Acon and Rhodope

The Year's twelve daughters had in turn gone by,
Of measured pace tho' varying mien all twelve,
Some froward, some sedater, some adorn'd
For festival, some reckless of attire.
The snow had left the mountain-top; fresh flowers
Had withered in the meadow; fig and prune
Hung wrinkling; the last apple glow'd amid
Its freckled leaves; and weary oxen blinkt
Between the trodden corn and twisted vine,
Under whose bunches stood the empty crate,
To creak ere long beneath them carried home.


A Year's Burden -- 1870

Fire and wild light of hope and doubt and fear,
Wind of swift change, and clouds and hours that veer
As the storm shifts of the tempestuous year;
Cry wellaway, but well befall the right.

Hope sits yet hiding her war-wearied eyes,
Doubt sets her forehead earthward and denies,
But fear brought hand to hand with danger dies,
Dies and is burnt up in the fire of fight.

Hearts bruised with loss and eaten through with shame
Turn at the time's touch to devouring flame;
Grief stands as one that knows not her own name,


Address to the Unco Guid

My Son, these maxims make a rule,
An' lump them aye thegither;
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither:
The cleanest corn that ere was dight
May hae some pyles o' caff in;
So ne'er a fellow creature slight
For random fits o' daffin.
Solomon.--Eccles. ch. vii. verse 16


O ye wha are sae guid yoursel',
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi' store o' water;


Ad Finum

On the white throat of useless passion
That scorched my soul with its burning breath
I clutched my fingers in murderous fashion
And gathered them close in a grip of death;

For why should I fan, or feed with fuel,
A love that showed me but blank despair?
So my hold was firm, and my grasp was cruel -
I meant to strangle it then and there!

I thought it was dead. But, with no warning,
It rose from its grave last night and came
And stood by my bed till the early morning.


Above Eurunderee

There are scenes in the distance where beauty is not,
On the desolate flats where gaunt appletrees rot.
Where the brooding old ridge rises up to the breeze
From his dark lonely gullies of stringy-bark trees,
There are voice-haunted gaps, ever sullen and strange,
But Eurunderee lies like a gem in the range.

Still I see in my fancy the dark-green and blue
Of the box-covered hills where the five-corners grew;
And the rugged old sheoaks that sighed in the bend
O'er the lily-decked pools where the dark ridges end,


Abt Volger

(after he has been extemporizing upon the musical instrument of his invention)


Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed
Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk,
Man, brute, reptile, fly,---alien of end and of aim,
Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed,---
Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name


Abt Vogler

Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed
Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk,
Man, brute, reptile, fly,--alien of end and of aim,
Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed,--
Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name,
And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess he loved!


Absence

WHEN from the craggy mountain's pathless steep,
Whose flinty brow hangs o'er the raging sea,
My wand'ring eye beholds the foamy deep,
I mark the restless surge­and think of THEE.
The curling waves, the passing breezes move,
Changing and treach'rous as the breath of LOVE;
The "sad similitude" awakes my smart,
And thy dear image twines about my heart.

When at the sober hour of sinking day,
Exhausted Nature steals to soft repose,
When the hush'd linnet slumbers on the spray,


Abraham

The rivulet-loving wanderer Abraham
Through waterless wastes tracing his fields of pasture
Led his Chaldean herds and fattening flocks
With the meandering art of wavering water
That seeks and finds, yet does not know its way.
He came, rested and prospered, and went on,
Scattering behind him little pastoral kingdoms,
And over each one its own particular sky,
Not the great rounded sky through which he journeyed,
That went with him but when he rested changed.
His mind was full of names


About His Person

Five pounds fifty in change, exactly,
a library card on its date of expiry.

A postcard stamped,
unwritten, but franked,

a pocket size diary slashed with a pencil
from March twenty-fourth to the first of April.

A brace of keys for a mortise lock,
an analogue watch, self winding, stopped.

A final demand
in his own hand,

a rolled up note of explanation
planted there like a spray carnation

but beheaded, in his fist.
A shopping list.


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