Hawthorn and Lavender

William E. Henley
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Title: Hawthorn and Lavender
with Other Verses
Author: William Ernest Henley
Release Date: June 1, 2007 [eBook #21662]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
Transcribed from the 1901 David Nutt edition by David Price, email [email protected]
_With Other Verses_, _by_?WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
_O_, _how shall summer's honey breath hold out_?_Against the wrackful siege of battering days_?
LONDON?_Published by DAVID NUTT_?at the Sign of the Phoenix?IN LONG ACRE?1901
_First Edition printed October_ 1901?_Second Edition printed November_ 1901
Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, (late) Printers to Her Majesty
_Ask me not how they came_,?_These songs of love and death_,?_These dreams of a futile stage_,?_These thumb-nails seen in the street_:?_Ask me not how nor why_,?_But take them for your own_,?_Dear Wife of twenty years_,?_Knowing_--_O_, _who so well_?--?_You it was made the man_?_That made these songs of love_,?_Death_, _and the trivial rest_:?_So that_, _your love elsewhere_,?_These songs_, _or bad or good_--?_How should they ever have been_?
WORTHING, _July_ 31, 1901.
These to the glory and praise of the green land?That bred my women, and that holds my dead,?_ENGLAND_, and with her the strong broods that stand?Wherever her fighting lines are thrust or spread!?They call us proud?--Look at our English Rose!?Shedders of blood?--Where hath our own been spared??Shopkeepers?--Our accompt the high _GOD_ knows.?Close?--In our bounty half the world hath shared.?They hate us, and they envy? Envy and hate?Should drive them to the _PIT'S_ edge?--Be it so!?That race is damned which misesteems its fate;?And this, in _GOD'S_ good time, they all shall know,
And know you too, you good green _ENGLAND_, then--?Mother of mothering girls and governing men!
_My songs were once of the sunrise_:
_They shouted it over the bar_;?_First-footing the dawns_, _they flourished_,
_And flamed with the morning star_.
_My songs are now of the sunset_:
_Their brows are touched with light_,?_But their feet are lost in the shadows_
_And wet with the dews of night_.
_Yet for the joy in their making_
_Take them_, _O fond and true_,?_And for his sake who made them_
_Let them be dear to You_.
_Largo espressivo_
In sumptuous chords, and strange,?Through rich yet poignant harmonies:?Subtle and strong browns, reds?Magnificent with death and the pride of death,?Thin, clamant greens?And delicate yellows that exhaust?The exquisite chromatics of decay:?From ruining gardens, from reluctant woods--?Dear, multitudinously reluctant woods!--?And sering margents, forced?To be lean and bare and perished grace by grace,?And flower by flower discharmed,?Comes, to a purpose none,?Not even the Scorner, which is the Fool, can blink,?The dead-march of the year.
Dead things and dying! Now the long-laboured soul?Listens, and pines. But never a note of hope?Sounds: whether in those high,?Transcending unisons of resignation?That speed the sovran sun,?As he goes southing, weakening, minishing,?Almighty in obedience; or in those?Small, sorrowful colloquies?Of bronze and russet and gold,?Colour with colour, dying things with dead,?That break along this visual orchestra:?As in that other one, the audible,?Horn answers horn, hautboy and violin?Talk, and the 'cello calls the clarionet?And flute, and the poor heart is glad.?There is no hope in these--only despair.
Then, destiny in act, ensues?That most tremendous passage in the score:?When hangman rains and winds have wrought?Their worst, and, the brave lights gone down,?The low strings, the brute brass, the sullen drums?Sob, grovel, and curse themselves?Silent. . . .
But on the spirit of Man?And on the heart of the World there falls?A strange, half-desperate peace:?A war-worn, militant, gray jubilance?In the unkind, implacable tyranny?Of Winter, the obscene,?Old, crapulous Regent, who in his loins--?O, who but feels he carries in his loins?The wild, sweet-blooded, wonderful harlot, Spring?
Low--low?Over a perishing after-glow,?A thin, red shred of moon?Trailed. In the windless air?The poplars all ranked lean and chill.?The smell of winter loitered there,?And the Year's heart felt still.?Yet not so far away?Seemed the mad Spring,?But that, as lovers will,?I let my laughing heart go play,?As it had been a fond maid's frolicking;?And, turning thrice the gold I'd got,?In the good gloom?Solemnly wished me--what??What, and with whom?
Moon of half-candied meres?And flurrying, fading snows;?Moon of unkindly rains,?Wild skies, and troubled vanes;?When the Norther snarls and bites,?And the lone moon walks a-cold,?And the lawns grizzle o' nights,?And wet fogs search the fold:?Here in this heart of mine?A dream that warms like wine,?A dream one other knows,?Moon of the roaring weirs?And the sip-sopping close,
February Fill-Dyke,?Shapes like a royal rose--
A red, red rose!
O, but the distance clears!?O, but the daylight grows!?Soon shall the pied wind-flowers?Babble of greening hours,?Primrose and daffodil?Yearn to a fathering sun,?The lark have all his will,?The thrush be never done,?And April, May, and June?Go to the same blythe tune?As this blythe dream of mine!?Moon when the crocus peers,?Moon
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