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Pansies : a book of poems online

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LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE



Ex Libris
ISAAC FOOT




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Zsgb pansies *A- Book
Of-Poemsbv
JAayProbyn



1 De mon jardin, voyageur,
Vous me demandez une fliur ?
Cueillez toujour s — mats je n'ai)
Voyageur, que des pensees."




London • Published
byElkin •7 v \athe\5^s
Vigo • Street -~w






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TO

Dora and Julian

Three, we learned together
At our mother's knee —
Three, through altered weather

The highway travel we —
God send in Heaven's gold ether
We stand before Him, three.

M. P.
London,
November, 1894



Contents



■^ .. , page

Ballad i

Lord John 4

Virelai -• - ...... y

" Is it nothing to you ? " 9

Love in the Lane 1 1

Sonnet • • - • - 12

Christmas Carol j?

The Miracle of Mercy 16

Ballade - - 20

Cophetua 21

"Ite ad Joseph" 24

The Beloved • - - 28

Sceur Louise de la Misericorde 31

A Legend of St. Elizabeth 34

In the Days of the Press-gang 36

Uncertainties 38

Ballade- "*"* - - - 41

Dried Lavender - - - - - . . . .^

A Mesalliance "*"• - -• 4c

The End of the Season 46

Wedding Days .*



PAGE

Rondeau 48

Rondeau 49

Rondeau 5°

Rondeau Redouble ....... 51

Holy Communion for the Sick 53

Ballade 55

" Non vos Me elegistis, sed Ego eligi vos" - - - 57

Double Ballade 59

La Guillotine 61

A Legend - - 63



Ballad



"T O, my seam is but begun,

-L/ And my flax is but half spun.
The red sun dippeth to the sea —
Come not here to hinder me.''



" Leave thy sewing, and rise up.
Tarry not to weep nor sup.
Beyond sun, beyond sea,
Maid, thou must go with me."

" Nay, for I first must weave,
Whiter than stars at eve,
Robe wherein to habit me
What day wedded I shall be."

" More white than on the wing
Snowflakes, a robe I bring —
More white than the face of the dead,
To wind thee in from feet to head."



" A mother dear I have.
My feet would dig her grave
If I fared forth from her —
Away, strange messenger ! "

" Needs must thou leave her side
What day they call thee bride.
He that here sendeth me
Willeth thy spouse to be."

" Clad in the royal red
And a crown on his head,
I will be bride of none
But a king's eldest son."



" Crown, yea, and girdle of gold
Are His. And, eke, behold,
Of gold His ciiy's pavement is,
Bordered all with fleurs de lys."



" Why at thy tale so stir
My heartstrings, messenger !
Oh ! say (if thou shouldst know)
There doth a river flow ? "



" Yea, beset with flowering trees
And fields of anemones —
River, sans storm, sans strife,
Of the water of Life."



" Oh ! 'tis He for wedding with Whom
This white web doth fill my loom.
Say quickly, of thy grace,
Where is the meeting place ? "

11 Maid, where the lions roar
On the blood-deluged floor,
And the torment waiteth thee —
There thou must go with me."



Lord John



LADY Margaret was sitting her bower within,
Thumbing her golden mandolin, —
Lady Anne was playing at the ball,
When the Southron lord stepped into the hall.

Her robe was wrought with blossom fair ;
The diamonds hid her yellow hair.
Her robe was white, all silver-sewn ;
Her face was like a rose new blown.

" Oh, Lady Anne, you little white dove,
Will you be my wife ? will you be my love? "
" Nay, ye maun ask my father bold,
And my mother that spins wi' a thread of gold,"

Her father gave her a saddle fine,
All gilt, with pearls in rows of nine ;
Her mother gave her a veil wove thin
As mist, with grains of gold therein ;
And her sister, Lady Margaret,
A silver pear and pomegranate.



Then up and spoke her brother, Lord John :
*' Ye never sail wed yon Southron loon."
Her brother, Lord John, that was lithe of limb,
" Ye sail sooner dee than gang hame wi' him."



In all the towers the bells made noise.
Shrill sang and sweet the Altar boys.
The stair with cloth of gold was spread ;
The board with wines, both white and red.
Till, when the afternoon was come,
That lord would have his lady home.

Her sister fetched her mantle green,

With small flowers worked and buds between ;

Her father led her to the door ;

Her mother clasped her o'er and o'er ;

Holding the stirrup, her brother lord John

Stood by her horse and set her thereon.

" Frae your saddle o' gowd an' pearls in a row
Lean down and kiss me before you go."
As she leaned her down to kiss and part,
With his knife he smote her under the heart.



The young footpage of the Southron lord
Ran by their side thro' field and ford.
" You little meek love-bird, lady Anne,
I wis your cheeks grow white and wan.
One mile further and half a mile
And you shall rest you in merry Carlisle."



" Oh, lift me softly over yon stile —
It's aye too far to bonnie Carlisle.
Lift me softly into yon meads —
Your little foot boy can hold the steeds."

" Now, God have mercy, what colour is this

Breaks through your mantle's broideries ? "

His knee was the pillow for her head.

His hand with her heart's blood was red.

And it's "What will you leave to your father bold ? "

" My steed milk-white that's shod with gold."

" And what to your mother dear ? " — " The girdle

Of gold and pearls from round my middle."

" And what to your sister Margaret sweet ? "

'• The pearl-pricked shoon from off my feet."

" And what to lord John that's lithe of limb ? "

"A priest to shrive and to housel him."

And it's " What will you leave to me, to me,
That hold your head upon my knee ? "
" Oh, the ring wherewith you made me wife —
I ha' loved and I love you abune my life."



Virelai



IN the garden of the King
Oh ! the fair birds on the wing —
Oh ! the fair boughs full of white
Flowers and vermeil, where they sing,
Silver-throated sing and swing —

The soft breezes all alight
With the clear gold winnowing
Of swift angel plumes, that fling
Trail of glory left and right,

And throb onward out of sight.
Lift thy heart up, dolorous wight,

In thy house of pain and care ;
Dost complain that hidden are quite
All the rose and chrysolite

Of the sunsets ? Hast no share
Longer in March meadows dight
With tall daffodils, and flight

Of brown birds through the blue air ?

Long grass wind-tossed everywhere,
Gorse bloom that the uplands bear

Though 'tis thine no more to see,
Lift thy heart and pray this prayer,



" If the prison is so fair,

Lord, what must the palace be ? " #
All the glory, as it were,
Of all sunsets gathereth there,

Dolorous one, and waiteth thee.

Just a few years, two and three,
While all sweet things further flee,

Canst not suffer ? Such, and more
Sweets, in the King's garden He
Hath beyond measure. To the knee

Blow white tulips round the door,
Crocus and anemone ;
And the fruits on every tree

Burn translucent to the core.



All of fine sward is the floor,
Thick with lilies starred o'er ;

There the whole year round 'tis Spring
Not in any year of yore
Hast thou met the like before !

So, they to the King shall bring
Thee, and His fair hands shall pour
Into thine of joys such store

As shall pass all fathoming.

* Saint Augustine.



Is it nothing to you ? "



WE were playing on the green together,
My sweetheart and I —
Oh ! so heedless in the gay June weather,

When the word went forth that we must die.
Oh ! so merrily the balls of amber

And of ivory tossed we to the sky,
While the word went forth in the King's chamber
That we both must die.

Oh ! so idly, straying through the pleasaunce,

Plucked we here and there
Fruit and bud, while in the royal presence

The King's son was casting from his hair
Glory of the wreathen gold that crowned it,

And ungirdling all his garment fair,
Flinging by the jewelled clasp that bound it,

With his feet made bare.

Down the myrtled stairway of the palace,

Ashes on his head,
Came he, through the rose and citron alleys,

In rough sark of sackcloth habited,



And a hempen halter — oh ! we jested
Lightly, and we laughed as he was led

To the torture, while the bloom we breasted
Where the grapes grew red.

Oh ! so sweet the birds, when he was dying,

Piped to her and me —
Is no room this glad June day for sighing —

He is dead, and she and I go free !
When the sun shall set on all our pleasure

We will mourn him — What, so you decree
We are heartless — Nay, but in what measure

Do you more than we ?



10



Love in the Lane



"TT is nothing," we said, "though we have to
J- wait —

We are young — we are both of us young."
My love was a lad leaning over the gate —

(All that song has been sung.)
He whistled such tunes as he walked by the cart,

The gayest of any I know —
That was a long time ago, sweetheart ;

Ah, what a long time ago !

The gladness of hearing the waggon wheels creak,
The horses plod over the hill,

The sound of the bells every day of the week —
(Hark! are they tinkling still ?)

" It is nothing," we said, " though we have to part-
It will all come again, we know."

That was a long time ago, sweetheart ;
A long time, a long time ago.

The hedges were flowering against the red sky —

Linnets sang loud in the tree —
He plucked me three roses, and bade me good-bye — ■

(The roses are withered, all three.)
Is it death, is it life, that has kept us apart ?

Shall I know ? shall I ever know ?
It is all such a long time ago, sweetheart ;

Ages and ages ago.



II



Sonnet



WISH not withdrawn or changed thy bitter
chalice —
Think'st thou the bride would rend or fling away
The sorry garment dim of hodden grey
That clad her when, in the rain, through thegorse-

grown valleys
Tending the herd she fared, and forth from his
palace
One rode, and loved her in her mean array,
And wedded, and took her home to holiday
Thenceforth among his peach and jasmine alleys?
Who knoweth ? perchance had robbed thee of thy
heart
Joy of this life, hadst thou been whole and
straight.
Thy pain, as it were, hath prisoned thee apart,
That thy Beloved might say, "All Mine thou art" —
Ah ! since therein He chose thee, as treasure rate,
As thy betrothal robe, thy stricken estate.



12



Christmas Carol



LACKING samite and sable,
Lacking silver and gold,
The Prince Jesus in the poor stable
Slept, and was three hours old.

As doves by the fair water,

Mary, not touched of sin,
Sat by Him, — the King's daughter,

All glorious within.

A lily without one stain, a

Star where no spot hath room —

Ave, gratia plena —
Virgo Virginum.

Clad not in pearl-sewn vesture,

Clad not in cramoisie,
She hath hushed, she hath cradled to rest, her

God the first time on her knee.



13



Where is one to adore Him?

The ox hath dumbly confessed,
With the ass, meek kneeling before Him,

" Et homo f actus est.'"



Not throned on ivory or cedar,

Not crowned with a Queen's crown,

At her breast it is Mary shall feed her
Maker, from Heaven come down.



The trees in Paradise blossom
Sudden, and its bells chime —

She giveth Him, held to her bosom,
Her immaculate milk the first time.



The night with wings of angels

Was alight, and its snow-packed ways

Sweet made (say the Evangels)
With the noise of their virelays.



Qnem vidisiis, pastor es ?

Why go ye feet unshod ?
Wot ye within yon door is

Mary, the Mother of God ?



No smoke of spice is ascending
There — no roses are piled —

But, choicer than all balms blending,
There Mary hath kissed her Child.



14



" Dilectus mens mihi

Et ego Illi " — Cold
Small cheek against her cheek, He

Sleepeth three hours old.



15



The Miracle of Mercy

A Fact

"TV /TIDNIGHT hath struck from all the clocks.

1V1 Who is it cries on my name and knocks ? "
" Rouse thee, Father John Marie.

Oh ! make haste and ride with me."

" Who needeth me in the heart of the night ?"
" One that must die before daylight.
Fetch quickly, Father John Marie,
The holy oils, and ride with me."

" A lad was I, and my locks nut-brown,
When last from saddle I vaulted down.
I will follow thee fast, tho' my hair be white,
But my feet shall carry me best this night."

" Now, nay, for the sturdiest could not stride
The length of the road that we must ride.
Mount ! mount ! lest clocks strike two, strike three,
And a soul be damned for lack of thee."



16



Bundle of hay on the barn's bare floor,
Blood that trickled under the door,
Blood on the gold of the broidered coat,
Ghastly, gaping wound in the throat.

" Oh ! for the love of God, a priest ! "
" Where shall we find one, west or east ?
In this heretic land we may seek all day,
The nearest is shires and shires away."

" Oh ! bring a priest, for Jesus' sake.
Years it is since I knelt to make
My confession, and was forgiven.
Oh ! for God's sake, get me shriven."

Gasping, shuddering, ever to him
Dimmer the lights grew, and more dim ;
Sharpened ever his ashy cheek ;
And still his dry lips strove to speak.

Clatter of hoofs through the dark that rang,
And stopped at mid-gallop — two that sprang
Breathless each from a reeking steed,
With hair blown wild in their headlong speed.

" Father ! Father ! dreaming am I ?
Or com'st thou truly to help me die? "
" Yea, my son, annealed and shriven,
To send thee in Christ's arms to Heaven."



17



" While the low sun looks through the orchard

bough,
Brother Martin, what readest thou?"
" Of a holy priest in the north countrie,
In hiding, Father John Marie,"

" Wherefore in hiding ? " " For that he
At the cock-crowing, Father John Marie,
Assoiled and anointed one that lay
In his life's last throes on a heap of hay.

" Blood (it saith) from a gash in his throat
Gruesome ran o'er his gold- laced coat,
And out 'neath the door— What aileth thee ?
So pale thou'rt, Father John Marie."

" Whence, Brother Martin, came the priest? "
" Nay, none can hear it, and west and east
They have searched, to slay him, and found him not,
For the good God hideth him well, I wot."

11 His name, Brother Martin, read to me."
" 'Tis written not, Father John Marie.
Dost think belike 'tis a friend ? Now, nay.
Who knoweth ? 'tis shires and shires away.

" One there was that rode by his side

Thither and thence, to serve as guide, —

One seen never of any before

(It saith) and that since hath been seen no more."



18



Musing, marvelling, ever went he

In wonder, Father John Marie.

Oh ! by whom that night was he bidden

To ride ? And, oh ! what road had they ridden ?

The length of the realm, as now he saw,

In less than an hour — And with trembling awe,

" Benedictus," would whisper he,

" Qui venit in nomine Domini."



19 c — 2



Ballade

(April 27TH, 1882)

THE thrushes were singing between the showers,
Between the showers of an April day ;
And they said, " There is noise in the tall old towers
Of marriage bells and of roundelay.
Oh, the world," each sang to his mate, " looks gay,
When it seems a garden that holds but two !

Green be the garden as meads in May,
And God give His sunshine all the year through !

" From the leaf and the blossom of other bowers

Came a Princess through the salt sea-spray ;
But now she is ours ! " they sang, " she is ours !

She has come with the Spring, she has come to
stay.

Soft blow the winds in her path at play !
Never be cloud on her reach of blue !

Fair be the fields where her feet shall stray,
And God give His sunshine all the year through ! "

Other thrushes and other flowers

Shall she miss from the Springs of the Future ?
Nay,

20



Not if the welcome of these first hours
Half the wish of our heart can say —
Not if the tribute our tongue can pay

Be half as loud as the homage is true —
Oh, blest be the garden as Eden clay,

And God give His sunshine all the year through !



Envoi

Prince ! be sure of the hearts that pray,
While Summer is breaking for her and for you ;

Blossom make lovely each step of your way,
And God give His sunshine all the year through !



Cophetua



THE land and the sea were grey,
Steeped in a silver mist.
Why did he come this way

And woo me or ever I wist ?
Oh ! what shall I do next

In the fair, windless weather ?
Heart of mine in its joy perplexed
With Yea and with Nay together.

My father, mending his net,

Saith, " Marry thee, child of mine."
The eyes of my mother are wet,

Where she sitteth to milk the kine.
My little sisters stare —

They cry, " Thou wilt play with us never —
In thy shining robe, with the pearls in thy hair,

Thou wilt play not again for ever.

il The sarks and the sheets fine spun,
Rinsed white as a white dove's wings,

Thou wilt hang no more in the sun
With thy hands all diamond rings,"

22



Oh, yea ! or, oh, nay ! shall I say
In the strange, silent weather ?

Would he had held on his seaward way —
But, lo, we have met together.



2 3



" Ite ad Joseph "

A Legend

BETWEEN the soul and the Blessed Land
St. Peter stood, with the Keys in his hand —

" Thou hast lived in sin, and hast died in sin,
And thou mayest not enter the Gate within."

But the poor soul cried only, " St. Joseph, attend ! "
Cried ever, " St. Joseph ! my father, my friend —

" They say I have sinned — and it well may be —
But was not I always devout to thee ?

" Did ever my feet through a church-door go
But before thine image I louted low ?

" Chapel of thine have I ever sought
But I lighted candle, or roses brought ?

" Have not I cleaved to thee, sick and well?
And wilt thou permit me to fall into Hell ? "

24



Faithful father, St. Joseph came—
But ever St. Peter spake the same —

" He has died in sin, and sin that was great,
And how shall he enter within the Gate ? "

To the Angel Choir, whose wings seemed dipped
In sunset glory, and glory-tipped,

St. Joseph ran, and on to the Choir,
With wings like a harvest field on fire —

The First fair Order hushed, when they heard,
Their citherns, and hushed them the Second and
the Third,

Till, each after each, had gone Orders eight,
And the Ninth Order last of all, down to the Gate,

And left not aught they could say unsaid ;
But ever St. Peter shook his head.

Through golden street upon golden street
Went St. Joseph with hurrying feet,

Till one by one, and by twos and threes,
The Saints came down 'neath the blossoming
trees, —

Saint after Saint down the lilied stair,
Till all the Blessed in Heaven were there.



25



But ever his head St. Peter shook,
And ever his way St. Joseph took

Past the meadows, where never a soul
Remained, nor an Angel played cithole,

Farther yet through the Blessed Land,

To one that was seated at Christ's Right Hand.

In her pearly vesture, and mantle spun

As from dew-bright rays of the morning sun,

More fair than the twelve white stars in her crown,
The Mother of God to the Gate came down.

The Angels, at sight of her, struck the strings,
Till the sound ran to meet her, like rushing of wings

All of silver. St. Peter, that held the Keys,
Unmitred before her and went on his knees.

Ringed round her the Saints, like an aureole clear,
But " yea" from St. Peter none could hear.

Then, ever in haste, St. Joseph ran

To Him who, when scarce he measured a span,

Had lain in St. Joseph's arms and smiled,
And clung to his neck, a two years' Child,

With the strange buried flowers, as it were, shining

sweet,
Shining large, thro' His Hands, thro' His Side,

thro' His Feet,

26



In a mist of glory and golden state
Mary's Son went down to the Gate —

And God Almighty looked from His Throne,
And saw He was left in Heaven alone.

At His Will returning, a soft, white flame
Dividing the silence, a Seraph came,

And told how all Heaven, from south and from

north,
At St. Joseph's prayer had in turn gone forth —

And, for sake of St. Joseph, were gathered a great
Multitude beautiful down at the Gate.

Spoke God our Lord — and His Smile was kind —
" Go say that St. Peter must change his mind.

Without court, without singers, am I to stay
Till what time St. Joseph has got his way ?

If St. Joseph's prayers are to empty Heaven,
Go say that his client must be forgiven."



27



The Beloved



WHEN the storm was in the sky,
And the west was black with showers,
My Beloved came by

With His Hands full of flowers —
Red burning flowers,
Like flame that pulsed and throbbed —

And beyond in the rain-smitten bowers
The turtle-dove sobbed.

(Sweet in the rough weather

The voice of the turtle-dove —
" Beautiful altogether

Is my Love.

His Hands are open spread for love
And full of jacinth stones —

As the apple-tree among trees of the grove
Is He among the sons."

The voice of the turtle-dove

Sweet in the wild weather —
" Until the daybreak dwells my Love

Among the hills of Bether.

28



Among the lilied lawns of Bether,
As a young hart untired —

Chosen out of thousands, — altogether
To be desired.")

When the night was in the sky,

And heavily went the hours,
My Beloved drew nigh

With His Hands full of flowers —

Burning red flowers
Like cups of scented wine —

And He said, " They are all ours,
Thine and Mine.



" I gathered them from the bitter Tree — r

Why dost thou start ?
I gathered the Five of them for thee,

Child of My Heart.

These are they that have wrung my Heart,
And with fiercest pangs have moved Me —

I gathered them-why dost thou shrink apart?
In the house of them that loved Me."



(Sweet through the rain-swept blast

The moan of the turtle-dove —
" You that see Him go past

Tell Him I languish with love.

Thou hast wounded my heart, O my Love !
With but one look of Thine eyes,

While yet the boughs are naked above
And winter is in the skies.")

29



{t Honey-laden flowers

For the children nursed on the knee,
Who sow not bramble among their bowers —

But what " He said " for thee ?

Not joys of June for thee,
Not lily, no, nor rose —

For thee the blossom of the bitter Tree,
More sweet than ought that blows."

(The voice of the turtle-dove —

" How shall my heart be fed
With pleasant apples of love,

When the winter time has fled.

The rain and the winter fled,
How all His gifts shall grace me,

When His Left Hand is under my head,
And His Right Hand doth embrace me.")



30



Soeur Louise de la Misericord e

(Louise de la Valliere)

SCOURGE, and cilice, and feet unshod,
And Office, and fast, and the love of God.

The grille, and the cell, and the sweet Vows three,
And the holy habit — for me ! for me !

For me, who at first in the state of grace,
Blushed when the great sin looked in my face —

Who housed desire of it unconfessed

In the bosom that once received God for its Guest —

Who, with peril and guilt of it all to me known,
Drank of it, laved in it, made it mine own.

Oh ! God of mine, nailed up on the Rood,

Why hast Thou waited ? oh ! Kind — oh ! Good —

God of my heart, on the bitter Tree
Waiting, when I would not hear of Thee.



3i



My sin loaded the scourge that tore
To pieces the Body that Mary bore —

My sin launched the blows and disgrace

To change and to mar all Thy beautiful Face —

And I, when for ever from pain Thou didst part,
Clove to Its Centre Thy dear dead Heart —

My All ! my Jesus ! still can it be,
Thy Heart and the holy habit — for me ?

Through the sorrows of Mary Thy Mother, who

stood
With the sword in her soul beneath the Rood,

Through the added sorrow her grief brought Thee
Assoil Thou those that have sinned through me. . .

Chimes ! . . . and another to-morrow near —
And after to-morrow year on year. . . .

Lord, for such as I used to be

I have given my body to grief and Thee,

To broken sleep, and girdle of iron,

And scourgings to blood, and the flags to lie on —

Wait, wait but for them as for me Thou didst wait,
Who came unwilling, and came so late —

Oh ! Kind — oh ! Gentle — I chose not Thee — •
My Jesus, why hast Thou chosen me ?

32



Chimes . . . and the long night going its way
Till the next chime bringeth another day —

Penance, and fast, and the feet unshod,
And a living death, and the love of God.



33



A Legend of St. Elizabeth



ON her rough cloak fall her tears
Diamond wise. '■ Father, my fears
Bid me next unfold," she saith,
The sweet Saint Elizabeth.

" In God's name, Amen," the Friar
Maketh answer. Fringed with brier,
Under alders and grey sky,
Grey the river runneth by.

Weeping, " What and if," saith she,
" God should little care for me ?
Through my faults kept from Him far,
Dole and doubts my portion are."

" Tell me," the Friar saith to her,

The Franciscan, Rodinger,

" Dost thou love Him ? " " Yea," she saith,


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Online LibraryMay ProbynPansies : a book of poems → online text (page 1 of 4)