Henry Bryan Binns.

The wanderer and other poems online

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LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY 0F CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE



'he Wanderer

id other Poems

nry Bryan Binns



don: A.C.Fifield
2 Shilling net



The Wanderer
Other Poems



By the Same Writer.

The Great Companions. 1908.
A Life of Walt Whitman. 1905.
Abraham Lincoln. 1907.

In Preparation.

The Adventure : a Play.



The Wanderer

and other Poems

Henry Bryan Binns



With a photograv-
ure after BotticelH



London : 19 lo
A. C. Fifield
13 Clifford's Inn






All rights reserved



Contents



Is it Knowledge that Wakens Song ?

Wind and Rain .

An Apollo at the Vatican

The Building of the City

The Spanish Gipsy

Deeming Dale

An Old Woman .

The Coppice Wood

The Wanderer .

November .

The Sea-Change

The Mirrors

The Wind in the Door

Doubt

Advent

At Nightfall

For Two Pictures

Lucifer Triumphing



7
8

9

lo

12

15
i6

17

24
25
26
27
28
29

30
31

32



Note. — The Wanderer was first printed in The Albany
Review; a few of the poems made a first appearance
in The Academy, The New Age, and other periodicals,
and I thank the editors for allowing me to republish
them. I have reprinted three from an earlier volume
(now out of print) which was accredited to " Richard
Askham." Mr. Rutland Boughton has written choral
music for The Building of the City.



Is it Knowledge that Wakens Song

T S it knowledge that wakens Song,
-* Or wisdom bred of the Past ? —

Though her eyes are eagle-strong,

And her flying eagle-vast,
Is it knowledge that wakens Song,

Or wisdom out of the Past ?

Nay, hut Thou that hast wings,
Thou that hast eyes for far,

Spirit of Living Things

Who singest and lo, they are —

Nay, it is Thou hast wings,
Thou that hast eyes for far !



8 The Wanderer



Wind and Rain

Written during a storm in the Jura

WHO would not ride on the Shadowy Plain
Horsed with the Host of the galloping Rain ?
Ride, ride
Over the wide
Leagues of the forest, the corn-land, the meadows.
Blotting together the lights and the shadows ?
With the wind, the wind in his heart, in his brain,
Who would not ride ?

Into the dark that is black, that is blind,
Sped by the tempest that thunders behind —

(Hark, hark !

Loud through the dark
Roaring, he urges us into the denser
Thick of the pines where the night is intenser !)
With the Rain, the Rain on the galloping Wind

Who would not ride ?



An Apollo at the Vatican 9



An Apollo at the Vatican

I SAW the eagle joy of things
A captive, drooping down his wings.
While his dawn-enkindled eyes
Sickened for forgotten skies.

I felt the godlike heart of man —
Ceasing from its stellar span —
Draw instead a broken breath
And resign itself to death.

Strode of a sudden, summer-bright
As a towering cloud of light,
Through that drear imprisonment,
Apollo, playing as he went.

He is Manhood, setting forth
With his face toward the north,
With his radiant head on high.
And his feet upon the sky,

Mirth of morning for his mien ;
While the exultant strings, between
His divine young fingers, play
The beginning of the Day.



lo The Wanderer

The Building of the City

I SEE a City being wrought
Upon the rock of Living Thought.
It was a bloodless dream until
It quickened in a good man's will,
Became a hope, became a vow.
For one, for many, until now
Upon the rock of Living Thought
I see the City being wrought.

City of Thought, City of Dream,

Standing beside the ancient stream

Of Progress, all thy fields are free

To the wide winds of Liberty !

Builded thou art, but yet forever

We build thee with our heart's endeavour

Upon the border of that Stream

Beautiful City of our Dream !

Colour and music, fancy, song.
To our enduring toil belong :
Naught shall be wanting that can free
Our spirit : there shall ever be
Goblets of laughter at the lip
Of this exultant fellowship.
Because our hands together frame
A City unbedimmed by shame.

Foursquare our City, taking all
The winds with heart heroical :
Ay, blow or buffet, groan or gride.
She takes them, for she is the bride
Of a free people who have sold
No liberty of hers for gold.
Nor for poor prudence did transgress
The pure love of her loveliness.



The Building of the City 1 1

She is our faith ! How Hke a star
Mocking the dark she shines afar !
Our Hght, she writes upon the wall
Of darkness challenges to all
The drear and dread and doleful powers,
That they release the golden hours
They squander, and give back again
The glory of the day to men.

To every citadel of wrong

Her stones cry out a battle-song :

She is so wrought of manly stuff

The nations have not power enough

To silence her : her heart is free

From any fear of any : She

Can take the world's assaulting shock

Builded so on the Living Rock.

I see the City being wrought
Upon the rock of Living Thought :
Upon her rising walls I look.
And every stone is like a book
Of many milk-white pages, fair
Imprinted, with a loving care ;
While on each lovely page is set
Word of a wisdom lovelier yet.

City of Thought, City of Dream,

Standing beside the cosmic stream

Of Progress, all thy fields are free

To the wide winds of Liberty !

Builded thou art, but yet forever

We build thee with our heart's endeavour,

Upon the borders of that Stream,

Beautiful City of our Dream !



12 The Wanderer



The Spanish Gipsy : Suggested by Ignacio
Zuloaga's Lucienne Breval.

AS the night fell, I found her on the hills.
Great-shouldered she — with one hand on her hip,
Her chin upon the other hand — her gaze
Sibylline. When I came into her gaze
Still had it been as though I stood afar,
So far she shot her sight ; but that its shaft —
How far soe'er across the hills it flew —
Was fire-tipped, to burn inward, suddenly.

A gold snake circled round her swart forearm :
Upon her fingers gleamed the night-dark stone :
Deep down upon her brow the forest-dark
Of her tumultuous hair hung heavily ;
And thereunder, but darklier, for there pulsed
Her living blood within it, shone her gaze.
Her heart stood watching at its open port :
The night fell on the hills : she drew the night
In and about her : she was one with it.
Mystical was her mouth, as Freedom's mouth
Whose lips awake the morning from his sleep
With clarion call : her dread and silent face
More silent than the hills, because it was
Yet mightier than they, yet mightier
Than the last mountain, merging in the night.



The Spanish Gipsy 13

Bred of the mountain night and dread with power.

Prophetic, masterful, indifferent.

The daughter of the Night, and doorkeeper

Of that yet unimaginable Day

That every night, descending on the land,

Presages, and that every evening sees

Waiting at droop of dusk upon the hills, —

As darkness fell upon the hills, I met

The challenge of the Gipsy-woman's gaze.



The Wanderer



Deeming Dale

WHO is it knocks at my window ? Ho,
Who is it rides the gale ?
" Yonder the Pitiless Ladies go
Adown the Deeming Dale :

" The cold of a cloud is over them,

Open the pane and see ;
All the women of perilous dream

Go drifting drearily,

" One by one on the bitter wind

Companionless and grey.
With the empty sound of a host behind

To bring them on their way.

" But yonder, yonder comes the Moon,

And yonder see them turn :
Jewelled and fierce their hunting shoon

Fly flashing through the fern."

Now whither do they ride so fast

Upon the whirling wind ?
" Fasten the pane against the blast !

Hasten and draw the blind."

Who is it knocks at my window ? Ho,

Who is it rides the gale ?
" And who would join the hosts that go

Adown the Deeming Dale ? "



An Old Woman 15



An Old Woman

UPON my hills, upon my heart
The purple evening shadows lie,
My thoughts leap like the olive sprays
That shimmer up against the sky.

About me blows the floweriness

Of summer and the young green corn ;

And in my heart dances a sheen
Of dark and silver, night and morn.

O, like an olive, old am I,

Fantastic, thwarted, whimsical ;

But then my thoughts are olive sprays,
Lissom, and mystical, and tall.

Gnarly and grey and old I am,

As Mother Earth, Great-mother Night ;
And up against the blue I dance.

Lilac and silver in the^light.



1 6 The Wanderer



The Coppice Wood

WHO is it haunts the coppice wood —
Draws the thicket hke a hood
Primrose-broidered round her face —
Sudden through the hazel boughs
Glances her bewildering grace ?
Who is it haunts the coppice wood ?

Who is it haunts the coppice wood ?

Wonder wakens in my blood ;

For her sake the song is fain

That among the hazel boughs

All the birds begin again.

Who is it coming through the wood ?

I saw the Maiden where she stood

Ankle deep amid the flood

Of the cuckoo blossom ; all

About her, through the hazel boughs.

Rang the call and counter- call —

" Who is it coming through the wood ? "

" May Morning in the coppice wood ! "



The Wanderer 1 7



The Wanderer : Being Words for
Botticelli's Voyage of Venus

An Earth Spirit, watching :

WHAT car is this ye blow ?
And what is this white Blossom of the cool grey

Sea
That worshipping ye hasten Her, and throw
Flowers after Her in glee ?
And wherefore is She inwardly so bright
That, all and every whit.
Her iDody with delight
Illumined is, and like a pearl is it ?

And tell me, tell me, wherefore are Her eyes

Purposeful, infinite.

Transcending any thought,

As though unto the Sea the streams had brought,

From the mountains where they rise.

High ultimate passion

Of tempest and of stress,

Out of its wonder, in the deeps, to fashion

This loveliness ?

The West Wind :

Blessed, blessed, are we.
Children of the South and of the West,



1 8 The Wanderer

Whose blithe young windy faces

Follow Her through the morning spaces

Of the quiet Sea !

Of all things She is loveliest :

And we, we blow

Her bark where She would go !

The South Wind :

Softly we blow !
She is most pale and rare —
Venus, the daughter of the Sea — •
And we have roses, and strow
Them, that there be
A richness in the air :
Laughing, we blow
The long, long tresses of Her languorous hair !

To Her body pale

She doth catch them with Her hand

As we blow them :

With the dawn-gleam in and thro' them

They become Her golden sail

And bear Her to the land !

West Wind :

Wistful, She enters the ripples and the foam
That keep the shore :
Ocean is Her home —
As a stranger
Stands She at your door.



The Wanderer 19



Wistful, She comes, as one that bringeth danger,

Once the sea is left behind.

To whosoe'er shall meet Her :

She seeks if She may go unseen :

And see, breasting our merry wind.

Come ye to greet Her,

And bring a flowered robe meet for our Queen !

Earth Spirit, offering the Robe :

How it is vain !
Those feet, where'er they pass,
To sweet rebellious pain
Must wake the ungovernable grass .
Out of this very robe the air shall learn
Proud and implacable insurgencies
To whisper to the unforgetting trees !
And wheresoe'er She glances.
Stern, without ruth.
On errands far, and never to return.
Her eyes will bid the adventurous heart of youth !

Sung in the Grove :

Needs must we pause amid our maiden dances :
Across their calm control
Wakes the new gladness
That begins to stir
Confusedly within our Soul :
Some passion of Immortal Madness
Shaking its sleep away to welcome Her !
Ah, we delay.
Attendant on the pleasure



20 The Wanderer

Of this tall Stranger, that ye blow

Hither across the Sea :

Amid our play,

Her ocean-stepping feet bring in a measure

Of world-perplexity :

Yea, yea !

For She whose bark ye bring,

Cometh to carry away,

Upon some wayward rhythm of wandering,

Our ancient treasure.

The old sweet steps we know,

That flow together, and flow

In the stately dances of virginity.

Earth Spirit :

Ah, whither, whither, whither,
White Bird that wendest hither.
White Dove across the Sea ?

Venus answers nothing, always looking wistfully before
Her.

Earth Spirit, aside :

As in a dream,
Moving She doth not move :
The ages stream
By Her — She stems their tide
Poised on a shell — doth prove
Their murmuring flow, and silent doth abide.



The Wanderer 2 i

South Wind :
Maiden,
Ask Her not whither !
About Her feet
Invisibly,

Her httle bark is laden
With mystery,
With all that is not born
And is to be.

West Wind :

From far beyond the Past,
By paths untried,
With empty hands, as one forlorn.
Mere jetsam of the wanton tide.
Naked, and carried on a shell, at last
She is come hither, — She,
Immortal Wanderer through Time, Child of Eternity !

Sung in the Grove :

Are Thy feet wandering feet ?
Are Thy hands vain ?
Heavy Thy flight —
Burdened with bitter-sweet
Of night and day.
Promise obscure of pain
And ever-incomplete
Delight ?

Snatchest Thou hence for aye
Peace from our silences,
Shadowy blossoming ?



22 The Wanderer

Plantest Thou fierce and bright
Wonders instead of peace ? —

Thou comest, and —
Whatso Thou bring,
Whatso Thou take away, —
We reck not anything
So Thou but stay !

We^t Wind, :

Fair
Though ye greet Her, yet in vain your prayer !
Her feet that are the New Life's Messengers
Know not delaying.
Whenas our singing stirs
About Her head.

Through the long strands of Her hair.
Those idle fingers, playing,
In every golden thread
Catch a sure murmuring
Of voices far away.
Bidding Her feet depart !

South Wind :

Together, when we snatch Her robe, and blow
Her body clean of care.
Fragrance of orchard blossoming
Fulfils Her, She is all
Odour and murmur and desire of Spring.

Then wandering grows fair,
With eagerness, Her heart
Making reply,



The Wanderer 23



She hears the unvisited,
The untrodden islands call,
And She forgets to stay.

Voyager, She, Her errand still achieving ;

She lingers whiles She may,

With mystic fingers and that golden thread

The enkindling wonder weaving,

Her fabric of far vision, floating, to lie outspread

Luminous, over all the earth and sky.

West Wind :

Sure as ye think to hold Her, so
Certain your undeceiving !
Some dawn or evening from the hills
Down to Her scallop, unobserved She'll go :
Our breezes begin stirring, and below
Her feet the ripple trills :
Ye call : She doth not answer : She is sped.

The Winds, together :

Laughing, we blow
Her bark where it would go !



24 The Wanderer



November

FAR inland, and a sky
Like a sea-rippled strand,
With cold pale pools left by the far-spent tide —
A limpid east-wind blowing.

Marching against the sky, horses and men,
A team goes, sowing in the corn
Into the gleaming many-furrowed field.
The harrows dragging after.

And the Earth gladdens quietly in the clean cold light
As one that bathes at a salt pool on the strand
And hears the sea afar — the old, wild sea —
The haunting of the sea along the margin.



The Sea-Change 25



The Sea-Change

IF when I yield my spirit to the Sea,
When the still silent tide of Death receives me,
I shall depart out of this life of forms
Whose Here is but a point, whose Now is but a moment,
Whose Me is but a sense- constricted soul, —
If I depart, giving myself up wholly
To the receiving waters infinite,
Surely my spirit shall therein discover
New and unmeasured being.

I will take such a body as the Light has,

Or Music. — ay, or other finer Force

That runs unhindered through the fields of Space —

I will exchange this Here, this Now, this Me,

For other, vaster ; that I may pass out

By open doors into the open air,

And be at large with God.

Even now, whenso I love,

Whenso my narrowed Me eludes its bonds

And, reaching out and over, loosens, loses

Itself to Life — even now, whenso I love.

Surely there leaps beneath my heart the Immortal

That shall go out into the Deeps with God.



26 The Wanderer



The Mirrors

THOU lookest in this mirror that displays
A face, a form that answers thee and says
" Behold thyself," and thou believest it :
But when some other comes to thee and cries
" Behold thyself ! " thou thinkest thyself wise
Denying, O thou man of little wit !

Art thou this thing of mouth and nose and eyes
This vested presence that upon thee cries
With too familiar greeting from the glass ?
I thought thee something nobler, for I heard
The woodland call thee with its leafy word
The field with its innumerable grass.

This bald five feet or more, is't all thou art ?
Or is it haply but a little part.
Whereof thou know'st not the mysterious Whole
Whereof there is no thing but whispers thee
" Behold thyself " : whereof the stars and sea,
Future and Past are mirrors to thy Soul ?



Wind in the Door 27



Wind in the Door

SHRIEKS the \vild wind i* the bolted door—
That treacherous wind !
But hsten, unconfmed,
He is all mirth across the open moor.

Haunted, confused with pent-up sound,

This barren shell ;

But plain each syllable
Of all the shouting waves beyond its bound.

And so shrieks Fate i' the soul confined —

Ah, treacherous Fate !

The heart emancipate
Hears her all laughter like the moorland wind.

And so, confused as in a shell

The pent-up sound.

Goes thought, till all around
He feels the Ocean, and breaks through the spell.



2 8 The Wanderer



Doubt

MY mind is full of twisted ways.
Of passages that wind about,
And, turning, hide them from the blaze
Of light that fills the world without.

In these recesses of my brain.
Beyond the range of sun or star,

Harbour darkness, doubt and pain :
Light cannot reach them where they are.

Unless, long-beating like a flood,
It burst the barriers of my will.

Enter the channels of my blood.
And with its life my life fulfil.

Then, then before it Doubt would die
Out of its crannies, and be done ;

Thought would forget uncertainty,
And find the glory of the sun.



Advent 29



Advent

I WAITED : he is come. Oh, I have dreamed
Of him and doubted ; now I understand, —
In all the day it was his glory gleamed,
In all the darkness I have touched his hand.

'Tis the new life beginning ; now I see
This cell is grown too small to hold me : I

Am driven out by joy's necessity,
For if I were to linger, joy must die.

So I must out and on. Fling the door wide.
Good Porter, whether thou be life or death !

These narrow walls are not for me ; outside

The whole world breathes the wonder of his breath.



30 The Wanderer



At Nightfall

NOW let the thoughts of Time go by-
Needs of the body and the mind ;-
The busy sun is lost behind
The hills, and all the meadows lie
Under the eternal sky.

Now banish fancy, thought and care —
Into their woods bid them begone ;
Their busy day is out and done :
For silence now must thou prepare
Breathing the immortal air.

Thy cares go, giving thee release
Into the silence of the night.
While star and star across the height
Measure the spaces of thy peace
When thy cares go by and cease.

But when thy heart is free from stain,
Washed as in waters infinite
From every care that clouded it,
With the morning thou wilt fain
Take the thoughts of time again.



For Two Pictures 31



For Two Pictures by Mary MacRae White

/. The Clearing.

CLEAR me a little space among the trees,
April will brim it up with primroses.
Nay, as with ruthless axe you pluck adown
This coppice, silver-grey and purple-brown,
Ere yet the January sun hath found
Time to evoke a new leaf from the ground,
Even already then, your clearing fills
With blossom delicate as the blue hills
And sweet as the wild wisdom that distils
Among the old leaves sodden in tlie mire, —
— The wayward smoke of the woodcutter's fire.

//. The Gipsy's Looking-Glass.

For you, it is a pool among the trees

That you could scoop (almost) between your hands,

A little black pool, bordered with green grass :

But some who look upon it as they pass,

And how it opens inward and expands

Wizardly, — cross themselves : for unto these

It hath a magic mightier than the sea's,

Old witchcrafts manier than the moonlit sands.

And it is called " The Gipsy's Looking-Glass."



32 The Wanderer



Lucifer Triumphing : Suggested by
William Blake's Picture

UPON the dust her loveliness is spread —
Eve's yellow hair : her foolish fingers rest
Upon the fruit forbid her : on her breast.
Crushing its petals, lolls the cunning head.
And, loop on scaly loop, obscene and dread
Locking her, gloating over her, possessed
Of her, the whole black serpent. With what zest
He feels the flame lap-lapping, hot and red !

She faints : while, stretched above her and the snake,
Potent to save, and slay that shameful thing,
Saving her not, but (for the hidden sake
Of some wild hope that is not yet awake)
Enduring with her, waits on weariless wing
Lucifer, Son of the Morning, triumphing !



WILLIAM BRBNDON AND SON, LTD., PRINTERS, PLYMOUTH



The Great
Companions

By Henry Bryan Binns

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Online LibraryHenry Bryan BinnsThe wanderer and other poems → online text (page 1 of 1)