Life poems/ page 11 of 844 /
[Preface] Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace,Believing where we cannot prove;
Bird of the bitter bright grey golden morn Scarce risen upon the dusk of dolorous years,First of us all and sweetest singer born Whose far shrill note the world of new men hears Cleave the cold shuddering shade as twilight clears;When song new-born put off the old world's attireAnd felt its tune on her changed lips expire, Writ foremost on the roll of them that cameFresh girt for service of the latter lyre, Villon, our sad bad glad mad brother's name!
Alas the joy, the sorrow, and the scorn, That clothed thy life with hopes and sins and fears,And gave thee stones for bread and tares for corn And plume-plucked gaol-birds for thy starveling peers Till death clipt close their flight with shameful shears;Till shifts came short and loves were hard to hire,When lilt of song nor twitch of twangling wire Could buy thee bread or kisses; when light fameSpurned like a ball and haled through brake and briar, Villon, our sad bad glad mad brother's name!
Poor splendid wings so frayed and soiled and torn! Poor kind wild eyes so dashed with light quick tears!Poor perfect voice, most blithe when most forlorn, That rings athwart the sea whence no man steers Like joy-bells crossed with death-bells in our ears!What far delight has cooled the fierce desireThat like some ravenous bird was strong to tire On that frail flesh and soul consumed with flame,But left more sweet than roses to respire, Villon, our sad bad glad mad brother's name?
Prince of sweet songs made out of tears and fire,A harlot was thy nurse, a God thy sire; Shame soiled thy song, and song assoiled thy shame
When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces, The mother of months in meadow or plainFills the shadows and windy places With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;And the brown bright nightingale amorousIs half assuaged for Itylus,For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces, The tongueless vigil, and all the pain
London, hast thou accused meOf breach of laws, the root of strife?Within whose breast did boil to see,So fervent hot, thy dissolute life,That even the hate of sins that growWithin thy wicked walls so rife,For to break forth did convert soThat terror could it not repress
The way, in a rainstorm, the skydescends in sudden violence,flooding the sluices of the overhead passesand tumbling to the road in fallsof water, and we wait at the side of the roadfilling the space with the hot breathof our panic, until the violencehas passed and we can proceedin the dark, the tears of nightblinding our windshieldonly a little less