Norman Harold Hepple.

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The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.


164. Mariana

Mariana in the moated grange."

Measure for Measure

With blackest moss the flower-plots

Were thickly crusted, one and all:
The rusted nails fell from the knots

That held the peach to the garden-wall.
The broken sheds look'd sad and strange:
Unlifted was the clinking latch;
Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.

She only said, "My life is dreary,

He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead ! "

Her tears fell with the dews at even;

Her tears fell ere the dews were dried;
She could not look on the sweet heaven,

Either at morn or eventide.
After the flitting of the bats,

When thickest dark did trance the sky,
She drew her casement-curtain by,
And glanced athwart the glooming flats.

She only said, "The night is dreary,

He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!"



Upon the middle of the night,

Waking she heard the night-fowl crow:
The cock sung out an hour ere light:

From the dark fen the oxen's low
Came to her: without hope of change,
In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,
Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn
About the lonely moated grange.

She only said, "The day is dreary,

He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!"

About a stone-cast from the wall

A sluice with blacken'd waters slept,
And o'er it many, round and small,
The cluster'd marish-mosses crept.
Hard by a poplar shook alway,

All silver-green with gnarled bark:
For leagues no other tree did mark
The level waste, the rounding gray.

She only said, "My life is dreary,

He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead ! "

And ever when the moon was low,

And the shrill winds were up and away,
In the white curtain, to and fro,

She saw the gusty shadow sway.
But when the moon was very low,

And wild winds bound within their cell,

The shadow of the poplar fell
Upon her bed, across her brow.

N2 I 95


She only said, "The night is dreary,
He cometh not," she said;

She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead ! "

All day within the dreamy house,

The doors upon their hinges creak'd;
The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse
Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek'd,
Or from the crevice peer'd about.
Old faces glimmer'd thro* the doors,
Old footsteps trod the upper floors,
Old voices called her from without.

She only said, "My life is dreary,

He cometh not," she said;
She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
I would that I were dead!"

The sparrow's chirrup on the roof,

The slow clock ticking, and the sound
Which to the wooing wind aloof

The poplar made, did all confound

Her sense; but most she loathed the hour

When the thick-moted sunbeam lay

Athwart the chambers, and the day

Was sloping towards his western bower.

Then, said she, "I am very dreary,

He will not come," she said;

She wept, "I am aweary, aweary,

Oh God, that I were dead!"'


, 9 6


165. The Lady of Shalott


On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro* the field the road runs by

To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,

The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river

Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers

The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhaiPd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd

Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,

The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,

Down to tower 'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, "'Tis the fairy

Lady of Shalott."




There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay

To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,

The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near

Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls
And the red cloaks of market-girls

Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,

Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,

The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,

And music, went to Camelot
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said

The Lady of Shalott.




A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves

Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,

Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily

As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,

Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelPd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,

As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,

Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,

As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river

Sang Sir Lancelot.



She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,

She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me!" cried

The Lady of Shalott.


In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining

Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote

The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance
With a glassy countenance

Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,

The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right
The leaves upon her falling light
Thro' the noises of the night

She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,

The Lady of Shalott.



Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,

Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,

The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,

By garden-wall and gallery,

A gleaming shape she floated by,

Dead-pale between the houses high,

Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,

The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,

All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of Shalott."




166. A June Day from The Vision of Sir Launfal

What is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean

To be some happy creature's palace ;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,

A-tilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest;
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,

Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop over-fills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps and the blossoms swell;

We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing

That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear
That dandelions are blossoming near,



That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing!


167. The Forsaken Merman

Come, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below !
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow;
Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!

Call her once before you go 10

Call once yet!

In a voice that she will know :

" Margaret ! Margaret ! ' '

Children's voices should be dear

(Call once more) to a mother's ear;

Children's voices, wild with pain

Surely she will come again !

Call her once and come away;

This way, this way!

"Mother dear, we cannot stay! 10

The wild white horses foam and fret."

Margaret ! Margaret !



Come, dear children, come away down;

Call no more!

One last look at the white-wall'd town,

And the little grey church on the windy shore;

Then come down !

She will not come though you call all day;

Come away, come away !

Children dear, was it yesterday 30

We heard the sweet bells over the bay?

In the caverns where we lay,

Through the surf and through the swell,

The far-off sound of a silver bell?

Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,

Where the winds are all asleep;

Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,

Where the salt weed sways in the stream,

Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,

Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground; 40

Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,

Dry their mail and bask in the brine;

Where great whales come sailing by,

Sail and sail, with unshut eye,

Round the world for ever and aye?

When did music come this way?

Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, was it yesterday

(Call yet once) that she went away?

Once she sate with you and me, 50

On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,

And the youngest sate on her knee.

She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well,

When down swung the sound of a far-off bell.

She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea;

She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray

In the little grey church on the shore to-day.

'Twill be Easter-time in the world ah me!

And I lose my poor soul, Merman, here with thee!"



I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the waves; 60

Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves!"
She smiled, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, were we long alone?
"The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan;
Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;
Come ! " I said ; and we rose through the surf in the bay.
We went up the beach, by the sandy down
Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall'd town;
Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still, 70
To the little grey church on the windy hill.
From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,
But we stood without in the cold blowing airs.
We climb'd on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,
And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes.
She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:
" Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here!
Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;
The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan."
But ah, she gave me never a look, 80

For her eyes were seal'd to the holy book!
Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door.
Come away, children, call no more !
Come away, come down, call no more!

Down, down, down !
Down to the depths of the sea!
She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
Singing most joyfully.
Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy,

For the humming street, and the child with its toy! 90
For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;
For the wheel where I spun,
And the blessed light of the sun!"
And so she sings her fill,
Singing most joyfully,
Till the spindle drops from her hand,
And the whizzing wheel stands still.



She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,

And over the sand at the sea ;

And her eyes are set in a stare; 100

And anon there breaks a sigh,

And anon there drops a tear,

From a sorrow-clouded eye,

And a heart sorrow-laden,

A long, long sigh,

For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden

And the gleam of her golden hair.

Come away, away children;
Come children, come down !

The hoarse wind blows coldly; no

Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar.
We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.

Singing: "Here came a mortal, 120

But faithless was she !
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea."

But, children, at midnight,

When soft the winds blow,

When clear falls the moonlight,

When spring-tides are low ;

When sweet airs come seaward

From heaths starr'd with broom,

And high rocks throw mildly 130

On the blanch'd sands a gloom;

Up the still, glistening beaches,

Up the creeks we will hie,

Over banks of bright seaweed

The ebb-tide leaves dry.



We will gaze, from the sand-hills,

At the white, sleeping town;

At the church on the hill-side

And then come back down.

Singing: "There dwells a loved one, 140

But cruel is she!

She left lonely for ever

The kings of the sea."


168. My Study

Let others strive for wealth or praise

Who care to win;
I count myself full blest, if He,
Who made my study fair to see,
Grant me but length of quiet days

To muse therein.

Its walls, with peach and cherry clad,

From yonder wold
Unbosomed, seem as if thereon
September sunbeams ever shone;
They make the air look warm and glad

When winds are cold.


Around its door a clematis

Her arms doth tie;
Through leafy lattices I view
Its endless corridors of blue
Curtained with clouds; its ceiling is

The marbled sky.



A verdant carpet smoothly laid

Doth oft invite

My silent steps; thereon the sun
With silver thread of dew hath spun
Devices rare the warp of shade,

The weft of light.

Here dwell my chosen books, whose leaves

With healing breath
The ache of discontent assuage,
And speak from each illumined page
The patience that my soul reprieves

From inward death ;


Some perish with a season's wind,

And some endure;
One robes itself in snow, and one
In raiment of the rising sun
Bordered with gold; in all I find

God's signature.

As on my grassy couch I lie,

From hedge and tree
Musicians pipe; or if the heat
Subdue the birds, one crboneth sweet
Whose labour is a lullaby,

The slumbrous bee.


The sun my work doth overlook

With searching light;
The serious moon, the flickering star,
My midnight lamp and candle are;
A soul unhardened is the book

Wherein I write.



There labouring, my heart is eased

Of every care;

Yet often wonderstruck I stand
With earnest gaze but idle hand,
Abashed for God Himself is pleased

To labour there.


Ashamed my faultful task to spell,

I watch how grows
The Master's perfect colour-scheme
Of sunset, or His simpler dream
Of moonlight, or that miracle

We name a rose.


There, in the lap of pure content

I still would keep
The Sabbath of a soul at rest;
Nor could I wish a close more blest
Than there, when life's bright day is spent,

To fall asleep.


169. My Will


I would live, if I had my will,

In an old stone grange on a Yorkshire hill ;

Ivy-encircled, lichen-streaked,

Low and mullioned, gable-peaked,

With a velvet lawn, and a hedge of yew,

An apple orchard to saunter through,

Hyacinth-scented in spring's clear prime,

And rich with roses in summer-time,

And a waft of heather over the hill,

Had I my will.
H. o 209


Over my tree-tops, grave and brown,
Slants the back of a breezy down;
Through my fields, by the covert edge,
A swift stream splashes from ledge to ledge
On to the hamlet, scattered, gray,
Where folk live leisurely day by day;
The same old faces about my walks;
Smiling welcomes and simple talks;
Innocent stories of Jack and Jill ;
Had I my will.

How my thrushes should pipe ere noon,
Young birds learning the old birds' tune;
Casements wide, when the eve is fair,
To drink the scents of the moonlit air.
Over the valley I'd see the lights
Of the lone hill-farms, on the upland heights;
And hear when the night is alert with rain,
The steady pulse of the labouring train,
With the measured gush of the merry rill,
Had I my will.

Then in the winter, when gusts pipe thin,
By a clear fire would I sit within,
Warm and dry in the ingle nook,
Reading at ease in a good grave book;
Under the lamp, as I sideways bend,
I'd scan the face of my well-loved friend;
Writing my verses with careless speed,
One at least would be pleased to read;
Thus sweet leisure my days should fill,
Had I my will.



Then when the last guest steps to my side;
May it be summer, the windows wide,
I would smile as the parson prayed,
Smile to think I was once afraid;
Death should beckon me, take my hand,
Smile at the door of the silent land,
Then the slumber, how good to sleep
Under the grass where the shadows creep,
Where the headstones slant on the wind-swept hill!
I shall have my will!


02 211


"In mourning weeds sad Elegy appears,
Her hair dishevell'd, and her eyes in tears :
Her theme, the lover's joys, but more his pains,
By turns she sings, soothes, threatens, and complains."

BOILEAU (Translation)

THE elegy is a poetic type once distinguishable by its form
but no longer so, the ground of classification having shifted from
one of form to one mainly of subject-matter. This change in
the conception of elegy makes it difficult to arrive at a satis-
factory definition of the species, and the best we can hope to do
here is to state what the term " elegy " used to mean and what
it means now.

In Greek literature, where the word is first met with, it
is used so as to include war-poems, marching-songs, political
verses, sententious poetry, love-songs, and lamentations for the
dead, in short, poetry dealing with a widely varying range of
subjects both grave and gay, the only restriction being, ap-
parently, that it must be written in the elegiac measure, ajlistich
composed of a dactylic hexameter in combination with a
dactylic pentameter.

Very much more limited is the use of the word in modern
times, when Elegy has come to mean a mournful or plaintive
poem, most often in the form of a lament for the dead, and,
even when dealing with subjects other than death, such as, for
example, unrequited love, always serious or melancholy in tone^ by



reason of the poet's yearning for what is no longer present. Other
pieces of a reflective nature, which do not entirely comply with
this definition are sometimes loosely termed " elegiac " in quality,
but they are not true elegies and find no place among the
poems in the present section.

A glance at the latter will show that structurally the elegy
has no distinctive marks in English : numerous metres have been
successfully employed; but it is clear that, since elegy is most
often an expression of plaintive tenderness or of grief, the
simplest metres, or at least those in which the framework is
least in evidence, generally meet with the greatest success. Thus,
for example, the irregular metre of Milton's Lycidas (No. 172)
while it enchants the ear with its music does not readily disclose
the source of this charm, and leaves the mind free to attend to the
sentiment of the poem. On the other hand, though the sonnet
has not infrequently been used for elegy, its obtrusive metrical
system makes it, for the most part, unsuitable for this purpose,
since the constraint put upon the poet by its form calls into
question the sincerity of his expression.

On the whole the metre which seems best adapted for giving
the sense of smoothness, quiet ease, and refinement, fitting to
elegy is the simple quatrain of iambic lines in alternate rhyme,
used by Gray in his Elegy written in a Country Churchyard
(No. 175). This stanza is commonly known as the "Elegiac
Quatrain " and, if the distinction be accorded to any single
metre, may be regarded as the most representative English

In addition to those qualities which distinguish the elegy as
an independent lyrical species, the following points are worthy
of notice :

(1) The best elegies, though written, as a rule, when the
sense of loss was keen and recent, do not affect the feelings
violently, but by their tenderness and delicacy of thought induce
a form of melancholy at once artistic and not unpleasing.

(2) The poet in his elegy often recalls the places and
incidents associated with the dead, whose memory he celebrates ;
as, for example, in Arnold's 'A Southern Night (No. 184) or in
Cowper's lines on his mother's picture (No. 176).

(3) In many cases there is, usually towards the end of the
poem, a transition from sadness to joy as the writer's faith in



a future life triumphs over his sorrow and sense of loss. In
Lycidas y for example, the change occurs at the lines beginning :

"Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,"

while in Spenser's Dido Dead (No. 171) it is equally well
marked in the stanza beginning :

"But maugre death, and dreaded Sisters' deadly spight."

This change frequently corresponds with the beginning of the
third and final stage which we noted in the General Intro-
duction when dealing with the structure of the Lyric.

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