Charles George Douglas Roberts.

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Galloping hoofs through a Summer land.

Nay, good writer, 't was but a dream

The wind gone daft or thy nerves unstrung.

Nay, dear boy, it was but a trick

Of the Summer-wind, who is ever young.


These fading smoke-wreaths hold them all
The dawns and dreams gone by,

The lights and shadows on the wall,
The gleams of open sky,

And all the vague, elusive things
That haunt the halls of life

With sense of vast o'ershadowing wings
And rumourings of strife.

How this small bowl of ruddy fire
Can people all the room

Northland Lyrics

With strangers from the realm Desire,
Beyond the gulfs of Doom,

Till all about me in the dusk

The silence is astir
With gleam of steel and breath of musk

And frankincense and myrrh,

While dream, adown the shifting breath
Of myth and love and war,

Lures from the hollow vault of death
Wild hearts that beat no more j

And Roland's bugle, through the night
Sends forth its far weird fall

Where weltering and dense the fight
Goes over Roncevalles.

Joan of Arc, and Heloise,

Swan Helen, fatal star,
And Dante's deep-eyed Beatrice

Go through the dusk afar ;

King Arthur of the weary quest,

Excalibur in hand,
Flashes, where 'er is sorest prest

His lion-hearted band ;


Northland Lyrics

The joy of battle fierce and strong
Drifts through the deathly bars

While clash and swing of sword and song
Clang up among the stars,

And strange wild sagas of the North
Pulse fire through all my veins

As where across the sky go forth

The Weird Light's shaken skeins ;

Then slowly, as my pipe burns low
Enchantments pale and fade,

Till, in the ash of long ago

The last dear ghost is laid.


In mind's subconscious waters black and vast
On which thought's lifting laboured spans are cast
What blind germs wait the mystic touch at last.

There, teeming, blind, below the coasts of dream,
The pregnant voiceless currents drift and stream,
With doom and dread and rapture in their gleam.

With here, to bloom when I shall touch your hand,
Through bourneless darkness drifting for no strand,
A scarlet magic seed from some far land.


Northland Lyrics

And here, survivors from old worlds undone,
Strange thought-germs latent till a fiercer sun
Shall thrill them with eternity begun.

Valours and visions, impulse, dream, and strife,
Old ethnic currents through the core of life,
With these the gravid sunless deeps are rife.


A snow-swirl from the bitter blast of life,
A wavering flame before the winds of death,
A soul beat upward toward the feet of God.

With blind desire he battered against space,
And with the heartache of a child come home
He shook with anguish at the frozen door.

Sealed with the freezings of oblivion

The looming shadowy gates of God's abode

In awful silence stirred not to his cry.

And then a voice woke very far away
Saying, " You may not win to that pure light
Wherein the fulness of all joy abides

" Till you have won its shadow upon earth,
That white and strangest of all mysteries,
The perfect wonder of a woman's love."

Northland Lyrics

The grey and aching vision of the gate
Wavered before him. With unuttered cry
He shivered outward where the darkness leered.


The song I heard at the river's bend,
Mellowed across the foaming " rip,"

That night in June when my pulses stirred
To the dream my heart let slip,

This is all I remember now

When the bees come back to the linden bough.

The song I heard and the face I saw
While through the dusk I loping sped

Like some grey wraith the winds rrftght draw
Across the sunset's red ;

This is all I remember now

When June has sweetened the linden bough.

I heard her scream as I passed the door,
The low log doorway where she stood;

It blended and passed with the rapid's roar
As I plunged through the hollow wood ;

And my heart grows wild with the memory now

When the bees are back on the linden bough.


Northland Lyrics

Fierce gods who made me half man, half brute,
Why add this bitter last touch to my pain ?

Am I less than the reddening willow-shoot
You soothe in the white spring-rain ?

Yet me you torture to madness now

With the bloom and the bees on the linden bough.


Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !
Through the green, bird-haunted valley,
Through the brook-bright, windy meadow,
Through the dim mysterious forest,

All the birds are calling thee ;
All the brooks their voices rally,

Shout thy name through sun and shadow,
Cry, " Bring back the light thou borest
From our fields, Astore Machree " !
Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !

Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !
In the land where now thou strayest
Have the sombre hills grown brighter,
Have the birds a richer singing,

Since thy lovely soul is there ?
Surely, surely skies the greyest,

Hearts the saddest, must grow lighter,

Northland Lyrics

Where thy tender voice is, bringing

Blessed dreams and visions fair.

Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !

Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !
Ah return to those who call thee,
Come once more to us who wander
Through the ways thou leavest lonely,

Vales that wait for love and thee :
Let no stranger-lands enthrall thee,
Dream no foreign hearts are fonder
Than the heart that longs for only

Thy low voice. Ah come, Machree !
Kathaleena ! Kathaleena !


Rosemarie plays in the firelight's blaze,
Her shadow is dark on the wall,

Her eyes are dim with a dream of him ;
(Ah how the storm-winds call.)

He will come to-night in the storm's despite,-

(Dark is the woodland way),
She hears the beat of his horses' feet,

In her heart there is holiday.


Northland Lyrics

More rich, more clear, as the hour draws near,

The clangorous keys rejoice ;
In her jubilant heart such thoughts upstart,

And music finds them a voice.

Of those eyes she dreams where the love-light gleams

Warm as the heart of June,
On her lips the while the slow sweet smile

Grows glad with the golden tune.

What the white storm hides in its drifting tides

Will the eyes of dawn betray ?
The cold wind calls from the mountain walls,

Dark is the woodland way.

Ah sweet, dream on till the night is gone

And the tender hope is dead ;
In those dearest eyes the death-chill lies,

There is snow on that shining head.


Because his dream was fair,

His life not so,
He turned from his despair,

To go.

Because his light was dim,
The night so wide,
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Northland Lyrics

He yielded to his whim
And died.

But when his heart had rest

Beneath the sod
There came to him this test

From God :

The one he loved in vain
To where he slept

Came through the Autumn rain,
And wept.

Then all his fancied peace
Returned to strife ;

He groaned for his release
To life.


Though Death has claimed my dust

For the earth's need,
Lent me a while on trust

By flower and seed ;

Though Failure clutched me in

His iron hand
With that old look and grin

I understand ;

Northland Lyrics

They neither can annul

Nor make accurst
The light that through my skull

Sifts still, as first

It did, when in my eyes

(Which now are none)

It woke some dear surmise
Of joy begun,

And those black frosts that stir

In the deep wood
Told me without demur

That life was good.


This rolling sea of stars
Is dust before Thy breath

Whose pleasure makes or mars
The halls of life and death.

Thy least desire is heard
Beyond the vasts of space,

And being's core is stirred
At turning of Thy face.

Northland Lyrics

The cycles of earth's years
Are phases in Thy dream

Unblurred by drift of tears,

Untouched of shade and gleam.

Yet of Thy will we are,
And children of Thy word

With every sun and star,
With every flower and bird.

Then grant we may not fail
From out Thy vision vast

When life's strong warders quail
Before death's icy blast :

But may we still aspire

To things unknown, unguessed,
More near the heart's desire

Than this poor body's quest.


Gentlemen ! comrades and friends,
We '11 forget our short purses, long woes-
We '11 all fill with port to the brim,
For I have some toasts to propose.

The ladies old sweethearts and new
The girls whom we once loved, and now :

Northland Lyrics

Marie of the glowing gold hair
And Lalage of the white brow ;

Celeste, who was married last week,
Blithe Nell, whom I 'd marry to-day
If she would write " Yes" to my prayer
And the papers would give me more pay;

The shopping-mad girls of New York
The ladies of old Acadie
The girls who are dearest to you
And the girl who is dearest to me.

Next ! The ladies whose love is true love
Not a bubble, to break at a whim
Our Mothers ! God bless them ! and here 's
Their health, to the stem from the brim.

Next ! The pens that we shake at the world
And butter our bread with buy wine
Your pen, and your pen, and your pen,
And your pen, and Will's pen, and mine.

They have stuck to us through '97,
And brought no more joy than gold-plate :
If we work for the things that we dream of
They will stick to us through '98.


Northland Lyrics

And last ! with a clinking of glasses
Here 's each to the hearts of the others,
And we swear, by the pen and the ink-pot,
To scribble, stay poor, and be brothers.


[London. if50-~\

To-night I am alone in my own chair

Before the fire that good Janette has lit

To-morrow, ere the sun is in the east,
I, who love life, will be all done with it.

And so the thoughts that I have long held down,
Of homely Devon and the mother-face,

Come surging back across my stricken soul,
And all these years of ink and town erase.

I know how tears will fill the mother-eyes,
How agony will chill her heart's soft beat,

When John takes up the news in Monday's mail
Of death, behind Paul Rober's, in Grub Street.

O God, is this reward for all her love ?

That I should cause her grief, because a girl
Who has no heart, nor soul, nor any good,

Has set me at Lord Clare with her lip's curl ?


Northland Lyrics

I, who love life, and have my work to do,
And joy to take, and little gift of rhyme,

Will leave it all for honour, at one thrust,
Before St. Paul's can see the dear sun climb.

O honour, let me curse the shape you take
And love ! I see a lady smile next week;

What matters it to her if he is dead

Who but this morning kissed her glowing cheek ?

So here am I in my familiar chair,

And, else Clare slip, I sit for my last time.

Good-night, thou dear, far Devon mother-face
Good-night, poor laughter, finery, and rhyme.


O soul above my soul,

Who art myself and more

The dream God gives to guide
From door to door,

By thy averted brow

And wistful, grieved disdain

Teach thou this crying heart
To conquer pain.

When hungry passions wake
Wild tears within my breast

Northland Lyrics

The lifting of thine eyes
Stills them to rest.

My eager hands would grasp
Desires fond and vain ;

On the far hills a voice
Wakes to restrain.

O thou unnamed, austere,
Make strong thy tyranny,

That I may never more
Long to be free ;

Else let my spirit go,

Unconscious of a choice,

Blown on by shifting winds,
Deaf to thy voice,

Until my life goes by

In joys more sharp than pain,
A core of wild sweet fire

And April rain.


Till the black-crimson petals of that night
Drew down to the gold vortex of strange dreams
My soul and body, wearied of the fight

Northland Lyrics

Of far ideals and clashing fierce desires,

I was as one struck blind by life's sweet light

And deafened by a myriad singing fires.

So was I glad when night's deep velvet rose
Closed over me and hid me from myself;
As on my northern hills the first soft snows
From grey skies brooding like an angel's wing,
Compassionate, where the last lorn maple glows,
Blot out all sad remembrances of Spring.

JEons it seemed the changing dreams went by
Sphinx-like, or smiling-eyed, or dim with tears,
While ages died along sleep's shaken sky
Where flashing lights of far-off battles streamed
And wind-swept clamors beat their way on high
Then fell on silence and I knew I dreamed.

And then, across black solemn pools of fate,
Was it some cry of your wild heart to mine
That fading left the whole world desolate
And me sob-shaken with a vain desire,
As one who beats against a granite gate
On marshlands lonely in the sunset's fire ?


Northland Lyrics


Whom the great goddess once has kissed

Between the brows
His heart shall find no dwelling-place

Wherein to house.

The ragged mists shall be his roof

Where mountains loom,
And swirling winds about his face

With words of doom ;

The valleys when he walks therein

Are kind and warm,
Yet ever drift across his soul

Strange gusts of storm.

If weary, he shall stop beside

An opened door,
Dreaming, "This hearthstone is my goal,

To wend no more."

A tumult as of snows adrift

Shall fill his ears,
His heart-strings feel the old-time lure

Adown the years,


Northland Lyrics

And he shall turn from that warm light

With still regret
That dreams were made not to endure,

Nor to forget.


Out of the dusk, wind-blown and thin,
The shadowy woodboats gather in,
And twilight hushes the harbor's din,
Sleep, little head, on my shoulder.

The gold lights wake through the evening grey
In the little village beside the bay,
And a few cold stars gleam far away,
Sleep, little head, on my shoulder.

The sailor turns his face once more
Where his sweetheart waits at the opened door.
The lone light washes the wave-swept shore,
Sleep, little head, on my shoulder.

Here where the dancing shadows swarm
Our driftwood fire is bright and warm ;
Beyond our window wakes the storm.

Then sleep, little head, on my shoulder.


Northland Lyrics


Hushed, hushed the night comes,

Day's cares are ended,
Put by your heavy thoughts,

Rest, dusk-befriended ;
Softly my voice shall weave

White webs of sleep,
Soothing you, folding you,

Peaceful and deep ;
Doubt shall fade, pain shall flee

Discord, and fear,
Just your love murmuring

Low at your ear ;
Respite and comforting

Soul-deep, profound,
Come while I build your sweet

Palace of sound ;
Gold through your drowsy brain

Star-visions gleam,
While my song makes for you

Dim walls of dream ;
Hushed, hushed the night comes,

Heart-pangs are ended,
Peace shall encompass you,

Slumber-befriended ;


Northland Lyrics

Fear not, for love is near

Ne'er to depart,
O thou long-tried and true,

Heart of my heart !


All pain, all sorrow, seem to fall

Behind us infinitely far,
What time the sleepy robins call

At Twilight's dusky bar.

Lay down your head upon my breast,

O rosy nephew golden-curled ;
Boys, birds, and flowers hush to rest,

So weary grows the world.

As slowly as the branches wave,

Singing, I rock you to and fro ;
So tune be glad, if words are grave

The baby will not know.

Far ofF and faint the chirpings sound,

Pale lights gleam out through dark'ning blue,

Soft arms of silence fold us round.
As mine are folding you.


Northland Lyrics

Small voice that twitters like the birds,
Grey eyes that hold the light of stars,

Too sleepy we for tune or words;
Let down the dreamland bars !


A fairy lamb as white as snow
Through all your dreams shall come and go,
And you shall follow where he leads,
Through dusk-deep woods and blossomy meads,
To where a little garden stands
Laid out for you by fairy hands,
Set round with red-coned tamarack,
Four walls to keep the great world back,
With lovely avenues, whose shade
From eglantine and spruce is made,
With oread ferns in shady spots,
And shoals of blue forget-me-nots,
With rows of crimson hollyhocks,
And columbine, and spicy stocks,
And other, fairer blossoms known
To folk of childlike heart alone,
The yellow lily whose romance
Grew not on any field of France,
One white, ethereal immortelle
From those lost woods we loved so well,

Northland Lyrics

And that Blue Rose whose petals gleam
So richly by the paths of dream !

O Baby, let your wee hands keep

Some flowers when you come back from sleep.


Where are the men of my heart's desire ?

Of the British blood and the loyal names ?
Some are North, at the home hearth-fire,

Where the hemlock glooms and the maple flames,
And some are tramping the old world round
For the pot of gold they have never found.

Oh, leal are the men of my heart's desire
Their fathers were leal in the days gone by

And their blood is blithe with the subtle fire
The purple breeds, and their hearts are high,

Poor, and gallant, and dear to me,

With a strong hand each, and a pedigree.

Good men are bred in the East and the West,
And ripe, true gentles in Boston town,

But the men of my blood to my blood seem best
Who still hold the honour of Mitre and Crown.

Though empty their cellars and worn their attire,

These are the men of my heart's desire.

Northland Lyrics

So, Gentles, these stumbling rhymes I send

To our spruce-clad hills, for a word of cheer,

Where there 's ever a welcome and ever a friend,
And the brown coat covers the cavalier.

Take them, I pray you, for what they are worth,

For I swear by my soul you 're the salt of the earth.



His was not the glory of the shattering of spears ;
He did not cross his sword with Death, where

scarlet flags are hurled,
But Death came to him softly, with his dark eyes

dim with tears,

And broke a dream of woodland-ways across a
singing world.

So doff your hats, good poet-men,
No ringers lift the fallen pen !
The sun forgets to mark the time
Without the music of his rhyme.

His was not the glory of the thundering of wars ;
His was not a nation's voice ! are his a nation's
tears ?


Northland Lyrics

To him the night-winds whispered all the secrets of

the stars,

He was priest of all the joyous springs and of the
dying years.

So doff your hats, good gentlemen,
For hearts were made to bleed again.
With Archie gone, and all his rhyme,
Who '11 tell the world 't is April-time ?


Thank God I have in my laggard blood

The vim of the Englishman,

Which is second to none, from North to South,

Save the fire of the Scottish clan

Save the blood of the lads who died

On the rocky mountain-side,

And went to the hell of the heated guns

As a lover goes to his bride.

The Ghoorkas laughed at the whining balls

And they were of alien race.

The English drave at the smoking rocks

And their subalterns set the pace.

Oh the blood of the lads who fell

Where the valley lay a hell ;

Northland Lyrics

Thank God that the men in the East and West
Cheer at the tale they tell.

The Ghoorkas lay in the slaughter place,
Save a few that had battled through


Their brown, brave faces raised to the steep

Where the flags of the marksmen flew

Their great souls cheering still

(Souls that no ball could kill)

Into the ears of the few, who crouched

Under the crooked hill.

The English went as maids to a dance
Or hounds to the huntsman's call,
And the English lay in the valley-lap
And smeared their blood on the wall.
Oh the blood that knows no shame,
And the valour clear of blame
Thank God that the world is girt about
With the gold of an English name.

Then the men of the Gordon Highlanders
With their bagpipes shrilling free
The lads of the heather pasture-sides,
The lads of the unclad knee,
Charged where their friends lay dead
Over the green and the red

Northland Lyrics

To the cry of the regimental pipes
And the flop of the hitting lead.

They passed the level of sprawling shapes

And the valley of reeking death ;

They struck the rocks of the mountain pass

Where the smoke blew up like breath.

Little they thought of fame

Or the lifting of a name ;

They only thought of the mountain crest

And the circle of spitting flame.

Thank God I find in my laggard blood,

Deep down, the fire of the man,

And the heart that shakes with a mad delight

At the name of a Highland clan

At the name of the lads who died

On the rocky mountain-side

And went to the hell of the heated guns

As a lover goes to his bride.


The night loomed black with coming storm,
The narrow pass was iron-walled,

And through the dark profound and grim
A solitary bugle called.

Northland Lyrics

Its voice from cloudy heights unseen

With sudden summoning sweetness spoke,

And in the heavy heart of time
Eternity's desire awoke.

Blow loud and clear from height to height,

O bugle, bid the dark be gone ;
Call out across the stormy hills

The gold and azure wings of dawn !



When that old Vendor, to whose hand
The loveliest volumes come at last,
Shall thumb you for a trace of good
Enduring though your day be past,

Be not abashed at your small worth ;
His sense is keen ; and there may cling
About your yellowing pages still
Some freshness of the Northern Spring ;

Some echo of the whitethroat's song
From lonely valleys blue with rain,
Ringing across the April dusk
Joy and unfathomable pain ;

Some glamor of the darling land

Of purple hill and scarlet tree,

Of tidal rivers and tall ships

And green diked orchards by the sea ;

A sweep of elm-treed interval
And gravelly floors where herons wade ;
A sigh of wind through old gray barns
With eeriest music ever made.

And will no hint of this outweigh
The faulty aim, the faultier skill,

To save our credit when we come
To the Green Dwelling in the Hill ?

Ah, trust the Vendor wise and kind !
He knows the outside and the in,
And loves the very least of those
He tosses in the dusty bin.




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Online LibraryCharles George Douglas RobertsNorthland lyrics → online text (page 3 of 3)