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Full text of "The collected poems of James Elroy Flecker"

VICIUKIA UNlVERSlFY 
LIBRARI 




The Collected Poems of 
James Elroy Flecker 



The Collected Poems of 

James Elroy Flecker 



Edited, with an Introduction, 
by J. C. Squire 



SECOND IMPRESSION 



New York 

Doubleday, Page f Co. 
1916 



PR 

to 



PRINTED IN ENGLAND 



The frontispiece to this volume is from a 

photograph of the Author taken 

at Beyrout in 1912 



Contents 



Introduction, ix 
Editorial Note, xxxi 

JUVENILIA 

Four Translations and Adaptations from Catullus, 3 

Sirmio, 8 

Lucretia, 9 

Song in the Night, 14 

Glion Noon, 15 

Glion Evening, 16 

Last Love, 17 

Fragments of an Ode to Shelley, 18 

LATER POEMS 

A New Year's Carol, 27 

From Grenoble, 29 

Narcissus, 30 

Inscription for Arthur Rackham's "Rip Van Winkle, 1 

32 

Envoy, 33 
Riouperoux, 34 
Mignon, 35 

Tenebris Interlucentem, 36 
The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire, 37 



The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire, 38 

The Ballad of Hampstead Heath, 39 

Litany to Satan, 42 

The Translator and the Children, 45 

Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities, 46 

Oxford Canal, 48 

Hialmar Speaks to the Raven, 50 

The Ballad of the Student in the South, 52 

The Queen's Song, 54 

On Turner's Polyphemus, 56 

The Bridge of Fire, 57 

We That Were Friends, 62 

My Friend, 63 

Ideal, 65 

Mary Magdalen, 67 

I Rose from Dreamless Hours, 69 

Prayer, 70 

The Piper, 71 

The Masque of the Magi, 72 

To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence, 75 

Heliodora, 77 

Love, the Baby, 78 

Ballad of the Londoner, 79 

Resurrection, 80 

Duke Lumen, Triste Numen, Suave Lumen Luminum, 

81 

Joseph and Mary, 83 
The Lover of Jalalu'ddin, 87 
Donde Estan ? 88 
The Town without a Market, 91 
A Western Voyage, 94 
Invitation, 96 
War Song of the Saracens, 98 

vi 



The Ballad of Camden Town, 100 

Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis, 102 

Fountains, 103 

Dirge, 104 

The Parrot, 106 

Lord Arnaldos, 108 

A Miracle of Bethlehem, 1 1 o 

Felo-de-se, 119 

The Welsh Sea, 121 

In Memoriam, 122 

Opportunity, 123 

No Coward's Song, 125 

Pillage, 126 

The Ballad of Zacho, 128 

Pavlovna in London, 130 

The Sentimentalist, 133 

Don Juan in Hell, 135 

The Ballad of Iskander, 137 

The Golden Journey to Samarkand, 144 

Gates of Damascus, 151 

Yasmin, 158 

Saadabad, 160 

The Hammam Name, 163 

In Phaeacia, 166 

Epithalamion, 168 

Hyali, 170 

Santorin, 173 

A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon, 175 

Oak and Olive, 176 

Brumana, 179 

Areiya, 182 

Bryan of Brittany, 183 

Don Juan Declaims, 189 



vn 



The Painter's Mistress, 192 

In Hospital, 194 

Ta oping, 196 

Virgil's ^Eneid : Book VI, 198 

The Dying Patriot, 210 

A Sacred Dialogue, 212 

The Old Ships, 216 

The Blue Noon, 218 

A Fragment, 219 

Narcissus, 221 

Stillness, 223 

The Pensive Prisoner, 224 

Hexameters, 225 

Philomel, 226 

From Jean Moreas' " Stances," 228 

The Princess, 229 

Pannyra of the Golden Heel, 231 

The Gate of the Armies, 232 

November Eves, 233 

God Save the King, 234 

The Burial in England, 236 

The True Paradise, 240 

Ode to the Glory of Greece, 242 

The Old Warship Ablaze, 247 



vui 



Introduction 



JAMES ELROY FLECKER was born in London (Lewisham) 
on November 5, 1884. He was the eldest of the four 
children of the Rev. W. H. Flecker, D.D., now Head 
Master of Dean Close School, Cheltenham. After some 
years at his father's school he went in 1901 to Uppingham, 
proceeding to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1902. He stayed 
at Oxford until 1907 and then came to London, teaching 
for a short time in Mr. Simmons' school at Hampstead. 
In 1908 he decided to enter the Consular Service, and 
went up to Cambridge (Caius College) for the tuition in 
Oriental languages available there. He was sent to 
Constantinople in June 1910, was first taken ill there in 
August, and in September returned to England and went 
to a sanatorium in the Cotswolds. He returned to his 
post, apparently in perfect health, in March 1911; was 
transferred to Smyrna in April ; and in May went on leave 
to Athens, where he married Miss Helle Skiadaressi, a 
Greek lady whom he had met in the preceding year. He 
spent three months' holiday in Corfu, and was sent to 
Beyrout, Syria, in September 1911. In December 1912 
he took a month's leave in England and Paris, returning 
to Beyrout in January 1913. In March he again fell 
ill, and after a few weeks on the Lebanon (Brumana) he 



IX 



went to Switzerland, where, acting on his doctors' advice, 
he remained for the last eighteen months of his life. He 
stayed successively at Leysin, Montreux, Montana, Locarno, 
and (May 1914) Davos, where on January 3, 1915, he died. 
He is buried in Cheltenham at the foot of the Cotswold 
Hills. 

His published books include : 

Verse : " The Bridge of Fire " (Elkin Matthews, 1907), 
"Forty-two Poems" (Dent, 1911), "The Golden Journey 
to Samarkand" (Goschen, 1913, now published by Martin 
Seeker), and " The Old Ships " (Poetry Bookshop, 1915). 

Prose : " The Last Generation (New Age Press, 1908), 
"The Grecians" (Dent, 1910), "The Scholar's Italian 
Grammar "(D. Nutt, 1911), and "The King of Alsander" 
(Goschen, 1914, now published by Allen and Unwin). 
He left also two unpublished dramas, " Hassan " and 
" Don Juan," and a number of published and unpublished 
short stories, articles, and poems. Of the last all the 
most important will be found in the present volume. 

II 

That is the bare outline of Flecker's life and work. 
The present Introduction does not pretend to supply a 
" personal memoir," for which materials have not been 
collected ; and the work of estimating Flecker's art and 
" placing " him in relation to his contemporaries may be 
left to others. But one may usefully give a few more 
biographical details and a short analysis of the poet's 
artistic attitude and methods of work. 



In person Flecker was tall, with blue eyes, black, straight 
hair, and dark complexion. There was a tinge of the 
East in his appearance, and his habitual expression was 
a curious blend of the sardonic and the gentle. Until 
illness incapacitated him he was physically quite active, 
but his principal amusement was conversation, of which 
he never tired. He felt acutely the loss of good talk during 
his years abroad, in Syria especially. He was sociable, 
and enjoyed meeting and talking with crowds of people ; 
but he had few intimate friends at Oxford, and, after he 
left England, little opportunity of making any. One of 
the few, Mr. Frank Savery, now of the British Legation, 
Berne, sends the following notes : 

" My acquaintance with him began in January 1901, when 
he was a lanky, precocious boy of sixteen, and lasted, 
with long interruptions, until his death. His fate took 
him to the Near East, mine took me to Germany : for 
this reason we never met from 1908 to 1914, though we 
never ceased to correspond. Largely because our inter- 
course was thus broken, I believe that I am better able 
to appreciate the changes which his character underwent 
in the latter years of his life than those who never lost 
sight of him for more than a few months at a time. 

" It was at Oxford that I first came to know him inti- 
mately. He was extraordinarily undeveloped, even for 
nn English Public School boy, when he first went up in 
1902. He already wrote verses with an appalling facility 
that for several years made me doubt his talent. He 
imitated with enthusiasm and without discrimination, and, 
the taste in those long-gone days being for Oscar Wilde's 
early verse and Swinburne's complacent swing, he turned 



out a good deal of decadent stuff, that was, I am convinced, 
not much better than the rubbish written by the rest 
of his generation at Oxford. What interested me in 
Flecker in those days was the strange contrast between the 
man or rather the boy and his work. Cultured Oxford 
in general, I should add, was not very productive at that 
time : a sonnet a month was about the maximum output 
of the lights of Balliol. The general style of literature in 
favour at the time did not lend itself to a generous out- 
pouring. Hence there was a certain piquancy in the 
exuberant flow of passionate verse which issued from 
Flecker's ever-ready pen in spite of his entire innocence 
of any experience whatever. 

" Furthermore, he was a wit a great wit, I used to think, 
but no humorist and, like most wits, he was combative. 
He talked best when some one baited him. At last it got 
to be quite the fashion in Oxford to ask Flecker to luncheon- 
and dinner-parties simply in order to talk. The sport 
he afforded was usually excellent. . . . Looking back on 
it now, I believe I was right in thinking that in those days 
he had no humour (there is very little humour in Oxford) ; 
nor am I so entirely sure that his wit was bad. I had, at 
any rate, a growing feeling that, in spite of his immaturity 
and occasional bad taste, he was the most important of 
any of us : his immense productiveness was, I vaguely but 
rightly felt, better and more valuable than our finicky and 
sterile good taste. 

" By 1906 he had developed greatly largely thanks to 
the companionship of an Oxford friend whom, in spite 
of long absence and occasional estrangements, he loved 
deeply till the end of his life. Even his decadent poems 
had improved : poor as are most of the poems in * The 
Bridge of Fire,' they are almost all above the level of 



xn 



Oxford poetry, and there are occasional verses \\hidi 
forecast some of his mature work. Thus I still think that 
the title-poem itself is a rather remarkable achievement 
for a young man and not without a certain largeness of 
vision. The mention of this poem reminds me of an 
episode which well illustrates the light-heartedness which 
at that time distinguished the self-styled * lean and swarthy 
poet of despair.' I was sitting with him and another 
friend in his rooms one day early in 1906, I think when 
he announced that he was going to publish a volume of 
poems. 'What shall I call it?' he asked. We had 
made many suggestions, mostly pointless, and almost all, 
I have no doubt, indecent, when Flecker suddenly 
exclaimed : ' I'll call it " The Bridge of Fire," and I'll 
write a poem with that name and put it in the middle 
of the book instead of the beginning. That'll be original 
and symbolic too.' We then debated the not unimportant 
question of what ' The Bridge of Fire ' would be about. 
At midnight we parted, the question still unsettled. 
Flecker, however, remarked cheerfully that it did not 
much matter it was a jolly good title and he'd easily be 
able to think of a poem to suit it. 

" Flecker always cherished a great love for Oxford : he 
had loved it as an undergraduate, and afterwards not 
even the magic of the Greek seas, deeply as he felt it, 
ever made him forget his first university town. But on 
the whole I think that Cambridge, where he went to study 
Oriental languages in preparation for his consular career, 
did more for him. I only visited him once there in 
November 1908, I think but I had the distinct impression 
that he was more independent than he had been at Oxford. 
He was writing the first long version that is to say, the 
third actual draft of the ' King of Alsander.' Inci- 



xni 



dentally he had spoilt the tale, for the time being, by intro- 
ducing a preposterous sentimental conclusion, a departure 
to unknown lands, if I remember rightly, with the peasant- 
maid, who had not yet been deposed, as she was later on, 
from her original position of heroine. 

" And now follow the years in which my knowledge of 
Flecker is drawn only from a desultory correspondence. 
I should like to quote from some of the letters he wrote 
me, but, alas, they are in Munich with all my books and 
papers. He wrote to me at length whenever he had a big 
literary work on hand ; otherwise an occasional post card 
sufficed, for he was a man who never put either news or 
gossip into his letters. I knew of his marriage ; I knew 
that his literary judgment, as expressed in his letters and 
exemplified in his writings, had improved suddenly and 
phenomenally. That was all. 

"At last his health finally collapsed and he came to 
Switzerland. It was at Locarno, in May 1914, that I saw 
him again. He was very ill, coughed continually, and 
did not, I think, ever go out during the whole fortnight 
I spent with him. He had matured even more than I 
had expected. . . . 

" He was very cheerful that spring at Locarno cheerful, 
not extravagantly optimistic, as is the way of consump- 
tives. I think he hardly ever mentioned his illness to me, 
and there was certainly at that time nothing querulous 
about him. His judgment was very sound, not only on 
books but also on men. He confessed that he had not 
greatly liked the East always excepting, of course, Greece 
and that his intercourse with Mohammedans had led 
him to find more good in Christianity than he had previously 
suspected. I gathered that he had liked his work as 
Consul, and he once said to me that he was very proud 



xiv 



of having been a good businesslike official, thereby dis- 
posing, in his case at any rate, the time-honoured concep- 
tion of the poet as an unpractical dreamer. He was 
certainly no mere dreamer at any period of his life ; he 
appreciated beauty with extraordinary keenness, but, like 
a true poet, he was never contented with mere apprecia- 
tion. He was determined to make his vision as clear to 
others as it was to himself. 

" I saw Flecker once more, in December 1914. He was 
already visibly dying, and at times growing weakness 
numbed his faculties. But he was determined to do two 
things to complete his poem, * The Burial in England,' 
and to put his business affairs into the hands of a com- 
petent literary agent. The letters and memoranda on 
the latter subject which he dictated to me were admirably 
lucid, and I remember that, when I came to read them 
through afterwards, I found there was hardly a word 
which needed changing. 

"One evening he went through the 'Burial* line byline 
with Mrs. Flecker and myself. He had always relied 
greatly on his wife's taste, and I may state with absolute 
certainty that the only two persons who ever really influenced 
him in literary matters were the Oxford friend I have already 
mentioned and the lady whose devotion prolonged his 
life, and whose acute feeling for literature helped to a 
great extent to confirm him in his lofty ideals of artistic 
perfection. 

"Although he never really finished the longer version 
of the ' Burial ' which he had projected, the alterations 
and additions he made that evening ' Toledo-wrought 
neither to break nor bend ' was one of the latter were 
in the main improvements and in no way suggested that 
his end was so near. To me, of course, that poem must 



always remain intolerably sad, but, as I re-read it the 
other day, I asked myself whether the casual reader would 
feel any trace of the ' mattrass grave ' on which it was 
written. Candidly I do not think that even the sharpest 
of critics would have known, if he had not been told, 
that half the lines were written within a month of the 
author's death." 

His letters, as is remarked above, were generally business- 
like and blunt. I have found a few to myself : they are 
almost all about his work, with here and there a short, 
exclamatory eulogy of some other writer. He observes, in 
December 1913, that a journal which had often published 
him had given " The Golden Journey " " an insolent 
ten-line review with a batch of nincompoops " ; then 
alternately he is better and writing copiously, or very 
ill and not capable of a word. In one letter he talks of 
writing on Balkan Politics and Italy in Albania ; in another 
of translating some war-poetry of Paul Deroulede's. 
Another time he is even thinking of " having a bang at 
the Cambridge Local Examination . . . with a whack in 
it at B. Shaw." Then in November 1914 he says : " I 
have exhausted myself writing heroic great war-poems." 
He might comprehensibly have been in low spirits, dying 
there in a dismal and deserted " health resort " among 
the Swiss mountains, with a continent of war-zones cutting 
him off from all chance of seeing friends. But he always 
wrote cheerfully, even when desperately ill. The French 
recovery filled him with enthusiasm ; he watched the 
Near Eastern tangle with the peculiar interest of one who 
knew the peoples involved ; and in one delicate and 



xvi 



capricious piece of prose, published in a weekly in October, 
he recalled his own experiences of warfare. He had had 
glimpses of the Turco-Italian War : Italian shells over 
Beyrout (" Unforgettable the thunder of the guns shaking 
the golden blue of sky and sea while not a breath stirred 
the palm-trees, not a cloud moved on the swanlike snows 
of Lebanon ") and a " scrap " with the Druses, and the 
smoke and distant rumble of the battle of Lemnos, " the 
one effort of the Turks to secure the mastery of the ^Egean." 
These were his exciting memories : 

" To think that it was with cheerful anecdotes like these 
that I had hoped, a white-haired elder, to impress my 
grandchildren ! Now there's not a peasant from Picardy 
to Tobolsk but will cap me with tales of real and frightful 
tragedy. What a race of deep-eyed and thoughtful men 
we shall have in Europe now that all those millions have 
been baptized in fire ! " 

Then in the first week of January 1915 he died. I cannot 
help remembering that I first heard the news over the 
telephone, and that the voice which spoke was Rupert 
Brooke's. 

Ill 

Flecker began writing verse early, and one of his existing 
notebooks contains a number of poems written whilst he 
was at Uppingham. The original poems composed, at 
school and at Oxford, up to the age of twenty are not very 
remarkable. There is nothing unusual in some unpublished 
lines written on the school chapel bell at the end of his 



xvii 



last term, and little in " Danae's Cradle-Song for Perseus " 
(1902). A typical couplet is 

Waste of the waves ! O for dawn ! For a long 

low level of shore ! 
Better be shattered and slain on the reef than 

drift evermore. 

Both rhythm and language are Tennysonian, and the allite- 
rative Tennysonianism at the end of the first line is repeated 
in a " Song " of 1904 beginning : 

Long low levels of land 

And sighing surges of sea, 
Mountain and moor and strand 

Part my beloved from me. 

A " Dream-Song " of 1904 is equally conventional, though 
in the lines 

Launch the galley, sailors bold, 
Prowed with silver, sharp and cold, 
Winged with silk and oared with gold, 

may be seen the first ineffective attempt to capture an 
image that in various forms haunted Flecker to the end 
of his life. But the most numerous and, on the whole, 
the best of his early poems are translations. And this is 
perhaps significant, as indicating that he began by being 
more interested in his art than in himself. Translating, 
there was a clearly defined problem to be attacked ; diffi- 
culties of expression could not be evaded by changing the 
thing to be expressed ; and there was no scope for fluent 
reminiscence or a docile pursuit at the heels of the rhyme 



XVlll 



In 1900-1, a:t. 16-17, h e was translating Catullus and the 
" Pervigilium Veneris," and amongst the poets he attacked 
in the next few years were Propertius, Muretus, Heine, 
Bierbaum, of whose lyrics he translated several, one of 
wliich is given in this volume. This habit of translation, 
so excellent as a discipline, he always continued, amongst 
the poets from whom he made versions being Meleager, 
Goethe, Leconte de Lisle, Baudelaire, H. de Regnier, 
Samain, Jean Moreas, and Paul Fort. In the last year 
or two his translations were mostly made from the French 
Parnassians. What drew him to them was his feeling of 
especial kinship with them and his belief that they might 
be a healthy influence on English verse. 

He explained his position in the preface to " The Golden 
Journey to Samarkand." The theory of the Parnassians 
had for him, he said, " a unique attraction." " A careful 
study of this theory, however old-fashioned it may by 
now have become in France, would, I am convinced, benefit 
English critics and poets, for both our poetic criticism 
and our poetry are in chaos." Good poetry had been 
written on other theories and on no theories at all, and 
" no worthless writer will be redeemed by the excellence 
of the poetic theory he may chance to hold." But " that 
a sound theory can produce sound practice and exercise 
a beneficent effect on writers of genius " had been 
repeatedly proved in the history of the Parnasse. 

" The Parnassian School [he continued] was a classical 
reaction against the perfervid sentimentality and extrava- 
gance of some French Romantics. The Romantics in 
France, as in England, had done their powerful work and 



xix 



infinitely widened the scope and enriched the language 
of poetry. It remained for the Parnassians to raise the 
technique of their art to a height which should enable 
them to express the subtlest ideas in powerful and simple 
verse. But the real meaning of the term Parnassian may 
be best understood from considering what is definitely not 
Parnassian. To be didactic like Wordsworth, to write 
dull poems of unwieldy length, to bury like Tennyson or 
Browning poetry of exquisite beauty in monstrous realms 
of vulgar, feeble, or obscure versifying, to overlay fine work 
with gross and irrelevant egoism like Victor Hugo, would 
be abhorrent, and rightly so, to members of this school. 
On the other hand, the finest work of many great English 
poets, especially Milton, Keats, Matthew Arnold, and 
Tennyson, is written in the same tradition as the work of 
the great French school : and one can but wish that the 
two latter poets had had something of a definite theory 
to guide them in self-criticism. Tennyson would never 
have published * Locksley Hall ' and Arnold might have 
refrained from spoiling his finest sonnets by astonishing 
cacophonies." 

There were, he naturally admitted, "many splendid 
forms of passionate or individual poetry " which were 
not Parnassian, such as the work of Villon, Browning, 
Shelley, Rossetti, and Verlaine, " too emotional, individual, 
or eccentric " to have Parnassian affinities : 

'* The French Parnassian has a tendency to use traditional 
forms and even to employ classical subjects. His desire 
in writing poetry is to create beauty : bis inclination is 
toward a beauty somewhat statuesque. He is apt to be 
dramatic and objective rather than intimate. The enemies 



of the Parnassians have accused them of cultivating unemo- 
tional frigidity and upholding an austere view of perfection. 
The unanswerable answers to all criticism are the works of 
Heredia, Leconte de Lisle, Samain, Henri de Regnier, and 
Jean Moreas. Compare the early works of the latter poet, 
written under the influence of the Symbolists, with his 
* Stances ' if you would see what excellence of theory can 
do when it has genius to work on. Read the works of 
Heredia, if you would understand how conscious and 
perfect artistry, far from stifling inspiration, fashions it 
into shapes of unimaginable beauty. ... At the present 
moment there can be no doubt that English poetry stands 
in need of some such saving doctrine to redeem it from the 
formlessness and the didactic tendencies which are now in 
fashion. As for English criticism, can it not learn from 
the Parnassian, or any tolerable theory of poetic art, to 
examine the beauty and not the ' message ' of poetry." 

"It is not [he said] the poet's business to save man's 
soul but to make it worth saving. . . . However, few poets 
have written with a clear theory of art for art's sake, it 
is by that theory alone that their work has been, or can 
be, judged ; and rightly so if we remember that art 
embraces all life and all humanity, and sees in the tem- 
porary and fleeting doctrines of conservative or revolu- 
tionary only the human grandeur or passion that inspires 
them/ 1 

His own volume had been written " with the single inten- 
tion of creating beauty." 

Though many of his own poems show the " tendency to 
use traditional forms and even to employ classical subjects," 
Flecker did not, it must be observed, dogmatize as to 



xxi 



choice of subject or generalize too widely. The Parnassians 
were not everything to him, nor were those older poets 
who had resembled them. It was as a corrective that he 
recommended the study of this particular group to his 
English contemporaries. It is arguable that most of his 
major contemporaries one might instance Mr. Bridges 
and Mr. Yeats are anything but chaotic, extravagant, 
careless, or didactic. References to " the latest writer of 
manly tales in verse " and " formlessness " might certainly 
be followed up ; but formlessness and moralizing are not 
so universal amongst modern English writers as Flecker, 
making out his case, implied. It does not matter ; there 
is not even any necessity to discuss the French Parnassians. 
Flecker had an affinity with them. He disliked the pedes- 
trian and the wild; he did not care either to pile up 
dramatic horrors or to burrow in the recesses of his own 
psychological or physiological structure. He liked the 
image, vivid, definite in its outline : he aimed everywhere 
at clarity and compactness. His most fantastic visions 
are solid and highly coloured and have hard edges. His 
imagination rioted in images, but he kept it severely under 
restraint, lest the tropical creepers should stifle the trees. 
Only occasionally, in his later poems, a reader may find the 
language a little tumultuous and the images heaped so 
profusely as to produce an effect of obscurity and, some- 
times, of euphuism. But these poems, it must be remem- 
bered, are precisely those which the poet himself did not 
finally revise. Some of them he never even finished : 
" The Burial in England," as it appears, is the best that 
can be done with a confusing collection of manuscript 



xxn 



thoughts and second thoughts. He was, as he claimed, 
constitutionally a classic ; but the term must not be 
employed too rigidly. He was, in fact, like Flaubert, both 
a classic and a romantic. He combined, like Flaubert, 
a romantic taste for the exotic, the gorgeous, and the 
violent, with a dislike for the romantic egoism, looseness 
of structure, and turgidity of phrase. His objectivity, 
in spite of all his colour, was often very marked ; but there 
was another trend in him. Though he never wrote slack 
and reasonless vers libres, the more he developed the more 
he experimented with new rhythms ; and one of his latest 
and best lyrics was the intensely personal poem " Stillness." 
He ran no special kind of subject too hard, and had no 
refined and restricted dictionary of words. A careful 
reader, of course, may discover that there are words, just 
as there are images, which he was especially fond of using. 
There are colours and metals, blue and red, silver and gold, 
which are present everywhere in his work ; the progresses 
of the sun (he was always a poet of the sunlight rather than 
a poet of the moonlight) were a continual fascination to 
him ; the images of Fire, of a ship, and of an old white- 
bearded man recur frequently in his poems. But he is 
anything but a monotonous poet, in respect either of forms, 
subjects, or language. It was characteristic of him that 
he should be on his guard against falling into a customary 
jargon. Revising " The Welsh Sea " and finding the 
word " golden," which he felt he and others had overdone, 
used three times (and not ineffectively) in it, he expunged 
the adjective outright, putting " yellow " in the first two 
places and " slow green " in the third. His preface on 



xxin 



Parnassianism was whole-hearted ; but any one who inter- 
preted some of his sentences as implying a desire to restrict 
either the poet's field or his expression to a degree that 
might justifiably be termed narrow would be in error. 
In one respect, perhaps, his plea was a plea for widening ; 
he did not wish to exclude the classical subject. And his 
declaration that poetry should not be written to carry a 
message but to embody a perception of beauty did not 
preclude a message in the poetry. His last poems, includ- 
ing " The Burial in England," may be restrained but are 
scarcely impersonal, may not be didactic but are none 
the less patriotic. He need not, in fact, be pinned to every 
word of his preface separately. The drift of the whole is 
evident. He himself, like other people, would not have 
been where he was but for the Romantic movement ; but 
he thought that English verse was in danger of decompo- 
sition. He merely desired to emphasize the dangers both 
of prosing and of personal paroxysms ; and, above all, to 
insist upon careful craftsmanship. 

This careful craftsmanship had been his own aim from 
the beginning. " Libellum arida modo pumice expolitum " 
is a phrase in the first of the Catullus epigrams he trans- 
lated at school ; and, whilst the content of his poetry showed 
a steadily growing strength of passion and thought, its 
form was subjected to, though it never too obviously 
" betrayed," an increasingly assiduous application of 
pumice-stone and file. His poems were written and re- 
written before they were printed ; some were completely 
remodelled after their first publication ; and he was 
continually returning to his old poems to make alterations 



xxiv 



in single words or lines many of his recent MS. altera- 
tions are now incorporated for the first time. His changes 
at their most extensive may be seen in the development 
of " The Bridge of Fire," in that (both versions are given 
in this volume) of " Narcissus," and in that of " Tenebris 
Interlucentem." As first published this ran : 

Once a poor song-bird that had lost her way 
Sang down in hell upon a blackened bough, 
Till all the lazy ghosts remembered how 
The forest trees stood up against the day. 

Then suddenly they knew that they had died, 
Hearing this music mock their shadow-land ; 
And some one there stole forth a timid hand 
To draw a phantom brother to his side. 

In the second version, also of eight lines, each line is 
shorter by two syllables : 

A linnet who had lost her way 
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell, 
Till all the ghosts remembered well 
The trees, the wind, the golden day. 

At last they knew that they had died 
When they heard music in that land, 
And some one there stole forth a hand 
To draw a brother to his side. 

The details of this drastic improvement are worth study- 
ing. The treatment of the first line is typical. The 
general word " song-bird " goes, the particular word 



XXV 



" linnet " is substituted ; and the superfluous adjective 
is cut out, like several subsequent ones. " Gravis Dulcis 
Immutabilis " was originally written as a sonnet ; the 
" Invitation to a Young but Learned Friend " was con- 
siderably lengthened after an interval of years ; and the 
poet's own copies of his printed volumes are promiscuously 
marked with minor alterations and re-alterations. One of 
the most curious is that by which the sexes are transposed 
in the song printed first as " The Golden Head " and 
then as " The Queen's Song." The last four lines of the 
first stanza originally ran : 

I then might touch thy face 

Delightful Maid, 
And leave a metal grace, 

A graven head. 

This was altered into : 

I then might touch thy face 

Delightful boy, 
And leave a metal grace, 

A graven joy. 

The reasons for the alteration are evident. The sounds 
" ace " and " aid " are uncomfortably like each other ; 
the long, lingering " oy " makes a much better ending of 
the stanza than the sound for which it was substituted ; 
and the false parallelism of " metal grace " and " graven 
head " was remedied by eliminating the concrete word and 
replacing it by another abstract one on the same plane as 
"grace." Such a substitution of the abstract for the 
concrete word, sound enough here, is very rare with him ; 



xxvi 



normally the changes were the other way round. He 
preferred the exact word to the vague ; he was always on 
his guard against the " pot-shot " and the complaisant 
epithet which will fit in anywhere. With passionate de- 
liberation he clarified and crystallized his thoughts and 
intensified his pictures. 

He found, as has been said, kinship in the French Par- 
nassians : and, though he approached them rather as a 
comrade than as a disciple, traces of their language, 
especially perhaps that of de Regnier and Heredia, may 
be found in his later verse. A reading of Heredia is surely 
evident in the " Gates of Damascus " : in 

Beyond the towns, an isle where, bound, a naked giant 

bites the ground : 
The shadow of a monstrous wing looms on his back : 

and still no sound. 

and the stanzas surrounding it. An influence still more 
marked is that of Sir Richard Burton. Flecker, when still 
a boy, had copied out the whole of his long " Kasidah," 
and its rhythms and turns of phrase are present in several of 
his Syrian poems. It was in the " Kasidah " that Flecker 
found Aflatun and Aristu, and the refrain of " the tinkling 
of the camel-bells" of which he made such fine use in 
" The Golden Journey." The verse-form of the " Kasidah " 
is, of course, not Burton's, it is Eastern ; and the use 
Flecker made of it suggests that an infusion of Persian 
and Arabic forms into English verse might well be a ferti- 
lizing agent. He always read a great deal of Latin verse : 
Latin poetry was as much to him as Greek history, myth, 

xxvii 



and landscape. Francis Thompson, Baudelaire, and Swin- 
burne were all early " influences." He learnt from them 
but he was seldom mastered by them. He did not imitate 
their rhythms or borrow their thought. The Swinburnian 
" Anapaests " in the first volume written in a weak 
moment, were an exception. In Flecker's printed copy 
the title has first, in a half-hearted effort to save the poem 
whilst repudiating its second-hand music and insincere 
sentiments, been changed to " Decadent Poem " ; and 
then a thick pencil has been drawn right through it. From 
his English contemporaries Flecker was detached. He 
admired some of them Mr. Yeats, Mr. A. E. Housman, 
Mr. de la Mare, and others ; and with some he was friendly, 
especially Rupert Brooke, with whom he had been at Cam- 
bridge. Of Mr. Chesterton's " Flying Inn " he writes in 
January 1914 : " A magnificent book his masterpiece ; 
and the humorous verse splendid." But his physical 
absence, first in the Levant and then in Switzerland, 
in itself prevented him from getting into any literary 
set, and his temperament and opinion of current tendencies 
was such that, even had he lived in England, he would 
probably have escaped " infection " by any school or 
individual. Flecker's vision of the world was his own ; 
his dreams of the East and Greece were born with him. 
He knew the streets of Stamboul and the snows of Lebanon, 
and the caravans departing for Bagdad and the gates 
of Damascus, and the bazaars heaped with grapes and 
" coffee-tables botched with pearl and little beaten brass- 
ware pots " ; but his hankering long antedated his travels. 
There is an unpublished poem written when he was twenty 

xxviii 



in which voices call him " to white JEgean isles among the 
foam " and the " dreamy painted lands " of the East. In 
the same year he translated Propertius I, xx. His life- 
long love of Greek names is shown by his enunciation of 
them even then : 

But Oreithyia's sons have left him now : 
Hylas, most foolish boy, where goest thou ? 

He is going to the Hamadryades, 
To them devoted I will tell you how. 

There's a clear well beneath Arganthos' screes 
Wherein Bithynian Naiads take their ease, 

By leafage overarched, where apples hide 
Whilst the dew kisses them on the unknown trees. 

This poem is dated 1904. It is the year of the Glion 
stanzas, the sonnet on Francis Thompson, and (probably) 
the fragmentary " Ode on Shelley." It is the year, that 
is, when Flecker began to show marks of maturity. The 
translation, like a number of other early poems quoted 
above, has not been included in the present collection, 
as it is certain that Flecker would not have wished it. 
Just enough of his unpublished " Juvenilia " have been 
included to illustrate his development, and it may be 
alleged without rashness that those selected are the best 
of their respective periods. 

Whatever may be said about the poems which follow, 
there are few which are not characteristic of the poet. 
His rigorous conception of his art and his fidelity to his 
own vision prevented many lapses, and he suppressed 
those which he did commit. One unrepresentative phrase 



XXIX 



there is which might be seized on to give a very untrue 
description of him. In the Envoy to " The Bridge of 
Fire " he speaks of himself as " the lean and swarthy poet 
of despair." It meant nothing; the first poem in the 
same book, with its proclamation that " the most surprising 
songs" must still be sung, and its challenge to youth to 
turn to " the old and fervent goddess " whose eyes are " the 
silent pools of Light and Truth " is far more characteristic 
of him, first and last. " Lean and swarthy poet " may 
stand ; but not of despair. The beauty of the world was 
a continual intoxication to him ; he was full, as a man, 
if not as a poet, of enthusiasms, moral and material, 
economic, educational, and military. Neither the real nor 
the spurious disease of pessimism is present in his verse 
and in his last autumn he was writing, with an energy 
that sometimes physically exhausted him, poems that 
blazed with courage, hope, and delight. Like his " Old 
Battleship," he went down fighting. 

The value of what he has left it is not, as I have said 
before, my intention to discuss here. My only object in 
writing this necessarily rather disjointed Introduction is to 
give some information that may interest the reader and 
be useful to the critic ; and if a few personal opinions have 
slipped in they may conveniently be ignored. A vehement 
" puff preliminary " is an insolence in a volume of this 
kind : it might pardonably be supposed to imply either 
doubts about the author or distrust of his readers. 

J. C. SQUIRE 



XXX 



Editorial Note 



Twenty of the poems in this edition have never been published 
before, or have appeared only in periodicals. These may be 
distinguished by the dates which are appended beneath them. 
The whole of the poems published in book form during the 
poets lifetime are reprinted with the exception of seven lyrics 
which there is reason to believe he did not desire to perpetuate. 
Of the new ones several are "Juvenilia" written between the 
ages of sixteen and twenty >, which have been included in order 
to illustrate his development. 

The poems are arranged in a roughly chronological order ; 
those written in the years 1907-10 following most nearly 
(more information as to date being available with these) the 
actual order of composition. 

The text of many, especially of the early, poems will be 
found to differ considerably from that hitherto printed, owing 
to Fleckers habit of continual revision. In some of the 
MSS. there are variant readings from which the present 
editor has been compelled to select. The fragments of the 
" Ode to Shelley " presented the most difficult problem, and 
the order in which they are placed is not to be presumed the 
correct order. 



JUVENILIA 



Four Translations and Adaptations 
from Catullus 



I 



For whom this pretty pamphlet, polished new 

With pumice-stone ? Cornelius, for you : 

For you were never unprepared to deem 

My simple verses worthy of esteem, 

Though you yourself who else in Rome so bold ? 

In volumes three have laboured to unfold 

A " Universal History of Man "- 

Dear Jove ! A learned and laborious plan ! 



Wherefore to you, my friend, I dedicate 
This so indifferent bookling ; yet I pray, 
Poor as it is goddess of my fate, 
Let it outlive the writer's transient day ! 

1900 (?) : <zt. 16 



Ill 



Cupids and loves, and men of gentler mien, 
Mourn, for my lady's loved one is dead, 
Her darling sparrow that to her hath been 
Dearer than her own eyes : even as a maid 
Loveth her mother, so had he been bred 
To know his mistress. He was honeysweet 
Nor ever truant from her bosom strayed, 
But there would twitter from his soft retreat. 
And now he's flitting down the Shadow Way, 
Ah, never to return ! A curse on ye, 
Black shades of death, that let no fair thing stay ; 
How fair a sparrow have ye snatched from me ! 



Poor birdie all for thee the teardrops rise, 

Till red with weeping are my Love's bright eyes. 



1900 



IV 



Proud is Phaselus here, my friends, to tell 
That once she was the swiftest craft afloat : 
No vessel, were she winged with blade or sail 
Could ever pass my boat. 



Phaselus shunned to shun grim Adria's shore, 

Or Cyclades, or Rhodes the wide renowned, 

Or Bosphorus, where Thracian waters roar, 

Or Pontus' eddying sound. 

It was in Pontus once, unwrought, she stood, 

And conversed, sighing, with her sister trees, 

Amastris born, or where Cytorus* wood 

Answers the mountain breeze. 

Pontic Amastris, boxwood-clad Cytorus ! 

You, says Phaselus, are her closest kin : 

Yours were the forests where she stood inglorious : 

The waters yours wherein 

She dipped her virgin blades ; and from your strand 

She bore her master through the cringing straits, 

Nought caring were the wind on either hand, 

Or whether kindly fates 

Filled both the straining sheets. Never a prayer 

For her was offered to the gods of haven, 

Till last she left the sea, hither to fare, 

And to be lightly laven 

By the cool ripple of the clear lagoon. 



This too is past ; at length she is allowed 
Long slumber through her life's long afternoon, 
To Castor and the twin of Castor vowed. 



1901 



When lounging idle mid forensic whirl, 

Friend Varus took me off to see his girl. 

The naughty wench, I very soon was shewn, 

Had got some wit and beauty of her own. 

Arriving, we began a busy chat 

On politics, and weather, this and that 

Then on my province's internal state, 

And " Had I found the profit adequate ? " 

I answered truthfully, " There's nothing there 

For common soldier or for officer 

Wherewith to purchase grease for home-bound hair." 

" You found at least " said she " one always can 

Some aboriginals for your sedan ? " 

Said I in answer, posing for her eyes 

In prosperous and fashionable guise, 

" Oh, really, I was not so penniless 

That any mere provincial distress 

Should render me incompetent to get 

Eight smartish bearers for the voiturette." 

(In truth there was no slave in all the earth 

Whom I could then have summoned to my hearth 

To shoulder the debilitated leg 

Of my old pallet). " Then, dear friend, I beg " 

Cries she most aptly for so bad a minx 

" I want to pay a visit to the Sphinx 

You'll lend them me just to the temple door, 

My sweet Catullus ? " 



" Oh, you may be sure " 
Said I " I would but what I mentioned now 
As mine I just forgot what matter how ? 
My messmate Cinna, Gaius Cinna, he 
Has commandeered them. Really, as for me, 
What difference if you call them his or mine ? 
I use them just whenever I incline. 
But you're a silly pestilential jade 
To want a chance remark so nicely weighed." 



1901 



Sirmio 



Little gem of all-but-islands and of islands, Sirmio, 
Whether set in landlocked waters, or in Ocean's freer flow 
Oh the pleasant seeing of thee, bright as ever there below 
Far behind me, to the Northward, lie the dreamy lands 

of snow. 

Oh the hour of mad rejoicing, oh the sweet good-bye to woe 
As with quiet soul aweary of world-wandering to and fro 
In we hurry through the doorway of our home of long 

ago. . . . 
Hail then, hail ! Thy master welcome, welcome him, 

sweet Sirmio, 
Leap for joy, ye tumbling waters, winking at the summer's 

glow, 
Gaily through the house resounding let the peals of laughter 

go- 

1901 04 



Lucretia 



As one who in the cold abyss of night 
Stares at a book whose grey print meaningless 
Dances between the lamplight and his eyes, 
Lucretius lay, soul-poisoned, conquering still 
With towering travail Reason's Hellene heights. 
Listen, Lucretia, to the voice of his pain : 



Thrice welcome hour of Reason : ne'er of old 

Knew I thy naked loveliness, till night, 

The nether night of Folly pinioned forth, 

Shrouded my senses, taught me terribly 

That thou alone, my light and life and love, 

Wearest the high insignia of the stars. 

Grant then thy worshipper, austerest Queen, 

Refreshing dews Now, now, I thirst with flame : 

They flee the strainings of my fevered lips 

Cruelly, and in dank distance a new noise 

Of rushing wings I hear. Who thunders nigh ? 

Devil delirium, chaos charioted, 

Curb, curb, the coal-red chargers, heard not seen. 

See, Madam Wife, that loveless lust of thine 



Leaves no sweet savour lingering, but a curse : 
And 'stead of Love and Reason, palace tenant, 
There flits a weak and tremulous loathsomeness ! 



Suppliant fled Lucretia to the couch : 
And all her glory trembled as she sang : 



Awake, dead soul of dear Lucretius, 
Awake, thy witless fond destroyer prays. 
Awake, awake, and quit thy aimless journey 
In old oblivion's purple-misted paths. 

Dost thou remember, husband ? It was evening : 
We wandered shorewards, mid the ocean of air 
That glassed the gliding Nereids of the Pole. 
Immeasurable moonlight kissed the brow 
Of the white sea whose ripples swayed to greet 
Our heart's unnumbered laughter. Strongest sleep 
So held the life of earth that dimly we heard 
Time's fatal pulse through the dark reverberated. 
Then died thy soul : that night I, murderess, dreamt, 
Ah, dolorous dreams of limb-dissolving love. 
Lucretius, 

Why live I still, protracting hopeless pain ? 
The dullness of the long Lethean stream 
Is more to be commended for my sailings 
Than love's hot eddies. 

God, for the draught of death ! 
What sourer, sweeter vintage could be pressed ? 



10 



To slumber shall I lull me, where no sorrow 
Can pierce the drifted overmantling haze : 
No sorrow, no despair, nor any love ! 



My soul is thine, husband, thy mad soul. 
Madness, swift foretaste of oblivion 
Shall wed us to delirious dim despair 
Till bone claim bone beneath the cypress tree. 
What pleasant dawn of madness ! Off I rend 
This fair hypocrisy of raiment. Down 
There's fairer guile within down, frippery ! 
Veil me not from my love. Dear arms outstretched, 
Am I not fair ? These quick white limbs of mine 
Shall brand in thee their passionate symmetry, 
Till as the bee within the lily trembles 
Thyself, body and soul, shall move within me. 
Has sculptured Venus thighs of richer vein ? 
Spread thyself round about me ; let us wrench 
Self unto self. Why life is lovely still ! 

Fair wings of madness, drift us far away 
To an unseen Empyrean, where no care 
Can frost the magic mirror of our loves. 
Thence we shall see the sorrowful world of men, 
Old castles fired, old mountains overturned, 
Old majesties conculcate in the dust, 
With short sad smiles for every thing destroyed. 

Why do red eyes draw nearer ? Husband, wake ! 
The palace is fired and falling ! Not with love 
Thy body's life, that throbs within me, burns 



II 



Lucretius those same eyes, grey Furies wear them, 
They seethe in double dullness 'neath their own ! 



Thus muttered she in dread : be glaring lay : 
Passion had made him beast, and passion sated 
Did leave him than the beasts more bestial. 
Till phantomed reason fled his turning brain 
And with a cry he struck her from his breast. 
Heavily, and her hair, like the finger of night, 
Pencilled the marble as she fell, and cried : 



Kill me not, devil : off, blood-searching hands ; 

Nay, strike me thus and rend me thus, and thus : 

I would not be the mother of mad children. 

Burst forth, my blood, burst forth from wound and weal. 

The body's pain is blister for the soul's. 



Then, as her anguish slumbered for awhile : 



Oh for a word of consolation dear 
Sadder than dirge from old Simonides, 
Sweeter than echoes of the Linos song 
Whispering through the drowsy sheaves of corn 
On summer evenings, when the harvesters 
Homeward return, and children rush to greet 
Their father, and to snatch the kisses first 



12 



But a new torment rent her, and she rose ; 
Her veins large-knotted, standing out injire ; 
She grasped his arm and shrieked to the solemn sun 
That rolled in horror down the Western Sea : 



There, red-eyed Fury with lash and terrible hiss, 

With lash and terrible hiss of steaming snakes 

Blood from the breast-wound drips, and from my heart, 

And from those eyes, and from the pillars See 

There, and the statues move. Take away the blank eyes 

Oh wild, wild irony of Life and Lust, 
Life is to death so near, and lust to loathing. 
All is a jest, a shadow, and a lie. 
A whirlwind-wondrous lie ! 

Laugh, husband, laugh ! 
Laughter is man's supreme prerogative : 
The beasts are sane ; they laugh not. I will laugh, 
My bones and flesh are quaking. Laugh, thou fool ! 
For love is lust, and life is a dream of death 
Hell is opening, opening horribly. 

March 1904 



Song in the Night 

(From JBierbaum) 

Streets to left, and streets to right, 

Dull and dank it seems, 
As I wander in the night 
Wakened from my dreams. 
Yearning, 
Burning, 
Pain and smart, 

Whither dost thou sink, my heart ? 
Whither dost thou sink, my heart ? 

There's a house with shutters green 

Far away from town, 
Where the river rolls serene 
Moving, murmuring down. 
Bowers, 
Flowers ! 
Fold it in ! 

Would I were a guest within ! 
Would I were a guest within ! 

June 1904 



Glion Noon 



From Glion on an August noon 
I scarcely see the ripples shine 

Where sunbeam spirits lightly swoon 
On drifting shrouds of cyanine. 



The Dent du Midi now uprears 
His proud tiara through the mist, 

The sacred crown whose triple tiers 
Are walls of Titan amethyst. 



A voiceless, dreamless paradise 
Of fleeting and fantastic form 

More lovely than the fierce sunrise, 
More visionary than the storm. 



Here would I dream away long years 
Till with the mountains I was one, 

Knowing not loves or hates or fears, 
Standing immutably alone. 



Glion Evening 



From Glion when the sun declines 

The world below is clear to see : 
I count the escalading pines 

Upon the rocks of Meillerie. 

Like a dull bee the steamer plies 

And settles on the jutting pier : 
The barques, strange sailing butterflies, 

Round idle headlands idly veer. 

The painted sceneries recall 

Such toil as Canaletto spent 
To give each brick upon each wall 

Its due partition of cement. 

Yet rather seem those lands below 

From Glion at the close of day 
As vivid as a cameo 

Graved by the poet Gautier. 

July 1904 



16 



Last Love 

(From Novalis adaptation of his last words) 

Now for a last glad look upon life : my journey is ending : 

Now this door that is Death quietly shuts me behind. 

Thankful I hear Love's call the faithful call of a comrade : 

Then all joyful am I, ready to give her my heart. 

All through life it is Love hath been my counsellor only : 

Hers be the praise alway if I have followed aright. 

For as a mother awakes with kisses her slumbering baby, 

As she first has a care as she alone understands 

So has Love been mine, has watched and tended and kissed 

me : 

Near me when I was a child : near me till I was a man. 
Thus, mid sorrow or doubt, I have clung to her, learning 
1 her lesson : 
Now she has made me free free to rejoice evermore. 

1904 ? 



Fragments of an Ode to Shelley 



Since men have always crowned the tomb 

With those sweet diadems of doom, 

The twinings of memorial flowers, 

So that their brother's first few hours 

Of waiting in his lonely room 

May pass in peace while Time devours 

The body's brief and bitter bloom, 

The last extortion of sad powers, 

And downwards through the grudging soil 

The piteous perfumes strain and toil, 



II 



Let the kind ritual remain : 

We seek an emblem of our pain 

The dry scant holly of the shore, 

The grass upon the dunes What more 

Can sorrow bring ? We cannot drain 



18 



The spacious Sea for his rich store 

Of coloured weeds that shine in vain 

Upon the wide inhuman floor, 

The lonely yard where drowned men lie 

And gaze through water to white sky. 



Ill 



Forgive, thou calm and godlike shade, 

The drooping wreath, the flowers that fade, 

This passionless pale offering 

From one who scarcely dares to sing 

His love and praises, being afraid 

At the sweet brilliance of thy spring, 

Seeing his lute is rudely made, 

His thoughts too dull and weak of wing, 

More fit for noons that lull and warm 

Than for the stress of fire and storm. 



IV 



The slender boat that stretched her sail 
To fly before the sultry gale, 
That from her moorings leapt and sped 
Before the forest leaves were red, 
Before the purple noon was pale, 



Round whom delight and fancy spread 
Their guardian wings, without avail, 
Is shipwrecked, and her captain dead. 
The children of the stainless sea 
Laid him ashore mysteriously. 



O none of those who came to mourn 
The body cold and water-worn, 
Nor any of us in later days 
Who walk at evening in soft ways 
Could bring thee tribute of the morn 
Or any music that repays 
The soul of Adonais, borne 
To heaven on thy fluted phrase. 
Poets have wept ; but which of them 
Were fit to sing thy requiem ? 



VI 



That song shall wait till delving time 
Finds the lost treasures of earth's prime 
When moil and tears and dire distress 
Shall flee the dawn of joyousness, 
When some new monarch of sweet rhyme 



20 



Or mild surprising poetess, 

Some Sappho in a mood sublime 

Or Pindar freed and fetterless, 

In a far island in far seas 

Shall send their sorrow down the breeze. 



shining servant of the evening star 

Whom no soft footfall of Lethean song 

Delighted, but a strong celestial war 

To batter down the gates of earthly wrong, 

To thee old Rhea yielded up her foison, 

Thou rash knight-errant of heroic love, 

That dreams and trances, being most vital poison 

To whoso looks but dares not live above, 

For thee, who wast more bold, 

Might lead to earth along light chains of gold, 

Lest some rebellious airs of spirit 

Should blow each image into windy space 

Nor leave it vocal, to inherit 

The toil and triumph of our mortal race. 

O thou hast shown us legions in the skies, 

And passed the earth before us in review 

Till shadows came and went before our eyes, 

And shafts of dim desire pierced us through, 

And draughts of joyous day 

And winds that calmly blew 

Swift strength and splendour in our dreams, and songs 
from far away. 



21 



Light and the subtler light of wizard fire, 

And winds that strike forth hope on some grand lyre, 

And spirits of blue air like April clouds, 

And all the water-company that crowds 

The river-spaces .and dark open sea, 

Conspired at his creation : Liberty, 

Watching his prowess from her tower above, 

Took to her side a royal-winged Love. 

And when he died and they could do no more 

To strengthen him who graced that southern shore 

They bade a clearer, stronger sun arise 

And drive old darkness from the Italian skies. 



Many there be to-day whose foolish praise 
Has dulled the roar of thy old fighting days, 
So that thy hymns of intellectual joy 
Seem but fine utterance of a wayward boy, 
Thy call of war, thy thunderbolts of hate 
A madman's cry, that rails against his fate ; 
Who find in them a vague and phantom truth 
Or dim ideal of a lovelorn youth. 
* * * 

He was too beautiful ; he died too young, 
Before the mellow season of his prime ; 
Sweet songs he left, but sweeter songs unsung, 
Whose thin ghosts wander out of space and time. 
All his philosophy was Love and Hate, 
His life a rainbow for the sun to fashion, 
His thoughts most royally importunate, 



22 



Forged by the beats of elemental passion. 

Like some young tressed tree 

That sighs to each . . . wind, so he 

Stretched arms to welcome Love, who softly winging 

Came down to earth from lands beyond the dawn ; 

Her strength and gentleness inspired his singing, 

Until she stood amazed, from whom 'twas drawn. 

Spirit of love, draw near this monument 

And veil the ancient glory of thy head, 

For he is dead, whose silver days were spent 

In thy eternal service, he is dead 

And borne aloft away 

On gloomy wings outspread 
More strong and sure than thy bright plumes, 

O mistress of a day ! 



[EPODE] 

Nothing of him is left us, save this scroll, 
The fire-thrown shadow of his silent soul, 
The glass whose even rondure is to keep 
The immortal country of his mortal sleep. 
Where terrors move and angry phantoms cry, 
Titans and tyrants in a ragged sky, 
Where in tall caves magicians read the rune, 
And white limbs glitter in the plenilune ; 



23 



And where a voice more human, more divine, 
Commends a brother dead to Proserpine. 
But now that Queen of undivided rest 
Reopening the closures of her breast 
Has taken our royal-winged child of light, 
And bathed his forehead in the pool of night. 

[Date uncertain, early] 



2 4 



LATER POEMS 



A New years Carol 



Awake, awake ! The world is young, 
For all its weary years of thought : 
The starkest fights must still be fought, 
The most surprising songs be sung. 



And those who have no other Gods 
May still behold, if they bestir, 
The windy amphitheatre 
Where dawn the timeless periods. 



Then hear the shouting-voice of men 
Magniloquently rise and ring : 
Their flashing eyes and measured swing 
Prove that the world is young again. 



I was beyond the hills, and heard 
That old and fervent Goddess call, 
Whose voice is like a waterfall, 
And sweeter than the singing-bird. 



O stubborn arras of rosy youth, 
Break down your other Gods, and turn 
To where her dauntless eyeballs burn, 
The silent pools of Light and Truth. 



28 



From Grenoble 



Now have I seen, in Graisivaudan's vale, 

The fruits that dangle and the vines that trail, 

The poplars standing up in bright blue air, 

The silver turmoil of the broad Isre 

And sheer pale cliffs that wait through Earth's long noon 

Till the round Sun be colder than the Moon. 



Mine be the ancient song of Travellers : 

I hate this glittering land where nothing stirs : 

I would go back, for I would see again 

Mountains less vast, a less abundant plain, 

The Northern Cliffs clean-swept with driven foam, 

And the rose-garden of my gracious home. 



29 






Narcissus 



thou with whom I dallied 
Through all the hours of noon,- 

Sweet water-boy, more pallid 
Than any watery moon ; 

Above thy body turning 

White lily-buds were strewn : 

Alas, the silver morning, 
Alas, the golden noon ! 

Alas, the clouds of sorrow, 
The waters of despair ! 

1 sought thee on the morrow, 
And never found thee there. 

Since first I saw thee splendid, 
Since last I called thee fair, 

My happy ways have ended 
By waters of despair. 

The pool that was thy dwelling 

I hardly knew again, 
So black it was, and swelling 

With bitter wind and rain. 



30 



Amid the reeds I lingered 
Between desire and pain 

Till evening, rosy-fingered, 
Beckoned to night again. 

Yet once when sudden quiet 

Had visited the skies, 
And stilled the stormy riot, 

I looked upon thine eyes. 
I saw they wept and trembled 

With glittering mysteries, 
But yellow clouds assembled 

Redarkening the skies. 

O listless thou art lying 

In waters cool and sweet, 
While I, dumb brother, dying, 

Faint in the desert heat. 
Though thou dost love another, 

Still let my lips entreat : 
Men call me fair, O brother, 

And women honey-sweet. 



Inscription for Arthur Rackhams 
Rip Van Winkle 



Since youth is wise, and cannot comprehend 

Proportion, nor behold things as they are, 

^Aoflea/xoye? we'll be, my friend, 

And laugh at what appears quadrangular. 

Our only Gods shall be the Subterrane, 

Pictures of things misshapen, harsh and crude, 

The flattened Face outside the window-pane, 

The little Squeak behind us in the wood. 

Here, friend, are subtly drawn uncommon things : 

Make such your Gods : they only understand. 

Only a Headless Ape with slimy wings 

Can whisk you round the Interesting Land. 

Though after twenty years they may not please, 

Sane men have worshipped stranger Gods than these. 



32 



Envoy 



The young men leap, and toss their golden hair, 
Run round the land, or sail across the seas : 
But one was stricken with a sore disease, 
The lean and swarthy poet of despair. 



Know me, the slave of fear and death and shame, 
A sad Comedian, a most tragic Fool, 
Shallow, imperfect, fashioned without rule, 
The doubtful shadow of a demon flame. 



33 



Riouperoux 



High and solemn mountains guard Riouperoux, 
Small untidy village where the river drives a mill : 
Frail as wood anemones, white and frail were you, 
And drooping a little, like the slender daffodil. 



Oh I will go to France again, and tramp the valley through, 
And I will change these gentle clothes for clog and corduroy, 
And work with the mill-hands of black Riouperoux, 
And walk with you, and talk with you, like any other boy. 



34 



Mignon 

(From Goethe) 

Knowest thou the land where bloom the lemon trees, 

And darkly gleam the golden oranges ? 

A gentle wind blows down from that blue sky ; 

Calm stands the myrtle and the laurel high. 

Knowest thou the land ? So far and fair ! 

Thou, whom I love, and I will wander there. 

Knowest thou the house with all its rooms aglow, 
And shining hall and columned portico ? 
The marble statues stand and look at me. 
Alas, poor child, what have they done to thee ? 
Knowest thou the land ? So far and fair. 
My Guardian, thou and I will wander there. 

Knowest thou the mountain with its bridge of cloud ? 
The mule plods warily : the white mists crowd. 
Coiled in their caves the brood of dragons sleep ; 
The torrent hurls the rock from steep to steep. 
Knowest thou the land ? So far and fair. 
Father, away ! Our road is over there ! 



35 



Tenebris Interlucentem 



A linnet who had lost her way 
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell, 
Till all the ghosts remembered well 
The trees, the wind, the golden day. 



At last they knew that they had died 
When they heard music in that land, 
And some one there stole forth a hand 
To draw a brother to his side. 



The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire 



Over the moonless land of Bathrolaire 

Rises at night, when revelry begins, 

A white unreal orb, a sun that spins, 

A sun that watches with a sullen stare 

That dance spasmodic they are dancing there, 

Whilst drone and cry and drone of violins 

Hint at the sweetness of forgotten sins, 

Or call the devotees of shame to prayer. 

And all the spaces of the midnight town 

Ring with appeal and sorrowful abuse. 

There some most lonely are : some try to crown 

Mad lovers with sad boughs of formal yews, 

And Titan women wandering up and down 

Lead on the pale fanatics of the muse. 



37 



The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire 



Now the sweet Dawn on brighter fields afar 
Has walked among the daisies, and has breathed 
The glory of the mountain winds, and sheathed 
The stubborn sword of Night's last-shining star. 
In Bathrolaire when Day's old doors unbar 
The motley mask, fantastically wreathed, 
Pass through a strong portcullis brazen teethed, 
And enter glowing mines of cinnabar. 
Stupendous prisons shut them out from day, 
Gratings and caves and rayless catacombs, 
And the unrelenting rack and tourniquet 
Grind death in cells where jetting gaslight gloams, 
And iron ladders stretching far away 
Dive to the depths of those eternal domes. 



The Ballad of Hampstead Heath 



From Heaven's Gate to Hampstead Heath 

Young Bacchus and his crew 
Came tumbling down, and o'er the town 

Their bursting trumpets blew. 



The silver night was wildly bright, 
And madly shone the Moon 

To hear a song so clear and strong, 
With such a lovely tune. 



From London's houses, huts and flats, 
Came busmen, snobs, and Earls, 

And ugly men in bowler hats 
With charming little girls. 



Sir Moses came with eyes of flame, 

Judd, who is like a bloater, 
The brave Lord Mayor in coach and pair, 

King Edward, in his motor. 



39 



Far in a rosy mist withdrawn 

The God and all his crew, 
Silenus pulled by nymphs, a faun, 

A satyr drenched in dew, 

Smiled as they wept those shining tears 

Only Immortals know, 
Whose feet are set among the stars, 

Above the shifting snow. 

And one spake out into the night, 

Before they left for ever, 
" Rejoice, rejoice ! " and his great voice 

Rolled like a splendid river. 

He spake in Greek, which Britons speak 

Seldom, and circumspectly ; 
But Mr. Judd, that man of mud, 

Translated it correctly. 

And when they heard that happy word, 

Policemen leapt and ambled : 
The busmen pranced, the maidens danced, 

The men in bowlers gambolled. 

A wistful Echo stayed behind 

To join the mortal dances, 
But Mr. Judd, with words unkind, 

Rejected her advances. 



40 



And passing down through London Town 
She stopped, for all was lonely, 

Attracted by a big brass plate 

Inscribed, FOR MEMBERS ONLY. 

And so she went to Parliament, 

But those ungainly men 
Woke up from sleep, and turned about, 

And fell asleep again. 



Litany to Satan 

(From Baudelaire) 

O grandest of the Angels, and most wise, 
O fallen God, fate-driven from the skies, 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

O first of exiles who endurest wrong, 

Yet growest, in thy hatred, still more strong, 

Satan, at last take pity on our pain ! 

O subterranean King, omniscient, 
Healer of man's immortal discontent, 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

To lepers and to outcasts thou dost show 
That Passion is the Paradise below. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thou by thy mistress Death hast given to man 
Hope, the imperishable courtesan. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 



Thou givest to the Guilty their calm mien 
Which damns the crowd around the guillotine 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thou knowest the corners of the jealous Earth 
Where God has hidden jewels of great worth. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thou dost discover by mysterious signs 
Where sleep the buried people of the mines. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thou stretchest forth a saving hand to keep 
Such men as roam upon the roofs in sleep. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thy power can make the halting Drunkard's feet 
Avoid the peril of the surging street. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thou, to console our helplessness, didst plot 
The cunning use of powder and of shot. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Thy awful name is written as with pitch 
On the unrelenting foreheads of the rich. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 



43 



In strange and hidden places thou dost move 
Where women cry for torture in their love. 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 

Father of those whom God's tempestuous ire 
Has flung from Paradise with sword and fire, 
Satan, at last take pity on our pain. 



PRAYER 

Satan, to thee be praise upon the Height 
Where thou wast king of old, and in the night 
Of Hell, where thou dost dream on silently. 
Grant that one day beneath the Knowledge-tree, 
When it shoots forth to grace thy royal brow, 
My soul may sit, that cries upon thee now. 



44 



The Translator and the Children 



While I translated Baudelaire, 

Children were playing out in the air. 

Turning to watch, I saw the light 

That made their clothes and faces bright. 

I heard the tune they meant to sing 

As they kept dancing in a ring ; 

But I could not forget my book, 

And thought of men whose faces shook 

When babies passed them with a look. 



They are as terrible as death, 
Those children in the road beneath. 
Their witless chatter is more dread 
Than voices in a madman's head : 
Their dance more awful and inspired, 
Because their feet are never tired, 
Than silent revel with soft sound 
Of pipes, on consecrated ground, 
When all the ghosts go round and round, 



45 



Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities 



Helen of Troy has sprung from Hell 
To claim her ancient throne, 

So we have bidden friends farewell 
To follow her alone. 



The Lady of the laurelled brow, 
The Queen of pride and power, 

Looks rather like a phantom now, 
And rather like a flower. 



Deep in her eyes the lamp of night 

Burns with a secret flame, 
Where shadows pass that have no sight, 

And ghosts that have no name. 



For mute is battle's brazen horn 
That rang for Priest and King, 

And she who drank of that brave morn 
Is pale with evening. 



An hour there is when bright words flow, 

A little hour for sleep, 
An hour between, when lights are low, 

And then she seems to weep. 



But no less lovely than of old 
She shines, and almost hears 

The horns that blew in days of gold, 
The shouting charioteers. 



And she still breaks the hearts of men, 
Their hearts and all their pride, 

Doomed to be cruel once again, 
And live dissatisfied. 



47 



Oxford Canal 



When you have wearied of the valiant spires of this 
County Town, 

Of its wide white streets and glistening museums, and 
black monastic walls, 

Of its red motors and lumbering trams, and self-sufficient 
people, 

I will take you walking with me to a place you have 
not seen 

Half town and half country the land of the Canal. 

It is dearer to me than the antique town : I love it 
more than the rounded hills : 

Straightest, sublimest of rivers is the long Canal. 

I have observed great storms and trembled : I have 
wept for fear of the dark. 

But nothing makes me so afraid as the clear water of 
this idle canal on a summer's noon. 

Do you see the great telephone poles down in the water, 
how every wire is distinct ? 

If a body fell into the canal it would rest entangled in 
those wires for ever, between earth and air. 

For the water is as deep as the stars are high. 



One day I was thinking how if a man fell from that 
lofty pole 

He would rush through the water toward me till his 
image was scattered by his splash, 

When suddenly a train rushed by : the brazen dome of 
the engine flashed : the long white carriages roared ; 

The sun veiled himself for a moment, and the signals 
loomed in fog ; 

A savage woman screamed at me from a barge : little 
children began to cry ; 

The untidy landscape rose to life ; a sawmill started ; 

A cart rattled down to the wharf, and workmen clanged 
over the iron footbridge ; 

A beautiful old man nodded from the first story window 
of a square red house, 

And a pretty girl came out to hang up clothes in a 
small delightful garden. 

O strange motion in the suburb of a county town : slow 
regular movement of the dance of death ! 

Men and not phantoms are these that move in light. 

Forgotten they live, and forgotten die.^ 



49 



Hialmar Speaks to the Raven 

(From LeconU de Lisle) 

Night on the bloodstained snow : the wind is chill 
And there a thousand tombless warriors lie, 
Grasping their swords, wild-featured. All are still. 
Above them the black ravens wheel and cry. 

A brilliant moon sends her cold light abroad : 
Hialmar arises from the reddened slain, 
Heavily leaning on his broken sword, 
And bleeding from his side the battle-rain. 

" Hail to you all : is there one breath still drawn 
Among those fierce and fearless lads who played 
So merrily, and sang as sweet in the dawn 
As thrushes singing in the bramble shade ? 

" They have no word to say : my helm's unbound, 
My breastplate by the axe unriveted : 
Blood's on my eyes ; I hear a spreading sound, 
Lake waves or wolves that clamour in my head. 

50 



" Eater of men, old raven, come this way, 
And with thine iron bill open my breast, 
To-morrow find us where we lie to-day, 
And bear my heart to her that I love best. 

" Through Upsala, where drink the Jarls and sing, 
And clash their golden bowls in company, 
Bird of the moor, carry on tireless wing 
To Ylmer's daughter there the heart of me. 

" And thou shalt see her standing straight and pale, 
High pedestalled on some rook-haunted tower : 
She has two ear-rings, silver and vermeil, 
And eyes like stars that shine in sunset hour. 

" Tell her my love, thou dark bird ominous ; 
Give her my heart, no bloodless heart and vile 
But red compact and strong, O raven. Thus 
Shall Ylmer's daughter greet thee with a smile. 

" Now let my life from twenty deep wounds flow, 
And wolves may drink the blood. My time is done. 
Young, brave and spotless, I rejoice to go 
And sit where all the Gods are, in the sun." 



The Ballad of the Student in the 
South 



It was no sooner than this morn 
That first I found you there, 

Deep in a field of southern corn 
The colour of your hair. 

I had read books you had not read, 

Yet I was put to shame 
To hear the simple words you said. 

And see your eyes aflame. 

Shall I forget when prying dawn 

Sends me about my way, 
The careless stars, the quiet lawn, 

And you with whom I lay ? 

Yours is the beauty of the moon, 

The wisdom of the sea, 
Since first you tasted, sweet and soon, 

Of God's forbidden tree. 



Darling, a scholar's fancies sink 

So faint beneath your song ; 
And you are right, why should we think, 

We who are young and strong ? 

For we are simple, you and I, 

We do what others do, 
Who live because they fear to die 

And love the whole night through. 



53 



The Queen s Song 



Had I the power 

To Midas given of old 
To touch a flower 

And leave the petals gold 
I then might touch thy face, 

Delightful boy, 
And leave a metal grace, 

A graven joy. 

Thus would I slay, 

Ah, desperate device ! 
The vital day 

That trembles in thine eyes, 
And let the red lips close 

Which sang so well, 
And drive away the rose 

To leave a shell. 

Then I myself, 

Rising austere and dumb 
On the high shelf 

Of my half-lighted room. 



54 



Would place the shining bust 

And wait alone, 
Until I was but dust, 

Buried unknown. 

Thus in my love 

For nations yet unborn, 
I would remove 

From our two lives the morn, 
And muse on loveliness 

In mine arm-chair, 
Content should Time confess 

How sweet you were. 



55 



On Turner s Polyphemus 



Painter of day, let my dark spirit fly 
Past the Trinacrian Sound, to gaze upon 
The deathless horses of Hyperion 

Driven up fiery stairs tumultuously : 

To see once more the Achaian prows glide by, 
Odysseus in his burnished galleon, 
Nereides that sing him swiftly on, 

And baffled Cyclops fading in the sky, 



Master, you paint the passion of the Earth, 
The faint victorious music of her birth, 

The splendour of things lost and things grown old ; 
And show us song new-wrought with ardent might 
Of strong-winged morning and of sure delight, 

Of hyacinthine mist, and shining gold. 



The Bridge of Fire 



High on the bridge of Heaven whose Eastern bars 
Exclude the interchange of Night and Day, 
Robed with faint seas and crowned with quiet stars 
All great Gods dwell to whom men prayed or pray. 
No winter chills, no fear or fever mars 
Their grand and timeless hours of pomp and play ; 
Some drive about the Rim wind-golden cars 
Or, shouting, laugh Eternity away. 

The daughters of their pride, 

Moon-pale, blue-water-eyed, 
Their flame-white bodies pearled with falling spray, 

Send all their dark hair streaming 

Down where the worlds lie gleaming, 
And draw their mighty lovers close and say : 
" Come over by the Stream : one hears 
The speech of Nations broken in the chant of Spheres." 



57 



II 



Hear now the song of those bright Shapes that shine 
Huge as Leviathans, tasting the fare 
Delicate-sweet, while scented dews divine 
Thrill from the ground and clasp the rosy air, 
" Sing on, sing out, and reach a hand for wine, 
For the brown small Earth is softly afloat down there, 
And the suns burn low, and the sky is sapphirine, 
And the little winds of space are in our hair 

The little winds of space 

Blow in the love-god's face, 
The only god who lacks not praise and prayer ; 

He shall preserve his powers 

Though Ruin shake square towers 
And echoing Temples fall without repair, 

And still go forth as strong as ten, 
A red immortal riding in the hearts of men ! " 



III 



The Gods whose faces are the morning light 
Of they who love the leafy rood of song, 
The Gods of Greece, dividing the broad night, 
Have gathered on the Bridge, of all that throng 
The fairest, whether he whose feet for flight 
Had plumy wings, or she to whom belong 
Shadows, Persephone, or that swan-white 



Rose-breasted island lady, gentle and strong, 
Or younger gods than these 
That peep among the trees 
And dance when Dionysus beats his gong, 
Or the old disastrous gods 
That nod with snaky nods 
Brandishing high the sharp and triple thong, 

Or whom the dull profound of Hell 
Spits forth, the reeling Typhon that in dark must dwell. 



IV 



Shadows there are that seem to look for home 
Each spreading like a gloom across the plain, 
Voiced like a great bell swinging in a dome, 
Appealing mightily for realms to reign. 
They were the slow and shapeless gods of Rome, 
Laborious gods, who founded power on pain, 
These watched the peasant turn his sullen loam, 
These drave him out to fight, nor drave in vain : 

Saturnus white and old 

Who lost the age of gold, 
Mars who was proud to stand on the deep-piled slain, 

Pomona from whose womb 

Slow fruits in season come, 
And, tower-crowned mother of the yellow grain, 

Demeter, and the avenging dead, 
The silent Lemures, in fear with honey fed. 



59 



Belus and Ra and that most jealous Lord 
Who rolled the hosts of Pharaoh in the sea, 
Trolls of the North, in every hand a sword, 
Gnomes and dwarfs and the shuddering company, 
Gods who take vegeance, gods who grant reward, 
Gods who exact a murdered devotee, 
Brahma the kind, and Siva the abhorred 
And they who tend Ygdrasil, the big tree, 

And I sis, the young moon, 

And she of the piping tune, 
Her Phrygian sister, cruel Cybele, 

Orpheus the lone harp-player 

And Mithras the man-slayer, 
And Allah rumbling on to victory, 
And some, the oldest of them all, 

Square heads that leer and lust, and lizard shapes that 
crawl. 



VI 



Between the pedestals of Night and Morning, 
Between red death and radiant desire 
With not one sound of triumph or of warning 
Stands the great sentry on the Bridge of Fire. 
O transient soul, thy thought with dreams adorning. 
Cast down the laurel, and unstring the lyre : 



60 



The wheels of Time are turning, turning, turning, 
The slow stream channels deep and doth not tire. 

Gods on their Bridge above 

Whispering lies and love 
Shall mock your passage down the sunless river 

Which, rolling all it streams, 

Shall take you, king of dreams, 
Unthroned and unapproachable for ever 
To where the kings who dreamed of old 
Whiten in habitations monumental cold. 



61 



That Were Friends 



We that were friends to-night have found 
A fear, a secret, and a shame : 

I am on fire with that soft sound 
You make, in uttering my name. 



Forgive a young and boastful man 

Whom dreams delight and passions please, 

And love me as great women can 
Who have no children at their knees. 



62 



My Friend 



I had a friend who battled for the truth 
With stubborn heart and obstinate despair, 
Till all his beauty left him, and his youth, 
And there were few to love him anywhere. 



Then would he wander out among the graves, 
And think of dead men lying in a row ; 
Or, standing on a cliff, observe the waves, 
And hear the wistful sound of winds below ; 



And yet they told him nothing. So he sought 
The twittering forest at the break of day, 
Or on fantastic mountains shaped a thought 
As lofty and impenitent as they. 



And next he went in wonder through a town 
Slowly by day and hurriedly by night, 
And watched men walking up the street and down 
With timorous and terrible delight. 

63 



Weary, he drew man's wisdom from a book, 
And pondered on the high words spoken of old, 
Pacing a lamplit room : but soon forsook 
The golden sentences that left him cold. 



After, a woman found him, and his head 
Lay on her breast, till he forgot his pain 
In gentle kisses on a midnight bed, 
And welcomed royal-winged joy again. 



When love became a loathing, as it must, 
He knew not where to turn ; and he was wise 
Being now old, to sink among the dust, 
And rest his rebel heart, and close his eyes. 



Ideal 



When all my gentle friends had gone 

I wandered in the night alone : 

Beneath the green electric glare 

I saw men pass with hearts of stone. 

Yet still I heard them everywhere, 

Those golden voices of the air : 

" Friend, we will go to hell with thee, 

Thy griefs, thy glories we will share, 

And rule the earth, and bind the sea, 

And set ten thousand devils free ; 

" What dost thou, stranger, at my side, 

Thou gaunt old man accosting me ? 

Away, this is my night of pride ! 

On lunar seas my boat will glide 

And I shall know the secret things." 

The old man answered : " Woe betide ! " 

Said I : " The world was made for kings : 

To him who works and working sings 

Come joy and majesty and power 

And steadfast love with royal wings." 

" O watch these fools that blink and cower,' 

Said that wise man : " and every hour 



A score is born, a dozen dies." 
Said I : "In London fades the flower ; 
But far away the bright blue skies 
Shall watch my solemn walls arise, 
And all the glory, all the grace 
Of earth shall gather there, and eyes 
Will shine like stars in that new place." 
Said he : " Indeed of ancient race 
Thou comest, with thy hollow scheme. 
But sail, O architect of dream, 
To lands beyond the Ocean stream. 
Where are the islands of the blest, 
And where Atlantis, where Theleme ? " 



66 



Mary Magdalen 



eyes that strip the souls of men ! 
There came to me the Magdalen. 
Her blue robe with a cord was bound, 
Her hair with knotted ivy crowned. 
" Arise," she said, " God calls for thee, 
Turned to new paths thy feet must be. 
Leave the fever and the feast, 
Leave the friend thou lovest best : 
For thou must walk in barefoot ways, 
On hills where God is near to praise." 



Then answered I " Sweet Magdalen, 

God's servant, once beloved of men, 

Why didst thou change old ways for new, 

Thy trailing red for corded blue, 

The rose for ivy on thy brow, 

That splendour for this barren vow ? " 

Gentle of speech she answered me : 

" Sir, I was sick with revelry. 

True, I have scarred the night with sin, 

A pale and tawdry heroine ; 



Yet once I heard a voice that said, 
* Who lives in sin is like one dead, 
But follow : thy dark eyes shall see 
The towns of immortality.' ' 



" O Mary, not for this," I cried, 

" Didst thou renounce thy scented pride 

Not for the roll of endless years 

Or fields of joy undewed by tears 

Didst thou desert the courts of men. 

Tell me thy truth, grave Magdalen ! " 



She trembled, and her eyes grew dim : 
" For love of Him, for love of Him." 



68 



/ Rose from Dreamless Hours 



I rose from dreamless hours and sought the morn 

That beat upon my window : from the sill 

I watched sweet lands, where Autumn light newborn 

Swayed through the trees and lingered on the hill. 

If things so lovely are, why labour still 

To dream of something more than this I see ? 

Do I remember tales of Galilee, 

I who have slain my faith and freed my will ? 

Let me forget dead faith, dead mystery, 

Dead thoughts of things I cannot comprehend. 

Enough the light mysterious in the tree, 

Enough the friendship of my chosen friend. 



Prayer 



Let me not know how sins and sorrows glide 

Along the sombre city of our rage, 

Or why the sons of men are heavy-eyed. 

Let me not know, except from printed page, 
The pain of bitter love, of baffled pride, 
Or sickness shadowing with a long presage. 

Let me not know, since happy some have died 

Quickly in youth or quietly in age, 

How faint, how loud the bravest hearts have cried. 



70 



The Piper 



A lad went piping through the Earth, 

Gladly, madly, merrily, 
With a tune for death and a tune for birth, 

And a tune for lover's revelry. 

He kissed the girls that sat alone 
With none to whisper, none to woo ; 

Fired at his touch their faces shone, 
And beauty drenched them as the dew. 

Old men who heard him danced again, 
And shuffled round with catching breath, 

And those that lay on beds of pain 

Went dancing through the gates of death. 

If only he could make us thrill 

Once more with mirth and melody ! 

I listened, but the street was still, 
And no one played for you and me. 

1907 



The Masque of the Magi 



Three Kings have come to Bethlehem 
With a trailing star in front of them. 



MARY 

What would you in this little place, 
You three bright kings ? 



KINGS 

Mother, we tracked the trailing star 
Which brought us here from lands afar, 
And we would look on his dear face 
Round whom the Seraphs fold their wings. 



MARY 

But who are you, bright kings ? 
72 



CASPAR 

Caspar am I : the rocky North 

From storm and silence drave me forth 

Down to the blue and tideless sea. 
I do not fear the tinkling sword, 
For I am a great battle-lord, 

And love the horns of chivalry. 
And I have brought thee splendid gold, 
The strong man's joy, refined and cold. 

All hail, thou Prince of Galilee ! 

BALTHAZAR 

I am Balthazar, Lord of Ind, 
Where blows a soft and scented wind 

From Taprobane towards Cathay. 
My children, who are tall and wise, 
Stand by a tree with shutten eyes 

And seem to meditate or pray. 
And these red drops of frankincense 
Betoken man's intelligence. 

Hail, Lord of Wisdom, Prince of Day 

MELCHIOR 

I am the dark man, Melchior, 
And I shall live but little more 
Since I am old and feebly move. 



73 



My kingdom is a burnt-up land 
Half buried by the drifting sand, 

So hot Apollo shines above. 
What could I bring but simple myrrh 
White blossom of the cordial fire ? 

Hail, Prince of Souls, and Lord of Love 



CHORUS OF ANGELS 

Prince of souls and Lord of Love, 
O'er thee the purple-breasted dove 
Shall watch with open silver wings, 

Thou King of Kings. 
Suaviole oflos Firginum^ 
dpparuit Rex Gentium. 

" Who art thou, little King of Kings ? " 
His wondering mother sings. 



74 



To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence 



I who am dead a thousand years, 
And wrote this sweet archaic song, 

Send you my words for messengers 
The way I shall not pass along. 



I care not if you bridge the seas, 
Or ride secure the cruel sky, 

Or build consummate palaces 
Of metal or of masonry. 



But have you wine and music still, 
And statues and a bright-eyed love, 

And foolish thoughts of good and ill, 
And prayers to them who sit above ? 



How shall we conquer ? Like a wind 
That falls at eve our fancies blow, 

And old Maeonides the blind 

Said it three thousand years ago. 



75 



O friend unseen, unborn, unknown, 
Student of our sweet English tongue, 

Read out my words at night, alone : 
I was a poet, I was young. 



Since I can never see your face, 
And never shake you by the hand, 

I send my soul through time and space 
To greet you. You will understand. 



Heliodora 

(From Meleager) 

Why dost thou touch, O flower-fed bee, 

Heliodora's skin, 
When open buds are asking thee 

To make thy home within ? 



What parable art murmuring ? 
That Eros makes man whole, 

And turns the poison of his sting 
To sweetness in the soul ? 



Is this your message, silly bee ? 

A dreamer takes it so. 
Then home again ! Don't trouble me ! 

I knew it long ago. 



1908 ? 



77 



Love, the Baby 

(From Meleager) 

Let him be sold, I say ! Let him be sold, 
Even while he slumbers at his mother's breast. 
Why should I tend a thing so bad and bold, 
A snub-nosed imp, a little scratching pest ! 
I find him always laughing through his tears : 
He treats his mother badly ; won't be tamed, 
Has baby wings behind him ; pries and peers, 
Behaves unruly, chatters unashamed, 
A shocking monster ! Sailor men, this way ! 
Who wants a boy to carry off to sea ? 
Oh dear, he's crying ! Come, I'll let you stay 
Close to the heart of my Zenophile. 



1908 ? 



Ballad of the Londoner 



Evening falls on the smoky walls, 
And the railings drip with rain, 

And I will cross the old river 
To see my girl again. 



The great and solemn-gliding tram, 
Love's still-mysterious car, 

Has many a light of gold and white, 
And a single dark red star. 



I know a garden in a street 
Which no one ever knew ; 

I know a rose beyond the Thames, 
Where flowers are pale and few. 



79 



Resurrection 

(By Piero degli Franceschi, at Sorgo) 

Sleep holds you, sons of war : you may not see 
(You whose charmed heads sink heavy in your hands) 
How 'twixt the budding and the barren tree 
With glory in his staring eyes, he stands. 
There's a sharp movement in this shivering morn 
That blinds your senses while it breaks your power : 
The Phoenix grips the eagle : Christ reborn 
Bears high the standard. Sleep a little hour : 
Sleep : it were best ye saw not those bright eyes 
Prepared to wreck your world with errant flame, 
And drive strong men to follow mysteries, 
Voices, and winds, and things that have no name. 
Dare you leave strength half-proved, duty half-done ? 
Awake ! This God will hunt you from the sun ! 



Nov. 10, 1908 



80 



Duke Lumen^ Triste Nume?i, Suave 
Lumen Luminum 



The town whose quiet veins are dark green sea, 

The town whose flowers and forests are bright stone 

There it was the God came to you and me 

In the signless depth of summer. All alone 

We lay, and half in dream 

Gazed at the thin salt stream, 

And heard the ripples talking lazily. 

No verdurous growth, no sudden sharp decline 

Of buds or leaves is there : the marble towers 

Come rain, come cold, come snow or gay sunshine 

Blossom eternally with graven flowers ; 

Yet there the mild God came, 

In silence, shod with flame, 

Girdled with mystery and crowned with vine. 

We lay in the sun and listened, and we heard 
Soft-treading feet and whispers in the air, 
And thunder far away, like a god's word 
Of dire import, and saw the noonday flare 



81 



And tall white palaces 

Sway all with dizziness ; 

The bells pealed faintly, and the water stirred 

And Life stood still a moment, mists came swinging 

Blindly before us ; suddenly we passed 

The boundaries of joy : our hearts were ringing 

True to the trembling world : we stood at last 

Beyond the golden gate, 

Masters of Time and Fate, 

And knew the tune that Sun and Stars were singing. 

For like two travellers on a hill, who stay 

Viewing the smoke that dims the busy plains, 

So, far away (sweet words are " far away " ! ) 

We saw our life : and all its crooked lanes, 

Dim cities and dark walls 

Fell as a world that falls 

And left us radiant in the Wind of Day. 

An end, an end ! Again the leaden noon 

Glowed, and hot Fever opened her red eyes, 

And Misery came creeping out, and soon 

We felt once more the sorrow of the Wise. 

Come, friend ! We travel on 

(That one brief vision gone) 

Bravely, like men who see beyond the skies. 

Nov. 20, 1908 



82 



Joseph and Mary 



JOSEPH 

Mary, art thou the little maid 

Who plucked me flowers in Spring ? 

I know thee not : I feel afraid : 
Thou'rt strange this evening. 



A sweet and rustic girl I won 

What time the woods were green ; 

No woman with deep eyes that shone, 
And the pale brows of a Queen. 



MARY (inattentive to bis words) 

A stranger came with feet of flame 
And told me this strange thing, 

For all I was a village maid 
My son should be a King. 



JOSEPH 

A King, dear wife. Who ever knew 
Of Kings in stables born ! 



MARY 

Do you hear, in the dark and starlit blue 
The clarion and the horn ? 



JOSEPH 

Mary, alas, lest grief and joy 
Have sent thy wits astray ; 

But let me look on this my boy, 
And take the wraps away. 



MARY 
Behold the lad. 

JOSEPH 

I dare not gaze 
Light streams from every limb. 



MARY 

The winter sun has stored his rays, 
And passed the fire to him. 

Look Eastward, look ! I hear a sound. 
O Joseph, what do you see ? 



JOSEPH 

The snow lies quiet on the ground 
And glistens on the tree ; 

The sky is bright with a star's great light, 

And clearly I behold 
Three Kings descending yonder hill, 

Whose crowns are crowns of gold. 

O Mary, what do you hear and see 
With your brow toward the West ? 



MARY 

The snow lies glistening on the tree 
And silent on Earth's breast ; 



And strong and tall, with lifted eyes 
Seven shepherds walk this way, 

And angels breaking from the skies 
Dance, and sing hymns, and pray. 



JOSEPH 

I wonder much at these bright Kings ; 
The shepherds I despise. 



MARY 

You know not what a shepherd sings, 
Nor see his shining eyes. 



86 



The Lover of Jalaluddin 



My darling wandered through the house, 

His bow upon the rebeck, light as flame. 

Soft melodies he played, astray with sweet carouse, 

Mad songs without a name. 

Then, changing to a solemn mode and measure, 

" Cupbearer, wine ! " he cried, 

" Wine for the sons of pleasure, 

The children of desire ! " 

Forth from his corner came 

The moonbright boy, and set the brimming bowl 

Before us, with sweet reverence and grace. 



My darling took the cup : over his face 

Flowed truant flames. " Ye evil ghosts," he cried, 

" I know my beauty : who is like to me ? 

The sun of all the world, the Lover's pride, 

I am, I was, shall be 

With soul and spirit moving at my side." 

Dec. 1908 



Donde Estan ? 

(Fragment) 



We are they who dream no dreams, 

Singers of arising day 

Who undaunted, 

Where the sword of reason gleams, 

Follow hard, to hew away 

The woods enchanted. 

Through each dark and rustling byway 

Evil things have fled before us : 

We pursue them : 

We have carved an open highway, 

We have sung of Truth in chorus 

As we slew them. 



II 



Though the shapes had something human, 
Though sweet lips and eyes entreated 
By their beauty : 



88 



Though processions of tall women 

Looked and lured, we undefeated 

Did our duty. 

Though fair children, running after, 

Held out hands of supplication, 

Smiled and cried, 

Yet we watched with bitter laughter 

When delusion's fair creation 

Smitten, died. 



Ill 



Where are they, the half-deceivers 

Statue-forms and young men's fancies, 

Gods of Greece ? 

Dryads, where your groves and rivers, 

Where thy chaste and woodland dances, 

Artemis ? 

Shadows, shadows ! None will follow 

Cyprian maids ; or voices sighing 

From the sea ; 

Veiled is Iris, dark Apollo, 

Dead the Queen who called the dying 

Hecate. 



Where are they who crushed the East 

With ribaldry and song, and where 

The lewd viziers ? 

Where the girls who crowned the feast 

For the Lords who had no care 

Of blood or tears ? 

Where the millions who, forgotten, 

Fought for Selim's sultanate 

And filled Gehenna ? 

Where the sword ? but dim and rotten 

Lies the sword that cleft the gate 

Of proud Vienna. 



Feb. or Mar. 1909 



90 



The Town without a Market 



There lies afar behind a western hill 

The Town without a Markst, white and still ; 

For six feet long and not a third as high 

Are those small habitations. There stood I, 

Waiting to hear the citizens beneath 

Murmur and sigh and speak through tongueless teeth. 

When all the world lay burning in the sun 

I heard their voices speak to me. Said one : 

" Bright lights I loved and colours, I who find 

That death is darkness, and has struck me blind." 

Another cried : " I used to sing and play, 

But here the world is silent, day by day." 

And one : " On earth I could not see or hear, 

But with my fingers touched what I was near, 

And knew things round and soft, and brass from gold, 

And dipped my hand in water, to feel cold, 

And thought the grave would cure me, and was glad 

When the time came to lose what joy I had." 

Soon all the voices of a hundred dead 

Shouted in wrath together. Some one said, 

" I care not, but the girl was sweet to kiss 

At evening in the meadows." " Hard it is," 



9 1 



Another cried, " to hear no hunting horn. 

Ah me ! the horse, the hounds, and the great grey morn 

When I rode out a-hunting." And one sighed, 

" I did not see my son before I died." 

A boy said, " I was strong and swift to run : 

Now they have tied my feet : what have I done ? " 

A man, " But it was good to arm and fight 

And storm their cities in the dead of night." 

An old man said, " I read my books all day, 

But death has taken all my books away." 

And one, " The popes and prophets did not well 

To cheat poor dead men with false hopes of hell. 

Better the whips of fire that hiss and rend 

Than painless void proceeding to no end." 

I smiled to hear them restless, I who sought 

Peace. For I had not loved, I had not fought, 

And books are vanities, and manly strength 

A gathered flower. God grant us peace at length ! 

I heard no more, and turned to leave their town 

Before the chill came, and the sun went down. 

Then rose a whisper, and I seemed to know 

A timorous man, buried long years ago. 

" On Earth I used to shape the Thing that seems. 

Master of all men, give me back my dreams. 

Give me that world that never failed me then, 

The hills I made and peopled with tall men, 

The palace that I built and called my home, 

My cities which could break the pride of Rome, 

The three queens hidden in the sacred tree, 

And those white cloudy folk who sang to me. 



92 



death, why hast thou covered me so deep ? 

1 was thy sister's child, the friend of Sleep." 



Then said my heart, Death takes and cannot give. 
Dark with no dream is hateful : let me live ! 



93 



A Western Voyage 



My friend the Sun like all my friends 
Inconstant, lovely, far away 

Is out, and bright, and condescends 
To glory in our holiday. 



A furious march with him I'll go 
And race him in the Western train, 

And wake the hills I used to know 
And swim the Devon sea again. 



I have done foolishly to tread 

The footway of the false moonbeams, 

To light my lamp and call the dead 

And read their long black printed dreams. 



I have done foolishly to dwell 
With Fear upon her desert isle, 

To take my shadowgraph to Hell, 

And then to hope the shades would smile. 



94 



And since the light must fail me soon 
(But faster, faster, Western train !) 

Proud meadows of the afternoon, 
I have remembered you again. 



And I'll go seek through moor and dale 
A flower that wastrel winds caress ; 

The bud is red and the leaves pale, 
The name of it Forgetfulness. 



Then like the old and happy hills 
With frozen veins and fires outrun, 

I'll wait the day when darkness kills 
My brother and good friend, the Sun. 



Invitation 



TO A YOUNG BUT LEARNED FRIEND TO ABANDON 

ARCHEOLOGY FOR THE MOMENT, AND PLAY ONCE 

MORE WITH HIS NEGLECTED MUSE 



In those good days when we were young and wise, 
You spake to music, you with the thoughtful eyes, 
And God looked down from heaven, pleased to hear 
A young man's song arise so firm and clear. 
Has Fancy died ? The Morning Star gone cold ? 
Why are you silent ? Have we grown so old ? 
Who sings upon Parnassus ? He is dead, 
The God to whom be prayers, not praises, said, 
The sea-born, the Ionian. There is one 
But he dreams deeper than the oaks of Clun. 
(May summer keep his maids and meadows glad : 
They hear no more the pipe of the Shropshire Lad !) 
And our Tyrtaeus ? Strange that such a name 
Already fades upon the mist of fame 
With the smoke of Eastern armies. But the third 
Still knows the dreadful meaning of a word. 
His gown is black and crimson : mystery 
Veils all his speech, so wonderful is he. 

96 



These three remain, and voiceless you, and I. 
Come, the sweet radiance of our Spring is nigh 
Must I alone keep playing ? Will not you, 
Lord of the Measures, string your lyre anew ? 
Lover of Greece, is this the richest store 
You bring us, withered leaves and dusty lore, 
And broken vases widowed of their wine, 
To brand you pedant while you stand divine ? 
Decorous words beseem the learned lip, 
But Poets have the nicer scholarship. 
In English glades they watch the Cyprian glow 
And all the Maenad melodies they know. 
They hear strange voices in a London street, 
And track the silver gleam of rushing feet ; 
And these are things that come not to the view 
Of slippered dons who read a codex through. 

O honeyed Poet, will you praise no more 
The moonlit garden and the midnight shore ? 
Brother, have you forgotten how to sing 
The story of that weak and cautious king 
Who reigned two hundred years in Trebizond ? 
You who would ever strive to pierce beyond 
Love's ecstasy, Life's vision, is it well 
We should not know the tales you have to tell ? 



97 



Song of the Saracens 



We are they who come faster than fate : we are they who 

ride early or late : 
We storm at your ivory gate : Pale Kings of the Sunset, 

beware ! 
Not on silk nor in samet we lie, not in curtained solemnity 

die 
Among women who chatter and cry, and children who 

mumble a prayer. 
But we sleep by the ropes of the camp, and we rise with a 

shout, and we tramp 
With the sun or the moon for a lamp, and the spray of the 

wind in our hair. 



From the lands, where the elephants are, to the forts of 

Merou and Balghar, 
Our steel we have brought and our star to shine on the 

ruins of Rum. 
We have marched from the Indus to Spain, and by God 

we will go there again ; 
We have stood on the shore of the plain where the Waters 

of Destiny boom. 



A mart of destruction we made at Jalula where men were 

afraid, 
For death was a difficult trade, and the sword was a broker 

of doom ; 

And the Spear was a Desert Physician who cured not a few 

of ambition, 
And drave not a few to perdition with medicine bitter and 

strong : 
And the shield was a grief to the fool and as bright as a 

desolate pool, 
And as straight as the rock of Stamboul when their 

cavalry thundered along : 
For the coward was drowned with the brave when our 

battle sheered up like a wave, 
And the dead to the desert we gave, and the glory to God 

in our song. 



99 



The Ballad of Camden Town 



I walked with Maisie long years back 
The streets of Camden Town, 

I splendid in my suit of black, 
And she divine in brown. 



Hers was a proud and noble face, 
A secret heart, and eyes 

Like water in a lonely place 
Beneath unclouded skies. 



A bed, a chest, a faded mat, 
And broken chairs a few, 

Were all we had to grace our flat 
In Hazel Avenue. 



But I could walk to Hampstead Heath, 
And crown her head with daisies, 

And watch the streaming world beneath, 
And men with other Maisies. 

100 



When I was ill and she was pale 
And empty stood our store, 

She left the latchkey on its nail, 
And saw me nevermore. 

Perhaps she cast herself away 
Lest both of us should drown : 

Perhaps she feared to die, as they 
Who die in Camden Town. 

What came of her ? The bitter nights 

Destroy the rose and lily, 
And souls are lost among the lights 

Of painted Piccadilly. 

What came of her ? The river flows 
So deep and wide and stilly, 

And waits to catch the fallen rose 
And clasp the broken lily. 

I dream she dwells in London still 
And breathes the evening air, 

And often walk to Primrose Hill, 
And hope to meet her there. 

Once more together we will live, 

For I will find her yet : 
I have so little to forgive ; 

So much, I can't forget. 



101 



Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis 



Come, let me kiss your wistful face 
Where Sorrow curves her bow of pain, 
And live sweet days and bitter days 
With you, or wanting you again. 



I dread your perishable gold : 

Come near me now ; the years are few. 

Alas, when you and I are old 

I shall not want to look at you : 



And yet come in. I shall not dare 
To gaze upon your countenance, 
But I shall huddle in my chair, 
Turn to the fire my fireless glance, 



And listen, while that slow and grave 
Immutable sweet voice of yours 
Rises and falls, as falls a wave 
In summer on forsaken shores. 

1 02 



Fountains 



Soft is the collied night, and cool 
The wind about the garden pool. 
Here will I dip my burning hand 
And move an inch of drowsy sand, 
And pray the dark reflected skies 
To fasten with their seal mine eyes. 
A million million leagues away 
Among the stars the goldfish play, 
And high above the shadowed stars 
Wave and float the nenuphars. 



103 



Dirge 



If there be any grief 
For those lost eremites 
Who live where no man roams, 
It is on Autumn nights 
At falling of the leaf, 
It is when pale October, 
Relentless tree-disrober, 
Conceals the smokeless homes. 

Autumn is not so chill 
Nor leaves so light in air, 
Nor any wind as dim 
Blowing from any where, 
Nor fallen snow as still 
As the boy who loved to wander 
Singing till the forest yonder 
Shouted in response to him. 

My love has come to this 
And what of this to me ? 
His eyes are eaten now, 
My eyes he cannot see ; 

104 



Those gentle hands of his 
Are taken by a stronger, 
There is a hand no longer 
To lay upon my brow. 

Autumn has killed the rose ; 
mock him not with flowers 
For they are troublesome : 
Take him to pass the hours 
Where the grey nettle grows. 
Scantly his couch adorning 
Let him who praised the morning 
Lie here, till morning come. 



1909. Based on a poem 
published in 1907 as " The 
Young Poet " 



105 



The Parrot 



The old professor of Zoology 

Shook his long beard and spake these words to me 

" Compare the Parrot with the Dove. They are 

In shape the same : in hue dissimilar. 

The Indian bird, which may be sometimes seen 

In red or black, is generally green. 

His beak is very hard : it has been known 

To crack thick nuts and penetrate a stone. 

Alas that when you teach him how to speak 

You find his head is harder than his beak. 

The passionless Malay can safely drub 

The pates of parrots with an iron club : 

The ingenious fowls, like boys they beat at school, 

Soon learn to recognize a Despot's rule. 

Now if you'd train a parrot, catch him young 
While soft the mouth and tractable the tongue. 
Old birds are fools : they dodder in their speech, 
More eager to forget than you to teach ; 
They swear one curse, then gaze at you askance, 
And all oblivion thickens in their glance. 

Thrice blest whose parrot of his own accord 
Invents new phrases to delight his Lord, 
106 



Who spurns the dull quotidian task and tries 
Selected words that prove him good and wise. 
Ah, once it was my privilege to know 
A bird like this . . . 

But that was long ago ! " 



July 1909 



107 



Lord Arnaldos 

Quien hubiese tal ventura ? 

The strangest of adventures, 
That happen by the sea, 
Befell to Lord Arnaldos 
On the Evening of St. John ; 
For he was out a-hunting 
A huntsman bold was he ! 
When he beheld a little ship 
And close to land was she. 
Her cords were all of silver, 
Her sails of cramasy ; 
And he who sailed the little ship 
Was singing at the helm : 
The waves stood still to hear him, 
The wind was soft and low ; 
The fish who dwell in darkness 
Ascended through the sea, 
And all the birds in heaven 
Flew down to his mast-tree. 
Then spake the Lord Arnaldos, 
(Well shall you hear his words !) 

108 



" Tell me for God's sake, sailor, 
What song may that song be ? ' 
The sailor spake in answer, 
And answer thus made he : 
" I only tell my song to those 
Who sail away with me." 



109 



A Miracle of Bethlehem 

SCENE : A street of that village 
Three men with ropes, accosted by a stranger 

THE STRANGER 

I pray you, tell me where you go 
With heads averted from the skies, 
And long ropes trailing in the snow, 
And resolution in your eyes. 

THE FIRST MAN 

I am a lover sick of love, 
For scorn rewards my constancy ; 
And now I hate the stars above, 
Because my dear will naught of me. 

no 



THE SECOND MAN 

I am a beggar man, and play 
Songs with a splendid swing in them, 
But I have seen no food to-day. 
They want no song in Bethlehem. 



THE THIRD MAN 

I am an old man, Sir, and blind, 
A child of darkness since my birth. 
I cannot even call to mind 
The beauty of the scheme of earth. 

Therefore I sought to understand 
A secret hid from mortal eyes, 
So in a far and fragrant land 
I talked with men accounted wise, 

And I implored the Indian priest 
For wisdom from his holy snake, 
Yet am no wiser in the least, 
And have not seen the darkness break. 



STRANGER 

And whither go ye now, unhappy three ? 
in 



THE THREE MEN WITH ROPES 

Sir, in our strange and special misery 
We met this night, and swore in bitter pride 
To sing one song together, friend with friend, 
And then, proceeding to the country side, 
To bind this cordage to a barren tree, 
And face to face to give our lives an end, 
And only thus shall we be satisfied. 

(They make to continue their road) 



THE STRANGER 

Stay for a moment. Great is your despair, 
But God is kind. What voice from over there ? 



A WOMAN (from a lattice) 
My lover, my lover, come to me ! 

FIRST MAN 
God with you. (He runs to the window) 

112 



STRANGER 
Ah, how swiftly gone is he ! 

MANY VOICES (beard singing in a cottage) 

There is a softness in the night 

A wonder in that splendid star 

That fills us with delight, 

Poor foolish working people that we are, 

And only fit to keep 

A little garden or a dozen sheep. 

Old broken women at the fire 

Have many ancient tales they sing, 

How the whole world's desire 

Should blossom here, and how a child should bring 

New glory to his race 

Though born in so contemptible a place. 

Let all come in, if any brother go 

In shame or hunger, cold or fear, 

Through all this waste of snow. 

To-night the Star, the Rose, the Song are near, 

And still inside the door 

Is full provision for another score. 

(The Beggar runs to them) 

113 H 



THE STRANGER (to the Blind Man) 
Do you not mean to share these joys ? 

THE BLIND MAN 

Aweary of this earthly noise 

I pace my silent way. 

Come you and help me tie this rope : 

I would not lose my only hope. 

Already clear the birds I hear, 

Already breaks the day. 

STRANGER 

foolish and most blind old man, 
Where are those other two ? 

THE BLIND MAN 

Why, one is wed and t'other fed : 
Small thanks they gave to you. 

STRANGER 

To me no thanks are due. 

Yet since I have some little power 

114 



Bequeathed me at this holy hour, 

I tell you, friend, that God shall grant 

This night to you your dearest want. 



THE BLIND MAN 

Why this sweet odour ? Why this flame ? 
I am afraid. What is your name ? 



THE STRANGER 

Ask your desire, for this great night 
Is passing. 



THE BLIND MAN 
Sir, I ask my sight. 

THE STRANGER 

To see this earth ? Or would you see 
That hidden world which sent you me ? 

"5 



THE BLIND MAN 

sweet it were but once before I die 

To track the bird about the windy sky, 

Or watch the soft and changing grace 

Imprinted on a human face. 

Yet grant me that which most I struggled for, 

Since I am old, and snow is on the ground. 

On earth there's little to be found, 

And I would bear with earth no more. 

O gentle youth, 

A fool am I, but let me see the Truth ! 



THE STRANGER 
Gaze in my eyes. 

THE BLIND MAN 

How can I gaze ? 

What song is that, and what these rays 
Of splendour and this rush of wings ? 

THE STRANGER 

These are the new celestial things. 
116 



THE BLIND MAN 

Round the body of a child 
A great dark flame runs wild. 
What may this be ? 



THE STRANGER 
Look further, you shall see. 

THE BLIND MAN 

Out on the sea of time and far away 

The Empires sail like ships, and many years 

Scatter before them in a mist of spray : 

And mountains rise like spears 

Silver and sharp against the scarlet day. 

THE STRANGER 

It is most sure that God has heard his prayer. 
(The Stranger vanishes) 
117 



THE BEGGAR 

(Leading a troop of revellers from the bouse where 
they were singing) 

Come, brothers, seek my friend and bring him in, 
On such a night as this it were a sin 
To leave the blind alone. 



THE REVELLERS 

Greatly we fear lest he, still resolute, 

Have wandered to the fields for poisoned fruit. 



THE BEGGAR 

See here upon this stone . . . 

He is all frozen . . . take him to a bed 

And warm his hands. 



THE REVELLERS 

O sorrow, he is dead ! 



118 



Felo-de-se 



The song of a man who was dead 
Ere any had heard of his song, 
Or had seen this his ultimate song, 
With the lines of it written in red, 
And the sound of it steady and strong. 
When you hear it, you know I am dead. 



Not because I was weary of life 

As pallid poets are : 

My star was a conquering star, 

My element strife. 

I am young, I am strong, I am brave, 

It is therefore I go to the grave. 



Now to life and to life's desire, 
And to youth and the glory of youth, 
Farewell, for I go to acquire, 
By the one road left me, Truth. 
Though a great God slay me with fire 
I will shout till he answer me. Why ? 

119 



(One soul and a Universe, why ?) 
And for this it is pleasant to die. 

For years and years I have slumbered, 

And slumber was heavy and sweet, 

But the last few moments are numbered, 

Like trampling feet that beat. 

I shall walk with the stars in their courses, 

And hear very soon, very soon, 

The voice of the forge of the Forces, 

And ride on the ridge of the moon, 

And sing a celestial tune. 



1 20 



The Welsh Sea 



Far out across Carnarvon bay, 
Beneath the evening waves, 

The ancient dead begin their day 
And stream among the graves. 



Listen, for they of ghostly speech, 
Who died when Christ was born, 

May dance upon the yellow beach 
That once was yellow corn. 



And you may learn of Dyfed's reign, 

And dream Nemedian tales 
Of Kings who sailed in ships from Spain 

And lent their swords to Wales. 



Listen, for like a slow, green snake 
The Ocean twists and stirs, 

And whispers how the dead men wake 
And call across the years. 

121 



In Memoriam 



I never shall forget that night 

Mid-April, four years gone : 
Nor how your eyes were bright, too bright, 

And how the pavement shone. 

Death on you now, death on your brow, 

Death on your eyes so fair. 
Death with his thin shadow hands 

Combing out your hair. 

eyes long shut and lip to lip 

Fastened no more to sing : 
Old winter turned you in his grip 

And icy blew your spring. 

Old winter had you by the throat 

You could not speak to me 
Save in a low and whispered note 

As through a shell the sea. 

Death on you now, death on your brow, 

Death on your eyes so fair, 
Death with his thin shadow hands 

Combing out your hair. 

1910 

122 



Opportunity 

(From Machiavelli) 

" But who art thou, with curious beauty graced, 
O woman, stamped with some bright heavenly seal ? 
Why go thy feet on wings, and in such haste ? " 



" I am that maid whose secret few may steal, 
Called Opportunity. I hasten by 
Because my feet are treading on a wheel, 

" Being more swift to run than birds to fly. 

And rightly on my feet my wings I wear, 

To blind the sight of those who track and spy ; 

" Rightly in front I hold my scattered hair 
To veil my face, and down my breast to fall, 
Lest men should know my name when I am there ; 

" And leave behind my back no wisp at all 
For eager folk to clutch, what time I glide 
So near, and turn, and pass beyond recall." 



123 



" Tell me ; who is that Figure at thy side ? 
" Penitence. Mark this well that by degree 
Who lets me go must keep her for his bride. 



" And thou hast spent much time in talk with me 
Busied with thoughts and fancies vainly grand, 
Nor hast remarked, O fool, neither dost see 
How lightly I have fled beneath thy hand." 



124 



No Coward's Song 



I am afraid to think about my death, 
When it shall be, and whether in great pain 
I shall rise up and fight the air for breath 
Or calmly wait the bursting of my brain. 



I am no coward who could seek in fear 
A folk-lore solace or sweet Indian tales : 
I know dead men are deaf and cannot hear 
The singing of a thousand nightingales. 



I know dead men are blind and cannot see 
The friend that shuts in horror their big eyes, 
And they are witless O, Fd rather be 
A living mouse than dead as a man dies. 



125 



Pillagi 



They will trample our gardens to mire, they will bury our 

city in fire ; 
Our women await their desire, our children the clang of 

the chain. 
Our grave-eyed judges and lords they will bind by the 

neck with cords, 
And harry with whips and swords till they perish of shame 

or pain, 
And the great lapis lazuli dome where the gods of our 

race had a home 
Will break like a wave from the foam, and shred into 

fiery rain. 



No more on the long summer days shall we walk in the 

meadow-sweet ways 
With the teachers of music and phrase, and the masters 

of dance and design. 
No more when the trumpeter calls shall we feast in the 

white-light halls ; 
For stayed are the soft footfalls of the moon-browed 

bearers of wine, 

126 



And lost are the statues of Kings and of Gods with great 

glorious wings, 
And an empire of beautiful things, and the lips of the love 

who was mine. 



We have vanished, but not into night, though our manhood 

we sold to delight, 
Neglecting the chances of fight, unfit for the spear and 

the bow. 
We are dead, but our living was great : we are dumb, but 

a song of our State 
Will roam in the desert and wait, with its burden of long, 

long ago, 
Till a scholar from sea-bright lands unearth from the years 

and the sands 
Some image with beautiful hands, and know what we want 

him to know. 



127 



The Ballad of Zacho 

(A Greek Legend) 

Zacho the King rode out of old 

(And truth is what I tell) 
With saddle and spurs and a rein of gold 

To find the door of Hell. 



And round around him surged the dead 

With soft and lustrous eyes. 
" Why came you here, old friend ? " they said 

" Unwise . . unwise . . unwise ! 



" You should have left to the prince your son 

Spurs and saddle and rein : 
Your bright and morning days are done ; 

You ride not out again." 

" I came to greet my friends who fell 

Sword-scattered from my side ; 
And when I've drunk the wine of Hell 

I'll out again and ride ! " 



128 



But Charon rose and caught his hair 

In fingers sharp and long. 
" Loose me, old ferryman : play fair : 

Try if my arm be strong." 

Thrice drave he hard on Charon's breast, 
And struck him thrice to ground, 

Till stranger ghosts came out o' the west 
And sat like stars around. 

And thrice old Charon rose up high 

And seized him as before. 
" Loose me ! a broken man am I, 

And fight with you no more." 

" Zacho, arise, my home is near ; 

I pray you walk with me : 
I've hung my tent so full of fear 

You well may shake to see. 

" Home to my home come they who fight, 

Who fight but not to win : 
Without, my tent is black as night, 

And red as fire within. 

" Though winds blow cold and I grow old, 

My tent is fast and fair : 
The pegs are dead men's stout right arms, 

The cords, their golden hair." 

129 



Pavlovna in London 



I listened to the hunger-hearted clown, 

Sadder than he : I heard a woman sing, 
A tall dark woman in a scarlet gown 

And saw those golden toys the jugglers fling. 
I found a tawdry room and there sat I, 

There angled for each murmur soft and strange, 
The pavement-cries from darkness and below : 
I watched the drinkers laugh, the lovers sigh, 

And thought how little all the world would change 
If clowns were audience, and we the Show. 



What starry music are they playing now ? 

What dancing in this dreary theatre ? 
Who is she with the moon upon her brow, 

And who the fire-foot god that follows her ? 
Follows among those unbelieved-in trees 

Back-shadowing in their parody of light 

Across the little cardboard balustrade ; 
And we, like that poor Faun who pipes and flees, 

Adore their beauty, hate it for too bright, 
And tremble, half in rapture, half afraid. 

130 



Play on, O furtive and heartbroken Faun ! 

What is your thin dull pipe for such as they ? 
I know you blinded by the least white dawn, 

And dare you face their quick and quivering Day 
Dare you, like us, weak but undaunted men, 

Reliant on some deathless spark in you 

Turn your dull eyes to what the gods desire, 
Touch the light finger of your goddess ; then 

After a second's flash of gold and blue, 
Drunken with that divinity, expire ? 



dance, Diana, dance, Endymion, 

Till calm ancestral shadows lay their hands 
Gently across mine eyes : in days long gone 
Have I not danced with gods in garden lands ? 

1 too a wild unsighted atom borne 
Deep in the heart of some heroic boy 

Span in the dance ten thousand years ago, 
And while his young eyes glittered in the morn 
Something of me felt something of his joy, 
And longed to rule a body, and to know. 



Singer long dead and sweeter-lipped than I, 

In whose proud line the soul-dark phrases burn, 

Would you could praise their passionate symmetry. 
Who loved the colder shapes, the Attic urn. 



But your far song, my faint one, what are they, 
And what their dance and faery thoughts and ours 

Or night abloom with splendid stars and pale ? 
'Tis an old story that sweet flowers decay, 

And dreams, the noblest, die as soon as flowers, 
And dancers, all the world of them, must fail. 



132 



The Sentimentalist 



There lies a photograph of you 
Deep in a box of broken things. 

This was the face I loved and knew 
Five years ago, when life had wings ; 



Five years ago, when through a town 
Of bright and soft and shadowy bowers 

We walked and talked and trailed our gown 
Regardless of the cinctured hours. 



The precepts that we held I kept ; 

Proudly my ways with you I went : 
We lived our dreams while others slept, 

And did not shrink from sentiment. 



Now I go East and you stay West 
And when between us Europe lies 

I shall forget what I loved best, 
Away from lips and hands and eyes. 

133 



But we were Gods then : we were they 
Who laughed at fools, believed in friends, 

And drank to all that golden day 
Before us, which this poem ends. 



134 



Don Juan in Hell 

(From Baudelaire) 

The night Don Juan came to pay his fees 
To Charon, by the caverned water's shore, 

A beggar, proud-eyed as Antisthenes, 

Stretched out his knotted fingers on the oar. 

Mournful, with drooping breasts and robes unsewn 
The shapes of women swayed in ebon skies, 

Trailing behind him with a restless moan 
Lake cattle herded for a sacrifice. 

Here, grinning for his wage, stood Sganarelle, 
And here Don Luis pointed, bent and dim, 

To show the dead who lined the holes of Hell, 
This was that impious son who mocked at him. 

The hollow-eyed, the chaste Elvira came, 

Trembling and veiled, to view her traitor spouse. 

Was it one last bright smile she thought to claim, 
Such as made sweet the morning of his vows ? 



135 



A great stone man rose like a tower on board, 
Stood at the helm and cleft the flood profound : 

But the calm hero, leaning on his sword, 

Gazed back, and would not offer one look round, 



136 



The Ballad of Iskander 



Aflatun and Aristu and King Iskander 
Are Plato, Aristotle, Alexander 

Sultan Iskander sat him down 
On his golden throne, in his golden crown, 
And shouted, " Wine and flute-girls three, 
And the Captain, ho ! of my ships at sea." 

He drank his bowl of wine ; he kept 
The flute-girls dancing till they wept, 
Praised and kissed their painted lips, 
And turned to the Captain of All his Ships 

And cried, " O Lord of my Ships that go 
From the Persian Gulf to the Pits of Snow, 
Inquire for men unknown to man ! " 
Said Sultan Iskander of Yoonistan. 

" Daroosh is dead, and I am King 
Of Everywhere and Everything : 
Yet leagues and leagues away for sure 
The lion-hearted dream of war. 



137 



" Admiral, I command you sail ! 
Take you^a ship of silver mail, 
And fifty sailors, young and bold, 
And stack provision deep in the hold, 

" And seek out twenty men that know 
All babel tongues which flaunt and flow ; 
And stay ! Impress those learned two, 
Old Aflatun, and Aristu. 

" And set your prow South-western ways 
A thousand bright and dimpling days, 
And find me lion-hearted Lords 
With breasts to feed Our rusting swords." 

The Captain of the Ships bowed low. 
" Sir," he replied, " I will do so." 
And down he rode to the harbour mouth, 
To choose a boat to carry him South. 

And he launched a ship of silver mail, 
With fifty lads to hoist the sail, 
And twenty wise all tongues they knew, 
And Aflatun, and Aristu. 

There had not dawned the second day 
But the glittering galleon sailed away, 
And through the night like one great bell 
The marshalled armies sang farewell. 



In twenty days the silver ship 
Had passed the Isle of Serendip, 
And made the flat Araunian coasts 
Inhabited, at noon, by Ghosts. 

In thirty days the ship was far 

Beyond the land of Calcobar, 

Where men drink Dead Men's Blood for wine, 

And dye their beards alizarine. 

But on the hundredth day there came 
Storm with his windy wings aflame, 
And drave them out to that Lone Sea 
Whose shores are near Eternity. 



For seven years and seven years 
Sailed those forgotten mariners, 
Nor could they spy on either hand 
The faintest level of good red land. 

Bird or fish they saw not one ; 
There swam no ship beside their own, 
And day-night long the lilied Deep 
Lay round them, with its flowers asleep. 

The beams began to warp and crack, 
The silver plates turned filthy black, 
And drooping down on the carven rails 
Hung those once lovely silken sails. 

139 



And all the great ship's crew who were 
Such noble lads to do and dare 
Grew old and tired of the changeless sky 
And laid them down on the deck to die. 

And they who spake all tongues there be 
Made antics with solemnity, 
Or closely huddled each to each 
Talked ribald in a foreign speech 

And Aflatun and Aristu 

Let their Beards grow, and their Beards grew 
Round and about the mainmast tree 
Where they stood still, and watched the sea. 

And day by day their Captain grey 
Knelt on the rotting poop to pray : 
And yet despite ten thousand prayers 
They saw no ship that was not theirs. 



When thrice the seven years had passed 
They saw a ship, a ship at last ! 
Untarnished glowed its silver mail, 
Windless bellied its silken sail. 

With a shout the grizzled sailors rose 
Cursing the years of sick repose, 
And they who spake in tongues unknown 
Gladly reverted to their own. 

140 



The Captain leapt and left his prayers 
And hastened down the dust-dark stairs, 
And taking to hand a brazen Whip 
He woke to life the long dead ship. 

But Aflatun and Aristu, 

Who had no work that they could do, 

Gazed at the stranger Ship and Sea 

With their beards around the mainmast tree. 

Nearer and nearer the new boat came, 

Till the hands cried out on the old ship's shame 

" Silken sail to a silver boat, 

We too shone when we first set float ! " 

Swifter and swifter the bright boat sped, 

But the hands spake thin like men long dead 

" How striking like that boat were we 

In the days, sweet days, when we put to sea." 

The ship all black and the ship all white 
Met like the meeting of day and night, 
Met, and there lay serene dark green 
A twilight yard of the sea between. 

And the twenty masters of foreign speech 
Of every tongue they knew tried each ; 
Smiling, the silver Captain heard, 
But shook his head and said no word. 



141 



Then Aflatun and Aristu 
Addressed the silver Lord anew, 
Speaking their language of Yoonistan 
Like countrymen to a countryman. 

And " Whence," they cried, " Sons of Pride, 

Sail you the dark eternal tide ? 

Lie your halls to the South or North, 

And who is the King that sent you forth ? " 

" We live," replied that Lord with a smile, 
" A mile beyond the millionth mile. 
We know not South and we know not North, 
And SULTAN ISKANDER sent us forth." 

Said Aristu to Aflatun 
" Surely our King, despondent soon, 
Has sent this second ship to find 
Unconquered tracts of humankind." 

But Aflatun turned round on him 
Laughing a bitter laugh and grim. 
" Alas," he said, " O Aristu, 
A white weak thin old fool are you. 

" And does yon silver Ship appear 
As she had journeyed twenty year ? 
And has that silver Captain's face 
A mortal or Immortal grace ? 



142 



" Theirs is the land (as well I know) 
Where live the Shapes of Things Below : 
Theirs is the country where they keep 
The Images men see in Sleep. 

" Theirs is the Land beyond the Door, 
And theirs the old ideal shore. 
They steer our ship : behold our crew 
Ideal, and our Captain too. 

" And lo ! beside that mainmast tree 
Two tall and shining forms I see, 
And they are what we ought to be. 
Yet we are they, and they are we." 

He spake, and some young Zephyr stirred 
The two ships touched : no sound was heard ; 
The Black Ship crumbled into air ; 
Only the Phantom Ship was there. 

And a great cry rang round the sky 
Of glorious singers sweeping by, 
And calm and fair on waves that shone 
The Silver Ship sailed on and on. 



'43 



The Golden Journey to Samarkand 



PROLOGUE 

We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage 
And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die, 

We Poets of the proud old lineage 

Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why, 

What shall we tell you ? Tales, marvellous tales 
Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest, 

Where nevermore the rose of sunset pales, 

And winds and shadows fall toward the West : 

And there the world's first huge white-bearded kings 
In dim glades sleeping, murmur in their sleep, 

And closer round their breasts the ivy clings, 
Cutting its pathway slow and red and deep. 

II 

And how beguile you ? Death has no repose 
Warmer and deeper than that Orient sand 

Which hides the beauty and bright faith of those 
Who made the Golden Journey to Samarkand. 



144 



And now they wait and whiten peaceably, 
Those conquerors, those poets, those so fair : 

They know time comes, not only you and I, 

But the whole world shall whiten, here or there ; 

When those long caravans that cross the plain 
With dauntless feet and sound of silver bells 

Put forth no more for glory or for gain, 
Take no more solace from the palm-girt wells. 

When the great markets by the sea shut fast 
All that calm Sunday that goes on and on : 

When even lovers find their peace at last, 

And Earth is but a star, that once had shone. 



'45 



Epilogue 



At the Gate of the Sun, Bagdad, in olden time 



THE MERCHANTS (together) 

Away, for we are ready to a man ! 

Our camels sniff the evening and are glad. 
Lead on, Master of the Caravan : 

Lead on the Merchant-Princes of Bagdad. 

THE CHIEF DRAPER 

Have we not Indian carpets dark as wine, 

Turbans and sashes, gowns and bows and veils, 

And broideries of intricate design, 

And printed hangings in enormous bales ? 

THE CHIEF GROCER 

We have rose-candy, we have spikenard, 
Mastic and terebinth and oil and spice, 

And such sweet jams meticulously jarred 
As God's own Prophet eats in Paradise. 



146 



THE PRINCIPAL JEWS 

And we have manuscripts in peacock styles 
By Ali of Damascus ; we have swords 

Engraved with storks and apes and crocodiles, 
And heavy beaten necklaces, for Lords. 



THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN 
But you are nothing but a lot of Jews. 

THE PRINCIPAL JEWS 
Sir, even dogs have daylight, and we pay. 

THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN 

But who are ye in rags and rotten shoes, 
You dirty-bearded, blocking up the way ? 

THE PILGRIMS 

We are the Pilgrims, master ; we shall go 

Always a little further : it may be 
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow, 

Across that angry or that glimmering sea, 

'47 



White on a throne or guarded in a cave 
There lives a prophet who can understand 

Why men were born : but surely we are brave, 
Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand. 



THE CHIEF MERCHANT 
We gnaw the nail of hurry. Master, away ! 

ONE OF THE WOMEN 

O turn your eyes to where your children stand. 
Is not Bagdad the beautiful ? O stay ! 

THE MERCHANTS (in chorus) 
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand. 

AN OLD MAN 

Have you not girls and garlands in your homes, 
Eunuchs and Syrian boys at your command ? 
Seek not excess : God hateth him who roams ! 

148 



THE MERCHANTS (in chorus) 
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand. 

A PILGRIM WITH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE 

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells 
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand, 

And softly through the silence beat the bells 
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand. 

A MERCHANT 

We travel not for trafficking alone : 

By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned : 

For lust of knowing what should not be known 
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand, 

THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN 
Open the gate, O watchman of the night ! 

THE WATCHMAN 

Ho, travellers, I open. For what land 
Leave you the dim-moon city of delight ? 

149 



THE MERCHANTS (with a shout) 
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand. 

[The Caravan passes through the gate] 

THE WATCHMAN (consoling the women) 

What would ye, ladies ? It was ever thus. 
Men are unwise and curiously planned. 

A WOMAN 
They have their dreams, and do not think of us. 

VOICES OF THE CARAVAN (in the distance, singing) 
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand. 



150 



Gates of Damascus 

Four great gates has the city of Damascus, 
And four Grand Wardens, on their spears reclining, 

All day long stand like tall stone men 

And sleep on the towers when the moon is shining. 

This is the song of the East Gate Warden 

When he locks the great gate and smokes in his garden. 



Postern of Fate, the Desert Gate, Disaster's Cavern, Fort 

of Fear, 
The Portal of Bagdad am I, the Doorway of Diarbekir. 

The Persian Dawn with new desires may net the flushing 

mountain spires : 
But my gaunt buttress still rejects the suppliance of those 

mellow fires. 

Pass not beneath, Caravan, or pass not singing. Have 

you heard 
That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth 

like a bird ? 



Pass not beneath ! Men say there blows in stony deserts 

still a rose 
But with no scarlet to her leaf and from whose heart no 

perfume flows. 

Wilt thou bloom red where she buds pale, thy sister rose ? 

Wilt thou not fail 
When noonday flashes like a flail ? Leave nightingale 

the caravan ! 

Pass then, pass all ! " Bagdad ! " ye cry, and down the 

billows of blue sky 
Ye beat the bell that beats to hell, and who shall thrust ye 

back ? Not I. 

The Sun who flashes through the head and paints the 

shadows green and red, 
The Sun shall eat thy fleshless dead, Caravan, Caravan ! 

And one who licks his lips for thirst with fevered eyes shall 

face in fear 
The palms that wave, the streams that burst, his last 

mirage, O Caravan ! 

And one the bird-voiced Singing-man shall fall behind 

thee, Caravan ! 
And God shall meet him in the night, and he shall sing as 

best he can. 



152 



And one the Bedouin shall slay, and one, sand-stricken on 

the way 
Go dark and blind ; and one shall say " How lonely is 

the Caravan ! " 



Pass out beneath, Caravan, Doom's Caravan, Death's 

Caravan ! 
I had not told ye, fools, so much, save that I heard your 

Singing-man. 



This was sung by the West Gate's keeper 
When heaven's hollow dome grew deeper. 

I am the gate toward the sea : O sailor men, pass out from 

me ! 
I hear you high on Lebanon, singing the marvels of the sea. 



The dragon-green, the luminous, the dark, the serpent- 
haunted sea, 

The snow-besprinkled wine of earth, the white-and-blue- 
flower foaming sea. 



Beyond the sea are towns with towers, carved with lions 

and lily flowers, 
And not a soul in all those lonely streets to while away 

the hours. 



153 



Beyond the towns, an isle where, bound, a naked giant bites 

the ground : 
The shadow of a monstrous wing looms on his back : and 

still no sound. 



Beyond the isle a rock that screams like madmen shouting 

in their dreams, 
From whose dark issues night and day blood crashes in a 

thousand streams. 



Beyond the rock is Restful Bay, where no wind breathes or 

ripple stirs, 
And there on Roman ships, they say, stand rows of metal 

mariners. 



Beyond the bay in utmost West old Solomon the Jewish 

King 
Sits with his beard upon his breast, and grips and guards 

his magic ring : 

And when that ring is stolen, he will rise in outraged 

majesty, 
And take the World upon his back, and fling the World 

beyond the sea. 



154 



This is the song of the North Gate's master, 
Who singeth fast, but drinketh faster. 

I am the gay Aleppo Gate : a dawn, a dawn and thou art 

there : 
Eat not thy heart with fear and care, O brother of the beast 

we hate ! 

Thou hast not many miles to tread, nor other foes than fleas 

to dread ; 
Horns shall behold thy morning meal and Hama see thee 

safe in bed. 

Take to Aleppo filigrane, and take them paste of apricots, 
And coffee tables botched with pearl, and little beaten 
brassware pots : 

And thou shalt sell thy wares for thrice the Damascene 

retailers' price, 
And buy a fat Armenian slave who smelleth odorous and nice. 

Some men of noble stock were made : some glory in the 

murder-blade : 
Some praise a Science or an Art, but I like honourable 

Trade ! 

Sell them the rotten, buy the ripe ! Their heads are weak ; 

their pockets burn. 
Aleppo men are mighty fools. Salaam Aleikum ! Safe 

return ! 



155 



This is the song of the South Gate Holder, 
A silver man, but his song is older. 

I am the Gate that fears no fall : the Mihrab of Damascus 

wall, 
The bridge of booming Sinai : the Arch of Allah all in all. 



O spiritual pilgrim rise : the night has grown her single 

horn : 
The voices of the souls unborn are half adream with 

Paradise. 



To Meccah thou hast turned in prayer with aching heart 

and eyes that burn : 
Ah Hajji, whither wilt thou turn when thou art there, 

when thou art there ? 



God be thy guide from camp to camp : God be thy shade 

from well to well ; 
God grant beneath the desert stars thou hear the Prophet's 

camel bell. 



And God shall make thy body pure, and give thee knowledge 

to endure 
This ghost-life's piercing phantom-pain, and bring thee out 

to Life again. 



And God shall make thy soul a Glass where eighteen 

thousand JEons pass, 
And thou shah see the gleaming Worlds as men see dew 

upon the grass. 



And son of Islam, it may be that thou shalt learn at journey's 

end 
Who walks thy garden eve on eve, and bows his head, and 

calls thee Friend. 



'57 



Yasmin 



A GHAZEL 



How splendid in the morning glows the lily : with what 

grace he throws 
His supplication to the rose : do roses nod the head, Yasmin? 



But when the silver dove descends I find the little flower of 

friends 
Whose very name that sweetly ends I say when I have said, 

Yasmin. 



The morning light is clear and cold : I dare not in that 

light behold 
A whiter light, a deeper gold, a glory too far shed, Yasmin. 

But when the deep red eye of day is level with the lone 

highway, 
And some to Meccah turn to pray, and I toward thy bed, 

Yasmin ; 

158 



Or when the wind beneath the moon is drifting like a soul 

aswoon, 
And harping planets talk love's tune with milky wings 

outspread, Yasmin, 



Shower down thy love, burning bright ! For one night or 

the other night 
Will come the Gardener in white, and gathered flowers are 

dead, Yasmin. 



'59 



Saadabad 



Let us deal kindly with a heart of old by sorrow torn : 
Come with Nedim to Saadabad, my love, this silver morn 
I hear the boatmen singing from our caique on the Horn, 
Waving cypress, waving cypress, let us go to Saadabad, ! 



We shall watch the Sultan's fountains ripple, rumble, 

splash and rise 

Over terraces of marble, under the blue balconies, 
Leaping through the plaster dragon's hollow mouth and 

empty eyes : 
Waving cypress, waving cypress, let us go to Saadabad. 



Lie a little to your mother : tell her you must out to pray, 
And we'll slink along the alleys, thieves of all a summer 

day, 

Down to the worn old watersteps, and then, my love, away : 
my cypress, waving cypress, let us go to Saadabad. 

160 



You and I, and with us only some poor lover in a dream : 
I and you perhaps one minstrel who will sing beside the 

stream. 

Ah Nedim will be the minstrel, and the lover be Nedim, 
Waving cypress, waving cypress, when we go to Saadabad ! 



II 



Down the Horn Constantinople fades and flashes in the blue, 
Rose of cities dropping with the heavy summer's burning 

dew, 
Fading now as falls the Orient evening round the sky and 

you, 
Fading into red and silver as we row to Saadabad. 

Banish then, O Grecian eyes, the passion of the waiting 

West! 
Shall God's holy monks not enter on a day God knoweth 

best 
To crown the Roman king again, and hang a cross upon his 

breast ? 
Daughter of the Golden Islands, come away to Saadabad. 

And a thousand swinging steeples shall begin as they began 
When Heraclius rode home from the wrack of Ispahan, 
Naked captives pulled behind him, double eagles in the van 
But is that a tale for lovers on the way to Saadabad ? 

161 L 



Rather now shall you remember how of old two such as we, 
You like her the laughing mistress of a poet, him or me, 
Came to find the flowery lawns that give the soul tranquil- 
lity : 
Let the boatmen row no longer for we land at Saadabad. 



See you not that moon-dim caique with the lovers at the 

prow, 
Straining eyes and aching lips, and touching hands as we do 

now, 
See you not the turbaned shadows passing, whence ? and 

moving, how ? 
Are the ghosts of all the Moslems floating down to 

Saadabad ? 



Broken fountains, phantom waters, nevermore to glide and 

gleam 
From the dragon-mouth in plaster sung of old by old 

Nedim, 
Beautiful and broken fountains, keep you still your Sultan's 

dream, 
Or remember how his poet took a girl to Saadabad ? 



162 



The Hammam Name 



(From a poem by a Turkish lady) 

Winsome Torment rose from slumber, rubbed his eyes, and 

went his way 
Down the street towards the Hammam. Goodness 

gracious ! people say, 
What a handsome countenance ! The sun has risen twice 

to-day ! 

And as for the Undressing Room it quivered in dismay. 
With the glory of his presence see the window panes perspire, 
And the water in the basin boils and bubbles with desire. 



Now his lovely cap is treated like a lover : off it goes ! 
Next his belt the boy unbuckles ; down it falls, and at his 

toes 
All the growing heap of garments buds and blossoms like 

a rose. 

Last of all his shirt came flying. Ah, I tremble to disclose 
How the shell came off the almond, how the lily showed its 

face, 
How I saw a silver mirror taken flashing from its case. 



He was gazed upon so hotly that his body grew too hot, 
So the bathman seized the adorers and expelled them on 

the spot ; 

Then the desperate shampooer his propriety forgot, 
Stumbled when he brought the pattens, fumbled when he 

tied a knot, 
And remarked when musky towels had obscured his idol's 

hips, 
See Love's Plenilune, Mashallah, in a partial eclipse ! 



Desperate the loofah wriggled : soap was melted instantly : 
All the bubble hearts were broken. Yes, for them as well 

as me, 

Bitterness was born of beauty ; as for the shampooer, he 
Fainted, till a jug of water set the Captive Reason free. 
Happy bath ! The baths of heaven cannot wash their 

spotted moon : 
You are doing well with this one. Not a spot upon him 

soon ! 



Now he leaves the luckless bath for fear of setting it alight ; 
Seizes on a yellow towel growing yellower in fright, 
Polishes the pearly surface till it burns disastrous bright, 
And a bathroom window shatters in amazement at the 

sight. 
Like the fancies of a dreamer frail and soft his garments 

shine 
As he robes a mirror body shapely as a poet's line. 



Now upon his cup of coffee see the lips of Beauty bent : 
And they perfume him with incense and they sprinkle him 

with scent, 
Call him Bey and call him Pasha, and receive with deep 

content 

The gratuities he gives them, smiling and indifferent. 
Out he goes : the mirror strains to kiss her darling ; out 

he goes ! 
Since the flame is out, the water can but freeze. 

The water froze. 



.65 



In Phczacia 



Had I that haze of streaming blue, 

That sea below, the summer faced, 
I'd work and weave a dress for you 

And kneel to clasp it round your waist, 
And broider with those burning bright 

Threads of the Sun across the sea, 
And bind it with the silver light 

That wavers in the olive tree. 

Had I the gold that like a river 

Pours through our garden, eve by eve, 
Our garden that goes on for ever 

Out of the world, as we believe ; 
Had I that glory on the vine 

That splendour soft on tower and town, 
I'd forge a crown of that sunshine, 

And break before your feet the crown. 

Through the great pinewood I have been 
An hour before the lustre dies, 

Nor have such forest-colours seen 
As those that glimmer in your eyes. 

166 



Ah, misty woodland, down whose deep 
And twilight paths I love to stroll 

To meadows quieter than sleep 

And pools more secret than the soul ! 



Could I but steal that awful throne 

Ablaze with dreams and songs and stars 
Where sits Night, a man of stone, 

On the frozen mountain spars 
I'd cast him down, for he is old, 

And set my Lady there to rule, 
Gowned with silver, crowned with gold, 

And in her eyes the forest pool. 



167 



Epithalamion 



Smile then, children, hand in hand 

Bright and white as the summer snow, 

Or that young King of the Grecian land, 

Who smiled on Thetis, long ago, 

So long ago when, heart aflame, 

The grave and gentle Peleus came 

To the shore where the halcyon flies 

To wed the maiden of his devotion, 

The dancing lady with sky-blue eyes, 

Thetis, the darling of Paradise, 

The daughter of old Ocean. 

Seas before her rise and break, 

Dolphins tumble in her wake 

Along the sapphire courses : 

With Tritons ablow on their pearly shells 

With a plash of waves and a clash of bells 

From the glimmering house where her Father dwells 

She drives his white-tail horses ! 

And the boys of heaven gowned and crowned, 

Have Aphrodite to lead them round, 

Aphrodite with hair unbound 



168 



Her silver breasts adorning. 

Her long, her soft, her streaming hair, 

Falls on a silver breast laid bare 

By the stir and swing of the sealit air 

And the movement of the morning. 



169 



Hyali 



2ro FvaXi, crro 



Island in blue of summer floating on, 

Little brave sister of the Sporades, 
Hail and farewell ! I pass, and thou art gone, 

So fast in fire the great boat beats the seas. 

But slowly fade, soft Island ! Ah to know 
Thy town and who the gossips of thy town, 

What flowers flash in thy meadows, what winds blow 
Across thy mountain when the sun goes down. 

There is thy market, where the fisher throws 

His gleaming fish that gasp in the death-bright dawn : 

And there thy Prince's house, painted old rose, 
Beyond the olives, crowns its slope of lawn. 

And is thy Prince so rich that he displays 
At festal board the flesh of sheep and kine ? 

Or dare he summer days are long hot days 
Load up with Asian snow his Coan wine ? 



170 



Behind a rock, thy harbour, whence a noise 
Of tarry sponge-boats hammered lustily : 

And from that little rock thy naked boys 
Like burning arrows shower upon the sea. 



And there by the old Greek chapel there beneath 
A thousand poppies that each sea-wind stirs 

And cyclamen, as honied and white as death, 
Dwell deep in earth the elder islanders. 



Thy name I know not, Island, but bis name 

I know, and why so proud thy mountain stands, 

And what thy happy secret, and Who came 
Drawing his painted galley up thy sands. 



For my Gods Trident Gods who deep and pale 
Swim in the Latmian Sound, have murmured thus 

" To such an island came with a pompous sail 
On his first voyage young Herodotus." 



Since then tell me no tale how Romans built, 
Saracens plundered or that bearded lords 

Rowed by to fight for Venice, and here spilt 
Their blood across the bay that keeps their swords. 



That old Greek day was all thy history : 
For that did Ocean poise thee as a flower. 

Farewell : this boat attends not such as thee : 
Farewell : I was thy lover for an hour ! 

Farewell ! But I who call upon thy caves ; 

Am far like thee, like thee, unknown and poor. 
And yet my words are music as thy waves, 

And like thy rocks shall down through time endure. 



172 



Santorin 



{A Legend of the gean) 

" Who are you, Sea Lady, 

And where in the seas are we ? 

I have too long been steering 

By the flashes in your eyes. 

Why drops the moonlight through my heart, 

And why so quietly 

Go the great engines of my boat 

As if their souls were free ? " 

" Oh ask me not, bold sailor ; 

Is not your ship a magic ship 

That sails without a sail : 

Are not these isles the Isles of Greece 

And dust uporvthe sea ? 

But answer me three questions 

And give me answers three. 

What is your ship ? " "A British." 

" And where may Britain be ? " 

" Oh it lies north, dear lady ; 

It is a small country." 



173 



" Yet you will know my lover, 

Though you live far away : 

And you will whisper where he has gone, 

That lily boy to look upon 

And whiter than the spray." 

" How should I know your lover, 

Lady of the sea ? " 

" Alexander, Alexander, 

The King of the World was he." 

" Weep not for him, dear lady, 

But come aboard my ship. 

So many years ago he died, 

He's dead as dead can be." 

" base and brutal sailor 

To lie this lie to me. 

His mother was the foam-foot 

Star-sparkling Aphrodite ; 

His father was Adonis 

Who lives away in Lebanon, 

In stony Lebanon, where blooms 

His red anemone. 

But where is Alexander, 

The soldier Alexander, 

My golden love of olden days 

The King of the world and me ? " 



She sank into the moonlight 
And the sea was only sea. 



A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon 



A ship, an isle, a sickle moon 
With few but with how splendid stars 
The mirrors of the sea are strewn 
Between their silver bars ! 



An isle beside an isle she lay, 
The pale ship anchored in the bay, 
While in the young moon's port of gold 
A star-ship as the mirrors told 
Put forth its great and lonely light 
To the unreflecting Ocean, Night. 
And still, a ship upon her seas, 
The isle and the island cypresses 
Went sailing on without the gale : 
And still there moved the moon so pale, 
A crescent ship without a sail ! 



175 



Oak and Olive 



Though I was born a Londoner, 
And bred in Gloucestershire, 

I walked in Hellas years ago 
With friends in white attire : 

And I remember how my soul 
Drank wine as pure as fire. 

And when I stand by Charing Cross 

I can forget to hear 
The crash of all those smoking wheels, 

When those cold flutes and clear 
Pipe with such fury down the street, 

My hands grow moist with fear. 

And there's a hall in Bloomsbury 

No more I dare to tread, 
For all the stone men shout at me 

And swear they are not dead ; 
And once I touched a broken girl 

And knew that marble bled. 

176 



II 

But when I walk in Athens town 
That swims in dust and sun 

Perverse, I think of London then 
Where massive work is done, 

And with what sweep at Westminster 
The rayless waters run. 

I ponder how from Attic seed 
There grew an English tree, 

How Byron like his heroes fell, 
Fighting a country free, 

And Swinburne took from Shelley's lips 
The kiss of Poetry. 

And while our poets chanted Pan 
Back to his pipes and power, 

Great Verrall, bending at his desk, 
And searching hour on hour 

Found out old gardens, where the wise 
May pluck a Spartan flower. 

Ill 

When I go down the Gloucester lanes 
My friends are deaf and blind : 

Fast as they turn their foolish eyes 
The Maenads leap behind, 

And when I hear the fire-winged feet, 
They only hear the wind. 

177 



Have I not chased the fluting Pan 
Through Cranham's sober trees ? 

Have I not sat on Painswick Hill 
With a nymph upon my knees, 

And she as rosy as the dawn, 
And naked as the breeze ? 

IV 

But when I lie in Grecian fields, 

Smothered in asphodel, 
Or climb the blue and barren hills, 

Or sing in woods that smell 
With such hot spices of the South 

As mariners might sell 

Then my. heart turns where no sun burns, 

To lands of glittering rain, 
To fields beneath low-clouded skies 

New-widowed of their grain, 
And Autumn leaves like blood and gold 

That strew a Gloucester lane. 



Oh well I know sweet Hellas now, 

And well I knew it then, 
When I with starry lads walked out 

But ah, for home again ! 
Was I not bred in Gloucestershire, 

One of the Englishmen ! 

178 



Brumana 



Oh shall I never never be home again ? 

Meadows of England shining in the rain 

Spread wide your daisied lawns : your ramparts green 

With briar fortify, with blossom screen 

Till my far morning and O streams that slow 

And pure and deep through plains and playlands go, 

For me your love and all your kingcups store, 

And dark militia of the southern shore, 

Old fragrant friends preserve me the last lines 

Of that long saga which you sung me, pines, 

When, lonely boy, beneath the chosen tree 

I listened, with my eyes upon the sea. 



O traitor pines, you sang what life has found 

The falsest of fair tales. 

Earth blew a far-horn prelude all around, 

That native music of her forest home, 

While from the sea's blue fields and syren dales 

Shadows and light noon-spectres of the foam 

Riding the summer gales 

On aery viols plucked an idle sound. 



'79 



Hearing you sing, trees, 

Hearing you murmur, " There are older seas, 

That beat on vaster sands, 

Where the wise snailfish move their pearly towers 

To carven rocks and sculptured promont'ries," 

Hearing you whisper, " Lands 

Where blaze the unimaginable flowers." 



Beneath me in the valley waves the palm, 
Beneath, beyond the valley, breaks the sea ; 
Beneath me sleep in mist and light and calm 
Cities of Lebanon, dream-shadow-dim, 
Where Kings of Tyre and Kings of Tyre did rule 
In ancient days in endless dynasty, 
And all around the snowy mountains swim 
Like mighty swans afloat in heaven's pool. 



But I will walk upon the wooded hill 

Where stands a grove, pines, of sister pines, 

And when the downy twilight droops her wing 

And no sea glimmers and no mountain shines 

My heart shall listen still. 

For pines are gossip pines the wide world through 

And full of runic tales to sigh or sing. 

'Tis ever sweet through pines to see the sky 

Mantling a deeper gold or darker blue. 

'Tis ever sweet to lie 

On the dry carpet of the needles brown, 



1 80 



And though the fanciful green lizard stir 
And windy odours light as thistledown 
Breathe from the lavdanon and lavender, 
Half to forget the wandering and pain, 
Half to remember days that have gone by, 
And dream and dream that I am home again ! 



IM 



Areiya 



This place was formed divine for love and us to dwell ; 

This house of brown stone built for us to sleep therein ; 
Those blossoms haunt the rocks that we should see and 

smell; 

Those old rocks break the hill that we the heights should 
win. 

Those heights survey the sea that there our thoughts should 
sail 

Up the steep wall of wave to touch the Syrian sky : 
For us that sky at eve fades out of purple pale, 

Pale as the mountain mists beneath our house that lie. 



In front of our small house are brown stone arches three ; 

Behind it, the low porch where all the jasmine grows ; 
Beyond it, red and green, the gay pomegranate tree ; 

Around it, like love's arms, the summer and the rose. 

Within it sat and wrote in minutes soft and few 

This worst and best of songs, one who loves it, and you. 



182 



Bryan of Brittany 



Roses are golden or white or red 

And green or grey for a sea, 
But the loveliest girl alive, men said, 

Was Bryan of Brittany. 

Court or courtier never a one 

Had Bryan the farmer's lass : 
Her glorious hair was spread in the sun 

And her feet were dewed in the grass. 

Evening opened a flower in the skies 

And shut the others asleep : 
Home she came with the West in her eyes, 

Driving her silver sheep. 

" O Mother, say, and brothers seven, 
What guests are these we have 

With beards as white as the snow of heaven 
And their dark faces grave ? 

" But are they merchants from the towns 

Or captains from the sea, 
These that are clothed in crimson gowns, 

And bow to the earth to me ? " 
183 



" O kiss me, Bryan, and take the ring : 

Kiss me good-bye, my daughter : 
You're to marry a crowned king 

In Babylon over the water." 

Golden hair as the gold of a rose 

Had Bryan of Brittany, 
And her breasts were white as the foam, and the light 

Of her eyes was the light of the sea. 

" What shall I do in Babylon 

A crowned king to keep ? 
I'll not leave you and my brother John 

And my flock of silver sheep." 

" Ah, Bryan, bravely spoken, 

And bravely, dear, you speak, 
Not to leave me heart-broken 

And mother old and weak." 

Said James the eldest brother, 

With his deep black eyes ablaze, 
" They bring us gold, O mother, 

And jewels with red rays." 

And John, the youngest brother, 

Whose eyes were bright and blue, 
Said, " Let her go, my mother : 

I'll bring her back to you." 

184 




" Swear by Christ's love then, my son John, 

That when I feel the pain 
You'll go to leafy Babylon 

And bring her back again." 

" By Christ upon the Cross who bled 
And the seventy saints of Rome, 

I'll go there living or go there dead, 
And bring my sister home." 



II 



It fell the mother had not seen 

A second Whitsuntide 
Since Bryan sailed, a Persian Queen, 

When her seven sons all died. 



" O false and faithless, my son John, 

And traitor in your tomb : 
Who now will go to Babylon 

And bring me Bryan home ? 

" Whose hair is the golden gold of a rose, 

And red rose lips has she, 
And her breasts are as white as the foam, and the light 

Of her eyes is the light of the sea." 

185 



Ill 



It chanced a summer night so fair, 

A night so fair and calm, 
Bryan was combing her beautiful hair 

In the moon, beneath a palm. 

And gently sounded through the skies 

Slow bells of Babylon, 
When there came one with bright blue eyes 

And the face of her brother John. 

" Bryan, away from Babylon : 

Our mother weeps to-night ! " 
" How tall you are, my brother John, 

And your blue eyes how bright ! " 

" Oh, I am tall enough to stand 

And eyed enough to see, 
And we'll go round by way of the land 

From here to Brittany." 

Days went on and the road went on 
And skies brought paler skies : 

" You never sleep, my brother John, 
You never close your eyes." 

" O Bryan, sister, do not fear, 

And Bryan, do not weep : 
Before I came to find you, dear, 

I had enough of sleep." 



186 



Days went on and the road went on, 

And stars to pale or shine : 
" You never eat, my brother John, 

Nor drink a drop of wine." 

" Fear not, dear girl : though long our road 

So great a strength is mine, 
For I have eaten holy food, 

And drunk a scented wine." 

A month and a year and a day had gone, 
They came to a sweet country : 

the silver shades of the forest glades 
Of Bryan's Brittany ! 

And the little birds began to talk 

In voices faintly human : 
" Who ever saw a dead man walk 

Beside a rosy woman ? " 

" O brother, listen to the birds 

Chattering all together ! " 
" The talk of the birds is feather words 

And lighter than a feather. 

" Open, mother, to your son John, 
And open to your daughter : 

1 bring you Bryan from Babylon, 
From Babylon over the water. 



187 



" And her hair is the golden gold of a rose, 

And her lips as the red rose tree, 
And her breasts are as white as the foam, and the light 

Of her eyes is the light of the sea. 

" But I must back and over the hill, 

And Bryan must over the sea, 
And you, old mother, who sit quite still, 

Must over the hill with me." 



188 



Don Juan Declaims 



I am Don Juan, curst from age to age 
By priestly tract and sentimental stage : 
Branded a villain or believed a fool, 
Battered by hatred, seared by ridicule, 
Noble on earth, all but a king in Hell, 
I am Don Juan with a tale to tell. 

Hot leapt the dawn from deep Plutonian fires 
And ran like blood among the twinkling spires. 
The market quickened : carts came rattling down : 
Good human music roared about the town, 
" And come," they cried, " and buy the best of Spain's 
Great fireskinned fruits with cold and streaming veins !" 
Others, " The man who'd make a lordly dish, 
Would buy my speckled or my silver fish." 
And some, " I stitch you raiment to the rule ! " 
And some, " I sell you attar of Stamboul ! " 
" And I have lapis for your love to wear, 
Pearls for her neck and amber for her hair." 
Death has its gleam. They swing before me still, 
The shapes and sounds and colours of Seville ! 

For there I learnt to love the plot, the fight, 
The masker's cloak, the ladder set for flight, 



The stern pursuit, the rapier's glint of death, 
The scent of starlit roses, beauty's breath, 
The music and the passion and the prize, 
Aragon lips and Andalusian eyes. 
This day a democrat I scoured the town ; 
Courting, the next, I brought a princess down : 
Now in some lady's panelled chamber hid 
Achieved what love approves and laws forbid, 
Now walked and whistled round the sleepy farms 
And clasped a Dulcinea in my arms. 

I was the true, the grand idealist : 
My light could pierce the pretty golden mist 
That hides from common souls the starrier climes 
I loved as small men do ten-thousand times ; 
Rose to the blue triumphant, curved my bow, 
Set high the mark and brought an angel low, 
And laced with that brave body and shining soul 
Learnt how to live, then learnt to love the whole. 
And I first broke that jungle dark and dense, 
Which hides the silver house of Commonsense, 
And dissipated that disastrous lie 
Which makes a god of stuffless Unity, 
And drave the dark behind me, and revealed 
A Pagan sunrise on a Christian field. 

My legend tells how once, by passion moved, 
I slew the father of a girl I loved, 
Then summoned like an old and hardened sinner- 
The brand-new statue of the dead to dinner. 
My ribald guests, with Spanish wine aflame, 
Were most delighted when the statue came, 



190 



Bowed to the party, made a little speech, 
And bore me off beyond their human reach. 
Well, priests must flourish and the truth must pale : 
A very pious, entertaining tale. 

But this believe. I struck a ringing blow 
At sour Authority's ancestral show, 
And stirred the sawdust understuffing all 
The sceptred or the surpliced ritual. 
I willed my happiness, kept bright and brave 
My thoughts and deeds this side the accursed grave 
Life was a ten-course banquet after all, 
And neatly rounded by my funeral. 
" Pale guest, why strip the roses from your brow ? 
We hope to feast till morning." " Who knocks now 
" Twelve of the clock, Don Juan." In came he, 
That shining, tall and cold Authority, 
Whose marble lips smile down on lips that pray, 
And took my hand, and I was led away. 



191 



The Painter s Mistress 



And still you paint, and still I stand 
White and erect, the classic pose, 

And still, a soft-winged bee, your hand 
Moves comrade of a glance that flows 

Over my body like love's tide : 

And still the pale noon-shadows glide. 



And still I hear each sound that falls, 
The wood that starts in the sun's heat, 

The mouse astir among the walls, 

While down the summer-smitten street 

A cart rolls lonely on : the hush 

Tightens : I hear the flickering brush. 



So with sweet pain for hour on hour 
I to your dark and roving eyes 

Abandon more than Love had power 
To offer, in Love's mysteries : 

You see me with the deeper sight, 

Veiled in faint air and gemmed with light. 



192 



So shall the gaze of the soul-deep lover 
Guide where the sunray darts and swims 

Down from the shoulders : still discover 
The rose and iris of these limbs, 

Low flames that haunt the curve and fold 

And in dark hollow tresses, gold. 



'93 



In Hospital 



Would I might lie like this, without the pain, 

For seven years as one with snowy hair, 
Who in the high tower dreams his dying reign 

F Lie here and watch the walls how grey and bare, 
The metal bed-post, the uncoloured screen, 

The mat, the jug, the cupboard, and the chair ; 

And served by an old woman, calm and clean, 

Her misted face familiar, yet unknown, 
Who comes in silence, and departs unseen, 

And with no other visit, lie alone, 
Nor stir, except I had my food to find 
In that dull bowl Diogenes might own. 

And down my window I would draw the blind, 
And never look without, but, waiting, hear 
A noise of rain, a whistling of the wind, 

And only know that flame-foot Spring is near 
By trilling birds, or by the patch of sun 
Crouching behind my curtain. So, in fear, 



194 



Noon-dreams should enter, softly, one by one, 

And throng about the floor, and float and play 
And flicker on the screen, while minutes run 

The last majestic minutes of the day 
And with the mystic shadows, Shadow grow. 
Then the grey square of wall should fade away, 

And glow again, and open, and disclose 

The shimmering lake in which the planets swim, 
And all that lake a dewdrop on a rose. 



'95 



Taoping 



Across the vast blue-shadow-sweeping plain 

The gathered armies darken through the grain, 

Swinging curved swords and dragon-sculptured spears, 

Footmen, and tiger-hearted cavaliers. 

Them Government (whose fragrance Poets sing) 

Hath bidden break the rebels of Taoping, 

And fire and fell the monstrous fort of fools 

Who dream that men may dare the deathless rules. 

Such, grim example even now can show 

Where high before the Van, in triple row, 

First fiery blossom of rebellion's tree, 

Twelve spear-stemmed heads are dripping silently. 

(On evil day you sought, ashen lips, 

The kiss of women from our town of ships, 

Nor ever dreamt, spies, of falser spies, 

The poppied cup and passion-mocking eyes !) 

By these grim civil trophies undismayed, 
In lacquered panoplies the chiefs parade. 
Behind, the plain's floor rocks : the armies come : 
The rose-round lips blow battle horns : the drum 

196 



Booms oriental measure. Earth exults. 

And still behind, the tottering catapults 

Pulled by slow slaves, grey backs with crimson lines, 

Roll resolutely west. And still behind, 

Down the canal's hibiscus-shaded marge 

The glossy mules draw on the cedar barge, 

Railed silver, blue-silk-curtained, which within 

Bears the Commander, the old Mandarin, 

Who never left his palace gates before, 

But hath grown blind reading great books on war. 



Now level on the land and cloudless red 
The sun's slow circle dips toward the dead. 
Night-hunted, all the monstrous flags are furled : 
The Armies halt, and round them halts the World. 
A phantom wind flies out among the rice ; 
Hush turns the twin horizons in her vice ; 
Air thickens : earth is pressed upon earth's core. 
The cedar barge swings gently to the shore 
Among her silver shadows and the swans : 
The blind old man sets down his pipe of bronze. 
The long whips cease. The slaves slacken the chain 
The gaunt-towered engines space the silent plain. 
The hosts like men held in a frozen dream 
Stiffen. The breastplates drink the scarlet gleam. 
But the Twelve Heads with shining sockets stare 
Further and further West. Have they seen there, 
Black on blood's sea and huger than Death's wing, 
Their cannon-bowelled fortress of Taoping ? 



'97 



Virgil's Mneid, Eook^ VI 



(11- 1-'9) 

Tearful he spake : then drave the fleet along : 
At length to Cumae, by Eubceans raised, 
They gliding came : set prows to face the sea, 
Struck deep the anchor's stubborn tooth, festooned 
Its harbour with the sweep of curved array. 
Then leap the young ashore with flashing souls 
(Are not the sands Hesperian ?) : they strike 
Flints for their veins' hot secret, or they stray 
With cleavesome axe unhoming furry beasts 
Or shew on what tracks water may be found. 

But this meanwhile god-fearing ^)neas 
Seeks the gapped cave where high Apollo reigns 
And his dire Sybil murmurs truth of doom, 
Mind and soul breathed on by the god-inspired 
To flash out prophecies. They have come near 
Diana's garden and her golden fane. 

Daedalus once, Minoan realms to flee 

* Author's Note. I have of course tried to translate the sound 
of the thing rather than the text cf. my translation of " armatus," 
1. 388, and of " noctemque profundam," 1. 462. 

198 



Brave with great swooping wings to swim the sky 
Steered a blind journey to the windy North 
Till his strange shadows darkened Cumae's rock. 
He, there alighting, there to Earth returned, 
To Phoebus sacrificed those oars, his wings. 


(ii. 264-547) 

Gods of the ghostly Empire and ye shades 
So still, Chaos and Phlegethon so still 
With leagues of night around you, me empower 
Heard tales to tell : me with high aid empower 
Earth's deep-embowelled secret to betray ! 

They went obscure in lowering lone night 
Through lodges of King Dis, untenanted, 
Featureless lands. Thus goes a forest pathway 
Beneath the curst light of the wav'ring moon, 
When Jove has gloomed the sky, and pitchy dark 
Uncoloured all the world. In Hell's first reach 
Fronting the very vestibule of Orcus 
Griefs and the Cares have set their couches down, 
The vengeful Cares. There pale Diseases dwell, 
Sad Eld and Fear and loathsome Poverty 
And Hunger, that bad counsellor, dire shapes 
And Death and Toil, and Sleep brother of Death 
And soul-corrupting joys. Opposed he viewed 
War the great murderer, and those steel bowers 
The Furies deck for bridal, and Discord 
Daft, with blood-ribbons on her serpent hair. 

But straight in front a huge black knotted elm 



199 



Stood branching : here, they say, the Vain Dreams roost ;- 

There's not a leaf without one stuck behind ! 

Next he saw twisted beasts of the old tales : 

Centaurs were stabled at the gates : Scyllas 

Spread their twin shapes, Briareus his hundred arms. 

And Lerna's beast behold hissing out fear, 

Chimaera too, who fights with fire, and Gorgons 

And Harpies, and a shade with a triple form ! 

Such was the horror seized ^Eneas then 

He made to meet their onset with cold steel, 

And had th' instructed Sybil not advised 

That these were gossamer vitalities 

Flitting in sturHess mockery of form, 

He'd have leapt on and lashed the empty air. 

Hence leads a road to Acheron, vast flood 
Of thick and restless slime : all that foul ooze 
It belches in Cocytus. Here keeps watch 
That wild and filthy pilot of the marsh 
Charon, from whose rugged old chin trails down 
The hoary beard of centuries : his eyes 
Are fixed, but flame. His grimy cloak hangs loose 
Rough-knotted at the shoulder : his own hands 
Pole on the boat, or tend the sail that wafts 
His dismal skiff and its fell freight along. 
Ah, he is old, but with that toughening eld 
That speaks his godhead ! To the bank and him 
All a great multitude came pouring down, 
Brothers and husbands, and the proud-souled heroes, 
Life's labour done : and boys and unwed maidens 
And the young men by whose flame-funeral 



200 



Parents had wept. Many as leaves that fall 

Gently in autumn when the sharp cold comes 

Or all the birds that flock at the turn o' the year 

Over the ocean to the lands of light. 

They stood and prayed each one to be first taken : 

They stretched their hands for love of the other side, 

But the grim sailor takes now these, now those : 

And some he drives a distance from the shore. 

^Eneas, moved and marvelling at this stir 

Cried " O chaste Sibyl tell me why this throng 

That rushes to the river ? What desire 

Have all these phantoms ? and what rule's award 

Drives these back from the marge, let those go over 

Sweeping the livid shallows with the oar ? " 

The old priestess replied in a few words, 

" Son of Anchises of true blood divine, 

Behold the deep Cocytus and dim Styx 

By whom the high gods fear to swear in vain. 

This shiftless crowd all is unsepulchred : 

The boatman there is Charon : those who embark 

The buried. None may leave this beach of horror 

To cross the growling stream before that hour 

That hides their white bones in a quiet tomb. 

A hundred years they flutter round these shores : 

Then they may cross the waters long desired." 

./Eneas stopped and stood there heavily 
Thoughtful and sad for this unfair decree. 
Wretched for lack of sepulchre he saw 
Leucaspis and the Lycian convoy's chief 
Orontes. They left Troy with rough sea 



201 



And lost their ships and crew to the south-west wind. 

There too did roam the pilot Palinurus, 
Who steering up from Libya by the stars 
Had fallen from the stern a few days since 
Deep in the wave. So girt with gloom stood he 
The hero scarce could see but seeing, he cried : 
" Thee, Palinurus, what relentless god 
Tore from our love to drown thee in mid main ? 
Say, for Apollo never yet found false 
Deceived me here, in mystic song foretelling 
That safe across the waters thou shouldst come 
To tread Italian soil. Is this kept promise ? " 
But he : " Captain, the Tripod sang no lies 
Nor was't a god that flung me to the waves, 
But whilst I steered, the chance of a sharp shock 
So wrenched the gear entrusted to my hands 
That clinging fast I was swept overboard 
Tiller and all. Witness, O passionate waves, 
Less did I fear my peril than the ship's 
Which now dismantled and its pilot gone 
Rode at the mercy of the bristling swell. 
Three winter nights across the infinite sea 
The strong South bore me, piling up the waves ; 
But the fourth morning from a billow's crest 
I saw the cliffs of Italy and swam 
Landwards slowly. For now was danger past 
Had not a cruel folk come on with swords, 
As weighted by my dripping clothes I clutched 
A broken rock's summit with crooked hand, 
And deemed me brutes a prize. Sport of the waves 



202 



Is Palinurus now, and the winds whirl him 
All up and down the shore. By the kind light 
And spacious air I pray thee : by thy Sire 
And young lulus growing fair and tall 
Defeat my woes, unconquerable man ! 
Either cast earth upon me as thou mayst 
To Veline harbour steering, or maybe 
If there's a way thy mother was divine 
And much it needeth the god's help to float 
On such grand rivers and the Stygian mere- 
Hold out thy hand to one who is in sorrow, 
Bear me across the wave ! So shall I know 
At least of Death the quiet and the home." 
He spake : the Sibyl answered : " Palinurus 
What dread desire is thine ? Wouldst thou attempt, 
Unburied, waves of Styx and that stern stream 
The Furies haunt ? Wouldst thou approach that shore 
And have no mandate ? Dost thou hope to melt 
Fate with a prayer ? But listen and take heart 
For all the people of the cities round 
Driven forth by omens dire from the high heaven 
Shall honour thy remains and raise a tomb 
And on thy tomb shall all due rites perform 
And all that place for evermore shall keep 
The name of Palinurus." As she spake 
His trouble ceased : a while from his sad heart 
Grief flies. He is glad the land should bear his name. 

Set path pursuing they approached the stream 
Whom soon the sailor of the Stygian wave 
Saw pass the silent wood and seek the marge 



203 



And hailed censorious : " Thou who walkest down 

Clashing thy armour by our streams of Hell, 

Speak thy intent : there on thy road stand still ! 

Here lies the land of shadow dream and night, 

And no warm flesh may ride on Stygian keel. 

Small joy had I admitting to this mere 

Hercules or those victor sons of Heaven 

Peirithoos and Theseus. Hercules 

Chained with bare hands the dog of Tartarus 

And dragged him from the throne quaking : they came 

To rape our mistress from the bed of Dis." 

" We spin no snares," the Amphrysian sharp replied : 

" Be soothed, no violence these arms portend. 

Let the huge Janitor's eternal cry 

Still from his cave confound the bloodless ghosts, 

And Proserpine unravished still attecid 

Her kinsman's threshold. ^Eneas of Troy, 

Famed dutiful and fearless, here descends 

To embrace his father in your pits of gloom. 

If high devotion spells thee nought, this bough 

(She drew it from her breast) may move thee still." 

Calm sank the heart but now swoln out with rage : 
With no word more, eyeing that ancient bough, 
Doom's symbol, after ages seen again, 
Turned he his caerule prow and made the shore. 
Thence other souls who sat along the dunes 
He drave, and let his gangway down, and took 
The huge ^Eneas in his patched punt, 
Which groaned o'ercargoed ; and through many a crack 
Oozed up the mere : yet safe across the stream 



204 



Sybil and soldier did he row, and beached 
On the green formless slime of the other side. 

Cerberus here sends ringing through his realm 
A triple-throated howling, couched, immune, 
With cavern for a kennel. The Priestess, 
Seeing his dragon necks stiffen to strike, 
A cake of honey and bemusing herbs 
Tossed him. Three maws the ravening monster spread, 
Snapped it in air, and all his hugesome bulk 
Uncoiled and sprawled and stretched across the cave. 
-/Eneas down the brute-unwardened path 
Quick pace pursues. Behind him lies the stream 
Whose waves whisper no whisper of return. 

Now cries are heard, and thin abundant wind : 
All down Hell's forecourt weep the Infant Souls, 
Whom shareless of life's shining dower, Doom 
Tore from the breast and whelmed in Death's sharp wave, 
Near, men judged out of life by false decree. 
They have their urn, their Umpire, these abodes : 
'Tis Minos draws the lots, he who may call 
The council of the silent : he who reads, 
Grand arbiter, the histories of men. 
And next them flit the Sad Ones who prepared 
With their rash hands their ovra extinction's cup 
And flung their souls on dark to spite the day. 
Ah could they, could they back to the bright sky 
What years would they not bear of toil or pain ! 
Law bars them fast : the mere's grim loveless wave 
Bounds their domain : Styx nine times interfused 
Imprisons. Here the Broken-hearted Fields 



205 



Roll out to the horizon. Such their name. 

Here those whom Love remorseless and unkind 

Devoured by dissolution, walk in peace 

Down secret byways of a myrtle forest. 

Here Phaedra, Procris and sad Eriphyle 

He saw, whom her fierce son had wounded sore, 

Pasiphae, Evadne : in their train 

Laodamia, and that once a boy 

Now woman, Caeneus, thus reshaped by doom. 

Among them one love-pierced not long ago, 

Dido of Carthage roamed the tall grove through 

Whom when Troy's hero drawing near beheld 

Gliding through murk and shadow, as one sees 

Or dreams to see through clouds the thin new moon, 

He wept, calling her with a lover's cry : 

" Dido ill-starred, but was it truth they told me, 

Thy fate the self-sought ending by the sword ? 

To death I brought thee. by the stars I swear 

By the high gods and by all faith that holds 

In Earth's black core, unwilling, O my queen, 

Sailed I away from Carthage. But the gods 

They who now send me through this shadow world, 

These lands so far, this oceanic night, 

Drave me with uncharitable command 

Nor could I dream sorrow as sharp as that 

Should wait on my departure. But stay, stay ! 

I do not pass so soon : whom dost thou flee ? 

Fate grants me thus to hail thee the last time ! " 

So tried ^Eneas through his tears to assuage 

That shy wild spirit glancing round in fear : 



206 



But she looked down, turning her face aside, 

A face as unresponsive to appeal 

As a hard flint or a high marble mountain. 

Then darting back, down the dark grove she flies 

Unfriendly, where Sichaeus, her old spouse, 

His gentleness love's proxy, tends her still. 

^Eneas, victim of a chance unfair 

Still follows, weeps, and pities as she flies. 

But now, their journey's settled path pursuing, 
On to the ultimate secret fields they move, 
Where walk the mighty Captains. Tydeus here 
He saw, and Parthenopaeus, warrior bold, 
And one that seemed Adrastus, and so pale, 
And all the war-mown Trojans, for whose fate 
Such tears had been shed in the face of heaven. 
Rank upon rank he, sorrowful, saw them, 
Glaucus and Medon and Thersilochus, 
Antenor's son and Polyphcetes, vowed 
Demeter's, and still armed, still charioted 
Idaeus. Right and left the Spirits crowd 
To their eyes' festival, to dally pleased, 
Or step beside, or ask him all his tale. 
But when the Danaan phalanx and great hosts 
Of Agamemnon saw a Man and Arms 
That flashed among the shadows, terrible fear 
Set them aquiver : as to the ships of old 
Some turned to flee : some raised a little cry, 
So thin its echoes mocked their gaping mouths. 

Here saw he Priam's son, Deiphobus, 
With all his body rent, all his face torn 



207 



And both his hands, and ravaged earless head, 

And cut nostrils dishonourable wounds. 

Yet could he recognize the quaking ghost 

That strove to veil the horror of its face 

And called him in the voice he could well know : 

" Deiphobus, Hero of old Trojan blood, 

Who willed you this vile punishment ? To whom 

Was power against you given. Rumour told me 

On that last night how on a tower of dead, 

Weary with slaughter of the Greeks, you lay 

Prone. It was I then raised on Rhaetian shore 

The empty mound and thrice with a loud cry 

Summoned thy wraith. Arms and a name preserve 

That place but thee, dear friend, I could not find 

To bury e'er I left my native land." 

But Priam's son : " Friend, what couldst thou do more ? 

Thou hast paid every due to death and me. 

But me my destiny true the sin 

Of that She-murderess of Spartan brood 

Whelmed in these woes : these are her monuments. 

How in deceitful pleasure that last night 

We spent, well dost thou know, too well must know, 

When with a leap o'er steep-stoned Pergamon 

Pregnant with soldiery, the fatal horse 

Its bristling burden flung. She, she it was 

With traitor dance led round our Phrygian dames 

The wild Evoe proclaiming ! A huge torch 

She shook above the revel, which did call 

The Danaans from Troy Tower. I heavily 

Slept the meanwhile on couch of doom, and me 

208 



Deep honied quiet, miming Death's own peace*, 
Thralled. And my dear spouse, busy all the while, 
Strips the house bare of arms : and my good sword 's 
No longer at my pillow. * Ready now ! 
In Menelaus ! Every door's ajar ! ' 
This was her great gift to her old lover, 
And this her scheme for hushing up old tales ! 
Quick to the end now ! They break in my door, 
With them Ulysses, Crime's High Advocate. 
Gods, load this on the Greeks, if the good man 
Who cries down vengeance be a good man still ! 
But thee alive what hap tell in thy turn 
Brought here ? Dost come a plaything of the wave 
By traveller's chance ? Or at the hest divine ? 
What fate's oppression draws thee to these homes 
Where no sun shines nor any view stands clear ? " 
But while they talked, across the pole of heaven 
Had swept the Charioteer who drives from Dawn, 
And dalliance had soon eaten up the dole 
Of time allotted : so the Sybil warned 
" Down comes the night, ^Eneas : all too fast 
We weep the hours away. Here splits the road, 
Right, to the foot of the big walls of Dis, 
But the left leads the damned to their deserts 
In impious Tartary." " But chide no more," 
Replied Deiphobus : " I will return : 
My place is in the roll-call of the Dead, 
Go, Splendour of our Story : grace be thine 
Beyond our measure." And he turned away. 

1914 

209 



The Dying Patriot 



Day breaks on England down the Kentish hills, 

Singing in the silence of the meadow-footing rills, 

Day of my dreams, O day ! 

I saw them march from Dover, long ago, 
With a silver cross before them, singing low, 

Monks of Rome from their home where the blue seas break 

in foam, 
Augustine with his feet of snow. 



Noon strikes on England, noon on Oxford town, 

Beauty she was statue cold there's blood upon her gown : 

Noon of my dreams, O noon ! 

Proud and godly kings had built her, long ago, 
With her towers and tombs and statues all arow, 

With her fair and floral air and the love that lingers there, 
And the streets where the great men go. 



Evening on the olden, the golden sea of Wales, 
When the first star shivers and the last wave pales : 
evening dreams ! 



210 



There's a house that Britons walked in, long ago, 
Where now the springs of ocean fall and flow, 
And the dead robed in red and sea-lilies overhead 
Sway when the long winds blow. 



Sleep not, my country : though night is here, afar 
Your children of the morning are clamorous for war : 
Fire in the night, O dreams ! 

Though she send you as she sent you, long ago, 
South to desert, east to ocean, west to snow, 
West of these out to seas colder than the Hebrides 

I must go 

Where the fleet of stars is anchored and the young 
Star-captains glow. 



211 



A Sacred Dialogue 

(Christmas 1912) 

The silver Bishop of Bethlehem, 

A desolate Turkish town, 
Speaks with a shape each Christmas day 

That floats to music down. 

THE BISHOP OF BETHLEHEM 

Peace and goodwill, Son of the King ! 
Thy Birthday and Thy Star ! 

CHRIST 

Peace and goodwill the world may sing : 
But we shall talk of war ! 

How fare my armies of the North ? 
212 



THE BISHOP 

They wait victorious peace, 
All the high forts of Macedon 
Fly the proud flag of Greece. 



CHRIST 

Then surely on that Eastern dome 

The Allies' cross is gleaming, 
Redeemed my loved and ancient home J 



THE BISHOP 
Ah, it still waits redeeming ! 

CHRIST 

Still waits Five hundred years, and still 
My soldiers wait so long ? 

THE BISHOP 

Thou hast Fate's sceptre. What thy will 
Dooms could split earth, thou Strong ! 

St. Sophia. 
213 



CHRIST 

My nations are steel towers built tall, 

Shepherd of Bethlehem, 
Tell none this Moslem cracked stone wall 

Is more than jest for them ? 



Yet Islam oft would strip and slay 
Christian woman and child, 

And Europe feast that Christmas day 
A coward reconciled. 



Yet some day o'er Pamphylian waves 
Shall Byzant chants be ringing, 

And rose-crowned hermits leave their caves 
And sail to Patmos singing ; 



Some day Nicea's pool again 

Shall bear the creed of the World, 

And that day crashing from my fane 
Shall that horned moon be hurled. 



Then some deep-faithed Priest will shout 

" Oh, cease ye bells forlorn, 
We have forgotten Jerusalem 

And the land where He was born ! " 

214 



Then the black cannons of the Lord 

Shall wake crusading ghosts 
And the Milky Way shall swing like a sword 
When Jerusalem vomits its horde 
On the Christmas day preferred of the Lord, 

The Christmas day of the Hosts ! 



Note by the Author. Originally written for Christmas 
1912, and referring to the first Balkan War, this poem 
contains in the last speech of Christ words that ring like 
a prophecy of events that may occur very soon. 

December 1914 



215 



The Old Ship* 



I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep 
Beyond the village which men still call Tyre, 
With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep 
For Famagusta and the hidden sun 
That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire ; 
And all those ships were certainly so old 
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun, 
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges, 
The pirate Genoese 
Hell-raked them till they rolled 
Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold. 
But now through friendly seas they softly run, 
Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green, 
Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold. 



But I have seen, 

Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn 
And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay, 
A drowsy ship of some yet older day ; 
And, wonder's breath indrawn, 



216 



Thought I who knows who knows but in that same 

(Fished up beyond ^Eaea, patched up new 

Stern painted brighter blue ) 

That talkative, bald-headed seaman came 

(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar) 

From Troy's doom-crimson shore, 

And with great lies about his wooden horse 

Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course. 



It was so old a ship who knows, who knows ? 
And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain 
To see the mast burst open with a rose, 
And the whole deck put on its leaves again. 



217 



The Blue Noon 



When the whole sky is vestured silken blue 
With not one fleece to view, 
Drown your deep eyes afar, and see you must 
How the light azure dust 
And speckled atoms of the polished skies 
Are large blue butterflies. 
The proof ? Lie in a field on heavy noons, 
When Nature drones and croons 
And on man's distant cry or dog's far bark 
Hush sets the instant mark, 
Look up : when nothing earthly stirs or sings 
You hear them wave their wings, 
And watch the breeze their vanity awakes 
Light on the heavenly lakes. 
But when the shades before the sun's huge fall 
In sham retreat grow tall, 
Their ambushed allies, the impatient stars, 
Make ready for bright wars, 
And shoot ten million arrows to chastise 
The tardy butterflies 

Who dive in hosts toward the diving sphere 
That holds the light's frontier, 
And the poor vanquished, turning as they glide, 
Show their gold underside. 
218 



A Fragment 



O pouring westering streams 
Shouting that I have leapt the mountain bar, 
Down curve on curve my journey's white way gleam: 
My road along the river of return. 



I know the countries where the white moons burn, 

And heavy star on star 

Dips on the pale and crystal desert hills. 

I know the river of the sun that fills 

With founts of gold the lakes of Orient sky. 



And I have heard a voice of broken seas 

And from the cliffs a cry. 

Ah still they learn, those cave-eared Cyclades, 

The Triton's friendly or his fearful horn 

And why the deep sea-bells but seldom chime, 

And how those waves and with what spell-swept rhyme 

In years of morning, on a summer's morn 



219 



Whispering round his castle on the coast, 
Lured young Achilles from his haunted sleep 
And drave him out to dive beyond those deep 
Dim purple windows of the empty swell, 
His ivory body flitting like a ghost 
Over the holes where flat blind fishes dwell, 
All to embrace his mother throned in her shell. 



220 



Narcissus 



O pool in which we dallied 

And splashed the prostrate Noon ! 
Water-boy, more pallid 

Than any watery moon ! 
O Lilies round him turning ! 

O broken Lilies, strewn ! 
O silver Lutes of Morning ! 

Red of the Drums of Noon ! 

dusky-plumaged sorrow ! 

ebon Swans of Care 

1 sought thee on the Morrow, 
And never found thee there ! 

I breathed the vapour-blended 

Cloud of a dim despair : 
White lily, is it ended ? 

Gold lily oh, golden hair ! 

The pool that was thy dwelling 

1 hardly knew again, 

So black it was, and swelling 
With bitter wind and rain. 

221 



'Mid the bowed leaves I lingered, 
Lashed by the blast of Pain, 

Till evening, storm-rose-fingered, 
^Beckoned to night again. 

There burst a flood of Quiet 

Over the unstelled skies ; 
Full moon flashed out a-riot : 

Near her I dreamt thine eyes 
Afloat with night, still trembling 

With captured mysteries : 
But sulphured wracks, assembling, 

Redarkened the bright skies. 

Ah, thou at least art lying 

Safe at the white nymph's feet, 
Listless, while I, slow-dying, 

Twist my gaunt limbs for heat ! 
Yet I'll to Earth, my Mother : 

So, boy, I'll still entreat 
Forgive me for none other 

Like Earth is honey-sweet ! 

(See former version, 'page 30) 



222 



Stillness 



When the words rustle no more, 

And the last work's done, 
When the bolt lies deep in the door, 

And Fire, our Sun, 
Falls on the dark-laned meadows of the floor ; 

When from the clock's last chime to the next chime 

Silence beats his drum, 
And Space with gaunt grey eyes and her brother Time 

Wheeling and whispering come, 

She with the mould of form and he with the loom of 
rhyme : 

Then twittering out in the night my thought-birds flee, 

I am emptied of all my dreams : 
I only hear Earth turning, only see 

Ether's long bankless streams, 

And only know I should drown if you laid not your 
hand on me. 



223 



The Pensive Prisoner 



My thoughts came drifting down the Prison where I lay 
Through the Windows of their Wings the stars were 

shining 

The wings bore me away the russet Wings and grey 
With feathers like the moon-bleached Flowers I was a 

God reclining : 
Beneath me lay my Body's Chain and all the Dragons born 

of Pain 
As I burned through the Prison Roof to walk on Pavement 

Shining. 

The Wild Wind of Liberty swept through my Hair and sang 

beyond : 

I heard the Souls of men asleep chattering in the Eaves 
And rode on topmost Boughs of Heaven's single-moon- 
fruited Silver Wand, 

Night's unifying Tree whereof the central Stars be leaves 
Thoughts, Thoughts, Thoughts, Fire-angel-birds relent- 
less 

Will you not brood in God's Star-tree and leave Red Heart 
tormentless ! 



224 



Hexameters 



O happy Dome so lightly swimming through storm-riven 

jEther, 

Blue burning and gold, the hollow of Chaos adorning, 
Shine, happy Dome of th' air, on Sea thy sister, on ancient 
Plains, on sharp snowbeard mountains, on silvery waters, 
On knotted eld-mossed trees, on roses starry with April 
But most shine upon one lying tormented, a dreamer, 
Thy lover. Ah wherefore did a rift so cruel across thee 
Open ? A long tremulous sighing comes thence, with a 

great wind, 

Darkness ever blowing round thy blue curtain. A finger 
Out of Hell aims at me. Gather, O sweet Dome o* the 

Morning, 

Thy rapid ardent flamy quiver, thy splintery clusters : 
Send a volley straight through to the heart of this desolation, 
And burning, blasting with a shaft of thunderous azure, 
Break the ebon soldiers, restore his realm to the dreamer ! 



Philomel 

(From the French of Paul Fort) 

O sing, in heart of silence hiding near, 
Thou whom the roses bend their heads to hear ! 
In silence down the moonlight slides her wing : 
Will no rose breathe while Philomel doth sing ? 
No breath and deeper yet the perfume grows : 
The voice of Philomel can slay a rose : 
The song of Philomel on nights serene 
Implores the gods who roam in shades unseen, 
But never calls the roses, whose perfume 
Deepens and deepens, as they wait their doom. 
Is it not silence whose great bosom heaves ? 
Listen, a rose-tree drops her quiet leaves. 



Now silence flashes lightning like a storm : 
Now silence is a cloud, and cradled warm 
By risings and by fallings of the tune 
That Philomel doth sing, as shines the moon, 
A bird's or some immortal voice from Hell ? 
There is no breath to die with, Philomel ! 



226 



And yet the world has changed without a hrr.it h. 
The moon lies heavy on the roses' death, 
And every rosebush droops its leafy crown. 
A gust of roses has gone sweeping down. 



The panicked garden drives her leaves about : 
The moon is masked : it flares and flickers out. 
O shivering petals on your lawn of fear, 
Turn down to Earth and hear what you shall hear. 
A beat, a beat, a beat beneath the ground, 
And hurrying beats, and one great beat profound. 
A heart is coming close : I have heard pass 
The noise of a great Heart upon the grass. 
The petals reel. Earth opens : from beneath 
The ashen roses on their lawn of death, 
Raising her peaceful brow, the grand and pale 
Demeter listens to the nightingale. 



From Jean Mor'eas " Stances 



The garden rose I paid no honour to, 
So humbly poised and fashioned on its spray, 
Has now by wind unkissed, undrenched by dew, 
Lived captive in her vase beyond a day. 



And tired and pale, bereft of earth and sun, 
Her blossom over and her hour of pride, 
She has dropped all her petals, one by one, 
Unmindful if she lived or how she died. 



When doom is passing in her dusky glade 
Let us learn silence. In this evening hour, 
O heart bowed down with mystery and shade, 
Too heavy lies the spectre of a flower ! 



228 



The Princess 

(A Story from the Modern Greek) 

A Princess armed a privateer to sail the Chersonese 
And fitted it with purple sails to belly in the breeze, 
With golden cords and oaken boards and a name writ 

out in pearls, 
And all the jolly mariners were gallant little girls. 

The King's Son he came hunting her in frigates two or three, 
" Give me one kiss, Princess," he cried, " and take a ship 

from me ; 
And would you like the yellow boat or would you like the 

red, 
Or would you take myself and mine, the gold and green 

instead ? " 

" Sir, handsome fellow as you are, it's curious, you know, 

To ask a maid for kisses in mid-archipelago : 

But come and fight with us, young man ; the prize is for 

the brave." 
They fought : it chanced the lady won and took him for 

a slave. 



229 



She drave him to the yellow boat and lashed him to the oar. 
" Now pull, my handsome Prince," said she, "till you can 

pull no more." 

" O Princess, do but listen to a valiant boy's appeal, 
And take me from this bitter oar, and put me at the wheel." 

" foolish Prince," she answered him ; " back to your 

oar and pull. 

Row hard and soon we'll anchor in the gulf of Istamboul. 
While the slaves collect provisions and the sailors go for 

drink 
You may chance to find your Captain not so brutal as you 

think ! " 



230 



Pannyra of the Golden Heel 

(From Albert Samain) 

The revel pauses and the room is still : 
The silver flute invites her with a trill, 
And, buried in her great veils fold on fold, 
Rises to dance Pannyra, Heel of Gold. 
Her light steps cross ; her subtle arm impels 
The clinging drapery ; it shrinks and swells, 
Hollows and floats, and bursts into a whirl : 
She is a flower, a moth, a flaming girl. 
All lips are silent ; eyes are all in trance : 
She slowly wakes the madness of the dance, 
Windy and wild the golden torches burn ; 
She turns, and swifter yet she tries to turn, 
Then stops : a sudden marble stiff she stands. 
The veil that round her coiled its spiral bands, 
Checked in its course, brings all its folds to rest, 
And clinging to bright limb and pointed breast 
Shows, as beneath silk waters woven fine, 
Pannyra naked in a flash divine ! 



231 



The Gate of the Armies 

(From Henri de Regnier) 

Swing out thy doors, high gate that dreadst not night, 

Bronze to the left and iron to the right. 

Deep in a cistern has been flung thy key ; 

If dread thee close, anathema on thee ; 

And like twin shears let thy twin portals cut 

The hand's fist through that would thee falsely shut 

Again thy dusky vault hath heard resound 

Steps of strong men who never yet gave ground, 

Marching with whom came breathless and came bold 

Victory naked with broad wings of gold. 

Her glaive to guide them calmly soars and dips ; 

Her kiss is lifeblood's purple on their lips. 

From rose-round mouths the clarions shake and shrill, 

A brazen boom of bees that hunt to kill. 

" Drink, swarm of war, stream from your plated hives 

And cull death's dust on flowery-fleshed fierce lives, 

So, when back home to native town ye march, 

Beneath those golden wings and my black arch 

May all men watch my pavement, as each pace 

Of your red feet leaves clear its sanguine trace." 



232 



November Eves 



November Evenings ! Damp and still 
They used to cloak Leckhampton hill, 
And lie down close on the grey plain, 
And dim the dripping window-pane, 
And send queer winds like Harlequins 
That seized our elms for violins 
And struck a note so sharp and low 
Even a child could feel the woe. 

Now fire chased shadow round the room ; 
Tables and chairs grew vast in gloom : 
We crept about like mice, while Nurse 
Sat mending, solemn as a hearse, 
And even our unlearned eyes 
Half closed with choking memories. 

Is it the mist or the dead leaves, 
Or the dead men November eves ? 



233 



God Save the King 



God save our gracious King, 
Nation and State and King, 

God save the King ! 
Grant him the Peace divine, 
But if his Wars be Thine 
Flash on our fighting line 

Victory's Wing ! 

Thou in his suppliant hands 
Hast placed such Mighty Lands 

Save thou our King ! 
As once from golden Skies 
Rebels with flaming eyes, 
So the King's Enemies 

Doom Thou and fling ! 

Mountains that break the night 
Holds He by eagle right 

Stretching far Wing ! 
Dawn lands for Youth to reap, 
Dim lands where Empires sleep, 
His ! And the Lion Deep 

Roars for the King. 

234 



But most these few dear miles 
Of sweetly-meadowed Isles, 

England all Spring ; 
Scotland that by the marge 
Where the blank North doth charge 
Hears Thy Voice loud and large, 

Save, and their King ! 

Grace on the golden Dales 
Of Thine old Christian Wales 

Shower till they sing, 
Till Erin's Island lawn 
Echoes the dulcet-drawn 
Song with a cry of Dawn 

God save the King ! 



235 



The Burial in England 



These then we honour : these in fragrant earth 
Of their own country in great peace forget 
Death's lion-roar and gust of nostril-flame 
Breathing souls across to the Evening Shore. 
Soon over these the flowers of our hill-sides 
Shall wake and wave and nod beneath the bee 
And whisper love to Zephyr year on year, 
Till the red war gleam like a dim red rose 
Lost in the garden of the Sons of Time. 
But ah what thousands no such friendly doom 
Awaits, whom silent comrades in full night 
Gazing right and left shall bury swiftly 
By the cold flicker of an alien moon. 

Ye veiled women, ye with folded hands, 
Mourning those you half hoped for Death too dear, 
I claim no heed of you. Broader than earth 
Love stands eclipsing nations with his wings, 
While Pain, his shadow, delves as black and deep 
As he e'er flamed or flew. Citizens draw 
Back from their dead awhile. Salute the flag ! 

If this flag though royally always borne, 
Deceived not dastard, ever served base gold ; 



236 



If the dark children of the old Forest 
Once feared it, or ill Sultans mocked it furled, 
Yet now as on a thousand death-reaped days 
It takes once more the unquestionable road. 
O bright with blood of heroes, not a star 
Of all the north shines purer on the sea ! 

Our foes the hardest men a state can forge, 
An army wrenched and hammered like a blade 
Toledo-wrought neither to break nor bend, 
Dipped in that ice the pedantry of power, 
And toughened with wry gospels of dismay ; 
Such are these who brake down the door of France, 
Wolves worrying at the old World's honour, 
Hunting Peace not to prison but her tomb. 
But ever as some brown song-bird whose torn nest 
Gapes robbery, darts on the hawk like fire, 
So Peace hath answered, angry and in arms. 
And from each grey hamlet and bright town of France 
From where the apple or the olive grows 
Or thin tall strings of poplars on the plains, 
From the rough castle of the central hills, 
From the three coasts of mist and storm and sun, 
And meadows of the four deep-rolling streams, 
From every house whose windows hear God's bell 
Crowding the twilight with the wings of prayer 
And flash their answer in a golden haze, 
Stream the young soldiers who are never tired. 
For all the foul mists vanished when that land 
Called clear, as in the sunny Alpine morn 
The jodeler awakes the frosty slopes 



237 



To thunderous replies, soon fading far 
Among the vales like songs of dead children. 
But the French guns' answer, ne'er to echoes weak 
Diminished, bursts from the deep trenches yet ; 
And its least light vibration blew to dust 
The weary factions, priest's or guild's or king's, 
And side by side troop up the old partisans, 
The same laughing, invincible, tough men 
Who gave Napoleon Europe like a loaf, 
For slice and portion, not so long ago ! 
Either to Alsace or loved lost Lorraine 
They pass, or inexpugnable Verdun 
Ceintured with steel, or stung with faith's old cry 
Assume God's vengeance for his temple stones. 
But you maybe best wish them for the north 
Beside you 'neath low skies in loamed fields, 
Or where the great line hard on the duned shore 
Ends and night leaps to England's sea-borne flame. 
Never one drop of Lethe's stagnant cup 
Dare dim the fountains of the Marne and Aisne 
Since still the flowers and meadow-grass unmown 
Lie broken with the imprint of those who fell, 
Briton and Gaul but fell immortal friends 
And fell victorious and like tall trees fell. 

But young men, you who loiter in the town, 
Need you be roused with overshouted words, 
Country, Empire, Honour, Liege, Louvain ? 
Pay your own Youth the duty of her dreams. 
For what sleep shall keep her from the thrill 
Of War's star-smiting music, with its swell 



238 



Of shore and forest and horns high in the wind, 
(Yet pierced with that too sharp piping which if man 
Hear and not fear he shall face God unscathed) ? 
What, are you poets whose vain souls contrive 
Sorties and sieges spun of the trickling moon 
And such a rousing ghost-catastrophe 
You need no concrete marvels to be saved ? 
Or live you here too lustily for change ? 
Sail you such pirate seas on such high quests, 
Hunt you thick gold or striped and spotted beasts, 
Or tread the lone ways of the swan-like mountains ? 
Excused. But if, as I think, breeched in blue, 
Stalled at a counter, cramped upon a desk, 
You drive a woman's pencraft or a slave's, 
What chain shall hold you when the trumpets play 
Calling from the blue hill behind your town 
Calling over the seas, calling for you ! 
" But," do you murmur ? " we'd not be as those. 
Death is a dour recruiting-sergeant : see, 
These women weep, we celebrate the dead." 
Boys, drink the cup of warning dry. Face square 
That old grim hazard, " Glory-or-the-Grave." 
Not we shall trick your pleasant years away, 
Yet is not Death the great adventure still, 
And is it all loss to set ship clean anew 
When heart is young and life an eagle poised ? 
Choose, you're no cowards. After all, think some, 
Since we are men and shrine immortal souls 
Surely for us as for these nobly dead 
The Kings of England lifting up their swords 
Shall gather at the gate of Paradise. 

239 



The True Paradise 



Lord, is the Poet to destruction vowed, 

Like the dawn-feather of an April cloud, 

Which signs in russet character or grey 

The name of Beauty on the book of Day ? 

We poets crave no heav'n but what is ours 

These trees beside these rivers ; these same flowers 

Shaped and enfragranced to the English field 

Where Thy best florist-craft is full revealed. 

Trees by the river, birds upon the bough 

My soul shall ask for, whose flesh enjoys them now 

Through both the pale-blue windows of quick Mind ; 

Grant me earth's treats in Paradise to find. 

Nor listen to that island-bound St. John 

Who'd have no Sea in Heaven, no Sea to sail upon ! 

Remake this World less Man's and Nature's Pain ; 

Save such dear torment as the chill of Rain 

When the sun flouts us like a maid her man 

Drowned in long meshes of a silver Fan. 

Nor, Lord, the good fatigue of labouring breath 

Destroy, but only Sickness, Age and Death. 

Let old Plays teach Despair's sad grandeur still 

And legends trumpet War's last Hero-thrill. 



240 



So I and all my friends, still young, still wise, 
Will shout along thy streets " Paradise ' 
But if prepared for me new Mansions are, 
Chill and unknown, in some bright windy Star, 
Mid strange-shaped Souls from all the Planets seven, 
Lord, I fear deep, and would not go to Heaven. 
Rather in feather-mist I'd fade away 
Like the Dawn-writing of an April day. 



241 



Ode to the Glory of Greece 

(A Fragment) 

Hellas victorious ! 

Two came to me at night 

Glorious 

With that Elysian light 

Which round the phantoms of great Poets dead 

Hovers, as once in their blue earthly eyes 

Played Thoughts with wings outspread, 

The splendour of their souls. 

Cried one to me," mortal brother, since thou lovest too 

With all thy burning breath 

The stony hills and salt Corinthian blue 

From whose divine dear shore 

Apollo led me to the caves of death " 

But charmed, he forbore. 

His voice had sung to measure grave and low 

When suddenly his young friend-phantom spoke, 

And Shelley's voice rang like a wave of aether 

Blazing and breaking on rosy cliffs of air, 

And his face was flaming snow, overlushed 



242 



By a river of the sun his long bright hair. 

" Inheritor," he sang, " speed thou away 

Rushing with ^olus and Boreas, rushing on the 

ancient paths 
Scattering the rosy plumage of the new arisen day. 

" Go thou to Athens, go to Salonica, 

Go thou to Yannina beside the lake, 

And cry, * The vision of the Prophet dead ! ' 

Cry, ' The Olympians wake ! ' 

And cry, * Towers of Hellas built anew by rhyme, 

Star-woven to my Amphionic lyre, 

Stand you in steel for ever, 

And from your lofty lanterns sweeping the dim hilli 

and the nocturnal sea 
Pour out the fire of Hellas, the everlasting fire ! ' 

And then to me once more the Elder Shadow : 

" Still, brother, Shelley's fancy brims desire : 

His soul is so acquainted with great dreams 

That even the immane Elysian meadow 

Whose flowers are stars and every star a world that 

glides and gleams, 

Confines him not but still he longs to roam 
Beyond the quiet spiritual home. 
--His soul is so acquainted with great dreams 
That man's endeavour 
He seeth not near that broken river 
Struggling to what salt sea ? 



" Since man's endeavour flows as a river, how shall it 
turn to the hills again ? 

Burst again all rosy with morning from snow- 
starred mountains of first renown ; 

Who to-day shall hear the Achaeans shout from the 
trench of the Troyans slain, 

Who rebuild in music or memory Sparta's tower or 
Athena's town ? 

" Since the Roman intercepted and Rome's dimidiate, 

stoled Byzance, 
Shall they hear above their cannon grave, the 

Periclean tune ? 
Christ oversang it, chivalry dimmed it, winding on 

Parnes the horns of France, 
Islam drowned the echo of echo deep in the night of 

her languid moon." 



Passionate thus he spake, the wise ghost unforgetful 

Of stone and tree, river and shore and plain, 

And the good coloured things of Earth the dead see 

not again, 

And how man's hope grows weak and his force fretful 
With such great hills to gain. 
I for an answer pondered deep, 
And then I seemed to fall from sleep to sleep, 
Watching as through a veil I could not tear 
The threads of rose and gold of Shelley's hair. 



244 



The gold glowed deeper and the rose burnt red, 

And I saw running and rustling at my feet 

The rivers of a golden sun that bled 

Scarlet, scarlet, scarlet as though wounded 

By some celestial archer of the Stars 

In the last fight when God's last trump was sounded ; 

Then the great lake of commingling blood and fire 

Burst in a fountain to my window streaming, 

To my Cephisian window high and cool, 

Over far Salamis and Athens gleaming, 

Drowning the sea and city in one deep pool. 

And only now old Parns of the West 

And grey Hymettus of the dawn 

Rose above the phantom seas 

Like Islands of the Blest. 

Then a wind came and swept and whirled away, 

And the mist left Hymettus broken small 

Like a swarm of golden bees. 

Gone is the Poet of the magic locks, 

And Byron gone ; master of war's [....] 

Outflashes white the holy Parthenon 

And broad calm streets of Athens of to-day, 

And in the barracks the far bugles play, 

listen what they say ! 



Hark, hark the shepherd piping far and near, 
The hills are dancing to the Dorian mood. 



245 



To-day Arcady is and the white Fear 
Naked in sunshine glory still haunts here ; 
The old dark wood 

Invites to prayer or fountain in the vale. 
If not the Cytherean, one more dear 
Daphnis shall worship one more pale, 
She too a heroine of a Grecian tale. 



But if no Pheidias with marble towers 

Grace our new Athens, simple, calm and wide, 

Carving a group of men to look like flowers 

For our new glory's pride. 

If songs of gentle Solomos be less 

Than that Aeschylean trump of bronze 

And if beside Eurotas the lone swans 

About the desolation press. 

Yet still victorious Hellas, thou hast heard 
Those ancient voices thundering to arms, 
Thou nation of an older younger day 
Thou hast gone forth as with the poet's song. 
Surely the spirit of the old oak grove 
Rejoiced to hear the cannon round Yannina, 
Apollo launched his shaft of terror down 
On Salonica. .... 

1913 
246 



The Old Warship Ablaze 



Founder, old battleship ; thy fight is done ! 
Yonder ablaze like thee now sinks the sun, 
Shooting the last grand broadside of his beams 
Over thy blackened plates and writhing seams. 
Against hard odds thy crew played all their part, 
Driving thee deathwards that the foe should smart 
Till the guns brake and fire leapt up insane, 
And they abandoned thee, to fight again, 
Who on thy deck, where flicker the gaunt flames, 
Have left so many dead won such proud names. 



Dark flow the waiting waves : one can still see 
Thy giant murderer edge sullenly 
Eastward among the swelling towers of night. 
Canst thou, dying, forget in Hell's despite 
Thy freight of fire and blood, the roar and rage 
Of waves and guns ? Thou liest age on age 
Tranced like the Princess in her sleepy Thorn, 
In that curv'd bay where once the film of morn 
Brake azure to thy bugles, skilled to bring 
The Afric breeze, who, prompt on honied wing 



2 47 



Silvered the waves and then the olive trees, 
And shook like sceptres those stiff companies 
The columned palms, nor till the air was full 
Of flash and whisper came the noon-tide lull. 
Or that far country's ten-year-buried eves 
Or moonlight scattered like a shower of leaves 
Dost thou recall ? Or how on this same deck, 
Whose flaming planks blood-boultered tilt to wreck, 
The dance went round to music, and how shone 
For English grey, black eyes of Lebanon ? 



But Eastward and still east the World is thrown 
Like a mad hunter seeking dawns unknown 
Who plunges deep in sparkless woods of gloom. 
Lebanon long hath turned into night's womb 
And through her stelled casements pass new dreams 
Thee too from those last no-more-rival beams 
Earth rolleth back. Alone O ship, flower, 
O flame, thou sailest for a moth-weak hour ! 



They come at last, the bird-soft pattering feet ! 

Flame high, old ship ; the Fair throng up to greet 

Thy splendid doom. See the long spirits, curled 

Beside their dead, stand upright free of the world ! 

And seize the bright shapes loosed from blood-warm sleep, 

They, the true ghosts, whose eyes are fixed and deep ! 

248 



O ship, O fire, O fancy ! A swift roar 

Has rent the brow of night. Thou nevermore 

Shalt glide to channel port or Syrian town ; 

Light ghosts have danced thee like a plummet down, 

And, swift as Fate through skies with storm bestrewn, 

Dips out ironical that ship New Moon. 



THE END 



PRINTED AT 
KNIGHT'S, I WEST NORWOOD 



VICTORIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY