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Full text of "The poems and ballads of Robert Louis Stevenson"

p. 



A nightingale in the sycamore." 



O 

ROBERT Louis STEVENSON 

INTRODUCTION BY NEIL MUNRO 
ILLUSTRATED BY NICK 



LONDON &c GLASGOW 
COLLINS' CLEAR-TYPE PRESS 




Q. 



POEMS 




Printed in Great Britain 



INTRODUCTION 

THEY counted themselves lucky, who, thirty to forty years 
ago, were able to make first acquaintance with the poetry 
of the still-living Robert Louis Stevenson even at the 
cost of tracking it through various volumes, or a series 
of intermittent " Occ. Verses " in the old Pall Mall 
Gazette. There was never any illusion among the 
collectors that the reputation of the prose romancer was 
likely to be overwhelmed by the fugitive bard, but his 
verse was recognised by them as completing the evidence 
of his manifold gifts as a literary artist, and it was rarely 
that it disappointed. A Child's Garden of Verses, that 
imaginative realisation of the make-believe of childhood, 
had charmed in an unmistakable fashion, and indeed was 
recognised as a tour-de-force never likely to be bettered 
in its own way by any one else. Yet it was not exactly 
all that was expected from a quite grown-up gentleman 
whose name was becoming associated with that of Walter 
Scott. 

Underwoods in its Scottish parts was more like the 
thing ; here was verse that could be imposed on the more 
innocent 25th of January celebrants as the veritable 
work of Burns. Followed the Ballads of the South 
Seas, which alarmed by the suggestion that Stevenson 
had " lost the place " again and did not know wherein 
his strength lay. But the subsequent Songs of Travel 
restored our faith in him and our affection. 

It was a considerable time after Stevenson's death 
that his poetical % " remains," as the ambiguous old word 
has it, were procurable in one volume. Readers of the 
present edition are well-off to be able, hi a single book, 
to read every poem of his worth re-printing. They can 
the better judge the full effect and value of accumulated 
verse which their predecessors knew only in fugitive 
detached samples, though they may not enjoy the elation 

7 



8 INTRODUCTION 

felt by the older readers for whom every new individual 
lyric of Stevenson's was a grand discovery. 

The Child's Garden, as we realise to-day, was a happier 
choice for a novice to cultivate than the youthful Scott 
selected in his translations of Burger's German ballads. 
He is a wise poet who seeks his inspirations first in 
emotions experienced not far from his mother's door. 
The blowzy, exotic, night-blooming flowers of Lenore 
and The Wild Huntsman are long since perished, but 
The Child's Garden has still the morning dew and blossom 
in it. It is concerned with childish thrills and speculations 
that are universal ; that are the first intimations of another 
world than that which is " too much with us." 

At the age of thirty, Stevenson, with no conviction 
that he could grow orchids, or even hollyhocks, was 
content to stake out a little neglected patch of the big 
folks' garden, and do the best he could with daises and 
forget-me-nots. His childhood had been attended by 
more hazards than those immediately due to ill-health. 
His mother was delicate in his infancy, and nurses had 
to be provided for him. The reign of the first nurse he 
had was very short, as she was accidentally discovered 
in a public-house much the worse for drink, while her 
tender charge, done up in a parcel, " lay tucked out of 
sight on a shelf behind the bar," a circumstance which 
suggests that the publicans of Edinburgh last century 
must have been remarkably accommodating. The little 
Louis asleep behind the beer-pulls would make a touching 
picture for some artist of the Scottish school. A second 
nurse proved no better, and it was then that the faithful 
Alison Cunningham, familiarly called Gummy, came to 
his salvation. Gummy, however, was of a sulphurous 
kind of piety ; it was her habit to scare the unfortunate 
child out of his wits by her picturesque descriptions of 
a veritable Tophet, which gave her young charge 
" Smoutie " many a feverish night, but in her secular 
hours she had graces and charms that almost made 
amends. 

Reared in a house on low, damp ground at Colin ton, 
that " in any other part of the world would suggest 
malaria," young Stevenson had to struggle for his life 
against the ignorance of the medicine men of his age. 
They dosed him with powerful drugs for gastric fever 



INTRODUCTION 9 

instead of looking into the condition of the drains, which 
were afterwards found to have been in a dangerous con- 
dition for years ; and when, after taking pneumonia, he 
was prostrated by cold after cold, antimonial wine was 
administered continuously for a period extending into 
months, " enough," says Dr. George Balfour, " to ruin 
his constitution for life." It was in these early days of 
sickness when his only play was confined to the make- 
believe of " the Land of Counterpane," that Stevenson 
drew for the memories that made up the Child's Garden of 
Verses. The poems in that book in its own way unique 
and inimitable were begun at Braemar, and completed 
at Hyeres, when Stevenson was confined to bed and 
temporarily blind from ophthalmia. " Across the bed 
a board was laid, on which large sheets of paper were 
pinned ; on these, or on a slate fastened to the board, 
he laboriously wrote out in the darkness, with his left 
hand, many of the songs of his childhood." 

Very few of Stevenson's earlier poems were conceived 
with any other purpose than the entertainment of the 
moment. With no loftier aspiration most of the longest- 
lived lyrics in the English language have been conceived. 
The Scotsman's Return from Abroad was written to amuse 
his father when Stevenson and his wife were staying with 
the elder Stevenson family at Strathpeffer, " a dreary 
hydropathic in the Highlands," as Mrs. Stevenson 
characterised our famous Scottish Spa. Of all Stevenson's 
Scots verse it is perhaps not the best (for the best, I 
think, is The Lowdon Sabbath Morn), but at least the 
second best. Stevenson's accurate knowledge of Scots 
is not to be denied, but he used it in verse as a rule in 
a manner not wholly unsophisticated ; the scrupulous 
selection of epithet is too apparently that of an hour when 
the artistic possibilities of the thing are the inspiration 
and not the emotions. But in The Scotsman's Return from 
Abroad the humour is spontaneous ; the ideas, measures 
and words are in strict harmony. 

An', man, I was a blythe hame-comer 
When first I syndit out my rummer. 
Ye should hae seen me then, wi' care, 
The less important pairts prepare ; 
Syne, weel contentit wi' it a', 




io INTRODUCTION 

Pour in the speerits wi' a jaw'. 
I didnae drink, I didnae speak, 
I only snowkit up the reek. 
I was sae pleased therein to paidle, 
I sat and plowtered wi' my laidle. 

In strict accord with traditional Scots satirical verse 
though it is, an age earlier than Stevenson's could not 
have produced quite the same kind of mocking spirit. 
And the Scotsman's first Sunday in kirk after his return 
from foreign parts is no less delightful : 

Pleased as I was, I'm no' denyin' 

Some maitters were not edifyin', 

For first I fand and here was news 1 

Mere hymn-books cockin' in the pews 

A humanised abomination, 

Unfit for ony congregation. 

Syne, while I still was on the tenter, 

I scunnered at the new prezentor ; 

I thocht him gesterin' an' cauld 

A sair declension frae the auld. 

Syne, as though a' the faith was wreckit. 
The prayer was not what I expeckit. 
Himsel', as it appeared to me, 
Was no' the man he used to be. 
But just as I was growin' vext, 
He waled a maist judeecious text. 
An' launchin' into his prelections, 
Swoopt, wi' a skirl, on all defections. 

what a gale was on my speerit 

To hear the p'ints o' doctrine clearit, 

And a' the horrors o' damnation 

Set furth wi' faithfu' ministration ! 

Nae shauchlin' testimony here 

We a' were damned, and that was clear, 

1 owned, wi' gratitude and wonder, 
He was a pleasure to sit under. 

I wonder how the elder Stevenson appreciated this 
example of latitudinarian satire composed for his de- 
lectation ? 

One of Stevenson's ballads, Ticonderoga the best of 
his efforts hi that field was composed in Heriot Street, 



INTRODUCTION ir 

Edinburgh, while the elder Stevenson was on his death- 
bed. For days Stevenson remained by his unconscious 
father, and " found that he must turn his thoughts into 
other channels, or he would be unable to fulfil the duties 
that now devolved upon him." So he set himself re- 
solutely at his desk and wrote the ballad of Ticonderoga, 
the theme of which had already been discussed with his 
father before that fine intellect had become obscured by 
the clouds that settled round his last days. About a 
poem of Stevenson's in Underwoods which has created 
a good deal of speculation, Mrs. Stevenson has explained 
something, but not enough to satisfy our curiosity. 
This is the poem entitled 

A PORTRAIT. 

I am a kind of farthing dip, 

Unfriendly to the nose and eyes ; 

A blue-behinded ape I skip 
Upon the trees of Paradise. 

At mankind's feast I take my place 

In solemn sanctimonious state, 
And have the air of saying grace 

While I defile the dinner plate. 

I am " the smiler with the knife," 

The battener on garbage, I 

Dear Heaven, with such a rancid life, 

Were it not better far to die ? 

Yet still about the human pale, 

I love to scamper, love to race, 
To swing by my irreverent tail 

All over the most holy place ; 

And when at length, some golden day, 
The unfailing sportsman, aiming at, 

Shall bag me all the world shall say : 
Thank God, and there's an end of that ! 

" The verses entitled " A Portrait," so unlike anything else 
my husband ever wrote," wrote Mrs Stevenson after her 
husband's death, " do not explain themselves, and must 
have puzzled many of his readers. He had just finished, 



12 INTRODUCTION 

with wondering disgust, a book of poems in the most 
musical English, but excessively morbid and unpleasant 
in sentiment. His criticisms were generally sympathetic 
and kind, but this ' battener upon garbage,' with his air 
of ' saying grace,' was more than my husband could 
endure, and in the first heat of his indignation he wrote 
' A Portrait.' " We are left to guess at the " blue- 
behinded ape's " identity. 

In the poems that made up Songs of Travel, we have 
Stevenson's best lyrical work. They were written between 
1888 and 1894, and there must be many to recall the 
eager expectancy with which the pages of the Pall Mall 
Gazette, in which many of them first appeared, were 
turned over each week for the latest. The metrical in- 
spiration of some of them is easy to discern ; it 
was always obvious that Stevenson, like Burns, and 
like Kipling, was best at a song when he had an air to 
fit it to. 

I have suggested that a good many of Stevenson's 
poems were produced in and for moods of simple enter- 
tainment. That obvious fact has led to an absurd de- 
preciation of his poetry as a whole in many quarters where 
poetry is apparently regarded as a kind of verbal par- 
quetry whereon the spirit of gaiety should never dance. 
" In his verse Stevenson was only a brilliant amateur," 
says a writer in Chamber's Encyclopedia of English 
Literature. It was in their amateur years not a few of 
the greatest classic lyrists struck their happiest notes 
in a first fine careless rapture, never to be recaptured 
later on. In nothing of Stevenson's, either of prose or 
verse that was published in his lifetime, was there the 
slightest symptom of the congenital " amateur." Though 
the volume of his verse is small, it all has the stamp of an 
unusual personality ; something more than competence 
even in its " juvenilia " ; and in the later lyrics a poignant 
note that haunts the reader's memory. Thirty odd years 
have not staled " I will make you brooches and toys for 
your delight," " In the Highlands, in the country places," 
"Home no more home to me," " Blows the wind to-day 
and the sun and the rain are flying," " Truth and Love " 
or " Requiem." 

NEIL MUNRO. 




CONTENTS 

A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION 7 

i. BED IN SUMMER 27 

In winter I get up at night 
n. A THOUGHT 27 

It is very nice to think 
in. AT THE SEA-SIDE 28 

When I was down beside the sea 
iv. YOUNG NIGHT THOUGHT 28 

All night long, and every night 
v. WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN 29 

A child should always say what's true 
vi. RAIN 29 

The rain is raining all around 
vii. PIRATE STORY 29 

Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing 
vin. FOREIGN LANDS 30 

Up into the cherry-tree 
ix. WINDY NIGHTS 31 

Whenever the moon and stars are set 
x. TRAVEL 31 

I should like to rise and go 
xi. SINGING 33 

Of speckled eggs the birdie sings 
xn. LOOKING FORWARD 33 

When I am grown to man's estate 
xin. A GOOD PLAY 33 

We built a ship upon the stairs 
xiv. WHERE GO THE BOATS ? 34 

Dark brown is the river 

xv. AUNTIE'S SKIRTS 35 

Whenever Auntie moves around 
13 



I 4 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

xvi. THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE 35 

When I was sick and lay a-bed 
xvii. THE LAND OF NOD 36 

From breakfast on all through the day 
xvin. MY SHADOWS 36 

I have a little shadow that goes in and out 

with me 
xix. SYSTEM 37 

Every night my prayers I say 

xx. A GOOD BOY 38 

I woke before the morning, I was happy 

all the day 

xxi. ESCAPE AT BEDTIME 39 

The lights from the parlour and kitchen 

shone out 
xxn. MARCHING SONG 39 

Bring the comb and play upon it 
xxni. THE Cow 40 

The friendly cow, all red and white 
xxiv. HAPPY THOUGHT 41 

The world is so full of a number of things 
xxv. THE WIND 41 

I saw you toss the kites on high 
xxvi. KEEPSAKE MILL 42 

Over the borders, a sin without pardon 
xxvii. GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN 43 

Children, you are very little 
xxvin. FOREIGN CHILDREN 43 

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow 
xxix. THE SUN'S TRAVELS 44 

The sun is not a-bed when I 

xxx. THE LAMPLIGHTER 45 

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left 

the sky 
xxxi. MY BED is A BOAT 46 

My bed is like a little boat 

xxxii. THE MOON 46 

The moon has a face like the clock in the 

hall 
xxxin. THE SWING 47 

How do you like to go up in a swing 
xxxiv. TIME TO RISE 47 

A birdie with a yellow bill 



CONTENTS 

xxxv. LOOKING-GLASS RIVER 

Smooth it slides upon its travel 
xxxvi. FAIRY BREAD 

Come up here, O dusty feet 
xxxvii. FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE 

Faster than fairies, faster than witches 
xxxvin. WINTER-TIME 

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed 
xxxix. THE HAYLOFT 

Through all the pleasant meadow-side 
XL. FAREWELL TO THE FARM 

The coach is at the door at last 
XLI. NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 

1. Good Night 

When the bright lamp is carried in 

2. Shadow March 

All round the house is the jet-black 
night 

3. In Port 

Last, to the chamber where I lie 



15 

PAGE 
4 8 

49 
49 
50 



52 



53 



53 



THE CHILD ALONE 

I. THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE 57 

When children are playing alone on the 

green 

n. MY SHIP AND I 58 

O, it's I that am the captain of a tidy little 

ship 
in. MY KINGDOM 58 

Down by a shining water well 
iv. PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER 59 

Summer fading, winter comes 
v MY TREASURES 60 

These nuts, that I keep in the back of the 

nest 

vi. BLOCK CITY 61 

What are you able to build with your 

blocks ? 

vii. THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS 62 

At evening when the lamp is lit 



16 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

vin. ARMIES IN THE FIRE 63 

The lamps now glitter down the street 
ix. THE LITTLE LAND 64 

When at home alone I sit 



GARDEN DAYS 

i. NIGHT AND DAY 69 

When the golden day is done 
ii. NEST EGGS 70 

Birds all the sunny day 
HI. THE FLOWERS 72 

All the names I know from nurse 
iv. SUMMER SUN 72 

Great is the sun, and wide he goes 
v. THE DUMB SOLDIER 73 

When the grass was closely mown 
vi. AUTUMN FIRES 75 

In the other gardens 
vii. THE GARDENER 75 

The gardener does not love to talk 

vni. HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS 76 

Dear Uncle Jim, this garden ground 



ENVOYS 

i. To WILLIE AND HENRIETTA 81 

If two may read aright 
ii. To MY MOTHER 81 

You, too, my mother, read my rhymes 
in. To AUNTIE 82 

Chief oj our aunts not only I 
iv. To MINNIE 82 

The red room with the giant bed 
v. To MY NAME-CHILD 84 

Some day soon this rhyming volume 
vi. To ANY READER 85 

Whether upon the garden seat 



CONTENTS 17 

UNDERWOODS 

PAGE 

DEDICATION 91 

Book I IN ENGLISH 

i. ENVOY 95 

Go, little book, and wish to all 
ii. A SONG OF THE ROAD 95 

The gauger walked with willing foot 
in. THE CANOE SPEAKS 96 

On the great streams the ships may go 
iv. 97 

It is the season now to go 

v. THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 99 

A naked house, a naked moor 

VI. A VISIT FROM THE SEA IOO 

Far from the loud sea beaches 
vii. To A GARDENER 101 

Friend, in my mountain-side demesne 
vin. To MINNIE 102 

A picture-frame for you to fill 
ix. To K. DE M. 102 

A lover of the moorland bare 
x. To N. V. DE G. S. 103 

The unfathomable sea, and time, and tears 
XI. To WILL H. Low 104 

Youth now flees on feathered foot 
xii. To MRS. WILL H. Low 105 

Even hi the bluest noonday of July 
xin. To H. F. BROWN 106 

I sit and wait a pair of oars 
xiv. To ANDREW LANG 107 

Dear Andrew, with the brindled hair 
xv. ET Tu IN ARCADIA VIXISTI 108 

In ancient tales, O friend, thy spirit dwelt 
xvi. To W. E. HENLEY in 

The Year runs through her phases ; rain and 

sun 

xvn. HENRY JAMES 112 

Who comes to-night ? We ope the doors 
in vain 



i8 CONTENTS 

PAGB 

xvin. THE MIRROR SPEAKS 112 

Where the bells peal far at sea 
xix. KATHARINE 113 

We see you as we see a face 
xx. To F. J. S. 114 

I read, dear friend, in your dear face 
xxi. REQUIEM 114 

Under the wide and starry sky 
xxn. THE CELESTIAL SURGEON 115 

If I have faltered more or less 
xxin. OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS 115 

Out of the sun, out of the blast 
xxiv. 118 

Not yet, my soul, these friendly fields desert 
xxv. 119 

It is not yours, O mother, to complain 
xxvi. THE SICK CHILD 121 

mother, lay your hand on my brow 
xxvii. IN MEMORIAM, F. A. S. 122 

Yet, O stricken heart, remember, O 

remember 

xxvin. To MY FATHER 123 

Peace and her huge invasion to these 

shores 
xxix. IN THE STATES 124 

With half a heart I wander here 
xxx. A PORTRAIT 124 

1 am a kind of farthing dip 

xxxi. 125 

Sing clearlier, Muse, or evermore be still 
xxxii. A CAMP 126 

The bed was made, the room was fit 
xxxni. THE COUNTRY OF THE CAMISARDS 126 

We travelled in the print of olden wars 
xxxiv. SKERRYVORE 126 

For love of lovely words, and for the sake 
xxxv. SKERRYVORE : THE PARALLEL 127 

Here all is sunny, and when the truant gull 
xxxvi. 127 

My house, I say. But hark to the sunny 

doves 
xxxvii. 128 

My body which my dungeon is 



CONTENTS 19 

PAGE 

xxxviii. 129 

Say not of me that weakly I declined 



BOOK II IN SCOTS 

NOTE 133 

i. THE MAKER TO POSTERITY .137 

Far 'yont amang the years to be 
ii. ILLE TERRARUM 138 

Frae nirly, nippin', Eas'lan' breeze 
in. 141 

When aince Aprile has fairly come 
iv. A MILE AN' A BITTOCK 142 

A mile an' a bittock, a mile or twa 
v. A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN 143 

The clinkum -clank o' Sabbath bells 
vi. THE SPAEWIFE 148 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar- wife 

says I 
vn. THE BLAST 1875 149 

It's rainin'. Weet's the gairden sod 
vin. THE COUNTERBLAST 1886 153 

It's strange that God should fash to frame 
ix. THE COUNTERBLAST IRONICAL 153 

My bonny man, the war Id it's true. 
x. THEIR LAUREATE TO AN ACADEMY CLASS 154 

DINNER CLUB 

Dear Thamson class, whaure'er I gang 
xi. EMBRO HIE KIRK 156 

The Lord Himsel' in former days 
xn. THE SCOTSMAN'S RETURN FROM ABROAD 159 

In mony a foreign pairt I've been 
xiii. 162 

Late in the nicht in bed I lay 
xiv. MY CONSCIENCE 165 

Of a' the ills that flesh can fear 
xv. To DOCTOR JOHN BROWN 166 

By Lyne and Tyne, by Thames and 
Tees 

xvi. 169 

It's an owercome sooth for age an' youth 



20 CONTENTS 



SONGS OF TRAVEL AND OTHER VERSES 

PAGE 

i. THE VAGABOND 173 

Give to me the life I love 
ii. YOUTH AND LOVE i 174 

Once only by the garden gate 

in. YOUTH AND LOVE 11 175 

To the heart of youth the world is a high- 
wayside 
iv. THE UNFORGOTTEN i 175 

In dreams, unhappy, I behold you stand 
v. THE UNFORGOTTEN n 176 

She rested by the Broken Brook 
vi. 176 

The infinite shining heavens 
vii. 177 

Plain as the glistering planets shine 
viii. 178 

To you, let snow and roses 

IX. 178 

Let Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful 

dreams 
x. 179 

I know not how it is with you 

xi. 179 

I will make you brooches and toys for your 

delight 
xn. WE HAVE LOVED OF YORE 180 

Berried brake and reedy island 
xni. DITTY 181 

The cock shall crow 

xiv. MATER TRIUMPHANS 182 

Son of my woman's body, you go, to the 

drum and fife 
xv. 182 

Bright is the ring of words 
xvi. 183 

In the highlands, in the country places 
xvii. 184 

Home no more home to me, whither must I 

wander 

xvni. To DR. HAKE 185 

In the beloved hour that ushers day 






CONTENTS 21 

PAGE 

xix. To 186 

I knew thee strong and quiet like the hills 
xx. 187 

The morning drum-call on my eager ear 
xxi. 187 

I have trod the upward and the downward 

slope 
xxn. 187 

He hears with gladdened heart the thunder 
xxin. THE LOST OCCASION 188 

Farewell, fair day and fading light 
xxiv. IF THIS WERE FAITH 188 

God, if this were enough 
xxv. MY WIFE 190 

Trusty, dusky, vivid, true 
xxvi. WINTER 190 

In rigorous hours, when down the iron lane 
xxvu. 191 

The stormy evening closes now in vain 
xxviii. To AN ISLAND PRINCESS 192 

Since long ago, a child at home 

xxix. To KALAKAUA 193 

The Silver Ship, my King that was her 

name 
xxx. To PRINCESS KAIULANI 194 

Forth from her land to mine she goes 
xxxi. To MOTHER MARYANNE 194 

To see the infinite pity of this place 
xxxn. IN MEMORIAM, E. H. 195 

I knew a silver head was bright beyond 

compare 
xxxin. To MY WIFE 196 

Long must elapse ere you behold again 
xxxiv. To THE MUSE 197 

Resign the rhapsody, the dream 
xxv. To MY OLD FAMILIARS 198 

Do you remember can we e'er forget 
xxvi. 199 

The tropics vanish, and meseems that I 
xxxvu. To S. C. 200 

I heard the pulse of the besieging sea 
xxxvin. THE HOUSE OF TEMBINOKA 202 

Let us, who part like brothers, part like bards 



22 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

xxxix. THE WOODMAN 206 

In all the grove, nor stream nor bird 
XL. TROPIC RAIN 210 

As the single pang of the blow, when the 

metal is mingled well 
XLI. AN END OF TRAVEL 211 

Let now your soul in this substantial world 
XLII. 212 

We uncommiserate pass into the night 
XLIII. THE LAST SIGHT 212 

Once more I saw him. In the lofty room 
XLIV. 213 

Sing me a song of the lad that is gone 
XLV. To S. R. CROCKETT 214 

Blows the wind to-day, and the sun and 

the rain are flying 

XLVI. EVENSONG 214 

The embers of the day are red 



BALLADS 
THE SONG OF RAH^RO : A LEGEND OF TAHITI 

DEDICATION TO OKI A ORI 219 

i. THE SLAYING OF TAMATEA 223 

It fell in the days of old, as the men of 

Taiarapu tell 

ii. THE VENGING OF TAMATEA 233 

Thus was Rahero's treason ; thus no further 

it sped 

in. RAHERO 246 

Rahero was there in the hall asleep : beside 
him his wife 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE: MARQUESAN 
MANNERS 

i. THE PRIEST'S VIGIL 259 

In all the land of the tribe was neither fish nor 
fruit 



CONTENTS 23 

PAGE 

ii. THE LOVERS 253 

Hark ! away in the woods for the ears of 

love are sharp 

HI. THE FEAST 268 

Dawn as yellow as sulphur leaped on the naked 

peak 

iv. THE RAID 275 

It chanced that as Rua sat in the valley of 
silent faUs 



TICONDEROGA : A LEGEND OF THE WEST 
HIGHLANDS 

This is the tale of the man 
i. THE SAYING OF THE NAME 285 

On the loch-sides of Appin 285 

ii. THE SEEKING OF THE NAME 290 

And now there was speech in the south 
in. THE PLACE OF THE NAME 292 

There fell a war in a woody place 



HEATHER ALE : A GALLOWAY LEGEND 

HEATHER ALE : A GALLOWAY LEGEND 297 

From the bonny bells of heather 



CHRISTMAS AT SEA 

CHRISTMAS AT SEA 

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the 
naked hand 33 

NOTES 

To THE SONG OF RAHERO 307 

To THE FEAST OF FAMINE 309 

To TICONDEROGA 311 

To HEATHER ALE 311 



A CHILD'S GARDEN 
OF VERSES 



I 

BED IN SUMMER 

IN winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people's feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day ? 



II 

A THOUGHT 

IT is very nice to think 
The world is full of meat and drink, 
With little children saying grace 
In every Christian kind of place. 

27 



28 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

III 
AT THE SEA-SIDE 

WHEN I was down beside the sea, 
A wooden spade they gave to me 

To dig the sandy shore. 
My holes were empty like a cup, 
In every hole the sea came up, 

Till it could come no more. 



IV 
YOUNG NIGHT THOUGHT 

ALL night long, and every night, 
When my mamma puts out the light, 
I see the people marching by, 
As plain as day, before my eye. 

Armies and emperors and kings, 
All carrying different kinds of things, 
And marching in so grand a way, 
You never saw the like by day. 

So fine a show was never seen 
At the great circus on the green ; 
For every kind of beast and man 
Is marching in that caravan. 

At first they move a little slow, 
But still the faster on they go, 
And still beside them close I keep 
Until we reach the town of Sleep. 



1 



OF VERSES 29 



WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN 

A CHILD should always say what's true, 
And speak when he is spoken to, 
And behave mannerly at table : 
At least as far as he is able. 



VI 
RAIN 

THE rain is raining all around, 

It falls on field and tree, 
It rains on the umbrellas here, 

And on the ships at sea. 

VII 
PIRATE STORY 

THREE of us afloat in the meadow by the swing, 
Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea. 

Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring, 
And waves are on the meadows like the waves 
there are at sea. 

Where shall we adventure, to-day that we're afloat, 
Wary of the weather and steering by a star ? 

Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat, 
To Providence, or Babylon, or off to Malabar ? 






30 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Hi ! but here's a squadron a-rowing on the sea 

Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar ! 
Quick, and we'll escape them, they're as mad as 

they can be, 

The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the 
shore. 

VIII 
FOREIGN LANDS 

UP into the cherry-tree 

Who should climb but little me ? 

I held the trunk with both my hands 

And looked abroad on foreign lands. 

I saw the next-door garden lie, 
Adorned with flowers, before my eye, 
And many pleasant places more 
That I had never seen before. 

I saw the dimpling river pass 
And be the sky's blue looking-glass ; 
The dusty roads go up and down 
With people tramping in to town. 

If I could find a higher tree, 
Farther and farther I should see, 
To where the grown-up river slips 
Into the sea among the ships, 

To where the roads on either hand 
Lead onward into fairy land, 
Where all the children dine at five, 
And all the playthings come alive. 



OF VERSES 31 

IX 
WINDY NIGHTS 

WHENEVER the moon and stars are set, 

Whenever the wind is high, 
All night long in the dark and wet, 

A man goes riding by. 
Late in the night when the fires are out, 
Why does he gallop and gallop about ? 

Whenever the trees are crying aloud, 

And ships are tossed at sea, 
By, on the highway, low and loud, 

By at the gallop goes he. 
By at the gallop he goes, and then 
By he comes back at the gallop again. 



TRAVEL 

I SHOULD like to rise and go 

Where the golden apples grow ; 

Where below another sky 

Parrot islands anchored lie, 

And, watched by cockatoos and goats, 

Lonely Crusoes building boats ; 

Where in sunshine reaching out 

Eastern cities, miles about, 

Are with mosque and minaret 

Among sandy gardens set, 

And the rich goods from near and far 



32 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Hang for sale in the bazaar ; 

Where the Great Wall round China goes, 

And on one side the desert blows, 

And with bell and voice and drum, 

Cities on the other hum ; 

Where are forests, hot as fire, 

Wide as England, tall as a spire, 

Full of apes and cocoa-nuts 

And the negro hunters' huts ; 

Where the knotty crocodile 

Lies and blinks in the Nile, 

And the red flamingo flies 

Hunting fish before his eyes ; 

Where in jungles, near and far, 

Man-devouring tigers are, 

Lying close and giving ear 

Lest the hunt be drawing near, 

Or a comer-by be seen 

Swinging in a palanquin ; 

Where among the desert sands 

Some deserted city stands, 

All its children, sweep and prince, 

Grown to manhood ages since, 

Not a foot in street or house, 

Not a stir of child or mouse, 

And when kindly falls the night, 

In all the town no spark of light. 

There I'll come when I'm a man 

With a camel caravan ; 

Light a fire in the gloom 

Of some dusty dining-room ; 

See the pictures on the walls, 

Heroes, fights, and festivals ; 

And in a corner find the toys 

Of the old Egyptian boys. 



OF VERSES 33 

XI 
SINGING 

OF speckled eggs the birdie sings 

And nests among the trees ; 
The sailor sings of ropes and things 

In ships upon the seas. 

The children sing in far Japan, 

The children sing in Spain ; 
The organ with the organ man 

Is singing in the rain. 



XII 
LOOKING FORWARD 

WHEN I am grown to man's estate 
I shall be very proud and great, 
And tell the other girls and boys 
Not to meddle with my toys. 

XIII 
A GOOD PLAY 

We built a ship upon the stairs 
All made of the back-bedroom chairs, 
And filled it full of sofa pillows 
To go a-sailing on the billows. 



34 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

We took a saw and several nails, 
And water in the nursery pails ; 
And Tom said, " Let us also take 
An apple and a slice of cake ; " 
Which was enough for Tom and me 
To go a-sailing on, till tea. 

We sailed along for days, 
And had the very best of plays ; 
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee, 
So there was no one left but me. 



XIV 
WHERE GO THE BOATS? 

DARK brown is the river, 

Golden is the sand. 
It flows along for ever, 

With trees on either hand. 

Green leaves a-floating, 

Castles of the foam, 
Boats of mine a-boating 

Where will all come home ? 

On goes the river 

And out past the mill, 

Away down the valley, 
Away down the hill. 

Away down the river, 
A hundred miles or more, 

Other little children 
Shall bring my boats ashore. 




OF VERSES 35 

XV 
AUNTIE'S SKIRTS 

WHENEVER Auntie moves around, 
Her dresses make a curious sound ; 
They trail behind her up the floor, 
And trundle after through the door, 



XVI 
THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE 

WHEN I was sick and lay a-bed, 
I had two pillows at my head, 
And all my toys beside me lay 
To keep me happy all the day. 

And sometimes for an hour or so 
I watched my leaden soldiers go, 
With different uniforms and drills, 
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills ; 

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets 
All up and down among the sheets ; 
Or brought my trees and houses out, 
And planted cities all about. 

I was the giant great and still 
That sits upon the pillow-hill, 
And sees before him, dale and plain, 
The pleasant land of counterpane, 
p. B 




36 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

XVII 

THE LAND OF NOD 

FROM breakfast on all through the day 
At home among my friends I stay ; 
But every night I go abroad 
Afar into the land of Nod. 

All by myself I have to go, 

With none to tell me what to do 

All alone beside the streams 

And up the mountain-sides of dreams. 

The strangest things are there for me, 
Both things to eat and things to see, 
And many frightening sights abroad 
Till morning in the land of Nod. 

Try as I like to find the way, 
I never can get back by day, 
Nor can remember plain and clear 
The curious music that I hear. 

XVIII 
MY SHADOW 

I HAVE a little shadow that goes in and out with me, 
And what can be the use of him is more than I can 

see. 
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the 

head ; 
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into 

my bed. 



OF VERSES 37 

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes 
to grow 

Not at all like proper children, which is always 
very slow ; 

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india- 
rubber ball, 

And he sometimes gets so little that there's none 
of him at all. 

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to 

play, 
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of 

way. 
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can 

see; 
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow 

sticks to me ! 

One morning, very early, before the sun was up, 

I rose and found the shining dew on every butter- 
cup ; 

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy- 
head, 

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep 
in bed. 



XIX 
SYSTEM 

EVERY night my prayers I say, 
And get my dinner every day ; 
And every day that I've been good, 
I get an orange after food. 



3 8 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

The child that is not clean and neat, 
With lots of toys and things to eat, 
He is a naughty child, I'm sure 
Or else his dear papa is poor. 



XX 

A GOOD BOY 

I WOKE before the morning, I was happy all the 

day, 
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck 

to play. 

And now at last the sun is going down behind the 

wood, 
And I am very happy, for I know that I've been 

good. 

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth 

and fair, 
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my 

prayer. 

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun 

arise, 
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight 

my eyes. 

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the 

dawn, 
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round 

the lawn. 



OF VERSES 39 

XXI 
ESCAPE AT BEDTIME 

THE lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out 

Through the blinds and the windows and bars ; 
And high overhead and all moving about, 

There were thousands of millions of stars. 
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a 
tree, 

Nor of people in church or the Park, 
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon 
me, 

And that glittered and winked in the dark. 
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all, 

And the star of the sailor, and Mars, 
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall 

Would be half full of water and stars. 
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries, 

And they soon had me packed into bed ; 
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes, 

And the stars going round in my head. 



XXII 
MARCHING SONG 

BRING the comb and play upon it 
Marching, here we come ! 

Willie cocks his Highland bonnet, 
Johnnie beats the drum. 



4 o A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Mary Jane commands the party, 

Peter leads the rear ; 
Feet in time, alert and hearty, 

Each a Grenadier ! 

All in the most martial manner 

Marching double-quick ; 
While the napkin like a banner 

Waves upon the stick ! 

Here's enough of fame and pillage, 

Great commander Jane ! 
Now that we've been round the village, 

Let's go home again. 



XXIII 
THE COW 

THE friendly cow, all red and white, 

I love with all my heart : 
She gives me cream with all her might, 

To eat with apple-tart. 

She wanders lowing here and there, 

And yet she cannot stray, 
All in the pleasant open air, 

The pleasant light of day ; 

And blown by all the winds that pass, 
And wet with all the showers, 

She walks among the meadow grass 
And eats the meadow flowers. 



OF VERSES 41 

XXIV 
HAPPY THOUGHT 

THE world is so full of a number of things, 
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings. 



XXV 
THE WIND 

I SAW you toss the kites on high 
And blow the birds about the sky ; 
And all around I heard you pass, 
Like ladies' skirts across the grass 
O wind, a-blowing all day long, 
O wind, that sings so loud a song ! 

I saw the different things you did, 
But always you yourself you hid. 
I felt you push, I heard you call, 
I could not see yourself at all 
O wind, a-blowing all day long, 
O wind, that sings so loud a song ! 

O you that are so strong and cold, 
O blower, are you young or old ? 
Are you a beast of field and tree, 
Or just a stronger child than me ? 
O wind, a-blowing all day long, 
O wind, that sings so loud a song ! 



42 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

XXVI 
KEEPSAKE MILL 

OVER the borders, a sin without pardon, 
Breaking the branches and crawling below, 

Out through the breach in the wall of the garden 
Down by the banks of the river, we go. 

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder, 
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam, 

Here is the sluice with the race running under 
Marvellous places, though handy to home ! 

Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller, 
Stiller the note of the birds on the hill ; 

Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller, 
Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill. 

Years may go by, and the wheel in the river 
Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day, 

Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever, 
Long after all of the boys are away. 

Home from the Indies, and home from the ocean, 
Heroes and soldiers we all shall come home ; 

Still we shall find the old mill-wheel in motion, 
Turning and churning that river to foam. 

You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled 
I with your marble of Saturday last, 

Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled, 
Here we shall meet and remember the past 



OF VERSES 43 

XXVII 
GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN 

CHILDREN, you are very little, 
And your bones are very brittle ; 
If you would grow great and stately, 
You must try to walk sedately. 

You must still be bright and quiet, 
And content with simple diet ; 
And remain, through all bewild'ring, 
Innocent and honest children. 

Happy hearts and happy faces, 
Happy play in grassy places 
That was how, in ancient ages, 
Children grew to kings and sages. 

But the unkind and the unruly, 
And the sort who eat unduly, 
They must never hope for glory 
Theirs is quite a different story ! 

Cruel children, crying babies, 
All grow up as geese and gabies, 
Hated, as their age increases, 
By their nephews and their nieces. 

XXVIII 
FOREIGN CHILDREN 

LITTLE Indian, Sioux or Crow, 

Little frosty Eskimo, 

Little Turk or Japanee, 

O ! don't you wish that you were me ? 



44 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

You have seen the scarlet trees 
And the lions over seas ; 
You have eaten ostrich eggs, 
And turned the turtles off their legs. 

Such a life is very fine, 
But it's not so nice as mine : 
You must often, as you trod, 
Have wearied not to be abroad. 

You have curious things to eat, 
I am fed on proper meat ; 
You must dwell beyond the foam, 
But I am safe and live at home. 

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, 

Little frosty Eskimo, 

Little Turk or Japanee, 

O 1 don't you wish that you were me ? 



XXIX 
THE SUN'S TRAVELS 

THE sun is not a-bed when I 

At night upon my pillow lie ; 

Still round the earth his way he takes, 

And morning after morning makes. 

While here at home, in shining day, 
We round the sunny garden play, 
Each little Indian sleepy-head 
Is being kissed and put to bed. 



OF VERSES 45 

And when at eve I rise from tea, 
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea, 
And aU the children in the West 
Are getting up and being dressed. 



XXX 

THE LAMPLIGHTER 

MY tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the 

sky; 
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going 

by; 
For every night at tea-time and before you take 

your seat, 
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting 

up the street. 



Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea, 
And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be ; 
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what 

I'm to do, 
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the 

lamps with you ! 



For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door, 
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many 

more ; 
And O ! before you hurry by with ladder and with 

light, 
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night ! 



46 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

XXXI 
MY BED IS A BOAT 

MY bed is like a little boat ; 

Nurse helps me in when I embark ; 
She girds me in my sailor's coat 

And starts me in the dark. 

At night, I go on board and say 

Good-night to all my friends on shore 

I shut my eyes and sail away 
And see and hear no more. 

And sometimes things to bed I take, 
As prudent sailors have to do ; 

Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake, 
Perhaps a toy or two. 

All night across the dark we steer : 
But when the day returns at last, 

Safe in my room, beside the pier, 
I find my vessel fast. 



XXXII 
THE MOON 

THE moon has a face like the clock in the hall ; 
She shines on thieves on the garden wall, 
On streets and fields and harbour quays, 
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees. 






OF VERSES 47 

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse, 
The howling dog by the door of the house, 
The bat that lies in bed at noon, 
All love to be out by the light of the moon. 

But all of the things that belong to the day 
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way ; 
And flowers and children close their eyes 
Till up in the morning the sun shall rise. 

XXXIII 
THE SWING 

How do you like to go up in a swing, 

Up in the air so blue ? 
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing 

Ever a child can do ! 

Up in the air and over the wall, 

Till I can see so wide, 
Rivers and trees and cattle and all 4 

Over the countryside 

Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown 

Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down ! 

XXXIV 
TIME TO RISE 

A BIRDIE with a yellow bill 

Hopped upon the window sill, 

Cocked his shining eye and said : 

" Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head ! " 



48 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

XXXV 

LOOKING-GLASS RIVER 

SMOOTH it slides upon its travel, 
Here a wimple, there a gleam 
O the clean gravel ! 
O the smooth stream ! 

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes, 
Paven pools as clear as air 
How a child wishes 
To live down there ! 

We can see our coloured faces 
Floating on the shaken pool 
Down in cool places, 
Dim and very cool ; 

Till a wind or water wrinkle, 

Dipping marten, plumping trout. 
Spreads in a twinkle 
And blots all out. 

See the rings pursue each other ; 
All below grows black as night, 
Just as if mother 
Had blown out the light ! 

Patience, children, just a minute 
See the spreading circles die ; 
The stream and all in it 
Will clear by-and-by. 




OF VERSES 49 

XXXVI 
FAIRY BREAD 

COME up here, O dusty feet ! 
Here is fairy bread to eat. 
Here in my retiring room, 

Children, you may dine 
On the golden smell of broom 

And the shade of pine ; 
And when you have eaten well, 
Fairy stories hear and tell. 



XXXVII 
FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE 

FASTER than fairies, faster than witches, 

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches ; 

And charging along like troops in a battle, 

All through the meadows the horses and cattle : 

All of the sights of the hill and the plain 

Fly as thick as driving rain ; 

And ever again, in the wink of an eye, 

Painted stations whistle by. 

Here is a child who clambers 
All by himself and gathering 
Here is a tramp who stands 
And there is the green for 
Here is a cart run away in the 
Lumping along with man and 
And here is a mill, and there is a 
Each a glimpse and gone for ever ! 




50 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

XXXVIII 

WINTER-TIME 

LATE lies the wintry sun a-bed, 

A frosty, fiery sleepy-head ; 

Blinks but an hour or two ; and then, 

A blood-red orange, sets again. 



Before the stars have left the skies, 
At morning in the dark I rise ; 
And shivering in my nakedness, 
By the cold candle, bathe and dress. 



Close by the jolly fire I sit 
To warm my frozen bones a bit ; 
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore 
The colder countries round the door. 



When, to go out, my nurse doth wrap 
Me in my comforter and cap, 
The cold wind burns my face, and blows 
Its frosty pepper up my nose. 



Black are my steps on silver sod ; 
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad ; 
And tree and house, and hill and lake, 
Are frosted like a wedding-cake. 




OF VERSES 51 

XXXIX 
THE HAYLOFT 

THROUGH all the pleasant meadow-side 

The grass grew shoulder-high, 
Till the shining scythes went far and wide 

And cut it down to dry. 

These green and sweetly smelling crops 

They led in waggons home ; 
And they piled them here in mountain tops 

For mountaineers to roam. 

Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail, 

Mount Eagle and Mount High ; 
The mice that in these mountains dwell 

No happier are than I ! 

O what a joy to clamber there, 

O what a place for play, 
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air, 

The happy hills of hay. 



XL 
FAREWELL TO THE FARM 

THE coach is at the door at last ; 
The eager children, mounting fast 
And kissing hands, in chorus sing : 
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything ! 



52 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

To house and garden, field and lawn, 
The meadow-gates we swang upon, 
To pump and stable, tree and swing, 
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything ! 



And fare you well for evermore, 
O ladder at the hayloft door, 
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling, 
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything ! 



Crack goes the whip, and off we go ; 
The trees and houses smaller grow ; 
Last, round the woody turn we swing 
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything 1 



XLI 
NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 

I. GOOD NIGHT 

WHEN the bright lamp is carried in, 
The sunless hours again begin ; 
O'er all without, in field and lane, 
The haunted night returns again. 



Now we behold the embers flee 
About the firelit hearth ; and see 
Our faces painted as we pass, 
Like pictures, on the window-glass. 




OF VERSES 53 

Must we to bed indeed ? Well then, 
Let us arise and go like men, 
And face with an undaunted tread 
The long black passage up to bed. 

Farewell, O brother, sister, sire ! 
O pleasant party round the fire ! 
The songs you sing, the tales you tell, 
Till far to-morrow, fare ye well ! 



2. SHADOW MARCH 

All round the house is the jet-black night ; 

It stares through the window-pane ; 
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light, 

And it moves with the moving flame. 

Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum, 
With the breath of the Bogie in my hair ; 

And all round the candle the crooked shadows come 
And go marching along up the stair. 

The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the 

lamp, 

The shadow of the child that goes to bed- 
All the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, 

tramp, 
With the black night overhead. 



3. IN PORT 

Last, to the chamber where I lie 
My fearful footsteps patter nigh, 
And come from out the cold and gloom 
Into my warm and cheerful room. 



54 A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES 

There, safe arrived, we turn about 
To keep the coming shadows out, 
And close the happy door at last 
On all the perils that we passed. 

Then, when mamma goes by to bed, 
She shall come in with tip-toe tread, 
And see me lying warm and fast 
And in the Land of Nod at last. 



THE CHILD ALONE 



I 

THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE 

WHEN children are playing alone on the green, 
In comes the playmate that never was seen. 
When children are happy and lonely and good, 
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood. 

Nobody heard him and nobody saw, 

His is a picture you never could draw, 

But he's sure to be present, abroad or at home, 

When children are happy and playing alone. 

He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass, 
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass ; 
Whene'er you are happy and cannot tell why, 
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by ! 

He loves to be little, he hates to be big, 
Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig ; 
Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin 
That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win. 

Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed, 
Bids you go to your sleep and not trouble your 

head ; 

For wherever they're lying, in cupboard or shelf, 
Tis he will take care of your playthings himself ! 

57 




58 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

II 
MY SHIP AND I 

O IT'S I that am the captain of a tidy little ship, 
Of a ship that goes a-sailing on the pond ; 

And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all 
about, 

But when I'm a little older, I shall find the secret out 
How to send my vessel sailing on beyond. 

For I mean to grow as little as the dolly at the helm, 

And the dolly I intend to come alive ; 
And with him beside to help me, it's a-sailing I 

shall go, 
It's a-sailing on the water, when the jolly breezes 

blow 
And the vessel goes a divie-divie-dive. 

O it's then you'll see me sailing through the rushes 
and the reeds, 

And you'll hear the water singing at the prow ; 
For beside the dolly sailor, I'm to voyage and explore, 
To land upon the island where no dolly was before, 

And to fire the penny cannon in the bow 



III 
MY KINGDOM 

DOWN by a shining water well 
I found a very little dell, 

No higher than my head. 
The heather and the gorse about 
In summer bloom were coming out. 

Some yellow and some red. 



THE CHILD ALONE 59 

I called the little pool a sea ; 
The little hills were big to me ; 

For I am very small. 
I made a boat, I made a town, 
I searched the caverns up and down, 

And named them one and all. 

And all about was mine, I said, 
The little sparrows overhead, 

The little minnows too. 
This was the world and I was king ; 
For me the bees came by to sing, 

For me the swallows flew. 

I played there were no deeper seas, 
Nor any wider plains than these, 

Nor other kings than me. 
At last I heard my mother call 
Out from the house at even-fall, 

To call me home to tea. 

And I must rise and leave my dell, 
And leave my dimpled water well, 

And leave my heather blooms. 
Alas ! and as my home I neared, 
How very big my nurse appeared, 

How great and cool the rooms ! 



IV 

PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER 

SUMMER fading, winter comes 
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs, 
Window robins, winter rooks, 
And the picture story-books. 



60 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Water now is turned to stone 
Nurse and I can walk upon ; 
Still we find the flowing brooks 
In the picture story-books. 

All the pretty things put by, 
Wait upon the children's eye, 
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks 
In the picture story-books. 

We may see how all things are, 
Seas and cities, near and far, 
And the flying fairies' looks, 
In the picture story-books. 

How am I to sing your praise, 
Happy chimney-corner days, 
Sitting safe in nursery nooks, 
Reading picture story-books ? 



MY TREASURES 

THESE nuts, that I keep in the back of the nest 
Where all my lead soldiers are lying at rest, 
Were gathered in autumn by nursie and me 
In a wood with a well by the side of the sea. 

This whistle we made (and how clearly it sounds !) 
By the side of a field at the end of the grounds. 
Of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own, 
It was nursie who made it, and nursie alone ! 



THE CHILD ALONE 61 

The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey, 
We discovered I cannot tell how far away ; 
And I carried it back although weary and cold, 
For, though father denies it, I'm sure it is gold. 

But of all my treasures the last is the king, 
For there's very few children possess such a thing ; 
And that is a chisel, both handle and blade, 
Which a man who was really a carpenter made. 



VI 
BLOCK CITY 

WHAT are you able to build with your blocks ? 
Castles and palaces, temples and docks. 
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam, 
But I can be happy and building at home. 

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea, 

There I'll establish a city for me : 

A kirk and a mill and a palace beside, 

And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride. 

Great is the palace with pillar and wall, 
A sort of a tower on the top of it all, 
And steps coming down in an orderly way 
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay. 

This one is sailing and that one is moored : 
Hark to the song of the sailors on board ! 
And see on the steps of my palace, the kings 
Coming and going with presents and things ! 




63 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Now I have done with it, down let it go 1 
All in a moment the town is laid low. 
Block upon block lying scattered and free 
What is there left of my town by the sea i 

Yet as I saw it, I see it again, 
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men 
And as long as I live, and where'er I may be, 
I'll always remember my town by the sea. 



VII 
THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS 

AT evening when the lamp is lit, 
Around the fire my parents sit ; 
They sit at home and talk and sing, 
And do not play at anything. 

Now, with my little gun, I crawl 
All in the dark along the wall, 
And follow round the forest track 
Away behind the sofa back. 

There, in the night, where none can spy, 
All in my hunter's camp I lie, 
And play at books that I have read 
Till it is time to go to bed. 

These are the hills, these are the woods, 
These are my starry solitudes ; 
And there the river by whose brink 
The roaring lions come to drink. 



THE CHILD ALONE 63 

I see the others far away 
As if in firelit camp they lay, 
And I, like to an Indian scout, 
Around their party prowled about. 

So, when my nurse comes in for me, 
Home I return across the sea, 
And go to bed with backward looks 
At my dear land of Story-books. 



VIII 
ARMIES IN THE FIRE 

THE lamps now glitter down the street ; 
Faintly sound the falling feet ; 
And the blue even slowly falls 
About the garden trees and walls. 

Now in the falling of the gloom 
The red fire paints the empty room : 
And warmly on the roof it looks, 
And flickers on the backs of books. 

Armies march by tower and spire 
Of cities blazing, in the fire ; 
Till as I gaze with staring eyes, 
The armies fade, the lustre dies. 

Then once again the glow returns ; 
Again the phantom city burns ; 
And down the red-hot valley, lo ! 
The phantom armies marching go ! 



64 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Blinking embers, tell me true 
Where are those armies marching to, 
And what the burning city is 
That crumbles in your furnaces 1 



IX 
THE LITTLE LAND 

WHEN at home alone I sit 

And am very tired of it, 

I have just to shut my eyes 

To go sailing through the skies 

To go sailing far away 

To the pleasant Land of Play ; 

To the fairy land afar 

Where the Little People are ; 

Where the clover-tops are trees, 

And the rain-pools are the seas, 

And the leaves like little ships 

Sail about on tiny trips ; 

And above the daisy tree 

Through the grasses, 
High overhead the Bumble Bee 

Hums and passes. 

In that forest to and fro 
I can wander, I can go ; 
See the spider and the fly, 
And the ants go marching by 
Carrying parcels with their feet 
Down the green and grassy street. 
I can in the sorrel sit 
Where the ladybird alit. 



THE CHILD ALONE 65 

I can climb the jointed grass ; 

And on high 
See the greater swallows pass 

In the sky, 

And the round sun rolling by 
Heeding no- such things as I. 

Through that forest I can pass 
Till, as in a looking-glass, 
Humming fly and daisy tree 
And my tiny self I see, 
Painted very clear and neat 
On the rain-pool at my feet. 
Should a leaflet come to land 
Drifting near to where I stand, 
Straight I'll board that tiny boat 
Round the rain-pool sea to float. 

Little thoughtful creatures sit 
On the grassy coasts of it ; 
Little things with lovely eyes 
See me sailing with surprise. 
Some are clad in armour green 
(These have sure to battle been !) 
Some are pied with ev'ry hue, 
Black and crimson, gold and blue ; 
Some have wings and swift are gone ; 
But they all look kindly on. 

When my eyes I once again 
Open, and see all things plain : 
High bare walls, great bare floor ; 
Great big knobs on drawer and door ; 
Great big people perched on chairs, 
Stitching tucks and mending tears, 



66 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Each a hill that I could climb, 
And talking nonsense all the time 

O dear me, 

That I could be 
A sailor on the rain-pool sea, 
A climber in the clover tree, 
And just come back, a sleepy-head, 
Late at night to go to bed. 




GARDEN DAYS 



p. 



NIGHT AND DAY 

WHEN the golden day is done, 
Through the closing portal, 

Child and garden, flower and sun, 
Vanish all things mortal. 

As the blinding shadows fall, 

As the rays diminish, 
Under evening's cloak, they all 

Roll away and vanish. 

Garden darkened, daisy shut, 
Child in bed, they slumber 

Glow-worm in the highway rut, 
Mice among the lumber. 

In the darkness houses shine, 
Parents move with candles ; 

Till on all the night divine 
Turns the bedroom handles. 

Till at last the day begins 

In the east a-breaking, 
In the hedges and the whins 

Sleeping birds a-waking. 

In the darkness shapes of things, 
Houses, trees, and hedges, 

Clearer grow ; and sparrows' wings 
Beat on the window ledges. 
69 



70 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

These shall wake the yawning maid ; 

She the door shall open 
Finding dew on garden glade 

And the morning broken. 

There my garden grows again 
Green and rosy painted, 

As at eve behind the pane 
From my eyes it fainted. 

Just as it was shut away, 

Toy-like, in the even, 
Here I see it glow with day, 

Under glowing heaven. 

Every path and every plot, 

Every bush of roses, 
Every blue forget-me-not 

Where the dew reposes. 

" Up ! " they cry, " the day is come 

On the smiling valleys : 
We have beat the morning drum ; 

Playmate, join your allies 1 " 



II 
NEST EGGS 

BIRDS all the sunny day 
Flutter and quarrel, 

Here in the arbour-like 
Tent of the laurel. 



GARDEN DAYS 71 

Here in the fork 

The brown nest is seated ; 
Four little blue eggs 

The mother keeps heated. 

While we stand watching her, 

Staring like gabies, 
Safe in each egg are the 

Bird's little babies. 

Soon the frail eggs they shall 

Chip, and upspringing 
Make all the April woods 

Merry with singing. 

Younger than we are, 

O children, and frailer, 
Soon in blue air they'll be 

Singer and sailor. 

We, so much older, 

Taller and stronger, 
We shall look down on the 

Birdies no longer. 

They shall go flying 

With musical speeches 
High overhead in the 

Tops of the beeches. 

In spite of our wisdom 

And sensible talking, 
We on our feet must go 

Plodding and walking. 



72 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

III 

THE FLOWERS 

ALL the names I know from nurse : 
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse 
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock, 
And the Lady Hollyhock. 

Fairy places, fairy things, 

Fairy woods where the wild bee wings. 

Tiny trees for tiny dames 

These must all be fairy names ! 

Tiny woods below whose boughs 
Shady fairies weave a house ; 
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme, 
Where the braver fairies climb ! 

Fair are grown-up people's trees, 
But the fairest woods are these ; 
Where if I were not so tall, 
I should live for good and all. 



IV 

SUMMER SUN 

GREAT is the sun, and wide he goes 
Through empty heaven without repose ; 
And in the blue and glowing days 
More thick than rain he showers his rays. 



GARDEN DAYS 73 

Though closer still the blinds we pull 
To keep the shady parlour cool, 
Yet he will find a chink or two 
To slip his golden fingers through. 

The dusty attic, spider-clad, 
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad ; 
And through the broken edge of tiles, 
Into the laddered hayloft smiles. 

Meantime his golden face around 
He bares to all the garden ground, 
And sheds a warm and glittering look 
Among the ivy's inmost nook. 

Above the hills, along the blue, 
Round the bright air with footing true, 
To please the child, to paint the rose, 
The gardener of the World, he goes. 



THE DUMB SOLDIER 

WHEN the grass was closely mown, 
Walking on the lawn alone, 
In the turf a hole I found 
And hid a soldier underground. 

Spring and daisies came apace ; 
Grasses hide my hiding-place ; 
Grasses run like a green sea 
O'er the lawn up to my knee. 



74 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

Under grass alone he lies, 
Looking up with leaden eyes, 
Scarlet coat and pointed gun, 
To the stars and to the sun. 

When the grass is ripe like grain, 
When the scythe is stoned again, 
When the lawn is shaven clear, 
Then my hole shall reappear. 

I shall find him, never fear, 
I shall find my grenadier ; 
But, for all that's gone and come, 
I shall find my soldier dumb. 

He has lived, a little thing, 
In the grassy woods of spring ; 
Done, if he could tell me true, 
Just as I should like to do. 

He has seen the starry hours 
And the springing of the flowers ; 
And the fairy things that pass 
In the forests of the grass. 

In the silence he has heard 
Talking bee and ladybird, 
And the butterfly has flown 
O'er him as he lay alone. 

Not a word will he disclose, 
Not a word of all he knows. 
I must lay him on the shelf, 
And make up the tale myself. 




GARDEN DAYS 75 

VI 
AUTUMN FIRES 

IN the other gardens 

And all up the vale, 
From the autumn bonfires 

See the smoke trail ! 

Pleasant summer over, 
And all the summer flowers, 

The red fire blazes, 

The grey smoke towers. 

Sing a song of seasons ! 

Something bright in all ! 
Flowers in the summer, 

Fires in the fall ! 



VII 
THE GARDENER 

THE gardener does not love to talk, 
He makes me keep the gravel walk ; 
And when he puts his tools away, 
He locks the door and takes the key. 

Away behind the currant row 
Where no one else but cook may go, 
Far in the plots, I see him dig, 
Old and serious, brown and big. 



76 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

He digs the flowers, green, red, and blue, 
Nor wishes to be spoken to. 
He digs the flowers and cuts the hay, 
And never seems to want to play. 

Silly gardener ! summer goes, 
And winter comes with pinching toes, 
When in the garden bare and brown 
You must lay your barrow down. 

Well now, and while the summer stays, 
To profit by these garden days, 
O how much wiser you would be 
To play at Indian wars with me 1 



VIII 
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS 

DEAR Uncle Jim, this garden ground, 
That now you smoke your pipe around, 
Has seen immortal actions done 
And valiant battles lost and won. 

Here we had best on tip-toe tread, 
While I for safety march ahead, 
For this is that enchanted ground 
Where all who loiter slumber sound. 

Here is the sea, here is the sand, 
Here is the simple Shepherd's Land, 
Here are the fairy hollyhocks, 
And there are Ali Baba's rocks. 



GARDEN DAYS 77 

But yonder, see ! apart and high, 
Frozen Siberia lies ; where I, 
With Robert Bruce and William Tell, 
Was bound by an enchanter's spell. 

There, then, a while in chains we lay, 
In wintry dungeons, far from day ; 
But ris'n at length, with might and main, 
Our iron fetters burst in twain. 

Then all the horns were blown in town ; 
And, to the ramparts clanging down, 
All the giants leaped to horse 
And charged behind us through the gorse. 

On we rode, the others and I, 
Over the mountains blue, and by 
The Silver River, the sounding sea, 
And the robber woods of Tartary. 

A thousand miles we galloped fast, 
And down the witches' lane we passed, 
And rode amain, with brandished sword, 
Up to the middle, through the ford. 

Last we drew rein a weary three 
Upon the lawn, in time for tea, 
And from our steeds alighted down 
Before the gates of Babylon. 



ENVOYS 



TO WILLIE AND HENRIETTA 

IF two may read aright 
These rhymes of old delight 
And house and garden play, 
You two, my cousins, and you only, may. 

You in a garden green 
With me were king and queen, 
Were hunter, soldier, tar, 
And all the thousand things that children are. 

Now in the elders' seat 
We rest with quiet feet, 
And from the window-bay 
We watch the children, our successors, play. 

" Time was," the golden head 
Irrevocably said ; 
But time which none can bind, 
While flowing fast away, leaves love behind. 



II 
TO MY MOTHER 

You too, my mother, read my rhymes 
For love of unforgotten times, 
And you may chance to hear once more 
The little feet along the floor. 

81 



82 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

III 
TO AUNTIE 



Chief of our aunts not only I, 

But all your dozen of nurslings ciy 

What did the other children do ? 

And what were childhood, wanting you 



IV 

TO MINNIE 

THE red room with the giant bed 
Where none but elders laid their head ; 
The little room where you and I 
Did for a while together lie, 
And, simple suitor, I your hand 
In decent marriage did demand ; 
The great day-nursery, best of all, 
What pictures pasted on the wall 
And leaves upon the blind 
A pleasant room wherein to wake 
And hear the leafy garden shake 
And rustle in the wind 
And pleasant there to lie in bed 
And see the pictures overhead 
The wars about Sebastopol, 
The grinning guns along the wall, 
The daring escalade, 
The plunging ships, the bleating sheep, 
The happy children ankle-deep, 
And laughing as they wade : 




ENVOYS 83 

All these are vanished clean away, 
And the old manse is changed to-day ; 
It wears an altered face 
And shields a stranger race. 
The river, on from mill to mill, 
Flows past our childhood's garden still ; 
But ah ! we children never more 
Shall watch it from the water-door ! 
Below the yew it still is there 
Our phantom voices haunt the air 
As we were still at play, 
And I can hear them call and say : 
" How far is it to Babylon ? " 

Ah, far enough, my dear, 

Far, far enough from here 

Yet you have farther gone ! 

" Can I get there by candlelight ? " 

So goes the old refrain. 

I do not know perchance you might 

But only, children, hear it right, 

Ah, never to return again ! 

The eternal dawn, beyond a doubt, 

Shall break on hill and plain, 

And put all stars and candles out 

Ere we be young again. 

To you in distant India, these 

I send across the seas, 

Nor count it far across. 

For which of us forgets 

The Indian cabinets, 

The bones of antelope, the wings of albatross, 

The pied and painted birds and beans, 

The junks and bangles, beads and screens, 



84 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

The gods and sacred bells, 

And the loud-humming, twisted shells ? 

The level of the parlour floor 

Was honest, homely, Scottish shore ; 

But when we climbed upon a chair, 

Behold the gorgeous East was there ! 

Be this a fable ; and behold 

Me in the parlour as of old, 

And Minnie just above me set 

In the quaint Indian cabinet ! 

Smiling and kind, you grace a shelf 

Too high for me to reach myself. 

Reach down a hand, my dear, and take 

These rhymes for old acquaintance' sake 



TO MY NAME-CHILD 

i 

SOME day soon this rhyming volume, if you learn 

with proper speed, 

Little Louis Sanchez, will be given you to read. 
Then shall you discover, that your name was 

printed down 
By the English printers, long before, in London 

town. 

In the great and busy city where the East and 

West are met, 

All the little letters did the English printer set ; 
While you thought of nothing, and were still too 

young to play, 
Foreign people thought of you in places far away. 



ENVOYS 85 

Ay, and while you slept, a baby, over all the 

English lands 
Other little children took the volume in their 

hands ; 
Other children questioned, in their homes across 

the seas : 
Who was little Louis, won't you tell us, mother, 

please ? 

2 

Now that you have spelt your lesson, lay it down 

and go and play, 
Seeking shells and seaweed on the sands of 

Monterey, 
Watching all the mighty whalebones, lying buried 

by the breeze, 
Tiny sandy-pipers, and the huge Pacific seas. 

And remember in your playing, as the sea-fog 

rolls to you, 
Long ere you could read it, how I told you what 

to do ; 
And that while you thought of no one, nearly 

half the world away 
Some one thought of Louis on the beach of Monterey! 



VI 

TO ANY READER 

WHETHER upon the garden seat 
You lounge with your uplifted feet 
Under the May's whole Heaven of blue ; 
Or whether on the sofa you, 



86 A CHILD'S GARDEN 

No grown up person being by, 

Do some soft corner occupy : 

Take you this volume in your hands 

And enter into other lands, 

For lo ! (as children feign) suppose 

You, hunting in the garden rows, 

Or in the lumbered attic, or 

The cellar a nail-studded door 

And dark, descending stairway found 

That led to kingdoms underground : 

There standing, you should hear with ease 

Strange birds a-singing, or the trees 

Swing in big robber woods, or bells 

On many fairy citadels : 

There passing through (a step or so 

Neither mamma nor nurse need know !) 

From your nice nurseries you would pass 

Like Alice through the Looking-Glass 

Or Gerda following Little Ray, 

To wondrous countries far away. 

Well, and just this volume can 

Transport each little maid or man, 

Presto, from where they live away 

Where other children used to play. 

As from the house your mother sees 

You playing round the garden trees, 

So you may see, if you but look 

Through the windows of this book, 

Another child, far, far away 

And in another garden, play. 

But do not think you can at all, 

By knocking on the window, call 

That child to hear you. He intent 

Is still on his play-business bent. 

He does not hear, he will not look, 



ENVOYS 87 

Nor yet be lured out of this book. 
For long ago, the truth to say, 
He has grown up and gone away ; 
And it is but a child of air 
That lingers in the garden there. 



UNDERWOODS 

Of all my verse, like not a single Iine 9 
But like my title, for it is not mine. 
That title jrom a better man I stole : 
Ah, how much better, had I stoPn the whole ! 



DEDICATION 

There are men and, classes of men that stand above 
the common herd : the soldier, the sailor, and the 
shepherd not unfrequently ; the artist rarely ; 
rarelier still, the clergyman ; the physician almost as 
a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilisa- 
tion ; and when that stage of man is done with, and 
only remembered to be marvelled at in history, he 
will be thought to have shared as little as any in the 
defects of the period, and most notably exhibited 
the virtues of the race. Generosity he has, such as 
is possible to those who practise an art, never to those 
who drive a trade ; discretion, tested by a hundred 
secrets ; tact, tried in a thousand, embarrassments ; 
and, what are more important, Heraclean cheerful- 
ness and courage. So it is that he brings air and 
cheer into the sick-room, and often enough, though not 
so often as he wishes, brings healing. 

Gratitude is but a lame sentiment ; thanks, when 
they are expressed, are often more embarrassing than 
welcome ; and yet I must set forth mine to a few 
out of many doctors who have brought me comfort and 
help : to Dr. Willey of San Francisco, whose kind- 
ness to a stranger it must be as grateful to him, 
as it is touching to me, to remember ; to Dr. Karl 
Ruedi of Davos, the good genius of the English in 
his frosty mountains ; to Dr. Herbert of Paris, whom 
I knew only for a week, and to Dr. Caissot of Mont- 
pettier, whom I knew only for ten days, and who have 
yet written their names deeply in my memory ; to 

91 






92 DEDICATION 

Dr. Brandt of Roy at ; to Dr. Wakefield of Nice ; 
Dr. Chepmell, whose visits make it a pleasure to be 
ill ; to Dr. Horace Dobell, so wise in counsel ; to 
Sir Andrew Clark, so unwearied in kindness ; and to 
that wise youth, my uncle, Dr. Balfour. 

I forget as many as I remember ; and I ask both 
to pardon me, these for silence, those for inadequate 
speech. But one name I have kept on purpose to the 
last, because it is a household word with me, and 
because if I had not received favours from so many 
hands and in so many quarters of the world, it should 
have stood upon this page alone : that of my friend 
Thomas Bodley Scott of Bournemouth. Will he 
accept this, although shared among so many, for 
dedication to himself ? and when next my ill-fortune 
(which has thus its pleasant side] brings him hurrying 
to me when he would fain sit down to meat or lie down 
to rest, will he care to remember that he takes this 
trouble for one who is not fool enough to be ungrateful ? 

R. L. S. 

Skerry vore, 

Bournemouth 



BOOK I 
IN ENGLISH 



I 

ENVOY 

Go, little book, and wish to all 

Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall 

A bin of wine, a spice of wit, 

A house with lawns enclosing it, 

A living river by the door, 

A nightingale in the sycamore ! 



II 

A SONG OF THE ROAD 

THE ganger walked with willing foot, 
And aye the ganger played the flute ; 
And what should Master Gauger play 
But Over the hills and far away ? 

Whene'er I buckle on my pack 
And foot it gaily in the track, 
A pleasant gauger, long since dead, 
I hear you fluting on ahead. 

You go with me the self-same way 
The self -same air for me you play ; 
For I do think and so do you 
It is the tune to travel to. 

95 



96 UNDERWOODS 

For who would gravely set his face 
To go to this or t'other place ? 
There's nothing under Heav'n so blue 
That's fairly worth the travelling to. 

On every hand the roads begin, 
And people walk with zeal therein : 
But wheresoe'er the highways tend, 
Be sure there's nothing at the end. 

Then follow you, wherever hie 
The travelling mountains of the sky, 
Or let the streams in civil mode 
Direct your choice upon a road ; 

For one and all, or high or low, 
Will lead you where you wish to go ; 
And one and all go night and day 
Over the hills and far away ! 
FOREST OF MONTARGIS, 1878. 



Ill 

THE CANOE SPEAKS 

ON the great streams the ships may go 

About men's business to and fro, 

But I, the egg-shell pinnace, sleep 

On crystal waters ankle-deep : 

I, whose diminutive design, 

Of sweeter cedar, pithier pine, 

Is fashioned on so frail a mould, 

A hand may launch, a hand withhold : 

I, rather, with the leaping trout 




IN ENGLISH 97 

Wind, among lilies, in and out ; 
I, the unnamed, inviolate, 
Green, rustic rivers navigate ; 
My dipping paddle scarcely shakes 
The berry in the bramble-brakes ; 
StiU forth on my green way I wend 
Beside the cottage garden-end ; 
And by the nested angler fare, 
And take the lovers unaware. 
By willow wood and water-wheel 
Speedily fleets my touching keel ; 
By all retired and shady spots 
Where prosper dim forget-me-nots ; 
By meadows where at afternoon 
The growing maidens troop in June 
To loose their girdles on the grass. 
Ah ! speedier than before the glass 
The backward toilet goes ; and swift 
As swallows quiver, robe and shift 
And the rough country stockings lie 
Around each young divinity. 
When, following the recondite brook, 
Sudden upon this scene I look, 
And light with unfamiliar face 
On chaste Diana's bathing-place, 
Loud ring the hills about and all 
The shallows are abandoned. 



IV 

IT is the season now to go 
About the country high and low, 
Among the lilacs hand in hand, 
And two by two in fairyland. 



UNDERWOODS 

The brooding boy, the sighing maid, 
Wholly fain and half afraid, 
Now meet along the hazel' d brook 
To pass and linger, pause and look. 



A year ago, and blithely paired, 
Their rough-and-tumble play they shared ; 
They kissed and quarrelled, laughed and cried, 
A year ago at Eastertide. 



With bursting heart, with fiery face, 

She strove against him in the race ; 

He unabashed her garter saw, 

That now would touch her skirts with awe. 



Now by the stile ablaze she stops, 
And his demurer eyes he drops ; 
Now they exchanged averted sighs 
Or stand and marry silent eyes. 



And he to her a hero is 
And sweeter she than primroses ; 
Their common silence dearer far 
Than nightingale or mavis are. 



Now when they sever wedded hands, 
Joy trembles in their bosom-strands, 
And lovely laughter leaps and falls 
Upon their lips in madrigals. 




Here are no fish to dive for ; 
Here is the corn and the lea." 



Page .100 



IN ENGLISH 99 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 

A naked house, a naked moor, 
A shivering pool before the door, 
A garden bare of flowers and fruit, 
And poplars at the garden foot : 
Such is the place that I live in, 
Bleak without and bare within. 

Yet shall your ragged moor receive 
The incomparable pomp of eve, 
And the cold glories of the dawn 
Behind your shivering trees be drawn ; 
And when the wind from place to place 
Doth the unmoored cloud-galleons chase, 
Your garden gloom and gleam again, 
With leaping sun, with glancing rain. 
Here shall the wizard moon ascend 
The heavens, in the crimson end 
Of day's declining splendour ; here 
The army of the stars appear. 
The neighbour hollows, dry or wet, 
Spring shall with tender flowers beset ; 
And oft the morning muser see 
Larks rising from the broomy lea, 
And every fairy wheel and thread 
Of cobweb dew-bediamonded. 
When daisies go, shall winter-time 
Silver the simple grass with rime ; 
Autumnal frosts enchant the pool 
And make the cart-ruts beautiful ; 
And when snow-bright the moor expands, 
How shall your children clap their hands ! 
P. D 



ioo UNDERWOODS 

To make this earth, our hermitage, 
A cheerful and a changeful page, 
God's bright and intricate device 
Of days and seasons doth suffice. 



VI 
A VISIT FROM THE SEA 

FAR from the loud sea beaches 
Where he goes fishing and crying, 

Here in the inland garden 
Why is the sea-gull flying ? 

Here are no fish to dive for ; 

Here is the corn and lea ; 
Here are the green trees rustling. 

Hie away home to sea I 

Fresh is the river water 

And quiet among the rushes ; 
This is no home for the sea-gull, 

But for the rooks and thrushes. 

Pity the bird that has wandered 1 

Pity the sailor ashore ! 
Hurry him home to the ocean, 

Let him come here no more I 

High on the sea-cliff ledges 

The white gulls are trooping and crying, 
Here among the rooks and roses, 

Why is the sea-gull flying ? 



IN ENGLISH 101 

VII 
TO A GARDENER 

FRIEND, in my mountain-side demesne, 
My plain-beholding, rosy, green 
And linnet-haunted garden-ground, 
Let still the esculents abound. 
Let first the onion flourish there. 
Rose among roots, the maiden-fair, 
Wine-scented and poetic soul 
Of the capacious salad-bowl. 
Let thyme the mountaineer (to dress 
The tinier birds) and wading cress, 
The lover of the shallow brook, 
From all my plots and borders look. 
Nor crisp and ruddy radish, nor 
Pease-cods for the child's pinafore 
Be lacking ; nor of salad clan 
The last and least that ever ran 
About great Nature's garden-beds. 
Nor thence be missed the speary heads 
Of artichoke ; nor thence the bean 
That gathered innocent and green 
Outsavours the belauded pea. 

These tend, I prithee ; and for me, 
Thy most long-suffering master, bring 
In April, when the linnets sing 
And the days lengthen more and more, 
At sundown to the garden door. 
And I, being provided thus, 
Shall, with superb asparagus, 
A book, a taper, and a cup 
Of country wine, divinely sup. 

LA SOLITUDE, HYERES. 



102 UNDERWOODS 

VIII 

TO MINNIE 
(WITH A HAND-GLASS) 

A PICTURE-FRAME for you to fill, 

A paltry setting for your face, 
A thing that has no worth until 

You lend it something of your grace, 

I send (unhappy I that sing 

Laid by a while upon the shelf) 

Because I would not send a thing 
Less charming than you are yourself. 

And happier than I, alas ! 

(Dumb thing, I envy its delight) 
T will wish you well, the looking-glass, 

And look you in the face to-night. 
1869. 

IX 

TO K. DE M. 

A LOVER of the moorland bare 

And honest country winds you were ; 

The silver-skimming rain you took ; 

And loved the floodings of the brook, 

Dew, frost and mountains, fire and seas, 

Tumultuary silences, 

Winds that in darkness fifed a tune, 

And the high-riding, virgin moon. 



IN ENGLISH 103 

And as the berry, pale and sharp, 
Springs on some ditch's counterscarp 
In our ungenial, native north 
You put your frosted wildings forth, 
And on the heath, afar from man, 
A strong and bitter virgin ran. 

The berry ripened keeps the rude 
And racy flavour of the wood. 
And you that loved the empty plain 
All redolent of wind and rain, 
Around you stih 1 the curlew sings 
The freshness of the weather clings 
The maiden jewels of the rain 
Sit in your dabbled locks again. 



X 

TO N. V. DE G. S. 

THE unfathomable sea, and time, and tears, 
The deeds of heroes and the crimes of kings, 
1 Dispart us ; and the river of events 
Has, for an age of years, to east and west 
More widely borne our cradles. Thou to me 
Art foreign, as when seamen at the dawn 
Descry a land far off and know not which. 
So I approach uncertain ; so I cruise 
Round thy mysterious islet, and behold 
Surf and great mountains and loud river-bars, 
And from the shore hear inland voices call. 
Strange is the seamen's heart ; he hopes, he fears ; 
Draws closer and sweeps wider from that coast ; 




104 UNDERWOODS 

Last, his rent sail refits, and to the deep 
His shattered prow uncomforted puts back. 
Yet as he goes he ponders at the helm 
Of that bright island ; where he feared to touch, 
His spirit re-adventures ; and for years, 
Where by his wife he slumbers safe at home, 
Thoughts of that land revisit him ; he sees 
The eternal mountains beckon, and awakes 
Yearning for that far home that might have been. 



XI 
TO WILL H. LOW 

YOUTH now flees on feathered foot. 
Faint and fainter sounds the flute, 
Rarer songs of gods ; and still 
Somewhere on the sunny hill, 
Or along the winding stream, 
Through the willows flits a dream ; 
Flits, but shows a smiling face, 
Flees, but with so quaint a grace, 
None can choose to stay at home, 
All must follow, all must roam. 



This is unborn beauty : she 
Now in air floats high and free, 
Takes the sun and breaks the blue ; 
Late with stooping pinion flew 
Raking hedgerow trees, and wet 
Her wing in silver streams, and set 
Shining foot on temple roof : 



IN ENGLISH 105 

Now again she flies aloof, 

Coasting mountain clouds and kiss't 

By the evening's amethyst. 

In wet wood and miry lane, 
Still we pant and pound in vain ; 
Still with leaden foot we chase 
Waning pinion, fainting face ; 
Still with grey hair we stumble on, 
Till, behold, the vision gone ! 
Where hath fleeting beauty led ? 
To the doorway of the dead. 
Life is over, life was gay : 
We have come the primrose way. 



XII 
TO MRS. WILL H. LOW 

EVEN in the bluest noonday of July 

There could not run the smallest breath of wind 

But all the quarter sounded like a wood ; 

And in the chequered silence, and above 

The hum of city cabs that sought the Bois, 

Suburban ashes shivered into song. 

A patter and a chatter and a chirp 

And a long dying hiss it was as though 

Starched old brocaded dames through all the house 

Had trailed a strident skirt, or the whole sky 

Even in a wink had over-brimmed in rain. 

Hark, in these shady parlours, how it talks 

Of the near autumn, how the smitten ash 

Trembles and augurs floods ! O not too long 

In these inconstant latitudes delay, 




106 UNDERWOODS 

O not too late from the unbeloved north 
Trim your escape ! For soon shall this low roof 
Resound indeed with rain, soon shall your eyes 
Search the foul garden, search the darkened rooms, 
Nor find one jewel but the blazing log. 
12 RUE VERNIER, PARIS. 



XIII 

TO H. F. BROWN 

(WRITTEN DURING A DANGEROUS SICKNESS) 

I SIT and wait a pair of oars 
On cis-Elysian river-shores. 
Where the immortal dead have sate, 
'Tis mine to sit and meditate ; 
To re-ascend life's rivulet, 
Without remorse, without regret ; 
And sing my Alma Genetrix 
Among the willows of the Styx. 

And lo, as my serener soul 
Did these unhappy shores patrol, 
And wait with an attentive ear 
The coming of the gondolier, 
Your fire-surviving roll I took, 
Your spirited and happy book ; 1 
Whereon, despite my frowning fate, 
It did my soul so recreate 
That all my fancies fled away 
On a Venetian holiday. 

1 Life on the Lagoons, by H. F. Brown, originally burned in the fire at 
Messrs. Kegan, Paul, Trench and Co.'s. 



IN ENGLISH 107 

Now, thanks to your triumphant care, 

Your pages clear as April air, 

The sails, the bells, the birds, I know, 

And the far-off Friulan snow ; 

The land and sea, the sun and shade, 

And the blue even lamp-inlaid. 

For this, for these, for all, O friend, 

For your whole book from end to end 

For Paron Piero's mutton-ham 

I your defaulting debtor am. 

Perchance, reviving, yet may I 
To your sea-paven city hie, 
And in a felze, some day yet 
Light at your pipe my cigarette. 



XIV 
TO ANDREW LANG 

DEAR Andrew, with the brindled hair, 
Who glory to have thrown in air, 
High over arm, the trembling reed, 
By Ale and Kail, by Till and Tweed : 
An equal craft of hand you show 
The pen to guide, the fly to throw : 
I count you happy-starred ; for God, 
When He with inkpot and with rod 
Endowed you, bade your fortune lead 
For ever by the crooks of Tweed, 
For ever by the woods of song 
And lands that to the Muse belong ; 
Or if in peopled streets, or in 
The abhorred pedantic sanhedrin, 



io8 UNDERWOODS 

It should be yours to wander, still 

Airs of the morn, airs of the hill, 

The plovery Forest and the seas 

That break about the Hebrides, 

Should follow over field and plain 

And find you at the window-pane ; 

And you again see hill and peel, 

And the bright springs gush at your heel, 

So went the fiat forth, and so 

Garrulous like a brook you go, 

With sound of happy mirth and sheen 

Of daylight whether by the green 

You fare 'that moment, or the grey ; 

Whether you dwell in March or May ; 

Or whether treat of reels and rods 

Or of the old unhappy gods ; 

Still like a brook your page has shone, 

And your ink sings of Helicon. 



XV 

ET TU IN ARCADIA VIXISTI 
(TO R. A. M. s. 1 ) 

IN ancient tales, O friend, thy spirit dwelt ; 
There, from of old, thy childhood passed ; and there 
High expectation, high delights and deeds, 
Thy fluttering heart with hope and terror moved. 
And thou hast heard of yore the Blatant Beast, 
And Roland's horn, and that war-scattering shout 
Of all-unarmed Achilles, aegis-crowned. 

1 Stevenson's cousin, Robert A. M. Stevenson. 



IN ENGLISH 109 

And perilous lands thou sawest, sounding shores 
And seas and forests drear, island and dale 
And mountain dark. For thou with Tristram rod'st 
Or Bedevere, in farthest Lyonesse. 
Thou hadst a booth in Samarcand, whereat 
Side-looking Magians trafficked ; thence, by night, 
An Afreet snatched thee, and with wings upbore 
Beyond the Aral mount ; or, hoping gain, 
Thou, with a jar of money, didst embark 
For Balsorah by sea. But chiefly thou 
In that clear air took'st life ; in Arcady 
The haunted, land of song ; and by the wells 
Where most the gods frequent. There Chiron old, 
In the Pelethronian antre, taught thee lore ; 
The planets he taught, and by the shining stars 
In forests dim to steer. There hast thou seen 
Immortal Pan dance secret in a glade, 
And, dancing, roll his eyes ; these, where they fell, 
Shed glee, and through the congregated oaks 
A flying horror winged ; while all the earth 
To the god's pregnant footing thrilled within. 
Or whiles, beside the sobbing stream, he breathed 
In his clutched pipe unformed and wizard strains, 
Divine yet brutal ; which the forest heard, 
And thou, with awe ; and far upon the plain 
The unthinking ploughman started and gave ear. 
Now things there are that, upon him who sees, 
A strong vocation lay ; and strains there are 
That whoso hears shall hear for evermore. 
For evermore thou hear'st immortal Pan 
And those melodious godheads, ever young 
And ever quiring, on the mountains old. 
What was this earth, child of the gods, to thee ? 
Forth from thy dreamland thou, a dreamer, cam'st, 
And in thine ears the olden music rang, 




no UNDERWOODS 

And in thy mind the doings of the dead, 
And those heroic ages long forgot. 
To a so fallen earth, alas ! too late, 
Alas ! in evil days, thy steps return, 
To list at noon for nightingales, to grow 
A dweller on the beach till Argo come 
That came long since, a lingerer by the pool 
Where that desired angel bathes no more. 

As when the Indian to Dakota comes, 
Or farthest Idaho, and where he dwelt, 
He with his clan, a humming city finds ; 
Thereon a while, amazed, he stares, and then 
To right and leftward, like a questing dog, 
Seeks first the ancestral altars, then the hearth 
Long cold with rains, and where old terror lodged, 
And where the dead. So thee undying Hope, 
With all her pack, hunts screaming through the 

years : 

Here, there, thou fleeest ; but nor here nor there 
The pleasant gods abide, the glory dwells. 
That, that was not Apollo, not the god. 
This was not Venus, though she Venus seemed 
A moment. And though fair yon river move, 
She, all the way, from disenchanted fount 
To seas unhallowed runs ; the gods forsook 
Long since her trembling rushes ; from her plains 
Disconsolate, long since adventure fled ; 
And now although the inviting river flows, 
And every poplared cape, and every bend 
Or willowy islet, win upon thy soul 
And to thy hopeful shallop whisper speed ; 
Yet hope not thou at all ; hope is no more ; 
And O, long since the golden groves are dead, 
The faery cities vanished from the land I 



IN ENGLISH in 

XVI 
TO W. E. HENLEY 

THE year runs through her phases ; rain and sun, 
Spring-time and summer pass ; winter succeeds ; 
But one pale season rules the house of death. 
Cold falls the imprisoned daylight ; fell disease 
By each lean pallet squats, and pain and sleep 
Toss gaping on the pillows. 

But O thou ! 

Uprise and take thy pipe. Bid music flow, 
Strains by good thoughts attended, like the spring 
The swallows follow over land and sea. 
Pain sleeps at once ; at once, with open eyes. 
Dozing despair awakes. The shepherd sees 
His flock come bleating home ; the seaman hears 
Once more the cordage rattle. Airs of home ! 
Youth, love, and roses blossom ; the gaunt ward 
Dislimns and disappears, and, opening out, 
Shows brooks and forests, and the blue beyond 
Of mountains. 

Small the pipe : but O ! do thou, 
Peak-faced and suffering piper, blow therein 
The dirge of heroes dead ; and to these sick, 
These dying, sound the triumph over death. 
Behold ! each greatly breathes ; each tastes a joy 
Unknown before, in dying ; for each knows 
A hero dies with him though unfulfilled, 
Yet conquering truly and not dies in vain. 

So is pain cheered, death comforted ; the house 
Of sorrow smiles to listen. Once again 
O thou, Orpheus and Heracles, the bard 
And the deliverer, touch the stops again 1 



H2 UNDERWOODS 

XVII 
HENRY JAMES 

WHO comes to-night ? We ope the doors in vain. 
Who comes ? My bursting walls, can you contain 
The presences that now together throng 
Your narrow entry, as with flowers and song, 
As with the air of life, the breath of talk ? 
Lo, how these fair immaculate women walk 
Behind their jocund maker ; and we see 
Slighted De Mauves, and that far different she, 
Gressie, the trivial sphynx ; and to our feast 
Daisy and Barb and Chancellor (she not least I) 
With all their silken, all their airy kin, 
Do like unbidden angels enter in. 
But he, attended by these shining names, 
Comes (best of all) himself our welcome James. 

XVIII 
THE MIRROR SPEAKS 

WHERE the bells peal far at sea 
Cunning fingers fashioned me. 
There on palace walls I hung 
While that Consuelo sung ; 
But I heard, though I listened well, 
Never a note, never a trill, 
Never a beat of the chiming bell. 
There I hung and looked, and there 
In my grey face, faces fair 
Shone from under shining hair. 






IN ENGLISH 113 

Well I saw the poising head, 
But the lips moved and nothing said ; 
And when lights were in the hall, 
Silent moved the dancers all. 

So a while I glowed, and then 
Fell on dusty days and men ; 
Long I slumbered packed in straw, 
Long I none but dealers saw ; 
Till before my silent eye 
One that sees came passing by. 

Now with an outlandish grace, 
To the sparkling fire I face 
In the blue room at Skerryvore ; 
Where I wait until the door 
Open, and the Prince of Men, 
Henry James, shall come again. 



XIX 
KATHARINE 

WE see you as we see a face 
That trembles in a forest place 
Upon the mirror of a pool 
For ever quiet, clear and cool ; 

And in the wayward glass, appears 
To hover between smiles and tears, 
Elfin and human, airy and true, 
And backed by the reflected blue. 




ii 4 UNDERWOODS 

XX 

TO F. J. S. 

I READ, dear friend, in your dear face 
Your life's tale told with perfect grace ; 
The river of your life I trace 
Up the sun-chequered, devious bed 
To the far-distant fountain-head. 

Not one quick beat of your warm heart, 
Nor thought that came to you apart, 
Pleasure nor pity, love nor pain 
Nor sorrow, has gone by in vain ; 

But as some lone, wood-wandering child 
Brings home with him at evening mild 
The thorns and flowers of all the wild, 
From your whole life, O fair and true 
Your flowers and thorns you bring with you ! 



XXI 

REQUIEM 

UNDER the wide and starry sky, 
Dig the grave and let me lie. 
Glad did I live and gladly die, 
And I laid me down with a will. 

This be the verse you grave for me 
Here he lies where he longed to be, 
Home is the sailor, home from sea, 

And the hunter home from the hill. 
HYRES, May 1884. 



IN ENGLISH 115 

XXII 
THE CELESTIAL SURGEON 

IF I have faltered more or less 
In my great task of happiness ; 
If I have moved among my race 
And shown no glorious morning face ; 
If beams from happy human eyes 
Have moved me not ; if morning skies, 
Books, and my food, and summer rain 
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain : 
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take 
And stab my spirit broad awake ; 
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I, 
Choose Thou, before that spirit die, 
A piercing pain, a killing sin, 
And to my dead heart run them in ! 



XXIII 
OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS 

OUT of the sun, out of the blast, 
Out of the world, alone I passed 
Across the moor and through the wood 
To where the monastery stood. 
There neither lute nor breathing fife, 
Nor rumour of the world of life, 
Nor confidences low and dear, 
Shall strike the meditative ear. 



n6 UNDERWOODS 

Aloof, unhelpful, and unkind, 
The prisoners of the iron mind, 
Where nothing speaks except the bell, 
The unfraternal brothers dwell. 

Poor passionate men, still clothed afresh 

With agonising folds of flesh ; 

Whom the clear eyes solicit still 

To some bold output of the will, 

While fairy Fancy far before 

And musing Memory-Hold-the-door 

Now to heroic death invite 

And now uncurtain fresh delight : 

O, little boots it thus to dwell 

On the remote unneighboured hill ! 

O to be up and doing, O 
Unfearing and unshamed to go 
In all the uproar and the press 
About my human business ! 
My undissuaded heart I hear 
WTiisper courage in my ear. 
With voiceless calls, the ancient earth 
Summons me to a daily birth. 
Thou, O my love, ye, O my friends 
The gist of life, the end of ends 
To laugh, to love, to live, to die, 
Ye call me by the ear and eye 1 

Forth from the casemate, on the plain 
Where honour has the world to gain, 
Pour forth and bravely do your part, 
O knights of the unshielded heart 
Forth and for ever forward ! out 
From prudent turret and redoubt. 



IN ENGLISH 117 

And in the mellay charge amain, 
To fall but yet to rise again ! 
Captive ? ah, still, to honour bright, 
A captive soldier of the right ! 
Or free and fighting, good with ill ? 
Unconquering but unconquered still ! 

And ye, O brethren, what if God, 

When from Heav'n's top He spies abroad 

And sees on this tormented stage 

The noble war of mankind rage : 

What if His vivifying eye, 

O monks, should pass your corner by ? 

For still the Lord is Lord of might ; 
In deeds, in deeds, He takes delight ; 
The plough, the spear, the laden barks, 
The field, the founded city, marks ; 
He marks the smiler of the streets, 
The singer upon garden seats ; 
He sees the climber in the rocks ; 
To Him, the shepherd folds his flocks. 
For those He loves that underprop 
With daily virtues Heaven's top, 
And bear the falling sky with ease, 
Unfrowning caryatides. 
Those He approves that ply the trade, 
That rock the child, that wed the maid, 
That with weak virtues, weaker hands, 
Sow gladness on the peopled lands, 
And still with laughter, song and shout, 
Spin the great wheel of earth about. 

But ye ? O ye who linger still 
Here in your fortress on the hill, 



n8 UNDERWOODS 

With placid face, with tranquil breath, 
The unsought volunteers of death, 
Our cheerful General on high 
With careless looks may pass you by. 



XXIV 

NOT yet, my soul, these friendly fields desert, 
Where thou with grass, and rivers, and the breeze, 
And the bright face of day, thy dalliance hadst ; 
Where to thine ear first sang the enraptured birds ; 
Where love and thou that lasting bargain made. 
The ship rides trimmed, and from the eternal shore 
Thou hearest airy voices ; but not yet 
Depart, my soul, not yet a while depart. 

Freedom is far, rest far. Thou art with life 
Too closely woven, nerve with nerve entwined ; 
Service still craving service, love for love, 
Love for dear love, still suppliant with tears. 
Alas, not yet thy human task is done ! 
A bond at birth is forged ; a debt doth lie 
Immortal on mortality. It grows 
By vast rebound it grows, unceasing growth ; 
Gift upon gift, alms upon alms, upreared, 
From man, from God, from nature, till the soul 
At that so huge indulgence stands amazed. 



Leave not, my soul, the unfoughten field, nor leave 
Thy debts dishonoured, nor thy place desert 
Without due service rendered. For thy life, 
Up, spirit, and defend that fort of clay, 
Thy body, now beleaguered ; whether soon 
Or late she fall ; whether to-day thy friends 



IN ENGLISH 119 

Bewail thee dead, or, after years, a man 
Grown old in honour and the friend of peace. 
Contend, my soul, for moments and for hours ; 
Each is with service pregnant ; each reclaimed 
Is as a kingdom conquered, where to reign. 



As when a captain rallies to the fight 

His scattered legions, and beats ruin back, 

He, on the field, encamps, well pleased in mind. 

Yet surely him shall fortune overtake, 

Him smite in turn, headlong his ensigns drive ; 

And that dear land, now safe, to-morrow fall. 

But he, unthinking, in the present good 

Solely delights, and all the camps rejoice. 



XXV 

IT is not yours, O mother, to complain, 

Not, mother, yours to weep, 
Though nevermore your son again 

Shall to your bosom creep, 

Though nevermore again you watch your baby 
sleep. 



Though in the greener paths of earth, 

Mother and child, no more 
We wander ; and no more the birth 

Of me whom once you bore 

Seems still the brave reward that once it seemed 
of yore ; 




120 UNDERWOODS 

Though as all passes, day and night, 

The seasons and the years, 
From you, O mother, this delight, 

This also disappears 

Some profit yet survives of all your pangs and 
tears. 

The child, the seed, the grain of corn, 

The acorn on the hill, 
Each for some separate end is born 

In season fit, and still 

Each must in strength arise to work the almighty 
will. 

So from the hearth the children flee, 

By that almighty hand 
Austerely led ; so one by sea 

Goes forth, and one by land ; 

Nor aught of all man's sons escapes from that 
command. 

So from the sally each obeys 

The unseen almighty nod ; 
So till the ending all then: ways 

Blindfolded loth have trod : 

Nor knew their task at all, but were the tools 
of God. 

And as the fervent smith of yore 

Beat out the glowing blade, 
Nor wielded in the front of war 

The weapons that he made, 

But in the tower at home still plied his ringing 
trade : 



IN ENGLISH 121 

So like a sword the son shall roam 

On nobler missions sent ; 
And as the smith remained at home 

In peaceful turret pent, 

So sits the while at home the mother well content. 



XXVI 
THE SICK CHILD 

Child. O MOTHER, lay your hand on my brow ! 

mother, mother, where am I now ? 
Why is the room so gaunt and great ? 
Why am I lying awake so late ? 

Mother. Fear not at all : the night is still. 

Nothing is here that means you ill 
Nothing but lamps the whole town through 
And never a child awake but you. 

Child. Mother, mother, speak low in my ear, 

Some of the things are so great and near, 
Some are so small and far away, 

1 have a fear that I cannot say. 
What have I done, and what do I fear, 
And why are you crying, mother dear ? 

Mother. Out in the city, sounds begin ; 

Thank the kind God, the carts come in ! 
An hour or two more, and God is so kind, 
The day shall be blue in the window-blind, 
Then shall my child go sweetly asleep, 
And dream of the birds and the hills of 
sheep. 




122 UNDERWOODS 

XXVII 
IN MEMORIAM F. A. S. 

YET, O stricken heart, remember, O remember, 
How of human days he lived the better part. 

April came to bloom and never dim December 
Breathed its killing chills upon the head or 
heart 



Doomed to know not Winter, only Spring, a 

being 

Trod the flowery April blithely for a while, 
Took his fill of music, joy of thought and seeing, 
Came and stayed and went, nor ever ceased 
to smile. 



Came and stayed and went, and now when all is 
finished, 

You alone have crossed the melancholy stream, 
Yours the pang, but his, O his, the undiminished 

Undecaying gladness, undeparted dream. 



All that life contains of torture, toil, and treason, 
Shame, dishonour, death, to him were but a 

name. 
Here, a boy, he dwelt through all the singing 

season, 

And ere the day of sorrow departed as he came. 
DAVOS, 1881. 



IN ENGLISH 123 

XXVIII 
TO MY FATHER 

PEACE and her huge invasion to these shores 
Puts daily home ; innumerable sails 
Dawn on the far horizon and draw near ; 
Innumerable loves, uncounted hopes 
To our wild coasts, not darkling now, approach : 
Not now obscure, since thou and thine are there, 
And bright on the lone isle, the foundered reef, 
The long, resounding foreland, Pharos stands. 



These are thy works, O father, these thy crown ; 
Whether on high the air be pure, they shine 
Along the yellowing sunset, and all night 
Among the unnumbered stars of God they shine ; 
Or whether fogs arise and far and wide 
The low sea-level drown each finds a tongue 
And all night long the tolling bell resounds : 
So shine, so toll, till night be overpast, 
Till the stars vanish, till the sun return, 
And in the haven rides the fleet secure. 



In the first hour, the seaman in his skiff 

Moves through the unmoving bay, to where the 

town 

Its earliest smoke into the air upbreathes, 
And the rough hazels climb along the beach. 
To the tugg'd oar the distant echo speaks. 
The ship hes resting, where by reef and roost 
Thou and thy lights have led her like a child. 



124 UNDERWOODS 

This hast thou done, and I can I be base ? 

I must arise, O father, and to port 

Some lost, complaining seaman pilot home. 



XXIX 
IN THE STATES 

WITH half a heart I wander here, 

As from an age gone by 
A brother yet though young in years, 

An elder brother, I. 

You speak another tongue than mine, 
Though both were English bora. 

I towards the night of time decline, 
You mount into the mom. 

Youth shall grow great and strong and free, 

But age must still decay : 
To-morrow for the States, for me, 

England and Yesterday. 
SAN FRANCISCO. 



XXX 

A PORTRAIT 

I AM a kind of farthing dip, 

Unfriendly to the nose and eyes ; 

A blue-behinded ape, I skip 
Upon the trees of Paradise. 



IN ENGLISH 125 

At mankind's feast, I take my place 

In solemn, sanctimonious state, 
And have the air of saying grace 

While I defile the dinner-plate. 



I am " the smiler with the knife/' 
The battener upon garbage, I 

Dear Heaven, with such a rancid life, 
Were it not better far to die ? 



Yet still, about the human pale, 
I love to scamper, love to race, 

To swing by my irreverent tail 
All over the most holy place ; 



And when at length, some golden day, 
The unfailing sportsman, aiming at, 

Shall bag, me all the world shall say : 
Thank God, and there's an end of that ! 



XXXI 

SING clearlier, Muse, or evermore be still, 
Sing truer or no longer sing ! 
No more the voice of melancholy Jaques 
To wake a weeping echo in the hiU ; 
But as the boy, the pirate of the spring, 
From the green elm a living linnet takes, 
One natural verse recapture then be still. 



126 UNDERWOODS 

XXXII 
A CAMP 1 

The bed was made, the room was fit, 
By punctual eve the stars were lit ; 
The air was still, the water ran, 
No need was there for maid or man, 
When we put up, my ass and I, 
At God's green caravanserai. 

XXXIII 
THE COUNTRY OF THE CAMISARDS 2 

WE travelled in the print of olden wars, 
Yet all the land was green, 
And love we found, and peace, 
Where fire and war had been. 

They pass and smile, the children of the sword- 
No more the sword they wield ; 
And O, how deep the corn 
Along the battle-field ! 

XXXIV 
SKERRYVORE 

FOR love of lovely words, and for the sake 
Of those, my kinsmen and my countrymen, 
Who early and late in the windy ocean toiled 
To plant a star for seamen, where was then 
The surfy haunt of seals and cormorants : 
I, on the lintel of this cot, inscribe 
The name of a strong tower. 

1 From Travels with a Donkey. * Ibid. 



IN ENGLISH 127 

XXXV 

SKERRYVORE : 

THE PARALLEL 

HERE all is sunny, and when the truant gull 
Skims the green level of the lawn, his wing 
Dispetals roses ; here the house is framed 
Of kneaded brick and the plumed mountain pine, 
Such clay as artists fashion and such wood 
As the tree-climbing urchin breaks. But there 
Eternal granite hewn from the living isle, 
And dowelled with brute iron, rears a tower 
That, from its wet foundation to its crown 
Of glittering glass, stands, in the sweep of winds, 
Immovable, immortal, eminent. 



XXXVI 

My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves 
That make my roof the arena of their loves, 
That gyre about the gable all day long 
And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song ; 
Our house, they say ; and mine, the cat declares, 
And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs ; 
And mine the dog, and rises stiff with wrath 
If any alien foot profane the path. 
So, too, the buck that trimmed my terraces, 
Our whilome gardener, called the garden his ; 
Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode 
And his late kingdom, only from the road. 



128 UNDERWOODS 



XXXVII 

MY body which my dungeon is, 
And yet my parks and palaces : 
Which is so great that there I go 
All the day long to and fro, 
And when the night begins to fall 
Throw down my bed and sleep, while all 
The building hums with wakefulness 
Even as a child of savages 
When evening takes her on her way, 
(She having roamed a summer's day 
Along the mountain-sides and scalp), 
Sleeps in an antre of that alp : 

Which is so broad and high that there, 
As in the topless fields of air, 
My fancy soars like to a kite 
And faints in the blue infinite : 

Which is so strong, my strongest throes 
And the rough world's besieging blows 
Not break it, and so weak withal, 
Death ebbs and flows in its loose wall 
As the green sea in fishers' nets, 
And tops its topmost parapets : 

Which is so wholly mine that I 
Can wield its whole artillery, 
And mine so little, that my soul 
Dwells in perpetual control, 
And I but think and speak and do 
As my dead fathers move me to : 

If this born body of my bones 
The beggared soul so barely owns, 
What money passed from hand to hand, 
What creeping custom of the land, 




IN ENGLISH 129 

What deed of author or assign, 
Can make a house a thing of mine ? 



XXXVIII 

SAY not of me that weakly I declined 
The labours of my sires, and fled the sea, 
The towers we founded and the lamps we lit, 
To play at home with paper like a child. 
But rather say : In the afternoon of time 
A strenuous family dusted from its hands 
The sand of granite, and. beholding far 
Along the sounding coast Us pyramids 
And tall memorials catch the dying sun, 
Smiled well content; -and to this childish task 
Around the fire addressed its evening hours. 




P. Pdge 139 

" The gairdner crooks his weary back 

A' day in the pitaty-track." 



BOOK II 

IN SCOTS 



p. 



NOTE 

THE human conscience has fled of late the trouble- 
domain of conduct for what I should have supposed 
to be the less congenial field of art : there she may 
now be said to rage, and with special severity in 
all that touches dialect ; so that in every novel 
the letters of the alphabet are tortured, and the 
reader wearied, to commemorate shades of mispro- 
nunciation. Now spelling is an art of great 
difficulty in my eyes, and I am inclined to lean 
upon the printer, even in common practice, rather 
than to venture abroad upon new quests. And 
the Scots tongue has an orthography of its own, 
lacking neither " authority nor author." Yet the 
temptation is great to lend a little guidance to the 
bewildered Englishman. Some simple phonetic 
artifice might defend your verses from barbarous 
mishandling, and yet not injure any vested interest. 
So it seems at first ; but there are rocks ahead. 
Thus, if I wish the diphthong ou to have its proper 
value, I may write oor instead of our ; many have 
done so and lived, and the pillars of the universe 
remained unshaken. But if I did so, and came 
presently to doun, which is the classical Scots 
spelling of the English down, I should begin to feel 
uneasy ; and if I went on a little farther, and came 
to a classical Scots word, like stour or dour or dour, 
I should know precisely where I was that is to 
say, that I was out of sight of land on those high 
seas of spelling reform in which so many strong 

133 



134 NOTE 

swimmers have toiled vainly. To some the 
situation is exhilarating ; as for me, I give one 
bubbling cry and sink. The compromise at which 
I have arrived is indefensible, and I have no 
thought of trying to defend it. As I have stuck 
for the most part to the proper spelling, I append a 
table of some common vowel sounds which no one 
need consult ; and just to prove that I belong 
to my age and have in me the stuff of a reformer, 
I have used modification marks throughout. Thus 
I can tell myself, not without pride, that I have 
added a fresh stumbling-block for English readers, 
and to a page of print in my native tongue have 
lent a new uncouthness. Sed non nobis. 

I note again, that among our new dialecticians, 
the local habitat of every dialect is given to the 
square mile. I could not emulate this nicety if 
I desired ; for I simply wrote my Scots as well 
as I was able, not caring if it hailed from Lauder- 
dale or Angus, from the Mearns or Galloway ; 
if I had ever heard a good word, I used it without 
shame ; and when Scots was lacking, or the rhyme 
jibbed, I was glad (like my betters) to fall back on 
English. For all that, I own to a friendly feeling 
for the tongue of Fergusson and of Sir Walter, 
both Edinburgh men ; and I confess that Burns 
has always sounded in my ear like something partly 
foreign. And indeed I am from the Lothians 
myself ; it is there I heard the language spoken 
about my childhood ; and it is in the drawling 
Lothian voice that I repeat it to myself. Let the 
precisions call my speech that of the Lothians. 
And if it be not pure, alas ! what matters it ? The 
day draws near when this iUustrious and malleable 
tongue shall be quite forgotten ; and Burns's 



NOTE 135 

Ayrshire, and Dr. MacDonald's Aberdeen-awa', 
and Scott's brave, metropolitan utterance will be 
all equally the ghosts of speech. Till then I would 
love to have my hour as a native Maker, and be 
read by my own country-folk in our own dying 
language : an ambition surely rather of the heart 
than of the head, so restricted as it is in prospect 
of endurance, so parochial in bounds of space. 



TABLE OF COMMON SCOTTISH VOWEL 
SOUNDS 

ae \ = open A as in rare. 
ai j 

a' ^ 

au I =AW as in law. 
awj 

ea =open E as hi mere, but this with exceptions, as 
heather = heather, wean =wain, lear =lair. 

ei j- =open E as in mere. 

ie J 

oa =open O as in more. 

ou = doubled O as in poor. 

ow =OW as hi bower. 

u = doubled O as in poor. 

ui or ii before R = (say roughly) open A as in rare. 

ui or ii before any other consonant = (say roughly) 
close I as in grin. 

y=open I as in kite. 

i= pretty nearly what you please, much as in 
English. Heaven guide the reader through 
that labyrinth ! But in Scots it dodges 
usually from the short I as in grin, to the 
open E as hi mere. Find and blind, I may 
remark, are pronounced to rhyme with the 
preterite of grin. 



'36 



THE MAKER TO POSTERITY 

FAR 'yont amang the years to be, 
When a' we think, an' a' we see, 
An' a* we hive, 's been dung ajee knocked aside 

By time's rouch shouther, shoulder 

An f what was richt and wrang for me 

Lies mangled throu'ther, aii together 

It's possible it's hardly mair 

That some ane, ripin' after lear groping after 

Some auld professor or young heir, 

If still there's either- 
May find an' read me, an' be sair 

Perplexed, puir brither ! 

" What tongue does your auld bookie 

speak ? " 

He'll spier ; an' I, his mou' to steik : gj^ 
" No beiri fit to write in Greek, 

I wrote in Lallan, 
Dear to my heart as the peat-reek t smoke 

Auld as Tantallon. 

" Few spak it then, an' noo there's nane. 
My puir auld sangs lie a' their lane, 
Their sense that aince was braw an' plain, 

Tint a'thegither, lost 

Like runes upon a standin' stane 
Amang the heather. 
137 



hill to climb 



may be 



horse-flies 

staggers, 
loosened 



lease of mankind 
very low 



overturned 



fly asunder 
cinders 



pinching 
fog 



UNDERWOODS 

" But think not you the brae to speel ; 
'You, tae, maun chow the bitter peel ; 
For a' your lear, for a' your skeel, 

Ye're nane sae lucky ; 
An' things are mebbe waur than weel 
For you, my buckie. 

" The hale concern (baith hens an' eggs, 
Baith books an' writers, stars an' clegs] 
Noo stackers upon lowsent legs, 

An' wears awa' ; 
The tack o' mankind, near the dregs, 

Rins unco law. 

"Your book, that in some braw new tongue 
Ye wrote or prentit, preached or sung, 
Will still be just a bairn, an' young 

In fame an' years, 
Whan the hale planet's guts are dung 

About your ears ; 

"An' you, sair gruppin' to a spar 
Or whammled wi' some bleezin' star, 
Cryin' to ken whaur deil ye are, 

Hame, France, or Flanders 
Whang sindry like a railway car 

An' flie in danders." 

II 
ILLE TERRARUM 

FRAE nirly, nippin/ Eas'lan' breeze, 
Frae Norlan' snaw, an' haar o' seas, 
Weel happit in your gairden trees, 

A bonny bit, 
Atween the muckle Pentland's knees, 

Secure ye sit. 



IN SCOTS 139 

Beeches an' aiks entwine their theek, oaks, thatch 
An' firs, a stench, auld-farrant clique. 
A' simmer day, your chimleys reek, 

Couthy an' bien ; 
An here an there your windies keek 

Amang the green. 

A pickle plats an* paths an' posies, 

A wheen auld gillyflowers an' roses : few 

A ring o' wa's the hale encloses 

Frae sheep or men ; 
An' there the auld housie beeks an' dozes, basks 

A' by her lane. by herself 

The gairdner crooks his weary back 

A' day in the pitaty-track, 

Or mebbe stops a while to crack 

Wi' Jane the cook, 
Or at some buss, worm-eaten-black, bush 

To gie a look. 

Frae the high hills the curlew ca's ; 
The sheep gang baaing by the wa's ; 
Or whiles a clan o' roosty craws 

Cangle thegither ; 
The wild bees seek the gairden raws, 

Weariet wi' heather. 

Or in the gloamin' douce an' grey 

The sweet-throat mavis tunes her lay ; 

The herd comes linkin' doun the brae ; tripping 

An' by degrees 
The muckle siller miine maks way 

Amang the trees. 



140 



UNDERWOODS 



Here aft hae I, wi' sober heart, 
For meditation sat apairt, 
various, ticklish When oiTa loves or kittle art 

Perplexed my mind ; 

every Here socht a balm for ilia smart 

O' humankind. 



cornered alone 



pebble 



Here aft, weel neukit by my lane, 
Wi' Horace, or perhaps Montaigne, 
The mornin' hours hae come an* gane 

Abiine m'y heid 
I wadna gi'en a chucky-stane 

For a' I'd read. 



But noo the auld city, street by street, 
An' winter fu' o' snaw an' sleet, 

vagrant A while shut in my gangrel feet 

roving An' goavin' mettle ; 

swept hearth Noo is the soopit ingle sweet, 
An' liltin' kettle. 



mud, every 
draggled wench, 
untidy child 



An' noo the winter winds complain ; 
Cauld lies the glaur in ilka lane ; 
On draigled hizzie, tautit wean 

An' drucken lads, 
In the mirk nicht, the winter rain 

Dribbles an' blads. 



Whan bugles frae the Castle rock, 
An' beaten drums wi' dowie shock, 
Wauken, at cauld-rife sax o'clock, 

My chitterin' frame, 
I mind me on the kintry cock, 

The kintry hame. 



IN SCOTS 

I mind me on yon bonny bield ; 
An' Fancy traivels far afield 
To gaither a* that gairdens yield 

O' sun an' Simmer : 
To hearten up a dowie chield, 

Fancy's the limmer ! 



shelter 



downcast lad 
jade 



III 

WHEN aince Aprile has fairly come, 

An' birds may bigg in winter's him, build 

An' pleisure's spreid for a' and some 

O' whatna state, 
Love, wi' her auld recruitin' drum, 

Than taks the gate. 

The heart plays dunt wi' main an' micht ; 
The lasses' een are a' sae bricht, 
Their dresses are sae braw an' ticht, 

The bonny birdies ! 
Puir winter virtue at the sicht 

Gangs heels ower hurdies. teeis over head 

An' aye as love frae land to land 

Tirls the drum wi' eident hand, diligent 

A' men collect at her command, 

Toun-bred or land' art, 
An' follow in a denty band 

Her gaucy standart. stately 

An' I, wha sang o' rain an' snaw, 
An' weary winter weel awa* 
Noo busk me in a jacket braw, 

An' tak my place 
F the ram-stam, harum-scarum raw, 

Wi' smilin' face. 



142 UNDERWOODS 

IV 
A MILE AN' A BITTOCK 

A MILE an' a bittock, a mile or twa, 
hm Abiine the burn, ayont the law, 

Davie an' Donal' an' Cherlie an' a', 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

Ane went hame wi' the ither, an' then 
The ither went hame wi' the ither twa men, 
An' baith wad return him the service again, 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

The clocks were chappin' in house an* ha', 
Eleeven, twal, an' ane an' twa ; 
An' the guidman's face was turnt to the wa', 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

from ov A wind got up frae affa the sea, 

It blew the stars as dear's could be, 
It blew in the een o' a' o' the three, 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

Noo, Davie was first to get sleep in his head, 

part " The best o' f lien's maun twine," he said ; 

" I'm weariet, an' here I'm awa' to my 

bed." 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

Twa o' them walkin' an' crackin' their lane, 

The mornin' licht cam grey an' plain, 

chirruped An' the birds they yammert on stick an' 

stane, 
An' the miine was shinin' clearly ! 



IN SCOTS 143 

O years ayont, O years awa', 
My lads, ye'll mind whate'er befa' 
My lads, ye'll mind on the bield o' the law, shelter, wn 
When the miine was shinin' clearly ! 

V 
A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN i^thian 

THE clinkum-clank o' Sabbath bells 

Noo to the hoastin' rookery swells, cawing 

Noo faintin' laigh in shady dells, low 

Sounds far an' near, 
An' through the simmer kintry tells 

Its tale o' cheer. 

An' noo, to that melodious play, 
A' deidly awn the quiet sway 
A' ken their solemn holiday, 

Bestial an' human, 
The singin' lintie on the brae, linnet 

The restin' plou'man. 

He, mair than a' the lave o' men, rest 

His week completit joys to ken ; 

Half-dressed, he daunders out an' in, saunters 

Perplext wi' leisure ; 
An' his raxt limbs he'll rax again stretched 

Wi painfu' pleesure. 

The steerin' mither strang ant 
Noo shoos the bairnies but a bit ; 
Noo cries them ben, 1 their Sinday shiirt 
To scart upon them, 

i " But " the outer room, " ben " the inner room of a two-roomed 
cottage. 



144 



shoes, soil 



dusty 



a little behind 

hooks on to 
comely 



drive 



UNDERWOODS 

Or sweeties in their pooch to pit, 
Wi' blessin's on them. 

The lasses, clean frae tap to taes, 
Are busked in crunklin' underclaes ; 
The gartened hose, the weel-filled stays, 

The nakit shift, 
A* bleached on bonny greens for days, 

An' white's the drift. 

An' noo to face the kirkward mile : 
The guidman's hat o' dacent style, 
The blackit shoon, we noo maun fyle 

As white's the miller : 
A waefii' peety tae, to spile 

The warth o' siller. 

Our Marg'et, aye sae keen to crack, 
Douce-stappin' in the stoury track, 
Her emeralt goun a' kiltit back 

Frae snawy coats, 
White-ankled, leads the kirkward pack 

Wi' Dauvit Groats. 

A thocht ahint, in runkled breeks, 
A' spiled wi' lyin* by for weeks, 
The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks 

The sonsie missis ; 
His sarious face at aince bespeaks 

The day that this is. 

And aye an' while we nearer draw 
To whaur the kirkton lies alaw, 
Mair neebours, comin' saft an' slaw 

Frae here an' there, 
The thicker thrang the gate an' caw 
The stour in air. 



IN SCOTS 

But hark ! the bells frae nearer clang 
To rowst the slaw their sides they bang 
An' see ! black coats a'ready thrang 

The green kirkyard ; 
And at the yett, the chestnuts spang 

That brocht the laird. 



145 



It's here our Merren lang has lain, 

A wee bewast the table-stane ; 

An* yon's the grave o' Sandy Blane ; 

An' further ower, 
The mither's bathers, dacent men 1 

Lie a' the fower. 



gate, plunge 



The solemn elders at the plate 

Stand drinkin' deep the pride o' state : 

The practised hands as gash an' great solemn 

As Lords o' Session ; 
The later named, a wee thing blate diffident 

In their expression. 

The prentit stanes that mark the deid, 
Wi' lengthened lip, the sarious read ; 
Syne wag a moraleesin' heid, 

An' then an' there 
Their hirp'iln' practice an' their creed limping 

Try hard to square. 



west of 



Here the guidman sail bide awee 
To dwall amang the deid ; to see 
Auld faces clear in fancy's e'e : 

Belike to hear 
Auld voices fa'in' saft an' slee 

On fancy's ear. 



146 UNDERWOODS 

Thus, on the day o' solemn things, 
The bell that in the steeple swings 
To fauld a scaittered faim'ly rings 

Its walcome screed ; 
An' just a wee thing nearer brings 
The quick an' deid. 

But noo the bell is ringhY in ; 
To tak their places, folk begin ; 
The minister himsel' wih 1 shiine 

Be up the gate, 

talk Filled fu' wi' clavers about sin 

An man's estate. 



coughing 
chooses 



reached 



The tunes are up French, to be shure, 
The faithfu' French, an' twa-three mair; 
The auld prezentor, hoastin' sair, 

Wales out the portions, 
An* yirks the time into the air 

Wi' queer contortions. 

Follows the prayer, the readin' next, 
An' than the fisslin' for the text 
The twa-three last to find it, vext 

But kind o' proud ; 
An' than the peppermints are raxed, 

An' southernwood. 



watchful, 
stick a pin 
children 
parish 



For noo's the time whan pows are seen. 
Nid-noddin' like a mandareen ; 
When tenty mithers stap a preen 

In sleepin' weans ; 
An' nearly half the parochine 

Forget their pains. 



IN SCOTS 147 

There's just a waukrif twa or three : wakeful 

Thrawn commentautors sweer to 'gree, stubborn 
Weans glowrin' at the bumblin' bee 

On windie-glasses, 

Or lads that tak a keek a-glee sidelong pee p 

At sonsie lasses. comely 

Himsel', meanwhile, frae whaur he cocks 
An' bobs belaw the soundin'-box, 
The treesures of his words unlocks 

Wi' prodigality, 
An' deals some unco* dingin' knocks 

To infidality. 

Wi' sappy unction, hoo he burkes 
The hopes o' men that trust in works. 
Expounds the fau'ts o' ither kirks, 

An' shaws the best o' them 
No' muckle better than mere Turks, 

When a's confessed o' them. 

Bethankit ! what a bonny creed ! 
What mair would ony Christian need ? 
The braw words rummle ower his heid, 

Nor steer the sleeper ; 
And in their restin' graves, the deid 

Sleep aye the deeper. 

NOTE. It may be guessed by some that I had a certain 
parish in my eye, and this makes it proper I should add a word 
of disclamation. In my time there have been two ministers 
in that parish. Of the first I have a special reason to speak 
well, even had there been any to think ill. The second I have 
often met in private and long (in the due phrase) " sat under" 
in his church, and neither here nor there have I heard an 
unkind or ugly word upon his lips. The preacher of the text 
had thus no original in that particular parish ; but when I 
was a boy, he might have been observed in many others ; he 
was then (like the schoolmaster) abroad ; and by recent advices 
it would seem he has not yet entirely disappeared. [R. L. S.] 



148 



Fortune 
teller 



grill 



very easy 

asking 



COWS 



UNDERWOODS 

VI 
THE SPAEWIFE 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife 

says I 
Why chops are guid to brander and nane 

sae guid to fry. 
An* siller, that's sae braw to keep, is 

brawer still to gi'e. 
It's gey an' easy speirin', says the 

beggar-wife to me. 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife 

says I 
Hoo a' things come to be whaur we find 

them when we try. 
The lasses in their claes an' the fishes in 

the sea. 
It's gey an' easy speirin' , says the 

beggar-wife to me. 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife 

says I 
Why lads are a' to sell an' lasses a* to 

buy; 
An' naebody for dacency but barely twa 

or three. 
It's gey an' easy speirin , says the 

beggar-wife to me. 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife 

says I 
Gin death's as shiire to men as killin' is 

to kye, 



IN SCOTS 149 

Why God has filled the yearth sae fu' o' 

tasty things to pree. taste 

It's giy an' easy speirin', says the 
beggar- wife to me. 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife 

says I 
The reason o' the cause an' the wherefore 

o' the why, 
Wi' mony anither riddle brings the tear 

into my e'e. 
Its gey' an' easy speirin' , says the 

beggar-wife to me. 



VII 
THE BLAST 1875 

IT'S rainin'. Weet's the gairden sod, 

Weet the lang roads whaur gangrels plod vagrants 

A maist unceevil thing o' God 

In mid July 
If ye'U just curse the sneckdraw, dod ! tricky feiiow 

An' sae wull I ! 

He's a braw place in Heev'n, ye ken, 

An' lea's us puir, forjaskit men jaded, pinched 

Clamjamfried in the but and ben 

He ca's the earth 
A wee bit inconvenient den 

No muckle worth ; 



UNDERWOODS 

An' whiles, at orra times, keeks out, 
Sees what puir mankind are about ; 
An' if He can, I've little doubt, 

Upsets their plans ; 
He hates a' mankind, brainch and root, 

An* a' that's man's. 

An* whiles, whan they tak' heart again, 
An' life o' the sun looks braw an' plain, 
>, soaking Doun comes a jaw o' droukin' rain 

Upon their honours 
flood God sends a spate out-ower the plain. 

Or mebbe thun'ers. 

Lord safe us, life's an unco thing ! 
Simmer an' Winter, Yule an' Spring, 
The damned, dour-heartit seasons bring 

A feck o' trouble. 
I wadna try't to be a king 

No, nor for double. 

But since we're in it, willy-nilly, 

We maun be watchfu', wise an' skilly, 

An' no mind ony ither billy, 

Lassie nor God. 
But drink that's my best counsel till 'e : 

Sae tak' the nod. 






wonderful 



stubborn 
lot 



wrestle 



THE 



VIII 
COUNTERBLAST- 



-1886 



MY bonny man, the warld, it's true, 
Was made for neither me nor you ; 
It's just a place to warstle through, 

As Job confessed o't ; 
And aye the best that we'll can do 

Is mak' the best o't. 



IN SCOTS 151 

There's rowth o' wrang, I'm free to say : plenty 

The simmer brunt, the winter blae, 

The face of earth a' fyled wi' clay dirtied 

An* dour wi' chuckies, pebbles 

An' life a rough an' land'art play 

For country buckies. 

An' food's anither name for clart ; dirt 

An' beasts an' brambles bite an' scart ; 
An' what would WE be like, my heart ! 

If bared o' claethin' ? 
Aweel, I canna mend your cart : 

It's that or naethin'. 

A feck o' folk frae first to last lot 

Have through this queer experience 

passed ; 
Twa-three, I ken, just damn and blast 

The hale transaction ; 
But twa-three ithers, east an' wast, 

Fand satisfaction. 

Whaur braid the briery muirs expand, 

A waefii' an' a weary land, 

The bumble-bees, a gowden band, 

Are blithely hingin' ; 
An' there the canty wanderer fand cheerful 

The laverock singin'. lark 

Trout in the burn grow great as herr'n' ; 
The simple sheep can find their fair'n' ; 
The wind blaws clean about the cairn 

Wi caller air ; fresh 

The muircock an' the barefit bairn 

Are happy there. 




152 UNDERWOODS 

shelters Sic-likc the howes o' life to some 

trouble Green loans whaur they ne'er fash their 

thumb, 
But mark the muckle winds that come, 

sweeping SoOpUl' an* COOl, 

Or hear the powrin' burnie drum 
chaffinch's In the shilfa's pool. 

The evil wi' the guid they tak' ; 
They ca' a grey thing grey, no black ; 
steep bin To a steigh brae a stubborn back 

Addressin' daily ; 

unsheltered An' up the rude, unbieldy track 
O' life, gang gaily. 

What you would like's a palace ha', 
neat Or Sinday parlour dink an* braw 

Wi' a' things ordered in a raw 

By denty leddies. 
Weel, then ye canna hae't : that's a* 

That to be said is. 



distaste 

scramble 



An* since at life ye've ta'en the grue, 
An' winna blithely hirsle through, 
Ye've fund the very thing to do 

That's to drink speerit ; 
An' shiine we'll hear the last o' you 

An' blithe to hear it ! 



shoes, buy The shoon ye coft, the life ye lead, 

Ithers will heir when aince ye 're deid ; 
They'll heir your tasteless bite o' breid, 

An' find it sappy ; 
They'll to your dulefii' house succeed, 

An' there be happy. 



IN SCOTS 153 

As whan a glum an* fractious wean chad 

Has sat an' sullened by his lane 

Till, wi' a rowstin' skelp, he's ta'en siap 

An* shoo'd to bed chased 

The ither bairns a' fa* to play'n, 

AS gleg's a gled. lively, hawk 



IX 
THE COUNTERBLAST IRONICAL 

IT'S strange that God should fash to 

frame trouble 

The yearth and lift sae hie, heaven 

An ; clean forget to explain the same 

To a gentleman like me. 

Thae gutsy, donnered ither folk, greedy, stupid 

Their weird they weel may dree ; 
But why present a pig in a poke 

To a gentleman like me ? 

Thae ither folk their parritch eat 

An' sup their sugared tea ; 
But the mind is no' to be wyled wi' meat 

Wi' a gentleman like me. 

Thae ither folk, they court their joes 

At gloamin' on the lea ; 
But they're made of a commoner clay, I 

suppose, 
Than a gentleman like me. 



154 UNDERWOODS 

Thae ither folk, for richt or wrang, 
They suffer, bleed, or dee ; 

But a' thir things are an emp'y sang 
To a gentleman like me. 

It's a different thing that I demand, 
Tho' humble as can be 

A statement fair in my Maker's hand 
To a gentleman like me : 

A clear account writ fair an' broad, 

An' a plain apologie ; 
Or the deevil a ceevil word to God 

From a gentleman like me. 



THEIR LAUREATE TO AN ACADEMY 
CLASS DINNER CLUB 

DEAR Thamson class, whaure'er I gang 

It aye comes ower me wi' a spang : 

" Lordsake ! thae Thamson lads (deil 

hang 

Or else Lord mend them) ! 
unlucky An' that wanchancy annual sang 
I ne'er can send them ! " 

Straucht, at the name, a trusty tyke, 
snarls My conscience girrs ahint the dyke ; 

fuss Straucht on my hinderlands I fyke 

To find a rhyme t' ye ; 
Pleased although mebbe no' pleased- 

like 
To gie my time t' ye. 



IN SCOTS 155 

" Weel," an* says you, wi' heavin' breist, 
" Sae far, sae guid, but what's the neist ? 
Yearly we gaither to the feast, 

A' hopefu" men 
Yearly we skelloch ' Hang the beast ay out 

Nae sang again \ ' " 

My lads, an' what am I to say ? 

Ye shiirely ken the Muse's way : 

Yestreen, as gleg's a tyke the day, lively, dog 

Thrawn like a cuddy ; 
Her conduc', that to her's a play, 

Deith to a body. 

Aft whan I sat an' made my mane, moan 
Aft whan I laboured burd-alane, an only chad 

Fishin' for rhymes an' findin' nane, 

Or nane were fit for ye 
Ye judged me cauld's a chucky-stane pebble 

No car'n' a bit for ye ! 

But saw ye ne'er some pingein' bairn whining 

As weak as a pitaty-par'n' potato-skin 
Less iised wi' guidin' horse-shoe aim 

Than sterrin' crowdie pottage 

Packed aff his lane, by moss an' cairn, by himself 

To ca' the howdie. midwife 

Wae's me, for the puir callant than ! iad 
He wambles like a poke o' bran, wobbles 

An' the lowse rein, as hard's he can, 

Pu's, tremlin' handit ; 
Till, blaff ! upon his hinderlan' 

Behauld him landit. 



156 



squinting, 

reaching 

peep 



UNDERWOODS 

Sic-like I awn the weary fac' 
Whan on my muse the gate I tak', 
An' see her gleed e'e raxin' back 

To keek ahint her ; 
To me, the brig o' Heev'n gangs black 

As blackest winter. 



rock 
mud 



" Lordsake ! we're aff," thinks I, " 

whaur ? 

On what abhorred an' whinny scaur, 
Or whammled in what sea o' glaur, 

Will she desert me ? 
An' will she just disgrace ? or waur 

Will she no' hurt me ? " 



but 



puzzling 

troublesome 

spring 



Kittle the quaere ! But at least 

The day I've backed the fashious beast, 

While she, wi' mony a spang an' reist, 

Flang heels ower bonnet ; 
An' a' triumphant for your feast, 

Hae ! there's your sonnet 1 



XI 

EMBRO HIE KIRK 

THE Lord Himsel' in former days 
Waled out the proper tunes for praise 
An' named the proper kind o' claes 

For folk to preach in : 
Preceese and in the chief o' ways 

Important teachin'. 



IN SCOTS 157 

He ordered a' things late and air' ; early 

He ordered folk to stand at prayer 
(Although I canna just mind where 

He gave the warnin'), 
An' pit pomatum on their hair 

On Sabbath mornin'. 

The hale o' life by His commands 
Was ordered to a body's hands ; 
But see ! this corpus juris stands 

By a' forgotten ; 
An' God's religion in a' lands 

Is deid an' rotten. 

While thus the lave o' mankind's lost, rest 
O' Scotland still God maks His boast 
Puir Scotland, on whase barren coast 

A score or twa 
Auld wives wi' mutches an' a hoast caps, cough 

Still keep His law. 

In Scotland, a wheen canty, plain, few 
Douce, kintry-leevin' folk retain 
The Truth or did so aince alane 

Of a' men leevin' ; 
An' noo just twa o' them remain 

Just Begg an' Niven. 1 

For noo, unfaithfu' to the Lord, 
Auld Scotland joins the rebel horde ; 
Her human hymn-books on the board 

She noo displays : 
An' Embro Hie Kirk's been restored 

In popish ways. 

1 Two Scotsmen celebrated for their pronounced Presbyterian orthodoxy. 



158 UNDERWOODS 

punctum temporis for action 
To a' o' the reformin' faction. 
If yet, by ony act or paction, 

Thocht, word, or sermon, 
This dark an damnable transaction 

Micht yet determine ! 

For see as Doctor Begg explains 
a few children Hoo easy 't's dime ! a pickle weans, 
Wha in the Hie Street gaither stanes 

By his instruction, 

painted The uncovenantit, pentit panes 
Ding to destruction. 

Up, Niven, or ower late an* dash 
low, mud Laigh in the glaur that carnal hash ; 
crash Let spires and pews wi' gran stramash 

Thegither fa' ; 

organ The rumlin' kist o' whustles smash 

In pieces sma\ 

heavy Noo choose ye out a walie hammer ; 

About the knottit buttress clam'er ; 
totter, tumble Alang the steep roof stoyt an' stammer, 
unlucky A gate mischancy ; 

chamber On the aul' spire, the bells' hie cha'mer, 
Dance your bit dancie. 

Ding, devel, dunt, destroy, an' ruin, 
Wi' carnal stanes the square bestrewin', 
Till your loud chaps frae Kyle to Fruin, 

Frae Hell to Heeven, 
Tell the guid wark that baith are doin' 

Baith Begg an' Niven. 



bserv ~ 



ey es 



IN SCOTS 159 

XII 

THE SCOTSMAN'S RETURN FROM 
ABROAD 

(IN A LETTER FROM MR. THOMSON TO MR. 
JOHNSTONE) 

IN mony a foreign pairt I've been, 

An' mony an unco ferlie seen, Sings Strange 

Since, Mr. Johnstone, you and I 

Last walkit upon Cocklerye. 

Wi' gleg, observant een, I pass't 

By sea an' land, through East an' Wast, 

And still in ilka age an' station every 

Saw naething but abomination. 

In thir uncovenantit lands 

The gangrel Scot uplifts his hands wandering 

At lack of a' sectarian ftish'n, pith 

An' cauld religious destitution. 

He rins, puir man, frae place to place, 

Tries a' their graceless means o' grace, 

Preacher on preacher, kirk on kirk 

This yin a stot an' thon a stirk 1 

A bletherin' clan, no warth a preen, pin 

As bad as Smith of Aiberdeen ! 2 

At last, across the weary faem, 
Frae far, outlandish pairts I came. 
On ilka side o' me I fand 
Fresh tokens o' my native land. 
Wi' whatna joy I hailed tham a' 
The hill-taps standin' raw by raw ; 

1 " Stot " and " stirk," lit. cattle, used to express stupidity. 

2 The late Professor Robertson Smith of Cambridge, formerly of Aberdeen, 
a leader of the school of advanced Biblical criticism. 



i6o 



United 
Presbyterian 



UNDERWOODS 

The public house, the Hielan' birks, 
And a' the bonny U.P. kirks ! 
But maistly thee, the bluid o' Scots, 
Frae Maidenkirk to John o' Grots, 
The king o' drinks, as I conceive it, 
Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet ! 




portmanteau 



mischiefs 



such, try 



For after years wi' a pockmantie 

Frae Zanzibar to Alicante, 

In mony a fash and sair affliction 

I gie't as my sincere conviction 

Of a' their foreign tricks an' pliskies, 

I maist abominate their whiskies. 

Nae doot, themsel's, they ken it weel, 

An' wi' a hash o' leemon peel, 

And ice an' siccan filth, they ettle 

The stawsome kind o' goo to settle ; 

Sic wersh apothecary's broos wi' 

As Scotsmen scorn to fyle their moo's wi'. 



An', man, I was a blithe hame-comer 
rinsed, tumbler Whan first I syndit out my rummer 

Ye should hae seen me then, wi' care 

The less important pairts prepare ; 

Syne, weel contentit wi' it a', 
piump Pour in the speerits wi' a jaw ! 

I didna drink, I didna speak, 
snuffed, smoke I only snowkit up the reek. 

I was sae pleased therein to paidle, 

I sat an' plowtered wi' my ladle. 



An' blithe was I, the morrow's morn, 
To daunder through the stookit corn, 
And after a' my strange mishanters, 
Sit doun amang my ain dissenters. 






saunter 
mishaps 



IN SCOTS 161 

An', man, it was a joy to me 

The pu'pit an' the pews to see, 

The pennies dirlin' in the plate, 

The elders lookin' on in state ; 

An' 'mang the first, as it befell, 

Wha should I see, sir, but yoursel' ! 

I was, and I will no' deny it, 

At the first gliff a hantle tryit glance 

To see yoursel' in sic a station 

It seemed a doubtfu' dispensation. 

The feelin' was a mere digression ; 

For shiine I understood the session, 

An' mindin' Aiken an' M'Neil, 

I wondered they had dune sae weeL 

I saw I had mysel' to blame ; 

For had I but remained at hame, 

Aiblins though no ava' deservin' 't perhaps 

They micht hae named your humble servant. 

The kirk was filled, the door was steiked dosed 

Up to the pu'pit ance I keeked ; peeped 

I was mair pleased than I can tell 

It was the minister himsel' ! 

Proud, proud was I to see his face. 

After sae long awa' frae grace. 

Pleased as I was, I'm no denyin' 

Some maitters were not edifyin' ; 

For first I fand an' here was news ! 

Mere hymn-books cockin' in the pews 

A humanised abomination, 

Unfit for ony congregation. 

Syne, while I still was on the tenter, 

I scunnered at the new prezentor ; 

I thocht him gesterin' an' cauld 

A sair declension frae the auld. 



162 UNDERWOODS 






Syne, as though a' the faith was wreckit, 
The prayer was not what I'd exspeckit. 
Himsel', as it appeared to me, 
Was no' the man he iised to be. 
But just as I was growin' vext 
chose He waled a maist judeecious text, 
An', launchin' into his prelections, 
Swoopt, wi' a skirl, on a' defections. 

what a gale was on my speerit 
To hear the p'ints o' doctrine clearit, 
And a' the horrors o' damnation 
Set furth wi' faithfu' ministration ! 

shuffling Nae shauchlin' testimony here 

We were a' damned, an' that was clear. 

1 owned, wi' gratitude an' wonder, 
He was a pleesure to sit under. 



XIII 

LATE in the nicht in bed I lay, 
The winds were at their weary play, 
shrieking An' turlin' wa's an' skirlin' wae 

Through Heev'n they battered ; 
On-ding 'o hail, on-blaff o' spray, 
The tempest blattered. 

The masoned house it dinled through ; 
capsized It dung the ship, it cowped the coo' ; 
The rankit aiks it overthrew, 
Had braved a' weathers ; 

sea-kites The strang sea-gleds it took an' blew 
Awa' like feathers. 




" WT whatna joy I hailed them a' 
The hill-taps standin' raw by raw." 



IN SCOTS 163 

The thrawes o' fear on a* were shed, throes 
An' the hair rose, an' slumber fled, 
An' the lichts were lit an' prayers were 
said 

Through a' the kintry ; 
An' the cauld terror clum in bed 

Wi' a' an' sindry. 



To hear in the pit-mirk on hie 
The brangled collieshangie flie. 
The warl', they thocht, wi' land an' sea 

Itsel' wad cowpit ; 
An' for auld aim, the smashed debris 

By God be rowpit 



would have 
upset 



soldbyauction 



Meanwhile frae far Aldeboran, 

To folks wi' talescopes in han', 

O' ships that cowpit, winds that ran, 

Nae sign was seen, 
But the wee warl', in sunshine span 

As bricht's a preen. pin 

I, tae, by God's especial grace, 

Dwall denty in a bieldy place, sheltered 

Wi' hosened feet, wi' shaven face, 

Wi' dacent mainners : 
A grand example to the race slovenly 

O' tautit sinners 1 



The wind may blaw, the heathen rage, 
The deil may start on the rampage ; 
The sick in bed, the thief in cage 

What's a' to me ? 
Cosh in my house, a sober sage, 
I sit an' see. 

p. 




164 



UNDERWOODS 



springs, brow An' whiles the bluid spangs to my bree, 
To lie sae saft, to live sae free, 
While better men maun do an* die 

strange In UnCO plaCCS. 

" Whaur's God ? " I cry, an' " Whae is me 
To hae sic graces ? " 

I mind the fecht the sailors keep, 
without But fire or can'le, rest or sleep, 

In darkness an' the muckle deep ; 

An' mind beside 
The herd that on the hills o' sheep 

Has wandered wide. 

coughing I mind me on the hoastin' weans 
The penny joes on causey-stanes 
The auld folk wi' the crazy banes ; 

Baith auld an' puir, 

endure That aye maun thole the winds an' rains, 
An' labour sair. 



frightened 
plenty 



An' whiles I'm kind o' pleased a blink, 
An' kind o' fleyed forby, to think, 
For a' my rowth o' meat and drink 

An' waste o' crumb, 
put up with I'll mebbe have to thole wi' skink 
In Kingdom Come. 

For God whan jowes the Judgment-bell, 
Wi' His ain Hand, His Leevin' Sel', 
Sail ryve the guid (as Prophets tell) 
j ; I Frae them that had it ; 

frothing ' And in the reamin' pat o' Hell, 

scaidedX The rich be scaddit. 



dawn 



I'll stand my 



IN SCOTS 165 

O Lord, if this indeed be sae, 
Let daw that sair an' happy day ! 
Again* the warl', grawn auld an' grey, 

Up wi' your aixe ! 
And let the puir enjoy their play 

I'll thole my paiks. 

XIV 
MY CONSCIENCE 

OF a' the ills that flesh can fear, 

The loss o' Men's, the lack o' gear, 

A yowlin' tyke, a glandered mear, dog, mare 

A lassie's nonsense 
There's just ae thing I canna bear, 

An' that's my conscience. 

Whan day (an' a' excuse) has gane, 
An' wark is dime, and duty's plain, 
An' to my chalmer a' my lane 

T J . J chamber 

I creep apairt, 

My conscience 1 hoo the yammerin' pain gnawing 
Stends to my heart ! 

A' day wi' various ends in view 

The hairsts o' time I had to pu', harvests 

An' made a hash wad staw a soo, disgust a pig 

Let be a man ! 
My conscience ! whan my han's were fu' f 

Whaur were ye than ? 

An' there were a' the lures o' life, 
There pleesure skirlin' on the fife, 
There anger, wi' the hotchin' knife lopping 

Ground shairp in Hell 
My conscience ! you that's like a wife 1 

Whaur was yoursel' ? 




166 UNDERWOODS 

I ken it fine : just waitin' here, 
To gar the evil waur appear, 
besmirch To clart the guid, confuse the clear, 

Misca' the great, 
My conscience ! an* to raise a steer 

When a's ower late. 



Sic-like, some tyke grawn auld and blind, 
Whan thieves brok' through the gear to 

goods to seize p'ind 

stupefied Has lain his dozened length an' grinned 

At the disaster ; 

next morning, An' the morn's mornin', wud's the wind, 
wind 33 Yokes on his master. 



XV 
TO DOCTOR JOHN BROWN 

Whan the dear doctor, dear to a', 
Was still amang us here belaw, 
I set my pipes his praise to blaw 

Wi' a' my speerit ; 
But noo, dear Doctor ! he's awa' 

An' ne'er can hear it. 

BY Lyne and Tyne, by Thames and Tees, 

By a' the various river Dee's, 

In Mars and Manors 'yon't the seas 

Or here at hame, 
Whaure'er there's kindly folk to please, 

They ken your name. 



IN SCOTS 167 

They ken your name, they ken your tyke, 
They ken the honey from your byke ; hive 
But mebbe after a' your fyke, trouble 

(The truth to tell) 
It's just your honest Rab they like, 

An* no' yoursel'. 

As at the gowff, some canny play'r 
Should tee a common ba' wi' care 
Should flourish and deleever fair 

His souple shintie hockey-stick 

An' the ba' rise into the air, 

A leevin' lintie : linnet 

Sae in the game we writers play, 

There comes to some a bonny day, 

When a dear ferlie shall repay wonder 

Their years o' strife, 
An' like your Rab, their things o' clay, 

Spreid wings o' life. 

Ye scarce deserved it, I'm afraid 
You that had never learned the trade, 
But just some idle mornin' strayed 

Into the schiile, 
An' picked the fiddle up an' played 

Like Neil 1 himsel'. 

Your e'e was gleg, your fingers dink ; quick, neat 

Ye didna fash yoursel' to think, 

But wove, as fast as puss can link, trip 

Your denty wab : 
Ye stapped your pen into the ink, 

An' there was Rab ! 

Neil Gow, the great Highland fiddler. 



168 UNDERWOODS 

since then Shisyne, whaure'er your fortune lay 
duii, cheerful By dowie den, by canty brae, 

Simmer an' winter, nicht an' day, 

Rab was aye wi' ye ; 
An' a' the folk on a' the way 
Were blithe to see ye. 

O sir, the gods are kind indeed, 
An' hauld ye for an honoured heid, 
That for a wee bit clarkit screed 

Sae weel reward ye, 
An' lend puir Rabbie bein' deid 

His ghaist to guard ye. 

For though, whaure'er yoursel' may be, 

look a little We've just to tUITl an' glisk a WC6, 

An' Rab at heel we're shiire to see 

Wi' gladsome caper : 
ghost The bogle of a bogle, he 

A ghaist o' paper ! 



And as the auld-farrant hero sees 

In Hell a bogle Hercules, 

Pit there the lesser deid to please, 

While he himsel' 
Dwalls wi' the muckle gods at ease 

Far raised frae hell : 



Sae the true Rabbie far has gane 

On kindlier business o' his ain 

Wi' aulder frien's ; an' his breist-bane 

An' stumpie tailie, 

toasts He bristles at a new hearth-stane 
By James and Ailie. 



IN SCOTS 169 



XVI 

IT'S an owercome sooth for age an* youth true refrain 

And it brooks wi' nae denial, 
That the dearest friends are the auldest 
friends, 

And the young are just on trial. 

There's a rival bauld wi' young an' auld 

And it's him that has bereft me ; 
For the surest friends are the auldest 
friends 

And the maist o' mine's hae left me. 

There are kind hearts still, for friends to 

fill 

And fools to take and break them ; 
But the nearest friends are the auldest 

friends 
And the grave's the place to seek them. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL AND OTHER 
VERSES 



THE VAGABOND 

(TO AN AIR OF SCHUBERT) 

GIVE to me the life I love, 

Let the lave go by me, 
Give the jolly heaven above 

And the byway nigh me. 
Bed in the bush with stars to see, 

Bread, I dip in the river 
There's the life for a man like me, 

There's the life for ever. 

Let the blow fall soon or late, 

Let what will be o'er me ; 
Give the face of earth around 

And the road before me. 
Wealth I seek not, hope nor love, 

Nor a friend to know me ; 
All I seek, the heaven above 

And the road below me. 

Or let autumn fall on me 

Where afield I linger, 
Silencing the bird on tree, 

Biting the blue finger : 
White as meal the frosty field 

Warm the fireside haven 
Not to autumn will I yield, 

Not to winter even ! 
173 




174 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

Let the blow fall soon or late, 

Let what will be o'er me ; 
Give the face of earth around, 

And the road before me. 
Wealth I ask not, hope nor love, 

Nor a friend to know me. 
All I ask, the heaven above, 

And the road below me. 



II 
YOUTH AND LOVE 



ONCE only by the garden gate 
Our lips we joined and parted. 

I must fulfil an empty fate 
And travel the uncharted. 

Hail and farewell ! I must arise, 
Leave here the fatted cattle, 

And paint on foreign lands and skies 
My Odyssey of battle. 

The untented Kosmos my abode, 

I pass, a wilful stranger : 
My mistress still the open road 

And the bright eyes of danger. 

Come ill or well, the cross, the crown, 
The rainbow or the thunder, 

I fling my soul and body down 
For God to plough them under. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 175 

III 
YOUTH AND LOVE 

ii 

To the heart of youth the world is a highwayside. 

Passing for ever, he fares ; and on either hand, 
Deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide, 

Nestle in orchard bloom, and far on the level land 
Cah 1 him with lighted lamp in the eventide. 

Thick as the stars at night when the moon is down, 
Pleasures assail him. He to his nobler fate 

Fares ; and but waves a hand as he passes on, 
Cries but a wayside word to her at the garden 
gate, 

Sings but a boyish stave and his face is gone. 

IV 
THE UNFORGOTTEN 



IN dreams, unhappy, I behold you stand 

As heretofore : 
The unremembered tokens in your hand 

Avail no more. 

No more the morning glow, no more the grace, 

Enshrines, endears. 
Cold beats the light of time upon your face 

And shows your tears. 



176 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

He came, he went. Perchance you wept a while 

And then forgot. 
Ah me ! but he that left you with a smile 

Forgets you not. 



V 

THE UNFORGOTTEN 
ii 

SHE rested by the Broken Brook 

She drank of Weary Well, 
She moved beyond my lingering look, 

Ah, whither none can tell ! 

She came, she went. In other lands, 

Perchance in fairer skies, 
Her hands shall cling with other hands, 

Her eyes to other eyes. 

She vanished. In the sounding town, 

Will she remember too ? 
Will she recall the eyes of brown 

As I recall the blue ? 



VI 

THE infinite shining heavens 
Rose and I saw in the night 

Uncountable angel stars 
Showering sorrow and light. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 177 

I saw them distant as heaven, 

Dumb and shining and dead, 
And the idle stars of the night 

Were dearer to me than bread. 

Night after night in my sorrow 

The stars stood over the sea, 
Till lo ! I looked in the dusk 

And a star had come down to me. 



VII 

PLAIN as the glistening planets shine 
When winds have cleaned the skies, 

Her love appeared, appealed for mine, 
And wantoned in her eyes. 

Clear as the shining tapers burned 

On Cytherea's shrine, 
Those brimming, lustrous beauties turned, 

And called and conquered mine. 

The beacon-lamp that Hero lit 

No fairer shone on sea, 
No plainlier summoned will and wit, 

Than hers encouraged me. 

I thrilled to feel her influence near, 

I struck my flag at sight. 
Her starry silence smote my ear 

Like sudden drums at night. 

I ran as, at the cannon's roar, 
The troops the ramparts man 

As in the holy house of yore 
The willing Eli ran. 




178 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

Here, lady, lo ! that servant stands 
You picked from passing men, 

And should you need nor heart nor hands 
He bows and goes again. 



VIII 

To you, let snow and roses 
And golden locks belong : 
These are the world's enslavers, 

Let these delight the throng. 
For her of duskier lustre, 

Whose favour still I wear, 
The snow be in her kirtle, 

The rose be in her hair ! 

The hue of highland rivers 

Careering, full and cool, 
From sable on to golden, 

From rapid on to pool 
The hue of heather-honey, 

The hue of honey-bees, 
Shall tinge her golden shoulder, 

Shall gild her tawny knees. 



IX 

LET Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful 
dreams, 

Beauty awake from rest ! 

Let Beauty awake 

For Beauty's sake 
In the hour when the birds awake in the brake 

And the stars are bright in the west 1 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 179 

Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber 
of day, 

Awake in the crimson eve ! 

In the day's dusk end 

When the shades ascend, 
Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend 

To render again and receive 1 



I KNOW not how it is with you 

/ love the first and last, 
The whole field of the present view, 

The whole flow of the past. 

One tittle of the things that are 
Nor you should change nor I 

One pebble in our path one star 
In all our heaven of sky. 

Our lives, and every day and hour, 

One symphony appear : 
One road, one garden every flower 

And every bramble dear. 



XI 

I WILL make you brooches and toys for your delight 
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night. 
I will make a palace fit for you and me 
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea. 



180 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your 

room, 
Where white flows the river and bright blows the 

broom, 
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body 

white 
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night. 

And this shall be for music when no one else is near, 
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear ! 
That only I remember, that only you admire, 
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside 
fire. 



XII 
WE HAVE LOVED OF YORE 

(TO AN AIR OF DIABELLl) 

BERRIED brake and reedy island, 

Heaven below, and only heaven above, 
Through the sky's inverted azure 

Softly swam the boat that bore our love. 
Bright were your eyes as the day ; 
Bright ran the stream, 
Bright hung the sky above. 
Days of April, airs of Eden, 

How the glory died through golden hours, 
And the shining moon arising, 

How the boat drew homeward filled with flowers 
Bright were your eyes in the night : 
We have lived, my love 
O, we have loved, my love. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 181 

Frost has bound our flowing river, 

Snow has whitened all our island brake, 
And beside the winter fagot 

Joan and Darby doze and dream and wake. 
Still, in the river of dreams, 
Swims the boat of love 
Hark ! chimes the falling oar ! 
And again in winter evens 

When on firelight dreaming fancy feeds, 
In those ears of aged lovers 
Love's own river warbles in the reeds. 
Love still the past, O, my love 1 
We have lived of yore. 
O, we have loved of yore. 



XIII 
DITTY 

(TO AN AIR FROM BACH) 

THE cock shall crow 

In the morning grey, 
The bugles blow 

At the break of day : 

The cock shall sing and the merry bugles ring, 
And all the little brown birds sing upon the spray. 

The thorn shall blow 

In the month of May, 
And my love shall go 

In her holiday array : 
But I shall he in the kirkyard nigh 
While all the little brown birds sing upon the spray. 



182 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XIV 
MATER TRIUMPHANS 

SON of my woman's body, you go, to the drum and 

fife, 
To taste the colour of love and the other side of 

life 
From out of the dainty the rude, the strong from 

out of the frail, 
Eternally through the ages from the female comes 

the male. 
The ten fingers and toes, and the shell-like nail 

on each, 
The eyes blind as gems and the tongue attempting 

speech ; 
Impotent hands in my bosom, and yet they shall 

wield the sword ! 
Drugged with slumber and milk, you wait the day 

of the Lord. 

Infant bridegroom, uncrowned king, unanointed 

priest, 

Soldier, lover, explorer, I see you nuzzle the breast. 
You that grope in my bosom shall load the ladies 

with rings, 
You, that came forth through the doors, shall 

burst the doors of kings. 



XV 

BRIGHT is the ring of words 

When the right man rings them, 

Fair the fall of songs 

When the singer sings them. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 183 

Still they are carolled and said 

On wings they are carried 
After the singer is dead 

And the maker buried. 



Low as the singer lies 

In the field of heather, 
Songs of his fashion bring 

The swains together. 
And when the west is red 

With the sunset embers, 
The lover lingers and sings 

And the maid remembers. 



XVI 

IN the highlands, in the country places, 
Where the old plain men have rosy faces, 
And the young fair maidens 

Quiet eyes ; 

Where essential silence cheers and blesses, 
And for ever in the hill-recesses 
Her more lovely music 

Broods and dies. 



O to mount again where erst I haunted ; 
Where the old red hills are bird-enchanted, 
And the low green meadows 

Bright with sward ; 
And when even dies, the million-tinted, 
And the night has come, and planets glinted, 

Lamp-bestarred. 



i84 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

O to dream, O to awake and wander 
There, and with delight to take and render, 
Through the trance of silence, 

Quiet breath ; 

Lo ! for there, among the flowers and grasses, 
Only the mightier movement sounds and 

passes ; 
Only winds and rivers, 

Life and death. 

XVII 

(TO THE TUNE OF WANDERING WILLIE) 

HOME no more home to me, whither must I wander ? 

Hunger my driver, I go where I must. 
Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather ; 

Thick drives the rain, and my roof is in the dust 
Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree. 

The true word of welcome was spoken in the 

door 
Dear days of old, with the faces in the firelight, 

Kind folks of old, you come again no more. 

Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces, 
Home was home then, my dear, happy for the 

child. 
Fire and the windows bright glittered on the 

moorland ; 

Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild. 
Now, when day dawns on the brow of the moorland, 
Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone 

is cold. 

Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed, 
The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the 
place of old. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 185 

Spring shall come, come again, calling up the moor- 
fowl, 
Spring shall bring the sun and rain, bring the 

. bees and flowers ; 

Red shall the heather bloom over hill and valley, 
Soft flow the stream through the even-flowing 

hours ; 

Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood 

Fair shine the day on the house with open door ; 

Birds come and cry there and twitter in the 

chimney 
But I go for ever and come again no more. 



XVIII 
TO DR. HAKE 

(ON RECEIVING A COPY OF VERSES) 

IN the beloved hour that ushers day, 
In the pure dew, under the breaking grey, 
One bird, ere yet the woodland quires awake, 
With brief reveille summons all the brake : 
Chirp, chirp, it goes ; nor waits an answer long ; 
And that small signal fills the grove with song. 

Thus on my pipe I breathed a strain or two ; 
It scarce was music, but 'twas all I knew. 
It was not music, for I lacked the art, 
Yet what but frozen music filled my heart ? 
Chirp, chirp, I went, nor hoped a nobler strain ; 
But Heaven decreed I should not pipe in vain, 
For, lo ! not far from, there, in secret dale, 
All silent, sat an ancient nightingale 
My sparrow notes he heard ; thereat awoke ; 
And with a tide of song his silence broke. 



186 SONGS OF TRAVEL 




I KNEW thee strong and quiet like the hills ; 
I knew thee apt to pity, brave to endure : 
In peace or war a Roman full equipt ; 
And just I knew thee, like the fabled kings 
Who by the loud sea-shore gave judgment forth, 
From dawn to eve, bearded and few of words. 
What, what, was I to honour thee ? A child, 
A youth in ardour but a child in strength, 
Who after virtue's golden chariot-wheels 
Runs ever panting, nor attains the goal. 
So thought I, and was sorrowful at heart. 

Since then my steps have visited that flood 
Along whose shore the numerous footfalls cease, 
The voices and the tears of life expire. 
Thither the prints go down, the hero's way 
Trod large upon the sand, the trembling maid's : 
Nimrod that wound his trumpet in the wood, 
And the poor, dreaming child, hunter of flowers, 
That here his hunting closes with the great : 
So one and all go down, nor aught returns. 

For thee, for us, the sacred river waits ; 

For me, the unworthy, thee, the perfect friend. 

There Blame desists, there his unfaltering dogs 

He from the chase recalls, and homeward rides ; 

Yet Praise and Love pass over and go in. 

So when, beside that margin, I discard 

My more than mortal weakness, and with thee 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 187 

Through that still land unfearing I advance 
If then at all we keep the touch of joy, 
Thou shalt rejoice to find me altered I, 
O Felix, to behold thee still unchanged. 



XX 

THE morning drum-call on my eager ear 
Thrills unforgotten yet ; the morning dew 
Lies yet undried along my field of noon 
But now I pause at whiles in what I do, 
And count the bell, and tremble lest I hear 
(My work untrimmed) the sunset gun too soon. 



XXI 

I HAVE trod the upward and the downward slope ; 
I have endured and done in days before ; 
I have longed for all, and bid farewell to hope ; 
And I have lived and loved, and closed the door. 



XXII 

HE hears with gladdened heart the thunder 
Peal, and loves the falling dew ; 

He knows the earth above and under 
Sits and is content to view. 

He sits beside the dying ember, 
God for hope and man for friend, 

Content to see, glad to remember, 
Expectant of the certain end. 



i88 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XXIII 
THE LOST OCCASION 

FAREWELL, fair day and fading light ! 
The clay-born here, with westward sight, 
Marks the huge sun now downward soar. 
Farewell. We twain shall meet no more. 

Farewell. I watch with bursting sigh 
My late contemned occasion die. 
I linger useless in my tent : 
Farewell, fair day, so foully spent ! 

Farewell, fair day. If any God 
At all consider this poor clod, 
He who the fair occasion sent 
Prepared and placed the impediment. 

Let him diviner vengeance take 
Give me to sleep, give me to wake 
Girded and shod, and bid me play 
The hero in the coming day 1 



XXIV 
IF THIS WERE FAITH 

GOD, if this were enough, 
That I see things bare to the buff 
And up to the buttocks in mire ; 
That I ask nor hope nor hire, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 189 

Nut in the husk, 
Nor dawn beyond the dusk, 
Nor life beyond death : 
God, if this were faith ? 



Having felt thy wind in my face 

Spit sorrow and disgrace, 

Having seen thine evil doom 

In Golgotha and Khartoum, 

And the brutes, the work of thine hands, 

Fill with injustice lands 

And stain with blood the sea : 

If still in my veins the glee 

Of the black night and the sun 

And the lost battle, run : 

If, an adept, 

The iniquitous lists I still accept 

With joy, and joy to endure and be withstood 

And still to battle and perish for a dream of 

good : 
God, if that were enough ? 



If to feel, in the ink of the slough, 
And the sink of the mire, 
Veins of glory and fire 

Run through and transpierce and transpire, 
And a secret purpose of glory in every part, 
And the answering glory of battle fill my heart ; 
To thrill with the joy of girded men 
To go on for ever and fail and go on again, 
And be mauled to the earth and arise, 
And contend for the shade of a word and a 
thing not seen with the eyes : 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 

With the half of a broken hope for a pillow 

at night 

That somehow the right is the right 
And the smooth shall bloom from the rough . 
Lord, if that were enough ? 



XXV 

MY WIFE 

TRUSTY, dusky, vivid, true, 

With eyes of gold and bramble-dew, 

Steel-true and blade-straight, 

The great artificer 
Made my mate. 

Honour, anger, valour, fire ; 
A love that life could never tire, 

Death quench or evil stir, 

The mighty master 
Gave to her. 

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife, 
A fellow-farer true through life, 

Heart-whole and soul-free, 

The august father 
Gave to me. 



XXVI 

WINTER 

IN rigorous hours, when down the iron lane 
The redbreast looks in vain 
For hips and haws, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 191 

Lo, shining flowers upon my window-pane 
The silver pencil of the winter draws. 

When all the snowy hill 

And the bare woods are still ; 

When snipes are silent in the frozen bogs, 

And all the garden garth is whelmed in mire. 
Lo, by the hearth, the laughter of the logs 

More fair than roses, lo, the flowers of fire ! 
SARANAC LAKE. 



XXVII 

THE stormy evening closes now in vain, 
Loud wails the wind and beats the driving rain, 
While here in sheltered house 

With fire-ypainted walls, 
I hear the wind abroad, 

I hark the calling squalls 
" Blow, blow/' I cry, " you burst your cheeks in 

vain ! 
Blow, blow," I cry, " my love is home again ! " 

Yon ship you chase perchance but yesternight 
Bore still the precious freight of my delight, 
That here in sheltered house 

With nre-ypainted walls, 
Now hears the wind abroad, 

Now harks the calling squalls. 
" Blow, blow/' I cry, " in vain you rouse the 

sea, 
My rescued sailor shares the fire with me ! " 



192 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XXVIII 

TO AN ISLAND PRINCESS 

SINCE long ago, a child at home, 
I read and longed to rise and roam, 
Where'er I went, whate'er I willed, 
One promised land my fancy filled. 
Hence the long roads my home I made, 
Tossed much in ships : have often laid 
Below the uncurtained sky my head, 
Rain-deluged and wind-buffeted : 
And many a thousand hills I crossed 
And corners turned Love's labour lost. 
Till, Lady, to your isle of sun 
I came, not hoping ; and, like one 
Snatched out of blindness, rubbed my eyes, 
And hailed my promised land with cries. 

Yes, Lady, here I was at last ; 
Here found I all I had forecast : 
The long roll of the sapphire sea 
That keeps the land's virginity ; 
The stalwart giants of the wood 
Laden with toys and flowers and food ; 
The precious forest pouring out 
To compass the whole town about ; 
The town itself with streets of lawn, 
Loved of the moon, blessed by the dawn, 
Where the brown children all the day 
Keep up a ceaseless noise of play, 
Play in the sun, play in the rain, 
Nor ever quarrel or complain ; 
And late at night, in the woods of fruit, 
Hark ! do you hear the passing flute ? 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 193 

I threw one look to either hand, 
And knew I was in Fairyland, 
And yet one point of being so, 
I lacked. For, Lady (as you know), 
Whoever by his might of hand 
Won entrance into Fairyland, 
Found always with admiring eyes 
A Fairy princess kind and wise. 

It was not long I waited ; soon 
Upon my threshold, in broad noon, 
Fair and helpful, wise and good, 
The Fairy Princess Moe stood. 
TANTIRA, TAHITI, Nov. 5, 1888. 

XXIX 

TO KALAKAUA 

(WITH THE GIFT OF A PEARL) 

THE Silver Ship, my King that was her name 
In the bright islands whence your fathers came 
The Silver Ship, at rest from winds and tides, 
Below your palace in your harbour rides : 
And the seafarers, sitting safe on shore, 
Like eager merchants count their treasures o'er. 
One gift they find, one strange and lovely thing, 
Now doubly precious since it pleased a king. 

The right, my liege, is ancient as the lyre 
For bards to give to kings what kings admire 
'Tis mine to offer for Apollo's sake ; 
And since the gift is fitting, yours to take. 
To golden hands the golden pearl I bring : 
The ocean jewel to the island king. 
HONOLULU, Feb. 3, 1889. 



194 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XXX 
TO PRINCESS KAIULANI 

[Written in April to Kaiulani in the April of her age ; and 
at Waikiki, within easy walk of Kaiulani 's banyan 1 When she 
comes to my land and her father's, and the rain beats upon the 
window (as I fear it will), let her look at this page ; it will be 
like a weed gathered and pressed at home ; and she will re- 
member her own islands, and the shadow of the mighty tree ; 
and she will hear the peacocks screaming in the dusk and the 
wind blowing in the palms ; and she will think of her father 
sitting there alone. R. L. S.] 

FORTH from her land to mine she goes, 
The island maid, the island rose, 
Light of heart and bright of face : 
The daughter of a double race. 

Her islands here, in Southern sun, 
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone, 
And I, in her dear banyan shade, 
Look vainly for my little maid. 

But our Scots islands far away 
Shall glitter with unwonted day, 
And cast for once their tempests by 
To smile in Kaiulani's eye. 
HONOLULU. 

XXXI 
TO MOTHER MARY ANNE 

To see the infinite pity of this place, 
The mangled limb, the devastated face, 
The innocent sufferer smiling at the rod 
A fool were tempted to deny his God. 




p. Page 

" Forth from her land to mine she gees, 
The island maid, the island rose." 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 195 

He sees, he shrinks. But if he gaze again, 
Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain ! 
He marks the sisters on the mournful shores ; 
And even a fool is silent and adores. 
GUEST HOUSE, KALAWAO, MOLOKAI. 

XXXII 
IN MEMORIAM, E. H. 

I KNEW a silver head was bright beyond compare, 
I knew a queen of toil with a crown of silver hair. 
Garland of valour and sorrow, of beauty and 

renown, 
Life, that honours the brave, crowned her himself 

with the crown. 

The beauties of youth are frail, but this was a jewel 

of age. 
Life, that delights in the brave, gave it himself 

for a gage. 
Fair was the crown to behold, and beauty its 

poorest part 
9 At once the scar of the wound and the order pinned 

on the heart. 

The beauties of man are frail, and the silver lies 

in the dust, 
And the queen that we call to mind sleeps with 

the brave and the just ; 
Sleeps with the weary at length ; but, honoured 

and ever fair, 
Shines in the eye of the mind the crown of the silver 

hair. 
HONOLULU. 

P. G 



196 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XXXIII 
TO MY WIFE 

(A FRAGMENT) 

LONG must elapse ere you behold again 

Green forest frame the entry of the lane 

The wild lane with the bramble and the briar, 

The year-old cart-tracks perfect in the mire, 

The wayside smoke, perchance, the dwarfish huts, 

And ramblers' donkey drinking from the ruts : 

Long ere you trace how deviously it leads, 

Back from man's chimneys and the bleating meads 

To the woodland shadow, to the silvan hush, 

When but the brooklet chuckles in the brush 

Back from the sun and bustle of the vale 

To where the great voice of the nightingale 

Fills all the forest like a single room, 

And all the banks smell of the golden broom ; 

So wander on until the eve descends, 

And back returning to your firelit friends, 

You see the rosy sun, despoiled of light, 

Hung, caught in thickets, like a schoolboy's kite. 

Here from the sea the unfruitful sun shall rise, 
Bathe the bare deck and blind the unshielded eyes ; 
The allotted hours aloft shall wheel in vain 
And in the unpregnant ocean plunge again. 
Assault of squalls that mock the watchful guard, 
And pluck the bursting canvas from the yard, 
And senseless clamour of the calm, at night 
Must mar your slumbers. By the plunging light, 
In beetle-haunted, most unwomanly bower 
Of the wild-swerving cabin, hour by hour . . . 
SCHOONER Equator. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 197 

XXXIV 
TO THE MUSE 

RESIGN the rhapsody, the dream, 

To men of larger reach ; 
Be ours the quest of a plain theme, 

The piety of speech. 



As monkish scribes from morning break 

Toiled till the close of light, 
Nor thought a day too long to make 

One line or letter bright : 



We also with an ardent mind, 
Time, wealth, and fame forgot, 

Our glory in our patience find, 
And skim, and skim the pot : 



Till last, when round the hou 
The evensong of birds, 

One corner of blue heaven ap 
In our clear weU of words. 



Leave, leave it then, muse of my heart 
Sans finish and sans frame, 

Leave unadorned by needless art 
The picture as it came. 

APEMAMA. 




ig8 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XXXV 

TO MY OLD FAMILIARS 

Do you remember can we e'er forget ? 
How, in the coiled perplexities of youth, 
In our wild climate, in our scowling town, 
We gloomed and shivered, sorrowed, sobbed and 

feared ? 

The belching winter wind, the missile rain, 
The rare and welcome silence of the snows, 
The laggard morn, the haggard day, the night, 
The grimy spell of the nocturnal town, 
Do you remember ? Ah, could one forget ! 

As when the fevered sick that all night long 
Listed the wind intone, and hear at last 
The ever-welcome voice of chanticleer 
Sing in the bitter hour before the dawn, 
With sudden ardour, these desire the day : 
So sang in the gloom of youth, the bird of hope ; 
So^we, exulting, hearkened and desired. 
For, To ! as in the palace porch of life 
We huddled with chimeras, from within 
How sweet to hear ! the music swelled and fell, 
And through the breach of the revolving doors 
What dreams of splendour blinded us and fled ! 
\ I have since then contended and rejoiced ; 
Amid the glories of the house of life 
Profoundly entered, and the shrine beheld : 
Yet when the lamp from my expiring eyes 
Shall dwindle and recede, the voice of love 
Fall insignificant on my closing ears, 
What sound shall come but the old cry of the 
wind 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 199 

In our inclement city ? what return 
But the image of the emptiness of youth, 
Filled with the sound of footsteps and that voice 
Of discontent and rapture and despair ? 
So, as in darkness, from the magic lamp, 
The momentary pictures gleam and fade 
And perish, and the night resurges these 
Shall I remember, and then all forget. 
APEMAMA. 



XXXVI 

THE tropics vanish, and meseems that I, 
From Halkerside, from topmost Allermuir, 
Or steep Caerketton, dreaming gaze again. 
Far set in fields and woods, the town I see 
Spring gallant from the shallows of her smoke, 
Cragged, spired, and turreted, her virgin fort 
Beflagged. About, on seaward- drooping hills, 
New folds of city glitter. L?st, the Forth 
Wheels ample waters set with sacred isles, 
And populous Fife smokes with a score of towns. 

There, on the sunny frontage of a hill, 
Hard by the house of kings, repose the dead, 
My dead, the ready and the strong of word. 
Their works, the salt-encrusted, still survive ; 
The sea bombards their founded towers ; the 

night 
Thrills pierced with their strong lamps. The 

artificers, 

One after one, here in this grated cell, 
Where the rain erases and the rust consumes, 
Fell upon lasting silence. Continents 



200 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

And continental oceans intervene ; 
A sea uncharted, on a lampless isle, 
Environs and confines their wandering child 
In vain. The voice of generations dead 
Summons me, sitting distant, to arise, 
My numerous footsteps nimbly to retrace, 
And, all mutation over, stretch me down 
In that denoted city of the dead. 
APEMAM A . 



XXXVII 

TO S. C. 1 

I HEARD the pulse of the besieging sea 

Throb far away all night. I heard the wind 

Fly crying and convulse tumultuous palms. 

I rose and strolled The isle was all bright sand, 

And flailing fans and shadows of the palm ; 

The heaven all moon and wind and the blind vault 

The keenest planet slain, for Venus slept. 

The king, my neighbour, with his host of wives, 
Slept in the precinct of the palisade ; 
Where single, in the wind, under the moon, 
Among the slumbering cabins, blazed a fire, 
Sole street-lamp and the only sentinel. 

To other lands and nights my fancy turned 
To London first, and chiefly to your house, 
The many-pillared and the well-beloved. 
There yearning fancy lighted ; there again 
In the upper room I lay, and heard far off 
The unsleeping city murmur like a shell ; 
The muffled tramp of the Museum guard 

> Sidney Colvin, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 201 

Once more went by me ; I beheld again 
Lamps vainly brighten the dispeopled street ; 
Again I longed for the returning morn, 
The awaking traffic, the bestirring birds, 
The consentaneous trill of tiny song 
That weaves round monumental cornices 
A passing charm of beauty. Most of all, 
For your light foot I wearied, and your knock 
That was the glad reveillS of my day. 

Lo, now, when to your task in the great house 
At morning through the portico you pass, 
One moment glance where by the pillared wall 
Far-voyaging island gods, begrimed with smoke, 
Sit now unworshipped, the rude monument 
Of faiths forgot and races undivined : 
Sit now disconsolate, remembering well 
The priest, the victim, and the songful crowd, 
The blaze of the blue noon, and that huge voice. 
Incessant, of the breakers on the shore. 
As far as these from their ancestral shrine, 
So far, so foreign, your divided friends 
Wander, estranged in body, not in mind. 
APEMAMA. 



XXXVIII 
THE HOUSE OF TEMBINOKA 

[At my departure from the island of Apemama, for which you 
will look in vain in most atlases, the King and I agreed, since 
we both set up to be in the poetical way, that we should cele- 
brate our separation in verse. Whether or not His Majesty 
has been true to his bargain, the laggard posts of the Pacific 
may perhaps inform me in six months, perhaps not before a 
year. The following lines represent my part of the contract, 



202 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

and it is hoped, by their pictures of strange manners, they 
may entertain a civilised audience. Nothing throughout has 
been invented or exaggerated ; the lady herein referred to as 
the author's muse has confined herself to stringing into rhyme 
facts or legends that I saw or heard during two months' 
residence upon the island. R. L. S.] 

ENVOI 

Let us, who part like brothers, part like bards ; 
And you in your tongue and measure, I in mine, 
Our now division duly solemnise. 
Unlike the strains, and yet the theme is one ; 
The strains unlike, and how unlike their fate ! 
You to the blinding palace-yard shall call 
The prefect of the singers, and to him, 
Listening devout, your valedictory verse 
Deliver ; he, his attribute fulfilled, 
To the island chorus hand your measures on, 
Wed now with harmony : so them, at last, 
Night after night, in the open hall of dance, 
Shall thirty matted men, to the clapped hand, 
Intone and bray and bark. Unfortunate ! 
Paper and print alone shall honour mine. 

THE SONG 

Let now the King his ear arouse 

And toss the bosky ringlets from his brows, 

The while, our bond to implement, 

My muse relates and praises his descent. 



Bride of the shark, her valour first I sing 
Who on the lone seas quickened of a King. 
She, from the shore and puny homes of men, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 203 

Beyond the climber's sea-discerning ken, 
Swam, led by omens ; and devoid of fear, 
Beheld her monstrous paramour draw near. 
She gazed ; all round her to the heavenly pale 
The simple sea was void of isle or sail 
Sole overhead the unsparing sun was reared 
When the deep bubbled and the brute appeared. 
But she, secure in the decrees of fate, 
Made strong her bosom and received the mate ; 
And, men declare, from that marine embrace 
Conceived the virtues of a stronger race. 



II 

Her stern descendant next I praise, 
Survivor of a thousand frays : 
In the hall of tongues who ruled the throng ; 
Led and was trusted by the strong ; 
And when spears were in the wood, 
Like a tower of vantage stood : 
Whom, not till seventy years had sped, 
Unscarred of breast, erect of head, 
Still light of step, still bright of look, 
The hunter, Death, had overtook. 



in 

His sons, the brothers twain, I sing, 
Of whom the elder reigned a King. 
No Childeric he, yet much declined 
From his rude sire's imperious mind, 
Until his day came when he died, 
He lived, he reigned, he versified. 
But chiefly him I celebrate 



204 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

That was the pillar of the state, 
Ruled, wise of word and bold of mien, 
The peaceful and the warlike scene ; 
And played alike the leader's part 
In lawful and unlawful art. 
His soldiers with emboldened ears 
Heard him laugh among the spears. 
He could deduce from age to age 
The web of island parentage ; 
Best lay the rhyme, best lead the dance, 
For any festal circumstance : 
And fitly fashion oar and boat, 
A palace or an armour coat. 
None more availed than he to raise 
The strong, suffumigating blaze 
Or knot the wizard leaf : none more, 
Upon the untrodden windward shore 
Of the isle, beside the beating main, 
To cure the sickly and constrain, 
With muttered words and waving rods, 
The gibbering and the whistling gods. 
But he, though thus with hand and head 
He ruled, commanded, charmed, and led, 
And thus in virtue and in might 
Towered to contemporary sight 
Still in fraternal faith and love, 
Remained below to reach above, 
Gave and obeyed the apt command, 
Pilot and vassal of the land. 



IV 

My Tembinok' from men like these 
Inherited his palaces, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 205 

His right to rule, his powers of mind, 

His cocoa-islands sea-enshrined. 

Stern bearer of the sword and whip, 

A master passed in mastership, 

He learned, without the spur of need, 

To write, to cipher, and to read ; 

From all that touch on his prone shore 

Augments his treasury of lore, 

Eager in age as erst in youth 

To catch an art, to learn a truth, 

To paint on the internal page 

A clearer picture of the age. 

His age, you say ? But ah, not so ! 

In his lone isle of long ago, 

A royal Lady of Shalott, 

Sea-sundered, he beholds it not ; 

He only hears it far away. 

The stress of equatorial day 

He suffers ; he records the while 

The vapid annals of the isle ; 

Slaves bring him praise of his renown, 

Or cackle of the palm-tree town ; 

The rarer ship and the rare boat, 

He marks ; and only hears remote, 

Where thrones and fortunes rise and reel, 

The thunder of the turning wheel. 



For the unexpected tears he shed 
At my departing, may his lion head 
Not whiten his revolving years 
No fresh occasion minister of tears ; 




206 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

At book or cards, at work or sport, 
Him may the breeze across the palace court 
For ever fan ; and swelling near 
For ever the loud song divert his ear. 
SCHOONER Equator, AT SEA. 



XXXIX 
THE WOODMAN 

IN all the grove, nor stream nor bird 

Nor aught beside my blows was heard, 

And the woods wore their noonday dress 

The glory of their silentness. 

From the island summit to the seas, 

Trees mounted, and trees drooped, and trees 

Groped upward in the gaps. The green 

Inarboured talus and ravine 

By fathoms. By the multitude 

The rugged columns of the wood 

And bunches of the branches stood : 

Thick as a mob, deep as a sea, 

And silent as eternity. 

With lowered axe, with backward head, 
Late from this scene my labourer fled, 
And with a ravelled tale to tell, 
Returned. Some denizen of hell, 
Dead man or disinvested god, 
Had close behind him peered and trod, 
And triumphed when he turned to flee. 
How different fell the lines with me ! 
Whose eye explored the dim arcade 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 207 

Impatient of the uncoming shade 

Shy elf, or dryad pale and cold, 

Or mystic lingerer from of old : 

Vainly. The fair and stately things, 

Impassive as departed kings, 

All still in the wood's stillness stood, 

And dumb. The rooted multitude 

Nodded and brooded, bloomed and dreamed, 

Unmeaning, undivined. It seemed 

No other part, no hope, they knew, 

Than clutch the earth and seek the blue. 

Mid vegetable king and priest 

And stripling, I (the only beast) 

Was at the beast's work, killing ; hewed 

The stubborn roots across, bestrewed 

The glebe with the dislustred leaves, 

And bade the saplings fall in sheaves ; 

Bursting across the tangled math 

A ruin that I called a path, 

A Golgotha that, later on, 

When rains had watered, and suns shone, 

And seeds enriched the place, should bear 

And be called garden. Here and there, 

I spied and plucked by the green hair 

A foe more resolute to live, 

The toothed and killing sensitive. 

He, semi-conscious, fled the attack ; 

He shrank and tucked his branches back ; 

And straining by his anchor strand, 

Captured and scratched the rooting hand. 

I saw him crouch, I felt him bite ; 

And straight my eyes were touched with sight, 

I saw the wood for what it was : 

The lost and the victorious cause, 



208 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

The deadly battle pitched in line, 

Saw silent weapons cross and shine : 

Silent defeat, silent assault, 

A battle and a burial vault. 

Thick round me in the teeming mud 

Briar and fern strove to the blood. 

The hooked liana in his gin 

Noosed his reluctant neighbours in : 

There the green murderer throve and spread, 

Upon his smothering victims fed, 

And wantoned on his climbing coil. 

Contending roots fought for the soil 

Like frightened demons : with despair 

Competing branches pushed for air. 

Green conquerors from overhead 

Bestrode the bodies of their dead : 

The Caesars of the silvan field, 

Unused to fail, foredoomed to yield : 

For in the groins of branches, lo ! 

The cancers of the orchid grow. 

Silent as in the listed ring 

Two chartered wrestlers strain and cling, 

Dumb as by yellow Hooghly's side 

The suffocating captives died ; 

So hushed the woodland warfare goes 

Unceasing ; and the silent foes 

Grapple and smother, strain and clasp 

Without a cry, without a gasp. 

Here also sound thy fans, O God, 

Here too thy banners move abroad : 

Forest and city, sea and shore, 

And the whole earth, thy threshing-floor ! 

The drums of war, the drums of peace, 

Roll through our cities without cease, 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 209 

And all the iron halls of life 
Ring with the unremitting strife. 

The common lot we scarce perceive. 

Crowds perish, we nor mark nor grieve : 

The bugle calls we mourn a few ! 

What corporal's guard at Waterloo ? 

What scanty hundreds more or less 

In the man-devouring Wilderness ? 

What handful bled on Delhi ridge ? . 

See, rather, London, on thy bridge 

The pale battalions trample by, 

Resolved to slay, resigned to die. 

Count, rather, all the maimed and dead 

In the unbrotherly war of bread. 

See, rather, under sultrier skies 

What vegetable Londons rise, 

And teem, and suffer without sound. 

Or in your tranquil garden ground, 

Contented, in the falling gloom, 

Saunter and see the roses bloom. 

That these might live, what thousands died ! 

All day the cruel hoe was plied ; 

The ambulance barrow rolled all day ; 

Your wife, the tender, kind, and gay, 

Donned her long gauntlets, caught the spud 

And bathed in vegetable blood ; 

And the long massacre now at end, 

See ! where the lazy coils ascend, 

See, where the bonfire sputters red 

At even, for the innocent dead. 

Why prate of peace ? when, warriors all, 
We clank in harness into hall, 



210 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

And ever bare upon the board 
Lies the necessary sword. 
In the green field or quiet street, 
Besieged we sleep, beleaguered eat, 
Labour by day and wake o' nights, 
In war with rival appetites. 
The rose on roses feeds ; the lark 
On larks. The sedentary clerk 
All morning with a diligent pen 
Murders the babes of other men ; 
And like the beasts of wood and park, 
Protects his whelps, defends his den. 
Unshamed the narrow aim I hold ; 
I feed my sheep, patrol my fold ; 
Breathe war on wolves and rival flocks, 
A pious outlaw on the rocks 
Of God and morning ; and when time 
Shall bow, or rivals break me, climb 
Where no undubbed civilian dares, 
In my war harness, the loud stairs 
Of honour ; and my conqueror 
Hail me a warrior fallen in war. 
VAILIMA. 

XL 
TROPIC RAIN 

As the single pang of the blow, when the metal is 

mingled well, 
Rings and lives and resounds in all the bounds of 

the beU : 

So the thunder above spoke with a single tongue, 
So in the heart of the mountain the sound of it 

rumbled and clung. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 211 

Sudden the thunder was drowned quenched was 

the levin light 
And the angel-spirit of rain laughed out loud in 

the night. 
Loud as the maddened river raves in the cloven 

glen, 
Angel of rain ! you laughed and leaped on the roofs 

of men ; 
And the sleepers sprang in their beds, and joyed 

and feared as you fell. 
You struck, and my cabin quailed ; the roof of it 

roared like a bell, 
You spoke, and at once the mountain shouted and 

shook with brooks. 
You ceased, and the day returned, rosy, with virgin 

looks. 
And methought that beauty and terror are only 

one, not two ; 
And the world has room for love, and death, and 

thunder, and dew ; 

And all the sinews of hell slumber in summer air ; 
And the face of God is a rock, but the face of the 

rock is fair. 
Beneficent streams of tears flow at the finger of 

pain; 
And out of the cloud that smites, beneficent rivers 

of rain. 
VAILIMA. 

XLI 
AN END OF TRAVEL 

LET now your soul in this substantial world 
Some anchor strike. Be here the body moored : 
This spectacle immutably from now 



212 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

The picture in your eye ; and when time strikes, 
And the green scene goes on the instant blind 
The ultimate helpers, where your horse to-day 
Conveyed you dreaming, bear your body dead 



XLII 

WE uncommiserate pass into the night 

From the loud banquet, and departing leave 

A tremor in men's memories, faint and sweet 

And frail as music. Features of our face, 

The tones of the voice, the touch of the loved hand, 

Perish and vanish, one by one, from earth : 

Meanwhile, in the hall of song, the multitude 

Applauds the new performer. One, perchance, 

One ultimate survivor lingers on, 

And smiles, and to his ancient heart recalls 

The long forgotten. Ere the morrow die, 

He too, returning, through the curtain comes, 

And the new age forgets us and goes on. 



XLIII 
THE LAST SIGHT 

ONCE more I saw him. In the lofty room, 
Where oft with lights and company his tongue 
Was trump to honest laughter, sate attired 
A something in his likeness. " Look ! " said one, 
Unkindly kind, " look up, it is your boy 1 " 
And the dread changeling gazed on me in vain. 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 213 

XLIV 

SING me a song of a lad that is gone, 

Say, could that lad be I ? 
Merry of soul he sailed on a day 

Over the sea to Skye. 

Mull was astern, Rum on the port, 

Eigg on the starboard bow ; 
Glory of youth glowed in his soul : 

Where is that glory now ? 

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone, 

Say, could that lad be I ? 
Merry of soul he sailed on a day 

Over the sea to Skye. 

Give me again all that was there, 

Give me the sun that shone ! 
Give me the eyes, give me the soul, 

Give me the lad that's gone ! 

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone, 

Say, could that lad be I ? 
Merry of soul he sailed on a day 

Over the sea to Skye. 

Billow and breeze, islands and seas, 

Mountains of rain and sun, 
All that was good, all that was fair, 

All that was me is gone. 



214 SONGS OF TRAVEL 

XLV 

TO S. R. CROCKETT 
(IN REPLY TO A DEDICATION) 

BLOWS the wind to-day, and the sun and the rain 

are flying, 

Blows the wind on the moors to-day and now, 
Where about the graves of the martyrs the whaups 

are crying, 
My heart remembers how ! 

Grey recumbent tombs of the dead in desert places, 
Standing stones on the vacant wine-red moor, 

Hills of sheep, and the homes of the silent van- 
quished races, 
And winds, austere and pure : 

Be it granted me to behold you again in dying, 

Hills of home ! and to hear again the call ; 
Hear about the graves of the martyrs the peewees 

crying, 

And hear no more at all. 
VAILJMA. 

XLVI 
EVENSONG 

THE embers of the day are red 
Beyond the murky hill. 
The kitchen smokes : the bed 
In the darkling house is spread : 



SONGS OF TRAVEL 215 

The great sky darkens overhead, 

And the great woods are shrill. 

So far have I been led, 

Lord, by Thy will : 

So far have I been followed, Lord, and wondered 

stiU. 

The breeze from the embalmed land 
Blows sudden toward the shore, 
And claps my cottage door. 
I hear the signal, Lord I understand. 
The night at Thy command 
Comes. I will eat and sleep and will not question 

more. 
VAILIMA. 



BALLADS 






First collected edition was published 
by Chatto & Windus, London, 1890. 

' Ticonderoga ' was originally published 
in Scribner's Magazine, December. 

1887. 



To ORI A ORI 

Ori, my brother in the island mode, 
In every tongue and meaning much my friend 
This story of your country and your clan, 
In your loved house, your too much honoured 

guest, 

I made in English. Take it, being done ; 
And let me sign it with the name you gave. 

TERIITERA. 



THE SONG OF RAHERO 

A LEGEND OF TAHITI 



I 

THE SLAYING OF TAMATEA 

IT fell in the days of old, as the men of Taiarapu 

tell, 
A youth went forth to the fishing, and fortune 

favoured him well. 

Tamatea his name : guillible, simple, and kind, 
Comely of countenance, nimble of body, empty of 

mind, 
His mother ruled him and loved him beyond the 

wont of a wife. 

Serving the lad for eyes and living herself in his life. 
Alone from the sea and the fishing came Tamatea 

the fair, 
Urging his boat to the beach, and the mother 

awaited him there, 
" Long may you live ! " said she. ' Your fishing 

has sped to a wish. 
And now let us choose for the king the fairest of 

all your fish. 
For fear inhabits the palace and grudging grows 

in the land, 
Marked is the sluggardly foot and marked the 

niggardly hand, 
The hours and the miles are counted, the tributes 

numbered and weighed, 
And woe to him that comes short, and woe to him 

that delayed ! " 

223 



224 BALLADS 

So spoke on the beach the mother, and counselled 

the wiser thing. 
For Rahero stirred in the country and secretly 

mined the king. 
Nor were the signals wanting of how the leaven 

wrought, 
In the cords of obedience loosed and the tributes 

grudgingly brought. 
And when last to the temple of Oro the boat with 

the victim sped, 
And the priest uncovered the basket and looked 

on the face of the dead, 
Trembling fell upon all at sight of an ominous 

thing, 
For there was the aito 1 dead, and he of the house 

of the king. 

So spake on the beach the mother, matter worthy 

of note, 
And wattled a basket well, and chose a fish from 

the boat ; 
And Tamate'a the pliable shouldered the basket 

and went, 
And travelled, and sang as he travelled, a lad that 

was well content. 
Still the way of his going was round by the roaring 

coast, 
Where the ring of the reef is broke and the trades 

run riot the most. 
On his left, with smoke as of battle, the billows 

battered the land ; 
Unscalable, turreted mountains rose on the inner 

hand. 
And cape, and village, and river, and vale, and 

mountain above, 



THE SONG OF RAH&RO 225 

Each had a name in the land for men to remember 

and love ; 
And never the name of a place, but lo ! a song in 

its praise : 

Ancient and unforgotten, songs of the earlier days, 
That the elders taught to the young, and at night, 

in the full of the moon, 

Garlanded boys and maidens sang together in tune. 
Tamatea the placable went with a lingering foot ; 
He sang as loud as a bird, he whistled hoarse as a 

flute; 
He broiled in the sun, he breathed in the grateful 

shadow of trees, 
In the icy stream of the rivers he waded over the 

knees ; 

And still in his empty mind crowded, a thousand- 
fold, 
The deeds of the strong and the songs of the cunning 

heroes of old. 

And now was he come to a place Taiarapu honoured 

the most, 
Where a silent valley of the woods debouched on 

the noisy coast, 

Spewing a level river. There was a haunt of Pai. 2 
There, in his potent youth, when his parents drove 

him to die, 
Honoura lived like a beast, lacking the lamp and 

the fire, 
Washed by the rains of the trade and clotting his 

hair in the mire ; 
And there, so mighty his hands, he bent the tree 

to his foot 
So keen the spur of his hunger, he plucked it naked 

of fruit. 



226 BALLADS 

There, as she pondered the clouds for the shadow 

of coming ills, 
Ahupu, the woman of song, walked on high on the 

hills. 

Of these was Rahe*ro sprung, a man of a godly race ; 
And inherited cunning of spirit and beauty of body 

and face. 
Of yore in his youth, as an aito, Rahero wandered 

the land, 
Delighting maids with his tongue, smiting men 

with his hand. 
Famous he was in his youth ; but before the midst 

of his life 
Paused, and fashioned a song of farewell to glory 

and strife. 

House of mine (it went), house upon the sea, 
Belov'd of all my fathers, more belov'd by me ! 
Vale of the strong Honoura, deep ravine of Pai, 
Again in your woody summits I hear the trade-wind 
cry. 

House of mine, in your walls, strong sounds the sea, 

Of all sounds on earth, dearest sound to me. 

I have heard the applause of men, I have heard it 

arise and die : 
Sweeter now in my house I hear the trade-wind cry. 

These were the words of his singing, other the 

thought of his heart ; 
For secret desire of glory vexed him, dwelling apart. 
Lazy and crafty he was, and loved to lie in the sun, 
And loved the cackle of talk and the true word 

uttered in fun ; 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 227 

Lazy he was, his roof was ragged, his table was 
lean, 

And the fish swam safe in his sea, and he gathered 
the near and the green. 

He sat in his house and laughed, but he loathed the 
king of the land, 

And he uttered the grudging word under the cover- 
ing hand. 

Treason spread from his door ; and he looked for 
a day to come, 

A day of the crowding people, a day of the summon- 
ing drum, 

When the vote should be taken, the king be driven 
forth in disgrace, 

And Rahero, the laughing and lazy, sit and rule in 
his place. 

Here Tamatea came, and beheld the house on the 

brook ; 
And Rahero was there by the way and covered 

an oven to cook. 3 
Naked he was to the loins, but the tattoo covered 

the lack, 
And the sun and the shadow of palms dappled his 

muscular back. 
Swiftly he lifted his head at the fall of the coming 

feet, 
And the water sprang in his mouth with a sudden 

desire of meat ; 
For he marked the basket carried, covered from 

flies and the sun ; 4 
And Rahero buried his fire, but the meat in his 

house was done. 
Forth he stepped ; and took and delayed the boy, 

by the hand ; 

p. H 



228 



BALLADS 



And vaunted the joys of meat and the ancient 

ways of the land : 
"Our sires of old in Taiarapu, they that created 

the race, 
Ate ever with eager hand, nor regarded season or 

place, 
Ate in the boat at the oar, on the way afoot ; and 

at night 
Arose in the midst of dreams to rummage the house 

for a bite. 
It is good for the youth in his turn to follow the 

way of the sire ; 
And behold how fitting the time ! for here do I 

cover my fire/' 
" I see the fire for the cooking, but never the 

meat to cook/' 
Said Tamatea. ' Tut 1 " said Rahero. " Here in 

the brook 
And there in the tumbling sea, the fishes are thick 

as flies, 
Hungry like healthy men, and like pigs for savour 

and size : 
Crayfish crowding the river, sea-fish thronging the 

sea." 
" Well it may be," says the other, " and yet be 

nothing to me. 
Fain would I eat, but alas 1 I have needful matter 

in hand, 
Since I carry my tribute of fish to the jealous king 

of the land." 

Now at the word a light sprang in Rahro's eyes. 
" I will gain me a dinner," thought he, " and lend 

the king a surprise." 
And he took the lad by the arm, as they stood by 

the sid,e of the track, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 229 

And smiled, and rallied, and flattered, and pushed 

him forward and back. 
It was " You that sing like a bird, I never have 

heard you sing," 
And " The lads when I was a lad were none so 

feared of a king. 
And of what account is an hour, when the heart is 

empty of guile ? 
But come, and sit in the house and laugh with the 

women a while ; 
And I will but drop my hook, 5 and behold ! the 

dinner made." 

So Tamatea the pliable hung up his fish in the shade 
On a tree by the side of the way ; and Rahero 

carried him in, 
Smiling as smiles the fowler when flutters the bird 

to the gin, 
And chose him a shining hook, and viewed it with 

sedulous eye, 
And breathed and burnished it well on the brawn 

of his naked thigh, 
And set a mat for the gull, and bade him be merry 

and bide, 
Like a man concerned for his guest, and the fishing, 

and nothing beside. 

Now when Rahero was forth, he paused and 

hearkened, and heard 
The gull jest in the house and the women laugh 

at his word ; 
And stealthily crossed to the side of the way, to 

the shady place 
Where the basket hung on a mango ; and craft 

transfigured his face. 



230 



BALLADS 



Deftly he opened the basket, and took of the fat 

of the fish, 
The cut of kings and chieftains, enough for a goodly 

dish. 
This he wrapped in a leaf, set on the fire to 

cook, 
And buried ; and next the marred remains of 

the tribute he took, 
And doubled and packed them well, and covered 

the basket close. 
" There is a buffet, my king," quoth he, " and 

a nauseous dose ! " 
And hung the basket again in the shade, in a cloud 

of flies ; 
"And there is a sauce to your dinner, king of 

the crafty eyes ! " 

Soon as the oven was open, the fish smelt excellent 

good. 
In the shade, by the house of Rahero, down they 

sat to their food, 
And cleared the leaves 6 in silence, or uttered a jest 

and laughed, 
And raising the cocoa-nut bowls, buried their faces 

and quaffed. 
But chiefly in silence they ate ; and soon as the 

meal was done, 
Rahero feigned to remember and measured the 

hour by the sun, 
And "Tamatea," quoth he, "it is time to be 



jogging, my lad." 
Ta 



So Tamatea arose, doing ever the thing he was 

bade, 
And carelessly shouldered the basket, and kindrj 

saluted his host ; 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 231 

And again the way of his going was round by the 

roaring coast. 
Long he went ; and at length was aware of a 

pleasant green, 
And the stems and shadows of palms, and roofs of 

lodges between. 
There sate, in the door of his palace, the king on a 

kingly seat, 
And aitos stood armed around, and the yottowas 7 

sat at his feet. 
But fear was a worm in his heart : fear darted 

his eyes ; 
And he probed men's faces for treasons and 

pondered their speech for lies. 
To him came Tamatea, the basket slung in his 

hand, 
And paid him the due obeisance standing as vassals 

stand. 
In silence hearkened the king, and closed the eyes 

in his face, 
Harbouring odious thoughts and the baseless fears 

of the base ; 
In silence accepted the gift and sent the giver 

away. 

So Tdmatea departed, turning his back on the day. 
And lo ! as the king sat brooding, a rumour rose 

in the crowd ; 
The yottowas nudged and whispered, the commons 

murmured aloud ; 
Tittering fell upon all at sight of the impudent 

thing, 
At the sight of a gift unroyal flung in the face of SL 

king. 
And the face of the king turned white and red with 

anger and shame 



232 



BALLADS 



In their midst ; and the heart in his body was 

water and then was flame ; 

Till of a sudden, turning, he gripped an aito hard, 
A youth that stood with his omare, 8 one of the daily 

guard, 
And spat in his ear a command, and pointed and 

uttered a name, 
And hid in the shade of the house his impotent 

anger and shame. 
Now Tamatea the fool was far on the homeward 

way, 
The rising night in his face, behind him the dying 

day. 
Rahero saw him go by, and the heart of Rahero 

was glad, 
Devising shame to the king and nowise harm to 

the lad ; 
And all that dwelt by the way saw and saluted 

him well, 
For he had the face of a friend and the news of 

the town to tell ; 
And pleased with the notice of folk, and pleased 

that his journey was done, 
Tamatea drew homeward, turning his back to the 

sun. 
And now was the hour of the bath in Taiarapu ; 

far and near 
The lovely laughter of bathers rose and delighted 

his ear. 
Night massed in the valleys ; the sun on the 

mountain coast 
Struck, end-long ; and above the clouds embatl 

their host, 
And glowed and gloomed on the heights ; and 

heads ,of the palms were gems, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 233 

And far to the rising eve extended the shade of 

their stems ; 
And the shadow of Tamate"a hovered already at 

home. 
And sudden the sound of one coming and running 

light as the foam 
Struck on his ear ; and he turned, and lo ! a man 

on his track, 
Girded and armed with an omare, following hard 

at his back. 
At a bound the man was upon him ; and, or ever 

a word was said, 
The loaded end of the omare fell and laid him dead. 



II 

THE VENGING OF TA*MATEA 

Thus was Rahero's treason ; thus and no further it 

sped. 
The king sat safe in his place and a kindly fool 

was dead. 
But the mother of Tamatea arose with death in 

her eyes. 
All night long, and the next, Taiarapu rang with 

her cries. 
As when a babe in the wood turns with a chill of 

doubt 
And perceives nor home, nor friends, for the trees 

have closed her about, 
The mountain rings and her breast is torn with the 

voice of despair : 

So the lion-like woman idly wearied the air 
For a while, and pierced men's hearing in vain, 

and wounded their hearts. 



234 



BALLADS 



But as when the weather changes at sea, in 

dangerous parts, 
And sudden the hurricane wrack unrolls up the 

front of the sky, 
At once the ship lies idle, the sails hang silent on 

high, 
The breath of the wind that blew is blown out 

like the flame of a lamp, 
And the silent armies of death draw near with 

inaudible tramp : 
So sudden, the voice of her weeping ceased ; in 

silence she rose 
And passed from the house of her sorrow, a woman 

clothed with repose, 
Carrying death in her breast and sharpening death 

with her hand. 

Hither she went and thither in all the coasts of the 

land. 
They tell that she feared not to slumber alone, 

in the dead of night, 
In accursed places ; beheld, unblenched, the 

ribbon of light 9 
Spin from temple to temple ; guided the perilous 

skiff, 
Abhorred not the paths of the mountain and trod 

the verge of the cliff ; 
From end to end of the island, thought not the 

distance long, 
But forth from king to king carried the tale of her 

wrong. 
To king after king, as they sat in the palace-door, 

she came, 
Claiming kinship, declaiming verses, naming her 

name , 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 235 

And the names of all of her fathers ; and still, 

with a heart on the rack, 
Jested to capture a hearing and laughed when they 

jested back : 
So would deceive them awhile, and change and 

return in a breath, 
And on all the men of Vaiau imprecate instant 

death : 
And tempt her kings for Vaiau was a rich and 

prosperous land, 
And flatter for who would attempt it but warriors 

mighty of hand ? 
And change in a breath again and rise in a strain 

of song, 
Invoking the beaten drums, beholding the fall of the 

strong, 
Calling the fowls of the air to come and feast on the 

dead. 
And they held the chin in silence, and heard her, 

and shook the head ; 
For they knew the men of Taiarapu famous in 

battle and feast, 
Marvellous eaters and smiters : the men of Vaiau 

not least. 

To the land of the Namunu-ura, 10 to Paea, at 

length she came, 
To men who were foes to the Tevas and hated their 

race and name. 
There was she well received, and spoke with Hiopa 

the king. 11 
And Hiopa listened, and weighed, and wisely 

considered the thing. 
" Here in the back of the isle we dwell in a sheltered 

place/' 



236 



BALLADS 



Quoth he to the woman, " in quiet, a weak and 

peaceable race. 

But far in the teeth of the wind lofty Taiarapu lies ; 
Strong blows the wind of the trade on its seaward 

face, and cries 
Aloud in the top of arduous mountains, and utters 

its song 
In green continuous forests. Strong is the wind, 

and strong 
And fruitful and hardy the race, famous in battle 

and feast, 
Marvellous eaters and smiters : the men of Vaiau 

not least. 
Now hearken to me, my daughter, and hear a 

word of the wise : 
How a strength goes linked with a weakness, two 

by two, like the eyes. 
They can wield the omare well and cast the javelin 

far; 
Yet are they greedy and weak as the swine and 

the children are. 
Plant we, then, here at Paea, a garden of excellent 

fruits ; 
Plant we bananas and kava and taro, the king of 

roots ; 
Let the pigs in Paea be tapu 12 and no man fish for 

a year ; 
And of all the meat in Tahiti gather we threefold 

here. 
So shall the fame of our plenty fill the island, 

and so, 
At last, on the tongue of rumour, go where we 

wish it to go. 
Then shall the pigs of Taiarapu raise their snouts 

in the ,air ; 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 



237 



But we sit quiet and wait, as the fowler sits by the 

snare, 
And tranquilly fold our hands, till the pigs come 

nosing the food : 
But meanwhile build us a house of Trotea, the 

stubborn wood, 
Bind it with incombustible thongs, set a roof to the 

room, 
Too strong for the hands of a man to dissever or 

fire to consume ; 
And there, when the pigs come trotting, there shall 

the feast be spread, 
There shall the eye of the morn enlighten the 

feasters dead. 
So be it done ; for I have a heart that pities your 

state, 
And Nateva and Namunu-ura are fire and water 

for hate." 

All was done as he said, and the gardens prospered ; 

and now 
The fame of their plenty went out, and word of it 

came to Vaiau. 
For the men of Namunu-ura sailed, to the windward 

far, 
Lay in the offing by south where the towns of the 

Tevas are, 
And cast overboard of their plenty ; and lo ! at the 

Tevas' feet 
The surf on all of the beaches tumbled treasures 

of meat. 
In the salt of the sea, a harvest tossed with the 

refluent foam ; 
And the children gleaned it in playing, and ate 

and carried it home ; 



BALLADS 

And the elders stared and debated, and wondered 

and passed the jest, 
But whenever a guest came by eagerly questioned 

the guest ; 
And little by little, from one to another, the word 

went round : 
" In all the borders of Paea the victual rots on the 

ground, 
And swine are plenty as rats. And now, when 

they fare to the sea, 
The men of the Namunu-ura glean from under the 

tree 
And load the canoe to the gunwale with all that 

is toothsome to eat ; 
And all day long on the sea the jaws are crushing 

the meat, 
The steersman eats at the helm, the rowers munch 

at the oar, 
And at length, when their bellies are full, overboard 

with the store ! " 
Now was the word made true, and soon as the bait 

was bare, 
All the pigs of Taiarapu raised their snouts in the 

air. 
Songs were recited, and kinship was counted, and 

tales were told 
How war had severed of late but peace had 

cemented of old 
The clans of the island. " To war/' said they, 

" now set we an end, 
And hie to the Namunu-ura even as a friend to a 

friend/' 



So judged, and a day was named ; and soon as 
the morning broke, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 239 

Canoes were thrust in the sea and the houses 

emptied of folk 
Strong blew the wind of the south, the wind that 

gathers the clan ; 
Along all the line of the reef the clamorous surges 

ran ; 
And the clouds were piled on the top of the island 

mountain-high, 
A mountain throned on a mountain. The fleet of 

canoes swept by 
In the midst, on the green lagoon, with a crew 

released from care, 

Sailing an even water, breathing a summer air, 
Cheered by a cloudless sun ; and ever to left and 

right, 
Bursting surge on the reef, drenching storms on the 

height. 

So the folk of Vaiau sailed and were glad all day, 
Coasting the palm-tree cape and crossing the 

populous bay 
By all the towns of the Tevas ; and still as they 

bowled along, 
Boat would answer to boat with jest and laughter 

and song, 
And the people of all the towns trooped to the sides 

of the sea 
And gazed from under the hand or sprang aloft 

on the tree, 
Hailing and cheering. Time failed them for more 

to do ; 
The holiday village careened to the wind, and was 

gone from view 

Swift as a passing bird ; and ever as onward it bore, 
Like the cry of the passing bird, bequeathed its 

song to the shore 



240 BALLADS 

Desirable laughter of maids and the cry of delight 

of the child. 
And the gazer, left behind, stared at the wake and 

smiled. 
By all the towns of the Tevas they went, and 

Papara last, 
The home of the chief, the place of muster in war : 

and passed 
The march of the lands of the clan, to the lands of 

an alien folk. 
And there, from the dusk of the shoreside palms, 

a column of smoke 
Mounted and wavered and died in the gold of the 

setting sun, 
" Paea ! " they cried. " It is Paea/' And so was 

the voyage done. 

In the early fall of the night, Hiopa came to the 

shore, 
And beheld and counted the comers, and lo, they 

were forty score : 
The pelting feet of the babes that ran already and 

played, 
The clean-lipped smile of the boy, the slender 

breasts of the maid, 
And mighty limbs of women, stalwart mothers of 

men. 
The sires stood forth unabashed ; but a little back 

from his ken 
Clustered the scarcely nubile, the lads and maids, 

in a ring, 
Fain of each other, afraid of themselves, aware 

of the king 
And aping behaviour, but clinging together with 

hands and eyes, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 241 

With looks that were kind like kisses, and laughter 

tender as sighs. 
There, too, the grandsire stood, raising his silver 

crest, 
And the impotent hands of a suckling groped in his 

barren breast. 
The childhood of love, the pair well married, the 

innocent brood, 
The tale of the generations repeated and ever 

renewed 

Hiopa beheld them together, all the ages of man, 
And a moment shook in his purpose. 



But these were the foes of his clan, 
And he trod upon pity, and came, and civilly 

greeted the king, 
And gravely entreated Rahero ; and for all that 

could fight or sing, 
And claimed a name in the land, had fitting 

phrases of praise ; 
But with all who were well-descended he spoke of 

the ancient days. 
And " Tis true," said he, " that in Paea the victual 

rots on the ground ; 
But, friends, your number is many ; and pigs must 

be hunted and found, 
And the lads troop to the mountains to bring the 

feis down, 
And around the bowls of the kava cluster the maids 

of the town. 
So, for to-night, sleep here ; but king, common, 

and priest 
To-morrow, in order due, shall sit with me in the 

feast/' 




242 BALLADS 

Sleepless the live-long night, Hiopa's followers 

toiled. 
The pigs screamed and were slaughtered ; the 

spars of the guest-house oiled, 
The leaves spread on the floor. In many a moun- 
tain glen 
The moon drew shadows of trees on the naked 

bodies of men 
Plucking and bearing fruits ; and in all the bounds 

of the town 
Red glowed the cocoa-nut fires, and were buried 

and trodden down. 
Thus did seven of the yottowas toil with their tale 

of the clan, 
But the eighth wrought with his lads, hid from the 

sight of man. 
In the deeps of the woods they laboured, piling 

the fuel high 

In fagots, the load of a man, fuel seasoned and dry, 
Thirsty to seize upon fire and apt to blurt into 

flame. 

And now was the day of the feast. The forests, 

as morning came, 
Tossed in the wind, and the peaks quaked in the 

blaze of the day 
And the cocoa-nuts showered on the ground, 

rebounding and rolling away : 
A glorious morn for a feast, a famous wind for a fire. 
To the hall of feasting Hiopa led them, mother and 

sire 
And maid and babe in a tale, the whole of the 

holiday throng. 
Smiling they came, garlanded green, not dreaming. 

of wrong ; 



THE SONG OF RAH^RO 243 

And for every three, a pig, tenderly cooked in the 

ground, 

Waited ; and fei, the staff of life, heaped in a mound 
For each where he sat ; for each, bananas roasted 

and raw 
Piled with a bountiful hand, as for horses hay and 

straw 
Are stacked in a stable ; and fish, the food of 

desire, 13 
And plentiful vessels of sauce, and breadfruit gilt 

in the fire ; 
And kava was common as water. Feasts have 

there been ere now, 
And many, but never a feast like that of the folk 

of Vaiau. 
All day long they ate with the resolute greed of 

brutes, 
And turned from the pigs to the fish, and again from 

the fish to the fruits, 
And emptied the vessels of sauce, and drank of the 

kava deep ; 
Till the young lay stupid as stones, and the 

strongest nodded to sleep. 
Sleep that was mighty as death and blind as a 

moonless night 
Tethered them hand and foot ; and their souls were 

drowned, and the light 
Was cloaked from their eyes. Senseless together, 

the old and the young, 
The fighter deadly to smite and the prater cunning 

of tongue, 
The woman wedded and fruitful, inured to the 

pangs of birth, 
And the maid that knew not of kisses, blindly 

sprawled on the earth. 



244 BALLADS 

From the hall Hiopa the king and his chiefs came 

stealthily forth. 
Already the sun hung low and enlightened the 

peaks of the north ; 
But the wind was stubborn to die and blew as it 

blows at morn, 
Showering the nuts in the dusk, and e'en as a banner 

is torn, 
High on the peaks of the island, shattered the 

mountain cloud. 
And now at once, at a signal, a silent, emulous 

crowd 

Set hands to the work of death, hurrying to and fro, 
Like ants, to furnish the fagots, building them 

broad and low, 
And piling them high and higher around the walls 

of the hall. 

Silence persisted within, for sleep lay heavy on all ; 
But the mother of Tamate'a stood at Hiopa's side, 
And shook for terror and joy like a girl that is a 

bride. 

Night fell on the toilers, and first Hiopa the wise 
Made the round of the house, visiting all with his 

eyes; 
And all was piled to the eaves, and fuel blockaded 

the door ; 
And within in the house beleaguered, slumbered 

the forty score. 
Then was an aito dispatched and came with fire in 

his hand, 
And Hiopa took it." Within," said he, " is the 

life of a land ; 
And behold ! I breathe on the coal, I breathe on 

the dales of the east, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 245 

And silence falls on forest and shore ; the voice 
of the feast 

Is quenched, and the smoke of cooking ; the roof- 
tree decays and falls 

On the empty lodge, and the winds subvert 
deserted walls/' 

Therewithal, to the fuel, he laid the glowing coal ; 
And the redness ran in the mass and burrowed 

within like a mole, 
And copious smoke was conceived. But, as when 

a dam is to burst, 
The water lips it and crosses in silver trickles at 

first, 
And then, of a sudden, whelms and bears it away 

forthright : 
So now, in a moment, the flame sprang and towered 

in the night, 
And wrestled and roared in the wind, and high 

over house and tree, 
Stood, like a streaming torch, enlightening land 

and sea. 

But the mother of Tamatea threw her arms abroad, 

" Pyre of my son/' she shouted, " debited ven- 
geance of God, 

Late, late, I behold you, yet I behold you at last, 

And glory, beholding ! For now are the days of 
my agony past, 

The lust that famished my soul now eats and drinks 
its desire, 

And they that encompassed my son shrivel alive 
in the fire. 

Tenfold precious the vengeance that comes after 
lingering years ! 



246 BALLADS 

Ye quenched the voice of my singer ? hark, 

your dying ears, 
The song of the conflagration ! Ye left me a widow 

alone ? 
Behold, the whole of your race consumes, sinew 

and bone 
And torturing flesh together : man, mother, and 

maid 
Heaped in a common shambles ; and already, 

borne by the trade, 
The smoke of your dissolution darkens the stars 

of night." 

Thus she spoke, and her stature grew in the people's 
sight. 



Ill 

RAHERO 

Rahe"ro was there in the hall asleep ; beside him 

his wife, 
Comely, a mirthful woman, one that delighted in 

life ; 
And a girl that was ripe for marriage, shy and sly 

as a mouse ; 
And a boy, a climber of trees : all the hopes of 

his house 
Unwary, with open hands, he slept in the midst of 

his folk, 
And dreamed that he heard a voice crying without, 

and awoke, 
Leaping blindly afoot like one from a dream that 

he fears,. 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 247 

A hellish glow and clouds were about him ; it 

roared in his ears 
Like the sound of the cataract fall that plunges 

sudden and steep ; 
And Rahero swayed as he stood, and his reason 

was still asleep. 

Now the flame struck hard on the house, wind- 
wielded, a fracturing blow, 
And the end of the roof was burst and fell on the 

sleepers below ; 
And the lofty hall, and the feast, and the prostrate 

bodies of folk, 
Shone red in his eyes a moment, and then were 

swallowed of smoke. 
In the mind of Rahero clearness came, and he 

opened his throat ; 
And as when a squall comes sudden, the straining 

sail of a boat 
Thunders aloud and bursts, so thundered the 

voice of the man. 
" The wind and the rain ! " he shouted, the 

mustering word of the clan, 14 
And " Up ! " and " to arms, men of Vaiau ! " 

But silence replied, 
Or only the voice of the gusts of the fire, and 

nothing beside. 

Rahero stooped and groped. He handled his 

womankind, 
But the fumes of the fire and the kava had quenched 

the life of their mind, 
And they lay like pillars prone ; and his hand 

encountered the boy, 
And there sprang in the gloom of his soul a sudden 

lightning of joy 



248 BALLADS 

" Him can I save ! " he thought, " if I were speedy 

enough." 
And he loosened the cloth from his loins, and 

swaddled the child in the stuff ; 
And about the strength of his neck he knotted the 

burden well. 

There where the roof had fallen, it roared like the 

mouth of hell. 

Thither Rahero went, stumbling on senseless folk, 
And grappled a post of the house, and began to 

climb in the smoke : 
The last alive of Vaiau ; and the son borne by the 

sire. 
The post glowed in the grain with ulcers of eating 

fire. 
And the fire bit to the blood and mangled his 

hands and thighs ; 
And the fumes sang in his head like wine and stung 

in his eyes ; 
And still he climbed, and came to the top, the place 

of proof, 
And thrust a hand through the flame, and clambered 

alive on the roof. 
But even as he did so, the wind, in a garment of 

flames and pain, 

Wrapped him from head to heel ; and the waist- 
cloth parted in twain ; 
And the living fruit of his loins dropped in the 

fire below. 

About the blazing feast-house clustered the eyes 

of the foe, 
Watching, hand upon weapon, lest ever a SOT 

shou!4 flee, 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 249 

Shading the brow from the glare, straining the 

neck to see. 
Only, to leeward, the flames in the wind swept far 

and wide, 
And the forest sputtered on fire ; and there might 

no man abide. 
Thither Rahero crept, and dropped from the . 

burning eaves, 
And crouching low to the ground, hi a treble 

covert of leaves 
And fire and volleying smoke, ran for the life of 

his soul 
Unseen ; and behind him under a furnace of 

ardent coal, 
Cairned with a wonder of flame, and blotting the 

night with smoke, 
Blazed and were smelted together the bones of all 

his folk. 

He fled unguided at first ; but hearing the breakers 

roar, 
Thitherward shaped his way, and came at length 

to the shore. 
Sound-limbed he was : dry-eyed ; but smarted in 

every part ; 
And the mighty cage of his ribs heaved on his 

straining heart 
With sorrow and rage. And " Fools ! " he cried, 

" fools of Vaiau, 
Heads of swine gluttons Alas ! and where are 

they now ? 
Those that I played with, those that nursed me, 

those that I nursed ? 
God, and I outliving them ! I, the least and the 

worst 



250 



BALLADS 



I, that thought myself crafty, snared by this he 

of swine, 
In the tortures of hell and desolate, stripped of all 

that was mine : 
All ! my friends and my fathers the silver heads 

of yore 
.That trooped to the council, the children that ran 

to the open door 
Crying with innocent voices and clasping a father's 

knees ! 
And mine, my wife my daughter my sturdy 

climber of trees, 
Ah, never to climb again ! " 

Thus in the dusk of the night. 
(For clouds rolled in the sky and the moon was 

swallowed from sight,) 
Pacing and gnawing his fists, Rahero raged by the 

shore. 
Vengeance : that must be his. But much was to 

do before ; 
And first a single life to be snatched from a deadly 

place, 
A life, the root of revenge, surviving plant of the 

race : 
And next the race to be raised anew, and the lands 

of the clan 

Repeopled. So Rahero designed, a prudent man 
Even in wrath, and turned for the means of revenge 

and escape : 
A boat to be seized by stealth, a wife to be taken 

by rape. 

Still was the dark lagoon ; beyond on the coral 
wall, 



THE SONG OF RAH&RO 251 

He saw the breakers shine, he heard them bellow 

and fall. 
Alone, on the top of the reef, a man with a flaming 

brand 
Walked, gazing and pausing, a fish-spear poised 

in his hand. 
The foam boiled to his calf when the mightier 

breakers came, 
And the torch shed in the wind scattering tufts 

of flame. 

Afar on the dark lagoon a canoe lay idly at wait : 
A figure dimly guiding it : surely the fisherman's 

mate. 
Rahero saw and he smiled. He straightened his 

mighty thews : 
Naked, with never a weapon, and covered with 

scorch and bruise, 
He straightened his arms, he filled 

body with breath, 
And, strong as the wind in his manh( 

fisher to death. 



Silent he entered the water, and silently swam, 

and came 
There where the fisher walked, holding on high the 

flame. 
Loud on the pier of the reef volleyed the breach 

of the sea ; 
And hard at the back of the man, Rahero crept 

to his knee 
On the coral, and suddenly sprang and seized him, 

the elder hand 
Clutching the joint of his throat, the other snatching 

the brand 




252 BALLADS 



ady and 



Ere it had time to fall, and holding it steady 

high. 
Strong was the fisher, brave, and swift of mind 

and of eye 
Strongly he threw in the clutch ; but Rahero 

resisted the strain, 
And jerked, and the spine of life snapped with a 

crack in twain, 
And the man came slack in his hands and tumbled 

a lump at his feet. 



One moment : and there, on the reef, where the 

breakers whitened and beat, 
Rahero was standing alone, glowing and scorched 

and bare, 
A victor unknown of any, raising the torch in the 

air. 
But once he drank of his breath, and instantly set 

him to fish 
Like a man intent upon supper at home and a 

savoury dish. 
For what should the woman have seen ? A man 

with a torch and then 
A moment's blur of the eyes and a man with a 

torch again. 
And the torch had scarcely been shaken. " Ah, 

surely/ 1 Rahero said, 
" She will deem it a trick of the eyes, a fancy 

born in the head ; 
But time must be given the fool to nourish a fool's 

belief." 

So for a while, a sedulous fisher, he walked the reef, 
Pausing at times and gazing, striking at times 

with the spear : 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 253 

Lastly, uttered the call ; and even as the boat 

drew near, 
Like a man that was done with its use, tossed the 

torch in the sea. 

Lightly he leaped on the boat beside the woman ; 

and she 
Lightly addressed him, and yielded the paddle 

and place to sit ; 
For now the torch was extinguished the night was 

black as the pit. 

Rahero set him to row, never a word he spoke, 
And the boat sang in the water urged by his 

vigorous stroke. 
" What ails you ? " the woman asked, " and 

why did you drop the brand ? 
We have only to kindle another as soon as we 

come to land." 
Never a word Rahe"ro replied, but urged the 

canoe. 
And a chill fell on the woman. " Atta ! speak ! 

is it you ? 
Speak ! Why are you silent ? Why do you bend 

aside ? 
Wherefore steer to the seaward ? " thus she panted 

and cried. 
Never a word from the oarsman, toiling there in 

the dark ; 
But right for a gate of the reef he silently headed 

the bark, 
And wielding the single paddle with passionate 

sweep on sweep, 

Drove her, the little fitted, forth on the open deep. 
And fear, there where she sat, froze the woman 

to stone : 



254 BALLADS 

Not fear of the crazy boat and the weltering deep 

alone ; 
But a keener fear of the night, the dark, and the 

ghostly hour, 
And the thing that drove the canoe with more 

then a mortal's power 
And more than a mortal's boldness. For much 

she knew of the dead 
That haunt and fish upon reefs, toiling, like men, 

for bread, 
And traffic with human fishers, or slay them and 

take their ware, 
Till the hour when the star of the dead 15 goes 

down, and the morning air 
Blows, and the cocks are singing on shore. And 

surely she knew 
The speechless thing at her side belonged to the 

grave. 16 

It blew 
All night from the south ; all night, Rahero 

contended and kept 
The prow to the cresting sea ; and, silent as though 

she slept, 
The woman huddled and quaked. And now was 

the peep of day. 
High and long on their left the mountainous 

island lay ; 
And over the peaks of Taiarapu arrows of sunlight 

struck. 
On shore the birds were beginning to sing : the 

ghostly ruck 
Of the buried had long ago returned to the covered 

grave ; 
And here on the sea, the woman, waxing suddenly 

brave, , 



THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 255 

Turned her swiftly about and looked in the face 

of the man. 
And sure he was none that she knew, none of her 

country or clan : 
A stranger, mother-naked, and marred with the 

marks of fire, 
But comely and great of stature, a man to obey 

and admire. 

And Rahero regarded her also, fixed, with a frowning 

face, 
Judging the woman's fitness to mother a warlike 

race. 

Broad of shoulder, ample of girdle, long in the thigh, 
Deep of bosom she was, and bravely supported his 

eye. 
" Woman," said he, " last night the men of your 

folk- 
Man, woman, and maid, smothered my race in 

smoke. 
It was done like cowards ; and I, a mighty man of 

my hands, 

Escaped, a single life ; and now to the empty lands 
And smokeless hearths of my people, sail, with 

yourself, alone. 
Before your mother was born, the die of to-day 

was thrown 
And you selected : your husband, vainly striving, 

to fall 
Broken between these hands : yourself to be 

severed from all, 
The places, the people, you love home, kindred, 

and clan 
And to dwell in a desert and bear the babes of a 

kinless man." 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 

MARQUESAN MANNERS 



I 

THE PRIEST'S VIGIL 

IN all the land of the tribe was neither fish nor fruit, 
And the deepest pit of popoi stood empty to the 

foot. 1 
The clans upon the left and the clans upon the 

right 
Now oiled their carven maces and scoured their 

daggers bright ; 
They gat them to the thicket, to the deepest of the 

shade, 

And lay with sleepless eyes in the deadly ambus- 
cade. 
And oft in the starry even the song of mourning 

rose, 
What time the oven smoked in the country of 

their foes ; 

For oft to loving hearts, and waiting ears and sight, 
The lads that went to forage returned not with the 

night. 
Now first the children sickened, and then the 

women paled, 
And the great arms of the warrior no more for war 

availed. 
Hushed was the deep drum, discarded was the 

dance ; 
And those that met the priest now glanced at him 

askance. 

p. 259 ! 



260 BALLADS 



r ere ruby- 



The priest was a man of years, his eyes were 

red, 2 
He neither feared the dark nor the terrors of the 

dead, 
He knew the songs of races, the names of ancient 

date ; 
And the beard upon his bosom would have bought 

the chief's estate. 
He dwelt in a high-built lodge, hard by the roaring 

shore, 

Raised on a noble terrace and with tikis 3 at the door. 
Within it was full of riches, for he served his nation 

well, 
And full of the sound of breakers, like the hollow 

of a shell. 
For weeks he let them perish, gave never a helping 

sign, 
But sat on his oiled platform to commune with the 

divine 
But sat on his high terrace, with the tikis by his 

side, 

And stared on the blue ocean, like a parrot, ruby- 
eyed. 
Dawn as yellow as sulphur leaped on the mountain 

height : 
Out on the round of the sea the gems of the morning 

light, 
Up from the round of the sea the streamers of the 

sun ; 
But down in the depths of the valley the day was 

not begun. 
In the blue of the woody twilight burned red the 

cocoa-husk, 
And the women and men of the clan went forth to 

bathe, in the dusk, 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 261 

A word began to go round, a word, a whisper, a 

start: 
Hope that leaped in the bosom, fear that knocked 

on the heart : 
" See, the priest is not risen look, for his door is 

fast! 
" He is going to name the victims ; he is going to 

help us at last/' 

Thrice rose the sun to noon ; and ever, like one 

of the dead, 
The priest lay still in his house with the roar of the 

sea in his head ; 
There was never a foot on the floor, there was never 

a whisper of speech ; 

Only the leering tikis stared on the blinding beach. 
Again were the mountains fired, again the morning 

broke ; 
And all the houses lay still, but the house of the 

priest awoke. 
Close in their covering roofs lay and trembled the 

clan, 
But the aged, red-eyed priest ran forth like a 

lunatic man 
And the village panted to see him in the jewels of 

death again, 
In the silver beards of the old and the hair of 

women slain. 

Frenzy shook in his limbs, frenzy shone in his eyes, 
And still and again as he ran, the valley rang with 

his cries. 
All day long in the land, by cliff and thicket and 

den, 
He ran his lunatic rounds, and howled for the 

flesh of men ; 



262 BALLADS 



the 



All day long he ate not, nor ever drank of 

brook ; 
And all day long in their houses the people listened 

and shook 
All day long in their houses they listened with bated 

breath, 
And never a soul went forth, for the sight of the 

priest was death. 

Three were the days of his running, as the gods 

appointed of yore, 
Two the nights of his sleeping alone in the place 

of gore : 
The drunken slumber of frenzy twice he drank to 

the lees, 
On the sacred stones of the High-place under the 

sacred trees ; 
With a lamp at his ashen head he lay in the place 

of the feast, 
And the sacred leaves of the banyan rustled around 

the priest. 
Last, when the stated even fell upon terrace and 

tree, 
And the shade of the lofty island lay leagues away 

to sea, 
And all the valleys of verdure were heavy with 

manna and musk, 
The wreck of the red-eyed priest came gasping 

home in the dusk. 
He reeled across the village, he staggered along the 

shore, 
And between the leering tikis crept groping through 

his door. 
There went a stir through the lodges, the voice of 

speech awoke ; 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 263 

Once more from the builded platforms arose the 

evening smoke. 
And those who were mighty in war, and those 

renowned for an art 
Sat in their stated seats and talked of the morrow 

apart. 



II 

THE LOVERS 

Hark ! away in the woods for the ears of love 

are sharp- 

Stealthily, quietly touched, the note of the one- 
stringed harp. 4 
In the lighted house of her father, why should 

Taheia start ? 

Taheia heavy of hair, Taheia tender of heart, 
Taheia the well-descended, a bountiful dealer in 

love, 
Nimble of foot like the deer, and kind of eye like 

the dove ? 

Sly and shy as a cat, with never a change of face, 
Taheia slips to the door, like one that would breathe 

a space ; 
Saunters and pauses, and looks at the stars, and 

lists to the seas ; 
Then sudden and swift as a cat, she plunges under 

the trees. 
Swift as a cat she runs, with her garment gathered 

high, 

Leaping, nimble of foot, running, certain of eye ; 
And ever to guide her way over the smooth and 

the sharp. 



264 BALLADS 

Ever nearer and nearer the note of the one-stringed 

harp; 
Till at length, in a glade of the wood, with a naked 

mountain above, 
The sound of the harp thrown down, and she in 

the arms of her love. 
" Rua," " Taheia," they cry" my heart, my 

soul, and my eyes," 
And clasp and sunder and kiss, with lovely laughter 

and sighs, 
" Rua ! " " Taheia, my love/'" Rua, star of 

my night, 
Clasp me, hold me, and love me, single spring of 

delight." 

And Rua folded her close, he folded her near and 

long, 
The living knit to the living, and sang the lover's 

song: 

Night, night it is, night upon the palms. 
Night, night it is, the land wind has blown. 
Starry, starry night, over deep and height ; 
Love, love in the valley, love all alone. 

" Taheia, heavy of hair, a foolish thing have we 

done, 
To bind what gods have sundered unkindly into 

one. 
Why should a lowly lover have touched Taheia's 

skirt, 
Taheia the well-descended, and Rua child of the 

dirt?" 
" On high with the haka-ikis my father sits in 

state,* 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 265 

Ten times fifty kinsmen salute him in the gate ; . 
Round all his martial body, and in bands across his 

face, 

The marks of the tattooer proclaim his lofty place. 
I too, in the hands of the cunning, in the sacred 

cabin of palm, 5 
Have shrunk like the mimosa, and bleated like the 

lamb ; 
Round half my tender body that none shall clasp 

but you, 
For a crest and a fair adornment go dainty lines 

of blue. 

Love, love, beloved Rua, love levels all degrees, 
And the well-tattooed Taheia clings panting to 

your knees/' 

" Taheia, song of the morning, how long is the 

longest love ? 
A cry, a clasp of the hands, a star that falls from 

above ! 
Ever at morn in the blue, and at night when all 

is black, 
Ever it skulks and trembles with the hunter, Death, 

on its track. 
Hear me, Taheia, death ! For to-morrow the 

priest shall awake, 
And the names be named of the victims to bleed for 

the nation's sake ; 
And first of the numbered many that shall be 

slain ere noon, 

Rua the child of the dirt, Rua the kinless loon. 
For him shall the drum be beat, for him be raised 

the song, 
For him to the sacred High-place the chanting 

people throng, 



266 BALLADS 

For him the oven smoke as for a speechless beast, 
And the sire of my Taheia come greedy to the 

feast." 

" Rua, be silent, spare me. Taheia closes her ears. 
Pity my yearning heart, pity my girlish years ! 
Flee from the cruel hands, flee from the knife and 

coal, 
Lie hid in the deeps of the woods, Rua, sire of my 

soul ! " 

" Whither to flee, Taheia, whither in all of the land ? 
The fires of the bloody kitchen are kindled on every 

hand ; 
On every hand in the isle a hungry whetting of 

teeth, 

Eyes in the trees above, arms in the brush beneath. 
Patience to lie in wait, cunning to follow the 

sleuth, 
Abroad the foes I have fought, and at home the 

friends of my youth." 

" Love, love, beloved Rua, love has a clearer eye, 
Hence from the arms of love you go not forth to 

die. 
There, where the broken mountain drops sheer 

into the glen, 
There shall you find a hold from the boldest hunter 

of men ; 
There, in the deep recess, where the sun falls only 

at noon. 
And only once in the night enters the light of the 

moon, 
Nor ever a sound but of birds, or the rain when it 

falls with a shout ; 
For death and the fear of death beleaguer the valley 

about. , 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 267 

Tapu it is, but the gods will surely pardon despair ; 
Tapu, but what of that ? If Rua can only dare. 
Tapu and tapu and tapu, I know they are every 

one right ; 
But the god of every tapu is not always quick to 

smite. 

Lie secret there, my Rua, in the arms of awful gods, 
Sleep in the shade of the trees on the couch of the 

kindly sods, 
Sleep and dream of Taheia, Taheia will wake for 

you; 
And whenever the land-wind blows and the woods 

are heavy with dew, 
Alone through the horror of night, 6 with food for 

the soul of her love. 
Taheia the undissuaded will hurry true as the 

dove/' 



" Taheia, the pit of the night crawls with 

treacherous things, 

Spirits of ultimate air and the evil souls of things ; 
The souls of the dead, the stranglers, that perch 

in the trees of the wood, 
Waiters for all things human, haters of evil and 

good." 

" Rua, behold me, kiss me, look in my eyes and 

read ; 
Are these the eyes of a maid that would leave her 

lover in need ? 
Brave in the eye of day, my father ruled in the 

fight; 
The child of his loins, Taheia, will play the man in 

the night." 



268 BALLADS 

So it was spoken, and so agreed, and Taheia arose 
And smiled in the stars and was gone, swift as the 

swallow goes ; 
And Rua stood on the hill, and sighed, and followed 

her flight, 
And there were the lodges below, each with its 

door alight ; 
From folk that sat on the terrace and drew out the 

even long 
Sudden crowings of laughter, monotonous drone of 

song ; 
The quiet passage of souls over his head in the 

trees ; 7 
And from all around the haven the crumbling 

thunder of seas. 
" Farewell, my home," said Rua. " Farewell, O 

quiet seat ! 
To-morrow in all your valleys the drum of death 

shall beat." 

Ill 

THE FEAST 

Dawn as yellow as sulphur leaped on the naked 

peak, 
And all the village was stirring, for now was the 

priest to speak. 
Forth on his terrace he came, and sat with the 

chief in talk ; 
His lips were blackened with fever, his cheeks wei 

whiter than chalk ; 
Fever clutched at his hands, fever nodded his head, 
But, quiet and steady and cruel, his eyes shone 

ruby-red. 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 269 

In the earliest rays of the sun the chief rose up 
content ; 

Braves were summoned, and drummers ; mes- 
sengers came and went ; 

Braves ran to their lodges, weapons were snatched 
from the wall ; 

The commons herded together, and fear was over 
them all. 

Festival dresses they wore, but the tongue was dry 
in their mouth, 

And the blinking eyes in their faces skirted from 
north to south. 

Now to the sacred enclosure gathered the greatest 

and least, 
And from under the shade of the banyan arose the 

voice of the feast, 

The frenzied roll of the drum, and a swift, mono- 
tonous song. 
Higher the sun swam up ; the trade-wind level and 

strong 
Awoke in the tops of the palms and rattled the 

fans aloud, 
And over the garlanded heads and shining robes of 

the crowd 
Tossed the spiders of shadow, scattered the jewels 

of sun. 
Forty the tale of the drums, and the forty throbbed 

like one ; 
A thousand hearts in the crowd, and the even 

chorus of song, 
Swift as the feet of a runner, trampled a thousand 

strong. 
And the old men leered at the ovens and licked 

their lips for the food ; 



270 BALLADS 

And the women stared at the lads, and laughed 

and looked to the wood. 
As when the sweltering baker, at night, when the 

city is dead, 
Alone in the trough of labour treads and fashions 

the bread ; 
So in the heat, and the reek, and the touch of 

woman and man, 
The naked spirit of evil kneaded the hearts of the 

clan. 

Now cold was at many a heart, and shaking in 

many a seat ; 
For there were the empty baskets, but who was to 

furnish the meat ? 
For here was the nation assembled, and there were 

the ovens anigh, 
And out of a thousand singers nine were numbered 

to die. 

Till, of a sudden, a shock, a mace in the air, a yell, 
And, struck in the edge of the crowd, the first of 

the victims fell. 8 

Terror and horrible glee divided the shrinking clan, 
Terror of what was to follow, glee for a diet of man. 
Frenzy hurried the chaunt, frenzy rattled the 

drums ; 
The nobles, high on the terrace, greedily mouthed 

their thumbs ; 
And once and again and again, in the ignorant 

crowd below, 
Once and again and again descended the murderous 

blow. 
Now smoked the oven, and now, with the cutting 

lip of a shell, 
A butcher of ninety winters jointed the bodies well. 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 271 

Unto the carven lodge, silent, in order due, 

The grandees of the nation one after one with- 
drew ; 

And a line of laden bearers brought to the terrace 
foot, 

On poles across their shoulders, the last reserve of 
fruit. 

The victims bled for the nobles in the old appointed 
way; 

The fruit was spread for the commons, for all should 
eat to-day. 

And now was the kava brewed, and now the cocoa 

ran, 
Now was the hour of the dance for child and woman 

and man ; 
And mirth was in every heart, and a garland on 

every head, 
And all was well with the living and well with the 

eight who were dead. 
Only the chiefs and the priest talked and consulted 

a while : " 

" To-morrow/' they said, and " 

nodded and seemed to smile 
" Rua the child of dirt, the creaturi pi coi 
Rua must die to-morrow, since Ruaus gone 

Out of the groves of the valley, 

blackbirds sang, 
Sheer from the trees of the valley the face of the 

mountain sprang ; 

Sheer and bare it rose, unscalable barricade, 
Beaten and blown against by the generous draught 

of the trade. 
Dawn on its fluted brow painted rainbow light, 




272 BALLADS 

Close on its pinnacled crown trembled the stars 

at night. 

Here and there in a cleft clustered contorted trees, 
Or the silver beard of a stream hung and swung 

in the breeze, 
High overhead, with a cry, the torrents leaped for 

the main, 
And silently sprinkled below in thin perennial 

rain. 

Dark in the staring noon, dark was Rua's ravine, 
Damp and cold was the air, and the face of the 

cliffs was green. 

Here, in the rocky pit, accursed already of old, 
On a stone in the midst of a river, Rua sat and was 

cold. 

" Valley of mid-day shadows, valley of silent falls," 
Rua sang, and his voice went hollow about the 

walls, 
" Valley of shadow and rock, a doleful prison to 

me, 
What is the life you can give to a child of the sun 

and the sea ? " 

And Rua arose and came to the open mouth of the 

> glen, 
Whence he beheld the woods, and the sea, and 

houses of men. 
Wide blew the riotous trade, and smelt in his 

nostrils good ; 
It bowed the boats on the bay, and tore and divided 

the wood ; 
It smote and sundered the groves as Moses smote 

with the rod, 
And the streamers of all the trees blew like banners 

abroad ; 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 273 

And ever and on, in a lull, the trade-wind brought 

him along 
A far-off patter of drums and a far-off whisper of 

song. 

Swift as the swallow's wings, the diligent hands 

on the drum 
Fluttered and hurried and throbbed. " Ah, woe 

that I hear you come," 

Rua cried in his grief, " a sorrowful sound to me, 
Mounting far and faint from the resonant shore 

of the sea 1 
Woe in the song ! for the grave breathes in the 

singers' breath, 
And I hear in the tramp of the drums the beat of 

the heart of death. 
Home of my youth ! no more, through all the 

length of the years, 
No more to the place of the echoes of early laughter 

and tears, 
No more shall Rua return ; no more as the evening 

ends, 
To crowded eyes of welcome, to the reaching hands 

of friends/' 

All day long from the High-place the drums and 

the singing came, 
And the even fell, and the sun went down, a wheel 

of flame ; 
And night came gleaning the shadows and hushing 

the sounds of the wood ; 
And silence slept on all, where Rua sorrowed and 

stood. 
But still from the shore of the bay the sound of the 

festival rang, 



274 BALLADS 

And still the crowd in the High-place danced and 

shouted and sang. 

Now over all the isle terror was breathed abroad 
Of shadowy hands from the trees and shadowy 

snares in the sod ; 
And before the nostrils of night, the shuddering 

hunter of men 
Hurried, with beard on shoulder, back to his lighted 

den. 
" Taheia, here to my side ! " " Rua, my Rua, 

you ! " 
And cold from the clutch of terror, cold with the 

damp of the dew, 
Taheia, heavy of hair, leaped through the dark to 

his arms ; 
Taheia leaped to his clasp, and was folded in from 

alarms. 



" Rua, beloved, here, see what your love has 

brought ; 
Coming alas ! returning swift as the shuttle of 

thought ; 
Returning, alas ! for to-night, with the beaten drum 

and the voice, 
In the shine of many torches must the sleepless clan 

rejoice ; 
And Taheia the well-descended, the daughter of 

chief and priest, 
Taheia must sit in her place in the crowded bench 

of the feast." 
So it was spoken ; and she, girding her garment 

high, 
Fled and was swallowed of woods, swift as the sight 

of an eye. 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 275 

Night over isle and sea rolled her curtain of stars, 
Then a trouble awoke in the air, the east was 

banded with bars ; 
Dawn as yellow as sulphur leaped on the mountain 

height ; 

Dawn, in the deepest glen, fell a wonder of light ; 
High and clear stood the palms in the eye of the 

brightening east, 
And lo ! from the sides of the sea the broken sound 

of the feast ! 
As, when in days of summer, through open windows, 

the fly 

Swift as a breeze and loud as a trump goes by, 
But when frosts in the field have pinched the 

wintering mouse, 
Blindly noses and buzzes and hums in the firelit 

house : 
So the sound of the feast gallantly trampled at 

night, 
So it staggered and drooped, and droned in the 

morning light. 



IV 

THE RAID 

It chanced that as Rua sat in the valley of silent 
falls, 

He heard a calling of doves from high on the cliffy 
walls. 

Fire had fashioned of yore, and time had broken, 
the rocks ; 

There were rooting crannies for trees and nesting- 
places for flocks ; 



276 



BALLADS 



And he saw on the top of the cliffs, looking up from 

the pit of the shade, 
A flicker of wings and sunshine, and trees that 

swung in the trade. 
" The trees swing in the trade," quoth Rua, doubt- 
ful of words, 
" And the sun stares from the sky, but what should 

trouble the birds ? " 
Up from the shade he gazed, where high the parapet 

shone, 
And he was aware of a ledge and of things that 

moved thereon. 
" What manner of things are these ? Are they 

spirits abroad by day ? 
Or the foes of my clan that are come, bringing 

death by a perilous way ? " 

The valley was gouged like a vessel, and round like 

the vessel's lip, 
With a cape of the side of the hill thrust forth like 

the bows of a ship. 
On the top of the face of the cape a volley of sun 

struck fair, 
And the cape overhung like a chin a gulf of sunless 

air. 
" Silence, heart ! What is that ? that, which 

flickered and shone, 
Into the sun for an instant, and in an instant gone ? 
Was it a warrior's plume, a warrior's girdle of hair ? 
Swung in the loop of a rope, is he making a bridge 

of the air ? " 

Once and again Rua saw, in the trenchant edge 

of the sky, 
The giddy conjuring done. And then, in the blink 

of an eye, 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 277 

A scream caught in with the breath, a whirling 

packet of limbs, 
A lump that dived in the gulf, more swift than a 

dolphin swims ; 
And there was a lump at his feet, and eyes were 

alive in the lump 
Sick was the soul of Rua, ambushed close in a 

clump ; 
Sick of soul he drew near, making his courage 

stout ; 
And he looked in the face of the thing, and the life 

of the thing went out. 
And he gazed on the tattooed limbs, and, behold, 

he knew the man : 
Hoka, a chief of the Vais, the truclulent foe of his 

clan : 
Hoka a moment since that stepped in the loop of the 

rope, 
Filled with the lust of war, and alive with courage 

and hope. 

Again to the giddy cornice Rua lifted his eyes, 
And again beheld men passing in the armpit of the 

skies. 
" Foes of my race ! " cried Rua, " the mouth of 

Rua is true : 
Never a shark in the deep is nobler of soul than 

you. 
There was never a nobler foray, never a bolder 

plan; 
Never a dizzier path was trod by the children of 

man ; 
And Rua, your evil-dealer through all the days of 

his years, 
Counts it honour to hate you, honour to fall by 

your spears." 



278 BALLADS 

And Rua straightened his back. " O Vais, a 

scheme for a scheme ! " 
Cried Rua and turned and descended the turbulent 

stair of the stream, 
Leaping from rock to rock as the water-wagtail at 

home 
Flits through resonant valleys and skims by 

boulder and foam. 
And Rua burst from the glen and leaped on the 

shore of the brook, 
And straight for the roofs of the clan his vigorous 

way he took. 
Swift were the heels of his flight, and loud behind 

as he went 
Rattled the leaping stones on the line of his long 

descent. 
And ever he thought as he ran, and caught at his 

gasping breath, 
" O the fool of a Rua, Rua that runs to his death ! 
But the right is the right," thought Rua, and ran 

like the wind on the foam, 
" The right is the right for ever, and home for ever 

home. 
For what though the oven smoke ? And what 

though I die ere morn ? 
There was I nourished and tended, and there was 

Taheia born." 
Noon was high on the High-place, the second noon 

of the feast ; 
And heat and shameful slumber weighed on people 

and priest ; 
And the heart drudged slow in bodies heavy with 

monstrous meals ; 
And the senseless limbs were scattered abroad like 

spokes > of wheels ; 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 279 

And crapulous women sat and stared at the stones 

anigh 
With a bestial droop of the lip and a swinish 

rheum in the eye. 
As about the dome of the bees in the time for the 

drones to fall, 
The dead and the maimed are scattered, and lie, 

and stagger, and crawl ; 
So on the grades of the terrace, in the ardent eye 

of the day, 
The half-awake and the sleepers clustered and 

crawled and lay ; 
And loud as the dome of the bees, in the time of a 

swarming horde, 
A horror of many insects hung in the air and 

roared. 
Rua looked and wondered ; he said to himself in 

his heart : 
" Poor are the pleasures of life, and death is the 

better part." 
But lo ! on the higher benches a cluster of tranquil 

folk 
Sat by themselves, nor raised their serious eyes, 

nor spoke : 
Women with robes unruffled and garlands duly 

arranged, 
Gazing far from the feast with faces of people 

estranged ; 
And quiet amongst the quiet, and fairer than all 

the fair, 

Taheia, the well-descended, Taheia, heavy of hair. 
And the soul of Rua awoke, courage enlightened 

his eyes, 
And he uttered a summoning shout and called on 

the clan to rise. 



28o BALLADS 

Over against him at once, in the spotted shade of 

the trees, 
Owlish and blinking creatures scrambled to hands 

and knees ; 
On the grades of the sacred terrace, the driveller 

woke to fear, 
And the hand of the ham-drooped warrior 

brandished a wavering spear. 

And Rua folded his arms, and scorn discovered his 

teeth ; 
Above the war-crowd gibbered, and Rua stood 

smiling beneath. 
Thick, like leaves in the autumn, faint, like April 

sleet, 
Missiles from tremulous hands quivered around 

his feet ; 
And Taheia leaped from her place ; and the priest, 

the ruby-eyed, 
Ran to the front of the terrace, and brandished his 

arms, and cried : 
" Hold, O fools, he brings tidings ! " and " Hold, 

'tis the love of my heart ! " 
Till lo ! in front of the terrace, Rua pierced with a 

dart. 

Taheia cherished his head, and the aged priest 

stood by, 
And gazed with eyes of ruby at Rua's darkening 

eye. 

" Taheia, here is the end, I die a death for a man. 
I have given the lif e of my soul to save an unsavable 

clan ! 
See them, the drooping of hams ! behold me the 

blinking crew : 



THE FEAST OF FAMINE 281 

Fifty spears they cast, and one of fifty true ! 
And you, O priest, the foreteller, foretell for yourself 

if you can, 
Foretell the hour of the day when the Vais shall 

burst on your clan ! 
By the head of the tapu cleft, with death and fire 

in their hand, 
Thick and silent like ants, the warriors swarm 

in the land." 

And they tell that when next the sun had climbed 

to the noonday skies, 
It shone on the smoke of feasting in the country of 

the Vais. 



TICONDEROGA 

A LEGEND OF THE WEST HIGHLANDS 



TICONDEROGA 

THIS is the tale of the man 

Who heard a word in the night 
In the land of the heathery hills, 

In the days of the feud and the .fight. 
By the sides of the rainy sea, 

Where never a stranger came, 
On the awful lips of the dead, 

He heard the outlandish name. 
It sang in his sleeping ears, 

It hummed in his waking head : 
The name Ticonderoga, 

The utterance of the dead. 



THE SAYING OF THE NAME 

On the loch-sides of Appin, 

When the mist blew from the sea, 
A Stewart stood with a Cameron : 

An angry man was he. 
The blood beat in his ears, 

The blood ran hot to his head, 
The mist blew from the sea, 

And there was the Cameron dead. 
285 



286 BALLADS 

" O, what have I done to my friend, 

O, what have I done to mysel', 
That he should be cold and dead, 

And I in the danger of all ? 
Nothing but danger about me, 

Danger behind and before, 
Death at wait in the heather 

In Appin and Mamore, 
Hate at all of the ferries 

And death at each of the fords, 
Camerons priming gunlocks 

And .Camerons sharpening swords." 



But this was a man of counsel, 

This was a man of a score, 
There dwelt no pawkier Stewart 

In Appin or Mamore. 
He looked on the blowing mist, 

He looked on the awful dead, 
And there came a smile on his face 

And there slipped a thought in his head. 





Out over cairn and moss, 

Out over scrog and scaur, 
He ran as runs the clansman 

That bears the cross of war. 
His heart beat in his body, 

His hair clove to his face, 
When he came at last in the gloaming 

To the dead man's brother's place. 
The east was white with the moon, 

The west with the sun was red, 
And there, in the house-doorway, 

Stood the brother of the dead. 



TICONDEROGA 287 

" I have slain a man to my danger, 

I have slain a man to my death. 
I put my soul in your hands," 

The panting Stewart saith. 
" I lay it bare in your hands, 

For I know your hands are leal ; 
And be you my targe and bulwark 

From the bullet and the steel." 

Then up and spoke the Cameron, 

And gave him his hand again : 
" There shall never a man in Scotland 

Set faith in me in vain ; 
And whatever man you have slaughtered, 

Of whatever name or line, 
By my sword and yonder mountain 

I make your quarrel mine. 1 
I bid you in to my fireside, 

I share with you house and hall ; 
It stands upon my honour 

To see you safe from all." 

It fell in the time of midnight, 

When the fox barked in the den 
And the plaids were over the faces 

In all the houses of men, 
That as the living Cameron 

Lay sleepless on his bed, 
Out of the night and the other world, 

Came in to him the dead. 

" My blood is on the heather, 

My bones are on the hill ; 
There is joy in the home of ravens 

That the young shall eat their fill. 




288 BALLADS 

My blood is poured in the dust, 
My soul is spilled in the air ; 

And the man that has undone me 
Sleeps in my brother's care." 

" I'm wae for your death, my brother, 
But if all of my house were dead, 

I couldnae withdraw the plighted hand 
Nor break the word once said." 

" O, what shall I say to our father, 

In the place to which I fare ? 
O, what shall I say to our mother, 

Who greets to see me there ? 
And to all the kindly Camerons 

That have lived and died long-syne 
Is this the word you send them, 

Fause-hearted brother mine ? " 

" It's neither fear nor duty, 

It's neither quick nor dead 
Shall gar me withdraw the plighted hand] 

Or break the word once said." 

Thrice in the time of midnight, 

When the fox barked in the den, 
And the plaids were over the faces 

In all the houses of men, 
Thrice as the living Cameron 

Lay sleepless on his bed, 
Out of the night and the other world 

Came in to him the dead, 
And cried to him for vengeance 

On the man that laid him low ; 
And thrice the living Cameron 

Told the dead Cameron, no. 



TICONDEROGA 289 

" Thrice have you seen me, brother, 

But now shall see me no more, 
Till you meet your angry fathers 

Upon the farther shore. 
Thrice have I spoken, and now, 

Before the cock be heard, 
I take my leave for ever 

With the naming of a word. 
It shall sing in your sleeping ears, 

It shall hum in your waking head, 
The name Ticonderoga, 

And the warning of the dead." 

Now when the night was over 

And the time of people's fears, 
The Cameron walked abroad, 

And the word was in his ears. 



" Many a name I know, 

But never a name like this ; 
O, where shall I find a skilly man 

Shall teU me what it is ? '' 
With many a man he counselled 

Of high and low degree, 
With the herdsmen on the mountains 

And the fishers of the sea. 
And he came and went unweary, 

And read the books of yore, 
And the runes that were written of old 

On stones upon the moor. 
And many a name he was told, 

But never the name of his fears 
Never, in east or west, 

The name that rang in his ears : 



2QO BALLADS 

Names of men and of clans, 

Names for the grass and the tree, 
For the smallest tarn in the mountains, 

The smallest reef in the sea : 
Names for the high and low, 

The names of the craig and the flat ; 
But in all the land of Scotland, 

Never a name like that. 



II 

THE SEEKING OF THE NAME 

And now there was speech in the south, 

And a man of the south that was wise, 
A periwig'd lord of London, 2 

Called on the clans to rise. 
And the riders rode, and the summons 

Came to the western shore, 
To the land of the sea and the heather, 

To Appin and Mamore. 
It called on all to gather 

From every scrog and scaur, 
That loved their fathers' tartan 

And the ancient game of war. 
And down the watery valley 

And up the windy hill, 
Once more, as in the olden, 

The pipes were sounding shrill ; 
Again in highland sunshine 

The naked steel was bright ; 
And the lads, once more in tartan 

Went forth again to fight. 



TICONDEROGA 291 

" O, why should I dwell here 

With a weird upon my Hfe, 
When the clansmen shout for battle 

And the war-swords clash in strife ? 
I cannae joy at feast, 

I cannae sleep in bed, 
For the wonder of the word 

Aiid the warning of the dead. 
It sings in my sleeping ears, 

It hums hi my waking head, 
The name Ticonderoga, 

The utterance of the dead. 
Then up, and with the fighting men 

To march away from here, 
Till the cry of the great war-pipe 

Shall drown it in my ear ! " 

Where flew King George's ensign 

The plaided soldiers went : 
They drew the sword in Germany, 

In Flanders pitched the tent. 
The bells of foreign cities 

Rang far across the plain : 
They passed the happy Rhine, 

They drank the rapid Main. 
Through Asiatic jungles 

The Tartans filed their way 
And the neighing of the war-pipes 

Struck terror in Cathay. 3 

" Many a name have I heard," he thougnt, 

" In all the tongues of men, 
Full many a name both here and there, 

Full many both now and then. 

P. K 



292 BALLADS 

When I was at home in my father's house 

In the land of the naked knee, 
Between the eagles that fly in the lift 

And the herrings that swim in the sea, 
And now that I am a captain-man 

With a braw cockade in my hat 
Many a name have I heard/' he thought, 

" But never a name like that." 



Ill 

THE PLACE OF THE NAME 

There fell a war in a woody place, 

Lay far across the sea, 
A war of the march in the mirk midnight 

And the shot from behind the tree, 
The shaven head and the 

The silent foot in the 
In a land of a strange, youlrlumdish 

That was hard to befund*' " 







It fell about the gloamil 

The general stood withN^is 
He stood and he looked east^SffcTwest 

With little mind to laugh. 
" Far have I been and much have I seen, 

And kennt both gain and loss, 
But here we have woods on every hand 

And a kittle water to cross. 
Far have I been and much have I seen, 

But never the beat of this ; 
And there's one must go down to that waterside 

To see how deep it is." 



TICONDEROGA 293 

It fell in the dusk of the night 

When unco things betide, 
The skilly captain, the Cameron, 

Went down to that waterside. 
Canny and soft the captain went ; 

And a man of the woody land, 
With the shaven head and the painted face, 

Went down at his right hand. 
It fell in the quiet night, 

There was never a sound to ken ; 
But all of the woods to the right and the left 

Lay filled with the painted men. 

" Far have I been and much have I seen, 

Both as a man and boy, 
But never have I set forth a foot 

On so perilous an employ/' 
It fell in the dusk of the night 

When unco things betide, 
That he was aware of a captain-man 

Drew near to the waterside. 
He was aware of his coming 

Down in the gloaming alone ; 
And he looked in the face of the man 

And lo ! the face was his own. 



' This is my weird," he said, 

" And now I ken the worst ; 
For many shall fall the morn, 

But I shall fall with the first. 
0, you of the outland tongue, 

You of the painted face, 
This is the place of my death ; 

Can you tell me the name of the place ? " 



294 BALLADS 

" Since the Frenchmen have been here 

They have called it Sault-Marie ; 
But that is a name for priests, 

And not for you and me. 
It went by another word," 

Quoth he of the shaven head : 
" It was called Ticonderoga 

In the days of the great dead." 

And it fell on the morrow's morning, 

In the fiercest of the fight, 
That the Cameron bit the dust 

As he foretold at night ; 
And far from the hills of heather, 

Far from the isles of the sea, 
He sleeps in the place of the name 

As it was doomed to be. 




HEATHER ALE 

A GALLOWAY LEGEND 



HEATHER ALE 

A GALLOWAY LEGEND 

FROM the bonny bells of heather 

They brewed a drink long-syne, 
Was sweeter far than honey, 

Was stronger far than wine. 
They brewed it and they drank it, 

And lay in a blessed swound 
For days and days together 

In their dwellings underground. 

There rose a king in Scotland 

A feh 1 man to his foes, 
He smote the Picts in battle, 

He hunted them like roes. 
Over miles of the red mountain 

He hunted as they fled, 
And strewed the dwarfish bodies 

Of the dying and the dead. 

Summer came in the country, 

Red was the heather bell ; 
But the manner of the brewing 

Was none alive to tell. 
In graves that were like children's 

On many a mountain head, 
The Brewsters of the Heather 

Lay numbered with the dead. 
297 



298 BALLADS 

The king in the red moorland 

Rode on a summer's day ; 
And the bees hummed, and the curlews 

Cried beside the way. 
The king rode, and was angry, 

Black was his brow and pale, 
To rule in a land of heather 

And lack the Heather Ale. 

It fortuned that his vassals, 
^ Riding free on the heath, 
Came on a stone that was fallen 

And vermin hid beneath. 
Rudely plucked from their hiding, 

Never a word they spoke : 
A son and his aged father 

Last of the dwarfish folk. 

The king sat high on his charger, 

He looked on the little men ; 
And the dwarfish and swarthy couple 

Looked at the king again. 
Down by the shore he had them ; 

And there on the giddy brink 
" I will give you life, ye vermin, 

For the secret of the drink." 

There stood the son and father, 

And they looked high and low ; 
The heather was red around them, 

The sea rumbled below. 
And up and spoke the father, 

Shrill was his voice to hear : 
" I have a word in private, 

A word for the royal ear. 



HEATHER ALE 299 

" Life is dear to the aged, 

And honour a little thing, 
I would gladly sell the secret," 

Quoth the Pict to the King. 
His voice was small as a sparrow's, 

And shrill and wonderful clear : 
" I would gladly sell my secret," 

Only my son I fear. 

" For life is a little matter, 

And death is nought to the young 
And I dare not sell my honour 

Under the eye of my son. 
Take him, O king, and bind him, 

And cast him far in the deep ; 
And it's I will tell the secret 

That I have sworn to keep." 

They took the son and bound him, 

Neck and heels in a thong, 
And a lad took him and swung him, 

And flung him far and strong, 
And the sea swallowed his body, 

Like that of a child of ten ; 
And there on the cliff stood the father, 

Last of the dwarfish men. 

" True was the word I told you : 

Only my son I feared ; 
For I doubt the sapling courage 

That goes without the beard. 
But now in vain is the torture, 

Fire shall never avail : 
Here dies in my bosom 

The secret of Heather Ale." 



CHRISTMAS AT SEA 



CHRISTMAS AT SEA 

THE sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the 

naked hand ; 
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce 

could stand ; 
The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the 

sea ; 
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only 

things a-lee. 

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of 

day; 
But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how 

ill we lay. 
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a 

shout, 
And we gave her the maintops'!, and stood by to 

go about. 

All day we tacked and tacked between the South 

Head and the North ; 
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no 

further forth ; 

All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread, 
For very life and nature we tacked from head to 

head. 

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide- 
race roared ; 

But every tack we made we brought the North 
Head close aboard : 
303 



304 BALLADS 

So's we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers 

running high, 
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass 

against his eye. 
The frost was on the village roofs as white as 

ocean foam ; 
The good red fires were burning bright in every 

longshore home ; 
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys 

volleyed out ; 
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel 

went about. 

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty 

jovial cheer ; 
For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days 

in the year) 
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas 

morn, 
And the house above the coastguard's was the 

house where I was born 
O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces 

there, 
My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver 

hair ; 
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely 

elves, 
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon 

the shelves. 

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that 

was of me, 
Of the shadow on the household and the son that 

went to sea ; 



CHRISTMAS AT SEA 305 

And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of 

way, 
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed 

Christmas Day 

% 

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began 

to fall 
" All hands to loose topgallant sails/' I heard the 

captain call. 
" By the Lord, she'll never stand it," our first 

mate Jackson cried. 
..." It's the one way or the other, Mr. 

Jackson," he replied. 
She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were 

new and good, 
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though 

she understood. 
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the 

night, 
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below 

the light. 

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on 

board but me, 
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out 

to sea ; 
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and 

the cold, 
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks 

were growing old. 



NOTES 



NOTES TO THE SONG OF RAHfiRO 

INTRODUCTION. This tale, of which I have not consciously 
changed a single feature, I received from tradition. It is 
highly popular through all the country of the eight Tevas, 
the clan to which Rahero belonged ; and particularly in 
Taiarapu, the windward peninsula of Tahiti, where he lived. 
I have heard from end to end two versions ; and as many 
as five different persons have helped me with details. There 
seems no reason why the tale should not be true. 

Note i, page 224. " The alto," quasi champion, or brave. 
One skilled in the use of some weapon, who wandered the 
country challenging distinguished rivals and taking part in 
local quarrels. It was in the natural course of his advance- 
ment to be at last employed by a chief, or king ; and it would 
then be a part of his duties to purvey the victim for sacrifice. 
One of the doomed families was indicated ; the aito took his 
weapon and went forth alone ; a little behind him bearers 
followed with the sacrificial basket. Sometimes the victim 
showed fight, sometimes prevailed ; more often, without 
doubt, he fell. But whatever body was found, the bearers 
indifferently took up. 

Note 2, page 225, et. seq. " Pai," " Honoura," and " Ahupu." 
Legendary persons of Tahiti, all natives of Taiarapu. Of the 
first two, I have collected singular, although imperfect, legends, 
which I hope soon to lay before the public in another place. 
Of Ahupu, except in snatches of song, little memory appears 
to linger. She dwelt at least about Tepari " the sea-cliffs " 
the eastern fastness of the isle ; walked by paths known only 
to herself upon the mountains ; was courted by dangerous 
suitors who came swimming from adjacent islands, and 
defended and rescued (as I gather) by the loyalty of native 
fish. My anxiety to learn more of " Ahupu Vehine " became 
(during my stay in Taiarapu) a cause of some diversion to that 
mirthful people, the inhabitants. 

307 



3o8 NOTES 

Note 3, page 227. " Covered an oven." The cooking fire is 
made in a hole in the ground, and is then buried. 

Note 4, page 227. " Flies." This is perhaps an anachronism. 
Even speaking of to-day in Tahiti, the phrase would have to be 
understood as referring mainly to mosquitoes, and these only 
in watered valleys with close woods, such as I suppose to form 
the surroundings of Rahero's homestead. A quarter of a mile 
away, where the air moves freely, you shall look in vain for 
one. 

Note 5, page 229. " Hook " of mother-of-pearl. Bright- 
hook fishing, and that with the spear, appear to be the 
favourite native methods. 

Note 6, page 230. " Leaves," the plates of Tahiti. 

Note 7, page 230. " Yottowas," so spelt for convenience of 
pronunciation, quasi Tacksmen in the Scottish Highlands. 
The organisation of eight sub-districts and eight yottowas 
to a division, which was in use (until yesterday) among the 
Tevas, I have attributed without authority to the next clan ; 
see page 242. 

Note 8, page 232. " Omare," pronounced as a dactyl. A 
loaded quarter-staff, one of the two favourite weapons of the 
Tahitian brave : the javelin, or casting spear, was the other. 

Note 9, page 234. " The ribbon of light." Still to be seen 
(and heard) spinning from one marae to another on Tahiti ; 
or so I have it upon evidence that would rejoice the Psychical 
Society. 

Note 10, page 235. " Namunu-ura." The complete name is 
Namunu-ura te aropa. Why it should be pronounced Namunu, 
dactyllically, I cannot see, but so I have always heard it. 
This was the clan immediately beyond the Tevas on the south 
coast of the island. At the date of the tale the clan organisa- 
tion must have been very weak. There is no particular 
mention of Tamat6a's mother going to Papara, to the heacf 
chief of her own clan, which would appear her natural recourse 
On the other hand, she seems to have visited various lesser 
chiefs among the Tevas, and these to have excused themselves 
solely on the danger of the enterprise. The broad distinction 
here drawn between Nateva and Namunu-ura is therefore not 
impossibly anachronistic. 



NOTES 309 

Note ii, page 235. " Hiopa the king." Hiopa was really 
the name of the king (chief) of Vaiau ; but I could never learn 
that of the king of Paea pronounce to rhyme with the Indian 
ayah and I gave the name where it was most needed. This 
note must appear otiose indeed to readers who have never 
heard of either of these two gentlemen ; and perhaps there is 
only one person in the world capable at once of reading my 
verses and spying the inaccuracy. For him, for Mr. Tati 
Salmon, hereditary high chief of the Tevas, the note is solely 
written ; a small attention from a clansman to his chief. 

Note 12, page 236. " Let the pigs be tapu." It is impossible 
to explain tapu in a note ; we have it as an English word, 
taboo. Suffice it, that a thing which was tapu must not be 
touched, nor a place that was tapu visited. 

Note 13, page 243. " Fish, the food of desire" There is a 
special word in the Tahitian language to signify hungering 
after fish. I may remark that here is one of my chief diffi- 
culties about the whole story. How did king, commons, 
women, and all come to eat together at this feast ? But it 
troubled none of my numerous authorities ; so there must 
certainly be some natural explanation. 

Note 14, page 247. " The mustering word of the clan." 

Te va te va, 
Teva te matai ! 

Teva the wind, 
Teva the rain ! 

Note 15, page 254. Note 16, page 29. " The star of the dead." 
Venus as a morning star. I have collected much curious 
evidence as to this belief. The dead retain their taste for a 
fish diet, enter into copartnery with living fishers, and haunt 
the reef and the lagoon. The conclusion attributed to the 
nameless lady of the legend would be reached to-day, under 
the like circumstances, by ninety per cent, of Polynesians : 
and here I probably understate by one-tenth. 



NOTES TO THE FEAST OF FAMINE 

In this ballad, I have strung together some of the more 
striking particularities of the Marquesas. It rests upon no 
authority ; it is in no sense, like " Rahero," a native story ; 



3 io NOTES 

but a patchwork of details of manners and the impressions of a 
traveller. It may seem strange, when the scene is laid upon 
these profligate islands, to make the story hinge on love. But 
love is not less known in the Marquesas than elsewhere ; nor 
is there any cause of suicide more common in the islands. 

Note i, page 259. " Pit of popoi." Where the bread-fruit 
was stored for preservation. 

Note 2, page 260. " Ruby-red." The priest's eyes were 
probably red from the abuse of kava. His beard (page 33) 
is said to be worth an estate ; for the beards of old men are 
the favourite head-adornment of the Marquesans, as the hair 
of women formed their most costly girdle. The former, 
among this generally beardless and short-lived people, fetch 
to-day considerable sums. 

Note 3, page 260. " Tikis" The tiki is an ugly image hewn 
out of wood or stone. 

Note 4, page 263. " The one-stringed harp." Usually em- 
ployed for serenades. 

Note 5, page 265. " The sacred cabin of palm." Which, 
however, no woman could approach. I do not know where 
women were tattooed ; probably in the common house, or 
in the bush, for a woman was a creature of small account. 
I must guard the reader against supposing Taheia was at all 
disfigured ; the art of the Marquesan tattooer is extreme ; 
and she would appear to be clothed in a web of lace, inimitably 
delicate, exquisite in pattern, and of a bluish hue that at once 
contrasts and harmonises with the warm pigment of the native 
skin. It would be hard to find a woman more becomingly 
adorned than " a well-tattooed " Marquesan. 

Note 6, page 267. " The horror of night." The Polynesian 
fear of ghosts and of the dark has been already referred to. 
Their life is beleaguered by the dead. 

Note 7, page 268. " The quiet passage of souls." So, I am 
told, the natives explain the sound of a little wind passing 
overhead unfelt. 

Note 8, page 269. " The first of the victims fell" Without 
doubt, this whole scene is untrue to fact. The victims were 
disposed of privately and some time before. And indeed I am 
far from claiming the credit of any high degree of accuracy 



NOTES 311 

for this ballad. Even in a time of famine, it is probable that 
Marquesan life went far more gaily than is here represented. 
But the melancholy of to-day lies on the writer's mind. 



NOTES TO TICONDEROGA 

INTRODUCTION. I first heard this legend of my own country 
from that friend of men of letters, Mr. Alfred Nutt, " there in 
roaring London's central stream ; " and since the ballad first 
saw the light of day in Scribner's Magazine, Mr. Nutt and Lord 
Archibald Campbell have been in public controversy on the 
facts. Two clans, the Camerons and the Campbells, lay claim 
to this bracing story ; and they do well : the man who pre- 
ferred his plighted troth to the commands and menaces of the 
dead is an ancestor worth disputing. But the Campbells 
must rest content : they have the broad lands and the broad 
page of history ; this appanage must be denied them ; for 
between the name of Cameron and that of Campbell, the muse 
will never hesitate. 

Note i, page 287. Mr. Nutt reminds me it was " by my 
sword and Ben Cruachan " the Cameron swore. 

Note 2, page 290. " A periwig' d lord of London." The first 
Pitt. 

Note 3, page 291. "Cathay." There must be some omission 
in General Stewart's charming History of the Highland 
Regiments, a book that might well be republished and con- 
tinued ; or it scarce appears how our friend could have got to 
China. 



NOTE TO HEATHER ALE 

Among the curiosities of human nature, this legend claims a 
high place. It is needless to remind the reader that the Picts 
were never exterminated, and form to this day a large proportion 
of the folk of Scotland : occupying the eastern and the central 
parts, from the Firth of Forth, or perhaps the Lammermoors, 
upon the south, to the Ord of Caithness on the north. That 
the blundering guess of a dull chronicler should have inspired 




312 NOTES 

men with imaginary loathing for their own ancestors is already 
strange : that it should have begotten this wild legend seems 
incredible. Is it possible the chronicler's error was merely 
nominal ? that what he told, and what the people proved 
themselves so ready to receive, about the Pizts, was true or 
partly true of some anterior and perhaps Lappish savages, 
small of stature, black of hue, dwelling underground possibly 
also the distillers of some forgotten spirit ? See Mr. Campbell's 
Tales of the West Highlands. 






INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

PAGE 

A BIRDIE with a yellow bill 47 

A child should always say what's true 29 

A lover of the moorland bare 102 

A mile an' a bittock, a mile or twa 142 

A naked house, a naked moor 99 

A picture-frame for you to fill 102 

All night long, and every night 28 

All round the house is the jet-black night 53 

All the names I know from nurse 72 
As the single pang of the blow, when the metal is mingled 

well 210 

At evening when the lamp is lit 62 

Berried brake and reedy island 180 

Birds all the sunny day 70 
Blows the wind to-day, and the sun and the rain are flying 214 

Bright is the ring of words 152 

Bring the comb and play upon it ! 39 

By Lyne and Tyne, by Thames and Tees 166 

Chief of our aunts not only I 82 

Children, you are very little 43 

Come up here, O dusty feet ! 49 

Dark brown is the river 34 

Dear Andrew, with the brindled hair 107 

Dear Thamson class, whaure'er I gang 154 

Dear Uncle Jim, this garden ground 7 6 

Do you remember can we e'er forget ? 198 

Down by a shining water well 5 8 

313 



314 INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

PAGE 

Even in the bluest noonday of July 105 

Every night my prayers I say 37 

Far from the loud sea beaches 100 

Far 'yont amang the years to be 137 

Farewell, fair day and fading light ! 1 88 

Faster than fairies, faster than witches 49 

For love of lovely words, and for the sake 126 

Forth from her land to mine she goes 194 

Frae nirly, nippin', Eas'lan' breeze 138 

Friend, in my mountain-side demesne 101 

From breakfast on through all the day 36 

From the bonny bells of heather 297 

Give to me the life I love 173 

Go, little book, and wish to all 95 

God, if this were enough 188 

Great is the sun, and wide he goes 72 

He hears with gladdened heart the thunder 187 

Here all is sunny, and when the truant gull 127 
Home no more home to me, whither must I wander ? 184 

How do you like to go up in a swing 47 

am a kind of farthing dip 124 

have a little shadow that goes in and out with me 36 

have trod the upward and the downward slope 187 

heard the pulse of the besieging sea 200 

knew a silver head was bright beyond compare 195 

I knew thee strong and quiet like the hills 186 

I know not how it is with you 179 

I read, dear friend, in your dear face 114 

I saw you toss the kites on high 41 

I should like to rise and go 31 

I sit and wait a pair of oars 106 

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight 179 

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day 38 

If I have faltered more or less 115 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 315 

PAGE 

If two may read aright 81 

In all the grove, nor stream nor bird 206 
In all the land of the tribe was neither fish nor fruit 259 

In ancient tales, O friend, thy spirit dwelt 108 

In dreams, unhappy, I behold you stand 175 

In mony a foreign pairt I've been 159 

In rigorous hours, when down the iron lane 190 

In the beloved hour that ushers day 185 

In the highlands, in the country places 183 

In the other gardens 75 

In winter I get up at night 27 

It fell in the days of old, as the men of Taidrapu tell 223 

It is not yours, O mother, to complain 119 

It is the season now to go 97 

It is very nice to think 27 

It's an owercome sooth for age and youth 169 

It's rainin'. Weet's the gairden sod 149 

It's strange that God should fash to frame 153 

Last to the chamber where I lie 53 

Late hi the nicht in bed I lay 162 

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed 50 
Let Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful dreams 178 

Let now your soul in this substantial world 211 

Let us, who part like brothers, part like bards 202 

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow 43 

Long must elapse ere you behold again 196 

My bed is like a little boat 46 

My body which my dungeon is 128 

My bonny man, the warld, it's true 153 

My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves 127 

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky 45 

Not yet, my soul, these friendly fields desert 118 

O, I wad like to ken to the beggar-wife says I 148 

O it's I that am the captain of a tidy little ship 58 



3i6 INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

PAOB 

O mother, lay your hand on my brow ! 121 

Of a' the ills that flesh can fear 165 

Of speckled eggs the birdie sings 33 

On the great streams the ships may go 96 

Once more I saw him. In the lofty room 212 

Once only by the garden gate 174 

Out of the sun, out of the blast 115 

Over the borders, a sin without pardon 42 

Peace and her huge invasion to these shores 123 

Plain as the glistering planets shine 177 

Resign the rhapsody, the dream 197 

Say not of me that weakly I declined 129 

She rested by the Broken Brook 176 

Since long ago, a child at home 192 

Sing clearlier, Muse, or evermore be still 125 

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone 213 

Smooth it slides upon its travel 48 
Some day soon this rhyming volume, if you learn with 

proper speed 84 
Son of my woman's body, you go, to the drum and fife 182 

Summer fading, winter comes 59 

The bed was made, the room was fit 126 

The clinkum-clank o' Sabbath bells 143 

The coach is at the door at last 51 

The cock shall crow 181 

The embers of the day are red 214 

The friendly cow, all red and white 40 

The gardener does not love to talk 75 

The gauger walked with willing foot 95 

The infinite shining heavens 176 

The lamps now glitter down the street 63 

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out 39 

The Lord Himsel' in former days 156 

The moon has a face like the elock in the hall 46 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 317 

PAGE 

The morning drum-call on my eager ear 187 

The rain is raining all around 29 

The red room with the giant bed 82 
The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand 303 

The Silver Ship, my King that was her name 193 

The stormy evening closes now in vain 191 

The sun is not a-bed when I 44 

The tropics vanish, and meseems that I 199 

The unfathomable sea, and time, and tears 103 

The world is so full of a number of things 41 

The year runs through her phases ; rain and sun 1 1 1 

These nuts, that I keep in the back of the nest 60 

This is the tale of the man 285 

Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing 29 

Through all the pleasant meadow-side 51 

To see the infinite pity of this place 194 

To the heart of youth the world is a high wayside 175 

To you, let snow and roses 178 

Trusty, dusky, vivid, true 19 

Under the wide and starry sky 114 

Up into the cherry-tree 3 

We built a ship upon the stairs 33 

We see you as we see a face 113 

We travelled in the print of olden wars 126 

We uncommiserate pass into the night 212 

What are you able to build with your blocks ? 61 

When aince Aprile has fairly come 141 

When at home alone I sit 64 

When children are playing alone on the green 57 

When I am grown to man's estate 33 

When I was down beside the sea 28 

When I was sick and lay a-bed 35 

When the bright lamp is carried in 52 

When the golden day is done 69 

When the grass was closely mown 73 

Whenever Auntie moves around 35 



3i8 INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

PAGH 

Whenever the moon and stars are set 31 

Where the bells peal far at sea 112 

Whether upon the garden seat 

Who comes to-night ? We ope the doors in vain 112 

With half a heart I wander here 124 

Yet, O stricken heart, remember, O remember 1^2 

You too, my mother, read my rhymes oi 

Youth now flees on feathered foot 104 






PR 

5489* 
.A2 



STEVENSON,R.L. 
Poems