Shall I tell it there? Ah, let that be,
For the warm pulse beats so high;
To love to-day, and to breathe and see,—
To-morrow perhaps to die,—
Leave it with God. But this I have known,
That sorrow is over soon;
Some in dark nights, sore weeping alone,
Forget by full of the moon.
But if all loved, as the few can love,
This world would seldom be well;
And who need wish, if he dwells above,
For a deep, a long death knell.
There are four or five, who, passing this place,
While they live will name me yet;
And when I am gone will think on my face,
And feel a kind of regret.
Quoth the cedar to the reeds and rushes,
“Water-grass, you know not what I do;
Know not of my storms, nor of my hushes.
And—I know not you.”
Quoth the reeds and rushes, “Wind! O waken!
Breathe, O wind, and set our answer free,
For we have no voice, of you forsaken,
For the cedar-tree.”
Quoth the earth at midnight to the ocean,
“Wilderness of water, lost to view,
Naught you are to me but sounds of motion;
I am naught to you.”
Quoth the ocean, “Dawn! O fairest, clearest,
Touch me with thy golden fingers bland;
For I have no smile till thou appearest
For the lovely land."_
Quoth the hero dying, whelmed in glory
“Many blame me, few have understood;
Ah, my folk, to you I leave a story,—
Make its meaning good.”
Quoth the folk, “Sing, poet! teach us, prove
Surely we shall learn the meaning then;
Wound us with a pain divine, O move us,
For this man of men."_
* * * * *
Winstanley’s deed, you kindly folk,
With it I fill my lay,
And a nobler man ne’er walked the world,
Let his name be what it may.
The good ship “Snowdrop” tarried long,
Up at the vane looked he;
“Belike,” he said, for the wind had dropped,
“She lieth becalmed at sea.”
The lovely ladies flocked within,
And still would each one say,
“Good mercer, be the ships come up?”
But still he answered “Nay.”
Then stepped two mariners down the street,
With looks of grief and fear:
“Now, if Winstanley be your name,
We bring you evil cheer!
“For the good ship ‘Snowdrop’ struck,—she
On the rock,—the Eddystone,
And down she went with threescore men,
We two being left alone.