During Wind and Rain
They sing their dearest songs-- He, she, all of them-- yea, Treble and tenor and bass, And one to play; With the candles mooning each face. . . . Ah, no; the years 0! How the sick leaves reel down in throngs! They clear the creeping moss-- Elders and juniors-- aye, Making the pathways neat And the garden gay; And they build a shady seat. . . . Ah, no; the years, the years; See, the white storm-birds wing across! They are blithely breakfasting all-- Men and maidens-- yea, Under the summer tree, With a glimpse of the bay, While pet fowl come to the knee. . . . Ah, no; the years O! And the rotten rose is ript from the wall. They change to a high new house, He, she, all of them-- aye, Clocks and carpets and chairs On the lawn all day, And brightest things that are theirs. . . . Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.
When I set out for Lyonesse
When I set out for Lyonnesse, A hundred miles away, The rime was on the spray, And starlight lit my lonesomeness When I set out for Lyonnesse A hundred miles away. What would bechance at Lyonnesse While I should sojourn there No prophet durst declare, Nor did the wisest wizard guess What would bechance at Lyonnesse While I should sojourn there. When I came back from Lyonnesse With magic in my eyes, All marked with mute surmise My radiance rare and fathomless, When I came back from Lyonnesse With magic in my eyes!
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, "He was a man who used to notice such things"? If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink, The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think, "To him this must have been a familiar sight." If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm, When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, But he could do little for them; and now he is gone." If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door, Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees, Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more, "He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"? And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, and a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom, "He hears it not now, but used to notice such things"?
In Time of "The Breaking of Nations"
Only a man harrowing clods In a slow silent walk With an old horse that stumbles and nods Half asleep as they stalk. Only thin smoke without flame From the heaps of couch-grass; Yet this will go onward the same Though Dynasties pass. Yonder a maid and her wight Come whispering by: War's annals will cloud into night Ere their story die.