You'd think the way he says it, that
he felt it.
There's not a mummer to compare
He's something like a man.
Give us some proof.
What proof have I to give, but that
An instant ago was standing on that
spot. [The pupils rise.
You dreamed it.
THE HOUR-GLASS 157
I was awake as I am now.
FIRST PUPIL (to the others)
I may be dreaming now for all I know.
He wants to show we have no certain
Of anything in the world.
There is this proof
That shows we are awake we have all
While every dreamer has a world of
And sees what no one else can.
Teigue sees angels.
So when the Master says he has seen
He may have seen one.
158 THE HOUR-GLASS
Both may still be dreamers;
Unless it's proved the angels were
What sort are the angels, Teigue?
That will prove nothing,
Unless we are sure prolonged obedience
Has made one angel like another angel
As they were eggs.
The Master's silent now:
For he has found that to dispute with
Seeing that he has taught us what we
Is but to reason with himself. Let us
And find if there is one believer left.
THE HOUR-GLASS 159
Yes, yes. Find me but one that still
The things that we were told when
we were children.
He'll mock and maul him.
From the first I knew
He wanted somebody to argue with.
I have no reason left. All dark, all
[Pupils return laughing. They
push forward fourth pupil.
Here, Master, is the very man you
160 THE HOUR-GLASS
He said, when we were studying the
That maybe after all the monks were
And you mistaken, and if we but gave
He'd prove that it was so.
I never said it.
Dear friend, dear friend, do you be-
lieve in God?
Master, they have invented this to
You are afraid of me.
THE HOUR-GLASS 161
They know well, Master,
That all I said was but to make them
They've pushed me in to make a mock
Because they knew I could take either
And beat them at it.
If you believe in God,
You are my soul's one friend.
Mistress or wife
Can give us but our good or evil luck
Amid the howling world, but you shall
Eternity, and those sweet-throated
That drift above the moon.
[The pupils look at one another
and are silent.
162 THE HOUR-GLASS
How strange he is.
The angel that stood there upon that
Said that my soul was lost unless I
One that believed.
Cease mocking at me, Master,
For I am certain that there is no God
Nor immortality, and they that said it
Made a fantastic tale from a starved
To plague our hearts. Will that con-
tent you, Master?
The giddy glass is emptier every
And you stand there, debating, laugh-
ing and wrangling.
THE HOUR-GLASS 163
Out of my sight! Out of my sight, I
say. [He drives them out.
I'll call my wife, for what can women
That carry us in the darkness of their
But mock the reason that lets nothing
Unless it grow in light. Bridget,
A woman never ceases to believe,
Say what we will. Bridget, come
[Bridget comes in wearing her
apron. Her sleeves turned up
from her arms t which are
covered with flour.
Wife, what do you believe in? Tell
me the truth,
And not as is the habit with you
Something you think will please me.
Do you pray?
164 THE HOUR-GLASS
Sometimes when you're alone in the
house, do you pray?
Prayers no, you taught me to leave
them off long ago. At first I was sorry,
but I am glad now, for I am sleepy in
Do you believe in God?
Oh, a good wife only believes in
what her husband tells her.
But sometimes, when the children are
And I am in the school, do you not
About the Martyrs and the saints and
THE HOUR-GLASS 165
And all the things that you believed
I think about nothing sometimes
I wonder if the linen is bleaching
white, or I go out to see if the crows
are picking up the chickens' food.
My God, my God! I will go out
My pupils said that they would find a
Whose faith I never shook they may
have found him.
Therefore I will go out but if I go,
The glass will let the sands run out
I cannot go I cannot leave the glass.
Go call my pupils I can explain all
Only when all our hold on life is
166 THE HOUR-GLASS
Only in spiritual terror can the Truth
Come through the broken mind as
the pease burst
Out of a broken pease-cod.
[He clutches Bridget as she is going.
Say to them,
That Nature would lack all in her
Could not the soul find truth as in a
Upon the battle-field, or in the midst
Of overwhelming waves, and say to
But no, they would but answer as I bid.
You want somebody to get up an
Look out and see if there is any one
There in the street I cannot leave the
THE HOUR-GLASS 167
For somebody might shake it, and the
If it were shaken might run down on
I don't understand a word you are
saying. There's a crowd of people
talking to your pupils.
Go out and find if they have found a
Who did not understand me when I
Or did not listen.
It is a hard thing to be married to
a man of learning that must always be
having arguments. [She goes out.
168 THE HOUR-GLASS
Strange that I should be blind to the
And that so simple a man might write
Upon a blade of grass or bit of rush
With naught but berry juice, and
laugh to himself
Writing it out, because it was so
[Enter Bridget followed by the Fool.
Give me something; give me a
penny to buy bacon in the shops and
nuts in the market, and strong drink
for the time when the sun is weak.
I have no pennies. (To Wise Man)
Your pupils cannot find anybody to
argue with you. There's nobody in
THE HOUR-GLASS 169
the whole country with belief enough
for a lover's oath. Can't you be quiet
now, and not always wanting to have
arguments? It must be terrible to
have a mind like that.
Then I am lost indeed.
Leave me alone now, I have to
make the bread for you and the
children. [She goes into kitchen.
Your father wants you, run to him.
[Children run in.
Come to me, children. Do not be
170 THE HOUR-GLASS
I want to know if you believe in
God or the soul no, do not tell me
You need not be afraid I shall be,
Say what you please so that it is
I wanted you to know before you
That I shall not be angry.
We have not forgotten, Father.
Oh no, Father.
(As if repeating a lesson) There is
nothing we cannot see, nothing we
THE HOUR-GLASS 171
Foolish people used to say that
there was, but you have taught us
Go to your mother, go yet do not go.
What can she say? If I am dumb you
And yet, because the sands are run-
I have but a moment to show it all
The sap would die out of the blades of
Had they a doubt. They understand
Being the fingers of God's certainty,
Yet can but make their sign into the
But could they find their tongues
they'd show it all;
But what am I to say that am but one,
172 THE HOUR-GLASS
When they are millions and they will
[Children have run out.
But they are gone; what made them
[The Fool comes in with a dan-
Look at me, tell me if my face is
Is there a notch of the fiend's nail
Already? Is it terrible to sight?
Because the moment's near.
[Going to glass.
I dare not look,
I dare not know the moment when
No, no, I dare not. (Covers glass.)
Will there be a footfall,
Or will there be a sort of rending
Or else a cracking, as though an iron
THE HOUR-GLASS 173
Had gripped the threshold stone?
[Fool has begun to blow the dan-
What are you doing?
Wait a minute four five six
What are you doing that for?
I am blowing the dandelion to find
out what hour it is.
You have heard everything, and that
You'd find what hour it is you'd find
That you may look upon a fleet of
Dragging my soul away. You shall
174 THE HOUR-GLASS
I will have no one here when they
I will have no one sitting there no
And yet and yet there is some-
thing strange about you.
I hah* remember something. What
Do you believe in God and in the soul?
So you ask me now. I thought
when you were asking your pupils,
'Will he ask Teigue the Fool? Yes,
he will, he will; no, he will not yes,
he will.' But Teigue will say nothing.
Teigue will say nothing.
Tell me quickly.
I said, 'Teigue knows everything, not
THE HOUR-GLASS 175
even the green-eyed cats and the hares
that milk the cows have Teigue's wis-
dom'; but Teigue will not speak, he
Speak, speak, for underneath the cover
The sand is running from the upper
And when the last grain's through, I
shall be lost.
I will not speak. I will not tell
you what is in my mind. I will not
tell you what is in my bag. You
might steal away my thoughts. I
met a bodach on the road yesterday,
and he said, 'Teigue, tell me how
many pennies are in your bag; I
will wager three pennies that there are
176 THE HOUR-GLASS
not twenty pennies in your bag; let
me put in my hand and count them.'
But I gripped the bag the tighter, and
when I go to sleep at night I hide the
bag where nobody knows.
There's but one pinch of sand, and I
If you are not he I seek.
O, what a lot the Fool knows, but
he says nothing.
Yes, I remember now. You spoke of
You said but now that you had seen
You are the one I seek, and I am saved.
THE HOUR-GLASS 177
Oh no. How could poor Teigue
see angels? Oh, Teigue tells one tale
here, another there, and everybody
gives him pennies. If Teigue had not
his tales he would starve.
[He breaks away and goes out.
The last hope is gone,
And now that it's too late I see it all,
We perish into God and sink away
Into reality the rest's a dream.
[The Fool comes back.
There was one there there by the
threshold stone, waiting there; and he
said, 'Go in, Teigue, and tell him
everything that he asks you. He will
give you a penny if you tell him.'
178 THE HOUR-GLASS
I know enough, that know God's will
Waiting till the moment had come
That is what the one out there was
saying, but I might tell you what you
asked. That is what he was saying.
Be silent. May God's will prevail on
Although His will be my eternal pain.
I have no question:
It is enough, I know what fixed the
Of star and cloud.
And knowing all, I cry
That what so God has willed
On the instant be fulfilled,
Though that be my damnation.
THE HOUR-GLASS 179
The stream of the world has changed
And with the stream my thoughts
Into some cloudy thunderous spring
That is its mountain source
Aye, to some frenzy of the mind,
For all that we have done's undone,
Our speculation but as the wind.
Wise man Wise man, wake up
and I will tell you everything for a
penny. It is I, poor Teigue the Fool.
Why don't you wake up, and say,
'There is a penny for you, Teigue'?
No, no, you will say nothing. You
and I, we are the two fools, we know
everything, but we will not speak.
[Angel enters holding a casket.
O, look what has come from his
mouth! O, look what has come from
his mouth the white butterfly! He
180 THE HOUR-GLASS
is dead, and I have taken his soul in
my hands; but I know why you open
the lid of that golden box. I must
give it to you. There then, (he puts
butterfly in casket) he has gone through
his pains, and you will open the lid
in the Garden of Paradise. (He closes
curtain and remains outside it.) He is
gone, he is gone, he is gone, but come
in, everybody in the world, and look
*I hear the wind a blow
I hear the grass a grow,
And all that I know, I know.'
But I will not speak, I will run away.
[He goes out.
'FREE of the ten and four' is an error I cannot
now correct, without more rewriting than I
have a mind for. Some merchant in Villon, I
forget the reference, was 'free of the ten and
four.' Irish merchants exempted from certain
duties by the Irish Parliament were, unless
memory deceives me again for I am writing
away from books, 'free of the eight and six.'
POEMS BEGINNING WITH THAT 'To A WEALTHY
MAN' AND ENDING WITH THAT 'To A
During the thirty years or so during which
I have been reading Irish newspapers, three
public controversies have stirred my imagina-
tion. The first was the Parnell controversy.
There were reasons to justify a man's joining
either party, but there were none to justify,
on one side or on the other, lying accusations
forgetful of past service, a frenzy of detraction.
And another was the dispute over 'The
Playboy.' There were reasons for opposing
as for supporting that violent, laughing thing,
but none for the lies, for the unscrupulous
rhetoric spread against it in Ireland, and from
Ireland to America. The third prepared for
the Corporation's refusal of a building for Sir
Hugh Lane's famous collection of pictures.
One could respect the argument that Dublin,
with much poverty and many slums, could not
afford the 22,000 the building was to cost
the city, but not the minds that used it. One
frenzied man compared the pictures to Troy
horse which 'destroyed a city,' and innumer-
able correspondents described Sir Hugh Lane
and those who had subscribed many thousands
to give Dublin paintings by Corot, Manet,
Monet, Degas, and Renoir, as 'self -seekers,'
'self -advertisers,' 'picture-dealers,' 'log-roll-
ing cranks and faddists,' and one clerical
paper told 'picture-dealer Lane' to take
himself and his pictures out of that. A
member of the Corporation said there were
Irish artists who could paint as good if they
had a mind to, and another described a half-
hour in the temporary gallery in Harcourt
Street as the most dismal of his life. Some
one else asked instead of these eccentric
pictures to be given pictures ' like those beauti-
ful productions displayed in the windows of
our city picture shops.' Another thought
that we would all be more patriotic if we
devoted our energy to fighting the Insurance
Act. Another would not hang them in his
kitchen, while yet another described the vogue
of French impressionist painting as having
gone to such a length among 'log-rolling
enthusiasts' that they even admired 'works
that were rejected from the Salon forty years
ago by the finest critics in the world.'
The first serious opposition began in the
Irish Catholic, the chief Dublin clerical paper,
and Mr. William Murphy, the organiser of the
recent lock-out and Mr. Healy's financial
supporter in his attack upon Parnell, a man
of great influence, brought to its support a
few days later his newspapers The Evening
Herald and The Irish Independent, the most
popular of Irish daily papers. He replied to
my poem 'To a Wealthy Man' (I was thinking
of a very different wealthy man) from what he
described as 'Paudeen's point of view,' and
'Paudeen's point of view' it was. The en-
thusiasm for 'Sir Hugh Lane's Corots' one
paper spelled the name repeatedly 'Crot'
being but 'an exotic fashion,' waited 'some
satirist like Gilbert' who 'killed the aesthetic
craze,' and as for the rest 'there were no greater
humbugs in the world than art critics and so-
called experts.' As the first avowed reason
for opposition, the necessities of the poor got
but a few lines, not so many certainly as the
objection of various persons to supply Sir Hugh
Lane with 'a monument at the city's expense,'
and as the gallery was supported by Mr.
James Larkin, the chief Labour leader, and
important slum workers, I assume that the
purpose of the opposition was not exclusively
These controversies, political, literary, and
artistic, have showed that neither religion nor
politics can of itself create minds with enough
receptivity to become wise, or just and generous
enough to make a nation. Other cities have
been as stupid Samuel Butler laughs at
shocked Montreal for hiding the Discobolus
in a cellar but Dublin is the capital of a
nation, and an ancient race has nowhere else
to look for an education. Goethe in Wilhelm
Meister describes a saintly and naturally
gracious woman, who getting into a quarrel
over some trumpery detail of religious observ-
ance, grows she and all her little religious
community angry and vindictive. In Ireland
I am constantly reminded of that fable of
the futility of all discipline that is not of
the whole being. Religious Ireland and the
pious Protestants of my childhood were signal
examples thinks of divine things as a round
of duties separated from life and not as an
element that may be discovered in all circum-
stance and emotion, while political Ireland
sees the good citizen but as a man who holds
to certain opinions and not as a man of good
will. Against all this we have but a few
educated men and the remnants of an old
traditional culture among the poor. Both
were stronger forty years ago, before the rise
of our new middle class which showed as its
first public event, during the nine years of the
Parnellite split, how base at moments of excite-
ment are minds without culture. 1914.
'Romantic Ireland's dead and gone' sounds
old-fashioned now. It seemed true in 1913,
but I did not foresee 1916. The late Dublin
Rebellion, whatever one can say of its wisdom,
will long be remembered for its heroism. ' They
weighed so lightly what they gave,' and gave
too in some cases without hope of success.
The fable for this poem came into my head
while I was giving some lectures in Dublin. I
had noticed once again how all thought among
us is frozen into 'something other than human
life.' After I had made the poem, I looked up
one day into the blue of the sky, and suddenly
imagined, as if lost in the blue of the sky, stiff
figures in procession. I remembered that they
were the habitual image suggested by blue
sky, and looking for a second fable called them
"The Magi', complimentary forms to those
A friend suggested to me the subject of this
play, an Irish folk-tale from Lady Wilde's
Ancient Legends. I have for years struggled
with something which is charming in the naive
legend but a platitude on the stage. I did
not discover till a year ago that if the wise
man humbled himself to the fool and received
salvation as his reward, so much more powerful
are pictures than words, no explanatory
dialogue could set the matter right. I was
faintly pleased when I converted a music-hall
singer and kept him going to Mass for six
weeks, so little responsibility does one feel
for those to whom one has never been intro-
duced; but I was always ashamed when I saw
any friend of my own in the theatre. Now I
have made my philosopher accept God's will,
whatever it is, and find his courage again, and
helped by the elaboration of verse, have so
changed the fable that it is not false to my
own thoughts of the world.
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BY ROBINSON JEFFERS
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of such men as John G. Neihardt, Edgar Lee Masters,
Edwin Arlington Robinson and Thomas Walsh. Vir-
tually all of the poems in this first collection have then*
setting in California, most of them in the Monterey