New Poems

Page 09


LET love go, if go she will. Seek not, O fool, her wanton flight to stay. Of all she gives and takes away The best remains behind her still.

The best remains behind; in vain Joy she may give and take again, Joy she may take and leave us pain, If yet she leave behind The constant mind To meet all fortunes nobly, to endure All things with a good heart, and still be pure, Still to be foremost in the foremost cause, And still be worthy of the love that was. Love coming is omnipotent indeed, But not Love going. Let her go. The seed Springs in the favouring Summer air, and grows, And waxes strong; and when the Summer goes, Remains, a perfect tree.

Joy she may give and take again, Joy she may take and leave us pain. O Love, and what care we? For one thing thou hast given, O Love, one thing Is ours that nothing can remove; And as the King discrowned is still a King, The unhappy lover still preserves his love.


I DO not fear to own me kin To the glad clods in which spring flowers begin; Or to my brothers, the great trees, That speak with pleasant voices in the breeze, Loud talkers with the winds that pass; Or to my sister, the deep grass.

Of such I am, of such my body is, That thrills to reach its lips to kiss. That gives and takes with wind and sun and rain And feels keen pleasure to the point of pain.

Of such are these, The brotherhood of stalwart trees, The humble family of flowers, That make a light of shadowy bowers Or star the edges of the bent: They give and take sweet colour and sweet scent; They joy to shed themselves abroad; And tree and flower and grass and sod Thrill and leap and live and sing With silent voices in the Spring.

Hence I not fear to yield my breath, Since all is still unchanged by death; Since in some pleasant valley I may be, Clod beside clod, or tree by tree, Long ages hence, with her I love this hour; And feel a lively joy to share With her the sun and rain and air, To taste her quiet neighbourhood As the dumb things of field and wood, The clod, the tree, and starry flower, Alone of all things have the power.


I AM like one that for long days had sate, With seaward eyes set keen against the gale, On some lone foreland, watching sail by sail, The portbound ships for one ship that was late; And sail by sail, his heart burned up with joy, And cruelly was quenched, until at last One ship, the looked-for pennant at its mast, Bore gaily, and dropt safely past the buoy; And lo! the loved one was not there - was dead. Then would he watch no more; no more the sea With myriad vessels, sail by sail, perplex His eyes and mock his longing. Weary head, Take now thy rest; eyes, close; for no more me Shall hopes untried elate, or ruined vex.

For thus on love I waited; thus for love Strained all my senses eagerly and long; Thus for her coming ever trimmed my song; Till in the far skies coloured as a dove, A bird gold-coloured flickered far and fled Over the pathless waterwaste for me; And with spread hands I watched the bright bird flee And waited, till before me she dropped dead. O golden bird in these dove-coloured skies How long I sought, how long with wearied eyes I sought, O bird, the promise of thy flight! And now the morn has dawned, the morn has died, The day has come and gone; and once more night About my lone life settles, wild and wide.


HERE in the quiet eve My thankful eyes receive The quiet light. I see the trees stand fair Against the faded air, And star by star prepare The perfect night.

And in my bosom, lo! Content and quiet grow Toward perfect peace. And now when day is done, Brief day of wind and sun, The pure stars, one by one, Their troop increase.

Keen pleasure and keen grief Give place to great relief: Farewell my tears! Still sounds toward me float; I hear the bird's small note, Sheep from the far sheepcote, And lowing steers.

For lo! the war is done, Lo, now the battle won, The trumpets still. The shepherd's slender strain, The country sounds again Awake in wood and plain, On haugh and hill.

Loud wars and loud loves cease. I welcome my release; And hail once more Free foot and way world-wide. And oft at eventide Light love to talk beside The hostel door.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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