1 W #-^ U J^ * 1^ /f ^ . . , **-« 1^ » )r '^: %r ^: ^)r ■^ «. ^ ;flr^< Mir -^ r; ll^ •^; §:, •^; S' * ^ .^^ ^)r # V -^ ^-r: ^' -n ^/ 2.345 Qy^.<j("l-^ <^'^ Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2007 with funding from IVIicrosoft Corporation http://www.archive.org/details/ecloguesbookofpoOOreadrich ECLOGUES This is the ninth book issued by the Beaumont Press and the fifth printed by hand 30 copies have been printed on Japanese vellum signed by the author and artist and numbered i to 30 50 copies on cartridge paper numbered 31 to 80 and 120 copies on hand-made paper numbered 81 to 200 ECLOGUES A BOOK OF POEMS HERBERT READ CONTENTS THE MEDITATION OF A LOVER ^^^ 1 can just see the distant trees ... 9 WOODLANDS Pine needles cover the silent ground : . 10 PASTURELANDS We scurry over the pastures . . . 11 THE POND Shrill green weeds . . . . . 12 THE ORCHARD Grotesque patterns of blue-grey mould . 1 3 APRIL To the fresh wet fields . . , . 14 THE WOODMAN His russet coat and gleaming axe . . 15 HARVEST HOME The waggons loom like blue caravans . 16 CONTENTS Page THE AUTUMN OF THE WORLD As a host of bloodflecked clouds . . 17 CURFEW Like a faun my head uplifted . . . 18 CHILDHOOD The years come with their still perspective, 19 ON THE HEATH White humours veining Earth, . . 23 GARDEN PARTY I have assumed a conscious sociability, . 24 ROOFS Above the vibrant town, . . , 25 ETUDE That white hand poised . . . . 26 CHAMP DE MANCEUVRES This hill indents my soul . . 27 CONTENTS NOCTURNE Page I will make this girl a bed of ferns 29 WINTER GRIEF Life so brief 30 PROMENADE SOLENNELLE We walked mutely 31 THE SORROW OF UNICUME Fresh in the flush light gleam 33 NIGHT The dark steep roofs chisel 35 COLOPHON .... 37 To Evelyn THE AUTUMN OF THE WORLD AS A HOST of blood-flecked clouds skim the golden sky and melt in the vermilioned vastness There comes borne on a wind from the infinite womb of chaos the dank wafture of decay. Over the eternal waters of the sea that weep and find no solace of their cares Lethargic vultures flock and swirl and fill the echoes with their gloomy cries. Cold winds from arctic zones betray the transient things of earth : The last yellow leaves fall on the iridescent sward : The wind dies and the summer voices are forever quiet. CURFEW LIKE A FAUN my head uplifted In delicate mists : And breaking on my soul Tremulous waves that beat and cling To yellow leaves and dark green hills Bells in the autumn evening. iS <iiSi^ ^^ ^^^^^^-— . s 'Wj ^ Px !^ ^ S \\\\>? ^^S CHILDHOOD THE YEARS COME with their still perspective, enveloping the past in the light of romance. The old elm trees flock round the tiled farmstead and their silver-bellied leaves dance in the wind. Beneath their shade, and in the corner of the green, is a pond. In winter it is full of water, green with various weeds: and in Spring a lily will open in its centre. 19 Childhood I The ducks waddle in the mud and sail in circles round the pond, or preen their feathers on the bank. But in Summer the pond is dry, and its bed is glossy and baked by the sun, of a beautiful soft colour like the skins of the moles they catch and crucify on the stable doors. On the green the fowls pick grains, or chatter and fight. Their yellows, whites and browns, the metallic lustre of their darker feathers, and the crimson splash of their combs make an everchanging pattern on the grass. They drink with spasmodic upreaching necks by the side of the well. Under the stones by the well live green lizards curious to our eves. And the path from the well leads to a garden door set in the high wall whereon grow plums and apricots. The door is deep and narrow and opens on to paths bordered with box-hedges ; one path leads through the aromatic currant bushes, beneath the plum-trees, to the lawn where grows the wonder of our day-dreams, the monkey's-puzzle tree. On the other side of the 2C Childhood I lawn three fir-trees rise sharply to the sky, their dark shades homing a few birds. And beyond is the orchard, and down its avenues of mould-smitten trees the path leads to the paddocks, with their mushrooms and fairy-rings, and to the flat- lands stretching till the girding hills complete our vision. But on a hill-top, cut clean against a sunrise, is the figure of a child, full of an impatient gesture. 21 CHILDHOOD II THE FARM is distant from the high-road half a mile; The child of the farm does not realise it for several years ; He wanders through the orchard, finds mushrooms in the paddock, or beetles in the pond. But one day he goes to the high-road, sees carts and carriages pass, and men go marketing. A traction-engine crashes into his vision with flame and smoke, and makes his eager soul retreat. He turns away : The huntsmen are galloping over the fields, Their red coats and the swift whimpering hcunds, ON THE HEATH WHITE HUMOURS veining Earth, The lymphic winds of Spring Veil an early morning When on the hill Men in cool sleeves dig the soil, Turning the loam or acrid manure With gripes that clink on stones. Silently horses speed on the sandy track. Lithe in white sweaters Two runners lean against a fountain. . 23 GARDEN PARTY I HAVE ASSUMED a conscious sociability, Pressed unresponding hfands, Sipped tea, And chattered aimlessly All afternoon, Achieving spontaneity Only When my eyes lit at the sight Of a scarlet spider Running over the bright Green mould of an apple-tree. 24 THE MEDITATION OF A LOVER AT DAYBREAK I CAN JUST SEE the distant trees And I wonder whether they will Or will not Bow their tall plumes at your passing In the carriage of the morning wind: Or whether they will merely Tremble against the cold dawnlight, Shaking a yellow leaf to the dew-wet earth. WOODLANDS PINE NEEDLES cover the silent ground pine trees chancel the woodland ways. We penetrate into the dark depths Where only garlic and hemlock grow Till we meet the blue stream Cleaving the green Twilight like a rhythmic sword. lO PASTURELANDS WE SCURRY over the pastures chasing the windstrewn oak-leaves. We kiss the fresh petals of cowslips and primroses. We discover frog-spawn in the wet ditch. II THE POND SHRILL GREEN WEEDS float on the black pond. A rising fish ripples the still water And disturbs my soul. 12 THE ORCHARD GROTESQUE patterns of blue-grey mould Cling to my barren apple-trees: But in spring Pale blossoms burst like little flowers Along black wavering twigs: And soon Rains wash the cold frail petals Downfallinor like tremulous flakes Even within my heart. 13 APRIL TO THE FRESH WET FIELDS and the white froth of flowers Came the wild errant swallows with a scream. nninuHIITmr ii ii M i ii ii miit i n =5>, THE WOODMAN HIS RUSSET COAT and gleaming axe Flit In the blue glades. The wild birds sing ; But the woodman he broods In the blue glades. ^5 HARVEST HOME The waggons loom like blue caravans in the duskf They lumber mysteriously down the moonlit lanes. We ride on the stacks of rust gold corn, Filling the sky with our song. The horses toss their heads and the harness-bells Jingle all the way. i6 ROOFS ABOVE the vibrant town, Above its dull clamour, Roofs like ragged blades Break into the moist golden glow With mosaic of lustreful tiles And slates that gleam metallic. The first pale stars will soon illume The dying scene till sole Ethereal silhouettes pierce the gloom 25 ETUDE THAT WHITE HAND poised Above the ivory keys Will soon descend to Shatter The equable surface of my reverie. To what abortion Will the silence give birth ? Noon of moist heat and the moan Of raping beeSy And light like a sluice of molten gold On the satiatCy petitioning leaves. In yellow fieUs , Mute agony of reapers. Does the metallic horizon Give release ? Well, higher, against the wider void the immaculate angels of lust Lean on the swanbreasts of heaven. 26 CHAMP DE MANCEUVRES THIS HILL INDENTS my soul So that I saor Like a silver mist about its flanks. I dwell In the golden setting of the sun, While on the plain The illumined mists invade Leaf-burdened trees. . . 27 Champ de Manoeuvres And then The silent tides of melting light Assail the hill, imbue My errant soul. Mine empty body broods One with the inanimate rocks . . . The last red rays are fierce and irritant. Then wakes my body on the lonely hill, Gathering to its shell my startled soul. 28 NOCTURNE I WILL MAKE this girl a bed of ferns Beneath the trees, And she shall come to me naked and shy in the starlight, And when I kneel to kiss her body Faunish I will be aware of its human scent Mingled with the resin odours of the shrouded wood As salt in tears. We will be silent in the world ; And if she think good We will go down to the green pool To lie with our bellies on the cool grass And drink together. The flying beetles and the bats And the birds drowsy in the branches Shall be our companions. The sheep in the open fields Shall see our white bodies glimmering in the woodland dusk. 29 WINTER GRIEF LIFE SO BRIEF . . . Yet I am old with an era of grief. The earth unveils a sad nakedness And her hills droop round my sorrow. Into the stillness living things scream, And only the nerveless dead get tranquillity. From the funereal mould Late asters blaspheme. 30 -v ^ __ ^ — ~— !r^ ^*"^^ -^ ^^^^^^ «Wk ' - • _^^ S ^v^"'****-^^ ^^^^^^^"' NX "•-^ "^fS*-"^ ^^F^ ^sM', ^: ^ ^ :^ PROMENADE SOLENNELLE WE WALKED MUTELY over black moors where gray walls crawl Sinuously into still horizons. I was mute — a stickybud only to unfurl In the germination of your mood. 31 Promenade Solennelle But you called gray rain to slake my heart : You called gray mist over the black moors. We passed black altars of rock, Two mute, processional, docile Christs Amid the unheeding Bleakness. THE SORROW OF UNICUME I FRESH in the flush light gleam the slape new furrows : ride the clean horizon rib lithe Unicume and his roan team. Man moulded with Earth — ^ like clay uprisen : his whistling mingles with the throstle's this even. Inward from furtive woods the stretched light stains : end-toil star now broods deeming resthaven due. Unyoked the roan team garthward he leads : hooves beat to harness clink ; the swollen sun bleeds. II When alone, Unicume seeks his darkening dale. Yoyi my white garden-rail — Heart's tomb within ! 33 The Sorrow of Unicume He lifts latch to the quiet room where yet it seems she breathes : he kneels to take her stark hands in caress mute with the gloom. " Draw the casement ; let me see last light without y Ah, fierce the white, white stars to hurt, their beauty a wild shout. Retch of flower scent, lush decay among time-burdened shrubs. And near and shallowly buried lay love once enfleshed, now fled. Ill Harsh my heart is, scalded with grief : my life a limp worm-eaten leaf White flower unfeeling^ you star the mould : evolved calmness, my livid heart enfold. 34 NIGHT THE dark steep roofs chisel The infinity of the sky : But the white moonlit gables Resemble Still hands at prayer. 35 HERE ENDS ECLOGUES A BOOK OF POEMS by Herbert Read The Cover and the Decorations designed by Ethelbert White The Typography and Binding arranged by Cyril W. Beaumont Printed by hand on his Press at 75 Charing Cross Road in the City of Westminster Completed December the Twentieth MDCCCCXIX Pressman Compositor Charles Wright C. W. Beaumont 19/9 7/ ,^- '^ / /^ ^ * ^v,-^ ^^ii Ife ^ ^ # '^^/^ -^^ 1^ ^ ^^^i** l^r ^ ■i?:^ • ^» "^TJ^ m ^ HiffiW.!!;.-.