New Poems

Page 11


I WHO all the winter through Cherished other loves than you, And kept hands with hoary policy in marriage-bed and pew; Now I know the false and true, For the earnest sun looks through, And my old love comes to meet me in the dawning and the dew.

Now the hedged meads renew Rustic odour, smiling hue, And the clean air shines and tinkles as the world goes wheeling through; And my heart springs up anew, Bright and confident and true, And my old love comes to meet me in the dawning and the dew.


LOVE - what is love? A great and aching heart; Wrung hands; and silence; and a long despair. Life - what is life? Upon a moorland bare To see love coming and see love depart.


SOON our friends perish, Soon all we cherish Fades as days darken - goes as flowers go. Soon in December Over an ember, Lonely we hearken, as loud winds blow.


AS one who having wandered all night long In a perplexed forest, comes at length In the first hours, about the matin song, And when the sun uprises in his strength, To the fringed margin of the wood, and sees, Gazing afar before him, many a mile Of falling country, many fields and trees, And cities and bright streams and far-off Ocean's smile:

I, O Melampus, halting, stand at gaze: I, liberated, look abroad on life, Love, and distress, and dusty travelling ways, The steersman's helm, the surgeon's helpful knife, On the lone ploughman's earth-upturning share, The revelry of cities and the sound Of seas, and mountain-tops aloof in air, And of the circling earth the unsupported round:

I, looking, wonder: I, intent, adore; And, O Melampus, reaching forth my hands In adoration, cry aloud and soar In spirit, high above the supine lands And the low caves of mortal things, and flee To the last fields of the universe untrod, Where is no man, nor any earth, nor sea, And the contented soul is all alone with God.


STRANGE are the ways of men, And strange the ways of God! We tread the mazy paths That all our fathers trod.

We tread them undismayed, And undismayed behold The portents of the sky, The things that were of old.

The fiery stars pursue Their course in heav'n on high; And round the 'leaguered town, Crest-tossing heroes cry.

Crest-tossing heroes cry; And martial fifes declare How small, to mortal minds, Is merely mortal care.

And to the clang of steel And cry of piercing flute Upon the azure peaks A God shall plant his foot:

A God in arms shall stand, And seeing wide and far The green and golden earth, The killing tide of war,

He, with uplifted arm, Shall to the skies proclaim The gleeful fate of man, The noble road to fame!


THE wind blew shrill and smart, And the wind awoke my heart Again to go a-sailing o'er the sea, To hear the cordage moan And the straining timbers groan, And to see the flying pennon lie a-lee.

O sailor of the fleet, It is time to stir the feet! It's time to man the dingy and to row! It's lay your hand in mine And it's empty down the wine, And it's drain a health to death before we go!

To death, my lads, we sail; And it's death that blows the gale And death that holds the tiller as we ride. For he's the king of all In the tempest and the squall, And the ruler of the Ocean wild and wide!


MAN sails the deep awhile; Loud runs the roaring tide; The seas are wild and wide; O'er many a salt, o'er many a desert mile, The unchained breakers ride, The quivering stars beguile.

Hope bears the sole command; Hope, with unshaken eyes, Sees flaw and storm arise; Hope, the good steersman, with unwearying hand, Steers, under changing skies, Unchanged toward the land.

O wind that bravely blows! O hope that sails with all Where stars and voices call! O ship undaunted that forever goes Where God, her admiral, His battle signal shows!

What though the seas and wind Far on the deep should whelm Colours and sails and helm? There, too, you touch that port that you designed - There, in the mid-seas' realm, Shall you that haven find.

Well hast thou sailed: now die, To die is not to sleep. Still your true course you keep, O sailor soul, still sailing for the sky; And fifty fathom deep Your colours still shall fly.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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