And Israel laid down His sceptre and his crown, To brood on that River's bank, Where the waters flashed and sank, And burrowed in earth and fell, And bided a season below, For reason that none might know, Save only Israel.
He is Lord of the Last— The Fifth, most wonderful, Flood. He hears Her thunder past And Her Song is in his blood. He can foresay: 'She will fall,' For he knows which fountain dries. Behind which desert-belt A thousand leagues to the South.
He can foresay: 'She will rise.' He knows what far snows melt; Along what mountain-wall A thousand leagues to the North. He snuffs the coming drouth As he snuffs the coming rain, He knows what each will bring forths And turns it to his gain.
A Ruler without a Throne, A Prince without a Sword, Israel follows his quest. In every land a guest, Of many lands a lord, In no land King is he. But the Fifth Great River keeps The secret of Her deeps For Israel alone, As it was ordered to be.
THE CHILDREN'S SONG
Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee Our love and toil in the years to be; When we are grown and take our place, As men and women with our race.
Father in Heaven who lovest all, Oh help Thy children when they call; That they may build from age to age, An undefiled heritage.
Teach us to bear the yoke in youth, With steadfastness and careful truth; That, in our time, Thy Grace may give The Truth whereby the Nations live.
Teach us to rule ourselves alway, Controlled and cleanly night and day; That we may bring, if need arise. No maimed or worthless sacrifice.
Teach us to look in all our ends, On Thee for judge, and not our friends; That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed By fear or favour of the crowd.
Teach us the Strength that cannot seek, By deed or thought, to hurt the weak; That, under Thee, we may possess Man's strength to comfort man's distress.
Teach us Delight in simple things, And Mirth that has no bitter springs; Forgiveness free of evil done, And Love to all men 'neath the sun!
Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride, For whose dear sake our fathers died; O Motherland, we pledge to thee, Head, heart, and hand through the years to be!
PARADE-SONG OF THE CAMP-ANIMALS
ELEPHANTS OF THE GUN-TEAMS
We lent to Alexander the strength of Hercules, The wisdom of our foreheads, the cunning of our knees. We bowed our necks to service; they ne'er were loosed again,— Make way there, way for the ten-foot teams Of the Forty-Pounder train!
Those heroes in their harnesses avoid a cannon-ball, And what they know of powder upsets them one and all; Then we come into action and tug the guns again,— Make way there, way for the twenty yoke Of the Forty-Pounder train!
By the brand on my withers, the finest of tunes Is played by the Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons, And it's sweeter than 'Stables' or 'Water' to me. The Cavalry Canter of 'Bonnie Dundee'!
Then feed us and break us and handle and groom, And give us good riders and plenty of room, And launch us in column of squadron and see The Way of the War-horse to 'Bonnie Dundee'!
As me and my companions were scrambling up a hill, The path was lost in rolling stones, but we went forward still; For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere, And it's our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!
Good luck to every sergeant, then, that lets us pick our road! Bad luck to all the driver-men that cannot pack a load! For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up everywhere, And it's our delight on a mountain height, with a leg or two to spare!
We haven't a camelty tune of our own To help us trollop along, But every neck is a hair-trombone (Rtt-ta-ta-ta! is a hair-trombone!) And this is our marching-song: Can't! Don't! Shan't! Won't! Pass it along the line! Somebody's pack has slid from his back, 'Wish it were only mine! Somebody's load has tipped off in the road— Cheer for a halt and a row! Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh! Somebody's catching it now!
ALL THE BEASTS TOGETHER
Children of the Camp are we, Serving each in his degree; Children of the yoke and goad, Pack and harness, pad and load. See our line across the plain. Like a heel-rope bent again, Beaching, writhing, rolling far. Sweeping all away to war! While the men that walk beside, Dusty, silent, heavy-eyed, Cannot tell why we or they March and suffer day by day. Children of the Camp are we, Serving each in hiss degree; Children of the yoke and goad, Pack and harness, pad and load.
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone. And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
THE PRODIGAL SON
Here come I to my own again, Fed, forgiven and known again, Claimed by bone of my bone again And cheered by flesh of my flesh. The fatted calf is dressed for me, But the husks have greater zest for me, I think my pigs will be best for me, So I'm off to the Yards afresh.
I never was very refined, you see, (And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see) But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see, For being a bit of a swine. So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat, But glory be!—there's a laugh to it, Which isn't the case when we dine.
My father glooms and advises me, My brother sulks and despises me, And Mother catechises me Till I want to go out and swear. And, in spite of the butler's gravity, I know that the servants have it I Am a monster of moral depravity, And I'm damned if I think it's fair!
I wasted my substance, I know I did, On riotous living, so I did, But there's nothing on record to show I did Worse than my betters have done. They talk of the money I spent out there— They hint at the pace that I went out there— But they all forget I was sent out there Alone as a rich man's son.
So I was a mark for plunder at once, And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once, But I didn't give up and knock under at once, I worked in the Yards, for a spell. Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs, And shared their milk and maize with hogs, Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs And—I have that knowledge to sell!
So back I go to my job again, Not so easy to rob again, Or quite so ready to sob again On any neck that's around. I'm leaving, Pater. Good-bye to you! God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you.... I wouldn't be impolite to you, But, Brother, you are a hound!
I know not in Whose hands are laid To empty upon earth From unsuspected ambuscade The very Urns of Mirth;
Who bids the Heavenly Lark arise And cheer our solemn round— The Jest beheld with streaming eyes And grovellings on the ground;
Who joins the flats of Time and Chance Behind the prey preferred, And thrones on Shrieking Circumstance The Sacredly Absurd,
Till Laughter, voiceless through excess, Waves mute appeal and sore, Above the midriff's deep distress, For breath to laugh once more.
No creed hath dared to hail Him Lord, No raptured choirs proclaim, And Nature's strenuous Overword Hath nowhere breathed His Name.
Yet, it must be, on wayside jape, The selfsame Power bestows The selfsame power as went to shape His Planet or His Rose.
There are three degrees of bliss At the foot of Allah's Throne, And the highest place is his Who saves a brother's soul At peril of his own. There is the Power made known!
There are three degrees of bliss In the Gardens of Paradise, And the second place is his Who saves his brother's soul By excellent advice. For there the Glory lies!
There are three degrees of bliss And three abodes of the Blest, And the lowest place is his Who has saved a soul by a jest And a brother's soul in sport ... But there do the Angels resort!
A SONG OF TRAVEL
Where's the lamp that Hero lit Once to call Leander home? Equal Time hath shovelled it 'Neath the wrack of Greece and Rome. Neither wait we any more That worn sail which Argo bore.
Dust and dust of ashes close All the Vestal Virgins' care; And the oldest altar shows But an older darkness there. Age-encamped Oblivion Tenteth every light that shone!
Yet shall we, for Suns that die, Wall our wanderings from desire? Or, because the Moon is high. Scorn to use a nearer fire? Lest some envious Pharaoh stir, Make our lives our sepulchre?
Nay! Though Time with petty Fate Prison us and Emperors, By our Arts do we create That which Time himself devours— Such machines as well may run 'Gainst the horses of the Sun.
When we would a new abode, Space, our tyrant King no more, Lays the long lance of the road At our feet and flees before, Breathless, ere we overwhelm, To submit a further realm!
THE TWO-SIDED MAN
Much I owe to the Land that grew— More to the Life that fed— But most to Allah Who gave me two Separate sides to my head.
Much I reflect on the Good and the True In the Faiths beneath the sun, But most upon Allah Who gave me two Sides to my head, not one.
Wesley's following, Calvin's flock, White or yellow or bronze, Shaman, Ju-ju or Angekok, Minister, Mukamuk, Bonze—
Here is a health, my brothers, to you, However your prayers are said, And praised be Allah Who gave me two Separate sides to my head!
I would go without shirt or shoe, Friend, tobacco or bread, Sooner than lose for a minute the two Separate sides of my head!
(Song of the breeding Seal. Aleutian Islands)
I met my mates in the morning (and oh, but I am old!) Where roaring on the ledges the summer ground-swell rolled. I heard them lift the chorus that drowned the breakers' song— The Beaches of Lukannon—two million voices strong!
The song of pleasant stations beside the salt lagoons, The song of blowing squadrons that shuffled down the dunes, The song of midnight dances that churned the sea to flame— The Beaches of Lukannon—before the sealers came!
I met my mates in the morning (I'll never meet them more!); They came and went in legions that darkened all the shore. And through the foam-flecked offing as far as voice could reach We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up the beach.
The Beaches of Lukannon—the winter-wheat so tall— The dripping, crinkled lichens, and the sea-fog drenching all! The platforms of our playground, all shining smooth and worn! The Beaches of Lukannon—the home where we were born!
I meet my mates in the morning, a broken, scattered band. Men shoot us in the water and club us on the land; Men drive us to the Salt House like silly sheep and tame, And still we sing Lukannon—before the sealers came.
Wheel down, wheel down to southward! Oh, Gooverooska go! And tell the Deep-Sea Viceroys the story of our woe; Ere, empty as the shark's egg the tempest flings ashore, The Beaches of Lukannon shall know their sons no more!
AN ASTROLOGER'S SONG
To the Heavens above us O look and behold The Planets that love us All harnessed in gold! What chariots, what horses, Against us shall bide While the Stars in their courses Do fight on our side?
All thought, all desires, That are under the sun, Are one with their fires, As we also are one. All matter, all spirit, All fashion, all frame, Receive and inherit Their strength from the same.
Oh, man that deniest All power save thine own, Their power in the highest Is mightily shown. Not less in the lowest That power is made clear (Oh, man, if thou knowest, What treasure is here!)
Earth quakes in her throes And we wonder for why. But the blind planet knows When her ruler is nigh; And, attuned since Creation To perfect accord, She thrills in her station And yearns to her Lord.
The waters have risen, The springs are unbound— The floods break their prison, And ravin around. No rampart withstands 'em, Their fury will last, Till the Sign that commands 'em Sinks low or swings past.
Through abysses unproven, O'er gulfs beyond thought, Our portion is woven, Our burden is brought. Yet They that prepare it, Whose Nature we share, Make us who must bear it Well able to bear.
Though terrors o'ertake us We'll not be afraid. No Power can unmake us Save that which has made. Nor yet beyond reason Or hope shall we fall— All things have their season, And Mercy crowns all!
Then, doubt not, ye fearful— The Eternal is King— Up, heart, and be cheerful, And lustily sing:— What chariots, what horses, Against us shall bide While the Stars in their courses Do fight on our side?
'THE POWER OF THE DOG'
There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; But when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy Love unflinching that cannot lie— Perfect passion and worship fed By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head. Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, And the vet's unspoken prescription runs To lethal chambers or loaded guns, Then you will find—it's your own affair, But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will, When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!), When the spirit that answered your every mood Is gone—wherever it goes—for good, You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We've sorrow enough in the natural way, When it comes to burying Christian clay. Our loves are not given, but only lent, At compound interest of cent per cent. Though it is not always the case, I believe, That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve: For, when debts are payable, right or wrong, A short-time loan is as bad as a long— So why in—Heaven (before we are there) Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
THE RABBI'S SONG
If Thought can reach to Heaven, On Heaven let it dwell, For fear thy Thought be given Like power to reach to Hell. For fear the desolation And darkness of thy mind Perplex an habitation Which thou hast left behind.
Let nothing linger after— No whimpering ghost remain, In wall, or beam, or rafter, Of any hate or pain. Cleanse and call home thy spirit, Deny her leave to cast, On aught thy heirs inherit, The shadow of her past. For think, in all thy sadness, What road our griefs may take; Whose brain reflect our madness, Or whom our terrors shake. For think, lest any languish By cause of thy distress— The arrows of our anguish Fly farther than we guess.
Our lives, our tears, as water, Are spilled upon the ground; God giveth no man quarter, Yet God a means hath found, Though faith and hope have vanished, And even love grows dim— A means whereby His banished Be not expelled from Him.
THE BEE BOY'S SONG
Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! 'Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell!'
A maiden in her glory, Upon her wedding-day, Must tell her Bees the story, Or else they'll fly away. Fly away—die away— Dwindle down and leave you! But if you don't deceive your Bees, Your Bees will not deceive you.
Marriage, birth or buryin', News across the seas, All you're sad or merry in, You must tell the Bees. Tell 'em coming in an' out, Where the Fanners fan, 'Cause the Bees are just about As curious as a man!
Don't you wait where trees are, When the lightnings play, Nor don't you hate where Bees are, Or else they'll pine away. Pine away—dwine away— Anything to leave you! But if you never grieve your Bees, Your Bees'll never grieve you.
THE RETURN OF THE CHILDREN
Neither the harps nor the crowns amused, nor the cherubs' dove-winged races— Holding hands forlornly the Children wandered beneath the Dome, Plucking the splendid robes of the passers-by, and with pitiful faces Begging what Princes and Powers refused:—'Ah, please will you let us go home?'
Over the jewelled floor, nigh weeping, ran to them Mary the Mother, Kneeled and caressed and made promise with kisses, and drew them along to the gateway— Yea, the all-iron unbribeable Door which Peter must guard and none other. Straightway She took the Keys from his keeping, and opened and freed them straightway.
Then, to Her Son, Who had seen and smiled, She said: 'On the night that I bore Thee, What didst Thou care for a love beyond mine or a heaven that was not my arm? Didst Thou push from the nipple, O Child, to hear the angels adore Thee? When we two lay in the breath of the kine?' And He said:—'Thou hast done no harm.'
So through the Void the Children ran homeward merrily hand in hand, Looking neither to left nor right where the breathless Heavens stood still. And the Guards of the Void resheathed their swords, for they heard the Command: 'Shall I that have suffered the children to come to Me hold them against their will?'
There runs a road by Merrow Down— A grassy track to-day it is— An hour out of Guildford town, Above the river Wey it is.
Here, when they heard the horse-bells ring, The ancient Britons dressed and rode To watch the dark Phoenicians bring Their goods along the Western Road.
Yes, here, or hereabouts, they met To hold their racial talks and such— To barter beads for Whitby jet, And tin for gay shell torques and such.
But long and long before that time (When bison used to roam on it) Did Taffy and her Daddy climb That Down, and had their home on it.
Then beavers built in Broadstonebrook And made a swamp where Bramley stands; And bears from Shere would come and look For Taffimai where Shamley stands.
The Wey, that Taffy called Wagai, Was more than six times bigger then; And all the Tribe of Tegumai They cut a noble figure then!
Of all the Tribe of Tegumai Who cut that figure, none remain,— On Merrow Down the cuckoos cry— The silence and the sun remain.
But as the faithful years return And hearts unwounded sing again, Comes Taffy dancing through the fern To lead the Surrey spring again.
Her brows are bound with bracken-fronds, And golden elf-locks fly above; Her eyes are bright as diamonds And bluer than the sky above.
In mocassins and deer-skin cloak, Unfearing, free and fair she flits, And lights her little damp-wood smoke To show her Daddy where she flits.
For far—oh, very far behind, So far she cannot call to him, Comes Tegumai alone to find The daughter that was all to him.
OLD MOTHER LAIDINWOOL
'Old Mother Laidinwool had nigh twelve months been dead. She heard the hops was doing well, an' so popped up her head,' For said she: 'The lads I've picked with when I was young and fair, They're bound to be at hopping and I'm bound to meet 'em there!'
Let me up and go Back to the work I know, Lord! Back to the work I know, Lord! For it's dark where I lie down, My Lord! An' it's dark where I lie down!
Old Mother Laidinwool, she give her bones a shake, An' trotted down the churchyard path as fast as she could make. She met the Parson walking, but she says to him, says she: 'Oh don't let no one trouble for a poor old ghost like me!'
'Twas all a warm September an' the hops had flourished grand, She saw the folks get into 'em with stockin's on their hands; An' none of 'em was foreigners but all which she had known, And old Mother Laidinwool she blessed 'em every one.
She saw her daughters picking, an' their children them beside, An' she moved among the babies an' she stilled 'em when they cried. She saw their clothes was bought, not begged, an' they was clean an' fat, An' old Mother Laidinwool she thanked the Lord for that.
Old Mother Laidinwool she waited on all day Until it come too dark to see an' people went away— Until it come too dark to see an' lights began to show, An' old Mother Laidinwool she hadn't where to go.
Old Mother Laidinwool she give her bones a shake, An' trotted back to churchyard-mould as fast as she could make. She went where she was bidden to an' there laid down her ghost, ... An' the Lord have mercy on you in the Day you need it most!
Let me in again, Out of the wet an' rain, Lord! Out of the dark an rain, Lord! For it's best as you shall say, My Lord! An' it's best as you shall say!
When the cabin port-holes are dark and green Because of the seas outside; When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between) And the steward falls into the soup-tureen, And the trunks begin to slide; When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap, And Mummy tells you to let her sleep, And you aren't waked or washed or dressed, Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed) You're 'Fifty North and Forty West!'
How the Whale got his Throat.
The Camel's hump is an ugly lump Which well you may see at the Zoo; But uglier yet is the hump we get From having too little to do.
Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo, If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo. We get the hump— Cameelious hump— The hump that is black and blue!
We climb out of bed with a frouzly head And a snarly-yarly voice. We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl At our bath and our boots and our toys;
And there ought to be a corner for me (And I know there is one for you) When we get the hump— Cameelious hump— The hump that is black and blue!
The cure for this ill is not to sit still, Or frowst with a book by the fire; But to take a large hoe and a shovel also, And dig till you gently perspire;
And then you will find that the sun and the wind, And the Djinn of the Garden too, Have lifted the hump— The horrible hump— The hump that is black and blue!
I get it as well as you-oo-oo— If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo! We all get hump— Cameelious hump— Kiddies and grown-ups too!
How the Camel got his Hump.
I am the Most Wise Baviaan, saying in most wise tones, 'Let us melt into the landscape—just us two by our lones.' People have come—in a carriage—calling. But Mummy is there.... Yes, I can go if you take me—Nurse says she don't care. Let's go up to the pig-styes and sit on the farmyard rails! Let's say things to the bunnies, and watch 'em skitter their tails! Let's—oh, anything, daddy, so long as it's you and me, And going truly exploring, and not being in till tea! Here's your boots (I've brought 'em), and here's your cap and stick, And here's your pipe and tobacco. Oh, come along out of it—quick!
How the Leopard got his Spots.
I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then, As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views; I know a person small— She keeps ten million serving-men, Who get no rest at all! She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs, From the second she opens her eyes— One million Hows, two million Wheres, And seven million Whys!
The Elephant's Child.
This is the mouth-filling song of the race that was run by a Boomer. Run in a single burst—only event of its kind— Started by Big God Nqong from Warrigaborrigarooma, Old Man Kangaroo first, Yellow-Dog Dingo behind.
Kangaroo bounded away, his back-legs working like pistons— Bounded from morning till dark, twenty-five feet at a bound. Yellow-Dog Dingo lay like a yellow cloud in the distance— Much too busy to bark. My! but they covered the ground!
Nobody knows where they went, or followed the track that they flew in, For that Continent hadn't been given a name. They ran thirty degrees, from Torres Straits to the Leeuwin (Look at the Atlas, please), then they ran back as they came.
S'posing you could trot from Adelaide to the Pacific, For an afternoon's run—half what these gentlemen did— You would feel rather hot, but your legs would develop terrific— Yes, my importunate son, you'd be a Marvellous Kid!
The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo.
I've never sailed the Amazon, I've never reached Brazil; But the Don and Magdalena, They can go there when they will!
Yes, weekly from Southampton, Great steamers, white and gold, Go rolling down to Rio (Roll down—roll down to Rio!). And I'd like to roll to Rio Some day before I'm old!
I've never seen a Jaguar, Nor yet an Armadill— O dilloing in his armour, And I s'pose I never will,
Unless I go to Rio These wonders to behold— Roll down—roll down to Rio— Roll really down to Rio! Oh, I'd love to roll to Rio Some day before I'm old!
The Beginning of the Armadilloes.
China-going P. and O.'s Pass Pau Amma's playground close, And his Pusat Tasek lies Near the track of most B.I.'s. N.Y.K. and N.D.L. Know Pau Amma's home as well As the Fisher of the Sea knows 'Bens,' M.M.'s, and Rubattinos. But (and this is rather queer) A.T.L.'s can not come here; O. and O. and D.O.A. Must go round another way. Orient, Anchor, Bibby, Hall, Never go that way at all. U.C.S. would have a fit If it found itself on it. And if 'Beavers' took their cargoes To Penang instead of Lagos, Or a fat Shaw-Savill bore Passengers to Singapore, Or a White Star were to try a Little trip to Sourabaya, Or a B.S.A. went on Past Natal to Cheribon, Then great Mr. Lloyds would come With a wire and drag them home!
* * * * *
You'll know what my riddle means When you've eaten mangosteens.
The Crab that Played with the Sea.
Pussy can sit by the fire and sing, Pussy can climb a tree, Or play with a silly old cork and string To 'muse herself, not me. But I like Binkie my dog, because He knows how to behave; So, Binkie's the same as the First Friend was, And I am the Man in the Cave!
Pussy will play man-Friday till It's time to wet her paw And make her walk on the window-sill (For the footprint Crusoe saw); Then she fluffles her tail and mews, And scratches and won't attend. But Binkie will play whatever I choose, And he is my true First Friend!
Pussy will rub my knees with her head Pretending she loves me hard; But the very minute I go to my bed Pussy runs out in the yard, And there she stays till the morning-light; So I know it is only pretend; But Binkie, he snores at my feet all night, And he is my Firstest Friend!
The Cat that Walked by Himself
There was never a Queen like Balkis, From here to the wide world's end; But Balkis talked to a butterfly As you would talk to a friend.
There was never a King like Solomon, Not since the world began; But Solomon talked to a butterfly As a man would talk to a man.
She was Queen of Sabaea— And he was Asia's Lord— But they both of 'em talked to butterflies When they took their walks abroad!
The Butterfly that Stamped.
(A Country Dance)
Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Stand forward partners all! She danced King Philip down-a down, And left her shoe to show 'twas true— (The very tune I'm playing you) In Norgem at Brickwall!
The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old, Her petticoat was satin, and her stomacher was gold. Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass, Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass. The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!
Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Now hand your partners all! The Queen was in her chamber, a-combing of her hair. There came Queen Mary's spirit and It stood behind her chair. Singing, 'Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass, But I will stand behind you till you face the looking-glass. The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass As lovely or unlucky or as lonely as I was!'
Queen Bess was Harry's daughter.—Now turn your partners all! The Queen was in her chamber, a-weeping very sore. There came Lord Leicester's spirit and It scratched upon the door, Singing, 'Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass, But I will walk beside you till you face the looking-glass. The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass As hard and unforgiving or as wicked as you was!'
Queen Bess was Harry's daughter. Now kiss your partners all!
The Queen was in her chamber; her sins were on her head. She looked the spirits up and down and statelily she said:— Backwards and forwards and sideways though I've been, Yet I am Harry's daughter and I am England's Queen!' And she faced the looking-glass (and whatever else there was), And she saw her day was over and she saw her beauty pass In the cruel looking-glass, that can always hurt a lass More hard than any ghost there is or any man there was!
THE QUEEN'S MEN
Valour and Innocence Have latterly gone hence To certain death by certain shame attended. Envy—ah! even to tears!— The fortune of their years Which, though so few, yet so divinely ended.
Scarce had they lifted up Life's full and fiery cup, Than they had set it down untouched before them. Before their day arose They beckoned it to close— Close in confusion and destruction o'er them.
They did not stay to ask What prize should crown their task, Well sure that prize was such as no man strives for; But passed into eclipse, Her kiss upon their lips— Even Belphoebe's, whom they gave their lives for!
THE CITY OF SLEEP
Over the edge of the purple down, Where the single lamplight gleams. Know ye the road to the Merciful Town That is hard by the Sea of Dreams— Where the poor may lay their wrongs away, And the sick may forget to-weep? But we—pity us! Oh, pity us! We wakeful; ah, pity us!— We must go back with Policeman Day— Back from the City of Sleep!
Weary they turn from the scroll and crown, Fetter and prayer and plough— They that go up to the Merciful Town, For her gates are closing now. It is their right in the Baths of Night Body and soul to steep, But we—pity us! ah, pity us! We wakeful; oh, pity us!— We must go back with Policeman Day— Back from the City of Sleep!
Over the edge of the purple down, Ere the tender dreams begin, Look—we may look—at the Merciful Towns But we may not enter in! Outcasts all, from her guarded wall Back to our watch we creep: We—pity us! ah, pity us! We wakeful; oh, pity us!— We that go back with Policeman Day— Back from the City of Sleep!
For a season there must be pain— For a little, little space I shall lose the sight of her face, Take back the old life again While She is at rest in her place.
For a season this pain must endure— For a little, little while I shall sigh more often than smile, Till Time shall work me a cure, And the pitiful days beguile.
For that season we must be apart, For a little length of years, Till my life's last hour nears, And, above the beat of my heart, I hear Her voice in my ears.
But I shall not understand— Being set on some later love, Shall not know her for whom I strove, Till she reach me forth her hand, Saying, 'Who but I have the right?' And out of a troubled night Shall draw me safe to the land.
THE PRAYER OF MIRIAM COHEN
From the wheel and the drift of Things Deliver us, Good Lord, And we will face the wrath of Kings, The faggot and the sword!
Lay not Thy Works before our eyes, Nor vex us with Thy Wars, Lest we should feel the straining skies O'ertrod by trampling stars.
Hold us secure behind the gates Of saving flesh and bone, Lest we should dream what dream awaits The soul escaped alone.
Thy Path, Thy Purposes conceal From our beleaguered realm, Lest any shattering whisper steal Upon us and o'erwhelm.
A veil 'twixt us and Thee, Good Lord, A veil 'twixt us and Thee, Lest we should hear too clear, too clear, And unto madness see!
THE SONG OF THE LITTLE HUNTER
Ere Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey People cry, Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer, Through the Jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh— He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear! Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade, And the whisper spreads and widens far and near. And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now— He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
Ere the moon has climbed the mountain, ere the rocks are ribbed with light, When the downward-dipping trails are dank and drear,
Comes a breathing hard behind thee—snuffle-snuffle through the night— It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear! On thy knees and draw the bow; bid the shrilling arrow go; In the empty, mocking thicket plunge the spear! But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left thy cheek— It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
When the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the slivered pine-trees fall, When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer, Through the war-gongs of the thunder rings a voice more loud than all— It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear! Now the spates are banked and deep; now the footless boulders leap— Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear— But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against thy side Hammers: Fear, O Little Hunter—this is Fear!
ACT II. SCENE 2
The pavilion in the Gardens. Enter Ferdinand and the King
Ferdinand. Your tiercel's too long at hack. Sir. He's no eyass But a passage-hawk that footed ere we caught him. Dangerously free o' the air. Faith, were he mine (As mine's the glove he binds to for his tirings) I'd fly him with a make-hawk. He's in yarak Plumed to the very point. So manned, so weathered! Give him the firmament God made him for. And what shall take the air of him?
The King. A young wing yet. Bold—overbold on the perch, but, think you, Ferdinand, He can endure the tall skies yonder? Cozen Advantage out of the teeth of the hurricane? Choose his own mate against the lammer-geier? Ride out a night-long tempest, hold his pitch Between the lightning and the cloud it leaps from, Never too pressed to kill?
Ferdinand. I'll answer for him. Bating all parable, I know the Prince. There's a bleak devil in the young, my Lord; God put it there to save 'em from their elders And break their father's heart, but bear them scatheless Through mire and thorns and blood if need be. Think What our prime saw! Such glory, such achievements As now our children, wondering at, examine Themselves to see if they shall hardly equal. But what cared we while we wrought the wonders? Nothing! The rampant deed contented.
The King. Little enough, God knows! But afterwards? After— There comes the reckoning. I would save him that.
Ferdinand. Save him dry scars that ache of winter-nights. Worn out self-pity and as much of knowledge As makes old men fear judgment? Then loose him—loose him, A' God's name loose him to adventure early! And trust some random pike, or half-backed horse, Besides what's caught in Italy, to save him.
The King. I know. I know. And yet ... What stirs in the garden?
Enter Gow and a Gardener bearing the Prince's body
Ferdinand.(Gods give me patience!) Gow and a gardener Bearing some load along in the dusk to the dunghill. Nay—a dead branch—But as I said, the Prince——
The King. They've set it down. Strange that they work so late.
Gow (setting down the body). Heark, you unsanctified fool, while I set out our story. We found it, this side the North park wall which it had climbed to pluck nectarines from the alley. Heark again! There was a nectarine in its hand when we found it, and the naughty brick that slipped from the coping beneath its foot and so caused its death, lies now under the wall for the King to see.
The King (above). The King to see! Why should he? Who's the man?
Gow. That is your tale. Swerve from it by so much as the breadth of my dagger and here's your instant reward. You heard not, saw not, and by the Horns of ninefold-cuckolded Jupiter you thought not nor dreamed not anything more or other!
The King. Ninefold-cuckolded Jupiter. That's a rare oath! Shall we look closer?
Ferdinand. Not yet, my Lord! (I cannot hear him breathe.)
Gardener. The North park wall? It was so. Plucking nectarines. It shall be. But how shall I say if any ask why our Lady the Queen—
Gow (stabs him). Thus! Hie after the Prince and tell him y'are the first fruits of his nectarine tree. Bleed there behind the laurels.
The King. Why did Gow buffet the clown? What said he? I'll go look.
Ferdinand (above). Save yourself! It is the King!
Enter the King and Ferdinand to Gow
Gow. God save you! This was the Prince!
The King. The Prince! Not a dead branch? (Uncovers the face.) My flesh and blood! My son! my son! my son!
Ferdinand (to Gow). I had feared something of this. And that fool yonder?
Gow. Dead, or as good. He cannot speak.
Ferdinand. Better so.
The King. 'Loosed to adventure early!' Tell the tale.
Gow. Saddest truth alack! I came upon him not a half hour since, fallen from the North park wall over against the Deerpark side—dead—dead!—a nectarine in his hand that the dear lad must have climbed for, and plucked the very instant, look you, that a brick slipped on the coping. 'Tis there now. So I lifted him, but his neck was as you see—and already cold.
The King. Oh, very cold. But why should he have troubled to climb? He was free of all the fruit in my garden, God knows!... What, Gow?
Gow. Surely, God knows!
The King. A lad's trick. But I love him the better for it.... True, he's past loving.... And now we must tell our Queen. What a coil at the day's end! She'll grieve for him. Not as I shall; Ferdinand, but as youth for youth. They were much of the same age. Playmate for playmate. See, he wears her colours. That is the knot she gave him last—last.... Oh God! When was yesterday?
Ferdinand. Come in! Come in, my Lord. There's a dew falling.
The King. He'll take no harm of it. I'll follow presently..... He's all his mother's now and none of mine— Her very face on the bride-pillow. Yet I tricked her. But that was later—and she never guessed. I do not think he sinned much—he's too young— Much the same age as my Queen. God must not judge him Too hardly for such slips as youth may fall in. But I'll entreat that Throne.
(Prays by the body.)
Gow. The Heavens hold up still. Earth opens not and this dew's mere water. What shall a man think of it all? (To Gardener.) Not dead yet, sirrah? I bade you follow the Prince. Despatch!
Gardener. Some kind soul pluck out the dagger. Why did you slay me? I'd done no wrong. I'd ha' kept it secret till my dying day. But not now—not now! I'm dying. The Prince fell from the Queen's chamber window. I saw it in the nut alley. He was——
Ferdinand. But what made you in the nut alley at that hour?
Gardener. No wrong. No more than another man's wife. Jocasta of the still-room. She'd kissed me good-night too; but that's over with the rest.... I've stumbled on the Prince's beastly loves, and I pay for all. Let me pass!
Gow. Count it your fortune, honest man. You would have revealed it to your woman at the next meeting. You fleshmongers are all one feather. (Plucks out the dagger.) Go in peace and lay your death to Fortune's door. He's sped—thank Fortune!
Ferdinand. Who knows not Fortune, glutted on easy thrones, Stealing from feasts as rare to coney-catch Privily in the hedgerows for a clown. With that same cruel-lustful hand and eye, Those nails and wedges, that one hammer and lead, And the very gerb of long-stored lightning loosed. Yesterday 'gainst some King.
The King. I have pursued with prayers where my heart warns me My soul shall overtake—
Enter the Queen
The King. Look not! Wait till I tell you, dearest.... Air!... 'Loosed to adventure early' ... I go late. (Dies.)
Gow. So! God hath cut off the Prince in his pleasures. Gow, to save the King, hath silenced one poor fool who knew how it befell, and now the King's dead, needs only that the Queen should kill Gow and all's safe for her this side o' the Judgment. ...Senor Ferdinand, the wind's easterly. I'm for the road.
Ferdinand. My horse is at the gate. God speed you. Whither?
Gow. To the Duke, if the Queen does not lay hands on me before. However it goes, I charge you bear witness, Senor Ferdinand, I served the old King faithfully. To the death, Senor Ferdinand—to the death!
THE WISHING CAPS
Life's all getting and giving. I've only myself to give. What shall I do for a living? I've only one life to live. End it? I'll not find another. Spend it? But how shall I best? Sure the wise plan is to live like a man And Luck may look after the rest! Largesse! Largesse, Fortune! Give or hold at your will. If I've no care for Fortune, Fortune must follow me still.
Bad Luck, she is never a lady, But the commonest wench on the street, Shuffling, shabby and shady, Shameless to pass or meet. Walk with her once—it's a weakness! Talk to her twice—it's a crime! Thrust her away when she gives you 'good day,' And the besom won't board you next time. Largesse! Largesse, Fortune! What is Your Ladyship's mood? If I've no care for Fortune, My Fortune is bound to be good!
Good Luck, she is never a lady, But the cursedest quean alive! Tricksey, wincing and jady, Kittle to lead or drive. Greet her—she's hailing a stranger! Meet her—she's busking to leave. Let her alone for a shrew to the bone, And the hussy comes plucking your sleeve! Largesse! Largesse, Fortune! I'll neither follow nor flee. If I don't run after Fortune, Fortune must run after me!
'BY THE HOOF OF THE WILD GOAT'
By the Hoof of the Wild Goat uptossed From the cliff where she lay in the Sun Fell the Stone To the Tarn where the daylight is lost, So she fell from the light of the Sun And alone!
Now the fall was ordained from the first With the Goat and the Cliff and the Tarn, But the Stone Knows only her life is accursed As she sinks from the light of the Sun And alone!
Oh Thou Who has builded the World, Oh Thou Who has lighted the Sun, Oh Thou Who has darkened the Tarn, Judge Thou The sin of the Stone that was hurled By the goat from the light of the Sun, As she sinks in the mire of the Tarn, Even now—even now—even now!
SONG OF THE RED WAR-BOAT
Shove off from the wharf-edge! Steady! Watch for a smooth! Give way! If she feels the lop already She'll stand on her head in the bay. It's ebb—it's dusk—it's blowing. The shoals are a mile of white. But (snatch her along!) we're going To find our master to-night.
For we hold that in all disaster Of shipwreck, storm, or sword, A Man must stand by his Master When once he has pledged his word.
Raging seas have we rowed in, But we seldom saw them thus; Our master is angry with Odin— Odin is angry with us! Heavy odds have we taken, But never before such odds. The Gods know they are forsaken, We must risk the wrath of the Gods!
Over the crest she flies from, Into its hollow she drops, Cringes and clears her eyes from The wind-torn breaker-tops, Ere out on the shrieking shoulder Of a hill-high surge she drives. Meet her! Meet her and hold her! Pull for your scoundrel lives!
The thunders bellow and clamour The harm that they mean to do! There goes Thor's own Hammer Cracking the dark in two! Close! But the blow has missed her, Here comes the wind of the blow! Row or the squall'll twist her Broadside on to it!—Row!
Heark 'ee, Thor of the Thunder! We are not here for a jest— For wager, warfare, or plunder, Or to put your power to test. This work is none of our wishing— We would house at home if we might— But our master is wrecked out fishing. We go to find him to-night.
For we hold that in all disaster— As the Gods Themselves have said— A Man must stand by his Master Till one of the two is dead.
That is our way of thinking, Now you can do as you will, While we try to save her from sinking And hold her head to it still. Bale her and keep her moving, Or she'll break her back in the trough.... Who said the weather's improving, Or the swells are taking off?
Sodden, and chafed and aching, Gone in the loins and knees— No matter—the day is breaking, And there's far less weight to the seas! Up mast, and finish baling— In oars, and out with the mead— The rest will be two-reef sailing.... That was a night indeed!
But we hold that in all disaster (And faith, we have found it true!) If only you stand by your master, The Gods will stand by you!
MORNING SONG IN THE JUNGLE
One moment past our bodies cast No shadow on the plain; Now clear and black they stride our track, And we run home again. In morning hush, each rock and bush Stands hard, and high, and raw: Then give the Call: 'Good rest to all That keep the Jungle Law!'
Now horn and pelt our peoples melt In covert to abide; Now, crouched and still, to cave and hill Our Jungle Barons glide. Now, stark and plain, Man's oxen strain, That draw the new-yoked plough; Now, stripped and dread, the dawn is red Above the lit talao.
Ho! Get to lair! The sun's aflare Behind the breathing grass: And creaking through the young bamboo The warning whispers pass. By day made strange, the woods we range With blinking eyes we scan; While down the skies the wild duck cries: 'The Day—the Day to Man!'
The dew is dried that drenched our hide, Or washed about our way; And where we drank, the puddled bank Is crisping into clay. The traitor Dark gives up each mark Of stretched or hooded claw; Then hear the Call: 'Good rest to all That keep the Jungle Law!'
Roses red and roses white Plucked I for my love's delight. She would none of all my posies— Bade me gather her blue roses.
Half the world I wandered through, Seeking where such flowers grew; Half the world unto my quest Answered me with laugh and jest.
Home I came at wintertide, But my silly love had died, Seeking with her latest breath Roses from the arms of Death.
It may be beyond the grave She shall find what she would have. Mine was but an idle quest— Roses white and red are best.
A RIPPLE SONG
Once a ripple came to land In the golden sunset burning— Lapped against a maiden's hand, By the ford returning.
Dainty foot and gentle breast— Here, across, be glad and rest. 'Maiden, wait,' the ripple saith; 'Wait awhile, for I am Death!'
'Where my lover calls I go— Shame it were to treat him coldly— 'Twas a fish that circled so, Turning over boldly.'
Dainty foot and tender heart, Wait the loaded ferry-cart. 'Wait, ah, wait!' the ripple saith; 'Maiden, wait, for I am Death!'
'When my lover calls I haste— Dame Disdain was never wedded!' Ripple-ripple round her waist, Clear the current eddied.
Foolish heart and faithful hand, Little feet that touched no land. Far away the ripple sped, Ripple—ripple—running red!
Eyes aloft, over dangerous places, The children follow the butterflies, And, in the sweat of their upturned faces, Slash with a net at the empty skies.
So it goes they fall amid brambles, And sting their toes on the nettle-tops, Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles, They wipe their brows and the hunting stops.
Then to quiet them comes their father And stills the riot of pain and grief, Saying, 'Little ones, go and gather Out of my garden a cabbage-leaf.
'You will find on it whorls and clots of Dull grey eggs that, properly fed, Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of Glorious butterflies raised from the dead...,'
'Heaven is beautiful, Earth is ugly,' The three-dimensioned preacher saith, So we must not look where the snail and the slug lie For Psyche's birth.... And that is our death!
MY LADY'S LAW
The Law whereby my lady moves Was never Law to me, But 'tis enough that she approves Whatever Law it be.
For in that Law, and by that Law, My constant course I'll steer; Not that I heed or deem it dread, But that she holds it dear.
Tho' Asia sent for my content Her richest argosies, Those would I spurn, and bid return, If that should give her ease.
With equal heart I'd watch depart Each spiced sail from sight, Sans bitterness, desiring less Great gear than her delight.
Though Kings made swift with many a gift My proven sword to hire, I would not go nor serve 'em so, Except at her desire.
With even mind, I'd put behind Adventure and acclaim, And clean give o'er, esteeming more Her favour than my fame.
Yet such am I, yea such am I— Sore bond and freest free, The Law that sways my lady's ways Is mystery to me!
THE NURSING SISTER
Our sister sayeth such and such. And we must bow to her behests; Our sister toileth overmuch, Our little maid that hath no breasts.
A field untilled, a web unwove, A flower withheld from sun or bee, An alien in the courts of Love, And—teacher unto such as we!
We love her, but we laugh the while, We laugh, but sobs are mixed with laughter; Our sister hath no time to smile, She knows not what must follow after.
Wind of the South, arise and blow, From beds of spice thy locks shake free; Breathe on her heart that she may know, Breathe on her eyes that she may see.
Alas! we vex her with our mirth, And maze her with most tender scorn, Who stands beside the gates of Birth, Herself a child—a child unborn!
Our sister sayeth such and such, And we must bow to her behests; Our sister toileth overmuch, Our little maid that hath no breasts.
THE LOVE SONG OF HAR DYAL
Alone upon the housetops to the North I turn and watch the lightning in the sky— The glamour of thy footsteps in the North. Come back to me, Beloved, or I die.
Below my feet the still bazar is laid— Far, far below the weary camels lie— The camels and the captives of thy raid. Come back to me, Beloved, or I die!
My father's wife is old and harsh with years, And drudge of all my father's house am I— My bread is sorrow and my drink is tears. Come back to me. Beloved, or I die!
And they were stronger hands than mine That digged the Ruby from the earth— More cunning brains that made it worth The large desire of a king, And stouter hearts that through the brine Went down the perfect Pearl to bring.
Lo, I have wrought in common clay Rude figures of a rough-hewn race, Since pearls strew not the market-place In this my town of banishment, Where with the shifting dust I play, And eat the bread of discontent.
Yet is there life in that I make. O thou who knowest, turn and see— As thou hast power over me So have I power over these, Because I wrought them for thy sake, And breathed in them mine agonies.
Small mirth was in the making—now I lift the cloth that cloaks the clay, And, wearied, at thy feet I lay My wares, ere I go forth to sell. The long bazar will praise, but thou— Heart of my heart—have I done well?
MOTHER O' MINE
If I were hanged on the highest hill, Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine! I know whose love would follow me still, Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were drowned in the deepest sea, Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine! I know whose tears would come down to me, Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were damned of body and soul, I know whose prayers would make me whole, Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
THE ONLY SON
She dropped the bar, she shot the bolt, she fed the fire anew, For she heard a whimper under the sill and a great grey paw came through. The fresh flame comforted the hut and shone on the roof-beam, And the Only Son lay down again and dreamed that he dreamed a dream. The last ash fell from the withered log with the click of a falling spark, And the Only Son woke up again, and called across the dark:— 'Now was I born of womankind and laid in a mother's breast? For I have dreamed of a shaggy hide whereon I went to rest? And was I born of womankind and laid on a father's arm? For I have dreamed of clashing teeth that guarded me from harm. And was I born an Only Son and did I play alone? For I have dreamed of comrades twain that bit me to the bone. And did I break the barley-cake and steep it in the tyre? For I have dreamed of a youngling kid new-riven from the byre. For I have dreamed of a midnight sky and a midnight call to blood, And red-mouthed shadows racing by, that thrust me from my food. 'Tis an hour yet and an hour yet to the rising of the moon, But I can see the black roof-tree as plain as it were noon. 'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the trooping blackbuck go; But I can hear the little fawn that bleats behind the doe. 'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the crop and the upland meet, But I can smell the wet dawn-wind that wakes the sprouting wheat. Unbar the door, I may not bide, but I must out and see If those are wolves that wait outside or my own kin to me!'
* * * * *
She loosed the bar, she slid the bolt, she opened the door anon, And a grey bitch-wolf came out of the dark and fawned on the Only Son!
MOWGLI'S SONG AGAINST PEOPLE
I will let loose against you the fleet-footed vines— I will call in the Jungle to stamp out your lines! The roofs shall fade before it, The house-beams shall fall, And the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall cover it all!
In the gates of these your councils my people shall sing, In the doors of these your garners the Bat-folk shall cling; And the snake shall be your watchman, By a hearthstone unswept; For the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall fruit where ye slept!
Ye shall not see my strikers; ye shall hear them and guess; By night, before the moon-rise, I will send for my cess, And the wolf shall be your herdsman By a landmark removed, For the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall seed where ye loved!
I will reap your fields before you at the hands of a host; Ye shall glean behind my reapers for the bread that is lost; And the deer shall be your oxen On a headland untilled, For the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall leaf where ye build!
I have untied against you the club-footed vines— I have sent in the Jungle to swamp out your lines! The trees—the trees are on you! The house-beams shall fall, And the Karela, the bitter Karela, Shall cover you all!
ROMULUS AND REMUS
Oh, little did the Wolf-Child care, When first he planned his home, What City should arise and bear The weight and state of Rome!
A shiftless, westward-wandering tramp, Checked by the Tiber flood, He reared a wall around his camp Of uninspired mud.
But when his brother leaped the Wall And mocked its height and make, He guessed the future of it all And slew him for its sake.
Swift was the blow—swift as the thought Which showed him in that hour How unbelief may bring to naught The early steps of Power.
Foreseeing Time's imperilled hopes Of Glory, Grace, and Love— All singers, Caesars, artists, Popes— Would fail if Remus throve,
He sent his brother to the Gods, And, when the fit was o'er, Went on collecting turves and clods To build the Wall once more!
THE JUNGLE BOOKS
Now Chil the Kite brings home the night That Mang the Bat sets free— The herds are shut in byre and hut For loosed till dawn are we. This is the hour of pride and power, Talon and tush and claw. Oh hear the call!—Good hunting all That keep the Jungle Law!
* * * * *
His spots are the joy of the Leopard: his horns are the Buffalo's pride. Be clean, for the strength of the hunter is known by the gloss of his hide. If ye find that the bullock can toss you, or the heavy-browed Sambhur can gore; Ye need not stop work to inform us. We knew it ten seasons before. Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister and Brother, For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is their mother. 'There is none like to me!' says the Cub in the pride of his earliest kill; But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him think and be still.
* * * * *
The stream is shrunk—the pool is dry, And we be comrades, thou and I; With fevered jowl and dusty flank Each jostling each along the bank; And, by one drouthy fear made still, Foregoing thought of quest or kill. Now 'neath his dam the fawn may see, The lean Pack-wolf as cowed as he, And the tall buck, unflinching, note The fangs that tore his father's throat. The pools are shrunk—the streams are dry, And we be playmates, thou and I, Till yonder cloud—Good Hunting!—loose The rain that breaks our Water Truce.
How Fear Came.
* * * * *
What of the hunting, hunter bold? Brother, the watch was long and cold. What of the quarry ye went to kill? Brother, he crops in the jungle still. Where is the power that made your pride? Brother, it ebbs from my flank and side. Where is the haste that ye hurry by? Brother, I go to my lair to die!
* * * * *
Veil them, cover them, wall them round— Blossom, and creeper, and weed— Let us forget the sight and the sound, The smell and the touch of the breed!
Fat black ash by the altar-stone. Here is the white-foot rain, And the does bring forth in the fields unsown, And none shall affright them again; And the blind walls crumble, unknown, o'erthrown, And none shall inhabit again!
Letting in the Jungle.
* * * * *
These are the Four that are never content, that have never been filled since the Dews began— Jacala's mouth, and the glut of the Kite, and the hands of the Ape, and the Eyes of Man.
The King's Ankus.
* * * * *
For our white and our excellent nights—for the nights of swift running, Fair ranging, far-seeing, good hunting, sure cunning! For the smells of the dawning, untainted, ere dew has departed! For the rush through the mist, and the quarry blind-started! For the cry of our mates when the sambhur has wheeled and is standing at bay! For the risk and the riot of night! For the sleep at the lair-mouth by day! It is met, and we go to the fight. Bay! O bay!
* * * * *
Man goes to Man! Cry the challenge through the Jungle! He that was our Brother goes away. Hear, now, and judge, O ye People of the Jungle,— Answer, who shall turn him—who shall stay?
Man goes to Man! He is weeping in the Jungle: He that was our Brother sorrows sore! Man goes to Man! (Oh, we loved him in the Jungle!) To the Man-Trail where we may not follow more.
The Spring Running.
* * * * *
At the hole where he went in Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin. Hear what little Red-Eye saith: 'Nag, come up and dance with death!'
Eye to eye and head to head, (Keep the measure, Nag.) This shall end when one is dead; (At thy pleasure, Nag.)
Turn for turn and twist for twist— (Run and hide thee, Nag.) Hah! The hooded Death has missed! (Woe betide thee, Nag!)
* * * * *
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us, And black are the waters that sparkled so green. The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us At rest in the hollows that rustle between. Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow; Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease! The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee, Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.
The White Seal.
* * * * *
You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old, Or your head will be sunk by your heels; And summer gales and Killer Whales Are bad for baby seals. Are bad for baby seals, dear rat, As bad as bad can be; But splash and grow strong, And you can't be wrong, Child of the Open Sea!
The White Seal.
* * * * *
I will remember what I was, I am sick of rope and chain. I will remember my old strength and all my forest affairs. I will not sell my back to man for a bundle of sugar-cane. I will go out to my own kind, and the wood-folk in their lairs.
I will go out until the day, until the morning break, Out to the winds' untainted kiss, the waters' clean caress. I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket-stake. I will revisit my lost loves, and playmates master-less!
Toomai of the Elephants.
* * * * *
The People of the Eastern Ice, they are melting like the snow— They beg for coffee and sugar; they go where the white men go. The People of the Western Ice, they learn to steal and fight; They sell their furs to the trading-post; they sell their souls to the white. The People of the Southern Ice, they trade with the whaler's crew; Their women have many ribbons, but their tents are torn and few. But the People of the Elder Ice, beyond the white man's ken— Their spears are made of the narwhal-horn, and they are the last of the Men!
* * * * *
When ye say to Tabaqui, 'My Brother!' when ye call the Hyena to meat, Ye may cry the Full Truce with Jacala—the Belly that runs on four feet.
* * * * *
The night we felt the earth would move We stole and plucked him by the hand, Because we loved him with the love That knows but cannot understand.
And when the roaring hillside broke, And all our world fell down in rain, We saved him, we the Little Folk; But lo! he does not come again!
Mourn now, we saved him for the sake Of such poor love as wild ones may. Mourn ye! Our brother will not wake, And his own kind drive us away!
The Miracle of Purun Bhagat.
The wind took off with the sunset— The fog came up with the tide, When the Witch of the North took an Egg-shell With a little Blue Devil inside. 'Sink,' she said, 'or swim,' she said, 'It's all you will get from me. And that is the finish of him!' she said. And the Egg-shell went to sea.
The wind fell dead with the midnight— The fog shut down like a sheet, When the Witch of the North heard the Egg-shell Feeling by hand for a fleet. 'Get!' she said, 'or you're gone,' she said, But the little Blue Devil said 'No!' 'The sights are just coming on,' he said, And he let the Whitehead go.
The wind got up with the morning— And the fog blew off with the rain, When the Witch of the North saw the Egg-shell And the little Blue Devil again. 'Did you swim?' she said. 'Did you sink?' she said, And the little Blue Devil replied: 'For myself I swam, but I think,' he said, 'There's somebody sinking outside.'
THE KING'S TASK
After the sack of the City, when Rome was sunk to a name, In the years that the lights were darkened, or ever St. Wilfrid came, Low on the borders of Britain (the ancient poets sing) Between the Cliff and the Forest there ruled a Saxon King. Stubborn all were his people from cottar to overlord— Not to be cowed by the cudgel, scarce to be schooled by the sword; Quick to turn at their pleasure, cruel to cross in their mood, And set on paths of their choosing as the hogs of Andred's Wood. Laws they made in the Witan—the laws of flaying and fine— Common, loppage and pannage, the theft and the track of kine— Statutes of tun and market for the fish and the malt and the meal— The tax on the Bramber packhorse and the tax on the Hastings keel. Over the graves of the Druids and under the wreck of Rome Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come. Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norseman's ire, Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of state and shire. Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stands till now, If we trace on our ancient headlands the twist of their eight-ox plough. There came a king from Hamtun, by Bosenham he came. He filled Use with slaughter, and Lewes he gave to flame. He smote while they sat in the Witan—sudden he smote and sore, That his fleet was gathered at Selsea ere they mustered at Cymen's Ore. Blithe went the Saxons to battle, by down and wood and mere, But thrice the acorns ripened ere the western mark was clear. Thrice was the beechmast gathered, and the Beltane fires burned Thrice, and the beeves were salted thrice ere the host returned. They drove that king from Hamtun, by Bosenham o'erthrown, Out of Rugnor to Wilton they made his land their own. Camps they builded at Gilling, at Basing and Alresford, But wrath abode in the Saxons from cottar to overlord. Wrath at the weary war-game, at the foe that snapped and ran Wolf-wise feigning and flying, and wolf-wise snatching his man. Wrath for their spears unready, their levies new to the blades— Shame for the helpless sieges and the scornful ambuscades. At hearth and tavern and market, wherever the tale was told, Shame and wrath had the Saxons because of their boasts of old. And some would drink and deny it, and some would pray and atone; But the most part, after their anger, avouched that the sin was their own. Wherefore, girding together, up to the Witan they came, And as they had shouldered their bucklers so did they shoulder their blame. For that was the wont of the Saxons (the ancient poets sing), And first they spoke in the Witan and then they spoke to the King: 'Edward King of the Saxons, thou knowest from sire to son, 'One is the King and his People—in gain and ungain one. 'Count we the gain together. With doubtings and spread dismays 'We have broken a foolish people—but after many days. 'Count we the loss together. Warlocks hampered our arms, 'We were tricked as by magic, we were turned as by charms. 'We went down to the battle and the road was plain to keep, 'But our angry eyes were holden, and we struck as they strike in sleep— 'Men new shaken from slumber, sweating, with eyes a-stare 'Little blows uncertain dealt on the useless air. 'Also a vision betrayed us, and a lying tale made bold 'That we looked to hold what we had not and to have what we did not hold: 'That a shield should give us shelter—that a sword should give us power— 'A shield snatched up at a venture and a hilt scarce handled an hour: 'That being rich in the open, we should be strong in the close— 'And the Gods would sell us a cunning for the day that we met our foes. 'This was the work of wizards, but not with our foe they bide, 'In our own camp we took them, and their names are Sloth and Pride. 'Our pride was before the battle: our sloth ere we lifted spear, 'But hid in the heart of the people as the fever hides in the mere, 'Waiting only the war-game, the heat of the strife to rise 'As the ague fumes round Oxeney when the rotting reed-bed dries. 'But now we are purged of that fever—cleansed by the letting of blood, 'Something leaner of body—something keener of mood. 'And the men new-freed from the levies return to the fields again, 'Matching a hundred battles, cottar and lord and thane. 'And they talk aloud in the temples where the ancient wargods are. 'They thumb and mock and belittle the holy harness of war. 'They jest at the sacred chariots, the robes and the gilded staff. 'These things fill them with laughter, they lean on their spears and laugh. 'The men grown old in the war-game, hither and thither they range— 'And scorn and laughter together are sire and dam of change; 'And change may be good or evil—but we know not what it will bring, 'Therefore our King must teach us. That is thy task, O King!'
When the robust and Brass-bound Man commissioned first for sea His fragile raft, Poseidon laughed, and 'Mariner,' said he, 'Behold, a Law immutable I lay on thee and thine, That never shall ye act or tell a falsehood at my shrine.
'Let Zeus adjudge your landward kin, whose votive meal and salt At easy-cheated altars win oblivion for the fault, But you the unhoodwinked wave shall test—the immediate gulf condemn— Except ye owe the Fates a jest, be slow to jest with them.
'Ye shall not clear by Greekly speech, nor cozen from your path The twinkling shoal, the leeward beach, and Hadria's white-lipped wrath; Nor tempt with painted cloth for wood my fraud-avenging hosts; Nor make at all, or all make good, your bulwarks and your boasts.
'Now and henceforward serve unshod, through wet and wakeful shifts, A present and oppressive God, but take, to aid, my gifts— The wide and windward-opening eye, the large and lavish hand, The soul that cannot tell a lie—except upon the land!'
In dromond and in catafract—wet, wakeful, windward-eyed— He kept Poseidon's Law intact (his ship and freight beside), But, once discharged the dromond's hold, the bireme beached once more, Splendaciously mendacious rolled the Brass-bound Man ashore.
The thranite now and thalamite are pressures low and high, And where three hundred blades bit white the twin-propellers ply: The God that hailed, the keel that sailed, are changed beyond recall, But the robust and Brass-bound Man he is not changed at all!
From Punt returned, from Phormio's Fleet, from Javan and Gadire, He strongly occupies the seat about the tavern fire, And, moist with much Falernian or smoked Massilian juice, Revenges there the Brass-bound Man his long-enforced truce!
A TRUTHFUL SONG
I tell this tale, which is strictly true, Just by way of convincing you How very little, since things mere made, Things have altered in the building trade.
A year ago, come the middle of March, We was building flats near the Marble Arch, When a thin young man with coal-black hair Came up to watch us working there.
Now there wasn't a trick in brick or stone That this young man hadn't seen or known; Nor there wasn't a tool from trowel to maul But this young man could use 'em all!
Then up and spoke the plumbyers bold, Which was laying the pipes for the hot and cold: 'Since you with us have made so free, Will you kindly say what your name might be?'
The young man kindly answered them: 'It might be Lot or Methusalem, Or it might be Moses (a man I hate), Whereas it is Pharaoh surnamed the Great.
'Your glazing is new and your plumbing's strange, But otherwise I perceive no change, And in less than a month if you do as I bid I'd learn you to build me a Pyramid!'
I tell this tale, which is stricter true, Just by way of convincing you How very little, since things was made, Things have altered in the shipwright's trade.
In Blackwall Basin yesterday A China barque re-fitting lay, When a fat old man with snow-white hair Came up to watch us working there.
Now there wasn't a knot which the riggers knew But the old man made it—and better too; Nor there wasn't a sheet, or a lift, or a brace. But the old man knew its lead and place.
Then up and spoke the caulkyers bold, Which was packing the pump in the afterhold: 'Since you with us have made so free, Will you kindly tell what your name might be?'
The old man kindly answered them: 'It might be Japheth, it might be Shem, Or it might be Ham (though his skin was dark), Whereas it is Noah, commanding the Ark.
'Your wheel is new and your pumps are strange, But otherwise I perceive no change, And in less than a week, if she did not ground, I'd sail this hooker the wide world round!'
We tell these tales, which are strictest true, Just by way of convincing you How very little, since things was made, Anything alters in any one's trade.
A SMUGGLER'S SONG
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet, Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street. Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie, Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by! Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark— Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk; Laces for a lady, letters for a spy, And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine, Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play. Put the brishwood back again—and they'll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide; If you see a tired horse lying down inside; If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore; If the lining's wet and warm—don't you ask no more!
If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red, You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said. If they call you 'pretty maid,' and chuck you 'neath the chin. Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house—whistles after dark— You've no call for running out till the house-dogs bark. Trusty's here, and Pinchers here, and see how dumb they lie— They don't fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you've been told, 'likely there's a chance, You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France, With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood— A present from the Gentlemen, along o' being good! Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark— Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk. Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie— Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
KING HENRY VII. AND THE SHIPWRIGHTS
Harry, our King in England, from London town is gone, And comen to Hamull on the Hoke in the countie of Suthampton. For there lay The Mary of the Tower, his ship of war so strong, And he would discover, certaynely, if his shipwrights did him wrong.
He told not none of his setting forth, nor yet where he would go (But only my Lord of Arundel), and meanly did he show, In an old jerkin and patched hose that no man might him mark; With his frieze hood and cloak above, he looked like any clerk.
He was at Hamull on the Hoke about the hour of the tide. And saw the Mary haled into dock, the winter to abide, With all her tackle and habiliments which are the King his own; But then ran on his false shipwrights and stripped her to the bone.
They heaved the main-mast overboard, that was of a trusty tree, And they wrote down it was spent and lost by force of weather at sea. But they sawen it into planks and strakes as far as it might go, To maken beds for their own wives and little children also.
There was a knave called Slingawai, he crope beneath the deck. Crying: 'Good felawes, come and see! The ship is nigh a wreck! For the storm that took our tall main-mast, it blew so fierce and fell, Alack! it hath taken the kettles and pans, and this brass pott as well!'
With that he set the pott on his head and hied him up the hatch, While all the shipwrights ran below to find what they might snatch; All except Bob Brygandyne and he was a yeoman good, He caught Slingawai round the waist and threw him on to the mud.
'I have taken plank and rope and nail, without the King his leave, After the custom of Portesmouth, but I will not suffer a thief. Nay, never lift up thy hand at me! There's no clean hands in the trade— Steal in measure,' quo' Brygandyne. 'There's measure in all things made!'
'Gramercy, yeoman!' said our King. 'Thy council liketh me.' And he pulled a whistle out of his neck and whistled whistles three. Then came my Lord of Arundel pricking across the down, And behind him the Mayor and Burgesses of merry Suthampton town.
They drew the naughty shipwrights up, with the kettles in their hands, And bound them round the forecastle to wait the King's commands. But 'Since ye have made your beds,' said the King, 'ye needs must lie thereon. For the sake of your wives and little ones—felawes, get you gone!'
When they had beaten Slingawai, out of his own lips Our King appointed Brygandyne to be Clerk of all his ships. 'Nay, never lift up thy hands to me—there's no clean hands in the trade. But steal in measure,' said Harry our King. 'There's measure in all things made!'
God speed the 'Mary of the Tower,' the 'Sovereign,' and 'Grace Dieu,' The 'Sweepstakes' and the 'Mary Fortune,' and the 'Henry of Bristol' too! All tall ships that sail on, the sea, or in our harbours stand, That they may keep measure with Harry our King and peace in Engeland!
THE WET LITANY
When the water's countenance Blurrs 'twixt glance and second glance; When our tattered smokes forerun. Ashen 'neath a silvered sun; When the curtain of the haze Shuts upon our helpless ways— Hear the Channel Fleet at sea; Libera nos Domine!
When the engines' bated pulse Scarcely thrills the nosing hulls; When the wash along the side Sounds, a sudden, magnified; When the intolerable blast Marks each blindfold minute passed;
When the fog-buoy's squattering flight Guides us through the haggard night; When the warning bugle blows; When the lettered doorways close; When our brittle townships press, Impotent, on emptiness;
When the unseen leadsmen lean Questioning a deep unseen; When their lessened count they tell To a bridge invisible; When the hid and perilous Cliffs return our cry to us;
When the treble thickness spread Swallows up our next-ahead; When her siren's frightened whine Shows her sheering out of line; When, her passage undiscerned, We must turn where she has turned, Hear the Channel Fleet at sea: Libera nos Domine!
THE BALLAD OF MINEPIT SHAW
About the time that taverns shut And men can buy no beer, Two lads went up to the keepers' hut To steal Lord Pelham's deer.
Night and the liquor was in their heads— They laughed and talked no bounds, Till they waked the keepers on their beds, And the keepers loosed the hounds.
They had killed a hart, they had killed a hind, Ready to carry away, When they heard a whimper down the wind And they heard a bloodhound bay.
They took and ran across the fern, Their crossbows in their hand, Till they met a man with a green lantern That called and bade 'em stand.
'What are ye doing, O Flesh and Blood, And what's your foolish will, That you must break into Minepit Wood And wake the Folk of the Hill?'
'Oh, we've broke into Lord Pelham's park, And killed Lord Pelham's deer, And if ever you heard a little dog bark You'll know why we come here.
'We ask you let us go our way, As fast as we can flee, For if ever you heard a bloodhound bay You'll know how pressed we be.'
'Oh, lay your crossbows on the bank And drop the knife from your hand, And though the hounds are at your flank I'll save you where you stand!'
They laid their crossbows on the bank, They threw their knives in the wood, And the ground before them opened and sank And saved 'em where they stood.
'Oh, what's the roaring in our ears That strikes us well-nigh dumb?' 'Oh, that is just how things appears According as they come.'
'What are the stars before our eyes That strike us well-nigh blind?' 'Oh, that is just how things arise According as you find.'
'And why's our bed so hard to the bones Excepting where it's cold?' 'Oh, that's because it is precious stones Excepting where 'tis gold.
'Think it over as you stand. For I tell you without fail, If you haven't got into Fairyland You're not in Lewes Gaol.'
All night long they thought of it, And, come the dawn, they saw They'd tumbled into a great old pit, At the bottom of Minepit Shaw.
And the keepers' hound had followed 'em close, And broke her neck in the fall; So they picked up their knives and their crossbows And buried the dog. That's all.
But whether the man was a poacher too Or a Pharisee[A] so bold— I reckon there's more things told than are true, And more things true than are told!
[Footnote A: A fairy.]
'What's that that hirples at my side?' The foe that you must fight, my lord. 'That rides as fast as I can ride?' The shadow of your might, my lord.
'Then wheel my horse against the foe!' He's down and overpast, my lord. You war against the sunset glow, The judgment follows fast, my lord.
'Oh who will stay the sun's descent?' King Joshua he is dead, my lord. 'I need an hour to repent!' 'Tis what our sister said, my lord.
'Oh do not slay me in my sins!' You're safe awhile with us, my lord. 'Nay, kill me ere my fear begins.' We would not serve you thus, my lord.
'Where is the doom that I must face?' Three little leagues away, my lord. 'Then mend the horses' laggard pace!' We need them for next day, my lord.
'Next day—next day! Unloose my cords!' Our sister needed none, my lord. You had no mind to face our swords, And—where can cowards run, my lord?
'You would not kill the soul alive?' 'Twas thus our sister cried, my lord. 'I dare not die with none to shrive.' But so our sister died, my lord.
'Then wipe the sweat from brow and cheek. It runnels forth afresh, my lord. 'Uphold me—for the flesh is weak.' You've finished with the Flesh, my lord.
Old Horn to All Atlantic said: (A-hay O! To me O!') 'Now where did Frankie learn his trade? For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'le.' (All round the Horn!)
Atlantic answered:—'Not from me! You'd better ask the cold North Sea, For he ran me down under all plain canvas.' (All round the Horn!)
The North Sea answered:—'He's my man, For he came to me when he began— Frankie Drake in an open coaster. (All round the Sands!)
'I caught him young and I used him sore, So you never shall startle Frankie more, Without capsizing Earth and her waters. (All round the Sands!)
'I did not favour him at all. I made him pull and I made him haul— And stand his trick with the common sailors. (All round the Sands!)
'I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind. And kicked him home with his road to find By what he could see in a three-day snow-storm (All round the Sands!)
'I learned him his trade o' winter nights, 'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing. (All round the Sands!)
'Before his beard began to shoot, I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot— And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later. (All round the Sands!)
'If there's a risk which you can make. That's worse than he was used to take Nigh every week in the way of his business; (All round the Sands!)
'If there's a trick that you can try, Which he hasn't met in time gone by, Not once or twice, but ten times over; (All round the Sands!)
'If you can teach him aught that's new, (A-hay O! To me O!) I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too, And the ten tall churches that stand between 'em.' Storm along my gallant Captains! (All round the Horn!)
THE JUGGLER'S SONG
When the drums begin to beat Down the street, When the poles are fetched and guyed, When the tight-rope's stretched and tied, When the dance-girls make salaam, When the snake-bag wakes alarm, When the pipes set up their drone, When the sharp-edged knives are thrown, When the red-hot coals are shown, To be swallowed by and bye— Arre Brethren, here come I!
Stripped to loin-cloth in the sun, Search me well and watch me close! Tell me how my tricks are done— Tell me how the mango grows? Give a man who is not made To his trade Swords to fling and catch again, Coins to ring and snatch again, Men to harm and cure again. Snakes to charm and lure again— He'll be hurt by his own blade, By his serpents disobeyed, By his clumsiness bewrayed, By the people laughed to scorn— So 'tis not with juggler born!
Pinch of dust or withered flower, Chance-flung nut or borrowed staff, Serve his need and shore his power, Bind the spell or loose the laugh!
There's no wind along these seas. Out oars for Stavanger! Forward all for Stavanger! So we must wake the white-ash breeze, Let fall for Stavanger! A long pull for Stavanger!
Oh, hear the benches creak and strain! (A long pull for Stavanger!) She thinks she smells the Northland rain! (A long pull for Stavanger!)
She thinks she smells the Northland snow, And she's as glad as we to go.
She thinks she smells the Northland rime, And the dear dark nights of winter-time.
She wants to be at her own home pier, To shift her sails and standing gear.
She wants to be in her winter-shed. To strip herself and go to bed.
Her very bolts are sick for shore, And we—we want it ten times more!
So all you Gods that love brave men, Send us a three-reef gale again!
Send us a gale, and watch us come, With close-cropped canvas slashing home!
But—there's no wind on all these seas, A long pull for Stavanger! So we must wake the white-ash breeze, A long pull for Stavanger!
Song of the Returning Hunter (Esquimaux).
Our gloves are stiff with the frozen blood, Our furs with the drifted snow, As we come in with the seal—the seal! In from the edge of the floe.
An jana! Aua! Oha! Haq! And the yelping dog-teams go, And the long whips crack, and the men come back, Back from the edge of the floe!
We tracked our seal to his secret place, We heard him scratch below, We made our mark, and we watched beside, Out on the edge of the floe.
We raised our lance when he rose to breathe, We drove it downward—so! And we played him thus, and we killed him thus, Out on the edge of the floe.
Our gloves are glued with the frozen blood, Our eyes with the drifting snow; But we come back to our wives again, Back from the edge of the floe!
Au jana! Aua! Oha! Haq! And the loaded dog-teams go, And the wives can hear their men come back, Back from the edge of the floe!
HUNTING-SONG OF THE SEEONEE PACK
As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled— Once, twice and again! And a doe leaped up, and a doe leaped up From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup. This I, scouting alone, beheld, Once, twice and again!
As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled— Once, twice and again! And a wolf stole back, and a wolf stole back To carry the word to the waiting pack, And we sought and we found and we bayed on his track Once, twice and again!
As the dawn was breaking the Wolf Pack yelled Once, twice and again! Feet in the jungle that leave no mark! Eyes that can see in the dark—the dark! Tongue—give tongue to it! Hark! O hark! Once, twice and again!
SONG OF THE MEN'S SIDE
Once we feared The Beast—when he followed us we ran, Ran very fast though we knew It was not right that The Beast should master Man; But what could we Flint-workers do? The Beast only grinned at our spears round his ears— Grinned at the hammers that we made; But now we will hunt him for the life with the Knife— And this is the Buyer of the Blade!
Room for his shadow on the grass—let it pass! To left and right—stand clear! This is the Buyer of the Blade—be afraid! This is the great god Tyr!
Tyr thought hard till he hammered out a plan, For he knew it was not right (And it is not right) that The Beast should master Man; So he went to the Children of the Night. He begged a Magic Knife of their make for our sake. When he begged for the Knife they said: 'The price of the Knife you would buy is an eye!' And that was the price he paid.
Tell it to the Barrows of the Dead—run ahead! Shout it so the Women's Side can hear! This is the Buyer of the Blade—be afraid! This is the great god Tyr!
Our women and our little ones may walk on the Chalk, As far as we can see them and beyond. We shall not be anxious for our sheep when we keep Tally at the shearing-pond. We can eat with both our elbows on our knees, if we please, We can sleep after meals in the sun; For Shepherd of the Twilight is dismayed at the Blade, Feet-in-the-Night have run! Dog-without-a-Master goes away (Hai, Tyr, aie!), Devil-in-the-Dusk has run!
Then: Room for his shadow on the grass—let it pass! To left and right—stand clear! This is the Buyer of the Blade—be afraid! This is the great god Tyr!
(Sung in honour of Rikki-tikki-tavi)
Singer and tailor am I— Doubled the joys that I know— Proud of my lilt to the sky, Proud of the house that I sew— Over and under, so weave I my music—so weave I the house that I sew.
Sing to your fledglings again, Mother, O lift up your head! Evil that plagued us is slain, Death in the garden lies dead. Terror that hid in the roses is impotent—flung on the dung-hill and dead!
Who hath delivered us, who? Tell me his nest and his name. Rikki, the valiant, the true, Tikki, with eyeballs of flame, Rik-tikki-tikki, the ivory-fanged, the hunter with eyeballs of flame.
Give him the Thanks of the Birds, Bowing with tail-feathers spread! Praise him with nightingale-words— Nay, I will praise him instead. Hear! I will sing you the praise of the bottle-tailed Rikki, with eyeballs of red!
(Here Rikki-tikki interrupted, and the rest of the song is lost.)
THE FOUR ANGELS
As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree, The Angel of the Earth came down, and offered Earth in fee. But Adam did not need it, Nor the plough he would not speed it, Singing:—'Earth and Water, Air and Fire, What more can mortal man desire?' (The Apple Tree's in bud.)
As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree, The Angel of the Waters offered all the Seas in fee. But Adam would not take 'em, Nor the ships he wouldn't make 'em, Singing:—'Water, Earth and Air and Fire, What more can mortal man desire?' (The Apple Tree's in leaf.)
As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree, The Angel of the Air he offered all the Air in fee. But Adam did not crave it, Nor the flight he wouldn't brave it, Singing:—'Air and Water, Earth and Fire, What more can mortal man desire?' (The Apple Tree's in bloom.)
As Adam lay a-dreaming beneath the Apple Tree, The Angel of the Fire rose up and not a word said he, But he wished a flame and made it, And in Adam's heart he laid it, Singing:—'Fire, Fire, burning Fire! Stand up and reach your heart's desire!' (The Apple Blossom's set.)
As Adam was a-working outside of Eden-Wall, He used the Earth, he used the Seas, he used the Air and all; And out of black disaster He arose to be the master Of Earth and Water, Air and Fire, But never reached his heart's desire! (The Apple Tree's cut down!)
My Brother kneels, so saith Kabir, To stone and brass in heathen-wise, But in my brother's voice I hear My own unanswered agonies. His God is as his fates assign, His prayer is all the world's—and mine.
Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh.