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- Embers, Volume 2. - 2/8 -


We shall be taken, but thou shalt live on, Swallowed in sea-drifts that never affright thee; Smiling, thou'lt lift up thy sweet hands alone, Ah, Aphrodite!

Over thy face is a veil of white sea-mist, Only thine eyes shine like stars; bless or blight me, I will hold close to the leash at thy wrist, O Aphrodite!

Rosy and proud are the skies of the East, Love-dowered moons to enswathe thee, delight thee: Thy days and our days--are thine then the least, O Aphrodite?

Thou in the East and I here in the West, Under our newer skies purple and pleasant: Who shall decide which is better, attest, Saga or peasant?

Thou with Serapis, Osiris, and Isis, I with Jehovah, in vapours and shadows; Thou with the gods' joy-enhancing devices, Sweet-smelling meadows.

What is there given us?--Food and some raiment, Toiling to reach to a Patmian haven, Giving up all for uncertain repayment, Feeding the raven.

Striving to peer through the infinite azure, Alternate turning to earthward and falling, Measuring life with Damastian measure, Finite, appalling.

What does it matter! They passed who with Homer Poured out the wine at the feet of their idols: Passing, what found they? To-come a misnomer, It and their idols?

Who knows, ah, who knows! Here in this garden, Heliotrope, hyacinth, soft suns to light me, Leaning out, peering, thou, thou art my warden- Thou, Aphrodite!

Up from the future of all things there come, Marching abreast in their stately endeavour, Races unborn, to the beat of the drum, Of the Forever.

Resting not, beating down all the old traces, Falls the light step of the new-coming nations, Burning on altars of our loved graces, Their new oblations.

What shall we know of it, we who have lifted Up the dark veil, done sowing and reaping; What shall we care if our burdens be shifted, Waking or sleeping?

Sacristan, acolyte, player or preacher, Each to his office, but who holds the key? Death, only death, thou, the ultimate teacher, Will show it to me.

I am, Thou art, and the strong-speaking Jesus, One in the end of an infinite truth?-- Eyes of a prophet or sphinx may deceive us, Bearing us ruth,

But when the forts and the barriers fall, Shall we not find One, the true, the almighty, Wisely to speak with the worst of us all, O Aphrodite?

Waiting, I turn from the futile, the human, Gone is the life of me, laughing with youth; Steals to learn all in the face of a woman, Mendicant Truth.

AN ANCIENT PLEDGE

Fair be the garden where their loves may dwell, Safe be the highway where their feet may go; Rich be the meadows where their hands may toil, The fountains many where the good wines flow; Full be their harvest bins with corn and oil, And quick their hearts all wise delights to know; To sorrow may their humour be a foil, Tardy their footsteps to the gate Farewell. Deep be your cups. Our hearts the gods make light: Drink, that their joy may never know good-night!

THE TRIBUTE OF KING HATH

Oh, bring to me a cup of gold, And bring a platter fair, And summon forth my Captain old, Who keeps the royal stair.

And fetch a stoup of that rare wine That hailed my father's fame; And bear some white bread from the shrine Built to my mother's name.

Then, good my gentlemen, bring down My robe of soft samite; And let the royal horn be blown, For we ride far to-night.

Within the pleasant Vale of Loe Beside the Sea of Var, The Daughter of our ancient foe Dwells where her people are.

Tribute her fathers paid to mine-- Young prince to elder crown; But for a jest 'twixt bread and wine, They struck our banner down.

And we had foes from Blymar Hills, From Gathan and Dagost, And pirates from Bagol that spills Its refuse on our coast.

And we were girded South and North; And there beyond the Var, They drove our goodly fighters forth, And dimmed our ancient star.

Now they have passed us, home for home, And matched us town for town; Their daughters to our sons now come-- Our feud it weareth down.

Between their cups, the hill-men cry, "The Lady of the Loe!" The sea-kings swing their flags peak-high Where'er her galleons go.

Once when the forge of battle sang 'Tween Varan and Thogeel; And when ten thousand stirrups rang 'Twixt girth and bloody heel,

I saw her ride 'mid mirk and fire, Unfearing din and death, Her eyes upflaming like a pyre, Her fearless smile beneath.

Nor'land 'gainst Southland then she drove, A million serfs to free; The reeking shuttle lifeward wove, Through death from land to sea.

And perched upon the Hill of Zoom, My gentlemen beside, I saw the weft shake in the loom, The revel blazon wide,

Until a thousand companies-- Serf-lords from out Thogeel Their broadswords brake across their knees, Good captives to her steel.

And then I sware by name and crown, And by the Holy Ghost, When Peace should ride with pennon blown, From Gathan to Dagost,

Unto her kingdom I should get, And come not back again, Until a queen's hand I had set Upon my bridle rein.

Our ships now nestle at Her coast, Her corn our garner fills; And all is quiet at Dagost, And on the Blymar Hills.

And I will do a deed to bind An ancient love once more; My gentlemen shall ride behind, My Captain on before;

And we will journey forth to-night Towards the Sea of Var, Until the vale shall come in sight, Where Her great cities are.


Embers, Volume 2. - 2/8

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