A Spot


   In years defaced and lost,
   Two sat here, transport-tossed,
   Lit by a living love
The wilted world knew nothing of:
     Scared momently
     By gaingivings,
     Then hoping things
     That could not be.

   Of love and us no trace
   Abides upon the place;
   The sun and shadows wheel,
Season and season sereward steal;
     Foul days and fair
     Here, too, prevail,
     And gust and gale
     As everywhere.

   But lonely shepherd souls
   Who bask amid these knolls
   May catch a faery sound
On sleepy noontides from the ground:
     "O not again
     Till Earth outwears
     Shall love like theirs
     Suffuse this glen!"

If it's ever Spring again"


If it's ever spring again,
     Spring again,
I shall go where went I when
Down the moor-cock splashed, and hen,
Seeing me not, amid their flounder,
Standing with my arm around her;
If it's ever spring again,
     Spring again,
I shall go where went I then.

If it's ever summer-time,
With the hay crop at the prime,
And the cuckoos--two--in rhyme,
As they used to be, or seemed to,
We shall do as long we've dreamed to,
If it's ever summer-time,
With the hay, and bees achime.

To an Orphan Child

A Whimsey

Ah, child, thou art but half thy darling mother's;
     Hers couldst thou wholly be,
My light in thee would outglow all in others;
     She would relive to me.
But niggard Nature's trick of birth
     Bars, lest she overjoy,
Renewal of the loved on earth
     Save with alloy.

The Dame has no regard, alas, my maiden,
     For love and loss like mine -
No sympathy with mind-sight memory-laden;
     Only with fickle eyne.
To her mechanic artistry
     My dreams are all unknown,
And why I wish that thou couldst be
     But One's alone!

Four Footprints

Here are the tracks upon the sand
Where stood last evening she and I -
Pressed heart to heart and hand to hand;
The morning sun has baked them dry.

I kissed her wet face--wet with rain,
For arid grief had burnt up tears,
While reached us as in sleeping pain
The distant gurgling of the weirs.

"I have married him--yes; feel that ring;
'Tis a week ago that he put it on . . .
A dutiful daughter does this thing,
And resignation succeeds anon!

"But that I body and soul was yours
Ere he'd possession, he'll never know.
He's a confident man. 'The husband scores,'
He says, 'in the long run' . . . Now, Dear, go!"

I went. And to-day I pass the spot;
It is only a smart the more to endure;
And she whom I held is as though she were not,
For they have resumed their honeymoon tour.

Summer Schemes

When friendly summer calls again,
          Calls again
Her little fifers to these hills,
We'll go--we two--to that arched fane
Of leafage where they prime their bills
Before they start to flood the plain
With quavers, minims, shakes, and trills.
     "--We'll go," I sing; but who shall say
     What may not chance before that day!

And we shall see the waters spring,
          Waters spring
From chinks the scrubby copses crown;
And we shall trace their oncreeping
To where the cascade tumbles down
And sends the bobbing growths aswing,
And ferns not quite but almost drown.
     "--We shall," I say; but who may sing
     Of what another moon will bring!

In a Wood


Pale beech and pine-tree blue,
Set in one clay,
Bough to bough cannot you
Bide out your day?
When the rains skim and skip,
Why mar sweet comradeship,
Blighting with poison-drip
Neighbourly spray?

Heart-halt and spirit-lame,
Unto this wood I came
As to a nest;
Dreaming that sylvan peace
Offered the harrowed ease--
Nature a soft release
From men's unrest.

But, having entered in,
Great growths and small
Show them to men akin -
Combatants all!
Sycamore shoulders oak,
Bines the slim sapling yoke,
Ivy-spun halters choke
Elms stout and tall.

Touches from ash, O wych,
Sting you like scorn!
You, too, brave hollies, twitch
Sidelong from thorn.
Even the rank poplars bear
Illy a rival's air,
Cankering in black despair
If overborne.

Since, then, no grace I find
Taught me of trees,
Turn I back to my kind,
Worthy as these.
There at least smiles abound,
There discourse trills around,
There, now and then, are found

1887: 1896.

The Fiddler

The fiddler knows what's brewing
To the lilt of his lyric wiles:
The fiddler knows what rueing
Will come of this night's smiles!

He sees couples join them for dancing,
And afterwards joining for life,
He sees them pay high for their prancing
By a welter of wedded strife.

He twangs: "Music hails from the devil,
Though vaunted to come from heaven,
For it makes people do at a revel
What multiplies sins by seven.

"There's many a heart now mangled,
And waiting its time to go,
Whose tendrils were first entangled
By my sweet viol and bow!"

Moments of Vision

That mirror
    Which makes of men a transparency,
    Who holds that mirror
And bids us such a breast-bare spectacle see
    Of you and me?

That mirror
    Whose magic penetrates like a dart,
    Who lifts that mirror
And throws our mind back on us, and our heart,
    Until we start?

That mirror
    Works well in these night hours of ache;
    Why in that mirror
Are tincts we never see ourselves once take
    When the world is awake?

That mirror
    Can test each mortal when unaware;
    Yea, that strange mirror
May catch his last thoughts, whole life foul or fair,
    Glassing it--where?