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The poet in a golden clime was born,
With golden stars above;
Dower’d with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
The love of love.

He saw thro’ life and death, thro’ good and ill,
He saw thro’ his own soul.
The marvel of the everlasting will,
An open scroll,

Before him lay: with echoing feet he threaded
The secretest walks of fame:
The viewless arrows of his thoughts were headed
And wing’d with flame,–

Like Indian reeds blown from his silver tongue,
And of so fierce a flight,
From Calpe unto Caucasus they sung,
…Filling with light

And vagrant melodies the winds which bore
Them earthward till they lit;
Then, like the arrow-seeds of the field flower,
The fruitful wit

Cleaving, took root, and springing forth anew
Where’er they fell, behold,
Like to the mother plant in semblance, grew
A flower all gold,

And bravely furnish’d all abroad to fling
The winged shafts of truth,
To throng with stately blooms the breathing spring
Of Hope and Youth.

So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
Tho’ one did fling the fire.
Heaven flow’d upon the soul in many dreams
Of high desire.

Thus truth was multiplied on truth, the world
Like one great garden show’d,
And thro’ the wreaths of floating dark upcurl’d,
Rare sunrise flow’d.

And Freedom rear’d in that august sunrise
Her beautiful bold brow,
When rites and forms before his burning eyes
Melted like snow.

There was no blood upon her maiden robes
Sunn’d by those orient skies;
But round about the circles of the globes
Of her keen eyes

And in her raiment’s hem was traced in flame
WISDOM, a name to shake
All evil dreams of power–a sacred name.
And when she spake,

Her words did gather thunder as they ran,
And as the lightning to the thunder
Which follows it, riving the spirit of man,
Making earth wonder,

So was their meaning to her words.  No sword
Of wrath her right arm whirl’d,
But one poor poet’s scroll, and with ‘his’ word
She shook the world.

 

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From naked stones of agony
I will build a house for me;
As a mason all alone
I will raise it, stone by stone,
And every stone where I have bled
Will show a sign of dusky red.
I have not gone the way in vain,
For I have good of all my pain;
My spirit’s quiet house will be
Built of naked stones I trod
On roads where I lost sight of God.

 

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My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feat of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
My life is fled, and yet I saw no sun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told;
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green;
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old;
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen;
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in the womb,
I lookt for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

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This is no case of petty right or wrong
That politicians or philosophers
Can judge.  I hate not Germans, nor grow hot
With love of Englishmen, to please newspapers.
Beside my hate for one fat patriot
My hatred of the Kaiser is love true: –
A kind of god he is, banging a gong.
But I have not to choose between the two,
Or between justice and injustice. Dinned
With war and argument I read no more
Than in the storm smoking along the wind
Athwart the wood. Two witches’ cauldrons roar.
From one the weather shall rise clear and gay;
Out of the other an England beautiful
And like her mother that died yesterday.
Little I know or care if, being dull,
I shall miss something that historians
Can rake out of the ashes when perchance
The phoenix  broods serene above their ken.
But with the best and meanest Englishmen
I am one in crying, God save England, lest
We lose what never slaves and cattle blessed.
The ages made her that made us from dust:
She is all we know and live by, and we trust
She is good and must endure, loving her so:
And as we love ourselves we hate her foe.

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Glory of warrior, glory of orator, glory of song,
Paid with a voice flying by to be lost on an endless sea!
Glory of virtue: to fight, to struggle, to right the wrong.
Nay, but she aimed not at glory, no lover of glory she:
Give her the glory of going on, and still to be.

The wages of sin is death: if the wages of Virtue be dust,
Would she have heart to endure for the life of the worm and the fly?
She desires no isles of the blest, no quiet seats of the just –
To rest in a golden grove, or to bask in a summer sky:
Give her the wages of going on, and not to die.

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Great God, I ask thee for no meaner pelf
Than that I may not disappoint myself;
That in my action I may soar as high
As I can now discern with this clear eye.
And next in value, which Thy kindness lends,
That I may greatly disappoint my friends,
Howe’er they think or hope that it may be,
They may not dream how Thou’st distinguished me.

That my weak hand may equal my firm faith,
And my life practise more than my tongue saith;
That my low conduct may not show,
……Nor my relenting lines,
That I Thy purpose did not know,
……Or overrated Thy designs.

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I heard a soldier sing some trifle
Out in the sun-dried veldt alone;
He lay and cleaned his grimy rifle
Idly, behind a stone. 

“If after death, love, comes a waking,
And in their camp so dark and still
The men of dust hear bugles breaking
Their halt upon the hill, 

“To me the slow and silver pealing
That then the last high trumpet pours,
Shall softer than the dawn comes stealing,
For, with its call, comes yours!” 

What grief of love had he to stifle,
Basking so idly by his stone,
That grimy soldier with his rifle
Out in the veldt, alone?

 

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‘Tis a new life – thoughts move not as they did
With slow uncertain steps across my mind,
In thronging haste fast pressing on they bid
The portals open to the viewless wind;
That comes not, save when in the dust is laid
The crown of pride that gilds each mortal brow,
And from before man’s vision melting fade
The heavens and earth – Their walls are falling now –
Fast crowding on each thought claims utterance strong,
Storm-lifted waves swift rushing to the shore
On from the sea they send their shouts along,
Back through the cave-worn rocks their thunders roar,
And I a child of God by Christ made free
Start from death’s slumbers to eternity.

 

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There is naught for thee by thy haste to gain;
‘Tis not the swift with Me that win the race;
Through long endurance of delaying pain,
Thine opened eye shall see thy Father’s face;
Nor here nor there, where now thy feet would turn,
Thou wilt find Him who ever seeks for thee;
But let obedience quench desires that burn,
And where thou art, thy Father, too, will be.
Behold! as day by day the spirit grows,
Thou see’st by inward light things hid before,
Till what God is, thyself, his image shows;
And thou dost wear the robe that first thou wore,
When bright with radiance from his forming hand,
He saw thee Lord of all his creatures stand.

 

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Row us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!
So they row’d, and there we landed – “O venusta Sirmio!”
There to me thro’ all the groves of olive in the summer glow,
There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow,
Came that “Ave atque Vale” of the Poet’s hopeless woe,
Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen hundred years ago,
“Frater Ave atque Vale,” – as we wander’d to and fro,
Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below,
Sweet Catullus’s all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!


— 

The title means “Hail, brother, and farewell” and comes
from a poem by Catallus that was addressed to his
dead brother.

 

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