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LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA

SAN 'i:f;<.

V.






3 fe



AN ENGLISH ROSE



AN ENGLISH ROSE

By L. CRANMER BYNG
Author of " The Never Ending Wrong."
" The Odes of Confucius/' etc.



LONDON :

ELKIN MATHEWS.

VIGO STREET, W.



I only Know one rose that never dies
When falls the last grey season on the land.
And all her drooping sisters understand
Why yon cold shroud upon the garden lies ;
And in the vague wind down the valley sighs
Some tumult of disaster, gently fanned
By purple willows, and the saraband
Danced by the newly dead far southward flies.

Beyond the fever of the world's decay,
Into a little twilight world withdrawn,
We watch the red betrayal of the rose t
And at our shoulder pleadeth yesterday
" My garden lovers of the lilac dawn

Remember me when roam to-morrow's snows."

i



Tht mead of life. The mead of life is ever in the horn,

We cannot drain love's goblet to the lees;

Still, still the murmur of her golden bees

Falls in the grass and thrills the flowers unborn.

Deep in a dewy wilderness of thorn

The wild bird sings all day his heart to ease,

"My sweet ! my sweet !" across the darkening

trees,
Till sleep's dumb hour comes stealing through the

corn.

Dream on, my buried flowers a little while:

And love shall touch your petals one by one

Love with a thousand memories begun

By autumn's tears and spring's eternal smile.

Sing on wild bird! or ever to beguile

The caged wild heart that wearies for the sun.

3



One day the Past came knocking at my door, Retrospect.
Entered, and wordless from the shelves he took
A jonquil from the heart of some old book
Wherein I scribbled all my boyish lore.
The starry bloom that saith " for evermore "
Recalled a buried idyll, and the look
Of those June-shadowed eyes the sun forsook,
When the dark barge went drifting from the
shore.

O Past! why hast thou summoned from the grave
This lonely jonquil ? Was it but to say
How light a word is " evermore " to those
Who like yon soulless pages cannot save
The glory and the colour ebbed away?
What of the living poem in the rose?



The inheritance. Among the dustheaps of forgotten truth
Groping I found this antique cameo,
'Graved by an eastern poet long ago,
Who darKly robed his splendid soul in ruth :
" O thou lost lover from the vales of youth
Return! return! the dull years heavy grow
Waiting the long white burial of the snow,
Whose countless kisses bring the only sooth.

What have -we left, but memory the old,
The time=blurred memory of tarnished springs,
And wan mimosa morns and venturous wings
Bearing lost mariners to shores of gold!"
Nay! Nay! some visions are for ever scrolled
In song's bright record of unsullied things.



From the gaunt factories of time uphurled Phantom, of to

night.

The smoke of night upon the dusK descends,
And as the sooty river downward bends
Upon its course, while yet the stars are furled,
A thousand sombre Phantoms are uncurled,
And each upon his furtive mission wends;
And in mine ear with vagrant voices blends
The roaring of the railroads of the world.

Unhappy restless night ! I would away

To where she lies dreaming her dreams of me,

The lover of her immortality,

And that sweet bloom no harsh Novembers

fray :

To cast myself upon her peace, and see
In stormless skies love's moon set fast for aye.



September lightt . I deemed the locust years for ever flown
With all my golden granary of song:
Wondering with each twilight sheaf how long
Shall autumn gather where the spring has sown.
I saw waste fields, with poppies over-grown,
Flame for a little space then like a throng
Of sunset fancies bow beneath the strong
DarK Juggernaut of night that claimed her own.

Then from a dream I woke and lo ! the morn
With warm mosaic laid the cloistered glades,
And from an Eastern vase rare amber wines
Flooded the sky while through the woodlands

born
Untiring orioles flung their serenades

Praising the rose the rose my heart enshrines.

6



Close, close the door! The grey dusk creeps Without.'

Within!

apace,

And stamp the wild hooves of the storm without.
Listen ! afar the frantic hunters shout,
And the mad winds go streaming to the chase.
Under the moon the clouds hag-ridden race
And aimless shadows whirl and swirl about.

bid me turn from winter and her rout
To read the last love-poem in your face.

The night is here already in your hair :

The dark star of your beauty draws my soul,

And the warm thrill of June is in your hand.

1 hear without the voice of giant despair
Crying aloud on ruin's shapeless troll ;

Then steer my silent course to fairyland.

7



This is right/ Dreaming I heard a voice cry : "What is sin ?"
And one that answered : " this to break the

cup

Of shelMike porcelain wherein we sup
The fragrance of the teas of Yao=lin :
To fill with sand the cold mouths of the lute :
To net the gold-fish in their water cool :
To draw the lily from the shadeless pool,
And part the violet from her moss=twined root.

I woke, and saw the spendthrift morn unseal
His treasures hoarded in the caves of night ;
And then the black bird sang : " Oh this is right
To give and give : to let no mute appeal
Unanswered fall, or songless morrow steal
The glory of the rose that sheds delight."



Trim the red lamp! love's answer to the gloom; The

The homestar, radiant from a world of rest.

Slow fade the tinted windows of the West,

And night's cathedral fills a little room.

Trim the red lamp ! our challenge, flinging wide

Down the rain-sodden streets, where to andffro

The dark unhappy human meteors go:

Ours the aloofness of the stars that bide.

Home there is none save in the heart alone.
Oh! I am palaced in a heart of gold,
Where gentle thoughts, by Love the Master

scrolled,

Bid mute defiance to an age of stone ;
Where those pale secrets of the dusk are sown

That like red roses with the dawn unfold.

9



A portrait. Thou shall have lovers in the years to come
O rose of England, when our day burns red,
And we the singer and the song have fled
Into a sunless empire of the dumb
Brown earth ; when over us the mattocks drum
Their dull slow funeral marches for the dead;
And they that never knew thee shall be wed
To thy rose=soul that draws the winters numb.

Behold O Time her portrait this is she
All summer dreams of: radiance and perfume:
The perfect slender stem: the rare dark bloom,
And that strange sense of the world's mystery.
That like a moth-star flutters in the gloom,

And bids us love the skies we cannot see.

10



calm of night! if I could but disperse When peace

abides*

This little frantic business of a day,

1 would close bar the shutters and away
Beyond the wrangle of the universe:
Out of the flotsam of chaotic things

And souls in embryo that come to nought,
Into that cloud born valley of my thought
Where the last phoenix folds her idle -wings ;

Or dip my hands for ever in the rill
Of ancient waters murmuring to the moon
The secrets of the nightlands that they Knew,
Of lorn dark winds whose cadent voices thrill
The leaves that roam o'er Laili and Mejnun,*
And the wild rose that stars them with her dew.

* The Persian 'Juliet and Borneo.'
ii



The Reaper. \ heard the Reaper hurry down the lane
At midnight, with the inevitable stride
That neither stays nor falters though the pride
Of all the Pharaohs wait the lonely wain ;
And in the brief abeyance of the rain
The startled voice of one that widowed cried
Roused me to fear, till, waking by my side,
I saw the roses light your face again.

O close dear eyes ! for death has surely passed

He comes not hither till these hands have set

My rose among the lilies of the shy.

The shadow of the Reaper shall not cast

Its pall before the splendid suns that set

In twilight dreams have taught us how to die.



little fields hemmed-in and furtive lanes My world.
And shy, green worlds by circling oaks

embrowned

1 love you! how I love you! when the bound
Frost =t winkling furrows revel in their chains;
When slender blades are drawn from sheathing

grains;

When drifting apple blossoms stain the ground;
When, in the night, swells and recedes around
The overwhelming sadness of the rains.

Within your midst, O little realm I set
My rose of life, the shrine to which I kneel.
Ah! guard her well for she was made to feel
Our passing glooms, our rapture and regret:
The song that eddies down the mornlands wet.
And the rare notes that faltering dusks reveal.

B 13



Life adrift. In the faint track of gipsy caravans,

Down tangled lanes that never ending wind
I linger, -watching from some hawthorn blind
The tawny chieftain weave to=morrow's plans,
Hampered by many a wakeful tyrant's bans;
While the lean ponies wander out of mind,
And darK-eyed maidens in the dusk unbind
Their darker locks the breeze most shyly fans.

The waggons lure me with their many scenes
Of hornbeam-shadowed ways that drift along:
Of crooked towns, and tilted gable ends,
And drowsy noon o'er silent village greens;
Yet when the throstles chant their even-song

A glad deserter home my spirit sends.

4



I questioned once a ball of scented clay
That passed from the beloved's hand to mine:
" Art thou of ambergris, or musk divine,
Since thy sweet odours draw my soul away "
" I the mean clod that by her beauty lay
Have drained the essence of the rose liKe wine,
Till my dull being thrilled to rapture fine;
Or else I were but mud," I heard it say.

A blind man groped along the path of fate
Seeking for Shiraz, till, beside a rose
He heard the bulbul sing: "This is the end
Of thy dark journey: take the rose to mate!
O waking eyes 'tis Shiraz where she blows !
O wanderer Sheikh Sa'di is thy friend."

* The first eight lines are translated from Sa'di's "Gulurtan."
'5



Guiiiaume de The gentle seneschal of love decrees

Lorrif.

That I should lay whatever worth or gain
Those roseworked tapestries of song retain
On your green grave beyond the Norman seas;
And one who seeks immortally to please
The shy immortal, for whose sake he fain
Would bid Arcadian summers endless reign
Greets you faint brother in the starry leas.

Perchance if love's humility alone

Went armed by faith upon a life's emprise

He might in death love's mystery surmise,

Seeing afar the flower of sunset blown;

Yet will he never call the rose his own,

And stretch vain hands to grasp the cloud that

flies.

16



The thought of Chaucer is for ever young,
Under the wild-wood boughs and over-gloom
Of giant beeches where the grassy tomb
Of some dead linnet with the dews is wrung:
In deep green lanes with the red hawthorn

hung.

And mazy rainbows in the morning bloom,
Binding the hedges and the golden broom,
Wherein so many laureates have sung.

Again the pageant of that dawn unfolds
In the stray beauty of a mortal flower:
Some shy renaissance of his sovereign power
Who lit the vanished meads with marigolds,
And in the silence of the glimmering wolds
Caught the faint trill that shepherded love's hour.



Tu. A pretty girl, clad in the coming green
Of silken leaves that are not with us yet,
Went down the sudden-winding path, and set
The dewdrops twinkling where her skirts had

been.
She laughed and it was spring; and lo! the

sheen

Of butterflies, that wantoned through the wet
Inviolate alleys, drifting till they met
With the first flowers born to the hours serene.

A mist cloud hanging on the river's brim,
Gold clusters on the dwarf acacia bough,
A hut rose=girdled under moonswept skies,
A painted bridge half seen in shadow dim:
These are the splendours of the poor, and thou,

O wine of spring, the vintage of the wise!

18



royal IOTO, my rose lies in thy path! AH times and

teasons.

"The king has walked on roses all the way!
Is thine more dearly prized that she should stay
The feet that press an endless aftermath?
Mist and the rain, and all the summer hath:
The dawn on-rushing: twilight's grey delay:
Suns that have loved and left her where are

they
When winter follow shod with iron wrath?/'

1 was the mist that veiled her gentle birth:
The rain that stirred for joy a rose was born:
I was her summer over all the earth:

The universal splendour of her morn:
The soul of twilight in the lilac grove,

Where she incarnates to the song of love.

19



The Quittiit. Is this then Winter, stealing unawares

From the dark polar regions of our dread?
This gentle lady with her silent tread,
Telling the white beads of unnumbered prayers?
How wistfully across the lawn she fares,
And lays soft hands on Cupid's marble head!
Oh! cover up his eyes, for he is dead!
Dead the blind child that down the garden
stares!

Almost, methinks, among the dappled elms
The kind old Quietist with his dim school
Of young departed souls goes gravely by,
Teaching the sombre doctrine that o'erwhelms
The acquiescent world beneath his rule,
Till that sweet rebel Spring gives death the lie.



Oft in the shadows of my barn I sit, The dream-bam.

Watching the sunbeams play at hide and seeR,
While silken cobwebs brush against my cheek,
And stealthy sparrows through the top lights

flit;

And in the dreamful silence of the corn,
I hear their lasting requiem from toil,
Who were the sons and wooers of the soil,
Lords of the golden harvest of the morn.

Sunlight and shadow, hoarded grain and dust,
And the low whirr of little pirate wings,
Of such the autumn of a heart, that sings,
Only because, like Philomel, she must;
Till love comes shyly through the crevice thrust,
A rose that yields the perfume of strange
springs.

21



Twilight. Now twilight dons her silver blue brocade,

And sets a few faint jewels on her brows,
Bidding the dark winged lutanists arouse
And sing till all her fever is allayed ;
Till, like a stricken queen, she bids the shade
Arise, and lift her to the starry house,
Where in her fancy lies the wounded spouse
Whose blood long dyed the church spire's
distant blade.

Across the ploughland still the partridge calls :
The lonely tramp of labour faring home
Awakes old echoes from their sleep, and falls
Amid the far off stir of herds that roam ;
And with the deepening of the purple loam,
Still, still I linger weaving coronals.



The wind comes storming up my turret stair,
And rocks the time-worn battlements o'erhead.
I hear the passing of the bodyless dead
The vast blind flocKs that home not anywhere.
LiKe mad leaves hailing through the branches

bare

Fear follows fear ; and grief by grief is led
Into the wilds, by no star tenanted,
Buoyed on the rain-chilled pinions of despair.

Go forth my soul ! the night shall not prevail,
Nor any gust of passion sweep thee down.
Love, that was gardener of the grateful years,
That planned the palace of the nightingale,
Beyond the ruined fields, the storm-laid town,
Shall find his dream has flowered through
many tears.



The counterfort. She only asked the love he had to give:
No more of him nor less, but only this
That she might know creation through a kiss,
Who unadored would gladly cease to live.
Letting the dews of his compassion wake
The closed crimson petals of her heart,
In life, in form, she was the counterpart
Of some sweet rose incarnate for his sake.

When the cold dawn of trouble hemmed him

round

She bowed beneath his sorrows, till the noon
Of happy moments lit the sun-swept earth ;
And in the love=revealing night she wound
A charm that held him, when the wizard

moon

Made all time's golden pomp seem little worth.

24



I wandered through my fields a morn of spring My rival,

Down by the little sunken brook that speeds

Its shallow course among the feathered reeds,

And caught the rare blue radiance on the wing

And the red-dawn breast of the meadow king ;

Then, ever as a glowing dream recedes,

He flashed before me, where the willow leads

The thyme-sweet banks a long meandering.

And I that followed many an unworn track,
The rainbow path, the visionary sheen
Of lambent waves o'er cities that have been,
Paused in the chase, and heard, slow turning

back,

Beneath the shadow of some cloudland wrack,
A dusky rival serenade my queen.



Silence. Upon a day the dreaming earth was veiled

In gentle mist, and through the silence stirred
No wail of any wind for spring deferred :
No lonely thrush his little heart regaled :
Scarcely the pollen of the lime tree sailed
Down the brown avenue that distance blurred ;
While, with the homing of the pastured herd,
The daylong twilight into darkness failed.

Yet with the night there came a happy wind,
Fraught with the wandering pollen of the stars,
Casting about my feet their silver drift ;
And ir the shadowed silence of the mind,
Greater than tumult of eventful wars,
Strange flowers were born that saw the darK=

ness lift,

26



The peach bloom bowls of clouded porcelain Within the bo-wl.

Yield me the fragrance of their gentle dead :

And lost rose gardens of the world are wed

In the cool moulded clays that still retain

The scent of bruised petals born to die,

And dying break the triumph sleep of death,

When form and colour fade into a breath,

And beauty haunts the frail sarcophagi.

I too have wandered up the rose-strewn ways,
And spilt rare sunsets in an eastern jar,
And mingled twilight's lavender therein ;
Till all the faint pot-pourri |of my days
Rises in adoration to the far
Bright dream beyond the farthest peaK I win.



Within the Within my flower, for whom I caught the dew
From rainbow fountained clouds with crystal



Lit the dim wonder of a woman's soul ;
And all bright dreams that lilies never Knew
Lingered about her, from the prirnrose=blue
Ebb of the twilight till the crimson roll
Of billowy dawn widened from pole to pole,
And distant windmills stirred the hazy view.

I heard the vanished blossoms 'neath my feet
Crying "O Master, tell us, whither fled
The vagrant souls that thrilled us ere we shed
Under the reaping wind our burdens sweet ? "
At night your little roving ghosts shall meet,

Like moths around her lantern-glory led.

28



Cornea the last moment of the lingering day, EvMtt<**t.
When the brown bloom of dusK is over all,
When life seems nothing but a feather's fall,
And dreams' pale standards draw my soul

away

Into the far lagoon land, where abide
The lost cloud I people of a child's romance,
Whose great calm faces floated through my

trance,
Radiant of peace to blinded years denied.

A dove goes soaring up the splendid dome.
The last creation of a thousand suns,
O'er whose fair provinces the night's darK

Huns

Surge for the storming of a phantom Rome ;
Till Hesperus arising bars the trach,
LiKe that white priest who rolled the victors

back,

C



A Persian rose. Perchance some Persian, exiled long ago
Under the changing skies of this far land,
A rose ingrafted with most reverent hand :
Married the East and West, bidding them grow
Into one stem ; whence fell the morning glow
On that bright soul the vanished master

planned,

And the brown gloom that poets understand
In eyes where unforgotten twilights show.

Or did some quickening Mother of her race
Open the book where Jami sings of love,
And feel the living babe 'within her move,
The while in dream she saw ZuleiKa's face?
Or some stray rose of Sa'di interlace

Among the Peris of an English grove ?

30



I looked on London through the void of night. A London rc, t .
Chimneys and Church spires and grey

tenements,
Cold hearths of cheerless lives, and gloomy

rents

Of hoarded wastelands glimmered in my sight.
Faintly I heard the dragon of unrest
Shuffle without the city, panting low ;
While London argus-eyed beheld him go,
Torn by the tides of darkness from his quest.

Then sudden moonlight at my feet unveiled

A shrouded garden with its marble gods,

And dream-brushed ways o'er which the aspen

nods ;

Where gentle shadows wander unassailed ;
While to my listening rose a stray wind sighed

Of the bright years our buried Edens hide.

3



Waiting, After the passion of the rain there falls

A heavy languid haze upon the dawn,
And weary clouds go drifting over lawn,
Meadow and parkland, of old Tudor halls.
The cuckoo's note comes muffled through wet

trees.

And with the first gold ripple of the hours
A wild bee in the hearts of waking flowers
Murmurs of April over Spanish seas.

The vacant air still waits the swallow's flash,
And pale young leaves the darkening kiss of

noon :

The oak still dallies for the laggard ash :
Spring loiters on the path of royal June ;
And through the twilight of the years that pass

A spirit calls me where the rose-bloom was.

3*



The white forms of the angels throng no more
The golden archways of the visible world.
Perchance in large contentment they have

furled
Their God-bright wings that mazed the seers of

yore j
Saying : " Our tasK is done. No more faith's

hands
Trim the bright lamp that drew us from the

stars :

No more the very gate of Heaven unbars,
And host on host shines out o'er shepherd

bands."

Yet still their radiance lingers upon earth,
Across the pathway of some dream-led child.
Wan violets in woodlands undefiled,
May still recall their starrier Kin to birth ;
And many a strayed perfume of Paradise

Blows from the rose that lights a lover's eyes.

33



Quick and dead. \ Know this little never may suffice

These few pale words to limn the afterglow
Of slaughtered suns that only flamed to show
Some lover of flowers a flower beyond all

price;

Yet as one dares oblivion -with the dice,
Challenging fate upon a single throw,
Love hazards, ere the songless time of snow,
This rose-drift that may sweeter thoughts
entice.

Better a day with beauty than long years
Of twilight faith and visions that recede.
The lark's wild invocation to the morn
Flings sunward past old Calvin's call to

tears,
And woodland bells ring out the time-warped

creed :

A greybeard dies : a rose a rose is born.

34



Last night, O beautiful, I wandered far * Occident.

Into the moon-pearled valleys of the East;
Where jewelled lanterns glowed upon the feast,
And bright immortals hailed the "Lady Star:"
Wind in the mango trees: the magic lute
Of Hou K'ang fluttered through the almond grove.
And silken sKirts fled down the ways of love,
Where dark eyes speak and mandarins are
mute.

"O stranger, stranger from the sun-dyed seas!
What smouldering gem, or wines of amber fire!
What hast thou brought?" I answered, "Lords!

the lyre

Of one that never wrought dull crowds to please.
Who hoards the fragrance of celestial teas

To buy from death the rose of his desire."

35



hirald. I come the herald of Queen Love to cry,

The royal peace that doth the rose proclaim:
To hail the marts of England in her name,
And stay the feet of some rapt passer-by:
" Vain alchemist that would her laws defy,
Thy gold is cast in crucibles of shame:
Thyself a wasting mould, the silent flame
Burns and consumes ere sapless years run dry."

The golden glory of a thousand noons
Distilled into one drop of attar bides,
When some world-conqueror calls to horse, and

rides

Into the valley of dawntrampled moons,
And o'er the grave mound point the living

runes,

Where dauntless viking in disaster hides.

36



A wake I awake! once more the throstles sing, The goUtn bride.
The sound and tumult of the storm is past.
And down the strange blue heavens floats a

last

Grey feather from the world-o'ershadowing
Vulture of gloom; once more the meadows fling
Their challenge to the sun: "O gather fast
The twinkling gems a lavish hour hath cast,
And give us kingcups for the feast, O King!"

What of the bride? Will she be mantled white :
Some lily dreaming o'er a shadowed mere,
Or shamed anemone with drooping head?
Nay! love's own flower, in yellow robe bedight;
A rose my yellow rose, the bride is here.

O golden heart reveal! the rains are sped.

37



kingdom. Here, with a fallen pollard for a throne,
Lord of the shelving pastures to the lane,
And ploughlands heavy with the hidden grain,
With noon just pulsing through the monotone
Of brooding skies, from cloud to clod alone,
Save for the lark my troubadour I reign;
Till slowly, from the distant hillocks wane,
The elm ringed homesteads and vague spires of
stone.

Green England slips away into the dark;

The lessening slopes sink in the gorge of night,

And like grey monks the willows haunt the

vale;

While abbey ruins glimmer through the park,
And lonelier than God-friended anchorite,

I tramp the furrows on the homeward trail.

38



To be this is the summit of desire! Phiioiophy of a

flwotr.

To live this is the last word of the rose!


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Online LibraryL. (Launcelot) Cranmer-ByngAn English rose → online text (page 1 of 2)