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Have never known my grandsire's furrow'd

face. Nor seen his lofty house in Seîstan, Nor slak'd my thirst at the clear Helmund

stream: But lodg'd among my father's foes, and seen Afrasiab's cities only, Samarcand, Bokhara, and lone Khiva in the waste, And the black Toorkmun tents; and only

drunk The desert rivers, Moorghab and Tejend, 760 Kohik, and where the Kalmuks feed their

sheep, The northern Sir;' and this great Oxus

stream The yellow Oxus, by whose brink I die." And, with a heavy groan, Rustum re

plied: “Oh that its waves were flowing over me! Oh that I saw its grains of yellow silt Roll tumbling in the current o'er my head !” And, with a grave mild voice, Sohrab re

plied: Desire not that, my father: thou must live. For some are born to do great deeds, and live, As some are born to be obscur'd, and die. 771 Do thou the deeds I die too young to do, And reap a second glory in thine age. Thou art my father, and thy gain is mine. But come: thou seest this great host of men Which follow me; I pray thee, slay not these : Let me entreat for them: what have they

done? They follow'd me, my hope, my fame, my star. Let them all cross the Oxus back in peace. But me thou must bear hence, not send with

them, But carry me with thee to Seïstan, 781 And place me on a bed, and mourn for me, Thou, and the snow-hair'd Zal, and all thy

friends. And thou must lay me in that lovely earth, And heap a stately mound above my bones, And plant a far-seen pillar over all : That so the passing horseman on the waste May see my tomb a great way off, and say

Sohrab, the mighty Rustum's son, lies there, Whom his great father did in ignorance kill’. And I be not forgotten in my grave.” 791 And, with a mournful voice, Rustum replied:

“Fear not; as thou hast said, Sohrab, my son, So shall it be; for I will burn my tents,

And quit the host, and bear thee hence with

me, And carry thee away to Seîstan, And place thee on a bed, and mourn for thee, With the snow-headed Zal, and all my friends. And I will lay thee in that lovely earth, And heap a stately mound above thy bones, And plant a far-seen pillar over all:

801 And men shall not forget thee in thy grave. And I will spare thy host : yea, let them go: Let them all cross the Oxus back in peace. What should I do with slaying any more? For would that all whom I have ever slain Might be once more alive; my bitterest foes, And they who were call'd champions in their

time, And through whose death I won that fame I

have; And I were nothing but a common man, 810 A poor, mean soldier, and without renown; So thou mightest live too, my Son, my Son! Or rather would that I, even I myself, Might now be lying on this bloody sand, Near death, and by an ignorant stroke of thine, Not thou of mine; and I might die, not thou; And I, not thou, be borne to Seîstan; And Zal might weep above my grave, not thine;

O son, I weep thee not too sore, For willingly, I know, thou met'st thine end.' But now in blood and battles was my youth, And full of blood and battles is my age; 822 And I shall never end this life of blood." Then, at the point of death, Sohrab re

plied : “A life of blood indeed, thou dreadful Man ! But thou shalt yet have peace; only not now; Not yet: but thou shalt have it on that day, When thou shalt sail in a high-masted Ship, Thou and the other peers of Kai Khosroo, Returning home over the salt blue sea, From laying thy dear Master in his grave.” And Rustum gazed on Sohrab's face, and said :

832 “Soon be that day, my Son, and deep that sea ! Till then, if Fate so wills, let me endure.” He spoke; and Sohrab smil'd on him, and

took The spear, and drew it from his side, and eased His wound's imperious anguish : but the blood Came welling from the open gash, and life Flow'd with the stream: all down his cold

white side The crimson torrent pour'd, dim now and


And say.

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Brimming, and bright, and large: then sands

begin To hem his watery march, and dam his

streams, And split his currents; that for many a league The shorn and parcell'd Oxus strains along Through beds of sand and matted rushy islesOxus, forgetting the bright speed he had 883 In his high mountain cradle in Pamere, A foil'd circuitous wanderer: — till at last The long'd-for dash of waves is heard, and

wide His luminous home of waters opens, bright And tranquil, from whose floor the new-bath'd

stars Emerge, and shine upon the Aral Sea.


Hark! ah, the Nightingale !1
The tawny-throated !
Hark! from that moonlit cedar what a burst !
What triumph! hark — what pain !

Like the soil'd tissue of white violets. 841 Left, freshly gather'd, on their native bank, By romping children, whom their nurses call From the hot fields at noon: his head droop'd

low, His limbs grew slack; motionless, white, he

lay White, with eyes clos'd; only when heavy

gasps, Deep, heavy gasps, quivering through all his

frame, Convuls'd him back to life, he open'd them, And fix'd them feebly on his father's face: Till now all strength was ebb’d, and from his

limbs Unwillingly the spirit fled away,

851 Regretting the warm mansion which it left, And youth and bloom, and this delightful

world. So, on the bloody sand, Sohrab lay dead. And the great Rustum drew his horseman's

cloak Down o'er his face, and sate by his dead son. As those black granite pillars, once high-rear'd By Jemshidin Persepolis, to bear His house, now, 'mid their broken flights of

steps, Lie prone, enormous, down the mountain side

860 So in the sand lay Rustum by his son. And night came down over the solemn

waste, And the two gazing hosts, and that sole pair, And darken'd all; and a cold fog, with night, Crept from the Oxus. Soon a hum arose, As of a great assembly loosed, and fires Began to twinkle through the fog: for now Both armies moved to camp, and took their

meal: The Persians took it on the open sands Southward; the Tartars by the river marge: And Rustum and his son were left alone. 871

But the majestic River floated on, Out of the mist and hum of that low land, Into the frosty starlight, and there mov'd, Rejoicing, through the hush'd Chorasmian 2

waste, Under the solitary moon: he flow'd Right for the Polar Star, past Orgunjè,3

a mythical king who reigned 700 years; the black granite pillars found at Persepolis in Persia are called the ruins of his throne ? Chorasmia on the Oxus was once the seat, of a great empire. 8 a village on the Oxus

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1 Cf. the other nightingale poems in this volume and the story of Philomela in Gayley's Classic Myths, p. 258.

With love and hate, triumph and agony, Lone Daulis, and the high Cephissian vale?

Listen, Eugenia How thick the bursts come crowding through

the leaves ! Again — thou hearest !

30 Eternal Passion ! Eternal Pain !

Of bloom on the bent grass where I am

laid, And bower me from the August sun with shade;

29 And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers.


Go, for they call you, Shepherd, from the hill; Go, Shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes:

No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed, Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their

throats, Nor the cropp'd grasses, shoot another

head. But when the fields are still, And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest,

And only the white sheep are sometimes

And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's book _ Come, let me read the oft-read tale again,

The story of that Oxford scholar poor, Of pregnant parts and quick inventive brain, Who, tired of knocking at Preferment's


One summer morn forsook His friends, and went to learn the Gipsy lore, And roam'd the world with that wild

brotherhood, And came, as most men deem'd, to little good,

39 But came to Oxford and his friends no more.

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But once, years after, in the country lanes, Two scholars whom at college erst he knew

Met him, and of his way of life enquir’d. Whereat he answer'd, that the Gipsy crew, His mates, had arts to rule as they desir'd

The workings of men's brains; And they can bind them to what thoughts

they will: “And I,” he said, “the secret of their art, When fully learn'd, will to the world impart:

49 But it needs happy moments for this skill.”

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Screen'd is this nook o'er the high, half-reap'd

field, And here till sun-down, Shepherd, will I be. Through the thick corn,3 the scarlet

poppies peep, And round green roots and yellowing stalks


I see

Pale blue convolvulus in tendrils creep:

And air-swept lindens yield Their scent, and rustle down their perfum'd


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And once, in winter, on the causeway chill Where home through flooded fields foot

travellers go, Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden

bridge Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the

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1 the pool of slack water below a dam


Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy

The generations of thy peers are fled,

And we ourselves shall go;
But thou possessest an immortal lot,

And we imagine thee exempt from age

And living as thou liv'st on Glanvil's page, Because thou hadst — what we, alas, have not !


Thy face towards Hinksey' and its wintry


And thou hast climbed the hill, And gain'd the white brow of the Cumner

range, Turn'd once to watch, while thick the

snowflakes fall, The line of festal light in Christ-Church?

hall Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange.

130 But what I dream! Two hundred years

are flown Since first thy story ran through Oxford

halls, And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe That thou wert wander'd from the studious

walls To learn strange arts, and join a Gipsy

tribe :

And thou from earth art gone Long since, and in some quiet churchyard

laid; Some country nook, where o'er thy un

For early didst thou leave the world, with

powers Fresh, undiverted to the world without, Firm to their mark, not spent on other

things; Free from the sick fatigue, the languid

doubt, Which much to have tried, in much been

baffled, brings.

O Life unlike to ours ! Who fluctuate idly without term or scope, Of whom each strives, nor knows for what

he strives, And each half lives a hundred different

lives; Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in hope.


known grave

Tall grasses and white flowering nettles

wave Under


dark red-fruited yew-tree's shade.


Thou waitest for the spark from Heaven: and


- No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of

hours. For what wears out the life of mortal men? 'Tis that from change to change their

being rolls : 'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again, Exhaust the energy of strongest souls,

And numb the elastic powers. Till having us'd our nerves with bliss and

teen, And tir'd upon a thousand schemes our

wit, To the just-pausing Genius we remit Our worn-out life, and are

- what we have been.


Light half-believers of our casual creeds,

Who never deeply felt, nor clearly willid, Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, Whose vague resolves never have been


For whom each year we see Breeds new beginnings, disappointments

new; Who hesitate and falter life away, And lose to-morrow the ground won to

day Ah, do not we, Wanderer, await it too? 180

Thou hast not liv'd, why should’st thou perish,

so? Thou hadst one aim, one business, one desire: Else wert thou long since number'd with

the dead

Yes, we await it, but it still delays,
And then we suffer; and amongst us One,

Who most has suffer'd, takes dejectedly
His seat upon the intellectual throne;
And all his store of sadd experience he

Lays bare of wretched days; Tells us his misery's birth and growth and

signs, And how the dying spark of hope was fed, And how the breast was sooth'd, and how

the head, And all his hourly varied anodynes.

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