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And she does n't hover round old cupboards and
As old people do who have buried themselves;
She has no late lamps, and she digs all day
And polishes and plants in a common way,
But glum she is, and she listens now and then
For a footfall, a footfall, a footfall again,
And whether it's hope, or whether it's dread,
Or a poor old fancy in her head,
I shall never be told; it will never be said.
IF I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England
given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day,
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
My little son, who look'd from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey'd,
I struck him, and dismiss'd
With hard words and unkiss'd-
His mother, who was patient, being dead -
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken'd eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters, and a red-vein'd stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with care-
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray'd
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with tranced breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood,
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou'lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
"I will be sorry for their childishness."
PLAINT OF AN HUMBLE SERVANT
(For Edward Elgar)
O LORD, who didst create all things
That run on legs or rise on wings,
Who in Thy equal care of all
Dost no less mark the sparrow's fall
Than of great sinner or great saint,
Listen, and judge, Lord, this my plaint.
Thou who didst mould the lion and lamb,
Thou seest of what shape I am;
Not lovely as those creatures are,
But gawky, rude, familiar
In every field and market-place
The jackiest jackass of my race.
Not much is it that is implored
By this Thy creature of my Lord
I do not ask that Thou shouldst change
That which to His eyes was not strange
When on my grandad-grandad's hide
Thy Son t'ward Zion deigned to ride -
But Lord - came it of wisdom dark,
Or that Thy hand did cease to mark
PLAINT OF AN HUMBLE SERVANT
That which it made through weariness
Of fashioning beasts great and less)
Thou hast on me, Thy hapless jade,
Another heavy burden laid.
For upon Saints' days, when I stand
Holiday-making - twixt the sand
Of the bright foreshore and the steeple,
Whereunder crowd the stiff-starched people
To pay Thee homage, each great ear
Must a heavenly chorus hear:
First overhead ting-tang the bells,
Then in the aisle the organ swells,
Praising Thee, Lord, till deep and strong
The happy folk take up the song,
Till the gay birds outside, too, raise
A sweet, wild shrilling song of praise.
Mark then, what grief, Lord, must be mine
Who do not find Thee less divine,
For dared I also raise my voice,
That with the throng I might rejoice -
Ah! what a hell of sound I draw
Who can but sing "Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!"
O grief! O shame! on every bush
The pert birds scold or bid me hush,
And worst of all
my master hies
Out from the church with angry cries,
And, save I forthwith cease, his stick
Descends upon me fast and thick.
Lord - last - just this: at thy behest
All's done as seemeth to Thee best,
Old Balaam had an ass which spoke,
May not another of that folk?
Were it not but a little thing
To Thee to let a jackass sing
No less than proud sinner or poor saint?
That is all, Lord. Thus ends my plaint.
The beauty haunts me heart and soul,
O thou fair Moon, so close and bright;
Thy beauty makes me like the child
That cries aloud to own thy light:
The little child that lifts each arm
thee to her bosom warm.
Though there are birds that sing this night
With thy white beams across their throats, Let my deep silence speak for me
More than for them their sweetest notes:
Who worships thee till music fails
Is greater than thy nightingales.
W. H. DAVIES
TWILIGHT. Red in the West.
Dimness. A glow on the wood.