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Songs of Quest

Word count: 479

Song Cycle by Ronald Stevenson (b. 1928)

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?. The boat is chafing


The boat is chafing at our long delay,
And we must leave too soon
The spicy sea-pinks and the inborne spray,
The tawny sands, the moon.

Keep us, O Thetis, [in]1 our western flight!
Watch from thy pearly throne
Our vessel, plunging deeper into night
To reach a land unknown.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Cooke: "on"

?. Vive la vie


Spring, begin to wake the
 . . . . . . . . . .

[--- The rest of this text is not
currently in the database but will be
added as soon as we obtain it. ---]

?. To the generation knocking at the door


Break -- break it open; let the knocker rust;
Consider no "Shalt not," nor no man's "must";
And, being entered, promptly take the lead,
Setting aside tradition, custom, creed;
Nor watch the balance of the huckster's beam;
Declare your hardiest thought, your proudest dream;
Await no summons; laugh at all rebuff;
High hearts and you are destiny enough.
The mystery and the power enshrined in you
Are old as time and as the moment new;
And none but you can tell what part you play,
Nor can you tell until you make essay,
For this alone, this always, will succeed,
The miracle and magic of the deed.


First published in Glasgow Evening News, March 1905

?. The last journey


I felt the world a-spinning on its nave, 
I felt it sheering blindly round the sun ; 
I felt the time had come to find a grave : 
I knew it in my heart my days were done. 
I took my staff in hand ; I took the road, 
And wandered out to seek my last abode. 
Hearts of gold and hearts of lead 
Sing it yet in sun and rain, 
"Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
Round the world and home again." 

O long before the bere was steeped for malt, 
And long before the grape was crushed for wine, 
The glory of the march without a halt, 
The triumph of a stride like yours and mine 
Was known to folk like us, who walked about, 
To be the sprightliest cordial out and out ! 
Folk like us, with hearts that beat, 
Sang it too in sun and rain 
"Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
Round the world and home again." 

My feet are heavy now, but on I go, 
My head erect beneath the tragic years. 
The way is steep, but I would have it so ; 
And dusty, but I lay the dust with tears, 
Though none can see me weep : alone I climb 
The rugged path that leads me out of time 
Out of time and out of all, 
Singing yet in sun and rain, 
"Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
Round the world and home again." 

Farewell the hope that mocked, farewell despair 
That went before me still and made the pace. 
The earth is full of graves, and mine was there 
Before my life began, my resting-place ; 
And I shall find it out and with the dead 
Lie down for ever, all my sayings said 
Deeds all done and songs all sung, 
While others chant in sun and rain, 
"Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
Round the world and home again."


?. Vive la mort


In the thick of battle we
 . . . . . . . . . .

[--- The rest of this text is not
currently in the database but will be
added as soon as we obtain it. ---]

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