Prologue To Abbey's "Quiet Life."

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

Even as one in city pent,
Dazed with the stir and din of town,
Drums on the pane in discontent,
And sees the dreary rain come down,
Yet, through the dimmed and dripping glass,
Beholds, in fancy, visions pass,
Of Spring that breaks with all her leaves,
Of birds that build in thatch and eaves,
Of woodlands where the throstle calls,
Of girls that gather cowslip balls,
Of kine that low, and lambs that cry,
Of wains that jolt and rumble by,
Of brooks that sing by brambly ways,
Of sunburned folk that stand at gaze,
Of all the dreams with which men cheat
The stony sermons of the street,
So, in its hour, the artist brain
Weary of human ills and woes,
Weary of passion, and of pain,
And vaguely craving for repose,
Deserts awhile the stage of strife
To draw the even, ordered life,
The easeful days, the dreamless nights,
The homely round of plain delights,
The calm, the unambitioned mind,
Which all men seek, and few men find.


Let the dream pass, the fancy fade!
We clutch a shape, and hold a shade.
Is Peace so peaceful? Nay,--who knows!
There are volcanoes under snows.

In after days when grasses high
O'er-top the stone where I shall lie,
Though ill or well the world adjust
My slender claim to honoured dust,
I shall not question or reply.

I shall not see the morning sky;
I shall not hear the night-wind sigh;
I shall be mute, as all men must
In after days!

But yet, now living, fain were I
That some one then should testify,
Saying--"He held his pen in trust
To Art, not serving shame or lust."
Will none?--Then let my memory die
In after days!

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