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Best Famous Wolf Poems

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Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Ghosts

 Smith, great writer of stories, drank; found it immortalized his pen;
Fused in his brain-pan, else a blank, heavens of glory now and then;
Gave him the magical genius touch; God-given power to gouge out, fling
Flat in your face a soul-thought -- Bing!
Twiddle your heart-strings in his clutch.
"Bah!" said Smith, "let my body lie stripped to the buff in swinish shame, If I can blaze in the radiant sky out of adoring stars my name.
Sober am I nonentitized; drunk am I more than half a god.
Well, let the flesh be sacrificed; spirit shall speak and shame the clod.
Who would not gladly, gladly give Life to do one thing that will live?" Smith had a friend, we'll call him Brown; dearer than brothers were those two.
When in the wassail Smith would drown, Brown would rescue and pull him through.
When Brown was needful Smith would lend; so it fell as the years went by, Each on the other would depend: then at the last Smith came to die.
There Brown sat in the sick man's room, still as a stone in his despair; Smith bent on him his eyes of doom, shook back his lion mane of hair; Said: "Is there one in my chosen line, writer of forthright tales my peer? Look in that little desk of mine; there is a package, bring it here.
Story of stories, gem of all; essence and triumph, key and clue; Tale of a loving woman's fall; soul swept hell-ward, and God! it's true.
I was the man -- Oh, yes, I've paid, paid with mighty and mordant pain.
Look! here's the masterpiece I've made out of my sin, my manhood slain.
Art supreme! yet the world would stare, know my mistress and blaze my shame.
I have a wife and daughter -- there! take it and thrust it in the flame.
" Brown answered: "Master, you have dipped pen in your heart, your phrases sear.
Ruthless, unflinching, you have stripped naked your soul and set it here.
Have I not loved you well and true? See! between us the shadows drift; This bit of blood and tears means You -- oh, let me have it, a parting gift.
Sacred I'll hold it, a trust divine; sacred your honour, her dark despair; Never shall it see printed line: here, by the living God I swear.
" Brown on a Bible laid his hand; Smith, great writer of stories, sighed: "Comrade, I trust you, and understand.
Keep my secret!" And so he died.
Smith was buried -- up soared his sales; lured you his books in every store; Exquisite, whimsy, heart-wrung tales; men devoured them and craved for more.
So when it slyly got about Brown had a posthumous manuscript, Jones, the publisher, sought him out, into his pocket deep he dipped.
"A thousand dollars?" Brown shook his head.
"The story is not for sale, " he said.
Jones went away, then others came.
Tempted and taunted, Brown was true.
Guarded at friendship's shrine the fame of the unpublished story grew and grew.
It's a long, long lane that has no end, but some lanes end in the Potter's field; Smith to Brown had been more than friend: patron, protector, spur and shield.
Poor, loving-wistful, dreamy Brown, long and lean, with a smile askew, Friendless he wandered up and down, gaunt as a wolf, as hungry too.
Brown with his lilt of saucy rhyme, Brown with his tilt of tender mirth Garretless in the gloom and grime, singing his glad, mad songs of earth: So at last with a faith divine, down and down to the Hunger-line.
There as he stood in a woeful plight, tears a-freeze on his sharp cheek-bones, Who should chance to behold his plight, but the publisher, the plethoric Jones; Peered at him for a little while, held out a bill: "NOW, will you sell?" Brown scanned it with his twisted smile: "A thousand dollars! you go to hell!" Brown enrolled in the homeless host, sleeping anywhere, anywhen; Suffered, strove, became a ghost, slave of the lamp for other men; For What's-his-name and So-and-so in the abyss his soul he stripped, Yet in his want, his worst of woe, held he fast to the manuscript.
Then one day as he chewed his pen, half in hunger and half despair, Creaked the door of his garret den; Dick, his brother, was standing there.
Down on the pallet bed he sank, ashen his face, his voice a wail: "Save me, brother! I've robbed the bank; to-morrow it's ruin, capture, gaol.
Yet there's a chance: I could to-day pay back the money, save our name; You have a manuscript, they say, worth a thousand -- think, man! the shame.
.
.
.
" Brown with his heart pain-pierced the while, with his stern, starved face, and his lips stone-pale, Shuddered and smiled his twisted smile: "Brother, I guess you go to gaol.
" While poor Brown in the leer of dawn wrestled with God for the sacred fire, Came there a woman weak and wan, out of the mob, the murk, the mire; Frail as a reed, a fellow ghost, weary with woe, with sorrowing; Two pale souls in the legion lost; lo! Love bent with a tender wing, Taught them a joy so deep, so true, it seemed that the whole-world fabric shook, Thrilled and dissolved in radiant dew; then Brown made him a golden book, Full of the faith that Life is good, that the earth is a dream divinely fair, Lauding his gem of womanhood in many a lyric rich and rare; Took it to Jones, who shook his head: "I will consider it," he said.
While he considered, Brown's wife lay clutched in the tentacles of pain; Then came the doctor, grave and grey; spoke of decline, of nervous strain; Hinted Egypt, the South of France -- Brown with terror was tiger-gripped.
Where was the money? What the chance? Pitiful God! .
.
.
the manuscript! A thousand dollars! his only hope! he gazed and gazed at the garret wall.
.
.
.
Reached at last for the envelope, turned to his wife and told her all.
Told of his friend, his promise true; told like his very heart would break: "Oh, my dearest! what shall I do? shall I not sell it for your sake?" Ghostlike she lay, as still as doom; turned to the wall her weary head; Icy-cold in the pallid gloom, silent as death .
.
.
at last she said: "Do! my husband? Keep your vow! Guard his secret and let me die.
.
.
.
Oh, my dear, I must tell you now -- the women he loved and wronged was I; Darling! I haven't long to live: I never told you -- forgive, forgive!" For a long, long time Brown did not speak; sat bleak-browed in the wretched room; Slowly a tear stole down his cheek, and he kissed her hand in the dismal gloom.
To break his oath, to brand her shame; his well-loved friend, his worshipped wife; To keep his vow, to save her name, yet at the cost of what? Her life! A moment's space did he hesitate, a moment of pain and dread and doubt, Then he broke the seals, and, stern as fate, unfolded the sheets and spread them out.
.
.
.
On his knees by her side he limply sank, peering amazed -- each page was blank.
(For oh, the supremest of our art are the stories we do not dare to tell, Locked in the silence of the heart, for the awful records of Heav'n and Hell.
) Yet those two in the silence there, seemed less weariful than before.
Hark! a step on the garret stair, a postman knocks at the flimsy door.
"Registered letter!" Brown thrills with fear; opens, and reads, then bends above: "Glorious tidings! Egypt, dear! The book is accepted -- life and love.
"


Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

Very Like a Whale

 One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians.
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wold on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof? Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.
Written by Paul Eluard | Create an image from this poem

The Human Face

 I.
Soon Of all the springtimes of the world This one is the ugliest Of all of my ways of being To be trusting is the best Grass pushes up snow Like the stone of a tomb But I sleep within the storm And awaken eyes bright Slowness, brief time ends Where all streets must pass Through my innermost recesses So that I would meet someone I don’t listen to monsters I know them and all that they say I see only beautiful faces Good faces, sure of themselves Certain soon to ruin their masters II.
The women’s role As they sing, the maids dash forward To tidy up the killing fields Well-powdered girls, quickly to their knees Their hands -- reaching for the fresh air -- Are blue like never before What a glorious day! Look at their hands, the dead Look at their liquid eyes This is the toilet of transience The final toilet of life Stones sink and disappear In the vast, primal waters The final toilet of time Hardly a memory remains the dried-up well of virtue In the long, oppressive absences One surrenders to tender flesh Under the spell of weakness III.
As deep as the silence As deep as the silence Of a corpse under ground With nothing but darkness in mind As dull and deaf As autumn by the pond Covered with stale shame Poison, deprived of its flower And of its golden beasts out its night onto man IV.
Patience You, my patient one My patience My parent Head held high and proudly Organ of the sluggish night Bow down Concealing all of heaven And its favor Prepare for vengeance A bed where I'll be born V.
First march, the voice of another Laughing at sky and planets Drunk with their confidence The wise men wish for sons And for sons from their sons Until they all perish in vain Time burdens only fools While Hell alone prospers And the wise men are absurd VI.
A wolf Day surprises me and night scares me haunts me and winter follows me An animal walking on the snow has placed Its paws in the sand or in the mud Its paws have traveled From further afar than my own steps On a path where death Has the imprints of life VII.
A flawless fire The threat under the red sky Came from below -- jaws And scales and links Of a slippery, heavy chain Life was spread about generously So that death took seriously The debt it was paid without a thought Death was the God of love And the conquerors in a kiss Swooned upon their victims Corruption gained courage And yet, beneath the red sky Under the appetites for blood Under the dismal starvation The cavern closed The kind earth filled The graves dug in advance Children were no longer afraid Of maternal depths And madness and stupidity And vulgarity make way For humankind and brotherhood No longer fighting against life -- For an everlasting humankind VIII.
Liberty On my school notebooks On my desk, on the trees On the sand, on the snow I write your name On all the read pages On all the empty pages Stone, blood, paper or ash I write your name On the golden images On the weapons of warriors On the crown of kings I write your name On the jungle and the desert On the nests, on the broom On the echo of my childhood I write your name On the wonders of nights On the white bread of days On the seasons betrothed I write your name d'azur On all my blue rags On the sun-molded pond On the moon-enlivened lake I write your name On the fields, on the horizon On the wings of birds And on the mill of shadows I write your name On every burst of dawn On the sea, on the boats On the insane mountain I write your name On the foam of clouds On the sweat of the storm On the rain, thick and insipid I write your name On the shimmering shapes On the colorful bells On the physical truth I write your name On the alert pathways On the wide-spread roads On the overflowing places I write your name On the lamp that is ignited On the lamp that is dimmed On my reunited houses I write your name On the fruit cut in two Of the mirror and of my room On my bed, an empty shell I write your name On my dog, young and greedy On his pricked-up ears On his clumsy paw I write your name On the springboard of my door On the familiar objects On the wave of blessed fire I write your name On all harmonious flesh On the face of my friends On every out-stretched hand I write your name On the window-pane of surprises On the careful lips Well-above silence I write your name On my destroyed shelter On my collapsed beacon On the walls of my weariness I write your name On absence without want On naked solitude On the steps of death I write your name On regained health On vanished risk On hope free from memory I write your name And by the power of one word I begin my life again I am born to know you To call you by name: Liberty!
Written by Robert Browning | Create an image from this poem

The Glove

 (PETER RONSARD _loquitur_.
) ``Heigho!'' yawned one day King Francis, ``Distance all value enhances! ``When a man's busy, why, leisure ``Strikes him as wonderful pleasure: `` 'Faith, and at leisure once is he? ``Straightway he wants to be busy.
``Here we've got peace; and aghast I'm ``Caught thinking war the true pastime.
``Is there a reason in metre? ``Give us your speech, master Peter!'' I who, if mortal dare say so, Ne'er am at loss with my Naso, ``Sire,'' I replied, ``joys prove cloudlets: ``Men are the merest Ixions''--- Here the King whistled aloud, ``Let's ``---Heigho---go look at our lions!'' Such are the sorrowful chances If you talk fine to King Francis.
And so, to the courtyard proceeding, Our company, Francis was leading, Increased by new followers tenfold Before be arrived at the penfold; Lords, ladies, like clouds which bedizen At sunset the western horizon.
And Sir De Lorge pressed 'mid the foremost With the dame he professed to adore most.
Oh, what a face! One by fits eyed Her, and the horrible pitside; For the penfold surrounded a hollow Which led where the eye scarce dared follow, And shelved to the chamber secluded Where Bluebeard, the great lion, brooded.
The King bailed his keeper, an Arab As glossy and black as a scarab,*1 And bade him make sport and at once stir Up and out of his den the old monster.
They opened a hole in the wire-work Across it, and dropped there a firework, And fled: one's heart's beating redoubled; A pause, while the pit's mouth was troubled, The blackness and silence so utter, By the firework's slow sparkling and sputter; Then earth in a sudden contortion Gave out to our gaze her abortion.
Such a brute! Were I friend Clement Marot (Whose experience of nature's but narrow, And whose faculties move in no small mist When he versifies David the Psalmist) I should study that brute to describe you _Illim Juda Leonem de Tribu_.
One's whole blood grew curdling and creepy To see the black mane, vast and heapy, The tail in the air stiff and straining, The wide eyes, nor waxing nor waning, As over the barrier which bounded His platform, and us who surrounded The barrier, they reached and they rested On space that might stand him in best stead: For who knew, he thought, what the amazement, The eruption of clatter and blaze meant, And if, in this minute of wonder, No outlet, 'mid lightning and thunder, Lay broad, and, his shackles all shivered, The lion at last was delivered? Ay, that was the open sky o'erhead! And you saw by the flash on his forehead, By the hope in those eyes wide and steady, He was leagues in the desert already, Driving the flocks up the mountain, Or catlike couched hard by the fountain To waylay the date-gathering negress: So guarded he entrance or egress.
``How he stands!'' quoth the King: ``we may well swear, (``No novice, we've won our spurs elsewhere ``And so can afford the confession,) ``We exercise wholesome discretion ``In keeping aloof from his threshold; ``Once hold you, those jaws want no fresh hold, ``Their first would too pleasantly purloin ``The visitor's brisket or surloin: ``But who's he would prove so fool-hardy? ``Not the best man of Marignan, pardie!'' The sentence no sooner was uttered, Than over the rails a glove flattered, Fell close to the lion, and rested: The dame 'twas, who flung it and jested With life so, De Lorge had been wooing For months past; he sat there pursuing His suit, weighing out with nonchalance Fine speeches like gold from a balance.
Sound the trumpet, no true knight's a tarrier! De Lorge made one leap at the barrier, Walked straight to the glove,---while the lion Neer moved, kept his far-reaching eye on The palm-tree-edged desert-spring's sapphire, And the musky oiled skin of the Kaffir,--- Picked it up, and as calmly retreated, Leaped back where the lady was seated, And full in the face of its owner Flung the glove.
``Your heart's queen, you dethrone her? ``So should I!''---cried the King---``'twas mere vanity, ``Not love, set that task to humanity!'' Lords and ladies alike turned with loathing From such a proved wolf in sheep's clothing.
Not so, I; for I caught an expression In her brow's undisturbed self-possession Amid the Court's scoffing and merriment,--- As if from no pleasing experiment She rose, yet of pain not much heedful So long as the process was needful,--- As if she had tried in a crucible, To what ``speeches like gold'' were reducible, And, finding the finest prove copper, Felt the smoke in her face was but proper; To know what she had _not_ to trust to, Was worth all the ashes and dust too.
She went out 'mid hooting and laughter; Clement Marot stayed; I followed after, And asked, as a grace, what it all meant? If she wished not the rash deed's recalment? ``For I''---so I spoke---``am a poet: ``Human nature,---behoves that I know it!'' She told me, ``Too long had I heard ``Of the deed proved alone by the word: ``For my love---what De Lorge would not dare! ``With my scorn---what De Lorge could compare! ``And the endless descriptions of death ``He would brave when my lip formed a breath, ``I must reckon as braved, or, of course, ``Doubt his word---and moreover, perforce, ``For such gifts as no lady could spurn, ``Must offer my love in return.
``When I looked on your lion, it brought ``All the dangers at once to my thought, ``Encountered by all sorts of men, ``Before he was lodged in his den,--- ``From the poor slave whose club or bare hands ``Dug the trap, set the snare on the sands, ``With no King and no Court to applaud, ``By no shame, should he shrink, overawed, ``Yet to capture the creature made shift, ``That his rude boys might laugh at the gift, ``---To the page who last leaped o'er the fence ``Of the pit, on no greater pretence ``Than to get back the bonnet he dropped, ``Lest his pay for a week should be stopped.
``So, wiser I judged it to make ``One trial what `death for my sake' ``Really meant, while the power was yet mine, ``Than to wait until time should define ``Such a phrase not so simply as I, ``Who took it to mean just `to die.
' ``The blow a glove gives is but weak: ``Does the mark yet discolour my cheek? ``But when the heart suffers a blow, ``Will the pain pass so soon, do you know?'' I looked, as away she was sweeping, And saw a youth eagerly keeping As close as he dared to the doorway.
No doubt that a noble should more weigh His life than befits a plebeian; And yet, had our brute been Nemean--- (I judge by a certain calm fervour The youth stepped with, forward to serve her) ---He'd have scarce thought you did him the worst turn If you whispered ``Friend, what you'd get, first earn!'' And when, shortly after, she carried Her shame from the Court, and they married, To that marriage some happiness, maugre The voice of the Court, I dared augur.
For De Lorge, he made women with men vie, Those in wonder and praise, these in envy; And in short stood so plain a head taller That he wooed and won .
.
.
how do you call her? The beauty, that rose in the sequel To the King's love, who loved her a week well.
And 'twas noticed he never would honour De Lorge (who looked daggers upon her) With the easy commission of stretching His legs in the service, and fetching His wife, from her chamber, those straying Sad gloves she was always mislaying, While the King took the closet to chat in,--- But of course this adventure came pat in.
And never the King told the story, How bringing a glove brought such glory, But the wife smiled---``His nerves are grown firmer: ``Mine he brings now and utters no murmur.
'' _Venienti occurrite morbo!_ With which moral I drop my theorbo.
*1 A beetle.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

American Feuillage

 AMERICA always! 
Always our own feuillage! 
Always Florida’s green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of Louisiana! Always the
 cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas! 
Always California’s golden hills and hollows—and the silver mountains of New
 Mexico!
 Always soft-breath’d Cuba! 
Always the vast slope drain’d by the Southern Sea—inseparable with the slopes
 drain’d
 by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the three and a half millions of
 square
 miles; 
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main—the thirty
 thousand
 miles of
 river navigation, 
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of dwellings—Always
 these,
 and
 more, branching forth into numberless branches; 
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of Democracy! 
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge
 oval
 lakes; 
Always the West, with strong native persons—the increasing density there—the
 habitans,
 friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders; 
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times, 
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed, myriads unnoticed, 
Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats wooding up; 
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys of the Potomac and
 Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware; 
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks, the hills—or
 lapping
 the
 Saginaw waters to drink; 
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the water, rocking
 silently; 
In farmers’ barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done—they rest
 standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs play around; 
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail’d—the farthest polar sea, ripply,
 crystalline, open, beyond the floes; 
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes; 
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike midnight together; 
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—the howl of the wolf, the scream
 of the
 panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake—in summer visible through the
 clear
 waters, the great trout swimming; 
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black buzzard floating
 slowly,
 high
 beyond the tree tops, 
Below, the red cedar, festoon’d with tylandria—the pines and cypresses, growing
 out
 of the
 white sand that spreads far and flat; 
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants, parasites, with color’d
 flowers
 and
 berries, enveloping huge trees, 
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the supper-fires, and the cooking and
 eating
 by
 whites and negroes, 
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from troughs, 
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees—the
 flames—with
 the
 black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising; 
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of North Carolina’s
 coast—the
 shad-fishery and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the windlasses on
 shore
 work’d by horses—the clearing, curing, and packing-houses; 
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the incisions in the
 trees—There
 are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the ground in all directions is
 cover’d
 with
 pine straw: 
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge, by the
 furnace-blaze, or
 at the corn-shucking; 
In Virginia, the planter’s son returning after a long absence, joyfully welcom’d
 and
 kiss’d by the aged mulatto nurse; 
On rivers, boatmen safely moor’d at night-fall, in their boats, under shelter of high
 banks, 
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle—others sit on the
 gunwale,
 smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing in the Great Dismal
 Swamp—there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss, the
 cypress
 tree,
 and the juniper tree; 
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target company from an excursion
 returning
 home at
 evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches of flowers presented by women; 
Children at play—or on his father’s lap a young boy fallen asleep, (how his lips
 move! how
 he smiles in his sleep!) 
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi—he ascends a
 knoll
 and
 sweeps his eye around; 
California life—the miner, bearded, dress’d in his rude costume—the stanch
 California
 friendship—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets, solitary, just
 aside the
 horsepath;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—drivers driving mules or oxen
 before
 rude
 carts—cotton bales piled on banks and wharves; 
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American Soul, with equal
 hemispheres—one
 Love,
 one Dilation or Pride; 
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the aborigines—the calumet, the
 pipe
 of
 good-will, arbitration, and indorsement, 
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and then toward the earth, 
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy march, 
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise and slaughter of enemies; 
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These States—reminiscences,
 all
 institutions, 
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These States, without excepting a
 particle—you also—me also, 
Me pleas’d, rambling in lanes and country fields, Paumanok’s fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow butterflies, shuffling between each
 other,
 ascending high in the air; 
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall traveler southward, but
 returning
 northward early in the spring; 
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the herd of cows, and shouting to them as
 they
 loiter to browse by the road-side; 
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, San
 Francisco, 
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun, 
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended,
 balancing
 in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows
 in
 specks
 on the opposite wall, where the shine is; 
The athletic American matron speaking in public to crowds of listeners; 
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copiousness—the individuality of
 The
 States,
 each for itself—the money-makers; 
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the windlass, lever, pulley—All
 certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity, 
In space, the sporades, the scatter’d islands, the stars—on the firm earth, the
 lands, my
 lands; 
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it is,) I become a part of that,
 whatever it
 is; 
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slowly flapping, with the myriads of gulls
 wintering
 along
 the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans breeding; 
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the
 Brazos, the
 Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the Osage, I with the spring waters
 laughing
 and
 skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons
 wading in
 the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants; 
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from piercing the crow with its bill,
 for
 amusement—And I triumphantly twittering; 
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves—the body
 of
 the
 flock feed—the sentinels outside move around with erect heads watching, and are from
 time
 to
 time reliev’d by other sentinels—And I feeding and taking turns with the rest; 
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner’d by hunters, rising
 desperately on
 his
 hind-feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as sharp as knives—And I,
 plunging
 at the
 hunters, corner’d and desperate; 
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses, and the countless workmen
 working in
 the
 shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no less in myself than the whole of
 the
 Mannahatta in itself, 
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands—my body no more inevitably united,
 part to
 part, and made one identity, any more than my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE
 IDENTITY; 
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral Plains; 
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and evil—these me, 
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuillage to me and to America, how can
 I do
 less
 than pass the clew of the union of them, to afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?

How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for yourself to collect bouquets of the
 incomparable
 feuillage of These States?
Written by John Greenleaf Whittier | Create an image from this poem

The Norsemen ( From Narrative and Legendary Poems )

 GIFT from the cold and silent Past! 
A relic to the present cast, 
Left on the ever-changing strand 
Of shifting and unstable sand, 
Which wastes beneath the steady chime 
And beating of the waves of Time! 
Who from its bed of primal rock 
First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block? 
Whose hand, of curious skill untaught, 
Thy rude and savage outline wrought? 
The waters of my native stream 
Are glancing in the sun's warm beam; 
From sail-urged keel and flashing oar 
The circles widen to its shore; 
And cultured field and peopled town 
Slope to its willowed margin down.
Yet, while this morning breeze is bringing The home-life sound of school-bells ringing, And rolling wheel, and rapid jar Of the fire-winged and steedless car, And voices from the wayside near Come quick and blended on my ear,-- A spell is in this old gray stone, My thoughts are with the Past alone! A change! -- The steepled town no more Stretches along the sail-thronged shore; Like palace-domes in sunset's cloud, Fade sun-gilt spire and mansion proud: Spectrally rising where they stood, I see the old, primeval wood; Dark, shadow-like, on either hand I see its solemn waste expand; It climbs the green and cultured hill, It arches o'er the valley's rill, And leans from cliff and crag to throw Its wild arms o'er the stream below.
Unchanged, alone, the same bright river Flows on, as it will flow forever! I listen, and I hear the low Soft ripple where its water go; I hear behind the panther's cry, The wild-bird's scream goes thrilling by, And shyly on the river's brink The deer is stooping down to drink.
But hard! -- from wood and rock flung back, What sound come up the Merrimac? What sea-worn barks are those which throw The light spray from each rushing prow? Have they not in the North Sea's blast Bowed to the waves the straining mast? Their frozen sails the low, pale sun Of Thulë's night has shone upon; Flapped by the sea-wind's gusty sweep Round icy drift, and headland steep.
Wild Jutland's wives and Lochlin's daughters Have watched them fading o'er the waters, Lessening through driving mist and spray, Like white-winged sea-birds on their way! Onward they glide, -- and now I view Their iron-armed and stalwart crew; Joy glistens in each wild blue eye, Turned to green earth and summer sky.
Each broad, seamed breast has cast aside Its cumbering vest of shaggy hide; Bared to the sun and soft warm air, Streams back the Northmen's yellow hair.
I see the gleam of axe and spear, A sound of smitten shields I hear, Keeping a harsh and fitting time To Saga's chant, and Runic rhyme; Such lays as Zetland's Scald has sung, His gray and naked isles among; Or mutter low at midnight hour Round Odin's mossy stone of power.
The wolf beneath the Arctic moon Has answered to that startling rune; The Gael has heard its stormy swell, The light Frank knows its summons well; Iona's sable-stoled Culdee Has heard it sounding o'er the sea, And swept, with hoary beard and hair, His altar's foot in trembling prayer! 'T is past, -- the 'wildering vision dies In darkness on my dreaming eyes! The forest vanishes in air, Hill-slope and vale lie starkly bare; I hear the common tread of men, And hum of work-day life again; The mystic relic seems alone A broken mass of common stone; And if it be the chiselled limb Of Berserker or idol grim, A fragment of Valhalla's Thor, The stormy Viking's god of War, Or Praga of the Runic lay, Or love-awakening Siona, I know not, -- for no graven line, Nor Druid mark, nor Runic sign, Is left me here, by which to trace Its name, or origin, or place.
Yet, for this vision of the Past, This glance upon its darkness cast, My spirit bows in gratitude Before the Giver of all good, Who fashioned so the human mind, That, from the waste of Time behind, A simple stone, or mound of earth, Can summon the departed forth; Quicken the Past to life again, The Present lose in what hath been, And in their primal freshness show The buried forms of long ago.
As if a portion of that Thought By which the Eternal will is wrought, Whose impulse fills anew with breath The frozen solitude of Death, To mortal mind were sometimes lent, To mortal musing sometimes sent, To whisper -- even when it seems But Memory's fantasy of dreams -- Through the mind's waste of woe and sin, Of an immortal origin!
Written by Derek Walcott | Create an image from this poem

The Star-Apple Kingdom

 There were still shards of an ancient pastoral 
in those shires of the island where the cattle drank 
their pools of shadow from an older sky, 
surviving from when the landscape copied such objects as 
"Herefords at Sunset in the valley of the Wye.
" The mountain water that fell white from the mill wheel sprinkling like petals from the star-apple trees, and all of the windmills and sugar mills moved by mules on the treadmill of Monday to Monday, would repeat in tongues of water and wind and fire, in tongues of Mission School pickaninnies, like rivers remembering their source, Parish Trelawny, Parish St David, Parish St Andrew, the names afflicting the pastures, the lime groves and fences of marl stone and the cattle with a docile longing, an epochal content.
And there were, like old wedding lace in an attic, among the boas and parasols and the tea-colored daguerreotypes, hints of an epochal happiness as ordered and infinite to the child as the great house road to the Great House down a perspective of casuarinas plunging green manes in time to the horses, an orderly life reduced by lorgnettes day and night, one disc the sun, the other the moon, reduced into a pier glass: nannies diminished to dolls, mahogany stairways no larger than those of an album in which the flash of cutlery yellows, as gamboge as the piled cakes of teatime on that latticed bougainvillea verandah that looked down toward a prospect of Cuyp-like Herefords under a sky lurid as a porcelain souvenir with these words: "Herefords at Sunset in the Valley of the Wye.
" Strange, that the rancor of hatred hid in that dream of slow rivers and lily-like parasols, in snaps of fine old colonial families, curled at the edge not from age of from fire or the chemicals, no, not at all, but because, off at its edges, innocently excluded stood the groom, the cattle boy, the housemaid, the gardeners, the tenants, the good Negroes down in the village, their mouth in the locked jaw of a silent scream.
A scream which would open the doors to swing wildly all night, that was bringing in heavier clouds, more black smoke than cloud, frightening the cattle in whose bulging eyes the Great House diminished; a scorching wind of a scream that began to extinguish the fireflies, that dried the water mill creaking to a stop as it was about to pronounce Parish Trelawny all over, in the ancient pastoral voice, a wind that blew all without bending anything, neither the leaves of the album nor the lime groves; blew Nanny floating back in white from a feather to a chimerical, chemical pin speck that shrank the drinking Herefords to brown porcelain cows on a mantelpiece, Trelawny trembling with dusk, the scorched pastures of the old benign Custos; blew far the decent servants and the lifelong cook, and shriveled to a shard that ancient pastoral of dusk in a gilt-edged frame now catching the evening sun in Jamaica, making both epochs one.
He looked out from the Great House windows on clouds that still held the fragrance of fire, he saw the Botanical Gardens officially drown in a formal dusk, where governors had strolled and black gardeners had smiled over glinting shears at the lilies of parasols on the floating lawns, the flame trees obeyed his will and lowered their wicks, the flowers tightened their fists in the name of thrift, the porcelain lamps of ripe cocoa, the magnolia's jet dimmed on the one circuit with the ginger lilies and left a lonely bulb on the verandah, and, had his mandate extended to that ceiling of star-apple candelabra, he would have ordered the sky to sleep, saying, I'm tired, save the starlight for victories, we can't afford it, leave the moon on for one more hour,and that's it.
But though his power, the given mandate, extended from tangerine daybreaks to star-apple dusks, his hand could not dam that ceaseless torrent of dust that carried the shacks of the poor, to their root-rock music, down the gullies of Yallahs and August Town, to lodge them on thorns of maca, with their rags crucified by cactus, tins, old tires, cartons; from the black Warieka Hills the sky glowed fierce as the dials of a million radios, a throbbing sunset that glowed like a grid where the dread beat rose from the jukebox of Kingston.
He saw the fountains dried of quadrilles, the water-music of the country dancers, the fiddlers like fifes put aside.
He had to heal this malarial island in its bath of bay leaves, its forests tossing with fever, the dry cattle groaning like winches, the grass that kept shaking its head to remember its name.
No vowels left in the mill wheel, the river.
Rock stone.
Rock stone.
The mountains rolled like whales through phosphorous stars, as he swayed like a stone down fathoms into sleep, drawn by that magnet which pulls down half the world between a star and a star, by that black power that has the assassin dreaming of snow, that poleaxes the tyrant to a sleeping child.
The house is rocking at anchor, but as he falls his mind is a mill wheel in moonlight, and he hears, in the sleep of his moonlight, the drowned bell of Port Royal's cathedral, sees the copper pennies of bubbles rising from the empty eye-pockets of green buccaneers, the parrot fish floating from the frayed shoulders of pirates, sea horses drawing gowned ladies in their liquid promenade across the moss-green meadows of the sea; he heard the drowned choirs under Palisadoes, a hymn ascending to earth from a heaven inverted by water, a crab climbing the steeple, and he climbed from that submarine kingdom as the evening lights came on in the institute, the scholars lamplit in their own aquarium, he saw them mouthing like parrot fish, as he passed upward from that baptism, their history lessons, the bubbles like ideas which he could not break: Jamaica was captured by Penn and Venables, Port Royal perished in a cataclysmic earthquake.
Before the coruscating façades of cathedrals from Santiago to Caracas, where penitential archbishops washed the feet of paupers (a parenthetical moment that made the Caribbean a baptismal font, turned butterflies to stone, and whitened like doves the buzzards circling municipal garbage), the Caribbean was borne like an elliptical basin in the hands of acolytes, and a people were absolved of a history which they did not commit; the slave pardoned his whip, and the dispossessed said the rosary of islands for three hundred years, a hymn that resounded like the hum of the sea inside a sea cave, as their knees turned to stone, while the bodies of patriots were melting down walls still crusted with mute outcries of La Revolucion! "San Salvador, pray for us,St.
Thomas, San Domingo, ora pro nobis, intercede for us, Sancta Lucia of no eyes," and when the circular chaplet reached the last black bead of Sancta Trinidad they began again, their knees drilled into stone, where Colon had begun, with San Salvador's bead, beads of black colonies round the necks of Indians.
And while they prayed for an economic miracle, ulcers formed on the municipal portraits, the hotels went up, and the casinos and brothels, and the empires of tobacco, sugar, and bananas, until a black woman, shawled like a buzzard, climbed up the stairs and knocked at the door of his dream, whispering in the ear of the keyhole: "Let me in, I'm finished with praying, I'm the Revolution.
I am the darker, the older America.
" She was as beautiful as a stone in the sunrise, her voice had the gutturals of machine guns across khaki deserts where the cactus flower detonates like grenades, her sex was the slit throat of an Indian, her hair had the blue-black sheen of the crow.
She was a black umbrella blown inside out by the wind of revolution, La Madre Dolorosa, a black rose of sorrow, a black mine of silence, raped wife, empty mother, Aztec virgin transfixed by arrows from a thousand guitars, a stone full of silence, which, if it gave tongue to the tortures done in the name of the Father, would curdle the blood of the marauding wolf, the fountain of generals, poets, and cripples who danced without moving over their graves with each revolution; her Caesarean was stitched by the teeth of machine guns,and every sunset she carried the Caribbean's elliptical basin as she had once carried the penitential napkins to be the footbath of dictators, Trujillo, Machado, and those whose faces had yellowed like posters on municipal walls.
Now she stroked his hair until it turned white, but she would not understand that he wanted no other power but peace, that he wanted a revolution without any bloodshed, he wanted a history without any memory, streets without statues, and a geography without myth.
He wanted no armies but those regiments of bananas, thick lances of cane, and he sobbed,"I am powerless, except for love.
" She faded from him, because he could not kill; she shrunk to a bat that hung day and night in the back of his brain.
He rose in his dream.
(to be continued)


Written by Jonathan Swift | Create an image from this poem

The Beasts Confession

 To the Priest, on Observing how most Men mistake their own Talents
When beasts could speak (the learned say, 
They still can do so ev'ry day),
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out (Which therefore made them more devout), The king of brutes (to make it plain, Of quadrupeds I only mean) By proclamation gave command, That ev'ry subject in the land Should to the priest confess their sins; And thus the pious wolf begins: "Good father, I must own with shame, That often I have been to blame: I must confess, on Friday last, Wretch that I was! I broke my fast: But I defy the basest tongue To prove I did my neighbour wrong; Or ever went to seek my food By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.
" The ***, approaching next, confess'd That in his heart he lov'd a jest: A wag he was, he needs must own, And could not let a dunce alone: Sometimes his friend he would not spare, And might perhaps be too severe: But yet, the worst that could be said, He was a wit both born and bred; And, if it be a sin or shame, Nature alone must bear the blame: One fault he hath, is sorry for't, His ears are half a foot too short; Which could he to the standard bring, He'd show his face before the King: Then for his voice, there's none disputes That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The swine with contrite heart allow'd, His shape and beauty made him proud: In diet was perhaps too nice, But gluttony was ne'er his vice: In ev'ry turn of life content, And meekly took what fortune sent: Inquire through all the parish round, A better neighbour ne'er was found: His vigilance might some displease; 'Tis true he hated sloth like peas.
The mimic ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter: Much of the cens'ring world complain'd, Who said, his gravity was feign'd: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engag'd him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was griev'd to see't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear: Yet, such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a Stoic's rage.
The goat advanc'd with decent pace; And first excus'd his youthful face; Forgiveness begg'd that he appear'd ('Twas nature's fault) without a beard.
'Tis true, he was not much inclin'd To fondness for the female kind; Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect; Not by his frigid constitution, But through a pious resolution; For he had made a holy vow Of chastity as monks do now; Which he resolv'd to keep for ever hence, As strictly too, as doth his Reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find, How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own: but, can you guess? Why?--virtues carried to excess, Wherewith our vanity endows us, Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The lawyer swears, you may rely on't, He never squeez'd a needy client; And this he makes his constant rule, For which his brethren call him fool: His conscience always was so nice, He freely gave the poor advice; By which he lost, he may affirm, A hundred fees last Easter term.
While others of the learned robe Would break the patience of a Job; No pleader at the bar could match His diligence and quick dispatch; Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast, Above a term or two at most.
The cringing knave, who seeks a place Without success, thus tells his case: Why should he longer mince the matter? He fail'd because he could not flatter; He had not learn'd to turn his coat, Nor for a party give his vote: His crime he quickly understood; Too zealous for the nation's good: He found the ministers resent it, Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The chaplain vows he cannot fawn, Though it would raise him to the lawn: He pass'd his hours among his books; You find it in his meagre looks: He might, if he were worldly wise, Preferment get and spare his eyes: But own'd he had a stubborn spirit, That made him trust alone in merit: Would rise by merit to promotion; Alas! a mere chimeric notion.
The doctor, if you will believe him, Confess'd a sin; and God forgive him! Call'd up at midnight, ran to save A blind old beggar from the grave: But see how Satan spreads his snares; He quite forgot to say his prayers.
He cannot help it for his heart Sometimes to act the parson's part: Quotes from the Bible many a sentence, That moves his patients to repentance: And, when his med'cines do no good, Supports their minds with heav'nly food, At which, however well intended, He hears the clergy are offended; And grown so bold behind his back, To call him hypocrite and quack.
In his own church he keeps a seat; Says grace before and after meat; And calls, without affecting airs, His household twice a day to prayers.
He shuns apothecaries' shops; And hates to cram the sick with slops: He scorns to make his art a trade; Nor bribes my lady's fav'rite maid.
Old nurse-keepers would never hire To recommend him to the squire; Which others, whom he will not name, Have often practis'd to their shame.
The statesman tells you with a sneer, His fault is to be too sincere; And, having no sinister ends, Is apt to disoblige his friends.
The nation's good, his master's glory, Without regard to Whig or Tory, Were all the schemes he had in view; Yet he was seconded by few: Though some had spread a hundred lies, 'Twas he defeated the Excise.
'Twas known, though he had borne aspersion, That standing troops were his aversion: His practice was, in ev'ry station, To serve the King, and please the nation.
Though hard to find in ev'ry case The fittest man to fill a place: His promises he ne'er forgot, But took memorials on the spot: His enemies, for want of charity, Said he affected popularity: 'Tis true, the people understood, That all he did was for their good; Their kind affections he has tried; No love is lost on either side.
He came to Court with fortune clear, Which now he runs out ev'ry year: Must, at the rate that he goes on, Inevitably be undone: Oh! if his Majesty would please To give him but a writ of ease, Would grant him licence to retire, As it hath long been his desire, By fair accounts it would be found, He's poorer by ten thousand pound.
He owns, and hopes it is no sin, He ne'er was partial to his kin; He thought it base for men in stations To crowd the Court with their relations; His country was his dearest mother, And ev'ry virtuous man his brother; Through modesty or awkward shame (For which he owns himself to blame), He found the wisest man he could, Without respect to friends or blood; Nor ever acts on private views, When he hath liberty to choose.
The sharper swore he hated play, Except to pass an hour away: And well he might; for, to his cost, By want of skill he always lost; He heard there was a club of cheats, Who had contriv'd a thousand feats; Could change the stock, or cog a die, And thus deceive the sharpest eye: Nor wonder how his fortune sunk, His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own the moral not exact; Besides, the tale is false in fact; And so absurd, that could I raise up From fields Elysian fabling Aesop; I would accuse him to his face For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of ev'ry kind but ours Well comprehend their natural pow'rs; While we, whom reason ought to sway, Mistake our talents ev'ry day.
The *** was never known so stupid To act the part of Tray or Cupid; Nor leaps upon his master's lap, There to be strok'd, and fed with pap, As Aesop would the world persuade; He better understands his trade: Nor comes, whene'er his lady whistles; But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is A creature bipes et implumis; Wherein the moralist design'd A compliment on human kind: For here he owns, that now and then Beasts may degenerate into men.
Written by William Blake | Create an image from this poem

Evening Star

 Thou fair hair'd angel of the evening,
Now, while the sun rests on the mountains light,
Thy bright torch of love; Thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves; and when thou drawest the 
Blue curtains, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep.
Let thy west wind sleep on The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes And wash the dusk with silver.
Soon, full, soon, Dost thou withdraw; Then, the wolf rages wide, And the lion glares thro' the dun forest.
The fleece of our flocks are covered with Thy sacred dew; Protect them with thine influence.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Ballad of East and West

 Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride:
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides: "Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?" Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar: "If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai -- at dawn he is into Bonair, But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare, So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly, By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.
But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then, For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between, And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen.
" The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he, With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell and the head of the gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat -- Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.
He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly, Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai, Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back, And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.
He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.
"Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said.
"Show now if ye can ride.
" It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dustdevils go, The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.
The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above, But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.
There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between, And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.
They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn, The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.
The dun he fell at a water-course -- in a woful heap fell he, And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.
He has knocked the pistol out of his hand -- small room was there to strive, "'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive: There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree, But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low, The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row: If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high, The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly.
" Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "Do good to bird and beast, But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.
If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away, Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.
They will feed their horse on the standing crop, their men on the garnered grain, The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.
But if thou thinkest the price be fair, -- thy brethren wait to sup, The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, -- howl, dog, and call them up! And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack, Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!" Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath; What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?" Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan: Take up the mare for my father's gift -- by God, she has carried a man!" The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast; "We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein, My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain.
" The Colonel's son a pistol drew and held it muzzle-end, "Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he; "will ye take the mate from a friend?" "A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb.
Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!" With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest -- He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest.
"Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides, And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides.
Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed, Thy life is his -- thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.
So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine, And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line, And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power -- Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur.
" They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault, They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt: They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod, On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.
The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun, And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.
And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear -- There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.
"Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son.
"Put up the steel at your sides! Last night ye had struck at a Border thief -- to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!" Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!
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