Have taught us now that Autumn hope is vain.
(Text from Sonnets of This Century.)
Not Summer's crown of scent the red rose weaves,
Not hawthorn perfume blown o'er bloom-strewn grass,
Not violets' whispers as the children pass,
Nor new-mown hay, crisp scent of yellow sheaves,
Nor lilac perfume in the soft May eves,
Nor any scent that Springtime can amass,
Or Summer squander, such a magic has
As scent of fresh wet earth and fallen leaves.
For sometimes lovers, in November days,
When earth is grieving for the vanished sun,
Have trod dead leaves in chill and wintry ways,
And kissed and dreamed eternal summer won.
Look back, look back! through memory's deepening haze,
See--two who dreamed that dream, and you were one!
Night and Morning
While yet the woods were hardly more than brown,
Filled with the stillness of the dying day
The folds and farms and faint green pastures lay,
And bells chimed softly from the gray-walled town.
The dark fields with the corn and poppies sown,
The dark delicious dreamy forest way,
The hope of April for the soul of May--
On all of these night's wide soft wings swept down.
One yellow star pierced through the clear, pure sky,
And showed above the network of the wood,
The silence of whose crowded solitude
Was broken but by little woodland things
Rustling dead leaves with restless feet and wings,
And by a kiss that ended in a sigh.
The wind of morn awoke before the line
Of dawn's pearl haze made pale the eastern sky,
And woke the birds and woodland creatures shy,
And sighed night's dirge through tremulous boughs of pine.
The north and south sky flushed, and the divine
Rose-radiance touched the moorland lone and high,
While still the wood was dusk, where, by and by,
Splendid and strong the risen sun should shine.
It shone--on two that through the woodland came
With eyes averted and cold hands that clung
And weary lips that knew forbidden things,
And hearts made sick with vain imaginings--
And over all the wood its glory flung,
The wood--that never more could be the same.
The flood of utter change is loosed. A space
Is ours yet, for its coming to prepare.
Shall we build dams with cautious, clumsy care,
Or stand with idle hands and frightened face,
And so be whirled all broken from our place,
Or perish with the dams we builded there?
Or shall we dig a broad, deep channel, where
Most fields may feel the flood's benign embrace?
Thus turned 'twill be a calm majestic flood
Of plenty, peace, and fertilising power,
Whose banks fresh flowers of love and joy shall deck.
Oppose it: at the inevitable hour,
Tumultuous, black with ruin, red with blood,
'Twill come--and you shall have no chance but wreck!