Hawthorn And Lavender

A poem by William Ernest Henley

ENVOY


My songs were once of the sunrise:
They shouted it over the bar;
First-footing the dawns, they flourished,
And flamed with the morning star.

My songs are now of the sunset:
Their brows are touched with light,
But their feet are lost in the shadows
And wet with the dews of night.

Yet for the joy in their making
Take them, O fond and true,
And for his sake who made them
Let them be dear to You.



PRAELUDIUM


Largo espressivo

In sumptuous chords, and strange,
Through rich yet poignant harmonies:
Subtle and strong browns, reds
Magnificent with death and the pride of death,
Thin, clamant greens
And delicate yellows that exhaust
The exquisite chromatics of decay:
From ruining gardens, from reluctant woods -
Dear, multitudinously reluctant woods! -
And sering margents, forced
To be lean and bare and perished grace by grace,
And flower by flower discharmed,
Comes, to a purpose none,
Not even the Scorner, which is the Fool, can blink,
The dead-march of the year.

Dead things and dying! Now the long-laboured soul
Listens, and pines. But never a note of hope
Sounds: whether in those high,
Transcending unisons of resignation
That speed the sovran sun,
As he goes southing, weakening, minishing,
Almighty in obedience; or in those
Small, sorrowful colloquies
Of bronze and russet and gold,
Colour with colour, dying things with dead,
That break along this visual orchestra:
As in that other one, the audible,
Horn answers horn, hautboy and violin
Talk, and the 'cello calls the clarionet
And flute, and the poor heart is glad.
There is no hope in these - only despair.

Then, destiny in act, ensues
That most tremendous passage in the score:
When hangman rains and winds have wrought
Their worst, and, the brave lights gone down,
The low strings, the brute brass, the sullen drums
Sob, grovel, and curse themselves
Silent. . . .
But on the spirit of Man
And on the heart of the World there falls
A strange, half-desperate peace:
A war-worn, militant, gray jubilance
In the unkind, implacable tyranny
Of Winter, the obscene,
Old, crapulous Regent, who in his loins -
O, who but feels he carries in his loins
The wild, sweet-blooded, wonderful harlot, Spring?



I.


Low - low
Over a perishing after-glow,
A thin, red shred of moon
Trailed. In the windless air
The poplars all ranked lean and chill.
The smell of winter loitered there,
And the Year's heart felt still.
Yet not so far away
Seemed the mad Spring,
But that, as lovers will,
I let my laughing heart go play,
As it had been a fond maid's frolicking;
And, turning thrice the gold I'd got,
In the good gloom
Solemnly wished me - what?
What, and with whom?



II


Moon of half-candied meres
And flurrying, fading snows;
Moon of unkindly rains,
Wild skies, and troubled vanes;
When the Norther snarls and bites,
And the lone moon walks a-cold,
And the lawns grizzle o' nights,
And wet fogs search the fold:
Here in this heart of mine
A dream that warms like wine,
A dream one other knows,
Moon of the roaring weirs
And the sip-sopping close,
February Fill-Dyke,
Shapes like a royal rose -
A red, red rose!

O, but the distance clears!
O, but the daylight grows!
Soon shall the pied wind-flowers
Babble of greening hours,
Primrose and daffodil
Yearn to a fathering sun,
The lark have all his will,
The thrush be never done,
And April, May, and June
Go to the same blythe tune
As this blythe dream of mine!
Moon when the crocus peers,
Moon when the violet blows,
February Fair-Maid,
Haste, and let come the rose -
Let come the rose!



III


The night dislimns, and breaks
Like snows slow thawn;
An evil wind awakes
On lea and lawn;
The low East quakes; and hark!
Out of the kindless dark,
A fierce, protesting lark,
High in the horror of dawn!

A shivering streak of light,
A scurry of rain:
Bleak day from bleaker night
Creeps pinched and fain;
The old gloom thins and dies,
And in the wretched skies
A new gloom, sick to rise,
Sprawls, like a thing in pain.

And yet, what matter - say! -
The shuddering trees,
The Easter-stricken day,
The sodden leas?
The good bird, wing and wing
With Time, finds heart to sing,
As he were hastening
The swallow o'er the seas.



IV


It came with the year's first crocus
In a world of winds and snows -
Because it would, because it must,
Because of life and time and lust;
And a year's first crocus served my turn
As well as the year's first rose.

The March rack hurries and hectors,
The March dust heaps and blows;
But the primrose flouts the daffodil,
And here's the patient violet still;
And the year's first crocus brought me luck,
So hey for the year's first rose!



V


The good South-West on sea-worn wings
Comes shepherding the good rain;
The brave Sea breaks, and glooms, and swings,
A weltering, glittering plain.

Sound, Sea of England, sound and shine,
Blow, English Wind, amain,
Till in this old, gray heart of mine
The Spring need wake again!



VI


In the red April dawn,
In the wild April weather,
From brake and thicket and lawn
The birds sing all together.

The look of the hoyden Spring
Is pinched and shrewish and cold;
But all together they sing
Of a world that can never be old:

Of a world still young - still young! -
Whose last word won't be said,
Nor her last song dreamed and sung,
Till her last true lover's dead!



VII


The April sky sags low and drear,
The April winds blow cold,
The April rains fall gray and sheer,
And yeanlings keep the fold.

But the rook has built, and the song-birds quire,
And over the faded lea
The lark soars glorying, gyre on gyre,
And he is the bird for me!

For he sings as if from his watchman's height
He saw, this blighting day,
The far vales break into colour and light
From the banners and arms of May.



VIII


Shadow and gleam on the Downland
Under the low Spring sky,
Shadow and gleam in my spirit -
Why?

A bird, in his nest rejoicing,
Cheers and flatters and woos:
A fresh voice flutters my fancy -
Whose?

And the humour of April frolics
And bickers in blade and bough -
O, to meet for the primal kindness
Now!



IX


The wind on the wold,
With sea-scents and sea-dreams attended,
Is wine!
The air is as gold
In elixir - it takes so the splendid
Sunshine!

O, the larks in the blue!
How the song of them glitters, and glances,
And gleams!
The old music sounds new -
And it's O, the wild Spring, and his chances
And dreams!

There's a lift in the blood -
O, this gracious, and thirsting, and aching
Unrest!
All life's at the bud,
And my heart, full of April, is breaking
My breast.



X


Deep in my gathering garden
A gallant thrush has built;
And his quaverings on the stillness
Like light made song are spilt.

They gleam, they glint, they sparkle,
They glitter along the air,
Like the song of a sunbeam netted
In a tangle of red-gold hair.

And I long, as I laugh and listen,
For the angel-hour that shall bring
My part, pre-ordained and appointed,
In the miracle of Spring.



XI


What doth the blackbird in the boughs
Sing all day to his nested spouse?
What but the song of his old Mother-Earth,
In her mighty humour of lust and mirth?
'Love and God's will go wing and wing,
And as for death, is there any such thing?' -
In the shadow of death,
So, at the beck of the wizard Spring
The dear bird saith -
So the bird saith!

Caught with us all in the nets of fate,
So the sweet wretch sings early and late;
And, O my fairest, after all,
The heart of the World's in his innocent call.
The will of the World's with him wing and wing: -
'Life - life - life! 'Tis the sole great thing
This side of death,
Heart on heart in the wonder of Spring!'
So the bird saith -
The wise bird saith!



XII


This world, all hoary
With song and story,
Rolls in a glory
Of youth and mirth;
Above and under
Clothed on with wonder.
Sunrise and thunder,
And death and birth.
His broods befriending
With grace unending
And gifts transcending
A god's at play,
Yet do his meetness
And sovran sweetness
Hold in the jocund purpose of May.

So take your pleasure,
And in full measure
Use of your treasure,
When birds sing best!
For when heaven's bluest,
And earth feels newest,
And love longs truest,
And takes not rest:
When winds blow cleanest,
And seas roll sheenest,
And lawns lie greenest:
Then, night and day,
Dear life counts dearest,
And God walks nearest
To them that praise Him, praising His May.



XIII


I talked one midnight with the jolly ghost
Of a gray ancestor, TOM HEYWOOD hight;
And, 'Here's,' says he, his old heart liquor-lifted -
'Here's how we did when GLORIANA shone:'

All in a garden green
Thrushes were singing;
Red rose and white between,
Lilies were springing;
It was the merry May;
Yet sang my Lady: -
'Nay, Sweet, now nay, now nay!
I am not ready.'

Then to a pleasant shade
I did invite her:
All things a concert made,
For to delight her;
Under, the grass was gay;
Yet sang my Lady: -
'Nay, Sweet, now nay, now nay!
I am not ready.'



XIV


Why do you linger and loiter, O most sweet?
Why do you falter and delay,
Now that the insolent, high-blooded May
Comes greeting and to greet?
Comes with her instant summonings to stray
Down the green, antient way -
The leafy, still, rose-haunted, eye-proof street! -
Where true lovers each other may entreat,
Ere the gold hair turn gray?
Entreat, and fleet
Life gaudily, and so play out their play,
Even with the triumphing May -
The young-eyed, smiling, irresistible May!

Why do you loiter and linger, O most dear?
Why do you dream and palter and stay,
When every dawn, that rushes up the bay,
Brings nearer, and more near,
The Terror, the Discomforter, whose prey,
Beloved, we must be? Nor prayer, nor tear,
Lets his arraignment; but we disappear,
What time the gold turns gray,
Into the sheer,
Blind gulfs unglutted of mere Yesterday,
With the unlingering May -
The good, fulfilling, irresponsible May!



XV


Come where my Lady lies,
Sleeping down the golden hours!
Cover her with flowers.

Bluebells from the clearings,
Flag-flowers from the rills,
Wildings from the lush hedgerows,
Delicate daffodils,
Sweetlings from the formal plots,
Bloomkins from the bowers -
Heap them round her where she sleeps,
Cover her with flowers!

Sweet-pea and pansy,
Red hawthorn and white;
Gilliflowers - like praising souls;
Lilies - lamps of light:
Nurselings of what happy winds,
Suns, and stars, and showers!
Joylets good to see and smell -
Cover her with flowers!

Like to sky-born shadows
Mirrored on a stream,
Let their odours meet and mix
And waver through her dream!
Last, the crowded sweetness
Slumber overpowers,
And she feels the lips she loves
Craving through the flowers!



XVI


The west a glory of green and red and gold,
The magical drifts to north and eastward rolled,
The shining sands, the still, transfigured sea,
The wind so light it scarce begins to be,
As these long days unfold a flower, unfold
Life's rose in me.

Life's rose - life's rose! Red at my heart it glows -
Glows and is glad, as in some quiet close
The sun's spoiled darlings their gay life renew!
Only, the clement rain, the mothering dew,
Daytide and night, all things that make the rose,
Are you, dear - you!



XVII


Look down, dear eyes, look down,
Lest you betray her gladness.
Dear brows, do naught but frown,
Lest men miscall my madness.

Come not, dear hands, so near,
Lest all besides come nearer.
Dear heart, hold me less dear,
Lest time hold nothing dearer.

Keep me, dear lips, O, keep
The great last word unspoken,
Lest other eyes go weep,
And other lives lie broken!



XVIII


Poplar and lime and chestnut
Meet in a living screen;
And there the winds and the sunbeams keep
A revel of gold and green.

O, the green dreams and the golden,
The golden thoughts and green,
This green and golden end of May
My lover and me between!



XIX


Hither, this solemn eventide,
All flushed and mystical and blue,
When the late bird sings
And sweet-breathed garden-ghosts walk sudden and wide,
Hesper, that bringeth all good things,
Brings me a dream of you.
And in my heart, dear heart, it comes and goes,
Even as the south wind lingers and falls and blows,
Even as the south wind sighs and tarries and streams,
Among the living leaves about and round;
With a still, soothing sound,
As of a multitude of dreams
Of love, and the longing of love, and love's delight,
Thronging, ten thousand deep,
Into the uncreating Night,
With semblances and shadows to fulfil,
Amaze, and thrill
The strange, dispeopled silences of Sleep.



XX


After the grim daylight,
Night -
Night and the stars and the sea!
Only the sea, and the stars
And the star-shown sails and spars -
Naught else in the night for me!

Over the northern height,
Light -
Light and the dawn of a day
With nothing for me but a breast
Laboured with love's unrest,
And the irk of an idle May!



XXI


Love, which is lust, is the Lamp in the Tomb.
Love, which is lust, is the Call from the Gloom.

Love, which is lust, is the Main of Desire.
Love, which is lust, is the Centric Fire.

So man and woman will keep their trust,
Till the very Springs of the Sea run dust.

Yea, each with the other will lose and win,
Till the very Sides of the Grave fall in.

For the strife of Love's the abysmal strife,
And the word of Love is the Word of Life.

And they that go with the Word unsaid,
Though they seem of the living, are damned and dead.



XXII


Between the dusk of a summer night
And the dawn of a summer day,
We caught at a mood as it passed in flight,
And we bade it stoop and stay.
And what with the dawn of night began
With the dusk of day was done;
For that is the way of woman and man,
When a hazard has made them one.

Arc upon arc, from shade to shine,
The World went thundering free;
And what was his errand but hers and mine -
The lords of him, I and she?
O, it's die we must, but it's live we can,
And the marvel of earth and sun
Is all for the joy of woman and man
And the longing that makes them one.



XXIII


I took a hansom on to-day
For a round I used to know -
That I used to take for a woman's sake
In a fever of to-and-fro.

There were the landmarks one and all -
What did they stand to show?
Street and square and river were there -
Where was the antient woe?

Never a hint of a challenging hope
Nor a hope laid sick and low,
But a longing dead as its kindred sped
A thousand years ago!



XXIV


Only a freakish wisp of hair? -
Nay, but its wildest, its most frolic whorl
Stands for a slim, enamoured, sweet-fleshed girl!
And so, a tangle of dream and charm and fun,
Its every crook a promise and a snare,
Its every dowle, or genially gadding
Or crisply curled,
Heartening and madding,
Empales a novel and peculiar world
Of right, essential fantasies,
And shining acts as yet undone,
But in these wonder-working days
Soon, soon to ask our sovran Lord, the Sun,
For countenance and praise,
As of the best his storying eye hath seen,
And his vast memory can parallel,
Among the darling victories -
Beneficent, beautiful, inexpressible -
Of life on time! -
Yet have they flashed and been
In millions, since 'twas his to bring
The heaven-creating Spring,
An angel of adventure and delight,
In all her beauty and all her strength and worth,
With her great guerdons of romance and spright,
And those high needs that fill the flesh with might,
Home to the citizens of this good, green earth.

Poor souls - they have but time and place
To play their transient little play
And sing their singular little song,
Ere they are rushed away
Into the antient, undisclosing Night;
And none is left to tell of the clear eyes
That filled them with God's grace,
And turned the iron skies to skies of gold!
None; but the sweetest She herself grows old -
Grows old, and dies;
And, but for such a lovely snatch of hair
As this, none - none could guess, or know
That She was kind and fair,
And he had nights and days beyond compare -
How many dusty and silent years ago!



XXV


This is the moon of roses,
The lovely and flowerful time;
And, as white roses climb the wall,
Your dreams about me climb.

This is the moon of roses,
Glad and golden and blue;
And, as red roses drink of the sun,
My dreams they drink of you.

This is the moon of roses!
The cherishing South-West blows,
And life, dear heart, for me and you,
O, life's a rejoicing rose.



XXVI


June, and a warm, sweet rain;
June, and the call of a bird:
To a lover in pain
What lovelier word?

Two of each other fain
Happily heart on heart:
So in the wind and rain
Spring bears his part!

O, to be heart on heart
One with the warm June rain,
God with us from the start,
And no more pain!



XXVII


It was a bowl of roses:
There in the light they lay,
Languishing, glorying, glowing
Their life away.

And the soul of them rose like a presence,
Into me crept and grew,
And filled me with something - some one -
O, was it you?



XXVIII


Your feet as glad
And light as a dove's homing wings, you came -
Came with your sweets to fill my hands,
My sense with your perfume.

We closed with lips
Grown weary and fain with longing from afar,
The while your grave, enamoured eyes
Drank down the dream in mine.

Till the great need
So lovely and so instant grew, it seemed
The embodied Spirit of the Spring
Hung at me, heart on heart.



XXIX


A world of leafage murmurous and a-twinkle;
The green, delicious plenitude of June;
Love and laughter and song
The blue day long
Going to the same glad, golden tune -
The same glad tune!

Clouds on the dim, delighting skies a-sprinkle;
Poplars black in the wake of a setting moon;
Love and languor and sleep
And the star-sown deep
Going to the same good, golden tune -
The same good tune!



XXX


I send you roses - red, like love,
And white, like death, sweet friend:
Born in your bosom to rejoice,
Languish, and droop, and end.

If the white roses tell of death,
Let the red roses mend
The talk with true stories of love
Unchanging till the end.

Red and white roses, love and death -
What else is left to send?
For what is life but love, the means,
And death, true Wife, the end?



XXXI


These glad, these great, these goodly days
Bewildering hope, outrunning praise,
The Earth, renewed by the great Sun's longing,
Utters her joy in a million ways!

What is there left, sweet Soul and true -
What, for us and our dream to do?
What but to take this mighty Summer
As it were made for me and you?

Take it and live it beam by beam,
Motes of light on a gleaming stream,
Glare by glare and glory on glory
Through to the ash of this flaming dream!



XXXII


The downs, like uplands in Eden,
Gleam in an afterglow
Like a rose-world ruining earthwards -
Mystical, wistful, slow!

Near and afar in the leafage,
That last glad call to the nest!
And the thought of you hangs and triumphs
With Hesper low in the west!

Till the song and the light and the colour,
The passion of earth and sky,
Are blent in a rapture of boding
Of the death we should one day die.



XXXIII



The time of the silence
Of birds is upon us:
Rust in the chestnut leaf,
Dust in the stubble:
The turn of the Year
And the call to decay.

Stately and splendid,
The Summer passes:
Sad with satiety,
Sick with fulfilment;
Spent and consumed,
But august till the end.

By wilting hedgerows
And white-hot highways,
Bearing its memories
Even as a burden,
The tired heart plods
For a place of rest.



XXXIV


There was no kiss that day?
No intimate Yea-and-Nay,
No sweets in hand, no tender, lingering touch?
None of those desperate, exquisite caresses,
So instant - O, so brief! - and yet so much,
The thought of the swiftest lifts and blesses?
Nor any one of those great royal words,
Those sovran privacies of speech,
Frank as the call of April birds,
That, whispered, live a life of gold
Among the heart's still sainted memories,
And irk, and thrill, and ravish, and beseech,
Even when the dream of dreams in death's a-cold?
No, there was none of these,
Dear one, and yet -
O, eyes on eyes! O, voices breaking still,
For all the watchful will,
Into a kinder kindness than seemed due
From you to me, and me to you!
And that hot-eyed, close-throated, blind regret
Of woman and man baulked and debarred the blue! -
No kiss - no kiss that day?
Nay, rather, though we seemed to wear the rue,
Sweet friend, how many, and how goodly - say!



XXXV


Sing to me, sing, and sing again,
My glad, great-throated nightingale:
Sing, as the good sun through the rain -
Sing, as the home-wind in the sail!

Sing to me life, and toil, and time,
O bugle of dawn, O flute of rest!
Sing, and once more, as in the prime,
There shall be naught but seems the best.

And sing me at the last of love:
Sing that old magic of the May,
That makes the great world laugh and move
As lightly as our dream to-day!



XXXVI


We sat late, late - talking of many things.
He told me of his grief, and, in the telling,
The gist of his tale showed to me, rhymed, like this.

It came, the news, like a fire in the night,
That life and its best were done;
And there was never so dazed a wretch
In the beat of the living sun.

I read the news, and the terms of the news
Reeled random round my brain
Like the senseless, tedious buzzle and boom
Of a bluefly in the pane.

So I went for the news to the house of the news,
But the words were left unsaid,
For the face of the house was blank with blinds,
And I knew that she was dead.



XXXVII


'Twas in a world of living leaves
That we two reaped and bound our sheaves:
They were of white roses and red,
And in the scything they were dead.

Now the high Autumn flames afield,
And what is all his golden yield
To that we took, and sheaved, and bound
In the green dusk that gladdened round?

Yet must the memory grieve and ache
Of that we did for dear love's sake,
But may no more under the sun,
Being, like our summer, spent and done.



XXXVIII


Since those we love and those we hate,
With all things mean and all things great,
Pass in a desperate disarray
Over the hills and far away:

It must be, Dear, that, late or soon,
Out of the ken of the watching moon,
We shall abscond with Yesterday
Over the hills and far away.

What does it matter? As I deem,
We shall but follow as brave a dream
As ever smiled a wanton May
Over the hills and far away.

We shall remember, and, in pride,
Fare forth, fulfilled and satisfied,
Into the land of Ever-and-Aye,
Over the hills and far away.



XXXIX


These were the woods of wonder
We found so close and boon,
When the bride-month in her beauty
Lay mouth to mouth with June.

November, the old, lean widow,
Sniffs, and snivels, and shrills,
And the bowers are all dismantled,
And the long grass wets and chills;

And I hate these dismal dawnings,
These miserable even-ends,
These orts, and rags, and heeltaps -
This dream of being merely friends.



XL


'Dearest, when I am dead,
Make one last song for me:
Sing what I would have said -
Righting life's wrong for me.

'Tell them how, early and late,
Glad ran the days with me,
Seeing how goodly and great,
Love, were your ways with me.'



XLI


Dear hands, so many times so much
When the spent year was green and prime,
Come, take your fill, and touch
This one poor time.

Dear lips, that could not leave unsaid
One sweet-souled syllable of delight,
Once more - and be as dead
In the dead night.

Dear eyes, so fond to read in mine
The message of our counted years,
Look your proud last, nor shine
Through tears - through tears.



XLII


When, in what other life,
Where in what old, spent star,
Systems ago, dead vastitudes afar,
Were we two bird and bough, or man and wife?
Or wave and spar?
Or I the beating sea, and you the bar
On which it breaks? I know not, I!
But this, O this, my Very Dear, I know:
Your voice awakes old echoes in my heart;
And things I say to you now are said once more;
And, Sweet, when we two part,
I feel I have seen you falter and linger so,
So hesitate, and turn, and cling - yet go,
As once in some immemorable Before,
Once on some fortunate yet thrice-blasted shore.
Was it for good?
O, these poor eyes are wet;
And yet, O, yet,
Now that we know, I would not, if I could,
Forget.



XLIII


The rain and the wind, the wind and the rain -
They are with us like a disease:
They worry the heart, they work the brain,
As they shoulder and clutch at the shrieking pane,
And savage the helpless trees.

What does it profit a man to know
These tattered and tumbling skies
A million stately stars will show,
And the ruining grace of the after-glow
And the rush of the wild sunrise?

Ever the rain - the rain and the wind!
Come, hunch with me over the fire,
Dream of the dreams that leered and grinned,
Ere the blood of the Year got chilled and thinned,
And the death came on desire!



XLIV


He made this gracious Earth a hell
With Love and Drink. I cannot tell
Of which he died. But Death was well.

Will I die of drink?
Why not?
Won't I pause and think?
- What?
Why in seeming wise
Waste your breath?
Everybody dies -
And of death!

Youth - if you find it's youth
Too late?
Truth - and the back of truth?
Straight,
Be it love or liquor,
What's the odds,
So it slide you quicker
To the gods?



XLV


O, these long nights of days!
All the year's baseness in the ways,
All the year's wretchedness in the skies;
While on the blind, disheartened sea
A tramp-wind plies
Cringingly and dejectedly!
And rain and darkness, mist and mud,
They cling, they close, they sneak into the blood,
They crawl and crowd upon the brain:
Till in a dull, dense monotone of pain
The past is found a kind of maze,
At whose every coign and crook,
Broad angle and privy nook,
There waits a hooded Memory,
Sad, yet with strange, bright, unreproaching eyes.



XLVI


In Shoreham River, hurrying down
To the live sea,
By working, marrying, breeding Shoreham Town,
Breaking the sunset's wistful and solemn dream,
An old, black rotter of a boat
Past service to the labouring, tumbling flote,
Lay stranded in mid-stream:
With a horrid list, a frightening lapse from the line,
That made me think of legs and a broken spine:
Soon, all-too soon,
Ungainly and forlorn to lie
Full in the eye
Of the cynical, discomfortable moon
That, as I looked, stared from the fading sky,
A clown's face flour'd for work. And by and by
The wide-winged sunset wanned and waned;
The lean night-wind crept westward, chilling and sighing;
The poor old hulk remained,
Stuck helpless in mid-ebb. And I knew why -
Why, as I looked, my heart felt crying. {63}
For, as I looked, the good green earth seemed dying -
Dying or dead;
And, as I looked on the old boat, I said: -
'Dear God, it's I!'



XLVII


Come by my bed,
What time the gray ghost shrieks and flies;
Take in your hands my head,
And look, O look, into my failing eyes;
And, by God's grace,
Even as He sunders body and breath,
The shadow of your face
Shall pass with me into the run
Of the Beyond, and I shall keep and save
Your beauty, as it used to be,
An absolute part of me,
Lying there, dead and done,
Far from the sovran bounty of the sun,
Down in the grisly colonies of the Grave.



XLVIII


Gray hills, gray skies, gray lights,
And still, gray sea -
O fond, O fair,
The Mays that were,
When the wild days and wilder nights
Made it like heaven to be!

Gray head, gray heart, gray dreams -
O, breath by breath,
Night-tide and day
Lapse gentle and gray,
As to a murmur of tired streams,
Into the haze of death.



XLIX


Silence, loneliness, darkness -
These, and of these my fill,
While God in the rush of the Maytide
Without is working His will.

Without are the wind and the wall-flowers,
The leaves and the nests and the rain,
And in all of them God is making
His beautiful purpose plain.

But I wait in a horror of strangeness -
A tool on His workshop floor,
Worn to the butt, and banished
His hand for evermore.



L


So let me hence as one
Whose part in the world has been dreamed out and done:
One that hath fairly earned and spent
In pride of heart and jubilance of blood
Such wages, be they counted bad or good,
As Time, the old taskmaster, was moved to pay;
And, having warred and suffered, and passed on
Those gifts the Arbiters preferred and gave,
Fare, grateful and content,
Down the dim way
Whereby races innumerable have gone,
Into the silent universe of the grave.

Grateful for what hath been -
For what my hand hath done, mine eyes have seen,
My heart been privileged to know;
With all my lips in love have brought
To lips that yearned in love to them, and wrought
In the way of wrath, and pity, and sport, and song:
Content, this miracle of being alive
Dwindling, that I, thrice weary of worst and best,
May shed my duds, and go
From right and wrong,
And, ceasing to regret, and long, and strive,
Accept the past, and be for ever at rest.



FINALE


Schizzando ma con sentimento

A sigh sent wrong,
A kiss that goes astray,
A sorrow the years endlong -
So they say.

So let it be -
Come the sorrow, the kiss, the sigh!
They are life, dear life, all three,
And we die.

(WORTHING, 1899-1901.)

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