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LONDON: ELKIN MATHEWS, VIGO STREET, W. 




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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

FROM THE LIBRARY 
OF 

ELI SOBEL 



other Poems, 
ccted pieces. 

MEMOIR AND CORRESPONDENCE 

Each Volume Sold Separately 




SOME POEMS OF LIONEL JOHNSON 



SOME POEMS 



OF 



LIONEL JOHNSON 

NEWLY SELECTED 
WITH AN INTRODUCTION 

BY 

LOUISE IMOGEN GUINEY 



LONDON 

ELKIN MATHEWS, V1GO STREET 
M CM XII 



SRLF 
URL 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Of Lionel Johnson ... ... ... ... ... 7 

Winchester ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 25 

Chalkhil! 32 

Oxford ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 32 

The Classics 36 

Walter Pater ... ... ... ... ... ... 39 

Cromwell ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 42 

To Morfydd 45 

Cadgwith ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 47 

By the Statue of King Charles at Charing Cross ... ... ... 48 

Glories 51 

In Fahnoiith Plarbour 52 

Magic ... ... ... .,. ... ... ... ... ... 54 

To the Dead of 98 56 

To a Spanish Friend ... .., ... ... ... ... ... 58 

Brothers... ... ... ... ... ... ... ,. . . 61 

A Friend 63 

Ash Wednesday ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 64 

To a Friend 65 

The Age of a Dream 66 

The Precept of Silence 67 

The Dark Angel 68 

Lucretius ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 1 

Harvest... 72 

A Stranger 74 

Winchester Close 76 

In Memory of M. B 77 

A Proselyte 79 



OF LIONEL JOHNSON 

AN early death has lately robbed the world of 
letters in England of its one critic of the first 
rank in this generation. Poet-minds of the 
Arnold breed, with what may be called the hush 
of scholarship laid upon their full energies and 
animations, must necessarily grow rarer and 
rarer, in a world ever more noisy and more 
superficial. They cannot expect now the foster- 
ing cloistral conditions which were finally dis- 
turbed by the great Revolution. Yet they still 
find themselves here, in a state of royal dis- 
possession, and live on as they can. Of these 
was Lionel Johnson. In criticism, though he 
seemed to care so little about acknowledging, 
preserving, and collecting what he wrote, he 
was nobly able to "beat his music out;" his 
potential success lay there, perhaps, rather than 
in the exercise of his singularly lovely and 



austere poetic gift. But this is not saying that 
he was more critic than poet. On the contrary, 
he was all poet ; and the application of the 
poet's touchstone to human affairs, whether in 
art or in ethics, was the very thing which gave 
its extraordinary elasticity and balance to his 
prose work. Being what he was, a selfless 
intelligence, to him right judgments came easy, 
and to set them down, at the eligible moment, 
was mere play. He had lived more or less 
alone from his boyhood, but alone with eternal 
thoughts and classic books. Whenever he 
spoke, there was authority in the speech col- 
oured by companionship with the great of his 
own election : with Plato ; Lucretius and Vir- 
gil ; Augustine ; Shakespeare. His capacity 
for admiration was immense, although in his 
choice of things admirable he was quite 
uncompromising. Beyond that beautiful in- 
ward exaction, " the chastity of honour," he 
was naturally inclined to the charities of in- 
terpretation. He gave them, but he asked 
them not, and would not thank you for your 
casual approval, except by his all-understanding 
smile. Neither vanity, ambition, nor envy ever 
so much as breathed upon him, and, scholar 
that he was, he had none of the limitations 



common to scholars, for he was without fear 
and without prejudice. 

A striking feature in the make-up of his 
mind was its interplay and counterpoise of con- 
trasts. Full of worship and wonder (and a 
certain devout sense of indebtedness kept him, 
as by a strict rubric of his own, an allusive and 
a quoting writer), he was also full of an almost 
fierce uninfluenced independence. Not wholly 
blest is the poet who has historic knowledge 
of his own craft ; for to him nothing is sayable 
which has already been well said. Lionel 
Johnson, even as a beginner, was of so jealous 
an integrity that his youthful numbers are in 
their detail rather scandalously free from par- 
cntalia. Yet by some supernatural little joke, 
his most famous line, 

" Lonely unto the Lone I go," 

had been anticipated by Plotinus. With a 
great vocabulary, his game was always to pack 
close, and thin out, his words. Impersonal as 
Pan's pipe to the audience of The Anti-Jacobin 
or The Academy, he became intensely subjective 
the moment he reached his fatherland of poesy. 
His utterance, as daring in its opposite way as 
Mr. John Davidson's, has laid bare some of 



the deepest secrets of the spirit. And side by 
side with them lie etched on the page the most 
delicate little landscapes, each as happily con- 
ceived as if "the inner eye" and "the eye on 
the object," of both of which Wordsworth 
speaks, were one and the same. 

One might have thought, misled by Lionel 
Johnson's strongly philosophic fibre, his habits 
of a recluse simplicity, his faith in minorities, 
his patrician old-fashioned tastes, that he would 
have ranged himself with the abstract critics, 
with Joubert and Vauvenargues, rather than 
with Sainte-Beuve. But it was another of his 
surprising excellencies that he was never out 
of tune with cosmic externals, and the aspira- 
tions of to-day. Into these his brain had a sort 
of detached angelic insight. His earliest book, 
written while he was very young, was not about 
some subtlety of Attic thought: it was a masterly 
exposition of The Art of Thomas Hardy. This 
same relevance and relativity of our friend, this 
open dealing with the nearest interest, was his 
strength ; he not only did not shrink from con- 
temporary life, but bathed in the apprehension 
of it as joyously as in a mountain stream. How 
significant, how full of fresh force, have been 
his many unsigned reviews i Nothing so broad, 



10 



so sure, so penetrating, has been said, in little, 
of such very modern men as Renan and William 
Morris. 

It is perhaps less than exact to claim that 
Lionel Johnson had no prejudices. All his 
humilities and tolerances did not hinder his 
humorous depreciation of the Teutonic in- 
tellect ; and he liked well King Charles Il.'s 
word for it : " foggy." Heine, that " Parisian- 
ized Jew," was his only love made in Germany. 
Non-scientific, anti-mathematical, he was a 
genuine Oxonian ; a recruit, as it were, for 
transcendentalism and the White Rose. His 
studies were willful and concentrated ; he never 
tried to get a thorough understanding of some 
arts which he relished, music and sculpture, for 
instance ; and, discursive as his national sym- 
pathies certainly were, he was never out of the 
British Isles. In all such lateral matters, he 
saw the uses of exclusion, of repression, if his 
calling was to be not a dilettante impulse, but 
the sustained and unwasted passion of a lifetime. 
Culture in him, it is true to say, was not mis- 
cellaneous information ; as in Newman's perfect 
definition, it was "the command over his own 
faculties, and the instinctive just estimate of 
things as they pass." He had an amazing and 

11 



most accurate memory for everything worth 
while : it was as if he had moved, to some pro- 
fit, in several ages, and forgotten none of their 
" wild and noble sights." And the powers which 
were so delighting to others, were, in a reflex 
way, a most single-hearted and modest way, 
sheer delight to the one who had tamed them 
to his hand. 

His non-professorial conception of the func- 
tion of a man of letters (only it was one of the 
thousand subjects on which he was sparing of 
speech, perhaps deterred by the insincerities all 
about him) amounted to this : that he was glad 
to be a bond-slave to his own discipline ; that 
there should be no limit to the constraints and 
the labour self-imposed ; that in pursuit of the 
best, he would never count cost, never lower a 
pennon, never bow the knee to Baal. It was 
not his isolated position, nor his exemption 
from the corroding breath of poverty, which 
made it easy for such an one to hold his ground; 
for nothing can make easy that strenuous and 
entire consecration of a soul to what it is given 
to do. It extended to the utmost detail of 
composition. The proud melancholy charm of 
his finest stanzas rests upon the severest ad- 
herence to the laws and by-laws of rhythm ; in 

12 



no page of his was there ever a rhetorical trick 
or an underbred rhyme. Excess and show 
were foreign to him. Here was a poet who 
liked the campaign better than Capua. He 
sought out voluntarily never, indeed, the fan- 
tastic, but the difficult way. If he could but 
work out his idea in music, he preferred to do 
so with divers painstakings which less scru- 
pulous vassals of the Muse would as soon 
practice as fasting and praying. To one who 
looks well into the structure of his poems, they 
are like the roof of Milan Cathedral, "gone to 
seed with pinnacles," full of voweled surprises 
and exquisitely devotional elaborations, given 
in the zest of service, and meant either to be 
searched for or else hidden. Yet they have 
the grace to appear much simpler than they are. 
The groundwork, at least, is always simple : 
his usual metre is iambic or trochaic, and the 
English alexandrine he made his own. The 
shortcoming of his verse lies in its Latin strict- 
ness and asceticism, somewhat repellent to any 
readers but those of his own temper. Its 
emotional glow is a shade too moral, and it is 
only after a league of stately pacing that fancy 
is let go with a looser rein. 

Precision clung like drapery to everything he 

13 



did. His handwriting was unique; a slender, 
close slant, very odd, but not illegible ; a true 
script of the old time, without a flaw. It seemed 
to whisper : " Behold in me the inveterate foe of 
haste and discourtesy, of typewriters, telegrams, 
and secretaries ! " As he wrote, he punctuated : no- 
thing was trivial to this " enamoured architect " 
of perfection. He cultivated a half-mischievous 
attachment to certain antique forms of spelling, 
and to the colon, which our slovenly press will 
have none of; and because the colon stands 
for fine differentiations and sly sequences, he 
delighted especially to employ it. 

Lionel Johnson's gallant thoroughness was 
applied not only to the department of literature. 
He had a loving heart, and laid upon himself 
the burden of many gratitudes. To Win- 
chester, his old school, and Oxford, his uni- 
versity (in both of which he covered himself, 
as it happened, with honours), he was a 
bounden knight. The Catholic Church, to 
which he felt an attraction from infancy, and 
which he entered soon after he came of age, 
could command his whole zeal and furtherance, 
to the end. His faith was his treasure, and an 
abiding peace and compensation. The delicacy, 
nay, the sanctity of his character, was the out- 

14 



come of it ; and when clouds did not impede 
his action, it so pervaded, guided, and adjusted 
his whole attitude towards life (as Catholicism 
alone claims and intends to do), that his re- 
ligiousness can hardly be spoken of, or ex- 
amined, as a thing separate from himself. 
There was a seal upon him as of something 
priestly and monastic. His place, like his 
favourite Hawthorne's, should have been in a 
Benedictine scriptorium, far away, and long ago. 

" Us the sad world rings round 

With passionate flames impure ; 
We tread an impious ground ; 
We hunger, and endure." 

But he would be " at rest with ancient victors," 
and ''with you imparadised, White angels 
around Christ!" The saints, bright from their 
earthly battle, and especially the angels, in 
Heaven their commonweal, were always pre- 
sent to the imagination of this aniina natura- 
liier Christiana. 

Again, his most conscious loyalty, with the 
glamour of mediaeval chivalry upon it, was for 
Ireland. He was descended from a line of 
soldiers, and from the baronet of his name who, 
in the ruthless governmental fashion of the 
time, put down at New Ross the tragic in- 

15 



surrectlon of 1 798. Study and sympathy brought 
his great-grandson to see things from a point 
of view not in the least ancestral ; and the con- 
sequence was that Lionel Johnson came to 
write, (and even to lecture !) as the heart-whole 
champion of hapless Inisfail. In the acknow- 
ledged spirit of reparation, he gave his thought, 
his time, and his purse to her interests. He 
devoted his lyre to her, as his most moving- 
theme, and he pondered not so much her 
political hope, nor the charm of her streams and 
valleys, as her constancy under sorrows, and 
the holiness of her mystical ideal. His in- 
heritance was goodly unto him, for he had by 
race both the Gaelic and the Cymric strain, and 
his temperament, with its remoteness, and its 
sage and sweet ironies, was by so much more 
and less than English. But he possessed also, 
in very full measure, the basic English traits : 
deliberation, patience, and control. It was 
owing to these unexpected and saving qualities 
in him that he turned out no mere visionary, 
but made his mark in life like a man, and that 
he held out for five and thirty years in that 
fragile, terribly nervous body always so in- 
adequate and perilous a mate for his giant 
intelligence. 

16 



Next to the impersonal allegiances which had 
so much claim upon him was his feeling for his 
friends. The boy Lionel had been the ex- 
ceptional sort of boy who can discern a possible 
halo about a master or a tutor ; and at Oxford, 
as at Winchester, he found men worth his 
homage. The very last poem he sent forth 
was a threnody for his dear and honoured Walter 
Pater, honoured and dear long after death, as 
during life. Like so much else from the same 
pen, it is of synthetic and illuminating beauty, 
and it ends with the tenderest of lyrical cries : 

" Gracious God keep him : and God grant to me 

By miracle to see 

That unforgettably most gracious friend, 
In the never-ending end ! " 

Friendship, with Lionel Johnson, was the grave, 
high romantic sentiment of antique tradition. 
He liked to link familiar names with his own by 
means of little dedications, and the two volumes 
of his poems, with their placid blue covers and 
dignity of margin, furnish a fairly full roll-call 
of those with whom he felt himself allied : 
English, Irish, Welsh, and American ; men and 
women ; famous and unknown ; Christian and 
pagan ; clerical and lay. It was characteristic 
of him that he addressed but one or two poems 

17 



directly to a friend, but set apart this or that, in 
print, as private to one or another whose heart, 
he knew, would go along with it. As a proof 
of the shyness and reticence of his affections, it 
may be added that some who were fond of him 
did not discover, for years after (and perhaps 
some have not yet discovered), the page bearing 
their own names, once quietly left to them 
in most loyal remembrance, by the hand 
which towards the last answered few letters, 
and withdrew more and more from social con- 
tact. 

Alas, this brings us upon sad ground. We 
all first began to be conscious of losing him 
about 1899, when he shut himself up, and kept 
obstinate silence, for weeks and months, in the 
cloistral London nooks where he and his library 
successively abode. Then, not quite two years 
later, began a painful and prolonged illness, in 
the course of which his hands and feet became 
temporarily crippled; and for the ardent lover, in 
any weather, of the open countryside, arrived a 
dark twelvemonth of indoor inaction. It is to 
be feared he was not properly nursed ; he had 
never known how to care for himself, and had 
lived as heedless of the flesh as if he were all 
wings. It seemed ungenerous, that instinct to 

18 



go into the dark at times, wholly away from 
wonted intercourse. Yet it was neither un- 
generous nor perverse. Surging up the more 
as his bodily resources failed him, a " mortal 
moral strife " had to be undergone : the fight 
in which there can be no comrades. The 
brave will in him fought long and fought hard : 
no victor could do more. He had apparently 
recovered his health after all the solitude and 
mental weariness, and had just expressed him- 
self as "greedy for work," when he went out 
from his chambers in Clifford's Inn, late on the 
night of the 2Qth of September, for the last of 
his many enchanted walks alone : for with 
Hazlitt and Stevenson, this walker held that 
any walk is the richer for being companionless. 
He had a fall, and was picked up unconscious 
and carried to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. 
And there he lay, with his skull fractured (a 
child's skull it was, abnormally thin, as the 
doctors found), recognised and tended, but 
always asleep, for four days and five nights ; 
and then the little flickering candle went quietly 
out. In the bitter pathos of his end he was not 
with Keats, but with Poe. It was the 4th of 
October, 1902, a Saturday of misted autumn 
sunshine, sacred in the ecclesiastical calendar to 



19 



the Poverello of Assisi. Of that blessed fore- 
runner his dead poet had once written : 

" Thy love loved all things, thy love knew no stay, 
But drew the very wild beasts round thy knee. 
O lover of the least and lowest! pray, 

Saint Francis, to the Son of Man, for me." 

The only other Englishman of letters so 
elfin-small and light was De Quincey. Few 
persons could readily be got to believe Lionel 
Johnson's actual age. With his smooth hair 
and cheek, he passed for a slim undergrown 
boy of sixteen ; his light-footed marches, in 
bygone summers, over the Welsh hills and the 
coasts of Dorset and Cornwall, were interrupted 
at every inn by the ubiquitous motherly land- 
lady, expostulating with him for his supposed 
truancy. His extreme sense of humour forbade 
annoyance over the episode ; rather was it not 
unwelcome to one who had no hold on time, 
and was as elemental as foam or air. Yes, he 
lived and died young. It was not only simple 
country folk who missed in him the adult 
" note." And yet a certain quaint and cour- 
ageous pensiveness of aspect and outlook ; a 
hint of power in the fine brow, the sensitive 
hands, the gray eye so quick, and yet so 
chastened and incurious, could neither escape a 

20 



true palaeographer, nor be misconstrued by him. 
Lionel Johnson must have been at all times 
both a man and a child. At ten years old, or 
at the impossible sixty, he must equally have 
gone on, in a sort of beautiful vital stubborn- 
ness, being a unit, being himself. His manners, 
as well as his mental habits, lasted him through- 
out ; from the first he was a sweet gentleman 
and a sound thinker. His earliest and his 
latest poems, in kind altogether, and largely in 
degree, were of a piece. A paper produced at 
Winchester School, on Shakespeare's Fools, is 
as unmistakably his as his final review of 
Tennyson. To put it rather roughly, he had 
no discarded gods, and therefore no periods of 
growth. He was a crystal, a day-lily, shown 
without tedious processes. In his own phrase, 

" All that he came to give 
He gave, and went again." 

He had a homeless genius : it lacked affinity 
with the planetary influences under which he 
found himself here, being as Sir Thomas 
Browne grandly says, "older than the elements, 
and owino' no homage unto the sun." He 
seemed ever the same because he was so. 
Only intense natures have this continuity of 
look and mood. 



21 



With all his deference, his dominant com- 
passion, his grasp of the spiritual and the un- 
seen, his feet stood foursquare upon rock. He 
was a tower of wholesomeness in the decadence 
which his short life spanned. He was no pe- 
dant, and no prig. Never poet cared so little 
to "publish his wistfulness abroad," and here 
was one gentle critic, at least, whose head was 
as clear as any barbarian's concerning the 
things he would adore, and the things he would 
burn. He suffered indeed, but he won manifold 
golden comfort from the mercies of God, from 
human excellence, the arts, and the stretches of 
meadow, sky, and sea. Sky and sea ! they 
were sacrament and symbol, meat and drink, to 
him. To illustrate both his truth of perception 
when dealing with the mao-Jc of the natural 

o o 

world and his rapturous sense of union with it, 
take certain lines, written at Cadgwith in 1892, 
" Winds rush and waters roll " ; an Oxford 
poem of 1889, " Going down the forest side " ; 
and one (with its lovely opening anticipation of 
Tennyson), dating from Falmouth Harbour, as 
long ago as 1887, "I have passed over the 
rough sea, And over the white harbour bar." 

Surely no pity need be wasted upon one who 
resolved himself into so glorious a harmony 

22 



with all creation and with the mysteries of our 
mortal being. To be happy is a feat, nowa- 
days, nothing less than heroic. Lionel John- 
son, after all and in spite of all, dared to be 
happy. As he never worried himself about 
awards, the question of his to-morrow's station 
and his measure of fame need not obtrude upon 
a mere character-study. Memorable and ex- 
hilarating has been the ten years' spectacle of 
him in unexhausted free play, now with his 
harp, now with his blunted rapier, under the 
steady dominion of a genius so wise and so 
ripe that one knows not where in living com- 
panies to look for its parallel. Well : may we 
soon get used to thinking of our dearest guild- 
fellow in a safer City, where no terror of defeat 
can touch him ! " And he shall sing there 
according to the days of his youth, and according 
to the days of his going up out of the land of 
Egypt r 

LOUISE IMOGEN GUINEY. 



(From The Atlantic Monthly, 
December, 1902.) 



23 



Winchester 

To the fairest ! 

Then to thee 

Consecrate and bounden be, 
Winchester ! this verse of mine. 
Ah, that loveliness of thine ! 
To have lived enchaunted years 
Free from sorrows, free from fears, 
Where thy Tower's great shadow falls 
Over those proud buttressed walls ; 
Whence a purpling glory pours 
From high heaven's inheritors, 
Throned within the arching stone ! 
To have wandered, hushed, alone, 
Gently round thy fair, fern-grown 
Chauntry of the Lilies, lying 
Where the soft night winds go sighing 
Round thy Cloisters, in moonlight 
Branching dark, or touched with white 

25 



Round old, chill aisles, where moon-smitten 
Blanches the Orate, written 
Under each worn old-world face 
Graven on Death's holy place ! 



To the noblest ! 

None but thee. 

Blest our living eyes, that see 
Half a thonsand years fulfilled 
Of that age, which Wykeham willed 
Thee to win ; yet all unworn, 
As upon that first March morn, 
When thine honoured city saw 
Thy young beauty without flaw, 
Born within her water-flowing 
Ancient hollows, by wind-blowing 
Hills enfolded ever more. 
Thee, that lord of splendid lore, 
Orient from old Hellas' shore, 
Grocyn, had to mother : thee, 
Monumental majesty 
Of most high philosophy 
Honours, in thy wizard Browne : 
Tender Otway's dear renown, 

26 



Mover of a perfect pity, 
Victim of the iron city, 
Thine to cherish is: and thec 
Laureate of Liberty; 
Harper of the Highland faith, 
Elf, and faery, and wan wraith ; 
Chaunting softly, chaunting slowly, 
Minstrel of all melancholy ; 
Master of all melody, 
Made to cling round memory ; 
Passion's poet, Evening's voice, 
Collins glorified. Rejoice, 
Mother ! in thy sons : for all 
Love thine immemorial 
Name, august and musical. 
Not least he, who left thy side, 
For his sire's, thine earlier pride, 
Arnold : whom we mourn to-day, 
Prince of song, and gone away 
To his brothers of the bay : 
Thine the love of all his years; 
His be now thy praising tears. 



27 



To the dearest ! 

Ah, to thee ! 

Hast thou not in all to me 
Mother, more than mother, been ? 
Well toward thee may Mary Queen 
Bend her with a mother's mien ; 
Who so rarely dost express 
An inspiring tenderness, 
Woven with thy sterner strain, 
Prelude of the world's true pain. 
But two years, and still my feet 
Found thy very stones more sweet, 
Than the richest fields elsewhere : 
Two years, and thy sacred air 
Still poured balm upon me, when 
Nearer drew the world of men ; 
When the passions, one by one, 
All sprang upward to the sun ; 
Two years have I lived, still thine : 
Lost, thy presence ! gone, that shrine, 
Where six years, what years ! were mine. 
Music is the thought of thee ; 
Fragrance, all thy memory. 
Those thy rugged Chambers old, 
In their gloom and rudeness, hold 



28 



Dear remembrances of gold. 
Some first blossoming of flowers 
Made delight of all the hours ; 
Greatness, beauty, all things fair 
Made the spirit of thine air : 
Old years live with thee ; thy sons 
Walk with high companions. 
Then, the natural joy of earth, 
Joy of very health and birth ! 
Hills, upon a summer noon : 
Water Meads, on eves of June : 
Chamber Court, beneath the moon : 
Days of spring, on Twyford Down, 
Or when autumn woods grew brown, 
As they looked when here came Keats, 
Chaunting of autumnal sweets; 
Through this city of old haunts, 
Murmuring immortal chaunts ; 
As when Pope, art's earlier king, 
Here, a child, did nought but sing, 
Sang, a child, by nature's rule, 
Round the trees of Twyford School : 
Hours of sun beside Meads' Wall, 
Ere the may began to fall ; 
Watching the rooks rise and soar, 

29 



High from lime and sycamore: 
Wanderings by old-world ways, 
Walks and streets of ancient days ; 
Closes, churches, arches, halls, 
Vanished men's memorials. 
There was beauty, there was grace, 
Each place was an holy place : 
There the kindly fates allowed 
Me too room ; and made me proud, 
(Prouder name I have not wist !) 
With the name of Wykehamist. 
These thy joys, and more than these : 
Ah, to watch beneath thy trees, 
Through long twilights linden-scented, 
Sunsets, lingering, lamented, 
In the purple west ; prevented, 
Ere they fell, by evening star ! 
Ah, long nights of Winter ! far 
Leaps and roars the faggot fire ; 
Ruddy smoke rolls higher, higher, 
Broken through by flame's desire ; 
Circling faces glow, all eyes 
Take the light ; deep radiance flies, 
Merrily flushing overhead 
Names of brothers, long since fled, 

30 



And fresh clusters, in their stead, 
Jubilant round fierce forest flame. 
Friendship too must make her claim : 
But what songs, what memories end, 
When they tell of friend on friend ? 
And for them I thank thy name. 

Love alone of gifts, no shame 
Lessens, and I love thee : yet 
Sound it but of echoes, let 
This my maiden music be 
Of the love I bear to thee, 
Witness and interpreter, 
Mother mine : loved Winchester! 



31 



Chalkhill 

From his Latin epitaph in the Cloisters of 
Winchester College 

Here lies John Chalkhill: years two score 

A Fellow here, and then, no more ! 

Long life of chaste and sober mood, 

Of silence and of solitude ; 

Of plenteous alms, of plenteous prayer, 

Of sanctity and inward care : 

So lived the Church's early fold, 

So saintly anchorites of old. 

A little child, he did begin 

The Heaven of Heavens by storm to win ; 

At eighty years he entered in. 



Oxford 

Over, the four long years ! And now there rings 
One voice of freedom and regret : Farewell ! 
Now old remembrance sorrows, and now sings : 
But song from sorrow, now, I cannot tell. 



32 



City of weathered cloister and worn court ; 
Grey city of strong towers and clustering spires : 
Where art's fresh loveliness would first resort ; 
Where lingering art kindled her latest fires. 

Where on all hands, wondrous with ancient grace, 
Grace touched with age, rise works of goodliest men: 
Next Wykeham's art obtain their splendid place 
The zeal of Inigo, the strength of Wren. 

Where at each coign of every antique street, 

A memory hath taken root in stone : 

There, Raleigh shone ; there, toiled Franciscan feet ; 

There, Johnson flinched not, but endured, alone. 

There, Shelley dreamed his white Platonic dreams ; 
There, classic Landor throve on Roman thought ; 
There, Addison pursued his quiet themes; 
There, smiled Erasmus, and there, Colet taught. 

And there, O memory more sweet than all ! 
Lived he, whose eyes keep yet our passing light ; 
Whose crystal lips Athenian speech recall ; 
Who wears Rome's purple with least pride, most right. 

33 



That is the Oxford strong to charm us yet : 
Eternal in her beauty and her past. 
What, though her soul be vexed ? She can forget 
Cares of an hour : only the great things last. 

Only the gracious air, only the charm, 
And ancient might of true humanities, 
These, nor assault of man, nor time, can harm : 
Not these, nor Oxford with her memories. 

Together have we walked with willing feet 
Gardens of plenteous trees, bowering soft lawn ; 
Hills, whither Arnold wandered ; and all sweet 
June meadows, from the troubling world withdrawn; 

Chapels of cedarn fragrance, and rich gloom 
Poured from empurpled panes on either hand ; 
Cool pavements, carved with legends of the tomb ; 
Grave haunts, where we might dream, and under- 
stand. 

Over, the four long years ! And unknown powers 
Call to us, going forth upon our way : 
Ah ! Turn we, and look back upon the towers 
That rose above our lives, and cheered the day. 

34 



Proud and serene, against the sky, they gleam : 
Proud and secure, upon the earth they stand : 
Our city hath the air of a pure dream, 
And hers indeed is a Hesperian land- 
Think of her so ! The wonderful, the fair, 
The immemorial, and the ever young : 
The city sweet with our forefathers' care : 
The city where the Muses all have sung. 

Ill times may be; she hath no thought of time: 
She reigns beside the waters yet in pride. 
Rude voices cry : but in her ears the chime 
Of full sad bells brings back her old springtide. 

Like to a queen in pride of place, she wears 
The splendour of a crown in Radcliffe's dome. 
Well fare she, well ! As perfect beauty fares, 
And those high places that are beauty's home. 



35 



The Classics 

Fain to know golden things, fain to grow wise, 
Fain to achieve the secret of fair souls : 
His thought, scarce other lore need solemnize, 
Whom Virgil calms, whom Sophocles controls : 

Whose conscience ^Eschylus, a warrior voice, 
Enchaunted hath with majesties of doom : 
Whose melancholy mood can best rejoice, 
When Horace sings, and roses bower the tomb : 

Who, following Caesar unto death, discerns 
What bitter cause was Rome's, to mourn that day : 
With austere Tacitus for master, learns 
The look of empire in its proud decay: 

Whom dread Lucretius of the mighty line 

Hath awed, but not borne down : who loves the flame 

That leaped within Catullus the divine, 

His glory, and his beauty, and his shame : 

36 



Who dreams with Plato and, transcending dreams. 
Mounts to the perfect City of true God : 
Who hails its marvellous and haunting gleams, 
Treading the steady air as Plato trod : 

Who with Thucydides pursues the way, 
Feeling the heart-beats of the ages gone, 
Till fall the clouds upon the Attic day, 
And Syracuse draw tears for Marathon : 

To whom these golden things best give delight : 
The music of most sad Simonides ; 
Propertius' ardent graces; and the might 
Of Pindar chaunting by the olive trees : 

Livy, and Roman consuls purple swathed ; 
Plutarch, and heroes of the ancient earth ; 
And Aristophanes, whose laughter scathed 
The souls of fools, and pealed in lyric mirth : 

^Eolian rose-leaves blown from Sappho's isle ; 
Secular glories of Lycean thought ; 
Sallies of Lucian, bidding wisdom smile ; 
Angers of Juvenal, divinely wrought : 

37 



Pleasant, and elegant, and garrulous 

Pliny : crowned Marcus, wistful and still strong ; 

Sicilian seas and their Theocritus, 

Pastoral singer of the last Greek song : 

Herodotus, all simple and all wise ; 
Demosthenes, a lightning flame of scorn ; 
The surge of Cicero, that never dies ; 
And Homer, grand against the ancient morn. 



38 



Walter Pater 

Gracious God rest him ! he who toiled so well 

Secrets of grace to tell 
Graciously ; as the awed rejoicing priest 

Officiates at the feast, 
Knowing how deep within the liturgies 

Lie hid the mysteries. 
Half of a passionately pensive soul 

He showed us, not the whole : 
Who loved him best, they best, they only, knew 

The deeps they might not view; 
That which was private between God and him ; 

To others, justly dim. 
Calm Oxford autumns and preluding springs ! 

To me your memory brings 
Delight upon delight, but chiefest one : 

The thought of Oxford's son, 
Who gave me of his welcome and his praise, 

When white were still my days ; 



39 



Ere death had left life darkling, nor had sent 

Lament upon lament: 
Ere sorrow told me how I loved my lost, 

And bade me base love's cost. 
Scholarship's constant saint, he kept her light 

In him divinely white : 
With cloistral jealousness of ardour strove 

To guard her sacred grove, 
Inviolate by unworldly feet, nor paced 

In desecrating haste. 
Oh, sweet grave smiling of that wisdom, brought 

From arduous ways of thought ; 
Oh, golden patience of that travailing soul 

So hungered for the goal, 
And vowed to keep, through subtly vigilant pain, 

From pastime on the plain, 
Enamoured of the difficult mountain air 

Up beauty's Hill of Prayer! 
Stern is the faith of art, right stern, and he 

Loved her severity. 
Momentous things he prized, gradual and fair 

Births of a passionate air : 
Some austere setting of an ancient sun, 

Its midday glories done, 



40 



Over a silent melancholy sea 

In sad serenity : 
Some delicate dawning of a new desire, 

Distilling fragrant fire 
On hearts of men prophetically fain 

To feel earth young again : 
Some strange rich passage of the dreaming earth, 

Fulfilled with warmth and worth. 
Ended, his service : yet, albeit farewell 

Tolls the faint vesper bell, 
Patient beneath his Oxford trees and towers 

He still is gently ours : 
Hierarch of the spirit, pure and strong, 

Worthy Uranian song. 
Gracious God keep him : and God grant to me 

By miracle to see 
That unforgettably most gracious friend, 

In the never-ending end ! 



41 



Cromwell 

Now, on his last of ways, 

The great September star, 
That crowned him on the days 

Of Worcester and Dunbar, 

Shines through the menacing night afar. 

This day his England knows 
Freedom and fear in one ; 

She holds her breath, while goes 
Her mighty mastering son : 
His sceptre-sword its work hath done. 

O crowning mercy, Death ! 
Peace to the stormy heart, 

Peace to the passionate breath, 
And awful eyes : their part 
Is done, for thou their victor art ! 



42 



Yet, is it peace with him t 

Answer, O Drogheda's dead ! 
O ghosts, beside the dim 

Waters and shadows dread ! 

What of his coming shall be said ? 

Answer, O fatal King ! 

Whose sad prophetic eyes 
Foresaw his glory bring 

Thy death ! He also lies 

Dead : hath he peace, O King of sighs ? 



His soul's most secret thought 

Eternal Light declares : 
He, who in darkness wrought,' 

To very Truth now bares 

All hidden hopes, all deep despairs. 

Maintains he in Death's land 

The quarrel of the Lord, 
As when from his live hand 

Leaped lightnings of the sword ? 

Is Come, good servant ! his reward ? 

43 



Hath the word come, Well done ! 

Or the pure word of doom, 
Sending him from the sun 

To walk in bitter gloom, 

With the lost angels of the tomb? 

Prince of the iron rod 

And war's imperious mail, 
Did he indeed for God 

Fight ever, and prevail, 

Bidding the Lord of hosts All hail ? 

Or was it ardent lust 

Of majesty and might, 
That stung and fired and thrust 

His soul into the fight: 

Mystic desire and fierce delight ? 



Nay, peace for ever more ! 
O martyred souls ! He comes, 

Your conquered conqueror : 
No tramplings now, nor drums, 
Are his, who wrought your martyrdoms 

44 



Tragic, triumphant form, 
He comes to your dim ways, 

Comes upon wings of storm : 
Greet him, with pardoning praise, 
With marvelling awe, with equal gaze ! 



To Morfydd 

A voice on the winds, 
A voice by the waters, 

Wanders and cries : 
Oh ! what are the winds ? 
And what are the waters ? 

Mine are your eyes ! 

Western the winds are, 
And western the waters, 

Where the light lies : 
Oh ! what are the winds ? 

And what are Hie waters ? 
Mine are your eyes ! 

45 



Cold, cold, grow the winds, 
And wild grow the waters, 

Where the sun dies: 
Oh ! what are the winds ? 
And what are the waters ? 

Mine are your eyes ! 

And down the night winds, 
And down the night waters, 

The music flies : 
Oh ! what are the ivinds ? 
And what are the waters ? 
Cold be the winds, 
And wild be the waters, 

So mine be your eyes ! 



46 



Cadgwith 

My windows open to the autumn night, 

In vain I watched for sleep to visit me; 

How should sleep dull mine ears, and dim my sight, 

Who saw the stars, and listened to the sea ? 

Ah, how the City of our God is fair! 

If, without sea, and starless though it be, 

For joy of the majestic beauty there, 

Men shall not miss the stars, nor mourn the sea. 



47 



By the Statue of King Charles at Charing 
Cross 

Sombre and rich, the skies ; 
Great glooms, and starry plains. 
Gently the night wind sighs ; 
Else a vast silence reigns. 

The splendid silence clings 
Around me : and around 
The saddest of all kings 
Crowned, and again discrowned. 

Comely and calm, he rides 
Hard by his own Whitehall. 
Only the night wind glides: 
No crowds, nor rebels, brawl. 

48 



Gone, too, his Court : and yet, 
The stars his courtiers are : 
Stars in their stations set; 
And every wandering star. 

Alone he rides, alone, 
The fair and fatal king : 
Dark night is all his own, 
That strange and solemn thing. 

Which are more full of fate : 
The stars ; or those sad eyes ? 
Which are more still and great : 
Those brows, or the dark skies ? 

Although his whole heart yearn 
In passionate tragedy, 
Never was face so stern 
With sweet austerity. 

Vanquished in life, his death 
By beauty made amends : 
The passing of his breath 
Won his defeated ends. 



49 



Brief life, and hapless ? Nay : 
Through death, life grew sublime. 
Speak after sentence ? Yea : 
And to the end of time. 

Armoured he rides, his head 
Bare to the stars of doom ; 
He triumphs now, the dead, 
Beholding London's gloom. 

Our wearier spirit faints, 
Vexed in the world's employ : 
His soul was of the saints; 
And art to him was joy. 

King, tried in fires of woe ! 
Men hunger for thy grace : 
And through the night I go, 
Loving thy mournful face. 

Yet, when the city sleeps, 
When all the cries are still, 
The stars and heavenly deeps 
Work out a perfect will. 



50 



Glories 

Roses from Paestan rosaries ! 
More goodly red and white was she : 
Her red and white were harmonies 
Not matched upon a Psestan tree. 

Ivories blaunched in Alban air ! 
She lies more purely blaunched than you 
No Alban whiteness doth she wear, 
But death's perfection of that hue. 

Nay! now the rivalry is done, 
Of red, and white, and whiter still : 
She hath a glory from that sun 
Who falls not from Olympus hill. 



51 



In Falmouth Harbour 

The large calm harbour lies below 
Long terraced lines of circling light : 
Without, the deep sea currents flow : 
And here are stars, and night. 

No sight, no sound, no living stir, 
But such as perfect the still bay : 
So hushed it is, the voyager 
Shrinks at the thought of day. 

We glide by many a lanterned mast ; 
Our mournful horns blow wild to warn 
Yon looming pier : the sailors cast 
Their ropes, and watch for morn. 

Strange murmurs from the sleeping town, 
And sudden creak of lonely oars 
Crossing the water, travel down 
The roadstead, the dim shores. 



52 



A charm is on the silent bay; 
Charms of the sea, charms of the land. 
Memories of open wind convey 
Peace to this harbour strand. 

Far off, Saint David's crags descend 
On seas of desolate storm : and far 
From this pure rest, the Land's drear End, 
And ruining waters are. 

Well was it worth to have each hour 
Of high and perilous blowing wind : 
For here, for now, deep peace hath power 
To conquer the worn mind. 

I have passed over the rough sea, 
And over the white harbour bar : 
And this is Death's dreamland to me, 
Led hither by a star. 

And what shall dawn be ? Hush thee, nay ! 
Soft, soft is night, and calm and still : 
Save that day cometh, what of day 
Knowest thou good, or ill ? 



53 



Content thee ! Not the annulling light 
Of any pitiless dawn is here ; 
Thou art alone with ancient night : 
And all the stars are clear. 

Only the night air, and the dream, 
Only the far, sweet-smelling wave, 
The stilly sounds, the circling gleam, 
Are thine : and thine a grave. 



Magic 

They wrong with ignorance a royal choice 
Who cavil at my loneliness and labour : 
For them, the luring wonder of a voice, 
The viol's cry for them, the harp and tabour 

For me divine austerity, 

And voices of philosophy. 

54 



Ah ! light imaginations, that discern 

No passion in the citadel of passion : 

Their fancies lie on flowers ; but my thoughts turn 

To thoughts and things of an eternal fashion : 

The majesty and dignity 

Of everlasting verity. 

Mine is the sultry sunset, when the skies 
Tremble with strange intolerable thunder : 
And at the dead of an hushed night, these eyes 
Draw down the soaring oracles winged with wonder 

From the four winds they come to me, 

The Angels of Eternity. 

Men pity me ; poor men, who pity me ! 

Poor charitable scornful souls of pity ! 

I choose laborious loneliness : and ye 

Lead Love in triumph through the dancing city : 

While death and darkness girdle me, 

I grope for immortality. 



55 



To the Dead of '98 

God rest you, rest you, rest you, Ireland's dead ! 

Peace be upon you shed, 
Peace from the Mercy of the Crucified, 

You, who for Ireland died ! 
Soft fall on you the dews and gentle airs 

Of interceding prayers, 
From lowly cabins of our ancient land, 

Yours yet, O sacred band ! 
God rest you, rest you : for the fight you fought 

Was His : the end you sought, 
His; from His altar fires you took your flame, 

Hailing His Holy Name. 
Triumphantly you gave yourselves to death : 

And your last breath 
Was one last sigh for Ireland, sigh to Him, 

As the loved land grew dim. 

56 



And, still blessed and martyr souls ! you pray 

In the same faith this day : 
From forth your dwelling beyond sun and star, 

Where only spirits are, 
Your prayers in a perpetual flight arise 

To fold before God's Eyes 
Their tireless wings, and wait the Holy Word 

That one day shall be heard. 
Not unto us, they plead, Thy goodness gave 

Our mother to unslave ; 
To us Thou gavest death for love of her : 

Ah, what death lovelier ? 
But to our children's children give to see 

The perfect victory ! 
Thy dead beseech Thee : to Thy living give 

In liberty to live f 



57 



To a Spanish Friend 

Exiled in America 

From thine old Castilia, 

Son of holy Avila ! 

Leave thine endless tangled lore, 

As in childhood to implore 

Her whose pleading evermore 

Pleads for her own Avila. 

Seraph saint, Teresa burns 

Before God, and burning turns 

To the furnace, whence she learns 

How the Sun of Love is lit : 

She the Sunflower following it. 

O fair ardour infinite : 

Fire, for which the cold soul yearns ! 

Clad in everlasting fire, 
Flame of one long, lone desire, 
Surely thou too shalt aspire 

58 



Up by Carmel's bitter road: 
Love thy goal and love thy goad, 
Love thy lightness and thy load, 
Love thy rose and love thy briar. 

Leave the false light, leave the vain : 
Lose thyself in Night again, 
Night divine of perfect pain. 
Lose thyself and find thy God, 
Through a prostrate period ; 
Bruise thee with an iron rod ; 
Suffer, till thyself be slain. 

Fly thou from the dazzling day, 
For it lights the downward way : 
In the sacred Darkness pray, 
Till prayer cease, or seem to thee 
Agony of ecstasy : 
Dead to all men, dear to me, 
Live as saints, and die as they. 

Stones and thorns shall tear and sting, 
Each stern step its passion bring, 
On the Way of Perfecting, 

59 



On the Fourfold Way of Prayer : 
Heed not, though joy fill the air; 
Heed not, though it breathe despair: 
In the City thou shalt sing. 

Without hope and without fear, 

Keep thyself from thyself clear : 

In the secret seventh sphere 

Of thy soul's hid Castle, thou 

At the King's white throne shalt bow 

Light of Light shall kiss thy brow, 

And all darkness disappear. 



60 



Brothers 

IN MEMORY OF AUSTIN FARRAND, KILLED IN THE 
SOUTH AFRICAN WAR 

Now hath Death dealt a generous violence, 

Calling thee swiftly hence 

By the like instrument of instant fire, 

To join thy heart's desire, 

Thy brother, slain before thee ; but whom thou, 

Slain friend ! regainest now. 

True brother wast thou, whom from his dear side 

Death did not long divide. 

How often, till the golden stars grew dim, 

Our speech was but of him, 

Exiled beneath those Afric stars, whose deep 

Radiance adorns your sleep ! 

Fair warrior brothers, excellently dead, 

Your loyal lifeblood shed, 

In death's gray distant land do thou and he 

Keep any mind of me, 



61 



Of old days filled with laughter of delight, 
And many a laughing night? 
Yes ! for although your stars in storm have set, 
Nor you, nor I, forget : 

Earthward you long and lean, earthward : and I 
Toward your eternity. 

Death cannot conquer all ; your love and mine 
Lives, deathlessly divine. 
You wait, I wait, a little while we wait : 
And then, the wide-flung Gate, 

The impassioned Heavens, the white-horsed, white- 
robed Knights, 

The chaunting on the heights, 
The beauty of the Bright and Morning Star! 
Then, burst our prison bar, 
Shall we for evermore each other see, 
We three, we happy three, 
Where, in the white perfection of God's peace, 
Old love shall find increase. 
In faith and hope endure our hearts till then : 
Amen ! Amen ! 



62 



A Friend 

His are the whitenesses of soul 
That Virgil had : he walks the earth 
A classic saint, in self-control, 
And comeliness, and quiet mirth. 

His presence wins me to repose ; 
When he is with me, I forget 
All heaviness ; and when he goes, 
The comfort of the sun is set. 

But in the lonely hours I learn, 
How I can serve and thank him best : 
God ! trouble him : that he may turn 
Through sorrow to the only rest. 



63 



Ash Wednesday 

IN MEMORIAM: ERNEST DOWSON 

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es ! 
To-day the cross of ashes marks my brow : 
Yesterday, laid to solemn sleep wert thou, 
O dear to me of old, and dearer now ! 
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es ! 

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es / 
And all the subtile beauty of that face, 
With all its winning, all its wistful grace 
Fades in the consecrated stilly place : 
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es ! 

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es / 

The visible vehement earth remains to me : 

The visionary quiet land holds thee : 

But what shall separate such friends as we 

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es ' 

64 



To a Friend 

Sweet, hard and wise, your choice so early made, 
To cast the world away, a derelict : 
To wear within the pure and austere shade 
The sacred sable of Saint Benedict. 

I give you praise : give me your better prayers. 
The nothingness, which you have flung away, 
To me seems full of fond delightful cares, 
Visions, and dangers of the crowded day. 

Give me your prayers : you keep no other wealth, 
And therefore are the wealthiest of my friends. 
So shall you lure me by an holy stealth 
At last into the Land where wandering ends. 



65 



The Age of a Dream 

Imageries of dreams reveal a gracious age : 
Black armour, falling lace, and altar lights at morn. 
The courtesy of Saints, their gentleness and scorn, 
Lights on an earth more fair than shone from 

Plato's page : 

The courtesy of knights, fair calm and sacred rage: 
The courtesy of love, sorrow for love's sake borne. 
Vanished, those high conceits ! Desolate and forlorn, 
We hunger against hope for that lost heritage. 

Gone now, the carven work ! Ruined, the golden 

shrine ! 

No more the glorious organs pour their voice divine; 
No more rich frankincense drifts through the Holy 

Place. 
Now from the broken tower, what solemn bell still 

tolls, 
Mourning what piteous death ? Answer, O saddened 

souls ! 
Who mourn the death of beauty and the death of 

grace. 

66 



The Precept of Silence 

I know you : solitary griefs, 
Desolate passions, aching hours ! 
I know you : tremulous beliefs, 
Agonised hopes, and ashen flowers ! 

The winds are sometimes sad to me ; 
The starry spaces, full of fear ; 
Mine is the sorrow on the sea, 
And mine the sigh of places drear. 

Some players upon plaintive strings 
Publish their wistfulness abroad : 
I have not spoken of these things, 
Save to one man, and unto God. 



67 



The Dark Angel 

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust 
To rid the world of penitence : 
Malicious Angel, who still dost 
My soul such subtile violence ! 

Because of thee, no thought, no thing, 
Abides for me undesecrate : 
Dark Angel, ever on the wing, 
Who never reachest me too late ! 

When music sounds, then changest thou 
Its silvery to a sultry fire : 
Nor will thine envious heart allow 
Delight untortured by desire. 

Through thee, the gracious Muses turn 
To Furies, O mine Enemy! 
And all the things of beauty burn 
With flames of evil ecstasy. 



68 



Because of thee, the land of dreams 
Becomes a gathering place of fears : 
Until tormented slumber seems 
One vehemence of useless tears. 

When sunlight glows upon the flowers, 
Or ripples down the dancing sea : 
Thou, with thy troop of passionate powers, 
Beleaguerest, bewilderest, me. 

Within the breath of autumn woods, 
Within the winter silences : 
Thy venomous spirit stirs and broods, 
O Master of impieties ! 

The ardour of red flame is thine, 
And thine the steely soul of ice : 
Thou poisonest the fair design 
Of nature, with unfair device. 

Apples of ashes, golden bright ; 
Waters of bitterness, how sweet ! 
O banquet of a foul delight, 
Prepared by thee, dark Paraclete ! 

69 



Thou art the whisper in the gloom, 
The hinting tone, the haunting laugh : 
Thou art the adorner of my tomb, 
The minstrel of mine epitaph. 

I fight thee, in the Holy Name ! 
Yet what thou dost is what God saith : 
Tempter ! should I escape thy flame, 
Thou wilt have helped my soul from Death 

The second Death, that never dies, 
That cannot die, when time is dead : 
Live Death, wherein the lost soul cries, 
Eternally uncomforted. 

Dark Angel, with thine aching lust ! 
Of two defeats, of two despairs, 
Less dread, a change to drifting dust, 
Than thine eternity of cares. 

Do what thou wilt, thou shalt not so, 
Dark Angel ! triumph over me : 
Lonely, unto the Lone I go ; 
Divine, to the Divinity. 

70 



Lucretius 

Visions, to sear with flame his worn and haunted eyes, 
Throng him: and fears unknown invest the black 

night hours. 

His royal reason fights with undefeated Powers, 
Armies of mad desires, legions of wanton lies ; 
His ears are full of pain, because of their fierce cries: 
Nor from his tended thoughts, for all their fruits 

and flowers, 

Comes solace : for Philosophy within her bowers 
Falls faint, and sick to death. Therefore Lucretius 

dies. 

Dead ! And his deathless death hath him, so still 

and stark ! 

No change upon the deep, no change upon the earth, 
None in the wastes of nature, the starred wilderness, 
Wandering flames and thunders of the shaken dark, 
Among the mountain heights, winds wild with stormy 

mirth: 
These were before, and these will be : no more, no less. 

71 



Harvest 

Not now the rejoicing face of summer glows 

In splendour to a blue and splendid sky : 

For now hath died each lingering wild rose 

Off tangled river banks : and autumn shows 

Fields of red corn, that on the downside lie 

Beneath a gentle mist, a golden haze. 

So shrouded, the red cornlands take an air 

Trembling with warm wind : sickle-girt, forth fare 

To gather in the fruit of summer days, 

Harvesting hinds, with swift arms brown and bare ; 

Revering well toil's venerable ways. 

Most golden music is among the corn, 
Played by the winds wavering over it : 
A murmuring sound, as when against the morn, 
Orient upon calm seas, their noise is borne 
Innumerably rippling and sunlit. 

72 



Most golden music is in either tide : 
And this of radiant corn, before it fall, 
Wills not that summer die unmusical, 
By no rich surge of murmurs glorified : 
Nay ! the fields rock and rustle, sounding all 
Praise of the fruitful earth on every side. 

Good, through the yellow fields to ponder long : 

Good, long to meditate the stilly sight. 

Afar shone down a brazen sunlight strong, 

Over the harvested hillside, along 

The laboured meadows, burning with great light : 

The air trembled with overflow of heat 

In the low valley, where no movement was 

Of soft-blown wind, ruffling the scytheless grass 

Thick-growing by the waters, cool and sweet ; 

No swing of boughs ; there were no airs to pass 

Caressing them : all winds failed, when all wheat, 

All fair crops murmuring their soft acclaim, 
Fell, golden rank on golden rank, and lay 
Ruddily heaped along the earth : the flame 
Of delicate poppies, rich and frail, became 
Wan dying weed : convolvulus, astray 



73 



Out from its hedgerows far into the field, 
In clinging coils of leaf and tender bloom, 
Shared with the stalks it clung and clasped, their 

doom. 

So went the work : so gave the ripened weald 
Its fruits and pleasant flowers ; and made a room, 
Wherein fresh winds might wave a fresh year's yield. 



A Stranger 

Her face was like sad things: was like the lights 

Of a great city, seen from far off fields, 

Or seen from sea ; sad things, as are the fires 

Lit in a land of furnaces by night ; 

Sad things, as are the reaches of a stream 

Flowing beneath a golden moon alone. 

And her clear voice, full of remembrances. 

Came like faint music down the distant air. 

As though she had a spirit of dead joy 

About her, looked the sorrow of her ways : 

If light there be, the dark hills are to climb 

First : and if calm, far over the long sea, 

74 



Fallen from all the world apart she seemed, 

Into a silence and a memory. 

What had the thin hands done, that now they 

strained 

Together in such passion ? And those eyes, 
What saw they long ago, that now they dreamed 
Along the busy streets, blind but to dreams ? 
Her white lips mocked the world and all therein : 
She had known more than this ; she wanted not 
This, who had known the past so great a thing. 
Moving about our ways, herself she moved 
In things done, years remembered, places gone. 
Lonely, amid the living crowds, as dead, 
She walked with wonderful and sad regard. 
With us, her passing image : but herself 
Far over the dark hills and the long sea. 



75 



Winchester Close 

Holy have been the wanderings here : and here 

The beauty hath been shown of holiness. 

Nine hundred years ago, Frithstan the Saint 

Put ofl his mitre, in a rough cowl hiding 

The snows of age and care, to go at eve 

Among the quiet graves with orison. 

The sun fell, and the gentle winds made stir. 

By graves, ah ! by how many graves, he went, 

Old in war's day : then said he : Requiem 

^Eternam dona eis, Domiue / 

Eternal rest, eternal rest, O Lord ! 

Give thou these dead. The heart of earth, the 

hearts 

Of poor dead, lapped in earth, heard : slowly grew 
A murmur, and a gathering thunder; slowly 
Beneath his feet grew voices of the dead. 
And faint, each voice : but sounding as one sea, 
Together cried the ghostly multitude, 

76 



Cried hungrily to that great prayer: Amen / 
Immeasurably surged the Amen : till sank 
Softly away the voices of the dead, 
Softly : they slept in the cold earth once more 
The stilly sleep, glad to have cried that cry. 
Frithstan's white face thrilled upward to his God. 



In Memory of M. B. 

Old age, that dwelt upon thy years 
With softest and with stateliest grace, 
Hath sealed thine eyes, hath closed thine ears, 
And stilled the sweetness of thy face.' 

That gentle and that gracious look 
Sleeps now, and wears a marble calm : 
Death took no more away, but took 
All cares away, and left the balm 



77 



Of pure repose and peacefulness 
Upon thy forehead touched by time : 
So shall I know thee, none the less 
Than earth unwintered, come the prime. 

Gone, the white snows, the lingering leaves, 
That once endeared the wintry days : 
But the new bloom of spring receives 
The old love, and has equal praise. 

Fare then thee well ! in Winchester 
Sleep thy last fearless sleep serene. 
Friends fail me not ; but kindlier 
Can no friend be, than thou hast been. 

The city that we two loved best, 
No fairer place of sleep for thee ! 
There lay thee down, and take thy rest, 
And this farewell of love from me. 



78 



A Proselyte 



Heart of magnificent desire : 
O equal of the lordly sun ! 
Since thou hast cast on me thy fire, 
My cloistral peace, so hardly won, 
Breaks from its trance : 

One glance 
From thee hath all its joy undone. 



Of lonely quiet was my dream ; 
Day gliding into fellow day, 
With the mere motion of a stream : 
But now in vehement disarray 
Go time and thought, 

Distraught 
With passion kindled at thy ray. 

79 



Heart of tumultuary might, 
O greater than the mountain flame, 
That leaps upon the fearful night ! 
On me thy devastation came 
Sudden and swift, 

A gift 
Of joyous torment without name. 

Thy spirit stings my spirit : thou 
Takest by storm and ecstasy 
The cloister of my soul. And now, 
With ardour that is agony, 
I do thy will; 
Yet still 
Hear voices of calm memory. 



NOTE. The Editors of the Academy and the Outlook are thanked 
for permission to reprint certain poems in this collection. Miss 
L. I. Guiney is not responsible for the selection. 



W H, DAKQAN. LTD SMITHFIELD E.I/ 



A 001 289 757 5 

ESSAYS AND ^KiiiCAL PAPERS 

Crown 8vo, BY LIONEL JOHNSON 6s. net. 

SOME PRESS OPINIONS 

" Lionel Johnson was not a critic with a gospel, and therefore, if 
he had a less important influence on his own generation than 
a Matthew Arnold, there is less likelihood of his criticism growing 
out of date, out of fashion. His mind did not flame or flash ; it 
glowed with a steady light the ' pure flame,' the ' clear flame ' of 
the taper of ' Plato in London.' To read him ... is to experience 
the soothing, the consoling effect of a peculiar kind of rich fragrance 
which his own rich mind gently disengages from great writers. 
Without Pater's sensibility and acuteness, he does employ himself 
like Pater, in refining, distinguishing, disengaging the peculiar 
quality of his subject, and enriching it with the qualities of his own 
mind/' Times Literary Supplement. 

"The critic who ranges over the provinces of letters may rejoice 
to know that he has very wide boundaries. Happy is he if, as he 
wanders, he has so sure a step, so unfailing a knowledge, as we see 
in the author of the papers here collected." Spectator. 

"Outside the 'Vie Litteraire' of Anatole France, I have known 
no finer examples than these essays of that rare kind of journalism 
which is also literature, being written with personality, delight, and 
passion." Mr. H. W. NEVINSON, in The Nation. 

"Turning over the pages and lighting upon many remembered 
and memorable reviews, what strikes one most is the extraordinary 
maturity and firmness of the literary style. , . . Directly Johnson 
fell under the influence of Pater, his style ripened and flowered at 
once." Mr. ARTHUR WAUGH in the Daily Chronicle. 

"There are crisp little sentences of insight on almost every 
page. . . . Here was a fine, young, eager mind, swift- thinking, 
alert, which expressed itself in many ways that are too valuable and 
suggestive to be lost." Academy. 

" These essays are packed with evidence of his wide reading, his 
sensitive taste, and his infallible preferences for the first-rate and 
the permanent in literature and art." Daily Telegraph. 

"These essays could stand at their ease on the shelf by the 
' Causeries ' of Anatole France and St. Beuve, as a man stands at 
ease among his peers." The Observer. 

"A shining rectitude lies on all these pages, and a noble quiet ; 
the reader walks unwearied in the high, clear, windless atmosphere 
of reverie." The Manchester Guardian. 

" Johnson is superB. Such a critic who feels and writes from the 
heart lives when twenty critical Macaulays are forgotten." The 
New Age. 

LONDON: ELKIN MATHEWS, VIGO STREET, W.