A CLUSTER OF GRAPES
A BOOK OF TWENTIETH CENTURY POETRY
"Hee doth not onely shew the way, as will entice anie man to enter into it: nay he doth as if your journey should lye through a faire vineyard, at the verie first, give you a cluster of grapes, that full of that taste, you may long to passe further."
LONDON: ERSKINE MACDONALD 1914
The contents of this volume are copyright and may not be reproduced without the permission of the respective authors and publishers.
If the existence and contents of this book require any explanation, the compiler may adopt the words of a famous defender of poetry:
"Hee doth not onely shew the way but giveth so sweet a prospect into the way as will entice anie man into it.
"Nay, hee doth as if your journey should lye through a faire Vineyard, at the verie first give you a cluster of Grapes that full of that taste you may long to passe further. He beginneth not with obscure definitions, which must blurre the margent with interpretations and loade the memorie with doubtfulnesse, but hee cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion, either accompanied with or prepared for the well-enchanting skill of musicke, and with a tale forsoothe he cometh unto you, with a tale which holdeth children from play and olde men from the chimney-corner, and pretending no more, doth intend the winning of the minde from wickedness to vertue."
These excellent words of Sir Philip Sidney give the reason and scope of this collection of examples of the poetry of the present century. No attempt at arbitrary classification or labelling has been made; it is not intended to show that any poet, deliberately or otherwise, is a Neo-Symbolist or Paroxyst or is afflicted with any other 'ist or 'ism; it is not compiled to assert that any one group of poets is superior to any other group of poets or to poets who had the misfortune to have their corporeal existence cut short before the dawn of the twentieth century; it is not even intended to prove that good poetry is written in our time. All such purposes and particularly the latter are superfluous and may be left to dogmatic disputants who have little care for the grace and harmony of poetry.
The scheme of the Anthology is simple and without guile. It does not presuppose an abrupt period, but for the sake of convenience and in justification of its existence includes only the work of living writers produced during the present century and therefore most likely to be representative of the poetry of to-day. No editorial credit can be claimed for the selections; they are not the reflex of one individual's taste and preferences, but have been made by the writers themselves, to whom—and their respective publishers—for their cordial co-operation the collator of this distinctive volume is exceedingly grateful, not on his own account only but also on behalf of those readers to whom this volume will open out so fair a prospect that they will long to pass further, this "cluster of grapes" being one of the "lures immortal" for the rapidly increasing number of discriminating lovers of the high poetry that is the touchstone of beauty. The finest lyric work of our day needs no further introduction; the poet is his own best interpreter; but it may be added, in anticipation of adventitious criticism of the limitations of these examples, that the capacity of the present volume and the absence abroad of some potential contributors account for the non-inclusion of certain writers who otherwise would have been represented here.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CONTENTS
A.E.: Collected Poems (Macmillan), 1913.
Reconciliation 1 The Man to the Angel 2 Babylon 3
ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON: Le Cahier Jaune (privately printed), 1892. Poems, 1893; Lyrics, 1895; Lord Vyet, and other Poems, 1897; The Professor and other Poems, 1900; Peace and other Poems, 1905; Collected Poems (John Lane, The Bodley Head), 1909.
Making Haste 5 At Eventide 6 In a College Garden 7
ANNA BUNSTON (Mrs de Bary): Leaves from a Woman's Manuscript, 1904 (out of print); Mingled Wine (Longmans), 1909; The Porch of Paradise (Herbert & Daniel), 1911; Songs of God and Man (Herbert & Daniel), 1912; Letters of a Schoolma'am (Dent), 1913; Jephthah's Daughter (Erskine MacDonald), 1914; Mingled Wine (Cheaper re-issue, Erskine MacDonald), 1914.
A Mortgaged Inheritance 8 The Wilderness 9 Under a Wiltshire Apple Tree 11
G. K. CHESTERTON: (b. 1873). Poems in Novels and the Commonwealth, the New Witness, etc.; The Wild Knight and other Poems (Richards), 1900; Browning, in "English Men of Letters" (Macmillan), 1903; Ballad of the White Horse (Methuen), 1911.
Sonnet with the Compliments of the Season 13 When I came back to Fleet Street 14 The Truce of Christmas 17
FRANCES CORNFORD: Poems (Bowes & Bowes, Cambridge), 1910. Death and the Princess, a Morality (Bowes & Bowes), 1913.
The Princess and the Gypsies 19 The Dandelion 22 Social Intercourse 23
WALTER DE LA MARE: (b. 1873). Songs of Childhood (Longmans), 1902; Henry Brocken (Murray), 1904; Poems, 1906: The Three Mulla Malgars (Duckworth); The Return (Arnold), 1910; The Listeners and other Poems (Constable), 1911; Peacock Pie (Constable), 1913.
An Epitaph 24 Arabia 25 Nod 26
JOHN GALSWORTHY: (b. 1867). Novels, Studies, and Verse; Villa Rubein, 1901; The Island Pharisees, 1904; The Man of Property, 1906; The Country House, 1907; A Commentary, 1908; Fraternity, 1909; A Motley, 1910; The Patrician, 1911; The Inn of Tranquillity; and Moods, Songs and Doggerels, 1913; The Dark Flower (Heinemann), 1913; Plays: Vol. I, The Silver Box; Joy; Strife, 1909. Vol. II, Justice; The Little Dream; The Eldest Son, 1912. Vol. III, The Fugitive; The Pigeon; The Mob, 1914.
The Downs 27 The Prayer 27 Devon to Me 28
EVA GORE-BOOTH: Poems (Longmans, Green & Co.), 1898; Unseen Kings (Longmans), 1904; The One and the Many (Longmans), 1904; The Three Resurrections and the Triumph of Maeve (Longmans), 1905; The Sorrowful Princess (Longmans), 1907; The Egyptian Pillar (Maunsel & Co., Dublin), 1907; The Agate Lamp (Longmans), 1912.
Maeve of the Battles 29 Re-Incarnation 31 Leonardo Da Vinci 34
JOHN GURDON: Erinna, a Tragedy (Edward Arnold), 1913; Dramatic Lyrics (Elkin Matthews), 1906; Enchantments (Erskine Macdonald), 1912.
Surrender 36 Before the Fates 38
THOMAS HARDY: (b. 1840). Wessex Poems, 1898; Poems of the Past and Present, 1901; The Dynasts; An Epic Drama, Part I, 1903-4; Part II, 1906; Part III, 1908; Time's Laughing Stocks and other Verses (Macmillan), 1910.
A Trampwoman's Tragedy 42 Chorus from "The Dynasts" (Part III) 47 The Ballad Singer 49
RALPH HODGSON: Contributions to the Saturday Review; Flying Fame Chap Books.
The Moor 50 Time, You Old Gipsy Man 51 Ghoul Care 53
W. G. HOLE: Procris and other Poems (Paul); Amoris Imago (Paul); Poems, Lyrical and Dramatic (Matthews), 1902; Queen Elizabeth, An Historical Drama (Geo. Bell & Sons), 1904; New Poems (Geo. Bell & Sons), 1907; The Chained Titan (Geo. Bell & Sons,) 1910; The Master: A Poetical Play in Two Acts (Erskine Macdonald), 1913.
Roosevelt-Village Street 54 The Haunted Fields 58 Captive in London Town 60
LAURENCE HOUSMAN: (b. 1867). Mendicant Rimes; Selected Poems (Sidgwick & Jackson).
The Fellow-Travellers 61 The Settlers 62 Song 63
EMILIA S. LORIMER: Songs of Alban (Constable), 1912.
Love Songs 64 Storm 65
JAMES A. MACKERETH: In Grasmere Vale and other Poems, 1907; The Cry on the Mountain, 1908; When We Dreamers Wake, a Drama for To-day (Nutt), 1909; A Son of Cain and other Poems (Longmans), 1910; In the Wake of the Phoenix (Longmans), 1911; On the Face of a Star (Longmans), 1913.
To a Blackbird on New Year's Day 66 La Danseuse 68 God Returns 70
ALICE MEYNELL: Poems (Collected Edition), 1913. Essays (selected from The Rhythm of Life, etc.) (Burns & Oates), 1914.
To the Body 72 Christ in the Universe 73 Maternity 74
WILL H. OGILVIE: The Overlander; The Land we Love; Whaup o' the Rede (Thomas Fraser, Dalbeattie); Rainbows and Witches (Elkin Matthews); Fair Girls and Grey Horses; Hearts of Gold (Angus & Robertson, Australia).
There's a Clean Wind Blowing 75 The Garden of the Night 76 The Crossing Swords 79
STEPHEN PHILLIPS: Eremus (Paul), 1894; Christ in Hades (Matthews), 1896; Poems, 1897; Paolo and Francesca, 1899; Marpessa, 1900; Herod, 1900; Ulysses, 1902; Nero, 1906; The New Inferno, 1910; New Poems, Lyrics and Dramas (John Lane), 1913.
Lures Immortal 80 Beautiful lie the Dead 82 Lyric from "The Sin of David" 83
EDEN PHILLPOTTS: Many novels: Dance of the Months; Sketches of Dartmoor and Poems (Gowans & Gray), 1911; The Iscariot, a Poem (Murray), 1912; Up-Along and Down-Along (Methuen), 1905; Wild Fruit (John Lane), 1911.
A Devon Courting 84 A Litany to Pan 85 Swinburne 87
DORA SIGERSON SHORTER: Verses, 1894; The Fairy Changeling, and other Poems, 1897; My Lady's Slipper and other Poems, 1898; Ballads and Poems, 1899; The Father Confessor, 1900; The Woman who went to Hell, 1902; As the Sparks fly Upward, 1904; The Story and Song of Earl Roderick, 1906; Collected Poems, 1909; The Troubadour, 1910; New Poems, 1912; Madge Linsey and other Poems (Maunsel, Dublin), 1913.
The Watcher in the Wood 88 The Nameless One 89 When I shall Rise 91
ARTHUR SYMONS: Images of Good and Evil, 1900; Poems, 1901; The Fool of the World and other Poems, 1906; The Knave of Hearts (Heinemann), 1913; Cities of Italy, 1908; The Romantic Movement in English Poetry, 1909.
Tanagra 92 Giovanni Malatesta at Rimini 93 La Melinite: Moulin Rouge 95
EVELYN UNDERHILL: Immanence, A Book of Verses (J. M. Dent & Sons), 1912; Mysticism; The Mystic Way.
Immanence 97 Introversion 99 Ichthus 100
MARGARET L. WOODS: Poems, Collected Edition (John Lane), 1913.
Songs 102 The Changeling 103
I begin through the grass once again to be bound to the Lord; I can see, through a face that has faded, the face full of rest Of the earth, of the mother, my heart with her heart in accord, As I lie mid the cool green tresses that mantle her breast I begin with the grass once again to be bound to the Lord.
By the hand of a child I am led to the throne of the King For a touch that now fevers me not is forgotten and far, And His infinite sceptred hands that sway us can bring Me in dreams from the laugh of a child to the song of a star. On the laugh of a child I am borne to the joy of the King.
THE MAN TO THE ANGEL
I have wept a million tears: Pure and proud one, where are thine, What the gain though all thy years In unbroken beauty shine?
All your beauty cannot win Truth we learn in pain and sighs: You can never enter in To the circle of the wise.
They are but the slaves of light Who have never known the gloom, And between the dark and bright Willed in freedom their own doom.
Think not in your pureness there, That our pain but follows sin: There are fires for those who dare Seek the throne of might to win.
Pure one, from your pride refrain: Dark and lost amid the strife I am myriad years of pain Nearer to the fount of life.
When defiance fierce is thrown At the god to whom you bow, Rest the lips of the Unknown Tenderest upon my brow.
The blue dusk ran between the streets: my love was winged within my mind, It left to-day and yesterday and thrice a thousand years behind. To-day was past and dead for me, for from to-day my feet had run Through thrice a thousand years to walk the ways of ancient Babylon. On temple top and palace roof the burnished gold flung back the rays Of a red sunset that was dead and lost beyond a million days. The tower of heaven turns darker blue, a starry sparkle now begins; The mystery and magnificence, the myriad beauty and the sins Come back to me. I walk beneath the shadowy multitude of towers; Within the gloom the fountain jets its pallid mist in lily flowers. The waters lull me and the scent of many gardens, and I hear Familiar voices, and the voice I love is whispering in my ear. Oh real as in dream all this; and then a hand on mine is laid: The wave of phantom time withdraws; and that young Babylonian maid, One drop of beauty left behind from all the flowing of that tide, Is looking with the self-same eyes, and here in Ireland by my side. Oh light our life in Babylon, but Babylon has taken wings, While we are in the calm and proud procession of eternal things.
ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON
"Soon!" says the Snowdrop, and smiles at the motherly earth, "Soon!—for the Spring with her languors comes stealthily on Snow was my cradle, and chill winds sang at my birth; Winter is over—and I must make haste to be gone!"
"Soon," says the Swallow, and dips to the wind-ruffled stream, "Grain is all garnered—the Summer is over and done; Bleak to the eastward the icy battalions gleam, Summer is over—and I must make haste to be gone!"
"Soon—ah, too soon!" says the Soul, with a pitiful gaze, "Soon!—for I rose like a star, and for aye would have shone! See the pale shuddering dawn, that must wither my rays, Leaps from the mountains—and I must make haste to be gone!"
At morn I saw the level plain So rich and small beneath my feet, A sapphire sea without a stain, And fields of golden-waving wheat; Lingering I said, "At noon I'll be At peace by that sweet-scented tide. How far, how fair my course shall be, Before I come to the Eventide!"
Where is it fled, that radiant plain? I stumble now in miry ways; Dark clouds drift landward, big with rain, And lonely moors their summits raise. On, on with hurrying feet I range, And left and right in the dumb hillside Grey gorges open, drear and strange, And so I come to the Eventide!
IN A COLLEGE GARDEN
Birds, that cry so loud in the old, green bowery garden, Your song is of Love! Love! Love! Will ye weary not nor cease? For the loveless soul grows sick, the heart that the grey days harden; I know too well that ye love! I would ye should hold your peace.
I too have seen Love rise, like a star; I have marked his setting; I dreamed in my folly and pride that Life without Love were peace. But if Love should await me yet, in the land of sleep and forgetting— Ah, bird, could you sing me this, I would not your song should cease!
ANNA BUNSTON (Mrs de BARY)
A MORTGAGED INHERITANCE
I knew a land whose streams did wind More winningly than these, Where finer shadows played behind The clean-stemmed beechen trees. The maidens there were deeper eyed, The lads more swift and fair, And angels walked at each one's side— Would God that I were there!
Here daffodils are dressed in gold, But there they wore the sun, And here the blooms are bought and sold, But there God gave each one. There all roads led to fairyland That here do lead to care, And stars were lamps on Heaven's strand— Would God, that I were there!
Here worship crawls upon her course That there with larks would cope, And here her voice with doubt is hoarse That there was sweet with hope. O land of Peace! my spirit dies For thy once tasted air, O earliest loss! O latest prize! Would God that I were there!
From Life's enchantments, Desire of place, From lust of getting Turn thou away, and set thy face Toward the wilderness.
The tents of Jacob As valleys spread, As goodly cedars, Or fair lign aloes, white and red, Shall share thy wilderness.
With awful judgments, The law, the rod, With soft allurements And comfortable words, will God Pass o'er the wilderness.
The bitter waters Are healed and sweet, The ample heavens Pour angel's bread about thy feet Throughout the wilderness.
And Carmel's glory Thou thoughtest gone, And Sharon's roses, The excellency of Lebanon Delight thy wilderness.
Who passeth Jordan Perfumed with myrrh, With myrrh and incense? Lo! on his arm Love leadeth her Who trod the wilderness.
UNDER A WILTSHIRE APPLE TREE
Some folks as can afford, So I've heard say, Sets up a sort of cross Right in the garden way To mind 'em of the Lord.
But I, when I do see Thic apple tree An' stoopin' limb All spread wi' moss, I think of Him And how he talks wi' me.
I think of God And how he trod That garden long ago: He walked, I reckon, to and fro And then sat down Upon the groun' Or some low limb What suited Him Same as you see On many a tree, And on this very one Where I at set o' sun Do sit and talk wi' He.
An' mornings, too, I rise an' come An' sit down where the branch be low; A bird do sing, a bee do hum, The flowers in the border blow, An' all my heart's so glad an' clear As pools be when the sun do peer: As pools a laughin' in the light When mornin' air is swep' an' bright, As pools what got all Heaven in sight So's my heart's cheer When He be near.
He never pushed the garden door, He left no footmark on the floor; I never heard 'Un stir nor tread An' yet His Hand do bless my head, And when 'tis time for work to start I takes Him with me in my heart.
And when I die, pray God I see At very last thic apple tree An' stoopin' limb, An' think o' Him And all He been to me.
G. K. CHESTERTON
SONNET WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON
(To a popular leader, to be congratulated on the avoidance of a strike at Christmas.)
I know you. You will hail the huge release, Saying the sheathing of a thousand swords, In silence and injustice, well accords With Christmas bells. And you will gild with grease The papers, the employers, the police, And vomit up the void your windy words To your new Christ; who bears no whip of cords For them that traffic in the doves of peace.
The feast of friends, the candle-fruited tree, I have not failed to honour. And I say It would be better for such men as we And we be nearer Bethlehem, if we lay Shot dead on snows scarlet for Liberty, Dead in the daylight; upon Christmas Day.
WHEN I CAME BACK TO FLEET STREET
When I came back to Fleet Street, Through a sunset-nook at night, And saw the old Green Dragon With the windows all alight, And hailed the old Green Dragon And the Cock I used to know, Where all the good fellows were my friends A little while ago.
I had been long in meadows, And the trees took hold of me, And the still towns in the beech-woods, Where men were meant to be; But old things held; the laughter, The long unnatural night, And all the truth the talk in hell, And all the lies they write.
For I came back to Fleet Street, And not in peace I came; A cloven pride was in my heart, And half my love was shame. I came to fight in fairy tale, Whose end shall no man know— To fight the old Green Dragon Until the Cock shall crow!
Under the broad bright windows Of men I serve no more, The groaning of the old great wheels Thickened to a throttled roar; All buried things broke upwards; And peered from its retreat, Ugly and silent, like an elf, The secret of the street.
They did not break the padlocks, Or clear the wall away. The men in debt that drank of old Still drink in debt to-day; Chained to the rich by ruin, Cheerful in chains, as then When old unbroken Pickwick walked Among the broken men.
Still he that dreams and rambles Through his own elfin air, Knows that the street's a prison, Knows that the gates are there: Still he that scorns or struggles, Sees frightful and afar All that they leave of rebels Rot high on Temple Bar.
All that I loved and hated, All that I shunned and knew, Clears in broad battle lightening; Where they, and I, and you, Run high the barricade that breaks The barriers of the Street, And shout to them that shrink within, The Prisoners of the Fleet!
THE TRUCE OF CHRISTMAS
Passionate peace is in the sky And on the snow in silver sealed The beasts are perfect in the field And men seem men so suddenly But take ten swords, and ten times ten, And blow the bugle in praising men For we are for all men under the sun And they are against us every one And misers haggle, and mad men clutch And there is peril in praising much And we have the terrible tongues un-curled That praise the world to the sons of the world.
The idle humble hill and wood Are bowed about the sacred Birth And for one little while the earth Is lazy with the love of good But ready are you and ready am I If the battle blow and the guns go by For we are for all men under the sun And they are against us every one For the men that hate herd altogether To pride and gold and the great white feather And the thing is graven in star and stone That the men that love are all alone.
Hunger is hard and time is tough But bless the beggars and kiss the kings For hope has broken the heart of things And nothing was ever praised enough But hold the shield for a sudden swing And point the sword in praising a thing For we are for all men under the sun And they are against us every one And mime and merchant, thane and thrall, Hate us because we love them all Only till Christmas time goes by Passionate peace is in the sky.
THE PRINCESS AND THE GIPSIES
As I looked out one May morning, I saw the tree-tops green; I said: "My crown I will lay down And live no more a queen."
Then I tripped down my golden steps All in my silken gown, And when I stood in the open wood, I met some gipsies brown.
"O gentle, gentle gipsies, That roam the wide world through, Because I hate my crown and state O let me come with you.
"My councillors are old and grey, And sit in narrow chairs; But you can hear the birds sing clear, And your hearts are as light as theirs."
"If you would come along with us, Then you must count the cost; For though in Spring the sweet birds sing, In Winter comes the frost.
"Your ladies serve you all the day With courtesy and care; Your fine-shod feet they tread so neat, But a gipsy's feet go bare.
"You wash in water running warm Through basins all of gold; The streams where we roam have silvery foam, But the streams, the streams are cold.
"And barley-bread is bitter to taste, While sugary cakes they please— Which will you choose, O which will you choose, Which will you choose of these?
"For if you choose the mountain streams And barley-bread to eat, Your heart will be free as the birds in the tree, But the stones will cut your feet.
"The mud will spoil your silken gown, And stain your insteps high; The dogs in the farm will wish you harm And bark as you go by.
"And though your heart grow deep and gay, And your heart grow wise and rich, The cold will make your bones to ache And you will die in a ditch."
"O gentle, gentle gipsies, That roam the wide world through, Although I praise your wandering ways, I dare not come with you."
I hung about their fingers brown My ruby rings and chain, And with my head as heavy as lead, I turned me back again.
As I went up the palace steps, I heard the gipsies laugh; The birds of Spring so sweet did sing; My heart it broke in half.
The dandelion is brave and gay, And loves to grow beside the way; A braver thing was never seen To praise the grass for growing green; You never saw a gayer thing, To sit and smile and praise the Spring.
The children with their simple hearts, The lazy men that come in carts, The little dogs that lollop by, They all have seen its shining eye: And every one of them would say, They never saw a thing so gay.
Like to islands in the seas, Stand our personalities— Islands where we always face One another's watering-place. When we promenade our sands We can hear each other's bands, We can see on festal nights Red and green and purple lights, Gilt pavilions in a row, Stucco houses built for show.
But our eyes can never reach Further than the tawdry beach, Never can they hope to win To the wonders far within: Jagged rocks against the sky Where the eagles haunt and cry, Forests full of running rills, Darkest forests, sunny hills, Hollows where a dragon lowers, Sweet and unimagined flowers.
WALTER DE LA MARE
Here lies a most beautiful lady, Light of step and heart was she: I think she was the most beautiful lady That ever was in the West Country. But beauty vanishes; beauty passes; However rare—rare it be; And when I crumble who will remember This lady of the West Country?
Far are the shades of Arabia, Where the princes ride at noon, 'Mid the verdurous vales and thickets Under the ghost of the moon; And so dark is that vaulted purple, Flowers in the forest rise And toss into blossom 'gainst the phantom stars, Pale in the noonday skies.
Sweet is the music of Arabia In my heart, when out of dreams I still in the thin clear mirk of dawn Descry her gliding streams; Hear her strange lutes on the green banks Ring loud with the grief and delight Of the dim-silked, dark-haired musicians, In the brooding silence of night.
They haunt me—her lutes and her forests; No beauty on earth I see But shadowed with that dream recalls Her loveliness to me: Still eyes look coldly upon me, Cold voices whisper and say— "He is crazed with the spell of far Arabia, They have stolen his wits away."
Softly along the road of evening, In a twilight dim with rose, Wrinkled with age and drenched with dew, Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.
His drowsy flock streams on before him, Their fleeces charged with gold, To where the sun's last beam leans low On Nod the shepherd's fold.
The hedge is quick and green with briar, From their sand the conies creep; And all the birds that fly in heaven Flock singing home to sleep.
His lambs outnumber a noon's roses Yet, when night's shadows fall, His blind old sheep dog, Slumber-soon, Misses not one of all.
His are the quiet steeps of dreamland, The waters of no more pain, His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars, "Rest, rest, and rest again."
Oh! the downs high to the cool sky; And the feel of the sun-warmed moss; And each cardoon, like a full moon, Fairy-spun of the thistle floss; And the beech grove, and a wood dove, And the trail where the shepherds pass; And the lark's song, and the wind-song, And the scent of the parching grass!
If on a Spring night I went by And God were standing there, What is the prayer that I would cry To Him? This is the prayer: O Lord of Courage grave, O Master of this night of Spring! Make firm in me a heart too brave To ask Thee anything!
DEVON TO ME.
Where my fathers stood, watching the sea, Gale-spent herring boats hugging the lea; There my Mother lives, moorland and tree. Sight o' the blossoms! Devon to me!
Where my fathers walked, driving the plough; Whistled their hearts out—who whistles now?— There my Mother burns fire faggots free. Scent o' the wood-smoke! Devon to me!
Where my fathers sat, passing their bowls; —They've no cider now, God rest their souls! There my Mother feeds red cattle three. Sup o' the cream-pan! Devon to me!
Where my fathers sleep, turning to dust, This old body throw when die I must! There my Mother calls, wakeful is she! Sound o' the West-wind! Devon to me!
Where my fathers lie, when I am gone, Who need pity me, dead? Never one! There my Mother clasps me. Let me be! Feel o' the red earth! Devon to me!
MAEVE OF THE BATTLES
I have seen Maeve of the Battles wandering over the hill, And I know that the deed that is in my heart is her deed, And my soul is blown about by the wild wind of her will, For always the living must follow whither the dead would lead— I have seen Maeve of the Battles wandering over the hill.
I would dream a dream at twilight of ease and beauty and peace— A dream of light on the mountains, and calm on the restless sea; A dream of the gentle days of the world when battle shall cease And the things that are in hatred and wrath no longer shall be. I would dream a dream at twilight of ease and beauty and peace.
The foamless waves are falling soft on the sands of Lissadil And the world is wrapped in quiet and a floating dream of grey; But the wild winds of the twilight blow straight from the haunted hill And the stars come out of the darkness and shine over Knocknarea— I have seen Maeve of the Battles wandering over the hill.
There is no rest for the soul that has seen the wild eyes of Maeve; No rest for the heart once caught in the net of her yellow hair— No quiet for the fallen wind, no peace for the broken wave; Rising and falling, falling and rising with soft sounds everywhere, There is no rest for the soul that has seen the wild eyes of Maeve.
I have seen Maeve of the Battles wandering over the hill And I know that the deed that is in my heart is her deed; And my soul is blown about by the wild winds of her will, For always the living must follow whither the dead would lead— I have seen Maeve of the Battles wandering over the hill.
The darkness draws me, kindly angels weep Forlorn beyond receding rings of light, The torrents of the earth's desires sweep My soul through twilight downward into night.
Once more the light grows dim, the vision fades, Myself seems to myself a distant goal, I grope among the bodies' drowsy shades, Once more the Old Illusion rocks my soul.
Once more the Manifold in shadowy streams Of falling waters murmurs in my ears, The One Voice drowns amid the roar of dreams That crowd the narrow pathway of the years.
I go to seek the starshine on the waves, To count the dewdrops on the grassy hill, I go to gather flowers that grow on graves, The worlds' wall closes round my prisoned will.
Yea, for the sake of the wild western wind The sphered spirit scorns her flame-built throne, Because of primroses, time out of mind, The Lonely turns away from the Alone.
Who once has loved the cornfield's rustling sheaves, Who once has heard the gentle Irish rain Murmur low music in the growing leaves, Though he were god, comes back to earth again.
Oh Earth! green wind-swept Eirinn, I would break The tower of my soul's initiate pride For a grey field and a star-haunted lake, And those wet winds that roam the country side.
I who have seen am glad to close my eyes, I who have soared am weary of my wings, I seek no more the secret of the wise, Safe among shadowy, unreal human things.
Blind to the gleam of those wild violet rays That burn beyond the rainbow's circle dim, Bound by dark nights and driven by pale days, The sightless slave of Time's imperious whim;
Deaf to the flowing tide of dreams divine That surge outside the closed gates of birth, The rhythms of eternity, too fine To touch with music the dull ears of earth—
I go to seek with humble care and toil The dreams I left undreamed, the deeds undone, To sow the seed and break the stubborn soil, Knowing no brightness whiter than the sun.
Content in winter if the fire burns clear And cottage walls keep out the creeping damp, Hugging the Old Illusion warm and dear, The Silence and the Wise Book and the Lamp.
LEONARDO DA VINCI
He in his deepest mind That inner harmony divined That lit the soul of John And in the glad eyes shone Of Dionysos, and dwelt Where Angel Gabriel knelt Under the dark cypress spires; And thrilled with flameless fires Of Secret Wisdom's rays The Giaconda's smiling gaze; Curving with delicate care The pearls in Beatrice d'Este's hair; Hiding behind the veil Of eyelids long and pale, In the strange gentle vision dim Of the unknown Christ who smiled on him. His was no vain dream Of the things that seem, Of date and name. He overcame The Outer False with the Inner True, And overthrew The empty show and thin deceits of sex, Pale nightmares of this barren world that vex The soul of man, shaken by every breeze Too faint to stir the silver olive trees Or lift the Dryad's smallest straying tress Frozen in her clear marble loveliness.
He, in curved lips and smiling eyes, Hid the last secret's faint surprise Of one who dies in fear and pain And lives and knows herself again. He, in his dreaming under the sun, Saw change and the unchanging One, And built in grottoes blue a shrine To hold Reality Divine.
Like the diamond spark of the morning star When night grows pale Love gleams in the depths of thine eyes afar Through the rifted veil Of thy cloudy dreams.
I saw in the glint of thy wavy hair His splendour shine A moment, and now thy cheeks declare The fire divine In their rosy streams.
It leaps from thy face to mine, and flushes From brow to chin. The hot blood sings in my ears and gushes With surge and spin Through my tingling veins.
I lift up my heart for thy fervent lips To kiss, my sweet. I would lift up my soul, but she swooning slips Down at thy feet, And the rainbow stains.
Brighten and cloud on her wings that close And open slow, As a butterfly's move, on the breast of a rose Rocked to and fro By a crooning wind.
O star! O blossom! I faint for bliss. I faint for thee; For the kiss on my closed eyes, thy kiss In ecstasy That leaves me blind.
Me has love molten for thee to mould. Ah, shape me fair As the crown of thy life, as a crown of gold In thy flame-like hair Worn for a sign!
Nay, rather my life be a wind-flower Slow kissed to death, Petal by petal, on lips that stir With love's own breath. Dear life, take mine!
BEFORE THE FATES
I cannot sing, So weary of life my heart is and so sore Afraid. What harp-playing Back from the land whose name is Never More My lost desire will bring?
* * * * *
These words she said Before the Pheidian Fates. "There comes an end Of love, and mine is fled: But, if you let me, I will be your friend, A better friend, instead."
Was it her own, The voice I heard, marmoreal, strange, remote, As though from yonder throne Clotho had spoken, and the headless throat Had uttered words of stone?
I sought her face; It was a mask inscrutable, a screen Baffling all hope to trace The woman whose passionate loveliness had been Mine for a little space.
Thereat I rose, Smiling, and said—"The dream is past and gone. Surely Love comes and goes Even as he will. And who shall thwart him? None. Only, while water flows
And night and day Chase one another round the rolling sphere, Henceforth our destined way Divides. Fare onward, then, and leave me, dear. There is no more to say."
* * * * *
Harsh songs and sweet Come to me still, but as a tale twice told. The throb, the quivering beat Harry my blood no longer as of old, Nor stir my wayworn feet.
Yet for a threne Once more I wear the purple robe and make Sad music and serene For pity's sake, ah me, and the old time's sake, And all that might have been.
For Love lies dead. Love, the immortal, the victorious, Is fallen and vanquished. What charm can raise, what incantation rouse That lowly, piteous head?
Why should I weep My triumph? 'Twas my life or his. Behold The wound, how wide and deep Which in my side the arrow tipped with gold Smote as I lay asleep!
Across thy way I came not, Love, nor ever sought thy face; But me, who dreaming lay Peaceful within my quiet lurking-place, Thy shaft was sped to slay.
When hadst thou ruth, That I should sorrow o'er thee and forgive? Why should I grieve, forsooth? Art thou not dead for ever, and I live? And yet—and yet, in truth
Almost I would That I had perished, and beside my bier Thou and thy mother stood, And from relenting eyes let fall a tear Upon me, and my blood
Changed to a flower Imperishable, a hyacinthine bloom, In memory of an hour Splendidly lived between Delight and Doom Once when I wandered from my ivory tower.
A TRAMPWOMAN'S TRAGEDY (182-)
From Wynyard's Gap the livelong day, The livelong day, We beat afoot the northward way We had travelled times before. The sun-blaze burning on our backs, Our shoulders sticking to our packs, By fosseway, fields, and turnpike tracks We skirted sad Sedge Moor.
Full twenty miles we jaunted on, We jaunted on— My fancy-man, and jeering John, And Mother Lee, and I. And, as the sun drew down to west, We climbed the toilsome Poldon crest, And saw, of landskip sights the best, The inn that beamed thereby.
For months we had padded side by side, Ay, side by side Through the Great Forest, Blackmoor wide, And where the Parret ran. We'd faced the gusts on Mendip ridge, Had crossed the Yeo unhelped by bridge, Been stung by every Marshwood midge, I and my fancy man.
Lone inns we loved, my man and I, My man and I; "King's Stag," "Windwhistle" high and dry, "The Horse" on Hintock Green, The cosy house at Wynyard's Gap, "The Hut" renowned on Bredy Knap, And many another wayside tap Where folk might sit unseen.
Now as we trudged—O deadly day, O deadly day!— I teased my fancy-man in play And wanton idleness. I walked alongside jeering John, I laid his hand my waist upon; I would not bend my glances on My lover's dark distress.
Thus Poldon top at last we won, At last we won, And gained the inn at sink of sun Far famed as "Marshall's Elm." Beneath us figured tor and lea, From Mendip to the western sea— I doubt if finer sight there be Within this royal realm.
Inside the settle all a-row— All four a-row We sat, I next to John, to show That he had wooed and won. And then he took me on his knee, And swore it was his turn to be My favoured mate, and Mother Lee Passed to my former one.
Then in a voice I had never heard, I had never heard, My only Love to me: "One word, My lady, if you please! Whose is the child you are like to bear?— His? After all my months of care?" God knows 'twas not! But, O despair! I nodded—still to tease.
Then up he sprung, and with his knife— And with his knife He let out jeering Johnny's life, Yes; there, at set of sun. The slant ray through the window nigh Gilded John's blood and glazing eye, Ere scarcely Mother Lee and I Knew that the deed was done.
The taverns tell the gloomy tale, The gloomy tale, How that at Ivel-chester jail My Love, my sweetheart swung; Though stained till now by no misdeed Save one horse ta'en in time o' need; (Blue Jimmy stole right many a steed Ere his last fling he flung.)
Thereaft I walked the world alone, Alone, alone! On his death-day I gave my groan And dropped his dead-born child. 'Twas nigh the jail, beneath a tree, None tending me; for Mother Lee Had died at Glaston, leaving me Unfriended on the wild.
And in the night as I lay weak, As I lay weak, The leaves a-falling on my cheek, The red moon low declined— The ghost of him I'd die to kiss Rose up and said: "Ah, tell me this! Was the child mine, or was it his? Speak, that I rest may find!"
O doubt not but I told him then, I told him then, That I had kept me from all men Since we joined lips and swore. Whereat he smiled, and thinned away As the wind stirred to call up day ... —'Tis past! And here alone I stray Haunting the Western Moor.
CHORUS FROM "THE DYNASTS"
Last as first the question rings Of the Will's long travailings; Why the All-mover, Why the All-prover Ever urges on and measures out the droning tune of Things.
Heaving dumbly As we deem, Moulding numbly As in dream, Apprehending not how fare the sentient subjects of Its scheme.
Nay;—shall not Its blindness break? Yea, must not Its heart awake, Promptly tending To Its mending In a genial germing purpose, and for loving-kindness' sake?
Should It never Curb or cure Aught whatever Those endure Whom It quickens, let them darkle to extinction swift and sure.
But a stirring thrills the air, Like to sounds of joyance there That the rages Of the ages Shall be cancelled, and deliverance offered from the darts that were, Consciousness the Will informing, till It fashion all things fair!
THE BALLAD SINGER
Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune; Make me forget that there was ever a one I walked with in the meek light of the moon When the day's work was done.
Rhyme, Ballad-rhymer, start a country song; Make me forget that she whom I loved well Swore she would love me dearly, love me long, Then—what I cannot tell!
Sing, Ballad-singer, from your little book; Make me forget those heart-breaks, achings, fears; Make me forget her name, her sweet sweet look— Make me forget her tears.
The world's gone forward to its latest fair And dropt an old man done with by the way, To sit alone among the bats and stare At miles and miles and miles of moorland bare Lit only with last shreds of dying day.
Not all the world, not all the world's gone by; Old man, you're like to meet one traveller still, A journeyman well kenned for courtesy To all that walk at odds with life and limb; If this be he now riding up the hill Maybe he'll stop and take you up with him....
"But thou art Death?" "Of Heavenly Seraphim None else to seek thee out and bid thee come." "I only care that thou art come from Him, Unbody me—I'm tired—and get me home."
TIME, YOU OLD GIPSY MAN
Time, you old gipsy man, Will you not stay, Put up your caravan Just for one day?
All things I'll give you Will you be my guest, Bells for your jennet Of silver the best, Goldsmiths shall beat you A great golden ring, Peacocks shall bow to you, Little boys sing, Oh, and sweet girls will Festoon you with may, Time, you old gipsy, Why hasten away?
Last week in Babylon, Last night in Rome, Morning, and in the crush Under Paul's dome; Under Paul's dial You tighten your rein, Only a moment And off once again; Off to some city Now blind in the womb, Off to another Ere that's in the tomb.
Time, you old gipsy man, Will you not stay, Put up your caravan Just for one day?
Sour fiend, go home and tell the Pit: For once you met your master, A man who carried in his soul Three charms against disaster, The Devil and disaster.
Away, away, and tell the tale And start your whelps a-whining, Say "In the greenwood of his soul A lizard's eye was shining, A little eye kept shining."
Away, away, and salve your sores, And set your hags a-groaning, Say "In the greenwood of his soul A drowsy bee was droning, A dreamy bee was droning."
Prodigious Bat! Go start the walls Of Hell with horror ringing, Say "In the greenwood of his soul There was a goldfinch singing, A pretty goldfinch singing."
And then come back, come, if you please, A fiercer ghoul and ghaster, With all the glooms and smuts of Hell Behind you, I'm your master! You know I'm still your master.
W. G. HOLE
Nought is there here the eye to strike— Uncurved canals where barges ply; A hundred hamlets all alike;
Flat fields that cut an arc of sky With men and women o'er them bent Who needs must labour lest they die.
Would any say that lives so spent Might break, spurred on by love and pride, Their bars of animal content?
Nay, here live men unvexed, untried— I mused. Yet pacing Roosevelt street In idle humour I espied
A village man and woman meet, And pass with never word or sign— So strange in neighbour-folk whose feet
Haunt the same fields in rain and shine That, curious eyed, in either face, In curve of lip, or graven line,
I sought for hints of pain or trace Of harsh resolve, and so grew ware That hers was as a hiding place
Where lurked the kinship of despair; While his bore record deeply wrought That life for him had but one care,
And that—to mesh re-iterant thought In labour, till at last his soul Should find the anodyne it sought.
Hence now with dreary face he stole Through Roosevelt Street, nor stretched his hand To beg from life its smallest dole.
And yet these two had loved and planned To happiest end, but for the flood That wrecks, upreared on rock or sand,
The house of hopes. Thus—cold of mood, He, loving wholly, could but choose To deem her heart as his subdued;
While she, as maidens oft-times use, Denied sweet proofs of love, was fain To gain them by the world-old ruse;
And failing, vexed to find that vain Was all her pretty reticence, She happed upon a worthless swain
On whom, reserved the gold, the pence Of liberal smiles she flung away, Till, snared by her own innocence,
She fell—Ah, God! how far that day She fell—from hope and promise plumb, To deeps where lips forget to pray.
But he, apart, with sorrow dumb, Beheld, scarce conscious of the strife, Himself in her by fate o'ercome;
And as she passed to her new life, Righted by still more wrong, divined Her hate for him who called her wife,
And on the hoarded knowledge pined And starved, till he, as she, was dead, And nought remained but to unwind
His coil of days. So with slow tread He goes his way through Roosevelt Street At night and morn, nor turns his head
When past him comes the sound of feet— Of ghostly feet that long ago In life had made his pulses beat.
For, mark you, both are dead, and so Small wonder is it nought should pass Betwixt them in the street, I trow.
Yet still they move with that huge mass Of life unpurposeful that reaps The corn in season, mows the grass,
And then by right of labour sleeps With privilege of dreams that ape Fulfilment, whereby each may creep
From pain through doors of dear escape; Save such, unhappy, as would win Some respite for themselves, and shape
Those passionate, deep appeals that din The Powers, ere season due, to stay The long slow tragedies of sin.
THE HAUNTED FIELDS
I know of fields by voices haunted still That years ago grew hushed; Whose buttercups are brushed By feet that long have ceased to climb the hill.
On whose green slopes the happy children play As on a mother's lap, Then steal through gate and gap, And by strange hedge-rows make their wondering way.
Sometimes great seas of ripening corn they spy Across whose rippling face The shadowy billows race And round the gate, forlornly whispering, die;
Or in dark rutted lanes by weeds o'ergrown, Round-eyed they watch a thrush That breaks the noonday hush Dashing with zest a snail against a stone;
At others, on an impulse waxing brave, They climb the churchyard wall And, marvelling at it all, See strange black people gathered round a grave.
Then, without question, hurrying up the lane, They seek once more their own— That world in which is known No fear of death, nor thought of change or pain.
Where still they call and answer, still they play, And summer is ever there; But I—I never dare Pass through those fields, retrace the well-known way,
Lest I might meet a lad whom once I knew, Whose eyes accusingly Should make demand of me: "Where are those dreams I left in charge with you?"
CAPTIVE IN LONDON TOWN
There comes a ghostly space 'Twixt midnight and the dawn, When from the heart of London Town The tides of life are drawn.
What time, when Spring is due, The captives dungeoned deep Beneath the stones of London Town Grow troubled in their sleep,
And wake—mint, mallow, dock, Brambles in bondage sore, And grasses shut in London Town A thousand years and more.
Yet though beneath the stones They starve, and overhead The countless feet pace London Town Of men who hold them dead,
Like Samson, blind and scorned, In pain their time they bide To seize the roots of London Town And tumble down its pride.
Now well by proof and sign, By men unheard, unseen, They know that far from London Town The woods once more are green.
But theirs is still to wait, Deaf to the myriad hum, Beneath the stones of London Town A Spring that needs must come.
Fellow-travellers here with me, Loose for good each other's loads! Here we come to the cross-roads: Here must parting be.
Where will you five be to-night? Where shall I? we little know: Loosed from you, I let you go Utterly from sight.
Far away go taste and touch, Far go sight, and sound, and smell. Fellow-Travellers, fare you well,— You I loved so much.
How green the earth, how blue the sky, How pleasant all the days that pass, Here where the British settlers lie Beneath their cloaks of grass!
Here ancient peace resumes her round, And rich from toil stand hill and plain; Men reap and store; but they sleep sound, The men who sowed the grain.
Hard to the plough their hands they put, And wheresoe'er the soil had need The furrow drave, and underfoot They sowed themselves for seed.
Ah! not like him whose hand made yield The brazen kine with fiery breath, And over all the Colchian field Strewed far the seeds of death;
Till, as day sank, awoke to war The seedlings of the dragon's teeth, And death ran multiplied once more Across the hideous heath.
But rich in flocks be all these farms, And fruitful be the fields which hide Brave eyes that loved the light, and arms That never clasped a bride!
O willing hearts turned quick to clay, Glad lovers holding death in scorn, Out of the lives ye cast away The coming race is born.
Sleep lies in every cup Of land or flower: Look how the earth drains up Her evening hour!
Each face that once so laughed, Now fain would lift Lips to Life's sleeping-draught, The goodlier gift.
Oh, whence this overflow, This flood of rest? What vale of healing so Unlocks her breast?
What land, to give us right Of refuge, yields To the sharp scythes of light Her poppied fields?
Nay, wait! our turn to make Amends grows due! Another day will break, We must give too!
EMILIA STUART LORIMER
White-dreaming face of my dear, Waken; the dawn is here.
Ope, oh so misty eyes; Keep ope, and recognize!
Mouth, o'er the far sleep-sea Spread now thy smile-wings for me.
Take from me the little flowers And the bright-eyed beasts and the birds; And the babies, oh God, take away; Hearken my praying-words; Empty my road of them, Empty my house and my arm, For black is my heart with hate, And I would not these come to harm.
Twigs of despair on the high trees uplifted, Torn cloud flying behind; Whistling wind through the dead leaves drifted; Oho! my mind With you is racked and ruined and rifted.
Waves of the angry firth high-flying, Rainstorm striping the sea, Sleet-mist shrouding the hills; day dying; Now around me Closes the darkness of night in, wild crying.
God of the storm, in thy storm's heart unmeted My shallop-soul rideth where roars The swirling water-spout—rides undefeated; No rudder, no oars; Only within, thy small image seated.
JAMES A. MACKERETH
TO A BLACKBIRD ON NEW YEAR'S DAY
Hail, truant with song-troubled breast— Thou welcome and bewildering guest! Blithe troubadour, whose laughing note Brings Spring into a poet's throat,— Flute, feathered joy! thy painted bill Foretells the daffodil.
Enchanter, 'gainst the evening star Singing to worlds where dreamers are, That makes upon the leafless bough A solitary vernal vow— Sing, lyric soul! within thy song The love that lures the rose along!
The snowdrop, hearing, in the dell Doth tremble for its virgin bell; The crocus feels within its frame The magic of its folded flame; And many a listening patience lies And pushes toward its paradise.
Young love again on golden gales Scents hawthorn blown down happy dales; The phantom cuckoo calls forlorn From limits of the haunted morn;— Sing, elfin heart! thy notes to me Are bells that ring in Faery!
Again the world is young, is young, And silence takes a silver tongue; The echoes catch the lyric mood Of laughing children in the wood: Blithe April trips in winter's way And nature, wondering, dreams of May.
Sing on, thou dusky fount of life! God love thee for a merry sprite! Sing on! for though the sun be coy I sense with thee a budding joy, And all my heart with ranging rhyme Is poet for the prime!
She moved like silence swathed in light, Like mists at morning clear; A music that enamoured sight Yet did elude the ear.
A rapture and a spirit clad In motion soft as sleep; The epitome of all things glad, The sum of all that weep;
Her form was like a poet's mind— By all sensations sought; She seemed the substance of the wind, The shape of lyric thought,—
A being 'mid terrestrial things Transcendently forlorn, From time bound far on filmy wings For some diviner bourne.
The rhythms of the raptured heart Swayed to her sweet control; Life in her keeping all was art, And all of body soul.
Lone-shimmering in the roseate air She seemed to ebb and flow, A memory, perilously fair, And pale from long ago.
She stooped to time's remembered tears, Yearned to undawned delight. Ah beauty, passionate from the years! Oh body wise and white!
She vanished like an evening cloud, A sunset's radiant gleam. She vanished ... Life awhile endowed The darkness with a dream.
Dear God, before Thee many weep And bow the solemn knee; But I who have thy joy to keep Will sing and dance for Thee.
Come, lilt ye, lilt ye, lightsome birds, For ye are glad as I; Come frisk, ye sunlit flocks and herds And cherubs of the sky;
Sweet elfin mischief of the hill, We'll share a laugh together— Oh half the world is hoyden still, And waits for whistling weather!
The God of age is staid and old, And asks a sober tongue; But till the heart of youth is cold The God of youth is young!
Then kiss, blithe lass and happy lad! The rainbow passes over, And love and life, the leal and glad, Must step with time the rover.
Trip buds and bells in spangled ways! Leap, leaves in every tree! Ye winds and waters, nights and days, Dance, dance for Deity.
On every hand is elfin land, And faery gifts are falling; Across the world, a twinkling band, The elves are calling—calling.
In welcome smile the witching skies, And with a jocund train, With dancing joy-light in His eyes, God, God comes home again!
TO THE BODY
Thou inmost, ultimate Council of judgment, palace of decrees, Where the high senses hold their spiritual state, Sued by earth's embassies, And sign, approve, accept, conceive, create;
Create—thy senses close With the world's pleas. The random odours reach Their sweetness in the place of thy repose, Upon thy tongue the peach, And in thy nostrils breathes the breathing rose.
To thee, secluded one, The dark vibrations of the sightless skies, The lovely inexplicit colours run; The light gropes for those eyes. O thou august! thou dost command the sun.
Music, all dumb, hath trod Into thine ear her one effectual way; And fire and cold approach to gain thy nod, Where thou call'st up the day, Where thou await'st the appeal of God.
CHRIST IN THE UNIVERSE
With this ambiguous earth His dealings have been told us. These abide: The signal to a maid, the human birth, The lesson, and the young Man crucified.
But not a star of all The innumerable host of stars has heard How He administered this terrestrial ball. Our race have kept their Lord's entrusted Word.
Of His earth-visiting feet None knows the secret, cherished, perilous, The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet, Heart-shattering secret of His way with us.
No planet knows that this Our wayside planet, carrying land and wave, Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss, Bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave.
Nor, in our little day, May His devices with the heavens be guessed, His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way Or His bestowals there be manifest.
But in the eternities, Doubtless we shall compare together, hear A million alien Gospels, in what guise He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.
O, be prepared, my soul! To read the inconceivable, to scan The million forms of God those stars unroll When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.
One wept whose only child was dead, New-born, ten years ago. "Weep not; he is in bliss," they said. She answered, "Even so.
"Ten years ago was born in pain A child, not now forlorn. But oh, ten years ago, in vain, A mother, a mother was born."
WILL H. OGILVIE
THERE'S A CLEAN WIND BLOWING
There's a clean wind blowing Over hill-flower and peat, Where the bell heather's growing, And the brown burn flowing, And the ghost-shadows going Down the glen on stealthy feet. There's a clean wind blowing, And the breath of it is sweet.
There's a clean wind blowing, And the world holds but three: The purple peak against the sky, The master wind, and me. The moor birds are tossing Like ships upon the sea; There's a clean wind blowing Free.
There's a clean wind blowing, Untainted of the town, A fair-hitting foeman With his glove flung down. Will ye take his lordly challenge And the gauntlet that he throws, And come forth among the heather Where the clean wind blows!
THE GARDEN OF THE NIGHT
The Night is a far-spreading garden, and all through the hours Glisten and glitter and sparkle her wonderful flowers. First the great moon-rose full blooming; the great bed of stars Touching with restful gold petals the woodland's dark bars; Then arc-lights like asters that blossom in street and in square, And lamps like primroses beyond them in planted parterre; Great tulips of crimson that rise from the factory towers; White lilies that drop from deep windows: all flowers, the Night's flowers!
Blooms on the highway that twinkle and fade like the stars, Golden and red on the vans and the carts and the cars; Clusters of bloom in the village; lone homesteads a-light, Decking the lawns of the darkness, the plots of the Night. Then the bright blossoms of platform and signal that shine By the iron-paved path of the garden—the lights of the Line; The gold flowers of comfort and caution; the buds of dull red, Sombre with warning; the green leaves that say "Right ahead!"
Then the flowers in the harbour that low to the tide of it lean; The lights on the port and the starboard, the red and the green, Mixing and mingling with mast lights that move in the air, And deck lights and wharf lights and lights upon pier-head and stair; An edging of gold where a liner steals by like a thief; The giant grey gleam of a searchlight that swings like a leaf; And far out to seaward faint petals that flutter and fall Against the white flower of the Lighthouse that gathers them all.
Then flower lights all golden with welcome—the lights of the inn; And poisonous hell-flowers, lit doorways that beckon to sin; Soft vesper flowers of the Churches with dark stems above; Gold flowers of court and of cottage made one flower by love; Beacons of windows on hillside and cliff to recall Some wanderer lost for a season—Night's flowers one and all! In the street, in the lane, on the Line, on the ships and the towers, In the windows of cottage and palace—all flowers, the Night's flowers!
THE CROSSING SWORDS
As I lay dreaming in the grass I saw a Knight of Tourney pass— All conquering Summer. Twilit hours Made soft light round him, rainbow flowers Hung on his harness.
Down the dells The fairy heralds rang blue-bells, And even as they rocked and rang Into the lists, full-armed, there sprang Autumn, his helm the harvest moon, His sword a sickle, the gleaner's tune His hymn of battle.
Each bowed full low, Knight to knight as to worthy foe, Then Autumn tossed as his gauntlet down— A leaf of the lime tree, golden brown— And Summer bound it above the green Of his shining breast-plate's verdant sheen.
—They closed. Above them the driving mists Stooped and feathered—and hid the lists. Later the cloud mist rolled away But dead in his harness the Green Knight lay.
Sadly, apparently frustrate, life hangs above us, Cruel, dark unexplained; Yet still the immortal through mortal incessantly pierces With calls, with appeals, and with lures. Lure of the sinking sun, into undreamed islands, Fortunate, far in the West; Lure of the star, with speechless news o'er brimming, With language of darted light; Of the sea-glory of opening lids of Aurora, Ushering eyes of the dawn; Of the callow bird in the matin darkness calling, Chorus of drowsy charm; Of the wind, south-west, with whispering leaves illumined, Solemn gold of the woods; Of the intimate breeze of noon, deep-charged with a message, How near, at times, unto speech! Of the sea, that soul of a poet a-yearn for expression, For ever yearning in vain! Hoarse o'er the shingle with loud, unuttered meanings, Hurling on caverns his heart. Of the summer night, what to communicate, eager? Perchance the secret of peace. The lure of the silver to gold, of the pale unto colour, Of the seen to the real unseen; Of voices away to the voiceless, of sound unto silence, Of words to a wordless calm; Of music doomed unto wandering, still returning, Ever to heaven and home. The lure of the beautiful woman through flesh unto spirit, Through a smile unto endless light; Of the flight of a bird thro' evening over the marsh-land, Lingering in Heaven alone; Of the vessel disappearing over the sea-marge, With him or with her that we love; Of the sudden touch in the hand of a friend or a maiden, Thrilling up to the stars. The appealing death of a soldier, the moon just rising, Kindling the battle-field; Of the cup of water, refused by the thirsting Sidney, Parched with the final pang: Of the crucified Christ, yet lo, those arms extended, Wide, as a world to embrace; And last, and grandest, the lure, the invitation, And sacred wooing of death; Unto what regions, or heavens, or solemn spaces, Who, but by dying, can tell?
BEAUTIFUL LIE THE DEAD
Beautiful lie the dead; Clear comes each feature; Satisfied not to be, Strangely contented.
Like ships, the anchor dropped, Furled every sail is Mirrored with all their masts In a deep water.
A LYRIC FROM "THE SIN OF DAVID"
Red skies above a level land And thoughts of thee; Sinking Sun on reedy strand, And alder tree.
Only the heron sailing home With heavy flight! Ocean afar in silent foam, And coming night!
Dwindling day and drowsing birds, O my child! Dimness and returning herds, Memory wild.
A DEVON COURTING
Birds gived over singin' Flitter-mice was wingin' Mist lay on the meadows— A purty sight to see. Downling in the dimpsy, the dimpsy, the dimpsy— Downling in the dimpsy Theer went a maid wi' me.
Two gude mile o' walkin' Not wan word o' talkin', Then I axed a question An' put the same to she. Uplong in the owl-light, the owl-light, the owl-light— Uplong in the owl-light Theer come my maid wi' me.
A LITANY TO PAN
By the abortions of the teeming Spring, By Summer's starved and withered offering, By Autumn's stricken hope and Winter's sting, Oh, hear!
By the ichneumon on the writhing worm, By the swift, far-flung poison of the germ, By soft and foul brought out of hard and firm, Oh, hear!
By the fierce battle under every blade, By the etiolation of the shade, By drouth and thirst and things undone half made, Oh, hear!
By all the horrors of re-quickened dust, By the eternal waste of baffled lust, By mildews and by cankers and by rust, Oh, hear!
By the fierce scythe of Spring upon the wold, By the dead eaning mother in the fold, By stillborn, stricken young and tortured old, Oh, hear!
By fading eyes pecked from a dying head, By the hot mouthful of a thing not dead, By all thy bleeding, struggling, shrieking red, Oh, hear!
By madness caged and madness running free, Through this our conscious race that heeds not thee, In its concept insane of Liberty, Oh, hear!
By all the agonies of all the past, By earth's cold dust and ashes at the last, By her return to the unconscious vast, Oh, hear!
Children and lovers and the cloud-robed sea Shall mourn him first; and then the mother land Weeping in silence by his empty hand And fallen sword that flashed for Liberty. Song-bringer of a glad new minstrelsy, He came and found joy sleeping and swift fanned Old pagan fires, then snatched an altar brand And wrote, "The fearless only shall be free!" Oh, by the flame that made thine heart a home, By the wild surges of thy silver song, Seer before the sunrise, may there come Spirits of dawn to light this aching wrong Called Earth! Thou saw'st them in the foreglow roam; But we still wait and watch, still thirst and long.
DORA SIGERSON SHORTER
THE WATCHER IN THE WOOD
Deep in the wood's recesses cool I see the fairy dancers glide, In cloth of gold, in gown of green, My lord and lady side by side.
But who has hung from leaf to leaf, From flower to flower, a silken twine— A cloud of grey that holds the dew In globes of clear enchanted wine.
Or stretches far from branch to branch, From thorn to thorn, in diamond rain, Who caught the cup of crystal pine And hung so fair the shining chain?
'Tis Death, the spider, in his net Who lures the dancers as they glide In cloth of gold, in gown of green, My lord and lady side by side.
THE NAMELESS ONE
Last night a hand pushed on the door And tirled at the pin. I turned my face unto the wall, And could not cry, "Come in!" I dared not cry "Come in!"
Last night a voice wailed round the house And called my name upon, And bitter, bitter did it mourn: "Where is my mother gone? Where is my mother gone?"
From saintly arms I slipped and flew Adown the moon-lit skies, I weary of the paths of Heav'n And flowers of Paradise— Sweet scents of Paradise!
"For little children prattle there, And whisper all the day Of lovely mothers on the earth, Where once they used to play, Who used with them to play.
"They linger laughing by the door, And wait the threshold on; I have no memory so fair, Where is my mother gone? Where is my mother gone?"
Thrice pushed the hand upon the door And tirled at the pin. I turned my face unto the wall, And could not cry, "Come in!" I dared not cry, "Come in!"
WHEN I SHALL RISE
When I shall rise, and full of many fears, Set forth upon my last long journey lone, And leave behind the circling earth to go Amongst the countless stars to seek God's throne.
When in the vapourish blue, I wander, lost, Let some fair paradise reward my eyes— Hill after hill, and green and sunny vale, As I have known beneath the Irish skies.
So on the far horizon I shall see No alien land but this I hold so dear— Killiney's silver sands, and Wicklow hills, Dawn on my frightened eyes as I draw near.
And if it be no evil prayer to breathe, Oh, let no stranger saint or seraphim Wait there to lead up to the judgment seat, My timid soul with weeping eyes and dim.
But let them come, those dear and lovely ghosts, In all their human guise and lustihood, To stand upon that shore and call me home, Waving their joyful hands as once they stood— As once they stood!
To Cavalieri dancing
Tell me, Tanagra, who made Out of clay so sweet a thing? Are you the immortal shade Of a man's imagining? In your incarnation meet All things fair and all things fleet.
Arrow from Diana's bow, Atalanta's feet of fire, Some one made you long ago, Made you out of his desire. Waken from the sleep of clay And rise and dance the world away.
GIOVANNI MALATESTA AT RIMINI
Giovanni Malatesta, the lame old man, Walking one night, as he was used, being old, Upon the grey seashore at Rimini, And thinking dimly of those two whom love Led to one death, and his less happy soul For which Cain waited, heard a seagull scream, Twice, like Francesca; for he struck but twice. At that, rage thrust down pity; for it seemed As if those windy bodies with the sea's Unfriended heart within them for a voice Had turned to mock him, and he called them friends, And he had found a wild peace hearing them Cry senseless cries, halloing to the wind. He turned his back upon the sea; he saw The ragged teeth of the sharp Apennines Shut on the sea; his shadow in the moon Ploughed up a furrow with an iron staff In the hard sand, and thrust a long lean chin Outward and downward, and thrust out a foot, And leaned to follow after. As he saw His crooked knee go forward under him And after it the long straight iron staff, "The staff," he thought, "is Paolo: like that staff And like that knee we walked between the sun, And her unmerciful eyes"; and the old man, Thinking of God, and how God ruled the world, And gave to one man beauty for a snare And a warped body to another man, Not less than he in soul, not less than he In hunger and capacity for joy, Forgot Francesca's evil and his wrong, His anger, his revenge, that memory, Wondering at man's forgiveness of the old Divine injustice, wondering at himself: Giovanni Malatesta judging God.
LA MELINITE: MOULIN ROUGE
Olivier Metra's Waltz of Roses Sheds in a rhythmic shower The very petals of the flower; And all is roses, The rouge of petals in a shower.
Down the long hall the dance returning Rounds the full circle, rounds The perfect rose of lights and sounds, The rose returning Into the circle of its rounds.
Alone, apart, one dancer watches Her mirrored, morbid grace; Before the mirror, face to face, Alone she watches Her morbid, vague, ambiguous grace.
Before the mirror's dance of shadows She dances in a dream, And she and they together seem A dance of shadows, Alike the shadows of a dream.
The orange-rosy lamps are trembling Between the robes that turn; In ruddy flowers of flame that burn The lights are trembling: The shadows and the dancers turn.
And, enigmatically smiling, In the mysterious night, She dances for her own delight, A shadow smiling Back to a shadow in the night.
I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Not borne on morning wings Of majesty, but I have set My Feet Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod. There do I dwell, in weakness and in power; Not broken or divided, saith our God! In your strait garden plot I come to flower: About your porch My Vine Meek, fruitful, doth entwine; Waits, at the threshold, Love's appointed hour.
I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Yea! on the glancing wings Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet Your hard and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes That peep from out the brake, I stand confest. On every nest Where feathery Patience is content to brood And leaves her pleasure for the high emprise Of motherhood— There doth my Godhead rest.
I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: My starry wings I do forsake, Love's highway of humility to take; Meekly I fit my stature to your need. In beggar's part About your gates I shall not cease to plead— As man, to speak with man— Till by such art I shall achieve My Immemorial Plan, Pass the low lintel of the human heart.
What do you seek within, O Soul, my Brother? What do you seek within? I seek a life that shall never die, Some haven to win From mortality.
What do you find within, O Soul, my Brother? What do you find within? I find great quiet where no noises come. Without, the world's din: Silence in my home.
Whom do you find within, O Soul, my Brother? Whom do you find within? I find a friend that in secret came: His scarred hands within He shields a faint flame.
What would you do within, O Soul, my Brother? What would you do within? Bar door and window that none may see: That alone we may be (Alone! face to face, In that flame-lit place!) When first we begin To speak one with another.
Threatening the sky, Foreign and wild the sea, Yet all the fleet of fishers are afloat; They lie Sails furled Each frail and tossing boat, And cast their little nets into an unknown world. The countless, darting splendours that they miss, The rare and vital magic of the main, The which for all their care They never shall ensnare— All this Perchance in dreams they know; Yet are content And count the night well spent If so The indrawn net contain The matter of their daily nourishment.
The unseizable sea, The circumambient grace of Deity, Where live and move Unnumbered presences of power and love, Slips through our finest net: We draw it up all wet, A-shimmer with the dew-drops of that deep. And yet For all their toil the fishers may not keep The instant living freshness of the wave; Its passing benediction cannot give The mystic meat they crave That they may live.
But on some stormy night We, venturing far from home, And casting our poor trammel to the tide, Perhaps shall feel it come Back to the vessel's side, So easy and so light A child might lift, Yet hiding in its mesh the one desired gift; That living food Which man for ever seeks to snatch from out the flood.
MRS MARGARET L. WOODS
I've heard, I've heard The long low note of a bird, The nightingale fluting her heart's one word.
I know, I know Pink carnations heaped with snow. Summer and winter alike they blow.
I've lain, I've lain Under roses' delicate rain, That fall and whisper and fall again.
Come woe, come white Shroud o' the world, black night! I have had love and the sun's light.
When did the Changeling enter in? How did the Devil set him a gin Where the little soul lay like a rabbit Faint and still for a fiend to grab it? I know not.
Where was the fount of our dishonour? Was it a father's buried sin? Brought his mother a curse upon her? I trow not.
So pretty Body and soul, the child began. He carolled and kissed and laughed and ran, A glad creature of Earth and Heaven, And the knowledge of love and the secret of pity, That need our learning, God to him at his birth had given.
One remembers Trifles indeed—the backward-turning Way he would smile from the field at play. Sometimes the Thing that sits by the embers Smiles at me—devil!—the selfsame way. If only early enough one had guessed, Known, suspected, watched him at rest, Noted the Master's sign and fashion, And unbefooled by the heart's compassion, Undeterred by form and feature, Caught the creature, Tried by the test of water and fire, Pierced and pinioned with silver wire, Circled with signs that could control, Battered with spells that tame and torture The demon nature, Till he writhed in his shape, a fiend confest, And vanished— Then had come back, the poor soul banished, Then had come back the little soul. But now there is nothing to do or to say. Will no one grip him and tear him away, The Thing of Blood that gnaws at my breast?
Perhaps he called me and I was dumb. Unconcerned I sat and heard Little things, Ivy tendrils, a bird's wings, A frightened bird— Or faint hands at the window-pane? And now he will never come again, The little soul. He is quite lost.
I have summoned him back with incantations Of heart-deep sobs and whispering cries, Of anguished love and travail of prayer, Nothing has answered my despair But long sighs Of pitiful wind in the fir-plantations. Poor little soul! He cannot come. Perchance on a night when trees were tost, The Changeling rode with his cavalcade Among the clouds, that were tossing too, And made the little soul afraid. They hunted him madly, the howling crew, Into the Limbo of the lost, Into the Limbo of the others Who wander crying and calling their mothers.
Now I know The creatures that come to harry and raid How they ride in the airy regions, Dance their rounds on meadow and moor, Gallop under the earth in legions, Hunt and holloa and run their races Over tombs in burial-places.
In the common roads where people go, Masked and mingled with human traces, I have marked, I who know, In the common dust a devil's spoor.
To somebody's gate A Thing is footing it, cares not much Whether he creep through an Emperor's portal And steal the fate Of a Prince, or into a poor man's hutch— For the grief will be everywhere as great And he'll everywhere spread the smirch of sin— So long as a taste of our blood he may win, So long as he may become a mortal.
I beseech you, Prince and poor man, to watch the gate. The heart is poisoned where he has fed, The house is ruined that lets him in. Yet I know I shall never teach you. With the voice of the dear and the eyes of the dead He will come to the door, and you'll let him in.
If I could forget Only that ever I had a child, If only upon some mirk midnight, When he stands at the door, all wet and wild, With his owl's feather and dripping hair, I could lie warm and not care, I should rid myself of this Changeling yet.
I carried my woe to the Wise Man yonder, "You sell forgetfulness, they say. How much to pay To forget a son who is my sorrow?"
The Wise Man began to ponder. "Charms have I, many a one, To make a woman forget her lover, A man his wife or a fortune fled, To make the day forget the morrow, The doer forget the deed he has done, But a mighty spell must I borrow To make a woman forget her son, For this I will take a royal fee. Your house," said he, "The storied hangings richly cover, On your banquet table there were six Golden branched candlesticks, And of noble dishes you had a score. The crown you wore I remember, the sparkling crown. All of these, Madam, you shall pay me down. Also the day I give you ease Of golden guineas you pay a hundred."
Laughing I left the Wise Man's door. Has he found such things where a Changeling sits? The home is darkened from roof to floor, The house is naked and ravaged and plundered Where a Changling sits On the hearthstone, warming his shivering fits.
He sits at his ease, for he knows well He can keep his post. He has left me nothing to pay the cost Of snatching my heart from his private Hell.
Yet when all is done and told I am glad the Wise Man in the City Had no pity For me, and for him I had no gold.
Because if I did not remember him, My little child—Ah! What should we have, He and I? Not even a grave With a name of his own by the river's brim. Because if among the poppies gay, On the hill-side, now my eyes are dim, I could not fancy a child at play, And if I should pass by the pool in the quarry And never see him, a darling ghost, Sailing a boat there, I should be sorry— If in the firelit, lone December I never heard him come scampering post Haste down the stair—if the soul that is lost Came back, and I did not remember.
THE POETRY SOCIETY
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By means of Local Centres membership is made active and effective, members meeting together intimately for the reading and study of poetry and co-operating with Headquarters in the general work of the Society. A member of the Society is a member of the Centre most convenient for him to attend, and a member of any Centre is a member of the Society as a whole and may attend any Centre meetings anywhere on giving notice to the Secretary. This Centre system carries into effect the idea of a poetical freemasonry, a South African member visiting or going to reside in London or South Australia or wherever the Society has a branch being welcomed by and becoming a member of the local group.
Centres or individual members not formed into groups maintain regular communication with the Head Office, from which advice and direction may be obtained with respect to the formation, conduct and programme of Centre meetings, propaganda work, etc., and each Centre is expected to hold at least two public recitals per year, with a view to interesting the general public and showing what an exquisite pleasure can be derived from the intelligent reading and speaking of verse.
The Society deals practically with the art of speaking verse and holds periodical examinations and "auditions" of readers and teachers with a view to securing the adoption of better methods and greater attention being given to the technique of reading and speaking. It has also under consideration a scheme for developing its work among schools and colleges.
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Sixth Year of Publication: first issued as The Poetical Gazette, May, 1909.
THE POETRY REVIEW
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The leading journal devoted to Poetry and Poets (old and new), and the cultivation of the Imagination.
Notable monthly features are the leading articles by the Editor; brilliant new poetic drama by writers of distinction, and authoritative surveys of poetical effort in different parts of the world.
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"Grace and delicacy and charming simplicity."—Dundee Advertiser.
"A gem-like preface.... All the poems are suffused by a fine spirit of tenderness and sympathy, and alike in this and in their grace and beauty they are uplifting and helpful."—Aberdeen Free Press.
A BOOK TO ENTHUSE OVER
Cornish Catches and Other Verses
By BERNARD MOORE
Decorated Boards, 2s. 6d. net.
THE TIMES says: "There are 'other verses' of a pleasing quality in the latter half of the book; but it is the Cornish Catches occupying the first thirty pages which we linger over with delight; for Mr Moore in his well-chiselled little pieces brings out all the winning beauty of the Western speech. They are all happy...."
DAILY TELEGRAPH: "Here is a true poet and he should have a poet's welcome.... Mr Bernard Moore strikes the authentic note; he sets the heart beating and brings the tear to the eye. There is no forced sentimentality about his work, and no parade of preciosity. He sings a simple, natural ballad, impeccably sincere. Cornwall has had no such poet since Hawker of Morwenstow died."
THE MORNING POST in a column notice says: "Mr Moore's 'Cornish Catches' are just so good as Cornish cream to a Cornish cat, and even those who do not know the dialect, with its faint, far-away echoes of Celtic verse-forms, will delight in his simple 'vitty' songs of the Delectable Duchy. He is a patriotic Cornish-man sure enough ... as good as anything of the kind written by the dialect-poets of Lancashire or Dorset ... it is a thing to rejoice over, this little easy-going, unostentatious book."
T. P.'S WEEKLY in a column headed "A Cornish Poet" says: "A new sheaf of verse of quiet remarkable interest.... They all proclaim Mr Moore to be a real poet ... his true vocation is to interpret the souls of the people he obviously knows and loves so well. He knows their humour and their half articulate pathos so well—and apparently he shares the secret only with 'Q.'"
DAILY CITIZEN in half column review says: "The glamour of the land of fishermen ... runs through Mr Moore's homely verses. They have all the ruggedness and colour of Cornwall '... will all appeal to a larger public than Cornishmen alone.'"
THE SCOTSMAN: "... The book will be read with a hearty interest by anyone who knows Cornwall."
MANCHESTER CITY NEWS in a column headed "A Cornish Singer" says: "He is not only a poet of words but ideas. The dialect poems are particularly characteristic with their alternate sturdiness and wistfulness. Mr Moore is particularly happy in suggesting either a story or character sketch."
A FAMOUS NOVELIST AS POET
Willow's Forge AND OTHER POEMS
By SHEILA KAYE SMITH
Crown 8vo. Cloth. 2s. 6d. net.
"Written with the same inspiration and refinement as her previous book. 'To my Body: A Thanksgiving,' is the purest and serenest strain of mysticism, and improves even upon the beautiful thought of St Francis."—Pall Mall Gazette.
"... Her poetry is fully equal to her prose. Willow's Forge is a slender book, but in interest it is large, so large indeed that a first reading only makes one aware of the presence of riches that require time to fully appreciate.... Lovers of real, not to say remarkable, poetry must haste to secure this small but wonder-working book. It contains not one but half a dozen things that have in them the germ of permanence. It is not too much to say that Mr Masefield (great as his achievement has been) has produced nothing finer or more edifying."—Dundee Advertiser.
"Miss Kaye Smith is to be congratulated on her first essay into poetry."—Yorkshire Observer.
* * * * *
The Fame Seeker AND OTHER POEMS
By JANET JEFFREY
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