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Spread ruin on our cause from Montreale.

But greatest are my warriors, as I deem.

In that their hearts, nearer than any else

Keep true the pledge of perfect purity

They pledged upon their sword-hilts long ago.

For all is possible to the pure in heart.

Mother of GodI thy starry smile
StiU bless us from above!

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Keep pure our souls from passion's guUe^

Our hearts from earthly love I
Still save each soul from guiU apart

As stainless as each swordy
And guard undimmed in every heart

The image of our Lordl

O goodliest fellowship that the world has known,

True hearts and stalwart arms! above your breasts

Glitters no flash of wreathen amulet

Forged against sword-stroke by the chanted rhythm

Of charms accurst; but in each steadfast heart

Blazes the light of cloudless purity.

That like a splendid jewel glorifies

With restless fire the gold that spheres it round.

And marks you children of our God, whose lives

He guards with the awful jealousy of love.

And even me that generous love has spared, —

Me, trustless knight and miserable man, —

Sad prey of dark and mutinous thoughts that tempt

My sick soid into perjury and death —


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Since his great love had pity of my pain.

Has spared to lead these blameless warriors safe

Into the desert from the blazing towns.

Out of the desert to the inviolate hills

Where God has roofed them with his hollow shield.

Through all these days of tempest and eclipse

His hand has led me add his wrath has flashed

Its lightnings in the pathway of my sword.

And so I hope, and so my crescent faith

Gains daily power, that all my prayers and tears

And toils and blood and anguish borne for him

May blot the accusing of my deadly sin

From heaven's high compt, and give me rest in death;

And lay the pallid ghost of mortal love,

That fills with banned and mournful loveliness,

Unblest, the haunted chambers of my soul.

My misery will atone, — my misery, —

Dear God, will surely atone! for not the sting

Of macerating thongs, nor the slow horror

Of crowns of thorny iron maddening the brows.

Nor all that else pale hermits have devised

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To scourge the rebel senses in their shade

Of cavemed desolation, have the power

To smart and goad and lash and mortify

like the great love that binds my ruined heart

Relentless, as the insidious ivy binds

The shattered bulk of some deserted tower.

Enlacing slow and riving with strong hands

Of pitiless verdure every seam and jut.

Till none may tear it forth and save the tower.

So binds and masters me my hopeless love.

So through the desert, in the silent hills,

I' the current of the battle's storm and stress.

One thought has driven me, — that though men may call

Me stainless Paladin, Knight leal and true

To Christ and Our Lady, still I know myself

A knight not after God's own heart, a soul

Recreant, and whelmed in the forbidden sin.

For dearer to my sad heart than the cross

I give my heart's best blood for are the eyes

That long ago, when youth and hope were mine,

I loved in thy still valleys, far Provence !

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And sweeter to my spirit than the bells

Of rescued Salem are the loving tones

Of her dear voice, soft echoing o*er the years.

They haunt me in the stillness and the glare

Of desert noontide when the horizon's line

Swims faintly throbbing, and my shadow hides

Skulking beneath me from the brassy sky;

And when night comes to soothe with breath of balm

And pomp of stars the worn and weary world»

Her eyes rise in my soul and make its day.

And even into the battle comes my love.

Snatching the duty that I offer Heaven.

At closing of El-Majed's awful day.
When the l^t quivering sunbeams, choked with dust
And fume of blood, failed on the level plain.
In the last charge, when gathered all our knights
The precious handful who from mom had stemmed
The fury of the multitudinous hosts
Of Islam, where in youth's hot fire and pride
Ramped the young lion-whelp, Ben-Saladin;
As down the slope we rode at eventide,


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The dying sunlight faintly smiled to greet

Our tattered guidons and our dinted helms

And lance-heads blooming with the battle's rose.

Into the vale, dusk with the shadow of death,

With silent lips and ringing mail we rode.

And something in the spirit of the hour.

Or fate, or memory, or sorrow, or sin.

Or love, which unto me is all of these.

Possessed and bound me; for when dashed our troop

In stormy clangor on the Paynim lines

The soul of my dead youth came into me;

Faded away my oath; the woes of Zion,

God was forgot; blazed in my leaping heart.

With instant flash, life's inextinguished fires;

Plimging along each tense limb poured the blood

Hot with its years of sleeping-smothered flame. ^

And in a dream I charged, and in a dream

I smote resistless; foemen in my path

Fell unregarded, like the wayside flowers

Clipped by the truant's stafif in daisied lanes.

For over me burned lustrous the dear eyes

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Of my beloved; I strove as at a joust

To giun at end the guerdon of her smile.

And ever, as in the dense m616e I dashed.

Her name burst from my lips» as lightning breaks

Out of the plunging wrack of summer storms.

my lost love! Bright o*er the waste of years —
That bliss and beauty shines upon my soul;

As far beyond yon desert hangs the sun;
Gilding with tender beam the barren stretch
Of sands that intervene. In this still light
The old sweet memories glimmer back to me.
Fair summers of my youth, — the idle days

1 wandered in the bosky coverts hid

In the dim woods that girt my ancient home;
The blue young eyes I met and worshipped there;
The love that growing turned those gloomy wilds
To faery dells, and filled the vernal air
With light that bathed the hills of Paradise;
The warm, long days of rapturous sunmier-time.
When through the forests thick and lush we strayed,

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And love made our own sunshine in the shades.

And all things fair and graceful in the woods

I loved with liberal heart; the violets

Were dear for her dear eyes, the quiring birds

That caught the musical tremble of her voice.

O happy twilights in the leafy glooms!

When in the glowing dusk the winsome arts

And maiden graces that all day had kept

Us twain and separate melted away

In blushing silence, and my love was mine

Utterly, utterly, with clinging arms

And quick, caressing fingers, warm red lips.

Where vows, half uttered, drowned in kisses, died;

Mine, with the starlight in her passionate eyes;

The wild wind of the woodland breathing low

To wake the elfin music of the leaves.

And free the prisoned odors of the flowers.

In honor of young Love come to his throne!

While we imder the stars, with twining arms

And mutual lips insatiate, gave our souls —

Madly forgetting earth and heaven — to love!

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In desert march or batUe^eflamef

In fortress and infield.
Our war-cry is thy holy name.

Thy hve our joy and shieldl
And if we falter, let thy power ,

Thy stem avenger be.
And God forget us in the hour

We cease to think of thee I

Curse me not» God of Justice and of Love !
Pitiful God, let my long woe atone!

I cannot deem but God has pitied me;
Else why with painful care have I been saved.
Whenever tossed and drenched in the fierce tide
Of Saladin's victories by the walls profaned
Of Jaffa, on the sands of far Daroum,
Or in the battle thundering on the downs
Of Ramlah, or the bloody day that shed
Red horrors on high Gaza's parapets ?
Por never a storm of fatal fight has raged


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In Islam's track of rout and ruin swept

From Egypt to Gebail, but when the ebb

Of battle came I and my host have lam»

Scarred, scorched, sale somewhere on its fiery shore.

At Marcab's lingering siege, where day by day

We told the Moslem lemons toiling slow.

Planting their engines, delving in their mines

To quench in our destruction this last light

Of Christendom, our fortress in the crags,

God's beacon swung defiant from the stars;

One thunderous night I knew their miners groped

Below, and thought ere mom to die, in crush

And tumult of the falling citadel.

And pondering of .my fate — the broken storm

Sobbing its life away — I was aware

There grew between me and the quieting skies

A face and form I knew, — not as in dreams.

The sad dishevelled loveliness of earth.

But lighter than the thin air where she swayed, —

Gold hair flame-fluttered, eyes and mouth aglow

With lambent Ught of spiritual joy.

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With sweet command she beckoned me away
And led me vaguely dreaming, till I saw
Where the wild flood in sudden fury had burst
A passage through the rocks: and thence I led
My host unharmed, following her luminous eyes,
Until the East was gray, and with a smile
Wooing me heavenward still she passed away
Into the rosy trouble of the dawn.

And I believe my love is shrived in heaven.
And I believe that I shall soon be free.

For ever, as I journey on, to me

Waking or sleeping come faint whisperings

And fancies not of earth, as if the gates

Of near eternity stood for me ajar.

And ghostly gales come blowing o'er my soul

Fraught with the amaranth odors of the skies.

I go to join the Lion-Heart at Acre,

And there, after due homage to my liege.

And after patient penance of the church,

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And after final devoir in the fight,
If that my God be gracious, I shall die.
And so I pray — Lord pardon if I sin! —
That I may lose in death's imbittered wave.
The stain of sinful loving, and may find
In glory again the love I lost below.
With all of fair and bright and unattained.
Beautiful in the cherishing smile of God,
By the glad waters of the River of Life !

Night hangs above the valley; dies the day
In peace, casting his last glance on my cross,
And warns me to my prayers. Ave Marial

Mother of Godl the evening fades

On wave and hill and lea.
And in the ttoUight's deepening shades

We lift our souls to thee!
In passion* s stress, the home's strife.

The desert's lurking harms,
Maid-Mother of the Lord of Life,

Protect thy men-at-arms I

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One day the Sultan, grand and grim.
Ordered the Mufti brought to him.
'*Now let thy wisdom solve for me
The question I shall put to thee.

'*The different tribes beneath my sway
Four several sects of priests obey;
Now tell me which of all the four
Is on the path to Heaven's door.**

The Sultan spake, and then was dumb.
The Mufti looked about the room,
And straight made answer to his lord»
Fearing the bowstring at each word:

"Thou, godlike in thy lofty birth,
Who art our Allah upon earth,


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Illume me with thy favoring ray,
And I will answer as I may.

*Here, where thou thronest in thy hall,
I see there are four doors in all;
And through all four thy slaves may gaze
Upon the brightness of thy face.

"That I came hither safely through
Was to thy gracious message due.
And, blinded by thy splendor's flame,
I cannot tell the way I came."

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The Coiintess Jutta passed over the Rhine
In a light canoe by the moon's pale shine.
The handmaid rows and the Coimtess speaks:
'^Seest thou not there where the water breaks

Seven corpses swim

In the moonlight dim?
So sorrowful swim the dead!

"They were seven knights full of fire and youth,
They sank on my heart and swore me truth.
I trusted them; but for Truth's sweet sake,
Lest they should be tempted their oaths to break,

I had them boimd.

And tenderly drowned!
So sorrowful swim the dead!'*

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The merry Countess laughed outright!

It rang so wild in the startled night!

Up to the waist the dead men rise

And stretch lean fingers to the skies.
They nod and stare
With a glassy glare!

So sorrowful swim the dead !

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When I look on thee and feel how dear,

How pure» and how fair thou art.
Into my eyes there steals a tear,
And a shadow mingled of love and fear*
Creeps slowly over my heart.

And my very hands feel as if they would lay

Themselves on thy fair young head.
And pray the good God to keep thee alway
As good and lovely, as pure and gay, —
When I and my wild love are dead.


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Let your feet not falter, your course not alter
By golden apples, till victory 's won!

The sword's sharp clangor, the dart's shrill anger,
Swerve not the hero thundering on.

A bold beginning is half the winning.
An Alexander makes worlds his fee.

No long debating! The Queens are waiting
In his pavilion on bended knee.

Thus swift pursuing his wars and wooing.
He mounts old Darius' bed and throne.

glorious mint O blithe undoing!
O drunk death-trimnph in Babylon!

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DoTTBLB flutes and horns resound
As they dance the idol round;
Jacob's daughters, madly reeling,
Whirl about the golden calf.
Hear them laugh!
Kettledrums and laughter pealing.

Dresses tucked above their knees,
Maids of noblest families;
In the swift dance blindly wheeling.
Circle in their wild career
Roimd the steer, —
Kettledrums and laughter pealing.

Aaron's self, the guardian gray
Of the faith, at last gives way,


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Madness all his senses stealing;
Prances in his high priest's coat
Like a goat, —
KetUednuns and laughter pealing.

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Daily walked the fair and lovely
Sultan's daughter in the twilight, —
In the twilight by the fountain.
Where the sparkling waters plash.

Daily stood the young slave silent
In the twilight by the fountain.
Where the plashing waters sparkle.
Pale and paler every day.

Once by twilight came the princess
Up to him with rapid questions:
"I would know thy name, thy nation.
Whence thou comest, who thou art."

And the young slave said, ""My name is
Mahomet, I come from Yemmen.
I am of the sons of Azra,
Men who perish if they love."

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Good Luck is the gayest of all gay girls»
Long in one place she will not stay*

Back from your brow she strokes the curls»
Kisses you quick and flies away.

But Madame Bad Luck soberly comes
And stays, — no fancy has she for flitting, —

Snatdies of true love-songs she hums,
And sits by your bed, and brings her knitting.


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When I behold thee, O my indolent love.
To the sound of ringing brazen melodies.

Through garish halls harmoniously move,
Scattering a scornful light from languid eyes;

When I see, smitten by the blazing lights.
Thy pale front, beauteous in its bloodless glow

As the faint fires that deck the Northern nights.
And eyes that draw me wheresoever I go;

I say. She b fair, too coldly strange for speech;

A crown of memories, her calm brow above.
Shines; and her heart is like a bruised red peach.

Ripe as her body for intelligent love.

Art thou late fruit of spicy savor and scent?
A funeral vase awaiting tearful showers?

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An Eastern odor, waste and oasis blent?
A silken cushion or a bank of flowers ?

I know there are eyes of melancholy sheen
To which no passionate secrets e'er were given;

Shrines where no god or saint has ever been»
As deep and empty as the vault of Heaven.

But what care I if this be all pretense?

'T wiU serve a heart that seeks for truth no more.
All one thy folly or indifference, —

Hiul» lovely mask» thy beauty I adore !

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Let them say to my Lover

That here I lie!
The thing of His pleasure.

His slave am I.

Say that I seek Him ^

Only for love.
And welcome are tortures

My passion to prove.

Love giving ^ts

Is suspicious and cold;

I have all, my BelovM,
When Thee I hold.

Hope and devotion
The good may gain;


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I am but worthy
Of passion and pain.

So noble a Lord
None serves in vain.

For the pay of my love
Is my love's sweet pain.

I love Thee, to love Thee, -

No more I desire;
By faith is nourished

My love's strong fire.

I kiss Thy hands

When I feel their blows;
In the place of caresses

Thou givest me woes.

But in Thy chastising

Is joy and peace.
O Master and Love,

Let Thy blows not cease.

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Thy beauty, BelovM,

With scorn is rife.
But I know that Thou lovest me

Better than life.

And because Thou lovest me.

Lover of mine.
Death can but make me

Utterly Thine.

I die with longing

Thy face to see;
Oh ! sweet is the anguish

Of death to me !

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I SAT on a worm fence talking

With one of the Bear Creek boys.
When aU the woods were ringing

With the blue jay's jubilant noise.
Prairie and timber were glorious

In the love of the hot young sun.
But a philosophic gloom possessed

The soul of Benoni Duifn.

"Nothin' in all this Varsal yerth

Is like what it ort to be,
IVe give up tryin' to see the nub —

It's too hefty a job fer me.
The weaker a feller's stummick may be,

The bigger his dinner, you bet.
And the more he don't care a danm for cash.

The richer he's sure to get.

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"Thar's old Brads — got a pretty young wife

And the biggest house in Pike —
No chick nor child — says he's sixty-two,

But he's eighty-two more like.
I 'low God thinks it a demed good joke —

The way he tries it on —
To send a plenty of hazel-nuts

To folks with their back teeth gone.

"I ort to be in Congress;

I would ef I'd went to school.
Thar's Colonel Scrubb our member

He's jest a nateral fool.
When he come here. Lord! he did n't know

Peach blow from a dogwood blossom.
And the demed galoot owned up to me

That he never seed a 'possum!

"Everything works contrary —

You never knows what to do:
Ef I sow in wheat I'll wish it was com
Afore the fall is through.

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And talk about pleasure — ef I was axed

The thing that most I love»
I'd say it's gingerbread — and that

I git the httlest uv.

'*What is the use of livin'

Where everything goes skew-haw,
Where you starve ef you keep the Conunandments,

And hang ef you break the law.
I've give up tryin* to see the nub

Uv what we was meant to be;
The more I study, the more I don't know —

It's too hefty a job fer me."

And this was the sum of the thinking

Of tall Benoni Dunn, —
While gay in weeds his cornfield laughed

In the light of the kindly sun.
Ruminant thus he maundered.

With a scowl on his tangled brow.
With gaps in his fence, and hate in his heart,

And rust on his idle plough.

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Dawn gilded — over dunes of sand

That border Mobile Bay —
The fleet, which under Farragut

In expectation lay.
For ere that rising sun should set.

Full many a sailor bold
Should perish, leaving but a name

On history's page of gold.

Others have sung and yet shall sing

Of Farragut's renown:
How to the Hartford's maintop lashed

He gained his conqueror's crown.
Let others sing those deeds while we»

In sorrow and in pride.
Tell how one gallant gentleman

TVlth high decorum died.

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The Admiral came across the bar

With threescore flags in air.
The Gulfs blue mirror never passed

A scene so sternly fair.
Over his fleet of eighteen ships

His dark eye proudly ran;
And Craven in the monitor

Tecumseh led the van.

Morgan and Gaines shot forth their fires

From either bellowing shore;
With deeper rage the fleet replied —

One thunderous, volleying roar.
But straight ahead bold Craven dashed

Upon the swelling tide.
To seek and smite the Tennessee,

The foeman's hope and pride.

A noble quarry! Seeking her.
Most worth his knightly steel.

He recked not of the leaking death
Beneath his gliding keel.

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One moment in the conning tower
He thought of loved ones dear —

Then at the black foe's lowering bulk
He bade his pilot steer.

A roar, a shock, a shuddering plunge!

Full well did Craven know
No mortal skill might save his ship

Smit by that dastard blow.
The doom impending shrieked and beat

Its fatal wings so nigh
That only one might pass the stair

And one must pause, and die.

'After you. Pilot," Craven said.

O words of flawless fame!
Out of that awful moment bloomed

A pure, immortal name.
The pilot passed, the hero stayed;

Within that turret's round
Met glorious death and endless life

And faith by honor crowned.

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The good ship plunged to ocean's ooze.

Forth from the flood and fire
Our reverence sees that gentle soul

To kindred heaven aspire;
And marks — when Craven stands beneath

God's hero-sheltering dome —
The shade of Philip Sidney rise

And bid him welcome home.

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Son of a sire whose heart beat ever true
To God, to country, and the fireside love
To which returning, like a homing dove.

From each high duty done, he gladly flew,

Complete, yet touched by genius through and through.
The lofty quaUties that made him great.
Loved in his home and priceless to the state.

By Heaven's grace are garnered up in you.

Be yours, we pray, the dauntless heart of youth.
The eye to see the humor of the game.
The scorn of lies, the large Batavian mirth;

And, past the happy, fruitful years of fame.
Of sport and work and battle for the truth,
A home not all imlike your home on earth.

Christmas £ve» 1902.

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O BEAUTEOUS daughter of a mighty race!
In thy fair features and thy radiant eyes —
Like bright clouds floating over brighter skies —

The shadows of a glorious past we trace.

Framed in the oval of thy perfect face
Flit the pale belles of bygone centuries;
A hint of lawgivers and jurists lies

In that pure brow where strength is wed with grace.

And looking on thy profile's symmetry
A world-famed face across my memory comes» —
*Neath the slouched hat a watching eagle's eye,

Where down the dusty line goes riding by.
With blare of trumpets and hoarse growl of drums,
Tecumseh Sherman marching to the sea.


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Low in the west the moon's slim crescent-swings.
Across the marsh the vesper breezes bear
The somids of gloaming; from far cornfields fare

The chittering blackbirds, whose ingathering brings

The silken flutter of a myriad wings.
The wild duck's cry floats down the thickening air
As of one hunted, full of fear and care.

Sad twilight comes with dubious whisperings.

How changed from that exultant world which lay
In the wide smile of noon! The evening's shiver
Means the day's death; its thronging whispers blend

With thoughts that haunt men when their lives must
Another dawn may gild a fairer day.
But this day, when it dies, is gone forever.


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Thb mirthful gods who ruled o*er Greater Greece
Created this fair land in some high mood
Of frolic joy; the smiling heavens brood

Over a scene soft-whehned in jocund peace.

Gay clamors, odorous breathings never cease
From basking crag» lime grove, and olive wood;
Swart fishers sing from out the sparkling flood

Where once the syrens sang in luring ease.

The curved beach swarms with brown-skinned boys
and girls
Dancing the tarantella on the sands.
Their limbs alive with music's jollity;

And ever, where the warm wave leaps and swirls

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Online LibraryCLARENCE L. HAYTHE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF JOHN HAY → online text (page 6 of 7)