The Warden of the Cinque Ports

A mist was driving down the British Channel,
The day was just begun,
And through the window-panes, on floor and panel,
Streamed the red autumn sun.

It glanced on flowing flag and rippling pennon,
And the white sails of ships;
And, from the frowning rampart, the black cannon
Hailed it with feverish lips.

Sandwich and Romney, Hastings, Hithe, and Dover
Were all alert that day,
To see the French war-steamers speeding over,
When the fog cleared away.

Sullen and silent, and like couchant lions,


The Wife

Living, I had no might
To make you hear,
Now, in the inmost night,
I am so near
No whisper, falling light,
Divides us, dear.

Living, I had no claim
On your great hours.
Now the thin candle-flame,
The closing flowers,
Wed summer with my name, --
And these are ours.

Your shadow on the dust,
Strength, and a cry,
Delight, despair, mistrust, --
All these am I.
Dawn, and the far hills thrust
To a far sky.

Living, I had no skill
To stay your tread,


The Widow and Her Son XXI

Night fell over North Lebanon and snow was covering the villages surrounded by the Kadeesha Valley, giving the fields and prairies the appearance of a great sheet of parchment upon which the furious Nature was recording her many deeds. Men came home from the streets while silence engulfed the night.

In a lone house near those villages lived a woman who sat by her fireside spinning wool, and at her side was her only child, staring now at the fire and then at his mother.


The Wedding Night

Within the chamber, far away

From the glad feast, sits Love in dread
Lest guests disturb, in wanton play,

The silence of the bridal bed.
His torch's pale flame serves to gild

The scene with mystic sacred glow;
The room with incense-clouds is fil'd,

That ye may perfect rapture know.

How beats thy heart, when thou dost hear

The chime that warns thy guests to fly!
How glow'st thou for those lips so dear,

That soon are mute, and nought deny!
With her into the holy place


The Warrior's Return

Sir Walter returned from the far Holy Land,
And a blood-tinctured falchion he bore;
But such precious blood as now darkened his sword
Had never distained it before.

Fast fluttered his heart as his own castle towers
He saw on the mountain's green height;
"My wife, and my son!" he exclaimed, while his tears
Obscured for some moments his sight.

For terror now whispered, the wife he had left
Full fifteen long twelvemonths before,
The child he had clasp't in his farewell embrace,


The Wandering Jew

I saw by looking in his eyes
That they remembered everything;
And this was how I came to know
That he was here, still wandering.
For though the figure and the scene
Were never to be reconciled,
I knew the man as I had known
His image when I was a child.

With evidence at every turn,
I should have held it safe to guess
That all the newness of New York
Had nothing new in loneliness;
Yet here was one who might be Noah,
Or Nathan, or Abimelech,
Or Lamech, out of ages lost,—


The Voice of the Soul

In Youth, when through our veins runs fast
The bright red stream of life,
The Soul’s Voice is a trumpet-blast
That calls us to the strife.
The Spirit spurns its prison-bars,
And feels with force endued
To scale the ramparts of the stars
And storm Infinitude.

Youth passes; like a dungeon grows
The Spirit’s house of clay:
The voice that once in music rose
In murmurs dies away.

But in the day when sickness sore
Smites on the body’s walls,


The Voice

I dreamed a Voice, of one God-authorised,
Cried loudly thro’ the world, ‘Disarm! Disarm! ’
And there was consernation in the camps;
And men who strutted under braid and lace
Beat on their medalled breasts, and wailed,
‘Undone! ’
The word was echoed from a thousand hills,
And shop and mill, and factory and forge,
Where throve the awful industries of death,
Hushed into silence. Scrawled upon the doors,
The passer read, ‘Peace bids her children
Starve.’


The Vigil-at-Arms

Keep holy watch with silence, prayer, and fasting
Till morning break, and all the bugles play;
Unto the One aware from everlasting
Dear are the winners: thou art more than they.

Forth from this peace on manhood's way thou goest,
Flushed with resolve, and radiant in mail;
Blessing supreme for men unborn thou sowest,
O knight elect! O soul ordained to fail!


The Victor Dog

Bix to Buxtehude to Boulez,
The little white dog on the Victor label
Listens long and hard as he is able.
It's all in a day's work, whatever plays.

From judgment, it would seem, he has refrained.
He even listens earnestly to Bloch,
Then builds a church upon our acid rock.
He's man's-no-he's the Leiermann's best friend,

Or would be if hearing and listening were the same.
Does he hear? I fancy he rather smells
Those lemon-gold arpeggios in Ravel's
'Les jets d'eau du palais de ceux qui s'aiment.'


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