A Phylactery

Wise men I hold those rakes of old
Who, as we read in antique story,
When lyres were struck and wine was poured,
Set the white Death's Head on the board-
Memento mori.

Love well! love truly! and love fast!
True love evades the dilatory.
Life's bloom flares like a meteor past;
A joy so dazzling cannot last
Memento mori.

Stop not to pluck the leaves of bay
That greenly deck the path of glory,
The wreath will wither if you stay,
So pass along your earnest way
Memento mori.


A Peasant

Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,
Just an ordinary man of the bald Welsh hills,
Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud.
Docking mangels, chipping the green skin
From the yellow bones with a half-witted grin
Of satisfaction, or churning the crude earth
To a stiff sea of clods that glint in the wind—
So are his days spent, his spittled mirth
Rarer than the sun that cracks the cheeks
Of the gaunt sky perhaps once in a week.
And then at night see him fixed in his chair


A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being The Shortest Day

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be


A Night-piece on Death

By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er:
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.

How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide!
The slumb'ring breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,


A Newspaper Is a Collection of Half-Injustices

A newspaper is a collection of half-injustices
Which, bawled by boys from mile to mile,
Spreads its curious opinion
To a million merciful and sneering men,
While families cuddle the joys of the fireside
When spurred by tale of dire lone agony.
A newspaper is a court
Where every one is kindly and unfairly tried
By a squalor of honest men.
A newspaper is a market
Where wisdom sells its freedom
And melons are crowned by the crowd.
A newspaper is a game
Where his error scores the player victory


A New Heaven

Seeing we never found gay fairyland
(Though still we crouched by bluebells moon by moon)
And missed the tide of Lethe; yet are soon
For that new bridge that leaves old Styx half-spanned;
Nor ever unto Mecca caravanned;
Nor bugled Asgard, skilled in magic rune;
Nor yearned for far Nirvana, the sweet swoon,
And from high Paradise are cursed and banned;

-Let's die home, ferry across the Channel! Thus
Shall we live gods there. Death shall be no sev'rance.
Weary cathedrals light new shrines for us.


A Mystic As Soldier

I lived my days apart,
Dreaming fair songs for God;
By the glory in my heart
Covered and crowned and shod.

Now God is in the strife,
And I must seek Him there,
Where death outnumbers life,
And fury smites the air.

I walk the secret way
With anger in my brain.
O music through my clay,
When will you sound again?


A Memory of June

When June comes dancing o'er the death of May,
With scarlet roses tinting her green breast,
And mating thrushes ushering in her day,
And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest,

I always see the evening when we met--
The first of June baptized in tender rain--
And walked home through the wide streets, gleaming wet,
Arms locked, our warm flesh pulsing with love's pain.

I always see the cheerful little room,
And in the corner, fresh and white, the bed,
Sweet scented with a delicate perfume,


A Lover's Confession

When people tell me they have loved
But once in youth,
I wonder, are they always moved
To speak the truth?

Not that they wilfully deceive:
They fondly cherish
A constancy which they would grieve
To think might perish.

They cherish it until they think
`Twas always theirs.
So, if the truth they sometimes blink,
`Tis unawares.

Yet unawares, I must profess,
They do deceive
Themselves, and those who questionless
Their tale believe.

For I have loved, I freely own,


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