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Mackenzie Bell

SPRING'S IMMORTALITY

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The buds awake at touch of Spring

From Winter's joyless dream ; From many a stone the ouzels sing

By yonder mossy stream.
The cuckoo's voice, from copse and vale,

Lingers, as if to meet
The music of the nightingale

Across the rising wheat

Who led long lives obscure till came the

close When, their calm days being done, their

suns were set Here stands a grave, all monumentless

yet, Wrapped like the others in a deep repose ; But while yon wakeful ocean ebbs and

flows It is a grave the world shall not forget, This grave on which meek violets grow

and thyme, Summer's fair heralds; and a stranger Pauses to see a poet's resting-place, But one of those who will in many a clime On each return of this sad day avow Fond love's regret that ne'er they saw his

face.

now

The bird whom ancient Solitude

Hath kept forever young, Unaltered since in studious mood

Calm Milton mused and sung. Ah, strange it is, dear heart, to know

Spring's gladsome mystery Was sweet to lovers long ago

Most sweet to such as we

That fresh new leaves and meadow flowers

Bloomed when the south wind came ; While hands of Spring caressed the bowers,

The throstle sang the same.

Unchanged, unchanged the throstle's song,

Unchanged Spring's answering breath, Unchanged, though cruel Time was strong,

And stilled our love in death.

AT STRATFORD-ON-AVON SHAKESPEARE, thy legacy of peerless song Reveals mankind in every age and place, In every joy, in every grief and wrong : 'T is England's legacy to all our race. Little we know of all thine inner life, Little of all thy swift, thy wondrous years Years filled with toil, rich years whose days

were rife With strains that bring us mirth, that bring

us tears. Little we know, and yet this much we

know, Sense was thy guiding star sense guided

thee To live in this thy Stratford long ago, To live content in calm simplicity ; Greatest of those who wrought with soul

aflame At honest daily work — then found it fame.

AT THE GRAVE OF DANTE

GABRIEL ROSSETTI

HERE of a truth the world's extremes are

met : Amid the gray, the moss-grown tombs of

those

Toru Dutt

OUR CASUARINA TREE

LIKE a huge Python, winding round and

round The rugged trunk, indented deep with

scars,

Up to its very summit near the stars, A creeper climbs, in whose embraces

bound No other tree could live. But gallantly The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are

hung

bee;

on its

Swoon :

In crimson clusters all the boughs among, Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach ? Whereon all day are gathered bird and It is the tree's lament, an eerie speech,

That haply to the unknown land may reach. And oft at nights the garden overflows With one sweet song that seems to have no Unknown, yet well-known to the eye of close,

faith! Sung darkling from our tree, while men Ah, I have heard that wail far, far away repose.

In distant lands, by many a sheltered bay,

When slumbered in his cave the waterWhen first my casement is wide open

wraith thrown

And the waves gently kissed the classic At dawn, my eyes delighted on it rest;

shore Sometimes, and most in winter,

Of France or Italy, beneath the moon, crest

When earth lay trancèd in a dreamless A gray

baboon sits statue-like alone Watching the sunrise ; while on lower And every time the music rose, – before boughs

Mine inner vision rose a form sublime, His pany offspring leap about and play ; Thy form, 0 Tree, as in my happy prime And far and near kokilas hail the day ; I saw thee, in my own loved native clime. And to their pastures wend our sleepy Cows ;

Therefore I fain would consecrate a lay And in the shadow, on the broad tank cast Unto thy honor, Tree, beloved of those By that hoar tree, so beautiful and vast, Who now in blessed sleep for aye reThe water-lilies spring, like snow enmassed.

pose,

Dearer than life to me, alas, were they ! But not because of its magnificence

Mayst thou be numbered when my days Dear is the Casuarina to my soul :

are done Beneath it we have played ; though With deathless trees — like those in Boryears 'may roll,

rowdale, O sweet companions, loved with love in- Under whose awful branches lingered pale tense,

“ Fear, trembling Hope, and Death, the For your sakes, shall the tree be ever skeleton, dear.

And Time the shadow ;” and though weak Blent with your images, it shall arise

the verse In memory, till the hot tears blind mine That would thy beauty fain, oh, fain re

hearse, What is that dirge-like murmur that I May Love defend thee from Oblivion's

hear

eyes!

curse.

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THE DEATH-CHILD

SHE sits beneath the elder-tree
And sings her song so sweet,
And dreams o'er the burn that darksomely
Runs by her moonwhite feet.

No more in silent dawns he'll wait

By still lagoons, and mark the flight Of black swans near : no more elate

Whirl high the boomerang aright Upon some foe. He knows that now

He too must share his race's night He scarce can know the white man's plough Will one day pass above his brow. Last remnant of the Austral race

He sits and stares, with failing breath : The shadow deepens on his face,

For’midst the spectral gums waits death : A dingo's sudden howl swells near

He stares once with a startled gaze,
As half in wonder, half in fear,
Then sinks back on his unknown bier.

Her hair is dark as starless night, Her flower-crowned face pale, But oh, her eyes are lit with light Of dread ancestral bale.

She sings an eerie song, so wild
With immemorial dule
Though young and fair, Death's mortal

child
That sits by that dark pool.

THE COVES OF CRAIL The moon-white waters wash and leap,

The dark tide floods the Coves of Crail ; Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep,

Nor hears the sea-wind wail.

And oft she cries an eldritch scream,
When red with human blood
The burn becomes a crimson stream,
A wild, red, surging flood :

Or shrinks, when some swift tide of tears -
The weeping of the world
Dark eddying 'neath man's phantom-fears
Is o'er the red stream hurled.

The pale gold of his oozy

locks Doth hither drift and thither wave ; His thin hands plash against the rocks,

His white lips nothing crave.

For hours beneath the elder-tree She broods beside the stream ; Her dark eyes filled with mystery, Her dark soul rapt in dream.

Afar away she laughs and sings –

A song he loved, a wild sea-strain Of how the mermen weave their rings

Upon the reef-set main.

The lapsing flow she heedeth not Through deepest depths she scans :

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SUSURRO

BREATH o' the grass, Ripple of wandering wind, Murmur of tremulous leaves : A moonbeam moving white Like a ghost across the plain : A shadow on the road : And high up, high, From the cypress-bough, A long sweet melancholy note. Silence. And the topmost spray Of the cypress-bough is still As a wavelet in a pool : The road lies duskily bare : The plain is a misty gloom : Still are the tremulous leaves ; Scarce a last ripple of wind, Scarce a breath i' the grass. Hush : the tired wind sleeps : Is it the wind's breath, or Breath o' the grass ?

HERE where the sunlight
Floodeth the garden,
Where the pomegranate
Reareth its glory
Of gorgeous blossom ;
Where the oleanders
Dream through the noontides ;
And, like surf o' the sea
Round cliffs of basalt,
The thick magnolias
In billowy masses
Front the sombre green of the ilexes :
Here where the heat lies
Pale blue in the hollows,
Where blue are the shadows
On the fronds of the cactus,
Where pale blue the gleaming
Of fir and

cypress,
With the cones upon them
Amber or glowing
With virgin gold :
Here where the honey-flower
Makes the heat fragrant,
As though from the gardens
Of Gulistân,
Where the bulbul singeth
Though a mist of roses,
A breath were borne :
Here where the dream-flowers,
The cream-white poppies

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RED POPPIES

IN THE SABINE VALLEYS NEAR ROME

THROUGH the seeding grass,
And the tall corn,
The wind goes :
With nimble feet,

Here, as the breath, as the soul of this

beauty, White as a cloud through the heats of the

noontide Moves the White Peacock.

SONG

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Silently waver,
And where the Scirocco,
Faint in the hollows,
Foldeth his soft white wings in the sun-

light,
And lieth sleeping
Deep in the heart of
A sea of white violets :
Here, as the breath, as the soul of this

beauty Moveth in silence, and dreamlike, and

slowly, White as a snow-drift in mountain valleys When softly upon it the gold light lingers : White as the foam o' the sea that is driven O'er billows of azure agleam with sun

yellow : Cream-white and soft as the breasts of a

girl, Moves the White Peacock, as though

through the noon-tide A dream of the moonlight were real for a

moment. Dim on the beautiful fan that he spreadeth, Foldeth and spreadeth abroad in the sun

light, Dim on the cream-white are blue adum

brations, Shadows so pale in their delicate blueness That visions they seem as of vanishing vio

lets, The fragrant white violets veined with

azure, Pale, pale as the breath of blue smoke in

far woodlands.

Love in my heart : oh, heart of me, heart

of me! Love is my tyrant, Love is supreme. What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart

of me! Love is a phantom, and Life is a dream ! What if he changeth, oh, heart of me, heart

of me ! Oh, can the waters be void of the wind ? What if he wendeth afar and apart from

me, What if he leave me to perish behind ?

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