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STAR TALK

179

The teams plod home to rest.
The wild duck come to glean.
O souls not understood,
What a wild cry in the pool!
What things have the farm ducks seen
That they cry so - huddle and cry?
Only the soul that goes.
Eager. Eager. Flying.
Over the globe of the moon,
Over the wood that glows.
Wings linked. Necks a-strain,
A rush and a wild crying.

A cry of the long pain
In the reeds of a steel lagoon,
In a land that no man knows.

John MASEFIELD

STAR TALK

“Are you awake, Gemelli,
This frosty night?”

“We'll be awake till réveillé, Which is sunrise," say the Gemelli,

“It's no good trying to go to sleep:
If there's wine to be got we'll drink it deep,

But rest is hopeless to-night,
But rest is hopeless to-night.”

“Are you cold too, poor Pleiads,
This frosty night?”

“Yes, and so are the Hyads: See us cuddle and hug,” say the Pleiads,

“All six in a ring: it keeps us warm: We huddle together like birds in a storm:

It's bitter weather to-night,
It's bitter weather to-night."

“What do you hunt, Orion,
This starry night?”

“The Ram, the Bull, and the Lion, And the Great Bear,” says Orion,

“With my starry quiver and beautiful belt, I am trying to find a good thick pelt

To warm my shoulders to-night,
To warm my shoulders to-night.”

“Did you hear that, Great She-bear,
This frosty night?”

“Yes, he's talking of stripping me bare Of my own big fur," says the She-bear,

“I'm afraid of the man and his terrible arrow: The thought of it chills my bones to the marrow,

And the frost so cruel to-night!
And the frost so cruel to-night!"

“How is your trade, Aquarius,
This frosty night?”

“Complaints is many and various, And my feet are cold," says Aquarius,

“There's Venus objects to Dolphin-scales, And Mars to Crab-spawn found in my pails,

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And the pump has frozen to-night,
And the pump has frozen to-night.”

ROBERT GRAVES

HIS PRAYER TO BEN JONSON

When I a verse shall make,
Know I have pray'd thee,
For old religion's sake,
Saint Ben, to aid me.

Make the way smooth for me,
When I, thy Herrick,
Honouring thee, on my knee
Offer my lyric.

Candles I'll give to thee
And a new altar,
And thou, Saint Ben, shalt be
Writ in my Psalter.

ROBERT HERRICK

ROMANCE

When I was but thirteen or so

I went into a golden land, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi

Took me by the hand.

My father died, my brother too,

They passed like fleeting dreams,

I stood where Popocatapetl

In the sunlight gleams.

I dimly heard the master's voice

And boys far-off at play, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi

Had stolen me away.

I walked in a great golden dream

To and fro from school – Shining Popocatapetl

The dusty streets did rule.

I walked home with a gold dark boy,

And never a word I'd say, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi

Had taken my speech away:

I gazed entranced upon his face

Fairer than any flower O shining Popocatapetl,

It was thy magic hour:

The houses, people, traffic seemed

Thin fading dreams by day,
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
They had stolen my soul away!

W. J. TURNER

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Far are the shades of Arabia,
Where the Princes ride at noon,
'Mid the verdurous vales and thickets,
Under the ghost of the moon;
And so dark is that vaulted purple
Flowers in the forest rise
And toss into blossom 'gainst the phantom stars
Pale in the noonday skies.

Sweet is the music of Arabia
In my heart, when out of dreams
I still in the thin clear mirk of dawn
Descry her gliding streams;
Hear her strange lutes on the green banks
Ring loud with the grief and delight
Of the dim-silked, dark-haired Musicians
In the brooding silence of night.

They haunt me — her lutes and her forests;
No beauty on earth I see
But shadowed with that dream recalls
Her loveliness to me:
Still eyes look coldly upon me,
Cold voices whisper and say —
“He is crazed with the spell of far Arabia,
They have stolen his wits away.

WALTER DE LA MARE

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