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Three Poems of Fiona Macleod

Word count: 248

Song Cycle by Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884 - 1920)

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1. The Lament of Ian the Proud


What is this crying that I hear in the wind?
Is it the old sorrow and the old grief? 
Or is it a new thing coming, a whirling leaf
About the gray hair of me who am weary and blind?
I know not what it is, but on the moor above the shore
There is a stone which the purple nets of heather bind,
And thereon is writ: She will return no more.
O blown, whirling leaf, and the old grief,
And wind crying to me who am old and blind!


2. Thy dark eyes to mine


Thy dark eyes to mine, Eilidh,
Lamps of desire!
O how my soul leaps
Leaps to their fire!

Sure, now, if I in heaven,
Dreaming in bliss,
Heard but [a]1 whisper,
But the lost echo even
Of [one such]2 kiss -- 

All of the Soul of me
Would leap afar -- 
If that called me to thee
Aye, I would leap afar
A falling star!


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bax: "the"
2 Bax: "such a"

3. The Rose of the Night


The dark rose of thy mouth
Draw nigher, draw nigher!
Thy breath is the wind of the south,
A wind of fire,
The wind and the rose and darkness, 
O Rose of my Desire!

Deep silence of the night,
Husht like a breathless lyre,
Save the sea's thunderous might,
Dim, menacing, dire,
Silence and wind and sea, they are thee, 
O Rose of my Desire!

As a wind-eddying flame
Leaping higher and higher,
Thy soul, thy secret name,
Leaps thro' Death's blazing pyre,
Kiss me, Imperishable Fire, dark Rose, 
O Rose of my Desire!


Author's note: There is an old mystical legend that when a soul among the dead woos a soul among the living, so that both may be reborn as one, the sign is a dark rose, or a rose of flame, in the heart of the night.

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