Andromeda and Other Poems
by Charles Kingsley
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Transcribed by David Price, email



Andromeda Hypotheses Hypochondriacae Trehill Well In an Illuminated Missal The Weird Lady Palinodia A Hope The Poetry of a Root Crop Child Ballad Airly Beacon Sappho The Bad Squire Scotch Song The Young Knight A New Forest Ballad The Red King The Outlaw Sing Heigh-ho! A March A Lament The Night Bird The Dead Church A Parable from Liebig The Starlings Old and New The Watchman The World's Age The Sands of Dee The Tide Rock Elegiacs Dartside My Hunting Song Alton Locke's Song The Day of the Lord A Christmas Carol The Oubit The Three Fishers Sonnet Margaret to Dolcino Dolcino to Margaret The Ugly Princess Sonnet The Swan-neck A Thought from the Rhine The Longbeards' Saga. A.D. 400 Saint Maura. A.D. 304 On the Death of a Certain Journal Down to the Mothers To Miss Mitford Ballad of Earl Haldan's Daughter Frank Leigh's Song. A.D. 1586 Ode to the North-east Wind A Farewell To G. A. G. The South Wind The Invitation The Find Fishing Song The Last Buccaneer The Knight's Return Pen-y-gwrydd Ode Songs from 'The Water-babies' The Tide River Young and Old The Summer Sea My Little Doll The Knight's Leap The Song of the Little Baltung. A.D. 395 On the Death of Leopold, King of the Belgians Easter Week Drifting Away Christmas Day September 21, 1870 The Mango-tree The Priest's Heart 'Qu'est Qu'il Dit' The Legend of La Brea Hymn The Delectable Day Juventus Mundi Valentine's Day Ballad Martin Lightfoot's Song


Over the sea, past Crete, on the Syrian shore to the southward, Dwells in the well-tilled lowland a dark-haired AEthiop people, Skilful with needle and loom, and the arts of the dyer and carver, Skilful, but feeble of heart; for they know not the lords of Olympus, Lovers of men; neither broad-browed Zeus, nor Pallas Athene, Teacher of wisdom to heroes, bestower of might in the battle; Share not the cunning of Hermes, nor list to the songs of Apollo. Fearing the stars of the sky, and the roll of the blue salt water, Fearing all things that have life in the womb of the seas and the livers, Eating no fish to this day, nor ploughing the main, like the Phoenics, Manful with black-beaked ships, they abide in a sorrowful region, Vexed with the earthquake, and flame, and the sea-floods, scourge of Poseidon. Whelming the dwellings of men, and the toils of the slow-footed oxen, Drowning the barley and flax, and the hard-earned gold of the harvest, Up to the hillside vines, and the pastures skirting the woodland, Inland the floods came yearly; and after the waters a monster, Bred of the slime, like the worms which are bred from the slime of the Nile- bank, Shapeless, a terror to see; and by night it swam out to the seaward, Daily returning to feed with the dawn, and devoured of the fairest, Cattle, and children, and maids, till the terrified people fled inland. Fasting in sackcloth and ashes they came, both the king and his people, Came to the mountain of oaks, to the house of the terrible sea-gods, Hard by the gulf in the rocks, where of old the world-wide deluge Sank to the inner abyss; and the lake where the fish of the goddess, Holy, undying, abide; whom the priests feed daily with dainties. There to the mystical fish, high-throned in her chamber of cedar, Burnt they the fat of the flock; till the flame shone far to the seaward. Three days fasting they prayed; but the fourth day the priests of the goddess, Cunning in spells, cast lots, to discover the crime of the people. All day long they cast, till the house of the monarch was taken, Cepheus, king of the land; and the faces of all gathered blackness. Then once more they cast; and Cassiopoeia was taken, Deep-bosomed wife of the king, whom oft far-seeing Apollo Watched well-pleased from the welkin, the fairest of AEthiop women: Fairest, save only her daughter; for down to the ankle her tresses Rolled, blue-black as the night, ambrosial, joy to beholders. Awful and fair she arose, most like in her coming to Here, Queen before whom the Immortals arise, as she comes on Olympus, Out of the chamber of gold, which her son Hephaestos has wrought her. Such in her stature and eyes, and the broad white light of her forehead. Stately she came from her place, and she spoke in the midst of the people. 'Pure are my hands from blood: most pure this heart in my bosom. Yet one fault I remember this day; one word have I spoken; Rashly I spoke on the shore, and I dread lest the sea should have heard it. Watching my child at her bath, as she plunged in the joy of her girlhood, Fairer I called her in pride than Atergati, queen of the ocean. Judge ye if this be my sin, for I know none other.' She ended; Wrapping her head in her mantle she stood, and the people were silent. Answered the dark-browed priests, 'No word, once spoken, returneth, Even if uttered unwitting. Shall gods excuse our rashness? That which is done, that abides; and the wrath of the sea is against us; Hers, and the wrath of her brother, the Sun-god, lord of the sheepfolds. Fairer than her hast thou boasted thy daughter? Ah folly! for hateful, Hateful are they to the gods, whoso, impious, liken a mortal, Fair though he be, to their glory; and hateful is that which is likened, Grieving the eyes of their pride, and abominate, doomed to their anger. What shall be likened to gods? The unknown, who deep in the darkness Ever abide, twyformed, many-handed, terrible, shapeless. Woe to the queen; for the land is defiled, and the people accursed. Take thou her therefore by night, thou ill-starred Cassiopoeia, Take her with us in the night, when the moon sinks low to the westward; Bind her aloft for a victim, a prey for the gorge of the monster, Far on the sea-girt rock, which is washed by the surges for ever; So may the goddess accept her, and so may the land make atonement, Purged by her blood from its sin: so obey thou the doom of the rulers.' Bitter in soul they went out, Cepheus and Cassiopoeia, Bitter in soul; and their hearts whirled round, as the leaves in the eddy. Weak was the queen, and rebelled: but the king, like a shepherd of people, Willed not the land should waste; so he yielded the life of his daughter. Deep in the wane of the night, as the moon sank low to the westward, They by the shade of the cliffs, with the horror of darkness around them, Stole, as ashamed, to a deed which became not the light of the sunshine, Slowly, the priests, and the queen, and the virgin bound in the galley, Slowly they rowed to the rocks: but Cepheus far in the palace Sate in the midst of the hall, on his throne, like a shepherd of people, Choking his woe, dry-eyed, while the slaves wailed loudly around him. They on the sea-girt rock, which is washed by the surges for ever, Set her in silence, the guiltless, aloft with her face to the eastward. Under a crag of the stone, where a ledge sloped down to the water; There they set Andromeden, most beautiful, shaped like a goddess, Lifting her long white arms wide-spread to the walls of the basalt, Chaining them, ruthless, with brass; and they called on the might of the Rulers. 'Mystical fish of the seas, dread Queen whom AEthiops honour, Whelming the land in thy wrath, unavoidable, sharp as the sting-ray, Thou, and thy brother the Sun, brain-smiting, lord of the sheepfold, Scorching the earth all day, and then resting at night in thy bosom, Take ye this one life for many, appeased by the blood of a maiden, Fairest, and born of the fairest, a queen, most priceless of victims.' Thrice they spat as they went by the maid: but her mother delaying Fondled her child to the last, heart-crushed; and the warmth of her weeping Fell on the breast of the maid, as her woe broke forth into wailing. 'Daughter! my daughter! forgive me! Oh curse not the murderess! Curse not! How have I sinned, but in love? Do the gods grudge glory to mothers? Loving I bore thee in vain in the fate-cursed bride-bed of Cepheus, Loving I fed thee and tended, and loving rejoiced in thy beauty, Blessing thy limbs as I bathed them, and blessing thy locks as I combed them; Decking thee, ripening to woman, I blest thee: yet blessing I slew thee! How have I sinned, but in love? Oh swear to me, swear to thy mother, Never to haunt me with curse, as I go to the grave in my sorrow, Childless and lone: may the gods never send me another, to slay it! See, I embrace thy knees—soft knees, where no babe will be fondled— Swear to me never to curse me, the hapless one, not in the death-pang.' Weeping she clung to the knees of the maid; and the maid low answered— 'Curse thee! Not in the death-pang!' The heart of the lady was lightened. Slowly she went by the ledge; and the maid was alone in the darkness. Watching the pulse of the oars die down, as her own died with them, Tearless, dumb with amaze she stood, as a storm-stunned nestling Fallen from bough or from eave lies dumb, which the home-going herdsman Fancies a stone, till he catches the light of its terrified eyeball. So through the long long hours the maid stood helpless and hopeless, Wide-eyed, downward gazing in vain at the black blank darkness. Feebly at last she began, while wild thoughts bubbled within her— 'Guiltless I am: why thus, then? Are gods more ruthless than mortals? Have they no mercy for youth? no love for the souls who have loved them? Even as I loved thee, dread sea, as I played by thy margin, Blessing thy wave as it cooled me, thy wind as it breathed on my forehead, Bowing my head to thy tempest, and opening my heart to thy children, Silvery fish, wreathed shell, and the strange lithe things of the water, Tenderly casting them back, as they gasped on the beach in the sunshine, Home to their mother—in vain! for mine sits childless in anguish! O false sea! false sea! I dreamed what I dreamed of thy goodness; Dreamed of a smile in thy gleam, of a laugh in the plash of thy ripple: False and devouring thou art, and the great world dark and despiteful.' Awed by her own rash words she was still: and her eyes to the seaward Looked for an answer of wrath: far off, in the heart of the darkness, Blight white mists rose slowly; beneath them the wandering ocean Glimmered and glowed to the deepest abyss; and the knees of the maiden Trembled and sunk in her fear, as afar, like a dawn in the midnight, Rose from their seaweed chamber the choir of the mystical sea-maids. Onward toward her they came, and her heart beat loud at their coming, Watching the bliss of the gods, as they wakened the cliffs with their laughter. Onward they came in their joy, and before them the roll of the surges Sank, as the breeze sank dead, into smooth green foam-flecked marble, Awed; and the crags of the cliff, and the pines of the mountain were silent. Onward they came in their joy, and around them the lamps of the sea-nymphs, Myriad fiery globes, swam panting and heaving; and rainbows Crimson and azure and emerald, were broken in star-showers, lighting Far through the wine-dark depths of the crystal, the gardens of Nereus, Coral and sea-fan and tangle, the blooms and the palms of the ocean. Onward they came in their joy, more white than the foam which they scattered, Laughing and singing, and tossing and twining, while eager, the Tritons Blinded with kisses their eyes, unreproved, and above them in worship Hovered the terns, and the seagulls swept past them on silvery pinions Echoing softly their laughter; around them the wantoning dolphins Sighed as they plunged, full of love; and the great sea-horses which bore them Curved up their crests in their pride to the delicate arms of the maidens, Pawing the spray into gems, till a fiery rainfall, unharming, Sparkled and gleamed on the limbs of the nymphs, and the coils of the mermen. Onward they went in their joy, bathed round with the fiery coolness, Needing nor sun nor moon, self-lighted, immortal: but others, Pitiful, floated in silence apart; in their bosoms the sea-boys, Slain by the wrath of the seas, swept down by the anger of Nereus; Hapless, whom never again on strand or on quay shall their mothers Welcome with garlands and vows to the temple, but wearily pining Gaze over island and bay for the sails of the sunken; they heedless Sleep in soft bosoms for ever, and dream of the surge and the sea-maids. Onward they passed in their joy; on their brows neither sorrow nor anger; Self-sufficing, as gods, never heeding the woe of the maiden. She would have shrieked for their mercy: but shame made her dumb; and their eyeballs Stared on her careless and still, like the eyes in the house of the idols. Seeing they saw not, and passed, like a dream, on the murmuring ripple. Stunned by the wonder she gazed, wide-eyed, as the glory departed. 'O fair shapes! far fairer than I! Too fair to be ruthless! Gladden mine eyes once more with your splendour, unlike to my fancies; You, then, smiled in the sea-gleam, and laughed in the plash of the ripple. Awful I deemed you and formless; inhuman, monstrous as idols; Lo, when ye came, ye were women, more loving and lovelier, only; Like in all else; and I blest you: why blest ye not me for my worship? Had you no mercy for me, thus guiltless? Ye pitied the sea-boys: Why not me, then, more hapless by far? Does your sight and your knowledge End with the marge of the waves? Is the world which ye dwell in not our world?'

Over the mountain aloft ran a rush and a roll and a roaring; Downward the breeze came indignant, and leapt with a howl to the water, Roaring in cranny and crag, till the pillars and clefts of the basalt Rang like a god-swept lyre, and her brain grew mad with the noises; Crashing and lapping of waters, and sighing and tossing of weed-beds, Gurgle and whisper and hiss of the foam, while thundering surges Boomed in the wave-worn halls, as they champed at the roots of the mountain. Hour after hour in the darkness the wind rushed fierce to the landward, Drenching the maiden with spray; she shivering, weary and drooping, Stood with her heart full of thoughts, till the foam-crests gleamed in the twilight, Leaping and laughing around, and the east grew red with the dawning. Then on the ridge of the hills rose the broad bright sun in his glory, Hurling his arrows abroad on the glittering crests of the surges, Gilding the soft round bosoms of wood, and the downs of the coastland; Gilding the weeds at her feet, and the foam-laced teeth of the ledges, Showing the maiden her home through the veil of her locks, as they floated Glistening, damp with the spray, in a long black cloud to the landward. High in the far-off glens rose thin blue curls from the homesteads; Softly the low of the herds, and the pipe of the outgoing herdsman, Slid to her ear on the water, and melted her heart into weeping. Shuddering, she tried to forget them; and straining her eyes to the seaward, Watched for her doom, as she wailed, but in vain, to the terrible Sun-god. 'Dost thou not pity me, Sun, though thy wild dark sister be ruthless; Dost thou not pity me here, as thou seest me desolate, weary, Sickened with shame and despair, like a kid torn young from its mother? What if my beauty insult thee, then blight it: but me—Oh spare me! Spare me yet, ere he be here, fierce, tearing, unbearable! See me, See me, how tender and soft, and thus helpless! See how I shudder, Fancying only my doom. Wilt thou shine thus bright, when it takes me? Are there no deaths save this, great Sun? No fiery arrow, Lightning, or deep-mouthed wave? Why thus? What music in shrieking, Pleasure in warm live limbs torn slowly? And dar'st thou behold them! Oh, thou hast watched worse deeds! All sights are alike to thy brightness! What if thou waken the birds to their song, dost thou waken no sorrow; Waken no sick to their pain; no captive to wrench at his fetters? Smile on the garden and fold, and on maidens who sing at the milking; Flash into tapestried chambers, and peep in the eyelids of lovers, Showing the blissful their bliss—Dost love, then, the place where thou smilest? Lovest thou cities aflame, fierce blows, and the shrieks of the widow? Lovest thou corpse-strewn fields, as thou lightest the path of the vulture? Lovest thou these, that thou gazest so gay on my tears, and my mother's, Laughing alike at the horror of one, and the bliss of another? What dost thou care, in thy sky, for the joys and the sorrows of mortals? Colder art thou than the nymphs: in thy broad bright eye is no seeing. Hadst thou a soul—as much soul as the slaves in the house of my father, Wouldst thou not save? Poor thralls! they pitied me, clung to me weeping, Kissing my hands and my feet—What, are gods more ruthless than mortals? Worse than the souls which they rule? Let me die: they war not with ashes!' Sudden she ceased, with a shriek: in the spray, like a hovering foam-bow, Hung, more fair than the foam-bow, a boy in the bloom of his manhood, Golden-haired, ivory-limbed, ambrosial; over his shoulder Hung for a veil of his beauty the gold-fringed folds of the goat-skin, Bearing the brass of his shield, as the sun flashed clear on its clearness. Curved on his thigh lay a falchion, and under the gleam of his helmet Eyes more blue than the main shone awful; around him Athene Shed in her love such grace, such state, and terrible daring. Hovering over the water he came, upon glittering pinions, Living, a wonder, outgrown from the tight-laced gold of his sandals; Bounding from billow to billow, and sweeping the crests like a sea-gull; Leaping the gulfs of the surge, as he laughed in the joy of his leaping. Fair and majestic he sprang to the rock; and the maiden in wonder Gazed for a while, and then hid in the dark-rolling wave of her tresses, Fearful, the light of her eyes; while the boy (for her sorrow had awed him) Blushed at her blushes, and vanished, like mist on the cliffs at the sunrise. Fearful at length she looked forth: he was gone: she, wild with amazement, Wailed for her mother aloud: but the wail of the wind only answered. Sudden he flashed into sight, by her side; in his pity and anger Moist were his eyes; and his breath like a rose-bed, as bolder and bolder, Hovering under her brows, like a swallow that haunts by the house-eaves, Delicate-handed, he lifted the veil of her hair; while the maiden Motionless, frozen with fear, wept loud; till his lips unclosing Poured from their pearl-strung portal the musical wave of his wonder. 'Ah, well spoke she, the wise one, the gray-eyed Pallas Athene,— Known to Immortals alone are the prizes which lie for the heroes Ready prepared at their feet; for requiring a little, the rulers Pay back the loan tenfold to the man who, careless of pleasure, Thirsting for honour and toil, fares forth on a perilous errand Led by the guiding of gods, and strong in the strength of Immortals. Thus have they led me to thee: from afar, unknowing, I marked thee, Shining, a snow-white cross on the dark-green walls of the sea-cliff; Carven in marble I deemed thee, a perfect work of the craftsman. Likeness of Amphitrite, or far-famed Queen Cythereia. Curious I came, till I saw how thy tresses streamed in the sea-wind, Glistening, black as the night, and thy lips moved slow in thy wailing. Speak again now—Oh speak! For my soul is stirred to avenge thee; Tell me what barbarous horde, without law, unrighteous and heartless, Hateful to gods and to men, thus have bound thee, a shame to the sunlight, Scorn and prize to the sailor: but my prize now; for a coward, Coward and shameless were he, who so finding a glorious jewel Cast on the wayside by fools, would not win it and keep it and wear it, Even as I will thee; for I swear by the head of my father, Bearing thee over the sea-wave, to wed thee in Argos the fruitful, Beautiful, meed of my toil no less than this head which I carry, Hidden here fearful—Oh speak!' But the maid, still dumb with amazement, Watered her bosom with weeping, and longed for her home and her mother. Beautiful, eager, he wooed her, and kissed off her tears as he hovered, Roving at will, as a bee, on the brows of a rock nymph-haunted, Garlanded over with vine, and acanthus, and clambering roses, Cool in the fierce still noon, where streams glance clear in the mossbeds, Hums on from blossom to blossom, and mingles the sweets as he tastes them. Beautiful, eager, he kissed her, and clasped her yet closer and closer, Praying her still to speak— 'Not cruel nor rough did my mother Bear me to broad-browed Zeus in the depths of the brass-covered dungeon; Neither in vain, as I think, have I talked with the cunning of Hermes, Face unto face, as a friend; or from gray-eyed Pallas Athene Learnt what is fit, and respecting myself, to respect in my dealings Those whom the gods should love; so fear not; to chaste espousals Only I woo thee, and swear, that a queen, and alone without rival By me thou sittest in Argos of Hellas, throne of my fathers, Worshipped by fair-haired kings: why callest thou still on thy mother? Why did she leave thee thus here? For no foeman has bound thee; no foeman Winning with strokes of the sword such a prize, would so leave it behind him.' Just as at first some colt, wild-eyed, with quivering nostril, Plunges in fear of the curb, and the fluttering robes of the rider; Soon, grown bold by despair, submits to the will of his master, Tamer and tamer each hour, and at last, in the pride of obedience, Answers the heel with a curvet, and arches his neck to be fondled, Cowed by the need that maid grew tame; while the hero indignant Tore at the fetters which held her: the brass, too cunningly tempered, Held to the rock by the nails, deep wedged: till the boy, red with anger, Drew from his ivory thigh, keen flashing, a falchion of diamond— 'Now let the work of the smith try strength with the arms of Immortals!' Dazzling it fell; and the blade, as the vine-hook shears off the vine-bough, Carved through the strength of the brass, till her arms fell soft on his shoulder. Once she essayed to escape: but the ring of the water was round her, Round her the ring of his arms; and despairing she sank on his bosom. Then, like a fawn when startled, she looked with a shriek to the seaward. 'Touch me not, wretch that I am! For accursed, a shame and a hissing, Guiltless, accurst no less, I await the revenge of the sea-gods. Yonder it comes! Ah go! Let me perish unseen, if I perish! Spare me the shame of thine eyes, when merciless fangs must tear me Piecemeal! Enough to endure by myself in the light of the sunshine Guiltless, the death of a kid!' But the boy still lingered around her, Loth, like a boy, to forego her, and waken the cliffs with his laughter. 'Yon is the foe, then? A beast of the sea? I had deemed him immortal. Titan, or Proteus' self, or Nereus, foeman of sailors: Yet would I fight with them all, but Poseidon, shaker of mountains, Uncle of mine, whom I fear, as is fit; for he haunts on Olympus, Holding the third of the world; and the gods all rise at his coming. Unto none else will I yield, god-helped: how then to a monster, Child of the earth and of night, unreasoning, shapeless, accursed?' 'Art thou, too, then a god?' 'No god I,' smiling he answered; 'Mortal as thou, yet divine: but mortal the herds of the ocean, Equal to men in that only, and less in all else; for they nourish Blindly the life of the lips, untaught by the gods, without wisdom: Shame if I fled before such!' In her heart new life was enkindled, Worship and trust, fair parents of love: but she answered him sighing. 'Beautiful, why wilt thou die? Is the light of the sun, then, so worthless, Worthless to sport with thy fellows in flowery glades of the forest, Under the broad green oaks, where never again shall I wander, Tossing the ball with my maidens, or wreathing the altar in garlands, Careless, with dances and songs, till the glens rang loud to our laughter. Too full of death the sad earth is already: the halls full of weepers, Quarried by tombs all cliffs, and the bones gleam white on the sea-floor, Numberless, gnawn by the herds who attend on the pitiless sea-gods, Even as mine will be soon: and yet noble it seems to me, dying, Giving my life for a people, to save to the arms of their lovers Maidens and youths for a while: thee, fairest of all, shall I slay thee? Add not thy bones to the many, thus angering idly the dread ones! Either the monster will crush, or the sea-queen's self overwhelm thee, Vengeful, in tempest and foam, and the thundering walls of the surges. Why wilt thou follow me down? can we love in the black blank darkness? Love in the realms of the dead, in the land where all is forgotten? Why wilt thou follow me down? is it joy, on the desolate oozes, Meagre to flit, gray ghosts in the depths of the gray salt water? Beautiful! why wilt thou die, and defraud fair girls of thy manhood? Surely one waits for thee longing, afar in the isles of the ocean. Go thy way; I mine; for the gods grudge pleasure to mortals.' Sobbing she ended her moan, as her neck, like a storm-bent lily, Drooped with the weight of her woe, and her limbs sank, weary with watching, Soft on the hard-ledged rock: but the boy, with his eye on the monster, Clasped her, and stood, like a god; and his lips curved proud as he answered— 'Great are the pitiless sea-gods: but greater the Lords of Olympus; Greater the AEgis-wielder, and greater is she who attends him. Clear-eyed Justice her name is, the counsellor, loved of Athene; Helper of heroes, who dare, in the god-given might of their manhood, Greatly to do and to suffer, and far in the fens' and the forests Smite the devourers of men, Heaven-hated, brood of the giants, Twyformed, strange, without like, who obey not the golden-haired Rulers. Vainly rebelling they rage, till they die by the swords of the heroes, Even as this must die; for I burn with the wrath of my father, Wandering, led by Athene; and dare whatsoever betides me. Led by Athene I won from the gray-haired terrible sisters Secrets hidden from men, when I found them asleep on the sand-hills, Keeping their eye and their tooth, till they showed me the perilous pathway Over the waterless ocean, the valley that led to the Gorgon. Her too I slew in my craft, Medusa, the beautiful horror; Taught by Athene I slew her, and saw not herself, but her image, Watching the mirror of brass, in the shield which a goddess had lent me. Cleaving her brass-scaled throat, as she lay with her adders around her, Fearless I bore off her head, in the folds of the mystical goat-skin Hide of Amaltheie, fair nurse of the AEgis-wielder. Hither I bear it, a gift to the gods, and a death to my foe-men, Freezing the seer to stone; to hide thine eyes from the horror. Kiss me but once, and I go.' Then lifting her neck, like a sea-bird Peering up over the wave, from the foam-white swells of her bosom, Blushing she kissed him: afar, on the topmost Idalian summit Laughed in the joy of her heart, far-seeing, the queen Aphrodite. Loosing his arms from her waist he flew upward, awaiting the sea-beast. Onward it came from the southward, as bulky and black as a galley, Lazily coasting along, as the fish fled leaping before it; Lazily breasting the ripple, and watching by sandbar and headland, Listening for laughter of maidens at bleaching, or song of the fisher, Children at play on the pebbles, or cattle that pawed on the sand-hills. Rolling and dripping it came, where bedded in glistening purple Cold on the cold sea-weeds lay the long white sides of the maiden, Trembling, her face in her hands, and her tresses afloat on the water. As when an osprey aloft, dark-eyebrowed, royally crested, Flags on by creek and by cove, and in scorn of the anger of Nereus Ranges, the king of the shore; if he see on a glittering shallow, Chasing the bass and the mullet, the fin of a wallowing dolphin, Halting, he wheels round slowly, in doubt at the weight of his quarry, Whether to clutch it alive, or to fall on the wretch like a plummet, Stunning with terrible talon the life of the brain in the hindhead: Then rushes up with a scream, and stooping the wrath of his eyebrows Falls from the sky, like a star, while the wind rattles hoarse in his pinions. Over him closes the foam for a moment; and then from the sand-bed Rolls up the great fish, dead, and his side gleams white in the sunshine. Thus fell the boy on the beast, unveiling the face of the Gorgon; Thus fell the boy on the beast; thus rolled up the beast in his horror, Once, as the dead eyes glared into his; then his sides, death-sharpened, Stiffened and stood, brown rock, in the wash of the wandering water. Beautiful, eager, triumphant, he leapt back again to his treasure; Leapt back again, full blest, toward arms spread wide to receive him. Brimful of honour he clasped her, and brimful of love she caressed him, Answering lip with lip; while above them the queen Aphrodite Poured on their foreheads and limbs, unseen, ambrosial odours, Givers of longing, and rapture, and chaste content in espousals. Happy whom ere they be wedded anoints she, the Queen Aphrodite! Laughing she called to her sister, the chaste Tritonid Athene, 'Seest thou yonder thy pupil, thou maid of the AEgis-wielder? How he has turned himself wholly to love, and caresses a damsel, Dreaming no longer of honour, or danger, or Pallas Athene? Sweeter, it seems, to the young my gifts are; so yield me the stripling; Yield him me now, lest he die in his prime, like hapless Adonis.' Smiling she answered in turn, that chaste Tritonid Athene: 'Dear unto me, no less than to thee, is the wedlock of heroes; Dear, who can worthily win him a wife not unworthy; and noble, Pure with the pure to beget brave children, the like of their father. Happy, who thus stands linked to the heroes who were, and who shall be; Girdled with holiest awe, not sparing of self; for his mother Watches his steps with the eyes of the gods; and his wife and his children Move him to plan and to do in the farm and the camp and the council. Thence comes weal to a nation: but woe upon woe, when the people Mingle in love at their will, like the brutes, not heeding the future.' Then from her gold-strung loom, where she wrought in her chamber of cedar, Awful and fair she arose; and she went by the glens of Olympus; Went by the isles of the sea, and the wind never ruffled her mantle; Went by the water of Crete, and the black-beaked fleets of the Phoenics; Came to the sea-girt rock which is washed by the surges for ever, Bearing the wealth of the gods, for a gift to the bride of a hero. There she met Andromeden and Persea, shaped like Immortals; Solemn and sweet was her smile, while their hearts beat loud at her coming; Solemn and sweet was her smile, as she spoke to the pair in her wisdom. 'Three things hold we, the Rulers, who sit by the founts of Olympus, Wisdom, and prowess, and beauty; and freely we pour them on mortals; Pleased at our image in man, as a father at his in his children. One thing only we grudge to mankind: when a hero, unthankful, Boasts of our gifts as his own, stiffnecked, and dishonours the givers, Turning our weapons against us. Him Ate follows avenging; Slowly she tracks him and sure, as a lyme-hound; sudden she grips him, Crushing him, blind in his pride, for a sign and a terror to folly. This we avenge, as is fit; in all else never weary of giving. Come, then, damsel, and know if the gods grudge pleasure to mortals.' Loving and gentle she spoke: but the maid stood in awe, as the goddess Plaited with soft swift finger her tresses, and decked her in jewels, Armlet and anklet and earbell; and over her shoulders a necklace, Heavy, enamelled, the flower of the gold and the brass of the mountain. Trembling with joy she gazed, so well Haephaistos had made it, Deep in the forges of AEtna, while Charis his lady beside him Mingled her grace in his craft, as he wrought for his sister Athene. Then on the brows of the maiden a veil bound Pallas Athene; Ample it fell to her feet, deep-fringed, a wonder of weaving. Ages and ages agone it was wrought on the heights of Olympus, Wrought in the gold-strung loom, by the finger of cunning Athene. In it she wove all creatures that teem in the womb of the ocean; Nereid, siren, and triton, and dolphin, and arrowy fishes Glittering round, many-hued, on the flame-red folds of the mantle. In it she wove, too, a town where gray-haired kings sat in judgment; Sceptre in hand in the market they sat, doing right by the people, Wise: while above watched Justice, and near, far-seeing Apollo. Round it she wove for a fringe all herbs of the earth and the water, Violet, asphodel, ivy, and vine-leaves, roses and lilies, Coral and sea-fan and tangle, the blooms and the palms of the ocean: Now from Olympus she bore it, a dower to the bride of a hero. Over the limbs of the damsel she wrapt it: the maid still trembled, Shading her face with her hands; for the eyes of the goddess were awful. Then, as a pine upon Ida when southwest winds blow landward, Stately she bent to the damsel, and breathed on her: under her breathing Taller and fairer she grew; and the goddess spoke in her wisdom. 'Courage I give thee; the heart of a queen, and the mind of Immortals; Godlike to talk with the gods, and to look on their eyes unshrinking; Fearing the sun and the stars no more, and the blue salt water; Fearing us only, the lords of Olympus, friends of the heroes; Chastely and wisely to govern thyself and thy house and thy people, Bearing a godlike race to thy spouse, till dying I set thee High for a star in the heavens, a sign and a hope to the seamen, Spreading thy long white arms all night in the heights of the aether, Hard by thy sire and the hero thy spouse, while near thee thy mother Sits in her ivory chair, as she plaits ambrosial tresses. All night long thou wilt shine; all day thou wilt feast on Olympus, Happy, the guest of the gods, by thy husband, the god-begotten.' Blissful, they turned them to go: but the fair-tressed Pallas Athene Rose, like a pillar of tall white cloud, toward silver Olympus; Far above ocean and shore, and the peaks of the isles and the mainland; Where no frost nor storm is, in clear blue windless abysses, High in the home of the summer, the seats of the happy Immortals, Shrouded in keen deep blaze, unapproachable; there ever youthful Hebe, Harmonie, and the daughter of Jove, Aphrodite, Whirled in the white-linked dance with the gold-crowned Hours and the Graces, Hand within hand, while clear piped Phoebe, queen of the woodlands. All day long they rejoiced: but Athene still in her chamber Bent herself over her loom, as the stars rang loud to her singing, Chanting of order and right, and of foresight, warden of nations; Chanting of labour and craft, and of wealth in the port and the garner; Chanting of valour and fame, and the man who can fall with the foremost, Fighting for children and wife, and the field which his father bequeathed him. Sweetly and solemnly sang she, and planned new lessons for mortals: Happy, who hearing obey her, the wise unsullied Athene.

Eversley, 1852,


And should she die, her grave should be Upon the bare top of a sunny hill, Among the moorlands of her own fair land, Amid a ring of old and moss-grown stones In gorse and heather all embosomed. There should be no tall stone, no marble tomb Above her gentle corse;—the ponderous pile Would press too rudely on those fairy limbs. The turf should lightly he, that marked her home. A sacred spot it would be—every bird That came to watch her lone grave should be holy. The deer should browse around her undisturbed; The whin bird by, her lonely nest should build All fearless; for in life she loved to see Happiness in all things— And we would come on summer days When all around was bright, and set us down And think of all that lay beneath that turf On which the heedless moor-bird sits, and whistles His long, shrill, painful song, as though he plained For her that loved him and his pleasant hills; And we would dream again of bygone days Until our eyes should swell with natural tears For brilliant hopes—all faded into air! As, on the sands of Irak, near approach Destroys the traveller's vision of still lakes, And goodly streams reed-clad, and meadows green; And leaves behind the drear reality Of shadeless, same, yet ever-changing sand! And when the sullen clouds rose thick on high Mountains on mountains rolling—and dark mist Wrapped itself round the hill-tops like a shroud, When on her grave swept by the moaning wind Bending the heather-bells—then would I come And watch by her, in silent loneliness, And smile upon the storm—as knowing well The lightning's flash would surely turn aside, Nor mar the lowly mound, where peaceful sleeps All that gave life and love to one fond heart! I talk of things that are not; and if prayers By night and day availed from my weak lips, Then should they never be! till I was gone, Before the friends I loved, to my long home. Oh pardon me, if e'er I say too much; my mind Too often strangely turns to ribald mirth, As though I had no doubt nor hope beyond— Or brooding melancholy cloys my soul With thoughts of days misspent, of wasted time And bitter feelings swallowed up in jests. Then strange and fearful thoughts flit o'er my brain By indistinctness made more terrible, And incubi mock at me with fierce eyes Upon my couch: and visions, crude and dire, Of planets, suns, millions of miles, infinity, Space, time, thought, being, blank nonentity, Things incorporeal, fancies of the brain, Seen, heard, as though they were material, All mixed in sickening mazes, trouble me, And lead my soul away from earth and heaven Until I doubt whether I be or not! And then I see all frightful shapes—lank ghosts, Hydras, chimeras, krakens, wastes of sand, Herbless and void of living voice—tall mountains Cleaving the skies with height immeasurable, On which perchance I climb for infinite years; broad seas, Studded with islands numberless, that stretch Beyond the regions of the sun, and fade Away in distance vast, or dreary clouds, Cold, dark, and watery, where wander I for ever! Or space of ether, where I hang for aye! A speck, an atom—inconsumable— Immortal, hopeless, voiceless, powerless! And oft I fancy, I am weak and old, And all who loved me, one by one, are dead, And I am left alone—and cannot die! Surely there is no rest on earth for souls Whose dreams are like a madman's! I am young And much is yet before me—after years May bring peace with them to my weary heart!

Helston, 1835.


There stood a low and ivied roof, As gazing rustics tell, In times of chivalry and song 'Yclept the holy well.

Above the ivies' branchlets gray In glistening clusters shone; While round the base the grass-blades bright And spiry foxglove sprung.

The brambles clung in graceful bands, Chequering the old gray stone With shining leaflets, whose bright face In autumn's tinting shone.

Around the fountain's eastern base A babbling brooklet sped, With sleepy murmur purling soft Adown its gravelly bed.

Within the cell the filmy ferns To woo the clear wave bent; And cushioned mosses to the stone Their quaint embroidery lent.

The fountain's face lay still as glass— Save where the streamlet free Across the basin's gnarled lip Flowed ever silently.

Above the well a little nook Once held, as rustics tell, All garland-decked, an image of The Lady of the Well.

They tell of tales of mystery, Of darkling deeds of woe; But no! such doings might not brook The holy streamlet's flow.

Oh tell me not of bitter thoughts, Of melancholy dreams, By that fair fount whose sunny wall Basks in the western beams.

When last I saw that little stream, A form of light there stood, That seemed like a precious gem, Beneath that archway rude:

And as I gazed with love and awe Upon that sylph-like thing, Methought that airy form must be The fairy of the spring.

Helston, 1835.


I would have loved: there are no mates in heaven; I would be great: there is no pride in heaven; I would have sung, as doth the nightingale The summer's night beneath the moone pale, But Saintes hymnes alone in heaven prevail. My love, my song, my skill, my high intent, Have I within this seely book y-pent: And all that beauty which from every part I treasured still alway within mine heart, Whether of form or face angelical, Or herb or flower, or lofty cathedral, Upon these sheets below doth lie y-spred, In quaint devices deftly blazoned. Lord, in this tome to thee I sanctify The sinful fruits of worldly fantasy.



The swevens came up round Harold the Earl, Like motes in the sunnes beam; And over him stood the Weird Lady, In her charmed castle over the sea, Sang 'Lie thou still and dream.'

'Thy steed is dead in his stall, Earl Harold, Since thou hast been with me; The rust has eaten thy harness bright, And the rats have eaten thy greyhound light, That was so fair and free.'

Mary Mother she stooped from heaven; She wakened Earl Harold out of his sweven, To don his harness on; And over the land and over the sea He wended abroad to his own countrie, A weary way to gon.

Oh but his beard was white with eld, Oh but his hair was gray; He stumbled on by stock and stone, And as he journeyed he made his moan Along that weary way.

Earl Harold came to his castle wall; The gate was burnt with fire; Roof and rafter were fallen down, The folk were strangers all in the town, And strangers all in the shire.

Earl Harold came to a house of nuns, And he heard the dead-bell toll; He saw the sexton stand by a grave; 'Now Christ have mercy, who did us save, Upon yon fair nun's soul.'

The nuns they came from the convent gate By one, by two, by three; They sang for the soul of a lady bright Who died for the love of a traitor knight: It was his own lady.

He stayed the corpse beside the grave; 'A sign, a sign!' quod he. 'Mary Mother who rulest heaven, Send me a sign if I be forgiven By the woman who so loved me.'

A white dove out of the coffin flew; Earl Harold's mouth it kist; He fell on his face, wherever he stood; And the white dove carried his soul to God Or ever the bearers wist.

Durham, 1840.


Ye mountains, on whose torrent-furrowed slopes, And bare and silent brows uplift to heaven, I envied oft the soul which fills your wastes Of pure and stern sublime, and still expanse Unbroken by the petty incidents Of noisy life: Oh hear me once again!

Winds, upon whose racked eddies, far aloft, Above the murmur of the uneasy world, My thoughts in exultation held their way: Whose tremulous whispers through the rustling glade Were once to me unearthly tones of love, Joy without object, wordless music, stealing Through all my soul, until my pulse beat fast With aimless hope, and unexpressed desire— Thou sea, who wast to me a prophet deep Through all thy restless waves, and wasting shores, Of silent labour, and eternal change; First teacher of the dense immensity Of ever-stirring life, in thy strange forms Of fish, and shell, and worm, and oozy weed: To me alike thy frenzy and thy sleep Have been a deep and breathless joy: Oh hear!

Mountains, and winds, and waves, take back your child! Upon thy balmy bosom, Mother Nature, Where my young spirit dreamt its years away, Give me once more to nestle: I have strayed Far through another world, which is not thine. Through sunless cities, and the weary haunts Of smoke-grimed labour, and foul revelry My flagging wing has swept. A mateless bird's My pilgrimage has been; through sin, and doubt, And darkness, seeking love. Oh hear me, Nature! Receive me once again: but not alone; No more alone, Great Mother! I have brought One who has wandered, yet not sinned, like me. Upon thy lap, twin children, let us lie; And in the light of thine immortal eyes Let our souls mingle, till The Father calls To some eternal home the charge He gives thee.

Cambridge, 1841.


Twin stars, aloft in ether clear, Around each other roll alway, Within one common atmosphere Of their own mutual light and day.

And myriad happy eyes are bent Upon their changeless love alway; As, strengthened by their one intent, They pour the flood of life and day.

So we through this world's waning night May, hand in hand, pursue our way; Shed round us order, love, and light, And shine unto the perfect day.



Underneath their eider-robe Russet swede and golden globe, Feathered carrot, burrowing deep, Steadfast wait in charmed sleep; Treasure-houses wherein lie, Locked by angels' alchemy, Milk and hair, and blood, and bone, Children of the barren stone; Children of the flaming Air, With his blue eye keen and bare, Spirit-peopled smiling down On frozen field and toiling town— Toiling town that will not heed God His voice for rage and greed; Frozen fields that surpliced lie, Gazing patient at the sky; Like some marble carven nun, With folded hands when work is done, Who mute upon her tomb doth pray, Till the resurrection day.

Eversley, 1845.


Jesus, He loves one and all, Jesus, He loves children small, Their souls are waiting round His feet On high, before His mercy-seat.

While He wandered here below Children small to Him did go, At His feet they knelt and prayed, On their heads His hands He laid.

Came a Spirit on them then, Better than of mighty men, A Spirit faithful, pure and mild, A Spirit fit for king and child.

Oh! that Spirit give to me, Jesu Lord, where'er I be!



Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the pleasant sight to see Shires and towns from Airly Beacon, While my love climbed up to me!

Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the happy hours we lay Deep in fern on Airly Beacon, Courting through the summer's day!

Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the weary haunt for me, All alone on Airly Beacon, With his baby on my knee!



She lay among the myrtles on the cliff; Above her glared the noon; beneath, the sea. Upon the white horizon Atho's peak Weltered in burning haze; all airs were dead; The cicale slept among the tamarisk's hair; The birds sat dumb and drooping. Far below The lazy sea-weed glistened in the sun; The lazy sea-fowl dried their steaming wings; The lazy swell crept whispering up the ledge, And sank again. Great Pan was laid to rest; And Mother Earth watched by him as he slept, And hushed her myriad children for a while. She lay among the myrtles on the cliff; And sighed for sleep, for sleep that would not hear, But left her tossing still; for night and day A mighty hunger yearned within her heart, Till all her veins ran fever; and her cheek, Her long thin hands, and ivory-channelled feet, Were wasted with the wasting of her soul. Then peevishly she flung her on her face, And hid her eyeballs from the blinding glare, And fingered at the grass, and tried to cool Her crisp hot lips against the crisp hot sward: And then she raised her head, and upward cast Wild looks from homeless eyes, whose liquid light Gleamed out between deep folds of blue-black hair, As gleam twin lakes between the purple peaks Of deep Parnassus, at the mournful moon. Beside her lay her lyre. She snatched the shell, And waked wild music from its silver strings; Then tossed it sadly by.—'Ah, hush!' she cries; 'Dead offspring of the tortoise and the mine! Why mock my discords with thine harmonies? Although a thrice-Olympian lot be thine, Only to echo back in every tone The moods of nobler natures than thine own.'

Eversley, 1847 From Yeast.


The merry brown hares came leaping Over the crest of the hill, Where the clover and corn lay sleeping Under the moonlight still.

Leaping late and early, Till under their bite and their tread The swedes and the wheat and the barley Lay cankered and trampled and dead.

A poacher's widow sat sighing On the side of the white chalk bank, Where under the gloomy fir-woods One spot in the ley throve rank.

She watched a long tuft of clover, Where rabbit or hare never ran; For its black sour haulm covered over The blood of a murdered man.

She thought of the dark plantation, And the hares, and her husband's blood, And the voice of her indignation Rose up to the throne of God.

'I am long past wailing and whining— I have wept too much in my life: I've had twenty years of pining As an English labourer's wife.

'A labourer in Christian England, Where they cant of a Saviour's name, And yet waste men's lives like the vermin's For a few more brace of game.

'There's blood on your new foreign shrubs, squire, There's blood on your pointer's feet; There's blood on the game you sell, squire, And there's blood on the game you eat.

'You have sold the labouring-man, squire, Body and soul to shame, To pay for your seat in the House, squire, And to pay for the feed of your game.

'You made him a poacher yourself, squire, When you'd give neither work nor meat, And your barley-fed hares robbed the garden At our starving children's feet;

'When, packed in one reeking chamber, Man, maid, mother, and little ones lay; While the rain pattered in on the rotting bride-bed, And the walls let in the day.

'When we lay in the burning fever On the mud of the cold clay floor, Till you parted us all for three months, squire, At the dreary workhouse door.

'We quarrelled like brutes, and who wonders? What self-respect could we keep, Worse housed than your hacks and your pointers, Worse fed than your hogs and your sheep?

'Our daughters with base-born babies Have wandered away in their shame, If your misses had slept, squire, where they did, Your misses might do the same.

'Can your lady patch hearts that are breaking With handfuls of coals and rice, Or by dealing out flannel and sheeting A little below cost price?

'You may tire of the jail and the workhouse, And take to allotments and schools, But you've run up a debt that will never Be paid us by penny-club rules.

'In the season of shame and sadness, In the dark and dreary day, When scrofula, gout, and madness Are eating your race away;

'When to kennels and liveried varlets You have cast your daughter's bread, And, worn out with liquor and harlots, Your heir at your feet lies dead;

'When your youngest, the mealy-mouthed rector, Lets your soul rot asleep to the grave, You will find in your God the protector Of the freeman you fancied your slave.'

She looked at the tuft of clover, And wept till her heart grew light; And at last, when her passion was over, Went wandering into the night.

But the merry brown hares came leaping Over the uplands still, Where the clover and corn lay sleeping On the side of the white chalk hill.

Eversley, 1847. From Yeast.


Oh, forth she went like a braw, braw bride To meet her winsome groom, When she was aware of twa bonny birds Sat biggin' in the broom.

The tane it built with the green, green moss, But and the bents sae fine, And the tither wi' a lock o' lady's hair Linked up wi' siller twine.

'O whaur gat ye the green, green moss, O whaur the bents sae fine? And whaur gat ye the bonny broun hair That ance was tress o' mine?'

'We gat the moss fra' the elditch aile, The bents fra' the whinny muir, And a fause knight threw us the bonny broun hair, To please his braw new fere.'

'Gae pull, gae pull the simmer leaves, And strew them saft o'er me; My token's tint, my love is fause, I'll lay me doon and dee.'



A gay young knight in Burley stood, Beside him pawed his steed so good, His hands he wrung as he were wood With waiting for his love O!

'Oh, will she come, or will she stay, Or will she waste the weary day With fools who wish her far away, And hate her for her love O?'

But by there came a mighty boar, His jowl and tushes red with gore, And on his curled snout he bore A bracelet rich and rare O!

The knight he shrieked, he ran, he flew, He searched the wild wood through and through, But found nought save a mantle blue, Low rolled within the brake O!

He twined the wild briar, red and white, Upon his head the garland dight, The green leaves withered black as night, And burnt into his brain O!

A fire blazed up within his breast, He mounted on an aimless quest, He laid his virgin lance in rest, And through the forest drove O!

By Rhinefield and by Osmondsleigh, Through leat and furze brake fast drove he, Until he saw the homeless sea, That called with all its waves O!

He laughed aloud to hear the roar, And rushed his horse adown the shore, The deep surge rolled him o'er and o'er, And swept him down the tide O!

New Forest, July 12, 1847.


Oh she tripped over Ocknell plain, And down by Bradley Water; And the fairest maid on the forest side Was Jane, the keeper's daughter.

She went and went through the broad gray lawns As down the red sun sank, And chill as the scent of a new-made grave The mist smelt cold and dank.

'A token, a token!' that fair maid cried, 'A token that bodes me sorrow; For they that smell the grave by night Will see the corpse to-morrow.

'My own true love in Burley Walk Does hunt to-night, I fear; And if he meet my father stern, His game may cost him dear.

'Ah, here's a curse on hare and grouse, A curse on hart and hind; And a health to the squire in all England, Leaves never a head behind.'

Her true love shot a mighty hart Among the standing rye, When on him leapt that keeper old From the fern where he did lie.

The forest laws were sharp and stern, The forest blood was keen; They lashed together for life and death Beneath the hollies green.

The metal good and the walnut wood Did soon in flinders flee; They tost the orts to south and north, And grappled knee to knee.

They wrestled up, they wrestled down, They wrestled still and sore; Beneath their feet the myrtle sweet Was stamped to mud and gore.

Ah, cold pale moon, thou cruel pale moon, That starest with never a frown On all the grim and the ghastly things That are wrought in thorpe and town:

And yet, cold pale moon, thou cruel pale moon, That night hadst never the grace To lighten two dying Christian men To see one another's face.

They wrestled up, they wrestled down, They wrestled sore and still, The fiend who blinds the eyes of men That night he had his will.

Like stags full spent, among the bent They dropped a while to rest; When the young man drove his saying knife Deep in the old man's breast.

The old man drove his gunstock down Upon the young man's head; And side by side, by the water brown, Those yeomen twain lay dead.

They dug three graves in Lyndhurst yard; They dug them side by side; Two yeomen lie there, and a maiden fair A widow and never a bride.

In the New Forest, 1847.


The King was drinking in Malwood Hall, There came in a monk before them all: He thrust by squire, he thrust by knight, Stood over against the dais aright; And, 'The word of the Lord, thou cruel Red King, The word of the Lord to thee I bring. A grimly sweven I dreamt yestreen; I saw thee lie under the hollins green, And through thine heart an arrow keen; And out of thy body a smoke did rise, Which smirched the sunshine out of the skies: So if thou God's anointed be I rede thee unto thy soul thou see. For mitre and pall thou hast y-sold, False knight to Christ, for gain and gold; And for this thy forest were digged down all, Steading and hamlet and churches tall; And Christes poor were ousten forth, To beg their bread from south to north. So tarry at home, and fast and pray, Lest fiends hunt thee in the judgment-day.'

The monk he vanished where he stood; King William sterte up wroth and wood; Quod he, 'Fools' wits will jump together; The Hampshire ale and the thunder weather Have turned the brains for us both, I think; And monks are curst when they fall to drink. A lothly sweven I dreamt last night, How there hoved anigh me a griesly knight, Did smite me down to the pit of hell; I shrieked and woke, so fast I fell. There's Tyrrel as sour as I, perdie, So he of you all shall hunt with me; A grimly brace for a hart to see.'

The Red King down from Malwood came; His heart with wine was all aflame, His eyne were shotten, red as blood, He rated and swore, wherever he rode. They roused a hart, that grimly brace, A hart of ten, a hart of grease, Fled over against the kinges place. The sun it blinded the kinges ee, A fathom behind his hocks shot he: 'Shoot thou,' quod he, 'in the fiendes name, To lose such a quarry were seven years' shame.' And he hove up his hand to mark the game. Tyrrel he shot full light, God wot; For whether the saints they swerved the shot, 'Or whether by treason, men knowen not, But under the arm, in a secret part, The iron fled through the kinges heart. The turf it squelched where the Red King fell; And the fiends they carried his soul to hell, Quod 'His master's name it hath sped him well.'

Tyrrel he smiled full grim that day, Quod 'Shooting of kings is no bairns' play;' And he smote in the spurs, and fled fast away. As he pricked along by Fritham plain, The green tufts flew behind like rain; The waters were out, and over the sward: He swam his horse like a stalwart lord: Men clepen that water Tyrrel's ford. By Rhinefield and by Osmondsleigh, Through glade and furze brake fast drove he, Until he heard the roaring sea; Quod he, 'Those gay waves they call me.' By Mary's grace a seely boat On Christchurch bar did lie afloat; He gave the shipmen mark and groat, To ferry him over to Normandie, And there he fell to sanctuarie; God send his soul all bliss to see.

And fend our princes every one, From foul mishap and trahison; But kings that harrow Christian men Shall England never bide again.

In the New Forest, 1847,


Oh, I wadna be a yeoman, mither, to follow my father's trade, To bow my back in miry banks, at pleugh and hoe and spade. Stinting wife, and bairns, and kye, to fat some courtier lord,— Let them die o' rent wha like, mither, and I'll die by sword.

Nor I wadna be a clerk, mither, to bide aye ben, Scrabbling ower the sheets o' parchment with a weary weary pen; Looking through the lang stane windows at a narrow strip o' sky, Like a laverock in a withy cage, until I pine away and die.

Nor I wadna be a merchant, mither, in his lang furred gown, Trailing strings o' footsore horses through the noisy dusty town; Louting low to knights and ladies, fumbling o'er his wares, Telling lies, and scraping siller, heaping cares on cares.

Nor I wadna be a soldier, mither, to dice wi' ruffian bands, Pining weary months in castles, looking over wasted lands. Smoking byres, and shrieking women, and the grewsome sights o' war— There's blood on my hand eneugh, mither; it's ill to make it mair.

If I had married a wife, mither, I might ha' been douce and still, And sat at hame by the ingle side to crack and laugh my fill; Sat at hame wi' the woman I looed, and wi' bairnies at my knee: But death is bauld, and age is cauld, and luve's no for me.

For when first I stirred in your side, mither, ye ken full well How you lay all night up among the deer out on the open fell; And so it was that I won the heart to wander far and near, Caring neither for land nor lassie, but the bonnie dun deer.

Yet I am not a losel and idle, mither, nor a thief that steals; I do but hunt God's cattle, upon God's ain hills; For no man buys and sells the deer, and the bonnie fells are free To a belted knight with hawk on hand, and a gangrel loon like me.

So I'm aff and away to the muirs, mither, to hunt the deer, Ranging far frae frowning faces, and the douce folk here; Crawling up through burn and bracken, louping down the screes, Looking out frae craig and headland, drinking up the simmer breeze.

Oh, the wafts o' heather honey, and the music o' the brae, As I watch the great harts feeding, nearer, nearer a' the day. Oh, to hark the eagle screaming, sweeping, ringing round the sky— That's a bonnier life than stumbling ower the muck to colt and kye.

And when I'm taen and hangit, mither, a brittling o' my deer, Ye'll no leave your bairn to the corbie craws, to dangle in the air; But ye'll send up my twa douce brethren, and ye'll steal me frae the tree, And bury me up on the brown brown muirs, where I aye looed to be.

Ye'll bury me 'twixt the brae and the burn, in a glen far away, Where I may hear the heathcock craw, and the great harts bray; And gin my ghaist can walk, mither, I'll go glowering at the sky, The livelong night on the black hill sides where the dun deer lie.

In the New Forest, 1847.


There sits a bird on every tree; Sing heigh-ho! There sits a bird on every tree, And courts his love as I do thee; Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho! Young maids must marry.

There grows a flower on every bough; Sing heigh-ho! There grows a flower on every bough, Its petals kiss—I'll show you how: Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho! Young maids must marry.

From sea to stream the salmon roam; Sing heigh-ho! From sea to stream the salmon roam; Each finds a mate, and leads her home; Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho! Young maids must marry.

The sun's a bridegroom, earth a bride; Sing heigh-ho! They court from morn till eventide: The earth shall pass, but love abide. Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho! Young maids must marry.

Eversley, 1847.


Dreary East winds howling o'er us; Clay-lands knee-deep spread before us; Mire and ice and snow and sleet; Aching backs and frozen feet; Knees which reel as marches quicken, Ranks which thin as corpses thicken; While with carrion birds we eat, Calling puddle-water sweet, As we pledge the health of our general, who fares as rough as we: What can daunt us, what can turn us, led to death by such as he?

Eversley, 1848.


The merry merry lark was up and singing, And the hare was out and feeding on the lea; And the merry merry bells below were ringing, When my child's laugh rang through me.

Now the hare is snared and dead beside the snow-yard, And the lark beside the dreary winter sea; And the baby in his cradle in the churchyard Sleeps sound till the bell brings me.

Eversley, 1848.


A floating, a floating Across the sleeping sea, All night I heard a singing bird Upon the topmost tree.

'Oh came you off the isles of Greece, Or off the banks of Seine; Or off some tree in forests free, Which fringe the western main?'

'I came not off the old world Nor yet from off the new— But I am one of the birds of God Which sing the whole night through.'

'Oh sing, and wake the dawning— Oh whistle for the wind; The night is long, the current strong, My boat it lags behind.'

'The current sweeps the old world, The current sweeps the new; The wind will blow, the dawn will glow Ere thou hast sailed them through.'

Eversley, 1848.


Wild wild wind, wilt thou never cease thy sighing? Dark dark night, wilt thou never wear away? Cold cold church, in thy death sleep lying, The Lent is past, thy Passion here, but not thine Easter-day.

Peace, faint heart, though the night be dark and sighing; Rest, fair corpse, where thy Lord himself hath lain. Weep, dear Lord, above thy bride low lying; Thy tears shall wake her frozen limbs to life and health again.

Eversley, 1848.


The church bells were ringing, the devil sat singing On the stump of a rotting old tree; 'Oh faith it grows cold, and the creeds they grow old, And the world is nigh ready for me.'

The bells went on ringing, a spirit came singing, And smiled as he crumbled the tree; 'Yon wood does but perish new seedlings to cherish, And the world is too live yet for thee.'

Eversley, 1848.


Early in spring time, on raw and windy mornings, Beneath the freezing house-eaves I heard the starlings sing— 'Ah dreary March month, is this then a time for building wearily? Sad, sad, to think that the year is but begun.'

Late in the autumn, on still and cloudless evenings, Among the golden reed-beds I heard the starlings sing— 'Ah that sweet March month, when we and our mates were courting merrily; Sad, sad, to think that the year is all but done.'

Eversley, 1848.


See how the autumn leaves float by decaying, Down the wild swirls of the rain-swollen stream. So fleet the works of men, back to their earth again; Ancient and holy things fade like a dream.

Nay! see the spring-blossoms steal forth a-maying, Clothing with tender hues orchard and glen; So, though old forms pass by, ne'er shall their spirit die, Look! England's bare boughs show green leaf again.

Eversley, 1848.


'Watchman, what of the night?' 'The stars are out in the sky; And the merry round moon will be rising soon, For us to go sailing by.'

'Watchman, what of the night?' 'The tide flows in from the sea; There's water to float a little cockboat Will carry such fishers as we.'

'Watchman, what of the night?' 'The night is a fruitful time; When to many a pair are born children fair, To be christened at morning chime.'



Who will say the world is dying? Who will say our prime is past? Sparks from Heaven, within us lying, Flash, and will flash till the last. Fools! who fancy Christ mistaken; Man a tool to buy and sell; Earth a failure, God-forsaken, Anteroom of Hell.

Still the race of Hero-spirits Pass the lamp from hand to hand; Age from age the Words inherits— 'Wife, and Child, and Fatherland.' Still the youthful hunter gathers Fiery joy from wold and wood; He will dare as dared his fathers Give him cause as good.

While a slave bewails his fetters; While an orphan pleads in vain; While an infant lisps his letters, Heir of all the age's gain; While a lip grows ripe for kissing; While a moan from man is wrung; Know, by every want and blessing, That the world is young.



'O Mary, go and call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, And call the cattle home Across the sands of Dee;' The western wind was wild and dank with foam, And all alone went she.

The western tide crept up along the sand, And o'er and o'er the sand, And round and round the sand, As far as eye could see. The rolling mist came down and hid the land: And never home came she.

'Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair— A tress of golden hair, A drowned maiden's hair Above the nets at sea? Was never salmon yet that shone so fair Among the stakes on Dee.'

They rowed her in across the rolling foam, The cruel crawling foam, The cruel hungry foam, To her grave beside the sea: But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home Across the sands of Dee.

Eversley, 1849.


How sleeps yon rock, whose half-day's bath is done. With broad blight side beneath the broad bright sun, Like sea-nymph tired, on cushioned mosses sleeping. Yet, nearer drawn, beneath her purple tresses From drooping brows we find her slowly weeping. So many a wife for cruel man's caresses Must inly pine and pine, yet outward bear A gallant front to this world's gaudy glare.

Ilfracombe, 1849.


Wearily stretches the sand to the surge, and the surge to the cloudland; Wearily onward I ride, watching the water alone. Not as of old, like Homeric Achilles, ??de? ya???, Joyous knight-errant of God, thirsting for labour and strife; No more on magical steed borne free through the regions of ether, But, like the hack which I ride, selling my sinew for gold. Fruit-bearing autumn is gone; let the sad quiet winter hang o'er me— What were the spring to a soul laden with sorrow and shame? Blossoms would fret me with beauty; my heart has no time to bepraise them; Gray rock, bough, surge, cloud, waken no yearning within. Sing not, thou sky-lark above! even angels pass hushed by the weeper. Scream on, ye sea-fowl! my heart echoes your desolate cry. Sweep the dry sand on, thou wild wind, to drift o'er the shell and the sea- weed; Sea-weed and shell, like my dreams, swept down the pitiless tide. Just is the wave which uptore us; 'tis Nature's own law which condemns us; Woe to the weak who, in pride, build on the faith of the sand! Joy to the oak of the mountain: he trusts to the might of the rock-clefts; Deeply he mines, and in peace feeds on the wealth of the stone.

Morte Sands, Devonshire, February 1849.


I cannot tell what you say, green leaves, I cannot tell what you say: But I know that there is a spirit in you, And a word in you this day.

I cannot tell what you say, rosy rocks, I cannot tell what you say: But I know that there is a spirit in you, And a word in you this day.

I cannot tell what you say, brown streams, I cannot tell what you say: But I know that in you too a spirit doth live, And a word doth speak this day.

'Oh green is the colour of faith and truth, And rose the colour of love and youth, And brown of the fruitful clay. Sweet Earth is faithful, and fruitful, and young, And her bridal day shall come ere long, And you shall know what the rocks and the streams And the whispering woodlands say.'

Drew's Teignton, Dartmoor, July 31, 1849.


Forward! Hark forward's the cry! One more fence and we're out on the open, So to us at once, if you want to live near us! Hark to them, ride to them, beauties! as on they go, Leaping and sweeping away in the vale below! Cowards and bunglers, whose heart or whose eye is slow, Find themselves staring alone.

So the great cause flashes by; Nearer and clearer its purposes open, While louder and prouder the world-echoes cheer us: Gentlemen sportsmen, you ought to live up to us, Lead us, and lift us, and hallo our game to us— We cannot call the hounds off, and no shame to us— Don't be left staring alone!

Eversley, 1849.


Weep, weep, weep and weep, For pauper, dolt, and slave! Hark! from wasted moor and fen, Feverous alley, stifling den, Swells the wail of Saxon men— Work! or the grave!

Down, down, down and down, With idler, knave, and tyrant! Why for sluggards cark and moil? He that will not live by toil Has no right on English soil! God's word's our warrant!

Up, up, up and up! Face your game and play it! The night is past, behold the sun! The idols fall, the lie is done! The Judge is set, the doom begun! Who shall stay it?

On Torridge, May 1849.


The Day of the Lord is at hand, at hand: Its storms roll up the sky: The nations sleep starving on heaps of gold; All dreamers toss and sigh; The night is darkest before the morn; When the pain is sorest the child is born, And the Day of the Lord at hand.

Gather you, gather you, angels of God— Freedom, and Mercy, and Truth; Come! for the Earth is grown coward and old, Come down, and renew us her youth. Wisdom, Self-Sacrifice, Daring, and Love, Haste to the battle-field, stoop from above, To the Day of the Lord at hand.

Gather you, gather you, hounds of hell— Famine, and Plague, and War; Idleness, Bigotry, Cant, and Misrule, Gather, and fall in the snare! Hireling and Mammonite, Bigot and Knave, Crawl to the battle-field, sneak to your grave, In the Day of the Lord at hand.

Who would sit down and sigh for a lost age of gold, While the Lord of all ages is here? True hearts will leap up at the trumpet of God, And those who can suffer, can dare. Each old age of gold was an iron age too, And the meekest of saints may find stern work to do, In the Day of the Lord at hand.

On the Torridge, Devonshire, September 10, 1849.


It chanced upon the merry merry Christmas eve, I went sighing past the church across the moorland dreary— 'Oh! never sin and want and woe this earth will leave, And the bells but mock the wailing round, they sing so cheery. How long, O Lord! how long before Thou come again? Still in cellar, and in garret, and on moorland dreary The orphans moan, and widows weep, and poor men toil in vain, Till earth is sick of hope deferred, though Christmas bells be cheery.'

Then arose a joyous clamour from the wild-fowl on the mere, Beneath the stars, across the snow, like clear bells ringing, And a voice within cried—'Listen!—Christmas carols even here! Though thou be dumb, yet o'er their work the stars and snows are singing. Blind! I live, I love, I reign; and all the nations through With the thunder of my judgments even now are ringing. Do thou fulfil thy work but as yon wild-fowl do, Thou wilt heed no less the wailing, yet hear through it angels singing.'

Eversley, 1849.


It was an hairy oubit, sae proud he crept alang, A feckless hairy oubit, and merrily he sang— 'My Minnie bad me bide at hame until I won my wings; I show her soon my soul's aboon the warks o' creeping things.'

This feckless hairy oubit cam' hirpling by the linn, A swirl o' wind cam' doun the glen, and blew that oubit in: Oh when he took the water, the saumon fry they rose, And tigg'd him a' to pieces sma', by head and tail and toes.

Tak' warning then, young poets a', by this poor oubit's shame; Though Pegasus may nicher loud, keep Pegasus at hame. Oh haud your hands frae inkhorns, though a' the Muses woo; For critics lie, like saumon fry, to mak' their meals o' you.

Eversley, 1851.


Three fishers went sailing away to the West, Away to the West as the sun went down; Each thought on the woman who loved him the best, And the children stood watching them out of the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And there's little to earn, and many to keep, Though the harbour bar be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower, And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower, And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown. But men must work, and women must weep, Though storms be sudden, and waters deep, And the harbour bar be moaning.

Three corpses lay out on the shining sands In the morning gleam as the tide went down, And the women are weeping and wringing their hands For those who will never come home to the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep; And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.

Eversley, June 25, 1851.


Oh, thou hadst been a wife for Shakspeare's self! No head, save some world-genius, ought to rest Above the treasures of that perfect breast, Or nightly draw fresh light from those keen stars Through which thy soul awes ours: yet thou art bound— O waste of nature!—to a craven hound; To shameless lust, and childish greed of pelf; Athene to a Satyr: was that link Forged by The Father's hand? Man's reason bars The bans which God allowed.—Ay, so we think: Forgetting, thou hadst weaker been, full blest, Than thus made strong by suffering; and more great In martyrdom, than throned as Caesar's mate.

Eversley, 1851.


Ask if I love thee? Oh, smiles cannot tell Plainer what tears are now showing too well. Had I not loved thee, my sky had been clear: Had I not loved thee, I had not been here, Weeping by thee.

Ask if I love thee? How else could I borrow Pride from man's slander, and strength from my sorrow? Laugh when they sneer at the fanatic's bride, Knowing no bliss, save to toil and abide Weeping by thee.

Andernach on the Rhine, August 1851.


The world goes up and the world goes down, And the sunshine follows the rain; And yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown Can never come over again, Sweet wife: No, never come over again.

For woman is warm though man be cold, And the night will hallow the day; Till the heart which at even was weary and old Can rise in the morning gay, Sweet wife; To its work in the morning gay.

Andernach, 1851.


My parents bow, and lead them forth, For all the crowd to see— Ah well! the people might not care To cheer a dwarf like me.

They little know how I could love, How I could plan and toil, To swell those drudges' scanty gains, Their mites of rye and oil.

They little know what dreams have been My playmates, night and day; Of equal kindness, helpful care, A mother's perfect sway.

Now earth to earth in convent walls, To earth in churchyard sod: I was not good enough for man, And so am given to God.

Bertrich in the Eifel, 1851.


The baby sings not on its mother's breast; Nor nightingales who nestle side by side; Nor I by thine: but let us only part, Then lips which should but kiss, and so be still, As having uttered all, must speak again— O stunted thoughts! O chill and fettered rhyme Yet my great bliss, though still entirely blest, Losing its proper home, can find no rest: So, like a child who whiles away the time With dance and carol till the eventide, Watching its mother homeward through the glen; Or nightingale, who, sitting far apart, Tells to his listening mate within the nest The wonder of his star-entranced heart Till all the wakened woodlands laugh and thrill— Forth all my being bubbles into song; And rings aloft, not smooth, yet clear and strong.

Bertrich, 1851


Evil sped the battle play On the Pope Calixtus' day; Mighty war-smiths, thanes and lords, In Senlac slept the sleep of swords. Harold Earl, shot over shield, Lay along the autumn weald; Slaughter such was never none Since the Ethelings England won. Thither Lady Githa came, Weeping sore for grief and shame; How may she her first-born tell? Frenchmen stript him where he fell, Gashed and marred his comely face; Who can know him in his place? Up and spake two brethren wise, 'Youngest hearts have keenest eyes; Bird which leaves its mother's nest, Moults its pinions, moults its crest. Let us call the Swan-neck here, She that was his leman dear; She shall know him in this stound; Foot of wolf, and scent of hound, Eye of hawk, and wing of dove, Carry woman to her love.' Up and spake the Swan-neck high, 'Go! to all your thanes let cry How I loved him best of all, I whom men his leman call; Better knew his body fair Than the mother which him bare. When ye lived in wealth and glee Then ye scorned to look on me; God hath brought the proud ones low After me afoot to go.' Rousing erne and sallow glede, Rousing gray wolf off his feed, Over franklin, earl, and thane, Heaps of mother-naked slain, Round the red field tracing slow, Stooped that Swan-neck white as snow; Never blushed nor turned away, Till she found him where he lay; Clipt him in her armes fair, Wrapt him in her yellow hair, Bore him from the battle-stead, Saw him laid in pall of lead, Took her to a minster high, For Earl Harold's soul to cry.

Thus fell Harold, bracelet-giver; Jesu rest his soul for ever; Angles all from thrall deliver; Miserere Domine.

Eversley, 1851.


I heard an Eagle crying all alone Above the vineyards through the summer night, Among the skeletons of robber towers: Because the ancient eyrie of his race Was trenched and walled by busy-handed men; And all his forest-chace and woodland wild, Wherefrom he fed his young with hare and roe, Were trim with grapes which swelled from hour to hour, And tossed their golden tendrils to the sun For joy at their own riches:—So, I thought, The great devourers of the earth shall sit, Idle and impotent, they know not why, Down-staring from their barren height of state On nations grown too wise to slay and slave, The puppets of the few; while peaceful lore And fellow-help make glad the heart of earth, With wonders which they fear and hate, as he, The Eagle, hates the vineyard slopes below.

On the Rhine, 1851.


Over the camp-fires Drank I with heroes, Under the Donau bank, Warm in the snow trench: Sagamen heard I there, Men of the Longbeards, Cunning and ancient, Honey-sweet-voiced. Scaring the wolf cub, Scaring the horn-owl, Shaking the snow-wreaths Down from the pine-boughs, Up to the star roof Rang out their song. Singing how Winil men, Over the ice-floes Sledging from Scanland Came unto Scoring; Singing of Gambara, Freya's beloved, Mother of Ayo, Mother of Ibor. Singing of Wendel men, Ambri and Assi; How to the Winilfolk Went they with war-words,— 'Few are ye, strangers, And many are we: Pay us now toll and fee, Cloth-yarn, and rings, and beeves: Else at the raven's meal Bide the sharp bill's doom.' Clutching the dwarfs work then, Clutching the bullock's shell, Girding gray iron on, Forth fared the Winils all, Fared the Alruna's sons, Ayo and Ibor. Mad at heart stalked they: Loud wept the women all, Loud the Alruna wife; Sore was their need. Out of the morning land, Over the snow-drifts, Beautiful Freya came, Tripping to Scoring. White were the moorlands, And frozen before her: Green were the moorlands, And blooming behind her. Out of her gold locks Shaking the spring flowers, Out of her garments Shaking the south wind, Around in the birches Awaking the throstles, And making chaste housewives all Long for their heroes home, Loving and love-giving, Came she to Scoring. Came unto Gambara, Wisest of Valas,— 'Vala, why weepest thou? Far in the wide-blue, High up in the Elfin-home, Heard I thy weeping.' 'Stop not my weeping, Till one can fight seven. Sons have I, heroes tall, First in the sword-play; This day at the Wendels' hands Eagles must tear them. Their mothers, thrall-weary, Must grind for the Wendels.' Wept the Alruna wife; Kissed her fair Freya:— 'Far off in the morning land, High in Valhalla, A window stands open; Its sill is the snow-peaks, Its posts are the waterspouts, Storm-rack its lintel; Gold cloud-flakes above Are piled for the roofing, Far up to the Elfin-home, High in the wide-blue. Smiles out each morning thence Odin Allfather; From under the cloud-eaves Smiles out on the heroes, Smiles on chaste housewives all, Smiles on the brood-mares, Smiles on the smiths' work: And theirs is the sword-luck, With them is the glory,— So Odin hath sworn it,— Who first in the morning Shall meet him and greet him.' Still the Alruna wept:— 'Who then shall greet him? Women alone are here: Far on the moorlands Behind the war-lindens, In vain for the bill's doom Watch Winil heroes all, One against seven.' Sweetly the Queen laughed:— 'Hear thou my counsel now; Take to thee cunning, Beloved of Freya. Take thou thy women-folk, Maidens and wives: Over your ankles Lace on the white war-hose; Over your bosoms Link up the hard mail-nets; Over your lips Plait long tresses with cunning;— So war-beasts full-bearded King Odin shall deem you, When off the gray sea-beach At sunrise ye greet him.'

Night's son was driving His golden-haired horses up; Over the eastern firths High flashed their manes. Smiled from the cloud-eaves out Allfather Odin, Waiting the battle-sport: Freya stood by him. 'Who are these heroes tall,— Lusty-limbed Longbeards? Over the swans' bath Why cry they to me? Bones should be crashing fast, Wolves should be full-fed, Where such, mad-hearted, Swing hands in the sword-play.'

Sweetly laughed Freya:— 'A name thou hast given them, Shames neither thee nor them, Well can they wear it. Give them the victory, First have they greeted thee; Give them the victory, Yokefellow mine! Maidens and wives are these,— Wives of the Winils; Few are their heroes And far on the war-road, So over the swans' bath They cry unto thee.'

Royally laughed he then; Dear was that craft to him, Odin Allfather, Shaking the clouds. 'Cunning are women all, Bold and importunate! Longbeards their name shall be, Ravens shall thank them: Where women are heroes, What must the men be? Theirs is the victory; No need of me!'

Eversley, 1852. From Hypatia.


Thank God! Those gazers' eyes are gone at last! The guards are crouching underneath the rock; The lights are fading in the town below, Around the cottage which this morn was ours. Kind sun, to set, and leave us here alone; Alone upon our crosses with our God; While all the angels watch us from the stars. Kind moon, to shine so clear and full on him, And bathe his limbs in glory, for a sign Of what awaits him! Oh look on him, Lord! Look, and remember how he saved thy lamb! Oh listen to me, teacher, husband, love, Never till now loved utterly! Oh say, Say you forgive me! No—you must not speak: You said it to me hours ago—long hours! Now you must rest, and when to-morrow comes Speak to the people, call them home to God, A deacon on the Cross, as in the Church; And plead from off the tree with outspread arms, To show them that the Son of God endured For them—and me. Hush! I alone will speak, And while away the hours till dawn for you. I know you have forgiven me; as I lay Beneath your feet, while they were binding me, I knew I was forgiven then! When I cried 'Here am I, husband! The lost lamb returned, All re-baptized in blood!' and you said, 'Come! Come to thy bride-bed, martyr, wife once more!' From that same moment all my pain was gone; And ever since those sightless eyes have smiled Love—love! Alas, those eyes! They made me fall. I could not bear to see them, bleeding, dark, Never, no never to look into mine; Never to watch me round the little room Singing about my work, or flash on me Looks bright with counsel.—Then they drove me mad With talk of nameless tortures waiting you— And I could save you! You would hear your love— They knew you loved me, cruel men! And then— Then came a dream; to say one little word, One easy wicked word, we both might say, And no one hear us, but the lictors round; One tiny sprinkle of the incense grains, And both, both free! And life had just begun— Only three months—short months—your wedded wife Only three months within the cottage there— Hoping I bore your child. . . . Ah! husband! Saviour! God! think gently of me! I am forgiven! . . . And then another dream; A flash—so quick,

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