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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 31

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No more he sees the affluence Which makes the heart of Nature glad; For he has lost the fine, first sense Of Beauty that he had.

The old delight God's happy breeze Was wont to give, to Grief has grown; And therefore, Niobe of trees, His song is like thine own!

But I, who am that perished soul, Have wasted so these powers of mine, That I can never write that whole, Pure, perfect speech of thine.

Some lord of words august, supreme, The grave, grand melody demands; The dark translation of thy theme I leave to other hands.

Yet here, where plovers nightly call Across dim, melancholy leas-- Where comes by whistling fen and fall The moan of far-off seas-- A grey, old Fancy often sits Beneath thy shade with tired wings, And fills thy strong, strange rhyme by fits With awful utterings.



Then times there are when all the words Are like the sentences of one Shut in by Fate from wind and birds And light of stars and sun, No dazzling dryad, but a dark Dream-haunted spirit doomed to be Imprisoned, crampt in bands of bark, For all eternity.

Yea, like the speech of one aghast At Immortality in chains, What time the lordly storm rides past With flames and arrowy rains: Some wan Tithonus of the wood, White with immeasurable years-- An awful ghost in solitude With moaning moors and meres.

And when high thunder smites the hill And hunts the wild dog to his den, Thy cries, like maledictions, shrill And shriek from glen to glen, As if a frightful memory whipped Thy soul for some infernal crime That left it blasted, blind, and stript-- A dread to Death and Time!

But when the fair-haired August dies, And flowers wax strong and beautiful, Thy songs are stately harmonies By wood-lights green and cool-- Most like the voice of one who shows Through sufferings fierce, in fine relief, A noble patience and repose-- A dignity in grief.

But, ah! conceptions fade away, And still the life that lives in thee-- The soul of thy majestic lay-- Remains a mystery!

And he must speak the speech divine-- The language of the high-throned lords-- Who'd give that grand old theme of thine Its sense in faultless words.

By hollow lands and sea-tracts harsh, With ruin of the fourfold gale, Where sighs the sedge and sobs the marsh, Still wail thy lonely wail; And, year by year, one step will break The sleep of far hill-folded streams, And seek, if only for thy sake Thy home of many dreams.

Billy Vickers

No song is this of leaf and bird, And gracious waters flowing; I'm sick at heart, for I have heard Big Billy Vickers "blowing".

He'd never take a leading place In chambers legislative: This booby with the vacant face-- This hoddy-doddy native!

Indeed, I'm forced to say aside, To you, O reader, solely, He only wants the horns and hide To be a bullock wholly.

But, like all noodles, he is vain; And when his tongue is wagging, I feel inclined to copy Cain, And "drop" him for his bragging.

He, being Bush-bred, stands, of course, Six feet his dirty socks in; His lingo is confined to horse And plough, and pig and oxen.

Two years ago he'd less to say Within his little circuit; But now he has, besides a dray, A team of twelve to work it.

No wonder is it that he feels Inclined to clack and rattle About his bullocks and his wheels-- He owns a dozen cattle.

In short, to be exact and blunt, In his own estimation He's "out and out" the head and front Top-sawyer of creation!

For, mark me, he can "sit a buck"

For hours and hours together; And never horse has had the luck To pitch him from the leather.

If ever he should have a "spill"

Upon the grass or gravel, Be sure of this, the saddle will With Billy Vickers travel.

At punching oxen you may guess There's nothing out can "camp" him: He has, in fact, the slouch and dress Which bullock-driver stamp him.

I do not mean to give offence, But I have vainly striven To ferret out the difference 'Twixt driver and the driven.

Of course, the statements herein made In every other stanza Are Billy's own; and I'm afraid They're stark extravaganza.

I feel constrained to treat as trash His noisy fiddle-faddle About his doings with the lash, His feats upon the saddle.

But grant he "knows his way about", Or grant that he is silly, There cannot be the slightest doubt Of Billy's faith in Billy.

Of all the doings of the day His ignorance is utter; But he can quote the price of hay, The current rate of butter.

His notions of our leading men Are mixed and misty very: He knows a cochin-china hen-- He never speaks of Berry.

As you'll assume, he hasn't heard Of Madame Patti's singing; But I will stake my solemn word He knows what maize is bringing.

Surrounded by majestic peaks, By lordly mountain ranges, Where highest voice of thunder speaks His aspect never changes.

The grand Pacific there beyond His dirty hut is glowing: He only sees a big salt pond, O'er which his grain is going.

The sea that covers half the sphere, With all its stately speeches, Is held by Bill to be a mere Broad highway for his peaches.

Through Nature's splendid temples he Plods, under mountains hoary; But he has not the eyes to see Their grandeur and their glory.

A bullock in a biped's boot, I iterate, is Billy!

He crushes with a careless foot The touching water-lily.

I've said enough--I'll let him go!

If he could read these verses, He'd pepper me for hours, I know, With his peculiar curses.

But this is sure, he'll never change His manners loud and flashy, Nor learn with neatness to arrange His clothing, cheap and trashy.

Like other louts, he'll jog along, And swig at shanty liquors, And chew and spit. Here ends the song Of Mr. Billy Vickers.

Persia

I am writing this song at the close Of a beautiful day of the spring In a dell where the daffodil grows By a grove of the glimmering wing; From glades where a musical word Comes ever from luminous fall, I send you the song of a bird That I wish to be dear to you all.

I have given my darling the name Of a land at the gates of the day, Where morning is always the same, And spring never passes away.

With a prayer for a lifetime of light, I christened her Persia, you see; And I hope that some fathers to-night Will kneel in the spirit with me.

She is only commencing to look At the beauty in which she is set; And forest and flower and brook, To her are all mysteries yet.

I know that to many my words Will seem insignificant things; But _you_ who are mothers of birds Will feel for the father who sings.

For all of you doubtless have been Where sorrows are many and wild; And you _know_ what a beautiful scene Of this world can be made by a child: I am sure, if they listen to this, Sweet women will quiver, and long To tenderly stoop to and kiss The Persia I've put in a song.

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 31 summary

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