Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Racing rhymes & other verses online

. (page 5 of 5)
Online LibraryAdam Lindsay GordonRacing rhymes & other verses → online text (page 5 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


A careless smile, a parting glass,

A hand that waves adieu,
And from my sight they soon will pass,

And from my memory too.

I loved a girl not long ago,

And, till my suit was told,
I thought her breast as fair as snow,

'T was very near as cold ;
And yet I spoke, with feelings more

Of recklessness than pain,
Those words I never spoke before,

Nor never shall again.



Racing Rhymes

Her cheek grew pale, in her dark eye

I saw the tear-drop shine ;
Her red lips faltered in reply,

And then were pressed to mine.
A quick pulsation of the heart !

A flutter of the breath !
A smothered sob ! and thus we part,

To meet no more till death.

And yet I may at times recall

Her memory with a sigh ;
At times for me the tears may fall

And dim her sparkling eye.
But absent friends are soon forgot,

And in a year or less
'T will doutbless be another's lot

Those very lips to press !

With adverse fate we best can cope

When all we prize has fled ;
And where there 's little left to hope,

There 's little left to dread !
Oh, time glides ever quickly by !

Destroying all that 's dear ;
On earth there 's little worth a sigh,

And nothing worth a tear !
138



To My Sister

What fears have I ? What hope in life ?

What joys can I command ?
A few short years of toil and strife

In a strange and distant land !
When green grass sprouts above this clay

(And that might be ere long),
Some friends may read these lines and say,

The world has judged him wrong.

There is a spot not far away

Where my young sister sleeps,
Who seems alive but yesterday,

So fresh her memory keeps ;
For we have played in childhood there

Beneath the hawthorn's bough,
And bent our knee in childish prayer

I cannot utter now !

Of late so reckless and so wild,

That spot recalls to me
That I was once a laughing child,

As innocent as she ;
And there, while August's wild flow'rs wave,

I wandered all alone,
Strewed blossoms on her little grave,

And knelt beside the stone.
139



Racing Rhymes

I seem to have a load to bear,

A heavy, choking grief;
Could I have forced a single tear

I might have felt relief.
I think my hot and restless heart

Has scorched the channels dry,
From which those sighs of sorrow start

To moisten cheek and eye.

Sister, farewell ! farewell once more

To every youthful tie !
Friends ! parents ! kinsmen ! native shore !

To each and all good-bye !
And thoughts which for the moment seem

To bind me with a spell,
Ambitious hope ! love's boyish dream !

To you a last farewell !



140




DE TE

A BURNING glass of burnish'd brass,
The calm sea caught the noontide
rays,
And sunny slopes of golden grass

And wastes of weed-flower seem to blaze.
Beyond the shining silver greys,

Beyond the shades of denser bloom,
The sky-line girt with glowing haze,
The farthest, faintest forest gloom,
And the everlasting hills that loom.

We heard the hound beneath the mound,

We scared the swamp hawk hovering nigh
We had not sought for that we found

He lay as dead men only lie,
With wan cheek whitening in the sky,

Through the wild heath flowers, white and red
The dumb brute that had seen him die,

Close crouching, howl'd beside the head,

Brute burial service o'er the dead,
141



Racing Rhymes

The brow was rife with seams of strife
A lawless death made doubly plain

The ravage of a reckless life ;
The havoc of a hurricane

Of passions through that breadth of brain,
Like headlong horses that had run

Riot, regardless of the rein

" Madman, he might have lived and done
Better than most men," whisper'd one.

The beams and blots that Heaven allots

To every life with life begin.
Fool ! would you change the leopard's spots,

Or blanch the Ethiopian's skin ?
What more could he have hoped to win,

What better things have thought to gain,
So shapen so conceived in sin ?

No life is wholly void and vain,

Just and unjust share sun and rain.

Were new life sent, and life misspent

Wiped out (if such to God seemed good),

Would he (being as he was) repent,
Or could he, even if he would,

Who heeded not things understood
142



De Te

(Though dimly) even in savage lands
By some who worship stone or wood,
Or bird or beast, or who stretch hands
Sunward on shining Eastern sands?

And crime has cause. Nay, never pause

Idly to feel a pulseless wrist ;
Brace up the massive, square-shaped jaws,

Unclench the stubborn, stifTning fist,
And close those eyes through film and mist,

That kept the old defiant glare ;
And answer, wise Psychologist,

Whose science claims some little share

Of truth, what better things lay there ?

Aye ! thought and mind were there, some
kind

Of faculty that men mistake
For talent when their wits are blind,

An aptitude to mar and break
What others diligently make.

This was the worst and best of him -
Wise with the cunning of the snake,

Brave with the she wolfs courage grim,

Dying hard and dumb, torn limb from limb.
'43



Racing Rhymes

And you, Brown, you 're a doctor ; cure
You can't, but you can kill, and he

" Witness his mark " he signed last year,
And now he signs John Smith, J. P.

We '11 hold our inquest now, we three ;
I '11 be your coroner for once ;

I think old Oswald ought to be

Our foreman Jones is such a dunce,
There's more brain in the bloodhound's
sconce.

No man may shirk the allotted work,

The deed to do, the death to die ;
At least I think so, neither Turk,

Nor Jew, nor infidel am I,
And yet I wonder when I try

To solve one question, may or must,
And shall I solve it by-and-by,

Beyond the dark, beneath the dust?

I trust so, and I only trust.

Aye, what they will, such trifles kill.

Comrade, for one good deed of yours,
Your history shall not help to fill

The mouths of many brainless boors.
144



DeTe

It may be death absolves or cures
The sin of life. 'T were hazardous

To assert so. If the sin endures,

Say only, " God, who has judged him thus,
Be merciful to him and us."



THE RHYME OF JOYOUS GARDE

LORD CHRIST ! have patience a little while
I have sinn'd because I am utterly vile,
Having light, loving darkness rather.
And I pray Thee deal with me as Thou wilt,
Yet the blood of Thy foes I have freely spilt,
And, moreover, mine is the greater guilt,
In the sight of Thee and Thy Father.



GONE

GOD grant that whenever, soon or late,
Our course is run and our goal is
reach'd,

We may meet our fate as steady and straight
As he whose bones in yon desert bleach'd ;
No tears are needed our cheeks are dry,
We have none to waste upon living woe ;
Shall we sigh for one who has ceased to sigh,
Having gone, my friends, where we all must go ?



146



A 000142901 8





1 2 3 5

Online LibraryAdam Lindsay GordonRacing rhymes & other verses → online text (page 5 of 5)