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- A Shropshire Lad - 6/10 -


There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double, It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone: To-day the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon.

XXXII

From far, from eve and morning And yon twelve-winded sky, The stuff of life to knit me Blew hither: here am I.

Now- for a breath I tarry Nor yet disperse apart- Take my hand quick and tell me, What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer; How shall I help you, say; Ere to the wind's twelve quarters I take my endless way.

XXXIII

If truth in hearts that perish Could move the powers on high, I think the love I bear you Should make you not to die.

Sure, sure, if stedfast meaning, If single thought could save, The world might end to-morrow, You should not see the grave.

This long and sure-set liking, This boundless will to please, -Oh, you should live for ever If there were help in these.

But now, since all is idle, To this lost heart be kind, Ere to a town you journey Where friends are ill to find.

XXXIV

THE NEW MISTRESS

_ "Oh, sick I am to see you, will you never let me be? You may be good for something, but you are not good for me. Oh, go where you are wanted, for you are not wanted here." _ And that was all the farewell when I parted from my dear.

"I will go where I am wanted, to a lady born and bred Who will dress me free for nothing in a uniform of red; She will not be sick to see me if I only keep it clean: I will go where I am wanted for a soldier of the Queen."

"I will go where I am wanted, for the sergeant does not mind; He may be sick to see me but he treats me very kind: He gives me beer and breakfast and a ribbon for my cap, And I never knew a sweetheart spend her money on a chap."

"I will go where I am wanted, where there's room for one or two, And the men are none too many for the work there is to do; Where the standing line wears thinner and the dropping dead lie thick; And the enemies of England they shall see me and be sick."

XXXV

On the idle hill of summer, Sleepy with the flow of streams, Far I hear the steady drummer Drumming like a noise in dreams.

Far and near and low and louder On the roads of earth go by, Dear to friends and food for powder, Soldiers marching, all to die.

East and west on fields forgotten Bleach the bones of comrades slain, Lovely lads and dead and rotten; None that go return again.

Far the calling bugles hollo, High the screaming fife replies, Gay the files of scarlet follow: Woman bore me, I will rise.

XXXVI

White in the moon the long road lies, The moon stands blank above; White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love.

Still hangs the hedge without a gust, Still, still the shadows stay: My feet upon the moonlit dust Pursue the ceaseless way.

The world is round, so travellers tell, And straight though reach the track, Trudge on, trudge on, 'twill all be well, The way will guide one back.

But ere the circle homeward hies Far, far must it remove: White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love.

XXXVII

As through the wild green hills of Wyre The train ran, changing sky and shire, And far behind, a fading crest, Low in the forsaken west Sank the high-reared head of Clee, My hand lay empty on my knee. Aching on my knee it lay: That morning half a shire away So many an honest fellow's fist Had well-nigh wrung it from the wrist. Hand, said I, since now we part From fields and men we know by heart, From strangers' faces, strangers' lands,- Hand, you have held true fellows' hands. Be clean then; rot before you do A thing they'd not believe of you. You and I must keep from shame In London streets the Shropshire name; On banks of Thames they must not say Severn breeds worse men than they; And friends abroad must bear in mind Friends at home they leave behind. Oh, I shall be stiff and cold When I forget you, hearts of gold; The land where I shall mind you not Is the land where all's forgot. And if my foot returns no more To Teme nor Corve nor Severn shore, Luck, my lads, be with you still By falling stream and standing hill, By chiming tower and whispering tree, Men that made a man of me. About your work in town and farm Still you'll keep my head from harm, Still you'll help me, hands that gave A grasp to friend me to the grave.

XXXVIII

The winds out of the west land blow, My friends have breathed them there; Warm with the blood of lads I know Comes east the sighing air.

It fanned their temples, filled their lungs, Scattered their forelocks free; My friends made words of it with tongues That talk no more to me.

Their voices, dying as they fly, Thick on the wind are sown; The names of men blow soundless by, My fellows' and my own.

Oh lads, at home I heard you plain, But here your speech is still, And down the sighing wind in vain You hollo from the hill.

The wind and I, we both were there, But neither long abode; Now through the friendless world we fare And sigh upon the road.

XXXIX


A Shropshire Lad - 6/10

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