Drink To Her – Thomas Moore

Drink to her who long 
Hath waked the poet’s sigh, 
The girl who gave to song 
What gold could never buy. 
Oh! woman’s heart was made 
For minstrel hands alone; 
By other fingers play’d, 
It yields not half the tone. 
Then here’s to her who long 
Hath waked the poet’s sigh, 
The girl who gave to song 
What gold could never buy. 

At Beauty’s door of glass, 
When Wealth and Wit once stood, 
They ask’d her, “which might pass?” 
She answer’d, “he who could.” 
With golden key Wealth thought 
To pass — but ‘twould not do: 
While Wit a diamond brought, 
Which cut his bright way through. 
So here’s to her who long 
Hath waked the poet’s sigh, 
The girl who gave to song 
What gold could never buy. 

The love that seeks a home 
Where wealth or grandeur shines, 
Is like the gloomy gnome, 
That dwells in dark mines. 
But oh! the poet’s love 
Can boast a brighter sphere; 
Its native home’s above, 
Though woman keeps it here. 
Then drink to her who long 
Hath waked the poet’s sigh, 
The girl who gave to song 
What gold could never buy. 

Poem – To Milton

MILTON! I think thy spirit hath passed away
From these white cliffs, and high-embattled towers;
This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours
Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey,
And the age changed unto a mimic play
Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours:
For all our pomp and pageantry and powers
We are but fit to delve the common clay,
Seeing this little isle on which we stand,
This England, this sea-lion of the sea,
By ignorant demagogues is held in fee,
Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land
Which bare a triple empire in her hand
When Cromwell spake the word Democracy!

Poem – The New Remorse

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter’s hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

Poem – My Voice

WITHIN this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts’ full pleasure–You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.

Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan,
For very weeping is my gladness fled,
Sorrow hath paled my lip’s vermilion,
And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.

But all this crowded life has been to thee
No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell
Of viols, or the music of the sea
That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell.

Poem – The House Of Judgement

And there was silence in the House of Judgment, and the Man came
naked before God.

And God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Thy life hath been evil, and thou hast
shown cruelty to those who were in need of succour, and to those
who lacked help thou hast been bitter and hard of heart. The poor
called to thee and thou didst not hearken, and thine ears were
closed to the cry of My afflicted. The inheritance of the
fatherless thou didst take unto thyself, and thou didst send the
foxes into the vineyard of thy neighbour’s field. Thou didst take
the bread of the children and give it to the dogs to eat, and My
lepers who lived in the marshes, and were at peace and praised Me,
thou didst drive forth on to the highways, and on Mine earth out of
which I made thee thou didst spill innocent blood.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And again God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Thy life hath been evil, and the Beauty I
have shown thou hast sought for, and the Good I have hidden thou
didst pass by. The walls of thy chamber were painted with images,

and from the bed of thine abominations thou didst rise up to the
sound of flutes. Thou didst build seven altars to the sins I have
suffered, and didst eat of the thing that may not be eaten, and the
purple of thy raiment was broidered with the three signs of shame.
Thine idols were neither of gold nor of silver that endure, but of
flesh that dieth. Thou didst stain their hair with perfumes and
put pomegranates in their hands. Thou didst stain their feet with
saffron and spread carpets before them. With antimony thou didst
stain their eyelids and their bodies thou didst smear with myrrh.
Thou didst bow thyself to the ground before them, and the thrones
of thine idols were set in the sun. Thou didst show to the sun thy
shame and to the moon thy madness.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And a third time God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Evil hath been thy life, and with evil
didst thou requite good, and with wrongdoing kindness. The hands
that fed thee thou didst wound, and the breasts that gave thee suck
thou didst despise. He who came to thee with water went away
thirsting, and the outlawed men who hid thee in their tents at
night thou didst betray before dawn. Thine enemy who spared thee
thou didst snare in an ambush, and the friend who walked with thee
thou didst sell for a price, and to those who brought thee Love
thou didst ever give Lust in thy turn.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And God closed the Book of the Life of the Man, and said, ‘Surely I
will send thee into Hell. Even into Hell will I send thee.’

And the Man cried out, ‘Thou canst not.’

And God said to the Man, ‘Wherefore can I not send thee to Hell,
and for what reason?’

‘Because in Hell have I always lived,’ answered the Man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.

And after a space God spake, and said to the Man, ‘Seeing that I
may not send thee into Hell, surely I will send thee unto Heaven.
Even unto Heaven will I send thee.’

And the Man cried out, ‘Thou canst not.’

And God said to the Man, ‘Wherefore can I not send thee unto
Heaven, and for what reason?’

‘Because never, and in no place, have I been able to imagine it,’
answered the Man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.

Poem – On The Number Three

Beauty rests not in one fix’d Place,
But seems to reign in every Face;
‘Tis nothing sure, but Fancy then,
In various Forms bewitching Men;
Or is it Shape and Colour fram’d,
Proportion just, and woman nam’d?
If Fancy only rul’d in Love,
Why shou’d it then so strongly move?
Or why shou’d all that Look, agree
To own its mighty Pow’r in three?
In Three it shews a different Face,
Each shining with peculiar Grace;
Kindred a Native Likeness gives,
Which pleases, as in All it lives;
And where the Features disagree,
We praise the dear Variety.
Then Beauty surely ne’er was yet,
So much unlike it self and so complete.

Poem – 51 Psalm

Look mercyfully down O Lord
& wash us from our sinn
Cleanse us from wicked deeds without
from wicked thoughts within
Lord I Confess my many sinns
that I against thee doe
Each minute they’re before my face
& wound my soul anew
So Great my god my ills have been
Gainst thee & onely thee
Thy Justice tho’ I were Condemnd
would good & righteous bee
For att my birth I wickedness
Did with my breath suck in
But thou shalt teach me in thy ways
& keep me pure from sinn
Thoult me with hyssopp purge who am
all over soil’s & stain’s
Thou with thy sanctifiyng grace
shalt wash & make me clean
Thoult bless my days with peace no sound
But Joy shall reach mine ear
That where thy Justice wounded Lord
There Gladness may appear
Blott from thy thoughts past faults & from
The present turn thy face
O make my spirit right & good
Confirm my heart with grace
thy Presence & thy mercy lett
Me ever Ld possess
Me with the comfort of thy help
& with thy love still bless
Then shall the wicked know thy pow’r
& turn ym from theyr wayes
Deliver me from blood my god
& I will sing thy praise.
Unseal my lips & to ye Bad
I will thy mercy shew
For since thou lovest not sacrifice
Tis all that I can doo
A heart that is with sorrow pierct
My God thou wilt receive
this is ye sweetest offering
that we to thee can give
On Sion Graciously look down
Preserve us still we pray
& hearts upon thine altars Lord
Instead of beasts we’el Lay.

Poem – On Content

Grant heav’n that I may chuse my bliss
If you design me worldly Happiness
Tis not Honour thats but air
Glory has but fancied light
Fame as oft speak’s false as right
Riches have wings & ever dwell with care
Give me an undistemperd mind
As ye third region undisturbd by wind
Content from passions ever free
to rule ones selfs indeed a monarchy
this I request of thee

Tho all we see are fortunes apes
& change as oft as she their shapes
Tho my kinder fortune leave me
Tho my dearest friends deceive me
I in this universall tide
firm on heav’ns mercy would abide
& ‘mongst ye giddy waves securely ride
Tho they should die
Who never did my love abuse
Perhaps in tears I would my passion vent
But straight again I’de be content
Remembring ’twas th’ almighty’s deed tho I
should my best relations loose
Ide sighing cry Heav’ns will be done
It did but lend them now it has its own.
Fortune should never be
Adored as a deity by me
She onely makes them fooles who make her great
But still content on earth intent on heav’n I’de be
an equall temper keep in ev’ry state
nor Care nor fear my destiny
Death when most dreadfull should not fright
Wn ere he comes Ide patiently submitt
Content thus in my soul should build its halcyons nest
As did thy spirit on ye waters rest
& keep an everlasting calm with in my breast.

Poem – Health, An Eclogue

Now early Shepherds o’er the Meadow pass,
And print long Foot-steps in the glittering Grass;
The Cows neglectful of their Pasture stand,
By turns obsequious to the Milker’s Hand.

When Damon softly trod the shaven Lawn,
Damon a Youth from City Cares withdrawn;
Long was the pleasing Walk he wander’d thro’,
A cover’d Arbour clos’d the distant view;
There rests the Youth, and while the feather’d Throng
Raise their wild Musick, thus contrives a Song.

Here wafted o’er by mild Etesian Air,
Thou Country Goddess, beauteous Health! repair;
Here let my Breast thro’ quiv’ring Trees inhale
Thy rosy Blessings with the Morning Gale.
What are the Fields, or Flow’rs, or all I see?
Ah! tastless all, if not enjoy’d with thee.

Joy to my Soul! I feel the Goddess nigh,
The Face of Nature cheers as well as I;
O’er the flat Green refreshing Breezes run,
The smiling Dazies blow beneath the Sun,
The Brooks run purling down with silver Waves,
The planted Lanes rejoice with dancing Leaves,
The chirping Birds from all the Compass rove
To tempt the tuneful Echoes of the Grove:
High sunny Summits, deeply shaded Dales,
Thick Mossy Banks, and flow’ry winding Vales,
With various Prospect gratify the Sight,
And scatter fix’d Attention in Delight.

Come, Country Goddess, come, nor thou suffice,
But bring thy Mountain-Sister, Exercise.
Call’d by thy lively Voice, she turns her Pace,
Her winding Horn proclaims the finish’d Chace;
She mounts the Rocks, she skims the level Plain,
Dogs, Hawks, and Horses, crowd her early Train;
Her hardy Face repels the tanning Wind,
And Lines and Meshes loosely float behind.
All these as Means of Toil the Feeble see,
But these are helps to Pleasure join’d with thee.

Let Sloth lye softning ’till high Noon in Down,
Or lolling fan her in the sult’ry Town,
Unnerv’d with Rest; and turn her own Disease,
Or foster others in luxurious Ease:
I mount the Courser, call the deep mouth’d Hounds,
The Fox unkennell’d flies to covert Grounds;
I lead where Stags thro’ tangled Thickets tread,
And shake the Saplings with their branching Head;
I make the Faulcons wing their airy Way,
And soar to seize, or stooping strike their Prey;
To snare the Fish I fix the luring Bait;
To wound the Fowl I load the Gun with Fate.
‘Tis thus thro’ change of Exercise I range,
And Strength and Pleasure rise from ev’ry Change.
Here beautious Health for all the Year remain,
When the next comes, I’ll charm thee thus again.

Oh come, thou Goddess of my rural Song,
And bring thy Daughter, calm Content, along,
Dame of the ruddy Cheek and laughing Eye,
From whose bright Presence Clouds of Sorrow fly:
For her I mow my Walks, I platt my Bow’rs,
Clip my low Hedges, and support my Flow’rs;
To welcome her, this Summer Seat I drest,
And here I court her when she comes to Rest;
When she from Exercise to learned Ease
Shall change again, and teach the Change to please.

Now Friends conversing my soft Hours refine,
And Tully’s Tusculum revives in mine:
Now to grave Books I bid the Mind retreat,
And such as make me rather Good than Great.
Or o’er the Works of easy Fancy rove,
Where Flutes and Innocence amuse the Grove:
The native Bard that on Sicilian Plains
First sung the lowly Manners of the Swains;
Or Maro’s Muse, that in the fairest Light
Paints rural Prospects and the Charms of Sight;
These soft Amusements bring Content along,
And Fancy, void of Sorrow, turns to Song.
Here beauteous Health for all the Year remain,
When the next comes, I’ll charm thee thus again.

poem – song

When thy beauty appears
In its graces and airs
All bright as an angel new dropp’d from the sky,
At distance I gaze and am awed by my fears:
So strangely you dazzle my eye!

But when without art
Your kind thoughts you impart,
When your love runs in blushes through every vein;
When it darts from your eyes, when it pants in your heart,
Then I know you’re a woman again.

There ‘s a passion and pride
In our sex (she replied),
And thus, might I gratify both, I would do:
Still an angel appear to each lover beside,
But still be a woman to you.

poem – epitaph on thomas parnell

THIS tomb, inscrib’d to gentle Parnell’s name,
May speak our gratitude, but not his fame.
What heart but feels his sweetly-moral lay,
That leads to truth through pleasure’s flowery way!
Celestial themes confess’d his tuneful aid;
And Heaven, that lent him genius, was repaid.
Needless to him the tribute we bestow —
The transitory breath of fame below:
More lasting rapture from his works shall rise,
While Converts thank their poet in the skies.

poem – the poet laberius

WHAT! no way left to shun th’ inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age!
Scarce half alive, oppress’d with many a year,
What in the name of dotage drives me here?
A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside;
Unaw’d by pow’r, and unappall’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear;
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more.
For ah! too partial to my life’s decline,
Caesar persuades, submission must be mine;
Him I obey, whom heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin’d to please.
Here then at once, I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame;
No more my titles shall my children tell,
The old buffoon will fit my name as well;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.

poem – the helot

I
Low the sun beat on the land,
Red on vine and plain and wood;
With the wine-cup in his hand,
Vast the Helot herdsman stood.

II.

Quench’d the fierce Achean gaze,
Dorian foemen paus’d before,
Where cold Sparta snatch’d her bays
At Achaea’s stubborn door.

III.

Still with thews of iron bound,
Vastly the Achean rose,
Godward from the brazen ground,
High before his Spartan foes.

IV.

Still the strength his fathers knew
(Dauntless when the foe they fac’d)
Vein and muscle bounded through,
Tense his Helot sinews brac’d.

V.

Still the constant womb of Earth,
Blindly moulded all her part;
As, when to a lordly birth,
Achean freemen left her heart.

VI.

Still, insensate mother, bore
Goodly sons for Helot graves;
Iron necks that meekly wore
Sparta’s yoke as Sparta’s slaves.

VII.

Still, O God mock’d mother! she
Smil’d upon her sons of clay:
Nurs’d them on her breast and knee,
Shameless in the shameful day.

VIII.

Knew not old Achea’s fires
Burnt no more in souls or veins–
Godlike hosts of high desires
Died to clank of Spartan chains.

IX.

Low the sun beat on the land,
Purple slope and olive wood;
With the wine cup in his hand,
Vast the Helot herdsman stood.

X.

As long, gnarl’d roots enclasp
Some red boulder, fierce entwine
His strong fingers, in their grasp
Bowl of bright Caecuban wine.

XI.

From far Marsh of Amyclae,
Sentried by lank poplars tall–
Thro’ the red slant of the day,
Shrill pipes did lament and call.

XII.

Pierc’d the swaying air sharp pines,
Thyrsi-like, the gilded ground
Clasp’d black shadows of brown vines,
Swallows beat their mystic round.

XIII.

Day was at her high unrest;
Fever’d with the wine of light,
Loosing all her golden vest,
Reel’d she towards the coming night.

XIV.

Fierce and full her pulses beat;
Bacchic throbs the dry earth shook;
Stirr’d the hot air wild and sweet;
Madden’d ev’ry vine-dark brook.

XV.

Had a red grape never burst,
All its heart of fire out;
To the red vat all a thirst,
To the treader’s song and shout:

XVI.

Had the red grape died a grape;
Nor, sleek daughter of the vine,
Found her unknown soul take shape
In the wild flow of the wine:

XVII.

Still had reel’d the yellow haze:
Still had puls’d the sun pierc’d sod
Still had throbb’d the vine clad days:
To the pulses of their God.

XVIII.

Fierce the dry lips of the earth
Quaff’d the subtle Bacchic soul:
Felt its rage and felt its mirth,
Wreath’d as for the banquet bowl.

XIX.

Sapphire-breasted Bacchic priest
Stood the sky above the lands;
Sun and Moon at East and West,
Brazen cymbals in his hands.

XX.

Temples, altars, smote no more,
Sharply white as brows of Gods:
From the long, sleek, yellow shore,
Oliv’d hill or dusky sod,

XXI.

Gaz’d the anger’d Gods, while he,
Bacchus, made their temples his;
Flushed their marble silently
With the red light of his kiss.

XXII.

Red the arches of his feet
Spann’d grape-gleaming vales; the earth
Reel’d from grove to marble street,
Mad with echoes of his mirth.

XXIII.

Nostrils widen’d to the air,
As above the wine brimm’d bowl:
Men and women everywhere
Breath’d the fierce, sweet Bacchic soul.

XXIV.

Flow’d the vat and roar’d the beam,
Laugh’d the must; while far and shrill,
Sweet as notes in Pan-born dream,
Loud pipes sang by vale and hill.

XXV.

Earth was full of mad unrest,
While red Bacchus held his state;
And her brown vine-girdl’d breast
Shook to his wild joy and hate.

XXVI.

Strife crouch’d red ey’d in the vine
In its tendrils Eros strayed;
Anger rode upon the wine;
Laughter on the cup-lip play’d.

XXVII.

Day was at her chief unrest–
Red the light on plain and wood
Slavish ey’d and still of breast,
Vast the Helot herdsman stood:

XXVIII.

Wide his hairy nostrils blew,
Maddning incense breathing up;
Oak to iron sinews grew,
Round the rich Caecuban cup.

XXIX.

‘Drink, dull slave!’ the Spartan said,
‘Drink, until the Helot clod
‘Feel within him subtly bred
‘Kinship to the drunken God!

XXX.

‘Drink, until the leaden blood
‘Stirs and beats about thy brain:
‘Till the hot Caecuban flood
‘Drown the iron of thy chain.

XXXI.

‘Drink, till even madness flies
‘At the nimble wine’s pursuit;
‘Till the God within thee lies
‘Trampled by the earth-born brute.

XXXII.

‘Helot drink–nor spare the wine;
‘Drain the deep, the madd’ning bowl,
‘Flesh and sinews, slave, are mine,
‘Now I claim thy Helot soul.

XXXIII.

‘Gods! ye love our Sparta; ye
‘Gave with vine that leaps and runs
‘O’er her slopes, these slaves to be
‘Mocks and warnings to her sons!

XXXIV.

‘Thou, my Hermos, turn thy eyes,
‘(God-touch’d still their frank, bold blue)
‘On the Helot–mark the rise
‘Of the Bacchic riot through

XXXV.

‘Knotted vein, and surging breast:
‘Mark the wild, insensate, mirth:
‘God-ward boast–the driv’ling jest,
‘Till he grovel to the earth.

XXXVI.

‘Drink, dull slave,’ the Spartan cried:
Meek the Helot touch’d the brim;
Scented all the purple tide:
Drew the Bacchic soul to him.

XXXVII.

Cold the thin lipp’d Spartan smiled:
Couch’d beneath the weighted vine,
Large-ey’d, gaz’d the Spartan child,
On the Helot and the wine.

XXXVIII.

Rose pale Doric shafts behind,
Stern and strong, and thro’ and thro’,
Weaving with the grape-breath’d wind,
Restless swallows call’d and flew.

XXXIX.

Dropp’d the rose-flush’d doves and hung,
On the fountains murmuring brims;
To the bronz’d vine Hermos clung–
Silver-like his naked limbs

XL.

Flash’d and flush’d: rich copper’d leaves,
Whiten’d by his ruddy hair;
Pallid as the marble eaves,
Aw’d he met the Helot’s stare.

XLI.

Clang’d the brazen goblet down;
Marble-bred loud echoes stirr’d:
With fix’d fingers, knotted, brown,
Dumb, the Helot grasp’d his beard.

XLII.

Heard the far pipes mad and sweet.
All the ruddy hazes thrill:
Heard the loud beam crash and beat,
In the red vat on the hill.

XLIII.

Wide his nostrils as a stag’s
Drew the hot wind’s fiery bliss;
Red his lips as river flags,
From the strong, Caecuban kiss.

XLIV.

On his swarthy temples grew,
Purple veins like cluster’d grapes;
Past his rolling pupils blew,
Wine-born, fierce, lascivious shapes.

XLV.

Cold the haughty Spartan smiled–
His the power to knit that day,
Bacchic fires, insensate, wild,
To the grand Achean clay.

XLVI.

His the might–hence his the right!
Who should bid him pause? nor Fate
Warning pass’d before his sight,
Dark-robed and articulate.

XLVII.

No black omens on his eyes,
Sinistre–God-sent, darkly broke;
Nor from ruddy earth nor skies,
Portends to him mutely spoke.

XLVIII.

‘Lo,’ he said, ‘he maddens now!
‘Flames divine do scathe the clod;
‘Round his reeling Helot brow
‘Stings the garland of the God.’

XLIX.

‘Mark, my Hermos–turn to steel
The soft tendons of thy soul!
Watch the God beneath the heel
Of the strong brute swooning roll!

L.

‘Shame, my Hermos! honey-dew
Breeds not on the Spartan spear;
Steel thy mother-eyes of blue,
Blush to death that weakling tear.

LI.

‘Nay, behold! breed Spartan scorn
Of the red lust of the wine;
Watch the God himself down-borne
By the brutish rush of swine!

LII.

‘Lo, the magic of the drink!
At the nimble wine’s pursuit,
See the man-half’d satyr sink
All the human in the brute!

LIII.

‘Lo, the magic of the cup!
Watch the frothing Helot rave!
As great buildings labour up
From the corpse of slaughter’d slave,

LIV.

‘Build the Spartan virtue high
From the Helot’s wine-dead soul;
Scorn the wild, hot flames that fly
From the purple-hearted bowl!

LV.

‘Helot clay! Gods! what its worth,
Balanc’d with proud Sparta’s rock?
Ours–its force to till the earth;
Ours–its soul to gyve and mock!

LVI.

‘Ours, its sullen might. Ye Gods!
Vastly build the Achean clay;
Iron-breast our slavish clods–
Ours their Helot souls to slay!

LVII.

‘Knit great thews–smite sinews vast
Into steel–build Helot bones
Iron-marrowed:–such will last
Ground by ruthless Sparta’s stones.

LVIII.

‘Crown the strong brute satyr wise!
Narrow-wall his Helot brain;
Dash the soul from breast and eyes,
Lash him toward the earth again.

LIX.

‘Make a giant for our need,
Weak to feel and strong to toil;
Dully-wise to dig or bleed
On proud Sparta’s alien soil!

LX.

‘Gods! recall thy spark at birth,
Lit his soul with high desire;
Blend him, grind him with the earth,
Tread out old Achea’s fire!

LXI.

‘Lo, my Hermos! laugh and mark,
See the swift mock of the wine;
Faints the primal, God-born spark,
Trodden by the rush of swine!

LXII.

‘Gods! ye love our Sparta–ye
Gave with vine that leaps and runs
O’er her slopes, these slaves to be
Mocks and warnings to her sons!’

LXIII.

Cold the haughty Spartan smil’d.
Madd’ning from the purple hills
Sang the far pipes, sweet and wild.
Red as sun-pierc’d daffodils

LXIV.

Neck-curv’d, serpent, silent, scaled
With lock’d rainbows, stole the sea;
On the sleek, long beaches; wail’d
Doves from column and from tree.

LXV.

Reel’d the mote swarm’d haze, and thick
Beat the hot pulse of the air;
In the Helot, fierce and quick,
All his soul sprang from its lair.

LXVI.

As the drowzing tiger, deep
In the dim cell, hears the shout
From the arena–from his sleep
Launches to its thunders out–

LXVII.

So to fierce calls of the wine
(Strong the red Caecuban bowl!)
From its slumber, deep, supine,
Panted up the Helot soul.

LXVIII.

At his blood-flush’d eye-balls rear’d,
(Mad and sweet came pipes and songs),
Rous’d at last the wild soul glar’d,
Spear-thrust with a million wrongs.

LXIX.

Past–the primal, senseless bliss;
Past–red laughter of the grapes;
Past–the wine’s first honey’d kiss;
Past–the wine-born, wanton shapes!

LXX.

Still the Helot stands–his feet
Set like oak roots: in his gaze
Black clouds roll and lightnings meet–
Flames from old Achean days.

LXXI.

Who may quench the God-born fire,
Pulsing at the soul’s deep root?
Tyrants! grind it in the mire,
Lo, it vivifies the brute!

LXXII.

Stings the chain-embruted clay,
Senseless to his yoke-bound shame;
Goads him on to rend and slay,
Knowing not the spurring flame.

LXXIII.

Tyrants, changeless stand the Gods!
Nor their calm might yielded ye!
Not beneath thy chains and rods
Dies man’s God-gift, Liberty!

LXXIV.

Bruteward lash thy Helots–hold
Brain and soul and clay in gyves;
Coin their blood and sweat in gold,
Build thy cities on their lives.

LXXV.

Comes a day the spark divine
Answers to the Gods who gave;
Fierce the hot flames pant and shine
In the bruis’d breast of the slave!

LXXVI.

Changeless stand the Gods!–nor he
Knows he answers their behest;
Feels the might of their decree
In the blind rage of his breast.

LXXVII.

Tyrants! tremble when ye tread
Down the servile Helot clods;
Under despot heel is bred
The white anger of the Gods!

LXXVIII.

Thro’ the shackle-canker’d dust,
Thro’ the gyv’d soul, foul and dark
Force they, changeless Gods and just!
Up the bright eternal spark.

LXXIX.

Till, like lightnings vast and fierce,
On the land its terror smites;
Till its flames the tyrants pierce,
Till the dust the despot bites!

LXXX.

Day was at its chief unrest,
Stone from stone the Helot rose;
Fix’d his eyes–his naked breast
Iron-wall’d his inner throes.

LXXXI.

Rose-white in the dusky leaves,
Shone the frank-ey’d Spartan child;
Low the pale doves on the eaves,
Made their soft moan, sweet and wild.

LXXXII.

Wand’ring winds, fire-throated, stole,
Sybils whisp’ring from their books;
With the rush of wine from bowl,
Leap’d the tendril-darken’d brooks.

LXXXIII.

As the leathern cestus binds
Tense the boxer’s knotted hands;
So the strong wine round him winds,
Binds his thews to iron bands.

LXXXIV.

Changeless are the Gods–and bred
All their wrath divine in him!
Bull-like fell his furious head,
Swell’d vast cords on breast and limb.

LXXXV.

As loud-flaming stones are hurl’d
From foul craters–thus the gods
Cast their just wrath on the world,
From the mire of Helot clods.

LXXXVI.

Still the furious Helot stood,
Staring thro’ the shafted space;
Dry-lipp’d for the Spartan blood,
He of scourg’d Achea’s race.

LXXXVII.

Sprang the Helot–roar’d the vine,
Rent from grey, long-wedded stones–
From pale shaft and dusky pine,
Beat the fury of his groans.

LXXXVIII.

Thunders inarticulate:
Wordless curses, deep and wild;
Reach’d the long pois’d sword of Fate,
To the Spartan thro’ his child.

LXXXIX.

On his knotted hands, upflung
O’er his low’r’d front–all white,
Fair young Hermos quiv’ring hung;
As the discus flashes bright

XC.

In the player’s hand–the boy,
Naked–blossom-pallid lay;
Rous’d to lust of bloody joy,
Throbb’d the slave’s embruted clay.

XCI.

Loud he laugh’d–the father sprang
From the Spartan’s iron mail!
Late–the bubbling death-cry rang
On the hot pulse of the gale!

XCII.

As the shining discus flies,
From the thrower’s strong hand whirl’d;
Hermos cleft the air–his cries
Lance-like to the Spartan hurl’d.

XCIII.

As the discus smites the ground,
Smote his golden head the stone;
Of a tall shaft–burst a sound
And but one–his dying groan!

XCIV.

Lo! the tyrant’s iron might!
Lo! the Helot’s yokes and chains!
Slave-slain in the throbbing light
Lay the sole child of his veins.

XCV.

Laugh’d the Helot loud and full,
Gazing at his tyrant’s face;
Low’r’d his front like captive bull,
Bellowing from the fields of Thrace.

XCVI.

Rose the pale shaft redly flush’d,
Red with Bacchic light and blood;
On its stone the Helot rush’d–
Stone the tyrant Spartan stood.

XCVII.

Lo! the magic of the wine
From far marsh of Amyclae!
Bier’d upon the ruddy vine,
Spartan dust and Helot lay!

XCVIII.

Spouse of Bacchus reel’d the day,
Red track’d on the throbbing sods;
Dead–but free–the Helot lay,
Just and changeless stand the Gods!

poem – the disciple

When Narcissus died the pool of his pleasure changed from a cup of
sweet waters into a cup of salt tears, and the Oreads came weeping
through the woodland that they might sing to the pool and give it
comfort.

And when they saw that the pool had changed from a cup of sweet
waters into a cup of salt tears, they loosened the green tresses of
their hair and cried to the pool and said, ‘We do not wonder that
you should mourn in this manner for Narcissus, so beautiful was
he.’

‘But was Narcissus beautiful?’ said the pool.

‘Who should know that better than you?’ answered the Oreads. ‘Us
did he ever pass by, but you he sought for, and would lie on your
banks and look down at you, and in the mirror of your waters he
would mirror his own beauty.’

And the pool answered, ‘But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on
my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw
ever my own beauty mirrored.’

poem – lotus leaves

I –
There is no peace beneath the moon,-
Ah! in those meadows is there peace
Where, girdled with a silver fleece,
As a bright shepherd, strays the moon? –
Queen of the gardens of the sky,
Where stars like lilies, white and fair,
Shine through the mists of frosty air,
Oh, tarry, for the dawn is nigh! –
Oh, tarry, for the envious day
Stretches long hands to catch thy feet.
Alas! but thou art overfleet,
Alas! I know thou wilt not stay.

II –
Eastward the dawn has broken red,
The circling mists and shadows flee;
Aurora rises from the sea,
And leaves the crocus-flowered bed. –
Eastward the silver arrows fall,
Splintering the veil of holy night:
And a long wave of yellow light
Breaks silently on tower and hall. –
And speeding wide across the wold
Wakes into flight some fluttering bird;
And all the chestnut tops are stirred,
And all the branches streaked with gold.

III –
To outer senses there is peace,
A dream-like peace on either hand,
Deep silence in the shadowy land,
Deep silence where the shadows cease, –
Save for a cry that echoes shrill
From some lone bird disconsolate;
A curlew calling to its mate;
The answer from the distant hill. –
And, herald of my love to Him
Who, waiting for the dawn, doth lie,
The orbed maiden leaves the sky,
And the white firs grow more dim.

IV –
Up sprang the sun to run his race,
The breeze blew fair on meadow and lea,
But in the west I seemed to see
The likeness of a human face. –
A linnet on the hawthorn spray
Sang of the glories of the spring,
And made the flow’ring copses ring
With gladness for the new-born day. –
A lark from out the grass I trod
Flew wildly, and was lost to view
In the great seamless veil of blue
That hangs before the face of God. –
The willow whispered overhead
That death is but a newer life
And that with idle words of strife
We bring dishonour on the dead. –
I took a branch from off the tree,
And hawthorn branches drenched with dew,
I bound them with a sprig of yew,
And made a garland fair to see. –
I laid the flowers where He lies
(Warm leaves and flowers on the stones):
What joy I had to sit alone
Till evening broke on tired eyes: –
Till all the shifting clouds had spun
A robe of gold for God to wear
And into seas of purple air
Sank the bright galley of the sun.

V –
Shall I be gladdened for the day,
And let my inner heart be stirred
By murmuring tree or song of bird,
And sorrow at the wild winds’ play? –
Not so, such idle dreams belong
To souls of lesser depth than mine;
I feel that I am half divine;
I that I am great and strong. –
I know that every forest tree
By labour rises from the root
I know that none shall gather fruit
By sailing on the barren sea.

Poem – To My Wife

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.

Poem – A Vision

Two crowned Kings, and One that stood alone
With no green weight of laurels round his head,
But with sad eyes as one uncomforted,
And wearied with man’s never-ceasing moan
For sins no bleating victim can atone,
And sweet long lips with tears and kisses fed.
Girt was he in a garment black and red,
And at his feet I marked a broken stone
Which sent up lilies, dove-like, to his knees.
Now at their sight, my heart being lit with flame,
I cried to Beatrice, ‘Who are these? ‘
And she made answer, knowing well each name,
‘AEschylos first, the second Sophokles,
And last (wide stream of tears!) Euripides.’

Poem – Her Voice

THE wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,–
It shall be, I said, for eternity
‘Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done,
Love’s web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air,
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy,–
Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay,
And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
I have my beauty,–you your Art,
Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.

Poem – Upon a Dying Lady

I
Her Courtesy

WITH the old kindness, the old distinguished grace,
She lies, her lovely piteous head amid dull red hair
propped upon pillows, rouge on the pallor of her face.
She would not have us sad because she is lying there,
And when she meets our gaze her eyes are laughter-lit,
Her speech a wicked tale that we may vie with her,
Matching our broken-hearted wit against her wit,
Thinking of saints and of petronius Arbiter.

II
Curtain Artist bring her Dolls and Drawings
Bring where our Beauty lies
A new modelled doll, or drawing,
With a friend’s or an enemy’s
Features, or maybe showing
Her features when a tress
Of dull red hair was flowing
Over some silken dress
Cut in the Turkish fashion,
Or, it may be, like a boy’s.
We have given the world our passion,
We have naught for death but toys.

III
She turns the Dolls’ Faces to the Wall
Because to-day is some religious festival
They had a priest say Mass, and even the Japanese,
Heel up and weight on toe, must face the wall
— Pedant in passion, learned in old courtesies,
Vehement and witty she had seemed — ; the Venetian lady
Who had seemed to glide to some intrigue in her red shoes,
Her domino, her panniered skirt copied from Longhi;
The meditative critic; all are on their toes,
Even our Beauty with her Turkish trousers on.
Because the priest must have like every dog his day
Or keep us all awake with baying at the moon,
We and our dolls being but the world were best away.

IV
The End of Day
She is playing like a child
And penance is the play,
Fantastical and wild
Because the end of day
Shows her that some one soon
Will come from the house, and say —
Though play is but half done —
‘Come in and leave the play.’

V
Her Race
She has not grown uncivil
As narrow natures would
And called the pleasures evil
Happier days thought good;
She knows herself a woman,
No red and white of a face,
Or rank, raised from a common
Vnreckonable race;
And how should her heart fail her
Or sickness break her will
With her dead brother’s valour
For an example still?

VI
Her Courage
When her soul flies to the predestined dancing-place
(I have no speech but symbol, the pagan speech I made
Amid the dreams of youth) let her come face to face,
Amid that first astonishment, with Grania’s shade,
All but the terrors of the woodland flight forgot
That made her Diatmuid dear, and some old cardinal
Pacing with half-closed eyelids in a sunny spot
Who had murmured of Giorgione at his latest breath —
Aye, and Achilles, Timor, Babar, Barhaim, all
Who have lived in joy and laughed into the face of Death.

VII
Her Friends bring her a Christmas Tree
pardon, great enemy,
Without an angry thought
We’ve carried in our tree,
And here and there have bought
Till all the boughs are gay,
And she may look from the bed
On pretty things that may
please a fantastic head.
Give her a little grace,
What if a laughing eye
Have looked into your face?
It is about to die.

Poem – The Indian to His Love

THE island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.
Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:
How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam
and dart,
The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.

Poem – Under the Round Tower

ALTHOUGH I’d lie lapped up in linen
A deal I’d sweat and little earn
If I should live as live the neighbours,’
Cried the beggar, Billy Byrne;
‘Stretch bones till the daylight come
On great-grandfather’s battered tomb.’
Upon a grey old battered tombstone
In Glendalough beside the stream
Where the O’Byrnes and Byrnes are buried,
He stretched his bones and fell in a dream
Of sun and moon that a good hour
Bellowed and pranced in the round tower;
Of golden king and Silver lady,
Bellowing up and bellowing round,
Till toes mastered a sweet measure,
Mouth mastered a sweet sound,
Prancing round and prancing up
Until they pranced upon the top.
That golden king and that wild lady
Sang till stars began to fade,
Hands gripped in hands, toes close together,
Hair spread on the wind they made;
That lady and that golden king
Could like a brace of blackbirds sing.
‘It’s certain that my luck is broken,’
That rambling jailbird Billy said;
‘Before nightfall I’ll pick a pocket
And snug it in a feather bed.
I cannot find the peace of home
On great-grandfather’s battered tomb.’

Poem – The Seven Sages

The First. My great-grandfather spoke to Edmund Burke
In Grattan’s house.
The Second. My great-grandfather shared
A pot-house bench with Oliver Goldsmith once.
The Third. My great-grandfather’s father talked of music,
Drank tar-water with the Bishop of Cloyne.
The Fourth. But mine saw Stella once.
The Fifth. Whence came our thought?
The Sixth. From four great minds that hated Whiggery.
The Fifth. Burke was a Whig.
The Sixth. Whether they knew or not,
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard’s eye.
The Seventh. All’s Whiggery now,
But we old men are massed against the world.
The First. American colonies, Ireland, France and India
Harried, and Burke’s great melody against it.
The Second. Oliver Goldsmith sang what he had seen,
Roads full of beggars, cattle in the fields,
But never saw the trefoil stained with blood,
The avenging leaf those fields raised up against it.
The Fourth. The tomb of Swift wears it away.
The Third. A voice
Soft as the rustle of a reed from Cloyne
That gathers volume; now a thunder-clap.
The Sixtb. What schooling had these four?
The Seventh. They walked the roads
Mimicking what they heard, as children mimic;
They understood that wisdom comes of beggary.

Poem – The Three Monuments

THEY hold their public meetings where
Our most renowned patriots stand,
One among the birds of the air,
A stumpier on either hand;
And all the popular statesmen say
That purity built up the State
And after kept it from decay;
And let all base ambition be,
For intellect would make us proud
And pride bring in impurity:
The three old rascals laugh aloud.

Poem – On Woman

MAY God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.
Though pedantry denies,
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens.
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me — no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale’s true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again —
To find what once I had
And know what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed.
By tenderness and care.
pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.

Poem – Her Anxiety

Earth in beauty dressed
Awaits returning spring.
All true love must die,
Alter at the best
Into some lesser thing.
Prove that I lie.

Such body lovers have,
Such exacting breath,
That they touch or sigh.
Every touch they give,
Love is nearer death.
Prove that I lie.

Poem – Demon and Beast

FOR certain minutes at the least
That crafty demon and that loud beast
That plague me day and night
Ran out of my sight;
Though I had long perned in the gyre,
Between my hatred and desire.
I saw my freedom won
And all laugh in the sun.
The glittering eyes in a death’s head
Of old Luke Wadding’s portrait said
Welcome, and the Ormondes all
Nodded upon the wall,
And even Strafford smiled as though
It made him happier to know
I understood his plan.
Now that the loud beast ran
There was no portrait in the Gallery
But beckoned to sweet company,
For all men’s thoughts grew clear
Being dear as mine are dear.
But soon a tear-drop started up,
For aimless joy had made me stop
Beside the little lake
To watch a white gull take
A bit of bread thrown up into the air;
Now gyring down and perning there
He splashed where an absurd
Portly green-pated bird
Shook off the water from his back;
Being no more demoniac
A stupid happy creature
Could rouse my whole nature.
Yet I am certain as can be
That every natural victory
Belongs to beast or demon,
That never yet had freeman
Right mastery of natural things,
And that mere growing old, that brings
Chilled blood, this sweetness brought;
Yet have no dearer thought
Than that I may find out a way
To make it linger half a day.
O what a sweetness strayed
Through barren Thebaid,
Or by the Mareotic sea
When that exultant Anthony
And twice a thousand more
Starved upon the shore
And withered to a bag of bones!
What had the Caesars but their thrones?

Poem – Memory 

O MEMORY, thou fond deceiver,

Still importunate and vain,

To former joys recurring ever,

And turning all the past to pain:
Thou, like the world, th’ oppress’d oppressing,

Thy smiles increase the wretch’s woe:

And he who wants each other blessing

In thee must ever find a foe. 

Poem – The  Fortune Teller 

Down in the valley come meet me to-night, 

And I’ll tell you your fortune truly 

As ever ’twas told, by the new-moon’s light, 

To a young maiden, shining as newly. 
But, for the world, let no one be nigh, 

Lest haply the stars should deceive me, 

Such secrets between you and me and the sky 

Should never go farther, believe me. 
If at that hour the heavens be not dim, 

My science shall call up before you 

A male apparition — the image of him 

Whose destiny ’tis to adore you. 
And if to that phantom you’ll be kind, 

So fondly around you he’ll hover, 

You’ll hardly, my dear, any difference find 

‘Twixt him and a true living lover. 
Down at your feet, in the pale moonlight, 

He’ll kneel, with a warmth of devotion — 

An ardour, of which such an innocent sprite 

You’d scarcely believe had a notion. 
What other thoughts and events may arise, 

As in destiny’s book I’ve not seen them, 

Must only be left to the stars and your eyes 

To settle, ere morning, between them. 

Poem – The Dream of those Days

The dream of those days when first I sung thee is o’er 

Thy triumph hath stain’d the charm thy sorrows then wore; 

And even the light which Hope once shed o’er thy chains, 

Alas, not a gleam to grace thy freedom remains. 
Say, is it that slavery sunk so deep in thy heart, 

That still the dark brand is there, though chainless thou art; 

And Freedom’s sweet fruit, for which thy spirit long burn’d, 

Now, reaching at last thy lip, to ashes hath turn’d? 
Up Liberty’s steep by Truth and Eloquence led, 

With eyes on her temple fix’d, how proud was thy tread! 

Ah, better thou ne’er hadst lived that summit to gain, 

Denied in the porch, than thus dishonour the fane. 

Poem – The Donkey and His Panniers

A Donkey, whose talent for burdens was wondrous,

So much that you’d swear he rejoic’d in a load,

One day had to jog under panniers so pond’rous,

That — down the poor Donkey fell smack on the road!
His owners and drivers stood round in amaze —

What! Neddy, the patient, the prosperous Neddy,

So easy to drive, through the dirtiest ways,

For every description of job-work so ready!
One driver (whom Ned might have “hail’d” as a “brother”)

Had just been proclaiming his Donkey’s renown

For vigour, for spirit, for one thing or another —

When, lo, ‘mid his praises, the Donkey came down!
But, how to upraise him? – one shouts, t’other whistles,

While Jenky, the Conjurer, wisest of all,

Declar’d that an “over-production of thistles” —

(Here Ned gave a stare) — “was the cause of his fall.”
Another wise Solomon cries, as he passes —

“There, let him alone, and the fit will soon cease;

The beast has been fighting with other jack-asses,

And this is his mode of “transition to peace”.”
Some look’d at his hoofs, and with learned grimaces,

Pronounc’d that too long without shoes he had gone —

“Let the blacksmith provide him a sound metal basis

(The wise-acres said), and he’s sure to jog on.”
Meanwhile, the poor Neddy, in torture and fear,

Lay under his panniers, scarce able to groan;

And — what was still dolefuller – lending an ear

To advisers, whose ears were a match for his own.
At length, a plain rustic, whose wit went so far

As to see others’ folly, roar’d out, as he pass’d —

“Quick — off with the panniers, all dolts as ye are,

Or, your prosperous Neddy will soon kick his last!” 

Poem – Take Back the Virgin Page

Take back the virgin page, 

White and unwritten still; 

Some hand, more calm and sage, 

The leaf must fill. 

Thoughts come, as pure as light 

Pure as even you require; 

But, oh! each word I write 

Love turns to fire. 
Yet let me keep the book: 

Oft shall my heart renew, 

When on its leaves I look, 

Dear thoughts of you. 

Like you, ’tis fair and bright; 

Like you, too bright and fair 

To let wild passion write 

One wrong wish there. 
Haply, when from those eyes 

Far, far away I roam, 

Should calmer thoughts arise 

Towards you and home; 

Fancy may trace some line, 

Worthy those eyes to meet, 

Thoughts that not burn, but shine, 

Pure, calm, and sweet. 
And as, o’er ocean far, 

Seamen their records keep, 

Led by some hidden star 

Through the cold deep; 

So may the words I write 

Tell through what storms I stray — 

You still the unseen light, 

Guiding my way. 

Poem – Lay his Sword By his Side

Lay his sword by his side — it hath served him too well

 Not to rest near his pillow below; 

To the last moment true, from his hand ere it fell, 

Its point was still turn’d to a flying foe. 

Fellow-labourers in life, let them slumber in death, 

Side by side, as becomes the reposing brave — 

That sword which he loved still unbroke in its sheath, 

And himself unsubdued in his grave. 
Yet pause — for, in fancy, a still voice I hear, 

As if breathed from his brave heart’s remains; — 

Faint echo of that which, in Slavery’s ear, 

Once sounded the war-word, “Burst your chains.” 

And it cries, from the grave where the hero lies deep, 

“Though the day of your Chieftain for ever hath set, 

Oh leave not his sword thus inglorious to sleep — 

It hath victory’s life in it yet! 
“Should some alien, unworthy such weapon to wield, 

Dare to touch thee, my own gallant sword, 

Then rest in thy sheath, like a talisman seal’d, 

Or return to the grave of thy chainless lord. 

But, if grasp’d by a hand that hath learn’d the proud use 

Of a falchion, like thee, on the battle-plain, 

Then, at Liberty’s summons, like lightning let loose, 

Leap forth from thy dark sheath again!” 

Poem – Lalla Rookh 

“How sweetly,” said the trembling maid,

 Of her own gentle voice afraid,

So long had they in silence stood,

Looking upon that tranquil flood–

“How sweetly does the moon-beam smile

To-night upon yon leafy isle!

Oft in my fancy’s wanderings,

I’ve wish’d that little isle had wings,

And we, within its fairy bow’rs,

Were wafted off to seas unknown,

Where not a pulse should beat but ours,

And we might live, love, die alone!

Far from the cruel and the cold,–

Where the bright eyes of angels only

Should come around us, to behold

A paradise so pure and lonely.

Would this be world enough for thee?”–

Playful she turn’d, that he might see

The passing smile her cheek put on;

But when she mark’d how mournfully

His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;

And, bursting into heart-felt tears,

“Yes, yes,” she cried, “my hourly fears

My dreams have boded all too right–

We part–for ever part–to-night!

I knew, I knew it could not last–

‘Twas bright, ’twas heav’nly, but ’tis past!

Oh! ever thus, from childhood’s hour,

I’ve seen my fondest hopes decay;

I never lov’d a tree or flow’r,

But ’twas the first to fade away.

I never nurs’d a dear gazelle

To glad me with its soft black eye,

But when it came to know me well

And love me, it was sure to die!

Now too–the joy most like divine

Of all I ever dreamt or knew,

To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine,–

Oh misery! must I lose that too?

Yet go–on peril’s brink we meet;–

Those frightful rocks–that treach’rous sea–

No, never come again–though sweet,

Though heav’n, it may be death to thee.

Farewell–and blessings on thy way,

Where’er thou goest, beloved stranger!

Better to sit and watch that ray,

And think thee safe, though far away,

Than have thee near me, and in danger!” 

Poem – In the Morning of Life

In the morning of life, when its cares are unknown, 

And its pleasures in all their new lustre begin, 

When we live in a bright-beaming world of our own, 

And the light that surrounds us is all from within; 

Oh ’tis not, believe me, in that happy time 

We can love, as in hours of less transport we may; — 

Of our smiles, of our hopes, ’tis the gay sunny prime, 

But affection is truest when these fade away. 
When we see the first glory of youth pass us by, 

Like a leaf on the stream that will never return, 

When our cup, which had sparkled with pleasure so high, 

First tastes of the other, the dark-flowing urn; 

Then, then in the time when affection holds sway 

With a depth and a tenderness joy never knew; 

Love, nursed among pleasures, is faithless as they, 

But the love born of Sorrow, like Sorrow, is true. 
In climes full of sunshine, though splendid the flowers, 

Their sighs have no freshness, their odour no worth; 

‘Tis the cloud and the mist of our own Isle of showers 

That call the rich spirit of fragrancy forth. 

So it is not ‘mid splendour, prosperity, mirth, 

That the depth of Love’s generous spirit appears; 

To the sunshine of smiles it may first owe its birth, 

But the soul of its sweetness is drawn out by tears. 

Poem – I saw thy Form in Youthful Prime

I saw thy form in youthful prime,

 Nor thought that pale decay 

Would steal before the steps of Time, 

And waste its bloom away, Mary! 

Yet still thy features wore that light, 

Which fleets not with the breath; 

And life ne’er look’d more truly bright 

Than in thy smile of death, Mary! 
As streams that run o’er golden mines, 

Yet humbly, calmly glide, 

Nor seem to know the wealth that shines 

Within their gentle tide, Mary! 

So veil’d beneath the simplest guise, 

Thy radiant genius shone, 

And that which charm’d all other eyes 

Seem’d worthless in thy own, Mary! 
If souls could always dwell above, 

Thou ne’er hadst left that sphere; 

Or could we keep the souls we love, 

We ne’er had lost thee here, Mary! 

Though many a gifted mind we meet, 

Though fairest forms we see, 

To live with them is far less sweet 

Than to remember thee, Mary! 

Poem – Her Picture

Go then, if she, whose shade thou art,

No more will let thee soothe my pain;

Yet, tell her, it has cost this heart

Some pangs, to give thee back again.
Tell her, the smile was not so dear,

With which she made the semblance mine,

As bitter is the burning tear,

With which I now the gift resign.
Yet go — and could she still restore,

As some exchange for taking thee.

The tranquil look which first I wore,

When her eyes found me calm and free;
Could she give back the careless flow,

The spirit that my heart then knew —

Yet, no, ’tis vain — go, picture, go —

Smile at me once, and then — adieu! 

Poem – Fourth Station

Jesus His Mother meets: 

She looks on Him and sees 

The Savior in Her Son: 

The Angel’s word comes back: 

Within her heart she says, 

“Unto me let this be done!” 

Still is she full of grace. 

By us, too be it one, 

That grace that brings us revelation! 

Poem – Crane

I KNOW you, Crane:

I, too, have waited,

Waited until my heart

Melted to little pools around my feet!

Comer in the morning ere the crows,

Shunner,

Searcher

Something find for me!

The pennies that were laid upon the eyes

Of old, wise men I knew.

;;;; 

The Little Fox 

THAT sidling creature is a little Fox:

Like other canine he is leashed and led;

He goes upon the sidewalk; houses tower;

Men trample; horses rear; he drags his leash.
Did not I

Once know a lad from Irrus where they leave

Mittens for foxes; where they invite

A fox to a child’s christening; where they have

Foxes as gossips to their boys and girls?
Would that a lad from Irrus now was here

To tell his gossip that a human creature

Has heart for him, and fain would cover up

His bowels of dread, and find some way to bring

His rainy hills around him, the soft grass,

Darkness of ragged hedges, and his earth

The black, damp earth under the roots of trees!

Would that a lad from Irrus now was here

Where houses tower and where horses rear! 

Poem – A Dialogue Of Self And Soul – William Butler Yeats

i{My Soul} I summon to the winding ancient stair; 

Set all your mind upon the steep ascent, 

Upon the broken, crumbling battlement, 

Upon the breathless starlit air, 

‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole; 

Fix every wandering thought upon 

That quarter where all thought is done: 

Who can distinguish darkness from the soul 

i{My Self}. The consecretes blade upon my knees 

Is Sato’s ancient blade, still as it was, 

Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass 

Unspotted by the centuries; 

That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn 

From some court-lady’s dress and round 

The wodden scabbard bound and wound 

Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn 

i{My Soul.} Why should the imagination of a man 

Long past his prime remember things that are 

Emblematical of love and war? 

Think of ancestral night that can, 

If but imagination scorn the earth 

And interllect is wandering 

To this and that and t’other thing, 

Deliver from the crime of death and birth. 

i{My self.} Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it 

Five hundred years ago, about it lie 

Flowers from I know not what embroidery — 

Heart’s purple — and all these I set 

For emblems of the day against the tower 

Emblematical of the night, 

And claim as by a soldier’s right 

A charter to commit the crime once more. 

i{My Soul.} Such fullness in that quarter overflows 

And falls into the basin of the mind 

That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind, 

For intellect no longer knows 

i{Is} from the i{Ought,} or i{knower} from the i{Known — } 

That is to say, ascends to Heaven; 

Only the dead can be forgiven; 

But when I think of that my tongue’s a stone. 

i{My Self.} A living man is blind and drinks his drop. 

What matter if the ditches are impure? 

What matter if I live it all once more? 

Endure that toil of growing up; 

The ignominy of boyhood; the distress 

Of boyhood changing into man; 

The unfinished man and his pain 

Brought face to face with his own clumsiness; 

The finished man among his enemies? — 

How in the name of Heaven can he escape 

That defiling and disfigured shape 

The mirror of malicious eyes 

Casts upon his eyes until at last 

He thinks that shape must be his shape? 

And what’s the good of an escape 

If honour find him in the wintry blast? 

I am content to live it all again 

And yet again, if it be life to pitch 

Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch, 

A blind man battering blind men; 

Or into that most fecund ditch of all, 

The folly that man does 

Or must suffer, if he woos 

A proud woman not kindred of his soul. 

I am content to follow to its source 

Every event in action or in thought; 

Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot! 

When such as I cast out remorse 

So great a sweetness flows into the breast 

We must laugh and we must sing, 

We are blest by everything, 

Everything we look upon is blest.

Poem – A Man Young And Old – William Butler Yeats

First Love 
THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon 

In beauty’s murderous brood, 

She walked awhile and blushed awhile 

And on my pathway stood 

Until I thought her body bore 

A heart of flesh and blood. 

But since I laid a hand thereon 

And found a heart of stone 

I have attempted many things 

And not a thing is done, 

For every hand is lunatic 

That travels on the moon. 

She smiled and that transfigured me 

And left me but a lout, 

Maundering here, and maundering there, 

Emptier of thought 

Than the heavenly circuit of its stars 

When the moon sails out. 
II 

Human Dignity 

Like the moon her kindness is, 

If kindness I may call 

What has no comprehension in’t, 

But is the same for all 

As though my sorrow were a scene 

Upon a painted wall. 

So like a bit of stone I lie 

Under a broken tree. 

I could recover if I shrieked 

My heart’s agony 

To passing bird, but I am dumb 

From human dignity. 
III 

The Mermaid 

A mermaid found a swimming lad, 

Picked him for her own, 

Pressed her body to his body, 

Laughed; and plunging down 

Forgot in cruel happiness 

That even lovers drown. 
IV 

The Death of the Hare 

I have pointed out the yelling pack, 

The hare leap to the wood, 

And when I pass a compliment 

Rejoice as lover should 

At the drooping of an eye, 

At the mantling of the blood. 

Then’ suddenly my heart is wrung 

By her distracted air 

And I remember wildness lost 

And after, swept from there, 

Am set down standing in the wood 

At the death of the hare. 

The Empty Cup 

A crazy man that found a cup, 

When all but dead of thirst, 

Hardly dared to wet his mouth 

Imagining, moon-accursed, 

That another mouthful 

And his beating heart would burst. 

October last I found it too 

But found it dry as bone, 

And for that reason am I crazed 

And my sleep is gone. 
VI 

His Memories 

We should be hidden from their eyes, 

Being but holy shows 

And bodies broken like a thorn 

Whereon the bleak north blows, 

To think of buried Hector 

And that none living knows. 

The women take so little stock 

In what I do or say 

They’d sooner leave their cosseting 

To hear a jackass bray; 

My arms are like the twisted thorn 

And yet there beauty lay; 

The first of all the tribe lay there 

And did such pleasure take — 

She who had brought great Hector down 

And put all Troy to wreck — 

That she cried into this ear, 

‘Strike me if I shriek.’ 
VII 

The Friends of his Youth 

Laughter not time destroyed my voice 

And put that crack in it, 

And when the moon’s pot-bellied 

I get a laughing fit, 

For that old Madge comes down the lane, 

A stone upon her breast, 

And a cloak wrapped about the stone, 

And she can get no rest 

With singing hush and hush-a-bye; 

She that has been wild 

And barren as a breaking wave 

Thinks that the stone’s a child. 

And Peter that had great affairs 

And was a pushing man 

Shrieks, ‘I am King of the Peacocks,’ 

And perches on a stone; 

And then I laugh till tears run down 

And the heart thumps at my side, 

Remembering that her shriek was love 

And that he shrieks from pride. 
VIII 

Summer and Spring 

We sat under an old thorn-tree 

And talked away the night, 

Told all that had been said or done 

Since first we saw the light, 

And when we talked of growing up 

Knew that we’d halved a soul 

And fell the one in t’other’s arms 

That we might make it whole; 

Then peter had a murdering look, 

For it seemed that he and she 

Had spoken of their childish days 

Under that very tree. 

O what a bursting out there was, 

And what a blossoming, 

When we had all the summer-time 

And she had all the spring! 
IX 

The Secrets of the Old 

I have old women’s sectets now 

That had those of the young; 

Madge tells me what I dared not think 

When my blood was strong, 

And what had drowned a lover once 

Sounds like an old song. 

Though Margery is stricken dumb 

If thrown in Madge’s way, 

We three make up a solitude; 

For none alive to-day 

Can know the stories that we know 

Or say the things we say: 

How such a man pleased women most 

Of all that are gone, 

How such a pair loved many years 

And such a pair but one, 

Stories of the bed of straw 

Or the bed of down. 

His Wildness 

O bid me mount and sail up there 

Amid the cloudy wrack, 

For peg and Meg and Paris’ love 

That had so straight a back, 

Are gone away, and some that stay 

Have changed their silk for sack. 

Were I but there and none to hear 

I’d have a peacock cry, 

For that is natural to a man 

That lives in memory, 

Being all alone I’d nurse a stone 

And sing it lullaby. 
XI 

From ‘Oedipus at Colonus’ 

Endure what life God gives and ask no longer span; 

Cease to remember the delights of youth, travel-wearied aged man; 

Delight becomes death-longing if all longing else be vain. 

Even from that delight memory treasures so, 

Death, despair, division of families, all entanglements of mankind grow, 

As that old wandering beggar and these God-hated children know. 

In the long echoing street the laughing dancers throng, 

The bride is catried to the bridegroom’s chamber 

through torchlight and tumultuous song; 

I celebrate the silent kiss that ends short life or long. 

Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say; 

Never to have drawn the breath of life, never to have 

looked into the eye of day; 

The second best’s a gay goodnight and quickly turn away.