New Poems

Page 13

AN ENGLISH BREEZE

UP with the sun, the breeze arose, Across the talking corn she goes, And smooth she rustles far and wide Through all the voiceful countryside.

Through all the land her tale she tells; She spins, she tosses, she compels The kites, the clouds, the windmill sails And all the trees in all the dales.

God calls us, and the day prepares With nimble, gay and gracious airs: And from Penzance to Maidenhead The roads last night He watered.

God calls us from inglorious ease, Forth and to travel with the breeze While, swift and singing, smooth and strong She gallops by the fields along.

AS IN THEIR FLIGHT THE BIRDS OF SONG

AS in their flight the birds of song Halt here and there in sweet and sunny dales, But halt not overlong; The time one rural song to sing They pause; then following bounteous gales Steer forward on the wing: Sun-servers they, from first to last, Upon the sun they wait To ride the sailing blast.

So he awhile in our contested state, Awhile abode, not longer, for his Sun - Mother we say, no tenderer name we know - With whose diviner glow His early days had shone, Now to withdraw her radiance had begun. Or lest a wrong I say, not she withdrew, But the loud stream of men day after day And great dust columns of the common way Between them grew and grew: And he and she for evermore might yearn, But to the spring the rivulets not return Nor to the bosom comes the child again.

And he (O may we fancy so!), He, feeling time forever flow And flowing bear him forth and far away From that dear ingle where his life began And all his treasure lay - He, waxing into man, And ever farther, ever closer wound In this obstreperous world's ignoble round, From that poor prospect turned his face away.

THE PIPER

AGAIN I hear you piping, for I know the tune so well, - You rouse the heart to wander and be free, Tho' where you learned your music, not the God of song can tell, For you pipe the open highway and the sea. O piper, lightly footing, lightly piping on your way, Tho' your music thrills and pierces far and near, I tell you you had better pipe to someone else to-day, For you cannot pipe my fancy from my dear.

You sound the note of travel through the hamlet and the town; You would lure the holy angels from on high; And not a man can hear you, but he throws the hammer down And is off to see the countries ere he die. But now no more I wander, now unchanging here I stay; By my love, you find me safely sitting here: And pipe you ne'er so sweetly, till you pipe the hills away, You can never pipe my fancy from my dear.

TO MRS. MACMARLAND

IN Schnee der Alpen - so it runs To those divine accords - and here We dwell in Alpine snows and suns, A motley crew, for half the year: A motley crew, we dwell to taste - A shivering band in hope and fear - That sun upon the snowy waste, That Alpine ether cold and clear.

Up from the laboured plains, and up From low sea-levels, we arise To drink of that diviner cup The rarer air, the clearer skies; For, as the great, old, godly King From mankind's turbid valley cries, So all we mountain-lovers sing: I to the hills will lift mine eyes.

The bells that ring, the peaks that climb, The frozen snow's unbroken curd Might yet revindicate in rhyme The pauseless stream, the absent bird. In vain - for to the deeps of life You, lady, you my heart have stirred; And since you say you love my life, Be sure I love you for the word.

Of kindness, here I nothing say - Such loveless kindnesses there are In that grimacing, common way, That old, unhonoured social war. Love but my dog and love my love, Adore with me a common star - I value not the rest above The ashes of a bad cigar.

TO MISS CORNISH

THEY tell me, lady, that to-day On that unknown Australian strand - Some time ago, so far away - Another lady joined the band. She joined the company of those Lovelily dowered, nobly planned, Who, smiling, still forgive their foes And keep their friends in close command.

She, lady, as I learn, was one Among the many rarely good; And destined still to be a sun Through every dark and rainy mood:- She, as they told me, far had come, By sea and land, o'er many a rood:- Admired by all, beloved by some, She was yourself, I understood.

But, compliment apart and free From all constraint of verses, may Goodness and honour, grace and glee, Attend you ever on your way - Up to the measure of your will, Beyond all power of mine to say - As she and I desire you still, Miss Cornish, on your natal day.

New Poems Page 14

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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