The common lot we scarce perceive. Crowds perish, we nor mark nor grieve: The bugle calls - we mourn a few! What corporal's guard at Waterloo? What scanty hundreds more or less In the man-devouring Wilderness? What handful bled on Delhi ridge? - See, rather, London, on thy bridge The pale battalions trample by, Resolved to slay, resigned to die. Count, rather, all the maimed and dead In the unbrotherly war of bread. See, rather, under sultrier skies What vegetable Londons rise,
And teem, and suffer without sound: Or in your tranquil garden ground, Contented, in the falling gloom, Saunter and see the roses bloom. That these might live, what thousands died! All day the cruel hoe was plied; The ambulance barrow rolled all day; Your wife, the tender, kind, and gay, Donned her long gauntlets, caught the spud, And bathed in vegetable blood; And the long massacre now at end, See! where the lazy coils ascend, See, where the bonfire sputters red At even, for the innocent dead.
Why prate of peace? when, warriors all, We clank in harness into hall, And ever bare upon the board Lies the necessary sword. In the green field or quiet street, Besieged we sleep, beleaguered eat; Labour by day and wake o' nights, In war with rival appetites. The rose on roses feeds; the lark On larks. The sedentary clerk All morning with a diligent pen Murders the babes of other men; And like the beasts of wood and park, Protects his whelps, defends his den.
Unshamed the narrow aim I hold; I feed my sheep, patrol my fold; Breathe war on wolves and rival flocks, A pious outlaw on the rocks Of God and morning; and when time Shall bow, or rivals break me, climb Where no undubbed civilian dares, In my war harness, the loud stairs Of honour; and my conqueror Hail me a warrior fallen in war.
XXXIX - TROPIC RAIN
AS the single pang of the blow, when the metal is mingled well, Rings and lives and resounds in all the bounds of the bell, So the thunder above spoke with a single tongue, So in the heart of the mountain the sound of it rumbled and clung.
Sudden the thunder was drowned - quenched was the levin light - And the angel-spirit of rain laughed out loud in the night. Loud as the maddened river raves in the cloven glen, Angel of rain! you laughed and leaped on the roofs of men;
And the sleepers sprang in their beds, and joyed and feared as you fell. You struck, and my cabin quailed; the roof of it roared like a bell. You spoke, and at once the mountain shouted and shook with brooks. You ceased, and the day returned, rosy, with virgin looks.
And methought that beauty and terror are only one, not two; And the world has room for love, and death, and thunder, and dew; And all the sinews of hell slumber in summer air; And the face of God is a rock, but the face of the rock is fair. Beneficent streams of tears flow at the finger of pain; And out of the cloud that smites, beneficent rivers of rain.
XL - AN END OF TRAVEL
LET now your soul in this substantial world Some anchor strike. Be here the body moored; - This spectacle immutably from now The picture in your eye; and when time strikes, And the green scene goes on the instant blind - The ultimate helpers, where your horse to-day Conveyed you dreaming, bear your body dead.
WE uncommiserate pass into the night From the loud banquet, and departing leave A tremor in men's memories, faint and sweet And frail as music. Features of our face, The tones of the voice, the touch of the loved hand, Perish and vanish, one by one, from earth: Meanwhile, in the hall of song, the multitude Applauds the new performer. One, perchance, One ultimate survivor lingers on, And smiles, and to his ancient heart recalls The long forgotten. Ere the morrow die, He too, returning, through the curtain comes, And the new age forgets us and goes on.
SING me a song of a lad that is gone, Say, could that lad be I? Merry of soul he sailed on a day Over t