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COMPLETE POEMS 



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THE COMPLETE POEMS 
OF FRANCIS LEDWIDGE 




FRANCIS LEDWIDGE 



THE 
COMPLETE POEMS 

OF 

FRANCIS LEDWIDGE 

WITH INTRODUCTIONS 

BY LORD DUNSANY 




NEW YORK 
BRENTANO'S 

1919 



TO 

MY MOTHER 

THE FIRST SINGER I KNEW 



INTRODUCTION TO 
SONGS OF THE FIELDS 

DUNSANY CASTLE, 

June, 1914. 

IF one who looked from a tower for a new 
star, watching for years the same part of 
the sky, suddenly saw it (quite by chance 
while thinking of other things), and 
knew it for the star for which he had hoped, 
how many millions of men would never care? 
And the star might blaze over deserts and 
forests and seas, cheering lost wanderers in 
desolate lands, or guiding dangerous quests; 
millions would never know it. 

And a poet is no more than a star. 
If one has arisen where I have so long looked 
for one, amongst the Irish peasants, it can be 
little more than a secret that I shall share with 
those who read this book because they care for 
poetry. 

I have looked for a poet amongst the Irish 
peasants because it seemed to me that almost 
only amongst them there was in daily use a 
7 



8 INTRODUCTION 

diction worthy of poetry, as well as an imagi- 
nation capable of dealing with the great and 
simple things that are a poet's wares. Their 
thoughts are in the spring-time, and all their 
metaphors fresh: in London no one makes 
metaphors any more, but daily speech is strewn 
thickly with dead ones that their users should 
write upon paper and give to their gardeners 
to burn. 

In this same London, two years ago, where 
I was wasting June, I received a letter one day 
from Mr. Ledwidge and a very old copy-book. 
The letter asked whether there was any good 
in the verses that filled the copy-book, the 
produce apparently of four or five years. It 
began with a play in verse that no manager 
would dream of, there were mistakes in gram- 
mar, in spelling of course, and worse there 
were such phrases as " 'thwart the rolling 
foam," " waiting for my true love on the lea," 
etc., which are vulgarly considered to be the 
appurtenances of poetry; but out of these and 
many similar errors there arose continually, 
like a mountain sheer out of marshes, that easy 
fluency of shapely lines which is now so notice- 
able in all that he writes; that and sudden 
glimpses of the fields that he seems at times to 
bring so near to one that one exclaims, " Why, 



INTRODUCTION 9 

that is how Meath looks," or " It is just like 
that along the Boyne in April," quite taken by 
surprise by familiar things: for none of us 
knows, till the poets point them out, how many 
beautiful things are close about us. 

Of pure poetry there are two kinds, that 
which mirrors the beauty of the world in which 
our bodies are, and that which builds the more 
mysterious kingdoms where geography ends 
and fairyland begins, with gods and heroes at 
war, and the sirens singing still, and Alph go- 
ing down to the darkness from Xanadu. Mr. 
Ledwidge gives us the first kind. When they 
have read through the pro founder poets, and 
seen the problem plays, and studied all the per- 
plexities that puzzle man in the cities, the small 
circle of readers that I predict for him will turn 
to Ledwidge as to a mirror reflecting beautiful 
fields, as to a very still lake rather on a very 
cloudless evening. 

There is scarcely a smile of Spring or a sigh 
of Autumn that is not reflected here, scarcely 
a phase of the large benedictions of Summer; 
even of Winter he gives us clear glimpses 
sometimes, albeit mournfully, remembering 
Spring. 

" In the red west the twisted moon is low, 
And on the bubbles there are half-lit stars. 



io INTRODUCTION 

Music and twilight : and the deep blue flow 
Of water : and the watching fire of Mars. 
The deep fish slipping through the moonlit bars 
Make death a thing of sweet dreams," 

What a Summer's evening is here. 

And this is a Summer's night in a much 
longer poem that I have not included in this 
selection, a summer's night seen by two lovers : 

"The large moon rose up queenly as a flower 
Charmed by some Indian pipes. A hare went by, 
A snipe above them circled in the sky." 

And elsewhere he writes, giving us the mood 
and picture of Autumn in a single line : 

" And somewhere all the wandering birds have flown." 

With such simple scenes as this the book is 
full, giving nothing at all to those that look 
for a " message/' but bringing a feeling of 
quiet from gleaming Irish evenings, a book to 
read between the Strand and Piccadilly Circus 
amidst the thunder and hootings. 

To every poet is given the revelation of 
some living thing so intimate that he speaks, 
when he speaks of it, as an ambassador speak- 
ing for his sovereign; with Homer it was the 
heroes, with Ledwidge it is the small birds that 
sing, but in particular especially the blackbird, 
whose cause he champions against all other 



INTRODUCTION 11 

birds almost with a vehemence such as that 

with which men discuss whether Mr. , 

M.P., or his friend the Right Honourable 

is really the greater ruffian. This is how he 
speaks of the blackbird in one of his earliest 
poems; he was sixteen when he wrote it, in a 
grocer's shop in Dublin, dreaming of Slane, 
where he was born ; and his dreams turned out 
to be too strong for the grocery business, for 
he walked home one night, a distance of thirty 
miles : 

"Above me smokes the little town 
With its whitewashed walls and roofs of brown 
And its octagon spire toned smoothly down 

As the holy minds within. 
And wondrous, impudently sweet, 
Half of him passion, half conceit, 
The blackbird calls adown the street, 
Like the piper of Hamelin." 

Let us not call him the Burns of Ireland, you 
who may like this book, nor even the Irish John 
Clare, though he is more like him, for poets 
are all incomparable (it is only the versifiers 
that resemble the great ones), but let us know 
him by his own individual song : he is the poet 
of the blackbird. 

I hope that not too many will be attracted to 
this book on account of the author being a peas- 
ant, lest he come to be praised by the how- 



12 INTRODUCTION 

interesting! school; for know that neither in 
any class, nor in any country, nor in any age, 
shall you predict the footfall of Pegasus, who 
touches the earth where he pleaseth and is 
bridled by whom he will. 

DUNSANY. 
June, 1914- 

BASINGSTOKE CAMP. 

I WROTE this preface in such a different June, 
that if I sent it out with no addition it would 
make the book appear to have dropped a long 
while since out of another world, a world that 
none of us remembers now, in which there used 
to be leisure. 

Ledwidge came last October into the 5th 
Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 
which is in one of the divisions of Kitchener's 
first army, and soon earned a lance-corporal's 
stripe. 

All his future books lie on the knees of the 
gods. May They not be the only readers. 

Any well-informed spy can probably tell you 
our movements, so of such things I say noth- 
ing. 

DUNSANY, Captain, 
June, 1915. 5th R. Inniskilling Fusiliers. 



INTRODUCTION TO 
SONGS OF PEACE 

EBRINGTON BARRACKS, 

September, 1916. 

IN this selection that Corporal Ledwidge 
has asked me to make from his poems 
I have included " A Dream of Artemis," 
though it was incomplete and has been 
hurriedly finished. Were it not included on 
that account many lines of extraordinary 
beauty would remain unseen. He asked me 
if I did not think that it ended too abruptly, 
but so many pleasant things ended abruptly in 
the summer of 1914, when this poem was being 
written, that the blame for that may rest on a 
meaner, though more exalted, head than that 
of the poet. 

In this poem, as in the other one that has a 
classical theme, " The Departure of Proser- 
pine," those who remember their classics may 
find faults, but I read the " Dream of Artemis " 
merely as an expression of things that the poet 
has seen and dreamed in Meath, including a 
most beautiful description of a fox-hunt in the 
13 



14 INTRODUCTION 

north of the county, in which he has probably 
taken part on foot ; and in " The Departure of 
Proserpine," whether conscious or not, a crys- 
tallization in verse of an autumnal mood in- 
duced by falling leaves and exile and the pos- 
sible nearness of death. 

The second poem in the book was written 
about a little boy who used to drive cows for 
some farmer past the poet's door very early 
every morning, whistling as he went, and who 
died just before the war. I think that its beau- 
tiful and spontaneous simplicity would cost 
some of our writers gallons of midnight oil. 

Of the next, " To a Distant One," who will 
not hope that when, " Fame and other little 
things are won " its clear and confident proph- 
ecy will be happily fulfilled? 

Quite perfect, if my judgment is of any 
value, is the little poem on page 171, "In the 
Mediterranean Going to the War/' 

Another beautiful thing is " Homecoming " 
on page 188. 

"The sheep are coming home in Greece, 

Hark the bells on every hill, 
Flock by flock and fleece by fleece." 

One feels that the Greeks are of some use, 
after all, to have inspired with the help of 
their sheep so lovely a poem. 



INTRODUCTION 15 

" The Shadow People " on page 201 seems 
to me another perfect poem. Written in Ser- 
bia and Egypt, it shows the poet still looking 
steadfastly at those fields, though so far distant 
then, of which he was surely born to be the 
singer. And this devotion to the fields of 
Meath that, in nearly all his songs, from such 
far places brings his spirit home, like the in- 
stinct that has been given to the swallows, 
seems to be the key-note of the book. For 
this reason I have named it Songs of Peace, in 
spite of the circumstances under which they 
were written. 

There follow poems at which some may 
wonder: "To Thomas McDonagh," "The 
Blackbirds," "The Wedding Morning"; but 
rather than attribute curious sympathies to this 
brave young Irish soldier I would ask his 
readers to consider the irresistible attraction 
that a lost cause has for almost any Irishman. 

Once the swallow instinct appears again 
in the poem called " The Lure " and a long- 
ing for the South, and again in the poem 
called " Song " : and then the Irish fields con- 
tent him again, and we find him on the last 
page but one in the book making a poem for a 
little place called Faughan, because he finds 
that its hills and woods and streams are un- 



16 INTRODUCTION 

sung. Surely for this if there be, as many 
believed, gods lesser than Those whose busi- 
ness is with destiny, thunder and war, small 
gods that haunt the groves, seen only at times 
by few, and then indistinctly at evening, surely 
from gratitude they will give him peace. 

DUNSANY. 



INTRODUCTION TO 
LAST SONGS 

THE HlNDENBERG LlNE, 

October qth, 1917. 

WRITING amidst rather too much 
noise and squalor to do justice 
at all to the delicate rustic muse 
of Francis Ledwidge, I do not 
like to delay his book any longer, nor to fail in 
a promise long ago made to him to write this 
introduction. He has gone down in that vast 
maelstrom into which poets do well to adven- 
ture and from which their country might per- 
haps be wise to withhold them, but that is our 
Country's affair. He has left behind him 
verses of great beauty, simple rural lyrics that 
may be something of an anodyne for this 
stricken age. If ever an age needed beautiful 
little songs our age needs them; and I know 
few songs more peaceful and happy, or better 
suited to soothe the scars on the mind of those 
who have looked on certain places, of which 
the prophecy in the gospels seems no more than 
17 



i8 INTRODUCTION 

an ominous hint when it speaks of the abomi- 
nation of desolation. 

He told me once that it was on one particu- 
lar occasion, when walking at evening through 
the village of Slane in summer, that he heard 
a blackbird sing. The notes, he said, were 
very beautiful, and it is this blackbird that he 
tells of in three wonderful lines in his early 
poem called " Behind the Closed Eye," and it 
is this song perhaps more than anything else 
that has been the inspiration of his brief life. 
Dynasties shook and the earth shook; and the 
war, not yet described by any man, revelled 
and wallowed in destruction around him; and 
Francis Ledwidge stayed true to his inspira- 
tion, as his homeward songs will show. 

I had hoped he would have seen the fame he 
has well deserved; but it is hard for a poet to 
live to see fame even in times of peace. In 
these days it is harder than ever. 

DUNS ANY. 



CONTENTS 

SONGS OF THE FIELDS 

PAGE 

To MY BEST FRIEND 25 

BEHIND THE CLOSED EYE 27 

BOUND TO THE MAST 29 

To A LINNET IN A CAGE 32 

A TWILIGHT IN MIDDLE MARCH 34 

SPRING 36 

DESIRE IN SPRING 38 

A RAINY DAY IN APRIL 39 

A SONG OF APRIL 42 

THE BROKEN TRYST 44 

THOUGHTS AT THE TRYSTING STILE 46 

EVENING IN MAY 49 

AN ATTEMPT AT A CITY SUNSET 51 

WAITING 53 

THE SINGER'S MUSE 54 

INAMORATA 56 

THE WIFE OF LLEW 58 

THE HILLS . '. . . . ". 59 

JUNE 61 

IN MANCHESTER 63 

Music ON WATER 65 

To M. McG 68 

IN THE DUSK 70 

THE DEATH OF AILILL 72 

AUGUST 74 

THE VISITATION OF PEACE 75 

BEFORE THE TEARS 80 

GOD'S REMEMBRANCE 82 

AN OLD PAIN 

THE LOST ONES 

ALL-HALLOWS EVE 90 

A MEMORY 93 

A SONG 97 

A FEAR 99 

THE COMING POET . 100 

THE VISION ON THE BRINK 102 

19 



20 CONTENTS 

PAGE 
To LOKD DUNSANY 104 

ON AN OATEN STRAW 106 

EVENING IN FEBRUARY 107 

THE SISTER 108 

BEFORE THE WAR OF COOLEY no 

Low-MooN LAND 113 

THE SORROW OF FINDEBAR 115 

ON DREAM WATER 118 

THE DEATH OF SUALTEM 119 

THE MAID IN Low-MooN LAND 123 

THE DEATH OF LEAG, CUCHULAIN'S CHARIOTEER . 124 

THE PASSING OF CAOILTE 127 

GROWING OLD 129 

AFTER MY LAST SONG 131 

SONGS OF PEACE 

AT HOME 

A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 135 

A LITTLE BOY IN THE MORNING 150 

IN BARRACKS 

To A DISTANT ONE 153 

THE PLACE 155 

MAY 157 

To ElLISH OF THE FAIR HAIR 159 

IN CAMP 

CREWBRAWN 163 

EVENING IN ENGLAND . * . 164 

AT SEA 

CROCKNAHARNA 169 

IN THE MEDITERRANEAN GOING TO THE WAR . 171 
THE GARDENER . . . .... . . . . . 172 

IN SERBIA 

AUTUMN EVENING IN SERBIA 177 

NOCTURNE 179 

SPRING AND AUTUMN . 181 



CONTENTS 2i 

IN GREECE 

PAGE 

THE DEPARTURE OF PROSERPINE 185 

THE HOME-COMING OF THE SHEEP 188 

WHEN LOVE AND BEAUTY WANDER AWAY . . . 190 

IN HOSPITAL IN EGYPT 

MY MOTHER 195 

SONG 197 

To ONE DEAD 198 

THE RESURRECTION 200 

THE SHADOW PEOPLE 201 

IN BARRACKS 

AN OLD DESIRE 205 

THOMAS McDoNAGH 206 

THE WEDDING MORNING 207 

THE BLACKBIRDS 209 

THE LURE 211 

THRO' BOGAC BAN 213 

FATE 214 

EVENING CLOUDS 216 

SONG 218 

THE HERONS 219 

IN THE SHADOWS 220 

THE SHIPS OF ARCADY 221 

AFTER . . . .'. . . . ; 223 

To ONE WEEPING 224 

A DREAM DANCE 225 

BY FAUGHAN 226 

IN SEPTEMBER 228 

LAST SONGS 

To AN OLD QUILL OF LORD DUNSANY'S . . . .231 

To A SPARROW 234 

OLD CLO' 236 

YOUTH 238 

THE LITTLE CHILDREN 239 

AUTUMN 241 

IRELAND 243 

LADY FAIR 245 

AT A POET'S GRAVE 247 



22 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

AFTER COURT MARTIAL 248 

A MOTHER'S SONG 249 

AT CURRABWEE 25O 

SONG-TIME is OVER 252 

UNA BAWN 253 

SPRING LOVE 254 

SOLILOQUY 255 

DAWN 257 

CEOL SIDHE 258 

THE RUSHES 260 

THE DEAD KINGS 262 

IN FRANCE 265 

HAD I A GOLDEN POUND 266 

FAIRIES 267 

IN A CAF 268 

SPRING 269 

PAN 271 

WITH FLOWERS 272 

THE FIND 273 

A FAIRY HUNT 274 

To ONE WHO COMES Now AND THEN .... 276 

THE SYLPH 279 

HOME . 280 

THE LANAWN SHEE . 281 



SONGS OF THE FIELDS 






TO MY BEST FRIEND 
I LOVE the wet-lipped wind that stirs the hedge 
And kisses the bent flowers that drooped for 

rain, 
That stirs the poppy on the sun-burned ledge 

And like a swan dies singing, without pain. 
The golden bees go buzzing down to stain 

The lilies' frills, and the blue harebell rings, 
And the sweet blackbird in the rainbow sings. 



Deep in the meadows I would sing a song, 

The shallow brook my tuning-fork, the birds 
My masters ; and the boughs they hop along 
25 



26 TO MY BEST FRIEND 

Shall mark my time: but there shall be no 

words 
For lurking Echo's mock ; an angel herds 

Words that I may not know, within, for you, 
Words for the faithful meet, the good and true. 



BEHIND THE CLOSED EYE 
I WALK the old frequented ways 

That wind around the tangled braes, 
I live again the sunny days 

Ere I the city knew. 

And scenes of old again are born, 
The woodbine lassoing the thorn, 

And drooping Ruth-like in the corn 
The poppies weep the dew. 

Above me in their hundred schools 

The magpies bend their young to rules,. 

And like an apron full of jewels 
The dewy cobweb swings. 

And frisking in the stream below 
The troutlets make the circles flow, 
27 



28 BEHIND THE CLOSED EYE 

And the hungry crane doth watch them grow 
As a smoker does his rings. 

Above me smokes the little town, 

With its whitewashed walls and roofs of 

brown 
And its octagon spire toned smoothly down 

As the holy minds within. 

And wondrous impudently sweet, 
Half of him passion, half conceit, 

The blackbird calls adown the street 
Like the piper of Hamelin. 

I hear him, and I feel the lure 

Drawing me back to the homely moor, 

I'll go and close the mountains' door 
On the city's strife and din. 



BOUND TO THE MAST 
WHEN mildly falls the deluge of the grass, 
And meads begin to rise like Noah's flood, 
And o'er the hedgerows flow, and onward pass, 

Dribbling thro' many a wood ; 
When hawthorn trees their flags of truce un- 
furl, 

And dykes are spitting violets to the breeze ; 
When meadow larks their jocund flight will 

curl 
From Earth's to Heaven's leas ; 

Ah! then the poet's dreams are most sublime, 
A-sail on seas that know a heavenly calm, 
And in his song you hear the river's rhyme, 
29 



3 o BOUND TO THE MAST 

And the first bleat of the lamb. 
Then when the summer evenings fall serene, 
Unto the country dance his songs repair, 
And you may meet some maids with angel mien, 

Bright eyes and twilight hair. 

When Autumn's crayon tones the green leaves 

sere, 

And breezes honed on icebergs hurry past ; 
When meadow-tid^s have ebbed and woods 

grow drear, 

And bow before the blast; 
When briars make semicircles on the way ; 
When blackbirds hide their flutes and cower 

and die ; 

When swollen rivers lose themselves and stray 
Beneath a murky sky ; 



BOUND TO THE MAST 31 

Then doth the poet's voice like cuckoo's break, 
And round his verse the hungry lapwing 

grieves, 
And melancholy in his dreary wake 

The funeral of the leaves. 
Then when the Autumn dies upon the plain, 
Wound in the snow alike his right and wrong, 
The poet sings, albeit a sad strain, 

Bound to the Mast of Song. 



TO A LINNET IN A CAGE 
WHEN Spring is in the fields that stained your 

wing, 

And the blue distance is alive with song, 
And finny quiets of the gabbling spring 

Rock lilies red and long, 
At dewy daybreak, I will set you free 

In ferny turnings of the woodbine lane, 
Where faint-voiced echoes leave and cross in 

glee 
The hilly swollen plain. 

In draughty houses you forget your tune, 
The modulator of the changing hours, 
32 



TO A LINNET IN A CAGE 33 

You want the wide air of the moody noon, 

And the slanting evening showers. 
So I will loose you, and your song shall fall 

When morn is white upon the dewy pane, 
Across my eyelids, and my soul recall 

From worlds of sleeping pain. 



A TWILIGHT IN MIDDLE MARCH 
WITHIN the oak a throb of pigeon wings 
Fell silent, and grey twilight hushed the fold, 
And spiders' hammocks swung on half-oped 

things 

That shook like foreigners upon our cold. 
A gipsy lit a fire and made a sound 
Of moving tins, and from an oblong moon 
The river seemed to gush across the ground 
To the cracked metre of a marching tune. 

And then three syllables of melody 

Dropped from a blackbird's flute, and died 

apart 
Far in the dewy dark. No more but three, 

34 



A TWILIGHT IN MIDDLE MARCH 35 

Yet sweeter music never touched a heart 
Neath the blue domes of London. Flute and 

reed, 

Suggesting feelings of the solitude 
When will was all the Delphi I would heed, 
Lost like a wind within a summer wood 
From little knowledge where great sorrows 

brood. 



SPRING 

THE dews drip roses on the meadows 
Where the meek daisies dot the sward. 
And ^Lolus whispers through the shadows, 
" Behold the handmaid of the Lord ! " 
The golden news the skylark waketh 
And 'thwart the heavens his flight is curled ; 
Attend ye as the first note breaketh 
And chrism droppeth on the world. 



The velvet dusk still haunts the stream 
Where Pan makes music light and gay. 
The mountain mist hath caught a beam 
And slowly weeps itself away. 
36 



SPRING 37 

The young leaf bursts its chrysalis 
And gem-like hangs upon the bough, 
Where the mad throstle sings in bliss 
O'er earth's rejuvenated brow. 

ENVOI 

Slowly fall, O golden sands, 
Slowly fall and let me sing, 
Wrapt in the ecstasy of youth, 
The wild delights of Spring. 



DESIRE IN SPRING 
I LOVE the cradle songs the mothers sing 
In lonely places when the twilight drops, 
The slow endearing melodies that bring 
Sleep to the weeping lids; and, when she stops, 
I love the roadside birds upon the tops 
Of dusty hedges in a world of Spring. 

And when the sunny rain drips from the edge 
Of midday wind, and meadows lean one way, 
And a long whisper passes thro' the sedge, 
Beside the broken water let me stay, 
While these old airs upon my memory play, 
And silent changes colour up the hedge. 
38 



A RAINY DAY IN APRIL 

WHEN the clouds shake their hyssops, and the 

rain 

Like holy water falls upon the plain, 
Tis sweet to gaze upon the springing grain 
And see your harvest born. 

And sweet the little breeze of melody, 
The blackbird puffs upon the budding tree, 
While the wild poppy lights upon the lea 
And blazes 'mid the corn. 

The skylark soars the freshening shower to 

hail, 
And the meek daisy holds aloft her pail, 

39 



40 A RAINY DAY IN APRIL 

And Spring all radiant by the wayside pale, 

Sets up her rock and reel. 

See how she weaves her mantle fold on fold, 
Hemming the woods and carpeting the wold. 
Her warp is of the green, her woof the gold, 
The spinning world her wheel. 

By'n by above the hills a pilgrim moon 
Will rise to light upon the midnight noon, 
But still she plieth to the lonesome tune 
Of the brown meadow rail. 

No heavy dreams upon her eyelids weigh, 
Nor do her busy fingers ever stay ; 
She knows a fairy prince is on the way 
To wake a sleeping beauty. 



A RAINY DAY IN APRIL 41 

To deck the pathway that his feet must tread, 
To fringe the 'broidery of the roses' bed, 
To show the Summer she but sleeps, not 

dead, 
This is her fixed duty. 

ENVOI 

To-day while leaving my dear home behind, 
My eyes with salty homesick teardrops blind, 
The rain fell on me sorrowful and kind 
Like angels' tears of pity. 

Twas then I heard the small birds' melodies, 

And saw the poppies' bonfire on the leas, 

As Spring came whispering thro' the leafing 

trees 
Giving to me my ditty. 



A SONG OF APRIL 
THE censer of the eglantine was moved 
By little lane winds, and the watching faces 
Of garden flowerets, which of old she loved, 
Peep shyly outward from their silent places. 
But when the sun arose the flowers grew 

bolder, 

And she will be in white, I thought, and she 
Will have a cuckoo on her either shoulder, 
And woodbine twines and fragrant wings of 

pea. 

And I will meet her on the hills of South, 
And I will lead her to a northern water, 
42 



A SONG OF APRIL 43 

My wild one, the sweet beautiful uncouth, 
The eldest maiden of the Winter's daughter. 
And down the rainbows of her noon shall slide 
Lark music, and the little sunbeam people, 
And nomad wings shall fill the river side, 
And ground winds rocking in the lily's steeple. 



THE BROKEN TRYST 
THE dropping words of larks, the sweetest 

tongue 

That sings between the dusks, tell all of you ; 
The bursting white of Peace is all along 
Wing- ways, and pearly droppings of the dew 
Emberyl the cobwebs' greyness, and the blue 
Of hiding violets, watching for your face, 
Listen for you in every dusky place. 

You will not answer when I call your name, 
But in the fog of blossom do you hide 
To change my doubts into a red- faced shame 
By'n by when you are laughing by my side? 
44 



THE BROKEN TRYST 45 

Or will you never come, or have you died, 
And I in anguish have forgotten all ? 
And shall the world now end and the heavens 
fall? 



THOUGHTS AT THE TRYSTING STILE 
COME, May, and hang a white flag on each 

thorn, 
Make truce with earth and heaven; the April 

child 

Now hides her sulky face deep in the mom 
Of your new flowers by the water wild 
And in the ripples of the rising grass, 
And rushes bent to let the south wind pass 
On with her tumult of swift nomad wings, 
And broken domes of downy dandelion. 
Only in spasms now the blackbird sings. 
The hour is all a-dream. 

Nets of woodbine 

Throw woven shadows over dreaming flowers, 
46 



THOUGHTS AT THE TRYSTING STILE 47 
And dreaming, a bee-luring lily bends 
Its tender bell where blue dyke-water cowers 
Thro' briars, and folded ferns, and gripping 

ends 
Of wild convolvulus. 

The lark's sky-way 
Is desolate. 

I watch an apple-spray 
Beckon across a wall as if it knew 
I wait the calling of the orchard maid. 

Inly I feel that she will come in blue, 

With yellow on her hair, and two curls strayed 

Out of her comb's loose stocks, and I shall 

steal 

Behind and lay my hands upon her eyes, 
" Look not, but be my Psyche ! " 



48 THOUGHTS AT THE TRYSTING STILE 

And her peal 

Of laughter will ring far, and as she tries 
For freedom I will call her names of flowers 
That climb up walls; then thro' the twilight 

hours 

We'll talk about the loves of ancient queens, 
And kisses like wasp-honey, false and sweet, 
And how we are entangled in love's snares 
Like wind-looped flowers. 



EVENING IN MAY 

THERE is nought tragic here, tho' night uplifts 
A narrow curtain where the footlights 

burned, 
But one long act where Love each bold heart 

sifts 

And blushes in the dark, but has not spurned 
The strong resolve of noon. The maiden's 

head 

Is brown upon the shoulder of her youth, 
Hearts are exchanged, long pent up words are 

said, 
Blushes burn out at the long tale of truth. 

The blackbird blows his yellow flute so strong, 

And rolls away the notes in careless glee, 

49 



50 EVENING IN MAY 

It breaks the rhythm of the thrushes' song, 

And puts red shame upon his rivalry. 
The yellowhammers on the roof tiles beat 

Sweet little dulcimers to broken time, 
And here the robin with a heart replete 

Has all in one short plagiarised rhyme. 



AN ATTEMPT AT A CITY SUNSET 

(TO j. K. Q.) 

THERE was a quiet glory in the sky 
When thro' the gables sank the large red sun, 
And toppling mounts of rugged cloud went by 
Heavy with whiteness, and the moon had won 
Her way above the woods, with her small star 
Behind her like the cuckoo's little mother. . . . 
It was the hour when visions from some far 
Strange Eastern dreams like twilight bats take 

wing 
Out of the ruin of memories. 

O brother 

Of high song, wand'ring where the Muses fling 
si 



52 AN ATTEMPT AT A CITY SUNSET 
Rich gifts as prodigal as winter rain, 
Like stepping-stones within a swollen river 
The hidden words are sounding in my brain, 
Too wild for taming ; and I must for ever 
Think of the hills upon the wilderness, 
And leave the city sunset to your song. 
For there I am a stranger like the trees 
That sigh upon the traffic all day long. 



WAITING 

A STRANGE old woman on the wayside sate, 
Looked far away and shook her head and 

sighed. 

And when anon, close by, a rusty gate 
Loud on the warm winds cried, 
She lifted up her eyes and said, " You're late." 
Then shook her head and sighed. 

And evening found her thus, and night in state 
Walked thro' the starlight, and a heavy tide 
Followed the yellow moon around her wait, 
And morning walked in wide. 
She lifted up her eyes and said, " You're late." 
Then shook her head and sighed. 
53 



THE SINGER'S MUSE 
I BROUGHT in these to make her kitchen sweet, 
Haw blossoms and the roses of the lane. 
Her heart seemed in her eyes so wild they beat 
With welcome for the boughs of Spring again. 
She never heard of Babylon or Troy, 
She read no book, but once saw Dublin town ; 
Yet she made a poet of her servant boy 
And from Parnassus earned the laurel crown. 



If Fame, the Gorgon, turns me into stone 
Upon some city square, let someone place 
Thorn blossoms and lane roses newly blown 
Beside my feet, and underneath them trace : 
54 






THE SINGER'S MUSE 55 

" His heart was like a bookful of girls' song, 
With little loves and mighty Care's alloy. 
These did he bring his muse, and suffered long, 
Her bashful singer and her servant boy." 



INAMORATA 

THE bees were holding levees in the flowers, 
Do you remember how each puff of wind 
Made every wing a hum? My hand in yours 
Was listening to your heart, but now 
The glory is all faded, and I find 
No more the olden mystery of the hours 
When you were lovely and our hearts would 

bow 

Each to the will of each, but one bright day 
Is stretching like an isthmus in a bay 
From the glad years that I have left behind. 

I look across the edge of things that were 
And you are lovely in the April ways, 
56 



INAMORATA 57 

Holy and mute, the sigh of my despair. . . . 

I hear once more the linnets' April tune 
Beyond the rainbow's warp, as in the days 
You brought me facefuls of your smiles to 

share 
Some of your new-found wonders. . . . Oh 

when soon 

I'm wandering the wide seas for other lands, 
Sometimes remember me with folded hands, 
And keep me happy in your pious prayer. 



THE WIFE OF LLEW 
AND Gwydion said to Math, when it was 

Spring : 

" Come now and let us make a wife for Llew." 
And so they broke broad boughs yet moist 

with dew, 

And in a shadow made a magic ring : 
They took the violet and the meadow-sweet 
To form her pretty face, and for her feet 
They built a mound of daisies on a wing, 
And for her voice they made a linnet sing 
In the wide poppy blowing for her mouth. 
And over all they chanted twenty hours. 
And Llew came singing from the azure south 
And bore away his wife of birds and flowers. 
58 



THE HILLS 

THE hills are crying from the fields to me, 
And calling me with music from a choir 
Of waters in their woods where I can see 
The bloom unfolded on the whins like fire. 
And, as the evening moon climbs ever higher 
And blots away the shadows from the slope, 
They cry to me like things devoid of hope. 

Pigeons are home. Day droops. The fields 

are cold. 

Now a slow wind comes labouring up the sky 
With a small cloud long steeped in sunset gold, 
Like Jason with the precious fleece anigh 
The harbour of lolcos. Day's bright eye 
59 



60 THE HILLS 

Is filmed with the twilight, and the rill 

Shines like a scimitar upon the hill. 

And moonbeams drooping thro' the coloured 

wood 

Are full of little people winged white. 
I'll wander thro' the moon-pale solitude 
That calls across the intervening night 
With river voices at their utmost height, 
Sweet as rain-water in the blackbird's flute 
That strikes the world in admiration mute. 



JUNE 

BROOM out the floor now, lay the fender by, 
And plant this bee^sucked bough of woodbine 

there, 

And let the window down. The butterfly 
Floats in upon the sunbeam, and the fair 
Tanned face of June, the nomad gipsy, laughs 
Above her widespread wares, the while she 

tells 

The farmers' fortunes in the fields, and quaffs 
The water from the spider-peopled wells. 

The hedges are all drowned in green grass seas, 
And bobbing poppies flare like Elmer's light, 
61 



62 JUNE 

While siren-like the pollen-stained bees 
Drone in the clover depths. And up the height 
The cuckoo's voice is hoarse and broke with 

joy. 

And on the lowland crops the crows make raid, 
Nor fear the clappers of the farmer's boy, 
Who sleeps, like drunken Noah, in the shade. 

And loop this red rose in that hazel ring 
That snares your little ear, for June is short 
And we must joy in it and dance and sing, 
And from her bounty draw her rosy worth. 
Ay ! soon the swallows will be flying south, 
The wind wheel north to gather in the snow, 
Even the roses spilt on youth's red mouth 
Will soon blow down the road all roses go. 



IN MANCHESTER 
THERE is a noise of feet that move in sin 
Under the side-faced moon here where I stray, 
Want by me like a Nemesis. The din 
Of noon is in my ears, but far away 
My thoughts are, where Peace shuts the black- 
birds' wings 
And it is cherry time by all the springs. 

And this same moon floats like a trail of fire 
Down the long Boyne, and darts white arrows 

thro' 

The mill wood; her white skirt is on the weir, 
She walks thro' crystal mazes of the dew, 
63 



64 IN MANCHESTER 

And rests awhile upon the dewy slope 
Where I will hope again the old, old hope. 

With wandering we are worn my muse and I, 
And, if I sing, my song knows nought of mirth. 
I often think my soul is an old lie 
In sackcloth, it repents so much of birth. 
But I will build it yet a cloister home 
Near the peace of lakes when I have ceased to 
roam. 



MUSIC ON WATER 
WHERE does Remembrance weep when we 

forget ? 

From whither brings she back an old delight ? 
Why do we weep that once we laughed? and 

yet 
Why are we sad that once our hearts were 

light? 
I sometimes think the days that we made 

bright 

Are damned within us, and we hear them yell, 
Deep in the solitude of that wide hell, 
Because we welcome in some new regret. 
I will remember with sad heart next year 
65 



66 MUSIC ON WATER 

This music and this water, but to-day 
Let me be part of all this joy. My ear 
Caught far-off music which I bid away, 
The light of one fair face that fain would stay 
Upon the heart's broad canvas, as the Face 
On Mary's towel, lighting up the place. 
Too sad for joy, too happy for a tear. 

Methinks I see the music like a light 
Low on the bobbing water, and the fields 
Yellow and brown alternate on the height, 
Hanging in silence there like battered shields, 
Lean forward heavy with their coloured yields 
As if they paid it homage ; and the strains, 
Prisoners of Echo, up the sunburnt plains 
Fade on the cross-cut to a future night. 
In the red West the twisted moon is low, 



MUSIC ON WATER 67 

And on the bubbles there are half -lit stars : 
Music and twilight : and the deep blue flow 
Of water : and the watching fire of Mars : 
The deep fish slipping thro' the moonlit bars 
Make Death a thing of sweet dreams, life a 

mock. 

And the soul patient by the heart's loud clock 
Watches the time, and thinks it wondrous slow. 



TO M. McG. 

(WHO CAME ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE ALL 
GLOOMY AND CHEERED US WITH SAD 
MUSIC) 

WE were all sad and could not weep, 
Because our sorrow had not tears : 
You came a silent thing like Sleep, 
And stole away our fears. 

Old memories knocking at each heart 
Troubled us with the world's great lie : 
You sat a little way apart 
And made a fiddle cry. 
68 



TO M. McG. 69 

And April with her sunny showers 
Came laughing up the fields again : 
White wings went flashing thro' the hours 
So lately full of pain. 

And rivers full of little lights 
Came down the fields of waving green : 
Our immemorial delights 
Stole in on us unseen. 

For this may Good Luck let you loose 
Upon her treasures many years, 
And Peace unfurl her flag of truce 
To any threat'ning fears. 



IN THE DUSK 
DAY hangs its light between two dusks, my 

heart, 

Always beyond the dark there is the blue. 
Sometime we'll leave the dark, myself and you, 
And revel in the light for evermore. 
But the deep pain of you is aching smart, 
And a long calling weighs upon you sore. 



Day hangs its light between two dusks, and 

song 

Is there at the beginning and the end. 
70 



IN THE DUSK 71 

You, in the singing dusk, how could you wend 
The songless way Contentment fleetly wings? 
But in the dark your beauty shall be strong, 
Tho' only one should listen how it sings. 



THE DEATH OF AILILL 
WHEN there was heard no more the war's loud 

sound, 

And only the rough corn-crake filled the hours, 
And hill winds in the furze and drowsy flowers, 
Maeve in her chamber with her white head 

bowed 

On Ailill's heart was sobbing : " I have found 
The way to love you now," she said, and he 
Winked an old tear away and said : " The 

proud 

Unyielding heart loves never.'* And then she : 
" I love you now, tho' once when we were 

young 

72 



THE DEATH OF AILILL 73 

We walked apart like two who were estranged 
Because I loved you not, now all is changed." 
And he who loved her always called her name 
And said : " You do not love me, 'tis your 

tongue 

Talks in the dusk ; you love the blazing gold 
Won in the battles, and the soldier's fame. 
You love the stories that are often told 
By poets in the hall." Then Maeve arose 
And sought her daughter Findebar : " O, 

child, 

Go tell your father that my love went wild 
With all my wars in youth, and say that now 
I love him stronger than I hate my foes. . . ." 
And Findebar unto her father sped 
And touched him gently on the rugged brow, 
And knew by the cold touch that he was dead. 



AUGUST 

SHE'LL come at dusky first of day, 
White over yellow harvest's song. 
Upon her dewy rainbow way 
She shall be beautiful and strong. 
The lidless eye of noon shall spray 
Tan on her ankles in the hay, 
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long. 

I'll know her in the windrows, tall 
Above the crickets of the hay. 
I'll know her when her odd eyes fall, 
One May-blue, one November-grey. 
I'll watch her from the red barn wall 
Take down her rusty scythe, and call, 
And I will follow her away. 
74 



THE VISITATION OF PEACE 
I CLOSED the book of verse where Sorrow wept 
Above Love's broken fane where Hope once 

prayed, 
And thought of old trysts broken and trysts 

kept 

Only to chide my fondness. Then I strayed 
Down a green coil of lanes where murmuring 

wings 

Moved up and down like lights upon the sea, 
Searching for calm amid untroubled things 
Of wood and water. The industrious bee 
Sang in his barn within the hollow beech, 
And in a distant haggard a loud mill 
75 



7 6 THE VISITATION OF PEACE 

Hummed like a war of hives. A whispered 

speech 

Of corn and wind was on the yellow hill, 
And tattered scarecrows nodded their assent 
And waved their arms like orators. The brown 
Nude beauty of the Autumn sweetly bent 
Over the woods, across the little town. 

I sat in a retreating shade beside 

The river, where it fell across a weir 

Like a white mane, and in a flourish wide 

Roars by an island field and thro' a tier 

Of leaning sallies, like an avenue 

When the moon's flambeau hunts the shadows 

out 

And strikes the borders white across the dew. 
Where little ringlets ended, the fleet trout 



THE VISITATION OF PEACE 77 

Fed on the water moths. A marsh hen crossed 
On flying wings and swimming feet to where 
Her mate was in the rushes forest, tossed 
On the heaving dusk like swallows in the air. 

Beyond the river a walled rood of graves 
Hung dead with all its hemlock wan and sere, 
Save where the wall was broken and long 

waves 

Of yellow grass flowed outward like a weir, 
As if the dead were striving for more room 
And their old places in the scheme of things; 
For sometimes the thought comes that the 

brown tomb 

Is not the end of all our labourings, 
But we are born once more of wind and rain, 
To sow the world with harvest young and 

strong, 






7 8 THE VISITATION OF PEACE 

That men may live by men 'til the stars wane, 

And still sweet music fill the blackbird's song. 



But O for truths about the soul denied. 
Shall I meet Keats in some wild isle of balm, 
Dreaming beside a tarn where green and wide 
Boughs of sweet cinnamon protect the calm 
Of the dark water? And together walk 
Thro' hills with dimples full of water where 
White angels rest, and all the dead years talk 
About the changes of the earth ? Despair 
Sometimes takes hold of me but yet I hope 
To hope the old hope in the better times 
When I am free to cast aside the rope 
That binds me to all sadness 'til my rhymes 
Cry like lost birds. But O, if I should die 
Ere this millennium, and my hands be crossed 



THE VISITATION OF PEACE 79 

Under the flowers I loved, the passers-by 
Shall scowl at me as one whose soul is lost. 

But a soft peace came to me when the West 
Shut its red door and a thin streak of moon 
Was twisted on the twilight's dusky breast. 
It wrapped me up as sometimes a sweet tune 
Heard for the first time wraps the scenes 

around, 
That we may have their memories when some 

hand 

Strikes it in other times and hopes unbound 
Rising see clear the everlasting land. 






BEFORE THE TEARS 
You looked as sad as an eclipsed moon 
Above the sheaves of harvest, and there lay 
A light lisp on your tongue, and very soon 
The petals of your deep blush fell away; 
White smiles that come with an uneasy grace 
From inner sorrow crossed your forehead fair, 
When the wind passing took your scattered 

hair 
And flung it like a brown shower in my face. 

Tear- fringed winds that fill the heart's low 

sighs 

And never break upon the bosom's pain, 
80 



BEFORE THE TEARS 81 

But blow unto the windows of the eyes 
Their misty promises of silver rain, 
Around your loud heart ever rose and fell. 
I thought 'twere better that the tears should 

come 

And strike your every feeling wholly numb, 
So thrust my hand in yours and shook fare- 
well. 



GOD'S REMEMBRANCE 
THERE came a whisper from the night to me 
Like music of the sea, a mighty breath 
From out the valley's dewy mouth, and Death 
Shook his lean bones, and every coloured tree 
Wept in the fog of morning. From the town 
Of nests among the branches one old crow 
With gaps upon his wings flew far away. 
And, thinking of the golden summer glow, 
I heard a blackbird whistle half his lay 
Among the spinning leaves that slanted down. 

And I who am a thought of God's now long 
Forgotten in His Mind, and desolate 
82 



GOD'S REMEMBRANCE 83 

With other dreams long over, as a gate 
Singing upon the wind the anvil song, 
Sang of the Spring when first He dreamt of me 
In that old town all hills and signs that 

creak : 

And He remembered me as something far 
In old imaginations, something weak 
With distance, like a little sparking star 
Drowned in the lavender of evening sea. 



AN OLD PAIN 

WHAT old, old pain is this that bleeds anew ? 
What old and wandering dream forgotten long 
Hobbles back to my mind? With faces two, 
Like Janus of old Rome, I look about, 
And yet discover not what ancient wrong 
Lies unrequited still. No speck of doubt 
Upon to-morrow's promise. Yet a pain 
Of some dumb thing is on me, and I feel 
How men go mad, how faculties do reel 
When these old querns turn round within the 
brain. 

Tis something to have known one day of joy, 
Now to remember when the heart is low, 
84 



AN OLD PAIN 85 

An antidote of thought that will destroy 
The asp bite of Regret. Deep will I drink 
By'n by the purple cups that overflow, 
And fill the shattered heart's urn to the brink. 
But some are dead who laughed ! Some scat- 
tered are 

Around the sultry breadth of foreign zones. 
You, with the warm clay wrapt about your 

bones, 
Are nearer to me than the live afar. 



My heart has grown as dry as an old crust, 
Deep in book lumber and moth-eaten wood, 
So long it has forgot the old love lust, 
So long forgot the thing that made youth dear, 
Two blue love lamps, a heart exceeding good, 



86 AN OLD PAIN 

And how, when first I heard that voice ring 

clear 

Among the sering hedges of the plain, 
I knew not which from which beyond the corn, 
The laughter by the callow twisted thorn, 
The jay- thrush whistling in the haws for rain. 

I hold the mind is the imprisoned soul, 
And all our aspirations are its own 
Struggles and strivings for a golden goal, 
That wear us out like snow men at the thaw. 
And we shall make our Heaven where we have 

sown 
Our purple longings. Oh ! can the loved dead 

draw 

Anear us when we moan, or watching wait 
Our coming in the woods where first we met, 



AN OLD PAIN 87 

The dead leaves falling on their wild hair wet, 
Their hands upon the fastenings of the gate? 

This is the old, old pain come home once more, 
Bent down with answers wild and very lame 
For all my delving in old dog-eared lore 
That drove the Sages mad. And boots the 

world 
Aught for their wisdom ? I have asked them, 

tame, 
And watched the Earth by its own self be 

hurled 

Atom by atom into nothingness, 
Loll out of the deep canyons, drops of fire, 
And kindle on the hills its funeral pyre, 
And all we learn but shows we know the less. 



THE LOST ONES 

SOMEWHERE is music from the linnets' bills, 
And thro' the sunny flowers the bee-wings 

drone, 

And white bells of convolvulus on hills 
Of quiet May make silent ringing, blown 
Hither and thither by the wind of showers, 
And somewhere all the wandering birds have 

flown; 
And the brown breath of Autumn chills the 

flowers. 

But where are all the loves of long ago? 
Oh, little twilight ship blown up the tide, 



THE LOST ONES 89 

Where are the faces laughing in the glow 
Of morning years, the lost ones scattered wide? 
Give me your hand, Oh brother, let us go 
Crying about the dark for those who died. 



ALL-HALLOWS EVE 
THE dreadful hour is sighing for a moon 

To light old lovers to the place of tryst, 
And old footsteps from blessed acres soon 

On old known pathways will be lightly prest ; 
And winds that went to eavesdrop since the 
noon, 

Kinking l at some old tale told sweetly brief, 

Will give a cowslick 2 to the yarrow leaf, 3 
And sling the round nut from the hazel down. 

1 Provincially a kind of laughter. 

2 A curl of hair thrown back from the forehead : used 
metaphorically here, and itself a metaphor taken from 
the curl of a cow's tongue. 

3 Maidens on Hallows Eve pull leaves of yarrow, and, 
saying over them certain words, put them under their 
pillows and so dream of their true-loves. 

90 



ALL-HALLOWS EVE 91 

And there will be old yarn balls, 1 and old spells 

In broken lime-kilns, and old eyes will peer 
For constant lovers in old spidery wells, 2 

And old embraces will grow newly dear. 
And some may meet old lovers in old dells, 

And some in doors ajar in towns light- 
lorn ; 

But two will meet beneath a gnarly thorn 
Deep in the bosom of the windy fells. 

Then when the night slopes home and white- 
faced day 

Yawns in the east there will be sad fare- 
wells ; 

1 They also throw balls of yarn (which must be black) 
over their left shoulders into old lime-kilns, holding one 
end and then winding it in till they feel it somehow 
caught, and expect to see in the darkness the face of 
their lover. 

2 Also they look for his face in old wells. 



92 ALL-HALLOWS EVE 

And many feet will tap a lonely way 

Back to the comfort of their chilly cells, 

And eyes will backward turn and long to stay 
Where love first found them in the clover 

bloom 
But one will never seek the lonely tomb, 

And two will linger at the tryst alway. 



A MEMORY 

sounds of night that drip upon the ear, 
The plumed lapwing's cry, the curlew's call, 
Clear in the far dark heard, a sound as drear 
As raindrops pelted from a nodding rush 
To give a white wink once and broken fall 
Into a deep dark pool : they pain the hush, 
As if the fiery meteor's slanting lance 
Had found their empty craws: they fill with 

sound 

The silence, with the merry round, 
The sounding mazes of a last year's dance. 



93 



94 A MEMORY 

I thought to watch the stars come spark by 

spark 

Out on the muffled night, and watch the moon 
Go round the full, and turn upon the dark, 
And sharpen towards the new, and waiting 

watch 

The grand Kaleidoscope of midnight noon 
Change colours on the dew, where high hills 

notch 

The low and moony sky. But who dare cast 
One brief hour's horoscope, whose tuned ear 
Makes every sound the music of last year? 
Whose hopes are built up in the door of Past? 

No, not more silent does the spider stitch 
A cobweb on the fern, nor fogdrops fall 
On sheaves of harvest when the night is rich 



A MEMORY 95 

With moonbeams, than the spirits of delight 
Walk the dark passages of Memory's hall. 
We feel them not, but in the wastes of night 
We hear their low-voiced mediums, and we rise 
To wrestle old Regrets, to see old faces, 
To meet and part in old tryst-trodden places 
With breaking heart, and emptying of eyes. 

I feel the warm hand on my shoulder light, 
I hear the music of a voice that words 
The slow time of the feet, I see the white 
Arms slanting, and the dimples fold and 

fill. . . . 

I hear wing-flutters of the early birds, 
I see the tide of morning landward spill, 
The cloaking maidens, hear the voice that tells 
" You'd never know " and " Soon perhaps 

again/' 



96 A MEMORY 

With white teeth biting down the inly pain, 

Then sounds of going away and "sad farewells. 

A year ago ! It seems but yesterday. 
Yesterday! And a hundred years! All one. 
'Tis laid a something finished, dark, away, 
To gather mould upon the shelves of Time. 
What matters -hours or aeons when 'tis gone ? 
And yet the heart will dust it of its grime, 
And hover round it in a silver spell, 
Be lost in it and cry aloud in fear ; 
And like a lost soul in a pious ear, 
Hammer in mine a never easy bell. 



A SONG 

MY heart has flown on wings to you, away 
In the lonely places where your footsteps lie 
Full up of stars when the short showers of day 
Have passed like ancient sorrows. I would fly 
To your green solitude of woods to hear 
You singing in the sounds of leaves and birds; 
But I am sad below the depth of words 
That nevermore we two shall draw anear. 

Had I but wealth of land and bleating flocks 
And barnfuls of the yellow harvest yield, 
And a large house with climbing hollyhocks 
And servant maidens singing in the field, 

97 



98 A SONG 

You'd love me ; but I own no roaming herds, 
My only wealth is songs of love for you, 
And now that you are lost I may pursue 
A sad life deep below the depth of words. 



A FEAR 

I ROAMED the woods to-day and seemed to hear, 
As Dante heard, the voice of suffering trees. 
The twisted roots seemed bare contorted knees, 
The bark was full of faces strange with fear. 

I hurried home still wrapt in that dark spell, 
And all the night upon the world's great lie 
I pondered, and a voice seemed whisp'ring 

nigh, 
" You died long since, and all this thing is 

hell!" 



QQ 



THE COMING POET 
" Is it far to the town? " said the poet, 
As he stood 'neath the groaning vane, 
And the warm lights shimmered silver 
On the skirts of the windy rain. 
" There are those who call me," he pleaded, 
" And I'm wet and travel sore." 
But nobody spoke from the shelter, 
And he turned from the bolted door. 

And they wait in the town for the poet 
With stones at the gates, and jeers, 
But away on the wolds of distance 
In the blue of a thousand years 

100 






THE COMING POET 101 

He sleeps with the age that knows him, 
In the clay of the unborn, dead, 
Rest at his weary insteps, 
Fame at his crumbled head. 



THE VISION ON THE BRINK 
TO-NIGHT when you sit in the deep hours alone, 
And from the sleeps you snatch wake quick 

and feel 
You hear my step upon the threshold-stone, 

My hand upon the doorway latchward steal, 
Be sure 'tis but the white winds of the snow, 
For I shall come no more. 



And when the candle in the pane is wore, 
And moonbeams down the hill long shadows 

throw, 
When night's white eyes are in the chinky 

door, 

102 



THE VISION ON THE BRINK 103 

Think of a long road in a valley low, 
Think of a wanderer in the distance far, 
Lost like a voice among the scattered hills. 

And when the moon has gone and ocean spills 
Its waters backward from the trysting bar, 

And in dark furrows of the night there tills 
A jewelled plough, and many a falling star 

Moves you to prayer, then will you think of me 
On the long road that will not ever end. 

Jonah is hoarse in Nineveh I'd lend 

My voice to save the town and hurriedly 

Goes Abraham with murdering knife, and Ruth 
Is weary in the corn. . . . Yet will I stay, 

For one flower blooms upon the rocks of truth, 
God is in all our hurry and delay. 



TO LORD DUNSANY 

(ON HIS RETURN FROM EAST AFRICA) 

FOR you I knit these lines, and on their ends 
Hang little tossing bells to ring you home. 
The music is all cracked, and Poesy tends 
To richer blooms than mine; but you who 

roam 

Thro' coloured gardens of the highest muse, 
And leave the door ajar sometimes that we 
May steal small breathing things of reds and 

blues 

And things of white sucked empty by the bee, 
Will listen to this bunch of bells from me. 
My cowslips ring you welcome to the land 
104 



TO LORD DUNSANY 105 

Your muse brings honour to in many a tongue, 
Not only that I long to clasp your hand, 
But that you're missed by poets who have sung 
And viewed with doubt the music of their verse 
All the long winter, for you love to bring 
The true note in and say the wise thing terse, 
And show what birds go lame upon a wing, 
And where the weeds among the flowers do 
spring. 



ON AN OATEN STRAW 
MY harp is out of tune, and so I take 
An oaten straw some shepherd dropped of old. 
It is the hour when Beauty doth awake 
With trembling limbs upon the dewy cold. 
And shapes of green show where the woolly 

fold 
Slept in the winding shelter of the brake. 

This I will pipe for you, how all the year 
The one I love like Beauty takes her way. 
Wrapped in the wind of winter she doth cheer 
The loud woods like a sunbeam of the May. 
This I will pipe for you the whole blue day 
Seated with Pan upon the mossy weir. 
106 



EVENING IN FEBRUARY 

THE windy evening drops a grey 

Old eyelid down across the sun, 

The last crow leaves the ploughman's way, 

And happy lambs make no more fun. 

Wild parsley buds beside my feet, 

A doubtful thrush makes hurried tune, 

The steeple in the village street 

Doth seem to pierce the twilight moon. 

I hear and see those changing charms, 
For all my thoughts are fixed upon 
The hurry and the loud alarms 
Before the fall of Babylon. 
107 



THE SISTER 
I SAW the little quiet town, 
And the whitewashed gables on the hill, 
And laughing children coming down 
The laneway to the mill. 

Wind-blushes up their faces glowed, 
And they were happy as could be, 
The wobbling water never flowed 
So merry and so free. 

One little maid withdrew aside 
To pick a pebble from the sands. 
Her golden hair was long and wide, 
And there were dimples on her hands. 
108 



THE SISTER 109 

And when I saw her large blue eyes, 
What was the pain that went thro' me? 
Why did I think on Southern skies 
And ships upon the sea? 



BEFORE THE WAR OF COOLEY 
AT daybreak Maeve rose up from where she 

prayed 

And took her prophetess across her door 
To gaze upon her hosts. Tall spear and blade 
Burnished for early battle dimly shook 
The morning's colours, and then Maeve said : 

" Look 
And tell me how you see them now." 

And then 

The woman that was lean with knowledge said : 
" There's crimson on them, and there's drip- 
ping red." 

And a tall soldier galloped up the glen 
no 



BEFORE THE WAR OF COOLEY in 
With foam upon his boot, and halted there 
Beside old Maeve. She said, " Not yet," and 

turned 

Into her blazing dun, and knelt in prayer 
One solemn hour, and once again she came 
And sought her prophetess. With voice that 

mourned, 
" How do you see them now ? " she asked. 

" All lame 

And broken in the noon." And once again 
The soldier stood before her. 

" No, not yet." 

Maeve answered his inquiring look and turned 
Once more unto her prayer, and yet once more 
" How do you see them now ? " she asked. 

" All wet 
With storm rains, and all broken, and all tore 



112 BEFORE THE WAR OF COOLEY 

With midnight wolves." And when the 

soldier came 
Maeve said, " It is the hour." There was a 

flash 

Of trumpets in the dim, a silver flame 
Of rising shields, loud words passed down the 

ranks, 

And twenty feet they saw the lances leap. 
They passed the dun with one short noisy dash. 
And turning proud Maeve gave the wise one 

thanks, 
And sought her chamber in the dun to weep. 



LOW-MOON LAND 
I OFTEN look when the moon is low 
Thro' that other window on the wall, 
At a land all beautiful under snow, 
Blotted with shadows that come and go 
When the winds rise up and fall. 
And the form of a beautiful maid 
In the white silence stands, 
And beckons me with her hands. 

And when the cares of the day are laid, 
Like sacred things, in the mart away, 
I dream of the low-moon land and the maid 
Who will not weary of waiting, or jade 
"3 



II 4 LOW-MOON LAND 

Of calling to me for aye. 

And I would go if I knew the sea 

That lips the shore where the moon is low, 

For a longing is on me that will not go. 



THE SORROW OF FINDEBAR 
" WHY do you sorrow, child ? There is loud 

cheer 

In the wide halls, and poets red with wine 
Tell of your eyebrows and your tresses long, 
And pause to let your royal mother hear 
The brown bull low amid her silken kine. 
And you who are the harpstring and the song 
Weep like a memory born of some old pain/' 

And Findebar made answer, " I have slain 
More than Cuculain's sword, for I have been 
The promised meed of every warrior brave 
In Tain Bo Cualigne wars, and I am sad 
As is the red banshee that goes to keen 
"5 



Ii6 THE SORROW OF FINDEBAR 

Above the wet dark of the deep brown grave, 
For the warm loves that made my memory 
glad." 

And her old nurse bent down and took a wild 
Curl from her eye and hung it on her ear, 
And said, " The woman at the heavy quern, 
Who weeps that she will never bring a child, 
And sees her sadness in the coming year, 
Will roll up all her beauty like a fern ; 
Not you, whose years stretch purple to the 
end." 

And Findebar, "Beside the broad blue bend 
Of the slow river where the dark banks slope 
Wide to the woods sleeps Ferdia apart. 



THE SORROW OF FINDEBAR 117 

I loved him, and then drove him for pride's 

sake 

To early death, and now I have no hope, 
For mine is Maeve's proud heart, Ailill's kind 

heart, 
And that is why it pines and will not break." 



ON DREAM WATER 
AND so, o'er many a league of sea 
We sang of those we left behind. 
Our ship split thro' the phosphor free, 
Her white sails pregnant with the wind, 
And I was wondering in my mind 
How many would remember me. 

Then red-edged dawn expanded wide, 
A stony foreland stretched away, 
And bowed capes gathering round the tide 
Kept many a little homely bay. 
O joy of living there for aye, 
O Soul so often tried! 
118 



THE DEATH OF SUALTEM 
AFTER the brown bull passed from Cooley's 

fields 

And all Muirevne was a wail of pain, 
Sualtem came at evening thro' the slain 
And heard a noise like water rushing loud, 
A thunder like the noise of mighty shields. 
And in his dread he shouted : " Earth is bowed, 
The heavens are split and stars make war with 

stars 
And the sea runs in fear ! " 

For all his scars 

He hastened to Dun Dealgan, and there found 
It was his son, Curculain, making moan. 
119 



120 THE DEATH OF SUALTEM 

His hair was red with blood and he was wound 
In wicker full of grass, and a cold stone 
Was on his head. 

" Cuculain, is it so ? " 

Sualtem said, and then, " My hair is snow, 
My strength leaks thro' my wounds, but I will 

die 
Avenging you/' 

And then Cuculain said : 
" Not so, old father, but take horse and ride 
To Emain Macha, and tell Connor this." 
Sualtem from his red lips took a kiss, 
And turned the stone upon Cuculain' s head. 
The Lia-Macha with a heavy sigh 
Ran up and halted by his wounded side. 



THE DEATH OF SUALTEM 121 

In Emain Macha to low lights and song 
Connor was dreaming of the beauteous Maeve. 
He saw her as at first, by Shannon's wave, 
Her insteps in the water, mounds of white. 
It was in Spring, and music loud and strong 
Rocked all the coloured woods, and the blue 

height 

Of heaven was round the lark, and in his heart 
There was a pain of love. 

Then with a start 

He wakened as a loud voice from below 
Shouted, " The land is robbed, the women 

shamed, 

The children stolen, and Curculain low! " 
Then Connor rose, his war-worn soul inflamed, 
And shouted down for Cathbad; then to greet 
The messenger he hurried to the street. 



122 THE DEATH OF SUALTEM 

And there he saw Sualtem shouting still 

The message of Muirevne 'mid the sound 

Of hurried bucklings and uneasy horse. 

At sight of him the Lia-Macha wheeled, 

So that Sualtem fell upon his shield, 

And his grey head came shouting to the 

ground. 

They buried him by moonlight on the hill, 
And all about him waves the heavy gorse. 



THE MAID IN LOW-MOON LAND 
I KNOW not where she be, and yet 
I see her waiting white and tall. 
Her eyes are blue, her lips are wet, 
And move as tho' they'd love to call. 
I see her shadow on the wall 
Before the changing moon has set. 

She stands there lovely and alone 
And up her porch blue creepers swing. 
The world she moves in is her own, 
To sun and shade and hasty wing. 
And I would wed her in the Spring, 
But only I sit here and moan. 
123 



THE DEATH OF LEAG, CUCHULAIN'S 
CHARIOTEER 

CONALL 

" I ONLY heard the loud ebb on the sand, 
The high ducks talking in the chilly sky. 
The voices that you fancied floated by 
Were wind notes, or the whisper on the trees. 
But you are still so full of war's red din, 
You hear impatient hoof -beats up the land 
When the sea's changing, or a lisping breeze 
Is playing on the waters of the linn." 

LEAG 

" I hear Cuchulain's voice, and Emer's voice, 

The Lia Madia's neigh, the chariot's wheels, 

124 



THE DEATH OF LEAG 125 

Farther away a bell bough's drowsy peals ; 
And sleep lays heavy thumbs upon my eyes. 
I hear Cuchulain sing above the chime 
Of One Who comes to make the world rejoice, 
And comes again to blot away the skies, 
To wipe away the world and roll up Time." 

CONALL 
" In the dark ground forever mouth to mouth 

They kiss thro' all the changes of the world, 
The grey sea fogs above them are unfurled 
At evening when the sea walks with the moon, 
And peace is with them in the long cairn shut. 
You loved him as the swallow loves the South, 
And Love speaks with you since the evening 

put 
Mist and white dews upon short shadowed 

noon." 



126 THE DEATH OF LEAG 

LEAG 

" Sleep lays his heavy thumbs upon my eyes, 
Shuts out all sounds and shakes me at the 

wrists. 

By Nanny water where the salty mists 
Weep o'er Riangabra let me stand deep 
Beside my father. Sleep lays heavy thumbs 
Upon my eyebrows, and I hear the sighs 
Of far loud waters, and a troop that comes 
With boughs of bells " 

CONALL 

" They come to you with sleep." 



THE PASSING OF CAOILTE 
TWAS just before the truce sang thro' the din 
Caoilte, the thin man, at the war's red end 
Leaned from the crooked ranks and saw his 

friend 

Fall in the farther fury; so when truce 
Halted advancing spears the thin man came 
And bending by pale Oscar called his name ; 
And then he knew of all who followed Finn, 
He only felt the cool of Gavra's dews. 

And Caoilte, the thin man, went down the 

field 

To where slow water moved among the whins, 
And sat above a pool of twinkling fins 
127 

\ 



128 THE PASSING OF CAOILTE 

To court old memories of the Fenian men, 
Of how Finn's laugh at Conan's tale of glee 
Brought down the rowan's boughs on Knoc- 

naree, 

And how he made swift comets with his shield 
At moonlight in the Fomar's rivered glen. 

And Caolite, the thin man, was weary now, 
And nodding in short sleeps of half a dream : 
There came a golden barge down middle 

stream, 

And a tall maiden coloured like a bird 
Pulled noiseless oars, but not a word she said. 
And Caoilte, the thin man, raised up his head 
And took her kiss upon .his throbbing brow, 
And where they went away what man has 

heard ? 



GROWING OLD 

WE'LL fill a Provence bowl and. pledge us deep 
The memory of the far ones, and between 
The soothing pipes, in heavy-lidded sleep, 
Perhaps we'll dream the things that once have 

been. 

Tis only noon and still too soon to die, 
Yet we are growing old, my heart and I. 



A hundred books are ready in my head 
To open out where Beauty bent a leaf. 
What do we want with Beauty ? We are wed 
Like ancient Proserpine to dismal grief. 
129 



130 GROWING OLD 

And we are changing with the hours that fly, 

And growing odd and old, my heart and I. 

Across a bed of bells the river flows, 
And roses dawn, but not for us; we want 
The new thing ever as the old thing grows 
Spectral and weary on the hills we haunt. 
And that is why we feast, and that is why 
We're growing odd and old, my heart and I. 



AFTER MY LAST SONG 
WHERE I shall rest when my last song is over 
The air is smelling like a feast of wine; 
And purple breakers of the windy clover 
Shall roll to cool this burning brow of mine ; 
And there shall come to me, when day is told 
The peace of sleep when I am grey and old. 

I'm wild for wandering to the far-off places 
Since one forsook me whom I held most dear. 
I want to see new wonders and new faces 
Beyond East seas ; but I will win back here 
When my last song is sung, and veins are cold 
As thawing snow, and I am grey and old. 
131 



132 AFTER MY LAST SONG 

Oh paining eyes, but not with salty weeping, 

My heart is like a sod in winter rain; 

Ere you will see those baying waters leaping 

Like hungry hounds once more, how many a 

pain 
Shall heal; but when my last short song is 

trolled 
You'll sleep here on wan cheeks grown thin 

and old. 



SONGS OF PEACE 
AT HOME 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 
THERE was soft beauty on the linnet's tongue 
To see the rainbow's coloured bands arch wide. 
The thunder darted his red fangs among 
South mountains, but the East was like a bride 
Brest for the altar at her mother's door 
Weeping between two loves. The fields were 

pied 

With May's munificence of flowers, that wore 
The fashion of the days when Eve was young, 
God's kirtles, ere the first sweet summer died. 
The blackbird in a thorn of waving white 
Sang bouquets of small tunes that bid me turn 
From twilight wanderings thro' some old de- 
light 

I heard in my far memory making mourn. 
135 



136 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

Such music fills me with a joy half pain, 

And beats a track across my life I spurn 

In sober moments. Ah, this wandering brain 

Could play its hurdy-gurdy all the night 

To vagrant joys of days beyond the bourn. 

I heard the river warble sweetly nigh 
To meet the warm salt tide below the weir, 
And saw a coloured line of cows pass by, 
And then a voice said quickly, " Iris here ! " 
"What message now hath Hera?" then I 

woke, 

An exile in Arcadia, and a spear 
Flashed by me, and ten nymphs fleet-footed 

broke 

Out of the coppice with a silver cry, 
Into the bow of lights to disappear. 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 137 

For one blue minute then there was no sound 
Save water-noise, slow round a rushy bend, 
And bird-delight, and ripples on the ground 
Of windy flowers that swelling would ascend 
The coloured hill and break all beautiful 
And, falling backwards, to the woods would 

send 
The full tide of their love. What soft moons 

pull 

Their moving fragrance ? did I ask, and found 
Sad lo in far Egypt met a friend. 
It was my body thought so, far away 
In the grey future, not the wild bird tied 
That is the wandering soul. Behind the day 
We may behold thee, soft one, hunted wide 
By the loud gadfly; but the truant soul 
Knows thee before thou lay by night's dark side, 



I3 8 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

Wed to the dimness ; long before its dole 
Was meted it, to be thus pound in clay 
That daubs its whiteness and offends its pride. 

There were loud questions in the rainbow's end, 
And hurried answers, and a sound of spears. 
And through the yellow blaze I saw one bend 
Down on a trembling white knee, and her tears 
Fell down in globes of light, and her small 

mouth 

Was filled up with a name unspoken. Years 
Of waiting love, and all their long, long drought 
Of kisses parched her lips, and did she spend 
Her eyes blue candles searching thro' her fears. 
" She hath loved Ganymede, the stolen boy." 
Said one, and then another, " Let us sing 
To Zeus that he may give her living joy 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 139 

Above Olympus, where the cool hill-spring 
Of Lethe bubbles up to bathe the heart 
Sorrow's lean fingers bruised. There eagles 

wing 

To eyries in the stars, and when they part 
Their broad dark wings a wind is born to 

buoy 
The bee home heavy in the far evening." 

HYMN TO ZEUS 

" GOD, whose kindly hand doth sow 
The rainbow showers on hill and lawn, 
To make the young sweet grasses grow 
And fill the udder of the fawn. 
Whose light is life of leaf and flower, 
And all the colours of the birds. 
Whose song goes on from hour to hour 



140 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

Upon the river's liquid words. 
Reach out a golden beam of thine 
And touch, her pain. Your finger-tips 
Do make the violets' blue eclipse 
Like milk upon a daisy shine. 

God, who lights the little stars, 
And over night the white dew spills. 
Whose hand doth move the season's cars 
And clouds that mock our pointed hills. 
Whose bounty fills the cow-trod wold, 
And fills with bread the warm brown sod. 
Who brings us sleep, where we grow old 
Til sleep and age together nod. 

Reach out a beam and touch the pain 
A heart has oozed thro* all the years. 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 141 

Your pity dries the morning's tears 
And fills the world with joy again!" 
The rainbow's lights were shut, and all the 

maids 
Stood round the sad nymph in a snow-white 

ring, 
She rising spoke, "A blue and soft light 

bathes 

Me to the fingers. Lo, I upward swing ! " 
And round her fell a mantle of blue light. 
" Watch for me on the forehead of evening." 
And lifting beautiful went out of sight. 
And all the flowers flowed backward from the 

glades, 
An ebb of colours redolent of Spring. 

Beauty and Love are sisters of the heart, 



142 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

Love has no voice, and Beauty whispered song. 

Now in my own, drawn silently apart 

Love looked, and Beauty 'sang. I felt a strong 

Pulse on my wrist, a feeling like a pain 

In my quick heart, for Love with gazes long 

Was worshipping at Artemis, now lain 

Among the heaving flowers ... I longed to 

dart 

And fold her to my breast, nor saw the wrong. 
She lay there, a tall beauty by her spear, 
Her kirtle falling to her soft round knee. 
Her hair was like the day when evening's near, 
And her moist mouth might tempt the golden 

bee. 
Smile's creases ran from dimples pink and 

deep, 
And when she raised her arms I loved to see 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 143 

The white mounds of her muscles. Gentle 

sleep 
Threatened her far blue looks. The noisy 

weir 

Fell into a low murmuring lullaby. 
And then the flowers came back behind the 

heel 

Of hunted lo : she, poor maid, had fear 
Wide in her eyes looking half back to steal 
A glimpse of the loud gadfly fiercely near. 
In her right hand she held a slanting light, 
And in her left her train. Artemis here 
Raised herself on her palms, and took a white 
Horn from her side and blew a silver peal 
'Til three hounds from the coppice did appear. 

The white nine left the spaces of flowers, and 
now 



144 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

Went calling thro* the woods the hunter's call. 
Young echoes sleeping in the hollow bough 
Took up the shouts and handed them to all 
Their sisters of the crags, 'til all the day 
Was filled with voices loud and musical. 
I followed them across a tangled way 
'Til the red deer broke out and took the brow 
Of a wide hill in bounces like a ball. 
Besides swift Artemis I joined the chase; 
We roused up kine and scattered fleecy flocks ; 
Crossed at a mill a swift and bubbly race ; 
Scaled in a wood of pine the knotty rocks; 
Past a grey vision of a valley town; 
Past swains at labour in their coloured frocks ; 
Once saw a boar upon a windy down ; 
Once heard a cradle in a lonely place, 
And saw the red flash of a frightened fox. 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 145 

We passed a garden where three maids in blue 
Were talking of a queen a long time dead. 
We caught a green glimpse of the sea: then 

thro' 

A town all hills; now round a wood we sped 
And killed our quarry in his native lair. 
Then Artemis spun round to me and said, 
" When come you ? " and I took her long 

damp hair 

And made a ball of it, and said, " Where you 
Are midnight's dreams of love." She dropped 

her head, 

No word she spoke, but, panting in her side, 
I heard her heart. The trees were all at peace, 
And lifting slowly on the grey evetide 
A large and lovely star. Then to release 
Her hair, my hand dropped to her girded 

waist 



146 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

And lay there shyly. " O my love, the lease 

Of your existence is for ever : taste 

No less with me the love of earth," I cried. 

" Thought for so short a while on lands and 

seas 

Our mortal hearts know beauty, and overblow, 
And we are dust upon some passing wind, 
Dust and a memory. But for you the snow 
That so long cloaks the mountains to the knees 
Is no more than a morning. It doth go 
And summer comes, and leaf upon the trees : 
Still you are fair and young, and nothing 

find 

In all man's story that seems long ago. 
I have not loved on Earth the strife for gold, 
Nor the great name that makes immortal man, 
But all that struggle upward to behold 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 147 

What still is left of Beauty undisgraced, 
The snowdrop at the heel of winter cold 
And shivering, and the wayward cuckoo 

chased 

By lingering March, and, in the thunder's van 
The poor lambs merry on the meagre wold, 
By-ways and cast-off things that lie therein, 
Old boots that trod the highways of the world, 
The schoolboy's broken hoop, the battered bin 
That heard the ragman's story, blackened 

places 
Where gipsies camped and circuses made 

din, 

Fast water and the melancholy traces 
Of sea tides, and poor people madly whirled 
Up, down, and through the black retreats of 

sin. 



148 A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 

These things a god might love, and stooping 

bless 

With benedictions of eternal song. 
But I have not loved Artemis the less 
For loving these, but deem it noble love 
To sing of live or dead things in distress 
And wake memorial memories above. 



" Such is the soul that comes to plead with you 
Oh, Artemis, to tend you in your needs. 
At mornings I will bring you bells of dew 
From honey places, and wild fish from streams 
Flowing in secret places. I will brew 
Sweet wine of alder for your evening dreams, 
And pipe you music in the dusky reeds 
When the four distances give up their blue. 



A DREAM OF ARTEMIS 149 

And when the white procession of the stars 
Crosses the night, and on their tattered wings, 
Above the forest, cry the loud night- jars, 
We'll hunt the stag upon the mountain-side, 
Slipping like light between the shadow bars 
'Til burst of dawn makes every distance wide. 
Oh, Artemis what grief the silence brings ! 
I hear the rolling chariot of Mars ! " 



A LITTLE BOY IN THE MORNING 
HE will not come, and still I wait. 
He whistles at another gate 
Where angels listen. Ah, I know 
He will not come, yet if I go 
How shall I know he did not pass 
Barefooted in the flowery grass? 

The moon leans on one silver horn 
Above the silhouettes of morn, 
And from their nest sills finches whistle 
Or stooping pluck the downy thistle. 
How is the morn so gay and fair 
Without his whistling in its air? 
The world is calling, I must go. 
How shall I know he did not pass 
Barefooted in the shining grass? 
150 



IN BARRACKS 



TO A DISTANT ONE 

THROUGH wild by-ways I come to you, my 
love, 

Nor ask of those I meet the surest way, 

What way I turn I cannot go astray 

And miss you in my life. Though Fate may 

prove 

A tardy guide she will not make delay 
Leading me through strange seas and distant 

lands, 

I'm coming still, though slowly, to your hands. 
We'll meet one day. 

There is so much to do, so little done, 
In my life's space that I perforce did leave 
Love at the moonlit trysting-place to grieve 
iS3 



I 5 4 TO A DISTANT ONE 

Till fame and other little things were won. 
I have missed much that I shall not retrieve, 
Far will I wander yet with much to do. 
Much will I spurn before I yet meet you, 
So fair I can't deceive. 

Your name is in the whisper of the woods 
Like Beauty calling for a poet's song 
To one whose harp had suffered many a wrong 
In the lean hands of Pain. And when the 

broods 

Of flower eyes waken all the streams along 
In tender whiles, I feel most near to you: 
Oh, when we meet there shall be sun and blue 
Strong as the spring is strong. 



THE PLACE 

BLOSSOMS as old as May I scatter here, 
And a blue wave I lifted from the stream. 
It shall not know when winter days are drear 
Or March is hoarse with blowing. But 

a-dream 

The laurel boughs shall hold a canopy 
Peacefully over it the winter long, 
Till all the birds are back from oversea, 
And April rainbows win a blackbird's song. 

And when the war is over I shall take 
My lute a-down to it and sing again 
Songs of the whispering things amongst the 
brake, 

i55 



156 THE PLACE 

And those I love shall know them by their 

strain. 

Their airs shall be the blackbird's twilight song, 
Their words shall be all flowers with fresh 

dews hoar. 

But it is lonely now in winter long. 
And, God! to hear the blackbird sing once 

more. 



MAY 

SHE leans across an orchard gate somewhere, 
Bending from out the shadows to the light, 
A dappled spray of blossom in her hair 
Studded with dew-drops lovely from the night. 
She smiles to think how many hearts she'll 

smite 

With beauty ere her robes fade from the lawn. 
She hears the robin's cymbals with delight, 
The skylark in the rosebush of the dawn. 

For her the cowslip rings its yellow bell, 
For her the violets watch with wide blue eyes. 
The wandering cuckoo doth its clear name tell 
Thro' the white mist of blossoms where she lies 



158 MAY 

Painting a sunset for the western skies. 
You'd know her by her smile and by her tear 
And by the way the swift and martin flies, 
Where she is south of these wild days and 
drear. 



TO EILISH OF THE FAIR HAIR 
YD make my heart a harp to play for you 
Love songs within the evening dim of day, 
Were it not dumb with ache and with mildew 
Of sorrow withered like a flower away. 
It hears so many calls from homeland places, 
So many sighs from all it will remember, 
From the pale roads and woodlands where 

your face is 

Like laughing sunlight running thro' Decem- 
ber. 

But this it singeth loud above its pain, 
To bring the greater ache: whate'er befall 
The love that oft-times woke the sweeter strain 
159 



i6o TO EILISH OF THE FAIR HAIR 
Shall turn to you always. And should you call 
To pity it some day in those old places 
Angels will covet the loud joy that fills it. 
But thinking of the by-ways where your face is 
Sunlight on other hearts Ah ! how it kills it. 



IN CAMP 



CREWBAWN 

WHITE clouds that change and pass, 
And stars that shine awhile, 
Dew water on the grass, 
A fox upon a stile. 

A river broad and deep, 
A slow boat on the waves, 
My sad thoughts on the sleep 
That hollows out the graves. 



163 



EVENING IN ENGLAND 
FROM its blue vase the rose of evening drops. 
Upon the streams its petals float away. 
The hills all blue with distance hide their tops 
In the dim silence falling on the grey. 
A little wind said " Hush ! " and shook a spray 
Heavy with May's white crop of opening 

bloom, 
A silent bat went dipping up the gloom. 

Night tells her rosary of stars full soon, 
They drop from out her dark hand to her 

knees. 

Upon a silhouette of woods the moon 
164 



EVENING IN ENGLAND 165 

Leans on one horn as if beseeching ease 
From all her changes which have stirred the 

seas. 

Across the ears of Toil Rest throws her veil, 
I and a marsh bird only make a wail. 



AT SEA 



CROCKNAHARNA 

ON the heights of Crocknaharna, 
(Oh, the lure of Crocknaharna) 
On a morning fair and early 
Of a dear remembered May, 
There I heard a colleen singing 
In the brown rocks and the grey. 
She, the pearl of Crocknaharna, 
Crocknaharna, Crocknaharna, 
Wild with girls is Crocknaharna 
Twenty hundred miles away. 

On the heights of Crocknaharna, 
(Oh, thy sorrow Crocknaharna) 
On an evening dim and misty 
169 



170 CROCKNAHARNA 

Of a cold November day, 
There I heard a woman weeping 
In the brown rocks and the grey. 
Oh, the pearl of Crocknaharna 
( Crocknaharna, Crocknaharna) , 
Black with grief is Crocknaharna 
Twenty hundred miles away. 



IN THE MEDITERRANEAN GOING 
TO THE WAR 

LOVELY wings of gold and green 
Flit about the sounds I hear, 
On my window when I lean 
To the shadows cool and clear. 

* * 

Roaming, I am listening still, 
Bending, listening overlong, 
In my soul a steadier will, 
In my heart a newer song. 



171 



THE GARDENER 
AMONG the flowers, like flowers, her slow 

hands move 

Easing a muffled bell or stooping low 
To help sweet roses climb the stakes above, 
Where pansies stare and seem to whisper 

"Lo!" 

Like gaudy butterflies her sweet peas blow 
Filling the garden with dim rustlings. Clear 
On the sweet Book she reads how long ago 
There was a garden to a woman dear. 

She makes her life one grand beatitude 
Of Love and Peace, and with contented eyes 
She sees not in the whole world mean or rude, 
172 



THE GARDENER 173 

And her small lot she trebly multiplies. 
And when the darkness muffles up the skies 
Still to be happy is her sole desire, 
She sings sweet songs about a great emprise, 
And sees a garden blowing in the fire. 



IN SERBIA 



AUTUMN EVENING IN SERBIA 
ALL the thin shadows 
Have closed on the grass, 
With the drone on their dark wings 
The night beetles pass. 
Folded her eyelids, 
A maiden asleep, 
Day sees in her chamber 
The pallid moon peep. 

From the bend of the briar 
The roses are torn. 
And the folds of the wood tops 
Are faded and worn. 
177 



AUTUMN EVENING IN SERBIA 
A strange bird is singing 
Sweet notes of the sun, 
Tho' song time is over 
And Autumn begun. 



NOCTURNE 
THE rim of the moon 
Is over the corn. 
The beetle's drone 
Is above the thorn. 
Grey days come soon 
And I am alone; 
Can you hear my moan 
Where you rest, Aroon? 

When the wild tree bore 
The deep blue cherry, 
In night's deep hall 
179 



X 8o NOCTURNE 

Our love kissed merry. 
But you come no more 
Where its woodlands call, 
And the grey days fall 
On my grief, Astore! 



SPRING AND AUTUMN 
GREEN ripples singing down the corn, 
With blossoms dumb the path I tread, 
And in the music of the morn 
One with wild roses on her head. 

Now the green ripples turn to gold 
And all the paths are loud with rain, 
I with desire am growing old 
And full of winter pain. 



181 



IN GREECE 



THE DEPARTURE OF PROSERPINE 
OLD mother Earth for me already grieves, 
Her morns wake weeping and her noons are 

dim, 

Silence has left her woods, and all the leaves 
Dance in the windy shadows on the rim 
Of the dull lake thro' which I soon shall pass 

To my dark bridal bed 
Down in the hollow chambers of the dead. 
Will not the thunder hide me if I call, 
Wrapt in the corner of some distant star 
The gods have never known? 

Alas! alas! 

My voice has left with the last wing, my fall 
Shall crush the flowery fields with gloom, as 
far 

185 



186 THE DEPARTURE OF PROSERPINE 

As swallows fly. 

Would I might die 
And in a solitude of roses lie 
As the last bud's outblown. 
Then nevermore Demeter would be heard 
Wail in the blowing rain, but every shower 
Would come bound up with rainbows to the 

birds 
Wrapt in a dusty wing, and the dry flower 

Hanging a shrivelled lip. 

This weary change from light to darkness fills 
My heart with twilight, and my brightest day 
Dawns over thunder and in thunder spills 

Its urn of gladness 

With a sadness 

Through which the slow dews drip 
And the bat goes over on a thorny wing. 



THE DEPARTURE OF PROSERPINE 187 
Is it a dream that once I used to sing 
From ^Egean shores across her rocky isles, 
Making the bells of Babylon to ring 

Over the wiles 
That lifted me from darkness to the Spring? 

And the King 

Seeing his wine in blossom on the tree 
Danced with the queen a merry roundelay, 
And all the blue circumference of the day 

Was loud with flying song. 

But let me pass along: 

What brooks it the unfree to thus delay? 

No secret turning leads from the gods' way. 



THE HOMECOMING OF THE SHEEP 
THE sheep are coming home in Greece, 
Hark the bells on every hill! 
Flock by flock, and fleece by fleece, 
Wandering wide a little piece 
Thro' the evening red and still, 
Stopping where the pathways cease, 
Cropping with a hurried will. 

Thro' the cotton-bushes low 
Merry boys with shouldered crooks 
Close them in a single row, 
Shout among them as they go 
With one bell-ring o'er the brooks. 
1 88 



THE HOMECOMING OF THE SHEEP 189 
Such delight you never know 
Reading it from gilded books. 

Before the early stars are bright 
Cormorants and sea-gulls call, 
And the moon comes large and white 
Filling with a lovely light 
The ferny curtained waterfall. 
Then sleep wraps every bell up tight 
And the climbing moon grows small. 



WHEN LOVE AND BEAUTY WANDER 
AWAY 

WHEN Love and Beauty wander away, 

And there's no more hearts to be sought and 

won, 

When the old earth limps thro' the dreary day, 
And the work of the Seasons cry undone : 
Ah ! what shall we do for a song to sing, 
Who have known Beauty, and Love, and 

Spring? 

When Love and Beauty wander away, 
And a pale fear lies on the cheeks of youth, 
When there's no more goal to strive for and 
pray, 

190 



WHEN LOVE AND BEAUTY WANDER 191 
And we live at the end of the world's untruth : 
Ah ! what shall we do for a heart to prove, 
Who have known Beauty, and Spring, and 
Love? 



IN HOSPITAL IN EGYPT 



MY MOTHER 

GOD made my mother on an April day, 
From sorrow and the mist along the sea, 
Lost birds' and wanderers' songs and ocean 

spray, 
And the moon loved her wandering jealously. 

Beside the ocean's din she combed her hair, 
Singing the nocturne of the passing ships, 
Before her earthly lover found her there 
And kissed away the music from her lips. 

She came unto the hills and saw the change 
That brings the swallow and the geese in turns. 
But there was not a grief she deemed strange, 
For there is that in her which always mourns. 



196 MY MOTHER 

Kind heart she has for all on hill or wave 
Whose hopes grew wings like ants to fly away. 
I bless the God Who such a mother gave 
This poor bird-hearted singer of a day. 



SONG 

NOTHING but sweet music wakes 

My Beloved, my Beloved. 
Sleeping by the blue lakes, 

My own Beloved! 

Song of lark and song of thrush, 

My Beloved! my Beloved! 
Sing in morning's rosy bush, 

My own Beloved! 

When your eyes dawn blue and clear, 

My Beloved! my Beloved! 
You will find me waiting here, 

My own Beloved! 



TO ONE DEAD 

A BLACKBIRD singing 
On a moss upholstered stone, 
Bluebells swinging, 
Shadows wildly blown, 
A song in the wood, 
A ship on the sea. 
The song was for you 
And the ship was for me. 

A blackbird singing 
I hear in my troubled mind, 
Bluebells swinging 
I see in a distant wind. 
198 



TO ONE DEAD 199 

But sorrow and silence 
Are the wood's threnody, 
The silence for you 
And the sorrow for me. 



THE RESURRECTION 
MY true love still is all that's fair, 
She is flower and blossom blowing free, 
For all her silence lying there 
She sings a spirit song to me. 

New lovers seek her in her bower, 
The rain, the dew, the flying wind, 
And tempt her out to be a flower, 
Which throws a shadow on my mind. 



200 



THE SHADOW PEOPLE 
OLD lame Bridget doesn't hear 
Fairy music in the grass 
When the gloaming's on the mere 
And the shadow people pass: 
Never hears their slow grey feet 
Coming from the village street 
Just beyond the parson's wall, 
Where the clover globes are sweet 
And the mushroom's parasol 
Opens in the moonlit rain. 
Every night I hear them call 
From their long and merry train. 
Old lame Bridget says to me, 
" It is just your fancy, child." 
201 



202 THE SHADOW PEOPLE 

She cannot believe I see 
Laughing faces in the wild, 
Hands that twinkle in the sedge 
Bowing at the water's edge 
Where the finny minnows quiver, 
Shaping on a blue wave's ledge 
Bubble foam to sail the river. 
And the sunny hands to me 
Beckon ever, beckon ever. 
Oh ! I would be wild and free 
And with the shadow people be. 



IN BARRACKS 



AN OLD DESIRE 

I SEARCHED thro' memory's lumber-room 
And there I found an old desire, 
I took it gently from the gloom 
To cherish by my scanty fire. 

And all the night a sweet- voiced one, 
Sang of the place my loves abide, 
'Til Earth leaned over from the dawn 
And hid the last star in her side. 

And often since, when most alone, 
I ponder on my old desire, 
But never hear the sweet-voiced one, 
And there are ruins in my fire. 
205 



THOMAS McDONAGH 
HE shall not hear the bittern cry 
In the wild sky, where he is lain, 
Nor voices of the sweeter birds 
Above the wailing of the rain. 

Nor shall he know when loud March blows 
Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill, 
Blowing to flame the golden cup 
Of many an upset daffodil. 

But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor, 
And pastures poor with greedy weeds, 
Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn 
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads. 
206 



THE WEDDING MORNING 
SPREAD the feast, and let there be 
Such music heard as best beseems 
A king's son coming from the sea 
To wed a maiden of the streams. 

Poets, pale for long ago, 

Bring sweet sounds from rock and flood, 

You by echo's accent know 

Where the water is and wood. 

Harpers whom the moths of Time 
Bent and wrinkled dusty brown, 
Her chains are falling with a chime, 
Sweet as bells in Heaven town. 
207 



208 THE WEDDING MORNING 

But, harpers, leave your harps aside, 
And, poets, leave awhile your dreams. 
The storm has come upon the tide 
And Cathleen weeps among her streams. 



THE BLACKBIRDS 
I HEARD the Poor Old Woman say: 
" At break of day the fowler came, 
And took my blackbirds from their songs 
Who loved me well thro' shame and blame. 

No more from lovely distances 
Their songs shall bless me mile by mile, 
Nor to white Ashbourne call me down 
To wear my crown another while. 

With bended flowers the angels mark 
For the skylark the place they lie, 
From there its little family 
Shall dip their wings first in the sky. 
209 



210 THE BLACKBIRDS 

And when the first surprise of flight 
Sweet songs excite, from the far dawn 
Shall there come blackbirds loud with love, 
Sweet echoes of the singers gone. 

But in the lonely hush of eve 
Weeping I grieve the silent bills." 
I heard the Poor Old Woman say 
In Derry of the little hills. 



THE LURE 

I SAW night leave her halos down 
On Mitylene's dark mountain isle, 
The silhouette of one fair town 
Like broken shadows in a pile. 
And in the farther dawn I heard 
The music of a foreign bird. 



In fields of shady angles now 

I stand and dream in the half dark: 

The thrush is on the blossomed bough, 

Above the echoes sings the lark, 

And little rivers drop between 

Hills fairer than dark Mitylene. 

211 



212 THE LURE 

Yet something calls me with no voice 
And wakes sweet echoes in my mind; 
In the fair country of my choice 
Nor Peace nor Love again I find, 
Nor anything of rest I know 
When south-east winds are blowing low. 



THRO' BOGAC BAN 
I MET the Silent Wandering Man, 
Thro' Bogac Ban he made his way, 
Humming a slow old Irish tune, 
On Joseph Plunkett's wedding day. 

And all the little whispering things 
That love the springs of Bogac Ban, 
Spread some new rumour round the dark 
And turned their faces from the dawn. 

My hand upon my harp I lay, 
I cannot say what things I know; 
To meet the Silent Wandering Man 
Of Bogac Ban once more I go. 
213 



FATE 

LUGH made a stir in the air 
With his sword of cries, 
And fairies thro' hidden ways 
Came from the skies, 
And their spells withered up the fair 
And vanquished the wise. 

And old lame Balor came down 
With his gorgon eye 
Hidden behind its lid, 
Old, withered and dry. 
He looked on the wattle town, 
And the town passed by. 
214 



FATE 2I5 

These things I know in my dreams, 
The crying sword of Lugh, 
And Balor's ancient eye 
Searching me through, 
Withering up my songs 
And my pipe yet new. 



EVENING CLOUDS 
A LITTLE flock of clouds go down to rest 
In some blue corner off the moon's highway, 
With shepherd winds that shook them in the 

West 

To borrowed shapes of earth, in bright array, 
Perhaps to weave a rainbow's gay festoons 
Around the lonesome isle which Brooke has 

made 

A little England full of lovely noons, 
Or dot it with his country's mountain shade. 

Ah, little wanderers, when you reach that isle 
Tell him, with dripping dew, they have not 

failed, 

216 



EVENING CLOUDS 217 

What he loved most ; for late I roamed awhile 
Thro' English fields and down her rivers 

sailed ; 

And they remember him with beauty caught 
From old desires of Oriental Spring 
Heard in his heart with singing overwrought; 
And still on Purley Common gooseboys sing. 



SONG 

THE winds are scented with woods after rain, 
And a raindrop shines in the daisy's eye. 
Shall we follow the swallow again, again, 
Ah! little yearning thing, you and I? 

You and I to the South again, 
And heart ! Oh, heart, how you shall sigh, 
For the kind soft wind that follows the rain, 
And the raindrop shed from the daisy's eye. 



218 



THE HERONS 
As I was climbing Ardan Mor 
From the shore of Sheelan lake, 
I met the herons coming down 
Before the water's wake. 

And they were talking in their flight 
Of dreamy ways the herons go 
When all the hills are withered up 
Nor any waters flow. 



219 



IN THE SHADOWS 

THE silent music of the flowers 

Wind-mingled shall not fail to cheer 

The lonely hours 

When I no more am here. 

Then in some shady willow place 

Take up the book my heart has made, 

And hide your face 

Against my name which was a shade. 



220 



THE SHIPS OF ARCADY 
THRO' the faintest filigree 
Over the dim waters go 
Little ships of Arcady 
When the morning moon is low. 

I can hear the sailors' song 
From the blue edge of the sea, 
Passing like the lights along 
Thro' the dusky filigree. 

Then where moon and waters meet 
Sail by sail they pass away, 
With little friendly winds replete 
Blowing from the breaking day. 

221 



222 THE SHIPS OF ARCADY 

And when the little ships have flown, 
Dreaming still of Arcady 
I look across the waves, alone 
In the misty filigree. 



AFTER 

AND in the after silences 
Of flower-lit distances I'll be, 
And who would find me travels far 
In lands unsung of minstrelsy. 
Strong winds shall cross my secret way, 
And planet mountains hide my goal, 
I shall go on from pass to pass, 
By monstrous rocks, a lonely soul. 



223 



TO ONE WEEPING 
MAIDEN, these are sacred tears, 
Let me not disturb your grief; 
Had I but your bosom's fears 
I should weep, nor seek relief. 

My woe is a silent woe 
Til I give it measured rhyme, 
When the blackbird's flute is low 
In my heart at singing time. 



224 



A DREAM DANCE 
MAEVE held a ball on the dun, 
Cuculain and Eimer were there, 
In the light of an old broken moon 
I was dancing with Deirdre the fair. 

How loud was the laughter of Finn 
As he blundered about thro' a reel, 
Tripping up Caoilte the thin, 
Or jostling the dreamy Aleel. 

And when the dance ceased for a song, 
How sweet was the singing of Fand, 
We could hear her far, wandering along, 
My hand in that beautiful hand. 
225 



BY FAUGHAN 

FOR hills and woods and streams unsung 
I pipe above a rippled cove. 
And here the weaver autumn hung 
Between the hills a wind she wove 
From sounds the hills remember yet 
Of purple days and violet. 

The hills stand up to trip the sky, 
Sea-misted, and along the tops 
Wing after wing goes summer by, 
And many a little roadway stops 
And starts, and struggles to the sea, 

Cutting them up in filigree. 
226 



BY FAUGHAN 227 

Twixt wind and silence Faughan flows, 
In music broken over rocks, 
Like mingled bells the poet knows 
Ring in the fields of Eastern flocks. 
And here this song for you I find 
Between the silence and the wind. 



IN SEPTEMBER 
STILL are the meadowlands, and still 
Ripens the upland corn, 
And over the brown gradual hill 
The moon has dipped a horn. 

The voices of the dear unknown 
With silent hearts now call, 
My rose of youth is overblown 
And trembles to the fall. 

My song forsakes me like the birds 
That leave the rain and grey, 
I hear the music of the words 
My lute can never say. 
228 



LAST SONGS 



TO AN OLD QUILL OF LORD 
DUNSANY'S 

BEFORE you leave my hands' abuses 
To lie where many odd things meet you, 
Neglected darkling of the Muses, 
I, the last of singers, greet you. 

Snug in some white wing they found you, 
On the Common bleak and muddy, 
Noisy goslings gobbling round you 
In the pools of sunset, ruddy. 

Have you sighed in wings untravelled 
For the heights where others view the 
Bluer widths of heaven, and marvelled 
At the utmost top of Beauty? 
231 



232 TO AN OLD QUILL OF LORD DUNSANY'S 
No! it cannot be; the soul you 
Sigh with craves nor begs of us. 
From such heights a poet stole you 
From a wing of Pegasus. 

You have been where gods were sleeping 
In the dawn of new creations, 
Ere they woke to woman's weeping 
At the broken thrones of nations. 

You have seen this old world shattered 
By old gods it disappointed, 
Lying up in darkness, battered 
By wild comets, unanointed. 

But for Beauty unmolested 
Have you still the sighing olden? 
I know mountains healther-crested, 
Waters white, and waters golden. 



TO AN OLD QUILL OF LORD DUNSANY'S 233 
There I'd keep you, in the lowly 
Beauty-haunts of bird and poet, 
Sailing in a wing, the holy 
Silences of lakes below it. 

But I leave you by where no man 
Finds you, when I too be gone 
From the puddles on this common 
Over the dark Rubicon. 

Londonderry, 

September i8th, 1916. 



TO A SPARROW 
BECAUSE you have no fear to mingle 
Wings with those of greater part, 
So like me, with song I single 
Your sweet impudence of heart. 

And when prouder feathers go where 
Summer holds her leafy show, 
You still come to us from nowhere 
Like grey leaves across the snow. 

In back ways where odd and end go 
To your meals you drop down sure, 
Knowing every broken window 
Of the hospitable poor. 
234 



TO A SPARROW 235 

There is no bird half so harmless, 
None so sweetly rude as you, 
None so common and so charmless, 
None of virtues nude as you. 

But for all your faults I love you, 
For you linger with us still, 
Though the wintry winds reprove you 
And the snow is on the hill. 

Londonderry, 

September 20th, 1916. 



OLD CLO' 

I WAS just coming in from the garden, 
Or about to go fishing for eels, 
And, smiling, I asked you to pardon 
My boots very low at the heels. 
And I thought that you never would go, 
As you stood in the doorway ajar, 
For my heart would keep saying, " Old Clo', 
You're found out at last as you are." 

I was almost ashamed to acknowledge 
That I was the quarry you sought, 
For was I not bred in a college 
And reared in a mansion, you thought. 
236 



OLD CLO' 237 

And now in the latest style cut 
With fortune more kinder I go 
To welcome you half-ways. Ah! but 
I was nearer the gods when " Old Clo'." 



YOUTH 

SHE paved the way with perfume sweet 
Of flowers that moved like winds alight, 
And never weary grew my feet 
Wandering through the spring's delight. 

She dropped her sweet fife to her lips 
And lured me with her melodies, 
To where the great big wandering ships 
Put out into the peaceful seas. 

But when the year grew chill and brown, 
And all the wings of Summer flown, 
Within the tumult of a town 

She left me to grow old alone. 
238 



THE LITTLE CHILDREN 
HUNGER points a bony finger 
To the workhouse on the hill, 
But the little children linger 
While there's flowers to gather still 
For my sunny window sill. 

In my hands I take their faces, 
Smiling to my smiles they run. 
Would that I could take their places 
Where the murky bye-ways shun 
The benedictions of the sun. 

How they laugh and sing returning 
Lightly on their secret way. 
239 



240 THE LITTLE CHILDREN 

While I listen in my yearning 
Their laughter fills the windy day 
With gladness, youth and May. 



AUTUMN 

Now leafy winds are blowing cold, 
And South by West the sun goes down, 
A quiet huddles up the fold 
In sheltered corners of the brown. 

Like scattered fire the wild fruit strews 
The ground beneath the blowing tree, 
And there the busy squirrel hews 
His deep and secret granary. 

And when the night comes starry clear, 
The lonely quail complains beside 
The glistening waters on the mere 
Where widowed Beauties yet abide. 
241 



242 AUTUMN 

And I, too, make my own complaint 
Upon a reed I plucked in June, 
And love to hear it echoed faint 
Upon another heart in tune. 

Londonderry, 

September 2$th, jpi<5. 



IRELAND 
I CALLED you by sweet names by wood and 

linn, 

You answered not because my voice was new, 
And you were listening for the hounds of Finn 
And the long hosts of Lugh. 

And so, I came unto a windy height 
And cried my sorrow, but you heard no wind, 
For you were listening to small ships in flight, 
And the wail on hills behind. 

And then I left you, wandering the war 
Armed with will, from distant goal to goal, 
To find you at the last free as of yore, 
Or die to save your soul. 
243 



244 IRELAND 

And then you called to us from far and near 

To bring your crown from out the deeps of 

time, 

It is my grief your voice I couldn't hear 
In such a distant clime. 



LADY FAIR 

LADY fair, have we not met 
In our lives elsewhere? 
Darkling in my mind to-night 
Faint fair faces dare 
Memory's old unfaithfulness 
To what was true and fair. 
Long of memory is Regret, 
But what Regret has taken flight 
Through my memory's silences? 
Lo! I turn it to the light. 
'Twas but a pleasure in distress, 
Too faint and far off for redress. 
But some light glancing in your hair 
245 



246 LADY FAIR 

And in the liquid of your eyes 
Seem to murmur old good-byes 
In our lives elsewhere. 
Have we not met, Lady fair? 

Londonderry, 
October 2?th f 



AT A POET'S GRAVE 
WHEN I leave down this pipe my friend 
And sleep with flower I loved, apart, 
My songs shall rise in wilding things 
Whose roots are in my heart. 

And here where that sweet poet sleeps 
I hear the songs he left unsung, 
When winds are fluttering the flowers 
And summer-bells are rung. 
November, J$i6. 



247 



AFTER COURT MARTIAL 
MY mind is not my mind, therefore 
I take no heed of what men say, 
I lived ten thousand years before 
God cursed the town of Nineveh. 

The Present is a dream I see 
Of horror and loud sufferings, 
At dawn a bird will waken me 
Unto my place among the kings. 

And though men called me a vile name, 
And all my dream companions gone, 
'Tis I the soldier bears the shame, 
Not I the king of Babylon. 
248 



A MOTHER'S SONG 
LITTLE ships of whitest pearl 
With sailors who were ancient kings, 
Come over the sea when my little girl 
Sings. 

And if my little girl should weep, 

Little ships with torn sails 

Go headlong down among the deep 

Whales. 

November, 



249 



AT CURRABWEE 
EVERY night at Currabwee 
Little men with leather hats 
Mend the boots of Faery 
From the tough wings of the bats. 
So my mother told to me, 
And she is wise you will agree. 

Louder than a cricket's wing 

All night long their hammer's glee 

Times the merry songs they sing 

Of Ireland glorious and free. 

So I heard Joseph Plunkett say, 

You know he heard them but last May. 

And when the night is very cold 
They warm their hands against the light 
250 



AT CURRABWEE 251 

Of stars that make the waters gold 
Where they are labouring all the night. 
So Pearse said, and he knew the truth, 
Among the stars he spent his youth. 

And I, myself, have often heard 
Their singing as the stars went by, 
For am I not of those who reared 
The banner of old Ireland high, 
From Dublin town to Turkey's shores, 
And where the Vardar loudly roars? 
December, 



SONG-TIME IS OVER 
I WILL come no more awhile, 

Song-time is over. 
A fire is burning in my heart, 

I was ever a rover. 

You will hear me no more awhile, 

The birds are dumb, 
And a voice in the distance calls 

" Come," and " Come," 
December 



252 



UNA BAWN 

UNA BAWN, the days are long, 
And the seas I cross are wide, 
I must go when Ireland needs, 
And you must bide. 

And should I not return to you 
When the sails are on the tide, 
'Tis you will find the days so long, 
Una Bawn, and I must bide. 
December 13th, J$i6. 



253 



SPRING LOVE 

I SAW her coming through the flowery grass, 
Round her swift ankles butterfly and bee 
Blent loud and silent wings; I saw her pass 
Where foam-bows shivered on the sunny sea. 

Then came the swallow crowding up the dawn, 
And cuckoo-echoes filled the dewy South. 
I left my love upon the hill, alone, 
My last kiss burning on her lovely mouth. 
B.E.F. -December 26th, 1916. 



254 



SOLILOQUY 

WHEN I was young I had a care 
Lest I should cheat me of my share 
Of that which makes it sweet to strive 
For life, and dying still survive, 
A name in sunshine written higher 
Than lark or poet dare aspire. 

But I grew weary doing well, 
Besides, 'twas sweeter in that hell, 
Down with the loud banditti people 
Who robbed the orchards, climbed the steeple 
For jackdaws' eggs and made the cock 
Crow ere 'twas daylight on the clock. 
I was so very bad the neighbours 
Spoke of me at their daily labours. 
255 



256 SOLILOQUY 

And now I'm drinking wine in France, 
The helpless child of circumstance. 
To-morrow will be loud with war, 
How will I be accounted for? 

It is too late now to retrieve 
A fallen dream, too late to grieve 
A name unmade, but not too late 
To thank the gods for what is great; 
A keen-edged sword, a soldier's heart, 
Is greater than a poet's art. 
And greater than a poet's fame 
A little grave that has no name. 



DAWN 

QUIET miles of golden sky, 
And in my heart a sudden flower. 
I want to clap my hands and cry 
For Beauty in her secret bower. 

Quiet golden miles of dawn 
Smiling all the East along; 
And in my heart night fully blown, 
A little rose-bud of a song. 



257 



CEOL SIDHE ! 

WHEN May is here, and every morn 
Is dappled with pied bells, 
And dewdrops glance along the thorn 
And wings flash in the dells, 
I take my pipe and play a tune 
Of dreams, a whispered melody, 
For feet that dance beneath the moon 
In fairy jollity. 

And when the pastoral hills are grey 
And the dim stars are spread, 
A scamper fills the grass like play 

Of feet where fairies tread. 

1 Fairy music. 
258 



CEOL SIDHE 259 

And many a little whispering thing 
Is calling to the Shee. 
The dewy bells of evening ring, 
And all is melody. 

France, 

December sgth, 1916. 



THE RUSHES 
THE rushes nod by the river 
As the winds on the loud waves go, 
And the things they nod of are many, 
For it's many the secret they know. 

And I think they are wise as the fairies 
Who Jived ere the hills were high, 
They nod so grave by the river 
To everyone passing by. 

If they would tell me their secrets 
I would go by a hidden way, 
To the rath when the moon retiring 
Dips dim horns into the gray. 
260 






THE RUSHES 261 

And a fairy-girl out of Leinster 
In a long dance I should meet, 
My heart to her heart beating, 
My feet in rhyme with her feet. 

France, 

January 6th, 



THE DEAD KINGS 
ALL the dead kings came to me 
At Rosnaree, where I was dreaming. 
A few stars glimmered through the morn, 
And down the thorn the dews were streaming. 

And every dead king had a story 

Of ancient glory, sw r eetly told. 

It was too early for the lark, 

But the starry dark had tints of gold. 

I listened to the sorrows three 
Of that Eire passed into song. 
A cock crowed near a hazel croft, 
And up aloft dim larks winged strong. 
262 



THE DEAD KINGS 263 

And I, too, told the kings a story 
Of later glory, her fourth sorrow: 
There was a sound like moving shields 
In high green fields and the lowland furrow. 

And one said : " We who yet are kings 
Have heard these things lamenting inly." 
Sweet music flowed from many a bill 
And on the hill the morn stood queenly. 

And one said : " Over is the singing, 
And bell bough ringing, whence we come; 
With heavy hearts we'll tread the shadows, 
In honey meadows birds are dumb." 

And one said : " Since the poets perished 
And all they cherished in the way, 
Their thoughts unsung, like petal showers 
Inflame the hours of blue and gray." 



264 THE DEAD KINGS 

And one said : " A loud tramp of men 

We'll hear again at Rosnaree." 

A bomb burst near me where I lay. 

I woke, 'twas day in Picardy. 

France, 

January 7th, 1917. 



IN FRANCE 

THE silence of maternal hills 
Is round me in my evening dreams; 
And round me music-making bills 
And mingling waves of pastoral streams. 

Whatever way I turn I find 
The path is old unto me still. 
The hills of home are in my mind, 
And there I wander as I will. 
February 3rd, 1917. 



265 



HAD I A GOLDEN POUND 

(AFTER THE IRISH) 
HAD I a golden pound to spend, 
My love should mend and sew no more. 
And I would buy her a little quern, 
Easy to turn on the kitchen floor. 

And for her windows curtains white, 
With birds in flight and flowers in bloom, 
To face with pride the road to town, 
And mellow down her sunlit room. 

And with the silver change we'd prove 
The truth of Love to life's own end, 
With hearts the years could but embolden, 
Had I a golden pound to spend. 

February 5th, 1917. 

266 



FAIRIES 

MAIDEN-POET, come with me 
To the heaped up cairn of Maeve, 
And there we'll dance a fairy dance 
Upon a fairy's grave. 

In and out among the trees, 
Filling all the night with sound, 
The morning, strung upon her star, 
Shall chase us round and round. 

What are we but fairies too, 
Living but in dreams alone, 
Or, at the most, but children still, 
Innocent and overgrown? 

February 6ih, 1917. 

267 



IN A CAFE 

Kiss the maid and pass her round, 
Lips like hers were made for many. 
Our loves are far from us to-night, 
But these red lips are sweet as any. 

Let no empty glass be seen 

Aloof from our good table's sparkle, 

At the acme of our cheer 

Here are francs to keep the circle. 

They are far who miss us most 

Sip and kiss how well we love them, 

Battling through the world to keep 

Their hearts at peace, their God above them. 

February nth, 1917. 

268 






SPRING 

ONCE more the lark with song and speed 
Cleaves through the dawn, his hurried bars 
Fall, like the flute of Ganymede 
Twirling and whistling from the stars. 

The primrose and the daffodil 
Surprise the valleys, and wild thyme 
Is sweet on every little hill, 
When lambs come down at folding time. 

In every wild place now is heard 
The magpie's noisy house, and through 
The mingled tunes of many a bird 
The ruffled wood-dove's gentle coo. 
269 



270 SPRING 

Sweet by the river's noisy brink 
The water-lily bursts her crown, 
The kingfisher comes down to drink 
Like rainbow jewels falling down. 

And when the blue and grey entwine 
The daisy shuts her golden eye, 
And peace wraps all those hills of mine 
Safe in my dearest memory. 

France, 

March 8th, 3917. 



PAN 

HE knows the safe ways and unsafe 
And he will lead the lambs to fold, 
Gathering them with his merry pipe, 
The gentle and the overbold. 

He counts them over one by one, 
And leads them back by cliff and steep, 
To grassy hills where dawn is wide, 
And they may run and skip and leap. 

And just because he loves the lambs 
He settles them for rest at noon, 
And plays them on his oaten pipe 
The very wonder of a tune. 

France, 

March nth, 1917. 

271 



WITH FLOWERS 

THESE have more language than my song, 
Take them and let them speak for me. 
I whispered them a secret thing 
Down the green lanes of Allary. 

You shall remember quiet ways 
Watching them fade, and quiet eyes, 
And two hearts given up to love, 
A foolish and an overwise. 

France, 
April, 



272 



THE FIND 

I TOOK a reed and blew a tune, 
And sweet it was and very clear 
To be about a little thing 
That only few hold dear. 

Three times the cuckoo named himself, 
But nothing heard him on the hill, 
Where I was piping like an elf 
The air was very still. 

Twas all about a little thing 
I made a mystery of sound, 
I found it in a fairy ring 
Upon a fairy mound. 

June 2nd, 1917. 

273 



A FAIRY HUNT 
WHO would hear the fairy horn 
Calling all the hounds of Finn 
Must be in a lark's nest born 
When the moon is very thin. 

I who have the gift can hear 
Hounds and horn and tally ho, 
And the tongue of Bran as clear 
As Christmas bells across the snow. 

And beside my secret place 
Hurries by the fairy fox, 
With the moonrise on his face, 
Up and down the mossy rocks. 
274 



A FAIRY HUNT 275 

Then the music of a horn 
And the flash of scarlet men, 
Thick as poppies in the corn 
All across the dusky glen. 

Oh! the mad delight of chase! 
Oh! the shouting and the cheer! 
Many an owl doth leave his place 
In the dusty tree to hear. 



TO ONE WHO COMES NOW AND 
THEN 

WHEN you come in, it seems a brighter fire 
Crackles upon the hearth invitingly, 
The household routine which was wont to tire 
Grows full of novelty. 

You sit upon our home-upholstered chair 
And talk of matters wonderful and strange, 
Of books, and travel, customs old which dare 
The gods of Time and Change. 

Till we with inner word our care refute 
Laughing that this our bosoms yet assails, 
While there are maidens dancing to a flute 
In Andalusian vales. 

276 



TO ONE WHO COMES NOW AND THEN 277 
And sometimes from my shelf of poems you 

take 

And secret meanings to our hearts disclose, 
As when the winds of June the mid bush 

shake 
We see the hidden rose. 



And when the shadows muster, and each tree 
A moment flutters, full of shutting wings, 
You take the riddle and mysteriously 
Wake wonders on the strings. 

And in my garden, grey with misty flowers, 
Low echoes fainter than a beetle's horn 
Fill all the corners with it, like sweet showers 
Of bells, in the owl's morn. 



278 TO ONE WHO COMES NOW AND THEN 
Come often, friend, with welcome and surprise 
We'll greet you from the sea or from the 

town; 

Come when you like and from whatever skies 
Above you smile or frown. 

Belgium, 

July 22nd, 1917. 






THE SYLPH 

I SAW you and I named a flower 
That lights with blue a woodland space, 
I named a bird of the red hour 
And a hidden fairy place. 

And then I saw you not, and knew 
Dead leaves were whirling down the mist, 
And something lost was crying through 
An evening of amethyst. 



279 



HOME 

A BURST of sudden wings at dawn, 
Faint voices in a dreamy noon, 
Evenings of mist and murmurings, 
And nights with rainbows of the moon. 

And through these things a wood-way dim. 
And waters dim, and slow sheep seen 
On uphill paths that wind away 
Through summer sounds and harvest green. 

This is a song a robin sang 
This morning on a broken tree, 
It was about the little fields 
That call across the world to me. 

Belgium, 

July, 1917. 

280 



THE LANAWN SHEE 
POWDERED and perfumed the full bee 
Winged heavily across the clover, 
And where the hills were dim with dew, 
Purple and blue the west leaned over. 

A willow spray dipped in the stream, 
Moving a gleam of silver ringing, 
And by a finny creek a maid 
Filled all the shade with softest singing. 

Listening, my heart and soul at strife, 
On the edge of life I seemed to hover, 
For I knew my love had come at last, 
That my joy was past and my gladness over. 
281 



282 THE LANAWN SHEE 

I tiptoed gently up and stooped 
Above her looped and shining tresses, 
And asked her of her kin and name, 
And why she came from fairy places. 

She told me of a sunny coast 
Beyond the most adventurous sailor, 
Where she had spent a thousand years 
Out of the fears that now assail her. 

And there, she told me, honey drops 
Out of the tops of ash and willow, 
And in the mellow shadow Sleep 
Doth sweetly keep her poppy pillow. 

Nor Autumn with her brown line marks 
The time of larks, the length of roses, 
But song-time there is over never 
Nor flower-time ever, ever closes. 



THE LANAWN SHEE 283 

And wildly through uncurling ferns 
Fast water turns down valleys singing, 
Filling with scented winds the dales, 
Setting the bells of sleep a- ringing. 

And when the thin moon lowly sinks, 
Through cloudy chinks a silver glory 
Lingers upon the left of night 
Till dawn delights the meadows hoary. 

And by the lakes the skies are white, 
(Oh, the delight!) when swans are coming, 
Among the flowers sweet joy-bells peal, 
And quick bees wheel in drowsy humming. 

The squirrel leaves her dusty house 
And in the boughs makes fearless gambol, 
And, falling down in fire-drops, red, 
The fruit is shed from every bramble. 



284 THE LANAWN SHEE 

Then, gathered all about the trees 
Glad galaxies of youth are dancing, 
Treading the perfume of the flowers, 
Filling the hours with mazy glancing. 

And when the dance is done, the trees 

Are left to Peace and the brown woodpecker, 

And on the western slopes of sky 

The day's blue eye begins to flicker. 

But at the sighing of the leaves, 
When all earth grieves for lights departed 
An ancient and a sad desire 
Steals in to tire the human-hearted. 

No fairy aid can save them now 
Nor turn their prow upon the ocean, 
The hundred years that missed each heart 
Above them start their wheels in motion. 



THE LANAWN SHEE 285 

And so our loves are lost, she sighed, 
And far and wide we seek new treasure, 
For who on Time or Timeless hills 
Can live the ills of loveless leisure? 

(" Fairer than Usna's youngest son, 
O, my poor one, what flower-bed holds you? 
Or, wrecked upon the shores of home, 
What wave of foam with white enfolds you? 

" You rode with kings on hills of green, 
And lovely queens have served you banquet, 
Sweet wine from berries bruised they brought 
And shyly sought the lips which drank it. 

" But in your dim grave of the sea 
There shall not be a friend to love you. 
And ever heedless of your loss 
The earth ships cross the storms above you. 



286 THE LANAWN SHEE 

" And still the chase goes on, and still 

The wine shall spill, and vacant places 

Be given over to the new 

As love untrue keeps changing faces. 

" And I must wander with my song 

Far from the young till Love returning, 

Brings me the beautiful reward 

Of some heart stirred by my long yearning.") 

Friend, have you heard a bird lament 
When sleet is sent for April weather? 
As beautiful she told her grief, 
As down through leaf and flower I led her. 

And friend, could I remain unstirred 
Without a word for such a sorrow? 
Say, can the lark forget the cloud 
When poppies shroud the seeded furrow? 



THE LANAWN SHEE 287 

Like a poor widow whose late grief 
Seeks for relief in lonely byeways, 
The moon, companionless and dim, 
Took her dull rim through starless highways. 

I was too weak with dreams to feel 
Enchantment steal with guilt upon me, 
She slipped, a flower upon the wind, 
And laughed to find how she had won me. 

From hill to 'hill, from land to land, 
Her lovely hand is beckoning for me, 
I follow on through dangerous zones, 
Cross dead men's bones and oceans stormy. 

Some day I know she'll wait at last 
And lock me fast in white embraces, 
And down mysterious ways of love 
We two shall move to fairy places. 

Belgium, 

July, 1917. 



PR 6023 .E25 1919 SMC 

Ledwidge, Francis, 

1887-1917. 
The complete poems of 

Francis Ledwidge / 
AVU-7696 (sk)