And cast them down; strew your happiness and fears,
Then leave them to the darkness of thought and years.
Fears in that darkness die; they have no spring.
Grief in that darkness is a bird that wants wing....
O love, love, your brightness, your beauty bring.
The wild October sky
Rises not so high,
The tree's roots that creep
Into the earth's body thrust not so deep
As our high and dark thought.
Yet thought need not roam
Far off to bring you home.
The sky is our wild mind,
Your roots are round our spirits twined,
To ours are your hearts caught.
O, never buried dead!
The living brain in the head
Is not so quick as you
Burning our conscious darkness through
With brightness past our thought.
THE HUMAN MUSIC
At evening when the aspens rustled soft
And the last blackbird by the hedge-nest laughed,
And through the leaves the moon's unmeaning face
Looked, and then rose in dark-blue leafless space;
Watching the trees and moon she could not bear
The silence and the presence everywhere.
The blackbird called the silence and it came
Closing and closing round like smoke round flame.
Into her heart it crept and the heart was numb,
Even wishes died, and all but fear was dumb--
Fear and its phantoms. Then the trees were enlarged,
And from their roundness unguessed shapes emerged,
Or no shape but the image of her fear
Creeping forth from her mind and hovering near.
If a bat flitted it was an evil thing;
Sadder the trees grew with every shadowy wing--
Their shape enlarged, their arms quivered, their thought
Stirring in the leaves a silent anguish wrought.
"What are they thinking of, the evil trees,
Nod-nodding, standing in malignant ease?
Something against man's mortal heart was sworn
Once, when their dark Powers were conceived and born;
And in such fading or such lightless hours
The world is delivered to these plotting Powers."
No physical swift blow she dreaded, not
Lightning's quick mercy; but her heart grew hot
And cold and hot with uncomprehended sense
Of an assassin spiritual influence
Moving in the unmoving trees....
Till, as she stared,
Her eyes turned cowards at last, and no more dared.
Yet could she never rise and shut the door:
Perhaps those Powers would batter at the door,
And that were madness. So right through the house
She set the doors all wide when she could arouse
The body's energy to serve the mind.
Then the air would move, and any little wind
Would cleanse awhile the darkness and diminish
Her fear, and the dumb shadow-war would finish.
But it was not the trees, the birds, the moon;
Birds cease, months fly, green seasons wither soon:
Nature was constant all the seasons through,
Sinister, watchful, and a thick cloud drew
Over the mind when its simplicity
Challenged what seemed with thought of what must be....
She wondered, seeing how a child could play
Lightly in a shady field all day:
For in that golden, brief, benignant weather
When spring and summer calling run together
And the sun's fresh and hot, she saw deep guile
In the sweetness of that unconditioned smile.
Sweetness not sweetness was but indifference
Or wantonness disguised, to her grave sense;
And if she could have seen the things she felt
She'd looked for darkness, and lit shapes that knelt
Appealing, unregarded, at a high
Altar uprising from the pit to the sky....
Had the trees consciousness, with flowers and clouds
And winds that hung like thin clouds in the woods,
And stars and silence:--had they each a mind
Bending on hers, clear eyes on her eyes blind?
In the green dense heights--elm, oak, ash, yew or beech
She scarce saw--was there not a brain in each,
An undiscovered centre of quick nerves
By which (like man) the tree lives, masters, serves,
Waxes and wanes? Oppressed her mind would shrink
From thought, and into her trembling body sink.
Something of this had childhood taught her when
Sickly she lay and peered again and again
At gray skies and white skies and void bright blue,
And watched the sun the bare town-tree boughs through,
And then through leafy boughs and once more bare.
Or in the west country's heavy hill-drawn air
Had felt the green grass pushing within her veins,
Tangling and strangling: and the warm spring rains
Tapping all night upon her childish head:
She shivered, lying lonely on her bed,
With all that life all round and she so weak,
Longing to speak--yet what was there to speak?
And as she grew and health came and love came
And life was happier, happier, still the same
Inhuman spirit rose whenever she
Held in her thoughts more than her eyes could see.
Behind the happiest hours the dark cloud hung
Distant or nearing, and its dullness flung
On the south meadows of her thought, the fairest
Shrinking in shadow; aspirations rarest
Falling, like shot birds in a reedy fen,
Slain by the old Enemy of men.
Life ebbed while men strove for the means of life;
The grudging earth turned labour into strife.
The moving hosts within the heavy clod
Seemed infinite in malice; frost and flood,
Season and inter-season, were conspired
In smiling or sour mockery; and untired
And undelighted, man scratched and scratched on,
And what he did, by Nature was undone.
She saw men twisted more than rocks or trees,
Bruised, numbed, by age and labour and the disease
Of labour in the cold fields; women worn
By many child-bearings, and their self-scorn
Because of time and their lost woman's powers.
Bitter was Nature to women; for those hours
Of the spirit's and the body's first delight
Passed soon, and the long day, evening, night
Of life uncherished; bitterest when even
That brief hour was denied, of dancing heaven,
Dewy love, and fulfilled desires.
Of all ills made her pity and anger rage.
To see and smell the calm months bud and bloom,
April's first warmth, June's hues and slow perfume,
The sweetness drifting by in those long hours
While, out of her she nursed, the vital powers
Were pressed by pain and pressed by pain renewed,
Till, closing the life-long vicissitude,
Came starving death with full-heaped summer, and
Wrung the last pangs that spirit could withstand ...
Or to see age in its prison slowly freeze
With impotence more disastrous than disease,
While trees flowered on, or all the winter through
Upheld brave arms and with spring flowered anew
Above those living graves and graves of the dead;--
'Twas all such bitterness, but she nothing said.
She saw men as courageous boats that sailed
On all the seas, and some a far port hailed
Perhaps to sail again, or anchor there
Forever; some would quietly disappear
In stormless waters, and some in storms be broken
And all be hidden and no clear meaning spoken,
Nor any trace upon the waters linger.
Where the boat went the wind with hasty finger,
Savage and sly as aught of land could be,
Erased the little wrinkling of the sea.
O, in such enmity was man enisled,
Such loneliness, by foolish shades beguiled,
That it was bravery to see and live,
But cowardice to see and to forgive,
The wrong of evil, the wrong of death to life,
The defeat of innocence, the waste of strife,--
The heavy ills of time, injustice, pain--
In field and forest and flood rose huge and plain,
Brushing her mind with darkness, till she thought
Not with her brain, but all her nerves were wrought
Into an apprehension burning strong,
Unslackening, of mortality's old wrong.
But if her eyes she raised to those clear lonely
Altitudes of stars and ether only,
Her eyes fell and rebuked her as forbidden
With human mind to question what was hidden.
At summer dusk the broad moon rising high
Put gentleness in the vast strength of the sky,
Easing its weight; or the hot summer sun
Made noonday kind, and the hours lightly run.
But in those blazing midnights of the stars
Gathered and brightening for immortal wars
With spears and darts and arrows of sharp light,
She read the indifference of the infinite,
The high strife flashing through eternity
While on the earth stared mortals but as she.
O 'twas a living world that rose around
And in her sentience burned a hollow wound.
Such easy brightness as the poets see,
Or easy gloom, or hues of faerie,
She never saw, but into her own heart peered
To find what spirit indeed it was she feared:--
Whether in antique days a divine foe
Sprung branchlike from dense woods had wrought her woe;
Whether in antique days a pagan rite
(Herself a pagan still) unfilmed her sight
And taught her secrets never to be forgot,
And by man's generation pardoned not....
The same blood in ancestral veins ran fleet
As now made hers a road for pain's quick feet.
Into the marrow of her hidden life
Had poured the agony of their termless strife
With immaterial and material things;
And as a bird an unlearned music sings
Because a million generations sang,
So in her breast the old alarum rang,
So the old sorrowfulness in her thought
Renewed, and apprehensions all untaught;
As if indeed a creature primitive
Still did she in the world's dim morning live,
That wanted human warmth and gentleness
To make its solitude a little less.
Kindness gave solitude the lovely light
She loved, and made less terrible black midnight.
Even as a bird its unlearned music pours
Though windows all be blind and shut the doors,
And sings on still though no faint sound be heard
But wind and leaves and another lonely bird:
So poured she untaught kindness all around
And in that human music comfort found--
Music her own and music heard from others,
Prime music of all lovers, children, mothers,
Precarious music between all men sounding,
The horror of silent and dark Powers confounding.
Singing that music she could bravely live;
Hearing it, find less sorrow to forgive.
Time like a cloud
Has risen from the East
And whelmed the sky over
Even to the wide-arched West,
Darkening the blue,
Embrowning the early gold,
Until no more the eternal Sun
Looks simply through.
In each man's eyes
The cloud is set,
With but the chill light
Of silver January skies.
On each man's heart
Time's firm shadow falls,
And the mind throws but a candle's beam
On the dark walls.
But on those walls
Man paints his dream
In the faithful candle's beam:
Lives by its beauty,
Pictures his heart's delight,
And with that only beam outbraves
Time's gathering night.
O spiritual flame,
Calm, faithful, bright!
Time may whelm over
All but this candle's light:
Shadow but shadow is;
Dark though it lies
'Tis blazon'd with man's long-dreamed dreams,
Pierced by his eyes.
The fire burns low
Where it has burned ages ago,
Sinks and sighs
As it has done to a hundred eyes
At the last cold smokeless glow.
Here men sat
Lonely and watched the golden grate
Turn at length black;
Heard the cooling iron crack:
Watching the shadows come and go.
And still the hiss
I hear, the soft fire's sob and kiss,
And still it burns
And the bright gold to crimson turns,
And the fire shadows larger grow.
O dark-cheeked fire,
Wasting like spent heart's desire,
You that were gold,
And now crimson will soon be cold--
Like moon-shadows on new snow.
They that watched your shadows fall.
But now they come
Rising around me, grave and dumb....
Come as the fire-shadows go.
And stay, stay,
Though all the fire sink cold as clay,
Ancestral wise Familiars--till,
Dawn's wild fires through the casement glow.
Cherry and pear are white,
Their snows lie sprinkled on the land like light
On darkness shed.
Far off and near
The orchards toss their crowns of delight,
And the sun casts down
Another shining crown.
The wind tears and throws down
Petal by petal the crown
Of cherry and pear till the earth is white,
And all the brightness is shed
In the orchards far off and near,
That tossed by the road and under the green hill;
And the wind is fled.
Far, far off the wind
Has shaken down
A brightness that was as the brightness of cherry or pear
When the orchards shine in the sun.
--Oh there is no more fairness
Since this rareness,
The radiant blossom of English earth--is dead!
THE BRIGHT RIDER
All the night through I drank
Sleep like water or cool cider;
Life flowed over and I sank
Down below the night of clouds....
Then on a pale horse was rider
Through long brushing woods
Where the owl in silence broods,
Quavers, and is quiet again;
Where the grass dark and rank
Breathes on the still air its rain.
Rain and dark and green and sound
Closing slowly round
Swept me as I rode,
And rode on until I came
Where a white cold river flowed
Under woods thin and bare
In the moon's long candle flame.
Through the woods the wind crawled
Leviathan, and here and there
Branches creaked and old winds howled
Sick for home.
All the night I saw the river,
As a girl that sees beside her
Love, between fear and fear
Riding, and is dumb.
The white horse turned to cross the river,
But the waters like a wall
Rose and hung dark over all;
And as they fell the river wider
Wider grew, and sky was bare
Save of the sick candle's stare.
Death the divider
Glittered cold and dark and deep
Under banks of fear.
But that rider
Trembling, bright, rode on,
Trembling and bright rode on
Through green lanes of sleep.
TO THE HEAVENLY POWER
When this burning flesh
Burns down in Time's slow fire to a glowing ash;
When these lips have uttered
The last word, and the ears' last echoes fluttered;
And crumbled these firm bones
As in the chemic air soft blackened stones;
When all that was mortal made
Owns its mortality, proud yet afraid;
Then when I stumble in
The broad light, from this twilight weak and thin,
What of me will change,
What of that brightness will be new and strange?
Shall I indeed endure
New solitude in that high air and pure,
Aching for these fingers
On which my assured hand now shuts and lingers?
Now when I look back
On manhood's and on childhood's far-stretched track,
I see but a little child
In a green sunny world-home; there enisled
By another, cloudy world
Of unsailed waters all around him curled,
And he at home content
With the small sky of wonders over him bent:--
Lonely, yet not alone
Since all was friendly being all unknown;
To-day yesterday forgetting,
And never with to-morrow's sorrow fretting;
Not seeing good from ill
Since but to breathe and run and sleep was well;
Asking nor fearing nought
Since the body's nerves and veins held all his thought....
Such a child again shall I
Stray in some valley of infinity,
Where infinite finite seems
And nothing more immortal than my dreams?
Where earthly seasons play
Still with their snows and blossoms and night and day,
And no unsetting sun
Brightens the white cloud and awakes the moon?
In such half-life's half-light
To cloak with mortal an immortal sight?
With uninformed desire,
Shorn passion, gentle mind, contented fire,
Ignorant love; to run
But with the little journeys of the sun,
And at evening sleep
With birds and beasts, and stars rocked in the deep?
But maybe this man's mind
Will leave not its maturity behind,
And nothing will forget
Of all that teased or eased it here, while yet
A mortal dress it wore;
And these quick-darting thoughts and probings sore
More sharply then will turn;
And lonelier and yet hungrier the heart burn.
O, I would not forget
Earth is too rich, too dark, too sour, too sweet:--
Nor be divorced quite
From the late tingling of the nerves' delight.
Less I would never be
Than the deep-graving years have made of me--
A memory, pulse, mind,
Seed and harvest, a reaper and sower blind.
I shall no more be I
If I forget the world's joy and agony;
If I forget how strong
Is the assault of scarce-rebuked wrong.
I shall no more be I
If my ears hear not earth's embittered cry
Perpetual; and forget
The unrighteous shackles on man's ankle set;
If no more my heart beat
Quicker because on earth is something sweet;
I shall no more be I
If the ancestral voices no more sigh
Familiar in my brain,
And leave me to cold silence and its pain,
And the bewildered stare
On an unhomely land in biting air:
If the blood no more vex
The heart with the importunities of sex,
If indeed marriage bind
No more body to body, mind to mind,
And love be powerless, cold,
That once by love's strength only was controlled,
And that chief spiritual force
Be dam'd back and stretch frozen to its source....
To the Heavenly Power I cry,
Foiled by these dreams of immortality,
"Let all be as Thou wilt,
And the foundations in Thy dark mind built;
Be but imagination's dream of Thee;
And let thought still, still
Vainly its waves on night's cliff break and spill.
"But, Heavenly Power," I'd cry,
Knowing how, near or far, He still is nigh,
"When this burning flesh
Is burnt away to a little driven ash,
What thing soever shall rise
From that cold ash unseen to unseen skies,
Grant that so much of me
Shall rise as may remember Thy world, and Thee."
Now the long-bearded chilly-fingered winter
Over the green fields sweeps his cloak and leaves
Its whiteness there. It caught on the wild trees,
Shook whiteness on the hedges and left bare
South-sloping corners and south-fronting smooth
Barks of tall beeches swaying 'neath their whiteness
So gently that the whiteness does not fall.
The ash copse shows all white between gray poles,
The oaks spread arms to catch the wandering snow.
But the yews--I wondered to see their dark all white,
To see the soft flakes fallen on those grave deeps,
Lying there, not burnt up by the yews' slow fire.
Could Time so whiten all the trembling senses,
The youth, the fairness, the all-challenging strength,
And load even Love's grave deeps with his barren snows?
Even so. And what remains?
The hills of thought
That shape Time's snows and melt them and lift up
Green and unchanging to the wandering stars.
The days of these two years like busy ants
Have gone, confused and happy and distressed,
Rich, yet sad with aching wants,
Crowded, yet lonely and unblessed.
I stare back as they vanish in a swarm,
Seeming how purposeless, how mean and vain,
Till creeping joy and brief alarm
Are gone and prick me not again.
The days are gone, yet still this heart of fire
Smouldering, smoulders on with ancient love;
And the red embers of desire
I would not, oh, nor dare remove!
Where is the bosom my head rested on,
The arms that caught my boy's head, the soft kiss?
Where is the light of your eyes gone?--
For now I know what darkness is....
It is the loneliness, the loneliness,
Since she that brought me here has left me here
With the sharp need of her to press
Sudden upon the nerve of fear;
It is the loneliness that wounds me still,
Shut from the generations that are past,
That with their blood my warm veins fill
And on my spirit their spirit cast;
That haunt me so and yet how strangely keep
Beyond communion, alone, alone,
Like that huge ancient hill asleep,
With to-day's noisy winds o'erblown.
There from the hill is sprung a single thorn,
Wind-twisted, straining from the earth to the skies,
Thin branches pleading with wild morn
And root that pressed in darkness lies.
From the unknown of earth and heaven are brought
Her strength, her weakness, death and bravest life;
Shadow and light and wind have wrought
Beauty from change, calm out of strife.
That tree upon the unchanging hill am I,
Alone upon the dark unwhispering hill:--
You in the stirless cold past lie,
But I ache warm and lonely still.
There's not a storm tossing among my boughs,
Nor gentle air drawn under quiet skies,
There's not an idle cloud that flows
Across the mind, nor bird that cries,
But says (if I have eyes, or ears to hear),
"You in this mortal being are alone."
And morn and noon and night-stars clear
Repeat, "Alone, alone, alone."
Yet the tree in wild storm her dark boughs shakes,
Thrusting her roots in the earth, her arms to heaven,
Fresh washed with dew when morning breaks;
And new light back to the light is given.
* * * * *
Is it that I that loved have yet forgot?
Is it that I that looked have yet been blind?
Longing, have yet remembered not
Nor heard you whispering in my mind?
But at a word you are nearer now than when
We sat and spoke, or merely looked and thought,
Knowing all speech superfluous then,
Since what we needed, silence brought;--
And your warm bosom my head rested on,
The arms that caught my boy's head, the soft kiss,
The brown grave eyes that gently shone--
Are here again, and brightness is.
Two years have gone, but nearer now are you,
Being dearer now; and this false loneliness
Is but a dream that cloudlike grew,
Then growing cloudlike less and less
Passes away, leaving me like the tree
Bright with the sun and wind and lingering dew;
Homely is all the world for me
Being sweeter with the sense of you.
Just as this wood, cast on the snaky fire,
Crushes the curling heads till smoke is thickened
And the ash sinks beneath the billet's weight,
And then again the hissing heads are quickened:
Just as this wood, by fretful fangs new stung,
Glows angrily, then whitens in the grate
And slowly smouldering smoulders away,
And dies defeated every famished tongue
And nothing's left but a memory of heat
And the sunk crimson telling warmth was sweet:
Just as this wood, once green with Spring's swift fire
Dies to a pinch of ashes cold and gray....
Just as this wood----
BEYOND THE BARN
I rose up with the sun
And climbed the hill.
I saw the white mists run
And shadows run
Down into hollow woods.
I went with the white clouds
That swept the hill.
A wind struck the low hedge trees
And clustering trees,
And rocked in each tall elm.
The long afternoon was calm
When down the hill
I came, and felt the air cool,
The shadows cool;
And I walked on footsore,
Saying, "But two hours more,
Then, the last hill....
Surely this road I know,
These hills I know,
All the unknown is known,
"And that barn, black and lone,
High on the hill--
There the long road ends,
The long day ends,
And travelling is over." ...
Nor thought nor travelling's over.
Here on the hill
The black barn is a shivering ruin,
A windy cold ruin.
I must go on and on,
Where often my thought has gone,
Up hill, down hill,
Beyond this ruin of Time;
I must follow my thought still.
LET HONOUR SPEAK
Let Honour speak, for only Honour can
End nobly what in nobleness began.
Nor hate nor anger may, though just their cause,
This strife prolong, if Honour whisper, Pause!
Let Honour speak.
For Honour keeps the ashes of the dead,
Accounts the anguish of all widowhead,
All childlessness, all sacrifice, defeat,
And all our dead have died for, though to live was sweet.
Let Honour speak,
Nor weariness nor weakness murmur, Stay!
Nor for this _Now_ England's _To be_ betray.
All else be dumb, for only Honour can
End nobly what in nobleness began.
So many were there talking that I heard
Nothing at first quite plain, as I sat down;
Until from this man's gibe and that keen word,
Another's chilly smile or peevish frown,
I caught their talk--but added none of mine.
They said how she still fumbled with her fate,
How she had banished visitants divine,
How long her sleep had been, her sloth how great,
How others had drawn near and passed her by,
While she luxuriously had dreamed, dreamed on,
She, she her own eternal enemy,
And wanting brain, brain, brain would be undone.
The glasses tinkled as they talked and laughed,
And if the door a moment hung ajar
The noises of the street, remotely soft,
Crept in as from a world sunken afar.
And still they talked, and then well pleased were pleased
To talk of other things--another's wife,
Money that ministers to a mind diseased,
And queer extravagant whims of death and life....
But I rose up, flushed at the careless slander,
Heedless what other laughing things were said,
And my bruised thoughts began to lift and wander
Far off, as from that jargoning I fled.
I saw the sharp green hills, the silver clouds
At rest upon the hills, the silver streams
Creeping between prone shoulders of dark woods.
I saw wide marshlands laved with level beams
Of the last light; I saw ships on the sea
That foamed hard by, stinging the fretful shore;
I smelt old ships on the deserted quay
That English sailors sailed, and will no more;
I thought of men I loved, and of dead men
I had longed to know--and each heroic ghost
Rose and moved on, and left me alone again
Aching for love and splendour glimpsed and lost.
God knows what things I thought when anger broke
Her narrow dam and swept my spirit clean.
Yet I for very shame not a word spoke,
But to my heart's heart caught the things I had seen,
And _England, England!_ murmuring, stood and stared,
Swept like a lover with sweet influence
In brain and bone--and happy that I had spared
Her nobleness the indignity of defence.
In thin clear light unshadowed shapes go by
Small on green fields beneath the hueless sky.
They do not stay for question, do not hear
Any old human speech: their tongue and ear
Seem only thought, for when I spoke they stirred not
And their bright minds conversing my ear heard not.
--Until I slept or, musing, on a heap
Of warm crisp fern lay between sense and sleep
Drowsy, still clinging to a strand of thought
Spider-like frail and all unconscious wrought.
For thinking of that unforgettable thing,
The war, that spreads a loud and shaggy wing
On things most peaceful, simple, happy and bright,
Until the spirit is blind though the eye is light;
Thinking of all that evil, envy, hate,
The cruelty most dark, most desolate;
Thinking of the English dead--"How can you dead,"
I muttered, "with your life and young joy shed,
How can you but in these new lands of life
Relume the fiery passion of old strife--
Just anger, mortal hate, the natural scorn
Of men true-born for all things foully born?"
For I had thought that not death's touch could still
In man's clean spirit the hate of good for ill.
But now to see their shapes go lightly by
On those vast fields, clear 'neath the hueless sky,
With not one furious gesture, and (when seen
With but the broad dark hedgerow space between)
No eye's disdain, no thin drawn face of grief,
But pondering calm or lightened look and brief
Smile almost gay;--yet all seen in the air
That driv'n mist makes unreal everywhere--
"So strange," I breathed, "How can you English dead
Forget them for whose life your life was shed?"
It was no voice that answered, yet plain word
Less plain is than the unspoken that I heard,
As I lay there on the dry heap of fern
And watched them pass, mix, disappear and return,
And felt their mute speech into empty senses burn:
"Earth's is the strife. The Heavenly Powers that sent
The gray globe spinning in the firmament,
The Heavenly Powers that soon or late will stay
The spinning, as a child that tires of play,
And globe by spent globe put forgot away
In some vast airless hollow: could they see
Or seeing endure immortal misery
Made out of mortal, and undying hate
Earth's perishing agonies perpetuate?
O spirits unhappy, if from earth men brought
The mind's disease, the sickness of mad thought!
Sooner the Heavenly Powers would let them lie
Eternally unrising 'neath a sky
Arctic and lonely, where death's starven wind
Raged full-delighted:--sooner would those kind
Serenities man's generation cast
Back into nothingness, than heaven should waste
With finite anguish infinitely prolonged
Until the Eternal Spring were stained and wronged.
O, even the Heavenly Powers at such a breath
From mortal shores would fade and fade to death."
--Was it a voice or but a thought I heard,
Mine or another's, in my boughs that stirred
Waking the leafy darkness of the mind?
Was it a voice, or but a new-roused wind
That answered--"O, I know, I know, I know!
The oldest rivers into the full sea flow
And there are lost: so everything is lost,
On midnight waves into oblivion tost.
Yet--the high passion, the pity, the joy and pride,
The righteousness for which these men have died,
The courage, the uncounted sacrifice,
The love and beauty, all that's beyond all price;
That this, the immortal heart of mortal man,
Should be--O tell me what, tell me again, again--
Petals lost on the river of the years
When April sweetness pauses, fades and disappears!
That this high Quarrel should be quenched in death
As some vexed petty plaint unworthy breath;
That the blood and the tears should never rise
Renewed, accusing in grave judgment skies ...
Tell me again--O, rather tell me not
Lest that ill telling never be forgot."
And then I rose from that warm ferny heap
And my thoughts climbed from the abyss of sleep.
No more in human guise did cloud-shapes pass,
Nor sighed with sad intelligence the grass.
I saw the hueless sky break into blue,
And I remembered how that heaven I knew
When, a small child, I gazed at the great height,
And thought of nothing but the blue and white,
Pools of sweet blue swimming in fields of light.
And as tired men from mine and stithy turn
While still the midnight fires unslackened burn
Flushing their road, and so reach home and then
Dream of old childhood's days and dream again;
So I forgot those inward fires and found
Old happiness like dew lying all around.
Under the hedge I stood and far below
Saw on the Worcester Plain the swift clouds flow
Like ships on seas no greener than the Plain
That shone between October sun and rain;
And thinking how time's plenteousness would bring
Back and more bright the young delicious Spring,
Between wet brambles thrust my hand, and tasted
Ripe berries on neglected boughs that wasted.
THE NATIVE COUNTRY
Where is that country? The unresting mind
Like a lapwing nears and leaves it and returns.
I know those unknown hill-springs where they rise,
I know the answer of the elms to the wind
When the wind on their heaving bosom lies
And sleeps. I know the grouping pines that crown
The long green hill and fling their darkness down,
A never-dying shadow; and well I know
How in the late months the whole wide woodland burns
Unsmoking, and the earth hangs still as still.
I know the town, the hamlets and the lone
Shelterless cottage where the wind's least tone
Is magnified, and his far-flung thundering shout
Brings near the incredible end of the world. I know!
Even in sleep-walk I should linger about
Those lanes, those streets sure-footed, and by the unfenced stream go,
Hearing the swift waters past the locked mill flow.
Where is that country? It lies in my mind,
Its trees and grassy shape and white-gashed hill
And springs and wind and weather; its village stone
And solitary stone are in my mind;
And every thought familiarly returns
To find its home, and birdlike circling still
Above the smouldering beeches of November
And the bare elms and rattled hedgerows of December.
That native country lies deep in my mind
For every thought and true affection's home.
And like that mental land are you become,
Part of that land, and I the thought that turns
Towards home. And as in that familiar land I find
Myself among each tree, spring, road and hill,
And at each present step my past footsteps remember;
So you in all my inward being lies,
In you my history, my earth and stream and skies.
Your late fire is it that in my boughs yet burns,
Your stone that to my passing footfall cries.
Last night a sword-light in the sky
Flashed a swift terror on the dark.
In that sharp light the fields did lie
Naked and stone-like; each tree stood
Like a tranced woman, bound and stark.
Far off the wood
With darkness ridged the riven dark.
And cows astonished stared with fear,
And sheep crept to the knees of cows,
And conies to their burrows slid,
And rooks were still in rigid boughs,
And all things else were still or hid.
From all the wood
Came but the owl's hoot, ghostly, clear.
In that cold trance the earth was held
It seemed an age, or time was nought.
Sure never from that stone-like field
Sprang golden corn, nor from those chill
Gray granite trees was music wrought.
In all the wood
Even the tall poplar hung stone still.
It seemed an age, or time was none ...
Slowly the earth heaved out of sleep
And shivered, and the trees of stone
Bent and sighed in the gusty wind,
And rain swept as birds flocking sweep.
Far off the wood
Rolled the slow thunders on the wind.
From all the wood came no brave bird,
No song broke through the close-fall'n night,
Nor any sound from cowering herd:
Only a dog's long lonely howl
When from the window poured pale light.
And from the wood
The hoot came ghostly of the owl.
IT WAS THE LOVELY MOON
It was the lovely moon--she lifted
Slowly her white brow among
Bronze cloud-waves that ebbed and drifted
Faintly, faintlier afar.
Calm she looked, yet pale with wonder,
Sweet in unwonted thoughtfulness,
Watching the earth that dwindled under
Faintly, faintlier afar.
It was the lovely moon that lovelike
Hovered over the wandering, tired
Earth, her bosom gray and dovelike,
Hovering beautiful as a dove....
The lovely moon:--her soft light falling
Lightly on roof and poplar and pine--
Tree to tree whispering and calling,
Wonderful in the silvery shine
Of the round, lovely, thoughtful moon.
Far off a lonely hound
Telling his loneliness all round
To the dark woods, dark hills, and darker sea;
And, answering, the sound
Of that yet lonelier sea-hound
Telling his loneliness to the solitary stars.
Hearing, the kennelled hound
Some neighbourhood and comfort found,
And slept beneath the comfortless high stars.
But that wild sea-hound
Unkennelled, called all night all round--
The unneighboured and uncomforted cold sea.
Sleep, sleep, you great and dim trees, sleeping on
The still warm, tender cheek of night,
And with her cloudy hair
Brushed: sleep, for the violent wind is gone;
Only remains soft easeful light,
And shadow everywhere,
And few pale stars. Hardly has eve begun
Dreaming of day renewed and bright
With beams than day's more fair;
Scarce the full circle of the day is run,
Nor the yellow moon to her full height
Risen through the misty air.
But from the increasing shadowiness is spun
A shadowy shape growing clear to sight,
And fading. Was it Hector there,
Great-helmed, severe?--and as the last sun shone
Seeming in solemn splendour dight
Such as dream heroes bear;
And such his shape as heroes stare upon
In sleep's tumultuary fight
When a cry's heard, "Beware!" ...
--'Twas Hector, but the moment-splendour's gone:
Shadow fast deepens into night,
Night spreads--cold, wide, bare.
There is a place of grass
With daisies like white pools,
Or shining islands in a sea
Of brightening waves.
Swallows, darting, brush
The waves of gentle green,
As though a wide still lake it were,
Not living grass.
Evening draws over all,
Grass and flowers and sky,
And one rich bird prolongs the sweet
Of day on the edge of dark.
The grass is dim, the stars
Lean down the height of heaven;
And the trees, listening in all their leaves,
Nothing is as it was:
The bird on the bough sings on;
The night, pure from the cloud of day,
Small yellow stones
That, lifted, through my idle fingers fall
Leaving a score--
And these I toss between the parted lips
Of the lapping sea,
And the sea tosses again with millions more--
Yellow and white stones;
Then drawing back her snaky long waves all,
Leaves the stones
Yellow and white upon the sandy shore....
As they were bones
Yellow and white left on the silent shore
Of an unfoaming far unvisioned Sea.
The angry wind
That cursed at me
Was nothing but an evil sprite
Vexed with any man's delight.
And strange it seemed
That a dark wind
Should run down from a mountain steep
And shout as though the world were asleep.