Henry John Cockayne Cust.

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poems: henry cust

THES^E To'ems \vere prmted
in Jerusalem in tiyne of War ^
and it ^yas not possible to
correct the proofs fully.

This Edition is of Four Hundred
and Fifty Numbered Copies.

No. rv/


Born October 10th 1861 Died March 2 1917

Chosen by N. C. and R. S.

There are vacancies which only

silences may dare to inhabit, which

y set-to those whose very own they

are, give out a fiood/j&f" music ail ^^f/

life long . H. C. February 1917.




In Spring



An Observation

Nearer, my God

A little Month

On the DraAving of a Child in Hospital


One Day' s Dawn

To a Portrait

The Eighth Point

Amictus Amoris

Non nobis, Doniine

Et dedit

To Lo-bengula, his Bull-Dog

Epitaph on a Dog

The Immortal End

The Dark

A Fragment

J4fv'' s Song



Grey grows the glimmer of an April even
And, as the sunset glory fades away,
There comes to float upon the clouds to Heaven,
The burden of the day.

Hushed are the birds : save that their wakeful leader
Begins the silence silently to break,
From the dark shelvings of the darkening cedar
Across the low-lit lake.

And distant chimes, on that full air delaying,
In gentle cadence swell a softened sigii,
And the far voices of the children playing
Harmoniously reply.

And slow ascends the burden of creation,
The dimlv dying tract of western tire,
Songs of rejoicing, tears of lamentation,
A tirmament's desire.

The widow's cry, that Mings to God above her
The words of promise that his love hath given,
And the lost longings of a lonely lover
That scorn the help of Heaven.

The dumb despairing of an orphan's sorrow,
That living lays his life beneath the sod,
And that alone which shares all human sorrow,
A hump^j-iust in God.

So slowly rises 'mid the softened splendour
Of dewborn darkness ominous!}- furled,
The lowly agony of man's surrender,
• The voices of the world.

Ah, those sad longings, never to be granted!
Bring they not back the old resistless liow
Of those tear-watered memories we planted
A little year ago?

But hush! the gathering shadows now have banished
The golden splendours that but yet we saw:
And, with the world's — the sunset glories vanished
Are found aeain no more.

Eton, 1879.


Lean and shaken autumn woods,
Leafless autumn weather,
Gone the graces, gone the goods,
Autumn altogether.

Idle autumn fallows sigh,
Fruitless, dull, apart;
Leaden autumn in the sky.
Autumn in my heart.

Gone the springtime, gone the strife-time.
Each first passionate goal :
Utter autumn of one life-time,
Autumn of a soul.


Sudden comes a shiny June day
What is this ? and where ?
Why does twilight leap to noonday ?
Tell me . . . ? She is there.

Back to summer, back to spring-time,
Back the white dawn air.
Back the blamclessness and ring-time,
Now that — She is there.

Peonies are pouring purple,
Pinks incense the air,
Roses, lilies, all at her pull —
Just because - She's there.

(J the gladness ! O the madness !

C) the rifled air !

Ah . . . that sudden shiver of sadness . . .

Is she really there ?

This pure perfect iris vision,
This diviner air,
Is it but the old derision , . . ?
Just the old despair . . .

Autumn, you bedraggled scoundrel,
Go away, get out !

Else you' 11 deep and deeper down drill
Heart-holes — make me doubt.


What? It's Winter come already?
Joy one bears the pain of . . .
I can still be stalwart, steady — •
Nothing to complain of.

Only it is hard to bear,
Thinking of the past of it ;
Hard to say good-bye, my Dear,
Hard to feel the last of it.

If betwixt the live and dead
I should never see you,
Blessings on your darling Jiead
That you just could be you.


There's thousands of miles of country,
And thousands of leagues of sea,
And m^'riad men and women
That separate you and me.

To each is the gain of the struggle,
To each is the pain of the loss,
I'm wondering up at the Pleiads,
And you at the Southern Cross.

Tve talked to you now for an hour;
You've listened — my heart can tell ;
And I hold 3'our hand for a moment —
Dear love, it shall vet be well.


You pray to-night, I know, for me,
You kneel beneath the straining spars,
Between unfathomable sea.
And undiscoverable stars.

And all the unsounded waste beneath,
And all the unbounded vast above,
Are lesser wonder than the breath
That breathed the pra3'er of such a love.

And all the soundless, boundless roll

Of years that claim and change and chain,

Js less eternal than the soul

That dares and bears that sacred pain.



You would not know the brown thatch now,
So gre\- the years have gro\\ n it:

Your love liad kept it bright enow,
If only you had shown it.

You would not know the blue e}es now,
So dim the tears have made them :

They well had danced and glanced, 1 trow,
If but vour love had bade them.

You would not know the sad heart now.
That leapt so at yonr greeting ;

Yet you have listened long ago,
And blessed it for its beating.

You would not know the hard mouth now.
Nor words that wander from it, or

The warm close kiss you used to miss,
So low is mv thermometer.

You would not know the forehead now,
Nor all that homed within it ; •

Only a kinkled, wrinkled brow,

Though your least word would win it.

Your voice still wins to all it can,

Vour sweet smile softens some eye ;

You and the others took a man,
And made a mlzzv mummy.


"Nearer, my God, to Thee." you sang to-day;
The great dome trembled to your passionate breath;
Happ}- — who seek' St not but to find a way
Nearer to Death.

"Nearer, my God, to Thee" — but there are some
Who one discomforting watch of life must keep,
Whose only dream is wake, and once to be
Nearer to Sleep.

"Nearer, mv Go J, to Thee " - vet there were davs
Love turned glad eyes around, and not above,
And sold my soul to win my dear love's praise,
Nearer to Love.

"Nearer, my God, to Thee;" bow down to me,
Me, who such waste and wandering ways have trod.
Love, lead me also at the last to be
Nearer to God.


While through dead woods dead tires of Autumn creep,

And tiowers are fallen, and bh'ds have ceased to sing,

A fair first blossom in his May of Spring

Fell on the Winter of Eternal Sleep.

Live Springs sow seeds, but dying Autumns reap
Harvest : and misery-memory thoughts that cling

Closer than motherhood, at the last shall bring

Harvest of heart in heaven to those that woep.

Only the watch and wail are weary-long,

And sad eves see not what glad eyes have seen, •

And dead is dead, and what is dead is dear.

Lift up thy heart, let dear love right the wrong ,

Turning the thought of things that might have been

Tender, by thinking of the things that were.


Over this little head

Dark wings are beating ;
About this little bed

Life and Death meeting'.

Sudden in dusk of death

And strangled choke of pain,

The bright death quiveis,

Touches the springs of breath,

And, where graves gloomed beneath,

Young life Hows back again

in sunn\ rivers.


Flickering shadow cast b\- the crest of a surging billow.
Flinging from its forehead, Hying from the foam ;
Keeping live its utmost, trusting to its pillow,
Curls the thunder over, drowns it far froni home.

Flickering lovelight cast into e3'es by the eyes believed in,
Flashing to the forehead, Hying in the breath ;
Lightning gashing scar by a soul that a soul's deceived in
Surge of drowning sorrow, yearning it were death.


Calamity hath brought mc ver}- low,
Dressed me in desolation, hate and scorn;

The lilies dear life grew

Stink in a putrid stew.
Vet wait I, looking through the long night's woe,

For one day's dawn.

The righteous round their e\-es and mouths aghast:
White sepulchres tlush ros}- red with scorn ;

Each burgess of Cjomorrah

Lifts holy hands of horror ;
r 11 v/atch their faces when the dark is past,

On that dav' s daw n.

In the last darkness of the long black hours,
The oath of patience yet all unforsworn,

The face I love will come,

The voice no more be dumb,
The thorn-crown blow a coronet of Howers,

Aud that day dawn.

1 6

Beautiful Face !

Is your licart broken that }ou look so sad ?

Is thei^e no heart of earth that once made glad

Your heart, to hearten \et your flower of grace ?

Is God uniender toward \'0u ? Or can Man,

Loving such dear eyes.

Or, save despairing

For too jnuch caring,

Grudge his uucrow nedness in the race he ran,

And squandered life and loved and lost the prize?

They pay the worthiest cost,

\\ hose lives for vou were lost.



O Little face of heaven,

O Little heart of hell,
If all love's sins were seven,

You've made me sin them well:

Sin well and sulFer greatl}^,

And still to grace my state,

You've scored 3^our eighth point latel}^,
And taught me how to hate.


About the perfect body of my love

A vesture clings, whercfrom no force may free her ;
Tho' she stood naked to the stars above,

Even so you should not see her.

The invisible fragrance breathing round the rose, —

The infrangible warmth that will not leave the tire,

The losing that to loving elings so close —
So clings my love's attire.

It covers every precious part of her,

It holds her dear dark hair within its hood :
Her eyes look thro' it : with it where' er she stir

Her little feet are shod.

She may not set it otY for any stress,

Nor night nor day ; yet naught of earth may soil
The first fair freshness of that angel-dress.

Nor tears, nor time, nor toil.

No holy priest absolving for his Lord,

No mightiest monarch to his tlu-one ascending,
No martyr maiden, kneeling to the sword,

Wears so divine a lending.

Yet all that radiant raiment of my love.

No questing sight, nor touch, shall e'et discover;
For warp and woof, the wet) is woven of

The kisses of her lover,


Not unto us, O Lord,

Not unto us the rapture of the da}',

TJie peace of night, or love's divine surprise,

High heart, high speech, high deeds, 'mid honouring eyes

F^or at Thy word

All these are taken away.

Not unto us, O Lord ;

To us Thou givest the scorn, the scourge, the scar,

The ache of life, the loneliness of Death,

The insufferable sutticiency of breath.

And with thy sword

Thou piercest very far.

Not unto us, Lord ;

Nay, Lord, but unto her be all things given.

My light, and life, and earth, and sky be blasted.

But let not all that wealth of lovj -be w'asted ; /^r^p,

Let Hell alTord

The pavement of her Heaven.



Ps. OVI. 15.

' Tis well, 'tis well, in the lowest hell,

And I laugh at the lick of tlic tire ;
The tlame roars up in its brimstone cup,

And it //res what lies on the pyre.
They've done their worst for the man they cursed^

They' ve made damnation dire ;
But they can't undo the joy I knew
When I knew mv Heart's Desire.

There's one will scream, and one blaspheme,

As thev writhe in the molten mire,
And curse the earth tliat gave theni birth.

And damn their dam and their sire.
It pleases the devils to watch their revels,

But 1 wake tho devils to ire,
^^'hen I burst into rhyme at the thought of the time

AVhen I found uiy Heart's Desire.

They wrench my back on a red-hot rack,-

Thev comb mv nerves with wire,
Tliey poison with pain the blood of my brain.

Till the devils of devilry tire;
They spit from above on the name of my Love ;

Thev call mv Love a liar,
But they can't take away the dream of the day,

Wlien I won my Heart's Desire.


So here in hell it is all very well,

And I'm snug as a beast in a byre;
'I'he devils are beat by the thought of my Sweet,

And I don't propose to retire.
And blood scalds skin where the tiame bites in,

But I like the w armih of the lire ;
For ir burns me throuj^h with tlie lieat I knew

When I lield my Heart's Desire.

O Heart's Desire, who art not by my side.
Whose Love, so sweetly lived, so strangely died,
Tliro' faltering, falseness, failure, and the lire.
Be still for ever all my Heart's Desire.

Arridct nobis lectio Ilebraica umciciii.



Burst iVum the bondage of a brigand tomb,

Thou coniest — Alccstis-wisc — from Ik'tlinal (irecn,

O rare I.o-Bcn I — w 1 at day yon sun 1 as seen

Two cycles since ihy summons from the womb.

Our mined hearts are full : yet tliere is room

Even s(», to meditate thy marriage-queen,

And — like the Thane of Cawdor's — 'cross the scene,

Horrid, thy awful generations loom.

Thou heritor of hideousness divine.

Now tliro" thy pulses peals the passionate pain

\\ hich Sliakspcai'e knew , w l.ich Gtetlie : thtie shall be

Wonderful things made new, a lordly line,

\\'aking eternal uglines.s again,

Of little loath.some loved Lubengulct.

His Bul!-t)ou. stolen ;ind recovered.



Here lies

that head and heart of dearness



in splendid faithful foUowini^ of liis master's example

the Joy of life, the heart of love

worshipped by master, mistress, and children

died in a mist of tears

I <)0 I

" \\'ho travels now tlnoui^h all Ihat shadowy way"

"From wiiicli no sparroA comes ai^ain, they say."

Evei- faithful and followmg

He loved mucli and sinned much

But e\ery sin and loNe he decorated.

Bland suave and prudent

I.e was blind to a multitude of things he saw and

deaf to ^i larger multitude of things he heard


by ins j'oriunate lacult>

of barking at tlie right moment

he not infre>.|Ueiuly sa\ed

ihe fortunes of the family.

who consecrate

this tribute

of ailection to his memorv.



Not in the upland lawns ol mind,

Not bv the Svrian stream,
But in low trodden tracks we find

The vision and the gleam.

Thuujjh rock-o'erhung and burden-bowed
Man sees in faint and fasting,

Blue sky is more than all the cloud
And very much more Jasting.

It matters not what life we spend,

What anguish we inspire,
So tlicre be (me immortal end

To one immense desire.

So that, without one finest Heck,
Thro' lire and wiath and rods,

Incense not insult shall bedeck
The lalseness of our gods.


When \vc are locked in stones away,
^\■ith all death's dark between,

Will that wliicli then they' H call our clay
Think of what niii^ht have been ?

What shall 1 meet at spirits' tryst,
\\'hat will the moonlight bring?

A shining shape of amethyst,
Or just an ugly Thing ? -

Down in the darkness shall \^ c dream,
Or will even dreams be done,

Of love, and passion, and the gleam
Of what was once our sun ?

A sun whose shining never failed.
Whose light was never dim,

But only seemed at seasons veiled,
Because we clouded him.

Then once be wake, aod clutch the dark^
And fight the choking breath.

" O Christ ! why did I ? " Then a spark
Of blinding thought — and death.


1 have a little white thiiiir wonderful

Untamed unchained as sea or sky . . .

But the sun and the salt of both tiding the river,

Both arrow liglit, amazing and radiant,

So that thouglit, sun and tiesh are only oue,

That one which keeps creation in its hands

And makes life beautiful and clean and whole. . •



Ah, Life, is this 'Fhy song :
Endure and die . . . ?

Still strive with pain and wrong

As trne hearts strove ;

Till Love and Truth and Pureness, which are strong,

Death's self disprove.

Ah Life, Thy crowning song

is crow nini" Love.


^^'hel•c can vou reap 50 white a harvest as in this wan troop
of men: lives divineh- appointed with hearts to feel, with brains to
conceive, with hands to execute, who perish broken, desolate ... It
may be, though the World knows it not, that thev- have seen what
manv prophets and kings have desired to see and have not seen it:
that thev have followed the^gleam: and that their eyes have seen in
every wave of wind upon the wheat the trailing of the skirts of those
whose faces see GOD , , ,

Every where and every day there will be amongst the living the
others of their generation — a feljriwship of presences, some dim, some
shining, but presences never to be wholly put away - plucking at
their hearts, flooding sometimes their memories, seeming sometimes to
touch their hands, masterful sometimes to govern and to save their
souls. There will be a sort of national Golden Treasury, sacred and
serene, in to which men and women will enter at their need to tind
new faith, new courage, and unfathomed inexhausted consolation....

(H. C. I916)

TfJEl j^reti/er rmmbtn- of these
Poems appeared in the " Vall Mall
Gazette " between the years IS 92
and 1896. Thanks are due to the
present Editor for permission to reprint
them. The Poem ' Non Nobis ' is
inchided anonymously in the Oxford
Book of English Verse.


Los Angeles

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.


Cust -










AA 000 369 040 1




Online LibraryHenry John Cockayne CustOccasional poems → online text (page 1 of 1)