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Title: Philosophies

Date of first publication: 1910

Author: Ronald Ross

Date first posted: June 1, 2017

Date last updated: June 1, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170601

This ebook was produced by: Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net





K.C.B., F.R.C.S., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S., C.B.








First EditionSeptember, 1910 
    ReprintedDecember, 1910 
    ReprintedJune, 1911 
    ReprintedAugust, 1923 




All Rights Reserved


Printed in Great Britain by

Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.


These verses were written in India between the years 1881 and 1899, mostly during my researches on malaria. Friends who have read that part of them which is called In Exile complained that they could not easily follow the movement of it; and as I am now publishing the poems together with a text-book on malaria—and also because I desire very strongly to rid my mind of this subject which has occupied it for twenty years—I take the opportunity to give such explanation of the work as I can find expression for.

In 1881 I joined the military medical service of India, and was called upon to serve during the next seven years in Madras, Bangalore, Burma, and the Andaman Islands. Having abundant leisure, I occupied most of it in the study of various sciences and arts, in all of which I attempted some works to the best of my ability. For this I make no excuse to my conscience, since to my mind art and science are the same, and efforts in both, however poor the result may be, are to be commended more than idleness. Near the end of the seven years, however, I began to be drawn toward certain thoughts which from the first had occurred to me in my profession, especially as to the cause of the widespread sickness and of the great misery and decadence of the people of India. Racked by poverty, swept by epidemics, housed in hovels, ruled by superstitions, they presented the spectacle of an ancient civilisation fallen for centuries into decay. One saw there both physical and mental degeneration. Since the time of the early mathematicians science had died; and since that of the great temples art had become ornament, and religion dogma. Here was the living picture of the fate which destroyed Greece, Rome, and Spain; and I saw in it the work of nescience—the opposite of science. . . . Returning to Britain in 1888, I qualified myself for pathological researches, and about 1890 or 1891 entered upon a careful study of malarial fever, in the hope of finding out accurately how it is caused and may be prevented. On August 20, 1897, I was fortunate enough to find the clue to the problem—which, I believe, would not have been discovered but for such good fortune; and the next year I ascertained the principal facts which I had been in search of.

These poems are the notes of the wayside. As for In Exile, I do not remember the date—but it was early in the course of the labour—when my thoughts began to shape themselves into a kind of sonnet of three short stanzas. It was a pleasure and relief after the day’s work to mould them thus, for each set of stanzas required a different balance and structure within its narrow limits, and was, so to speak, inscribed on small squares of stone, to be put away and arranged thereafter. Later, when my researches had attained to success, a sudden disastrous interruption of them compelled me to set aside the verses also, and it was not until nine years afterwards that I found time to arrange them for rough printing. They were then put nearly in the order of writing, some fragments being finished but most omitted. I have blamed myself for this, because the omissions give to the whole a more sombre cast than is natural to me, or than I had intended; but now I judge I was right in it. The poem, such as it is, is not a diary in verse, but rather the figure of a work and of a philosophy. . . . I find I cannot rise with those who would soar above reason in the chase of something supernal. Infinities and absolutes are still beyond us; though we may hope to come nearer to them some day by the patient study of little things. Our first duty is the opposite of that which many prophets enjoin upon us—or so I think. We must not accept any speculations merely because they now appear pleasant, flattering, or ennobling to us. We must be content to creep upwards step by step; planting each foot on the firmest finding of the moment; using the compass and such other instruments as we have; observing without either despair or contempt the clouds and precipices above and beneath us. Especially our duty at present is to better our present foothold; to investigate; to comprehend the forces of nature; to set our state rationally in order; to stamp down disease in body, mind, and government; to lighten the monstrous misery of our fellows, not by windy dogmas, but by calm science. The sufferings of the world are due to this, that we despise those plain earthly teachers, reason, work, and discipline. Lost in many speculations, we leave our house disordered, unkept, and dirty. We indulge too much in dreams; in politics which organise not prosperity but contention; in philosophies which expressly teach irrationalism, fakirism, and nescience. The poor fakir seated begging by the roadside; with his visions—and his sores! Such is man. . . . An old philosophy this—like the opposite one. The poem gathers itself under it and attempts to use the great symbols of that wonderful Land, the drought, the doubt, the pains of self, the arid labour, the horrors of whole nations diseased, the crime of Nescience, parodying God’s words, and the victory of His thunder and rain.

The dated stanzas near the end, except the first two lines of the second quatrain, were written the day after the discovery of the parasites of malaria in mosquitos. There are some repetitions, and I fear worse faults; but it is too late to mend them. I am much indebted to Mr. John Masefield and Mrs. Masefield for assisting me in the correction of the proofs.


December 2, 1909.









    Vox Clamantis26
    The Gains of Time35
    Wisdom’s Counsel39
    Truth-Service and Self-Service43
    Vision of Nescience45
    The Deeps46
    The Monsoon51



Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.




Here from my lonely watch-tower of the East

  An ancient race outworn I see—

With dread, my own dear distant Country, lest

    The same fate fall on thee.


Lo here the iron winter of curst caste

  Has made men into things that creep;

The leprous beggars totter trembling past;

    The baser sultans sleep.


Not for a thousand years has Freedom’s cry

  The stillness of this horror cleaved,

But as of old the hopeless millions die,

    That yet have never lived.


Man has no leisure but to snatch and eat,

  Who should have been a god on earth;

The lean ones cry; the fat ones curse and beat,

    And wealth but weakens worth.


O Heaven, shall man rebelling never take

  From Fate what she denies, his bliss?

Cannot the mind that made the engine make

    A nobler life than this?


    Madras, 1881.




Spirit of Thought, not thine the songs that flow

To fill with love or lull Idalian hours.

Thou wert not nurtured ’mid the marish flowers,

Or where the nightshade blooms, or lilies blow:

But on the mountains. From those keeps of snow

Thou seëst the heavens, and earth, and marts and towers

Of teeming man; the battle smoke that lours

Above the nations where they strive below;⁠—

The gleam of golden cohorts and the cloud

Of shrieking peoples yielding to the brink⁠—

The gleam, the gold, the agony, the rage;

The civic virtue of a race unbow’d;

The reeling empire, lost in license, sink;

And chattering pigmies of a later age.






I would rejoice in iron arms with those

Who, nobly in the scorn of recompense,

Have dared to follow Truth alone, and thence

To teach the truth—nor fear’d the rage that rose.

No high-piled monuments are theirs who chose

Her great inglorious toil—no flaming death;

To them was sweet the poetry of prose,

But wisdom gave a fragrance to their breath.

Alas! we sleep and snore beyond the night,

Tho’ these great men the dreamless daylight show;

But they endure—the Sons of simple Light⁠—

And, with no lying lanthorne’s antic glow,

Reveal the open way that we must go.






Caligula, pacing thro’ his pillar’d hall,

Ere yet the last dull glimmer of his mind

Had faded in the banquet, where reclined

He spent all day in drunken festival,


Made impious pretence that Jove with him,

Unseen, walk’d, talk’d and jested; for he spoke

To nothing by his side; or frown’d; or broke

In answering smiles; or shook a playful rim


Of raiment coyly. ‘Earth,’ he said, ‘is mine⁠—

No vapour. Yet Caligula, brother Jove,

Will love thee if he find thee worthy love;

If not, his solid powers shall war with thine


And break them, God of Cloud.’ The courtiers round,

As in the presence of two deities, bent

In servile scorn: when, like a warning sent,

An utterance of earthquake shook the ground,


Awful, but which no human meaning bore.

With glaring eyeballs narrowing in dismay,

The huddled creature fallen foaming lay,

Glass’d in the liquid marbles of the floor.






To a poor martyr perisht in the flame

Lo suddenly the cool and calm of Heaven,

And One who gently touch’d and tended, came.

‘For thee, O Lord,’ he cried, ‘my life was given.’


When thus the Pitiful One: ‘O suffering man,

I taught thee not to die, but how to live;

But ye have wrongly read the simple plan,

And turn to strife the Heav’nly gift I give.


I taught the faith of works, the prayer of deeds,

The sacrament of love. I gave, not awe,

But praise; no church but God’s; no form, no creeds;

No priest but conscience and no lord but law.


Behold, my brother, by my side in Heaven

Judas abhor’d by men and Nero next.

How then, if such as these may be forgiven,

Shall one be damn’d who stumbles at a text?’






  This bubbling gossip here of fops and fools,

  Who have no care beyond the coming chance,

  Rough-rubs the angry soul to arrogance

  And puts puff’d wisdom out of her own rules.

  True, knowledge comes on all winds, without schools,

  And every folly has her saw: perchance

  Some costly gem from silliest spodomance

  May be unash’d; and mind has many tools.

  But still, love here rains not her heav’nly dew,

  Nor friendship soothes the folly-fretted sense;

  But pride and ignorance, the empty two,

  Strut arm-in-arm to air their consequence,

And toil bleeds tears of gold for idle opulence.






When Cassius fell and Brutus died,

Resentful Liberty arose,

Where from aloft the mountain snows

She watch’d the battle’s breaking tide;

And as she rent her azure robe

Darkness descended o’er the globe.


‘Break never, Night,’ she cried, ‘nor bring

Before I come again the morn

With all her heav’nly light, for scorn

Of this base world so slumbering;

Where men for thrice five hundred years

Their sin shall mourn, and me, in tears.’



The Three Angels

         The Three Angels


    Heav’n vex’d in heaven heard the World

    And all the grief thereof, and sent

    The angel Strength. Swift he unfurl’d

    His wings and flasht his sword and went:

But still the cry of Earth rang to the firmament.


    Then gentle Love, most loved in heaven,

    Heav’n sent to Earth. His large eyes shone,

    Upcast with glory from God given,

    And darkening downward from the Throne

He fell: nor bated yet the far terrestrial moan.


    Then all the host of heav’n, amazed,

    Cried, ‘Next let Wisdom go and prove

    Himself and conquer.’ But he raised

    His face and answer’d, ‘Heav’n above,

Like them, alone I fail; send with me Strength and Love.’






Muse, in my boyhood’s careless days

My rev’rence for thee was not small,

Altho’ I roam’d by Star and Sea

And left thee, seeking other ways—

I left thee, for I knew that all

Return by Sea and Star to thee.


Not worthy he to hear thy song,

Him thou thyself despisest most,

Who dares not leave thee and arise

To face the World’s discordant throng;

Since thou’rt best gain’d by being lost,

And Earth is in thy Heav’nly eyes.



The Star and the Sun

         The Star and the Sun


In Darkness, and pacing the Thunder-Beat Shore

          By many Waves,

No sound being near to me there but the hoarse

          Cicala’s cry,

While that unseen Sword, the Zodiacal Light,

          Falchion of Dawn,

Made clear all the Orient, wanning the Silvery Stars,


I heard the fine flute of the Fast-Fading Fire,

          The Morning Star,

Pipe thus to the Glimmering Glories of Night,

          And sing, O World,

If I too must leave thee then who can remain?

          But lo! from the Deep

The Thundering Sun upsprang and responded, I.


    Andamans, 1886-7.

The World’s Inheritors

         The World’s Inheritors


God gazing down from Heaven saw the World.

Mighty, himself a heav’n, he fill’d the heavens.

His beard fell like a wasted thunder at eve,

And all his robe was woven with white stars,

        And on his breast a star.


The World was dark. Deep in a forest there,

Where not the rill that routed in the wood

Dared break the silence, nor one murmur of night

Wound to the stagnant, chill, and listening air,

        Five children slumbering lay.


One ruddy as the red grapes of the south;

One duskier, breather of more burning air;

One blue-eyed, blond, and golden-crown’d with locks;

One finely fashion’d in an even mould;

        And one hard wrought as steel.


Lord of the Woods their Sire; enormous, rough,

Hair-tangled like the north-bear: but his Mate

Queen of a myriad palaces that shone

With chalcedon and jasper, justly wrought,

        And gems of jewel’d stone.


Who when he saw her won her; loved her well;

By her abhor’d: and so he slew her then,

And gazed upon her beauty dead, and died

Himself, lamenting his wild woods. And these

        Their wondrous offspring were.


    Europe, A.D. 500.


The World beheld them and adored—adored,

And fear’d, and sought to slay them; for

The battle-brood of gods is battle-born.

But they endured; nor in the thunder found

        Harm, or the bolt of death.


And God look’d down and spake, and thro’ the Earth

The murmur ran, terranean like the shock

When central earthquakes jar, until the Deep

Foams tingling to the icèd poles; and said,

        To these I give the World.


    Andamans, 1886-7.

Death-Song of Savagery

         Death-Song of Savagery


I have heard it—I have heard the Forest

Strive to bring me comfort, and the Ocean

Roll large-tongued consolation round me.

I have heard the weakling Wildbirds crying,

And the wailing Winds proclaim me brother.

I have heard these things and yet I perish.


From the Flowers, the myriad mouths of Forest,

Honey’d words have come, and from the Billows,

Bursting, issue of sweet cheering voices.

In this Midnight and moon-glamour’d Darkness,

Winds and Wildbirds crying give me pity;

But, altho’ I hear them, lo! I perish.


For a mighty Voice rolls thro’ my Spirit,

Crying, As thou wert, so art, and shalt be,

Ever and for ever and for ever,

Son of Midnight and moon-glamour’d Darkness,

Rayless, lightless, and thy One Star faded,

Child of Night and Ocean, till thou perish.


    Andamans, 1886-7.

Epilogue to the author’s romance The Child of Ocean.

Ocean and the Dead

        Ocean and the Dead
The Dead:‘Dost dare to rouse us from our sleep,
Eternal, given of God, O Deep?’
Ocean:‘A thunder on your bones! In life
You waged with me your pigmy strife.’
The Dead:‘Living, but humble mariners we;
Dead, Ocean, what are we to thee?’
Ocean:‘You hoped to find within your graves
Eternal refuge from my waves.’
The Dead:‘Living, we faced thee full of fears;
Dying, thy roar was in our ears.’
Ocean:‘Dead, I will break your bones for ever.
Man may forgive, but Nature never.’
      Andamans, 1886-7.

In 1740 the cemeteries of Dunwich were laid bare by the sea.

Ocean and the Rock

        Ocean and the Rock
The Rock:‘Cease, O rude and raging Sea,
Thus to waste thy war on me.
Hast thou not enough assail’d,
All these ages, Fool, and fail’d?’
Ocean:‘Gaunt and ghastly Skeleton,
Remnant of a time that’s gone,
Tott’ring in thy last decay
Durst thou still to darken day?’
The Rock:‘Empty Brawler, brawl no more;
Cease to waste thy watery war
On my bastion’d Bases broad,
Sanctified by Time and God.’
Ocean:‘Thou that beëst but to be,
Scornest thou my energy?
Not much longer lasts the strife.
I am Labour, I am Life.’
The Rock:‘Roar, then, roar, and vent thy Surge;
Thou not now shalt drone my dirge.
Dost imagine to dismay
This my iron breast with Spray?’
Ocean:‘Relic of primeval Slime,
I shall whelm thee in my time.
Changeless thou dost ever die;
Changing but immortal I.’
      Andamans, 1886-7.

The Brothers

        The Brothers
Beneath Socotra, and before
The mariner makes the Libyan shore,
Or him the Doubtful Cape beguiles,
Black in the Night two dreadful Isles.
By Allah chain’d to Ocean’s bed,
Each shows above an awful head,
And front to front, envisaged, frown
To frown retorts—by loud renown
The Brothers. But no love between:
Tho’ bound, they nurse a mutual spleen;
And, when the thundering Waves engage
In battle, vent immortal rage.
Darzé:‘Ho! Thro’ the Midnight learn my hate.
When God releases, then thy fate.’
Samhé:‘When God unbinds thy fetter’d feet,
For mercy him, not me, entreat.’
Darzé:‘Dost think, because thy head is high,
That thou art more divine than I?’
Samhé:‘Because thy looks are earthward given
Thou hatest one who looks to Heaven.’
Darzé:‘Because thou gazest at the Sun
Think’st thou thou art the nobler one?’
Samhé:‘For them who with the Stars converse
There is no better and no worse.’
Darzé:‘So! hold thy old philosophy!
Truth and the World enough for me.
For humble Truth was born on Earth,
But Lies, forsooth, have better birth!’
Samhé:‘I watch the white Stars rise and fall;
I hear the vanish’d Eagles call;
For me the World is but a Sod;
I strive to see the eyes of God.’

The islands about which this legend is told are known as Jezírat Darzé and Jezírat Samhé, east of Cape Gardafui—one high and the other low.




’Tis said that a noble youth of old

Was to his native village lost,

And to his home, and agèd sire;

For he had wander’d (it is told)

Where, pinnacled in eternal frost,

Apollo leads his awful Choir.


Awful, for nought of human warms

The agony of their song sublime,

Which like the breath of ice is given

Ascending in vapour from all forms,

Where gods in clear alternate chime

Reveal their mystery-thoughts to Heaven.


Nor in those regions of windless cold

Is fiery the Sun, tho’ fierce in light;

But frozen-pale the numbèd Moon

Wanders along the ridges that fold

Enormous Peaks, what time the Night

Rivals with all her stars the Noon.


For there, not dimly as here, the Stars,

But globèd and azure and crimson tinct,

Climb up the windless wastes of snow,

Gold-footed, or thro’ the long-drawn bars

Of mountain mist, with eyes unblink’d

And scorn, gaze down on the World below;


Or high on the topmost peak and end

Of ranges stand with sudden blaze,

Like Angels born in spontaneous birth;

Or wrap themselves in flame and descend

Between black foreheads of rock in haze,

Slowly, like grievèd gods to earth.


And there for ever the patient Wind

Rakes up the crystals of dry snow,

And mourns for ever her work undone;

And there for ever, like Titans blind,

Their countenance lifting to Heaven’s glow,

The sightless Mountains yearn for the Sun.


There nightly the numbèd eagle quells

(Full-feather’d to his feet of horn)

His swooning eye, his eyrie won,

And slumbers, frozen by frosty spells

Fast to the pinnacle; but at Morn

Unfetter’d leaps toward the Sun.


.     .     .     .     .


He heard, he saw. Not to the air

Dared breathe a breath; but with his sight

Wreak’d on Immortals mortal wrong,

And dared to see them as they were—

The black Peaks blacken’d in their light,

The white Stars flashing with their song.


So fled. But when revealing Morn

Show’d him, descended, giant-grown,

Men ant-like, petty, mean and weak,

He rush’d, returning. Then in scorn

Th’ Immortals smote him to a Stone

That aches for ever on the Peak.






High Muse, who first, where to my opening sight,

New-born, the loftiest summits of the world,

Silent, with brows of ice and robes unfurl’d

Of motionless thunder, shone above the night,

Didst touch my infant eyes and fill with light

Of snow, and sleepless stars, and torrents hurl’d,

And fragrant pines of morning mist-empearl’d,

And music of great things and their delight:

Revisit me; resume my soul; inspire

With force and cold out of the north—not given

To sickly dwellers in these southern spots,

Where all day long the great Sun rolls his fire

Intol’rable in the dusty march of heaven,

And the heart shrivels and the spirit rots.


    Madras, 1890.




   A valley of far-fallen rocks,

   Like bones of mouldering mountains, spread,

   And ended by the barren blocks

     Of mountains doom’d or dead:

   No rivage there with green recess

   Made music in that wilderness.


   Despairing fell the sore-spent Sun,

   And cried, ‘I die,’ and sank in fire;

   Like conquering Death, the Night came on

     And ran from spire to spire;

   And swollen-pale ascended soon,

   Like Death in Life, the leprous Moon.


   On windy ledges lined with light,

   Between the still Stars sparsely strewn,

   Two Spirits grew from out the Night

     Beneath the mistless Moon,

   And held deep parley, making thought

   With words sententious half distraught.


   One full-robed; in his hand a book;

   His lips, that labour’d for the word,

   Scarce moved in utterance; and his look

     Sought, not his face who heard,

   But that Sad Star that sobs alway

   Upon the breast of dying Day.


   One, weary, with two-handed stress

   Leant on his shoulder-touching spear

   His beard blown o’er the hairiness

     Of his great breast; and clear

   His eyes shot speculation out

   To catch the truth or quell the doubt.


1. ‘The dreams of Hope, of blue-eyed Hope,

   Melt after morn and die in day;

   Love’s golden dew-globe, lit aslope,

     Dulls with a downward ray;

   Canst thou with all thy thought renew

   The flying dreams or drying dew?’


2. ‘Not I creator. Hour by hour

   I labour without stress or strife

   To gain more knowledge, greater power,

     A nobler, longer life.

   By thought alone we take our stand

   Above the world and win command.’


1. ‘Know, Knowledge doth but clip our wings,

   And worldly Wisdom weaken worth,

   To make us lords of little things,

     And worm-gods of the earth.

   Were earth made Heaven by human wit,

   Some wild star yet might shatter it.’


2. ‘The wings of Fancy are but frail,

   And Virtue’s without Wisdom weak;

   Better than Falsehood’s flowery vale,

     The Truth, however bleak.

   Tho’ she may bless not nor redeem,

   The Truth is true, and reigns supreme.’


1. ‘Not all, but few, can plead and prove

   And crown their brows with Truth and pass;

   Their little labours cannot move

     The mountain’s mighty mass.

   To man in vain the Truth appeals,

   Or Heav’n ordains, or Art reveals.’


2. ‘So self-consuming thought. But see

   The standards of Advance unfurl’d;

   The buds are breaking on the lea,

     And Spring strikes thro’ the world.

   Tho’ we may never reach the Peak,

   God gave this great commandment, Seek.’


.     .     .     .     .


   The ponderous bolts of Night were drawn;

   The pale Day peer’d thro’ cloudy bars;

   The Wind awoke; the sword of Dawn

     Flasht thro’ the flying Stars;

   The new-born Sun-Star smote the Gloom:

   The Desert burst in endless Bloom.


    Bangalore, 1890.

Thought and Action

         Thought and Action


The Angel of the Left Hand spake. His speech

Fell as when on some shuddering arctic beach

The icy Northern creeps from reach to reach


And curdles motion and with thrilling spell

Fixes the falling ripple. ‘Peace and quell,’

He said, ‘the action not maturèd well.


What scorn to build with labour, round on round,

And lay the costly marbles, when ’tis found

The whole design at last inapt, unsound!


Beware the bitter moment when awake

We view the mischief that our visions make⁠—

The good things broken in a mad mistake.


But rather use the thought that is divine;

And know that every moment of design

Will save an hour of action, point for line.


And leave to others loss or victory;

And like the stars of heaven seek to be

The wise man’s compass but beyond the sea.’


Then He upon the Right. His words came forth

Like the full Southern blowing to the north.

‘The time is come,’ he said, ‘to try thy worth.


For when Thought’s wasted candles wane and wink,

And meditations like the planets sink,

The sun of Action rushes from the brink.


Stand not for ever in the towers of Thought

To watch the watery dawning waste to nought

The distant stars deluding darkness brought.


Not timorous weak persuasion, but the brand

Of Action—not discussion, but command⁠—

Can rouse the ranks of God and storm the land,


Where men who know the day still doze again;

Not walls of dust can dam th’ outrageous main,

Nor mitigation seize the world and reign.


Fear not. Unsheath the naked falchion. Try

The end. For in the end, who dares deny,

The utter truth shall slay the utter lie.’


    Bangalore, 1890-3.

The Indian Mother

         The Indian Mother


Full fed with thoughts and knowledges sublime,

And thundering oracles of the gods, that make

Man’s mind the flower of action and of time,

I was one day where beggars come to take

Doles ere they die. An Indian mother there,

Young, but so wretched that her staring eyes

Shone like the winter wolf’s with ravening glare

Of hunger, struck me. For to much surprise

A three-year child well nourish’d at her breast,

Wither’d with famine, still she fed and press’d⁠—

For she was dying. ‘I am too poor,’ she said,

‘To feed him otherwise’; and with a kiss

Fell back and died. And the soul answeréd,

‘In spite of all the gods and prophets—this!’


    Bangalore, 1890-3.




      The fingers which had stray’d

Thro’ shining clusters of his children’s hair

      Now lifeless moved, and play’d

With horrible tresses of the ripples there;

      His eyes, as if he pray’d,

Were cast beneath long eyelids, wan and spare.


       Rock’d by the roaring flood,

He seem’d to speak as in debate with doom,

      Uplooking, while the flood

Bore him with thunder to the ocean foam.

      God’s face, a luminous cloud,

Look’d thro’ the midnight, black, and horrible gloom.


    Bangalore, 1890-3.

Indian Fevers

         Indian Fevers


In this, O Nature, yield I pray to me.

I pace and pace, and think and think, and take

The fever’d hands, and note down all I see,

That some dim distant light may haply break.


.     .     .     .     .     .


The painful faces ask, can we not cure?

We answer, No, not yet; we seek the laws.

O God, reveal thro’ all this thing obscure

The unseen, small, but million-murdering cause.


    Bangalore, 1890-3.

The Star

         The Star


Far across the Loneland, far across the Sea,

Far across the Sands, O silver shining

Sister of the Silence, Sister of the Dew,

Sister of the Twilight, lighten me.


Ever art thou beaming. I, with eyes upcast,

Gazing worn and weary from this Dark World,

Ask of thee thy Wisdom, steadfast Eye of God,

That I be as Thou art while I last.






Truth, whom I hold divine,

Thy wings are strong to bear

Thro’ day or desperate night;

For, ever those eyes of thine,

Fix’d upward full of prayer,

Are seeking for the light.


Guide me and bear. Descend

Into the sulphurous void—

Tho’ I so weak, thy wings

Stronger than him who, pen’d

In hell unmerited, buoy’d

Poets past infernal springs.


Take me and bear. Descend

Into these deeps of death,

Wherever the light may lead,

Wherever the way may wend;

And give to my failing breath,

O Spirit, thy words of deed.









This profit yet remains

  Of exile and the hour

That life in losing gains

  Perhaps a fuller flower.


Not less the prunèd shoot,

  Not less the barren year,

Which yields the perfect fruit,

  Which makes the meaning clear.


For on this desert soil

  A blessing comes unsought—

Space for a single toil,

  Time for a single thought.


When in distractions tost,

  Since oft distractions claim

For moments never lost

  Of each its higher aim,


We live, we learn the wealth

  The joyous hours may bring,

But jealous time by stealth

  Puts all of it to wing;


Pursuing empty arts

  We gain no noble goal,

And lose, in learning parts,

  The grandeur of the whole.


If Patience, pouring tears—

  She cannot but lament

The long unfruitful years

  Of exile, idly spent—


Have patience, she will find

  They were not all in vain,

But each has left behind

  A little store of gain—


A wider wisdom bought

  With labour; problems solved;

The themes of inner thought

  More thoroughly revolved.


So one who entertain’d

  The prosperous of the earth;

No good from any gain’d,

  But lost his wealth and worth;


In wrath he gather’d round

  The indigent and old;

Each wretch, amazed he found,

  Had left a gift of gold.


So one who sought a land

  Where all the earth is ore;

But had he sifted sand

  He would have gather’d more.





The Sun arose and took

  The lofty heav’ns of right;

From out the heav’ns he shook

  The pestilence of his light.


He paced upon his path

  And from his right hand hurl’d

The javelins of his wrath,

  Contemptuous of the world.


Before his scornful lips

  The forests fell down dead,

And scowling in eclipse

  Disbanding thunders fled.


He fills the hills with fire

  And blasts the barren plain;

He hath stript the stricken briar,

  And slain the thorn again.


He cracks the rocks, and cakes

  The quagmires into crust,

And slays the snake, and makes

  The dead leaf writhe in dust.


He halts in heav’n half way

  And blackens earth with light;

And the dark doom of day

  Lies on us like the night.


A Land of clamorous cries;

  Of everlasting light;

Of noises in the skies

  And noises in the night.


There is no night; the Sun

  Lives thro’ the night again;

The image of the Sun

  Is burnt upon the brain.


O God! he still returns;

  He slays us in the dust;

The brazen Death-Star burns

  And stamps us into dust.





The air is thunder-still.

  What motion is with us?

Deep shocks of thunder fill

  The deep sky ruinous;


As if, down lumbering large

  Upon these desert tracts,

He had fallen about the marge

  In cloudy cataracts.


And spot by spot in dust

  The writhing raindrops lie,

And turn like blood to rust—

  Writhe, redden, shrink, and dry.


A Land where all day long,

  Day-long descanting dirge,

The heavy thunders hang

  And moan upon the verge;


Where all day long the kite

  Her querulous question cries,

And circles lost in light

  About the yellow skies;


And thou, O Heart, art husht

  In the deep dead of day,

Half restless and half crusht,

  Half soaring too away.


Day-long the querulous kite

  Her querulous question cries,

And sails, a spot of night,

  About the vasty skies.


The puff’d cheeks of typhoons

  Blow thro’ the worthless clouds

That roll in writhing moons

  In skies of many moods,


None fruitful; and the clouds

  Take up the dust and dance

A dance of death and shrouds—

  Mock, mow, retire, advance.




Where is the rain? We hear

  The footsteps of the rain,

Walking in dust, and, near,

  Dull thunders over the plain.


Cloud?—dust. The wind awakes;

  The base dust we have trod

Smokes up to heaven and takes

  The thunderings of God.


No rain. The angry dust

  Cries out against the rain;

The clouds are backward thrust;

  The monstrous Sun again.


We hoped the rain would fall

  After the dreadful day,

For we heard the thunders call

  Each other far away.


We hoped for rain because

  After thunder rain is given;

And yet it only was

  The mockery of heaven.


He is the lord of us;

  He will unconquered sink,

Red, but victorious,

  And smoking to the brink.


Shout, barren thunders, shout

  And rattle and melt again!

So fall the fates about,

  So melt the hopes of men.


Rattle aloft and wake

  The sleepers on the roofs,

Wild steeds of heav’n, and shake

  Heav’n with your echoing hoofs.


Awake the weary at night

  Until they cry, “The rain!”—

Then take to tempestuous flight

  And melt into air again.





This is the land of Death;

  The sun his taper is

Wherewith he numbereth

  The dead bones that are his.


He walks beside the deep

  And counts the mouldering bones

In lands of tumbling steep

  And cataracts of stones.


About his feet the hosts

  Of dead leaves he hath slain

Awaken, shrieking ghosts

  Demanding life again.


O silent Sepulchre,

  Great East, disastrous clime;

O grave of things that were;

  O catacombs of time;


O silent catacombs;

  O blear’d memorial stones;

Where laughing in the tombs

  Death plays with mouldering bones;


And through dead bones the stalk

  Of the living herb is thrust;

And we, the living, walk

  In wastes of human dust.


Dust—thou art dust. Thy Sun,

  Thy lord, and lord of dust,

Doth stamp thee into one

  Great plain of dust; and dust


Thy heav’ns, thy nights, thy days;

  Thy temples and thy creeds;

Thy crumbling palaces;

  Thy far forgotten deeds,—


Infinite dust. Half living,

  We clothe ourselves in dust

And live, not to be living,

  But because we must.


Thy winds are full of death;

  Death comes we know not whence;

Thy forests have a breath

  Of secret pestilence;


Thy rivers rolling large

  Are blest with no sweet green,

But silent at the marge

  The waiting monsters seen.


No scented silence, eve,

  But night a noisy gloom;

And we thy captives live,

  The derelicts of doom.


Vox Clamantis




Long, long the barren years;

  Long, long, O God, hast thou

Appointed for our tears

  This term of exile. Lo,


Life is but nothing thus:

  Old friendships perishèd;

Not hand in hand with us

  The dying father dead;


Narrow’d the mind that should

  Thro’ all experience range

And grow; in solitude

  Unheard the wheels of change.


When sadly numbering

  The wasted golden hours

Our fate hath put to wing,

  That had perchance been ours


To have seen, to have known, to have trod

  About from pole to girth

This heritage of God,

  This wondrous sculptured earth,


Seeing that never again

  The usurer Time gives back,

How should we not complain

  This Present, barren-black?


We said, ‘We must not mourn;

  The end is always good;

Well past the pain well borne.’

  But Sorrow in her mood


Would not be comforted,

  And cried, ‘I know the truth;

Where are the distant dead,

  And where the wasted youth?


Let Wisdom take her ground

  And Hope do what she can;

Ill heals the dreadful wound

  That severs half a man.’


Sorrow, not so beguiled,

  Would take my hand and lead,

But waiting Wisdom smiled

  And took my hand instead,


And answered, ‘Well I rede

  The shackled win the goal;

The body’s strengthener Need,

  And Sorrow of the soul.


But mine the part be given

  To guide and hers to follow,

And so win thro’ to heaven.’

  And Sorrow said, ‘I follow.’





To sadness and to self

  We should not enter in—

Sadness the shadow of self

  And self the shadow of sin—


Unless because the whole

  Of human life appears

Clear only when the soul

  Is darken’d thro’ with tears.


The day too full of light

  With light her own light mars;

But in the shading night

  The shining host of stars.


That, leaving manhood, men

  Should kiss the hands of grief

And, loving but the wen,

  The wart, the wither’d leaf,


Amass a hoard of husks

  When joy is in the corn

Nor ever evening dusks

  Without the tints of morn,


Informs with doubt if good

  Be, or omnipotent;

Since in the brightest blood

  This idle discontent.


Joy, jester at herself,

  And happiness, of woe,

If self at peace with self

  Know not, when shall he know?


So one, a prosperous man;

  Nightly the people fill

His toast, and what he can

  Is only what he will.


They shout; his name is wed

  With thunders; torches flare;

Tost in a wretched bed

  He chews a trifling care.





One says in scorn, ‘The strife

  To live well keeps us well,

And ’tis the unworthy life

  That makes the prison cell.’


And one, ‘An angel stood

  On sands of withering heat;

The flowerless solitude

  Grew green beneath his feet.’

A third, ‘Many would lief

  Endure thy solitude

As else. Ascribe thy grief

  To poison in the blood.’


And I, ‘O Soul, content

  Yet in thine exile dwell,

And live up to thy bent.

  Not more than well is well;


But take the sports divine,

  The largesse of the earth;

Wind-drinking steeds be thine

  And blowsèd chase—the mirth


Of those who wisely draw

  Their lives in nature’s vein

And live in the large law,

  Of slaying or being slain.


‘Or learn by looking round.

  Lift up thine eyes. Avow

The gardener of thy ground

  Doth worthier work than thou.


From his poor cot he wends

  At early break of day;

His pretty charges tends

  In his unskilful way.


Much wearied with his toil

  He labours thro’ the hours,

And pours upon the soil

  Refreshment for his flowers.


‘Tho’ bent with aged stoop,

  To him no rest is given,

But the heads of those that droop

  He raises up to heaven.


Half ready for the grave,

  His weakness he forgets,

More scrupulous to save

  The breath of violets.


But at the evening hour

  When he shall seek repose,

The voice of every flower

  Will bless him as he goes.’






These stones that idly make

  An idle land and lie,

Fantastic forms, or break

  Down crumbling hills not high


In arid cataracts

  Where meagre cattle stray

To search the meagre tracts

  Of bitter grass: for aye


They move not, live not, lie

  Dull eyes that watch the world,

And exiles asking why

  God brought them here or hurl’d.


We would we could have torn

  This winding web of fate

Which round us barely born

  Hath bought us to this state


Of being cast away

  Among these tombs. The river

Of life here day by day

  Runs downward slower ever


Into black washes. True

  Yet holds our destiny—

To live a year or two,

  Look round us once and die.


If we should try to trace

  In portions, line by line,

The beauty of a face

  To know why thus divine,


Seeing but many curves,

  We miss the inner soul

And find no part deserves

  That merit of the whole.


And so to analyse

  Thy mournful spirit vain,

O Exile; but our sighs

  Suffice to prove the pain.


To grow from much to more

  In knowledge, and to put

A power to every power,

  A foot before a foot,


Toward that goal of good

  That glimmers thro’ the night

Above the time and mood,

  A star of constant light;


At last to meet the dark,

  The goal not reach’d indeed,

But full of hours and work,

  Are, Exile, not thy creed.


And less to leap to catch

  The spinning spokes of change;

In our brief life to snatch

  All aspects and to range


Full-face with every view;

  To sit with those who toil,

Great spirits, toiling too;

  Still less to fan or foil


Those fires that, rushing fast

  Thro’ all the people’s life,

Break roaring round the past

  In renovating strife.


If in the energic West

  Man ever grows more large,

Like ocean without rest

  Exploring at the marge,


Here lower yet he turns

  For ever downward thrust—

The baleful Sun-God burns

  And breaks him into dust;


Or like his native plains

  Where nothing new appears,

Or hath appeared, remains

  Unchanged a thousand years.





Tho’ sorrows darkly veiled

  At all men’s tables (nor

The guests make question, paled,

  Nor children hush before


Those presences of grief)

  Sit, yet to all men due

Due rights; the sweet relief

  Of home; the friendship true;


The dying word; to feel

  Their country in their keep;

To heave along the wheel,

  And push against the steep.


But in this wilderness,

  Wed to a rock or two,

What joys have we to bless?

  Far, far, our friends and few;


And thou, O happy Land,

  We dream of thee in vain—

One moment see, then stand

  Within this waste again.


The great earth in her zones

  Matureth day by day;

But we, like waiting stones,

  Know time but by decay.


Grief hath a shadow, shame;

  And manhood, meanly tost

In woes without a name

  And sorrows that are lost,


Look’d at, when in the streets

  True sorrow, seal’d with sores

And wrap’d in rags, entreats

  A charity from ours,


Manhood can best control;

  But this dark exile hath

Worse wounds, and of the soul—

  A misery and a wrath.






Happy the man who ploughs

  All day his native croft;

He looks to heaven and knows,

  Smiling, the lark aloft.


Happy the man whose toil

  Leads on laborious hills;

The rock beneath the soil

  The measure of his ills.


Happiest, who can go forth

  Thro’ every age and clime,

His home the whole of earth,

  His heritage all time.


In vasty Wilds and with

  No crimson petals pranckt

The shallow briars breathe

  And bloom and die unthankt.


And we the useless Briar,

  And round us Desert spread

The red Sun rolls his fire

  And smites the Desert dead;


Death, Silence, and the Star

  With scornful nostrils curl’d;

And half-forgotten, far,

  The movements of the world.





One hour released I rusht

  About the world again;

The living thousands crusht;

  The streets were full of rain;


I felt the north wind sting

  And glory’d in the sleet;

I heard my footsteps ring

  Along the frosty street;


And saw—less seen than felt—

  Swift-flashing Italy,

And that bright city built

  Upon the mirroring Sea.





My country, my England, home,

  Are thy flowers bright, thy bells

Ringing the spring welcome,

  The winter long farewells?


Are thy fields fair—each flower

  Fill’d with the heav’nly dew,

My country, at this hour

  When I am thinking of you?


Art thou so far, so fair?

  Across what leagues of foam,

My country? Art thou still there,

  My England, my country, my home?





This hateful desert land

  Is pent by a great sea

That booms upon the strand

  For ever. Salt the sea


And salt the shore; the thorn

  And cactus stand and gaze

Upon these waves; new-born

  The young grass ends her days;


Straightly the beach is lined.

  I wander to the shore.

The sunset dies behind,

  The full moon springs before.


Of these great Deeps that link

  The land I love with this,

I wander to the brink,

  I watch the waters kiss


This lonely shore. O Waves,

  O Winds and Waters, where

My country? Sing, O Waves,

  And tell me of it here.


O Night? O Moon that comest,

  A sad face fronting mine?

O dusking Deep that boomest,

  What tidings of it thine?





O Homeland, at this hour

  What joys are thine? This moon

What lovers in what bower

  Sees? and what jocund tune


From smoky villages

  Is heard? What homely light

Shines welcome through the trees?

  What watch-dog barks delight?


What lingering linnet flings

  Her good-night in the air?

What honeysuckle rings

  Her chime of fragrance there?


One moment, and I see

  The cot, the lane, the light,

The moon behind the tree,

  The evening turn to night;


One moment know the scent

  Of smoke of fragrant fires,

And hear the cattle pent

  Within the wattled byres.


One moment—and I wake;

  The vision fades and falls;

These lifeless deserts make

  Me adamantine walls.




No cloak of cloudy wrack

  The mistless mystery mars,

But all the desert is black

  Beneath the quivering stars.


I hear the pinions creak

  Of night-birds, beating by;

And lost hyaenas shriek

  Unto the spectral sky.


The Stars, immortal Sons

  Of God, are full of fire;

But we, rejected ones,

  Know heav’n but in desire.


My Soul said, ‘Art thou dead?

  The chasm of night is riv’n;

What dost thou see?’ I said,

  ‘The full-fired fires of heav’n.’


‘Look not but see,’ he said.

  I said, ‘I know not whether

They are the hosts of God

  Clashing their spears together.


So bright the stars appear

  Their splendour smokes in heav’n;

I think indeed I hear

  Their distant voices ev’n.’


He said, ‘See not but know.’

  I said, ‘I cannot see;

I think perhaps they go

  To some great victory.’


He said, ‘For ever they go,

  Still onward, on and on;

And that is why they know

  The victory’s clarion.’


I said, ‘I am too weak

  To do more than I must.’

He said, ‘Then cease to seek

  And perish in the dust.’




Bound in misfortune’s bands,

  Blindfold and brought to nought,

I would reach out my hands

  And touch eternal thought.


I cannot choose but try

  Behind these prison bars

To measure earth and sky

  And know the whole of stars;


And what I rede I write,

  Vain visions as they rise,

Vain visions of the night,

  Unworthy others’ eyes.


I said, ‘Tho’ dungeon’d here

  In these deep dens of night,

My soul shall persevere

  To seek supernal light;


Untainted Truth to know

  From that fair face of Lies

Whose heav’nly features glow

  Like Truth’s, save in the eyes;


Till, after all these years,

  The wisdom come unsought

To see the stars as spheres

  And sound the bounds of thought.’




I hold with them who see

  Nor only idly stand

The deed of thought to be

  Worth many deeds of hand.


Ever as we journey sink

  The old behind the new,

And Heav’n commands we think

  As justly as we do.


One golden virtue more

  Than virtue we must prize,

One iron duty more

  Than duty, to be wise.


Who to himself hath said,

  ‘This chamber must be closed;

This tract of truth I dread,

  This darkness God-imposed


May not be lifted,’ keeps

  An ever-open door

Thro’ which deception creeps,

  Confounding more and more,


Until to wild extremes

  Of falsehood driv’n he dies,

Intoxicate with dreams

  And drunk with a thousand lies.


And more if he have taken

  A secret lie for friend,

He shall be found forsaken,

  And terrible his end.


So one doth travelling ride;

  A dreadful forest fears;

Rejoiced at length a guide

  He meeteth unawares.


With thunder overthrown

  Day dies in solitude;

The guide, a monster grown,

  Devours him in the wood.


Idle and base the cry

  ‘If it be so, so be it;

But if it be so, then I

  Will look not lest I see it.’


Or this, ‘If it be so

  We lose this thing or that;

’Twere better not to know.’

  The lightning spareth not


The timorous soul who hides

  His head in danger thus:

The iron fact abides;

  Things were not made for us.


Who answers, who repines?

  Not he who works in love,

But he who thinks divines

  The thing he cannot prove.


He takes his stand and rolls

  The phrase he hopes for Heav’n,

But cheats the hungry souls

  And gives them bread of leav’n.


His ears are filled with wax,

  His bandaged eyeballs blind,

And yet no doubts perplex,

  And he can see the wind.


Though all in science good,

  By incessant question found,

Beyond it strayed we brood

  And argue round and round;


And where we hoped the end,

  Such distance we have come,

Amazed we only find

  The point we started from;


And fancies, like the breath

  We utter, do but prove

A cloud above, beneath,

  To fog us as we move.


We climb from cloud to cloud

  The airy precipice;

Fain would we reach to God;

  We fall thro’ the abyss.


The vapours will not bear.

  Wild-clutching we are hurl’d

Thro’ measurements of air

  Again upon the world.


Clear rings the answer high,

  ‘The mystery makes itself;

The mystery is a lie;

  Be cleansed and know thyself.’


If with unshaken will,

  Resolving not to stray

But to be rising still,

  We clamber day by day


From truth to truth, at last,

  In valleys of the night

Not lost, we know the vast

  And simple upper light,


Only one labouring knows.

  The base, tumultuous wreck

Of rock and forest shows;

  The summit, a single peak.


So sought, so seen, so found.

  And what the end so high?

A summit splendour crown’d

  Between the earth and sky,


Where with sidereal blaze

  The mistless planets glow,

And stars unsully’d gaze

  On unpolluted snow.


No strife the vast reveals

  But perfect peace indeed—

The thunder of spinning wheels

  At rest in eternal speed.

The Gains of Time

The Gains of Time


Loll’d in the lap of home;

  Full-fed with fruits of time

Ripen’d on labour’d loam

  By others, since the prime;


Ingrate, we give no thought

  To all these golden things

The toiling past hath brought,

  The toiling present brings.


But on this silent shore

  And waste barbarian,

We hear the engines roar

  And mind the might of man.


So one in savage lands:

  He enters all alone;

No weapon in his hands.

  The secret spears unthrown,


The creepers lose their guile,

  Seeing his face, distrest

They know not why. A smile,

  A sign or two, a jest,


And all on bended knees

  Withhold the savage stroke.

With beating heart he sees

  The lessening steamer-smoke.


He draws a power to be

  From powers sacrificed;

And in his eyes we see

  The teaching of the Christ,


And all the great beside,

  The oracles of time

From Delphic clefts have cried

  Or crasht in thundering rhyme.


A book his finger parts;

  He moves thro’ adverse cries;

Master of many arts

  And careless of the skies.


What are thy mighty deeds,

  O Past, thy gains, O Time?

A dust of ruin’d creeds,

  A scroll or two of rhyme?


A temple earthquake-dasht?

  A false record of things?

A picture lightning-flasht

  Of cruel eyes of kings?


No, these: a wiser rule;

  A science of ampler span;

A heart more pitiful;

  More mind; a nobler man.






Thee most we honour, thee,

  Great Science. Hold thy way.

The end thou canst not see,

  But in the end the day.


Seek without seeking ends,

  And shatter without ruth;

On thee our fate depends;

  Be faithful, keep the truth.


We think it false to dream

  Beyond the likely fact;

We grant thee, Truth, supreme,

  Whatever thou exact.


I pray thee, Truth, control

  My destiny distraught,

And move my sightless soul

  In thy high ways of thought.


Hold thou my hand. I go

  Wherever thou wilt guide,

Tho’ bleak the bitter snow

  And black the mountain side.


Or if thou bid’st descend,

  I fear not for myself,

Tho’ raging thunders rend

  And lightnings lash, the gulf.


My deeds I will endow,

  My spirit render clean,

O Truth, with thee; and thou

  Wilt make the desert green;


And haply show withal

  The wells that will not sink,

Sweet pastures for the soul,

  And in the desert drink.


Confounded by these briars,

  Thy stars will compass me

And be the beacon fires

  To light mine eyes to thee.





But in my state infirm

  That Spirit comes and cries

To me in wrath, ‘O worm,

  They see not who have eyes,


How thou that hast not? Know,

  My children drink the sun,

Taking them wings to go

  Where others walk or run:


Yet scarcely one life-taught

  Can ever rightly heed

The issue of a thought

  Or do a fruitful deed.’






I call no curse on fate,

  I call no curse on thee,

O barren bitter state

  Of exile, such to me.


I would but only this:

  I wish that I could go

And see the thing that is,

  And, seeing, better know;


And take things in my hand

  And find if false or fit;

But in this far-off land

  What hope is there of it?


There is no hope of it;

  I see but sad despair,

Unless it may be writ

  God cureth care by care.


So one in prison thrust;

  He ages span by span,

But in the prison dust

  Becomes a better man.


So one is blind from birth;

  All day he sitteth still;

He cannot see the earth,

  But heaven when he will.





I thought that I might rise

  And, looking to the stars,

Lift up my blinded eyes

  And bless God unawares,


In words whose merit this—

  Poor buds of blighting air—

To know no loveliness

  But breathe the scent of prayer;


Since Heaven hath decreed

  Who suffers lives with God,

And he who writes indeed

  Must write in his own blood


I thought, tho’ fetter’d fast,

  I yet might move my hands

To cast or to recast

  Some labour—sift the sands


For knowledge—search the vast

  Some hidden hope to find—

Perhaps to help at last

  The cause of humankind.


O hope abandon’d! Not

  In me the worth or wit.

God gave this lowly lot

  Because I merit it.


In humble ways I move

  Myself to little things;

The heated hands I prove,

  I watch the light that springs


Or fades in fever’d eyes;

  My only solace here,

Not to be rich or wise

  But to have done with fear.


God sees the silent space

  Where footstep never trod;

And in the lonely place

  The listener is God.




Deep, deep in league with Fate,

  Fate fast in league with Sorrow,

And Sorrow with my state,

  I would that I could borrow,


O Deep, a depth from thee,

  O Fate, thy fixèd calm,

O Sorrow, what to me

  Thou givest not, thy balm;


That I might worthier show

  A scorn of your controls,

And let Misfortune know

  Iron chains make iron souls.


If chain’d we could but take

  Contagion from the steel,

And wisdom’s mantle shake

  Around us head to heel,


And chill the eyes and rest

  No longer violent,

The steel, still more imprest,

  Would banish discontent.


The strongest chains are burst

  When we have done with care;

A joy lives in the worst,

  A gladness in despair.


So when great clouds all night

  Hold high debate of thunder

In awful tones that fright

  The huddled cities under;


And roar their rage and move

  About the breadths of space,

And sudden flashes prove

  The madness in their face;


At length, when break of day

  Shows heav’nly peace newborn,

They muttering melt away

  Before the might of morn.

Wisdom’s Counsel

Wisdom’s Counsel




But Wisdom wearying said,

  ‘I know a nobler way.

Let Fate with Sorrow wed

  And give the Deep his day;


But turn thine eyes and see

  With some more love sincere

The prisoners that with thee

  Are also dungeon’d here—


The pale flower in the chink,

  The spider at the grate,

The bird that comes to drink

  His tollage from thy plate.’


Grief, sitting sad’ning still

  With cold eyes inward cast,

Looks round the empty will

  And dreary chambers vast


Of thought. She cannot sit;

  She loathes her selfish tears;

She looks once more without,

  And lo! worse grief appears.


Her tears bechidden freeze;

  She watches the world’s need,

And deeper sorrow sees,

  And that that weeps indeed.


There is no misery

  Attired in mourning wear,

Worse misery may not see,

  And that that goeth bare.


We have no heavy cross

  To some one’s is not small;

We weep no heavy loss

  But some one weeps his all;


And not the grief unseen,

  And not the aching mind,

Cries like the sorrow seen

  And shivering in the wind.





Half stun’d I look around

  And see a land of death—

Dead bones that walk the ground

  And dead bones underneath;


A race of wretches caught

  Between the palms of Need

And rub’d to utter naught,

  The chaff of human seed;


And all like stricken leaves,

  Despondent multitudes

The wind of winter drives

  About the broken woods.


The toiler tills the field,

  But at his bosom coil’d

The blood-leach makes him yield

  The pence for which he toil’d,


And grows and drops off fat

  From these poor breathless ones,

Who know not this or that

  But work themselves to bones;


And this one fever’d flags,

  And that one hopeless tries,

Or uncomplaining drags

  A giant leg, and dies.




Vain drug! If I am sick

  Can others’ sickness heal?

Or dead, death make me quick?

  I care not what they feel.


What reck I? Let me go.

  Is not my bosom full?

The sorrow that I know

  Makes others’ sorrow dull.


I will shut up the soul,

  For only joy is just.

Stones with the river roll,

  And we ev’n as we must.


Why should I think of thee,

  O Wisdom, and thy lies?

Better laugh and foolish be

  Than laugh not and be wise.


The wild-birds heed thee not;

  Of thee no torrents roar;

The deep seas know no jot

  Of all thy little lore;


But man who cannot ’scape

  To follow thee and trust,

Thou takest by the nape

  And grindest in the dust.






Lo! here accursèd caste

  Hath made men things that creep;

The beggars totter past,

  The baser sultans sleep;


The limping lepers crawl,

  The tricking traders cheat;

The lean ones cry and fall,

  The fat ones curse and beat;


Never hath freedom’s cry

  The stifling stillness cleaved;

The hopeless millions die

  That yet have never lived.


No noble god of earth,

  Man can but snatch and eat;

Starvation murders worth,

  Wealth makes the beast complete.


What horror here! Is this

  Thy revelation, Truth?

I shake at the abyss.

  What hunger, rage, and ruth,


How hopeless! Heaven, we men

  Are not the gods we think!—

Base pismires of the fen

  That fight and bite and sink.





O myriad-childed Mother,

  Sitting among their graves

Who thee and one another

  Have made for ever slaves,


Great East; O aged Mother,

  Too old for Fear and Hope—

Fear that is Pleasure’s brother,

  And Sorrow’s sister, Hope—


As erst in ages gone,

  So now, thou art half dead,

Thy countenance turned to stone

  By an eternal dread.


With lips that dare not move

  And awful lids apart,

While yet faint pulses prove

  The life about thy heart,


Thou sitt’st at dreadful gaze

  Into the dreadful Vast:

For thou canst well appraise

  The future by the past,


Where thou beholdest Death

  Confound and desolate,

And men like ants beneath

  The giant feet of Fate.





Are these thy mighty deeds,

  O Past, thy gains, O Time?

This wrack of ruin’d creeds,

  This scroll or two of rhyme?—


A temple earthquake-dasht;

  A false record of things;

A picture, lightning-flasht,

  Of cruel eyes of kings;


A mangled race that bleeds

  In cruel custom’s claws,

Besotted by their creeds,

  And murder’d by their laws?


Right easily understood

  Fate’s lesson is, tho’ slow;

She takes a nation’s blood

  To jot a word or two.


And for sufficient space

  To write a line of hers,

She wipes away a race

  And dashes down the verse,


And cries, ‘So much to each,

  And man may mark or not;

But what I choose to teach

  Shall never be forgot.’






If it be not to be,

  Or being be in vain,

That high philosophy

  Shall ever counsel men


To mend this mindless state

  In which, as in the East,

We drift on floods of fate,

  As helpless as the beast,


Then here the issue is—

  Look on this land and weep—

A race as ruin’d as this,

  A misery as deep.





Seeing how pent we are

  Within our human ways,

That save in ceaseless war

  We cannot spend our days,


In struggle each with each

  To get a breathing space,

While Heaven, out of reach,

  Looks on with scornful face;


I wonder, for man’s sake,

  Cannot that mind of his

Which made the engine make

  A better state than this?


Here sitting in my place

  There comes to me unsought

The beautiful sad face

  Of this undying thought.


And with it as in scorn

  The present state descried

Of monsters heaven-born

  And angels crucify’d,


Where, scourged to unnatural toil,

  In palsy’d posture bent,

Man creeping near the soil

  Forgets the firmament.





Since, since we first began

  To measure near and far,

And know that the thoughts of man

  His chiefest actions are,


A thousand cries in sooth

  Call us thro’ time amain,

And every cry a truth

  And every truth a gain,


And yet the needful task,

  To mend this state withal,

Remains undone; we ask,

  What is the good of all?


Do, cries the lofty seer;

  Believe, the prelate cries;

Be, beauty’s priest austere

  Persuades. The man replies,


‘We have three beds at home

  Where eight of us must lie;

Three blankets and one room,

  My children, wife and I.


All day our work we mind;

  But little money gain;

At night the wintry wind

  Whines thro’ the window-pane.’


So one doth read at ease

  With comfortable wine

Devout philosophies

  That say, for him, divine,


To be, to bear, to act,

  To know oneself, be strong,

Are all the heav’ns exact.

  He answers, ‘I am strong;


I fear not any fate;

  I do; I nobly bear.’

A beggar at his gate

  Cries in the bitter air.






Come, lie to us, let us glow;

  Pour out the red wine; speak;

Pour out the sweet lies—so

  We shall be warm and sleek.


Tell us in manner high

  The flattering things that soothe;

But hush the outer cry

  And crush the inner truth.


What matters all the din

  Of truth—discordant cries?

We quaff the joyous wine

  And lap ourselves in lies.


The lordly anthem peals

  The while the people rot;

The gilded church reveals

  The penury of their lot.


No matter—let them starve!

  The gorgeous mass atones;

These glorious arches serve

  To sepulchre their bones.


Come, hymn the dying wretch

  With pæans on the harps;

Nard and vermilion fetch

  To paint and scent the corpse.





Into the hand of man,

  When by the gods first form’d,

They gave this talisman,

  The dull stone Reason, arm’d


With which to brave the skies

  And make the earth his throne.

But to his infant eyes

  A brighter treasure shone—


The tinsel Fancy, flame

  Illusive; and alas,

He flung away the gem

  And took the glittering glass.





Vain, vain the visions—vain,

  Dreams that intoxicate

In the dark day when men

  Come face to face with fate.


Not out of knowledge grown

  The empty dogmas rise,

But gilded bubbles blown

  From the foul froth of lies.


Cease! Let the lies be hurl’d

  Back to the darkling past.

Truth, only, saves the world,

  And Science rules the vast.

Truth-Service and Self-Service

Truth-Service and Self-Service




Alas! we know not what

  Withholds us from the goal

For ever; an inner rot

  Consumes the seeing soul.


Only the truth will serve;

  But he who follows it,

And finds, has not the nerve

  To rule the world with it.


The cunning keep the crown;

  And fate decrees that he

Who lives with truth alone

  Shall win no victory.





Not to be granted great,

  Not to be crowned in youth,

His soul is passionate

  With anger for the truth.


He feels the spirit-drouth,

  He seeks the mad emprise

To mock the mocking mouth

  And smite the lips of lies.


Not his the happy guile

  To veil the flinching eye,

Here where we sit and smile

  To hear each other lie.


But ours to live, forsooth;

  We keep a decent face

And seize the skirts of truth

  And skip into a place;


With bearded wisdom thence

  Our noble plan unfold

For gathering good—pretence

  Indeed for gathering gold.


But he—he cannot rise;

  He slowly falls apart;

For all these human lies

  Are needles in his heart.


He has the truth, he thinks;

  He shivers in his rags;

The laughing liar chinks

  His bursting money-bags


Of lie-begotten pelf,

  And climbs the ladder of lies

To fortune—for himself,

  And not for wisdom, wise.


We crown the charlatan;

  But show to him who shapes

A priceless work for man

  The gratitude of apes.


So one with toil hath writ

  The work which is his life.

Being poor, he has no wit;

  His reader is his wife;


They live in direst need;

  No fortunate patron shows

The work for men to read;

  He dies, and no one knows.


A jealous rival burns

  The work he will not save;

The buried poet turns

  And mutters in his grave.




Old Ape, old Earth, we smile,

  Thou ancient Land of Lies,

At all thy simple guile,

  Thy wisdom that’s not wise.


Scum of the populace,

  The chatterer, cheat, and fool,

Thou puttest in high place

  To scourge thee and to rule;


But him who thee hath given

  The good food of the land

Or water out of heaven

  Thou bitest in the hand.




My soul is full of fire,

  Wrath and tempestuous dirge;

I feel but one desire,

  To find a sword and scourge:


Since man, by right of birth

  And nature’s gift at least

A god upon the earth,

  Remaineth but a beast,


Ill-ruling, blind and halt,

  And not by powers’ unknown,

Or far-off Heaven’s, fault,

  But chiefly by his own.


Lies!—let us drink them up,

  The sweet and bitter lies!

Man takes the maddening cup

  And drinks and dreams and dies.


Pure as revealing morn

  The angel Truth stands there;

But we, oh basely born!

  Dare not to look at her.


Not by eternal laws

  Condemn’d to eternal ruth,

We suffer; but because

  We dare not face the truth.


We wreath and sanctify us

  To the inferior gods;

For things which vilify us

  We lash ourselves with rods.


We rip our veins and bleed

  Before the gods of mire;

For Moloch, without need,

  Consume our babes in fire;


But the greatest God of all

  In eternal silence reigns;

To His high audience-hall

  No human soul attains.

Vision of Nescience

Vision of Nescience




A vision of the night.

  I started in my bed.

A finger in the night

  Was placed upon my head.


A ray of corruption, blue

  As in encharnel’d air

On corpses comes. I knew

  A Death, a Woman there.


Delirious, knee to knee,

  They drank of love like wine,

He skeleton thin, and she

  Most beautiful, most divine.


He with his eyes half warm’d

  Out of their wan eclipse

With lipless kisses storm’d

  Upon her living lips,


And like a vulture quaff’d,

  And raised his hideous head

With joy aloft, and laugh’d

  Like vultures sipping blood.


The purple, fold by fold,

  Fell from her, and, unseen,

The diadem of gold

  By which I knew her queen.


Nor he unknown: for at

  His feet the fiery brand

And freezing fetters that

  Endow him with command.


And on his head a crown

  Of thirsty thorns of flame

That flicker’d up and down

  In words that went and came


Like God’s, ‘I am of God’;

  And said, ‘Duty to me

Is duty unto God’;

  And said, ‘Come unto me,


And I will give you rest.’

  Then as I wonder’d, lo!

I saw the Woman waste

  To nothing; and he, as tho’


Blood nourisht by her blood,

  Grow grosser in the gloom

And leprous like the toad

  That battens in the tomb.


And both corrupted pined.

  And lo! a voice that wept,

And then a faint far wind

  Of laughter; and I slept.





Methought the heav’ns were crusht;

  A myriad angels stood;

A wind of thunder rusht

  Before the feet of God.


He spake: ‘Accursèd men,

  I find your earth a hell;

Show me what ye have done;

  I bade ye order well.’


They said, ‘Well we have pray’d,

  Lord, and for Heaven’s hope

A thousand temples made.’

  And His lightning lickt them up.


The Deeps




Spirit, tho’ without a name,

  Great, the left hand of God;

Who coolest the quick flame

  And bendest back the rod


His awful right hand bears,

  Till the dull worm of earth

No worse in darkness fares

  Than things of brighter birth,


Nor in the lapse of hell

  All everlasting gloom,

Help us to suffer well

  These dark days of our doom.


Swift Smiter of extremes,

  Who only lettest us live;

Who feedest with bright dreams

  At midnight, and dost give


Even to the poorest wretch

  Of this distressful land

A draught, a rag, a stretch

  Of soil, a loving hand,


Ours too the guardian Thou;

  And if no other good

Thou wilt bestow, endow

  At least with fortitude.




Long, long the barren years.

  A deeper darkness grows;

The road-side tree appears

  No more; the shadows close.


Lost, I sit down with night

  And weave night-horrors here—

Sad voices heard in flight,

  And warnings in the air,


And convocations of thunder

  Above tumultuous woods,

And white stars weeping under

  Black threatening of clouds.






Death too hath come with Sorrow.

  Sorrow enough to-day

Brings Death with her to-morrow,

  Unwelcome guest, to stay


With us. If I be sick

  I know not, care not, and

The night is very thick;

  My tract of toil is sand.


Hated the daily toil;

  Hated the toil I loved;

Daily the worthless soil

  Sinks back as it is moved.





I seized the hands of Grief;

  I would not thus be thrown;

But Death came like a thief

  Behind and seized my own


I held debate with Pain,

  And half persuaded her;

Then came the utterance plain

  Of Death, the Answerer.


‘Cryest thou so before

  Thou sufferest?’ he said;

‘Wait yet a little more

  And thou shalt cry indeed.’


Sorrow so darkly veiled

  Will take my hand and lead.

O Wisdom, thou hast failed,

  And Sorrow, she must lead;


And Death with her. He goes

  Before and readeth plain

The painful list of those

  Dear ones whom he hath slain.


They fail, they fall, they sink,

  Torn from the treacherous sands;

The deeps of death they drink

  And reach out madden’d hands.


A mist across the deep

  Of future and of past,

The rock whereon we creep,

  The present we hold fast,


Visible alone. Around,

  The rolling wreathes of fog;

The unseen surges sound;

  Dead eyes are in the fog.


We have no airy scope;

  We are not things that fly;

We are but things that grope

  From hand to hand and die.


Not many friends, O God,

  Ours, and so far, so dear.

So far that less manhood,

  Losing, can nobly bear


The loss, as, having, more

  Must love. What bitter loss

To us so distant. For

  No dying word to us;


No hand in ours; not even

  To see the well-known spot,

The room, the chair is given;

  To visit the sacred plot.


               *      *      *




O Lily that to the lips

  Pal’st at the name of death,

And with’rest in eclipse,

  And yieldest a sickly breath:


And Rose that sheddest thy leaves

  And tremblest as they fall,—

Know ye what power bereaves

  And takes the sum of all?


Now slowly perishing

  Down to the leafless core,

Ye die; no lovely thing;

  A heart, and nothing more.





If we could think that death

  As surely as we dream,

To us who dwell beneath

  The summit of supreme


Prospective—Love and Peace—

  Will open Heav’nly sweets;

It would be wise to cease,

  If ceasing thus completes;


Unless the further faith,

  Malefiant power pursue

In death those who in death

  Have hoped to struggle thro’.





The tropic night is husht

  With hateful noises—hark!

The fluttering night-moth crusht

  By reptiles in the dark


About the bed; the sound

  Of tiny shrieks of pain;

Of midnight murders round;

  Of creatures serpent-slain.


A moan of thunder fills

  The stagnant air; and soon

A black cloud from the hills

  Devours the helpless moon.


Those faces stampt in air

  When all the hateful night

We toss, and cannot bear

  The heated bed, and night


Is full of silent sounds

  That walk about the bed

(The whining night-fly wounds

  The ear; the air is dead;


The darkness madness; heat

  A hell): appear and gaze;

Are silent; at the feet

  Stand gazing; going gaze.






The Sun said, ‘I have trod

  The hateful Darkness dead,

And the hand of approving God

  Is placed upon my head.’


And cried, ‘Where art thou, Night?

  Come forth, thou Worm; appear,

That I may slay thee quite.’

  And the Night answered, ‘Here.’


And the Sun said, ‘My might

  Is next to His, Most High;

Canst thou destroy me, Night?’

  And the Night answered, ‘Aye.’





This moonèd Desert round,

  Those deeps before me spread,

I sought for Hope, and found

  Him beautiful, but dead.


In this resounding Waste

  I sought for Hope, and cried,

‘Where art thou, Hope?’—Aghast,

  I found that he had died.


I cried for Hope. The Briars

  Pointed the way he’d gone;

Cold were the Heav’nly Fires,

  Colder the numb-lipped Moon.


‘Where art thou, Hope?’—‘I go,

  Returning,’ he had said;

I found him white as snow

  And beautiful, but dead.


He would return, he said.

  When that I heeded not,

Lo, he had fallen dead.

  Dead; Hope is dead; is not.


I tear my hands with briars,

  My face in earth I thrust;

I curse the heav’nly fires,

  I drink the desert dust.


A threat of thunder fills

  Us. Lo, a voice! The waves

A breathless horror stills;

  The sand, a sea of graves.


Methought the mocking Moon

  Open’d her yellow lips

And spake. The Planets swoon

  In vapoury eclipse.


‘Fool, all the world is dust;

  Even I who shine on thee.

There perish and add thy dust

  To that sepulchral sea.’





In exile here I trod

  And with presumptuous breath

Call’d out aloud for God:

  The Answer came from Death.


O World, thy quest is cold;

  O World, who answereth?

Distracted thou hast call’d;

  The Answer came from Death.


I call’d for God and heard

  No voice but that of Death:

Then came the bitter word,

  ‘Fool, God himself is Death.


Great Death; not little death

  That nips the flowers unfurl’d

And stays the infant’s breath;

  But Death that slays the world.


And in despair I ran,

  And stumbled at the marge,

And saw from span to span

  Death’s ocean rolling large;


And only the breadth accursed

  Of billows barring hope,

That thunder’d, ‘Death,’ and burst

  In tears upon the slope.


Nor in the Heavens hope.

  The Sun drew in and shrank

His flashes from the cope,

  And answer’d, ‘Death,’ and sank.


I sought the sacred Night

  And solace of the Stars,

For surely in their light

  No shade of Death appears.


Like tears their Answer came,

  Dropt one by one from heaven;

Their Answer was the same;

  No other word was given.





But then the Silence said,

  ‘Resolve thy visioning mind:

Is action for the dead

  Or seeing in the blind?


Cry not with fruitless breath.

  Is it not understood,

If God had utter’d Death

  Then also Death is good?


Abandon Wrath and Ruth.

  Touch not the High, nor ask.

For God alone the Truth.

  Perform thy daily task.’


The Monsoon




What ails the solitude?

  Is this the Judgment Day?

The sky is red as blood;

  The very rocks decay


And crack and crumble, and

  There is a flame of wind

Wherewith the burning sand

  Is ever mass’d and thin’d.


Even the sickly Sun

  Is dimmèd by the dearth,

And screaming dead leaves run

  About the desolate earth.


Die then; we are accurst!

  And strike, consuming God!

The very tigers thirst

  Too much to drink of blood;


The eagle soareth not;

  The viper bites herself;

The vulture hath forgot

  To rend the dying wolf.


The world is white with heat;

  The world is rent and riv’n;

The world and heavens meet;

  The lost stars cry in heav’n.


               *      *      *





Art thou an Angel—speak,

  Stupendous Cloud that comest?

What wrath on whom to wreak?

  Redeemest thou, or doomest?


Thine eyes are of the dead;

  A flame within thy breast

Thy giant wings outspread,

  Like Death’s, upon the west


Thy lifted locks of hair

  Are flames of fluttering fire;

Thy countenance, of Despair

  Made mad with inner ire.





Who cries! The night is black

  As death and not as night;

The world is fallen back

  To nothing; sound and light


And moon and stars and skies,

  Thunder and lightning—all

Gone, gone! Not even cries

  The cricket in the hall,


The dog without. At last

  The end of all the hours.

Was that a Spirit pass’d

  Between the slamming doors?


We slept not yet we wake!

  Was it a voice that cried,

‘Awake, ye sleepless; wake,

  Ye deathless who have died’?


No voice. No light, no sound.

  It was the fancy that

At midnight makes rebound

  Of thoughts we labour at


At mid-day. Let us sleep.

  The night is very black,

The heat a madness—sleep

  Before the day comes back.


Who cries!—The voice again!

  It is the storm that breaks!

The tempest and the rain!

  The quivering crash that shakes!


The thunder and the flash,

  The brand that rips and roars,

The winds of God that dash

  And split a thousand doors!


The chariots of God

  That gallop on the plain

And shake the solid sod!

  Awake!—The rain, the rain!


Thunder and burst, O Sky;

  Thunder and boil, O Deep;

Let the thick thunder cry;

  Let the live lightning leap!


Smite white light like the sword

  Of Heav’n from heav’n’s height;

Consume the thing abhor’d

  And quell the dreadful night!


Smite white light like the brand

  Of God from heav’n to earth;

And purge the desolate land

  Of this destroying dearth!





O Wilderness of Death,

  O Desert rent and riv’n,

Where art thou?—for the breath

  Of heav’n hath made thee Heav’n.


I know not now these ways;

  The rocky rifts are gone,

Deep-verdured like the braes

  Of blest Avilion.


Here where there were no flowers

  The heav’nly waters flow,

And thro’ a thousand bowers

  Innum’rable blossoms blow.


               *      *      *






This day relenting God

  Hath placed within my hand

A wondrous thing; and God

  Be praised. At His command,


Seeking His secret deeds

  With tears and toiling breath,

I find thy cunning seeds,

  O million-murdering Death.


I know this little thing

  A myriad men will save.

O Death, where is thy sting?

  Thy victory, O Grave?


    August 21, 1897.





Before Thy feet I fall,

  Lord, who made high my fate;

For in the mighty small

  Thou showedst the mighty great.


Henceforth I will resound

  But praises unto Thee;

Tho’ I was beat and bound,

  Thou gavest me victory.


Tho’ in these depths of night

  Deep-dungeon’d I was hurl’d,

Thou sentest me a light

  Wherewith to mend the world.


O Exile, while thine eyes

  Were weary with the night

Thou weepedst; now arise

  And bless the Lord of Light.


Hereafter let thy lyre

  Be bondsman to His name;

His thunder and His fire

  Will fill thy lips with flame.


He is the Lord of Light;

  He is the Thing That Is;

He sends the seeing sight;

  And the right mind is His.





The cagèd bird awake

  All night laments his doom,

And hears the dim dawn break

  About the darken’d room;


But in the day he sips,

  Contented in his place,

His food from human lips,

  And learns the human face.


So tho’ his home remain

  Dark, and his fields untrod,

The exile has this gain,

  To have found the face of God.


Confounded at the close,

  Confounded standing where

No further pathway shows,

  We find an angel there


To guide us. God is good;

  The seeing sight is dim;

He gives us solitude

  That we may be with Him.


By that we have we lose;

  By what we have not, get;

And where we cannot choose

  The crown of life is set.


Lo, while we ask the stars

  To learn the will of God,

His answer unawares

  Strikes sudden from the sod.


Not when we wait the word

  The word of God is giv’n;

The voice of God is heard

  As much from earth as heav’n.


The voice of God is heard

  Not in the thunder-fit;

A still small voice is heard,

  Half-heard, and that is it.




  Man putteth the world to scale

    And weigheth out the stars;

  Th’ eternal hath lost her veil,

    The infinite her bars;

His balance he hath hung in heaven

    And set the sun therein.


  He measures the lords of light

    And fiery orbs that spin;

  No riddle of darkest night

    He dares not look within;

Athwart the roaring wrack of stars

    He plumbs the chasm of heaven.


  The wings of the wind are his;

    To him the world is given;

  His servant the lightning is,

    And slave the ocean, even;

He scans the mountains yet unclimb’d

    And sounds the solid sea.


  With fingers of thought he holds

    What is or e’er can be;

  And, touching it not, unfolds

    The sealèd mystery.

The pigmy hands, eyes, head God gave

    A giant’s are become.


  But tho’ to this height sublime

    By labour he hath clomb,

  One summit he hath to climb,

    One deep the more to plumb—

To rede himself and rule himself,

    And so to reach the sum.






From birth to death the life of man

  Is infinite on the earth,

To know and do that which he can

  And be what he is worth.


Our mortal life, however wrought,

  Eternity is indeed;

For every moment brings a thought,

  And every thought’s a deed;


And that is so much infinite

  Which may be divided much;

And if we live with might and mirth

  Our human life is such.


For him who has not might and mirth

  That which is not now is never;

And he who can live well on earth

  Does live in heaven for ever.






O Vision inviolate, O Splendour supernal,

  We stand in Thy white light like lamps alit in day;

Before Thee, Omnipotent, in sight of Thy glory,

  Our countenance is witherèd like stars in the sun.


Before Thee our symphonies are still’d into silence;

  Thy wisdom we wot not nor ever shall we know;

But from Thy high throne, O God, Thy voice and Thy thunder

  In utterance reïterate give glory and strength.


Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been corrected without note. Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Other errors have been corrected as noted below. Original list of Contents at the beginning contained only listings for Parts in the section IN EXILE so links for individual poem titles have been added for reader convenience.


page 26, But but because we must. ==> But because we must.