xt76dj58d80g https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt76dj58d80g/data/mets.xml Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 1898  books b92-188-30610123 English R.H. Russell, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Shapes and shadows  : poems / by Madison Cawein. text Shapes and shadows  : poems / by Madison Cawein. 1898 2002 true xt76dj58d80g section xt76dj58d80g 


     Under the Stars and Stripes.
High on the world did our fathers of old,
   Under the stars and stripes,
Blazon the name that we now must uphold,
    Under the stars and stripes.
Vast in the past they have builded an arch
Over which Freedom has lighted her torch.
Follow it! Follow it! Come, let us march
    Under the stars and stripes !
We in whose bodies the blood of them runs,
    Under the stars and stripes,
We will acquit us as sons of their sons,
    Under the stars and stripes.
Ever for justice, our heel upon wrong,
We in the light of our vengeance thrice strong!
Rally together! Come tramping along
    Under the stars and stripes!
Out of our strength and a nation's great need,
    Under the stars and stripes,
Heroes again as of old we shall breed,
    Under the stars and stripes.
Broad to the winds be our banner unfurled!
Straight in Spain's face let defiance be hurled!
God on our side, we will battle the world
    Uinder the stars and stripes!
                      MADISON CAWEIN.
   From " Poems of American Pairiotism,"
                       selected by R. L. Page/.

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S h

a p

e s

S h a d

o w s

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w S

Po E M S by Madison Cawein









Ciprght, 1898, by R. H. 1ussell




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            A Table of Contents

Trhe Evanescent Beautiful                             I
   August                                             2
The Higher Brotherhood                                4
Gramarye                                              5
Dreams                                                7
The Old House                                         8
The Rock                                         J o
Rain                                             12
Standing-Stone Creek                             13
T'he Moonmen                                     15
The Old Man Dreams                               '9
Since Then                                       20
Comrades                                         21
JJaiting                                         23
Contrasts                                        24
In J7une                                         25
Xfter long Grief and Pain                        26
Can Iforget '                                    27
The House of Fear                                28
Xt Dawn                                          29
Storm                                            30
Memories                                         31
Which                                            32
Sunset in Autumn                                 34
The Legend of the Stone                          36


C o n t e n t s

Time and Death and Love                           40
Passion                                           4!
When the Wine-Cup at the Lip                      42
Art                                               43
A Song for Old Age                                45
Tristram and Isolt                                46
The Better Lot                                    47
Dusk in the Woods                                  48
At the Ferry                                       50
Her Violin                                        52
Her Vesper Song                                   54
At Parting                                        55
Carissima Mea                                      56
Margery                                            59
Constance                                          6I
Gertrude                                           63
Lydia                                              64
A Southern Girl                                    65
A Daughter of the States                          66
An Autumn Nifght                                   67
Lines                                             68
The Blind God                                     69
A Valentine                                        70
A Catch                                            71
The New Year                                       73
Then and Now                                       75
Epilogue                                           76


       The Dedication

Ab, notfor us the Heavens that hold
GOD'S message of Promethean fire!
The Flame that fell on bards of old
To hallow and inspire.

ret let the Soul dream on and dare
No less SONG's height that these possess:
JYe can but fail; and may prepare
She way to some success.

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Shapes  Shadows

        By Madison Cawein


        AY after Day, young with eternal beauty,
        Pays flowery duty to the month and clime;
        Night after night ereats a vasty portal
Of stars immortal for the march of Time.

But where are now the Glory and the Rapture,
That once did capture me in cloud and stream
Where now the Joy that was both speech and silence
Where the beguilance that was fac and dream

I know that Earth and Heaven are as golden
As they of olden made me feel and see;
Not in themselves is lacking aught of power
Through star and flower-something's lost in me.

Return ! Return! I cry, 0 Visions vanished,
0 Voices banished, to my Soul again!-
The near Earth blossoms and the far Skies glisten,
I look and listen, but, alas! in vain.



Shapes d5 Shadows


CLAD on with glowing beauty and the peace,
C        Benign, of calm maturity, she stands
  Among her meadows and her orchard-lands,
And on her mellowing gardens and her trees,
  Out of the ripe abundance of her hands,
             Bestows increase
And fruitfulness, as, wrapped in sunny ease,
           Blue-eyed and blonde she goes,
Upon her bosom Summer's richest rose.

And he who follows where her footsteps lead,
  By hill and rock, by forest-side and stream,
  Shall glimpse the glory of her visible dream,
In flower and fruit, in rounded nut and seed:
  She in whose path the very shadows gleam;
             Whose humblest weed
Seems lovelier than Yune's loveliest flower, indeed,
           And sweeter to the smell
Than Apri's self within a rainy dell.

Hers is a sumptuous simplicity
  Within the fair Republic of her flowers,
  Where you may see her standing hours on hours,

                   [ 2 ]



Breast-deep in gold, soft-holding up a bee
  To her hushed ear; or sitting under bowers
             Of greenery,
A butterfly a-tilt upon her knee;
           Or, lounging on her hip,
Dancing a cricket on her finger-tip.

Aye, let me breathe hot scents that tell of you:
  The hoary catnip and the meadow-mint,
  On which the honour of your touch doth print
Itself as odour. Let me drink the hue
  Of ironweed and mist-flow'r here that hint,
             With purple and blue,
The rapture that your presence doth imbue
           Their inmost essence with,
Immortal though as transient as a myth.

Yea, let me feed on sounds that still assure
  Me where you hide: the brooks', whose happy din
  Tells where, the deep retired woods within,
Disrobed, you bathe; the birds', whose drowsy lure
  Tells where you slumber, your warm-nestling chin
             Soft on the pure
Pink cushion of your palm . . . What better cure
           For care and memory's ache
Than to behold you so and watch you wake!

[ 3 ]


Shapes d5 Shadows


TO come in touch with mysteries
T    Of beauty idealizing Earth,
Go seek the hills, grown old with trees,
The old hills wise with death and birth.

There you may hear the heart that beats
In streams, where music has its source;
And in wild rocks of green retreats
Behold the silent soul of force.

Above the love that emanates
From human passion, and refles
The flesh, must be the love that waits
On Nature, whose high call eledts

None to her secrets save the few
Who hold that faIts are far less real
Than dreams, with which all fads indue
Themselves approaching the Ideal.

[ 4 ]




THERE are some things that entertain me more
T    Than men or books; and to my knowledge seem
A key of Poetry, made of magic lore
Of childhood, opening many a fabled door
Of superstition, mystery, and dream
         Enchantment locked of yore.

For, when through dusking woods my pathway lies,
Often I feel old spells, as o'er me flits
The bat, like some black thought that, troubled, flies
Round some darklpurpose; or before me cries
The owl that, like an evil conscience, sits
         A shadowy voice and eyes.

Then, when down blue canals of cloudy snow
The white moon oars her boat, and woods vibrate
With crickets, lo, I hear the hautboys blow
Of Elf-land; and when green the fireflies glow,
See where the goblins hold a Fairy Fete
         With lanthorn row on row.

Strange growths, that ooze from long-dead logs and spread
A creamy fungus, where the snail, uncoiled,
And fat slug feed at morn, are Pixy bread
Made of the yeasted dew; the lichens red,
Besides these grown, are meat the Brownies broiled
         Above a glow-worm bed.

[ 5 ]


Shapes d5 Shadows

The smears of silver on the webs that line
The tree's crook'd roots, or stretch, white-wove, within
The hollow stump, are stains of Faery wine
Spilled on the cloth where Elf-land sat to dine,
When night beheld them drinking, chin to chin,
         O' the moon's fermented shine.

What but their chairs the mushrooms on the lawn,
Or toadstools hidden under flower and fern,
Tagged with the dotting dew ! -With knees updrawn
Far as his eyes, have I not come upon
PUCK seated there but scarcely 'round could turn
         Ere, presto! he was gone.

And so though Science from the woods hath tracked
The Elfin; and with prosy lights of day
Unhallowed all his haunts; and, dulling, blacked
Our eyesight, still hath Beauty never lacked
For seers yet; who, in some wizard way,
         Prove Fancy real as Fak.

[ 6 ]




M    Y thoughts have borne me far away
N4    To Beauties of an older day,
Where, crowned with roses, stands the DAWN,
Striking her seven-stringed barbiton
Of flame, whose chords give being to
The seven colours, hue for hue;
The music of the colour-dream
She builds the day from, beam by beam.

My thoughts have borne me far away
To Myths of a diviner day,
Where, sitting on the mountain, NooN
Sings to the pines a sun-soaked tune
Of rest and shade and clouds and skies,
Wherein her calm dreams idealize
Light as a presence, heavenly fair,
Sleeping with all her beauty bare.

My thoughts have borne me far away
To Visions of a wiser day,
Where, stealing through the wilderness,
NIGHT walks, a sad-eyed votaress,
And prays with mystic words she hears
Behind the thunder of the spheres,
The starry utterance that 's hers,
With which she fills the Universe.

[ 7 ]


Shapes C5 Shadows

             THE OLD HOUSE.

QUAINT and forgotten, by an unused road,
Q       An old house stands: around its doors the dense
       Blue iron-weeds grow high;
The chipmunks make a highway of its fence;
And on its sunken flagstones slug and toad
      Silent as lichens lie.

The timid snake upon its hearth's cool sand
Sleeps undisturbed; the squirrel haunts its roof;
      And in the clapboard sides
Of closets, dim with many a spider woof,
Like the uncertain tapping of a hand,
      The beetle-borer hides.

Above its lintel, under mossy eaves,
The mud-wasps build their cells; and in the floor
      Of its neglefted porch
The black bees nest. Through each deserted door,
Vague as a phantom's footsteps, steal the leaves,
      And dropped cones of the larch.

But come with me when sunset's magic old
Transforms the ruin of that ancient house;
      When windows, one by one,-

                     [8 ]



Like age's eyes, that youth's love-dreams arouse,-
Grow lairs of fire; and glad mouths of gold
      Its wide doors, in the sun.

Or let us wait until each rain-stained room
Is carpeted with moonlight, pattened oft
      With the deep boughs o'erhead;
And through the house the wind goes rustling soft,
As might the ghost-a whisper of perfume-
    Of some sweet girl long dead.

[9 I


Shapes L5 Shadows

          THE ROCK.

H    ERE, at its base, in dingled deeps
F1      Of spice-bush, where the ivy creeps,
    The cold spring scoops its hollow;
And there three mossy stepping-stones
Make ripple murmurs; undertones
    Of foam that blend and follow
With voices of the wood that drones.

The quail pipes here when noons are hot;
And here, in coolness sunlight-shot
    Beneath a roof of briers,
The red-fox skulks at close of day;
And here at night, the shadows gray
    Stand like FRANCISCAN friars,
With moonbeam beads whereon they pray.

Here yawns the ground-hog's dark-dug hole;
And there the tunnel of the mole
    Heaves under weed and flower;
A sandy pit-fall here and there
The ant-lion digs and lies a-lair;
    And here, for sun and shower,
The spider weaves a silvery snare.

The poison-ak's rank tendrils twine
The rock's south side; the trumpet-vine,

[ IO ]



    With crimson bugles sprinkled,
Makes green its eastern side; the west
Is rough with lichens; and, gray-pressed
    Into an angle wrinkled,
The hornets hang an oblong nest.

The north is hid from sun and star,
And here,-like an Inquisitor
    Of Faery Inquisition,
That roots out Elf-land heresy,-
Deep in the rock, with mystery
    Cowled for his grave commission,
The Owl sits magisterially.

L II ]


Shapes 0S Shadows


A ROUND, the stillness deepened; then the grain
A    Went wild with wind; and every briery lane
Was swept with dust; and then, tempestuous black,
Hillward the tempest heaved a monster back,
That on the thunder leaned as on a cane;
And on huge shoulders bore a cloudy pack,
That gullied gold from many a lightning-crack:
One great drop splashed and wrinkled down the pane,
And then field, hill, and wood were lost in rain.

At last, through cloud; -as from a cavern hewn
Into night's heart, -the sun burst, angry roon;
And every cedar, with its weight of wet,
Against the sunset's fiery splendour set,
Frightened to beauty, seemed with rubies strewn:
Then in drenched gardens, like sweet phantoms met,
Dim odours rose of pink and mignonette;
And in the East a confidence, that soon
Grew to the calm assurance of the Moon.

[ 12 ]




A    weed-grown slope, whereon the rain
A     Has washed the brown rocks bare,
Leads tangled from a lonely lane
  Down to a creek's broad stair
Of stone, that, through the solitude,
Winds onward to a quiet wood.

An intermittent roof of shade
  The beech above it throws;
Along its steps a balustrade
  Of beauty builds the rose;
In which, a stately lamp of green
At intervals the cedar's seen.

The water, carpeting each ledge
  Of rock that runs across,
Glints 'twixt a flow'r-embroidered edge
  Of ferns and grass and moss;
And in its deeps the wood and sky
Seem patterns of the softest dve.

Long corridors of pleasant dusk
  Within the house of leaves
It reaches; where, on looms of musk,
  The ceaseless locust weaves

[I 3 ]


Shapes dT Shadows

A web of summer; and perfume
Trails a sweet gown from room to room.

Green windows of the boughs, that swing,
  It passes, where the notes
Of birds are glad thoughts entering,
  And butterflies are motes;
And now a vista where the day
Opens a door of wind and ray.

It is a stairway for all sounds
  That haunt the woodland sides;
On which, boy-like, the southwind bounds,
  Girl-like, the sunbeam glides;
And, like fond parents, following these,
The oldtime dreams of rest and peace.

[ I' I



              THE MOONMEN.

I stood in the forest on HURON HILL
    When the night was old and the world was still.

The Wind was a wizard who muttering strode
In a raven cloak on a haunted road.

The Sound of Water, a witch who crooned
Her spells to the rocks the rain had runed.

And the Gleam of the Dew on the fern's green tip
Was a sylvan passing with robe a-drip.

The Light of the Stars was a glimmering maid
Who stole, an elfin, from glade to glade.

The Scent of the Woods in the delicate air,
A wildflower shape with chilly hair.

And Silence, a spirit who sat alone
With a lifted finger and eyes of stone.

And it seemed to me these six were met
To greet a greater who came not yet.

And the speech they spoke, that I listened to,
Was the archetype of the speech I knew.

[ '5 ]


Shapes LS Shadows

For the Wind clasped hands with the Water's rush,
And I heard them whisper, Hush, oh, hush!

The Light of the Stars and the Dew's cool gleam
Touched lips and murmured, Dream, oh dream!

The Scent of the Woods and the Silence deep
Sighed, bosom to bosom, Sleep, oh, sleep!

And so for a moment the six were dumb,
Then exulted together, They come, they come!

And I stood expeolant and seemed to hear
A visible music drawing near.

And the first who came was the Captain Moon
Bearing a shield in GOD'S House hewn.

Then an Army of glamour, a glittering Host,
Beleaguered the night from coast to coast.

And the world was filled with spheric fire
From the palpitant chords of many a lyre,

As out of the East the MOONMEN came
Smiting their harps of silver and flame.

                    [ i6 ]



More beauty and grace did their forms express
Than the QUEEN OF LOVE'S white nakedness.

More chastity too their faces held
Than the snowy breasts of DIANA swelled.

Translucent-limbed, I saw the beat
In their hearts of pearl of the golden heat.

And the hair they tossed was a crystal light,
And the eyes beneath it were burning white.

Their hands that lifted, their feet that fell,
Made the darkness blossom to asphodel.

And the heavens, the hills, and the streams they trod
Shone pale with th' communicated God.

A placid frenzy, a waking trance,
A soft oracular radiance,

Wrapped forms that moved as melodies move,
Laurelled with god-head and halo'd with love.

So there in the forest on HURON HILL
The MOONMEN camped when the world was still...

[ I7 ]


Shapes d5 Shadows

What wonder that they who have looked on these
Are lost to the earth's realities!

That they sit aside with a far-off look
Dreaming the dreams that are writ in no book!

That they walk alone till the day they die,
Even as I, yea, even as I !

[ i8 ]




T   HE blackened walnut in its spicy hull
Rots where it fell;
And, in the orchard, where the trees stand full,
             The pear's ripe bell
Drops; and the log-house in the bramble lane,
             From whose low door
Stretch yellowing acres of the corn and cane,
             He sees once more.

The cat-bird sings upon its porch of pine;
             And o'er its gate,
All slender-podded, twists the trumpet-vine,
             A leafy weight;
And in the woodland, by the spring, mayhap,
             With eyes of joy
Again he bends to set a rabbit-trap,
             A brown-faced boy.

Then, whistling, through the underbrush he goes,
             Out of the wood,
Where, with young cheeks, red as an Autumn rose,
             Beneath her hood,
His sweetheart waits, her school-books on her arm;
             And now it seems
Beside his chair he sees his wife's fair form-
             The old man dreams.

[' 9 ]


Shapes d5 Shadows

               SINCE THEN.

I found myself among the trees
   What time the reapers ceased to reap;
And in the berry blooms the bees
Huddled wee heads and went to sleep,
Rocked by the silence and the breeze.

I saw the red fox leave his lair,
A shaggy shadow, on the knoll;
And, tunnelling his thoroughfare
Beneath the loam, I watched the mole-
Stealth's own self could not take more care.

I heard the death-moth tick and stir,
Slow-honeycombing through the bark;
I heard the crickets' drowsy chirr,
And one lone beetle burr the dark -
The sleeping woodland seemed to purr.

And then the moon rose; and a white
Low bough of blossoms-grown almost
Where, ere you died, 'twas our delight
To tryst,-dear heart !-I thought your ghost .
The wood is haunted since that night.

[ 20 ]




DOWN       through the woods, along the way
D    That fords the stream; by rock and tree,
Where in the bramble-bell the bee
Swings; and through twilights green and gray
The red-bird flashes suddenly,
My thoughts went wandering to-day.

I found the fields where, row on row,
The blackberries hang black with fruit;
Where, nesting at the elder's root,
The partridge whistles soft and low;
The fielas, that billow to the foot
Of those old hills we used to know.

There lay the pond, still willow-bound,
On whose bright surface, when the hot
Noon burnt above, we chased the knot
Of water-spiders; while around
Our heads, like bits of rainbow, shot
The dragonflies without a sound.

The pond, above which evening bent
To gaze upon her rosy face;
Wherein the twinkling night would place
A vague, inverted firmament,

                   [ 21 1


Shapes CS Shadows

In which the green frogs tuned their bass,
And firefly sparkles came and went.

The oldtime woods we often ranged,
When we were playmates, you and I;
The oldtime fields, with boyhood's sky
Still blue above them ! -Naught was changed!
Nothing !-Alas, then tell me why
Should we be whom long years estranged.

[ 22 ]


Poem s


COME to the hills, the woods are green-
S The heart is high when LOVE is sweet-
There is a brook that flows between
  Two mossy trees where we can meet,
Where we can meet and speak unseen.

I hear you laughing in the lane-
  The heart is high when LOVE is sweet-
The clover smells of sun and rain
  And spreads a carpet for our feet,
Where we can sit and dream again.

Come to the woods, the dusk is here -
  The heart is high when LoVE is sweet-
A bird upon the branches near
  Sets music to our hearts' glad beat,
Our hearts that beat with something dear.

I hear your step; the lane is passed ; -
  The heart is high when LOVE is sweet-
The little stars come bright and fast,
  Like happy eyes to see us greet,
To see us greet and kiss at last.

[ 23 ]


Shapes LS Shadows


N     eve of summer ever can attain
N    The gladness of that eve of late 7uiy,
When 'mid the roses, filled with musk and rain,
Against the wondrous topaz of the sky,
I met you, leaning on the pasture bars,-
While heaven and earth grew conscious of the stars.

No night of blackest winter can repeat
The bitterness of that December night,
When at your gate, gray-glittering with sleet,
Within the glimmering square of window-light,
We parted,-long you clung unto my arm,-
While heaven and earth surrendered to the storm.

[ 24 ]



               IN 7une.

D    EEP in the West a berry-coloured bar
D    Of sunset gleams; against which one tall fir
Is outlined dark; above which-courier
Of dew and dreams-burns dusk's appointed star.
And flash on flash, as when the elves wage war
In Goblinland, the fireflies bombard
The stillness; and, like spirits, o'er the sward
The glimmering winds bring fragrance from afar.
And now withdrawn into the hill-wood belts
A whippoorwill; while, with attendant states
Of purple and silver, slow the great moon melts
Into the night-to show me where she waits,-
Like some slim moonbeam,-by the old beech-tree,
Who keeps her lips, fresh as a flower, for me.

[ 25 ]


Shapes C Shadows


THERE is a place hung o'er with summer boughs
T   And drowsy skies wherein the gray hawk sleepsi
Where waters flow, within whose lazy deeps,
Like silvery prisms that the winds arouse,
The minnows twinkle; where the bells of cows
Tinkle the stillness, and the bob-white keeps
Calling from meadows where the reaper reaps,
And children's laughter haunts an old-time house;
A place where life wears ever an honest smell
Of hay and honey, sun and elder-bloom-
Like some dear, modest girl-within her hair:
Where, with our love for comrade, we may dwell
Far from the city's strife whose cares consume-
Oh, take my hand and let me lead you there.

[ 26 ]



            Can I Forget

CAN I forget how LOVE once led the ways
C      Of our two lives together, joining them;
How every hour was his anadem,
And every day a tablet in his praise!
Can I forget how, in his garden place,
Among the purple roses, stem to stem,
We heard the rumour of his robe's bright hem,
And saw the aureate radiance of his face ! -
Though I behold my soul's high dreams down-hurled,
And FALSEHOOD sit where Truth once towered white,
And in LOVE's place, usurping lust and shame . . .
Though flowers be dead within the winter world,
Are flowers not there and starless though the night,
Are stars not there, eternal and the same 

[ 27 ]


Shapes L5 Shadows


VAST are its halls, as vast the halls and lone
V      Where DEATH stalks listening to the wind and rain;
And dark that house, where I shall meet again
My long-dead Sin in some dread way unknown;
For I have dreamed of stairs of haunted stone,
And spedtre footsteps I have fled in vain;
And windows glaring with a blood-red stain,
And horrible eyes, that burn me to the bone,
Within a face that looks as that black night
It looked when deep I dug for it a grave,-
The dagger wound above the brow, the thin
Blood trickling down slantwise the ghastly white;-
And I have dreamed not even GOD can save
Me and my soul from that risen Sin.

[ 28 ]



           AT DAWN.

FAR off I heard dark waters rush;
The sky was cold; the dawn broke green;
And wrapped in twilight and strange hush
The gray wind moaned between.

A voice rang through the House of Sleep,
And through its halls there went a tread;
Mysterious raiment seemed to sweep
Around the pallid dead.

And then I knew that I had died,
I, who had suffered so and sinned-
And 't was myself I stood beside
In the wild dawn and wind.

[ 29 ]


Shapes CS Shadows


I looked into the night and saw
   GOD writing with tumultuous flame
Upon the thunder's front of awe,-
As on sonorous brass,-the Law,
Terrific, of His judgement name.

Weary of all life's best and worst,
With hands of hate, I-who had pled,
I, who had prayed for death at first
And had not died-now stood and cursed
GOD, yet he would not strike me dead.

t 30 ]



          M  EMORIES.

H     ERE where LOVE lies perished,
FiLook not in upon the dead;
Lest the shadowy curtains, shaken
In my Heart's dark chamber, waken
Ghosts, beneatH whose garb of sorrow
Whilom gladness bows his head:
When you come at morn to-morrow,
Look not in upon the dead,
Here where LOVE lies perished.

Here where LOVE lies cold interred,
Let no syllable be heard;
Lest the hollow echoes, housing
In my Soul's deep tomb, arousing
Wake a voice of woe, once laughter
Claimed and clothed in joy's own word:
When you come at dusk or after,
Let no syllable be heard,
Here where LOVE lies cold interred.

[ 3' :


Shapes L5 Shadows


THE wind was on the forest,
T      And silence on the wold,
And darkness on the waters,
  And heaven was starry cold;
When Sleep, with mystic magic,
  Bade me this thing behold:

This side, an iron woodland;
  That side, an iron waste;
And heaven, a tower of iron,
  Wherein the wan moon paced,
Still as a phantom woman,
  Ice-eyed and icy-faced.

And through the haunted tower
  Of silence and of night,
My Soul and I went only,
  My Soul, whose face was white,
Whose one hand signed me listen,
  One bore a taper-light.

For, lo! a voice behind me
  Kept sighing in my ear
The dreams my flesh accepted,
  My mind refused to hear-
Of one I loved and loved not,
  Whose spirit now spake near.

            [ 32 ]


Poem s

And, lo! a voice before me
  Kept calling constantly
The hopes my mind accepted,
  My flesh refused to see-
Of one I loved and loved not,
  Whose spirit spake to me.

This way the one would bid me;
  This way the other saith:-
Sweet is the voice behind me
  Of LIFE that followeth;
And sweet the voice before me
  Of LIFE whose name is DEATH.

[ 33 ]


Shapes L5 Shadows

           SUNSET     IN   Au4Utumn.

BLOOD-COLOURED oaks, that stand against a sky
B    of gold and brass;
Gaunt slopes, on which the bleak leaves glow of brier and
And broom-sedge strips of smoky pink and pearl-gray clumps
      of grass,
In which, beneath the ragged sky, the rain-pools gleam like

From West to East, from wood to wood, along the forest-
The winds,-the sowers of the LORD,-with thunderous
      footsteps stride;
Their stormy hands rain acorns down; and mad leaves,
      wildly dyed,
Like tatters of their rushing cloaks, stream round them far
      and wide.

The frail leaf-cricket in the weeds rings a faint fairy bell;
And like a torch of phantom ray the milkweed's windy shell
Glimmers; while wrapped in withered dreams, the wet
      autumnal smell
Of loam and leaf, like some sad ghost, steals over field and

[ 34 1



The oaks against a copper sky-o'er which, like some black
Of Dis, dark clouds, like surges fringed with sullen fire,
Loom sombre as Doom's citadel above the vales, that make
A pathway to a land of mist the moon's pale feet shall take.

Now, dyed with burning carbuncle, a Limbo-litten pane,
Within its wall of storm, the West opens to hill and plain,
On which the wild geese ink themselves, a far triangled
And then the shuttering clouds close down-and night is
      here again.

[ 35 1


Shapes d5 Shadows


THE year was dying, and the day
T     Was almost dead;
The West, beneath a sombre gray,
  Was sombre red.
The gravestones in the ghostly light,
  'Mid trees half bare,
Seemed phantoms, clothed in glimmering white,
  That haunted there.

I stood beside the grave of one,
  Who, here in life,
Had wronged my home; who had undone
  My child and wife.
I stood beside his grave until
  The moon came up -
As if the dark, unhallowed hill
  Lifted a cup.

No stone was there to mark his grave,
  No flower to grace-
'T was meet that weeds alone should wave
  In such a place.
I stood beside his grave until
  The stars swam high,
And all the night was iron still
  From sky to sky.

                [ 36 ]



What cared I if strange eyes seemed bright
  Within the gloom!
If, evil blue, a wandering light
  Burnt by each tomb!
Or that each crooked thorn-tree seemed
  A witch-hag cloaked!
Or that the owl above me screamed,
  The raven croaked!

For I had cursed him when the day
  Was sullen red;
Had cursed him when the West was gray,
  And day was dead;
And now when night made dark the pole,
  Both soon and late
I cursed his body, yea, and soul,
  With the hate of hate.

Once in my soul I seemed to hear
  A low voice say,-
'Twere better toforgive,-andfear
  Thy God,-and pray.
I laughed; and from pale lips of stone
  On sculptured tombs
A mocking laugh replied alone
  Deep in the glooms.

                [ 37 1


Shapes L Shadows

And then I felt, I felt-as if
  Some force should seize
The body; and its limbs stretch stiff,
  And, fastening, freeze
Down, downward deeper than the knees
  Into the earth-
While still among the twisted trees
  That voice made mirth.

And in my Soul was fear, despair,-
  Like lost ones feel,
When knotted in their pitch-stiff hair,
  They feel the steel
Of devils' forks lift up, through sleet
  Of hell's slant fire,
Then plunge,-as white from head to feet
  I grew entire.

A voice without me, yet within,
  As still as frost,
Intoned: ny sin is thrice a sin.
  Thrice art thou lost.
Behold, how God would punish thee!
  For this thy crime-
fhy crime of hate and blasphemy-
  Through endless time!

                 [ 38 ]



O'er him, whom thou wouldst not forgiv4,
  Record what good
He did on earth! and let him live