MORE SONGS FROM VAGABONDIA
Bliss Carman Richard Hovey
Designs by Tom B. Meteyard
Boston: Copeland and Day London: Elkin Mathews
To M. G. M., so good to lighten cares, The boys inscribe this second book of theirs.
JONGLEURS 1 EARTH'S LYRIC 5 THE WOOD-GOD 6 A FAUN'S SONG 7 QUINCE TO LILAC 7 AN EASTER MARKET 11 DAISIES 13 THE MOCKING-BIRD 13 KARLENE 14 KARLENE 16 CONCERNING KAVIN 21 KAVIN AGAIN 21 ACROSS THE TABLE 21 BARNEY MCGEE 22 THE SEA GYPSY 25 SPEECH AND SILENCE 26 SECRETS 26 THE FIRST JULEP 26 A STEIN SONG 27 THE UNSAINTING OF KAVIN 28 IN THE WAYLAND WILLOWS 29 WHEN I WAS TWENTY 31 IN A SILENCE 32 THE BATHER 33 NOCTURNE: IN ANJOU 33 NOCTURNE: IN PROVENCE 34 JUNE NIGHT IN WASHINGTON 35 A SONG FOR MARNA 38 SEPTEMBER WOODLANDS 38 NANCIBEL 39 A VAGABOND SONG 39 THREE OF A KIND 40 WOOD-FOLK LORE 42 AT MICHAELMAS 44 THE MOTHER OF POETS 48 A GOOD-BY 49 IN A COPY OF BROWNING 49 SHAKESPEARE HIMSELF 53 AT THE ROAD-HOUSE 56 VERLAINE 58 DISTILLATION 59 A FRIEND'S WISH 59 LAL OF KILRUDDEN 60 HUNTING-SONG 61 BUIE ANNAJOHN 62 MARY OF MARKA 63 PREMONITION 63 THE HEARSE-HORSE 64 THE NIGHT-WASHERS 64 MR. MOON 66 HEM AND HAW 70 ACCIDENT IN ART 71 IN A GARDEN 71 AT THE END OF THE DAY 72
And ever with the vanguard The vagrant singers come The gamins of the city Who dance before the drum
What is the stir in the street? Hurry of feet! And after, A sound as of pipes and of tabers!
Men of the conflicts and labors, Struggling and shifting and shoving, Pushing and pounding your neighbors, Fighting for leeway for laughter, Toiling for leisure for loving! Hark, through the window and up to the rafter, Madder and merrier, Deeper and verier, Sweeter, contrarier, Dafter and dafter, A song arises,— A thrill, an intrusion, A reel, an illusion, A rapture, a crisis Of bells in the air!
Ay, up from your work and look out of the window! "Who are the newcomers, Arab or Hindoo? Persians, or Japs, or the children of Isis?" —Guesses, surmises— Forth with you, fare Down in the street to draw nearer and stare! Come from your palaces, come from your hovels! Lay down your ledgers, your picks and your shovels, Your trowels and bricks, Hammers and nails, Scythes and flails, Bargains and sales, And the trader's tricks, Deals, overreachings, Worries and griefs, Teachings and preachings, Boluses, briefs, Writs and attachments, Quarterings, hatchments, Clans and cognomens, Comments and scholia, (World's melancholia)— Cast them aside, and good riddance to rubbish! Here at the street-corner, hearken, a strain, Rough and off-hand and a bit rub-a-dub-ish, Gives us a taste of the life we'd attain.
Who are they, what are they, whence have they come to us? Where will they go when their singing is done? What is the garb they wear, tattered and sumptuous, Faded with days and superb in the sun? What are they singing of? Hush! ... There's a ringing of Delicate chimes; And the blush Of a veiled bride morning Beats in the rhymes. Listen! Out of the merriment, Clear as the glisten Of dew on the brier, A silver warning! Sudden, a dare— Lyric experiment— Up like a lark in the air, Higher and higher and higher, The song shoots out of our blunder Of thought to the blue sky of wonder, And broken strains only fall down Like pearls on the roofs of the town.
Somebody says they have come from the moon, Seen with their eyes Eldorado, Sat in the Bo-tree's shadow, Wandered at noon In the valleys of Van, Tented in Lebanon, tarried in Ophir, Last year in Tartary piped for the Khan. Now it's the song of a lover; Now it's the lilt of a loafer,— Under the trees in a midsummer noon, Dreaming the haze into isles to discover, Beating the silences into a croon; Soon Up from the marshes a fall of the plover! Out from the cover A flurry of quail! Down from the height where the slow hawks hover, The thin far ghost of a hail! And near, and near, Throbbing and tingling,— With a human cheer In the earth-song mingling,— Mirth and carousal, Wooing, espousal, Clinking of glasses And laughter of lasses— And the wind in the garden stoops down as it passes To play with the hair Of the loveliest there, And the wander-lust catches the will in its snare; Hill-wind and spray-lure, Call of the heath; Dare in the teeth Of the balk and the failure; The clasp and the linger Of loosening finger, Loth to dissever; Thrill of the comrade heart to its fellow Through droughts that sicken and blasts that bellow From purple furrow to harvest yellow, Now and forever. How our feet itch to keep time to their measure! How our hearts lift to the lilt of their song! Let the world go, for a day's royal pleasure! Not every summer such waifs come along.
Now they are off to the inn; Hear the clean ring of their laughter! Cool as a hill-brook after The beat of the noon sets in! Gentlemen even in jollity— Certainly people of quality!— Waifs and estrays no less, Roofless and penniless, They are the wayside strummers Whose lips are man's renown, Those wayward brats of Summer's Who stroll from town to town; Spendthrift of life, they ravish The days of an endless store, And ever the more they lavish The heap of the hoard is more. For joy and love and vision Are alive and breed and stay When dust shall hold in derision The misers of a day.
April. You hearken, my fellow, Old slumberer down in my heart? There's a whooping of ice in the rivers; The sap feels a start.
The snow-melted torrents are brawling; The hills, orange-misted and blue, Are touched with the voice of the rainbird Unsullied and new.
The houses of frost are deserted, Their slumber is broken and done, And empty and pale are the portals Awaiting the sun.
The bands of Arcturus are slackened; Orion goes forth from his place On the slopes of the night, leading homeward His hound from the chase.
The Pleiades weary and follow The dance of the ghostly dawn; The revel of silence is over; Earth's lyric comes on.
A golden flute in the cedars, A silver pipe in the swales, And the slow large life of the forest Wells bade and prevails.
A breath of the woodland spirit Has blown out the bubble of spring To this tenuous hyaline glory One touch sets a-wing.
Brother, lost brother! Thou of mine ancient kin! Thou of the swift will that no ponderings smother! The dumb life in me fumbles out to the shade Thou lurkest in. In vain—evasive ever through the glade Departing footsteps fail; And only where the grasses have been pressed, Or by snapped twigs I follow a fruitless trail. So—give o'er the quest! Sprawl on the roots and moss! Let the lithe garter squirm across my throat! Let the slow clouds and leaves above me float Into mine eyeballs and across,— Nor think them further! Lo, the marvel! now, Thou whom my soul desireth, even thou Sprawl'st by my side, who fled'st at my pursuit. I hear thy fluting; at my shoulder there I see the sharp ears through the tangled hair, And birds and bunnies at thy music mute.
A FAUN'S SONG.
Cool! cool! cool! Cool and sweet The feel of the moss at my feet! And sweet and cool The touch of the wind, of the wind!
Cool wind out of the blue, At the touch of you A little wave crinkles and flows All over me down to my toes.
"Coo-loo! Coo-loo!" Hear the doves in the tree-tops croon. "Coo-loo! Coo-loo!" Love comes soon.
"June! June!" The veery sings, Sings and sings, "June! June!"— A pretty tune!
Wind with your weight of perfume, Bring me the bluebells' bloom!
QUINCE TO LILAC: To G. H.
Dear Lilac, how enchanting To hear of you this way! The Man who comes a-mouching To visit me each day
Says you too have a lover Far lovelier than I. And from his rapt description, She loves you gloriously.
The Man prowls out each morning To see if spring's begun. What infinite amusement These creatures offer one!
He asks me such conundrums As no one ever heard: The name of April's father, The trail of every bird,
What keeps me warm in winter, Who wakes me up in time, And why procrastination Is such a fearful crime.
And yet, who knows? He may be Our equal ages hence— With such pathetic glimmers Of weird intelligence!
But this your blessed alien, Why strays she roving here? Was Orpheus not her brother, Persephone her peer?
Was she not once a dryad Whom Syrinx lulled to sleep Beside the Dorian water, And still her eyelids keep
The glad unperished secret From centuries of joy, And memories of the morning When Helen sailed for Troy?
Is her name Gertrude, Kitty, Hypatia, or what? I seem to half remember, And yet have quite forgot.
That soft Hellenic laughter! I marvel you don't make An effort to be early In budding for her sake.
Just fancy hearing daily That velvet voice of hers! How do you quell the riot Of sap her coming stirs?
Perhaps she puts her face up, (Dear Charity she is!) For messages of summer And better worlds than this.
You cannot blush, poor Lilac; It is not in your race. I simply should go crimson, If I were in your place.
Do tell her all your secrets! The Man declares she knows Better than any mortal The wonder-trick of prose.
Our prose, I mean,—how beauty Appears to you and me; The truth that seems so simple, Which they call poetry.
They put it down in writing And label it with tags, The funny conscious people Who mask in colored rags!
They have a thing called science, With phrases strange and pat. My dear, can you imagine Intelligence like that?
And when they first discover That yellows are not greens, They pucker up their foreheads And ponder what it means.
And then those cave-like places, Churches and Capitols, Where they all come together Like troops of talking dolls,
To govern, as they term it, (It's really very odd!) And have what they call worship Of something they call God.
But Kitty, or whatever May be her tender name, Is more like us. She guesses What sets the year aflame.
She knows beyond her senses; Do tell her all you can! The funny people need it,— At least, so says The Man.
Good-by, dear. I must idle. Sweet suns and happy rains! How nice to have these humans With their inventive brains,—
Their little scraps of paper! They certainly evince Remarkable discernment. Your ever loving Quince.
AN EASTER MARKET.
Today, through your Easter market In the lazy Southern sun, I strolled with hands in pockets Past the flower-stalls one by one.
Indolent, dreamy, ready For anything to amuse, Shyfoot out for a ramble In his oldest hat and shoes.
Roses creamy and yellow, Azaleas crimson and white, And the flaky fresh carnations My Orient of delight,—
Masses and banks of blossom That dazzle and summon the eye, Till the buyers are half bewildered To know what they want. Not I.
Who would not rather be artist And slip through the crowd unseen To gather it all in a picture And guess what the faces mean?
So down through the chaffering darkies I pass to the sidewalk's end, Through the smiling gingham bonnets With their small farm-stuff to vend.
When, hello! my dreamer, sudden As call at the dead of night, What sets your pulses a-quiver, What sets your fancy alight?
Sure of it! Mayflowers, mayflowers, Scent of the North in spring! Out in the vernal distance, Heart of me, whither a-wing?
"Give me some!" Clutch the first handful, Hungering rover of earth! How I devour and kiss them, Beauties that brought me to birth,
Away in the great north country, The land of the lonely sun, Where God has few for his fellows, And the wolves of the snowdrift run.
Once more to the frost-bound valley Comes April with rain in her jar; I can hear the vesper sparrow Under the silver star.
And many and dear and gracious Are the dreams that walk at my side From the land of the lingering shadows, As out of the throng I stride.
Oh, well for you, mere onlooker, Who drift through the world's great mart! But we of the human sorrow Have a joy beyond your art.
Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune I saw the white daisies go down to the sea, A host in the sunshine, an army in June, The people God sends us to set our heart free.
The bobolinks rallied them up from the dell, The orioles whistled them out of the wood; And all of their singing was, "Earth, it is well!" And all of their dancing was, "Life, thou art good!"
Hear! hear! hear! Listen! the word Of the mocking-bird! Hear! hear! hear! I will make all clear; I will let you know Where the footfalls go That through the thicket and over the hill Allure, allure. How the bird-voice cleaves Through the weft of leaves With a leap and a thrill Like the flash of a weaver's shuttle, swift and sudden and sure!
And la, he is gone—even while I turn The wisdom of his runes to learn. He knows the mystery of the wood, The secret of the solitude; But he will not tell, he will not tell, For all he promises so well.
Word of a little one born in the West,— How like a sea-bird it comes from the sea, Out of the league-weary waters' unrest Blown with white wings, for a token, to me!
Blown with a skriel and a flurry of plumes (Sea-spray and flight-rapture whirled in a gleam!) Here for a sign of the comrade that looms Large in the mist of my love as I dream.
He with the heart of an old violin, Vibrant at every least stir in the place, Lyric of woods where the thrushes begin, Wave-questing wanderer, still for a space,—
What will the child of his be (so I muse), Wood-flower, sea-flower, star-flower rare? Worlds here to choose from, and which will she choose, She whose first world is an armsweep of air?
Baby Karlene, you are wondering now Why you can't reach the great moon that you see Just at your hand on the edge of the bough That waves in the window-pane—how can it be?
All your world yet hardly lies out of reach Of ten little fingers and ten little toes. You are a seed for the sky there to teach (And the sun and the wind and the rain) as it grows.
Just a green leaf piercing up to the day, Pale fleck of June to come, just to be seen Through the rough crumble of rubble and clay Lifting its loveliness, dawn-child, Karlene!
Fragile as fairycraft, dew-dream of love,— Never a clod that has marred the slim stalk, Never a stone but its frail fingers move, Bent on the blue sky and nothing can balk!
Blue sky and wind-laughters, that is thy dream. Ah the brave days when thy leafage shall toss High where gold noondays and sunsets a-stream Mix with its moving and kiss it across.
There the great clouds shall go lazily by, Coo! thee with shadows and dazzle with shine, Drench thee with rain-guerdons, bless thee with sky, Till all the knowledge of earth shall be thine.
Wind from the ice-floe and wind from the palm, Wind from the mountains and wind from the lea— How they will sing thee of tempest and calm! How they will lure thee with tales of the sea!
What will you be in that summer, Karlene? Apple-tree, cherry-tree, lily, or corn? Red rose or yellow rose, gray leaf or green? Which will you choose now the year's at its morn?
Somewhere even now in thy heart is the will,— "I shall be Golden Rod, slender and tall— I shall be Pond Lily, secret and still— I shall be Sweetbriar, Queen of them all—
"I shall give shade for the weary to rest— I shall grow flax for the naked to wear— Figs for a feast and all comers to guest— Wreaths that girls twine in the laugh of their hair—
"Ivy for scholars and myrtle for lovers, Laurel for conquerors, poets, and kings— Broad-spreading beech-boughs whose benison covers Clamor of bird-notes and flutter of wings—
"I shall rise tall as an elm in my grace— I shall be clothed as catalpa is clad— Poets shall crown me with lyrics of praise— Lovers for lure of my blossoms go mad!"
Which shall it be, baby? Guess you at all? Only I know in the lull of the year You have said now where your choosing shall fall, Only you have not yet heard yourself, dear.
So, like a mocking-bird, up in the trees, I watching wondering where you have grown, Borrow a note from a birdfellow's glees, Fittest to sing you, and make it my own.
Only I know as I wonder, Karlene, Singing up here where you think me a star, Heaven's still above me, and some one serene Laughs in the blue sky and knows what you are.
Good-morning, Karlene. It's a very Fine beautiful world we are in. Well, you do look as ripe as a berry; And, pardon me, such a real chin!
And may I—Ah, thank you; the pleasure Is mine; just one kiss by your ear!— May I introduce myself as your Most dutiful godfather, dear?
I have fumed, like champagne that is fizzy, To pay my respects at your door. But the publishers keep one so busy. Forgive my not calling before!
Karlene, you're a very small lady To venture so far all alone; Especially into so shady A place as this planet has grown.
When I now, my dear, was at your age, When nobody tried to be rich, But lived on high thinking and porridge (And didn't know t' other from which!),
For a girl to go out unattended Was considered "not only unwise And improper—" Our grandmothers ended By lifting to heaven their eyes.
And yet even now, though it's shocking To slander these wonderful years, I dare say an inch of black stocking Could set all the world by the ears.
Black, mind you, not blue! It's a trifle; But trifling in stockings won't do; For love has an eye like a rifle (His bandage is slipping askew).
But there! You are simply too charming. No doubt you'll be modern enough (Though the speed of the world is alarming) To win with a delicate bluff,
As we say when we're raking the chips in, On a hand that was not over strong— But I see you are pursing your lips in; Perhaps I am prating too long.
Anyhow you'll be learned in isms, And talk pterodactyls in French, And know polyhedrons from prisms,— Though you may not know how to retrench.
You will fall out of love with digamma To fall in again with Delsarte; You will make a new Syriac grammar, And know all the popes off by heart.
What Socrates said to Xantippe When the lash of her tongue made him grieve; What makes the banana peel slippy; And what the snake whispered to Eve;
The music that Nero had played him, When Rome was touched off with a match; Why the king let the lady upbraid him For burning her buns in a batch;
Why Hebrew is written left-handed; And what Venus did with her arms; What the Conqueror said when he landed; The acres in Horace's farms;
The use of hirundo and passer: All this you will probe to the pith As a freshman at Wellesley or Vassar Or Bryn Mawr—though I prefer Smith.
You will solve every riddle in Browning; And learn how to paddle and swim; And save other people from drowning; And play basket ball in the gym.
But you'll scorn to know why there's a tax on All reading that isn't a bore, When Mallarme's filtered through Saxon And the Symbolists come to the fore.
All winter you'll read mathematics (Oh, you'll be a terrible "prod"), And in June, at the Senior Dramatics, You will play like a star. But it's odd,
Since you'll quote every cadence in Kipling And Arnold (of course I mean Matt), If you don't make a bard of some stripling Before he knows where he is at.
I am sure you'll be lovely as Trilby, The loveliest bud of the year; But remember, Karlene, I shall still be Your doting old godfather, dear.
When you hear Archimedes' conundrum, Like enough you'll be wanting to try Whether one little girl contra mundum Can't lift the old thing with a pry!
You will turn up your nose at poor "Thy will," With a haughty agnostical sniff, Till you find the imperative "I will" Has a future conditional "if."
And then you will come to your senses, And find out why women were made; And men too; and why there are fences All round the whole lot where you strayed,
While you wore yourself down to a shadow Yet failed to discover your sphere; For you'll see Adam down in the meadow And think what a goosey you were!
And then when your classmates are singing Once more for good-by the old glees, And the round painted lanterns are swinging And sputtering out in the trees,
When everything stales and withers Except the great stars up above, Your heartstrings will all go to smithers, You'll just be one crumple of love.
And Adam will be such a duffer (Dear fellow, I mean), he'll contrive, Till you make him, to not make him suffer, The happiest mortal alive.
Oh, it makes me too ill to continue, Imagining how it will be When some dapper youth comes to win you And smiles condescension on me!
I shall loathe his immaculate breeding, And advise you in time to refuse. To think he will share in your reading, And even unbutton your shoes!
And yet when for that precious laddie Your hair is all crinkled and curled, I guess you'll be just like your daddy, The dearest old soul in the world!
When Kavin comes back from the barber, Although he no longer is young, One cheek is as soft as his heart, And the other as smooth as his tongue.
It is not anything he says, It's just his presence and his smile, The blarney of his silences That cocker and beguile.
ACROSS THE TABLE. To A. L. L.
Here's to you, Arthur! You and I Have seen a lot of stormy weather, Since first we clinked cups on the sly At school together.
The winds of fate have had their will And blown our crafts so far apart We hardly knew if either still Were on the chart.
But now I know the love of man Is more than time or space or fate, And laugh to scorn the powers that ban, With you for mate.
It's good to have you sitting by, Old man, to prove the world no botch, To shame the devil with your eye And pass the Scotch.
Barney McGee, there's no end of good luck in you, Will-o'-the-wisp, with a flicker of Puck in you, Wild as a bull-pup and all of his pluck in you,— Let a man tread on your coat and he'll see!— Eyes like the lakes of Killarney for clarity, Nose that turns up without any vulgarity, Smile like a cherub, and hair that is carroty,— Wow, you're a rarity, Barney McGee! Mellow as Tarragon, Prouder than Aragon— Hardly a paragon, You will agree— Here's all that's fine to you! Books and old wine to you! Girls be divine to you, Barney McGee!
Lucky the day when I met you unwittingly, Dining where vagabonds came and went flittingly. Here's some Barbera to drink it befittingly, That day at Silvio's, Barney McGee! Many's the time we have quaffed our Chianti there, Listened to Silvio quoting us Dante there,— Once more to drink Nebiolo spumante there, How we'd pitch Pommery into the sea! There where the gang of us Met ere Rome rang of us, They had the hang of us To a degree. How they would trust to you! That was but just to you. Here's o'er their dust to you, Barney McGee!
Barney McGee, when you're sober you scintillate, But when you're in drink you're the pride of the intellect; Divil a one of us ever came in till late, Once at the bar where you happened to be— Every eye there like a spoke in you centering, You with your eloquence, blarney, and bantering— All Vagabondia shouts at your entering, King of the Tenderloin, Barney McGee! There's no satiety In your society With the variety Of your esprit. Here's a long purse to you, And a great thirst to you! Fate be no worse to you, Barney McGee!
Och, and the girls whose poor hearts you deracinate, Whirl and bewilder and flutter and fascinate! Faith, it's so killing you are, you assassinate,— Murder's the word for you, Barney McGee! Bold when they're sunny and smooth when they're showery,— Oh, but the style of you, fluent and flowery! Chesterfield's way, with a touch of the Bowery! How would they silence you, Barney machree? Naught can your gab allay, Learned as Rabelais (You in his abbey lay Once on the spree). Here's to the smile of you, (Oh, but the guile of you!) And a long while of you, Barney McGee!
Facile with phrases of length and Latinity, Like honorificabilitudinity, Where is the maid could resist your vicinity, Wiled by the impudent grace of your plea? Then your vivacity and pertinacity Carry the day with the divil's audacity; No mere veracity robs your sagacity Of perspicacity, Barney McGee. When all is new to them, What will you do to them? Will you be true to them? Who shall decree? Here's a fair strife to you! Health and long life to you! And a great wife to you, Barney McGee!
Barney McGee, you're the pick of gentility; Nothing can phase you, you've such a facility; Nobody ever yet found your utility,— That is the charm of you, Barney McGee; Under conditions that others would stammer in, Still unperturbed as a cat or a Cameron, Polished as somebody in the Decameron, Putting the glamour on prince or Pawnee! In your meanderin', Love, and philanderin', Calm as a mandarin Sipping his tea! Under the art of you, Parcel and part of you, Here's to the heart of you, Barney McGee!
You who were ever alert to befriend a man, You who were ever the first to defend a man, You who had always the money to lend a man, Down on his luck and hard up for a V! Sure, you'll be playing a harp in beatitude (And a quare sight you will be in that attitude)— Some day, where gratitude seems but a platitude, You'll find your latitude, Barney McGee. That's no flim-flam at all, Frivol or sham at all, Just the plain—Damn it all, Have one with me! Here's luck and more to you! Friends by the score to you, True to the core to you, Barney McGee!
THE SEA GYPSY.
I am fevered with the sunset, I am fretful with the bay, For the wander-thirst is on me And my soul is in Cathay.
There's a schooner in the offing, With her topsails shot with fire, And my heart has gone aboard her For the Islands of Desire.
I must forth again to-morrow! With the sunset I must be Hull down on the trail of rapture In the wonder of the sea.
SPEECH AND SILENCE.
The words that pass from lip to lip For souls still out of reach! A friend for that companionship That's deeper than all speech!
Three secrets that never were said: The stir of the sap in the spring, The desire of a man to a maid, The urge of a poet to sing.
THE FIRST JULEP.
I love the lazy Southern spring, The way she melts around a chap And lets the great magnolias fling Their languid petals in his lap.
I love to travel down half-way And meet her coming up the earth, With hurdy-gurdy men who play And make the children dance for mirth.
But best of all I love to steer For quiet corners not too far, Where the first juleps reappear With fresh green mint behind the bar.
P. S. Perhaps you'll think it queer, But I do not dislike a hint To let the juleps disappear And stick my nose into the mint.
A STEIN SONG.
Give a rouse, then, in the Maytime For a life that knows no fear! Turn night-time into daytime With the sunlight of good cheer! For it's always fair weather When good fellows get together, With a stein on the table and a good song ringing clear.
When the wind comes up from Cuba And the birds are on the wing, And our hearts are patting juba To the banjo of the spring, Then it's no wonder whether The boys will get together, With a stein on the table and a cheer for everything.
For we're all frank-and-twenty When the spring is in the air; And we've faith and hope a-plenty, And we've life and love to spare; And it's birds of a feather When we all get together, With a stein on the table and a heart without a care.
For we know the world is glorious, And the goal a golden thing, And that God is not censorious When his children have their fling; And life slips its tether When the boys get together, With a stein on the table in the fellowship of spring.
THE UNSAINTING OF KAVIN.
Saint Kavin was a gentleman, He came from Tipperary; And woman was the only thing That ever made him scary.
For Kavin was a tender youth, And he was very simple; He feared the wiles of maiden smiles, And fainted at a dimple.
But when Kathleen at seventeen Came down the street one morning, The luck of man came over him And took him without warning.
Afraid to meet a foolish fate By green sea or by dry land, He fled away without delay And sought a desert island.
But even there he felt despair; For happiness is only The hope of doing something else; And he was very lonely.
He vowed to lead a life of prayer Because that he had lost her; And every time he thought of her He said a Pater noster.
Yet hard it is for man to change The less love for the greater; And every time he reached Amen, He must go back to Pater.
And so he grew a year or two Disconsolate and holy, While friends he'd known long since had grown Papas and roly-poly.
Until one day, one blessed day, A-moping like a Hindoo, He saw Kathleen in mournful mien A-passing by his window.
He threw away his rosary, His Paters and his Aves; For love is stronger than the wind That wafts a thousand navies.
The holy man went forth to war, But not against the devil. He led the maid within for shade, And treated her most civil.
He gave her cakes, he gave her wine, He set his best before her; And then invited her to dine— Thenceforth—with her adorer.
Her little head went round for joy; She tried to kick the rafter: So Kavin was a saint no more, And happy ever after.
IN THE WAYLAND WILLOWS.
Once I met a soncy maid, Soncy maid, soncy maid, Once I met a soncy maid In the Wayland willows.
All her hair was goldy brown, Goldy brown, goldy brown, In the sun a single braid To her waist hung down.
Honey bees, honey bees, You are roving fellows! Idly went the doxy wind In the Wayland willows.
There I caught her eye a-dance, Through the catkins downy. "Heigho, Brownie-pate," said I; "Heigho," said my Brownie.
Then I kissed my soncy maid, Soncy maid, soncy maid, Kissed and kissed my soncy maid In the Wayland willows.
Goldy eyes and goldy hair, And little gypsy bosom, Chin and lip and shoulder tip, Blossom after blossom!
Hand in hand and cheek by cheek All the morning weather! How the yellow butterflies Danced and winked together!
Till the day went down the hill Where the shadows waded. "Heigho, Soncy!" "Heigho, me!" Then I did as day did.
All her tousled beauty bright And teasing as before, I left her there in sweet despair, A soncy maid no more.
WHEN I WAS TWENTY.
It was June, and I was twenty. All my wisdom, poor but plenty, Never learned Festina lente. Youth is gone, but whither went he?
Madeline came down the orchard With a mischief in her eye, Half demure and half inviting, Melting, wayward, wistful, shy.
Four bright eyes that found life lovely, And forgot to wonder why; Four warm lips at one love-lesson, Learned by heart so easily.
We gained something of that knowledge No man ever yet put by, But his after days of sorrow Left him nothing but to die.
Madeline went up the orchard, Down the hurrying world went I; Now I know love has no morrow, Happiness no by-and-by.
Youth is gone, but whither went he? All my wisdom, poor but plenty, Never learned Festina lente. It was June, and I was twenty.
IN A SILENCE
Heart to heart! And the stillness of night and the moonlight, like hushed breathing Silently, stealthily moving across thy hair!
O womanly face! Tender and strong and lucent with infinite feeling, Shrinking with startled joy, like wind-struck water, And yet so frank, so unashamed of love!
Ay, for there it is, love—that's the deepest. Love's not love in the dark. Light loves wither i' the sun, but Love endureth, Clothing himself with the light as with a robe.
I would bare my soul to thy sight— Leave not a secret deep unsearched, Unrevealing its shame or its glory. Love without Truth shall die as a soul without God. A lying love is the love of a day But the brave and true shall love forever.
Build Love a house; Let the walls be thick; Shut him in from the sight of men; But hide not Love from himself.
Ah, the summer night! The wind in the trees and the moonlight! And my kisses on thy throat And thy breathing in my hair!
Silent, lips to lips! But our souls have held speech, thought answering echoing thought, Though the only words were kisses.
I saw him go down to the water to bathe; He stood naked upon the bank.
His breast was like a white cloud in the heaven, that catches the sun; It swelled with the sharp joy of the air.
His legs rose with the spring and curve of young birches; The hollow of his back caught the blue shadows:
With his head thrown up to the lips of the wind; And the curls of his forehead astir with the wind.
I would that I were a man, they are so beautiful; Their bodies are like the bows of the Indians; They have the spring and the grace of bows of hickory.
I know that women are beautiful, and that I am beautiful; But the beauty of a man is so lithe and alive and triumphant, Swift as the night of a swallow and sure as the pounce of the eagle.
NOCTURNE: IN ANJOU.
I dreamed of Sappho on a summer night. Her nightingales were singing in the trees Beside the castled river; and the wind Fell like a woman's fingers on my cheek. And then I slept and dreamed and marked no change; The night went on with me into my dream. This only I remember, that I cried: "O Sappho! ere I leave this paradise, Sing me one song of those lost books of yours For which we poets still go sorrowing; That when I meet my fellows on the earth I may rejoice them more than many pearls;" And she, the sweetly smiling, answered me, As one who dreams, "I have forgotten them."
NOCTURNE: IN PROVENCE.
The blue night, like an angel, came into the room,— Came through the open window from the silent sky Down trellised stairs of moonlight into the dear room As if a whisper breathed of some divine one nigh. The nightingales, like brooks of song in Paradise, Gurgled their serene rapture to the silent sky— Like springs of laughter bubbling up in Paradise, The serene nightingales along the riverside Purled low in every tree their star-cool melodies Of joy—in every tree along the riverside.
Did the vain garments melt in music from your side? Did you rise from them as a lily flowers i' the air? —But you were there before me like the Night's own bride— I dared not call you mine. So still and tall you were, I never dreamed that you were mine—I never dreamed I loved you—I forgot I loved you. You were air And music, and the shadows that you stood in, seemed Like priests that keep their sombre vigil round a shrine— Like sombre priests that watch about a glorious shrine.
And then you stepped into the moonlight and laid bare The wonder of your body to the night, and stood With all the stars of heaven looking at you there, As simply as a saint might bare her soul to God— As simply as a saint might bathe in lakes of prayer— Stood with the holy moonlight falling on you there Until I thought that in a glory unaware I had seen a soul stand forth and bare itself to God— A saintly soul lay bare its innocence to God.
JUNE NIGHT IN WASHINGTON.
The scent of honeysuckle, Drugging the twilight With its sweet opiate of lovers' dreams! The last red glow of the setting sun On the red brick wall Of the neighboring house, And the scramble of red roses over it!
Slowly, slowly The night smokes up from the city to the stars, The faint foreshadowed stars; The smouldering night Breathes upward like the breath Of a woman asleep With dim breast rising and falling And a smile of delicate dreams.
Softly, softly The wind comes into the garden, Like a lover that fears lest he waken his love, And his hands drip with the scent of the roses And his locks weep with the opiate odor of honeysuckle. Sighing, sighing As a lover that yearns for the lips of his love, In a torment of bliss, In a passionate dreaming of bliss, The wind in the trees of the garden!
How intimate are the trees,— Rustling like the secret darkness of the soul! How still is the starlight,— Aloof in the placidity of dream!
Outside the garden A group of negroes passing in the street Sing with ripe lush voices, Sing with voices that swim Like great slow gliding fishes Through the scent of the honeysuckle:
_My love's waitin', Waitin' by the river, Waitin' till I come along! Wait there, child; I'm comin'.
Jay-bird tol' me, Tol' me in the mornin', Tol' me she'd be there to-night. Wait there, child; I'm comin'._
Waves of dream! Spell of the summer night! Will of the grass that stirs in its sleep! Desire of the honeysuckle! And further away, Like the plash of far-off waves in the fluid night, The negroes, singing:
Whip-po'-will tol' me, Tol' me in the evenin', "Down by the bend where the cat-tails grow." Wait there, child; I'm comin'.
Lo, the moon, Like a galleon sailing the night; And the wash of the moonlight over the roofs and the trees!
Oh, my bride, Come down from yonder lattice where you bide Like a charmed princess in a Persian song! I look up at your yellow window-panes, Set in the night with far-off wizardry. Come down, come down; the night is fain of you, The garden waits your footstep on its walks.
Lo, the moon, Like a galleon sailing the night; And the wash of the moonlight over the red brick wall and the roses!
A gleam of lamplight through an open door! A footfall like the wind's upon the grass! A rustle like the wind's among the leaves!... Dim as a dream of pale peach blooms of light, Blue in the blue soft pallor of the moon, She comes between the trees as a faint tune Falls from a flute far off into the night.... So Death might come to one who knew him Love.
A SONG FOR MARNA.
Dame of the night of hair Like blue smoke blown! World yet undreamed-of there Lurks to be known.
Dame of the dizzy eyes, Lure of dim quests! World of what midnights lies Under thy breasts!
Dame of the quench of love, Give me to quaff! There's all the world's made of Under thy laugh.
Dame of the dare of gods, Let the sky lower! Time, give the world for odds,— I choose this hour.
This is not sadness in the wood; The yellowbird Flits joying through the solitude, By no thought stirred Save of his little duskier mate And rompings jolly.
If there's a Dryad in the wood, She is not sad. Too wise the spirits are to brood; Divinely glad, They dream with countenance sedate Not melancholy.
The ghost of a wind came over the hill, While day for a moment forgot to die, And stirred the sheaves Of the millet leaves, As Nancibel went by.
Out of the lands of Long Ago, Into the land of By and By, Faded the gleam Of a journeying dream, As Nancibel went by.
A VAGABOND SONG.
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood— Touch of manner, hint of mood; And my heart is like a rhyme, With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry Of bugles going by. And my lonely spirit thrills To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir; We must rise and follow her, When from every hill of flame She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
THREE OF A KIND.
Three of us without a care In the red September Tramping down the roads of Maine, Making merry with the rain, With the fellow winds a-fare Where the winds remember.
Three of us with shocking hats, Tattered and unbarbered, Happy with the splash of mud, With the highways in our blood, Bearing down on Deacon Platt's Where last year we harbored.
We've come down from Kennebec, Tramping since last Sunday, Loping down the coast of Maine, With the sea for a refrain, And the maples neck and neck All the way to Fundy.
Sometimes lodging in an inn, Cosey as a dormouse— Sometimes sleeping on a knoll With no rooftree but the Pole— Sometimes halely welcomed in At an old-time farmhouse.
Loafing under ledge and tree, Leaping over boulders, Sitting on the pasture bars, Hail-fellow with storm or stars— Three of us alive and free, With unburdened shoulders!
Three of us with hearts like pine That the lightnings splinter, Clean of cleave and white of grain— Three of us afoot again, With a rapture fresh and fine As a spring in winter!
All the hills are red and gold; And the horns of vision Call across the crackling air Till we shout back to them there, Taken captive in the hold Of their bluff derision.
Spray-salt gusts of ocean blow From the rocky headlands; Overhead the wild geese fly, Honking in the autumn sky; Black sinister flocks of crow Settle on the dead lands.
Three of us in love with life, Roaming like wild cattle, With the stinging air a-reel As a warrior might feel The swift orgasm of the knife Slay him in mid-battle.
Three of us to march abreast Down the hills of morrow! With a clean heart and a few Friends to clench the spirit to!— Leave the gods to rule the rest, And good-by, sorrow!
WOOD-FOLK LORE. To T. B. M.
For every one Beneath the sun, Where Autumn walks with quiet eyes, There is a word, Just overheard When hill to purple hill replies.
This afternoon, As warm as June, With the red apples on the bough, I set my ear To hark and hear The wood-folk talking, you know how.
There comes a "Hush!" And then a "Tush," As tree to scarlet tree responds, "Babble away! He'll not betray The secrets of us vagabonds.
"Are we not all, Both great and small, Cousins and kindred in a joy No school can teach, No worldling reach, Nor any wreck of chance destroy?"
And so we are, However far We journey ere the journey ends, One brotherhood With leaf and bud And everything that wakes or wends.
The wind that blows My autumn rose Where Grand Pre looks to Blomidon,— How great must be The company Of roses he has leaned upon,
Since first he shed Their petals red Through Persian gardens long ago, When Omar heard His muttered word Rumoring things we may not know!
Our brother ghost, He is a most Incorrigible wanderer; And still to-day He takes his way About my hills of spruce and fir;
Will neither bide By the great tide, In apple lands of Acadie, Nor in the leaves About your eaves, Where Scituate looks out to sea.
About the time of Michael's feast And all his angels, There comes a word to man and beast By dark evangels.
Then hearing what the wild things say To one another, Those creatures first born of our gray Mysterious Mother,
The greatness of the world's unrest Steals through our pulses; Our own life takes a meaning guessed From the torn dulse's.
The draft and set of deep sea-tides Swirling and flowing, Bears every filmy flake that rides, Grandly unknowing.
The sunlight listens; thin and fine The crickets whistle; And floating midges fill the shine Like a seeding thistle.
The hawkbit flies his golden flag From rocky pasture, Bidding his legions never lag Through morning's vasture.
Soon we shall see the red vines ramp Through forest borders, And Indian summer breaking camp To silent orders.
The glossy chestnuts swell and burst Their prickly houses Agog at news which reached them first In sap's carouses.
The long noons turn the ribstons red, The pippins yellow; The wild duck from his reedy bed Summons his fellow.
The robins keep the underbrush Songless and wary, As though they feared some frostier hush Might bid them tarry;
Perhaps in the great North they heard Of silence falling Upon the world without a word, White and appalling.
The ash-tree and the lady-fern, In russet frondage, Proclaim 'tis time for our return To vagabondage.
All summer idle have we kept; But on a morning, Where the blue hazy mountains slept, A scarlet warning
Disturbs our day-dream with a start; A leaf turns over; And every earthling is at heart Once more a rover.
All winter we shall toil and plod, Eating and drinking; But now's the little time when God Sets folk to thinking.
"Consider," says the quiet sun, "How far I wander; Yet when had I not time on one More flower to squander?"
"Consider," says the restless tide, "My endless labor; Yet when was I content beside My nearest neighbor?"
So wander-lust to wander-lure, As seed to season, Must rise and wend, possessed and sure In sweet unreason.
For doorstone and repose are good, And kind is duty; But joy is in the solitude With shy-heart beauty.
And Truth is one whose ways are meek Beyond foretelling; And far his journey who would seek Her lowly dwelling.
She leads him by a thousand heights, Lonelily faring, With sunrise and with eagle flights To mate his daring.
For her he fronts a vaster fog Than Leif of yore did, Voyaging for continents no log Has yet recorded.
He travels by a polar star, Now bright, now hidden, For a free land, though rest be far And roads forbidden,
Till on a day with sweet coarse bread And wine she stays him, Then in a cool and narrow bed To slumber lays him.
So we are hers. And, fellows mine Of fin and feather, By shady wood and shadowy brine, When comes the weather
For migrants to be moving on, By lost indenture You flock and gather and are gone: The old adventure!
I too have my unwritten date, My gypsy presage; And on the brink of fall I wait The darkling message.
The sign, from prying eyes concealed, Is yet how flagrant! Here's ragged-robin in the field, A simple vagrant.
THE MOTHER OF POETS. To H. F. H.
The typewriter ticketh no more in the twilight; The mother of poets is sitting alone; Only the katydid teases the noonday; Where are the good-for-naught wanderbirds flown?
Tom's in the North with his purple impressions; Dickon's in London a-building his fame; Fred's in the mountains a-minding his cattle; Kavanagh's teaching and preaching and game.
Over in Kingscroft a toiler is writing, The boyish Old Man whom no fate ever floored; Karl's in New York with his briefs and his logic, That subtile mind like a velvet-sheathed sword.
Blomidon welcomes his brother in silence; Grand Pre is luring him back to her breast; Faint and far off are the cries of the city, There in the country of infinite rest.
All of them turn in their wide vagabondage, Halt and remember a place they have known, Where the typewriter ticketh no more in the twilight, And the mother of poets is sitting alone.
There they will surely some April forgather, Drink once together before they depart, One by one over the threshold of silence, On the long trail of the wandering heart.
Fear not, little mother, there may be a region Where poets have only to smile and keep still. The tick of the typewriter there will be useless, But there will be need of a motherkin still.
For love of the roving foot And joy of the roving eye, God send you store of morrows fair And a good rest by and by!
IN A COPY OF BROWNING.
Browning, old fellow, Your leaves grow yellow, Beginning to mellow As seasons pass. Your cover is wrinkled, And stained and sprinkled, And warped and crinkled From sleep on the grass.
Is it a wine stain, Or only a pine stain, That makes such a fine stain On your dull blue,— Got as we numbered The clouds that lumbered Southward and slumbered When day was through?
What is the dear mark There like an earmark, Only a tear mark A woman let fall?— As bending over She bade me discover, "Who plays the lover, He loses all!"
With you for teacher We learned love's feature In every creature That roves or grieves; When winds were brawling, Or bird-folk calling, Or leaf-folk falling, About our eaves.
No law must straiten The ways they wait in, Whose spirits greaten And hearts aspire. The world may dwindle, And summer brindle, So love but kindle The soul to fire.
Here many a red line, Or pencilled headline, Shows love could wed line To golden sense; And something better Than wisdom's fetter Has made your letter Dense to the dense.
No April robin, Nor clacking bobbin, Can make of Dobbin A Pegasus; But Nature's pleading To man's unheeding, Your subtile reading Made clear to us.
You made us farers And equal sharers With homespun wearers In home-made joys; You made us princes No plea convinces That spirit winces At dust and noise.
When Fate was nagging, And days were dragging, And fancy lagging, You gave it scope,— When eaves were drippy, And pavements slippy,— From Lippo Lippi To Evelyn Hope.
When winter's arrow Pierced to the marrow, And thought was narrow, You gave it room; We guessed the warder On Roland's border, And helped to order The Bishop's Tomb.
When winds were harshish, And ways were marshish, We found with Karshish Escape at need; Were bold with Waring In far seafaring, And strong in snaring Ben Ezra's creed.
We felt the menace Of lovers pen us, Afloat in Venice Devising fibs; And little mattered The rain that pattered, While Blougram chattered To Gigadibs.
And we too waited With heart elated And breathing bated, For Pippa's song; Saw Satan hover, With wings to cover Porphyria's lover, Pompilia's wrong.
Long thoughts were started, When youth departed From the half-hearted Riccardi's bride; For, saith your fable, Great Love is able To slip the cable And take the tide.
Or truth compels us With Paracelsus, Till nothing else is Of worth at all. Del Sarto's vision Is our own mission, And art's ambition Is God's own call.
Through all the seasons, You gave us reasons For splendid treasons To doubt and fear; Bade no foot falter, Though weaklings palter, And friendships alter From year to year.
Since first I sought you, Found you and bought you, Hugged you and brought you Home from Cornhill, While some upbraid you, And some parade you, Nine years have made you My master still.
SHAKESPEARE HIMSELF: FOR THE UNVEILING OF MR. PARTRIDGE'S STATUE OF THE POET.
The body is no prison where we lie Shut out from our true heritage of sun; It is the wings wherewith the soul may fly. Save through this flesh so scorned and spat upon, No ray of light had reached the caverned mind, No thrill of pleasure through the life had run, No love of nature or of humankind, Were it but love of self, had stirred the heart To its first deed. Such freedom as we find, We find but through its service, not apart. And as an eagle's wings upbear him higher Than Andes or Himalaya, and chart Rivers and seas beneath; so our desire, With more celestial members yet, may soar Into the space of empyrean fire, Still bodied but more richly than before.
The body is the man; what lurks behind Through it alone unveils itself. Therefore We are not wrong, who seek to keep in mind The form and feature of the mighty dead. So back of all the giving is divined The giver, back of all things done or said The man himself in elemental speech Of flesh and bone and sinew uttered.
This is thy language, Sculpture. Thine to reach Beneath all thoughts, all feelings, all desires, To that which thinks and lives and loves, and teach The world the primal selfhood of its sires, Its heroes and its lovers and its gods. So shall Apollo flame in marble fires, The mien of Zeus suffice before he nods, So Gautama in ivory dream out The calm of Time's untrammelled periods, So Sigurd's lips be in themselves a shout.
Mould us our Shakespeare, sculptor, in the form His comrades knew, rare Ben and all the rout That found the taproom of the Mermaid warm With wit and wine and fellowship, the face Wherein the men he chummed with found a charm To make them love him; carve for us the grace That caught Anne Hathaway in Shottery-side, The hand that clasped Southampton's in the days Ere that dark dame, of passion and of pride Burned in his heart the brand of her disdain, The eyes that wept when little Hamnet died, The lips that learned from Marlowe's and again Taught riper lore to Fletcher and the rest, The presence and demeanor sovereign At last at Stratford calm and manifest, That rested on the seventh day and scanned His work and knew it good, and left the quest And like his own enchanter broke his wand.
No viewless mind! The very shape, no less, He used to speak and smile with, move and stand! God is most God not in his loneliness, Unfellowed, discreationed, unrevealed, Nor thundering on Sinai, pitiless, Nor when the seven vials are unsealed, But when his spirit companions with our thought And in his fellowship our pain is healed; And we are likest God when we are brought Most near to all men. Bring us near to him, The gentle, human soul whose calm might wrought Imperious Lear and made our eyes grow dim For Imogen,—who, though he heard the spheres "Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubim," Could laugh with Falstaff and his loose compeers And love the rascal with the same big heart That o'er Cordelia could not stay its tears.
For still the man is greater than his art. And though thy men and women, Shakespeare, rise Like giants in our fancy and depart, Thyself art more than all their masteries, Thy wisdom more than Hamlet's questionings Or the cold searching of Ulysses' eyes, Thy mirth more sweet than Benedick's flouts and flings, Thy smiling dearer than Mercutio's, Thy dignity past that of all thy kings, And thy enchantment more than Prospero's.
For thou couldst not have had Othello's flaw, Not erred with Brutus,—greater, then, than those For all their nobleness. Oh, albeit with awe, Leave we the mighty phantoms and draw near The man that fashioned them and gave them law! The Master Poet found with scarce a peer In all the ages his domain to share, Yet of all singers gentlest and most dear! Oh, how shall words thy proper praise declare, Divine in thy supreme humanity And near as the inevitable air?
So he that wrought this image deemed of thee; So I, thy lover, keep thee in my heart; So may this figure set for men to see Where the world passes eager for the mart, Be as a sudden insight of the soul That makes a darkness into order start, And lift thee up for all men, fair and whole, Till scholar, merchant farmer, artisan, Seeing, divine beneath the aureole The fellow heart and know thee for a man.
AT THE ROAD-HOUSE: IN MEMORY OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
You hearken, fellows? Turned aside Into the road-house of the past! The prince of vagabonds is gone To house among his peers at last.
The stainless gallant gentleman, So glad of life, he gave no trace, No hint he even once beheld The spectre peering in his face;
But gay and modest held the road, Nor feared the Shadow of the Dust; And saw the whole world rich with joy, As every valiant farer must.
I think that old and vasty inn Will have a welcome guest to-night, When Chaucer, breaking off some tale That fills his hearers with delight,
Shall lift up his demure brown eyes To bid the stranger in; and all Will turn to greet the one on whom The crystal lot was last to fall.
Keats of the more than mortal tongue Will take grave Milton by the sleeve To meet their kin, whose woven words Had elvish music in the weave.
Dear Lamb and excellent Montaigne, Sterne and the credible Defoe, Borrow, DeQuincey, the great Dean, The sturdy leisurist Thoreau;
The furtive soul whose dark romance, By ghostly door and haunted stair, Explored the dusty human heart And the forgotten garrets there;
The moralist it could not spoil, To hold an empire in his hands; Sir Walter, and the brood who sprang From Homer through a hundred lands,
Singers of songs on all men's lips, Tellers of tales in all men's ears, Movers of hearts that still must beat To sorrows feigned and fabled tears;
Horace and Omar, doubting still What mystery lurks beyond the seen, Yet blithe and reassured before That fine unvexed Virgilian mien;
These will companion him to-night, Beyond this iron wintry gloom, When Shakespeare and Cervantes bid The great joy-masters give him room.
No alien there in speech or mood, He will pass in, one traveller more; And portly Ben will smile to see The velvet jacket at the door.
Avid of life and love, insatiate vagabond, With quest too furious for the graal he would have won, He flung himself at the eternal sky, as one Wrenching his chains but impotent to burst the bond.
Yet under the revolt, the revel, the despond, What pools of innocence, what crystal benison! As through a riven mist that glowers in the sun, A stretch of God's blue calm glassed in a virgin pond.
Prowler of obscene streets that riot reek along, And aisles with incense numb and gardens mad with rose, Monastic cells and dreams of dim brocaded lawns,
Death, which has set the calm of Time upon his song, Surely upon his soul has kissed the same repose In some fair heaven the Christ has set apart for Fauns.
They that eat the uncrushed grape Walk with steady heels: Lo, now, how they stare and gape Where the poet reels! He has drunk the sheer divine Concentration of the vine.
A FRIEND'S WISH. To C. W. S.
Give me your last Aloha, When I go out of sight, Over the dark rim of the sea Into the Polar night!
And all the Northland give you Skoal for the voyage begun, When your bright summer sail goes down Into the zones of sun!
LAL OF KILRUDDEN.
Kilrudden ford, Kilrudden dale, Kilrudden fronting every gale On the lorn coast of Inishfree, And Lal's last bed the plunging sea.
Lal of Kilrudden with flame-red hair, And the sea-blue eyes that rove and dare, And the open heart with never a care; With her strong brown arms and her ankles bare, God in heaven, but she was fair, That night the storm put in from sea?
The nightingales of Inishkill, The rose that climbed her window-sill, The shade that rustled or was still, The wind that roved and had his will, And one white sail on the low sea-hill, Were all she knew of love.
So when the storm drove in that day, And her lover's ship on the ledges lay, Past help and wrecking in the gray, And the cry was, "Who'll go down the bay, With half of the lifeboat's crew away?" Who should push to the front and say, "I will be one, be others who may," But Lal of Kilrudden, born at sea!
The nightingales all night in the rain, The rose that fell at her window-pane, The frost that blackened the purple plain, And the scorn of pitiless disdain At the hands of the wolfish pirate main, Quelling her great hot heart in vain, Were all she knew of death.
Kilrudden ford, Kilrudden dale, Kilrudden ruined in the gale That wrecked the coast of Inishfree, And Lal's last bed the plunging sea.
HUNTING-SONG: FROM "KING ARTHUR."
Oh, who would stay indoor, indoor, When the horn is on the hill? (Bugle: Tarantara! With the crisp air stinging, and the huntsmen singing, And a ten-tined buck to kill!
Before the sun goes down, goes down, We shall slay the buck of ten; (Bugle: Tarantara! And the priest shall say benison, and we shall ha'e venison, When we come home again.
Let him that loves his ease, his ease, Keep close and house him fair; (Bugle: Tarantara! He'll still be a stranger to the merry thrill of danger And the joy of the open air.
But he that loves the hills, the hills, Let him come out to-day! (Bugle: Tarantara! For the horses are neighing, and the hounds are baying, And the hunt's up, and away!
Buie Annajohn was the king's black mare, Buie, Buie, Buie Annajohn! Satin was her coat and silk was her hair, Buie Annajohn, The young king's own. March with the white moon, march with the sun, March with the merry men, Buie Annajohn!
Buie Annajohn, when the dew lay hoar, (Buie, Buie, Buie Annajohn!) Down through the meadowlands went to war,— Buie Annajohn, The young king's own. March by the river road, march by the dune, March with the merry men, Buie Annajohn!
Buie Annajohn had the heart of flame, Buie, Buie, Buie Annajohn! First of the hosts to the hostings came Buie Annajohn, The young king's own. March till we march the red sun down, March with the merry men, Buie Annajohn!
Back from the battle at the close of day, (Buie, Buie, Buie Annajohn!) Came with the war cheers, came with a neigh, Buie Annajohn, The young king's own. Oh, heavy was the sword that we laid on; But half of the heave was Buie Annajohn, Buie, Buie, Buie Annajohn!
MARY OF MARKA.
Eric of Marka holds the knife: "A nameless death for a nameless life."—
"Mary of Marka, bid him stay, And the morrow shall be our wedding-day."—
"Will the blessing of priest give back my faith, Or life to the child you left to death?"—
Eric of Marka holds the knife, And turns to the mother that is no wife:
"Mary of Marka, have your will! Shall I spare him, or shall I kill?"—
"He wrought me wrong when the days were sweet, And he'll get no more but a winding-sheet."
He said, "Good-night, my heart is light, To-morrow morn at day We two together in the dew Shall forth and fare away.
"We shall go down, the halls of dawn To find the doors of joy; We shall not part again, dear heart." And he laughed out like a boy.
He turned and strode down the blue road Against the western sky Where the last line of sunset glowed As sullen embers die.
The night reached out her kraken arms To clutch him as he passed, And for one sudden moment My soul shrank back aghast.
Said the hearse-horse to the coffin, "What the devil have you there? I may trot from court to square, Yet it neither swears nor groans, When I jolt it over stones." Said the coffin to the hearse-horse, "Bones!"
Said the hearse-horse to the coffin, "What the devil have you there, With that purple frozen stare? Where the devil has it been To get that shadow grin?" Said the coffin to the hearse-horse, "Skin!"
Said the hearse-horse to the coffin, "What the devil have you there? It has fingers, it has hair; Yet it neither kicks nor squirms At the undertaker's terms." Said the coffin to the hearse-horse, "Worms!"
Whe-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! We are the brothers of ghouls, and who In the name of the Crooked Saints are you?
We are the washers of shrouds wherein The lovers of beauty who sainted sin Sleep till the Judgment Day begin.
When the moon is drifting overhead, We wash the linen of the dead, Stained with yellow and stiff with red.
Whe-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! We are the foul night-washers, and who, By the Seven Lovely sins are you?
Here we sit by the river reeds, Rinsing the linen that reeks and bleeds, And craving the help our labor needs.
Come, Sir Fop, fall to, fall to! Show us for once what you can do! One day there'll be washing enough for you.
Wade in, wade in, where the river runs Clear in the moonlight over the stones! It'll wash the ache from your scrofulous bones.
Whe-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! We are the gossips of fame, and who By the Sinners' Litany are you?
Wade in, wade in! The water is cold, The stains are deep, and the linen is old; But surely the sons of the town are bold!
Work for us here till the break of day At washing the stains of the dead away, And you shall be merry, come what may!
From now till your ninetieth year begins, You shall sin the Seven Lovely sins, While wearing the virtue a cardinal wins.
Refuse, and your arms shall be broken and wried, To dangle like fenders over the side Of an empty ship on the harbor tide!
They shall gather a waist in their grip no more, As you wander the wide world over and o'er, With the curs at your heels from door to door.
With only a stranger to cover your face, You shall die in the streets of an outcast race, And your linen be washed in the market-place!
Whe-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! We are the Scavenger Saints, but who In the name of the Shadowy Kin are you?
MR. MOON: A SONG OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE.
O Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down? Down on the hilltop, Down in the glen, Out in the clearin', To play with little men? Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, Hurry up your stumps! Don't you hear Bullfrog Callin' to his wife, And old black Cricket A-wheezin' at his fife? Hurry up your stumps, And get on your pumps! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, Hurry up along! The reeds in the current Are whisperin' slow; The river's a-wimplin' To and fro. Or you'll miss the song! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, We're all here! Honey-bug, Thistledrift, White-imp, Weird, Wryface, Billiken, Quidnunc, Queered; We're all here, And the coast is clear! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, We're the little men! Dewlap, Pussymouse, Ferntip, Freak, Drink-again, Shambler, Talkytalk, Squeak; Three times ten Of us little men! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, We're all ready! Tallenough, Squaretoes, Amble, Tip, Buddybud, Heigho, Little black Pip; We're all ready, And the wind walks steady! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, We're thirty score; Yellowbeard, Piper, Lieabed, Toots, Meadowbee, Moonboy, Bully-in-boots; Three times more Than thirty score. Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, Keep your eye peeled; Watch out to windward, Or you'll miss the fun, Down by the acre Where the wheat-waves run; Keep your eye peeled For the open field. Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, There's not much time! Hurry, if you're comin', You lazy old bones! You can sleep to-morrow While the Buzbuz drones; There's not much time Till the church bells chime. Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Mr. Moon, Just see the clover! Soon we'll be going Where the Gray Goose went When all her money Was spent, spent, spent! Down through the clover, When the revel's over! Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
O Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down? Down where the Good Folk Dance in a ring, Down where the Little Folk Sing? Moon, Mr. Moon, When you comin' down?
HEM AND HAW.
Hem and Haw were the sons of sin, Created to shally and shirk; Hem lay 'round and Haw looked on While God did all the work.
Hem was a fogy, and Haw was a prig, For both had the dull, dull mind; And whenever they found a thing to do, They yammered and went it blind.
Hem was the father of bigots and bores; As the sands of the sea were they. And Haw was the father of all the tribe Who criticise to-day.
But God was an artist from the first, And knew what he was about; While over his shoulder sneered these two, And advised him to rub it out.
They prophesied ruin ere man was made: "Such folly must surely fail!" And when he was done, "Do you think, my Lord, He's better without a tail?"
And still in the honest working world, With posture and hint and smirk, These sons of the devil are standing by While Man does all the work.
They balk endeavor and baffle reform, In the sacred name of law; And over the quavering voice of Hem Is the droning voice of Haw.
ACCIDENT IN ART.
That painter has not with a careless smutch Accomplished his despair?—one touch revealing All he had put of life, thought, vigor, feeling, Into the canvas that without that touch Showed of his love and labor just so much Raw pigment, scarce a scrap of soul concealing! What poet has not found his spirit kneeling A sudden at the sound of such or such Strange verses staring from his manuscript, Written he knows not how, but which will sound Like trumpets down the years? So Accident Itself unmasks the likeness of Intent, And ever in blind Chance's darkest crypt The shrine-lamp of God's purposing is found.
IN A GARDEN.
Thought is a garden wide and old For airy creatures to explore, Where grow the great fantastic flowers With truth for honey at the core.
There like a wild marauding bee Made desperate by hungry fears, From gorgeous If to dark Perhaps I blunder down the dusk of years.
AT THE END OF THE DAY.
There is no escape by the river, There is no flight left by the fen; We are compassed about by the shiver Of the night of their marching men. Give a cheer! For our hearts shall not give way. Here's to a dark to-morrow, And here's to a brave to-day!
The tale of their hosts is countless, And the tale of ours a score; But the palm is naught to the dauntless, And the cause is more and more. Give a cheer! We may die, but not give way. Here's to a silent morrow, And here's to a stout to-day!
God has said: "Ye shall fail and perish; But the thrill ye have felt to-night I shall keep in my heart and cherish When the worlds have passed in night." Give a cheer! For the soul shall not give way. Here's to the greater to-morrow That is born of a great to-day!
Now shame on the craven truckler And the puling things that mope! We've a rapture for our buckler That outwears the wings of hope. Give a cheer! For our joy shall not give way. Here's in the teeth of to-morrow To the glory of to-day!
THIS BOOK WAS PRINTED BY JOHN WILSON AND SON, AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, DURING OCTOBER, 1896.