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Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on
No guarded watch, in peace he sleeps; By the lonely Traveller's call.
The wolf that howls in challenging night
Cowers to her lair at morning light; And he felt in his heart their strangeness, The simplest bird entwines a nest Their stillness answering his cry,
Where she may lean her lovely breast, While his horse moved, cropping the dark Couched in the silence of the bough. turf,
But thou, O man, what rest hast thou? 'Neath the starred and leafy sky; For he suddenly smote on the door, even Louder, and lifted his head :
Thy emptiest solitude can bring “Tell them I came, and no one answered, Only a subtler questioning
In thy divided heart. Thy bed
Recalls at dawn what midnight said.
Seek how thou wilt to feign content, Fell echoing through the shadowiness of Thy flaming ardour is quickly spent;
Soon thy last company is gone, the still house
From the one man left awake:
And leaves thee — with thyself — alone. Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup, And the sound of iron on stone,
Pomp and great friends may hem thee And how the silence surged softly back
A thousand busy tasks be found;
Thy longing lovesick heart awhile;
And pride, like clouds of sunset, spread
A changing glory round thy head; SOFTLY along the road of evening,
But fade will all; and thou must come, In a twilight dim with rose,
Hating thy journey, homeless, home.
Rave how thou wilt; unmoved, remote,
That inward presence slumbers not, His drowsy flock streams on before him,
Frets out each secret from thy breast, Their fleeces charged with gold,
Gives thee no rally, pause, nor rest, To where the sun's last beam leans low
Scans close thy very thoughts, lest they On Nod the shepherd's fold.
Should sap his patient power away,
Answers thy wrath with peace, thy cry The hedge is quick and green with brier,
With tenderest taciturnity.
BE gentle, O hands of a child; a Yet, when night's shadows fall,
Be true: like a shadowy sea His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
In the starry darkness of night Misses not one of all.
Are your eyes to me.
His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,
The waters of no more pain,
“Rest, rest, and rest again.”
But words are shallow, and soon
In the dark eyes too.
I think how, when our seasons all are But now my mind that gave to these sealed,
Gesture and shape, colour and song, Shall come the unchanging harvest from Goes hesitant and ill at ease, the field.
And the old touch is truant long,
Because the continents and seas I see the barns and comely manors planned
Are loud with lamentable wrong. By men who somehow moved in comely thought,
JAMES ELROY FLECKER Who, with a simple shippon to their hand,
THE OLD SHIPS As men upon some godlike business wrought;
I HAVE seen old ships sail like swans asleep I see the little cottages that keep
Beyond the village which men still cail Their beauty still where since Planta
With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep Have come the shepherds happily to sleep, For Famagusta and the hidden sun
Finding the loaves and cups of cider set; That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire; I see the twisted shepherds, brown and And all those ships were certainly so old old,
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy Driving at dusk their glimmering sheep to
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
The pirate Genoese And now the valleys that upon the sun Hell raked them till they rolled Broke from their opal veils are veiled Blood, water, fruit, and corpses up the hold. again,
But now through friendly seas they softly And the last light upon the wolds is done,
run, And silence falls on flocks and fields and Painted the mid-sea blue or the shore-sea men;
green, And black upon the night I watch my hill, Still patterned with the vine and grapes in And the stars shine, and there an owly gold.
wing Brushes the night, and all again is still, But I have seen And, from this land of worship that I Pointing her shapely shadows from the sing,
dawn I turn to sleep, content that from my
sires And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay I draw the blood of England's midmost A drowsy ship of some yet older day; shires.
And, wonder's breath indrawn,
Thought I – who knows - who knows CLOUDS
but in that same
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new BECAUSE a million voices call
Stern painted brighter blue —) Across the earth distractedly,
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came Because the thrones of reason fall
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the And beautiful battalions die, My mind is like a madrigal
From Troy's doom-crimson shore, Played on a lute long since put by. And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his In common use my mind is still Eager for every lovely thing
It was so old a ship — who knows who The solitudes of tarn and hill,
knows? Bright birds with honesty to sing,
And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain Bluebells and primroses that spill
To see the mast burst open with a rose, Cascades of colour on the spring. And the whole deck put on its leaves again.
I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky, Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.
But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love, And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?
How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow, And old Mæonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.
And, as into the tiny creek
O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue, Read out my words at night, alone :
I was a poet, I was young.
Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand, I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.
WILFRID WILSON GIBSON
As, on the threshold, for a spell,
“Though three men dwell on Flannan Isle
To leave the sunlight for the gloom :
And fallen dead by the lighthouse wall:
Like curs a glance has brought to heel,
Yet, as we crowded through the door,
We seem'd to stand for an endless while,
The night I left my father said:
“You'll go and do some stupid thing You've no more sense in that fat head
Than Silly Billy Witterling.
We hunted high, we hunted low,
“Not sense to come in when it rains
Not sense enough for that, you've got. You'll get a bullet through your brains,
Before you know, as like as not."
And now I'm lying in the trench
And shells and bullets through the night Are raining in a steady drench,
I'm thinking the old man was right.
Aye: though we hunted high and low,
IN THE MEADOW
All morning steaming round him rose,
Perched on the hard and jolting seat,
He drove the rattling jangling rake And, as we listen'd in the gloom
Round and around the Five Oaks Mead. Of that forsaken living-room
With that old mare he scarcely need A chill clutch on our breath
To drive at all or keep awake. We thought how ill-chance came to all Gazing with half-shut eyes Who kept the Flannan Light:
At her white flanks and grizzled tail And how the rock had been the death That flicked and ficked without avail, Of many a likely lad:
To drive away the cloud of flies How six had come to a sudden end
That hovered, closing and unclosing, And three had gone stark mad :
A shimmering hum and humming shimmer, And one whom we'd all known as friend Dwindling dim and ever dimmer Had leapt from the lantern one still night, In his dazzled sight, till, dozing,