Alfred Noyes.

The enchanted island; and other poems online

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THE ENCHANTED ISLAND



THE JENCHANTED
ISLAND.

AND OTHER POEMS

BY

ALFRED NOTES




NEW YORK

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
PUBLISHERS




Copyright, 1910
BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY



Copyright, 1909
BY ALFRED NOYES



All rights reserved



March, igio



CONTENTS

PAGE

MIST IN THE VALLEY j

A SONG OF THE PLOUGH 6

THE BANNER , 9

RANK AND FILE , : 10

THE SKYLARK CAGED 18

THE LOVERS' FLIGHT 21

THE ROCK POOL 26

THE ISLAND HAWK 31

THE ADMIRAL'S GHOST 39

EDINBURGH 45

RED OF THE DAWN 47

LAVENDER . > : . ., . : ,- ... 50

THE DREAM-CHILD'S INVITATION ... 52

THE TRAMP TRANSFIGURED 56

ON THE DOWNS 79

A MAY-DAY CAROL *,<.... 82

THE CALL OF THE SPRING 84

A DEVONSHIRE DITTY 87

BACCHUS AND THE PIRATES 89



CONTENTS

PAGE

THE NEWSPAPER BOY ....... 103

THE Two WORLDS 106

GORSE :., . ;.; ,.. ,.; 109

FOR THE EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY OF GEORGE

MEREDITH 112

IN MEMORY OF SWINBURNE 113

ON THE DEATH OF FRANCIS THOMPSON . . 116

IN MEMORY OF MEREDITH 120

A FRIEND OF CARLYLE 122

THE TESTIMONY OF ART 132

THE SCHOLARS 133

RESURRECTION 134

A JAPANESE LOVE-SONG 137

THE Two PAINTERS 139

THE ENCHANTED ISLAND 152

UNITY 159

THE HILL-FLOWER 161

ACTION . ..'... 164

LUCIFER'S FEAST 173

VETERANS 185

THE QUEST RENEWED . 187

THE LIGHTS OF HOME - 189

MOUNT IDA 190

GLIMPSES 201

THE ELECTRIC TRAM 204



THE ENCHANTED ISLAND



MIST IN THE VALLEY



TV/FIST in the valley, weeping mist
*>** Beset my homeward way.
No gleam of rose or amethyst

Hallowed the parting day;
A shroud, a shroud of awful gray

iWrapped every woodland brow,
And drooped in crumbling disarray

Around each wintry bough.

n
And closer round me now it clung

Until I scarce could see
The stealthy pathway over-hung

By silent tree and tree
Which floated in that mystery

As poised in waveless deeps
Branching in worlds below the sea,

The gray sea-forest sleeps.

m

Mist in the valley, mist no less
Within my groping mind !

The stile swam out : a wilderness
Rolled round it, gray and blind.



MIST IN THE VALLEY

A yard in front, a yard behind,
So strait my world was grown,

I stooped to win once more some kind
Glimmer of twig or stone.

IV

; I crossed and lost the friendly stile

And listened. Never a sound
Came to me. Mile on mile on mile

It seemed the world around
Beneath some infinite sea lay drowned

With all that e'er drew breath ;
Whilst I, alone, had strangely found

A moment's life in death.



A universe of lifeless gray

Oppressed me overhead.
Below, a yard of clinging clay

With rotting foliage red
Glimmered. The stillness of the dead,

Hark ! was it broken now
By the slow drip of tears that bled

From hidden heart or bough.



[2]



MIST IN THE VALLEY

VI

Mist in the valley, mist no less

That muffled every cry
Across the soul's gray wilderness

Where faith lay down to die;
Buried beyond all hope was I,

Hope had no meaning there :
A yard above my head the sky

Could only mock at prayer.

VII

Yet, though the corse of that dead God

Were bowed across the way,
Though, closer, closer, as I trod

My path of clinging clay,
All round me pressed the hideous gray

Corruption, till it seemed
To quench the last faint struggling ray

That in my spirit gleamed,

VIII

E'en as I groped along, the gloom

Suddenly shook at my feet!
O, strangely as from a rending tomb

In resurrection, sweet
[ 3 ]



MIST IN THE VALLEY

Swift wings tumultuously beat
Away! I paused to hark

O birds of thought, too fair, too fleet
To follow across the dark!

IX

Yet, like a madman's dream, there came

One fair swift flash to me
Of distances, of streets a-flame

With joy and agony,
And further yet, a moon-lit sea

Foaming across its bars,
And further yet, the infinity

Of wheeling suns and stars,



And further yet ... O mist of suns,

I grope amidst your light,
Oh, further yet, what vast response

From what transcendent height?
Wild wings that burst thro' death's dim night

I can but pause and hark;
For O, ye are too swift, too white,

To follow across the dark!

[4]



MIST IN THE VALLEY

XI

Mist in the valley, yet I saw,

And in my soul I knew
The gleaming City whence I draw

The strength that then I drew,
My misty pathway to pursue

With steady pulse and breath
Through these dim forest-ways of dew

And darkness, life and death.



A SONG OF, THE 'PLOUGH



(Morning.)

TDLE, comfortless, bare,
The broad bleak acres lie:
The ploughman guides the sharp plough-share
Steadily nigh.

The big plough-horses lift

And climb from the marge of the sea,
And the clouds of their breath on the clear wind
drift

Over the fallow lea.

Streaming up with the yoke,

Brown as the sweet-smelling loam,
Thro' a sun-swept smother of sweat and smoke

The two great horses come.

XJp thro' the raw, cold morn

They trample and drag and swing;

And my dreams are waving with ungrown corn
In a far-off spring.

[6]



A SONG OF THE PLOUGH

It is my soul lies bare

Between the hills and the sea:
Come, ploughman Life, with thy sharp plough-
share,

And plough the field for me.

n

(Evening.)

Over the darkening plain

As the stars regain the sky,
Steals the chime of an unseen rein,

Steadily nigh.

Lost in the deepening red

The sea has forgotten the shore :
The great dark steeds with their muffled tread

Draw near once more.

To the furrow's end they sweep

Like a sombre wave of the sea,
Lifting its crest to challenge the deep

Hush of Eternity.

Still for a moment they stand,

Massed on the sun's red death,
A surge of bronze, too great, too grand,

To endure for more than a breath.

[7]



& SONG OF THE PLOUGH

Only the billow and stream

Of muscle and flank and mane
Like darkling mountain-cataracts gleam

Gripped in a Titan's rein.

Once more from the furrow's end

They wheel to the fallow lea,
And down the muffled slope descend

To the sleeping sea.

And the fibrous knots of clay,

And the sun-dried clots of earth
Cleave, and the sunset cloaks the gray

.Waste and the stony dearth !

D, broad and dusky and sweet,

The sunset covers the weald ;
But my dreams are waving with golden wheat

In a still strange field.

My soul, ffiy soul lies bare,

Between the hills and the sea;
Come, ploughman Death, with thy sharp plough-
share,

And plough the field for me.

[8]



THE BANNER]

T T 7 HO in the gorgeous van-guard of the years
With winged helmet glistens, let him hold
Ere he pluck down this banner, crying " It bears
An old device " ; fo^ though it seem the old

It is the new ! No rent shroud of the past,
But its transfigured spirit that still shines
Triumphantly before the foremost lines,

Even from the first prophesying the last.

And whoso dreams to pluck it down shall stand
Bewildered, while the great host thunders by;

And he shall show the rent shroud in his hand
And " lo, I lead the van ! " he still shall cry ;

While leagues away, the spirit-banner shines
Rushing in triumph before the foremost lines.



[9]



RANK AND FILE



T^VRUM-TAPS! Drum-taps! Who is It
*-"' marching,
Marching past in the night ? Ah, hark,

Draw your curtains aside and see
Endless ranks of the stars o'er-arching
Endless ranks of an army marching,
Marching out of the measureless dark,
Marching away to Eternity.



See the gleam of the white sad faces
Moving steadily, row on row,

Marching away to their hopeless wars:
Drum-taps, drum-taps, where are they marching?
Terrible, beautiful, human faces,

Common as dirt, but softer than snow,
Coarser than clay, but calm as the stars.



[ 10]



RANK AND FILE

m

Is it the last rank readily, steadily

Swinging away to the unknown doom?

Ere you can think it, the drum-taps beat
Louder, and here they come marching, marching,
Great new level locked ranks of them readily
Steadily swinging out of the gloom,
Marching endlessly down the street.

rv

Unregarded imperial regiments

White from the roaring intricate places

Deep in the maw of the world's machine,
Well content, they are marching, marching,
Unregarded imperial regiments,

Ay, and there are those terrible faces

Great world-heroes that might have been.



Hints and facets of One the Eternal,
Faces of grief, compassion and pain,

Faces of hunger, faces of stone,
Faces of love and of labor, marching,
Changing facets of One the Eternal,
Streaming up thro' the wind and the rain,
All together and each alone.



RANK AND FILE

VI

You 'that doubt of the world's one Passion,
You for whose science the stars are a-stray,

Hark to their orderly thunder-tread !
These, in the night, with the stars are marching
One to the end of the world's one Passion!
You that have taken their Master away,
Where have you laid Him, living or dead?

VII

You whose laws have hidden the One Law,
You whose searchings obscure the goal,

You whose systems from chaos begun,
Chance-born, order-less, hark, they are marching,
Hearts and tides and stars to the One Law,
Measured and orderly, rhythmical, whole,
Multitudinous, welded and one.

VIII

Split your threads of the seamless purple,
Round you marches the world-wide host,
Round your skies is the marching sky,
Out in the night there's an army marching,
Clothed with the night's own seamless purple^
Making death for the King their boast,
Marching straight to Eternity.
[ 12 ]



RANK AND FILE

IX

What do you know of the shot-riddled banners
Royally surging out of the gloom,

You whose denials their souls despise?
Out in the night they are marching, marching !
Treasure your wisdom, and leave them their banners !
Then when you follow them down to the tomb,
Pray for one glimpse of the faith in their eyes.

x

Pray for one gleam of the white, sad faces,
Moving steadily, row on row,

Marching away to their hopeless wars
Doomed to be trodden like dung, but marching,
Terrible, beautiful human faces,

Common as dirt, but softer than snow,
Coarser than clay, but calm as the stars.

XI

What of the end? Will your knowledge escape it?
What of the end of their dumb dark tears?

You who mock at their faith and sing,
Look, for their ragged old banners are marching
Down to the end will your knowledge escape it ?
Down to the end of a few brief years !

What should they care for the wisdom you
bring?

[ 13 ]



RANK AND FILE

XII

Count as they pass, their hundreds, thousands,
Millions, marching away to a doom

Younger than London, older than Tyre!
Drum-taps, drum-taps where are they marching,
Regiments, nations, empires, marching

Down thro' the jaws of a world-wide tomb,
Doomed or ever they sprang from the mire!

XIII

Doomed to be shovelled like dung to the midden,
Trodden and kneaded as clay in the road,
Father and little one, lover and friend,
Out in the night they are marching, marching,
Doomed to be shovelled like dung to the midden,
Bodies that bowed beneath Christ's own load,
Love that marched to the self-same end.

XIV

What of the end ? O, not of your glory,

Not of your wealth or your fame that will live

Half as long as this pellet of dust !
Out in the night there's an army marching,
Nameless, noteless, empty of glory,
Ready to suffer and die and forgive,
Marching onward in simple trust,

[ H]



RANK AND FILE

xv

Wearing their poor little toy love-tokens
Under the march of the terrible skies!

Is it a jest for a God to play?
Whose is the jest of these millions marching,
Wearing their poor little toy love-tokens,
Waving their voicelessly grand good-byes,
Secretly trying, sometimes, to pray.

XVI

Dare you dream their trust in Eternity
Broken, O you to whom prayers are vain,

You who dream that their God is dead?
Take your answer these millions marching
Out of Eternity, into Eternity,

These that smiled " We shall meet again,"
Even as the life from their loved one fled.

XVII

Not for the sake of the proud and the mighty,
Not for their doubts will He break that trust,

He, the Eternal, beyond their ken:
Out in the night there's an army marching,
Not of the proud, the famous, the mighty!
Loud to God from the silent dust
Rings the cry of the unknown men.

[ 15 ]



RANK AND FILE

XVIII

This is the answer, not of the 'sages,

Not of the loves that are ready to part,

Ready to find their oblivion sweet !
Out in the night there's an army marching,
Men that have toiled thro' the endless ages,
Men of the pit and the desk and the mart,
Men that remember, the men in the street,

XIX

These that into the gloom of Eternity

Stream thro' the dream of this lamp-starred town

London, an army of clouds to-night!
These that of old came marching, marching,
Out of the terrible gloom of Eternity,
Bowing their heads at Rameses' frown,
Streaming away thro' Babylon's light;

XX

These that swept at the sound of the trumpet
Out thro' the night like gonfaloned clouds,
Exiled hosts when the world was Rome,
Tossing their tattered old eagles, marching
Down to sleep till the great last trumpet,
London, Nineveh, rend your shrouds,
Rally the legions and lead them home,
[ 16]



RANK AND FILE

XXI

Lead them home with their glorious faces
Moving steadily, row on row

Marching up from the end of wars,
Out of the Valley of Shadows, marching,
Terrible, beautiful, human faces,

Common as dirt, but softer than snow,
Coarser than clay, but calm as the stars,

XXII

Marching out of the endless ages,
Marching out of the dawn of time,

Endless columns of unknown men,
Endless ranks of the stars o'er-arching,
Endless ranks of an army marching
Numberless out of the numberless ages,
Men out of every race and clime,
Marching steadily, now as then.



THE SKYLARK CAGED



EAT, little breast, against the 'wires,
Strive, little wings and misted eyes,
Which one wild gleam of memory fires

Beseeching still the unfettered skies,
Whither at dewy dawn you sprang
Quivering with joy from this dark earth and sang.

II

And still you sing your narrow cage

Shall set at least your music free !
Its rapturous wings in glorious rage

Mount and are lost in liberty,
While those who caged you creep on earth
Blind prisoners from the hour that gave them birth.

m

Sing! The great City surges round.

Blinded with light, thou canst not know.
Dream ! 'Tis the fir-woods' windy sound

Rolling a psalm of praise below.
Sing, o'er the bitter dust and shame,
And touch us with thine own transcendent flame.
[ 18 ]



THE SKYLARK CAGED

IV

Sing, o'er the City dust and slime;

Sing, o'er the squalor and the gold,
The greed that darkens earth with crime,

The spirits that are bought and sold.
O, shower the healing notes like rain,
And lift us to the height of grief again.



Sing! The same music swells your breast,
And the wild notes are still as sweet

As when above the fragrant nest

And the wide billowing fields of w r heat

You soared and sang the livelong day,

And in the light of heaven dissolved away.

VI

The light of heaven ! Is it not here ?

One rapture, one ecstatic joy,
One passion, one sublime despair,

One grief which nothing can destroy,
You though your dying eyes are wet
Remember, 'tis our blunted hearts forget.



[19 1



THE SKYLARK CAGED

VII

Beat, little breast, still beat, still beat,
Strive, misted eyes and tremulous wings;

Swell, little throat, your Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!
Thro' which such deathless memory rings:

Better to break your heart and die,

Than, like your gaolers, to forget your sky*



[20]



THE LOVERS' FLIGHT



, the dusk is lit with flowers!
Quietly take this guiding hand :
Little breath to waste is ours

On the road to lovers' land.
Time is in his dungeon-keep!

Ah, not thither, lest he hear,
Starting from his old gray sleep,
Rosy feet upon the stair.

II

Ah, not thither, lest he heed

Ere we reach the rusty door !
Nay, the stairways only lead

Back to his dark world once more :
There's a merrier way we know

Leading to a lovelier night
See, your casement all a-glow

Diamonding the wonder-light.

ra

Fling the flowery lattice wide,
Let the silken ladder down,
[ 21 ]



THE LOVERS' FLIGHT

Swiftly to the garden glide

Glimmering in your long white gown,
Rosy from your pillow, sweet,

Come, unsandalled and divine;
Let the blossoms stain your feet

And the stars behold them shine.

IV

Swift, our pawing palfreys wait,

And the page Dan Cupid frets,
Holding at the garden gate

Reins that chime like castanets,
Bits a-foam with fairy flakes

Flung from seas whence Venus rose:
Come, for Father Time awakes

And the star of morning glows.



Swift one satin foot shall sway

Half a heart-beat in my hand,
Swing to stirrup and swift away

Down the road to lovers' land:
Ride the moon is dusky gold,

Ride our hearts are young and warm,
Ride the hour is growing old,

And the next may break the charm.
[ 22 ]



THE LOVERS' FLIGHT

VI

Swift, ere we that thought the song

Full for others of the truth,
We that smiled, contented, strong,

Dowered with endless wealth of youth,
Find that like a summer cloud

Youth indeed has crept away,
Find the robe a clinging shroud

And the hair be-sprent with gray.

VII

Ride we'll leave it all behind,

All the turmoil and the tears,
All the mad, vindictive blind

Yelping of the heartless years!
Ride the ringing world's in chase,

Yet we've slipped old Father Time,
By the love-light in your face

And the jingle of this rhyme.

vra

Ride for still the hunt is loud !

Ride our steeds can hold their own !
Yours, a satin sea-wave, proud,

Queen, to be your living throne,
[ 23 ]



THE LOVERS' FLIGHT

Glittering with the foam and fire

Churned from seas whence Venus rose,

Tow'rds the gates of our desire
Gloriously burning flows.

IX

He, with streaming flanks a-smoke,

Needs no spur of blood-stained steel:
Only that soft thudding stroke

Once, o' the little satin heel,
Drives his mighty heart, your slave,

Bridled with these bells of rhyme,
Onward, like a crested wave

Thundering out of hail of Time.



On, till from a rosy spark

Fairy-small as gleams your hand,
Broadening as we cleave the dark,

Dawn the gates of lovers' land,
Nearing, sweet, till breast and brow

Lifted through the purple night
Catch the deepening glory now

And your eyes the wonder-light.

[24]



THE LOVERS' FLIGHT

XI

E'en as tow'rd your face I lean

Swooping nigh the gates of bliss
I the king and you the queen

Crown each other with a kiss
Riding, soaring like a song

Burn we tow'rds the heaven above,
You the sweet and I the strong

And in both the fire of love.

XII

Ride though now the distant chase

Knows that we have slipped old Time,
Lift the love-light of your face,

Shake the bridle of this rhyme,
See, the flowers of night and day

Streaming past on either hand,
Ride into the eternal May,

Ride into the lovers' land.



[25]



THE ROCK POOL

i

BRIGHT as a fallen fragment of the sky,
Mid shell-encrusted rocks the sea-pool shone,
Glassing the sunset-clouds in its clear heart,
A small enchanted world enwalled apart

In diamond mystery,

Content with its own dreams, its own strict zone
Of urchin woods, its fairy bights and bars,
Its daisy-disked anemones and rose-feathered stars.

II

Forsaken for a while by that deep roar

Which works in storm and calm the eternal will,

Drags down the cliffs, bids the great hills go by

And shepherds their multitudinous pageantry,
Here, on this ebb-tide shore,

A jewelled bath of beauty, sparkling still,
The little sea-pool smiled away the sea,
And slept on its own plane of bright tranquillity.

[26]



THE ROCK POOL

in

A self-sufficing soul, a pool in trance,

Un-stirred by all the spirit-winds that blow

From o'er the gulfs of change, content, ere yet

On its own crags, which rough peaked limpets fret
The last rich colors glance,

Content to mirror the sea-bird's wings of snow,
Or feel in some small creek, ere sunset fails,
A tiny Nautilus hoist its lovely purple sails ;

IV

And, furrowing into pearl that rosy bar,

Sail its own soul from fairy fringe to fringe,
Lured by the twinkling prey 'twas born to reach
In its own pool, by many an elfin beach
Of jewels, adventuring far

Through the last mirrored cloud and sunset-tinge
And past the rainbow-dripping cave where lies
The dark green pirate-crab at watch with beaded
eyes,

v

Or fringed Medusa floats like light in light,

Medusa, with the loveliest of all fays
Pent in its irised bubble of jellied sheen,
Trailing long ferns of moon-light, shot with green
And crimson rays and white,
[2 7 ]



THE ROCK POOL

Waving ethereal tendrils, ghostly sprays,
Daring the deep, dissolving in the sun,
The vanishing point of life, the light whence life
begun,

VI

Poised between life, light, time, eternity,

So tinged with all, that in its delicate brain
Kindling it as a lamp with her bright wings
Day-long, night-long, young Ariel sits and sings

Echoing the lucid sea,
Listening it echo her own unearthly strain,

Watching through lucid walls the world's rich tide,
One light, one substance with her own, rise and
subside.

vn

And over soft brown woods, limpid, serene,

Puffing its fans the Nautilus went its way,
And from a hundred salt and weedy shelves
Peered little horned faces of sea-elves:

The prawn darted, half-seen,
Thro' watery sunlight, like a pale green ray,

And all around, from soft green waving bowers,
Creatures like fruit out-crept from fluted shells
like flowers.

[28]



THE ROCK POOL

vni

And, over all, that glowing mirror spread
The splendor of its heaven-reflecting gleams,

A level wealth of tints, calm as the sky

That broods above our own mortality :
The temporal seas had fled,

And ah, what hopes, what fears, what mystic dreams
Could ruffle it now from any deeper deep ?
Content in its own bounds it slept a changeless sleep.

IX

Suddenly, from that heaven beyond belief,
Suddenly, from that world beyond its ken,

Dashing great billows o'er its rosy bars

Shivering its dreams into a thousand stars,
Flooding each sun-dried reef

With waves of color, (as once, for mortal men
Bethesda's angel) with blue eyes, wide and wild,
Naked into the pool there stepped a little child.



Her red-gold hair against the far green sea

Blew thickly out : her slender golden form
Shone dark against the richly waning west
As with one hand she splashed her glistening breast,
[ 29 ]



THE ROCK POOL

Then waded up to her knee

And frothed the whole pool into a fairy storm ! . . .
So, stooping through our skies, of old, there came
Angels that once could set this world's dark pool
a-flame,

XI

From which the seas of faith have ebbed away,
Leaving the lonely shore too bright, too bare,
While mirrored softly in the smooth wet sand
A deeper sunset sees its blooms expand

But all too phantom-fair,

Between the dark brown rocks and sparkling spray
Where the low ripples pleaded, shrank and sighed,
And tossed a moment's rainbow heavenward ere
they died.

XII

Stoop, starry souls, incline to this dark coast,

Where all too long, too faithlessly, we dream.
Stoop to the world's dark pool, its crags and scars,
Its yellow sands, its rosy harbor-bars,

And soft green wastes that gleam
But with some glorious drifting god-like ghost
Of cloud, some vaguely passionate crimson stain:
Rend the blue waves of heaven, shatter our sleep
again !

[ 30]



THE ISLAND HAWK

(A SONG FOR THE FIRST LAUNCHING OF HIS
MAJESTY'S AERIAL NAVY.)

i

Chorus

Ships have swept with my conquering name

Over the waves of war,
Swept thro 1 the Spaniards' thunder and flame

To the splendor of Trafalgar:
On the blistered decks of their great renown,

In the wind of my storm-beat wings,
Hawkins and Hawke went sailing down
To the harbor of deep-sea kings!

By the storm-beat wings of the hawk, the hawk,

Bent beak and pitiless breast,
They clove their way thro' the red sea-fray:
Who wakens me now to the quest?

II

Hushed are the whimpering winds oa the hill,

Dumb is the shrinking plain,
And the songs that enchanted the woods are still

As I shoot to the skies again !



THE ISLAND HAWK

Does the blood grow black on my fierce bent beak,

Does the down still cling to my claw ?
Who brightened these eyes for the prey they seek ?
Life, I follow thy law !

For I am the hawk, the hawk, the hawk!

Who knoweth my pitiless breast?
Who watcheth me sway in the wild wind's way\
Flee flee for I quest, I guest.

in

As I glide and glide with my peering head,

Or swerve at a puff of smoke,
Who watcheth my wings on the wind outspread,

Here gone with an instant stroke ?
Who toucheth the glory of life I feel

As I buffet this great glad gale,
Spire and spire to the cloud-world, wheel,


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