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University of California.




Of this Edition 300 copies have been printed.


By Laurence Binyon

emio matuews & io:c<we





The poems in this volume are arranged, as far as possible,
according to the time of their composition, or conception ; the
first dates from 1887, the last from 1893. A few have appeared
before, in the Academy, the Oxford Magazine, the Hobby Horse, &c.
Four, Nos. I., VI., IX., and XIV., were published in M Primavera"
(Blackwell; Oxford, 1890).




A child in nature, as a child in years - ii

Ah, now this happy month is gone xxxi

And must I deem you mortal xxii

And were they but for this xv

As in the dusty lane vii

As I walked through London xliii

Ask me not, Dear xxviii

Beautifully dies the year xlvii

Breezes strongly rushing iii

Come back, sweet yesterdays -. - - xxxviii

Dear child, thou know'st xliv

Do kings put faith xxxii

Down through the heart of the dim woods • - - xxiii

Fir, that on this moor austere x

Go now, Love xxxix

Green banks and gliding river xxix

Hast thou not known them, too xxxv

Heroes, whose days are told xlix

How dark, how quiet sleeps xi

I cannot raise my eyelids vi

I have too happy been xxxvi

In the high woods that crest our hills .... X xi

It was Spring, the sweet Spring xlii


Let not the mind that would have peace

Look, as a mother bending o'er her boy

Low is laid Arthur's head

Name, that makes my heart beat

Night smiles on me with her stars •

No more now with jealous complaining

Now that I have won ...

O sorrowful thought

O summer sun, O moving trees

O tyrannous Angel, dreadful God -

O world, be nobler, for her sake

On Kennack Sands the sun

Over sea the sun -

She is not fair as some are fair •

Stern Power, whose heavy hand I feel

Sweet after labour -

The evening takes me from your side

The shrines of old are broken down •

The sun goes down, on other lands to shine

Unhappy Goddess, has then envious earth

Vision of peace, joy without stain -

Warm, the deserted evening -

What shall I say to thee, my spirit •

Whatever seemed to reign within my breast

When life begins anew -

Zeus, and ye gods that rule in heaven





























A. S. P.

To whom but thee, my youth to dedicate,
My youth, which these few leaves have sought to save,
Should I now come, although I come too late,
Alas ! and can but lay them on thy grave ?

To whom but thee ? From thee, I know, they stole
Their happiest music, all their finer part :
O could they breathe but something of thy soul,
Something of thine incomparable heart !

What was there lovely, that thou didst not love ?

What troubled spirit could ever grasp thy hand,

Nor know what answering springs within thee strove

To soothe his wound j to feel, to understand ?


Too much hadst thou of pain, and fret, and care ;
Yet surely thou wast meant for joy : to whom
Life, that'had given thee days so hard to bear,
Could still yield moments of so rare a bloom.

That longing in me, which can never sleep,
To live my own life, to be bravely free,
What is that longing, but the passion deep,
The sweet endeavour, to be true to thee ?

Still in my mind the solemn morning shines ;
Still with me, ah, too clearly pictured, dwell
The day, the hour, with all their mournful signs,
When we bade thee, O friend of friends, farewell.

Austerely fair, the vast cathedral, filled
With February sunshine, marbles old,
Pillar on pillar, arch on arch revealed :
The light, the stillness, on my grief took hold ;

Hushed within those gray walls, that could not change,
Where kneeling sorrow heavenly comfort hears ->
Appeased by their eternal strength, that, strange
Itself to pain, permitted human tears.

There that worn heart, those arms in longing strained
Beyond, beyond, toward the unknown shore,
Entered repose, their long-loved peace attained.
Sweetly she sleeps. O shall we wish her more ?

I climbed the high tower, up steep stairs of stone.
Under the clear sun plains without a wave,
Various and busy, in the morning shone :
The world about me, but below, thy grave.

White flowers marked it. Now, my flowers' poor grace

I bring, to bloom or fade ; I little care.

Ah, let them fade, and die in that dear place !

It is enough, if they have faded there.




She is not fair, as some are fair,
Cold as the snow, as sunshine gay:
On her clear brow, come grief what may,
She suffers not too stern an air;
But, grave in silence, sweet in speech,
Loves neither mockery nor disdain ;
Gentle to all, to all doth teach
The charm of deeming nothing vain.

She joined me : and we wandered on ;

And I rejoiced, I cared not why,

Deeming it immortality

To walk with such a soul alone.

Primroses pale grew all around,

Violets, and moss, and ivy wild;

Yet, drinking sweetness from the ground,

I was but conscious that she smiled.

The wind blew all her shining hair
From her sweet brows ; and she, the while,
Put back her lovely head, to smile
On my enchanted spirit there.
Jonquils and pansies round her head
Gleamed softly ; but a heavenlier hue
Upon her perfect cheek was shed,
And in her eyes a purer blue.

There came an end to break the spell ;
She murmured something in my ear ;
The words fell vague, I did not hear,
And ere I knew, I said farewell ;
And homeward went, with happy heart
And spirit dwelling in a gleam,
Rapt to a Paradise apart,
With all the world become a dream.

Yet now, too soon, the world's strong strife
Breaks on me pitiless again;
The pride of passion, hopes made vain,
The wounds, the weariness of life.

And losing that forgetful sphere,
For some less troubled world I sigh,
If not divine, more free, more clear,
Than this poor, soiled humanity.

But when, in trances of the night,
Wakeful, my lonely bed I keep,
And linger at the gate of Sleep,
Fearing, lest dreams deny me light ;
Her image comes into the gloom,
With her pale features moulded fair,
Her breathing beauty, morning bloom,
My heart's delight, my tongue's despair.

With loving hand she touches mine,
Showers her soft tresses on my brow,
And heals my heart, I know not how,
Bathing me with her looks divine.
She beckons me -> and I arise ;
And, grief no more remembering,
Wander again with rapturous eyes
Through those enchanted lands of Spring.

b — 2

Then, as I walk with her in peace,
I leave this troubled air below,
Where, hurrying sadly to and fro,
Men toil, and strain, and cannot cease :
Then, freed from tyrannous Fate's control,
Untouched by years or grief, I see
Transfigured in that child-like soul
The soiled soul of humanity.


A child in nature, as a child in years,
If on past hours she turn remembering eyes,
She but beholds sweet joys or gentle tears,
Flower hiding flower in her pure memories.

So flower-like, so lovely do they seem :
Too fair to be let die, they fade too fast •>
Not like that hopeless beauty, which in dream
Is ever present, but to say 'tis past.

Then should I come with sorrow at my breast,
Profitless sorrow, vainly wished away,
Will she give comfort to my heart's unrest,
She, whose bright years are as a morn of May ?

Though I should sigh, I could not choose but cheer,
Knowing Joy is not far, when she is near.



Breezes strongly rushing, when the North- West stirs,
Prophesying Summer to the shaken firs ;
Blowing brows of forest, where soft airs are free,
Crowned with heavenly glimpses of the shining sea ;
Buds and breaking blossoms, that sunny April yields;
Ferns and fairy grasses, the children of the fields •>
In the fragrant hedges' hollow brambled gloom
Pure primroses paling into perfect bloom ;
Round the elm's rough stature, climbing dark and high,
Ivy-fringes trembling against a golden sky ;
Woods and windy ridges darkening in the glow ;
The rosy sunset bathing all the vale below;
Violet banks forsaken in the fading light ;
Starry sadness filling the quiet eyes of night ;
Dew on all things drooping for the summer rains $
Dewy daisies folding in the lonely lanes.



The Man.

tyrannous Angel, dreadful God,
Who taught thee thus to wield thy rod ?
So jealous of a happy heart,

Thou smot'st our happy souls apart,
And chosest too the weaker prey,
Refusedst the worthier foeman !

The Angel.


1 am my Master's minister.

Why ravest ? Peace abides with her.
Thou, who wast held in human thrall,
For thee I made the fetters fall;
I loosed thy bonds, I set thee free :
Now, thou regret/st thy liberty !


And why for what is cold repine ?

She is no longer aught divine !

Can those chill lips, now purpled, speak ?

Is any bloom upon that cheek ?

Nay, if thou wilt, an idle kiss

I grant thee ; that is all.

The Man.

Not this,
Not this I ask ; but, Angel, give,
Give back the life that let me live !
Or take away this useless breath:
Grant me her consecrated death !
Where she has past, the way is pure,
If anything of good endure.

The Angel.

Fool, dost thou think to raise thy hand
Against the law no passion planned,
Or seek to shake the stars' repose
With crying of thy puny woes ?

Turn to thy petty ways, and there,
There learn the wisdom of despair.

The Man.

O pitiless word! Yet slay me too:
Be kind, O Death ! for my soul grew,
Watered and fed by gracious dew,
Till in one hour Love met with thee.
Now, the wide world is misery !

The Angel.

Love, who is Love ? I know him not.
Strange things are ye, that learn your lot
So soon, and yet must needs bemoan,
When stricken with the fate foreknown.
Art thou more worthy, Man, to keep
Thine age from the appointed sleep,
Thy strength from the sure-coming hour,
Than the perfection of a flower !
They ask not for their lovely bloom
Exemption from the final doom ;
And man, so full of fault and flaw,
Shall he evade the unchanging law ?


Let him be wise ; and, as the flowers,
With joy fulfil his destined hours,
Live with unanxious ample breath,
And when at last he comes to death,
Compose his heart and calm his eye,
And, proud to have lived, scorn not to die !


" Zeus, and ye Gods, that rule in heaven above,
Is there nought holy, or to your hard hearts dear ?
Have ye forgotten utterly to love,
Or to be kind, in that untroubled sphere ?
If aught ye cherish, still by that I pray,
Destroy the life that ye have cursed this day !

<c No, ye are cold ! The pains of tenderness
Must tease not your enjoyed tranquillity.
How should ye care to succour or to bless,
Who have not sorrowed and who cannot die ?
Wise Gods, learn one thing from ephemeral breath ;
They only love^ who know the face of Death.

" When did ye ever come as men to earth
Save to bring plagues, war, misery, to us ?
O vanity ! We have smiled, yet know that birth
J^ooks but to death through passions piteous.


While calm ye live, and when these human seas
Wail in your ears, feel deepest your own ease.

cc Yet envied ye my keener happiness,
That ye must quench it in such triple gloom ?
For, by a mercy more than merciless,
Slaying my children in their guiltless bloom,
Me ye slew not, but suffered, as in scorn,
Accurst to linger in a land forlorn.

"Where are they now, those dead, that once were mine ?
I saw them in their beauty, thought them fair,
And in my pride dreamed they were half divine.
An idle boast I made, to my despair :
For in that hour they died, and I receive
A fate thrice bitterer, since I live to grieve."

So, on the mountains, hapless Niobe,
With feverish longing and rebellion vain,
Bewailed herself, swift plunged in misery,
Bewailed her children, by dread deities slain ;
Those jealous deities, whose bright shafts ne'er miss,
Phoebus, and his stern sister, Artemis.


Nine days those bodies of unhappy death

Lay in their beauty, by Ismenus flood ;

For on sad Thebes Zeus breathed an heavy breath 9

And men became as marble, where they stood.

Nine suns their unregarded splendour shed ;

And still unburied lay those lovely dead.

But on the tenth day the high Gods took pity,
And in the fall of evening from their seats
In heaven, came down toward the silent city,
The still, forsaken ways, the unechoing streets :
And through the twilight heavenly faces shone.
But no man marvelled; all yet slumbered on.

The king sat, brooding in his shadowy halls,

His counsellors ranged round him. With fixed eyes,

Set brows, and steadfast gaze on the dim walls,

He sat amid a kingdom's mockeries ;

And seemed revolving many a thought of gloom,

Though his mind slept, and knew not its own doom.

The Gods beheld unheeding, and went through,
And came to the stream's side, where slept the dead.


And while stars gathered in the lonely blue,
They buried them, with haste and nothing said ;
Feeling, perchance, some shade of human years,
And what in heaven is nearest unto tears.

So, their toil ended, the Gods passed again,
Through the deep night, to pale Olympus hill.
But in their passing breathed upon all men,
And loosed the heavy trance that held them chill.
Slowly night waned ; the quiet dawn arose :
And Thebes awoke to daylight and her woes.

But Niobe, the mother desolate,

Enduring not to see her home forlorn,

To wander through the vacant halls, that late

Echoed with voice and laughter all the morn,

A homeless queen, went sorrowing o'er the hills,

Alone with the great burden of her ills.

There as she wept, a sleep was sealed on her;
Yet not such sleep as can in peace forget.
The strivings vain of hands that cannot stir,
And swelling passion, poisoned with regret,


And piercing memory, in their dark control
Possess with torment her imprisoned soul.

She, clouded in her marble, seeming cold,

Majestically dumb, augustly calm,

Yet feeling, through all bonds that round her fold,

A nameless fever that can find no balm,

A grief that kindles all her heart to fire,

The crying of a tyrannous desire,

Remains for ever mute, for ever still.

Thebes marvels, gazing at the stony thing,

And deems it lifeless as the barren hill,

To which the winds and rains no bloom can bring :

Yet under that calm front burns deeper woe

Than ever Thebes, with all her hearts, can know.

No hope she sees in any springtime now,
But it is buried in with the autumn leaves.
Yet, when day burns upon her weary brow,
Deadened to her deep pain, she scarcely grieves ;
And, burdened with the glory of that great light,
Almost forgets it brought her children night.


But when the pale moon makes her splendour bare,

Terrible in the beauty of cold beams,

The radiance falls on the mute image there,

And Niobe awakens from her dreams.

Those subtle arrows search her soul, with pain

Tenfold more cruel from her children's bane.

Remembering their dead faces, she would sigh :

But the pure marble brooks no sound of grief.

She only lives to sorrow silently,

And, in despair, still hope some last relief.

The Gods are stern ; and they to those long years

Ordained an immortality of tears.



I cannot raise my eyelids up from sleep,
But I am visited with thoughts of you ;
Slumber has no refreshment half so deep
As the sweet morn, that wakes my heart anew.

I cannot put away life's trivial care,

But you straightway steal on me with delight ;

My purest moments are your mirror fair ;

My deepest thought finds you the truth most bright.

You are the lovely regent of my mind,
The constant sky to my unresting sea ;
Yet, since 'tis you that rule me, I but find
A finer freedom in such tyranny.

Were the world's anxious kingdoms governed so,
Lost were their wrongs, and vanished half their woe !



As in the dusty lane to fern or flower,
Whose freshness in hot noon is dried and dead,
Sweet comes the dark with a full-falling shower,
And again breathes the new-washed, happy head :

So when the thronged world round my spirit hums,
And soils my purer sense, and dims my eyes,
So grateful to my heart the evening comes,
Unburdening its still rain of memories.

Then in the deep and solitary night
I feel the freshness of your absent grace,
Sweetening the air, and know again the light
Of your loved presence, musing on your face,

Until I see its image, clear and whole,
Shining above me, and sleep takes my soul.


The evening takes me from your side ;
The darkness creeps into my breast.
Swift clouds across the dim heavens glide,
And fill me with their vague unrest.

I wander sad, and know not why :
The lighted streets perplex my brain.
I wish for wings, that I might fly
From sound and glare, to you again.

C— 2


When life begins anew,

And Youth, from gathering flowers,

From vague delights, rapt musings, twilight hours,

Turns restless, seeking some great deed to do,

To sum his fostered dreams; when that fresh birth

Unveils the real, the thronged and spacious Earth,

And he awakes to those more ample skies,

By other aims and by new powers possessed :

How deeply, then, his breast

Is filled with pangs of longing ! how his eyes

Drink in the enchanted prospect ! Fair it lies

Before him, with its plains expanding vast,

Peopled with visions, and enriched with dreams ;

Dim cities, ancient forests, winding streams,

Places resounding in the famous past,

A kingdom ready to his hand !

How like a bride Life seems to stand


In welcome, and with festal robes arrayed !

He feels her loveliness pervade

And pierce him with inexplicable sweetness \

And, in her smiles delighting, and the fires

Of his own pulses, passionate soul !

Measure his strength by his desires,

And the wide future by their fleetness,

As his thought leaps to the long-distant goal.

So eagerly across that unknown span

Of years he gazes : what, to him,

Are bounds and barriers, tales of Destiny,

Death, and the fabled impotence of man ?

Already, in his marching dream,

Men at his sun-like coming seem

As with an inspiration stirred, and he

To kindle with new thoughts degenerate nations,

In sordid cares immersed so long \

Thrilled with ethereal exultations

And a victorious expectancy,

Even such as swelled the breasts of Bacchus' throng,

When that triumphal burst of joy was hurled

Upon the wondering world y


When from the storied, sacred East afar,

Down Indian gorges clothed in green,

With flower-reined tigers and with ivory car

He came, the youthful god ;

Beautiful Bacchus, ivy-crowned, his hair

Blown on the wind, and flushed limbs bare,

And lips apart, and radiant eyes,

And ears that caught the coming melodies,

As wave on wave of revellers swept abroad ;

Wreathed with vine-leaves, shouting,trampling onwards,

With tossed timbrel and gay tambourine.

Alas ! the disenchanting years have rolled
On hearts and minds becoming cold :
Mirth is gone from us ; and the world is old.

O bright new-comer, filled with thoughts of joy,
Joy to be thine amid these pleasant plains,
Know'st thou not, child, what surely coming pains
Await thee, for that eager heart's annoy ?
Misunderstanding, disappointment, tears,
Wronged love, spoiled hope, mistrust and ageing fears,
Eternal longing for one perfect friend,


And unavailing wishes without end ?

Thou proud and pure of spirit, how must thou bear

To have thine infinite hates and loves confined,

Schooled, and despised ? How keep unquenched and free

'Mid others' commerce and economy

Such ample visions, oft in alien air

Tamed to the measure of the common kind ?

How hard for thee, swept on, for ever hurled

From hour to hour, bewildered and forlorn,

To move with clear eyes and with steps secure,

To keep the light within, to fitly scorn

Those all too possible and easy goals,

Trivial ambitions of soon-sated souls !

And, patient in thy purpose, to endure

The pity and the wisdom of the world.

Vain, vain such warning to those happy ears !
Disturb not their delight ! By unkind powers
Doomed to keep pace with the relentless Hours,
He, too, ere long, shall feel Earth's glory change ;
Familiar names shall take an accent strange,
A deeper meaning, a more human tone j


No more passed by, unheeded or unknown,

The things that then shall be beheld through tears.

Yet, O just Nature, thou

Who, if men's hearts be hard, art always mild ;

O fields and streams, and places undefiled,

Let your sweet airs be ever on his brow,

Remember still your child.

Thou too, O human world, if old desires,

If thoughts, not alien once, can move thee now,

Teach him not yet that idly he aspires

Where thou hast failed ; not soon let it be plain,

That all who seek in thee for nobler fires,

For generous passion, spend their hopes in vain:

Lest that insidious Fate, foe of mankind,

Who ever waits upon our weakness, try

With whispers his unnerved and faltering mind,

Palsy his powers ; for she has spells to dry,

Like the March blast, his blood, turn flesh to stone,

And, conjuring action with necessity,

Freeze the quick will, and make him all her own.

Come, then, as ever, like the Wind at morning !
Joyous, O Youth, in the aged world renew


Freshness to feel the eternities around it,

Rain, stars, and clouds, light and the sacred dew.

The strong sun shines above thee:

That strength, that radiance bring !

If Winter come to Winter,

When shall men hope for Spring ?


Fir, that on this moor austere,
Without kin or neighbour near,
Utterest now bleak winter's moan
As if its vext soul were thine own !
Unbefriended, placed like thee,
Ah, how lonely should I be !
But luminous midsummer nights,
Faintly filled with starry lights,
Morns miraculously clear
In the soft youth of the year,
Autumn mists and evenings chill,
Find thee proudly patient still :
None can mar thy steadfast mood,
Thy stanch and stately fortitude.
Had I no heart, to strive, to crave,
I too, perchance, could be as brave !

2 7

But oh, to crave and not be filled,

With passionate longing never stilled,

Desiring in the midst of bliss,

Thou, strong Tree, thou know'st not this :

The outstretched arms, the hungry eyes,

Gazing up to silent skies,

Beautiful, silent skies of June,

And radiant mystery of the moon !

To buy peace, we men forget :

But peace is in thy fibres set.

If thou art not stirred with joy,

Thou hast nothing that can cloy;

Without effort, without strife,

Art thyself, and liv'st thy life.

This solitude thou hast not known,

Both to be human and alone.



Look, as a mother bending o'er her boy,

The sleeping boy that in her bosom lies,

Gazes upon him in a trance of joy

With earnest, infinitely tender eyes,

Lost in her deep love, and aware of nought,

Earth and the sunlight, men and trees and skies

Quite faded out from her impassioned thought ;

Yet knows one day it will be otherwise,

When, laid alone within the narrow tomb,

Death leaves her none to love ; but in youth's bloom,

Or grown to manhood and to strength, her son

Over the same earth that has closed on her

Rejoicing wanders on,

And strikes fresh tracks of thronged and fruitful life,

Nor frets at the sweet need for change and strife,

With eager mind and glowing heart astir

2 9

In ardour ever to pursue

Passions and actions, and adventures new :

So is the Present Age,

So strives she for that Age to come, her child,
Which knows not yet the pain, the sacrifice,
She for its sake endures ; it knows not yet,
But must one day, the battles it must wage.
And she, if it within its sleep have smiled,
Is happy in her woes : no vain regret
Saps the sad strength with which she labours still
For that imagined bliss she shall not see,
So dear, so deeply hoped for though it be.
And ever with unconquerable will,
Bearing her burden, toward one distant star
She moves in her desire ; and though with pain
She labour, and the goal she dreams be far,
Proud is she in her passionate soul to know
That from her tears, her very sorrows grow
The joy, the hope, the peace of future men.



Unhappy goddess ! Has then envious earth

Denied thine eyes the radiance of thy birth ?

Have mortals, that still need thy voice to school

Their wrangling lives, their daily feuds to rule,

That thou might'st judge with stern and equal mind,

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