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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




^



/.^



GRASS OF PARNASSUS



V/ORKS BY ANDREW LANG.



MYTH, RITUAL, AND RELIGION. 2 vols,
crown 8vo. 21s.

CUSTOM AND MYTH ; Studies of Early Usage
and Belief. With 15 Illustrations. Crown
8vo. js. 6d.

LETTERS TO DEAD AUTHORS. Fcp. 8vo.

BOOKS AND BOOKMEN. With 2 Coloured
Plates and 17 Illustrations. Crown Svo. 6.r. 6d.

GRASS OF PARNASSUS. A Volume of
Selected Verses. Fcp. Svo. 6s.

LETTERS ON LITERATURE. Fcp. Svo.
6s. 6d.

BALLADS OF BOOKS. Edited by Andrew
Lang. Fcp. Svo. 6s.

JOHNNY NUT AND THE GOLDEN
GOOSE. Done into English by Andrew
Lang, from the French of Charles Deulin.
Illustrated by Am. Lynen. Royal Svo. 10s. 6d.
gilt edges.

London : LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO.



I



GRASS OF PARNASSUS

RHYMES OLD AND NEW

BY ANDREW LANG



LONDON
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

AND NEW YORK : 15 EAST 16'" STREET
1888

Ail rights reserved



PRINTED BY

SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE

LONDON






• • • • » • "






§






i



CONTENTS



DEEDS OF MEN



PAGE



Seekers for a City 3

The White Pacha 6

Midnight, January 25, 1886 8

Advance, Australia 9

Colonel Burnaby 11

Melville and Coghill 12

i RHODOCLEIA

To Rhodocleia 15



AVE
-<

Clevedon Church 21

*Twilight on Tweed 23

'Metempsychosis 25

•Lost in Hades 26

•A Star in the Night 27

*A Sunset on Yarrow 28

Another Way 29



' if

Jr.



CONTENTS



*HESPERO THEN

PAGE

The Seekers for Ph^acia 33

A Song of Ph/Eacia 35

The Departure from Ph^eacia 37

A Ballad of Departure 39

They Hear the Sirens for the Second Time .... 40

Circe's Isle Revisited 42

The Limit of Lands 44

VERSES

Martial in Town 49

April on Tweed 51

Tired of Towns 53

Scythe Song; 55

Pen and Ink 56

A Dream 58

The Singing Rose 59

A Review in Rhyme 62

•Colinette 63

•A Sunset of Watteau 63

•Nightingale Weather 67

•Love and Wisdom 69

•GOOD-BVE 71

•An Old Prayer 73

•A LA Belle H^l^ne 7^

•Sylvie et Aurelie 76

•A Lost Path 78

•The Shade of Helen 79



CONTENTS



SONNETS

PAGE

She 83

Herodotus in Egypt 84

•GERARD DE Nerval 85

•RONSARD 86

•Love's 'Miracle 87

•Dreams 88

♦Two Sonnets of the Sirens 89

TRANSLA TIONS

*Hymn to the Winds 93

•Moonlight 94

•The Grave and the Rose 95

*A Vow to Heavenly Venus 96

•Of His Lady's Old Age 97

•Shadows of His Lady 98

•April 99

•An Old Tune 103

•Old Loves 104

•A Lady of High Degree 106

'Iannoula 108

•The Milk White Doe 109

Heliodore 112

The Prophet 113

Lais "4

Clearista IIS

The Fisherman's Tomb 116

Of His Death 117



CONTENTS



PAGE
Rhodope Il8

To A Girl 119

To THE Ships 120

A Late Convert 121

The Limit of Life 122

To Daniel Elzevir 123

THE LAST CHANCE
The Last Chance 127



GRASS OF PARNASSUS.

4

TyALE star that by the lochs of Galloway,

In wet green places ^twixt the depth and height
Dost keep thine hour while Autumn ebbs away.
When now the vioors have doffed the heather bright,
Grass of Parnassus, floiver of my delight.
How gladly with the unpermitted bay —
Garlands not mine, and leaves that not decay —
How gladly would I twine thee if I might 1

The bays are out of reach ! But far below
The peaks forbiddett of the Muses' Hill,

Grass of Parnassus, thy returning snow
Between September and October chill

Doth speak to me of Autumns long ago.
And these kind faces that are xvith me still.



I



MANY of the verses and translations in this volume
were published first in Ballads and Lyrics of Old
France (1872). Though very sensible that they have the
demerits of imitative and even of undergraduate rhyme,
I print them again because people I like have liked them.
The rest are of different dates, and lack (though doubt-
less they need) the excuse of having been written, like
some of the earlier pieces, during College Lectures. I
would gladly have added to this volume what other more
or less serious rhymes I have written, but circumstances
over which I have no control have bound them up with
Ballades, and other toys of that sort.

It may be as well to repeat in prose, what has already
been said in verse, that Grass of Parnassus, the pretty
Autumn flower, grows in the marshes at the foot of the
Muses' Hill, and other hills, not at the top by any means.

Several of the versions from the Greek Anthology
have been published in the Fortnightly Review, and the
sonnet on Colonel Burnaby appeared in Punch. These,
with pieces from other serials, are reprinted by the
courteous permission of the Editors.

The verses that were published in Ballades and Lyrics,
and in Ballades and Verses Vain (Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York), are marked in the contents with an asterisk.



TO

E. M. S.



Primd dicta tnihi, surnma dicenda Came>iii~



The^years will pass, and hearts wiil range,

You conquer Time, and Care, and Change,

Though Time doth still delight to shed

The dust on many a younger head ;

Though Care, oft coming, hath the guile

From younger lips to steal the smile ;

Though Change makes younger hearts wax cold.

And sells new loves for loves of old,

Time, Change, nor Care, hath learned the art

To fleck your hair, to chill your heart,

To touch your tresses with the snow.

To mar your mirth of long ago.

Change, Care, nor Time, while life endure.

Shall spoil our ancient friendship sure,

The love which flows from sacred springs.

In 'old unhappy far-off things,'

From sympathies in grief and joy,

Through all the years of man and boy.

Therefore, to you, the rhymes I strung

When even this ' brindled ' head was young

I bring, and later rhymes 1 bring

That flit upon as weak a wing.

But still for you, for yours, they sing '.



DEEDS OF MEN

SeiSe 5' &pa Kksa av^pSiv



4



TO

COLONEL IAN HAMILTON



To you, who know the face of war,

You, that for England wander far,

You that have seen the Ghazis fly

From English lads not sworn to die,

You that have lain where, deadly chill.

The mist crept o'er the Shameful Hill,

You that have conquered, mile by mile.

The currents of unfriendly Nile,

And cheered the march, and eased the strain

When Politics made valour vain,

Ian, to you, from banks of Ken,

We send our lays of Englishmen !



SEEKERS .FOR A CITY.

4

' Belieye me, if that blissful, that beautiful place, were set on a hill visible to
all the world, I should long ago have journeyed thither. . . . But the number
and variety of the ways ! For you know, There is but one road that leads
to Corinth: HERMOTIMUS (Mr. Pater's Version).

The Poet says, dtar city 0/ Cecrops, and wilt thou not say, dear city of
Zeus?' M. Antoninus.



'T^O Corinth leads one road, you say :

Is there a Corinth, or a way ?
Each bland or blatant preacher hath
His painful or his primrose path,
And not a soul of all of these
But knows the city 'twixt the seas,
Her fair unnumbered homes and all
Her gleaming amethystine wall !

Blind are the guides who know the way,
The guides who write, and preach, and pray,
I watch their lives, and I divine
They differ not from yours and mine !

One man we knew, and only one,
Whose seeking for a city 's done,



DEEDS OF MEN

&et5i 5' apa K\ea ai/SpHv



4



TO
COLONEL IAN HAMILTON



To you, who know the face of war,

You, that for England wander far,

You that have seen the Ghazis fly

From English lads not sworn to die.

You that have lain where, deadly chill.

The mist crept o'er the Shameful Hill,

You that have conquered, mile by mile,

The currents of unfriendly Nile,

And cheered the march, and eased the strain

When Politics made valour vain,

Ian, to you, from banks of Ken,

We send our lays of Englishmen !



SEEKERS .FOR A CITY.

' Beliere me, if that blissful, that beautiful place, were set on a hill visible to
all the world, I should long ago have journeyed thither. . . . But the number
and variety of the ways I For you know, There is but one road that Uads
to Corinth: Hermotimus (Mr. Pater's Version).

The Poet says, dear city of Cecrops, and wilt thou not say, dear city of
Zeus I' M. Antoninus.



'T^ Corinth leads one road, you say :

Is there a Corinth, or a way ?
Each bland or blatant preacher hath
His painful or his primrose path,
And not a soul of all of these
But knows the city 'twixt the seas,
Her fair unnumbered homes and all
Her gleaming amethystine wall !

Blind are the guides who know the way,
The guides who write, and preach, and pray,
I watch their lives, and I divine
They differ not from yours and mine !

One man we knew, and only one.
Whose seeking for a city 's done,



SEEKERS FOR A CITY



For what he greatly sought he found,

A city girt with fire around,

A city in an empty land

Between the wastes of sky and sand,

A city on a river-side,

Where by the folk he loved, he died.'

Alas ! it is not ours to tread
That path wherein his life he led,
Not ours his heart to dare and feel,
Keen as the fragrant Syrian steel ;
Yet are we not quite city-less,
Not wholly left in our distress —
Is it not said by One of old.
Sheep have I of another fold ?
Ah ! faint of heart, and weak of will,
For us there is a city still !

Dear city of Zeus, the Stoic says,^
The Voice from Rome's imperial days.
In Thee meet all things, and disperse,
In Thee, for Thee, Universe !
To me all ^s fruit thy seasons bring.
Alike thy summer and thy spring;
The winds that zvail, the suns that burn,
From Thee proceed, to Thee return.

January tC, 1885. ' M. Aotoninus, iv. 23.



SEEKERS FOR A C/TV



Dear city of Zeus, shall we not say,
Home to which none can lose the way !
Born in that city's flaming bound,
We do not find her, but are found.
Within her wide and viewless wall
The Universe is girdled all.
AH joys and pains, all wealth and dearth,
All things that travail on the earth,
God's will they work, if God there be,
If not, what is my life to me ?

Seek we no further, but abide
Within this city great and wide.
In her and for her living, we
Have no less joy than to be free ;
Nor death nor grief can quite appal
The folk that dwell within her wall,
Nor aught but with our will befall !



THE WHITE PACHA



THE WHITE PACHA.

T TAIN is the dream ! However Hope may rave,
• He perished with the folk he could not save,
And though none surely told us he is dead,
And though perchance another in his stead,
Another, not less brave, when all was done,
Had fled unto the southward and the sun.
Had urged a way by force, or won by guile
To streams remotest of the secret Nile,
Had raised an army of the Desert men.
And, waiting for his hour, had turned again
And fallen on that False Prophet, yet we know
Gordon is dead, and these things are not so !
Nay, not for England's cause, nor to restore
Her trampled flag— for he loved Honour more —
Nay, not for Life, Revenge, or Victory,
Would he have fled, whose hour had dawned to die.
He will not come again, whate'er our need.
He will not come, who is happy, being freed
From the deathly flesh and perishable things,
And lies of statesmen and rewards of kings.



'



THE WHITE PACHA



Nay, somewhere by the sacred River's shore
He sleeps like those who shall return no more,
No more return for all the prayers of men —
Arthur and Charles — they never come again !
They shall not wake, though fair the vision seem :
WTiate'er sick Hope may whisper, vain the dream !



MIDNIGHT, JANUARY 25, 18S6



MIDNIGHT, JANUARY 25, 1886.

TO-MORROW is a year since Gordon died !
A year ago to-nightj the Desert still
Crouched on the spring, and panted for its fill
Of lust and blood. Their old art statesmen plied,
And paltered, and evaded, and denied ;
Guiltless as yet, except for feeble will,
And craven heart, and calculated skill
In long delays, of their great homicide.

A year ago to-night 'twas not too late.

The thought comes through our mirth, again, again ;
Methinks I hear the halting foot of Fate

Approaching and approaching us ; and then
Comes cackle of the House, and the Debate !

Enough ; he is forgotten amongst men.



ADVANCE, AUSTRALIA



ADVANCE, AUSTRALIA.

ON THE OFFER OF HELP FROM THE AUSTRALIANS
AFTER THE FALL OF KHARTOUM.



SONS of the giant Ocean isle
In sport our friendly foes for long,
Well England loves you, and we smile
When you outmatch us many a while,
So fleet you are, so keen and strong.

You, like that fairy people set

Of old in their enchanted sea
Far off from men, might well forget
An elder nation's toil and fret.

Might heed not aught but game and glee.

But what your fathers were you are
In lands the fathers never knew,

'Neath skies of alien sign and star

You rally to the English war ;

Your hearts are English, kind and true.



ADVANCE, AUSTRALIA



And now, when first on England falls

The shadow of a darkening fate,
You hear the Mother ere she calls,
You leave your ocean-girdled walls,
And face her foemen in the gate.



COLONEL BURNABY



COLONEL BURNABY.

• Ktiao ii.iya<; /nfyaAwdrl, AcAacr/xeVos I7rjt0(7u>'d(o»'.

' I ^HOU that on every field of earth and sky
-^ Didst hunt for Death, who seemed to flee and fear,
How great and greatly fallen dost thou lie

Slain in the Desert by some wandering spear :
' Not here, alas ! ' may England say, ' not here

Nor in this quarrel was it meet to die,

But in that dreadful battle drawing nigh
To thunder through the Afghan passes sheer :

Like Aias by the ships shouldst thou have stood,
And in some glen have stayed the stream of flight.
The bulwark of thy people and their shield.

When Indus or when Helmund ran with blood.
Till back into the Northland and the Night
The smitten Eagles scattered from the field. '



MELVILLE AND COGHILL



MELVILLE AND COGHILL.
(the place of the little hand.)

DEAD, with their eyes to the foe,
Dead, with the foe at their feet.
Under the sky laid low

Truly their slumber is sweet.
Though the wind from the Camp of the Slain Men blow,
And the rain on the wilderness beat.

Dead, for they chose to die

When that wild race was run ;
Dead, for they would not fly,

Deeming their work undone,
Nor cared to look on the face of the sky.

Nor loved the light of the sun.

Honour we give them and tears.

And the flag they died to save,
Rent from the rain of the spears,

Wet from the war and the wave.
Shall waft men's thoughts through the dust of the years,

Back to their lonely grave !



RHODOCLEIA



TO RHODOCLEIA

ON HER MELANCHOLY SINGING.



(Rhodocleia was beloved by Ruiinus, one of the late poets of the
Greek Antholo^.)



STILL, Rhodocleia, brooding on the dead,
Still singing of the meads of asphodel.
Lands desolate of delight ?
Say, hast thou dreamed of, or remembered.
The shores where shadows dwell.

Nor know the sun, nor see the stars of night ?

There, 'midst thy music, doth thy spirit gaze

As a girl pines for home,

Looking along the way that she hath come.
Sick to return, and counts the weary days !
So wouldst thou flee

Back to the multitude whose days are done,
Wouldst taste the fruit that lured Persephone,
The sacrament of death ; and die, and be

No more in the wind and sun !



'6 TO RHODOCLEIA



Thou hast not dreamed it, but remembered !

I know thou hast been there,
Hast seen the stately dwellings of the dead

Rise in the twilight air,
And crossed the shadowy bridge the spirits tread,

And climbed the golden stair !

Nay, by thy cloudy hair

And lips that were so fair.
Sad lips now mindful of some ancient smart,

And melancholy eyes, the haunt of Care,
I know thee who thou art !

That Rhodocleia, Glory of the Rose,
Of Hellas, ere her close,

That Rhodocleia who, when all was done

The golden time of Greece, and fallen her sun,
Swayed her last poet's heart.

With roses did he woo thee, and with song.

With thine own rose, and with the lily sweet,
The dark-eyed violet.
Garlands of wind-flowers wet,
And fragrant love-lamps that the whole night long

Burned till the dawn was burning in the skies,
Praising thy golden eyes,
And feet more silvery than Thetis' feet!



TO RHODOCLEIA xj



But thou didst die and flit

Among the tribes outworn,

The unavailing myriads of the past :

Oft he beheld thy face in dreams of morn,
And, waking, wept for it.

Till his own time came at last,

And then he sought thee in the dusky land !
Wide are the populous places of the dead
Where souls on earth once wed

May never meet, nor each take other's hand,
Each far from the other fled !

So all in vain he sought for thee, but thou

Didst never taste of the Lethsean stream.
Nor that forgetful fruit,

The mystic pom'granate ;
But from the Mighty Warden fledst ; and now,

The fugitive of Fate,

Thou farest in our life as in a dream,
Still wandering with thy lute.
Like that sweet paynim lady of old song.
Who sang and wandered long.

For love of her Aucassin, seeking him !
So with thy minstrelsy

Thou roamest, dreaming of the country dim,
Below the veiled sky !

c



i8 TO RHODOCLEIA

There doth thy lover dwell,

Singing, and seeking still to find thy face
In that forgetful place :

Thou shalt not meet him here,
Not till thy singing clear
Through all the murmur of the streams of hell

Wins to the Maiden's ear !
May she, perchance, have pity on thee and call

Thine eager spirit to sit beside her feet,
Passing throughout the long unechoing hall
Up to the shadowy throne,

Where the lost lovers of the ages meet ;
Till then thou art alone !



AVE



' Our Faith and Troth
All time and space controules
Above the highest sphere we meet
Unseen, unknowne, and greet as Angels greet'

Col. Richard Lovelace. 1649



CLEVEDON CHURCH.

In Memoriam
H. B.



WESTWARD I watch the low green hills of Wales,
The low sky silver grey,
The turbid Channel with the wandering sails

Moans through the winter day.
There is no colour but one ashen light

On tower and lonely tree,
The little church upon the windy height

Is grey as sky or sea.
But there hath he that woke the sleepless Love

Slept through these fifty years,
There is the grave that has been wept above

With more than mortal tears.
And far below I hear the Channel sweep

And all his waves complain,
As Hallam's dirge through all the years must keep

Its monotone of pain.



CLEVEDON CHURCH



Grey sky, brown waters, as a bird that flies,

My heart flits forth from these
Back to the winter rose of northern skies,

Back to the northern seas.
And lo, the long waves of the ocean beat

Below the minster grey,
Caverns and chapels worn of saintly feet,

And knees of them that pray.
And I remember me how twain were one

Beside that ocean dim,
I count the years passed over since the sun

That lights me looked on him,
And dreaming of the voice that, save in sleep,

Shall greet me not again.
Far, far below I hear the Channel sweep

And all his waves complain.



TWILIGHT ON TWEED



TWILIGHT ON TWEED.

THREE crests against the saffron sky,
Beyond the purpl^ plain,
The kind remembered melody
Of Tweed once more again.

Wan water from the border hills,

Dear voice from the old years,
Thy distant music lulls and stills.

And moves to quiet tears.

Like a loved ghost thy fabled flood
Fleets through the dusky land ;

Where Scott, come home to die, has stood.
My feet returning stand.

A mist of memory broods and floats.

The Border waters flow ;
The air is full of ballad notes.

Borne out of long ago.



24 TWILIGHT ON TWEED

Old songs that sung themselves to me,

Sweet through a boy's day dream,
While trout below the blossom'd tree

Plashed in the golden stream.

*****
Twilight, and Tweed, and Eildon Hill,

Fair and too fair you be ;
You tell me that the voice is still

That should have welcomed me.

1870.



METEMPSYCHOSIS 95



I



METEMPSYCHOSIS.



SHALL not see thee, nay, but I shall know



Perchance, the grey eyes in another's eyes,
Shall guess thy curls in gracious locks that flow
On purest brows, yea, and the swift surmise
Shall follow and track, and find thee in disguise
Of all sad things, and fair, where sunsets glow,
When through the scent of heather, faint and low,
The weak wind whispers to the day that dies.

From all sweet art, and out of all old rhyme.
Thine eyes and lips are light and song to me ;

The shadows of the beauty of all time.
In song or story are but shapes of thee ;

Alas, the shadowy shapes ! ah, sweet my dear,
Shall life or death bring all thy being near ?



26 LOST IN HADES



LOST IN HADES.

I DREAMED that somewhere in the shadowy place,
Grief of farewell unspoken was forgot
In welcome, and regret remembered not ;
And hopeless prayer accomplished turned to praise
On lips that had been songless many days ;
Hope had no more to hope for, and desire
And dread were overpast, in white attire
New bom we walked among the new world's ways.

Then from the press of shades a spirit threw
Towards me such apples as these gardens bear ;

And turning, I was 'ware of her, and knew
And followed her fleet voice and flying hair, —

Followed, and found her not, and seeking you
I found you never, dearest, anywhere.



A STAR JN THE NIGHT 37



A STAR IN THE NIGHT.

THE perfect piteous beauty of thy face
Is like a star the dawning drives away ;
Mine eyes may never see in the bright day
Thy pallid halo, thy supernal grace ;
But in the night from forth the silent place
Thou comest, dim in dreams, as doth a stray
Star of the starry flock that in the grey
Is seen, and lost, and seen a moment's space.

And as the earth at night turns to a star,
Loved long ago, and dearer than the sun,

So in the spiritual place afar.

At night our souls are mingled and made one.

And wait till one night fall, and one dawn rise.

That brings no noon too splendid for your eyes.



28 A SUNSET ON YARROW



A SUNSET ON YARROW.

THE wind and the day had lived together,
They died together, and far away \

Spoke farewell in the sultry weather,
Out of the sunset, over the heather,
The dying wind and the dying day.

Far in the south, the summer levin

Flushed, a flame in the grey soft air :
We seemed to look on the hills of heaven ;
You saw within, but to me 'twas given

To see your face, as an angel's, there.

Never again, ah surely never

Shall we wait and watch, where of old we stood.
The low good -night of the hill and the river,
The faint light fade, and the wan stars quiver,

Twain grown one in the solitude.



/



ANOTHER WAY 2,



ANOTHER WAY.

/^OME to me in my dreams, and then.

One saith, / shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Nay, come not thoti in dreams, my sweet,
With shadowy robes, and silent feet,
And with the voice, and with the eyes
That greet me in a soft surprise.

Last night, last night, in dreams we met,
And how, to-day, shall I forget.
Or how, remembering, restrain
Mine incommunicable pain ?

Nay, where thy land and people are,
Dwell thou remote, apart, afar,
Nor mingle with the shapes that sweep
The melancholy ways of Sleep.

But if, perchance, the shadows breat,
If dreams depart, and men awake,
If face to face at length we see,
Be thine the voice to welcome me.



HESPEROTHEN



By the example of certain Grecian mariners, who, being
safely returned from the war about Troy, leave yet again
their old lands and gods, seeking they know not what, and
choosing neither to abide in the fair Phasacian island, nor
to dwell and die with the Sirens, at length end miserably in
a desert country by the sea, is set forth the Vanity of
Melancholy. And by the land of Phaeacia is to be under-
stood the place of Art and of fair Pleasures ; and by Circe's
Isle, the place of bodily delights, whereof men, falling
aweary, attain to Eld, and to the darkness of that age.
Which thing Master Fran9oys Rabelais feigned, under the
similitude of the Isle of the Macraeones.



THE SEEKERS FOR PHiEACIA.



/



THERE is a land in the remotest day,
WTiere the soft night is born, and sunset dies ;
The eastern shore sees faint tides fade away.

That wash the lands where laughter, tears, and sighs
Make life,— the lands below the blue of common skies.

But in the west is a mysterious sea,

(What sails have seen it, or what shipmen known ?)
With coasts enchanted where the Sirens be,

With islands where a Goddess walks alone.
And in the cedar trees the magic winds make moan.

Eastward the human cares of house and home,
Cities, and ships, and unknown gods, and loves ;

Westward, strange maidens fairer than the foam.
And lawless lives of men, and haunted groves,

Wherein a god may dwell, and where the Dryad roves.

The gods are careless of the days and death


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Online LibraryAndrew LangGrass of Parnassus : rhymes old and new → online text (page 1 of 4)