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English Lyrics, Eighth Set

Word count: 653

by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, Sir (1848 - 1918)

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1. Whence

Will he come to us out of the west
With hair all blowing free ?
Will he come, the last and best,
Over the flowing sea,
Prophet of days to be ?
Aye, he will come; the unseen choir
Attend his steps with song,
And on his breast a deep toned lyre,
And on his lips a word like fire
To burn the ancient wrong.
Bay crowned and goodlier than a king;
With voice both strong and sweet
The song of freedom will he sing
And I from out of the crowd shall fling
My rose-wreath at his feet.

2. Nightfall in winter

Cold is the air,
The woods are bare
And brown; the herd
Stand in the yard.
The frost doth fall;
And round the hill
The hares move slow;
The homeward crow,
Alone and high,
Crosses the sky
All silently.

The quick streams freeze;
The moving trees
Are still; for now
No breeze will blow:
The wind has gone
With the day, down,
And clouds are come
Bearing the gloom.
The yellow grass
In the clear glass
Of the bright pool
Grows soft and dull.

The water's eye
That held the sky
Now glazes quite;
And now the light
On the cold hill
Fadeth, until
The giant mass
Doth seem to pass
From near to far;
The clouds obscure
The sky with gloom:
The night is come,
The night is come.

3. Marian

And wiser when she wishes;
She can knit with cunning wit,
And dress the homely dishes.
She can flourish staff or pen,
And deal a wound that lingers,
She can talk the talk of men,
And touch with thrilling fingers.
Match her ye across the sea,
Natures fond and fiery;
Ye who zest the turtle's nest
With the eagle's eyrie.
Soft and loving is her soul,
Swift and lofty soaring;
Mixing with its dove-like dole
Passionate adoring.
Such a she who'll match with me ?
In flying or persuing,
Subtle wiles are in her smiles
To set a world a wooing.
She is steadfast as a star
And yet the maddest maiden:
She can wage a gallant war,
And give the peace of Eden.

4. Dirge in woods

A wind sways the pines,
   And below
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
   And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
   Even we,
   Even so.

First published in Fortnightly Review, August 1870

5. Looking backward

O my child love, 
my love of long ago, 
How great was life 
when thou and I were young ! 
The world was boundless, 
For we did not know; 
A life, a poem, 
For we had not sung. 

Now is the world grown small 
and we thereon 
Fill with mere care and toil 
each narrow day; 
Elves from the wood, 
Dreams from my heart are gone 
And heaven is bare, 
for God is far away. 

Canst thou not come 
and touch my hand again, 
And I look on thee 
with grave and inocent eyes ? 
Thy God has many angels; 
I would fain Woo for one hour 
One angel from the skies. 

O my child love, 
come back come back to me, 
And, laughing, lead me 
from the toil and din ! 
Lay on my heart 
those small hands tenderly 
And let the whole world in.

6. Come, boy Bacchus

Come, boy Bacchus, a bunch of grapes,
The bunch you dearest treasure !
'Twill fill my soul with exquisite shapes,
For well I know the pleasure
Of a rich ripe grape slow pressed in the mouth
Bringing me dreams of the lusty South,
Of sunbrown youth
And sun-bright maiden
And all a laughing,
And all a laden
with grapes, grapes, grapes, grapes,
beyond all measure !
And all a laughing
And all a laden
with grapes, grapes, grapes,
beyond all measure.

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