“Yonder sun that fierce and fiery-hearted
Marches down the sky to vanish soon,
At the self-same hour in Srahmandazi
Rises pallid like the rainy moon.
“There he sees the heroes by their river,
Where the great fish daily upward swim;
Yet they are but shadows hunting shadows,
Phantom fish in waters drear and dim.
“There he sees the kings among their headmen,
Women weaving, children playing games;
Yet they are but shadows ruling shadows,
Phantom folk with dim forgotten names.
“Bid farewell to all that most thou lovest,
Tell thy heart thy living life is done;
All the days and deeds of Srahmandazi
Are not worth an hour of yonder sun.
Dreamily the chief from out the songnet
Drew his hand and touched the woman’s head:
“Know they not, then, love in Srahmandazi?
Has a king no bride among the dead?”
Then the songman answered, “O my master,
Love they know, but none may learn it there;
Only souls that reach that land together
Keep their troth and find the twilight fair.
“Thou art still a king, and at thy passing
By thy latest word must all abide:
If thou willest, here am I, thy songman;
If thou lovest, here is she, thy bride.”
Hushed and dreamy lay the House of Dying,
Dreamily the sunlight upward failed,
Dreamily the chief on eyes that loved him
Looked with eyes the coming twilight veiled.
Then he cried, “My songman, I am passing;
Let her live, her life is but begun;
All the days and nights of Srahmandazi
Are not worth an hour of yonder sun.”
Yet, when there within the House of Dying
The last silence held the sunset air,
Not alone he came to Srahmandazi,
Not alone she found the twilight fair:
While the songman, far beneath the forest
Sang of Srahmandazi all night through,
“Lovely be thy name, O Land of shadows,
Land of meeting, Land of all the true!”
* This ballad is founded on materials given to the author by the late Miss Mary Kingsley on her return from her last visit to the Bantu peoples of West Africa.
Dear Earth, near Earth, the clay that made us men,
The land we sowed,
The hearth that glowed—–
O Mother, must we bid farewell to thee?
Fast dawns the last dawn, and what shall comfort then
The lonely hearts that roam the outer sea?
Gray wakes the daybreak, the shivering sails are set,
To misty deeps
The channel sweeps—–
O Mother, think on us who think on thee!
Earth-home, birth-home, with love remember yet
The sons in exile on the eternal sea.
“Hark ye, hark to the winding horn;
Sluggards, awake, and front the morn!
Hark ye, hark to the winding horn;
The sun’s on meadow and mill.
Follow me, hearts that love the chase;
Follow me, feet that keep the pace:
Stirrup to stirrup we ride, we ride,
We ride by moor and hill.”