Thomas Caldwell.

The golden book of modern English poetry 1870-1920 online

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Wet the golden honeysuckle hangin' sweetly down ;
" Here, lad, here / will ye follow where I pass
An' find me cuttin' rushes on the mountain."

Then was it only yesterday, or fifty years or so ?
Rippin' round the bog pools high among the heather,
The hook it made her hand sore, she had to leave it go.
'Twas me that cut the rushes then for her to bind together.

Come, dear, come ! an' back along the burn,
See the darlin' honeysuckle hanging' like a crown.
Quick, one kiss, sure, there's someone at the turn,
" Oh, we're afther cuttin' rushes on the mountain."

Yesterday, yesterday, or fifty years ago . . .

I waken out o' dreams when I hear the summer thrushes.


Oh, that's the Brabla' burn, I can hear it sing and flow,
For all that's fair, I'd sooner see a bunch o' green rushes.

Run, burn, run ! can ye mind when we were young ?
The honeysuckle hangs above, the pool is dark an' brown
Sing, burn, sing I can ye mind the song ye sung
The day we cut the rushes on the mountain ?


Over here in England I'm helpin' wi' the hay,
An' I wisht I was in Ireland the livelong day ;

Weary on the English hay, an' sorra take the wheat !
Ocb ! Corrymeela an 1 the Hue sky over it.

There's a deep dumb river flowin' by beyont the heavy trees,
This living' air is moithered wi' the bummin' o' the bees ;

I wisht I'd hear the Claddagh burn go runnm' through the

Past Corrymeela, zui* the blue sky over it.

The people that's in England is richer nor the Jews,

There not the smallest young gossoon but thravels in his
shoes !

I'd give the pipe between me teeth to see a barefut child,
Ocb ! Corrymeela an* the low south wind.

Here's hands so full o' money an' hearts so full o' care,
By the luck o' love ! I'd still go light for all I did go bare.

" God save ye, colleen dhas," I said : the girl she thought

me wild.
Far Corrymeela, an* the low south wind,.

D'ye mind me now, the song at night is mortial hard to


The girls are heavy goin' here, the boys are ill to plase ;
When onest I'm out this workin' hive, 'tis I'll be back

Ay, Corrymeela, in the same sojt rain.


The puff o' smoke from one ould roof before an English
town !

For a shaugh wid Andy Feelan here I'd give a silver crown,
For a curl o' hair like Mollie's ye'll ask the like in vain,

Sweet Corrymeela, an* the same soft rain.




How look'd your love, sweet Shepherd, yestereven,

When under apple-boughs ye stole a tryst,
While Hesper held the glowing gates of heaven

Ere colder stars besprent its amethyst ?
Ah ! happy one, how look'd those lids ye kiss'd,
And seem'd her blush of half its rose bereaven
By wan green glimmer and by meadow mist,

From grassy floor, with leaves enshadow'd o'er,
Dim filtering through the seven-score trees and seven

Of the orchard by the shore ?


Colin, the grass was grey and wet the sod

O'er which I heard her velvet footfall come ;
But heaven, where yet no pallid crescent rode

Flower'd in fire behind the bloomless plum ;
There stirr'd no wing nor wind, the wood was dumb,

Only blown roses shook their leaves abroad
On stems more tender than an infant's thumb

Soft leaves, soft hued, and curl'd like Cupid's lip ;
And each dim tree shed sweetness over me,

From honey-dews that breathless boughs let slip
In the orchard by the sea.


Yea, Shepherd, I have seen how blossoms fold,
And waded deep, where deep an orchard grows ;


But what of her whose sweet ye leave untold,

Whose step fell softer than a south-wind blows ?
What of her beauty ? saw ye not unroll'd

O'er little ears and throat a twine of gold ?
And wore her lip the blown or budded rose ?

O did she reach through balmy pear and peach
White arms for greeting did ye heaven hold

In the orchard by the beach ?


Nay, Colin, but I heard through walls of laurel

A tide impassion'd brimming silent spaces,
Guess'd its soft weight, and knew its hoarded coral

Given and withdrawn to shyer father places ;
Methought each wave shook loose in long embraces

Wild trees and tangle over shells auroral,
And never wave but held all heaven's faces,

And seem'd to sweep a mirror'd moon asleep,
To break and blanch among the wet wood-sorrel,

In the orchard by the deep.


O Shepherd, leave to speak of ocean-brede,

And crescents gliding o'er the cold sea-floor ;
All men may watch a risen tide recede,

And scarlet secrets of the deep explore.
Were not your nymph's fair face and footstep more

Than foam and flake within a garden weed ?
More sweet than hymning seas her sweet love-lore ?

Her hair, her hand, more soft than feathers fann'd
From sleeping doves, by small winds newly freed

In the orchard by the strand ?


O dull of soul and senseless ! get thee gone.

What though the lyre of him who loves be strung
To deep of heaven and deep of sea alone

The deep of love is evermore unsung !


Such music lieth hush upon the tongue.

No, by the gods ! not thou, nor any one
Shall force these stammering lips to do it wrong,

Nor babble o'er from common door to door
What I, by favour of my gods, have known

In the orchard by the shore !



We are the men who make the world a song
For all the children of the world to sing,
We are the lonely rulers of the spring

Dreaming upon our thrones the whole night long
Till high upon the eastern hills there glows
The summer, like a rose.

And while in dim forgotten graves there sleep
If God grant, lightly, those who long ago
Danced to the loving winds of spring, they know

That on the dying hours our watch we keep
To welcome back across the midnight airs
No other love than theirs.

Her voice is like the song of hidden streams
Laughing at dusk, her feet are wet with dew,
Her eyes are set with amaranthine blue,

She is the perfect lady of our dreams,
And far across the night and far and far
We seek her like a star.

There is no resting-place for tired head

Like her soft breasts, there is no love like hers,
And ever on her gentle lips there stirs

The triumphing song that comforted the dead,
Over their graves the dewy trees shine wet,
But they may not forget.


We are the rulers of the quiet hours

Who love where loved the dead, and in our hands

We hold the keys of fair, untrodden lands,
Where summer comes not to perplex the flowers,

But spring stays ever, and spring music fills

The dark and dreamy hills.


Silver rose was the morning, his breast was strewn with

Spoil of the dew- bright cherry that danced along the


And I saw the sun of beauty shine out in the eyes of girls
Who bowed their limbs to the morning, for love of the

primrose way.

The splendour of waking beauty had filled my world with

Red for the roses and green for the hills whence the skies


A secret song for the maiden, a silver pipe for the boy,
To echo and bring her blithely, to his arms, to his lips, to

his heart.

Ah ! to dream and awake to have seen and to see no more !
The roses falter and perish, the clouds droop low on the


And the secret song of the maiden that was so sweet before
Is still with the pipe of the boy, as my echoing heart is


They come not the shining hours, with their treasure of

green and of gold,

Trooping across the meadows, as they came once on a day ;
Mine the monotonous years and the sorrow of growing old,
Mine to weep for the morning, far down on the primrose




Servant of the eternal Must

I lie here, here let me lie,
In the ashes and the dust,

Dreaming, dreaming pleasantly.
When I lived I sought no wings,

Schemed no heaven, planned no hell,
But, content with little things,

Made an earth, and it was well.

Song and laughter, food and wine,

Roses, roses red and white,
And a star or two to shine

On my dewy world at night.
Lord, what more could I desire ?

With my little heart of clay
I have lit no eternal fire

To burn my dreams on Judgment Day !

Well I loved, but they who knew
What my laughing heart could be,

What my singing lips could do,
Lie a-dreaming here with me.

I can feel their finger-tips

Stroke the darkness from my face,
And the music of their lips

Fills my pleasant resting-place
In the ashes and the dust,

Where I wonder as I lie,
Servant of the eternal Must,

Dreaming, dreaming pleasantly.



O Dieu, purifiez nos coeurs !
Purifiez nos coeurs !


Yea, the lines hast thou laid unto me

in pleasant places,
And the beauty of this thy Venice

hast thou shown unto me
Until its loveliness became unto me

a thing of tears.

O God, what great kindness
have we done in times past
and forgotten it,

That thou givest this wonder unto us,
O God of waters ?

O God of the night,

What great sorrow
Cometh unto us,

That thou thus repayest us
Before the time of its coming ?

O God of silence,

Purifiez nos coeurs,

Purifiez nos cceurs,
For we have seen
The glory of the shadow of the

likeness of thine handmaid,
Yea, the glory of the shadow

of thy Beauty hath walked
Upon the shadow of the waters

In this thy Venice,

And before the holiness
Of the shadow of thy handmaid

Have I hidden mine eyes
O God of waters.

O God of silence,

Purifiez nos coeurs,

Purifiez nos creurs,
O God of waters,

make clean our hearts within us


And our lips to show forth thy praise,

For I have seen the
Shadow of this thy Venice
Floating upon the waters,

And thy stars

Have seen this thing, out of their far courses
Have they seen this thing,

O God of waters,
Even as are thy stars
Silent unto us in their far coursing,
Even so is mine heart

become silent within me.

Purifiez nos
God of the silence.

Purifiez nos
O God oj waters.


Simon Zelotes speaketh it somewhile after
the Crucifixion.

Ha* we lost the goodliest fere o' all
For the priests and the gallows tree ?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O' ships and the open sea.

When they came wi' a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
" First let these go ! " quo' our Goodly Fere,
" Or I'll see you damned," says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
" Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town ? " says he.

1 Fere = mate, companion.


Oh we drank his " Hale " in the good red wine

When we last made company,

No capon priest was the Goodly Fere,

But a man o' men was he.

I ha' seen him drive a hundred men
Wi' a bundle o' cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They'll no' get him a' in a book, I think,
Though they write it cunningly ;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere,
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha' snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
" I'll go to the feast," quo' our Goodly Fere,
" Though I go to the gallows tree."


" Ye ha' seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead," says he,
" Ye shall see one thing to master all :
'Tis how a brave man dies on the tree."

A Son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha' seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue
But never a cry cried he.

I ha' seen him cow a thousand men

On the hills o' Galilee,

They whined as he walked out calm between,

Wi' his eyes like the grey o' the sea.


Like the sea that brooks no voyaging
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea that He cowed at Geneseret
Wi' twey words spoke' suddenly.


In vain have I striven

to teach my heart to bow ;
In vain have I said to him

" There be many singers greater than thou."

But his answer cometh, as winds and as lutany,
As a vague crying upon the night
That leaveth me no rest, saying ever,
" Song, a song."

Their echoes play upon each other in the twilight

Seeking ever a song.

Lo, I am worn with travail

And the wandering of many roads hath made my eyes

As dark red circles filled with dust.

Yet there is a trembling upon me in the twilight,
And little red elf words crying " A song,"
Little grey elf words crying for a song,
Little brown leaf words crying " A song,"
Little green leaf words crying for a song.

The words are as leaves, old brown leaves in the spring

Blowing they know not whither, seeking a song.

White words as snow flakes but they are cold,
Moss words, lip words, words of slow streams.

In vain have I striven

to teach my soul to bow ;
In vain have I pled with him,

" There be greater souls than thou."



For in the morn of my years there came a woman

As moonlight calling

As the moon calleth the tides,

" Song, a song."

Wherefore I made her a song and she went from me
As the moon doth from the sea,
But still came the leaf words, little brown elf words
Saying, " The soul sendeth us."

" A song, a song ! "

And in vain I cried unto them, " I have no song,
For she I sang of hath gone from me."

But my soul sent a woman, a woman of the wonder folk,
A woman as fire upon the pine woods

crying " Song, a song."
As the flame crieth unto the sap.
My song was ablaze with her, and she went from me
As flame leaveth the embers so went she unto new

And the woods were with me

crying ever " Song, a song."

And I, " I have no song,"
Till my soul sent a woman as the sun :
Yea, as the sun calleth to the seed,
As the spring upon the bough
So is she that cometh the song-drawer,
She that holdeth the wonder words within her eyes,
The little elf words

That call ever unto me,

" Song, a song."


In vain have I striven with my soul
to teach my soul to bow.

What soul boweth

while in his heart art thou ?



For God, our God, is a gallant foe
That playeth behind the veil.

I have loved my God as a child at heart
That seeketh deep bosoms for rest,
I have loved my God as maid to man
But lo ! this thing is best :

To love your God as a gallant foe

that plays behind the veil,
To meet your God as the night winds meet

beyond Arcturus' pale.

I have play'd with God for a woman,
I have staked with my God for truth,
I have lost to my God as a man, clear-eyed,
His dice be not of ruth.

For I am made as a naked blade,
But hear ye this thing in sooth :

Who loseth to God as man to man

Shall win at the turn of the game.
I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet,

But the ending is the same :
Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose

Shall win at the end of the game.

For God, our God, is a gallant foe

that playeth behind the veil,
Whom God deigns not to overthrow

hath need of triple mail.




I am Syrinx : I am she who when the gold
Sun over the grey mountain burns awake,
Rises and drives the flock from the safe fold ;

And all day long hidden in the green brake
Watches ; or where the wood's heart grows so still
That the least tremor of small leaves ashake,

Seems somehow a foreboding of strange ill.
And I am she who gleans the scattered wheat,
And prunes the vine on the steep side of the hill.

I follow the white morning on swift feet,
I slumber in the thicket at mid-noon,
The racing wind bears me along with it.

And, for the gods' delight, under the moon
I dance, dance and laugh to feel my hot
Heart leaping frenzied to the wild pipes' tune.

But as for Love, truly I know him not,

I have passionately turned my lips therefrom,

And from that fate the careless gods allot

To woman. Love who has taken the world by storm,
For all his fury of blind wind and flood,
Has had no power to change me or deform.

For the chill mountain-streams are in my blood,
And pale, phantasmal fires of dawn, twilight,
Shadow and dew are all my maidenhood.

And as the setting sun on the cold, white,
Snow-braided, frozen peak rests his fierce head,
Then goes out in a thin trail of light ;


So Love, leaning upon my heart, instead
Of flame finds only snow and falls asleep
Quietly like a child on a soft bed ;

And lies there forgetting the broad sweep
At noontide of his sudden, blazing wings,
Which thought my narrow life to overleap ;

Not knowing me tameless as the breeze which clings
Round Summer's golden limbs when she moves clad
In music, wonderfully, where the pine-branch swings.

Therefore what thing is this which makes me mad,
So that no laughter of the rose-crowned year
Shall evermore rejoice me or leave glad

My heart which now has a sick core of fear ?
I am Syrinx : a strange doom is over me
Like a cloud, hanging about me everywhere :

Yea, listen and marvel how such things may be !

I am bewildered and all overcast

As a spent swimmer struck sideways by the sea.

For once, as through the deep, cool wood I passed
Singing, for it was June, and ah, June goes !
And only song may capture and bind her fast ;

I paused : there was no stir among the close
Boughs ; for the heat nothing alive might breathe,
And the least wind swooned backward as it rose.

Outside the sick earth seemed to burn and seethe

Like molten metal in a pot. I saw

The sun, a wild beast with sharp shining teeth,

Eagerly search the barren land and draw
What of green might still be left therein,
To cool the rage of his insatiate maw.


Yet, through the leaves, his rays on my white skin
Played harmless and I sang, sang till a sound
Fell on my ears and made me reel and spin.

Low laughter welling lightly from the ground

Like water, mocking, sweet, and crystalline

As though up-bubbling from earth's heart profound.

And in it something bestial and divine,
So that my senses hearing it were stirred,
Quickened and overcome, as though with wine ;

And motionless I stood as a bird

Beneath a snake's eye ; then when life began

To fail witmVme, once again I heard

That laughter and saw, crouched there before me, Pan
The very shepherd and godhead of our hills
Whom I have feared more than the Cyprian.

Since his is the sharp secret breath which kills
At nightfall, and he is lord of death and birth,
And the year wanes and waxes as he wills.

Yea, very spirit is he and heart of earth,

And cruel as untempered rain and sun,

In those sick seasons when all falls to dearth.

And there shall none resist him, nay, not one
On whom rest the eyes of his desire :
Wherefore am I too ruined and undone ;

For though a little I may escape his fire,

Since he subtle and wise let me depart

That morning, helpless am I though I fly higher

Than the eagle, yea, or press the waves apart,
The cold, dark, clean, indifferent sea-waves
Nay, though I shelter in the whirlwind's heart,


Pan, Pan shall have at last the thing he craves,
Me : and my shadowy days must sink to naught,
Falling earthward like shed leaves when the wind raves.

Yet might these weary toils wherein I am caught
Break, break ! Would that I might become
A shadow or fast fading flower wrought

From day and night, or sunshine or blown foam
Ere this thing chanced, or a clear drop of rain
New scattered, or music suddenly fallen dumb ;

A note of music by its own breath slain,
Blown tenderly from the frail heart of a reed
Whereof the singing shepherd lads are fain,

Who with strong, careless hands from alHoil freed,
Pluck joy, pure joy, green-growing from the soil,
And turn and twist and shape it to their need.

If this might be ! If some kind god would foil
The inexorable purpose of Pan's lust,
Having pity on my swift youth's recoil ;

My frugal, kindly, passionless days which must

Perish, perish like wild wood-berries,

By sharp-hoofed goat-feet trampled all to dust.

If they would sigh towards me, bidding me cease,
Changing into white sap my willing blood,
And granting me the calm of growing trees,

And of the reeds springing in the full flood ;
Being myself portion and part of these,
Surely, beyond all longing, it were good !

I am Syrinx : I am afraid : I would have peace.




We are thine, O Love, being in thee and made of thee,

As thou, Love, were the deep thought
And we the speech of the thought ; yea, spoken are we,

Thy fires of thought outspoken :

But burn'd not through us thy imagining

Like fierce mood in a song caught,
We were as clamour'd words a fool may fling,

Loose words, of meaning broken.

For what more like the brainless speech of a fool,

The lives travelling dark fears,
And as a boy throws pebbles in a pool

Thrown down abysmal places ?

Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth

And our journeying time theirs ;
As words of air, life makes of starry earth

Sweet soul-delighted faces ;

As voices are we in the worldly wind ;

The great wind of the world's fate
Is turned, as air to a shapen sound, to mind

And marvellous desires.

But not in the world as voices storm-shatter'd,

Not borne down by the wind's weight ;
The rushing time rings with our splendid word

Like darkness filled with fires.

For Love doth use us for a sound of song,

And Love's meaning our life wields,
Making our souls like syllables to throng

His tunes of exultation.


Down the blind speed of a fatal world we fly,

As rain blown along earth's fields ;
Yet are we god-desiring liturgy,

Sung joys of adoration ;

Yea, made of chance and all a labouring strife,

We go charged with a strong flame ;
For as a language Love hath seized on life

His burning heart to story.

Yea, Love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee,
Thy thought's golden and glad name,

The mortal conscience of immortal glee,
Love's zeal in Love's own glory.


Lord God, I saw Thee then ; one mind last night,

Met Thee upon Thy ways.

I was upon a hill, alone ;

My drudged sense was aching in amaze :

Into my thought had too much gone

The inconceivable room of the blue night,

The blue that seems so near to be

Appearance of divinity,

And the continual stars.

I was afraid at so much permanence,

And was in trouble with vastness and fixt law.

All round about I saw

The law's unalterable fence,

And like a forgery of shining bars

The stresses of the suns were there,

Keeping, in vastness prisoner,

My thought caged from infinity.

And then, suddenly,
While perhaps twice my heart was dutiful
To send my blood upon its little race,


I was exalted above surety

And out of time did fall.

As from a slander that did long distress,

A sudden justice vindicated me

From the customary wrong of Great and Small.

I stood outside the burning rims of place,

Outside that corner, consciousness.

Then was I not in the midst of Thee,

Lord God ?

A momentary gust
Of power, a swift dismay
Putting the infinite quiet to disarray,
A thing like anger or outbreaking lust,
A zeal immeasurably sent,
So Law came and went,
And smote into a bright astonishment
Of stars the season of eternity,
And grazed the darkness into glowing lanes.
Swiftly that errand of God's vehemence,
The passion which was Law, slid by,
Carrying surge of creatures, fiery manes
Of matter and the worldly foam
And riddles of transgressing flame ;
So the Law's kindled shakings came
A moment, and went utterly.
And seemed to be no more
Than if through the eternal corridor
Of emptiness a sob did roam,
Or a cry out of a fearful ecstasy.


When from Eternity were separate

The curdled element

And gathered forces, and the world began,
The Spirit that was shut and darkly blent
Within this being, did the whole distress
With a blind hanker after spaciousness.


Into its wrestle, strictly tied up in Fate

And closely natured, came like an open'd grate

At last the Mind of Man,
Letting the sky in, and a faculty
To light the cell with lost Eternity.

So commerce with the Infinite was regain'd :

For upward grew Man's ken

And trode with founded footsteps the grievous few
Where other life festering and prone remain'd.
With knowledge painfully quarried and hewn fair,
Platforms of lore, and many a hanging stair

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Online LibraryThomas CaldwellThe golden book of modern English poetry 1870-1920 → online text (page 16 of 21)