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Their scent, and rustle down their per
fumed showers Of bloom on the bent grass where I
am laid, And bower me from the August sun
with shade; And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers.
Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and
tongue-tied, In hat of antique shape, and cloak of gray,
55 The same the gipsies wore. Shepherds had met him on the Hurst
in spring; At some lone alehouse in the Berk
And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's On the warm ingle-bench, the smockbook
frocked boors Come, let me read the oft-read tale Had found him seated at their enteragain!
60 The story of that Oxford scholar poor, Of pregnant parts and quick inventive But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he brain,
would fly. Who, tired of knocking at prefer
And I myself seem half to know thy ment's door,
looks, One summer-morn forsook
And put the shepherds, wanderer, on His friends, and went to learn the gipsy
thy trace; lore,
And boys who in lone wheat fields scare And roamed the world with that wild
the rooks brotherhood,
I ask if thou hast passed their quiet And came, as most men deemed, to
65 little good,
Or in my boat I lie But came to Oxford and his friends no Moored to the cool bank in the summer more.
'Mid wide grass meadows which the But once, years after, in the country
sunshine fills, lanes,
And watch the warm, green-muffled Two scholars, whom at college erst he
Cumner hills, knew,
And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy Met him, and of his way of life in
70 quired; Whereat he answered, that the gipsy- For most, I know, thou lov'st retirèd crew,
ground! His mates, had arts to rule as they de
Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe, sired
45 Returning home on summer-nights, The workings of men's brains,
have met And they can bind them to what
Crossing the stripling Thames at Babthoughts they will.
lock-hithe, “And I,” he said, “the secret of their
Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers art,
75 When fully learned, will to the world
As the punt’s? rope chops round: impart;
And leaning backward in a pensive But it needs heaven-sent moments for
dream, this skill."
And fostering in thy lap a heap of
flowers This said, he left them, and returned no
Plucked in shy fields and distant more.
Wychwood bowers, But rumors hung about the country
And thine eyes resting on the moonlit side,
80 That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
And then they land, and thou art seen no And marked thee, when the stars more.
come out and shine, Maidens, who from the distant hamlets Through the long dewy grass move slow come
away. To dance around the Fyfield elm in May,
In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley WoodOft through the darkening fields have Where most the gipsies by the turfseen thee roam,
edged way Or cross a stile into the public Pitch their smoked tents, and every way.
bush you see Oft thou hast given them store With scarlet patches tagged and shreds Of flowers—the frail-leafed, white anemone,
Above the forest-ground called ThesDark bluebells drenched with dews of
115 summer eves,
The blackbird, picking food, And purple orchises with spotted Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears leaves
at all; But none hath words she can report of So often has he known thee past him thee.
Rapt, twirling in thy hand a withAnd, above Godstow Bridge, when haytime's here
And waiting for the spark from heaven In June, and many a scythe in sunshine
to fall. flames, Men who through those wide fields of And once, in winter, on the causeway chill breezy grass
Where home through flooded fields Where black-winged swallows haunt
foot-travelers go, the glittering Thames,
Have I not passed thee on the wooden To bathe in the abandoned lasher
95 Wrapped in thy cloak and battling with Have often passed thee near, Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown; Thy face toward Hinksey and its Marked thine outlandish garb, thy
125 figure spare,
And thou hast climbed the hill, Thy dark vague eyes, and soft ab- And gained the white brow of the Cumstracted air
ner range; But, when they came from bathing, thou Turned once to watch, while thick wast gone.
the snowflakes fall,
The line of festal light in ChristAt some lone homestead in the Cumner
Church hall hills,
Then sought thy straw in some seWhere at her open door the housewife
130 darns, Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a But what—I dream! Two hundred years
gate To watch the threshers in the mossy Since first thy story ran through Oxford barns.
halls, Children, who early range these And the grave Glanvil did the tale slopes and late
inscribe For cresses from the rills,
That thou wert wandered from the Have known thee eying, all an April
studious walls day,
To learn strange arts, and join a The springing pastures and the feed
135 ing kine;
And thou from earth art gone
Long since, and in some quiet church- Which much to have tried, in much yard laid
been baffled, brings. 165 Some country-nook, where o'er thy O life unlike to ours! unknown grave
Who fluctuate idly without term or Tall grasses and white flowering
scope, nettles wave,
Of whom each strives, nor knows for Under a dark, red-fruited yew-tree's
what he strives, shade.
And each half lives a hundred differ
ent lives; -No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, hours!
170 For what wears out the life of mortal men?
Thou waitest for the spark from heaven: 'Tis that from change to change their being rolls;
Light half-believers of our casual creeds, 'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again, Who never deeply felt, nor clearly Exhaust the energy of strongest
145 Whose insight never has borne fruit in And numb the elastic powers
deeds, Till having used our nerves with bliss Whose vague resolves never have and teen,
175 And tired upon a thousand schemes For whom each year we see our wit,
Breeds new beginnings, disappointTo the just-pausing Genius we remit
ments new; Our worn-out life, and are what we Who hesitate and falter life away, have been.
And lose to-morrow the ground won
to-dayThou hast not lived, why should'st thou Ah, do not we, wanderer, await it too?
perish, so? Thou had'st one aim, one business, one Yes, we await it, but it still delays, 181 desire;
And then we suffer; and amongst us one, Else wert thou long since numbered Who most has suffered, takes dejectwith the dead,
edly Else hadst thou spent, like other men,
His seat upon the intellectual throne; thy fire,
And all his store of sad experience he The generations of thy peers are Lays bare of wretched days; 186 fled,
Tells us his misery's birth and growth And we ourselves shall go;
and signs, But thou possessest an immortal lot, And how the dying spark of hope was And we imagine thee exempt from
And how the breast was soothed, and And living as thou liv'st on Glan
how the head,
And all his hourly varied anodynes. 190 Because thou hadst—what we, alas! have not.
160 | This for our wisest! and we others pine,
And wish the long unhappy dream would For early didst thou leave the world, with powers
And waive all claim to bliss, and try Fresh, undiverted to the world without,
to bear; Firm to their mark, not spent on With close-lipped patience for our only other things;
friend, Free from the sick fatigue, the languid Sad patience, too near neighbor to doubt,
195 But none has hope like thine.
Thou through the fields and through Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfixed the woods dost stray,
thy powers, Roaming the country-side, a truant And thy clear aims be cross and shiftboy,
ing made; Nursing thy project in unclouded joy, And then thy glad perennial youth And every doubt long blown by time
would fade, away. Fade, and grow old at last, and die like
230 O born in days when wits were fresh and clear,
Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and And life ran gaily as the sparkling ---As some grave Tyrian trader, from the
smiles! Thames; Before this strange disease of modern
Descried at sunrise an emerging prow life, With its sick hurry, its divided aims,
Lifting the cool-haired creepers stealthIts heads o'ertaxed, its palsied hearts,
The fringes of a southward-facing was rife
brow Fly hence, our contact fear!
235 Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering
Among the Ægean isles;
And saw the merry Grecian coaster come, Averse, as Dido did with gesture
Freighted with amber grapes, and
Chian wine, stern From her false friend's approach in
Green, bursting figs, and tunnies Hades turn,
steeped in brine; Wave us away, and keep thy solitude. 210
And knew the intruders on his ancient home,
240 Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
The young light-hearted masters of the Still clutching the inviolable shade, With a free, onward impulse brushing And snatched his rudder, and shook out through,
more sail, By night, the silvered branches of the
And day and night held on indigglade
nantly Far on the forest-skirts, where none
O'er the blue Midland waters with the pursue,
gale, On some mild pastoral slope
Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily, 245 Emerge, and resting on the moonlit
To where the Atlantic raves pales,
Outside the western straits; and unFreshen thy flowers as informer
bent sails years
There, where down cloudy cliffs, With dew, or listen with enchanted
through sheets of foam, ears,
Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians From the dark dingles, to the night
And on the beach undid his corded bales.
250 But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly! For strong the infection of our mental strife,
SOHRAB AND RUSTUM Which, though it gives no bliss, yet spoils for rest;
AN EPISODE And we should win thee from thy own And the first gray of morning filled the fair life,
east, Like us distracted, and like us un- And the fog rose out of the Oxus stream. blest.
225 But all the Tartar camp along the stream Soon, soon thy cheer would die,
Ta kind of fish.
Was hushed, and still the men were plunged | Tossing and wakeful, and I come to thee. in sleep;
For so did King Afrasiab bid me seek Sohrab alone, he slept not: all night long 5 Thy counsel, and to heed thee as thy son, He had lain wakeful, tossing on his bed; In Samarcand, before the army marched; But when the gray dawn stole into his And I will tell thee what my heart de
41 He rose, and clad himself, and girt his Thou knowest if, since from Ader-baijan sword,
first And took his horseman's cloak, and left I came among the Tartars and bore arms, his tent,
I have still served Afrasiab well, and And went abroad into the cold wet fog, 10 shown, Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa's At my boy's years, the courage of a man. tent.
This too thou know’st, that, while I still Through the black Tartar tents he
bear on passed, which stood
The conquering Tartar ensigns through the Clustering like bee-hives on the low flat world, strand
And beat the Persians back on every field, Of Oxus, where the summer-floods o'erflow I seek one man, one man, and one alone When the sun melts the snows in high Rustum, my father; who I hoped should Pamere:
greet, Through the black tents he passed, o'er Should one day greet, upon some wellthat low strand,
fought field And to a hillock came, a little back His not unworthy, not inglorious son. From the stream's brink—the spot where So I long hoped, but him I never find. first a boat,
Come then, hear now, and grant me what Crossing the stream in summer, scrapes
I ask. the land.
Let the two armies rest to-day: but I 55 The men of former times had crowned Will challenge forth the bravest Persian
lords With a clay fort; but that was fallen, and To meet me, man to man: if I prevail,
Rustum will surely hear it; if I fallThe Tartars built there Peran-Wisa's tent, Old man, the dead need no one, claim no A dome of laths, and o'er it felts were kin. spread.
Dim is the rumor of a common fight, 60 And Sohrab came there, and went in, Where host meets host, and many names and stood
are sunk; Upon the thick piled carpets in the tent, 25 But of a single combat fame speaks clear.” And found the old man sleeping on his He spoke; and Peran-Wisa took the bed
hand Of rugs and felts, and near him lay his Of the young man in his, and sighed, and
said: And Peran-Wisa heard him, though the “O Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine! step
Canst thou not rest among the Tartar Was dulled; for he slept light, an old man's chiefs,
And share the battle's common chance And he rose quickly on one arm, and said: “Who art thou? for it is not yet clear Who love thee, but must press forever dawn.
first, Speak! is there news, or any night alarm?” In single fight incurring single risk, But Sohrab came to the bedside, and To find a father thou hast never seen? 70 said:
That were far best, my son, to stay with “Thou knowest me, Peran-Wisa: it is I. The sun is not yet risen, and the foe Unmurmuring; in our tents, while it is Sleep; but I sleep not; all night long I lie war,