To The Leaven'd Soil They Trod


TO the leaven'd soil they trod, calling, I sing, for the last;
(Not cities, nor man alone, nor war, nor the dead,
But forth from my tent emerging for good--loosing, untying the tent-
ropes;)
In the freshness, the forenoon air, in the far-stretching circuits
and vistas, again to peace restored,
To the fiery fields emanative, and the endless vistas beyond--to the
south and the north;
To the leaven'd soil of the general western world, to attest my
songs,


To The Royal Society excerpts

Philosophy the great and only heir
Of all that human knowledge which has bin
Unforfeited by man's rebellious sin,
Though full of years he do appear,
(Philosophy, I say, and call it, he,
For whatso'ere the painter's fancy be,
It a male-virtue seems to me)
Has still been kept in nonage till of late,
Nor manag'd or enjoy'd his vast estate:
Three or four thousand years one would have thought,
To ripeness and perfection might have brought
A science so well bred and nurst,


To the Obelisk

DURING THE GREAT FROST, 1881.


Thou sign-post of the Desert! Obelisk,
Once fronting in thy monumental pride
Egypt's fierce sun, that blazing far and wide,
Sheared her of tree and herb, till like a disk
Her waste stretched shadowless, and fraught with risk
To those who with their beasts of burden hied
Across the seas of sand until they spied
Thy pillar, and their flagging hearts grew brisk:

Now reared beside out Thames so wintry grey,
Where blocks of ice drift with the drifting stream,


To the Holy Spirit

Immeasurable haze:
The desert valley spreads
Up golden river-beds
As if in other days.
Trees rise and thin away,
And past the trees, the hills,
Pure line and shade of dust,
Bear witness to our wills:
We see them, for we must;
Calm in deceit, they stay.

High noon returns the mind
Upon its local fact:
Dry grass and sand; we find
No vision to distract.
Low in the summer heat,
Naming old graves, are stones
Pushed here and there, the seat
Of nothing, and the bones


To The Grasshopper

Happy art thou, darling insect,
Who, upon the trees' tall branches,
By a modest draught inspired,
Singing, like a monarch livest!
Thou possessest as thy portion
All that on the plains thou seest,
All that by the hours is brought thee
'Mongst the husbandmen thou livest,
As a friend, uninjured by them,
Thou whom mortals love to honour,
Herald sweet of sweet Spring's advent!
Yes, thou'rt loved by all the Muses,

Phoebus' self, too, needs must love thee;
They their silver voices gave thee,


To The Chosen One

Hand in hand! and lip to lip!

Oh, be faithful, maiden dear!
Fare thee well! thy lover's ship

Past full many a rock must steers
But should he the haven see,

When the storm has ceased to break,
And be happy, reft of thee,--

May the Gods fierce vengeance take!

Boldly dared is well nigh won!

Half my task is solved aright;
Ev'ry star's to me a sun,

Only cowards deem it night.
Stood I idly by thy side,

Sorrow still would sadden me;
But when seas our paths divide,


To Tan-Ch'iu

My friend is lodging high in the Eastern Range,
Dearly loving the beauty of valleys and hills.
At green Spring he lies in the empty woods,
And is still asleep when the sun shines on igh.
A pine-tree wind dusts his sleeves and coat;
A peebly stream cleans his heart and ears.
I envy you, who far from strife and talk
Are high-propped on a pillow of blue cloud.

Li Po
tr. Waley


To Sensibility

In SENSIBILITY'S lov'd praise
I tune my trembling reed,
And seek to deck her shrine with bays,
On which my heart must bleed!

No cold exemption from her pain
I ever wish to know;
Cheer'd with her transport, I sustain
Without complaint her woe.

Above whate'er content can give,
Above the charm of ease,
The restless hopes and fears, that live
With her, have power to please.

Where, but for her, were Friendship's power
To heal the wounded heart,
To shorten sorrow's ling'ring hour,


To Robert Nichols

(From Frise on the Somme in February, 1917, in answer to a letter saying: “I am just finishing my ‘Faun’s Holiday.’ I wish you were here to feed him with cherries.”)


Here by a snowbound river
In scrapen holes we shiver,
And like old bitterns we
Boom to you plaintively:
Robert, how can I rhyme
Verses for your desire—
Sleek fauns and cherry-time,
Vague music and green trees,
Hot sun and gentle breeze,
England in June attire,
And life born young again,
For your gay goatish brute


To Robert Batty, M.D., on His Giving Me a Lock of Milton's Hair

It lies before me there, and my own breath
Stirs its thin outer threads, as though beside
The living head I stood in honoured pride,
Talking of lovely things that conquer death.
Perhaps he pressed it once, or underneath
Ran his fine fingers when he leant, blank-eyed,
And saw in fancy Adam and his bride
With their heaped locks, or his own Delphic wreath.

There seems a love in hair, though it be dead.
It is the gentlest, yet the strongest thread
Of our frail plant,--a blossom from the tree


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