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cock; with hoes
Tan-faced harvest folk trudge in the heat:
The neighbours at their shady doors swept clean,
Gossip, and with cool eve fresh scents of wheat,
Grasses and leaves, come from the meadows green.
I walk of grey noons by the old canal
Where rain-drops patter on the autumn leaves,
Now watching from some ivied orchard wall
In slopes of stubble figures pile the sheaves;
Or under banks in shadow of their grass,
Blue water-flies by starts jettingly pass
'Mid large leaves level on the glassy cool;
Or noiseless dizzy midges winking round
The yellow sallows of the meadow pool;
While into cloudy silence ebbs each sound,
And sifts the moulting sunlight warm and mellow
O'er sandy beach remote, or slumberous flood,
Or rooky, red brick mansion by the wood,
Mossed gate, or farmyard hay-stacks tanned and yellow
Now, winter's dolorous days are o'er, and through
March morning casements comes the sharp spring air,
And noises from the distant city, where
The steeples stand up keenly in the blue:
No more the clouds by crispy frost defined,
Pile the pale North, but float, dispersed shapes;
Though still around the cool grey twilight capes,
The sullen sea is dark with drifts of wind.
Like a forgotten fleck of snow still left,
The cascade gleams in the far mountain cleft;
Brown rushes by the river's brimming bank
Rustle, and matted sedges sway and sigh,
Where grasses in sleek shallows waver dank,
Or drift in windy ripples greyly by.
Blow, summer wind, from yonder ocean blow
Along the wild sea banks and grasses drear,
And loamy shores, where mosses brown and sere
And pale pinks in the sandy ridges grow;
Float round yon promontory in the brine,
Whose stretching arm in deepest azure lies,
Where quiet browse the heavy-uddered kine
By rock and shining shallow, grey and clear;
And fill, this listless hour, the dreamy ear
With thy scarce toned and wordless harmonies:
For here with Nature will I rest, and please
My heart with sweetest fancies all the noon,
Until the limpid crescent of the moon
Lights the blue east above the evening trees.
Elizabeth Mary Little
Ah, Life! that mystery that no man knows,
And all men ask, the Arab from his sands,
The Caesar's self, lifting imperial hands,
And the lone dweller where the lotus blows;
O'er trackless tropics and o'er silent snows
She dumbly broods, that Sphinx of all the lands,
And if she answers no man understands,
And no cry breaks the blank of her repose.
But a new form dawned once upon my pain,
With grave sad lips, yet in the eyes a smile
Of deepest meaning dawning sweet and slow,
Lighting to service, and no more in vain
I ask of Life, "What art thou?" as erewhile,
For since Love holds my hand I seem to know.
Sidney Royse Lysaght
The Penalty of Love
If love should count you worthy, and should deign
One day to seek your door and be your guest,
Pause! ere you draw the bolt and bid him rest,
If in your old content you would remain.
For not alone he enters: in his train
Are angels of the mists, the lonely quest,
Dreams of the unfulfilled and unpossessed.
And sorrow, and life's immemorial pain.
He wakes desires you never may forget,
He shows you stars you never saw before,
He makes you share with him for evermore,
The burden of the world's divine regret
How wise were you to open not!--and yet,
How poor if you should turn him from the door.
Diminutivus Ululans (To John Macnamara)
Wailing diminutive of me, be still
Or cry, but spare me that regretful tone,
Of sorrows elemental waxing shrill,
O you of living things the most alone!
Son, do you thus reproach me and make moan,
Because upon Love's chariot I did fly
And a horn winded in the great unknown,
Calling your atoms out to be an I?
Should I have let you in abeyance lie,
Disintegrate another million years?
Then use your life to teach you how to die
And pass again beyond the reach of tears,
Some day you may regret I dragged you thence,
Perhaps forgive the vast impertinence.
Standish James O'Grady (1846-1915)
Now Memory, false, spendthrift Memory,
Disloyal treasure-keeper of the soul,
This vision change shall never wring from thee
Nor wasteful years, effacing as they roll.
O steel-blue lake, high cradled in the hills!
O sad waves, filled with little sobs and cries!
White glistening shingle, hiss of mountain rills,
And granite-hearted walls blotting the skies,
Shine, sob, gleam, gloom for ever! Oh, in me
Be what you are in Nature--a recess--
To sadness dedicate and mystery,
Withdrawn, afar, in the soul's wilderness.
Still let my thoughts, leaving the worldly roar
Like pilgrims, wander on thy haunted shore.
A June Day
The very spirit of summer breathes to-day,
Here where I sun me in a dreamy mood,
And laps the sultry leas, and seems to brood
Tenderly o'er those hazed hills far away.
The air is fragrant with the new-mown hay,
And drowsed with hum of myriad flies pursued
By twittering martins. All yon hillside wood
Is drowned in sunshine till its green looks grey.
No scrap of cloud is in the still blue sky,
Vaporous with heat, from which the foreground trees
Stand out--each leaf cut sharp. The whetted scythe
Makes rustic music for me as I lie,
Watching the gambols of the children blythe,
Drinking the season's sweetness to the lees.
What means this mighty chant, wherein its wail
Of some intolerable woe, grown strong
With sense of more intolerable wrong
Swells to a stern victorious march--a gale
Of vengeful wrath? What mean the faces pale,
The fierce resolve, the ecstatic pangs along
Life's fiery ways, the demon thoughts which throng
The gates of awe, when these wild notes assail
The sleeping of our souls ? Hear ye no more
Than the mad foam of revolution's leaven,
Than a roused people's throne-o'erwhelming tread?
Hark! 'tis man's spirit thundering on the shore
Of iron fate; the tramp of Titans dread,
Sworn to dethrone the Gods unjust from Heaven.
Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886)
I stood beside a pool, from whence ascended,
Mounting the cloudy platforms of the wind,
A stately heron; its soaring I attended,
Till it grew dim, and I with watching blind--
When lo! a shaft of arrowy light descended
Upon its darkness and its dim attire;
It straightway kindled them, and was afire,
And with the unconsuming radiance blended.
And bird, a cloud, flecking the sunny air,
It had its golden dwelling 'mid the lightning
Of those empyreal domes, and it might there
Have dwelt for ever, glorified and bright'ning,
But that its wings were weak--so it became
A dusky speck again, that was a winged flame.
The Onward Course
Our course is onward, onward into light:
What though the darkness gathereth amain,
Yet to return or tarry both are vain.
How tarry, when around us is thick night?
Whither return? what flower yet ever might,
In days of gloom and cold and stormy rain,
Enclose itself in its green bud again,
Hiding from wrath of tempest out of sight?
Courage--we travel through a darksome cave;
But still as nearer to the light we draw,
Fresh gales will reach us from the upper air
And wholesome dews of heaven our foreheads lave,
The darkness lighten more, till full of awe
We stand in the open sunshine unaware.
In a Pass of Bavaria between the Walchen and the Waldensee
"His voice was as the sound
of many waters."
A sound of many waters!--now I know
To what was likened the large utterance sent
By Him who mid the golden lampads went:
Innumerable streams, above, below,
Some seen, some heard alone, with headlong flow
Come rushing; some with smooth and sheer descent,
Some dashed to foam and whiteness, but all blent
Into one mighty music.
As I go,
The tumult of a boundless gladness fills
My bosom, and my spirit leaps and sings:
Sounds and sights are there of the ancient hills,
The eagle's cry, the mountain when it flings
Mists from its brow, but none of all these things
Like the one voice of multitudinous rills.