The Spring Call

Down Wessex way, when spring's a-shine,
   The blackbird's "pret-ty de-urr!"
In Wessex accents marked as mine
   Is heard afar and near.

He flutes it strong, as if in song
   No R's of feebler tone
Than his appear in "pretty dear,"
   Have blackbirds ever known.

Yet they pipe "prattie deerh!" I glean,
   Beneath a Scottish sky,
And "pehty de-aw!" amid the treen
   Of Middlesex or nigh.

While some folk say--perhaps in play -
   Who know the Irish isle,
'Tis "purrity dare!" in treeland there
   When songsters would beguile.

Well: I'll say what the listening birds
   Say, hearing "pret-ty de-urr!" -
However strangers sound such words,
   That's how we sound them here.

Yes, in this clime at pairing time,
   As soon as eyes can see her
At dawn of day, the proper way
   To call is "pret-ty de-urr!"

from "The Revisitation"

   Round about me bulged the barrows
As before, in antique silence--immemorial funeral piles -
Where the sleek herds trampled daily the remains of flint-tipt arrows
   Mid the thyme and chamomiles;

   And the Sarsen stone there, dateless,
On whose breast we had sat and told the zephyrs many a tender vow,
Held the heat of yester sun, as sank thereon one fated mateless
   From those far fond hours till now.

   Maybe flustered by my presence
Rose the peewits, just as all those years back, wailing soft and loud,
And revealing their pale pinions like a fitful phosphorescence
   Up against the cope of cloud,

   Where their dolesome exclamations
Seemed the voicings of the self-same throats I had heard when life was
Though since that day uncounted frail forgotten generations
   Of their kind had flecked the scene. -

   And so, living long and longer
In a past that lived no more, my eyes discerned there, suddenly,
That a figure broke the skyline--first in vague contour, then stronger,
   And was crossing near to me.

The Dream is - Which?

I am laughing by the brook with her,
   Splashed in its tumbling stir;
And then it is a blankness looms
   As if I walked not there,
Nor she, but found me in haggard rooms,
   And treading a lonely stair.

With radiant cheeks and rapid eyes
   We sit where none espies;
Till a harsh change comes edging in
   As no such scene were there,
But winter, and I were bent and thin,
   And cinder-gray my hair.

We dance in heys around the hall,
   Weightless as thistleball;
And then a curtain drops between,
   As if I danced not there,
But wandered through a mounded green
   To find her, I knew where.

March 1913.

The West-of-Wessex Girl

[Walking on Plymouth Hoe in 1903]

A very West-of-Wessex girl,
   As blithe as blithe could be,
   Was once well-known to me,
And she would laud her native town,
   And hope and hope that we
Might sometime study up and down
   Its charms in company.

But never I squired my Wessex girl
   In jaunts to Hoe or street
   When hearts were high in beat,
Nor saw her in the marbled ways
   Where market-people meet
That in her bounding early days
   Were friendly with her feet.

Yet now my West-of-Wessex girl,
   When midnight hammers slow
   From Andrew's, blow by blow,
As phantom draws me by the hand
   To the place - Plymouth Hoe -
Where side by side in life, as planned,
   We never were to go!

Begun in Plymouth, March 1913.

In Death Divided

   I shall rot here, with those whom in their day
     You never knew,
   And alien ones who, ere they chilled to clay,
     Met not my view,
Will in your distant grave-place ever neighbour you.

   No shade of pinnacle or tree or tower,
     While earth endures,
   Will fall on my mound and within the hour
     Steal on to yours;
One robin never haunt our two green covertures.

   Some organ may resound on Sunday noons
     By where you lie,
   Some other thrill the panes with other tunes
     Where moulder I;
No selfsame chords compose our common lullaby.

   The simply-cut memorial at my head
     Perhaps may take
   A Gothic form, and that above your bed
     Be Greek in make;
No linking symbol show thereon for our tale's sake.

   And in the monotonous moils of strained, hard-run
   The eternal tie which binds us twain in one
     No eye will see
Stretching across the miles that sever you from me.