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b. 1869

915                                          Invocation to Youth

COME then, as ever, like the wind at morning!
  Joyous, O Youth, in the agàd world renew
Freshness to feel the eternities around it,
  Rain, stars and clouds, light and the sacred dew.
     The strong sun shines above thee:
     That strength, that radiance bring!
     If Winter come to Winter,
     When shall men hope for Spring?

916                                            O World, be Nobler

O WORLD, be nobler, for her sake!
If she but knew thee what thou art,
What wrongs are borne, what deeds are done
In thee, beneath thy daily sun,
  Know’st thou not that her tender heart
For pain and very shame would break?
O World, be nobler, for her sake!

917                                              The Statues

TARRY a moment, happy feet,
That to the sound of laughter glide!
O glad ones of the evening street,
Behold what forms are at your side!
You conquerors of the toilsome day
Pass by with laughter, labour done;
But these within their durance stay;
Their travail sleeps not with the sun.
They, like dim statues without end,
Their patient attitudes maintain;
Your triumphing bright course attend,
But from your eager ways abstain.
Now, if you chafe in secret thought,
A moment turn from light distress,
And see how Fate on these hath wrought,
Who yet so deeply acquiesce.
Behold them, stricken, silent, weak,
The maim’d, the mute, the halt, the blind,
Condemn’d amid defeat to seek
The thing which they shall never find.
They haunt the shadows of your ways
In masks of perishable mould:
Their souls a changing flesh arrays,
But they are changeless from of old.
Their lips repeat an empty call,
But silence wraps their thoughts around.
On them, like snow, the ages fall;
Time muffles all this transient sound.
When Shalmaneser pitch’d his tent
By Tigris, and his flag unfurl’d,
And forth his summons proudly sent
Into the new unconquer’d world;
Or when with spears Cambyses rode
Through Memphis and her bending slaves,
Or first the Tyrian gazed abroad
Upon the bright vast outer waves;
When sages, star-instructed men,
To the young glory of Babylon
Foreknew no ending; even then
Innumerable years had flown
Since first the chisel in her hand
Necessity, the sculptor, took,
And in her spacious meaning plann’d
These forms, and that eternal look;
These foreheads, moulded from afar,
These soft, unfathomable eyes,
Gazing from darkness, like a star;
These lips, whose grief is to be wise.
As from the mountain marble rude
The growing statue rises fair,
She from immortal patience hew’d
The limbs of ever-young despair.
There is no bliss so new and dear,
It hath not them far-off allured.
All things that we have yet to fear
They have already long endured.
Nor is there any sorrow more
Than hath ere now befallen these,
Whose gaze is as an opening door
On wild interminable seas
O Youth, run fast upon thy feet,
With full joy haste thee to be fill’d,
And out of moments brief and sweet
Thou shalt a power for ages build.
Does thy heart falter? Here, then, seek
What strength is in thy kind! With pain
Immortal bow’d, these mortals weak
Gentle and unsubdued remain.

918                                               For the Fallen

WITH proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


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