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- Embers, Volume 3. - 1/7 -


EMBERS

By Gilbert Parker

Volume 3.

CONTENTS

IN CAMDEN TOWN JEAN A MEMORY IN CAMP AT JUNIPER COVE JUNIPER COVE TWENTY YEARS AFTER LISTENING NEVERTHELESS ISHMAEL OVER THE HILLS THE DELIVERER THE DESERT ROAD A SON OF THE NILE A FAREWELL FROM THE HAREM AN ARAB LOVE SONG THE CAMEL-DRIVER TO HIS CAMEL THE TALL DABOON THERE IS SORROW ON THE SEA THE AUSTRALIAN STOCBRIDER THE BRIDGE OF THE HUNDRED SPANS NELL LATORE

IN CAMDEN TOWN

How many years of sun and snow Have come to Camden Town, Since through its streets and in its shade, I wandered up and down.

Not many more than to you here These verses hapless flung, Yet of the Long Ago they seem To me who am yet young.

We strive to measure life by Time, And con the seasons o'er, To find, alas! that days are years, And years for evermore.

The joys that thrill, the ill that thralls, Pressed down on heart and brain- These are the only horologues, The Age's loss or gain.

And I am old in all of these, And wonder if I know The man begotten of the boy, Who loved that long ago.

A lilac bush close to the gate, A locust at the door, A low, wide window flower-filled, With ivy covered o'er.

A face--O love of childhood dreams, Lily in form and name-- It comes back now in these day-dreams, The same yet not the same.

My childhood's friend! Well gathered are The sheaves of many days, But this one sheaf is garnered in, Bound by my love always.

Where have you wandered, child, since when Together merrily, We gathered cups of columbine By lazy Rapanee?

The green spears of the flagflower, Down by the old mill-race, Are weapons now for other hands, Who mimic warfare chase.

You were so tender, yet so strong, So gentle, yet so free, Your every word, whenever heard, Seemed wondrous wise to me.

You marvelled if the dead could hear Our steps, that passed at will Their low green houses in the elm- Crowned churchyard on the hill.

And I, whom your sweet childhood's trust, Esteemed as most profound, Thought that they heard, as in a dream, The shadow of a sound.

We drew the long, rank grass away From tombstones mossy grown, To read the verses crude and quaint, And make the words our own.

One tottering marble, willow-spread, I well remember yet, With only this engraved thereon, "By Joseph to Jeanette."

It held us wondering oft, as we Peeped through the pickets old: There was some mystery, we knew, Some history untold.

Well, better far those simple words, Where weeping phrase is not, Than burdened tablet, and the rest Forgetting and forgot.

And Lily Minden, do you lie In some forgotten grave, Where only strangers' feet pass o'er Your temple's architrave?

Or, by some hearthstone, have you learned The worst and best of life, And found sweet greetings in the name Of mother and of wife?

I cannot tell: I know you but As bee the clover bloom, That sips content, and straightway builds Its mansion and its tomb.

So took I in child-innocence, So build the House of Life, And in low tone to thee alone, As dead or maid or wife,

I sing this song, borne all along A space of wasted breath; And build me on from room to room Unto the House of Death,

Where portals swing forever in To weary pilgrim guest, And hearts that here were inly dear Shall find a Room of Rest.

JEAN

Three times round has the sun gone, Jean, Since on your lips I pressed Mute farewells; if that pain was keen Fair were you in your nest.

Smiling, sweetheart, I left you there; You had no word to say; One last touch to your brow and hair, Then I went on my way.

Time it was when the leaves were grown Your rose-colour, my queen; Ere the birds to the south had flown, While yet the grass was green.

Eyes demure, do you ever yearn, Bird-wise to summer lands? Is it to meet your look I turn, Saying, "She understands,"

Saying, "She waits in her quiet place Patient till I shall come, The old sweet grace in her dreaming face That made a Heav'n her home"?

No! She is there 'neath Northern skies, And no word does she send; But near to my heart her image lies, And shall lie there to the end.

Come what will I am not bereft Of the memory of that time, When in her hands my heart I left There, in a colder clime.

And to my eyes no face is fair, For one face comes between; And if a song has a low sweet air, Through it there whispers, "Jean."


Embers, Volume 3. - 1/7

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