Thebais - Book One - part I

Fraternal rage, the guilty Thebes’ alarms,
Th’ alternate reign destroyed by impious arms,
Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
My ravished breast, and all the muse inspires.
O goddess, say, shall I deduce my rhymes
From the dire nation in its early times,
Europa’s rape, Agenor’s stern decree,
And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea?
How with the serpent’s teeth he sowed the soil,
And reaped an iron harvest of his toil?
Or how from joining stones the city sprung,


The Witch of Hebron


A Rabbinical Legend


Part I.
From morn until the setting of the sun
The rabbi Joseph on his knees had prayed,
And, as he rose with spirit meek and strong,
An Indian page his presence sought, and bowed
Before him, saying that a lady lay
Sick unto death, tormented grievously,
Who begged the comfort of his holy prayers.
The rabbi, ever to the call of grief
Open as day, arose; and girding straight
His robe about him, with the page went forth;
Who swiftly led him deep into the woods


The Widow

I don't think men of eighty odd
Should let a surgeon operate;
Better to pray for peace with God,
And reconcile oneself to Fate:
At four-score years we really should
Be quite prepared to go for good.

That's what I told my husband but
He had a hearty lust for life,
And so he let a surgeon cut
Into his innards with a knife.
The sawbones swore: "The man's so fat
His kidneys take some getting at."

And then (according to a nurse),
They heard him petulantly say:


The Wanderlust

The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas,
Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth;
The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease,
Has hurled me to the ends of all the earth.
How bitterly I've cursed it, oh, the Painted Desert knows,
The wraithlike heights that hug the pallid plain,
The all-but-fluid silence, -- yet the longing grows and grows,
And I've got to glut the Wanderlust again.

Soldier, sailor, in what a plight I've been!
Tinker, tailor, oh what a sight I've seen!


The Trust

Because I've eighty years and odd,
And darkling is my day,
I now prepare to meet my God,
And for forgiveness pray.
Not for salvation is my plea,
Nor Heaven hope,--just rest:
Begging: "Dear Father, pardon me,
I did not do my best.

"I did not measure with the Just
To serve my fellow men;
But unto levity and lust
I loaned my precious pen.
I sorrow for the sacred touch,
And though I toiled with zest,
Dear God, have mercy, in-as-much


The Ungrateful Garden

Midas watched the golden crust
That formed over his steaming sores,
Hugged his agues, loved his lust,
But damned to hell the out-of-doors

Where blazing motes of sun impaled
The serrid roses, metal-bright.
"Those famous flowers," Midas wailed,
"Have scorched my retina with light."

This gift, he'd thought, would gild his joys,
Silt up the waters of his grief;
His lawns a wilderness of noise,
The heavy clang of leaf on leaf.

Within, the golden cup is good
To lift, to sip the yellow mead.


The Twins

[Dedicated to Austin Osman Spare]


Have pity ! show no pity !
Those eyes that send such shivers
Into my brain and spine : oh let them
Flame like the ancient city
Swallowed up by the sulphurous rivers
When men let angels fret them !

Yea ! let the south wind blow,
And the Turkish banner advance,
And the word go out : No quarter !
But I shall hod thee -so !
While the boys and maidens dance
About the shambles of slaughter !

I know thee who thou art,
The inmost fiend that curlest


The True Born Englishman excerpt

...
Thus from a mixture of all kinds began,
That het'rogeneous thing, an Englishman:
In eager rapes, and furious lust begot,
Betwixt a painted Britain and a Scot.
Whose gend'ring off-spring quickly learn'd to bow,
And yoke their heifers to the Roman plough:
From whence a mongrel half-bred race there came,
With neither name, nor nation, speech nor fame.
In whose hot veins new mixtures quickly ran,
Infus'd betwixt a Saxon and a Dane.
While their rank daughters, to their parents just,


The Trenches

Endless lanes sunken in the clay,
Bays, and traverses, fringed with wasted herbage,
Seed-pods of blue scabious, and some lingering blooms;
And the sky, seen as from a well,
Brilliant with frosty stars.
We stumble, cursing, on the slippery duck-boards.
Goaded like the damned by some invisible wrath,
A will stronger than weariness, stronger than animal fear,
Implacable and monotonous.

Here a shaft, slanting, and below
A dusty and flickering light from one feeble candle


The Trail Of Ninety-Eight

Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.
Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.
Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,
Heard we the clarion summons, followed the master-lure--Gold!

Men from the sands of the Sunland; men from the woods of the West;
Men from the farms and the cities, into the Northland we pressed.
Graybeards and striplings and women, good men and bad men and bold,
Leaving our homes and our loved ones, crying exultantly--"Gold!"


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - lust