Puslapio vaizdai
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


No sleep like hers, no rest,

In all the earth to-night : L'pon her whiter breast

Our roses lie so light.

She had no sins to lose,

As some might say ;
But calmly keeps her pale repose

Till God's good day

The wind brings cold sea - fragrance

And cries, and restless murmurings,
Now night is near,
Of wings and feet that take to flight,
Of furry feet and feathery wings
That take their joyous flight at will
Away and over the hiding hill,
And into the land where the sun has

O let us go, as they have sped, -
The soft swift shapes that left us

The gentle things that came and went
And left us in imprisonment !
Let us be gone, as they have gone,
Away, and into the hidden lands;
From rock and turf our roots uptear,
Break from the clinging keeping bands,
Out of this long imprisoning break;
At last, our sunward journey take,
And far, to-night, and farther on,
Heart of Earth, let us be gone !


HEART of Earth, let us be gone,
From this rock where we have stayed
While the sun has risen and sbone
Ten thousand times, and thrown our shade
Always in the self-same place.
Now the night draws on apace :
The day is dying on the height,

Arthur Christopher Benson

He stirs his plumy brow and wakes

To draw the sunlight in.
By copse and hedgerow, waste and wall,
He thrusts his cushions red ;

Mute sheep that pull the grasses soft O'er burdock rank, o'er thistles tall,

Crop close and pass him by,
He rears his hardy head :

Until he stands alone, aloft,
Within, without, the strong leaves press, In surly majesty.
He screens the mossy stone,

No fly so keen, no bee so bold,
Lord of a narrow wilderness,

To pierce that knotted zone, Self-centred and alone.

He frowns as though he guarded gold,

And yet he garners none.
He numbers no observant friends,
He soothes no childish woes,

And so when autumn winds blow late, Yet nature nurtures him, and tends

And whirl the chilly wave, As duly as the rose ;

He bows before the common fate, He drinks the blessed dew of heaven,

And drops beside his grave. The wind is in his ears,

None ever owed him thanks or said To guard his growth the planets seven “A gift of gracious heaven." Swing in their airy spheres.

Down in the mire he droops his head ;

Forgotten, not forgiven.
The spirits of the fields and woods
Throb in his sturdy veins :

Smile on, brave weed ! let none inqnire He drinks the secret, stealing floods,

What made or bade thee rise : And swills the volleying rains :

Toss thy tough fingers high and higher And when the birds note showers and To flout the drenching skies. breaks

Let others toil for others' good, The wood's green heart within,

And miss or mar their own ;

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


And sound the sickliest depths of crime,

And creep through roaring drains of woe, To soar at last, unstained, sublime,

Knowing the worst that man can know ; And having won the firmer ground,

When loathing quickens pity's eyes, Still lean and beckon underground,

And tempt a struggling foot to rise. Well, well, it is the stronger way!

Heroic stuff is hardly made ; But one, who dallies with dismay,

Admires your boldness, half-afraid. He deems that knowledge, bitter-sweet,

Can rust and rot the bars of right, Till weakness sets her trembling feet

Across the threshold of the night.

Ready to break in fury and flame,
Slice through the ranks my raging way,
Dying myself, to slay.
Out from the heart of the battle-ship,
Yelling a song of death, I rose,
Brake from the cannon's smoky lip

Into a land of foes :-
How was I baffled ? I soared and sank
Over the bastion, across the hill,
Into the lap of a grassy bank,
Impotent there to kill.
Slowly the thunder died away ;
My merry comrades, how

you roared, Loud and jubilant, while I lay

Sunk in the slothful sward ! Peace came back with her corn and wine, Smiling faint with a bleeding breast, While in the offing, over the brine

My battle-ship steered to the West. Then were the long slopes crowned again With clustering vines and waving grain, Winter by winter the stealing rain

Fretted me rotting there.
Suddenly once as I sadly slept,
Tinkling, the slow team over me stept,
Jarring the ploughshare, - I was swept

Into the breezy air.
Why did he tempt me? I had lain
Year by year in the peaceful rain,
Till my lionlike heart had grown
Dull and motionless, heavy as stone ; -
Mocking, he smote me :

Then I leapt
Out in my anger, and screamed and swept
Him as he laughed in a storm of blood,
Shattered sinew and flying brain,
Brake the cottage and scarred the wood,

Roaring across the plain. How should you blame me? Ay, 't was

[ocr errors]

She peers, she ventures ; growing bold,

She breathes the enervating air, And shuns the aspiring summits, cold

And silent, where the dawn is fair.

She wonders, aching to be free,

Too soft to burst the uncertain band, Till chains of drear fatality

Arrest the feeble willing band.

peace !

Nay, let the stainless eye of youth

Be blind to that bewildering light ! When faith and virtue falter, truth

Is handmaid to the hags of night.

War was the word I had learned to know;-
Think you, I was an English shell,
Trained one lesson alone to spell
I had vowed as I lay below,
Vowed to perish and find release

Slaying an English foe.



I was an English shell, Cunningly made and well, With a heart of fire in an iron frame,

LORD CÆSAR, when you sternly wrote

The story of your grim campaigns, And watched the ragged smoke-wreath float

Above the burning plains,


Amid the impenetrable wood,

But you are silent, secret, proud, Amid the camp's incessant hum,

No smile upon your haggard face, At eve, beside the tumbling flood

As when you eyed the murderous In high Avaricum,


Beside the statue's base.
You little recked, imperious head,
When shrilled your shattering trumpet's I marvel : that Titanic heart

Beats strongly through the arid page, Your frigid sections would be read

And we, self-conscious sons of art, By bright-eyed English boys.

In this bewildering age, Ah me! who penetrates to-day

Like dizzy revellers stumbling out The secret of your deep designs ?

Upon the pure and peaceful night, Your sovereign visions, as you lay

Are sobered into troubled doubt,
Amid the sleeping lines ?

As swims across our sight
The Mantuan singer pleading stands ; The ray of that sequestered sun,
From century to century

Far in the illimitable blue,
He leans and reaches wistful bands,

The dream of all you left undone, And cannot bear to die.

Of all you dared to do.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »