Brys. I never had this awe. The fear I have Is not a load I crouch beneath, but something Proud and wonderful, that lifteth my heart. Yea, I look on a night of stars with fear That comes close against glee. ’Tis like the fear I have for the wolves, that maketh me joy-mad To drive the yellow flint-edge through their shags. So when I gaze on stars, they speak high fear Into my soul; and strangely I think they mean The fear must prompt me to some unknown war.
Gast. Be thou well ware of this.
I have not told thee How the stars, with their perilous
overlooking, Have raught away from all his manhood
Gwat, Our fiercest strength. For when the conquering
wolves Into that village won, we in our huts Lay
hearkening to their rejoicing hunger; But Gwat stayed
out in the stars all night long. I peered at
him as much as that whipt dog, My heart, had daring
for; and he stood stiff, With all his senses aiming
at the noise.
Some strong bad eagerness kept tightly rigged
The cordage of his body, till his nerves
Loosed on a sudden. He yelled, “What do we here,
High up among bleak winds, always afraid
Of murder from the wolves? I will be man
No more; the grey four-footed fellows have
The good meats of the world, and the best lodging,
Forest and weald.” And then he wolfish howled,
And hurled off towards the snarling and the baying.
And now his soul wears the strength and fury
Of a huge dun-pelted wolf; he’s the wolves’ king;
And the fiends have learnt from him to laugh at our flints.
Now always in the assaults there’s one great beast,
With yellow eyes and hackles like a mane,
That plays the captain, first to reach the dyke; And I have heard that when he stands upright To ramp against the bulwarks, in his throat Are chattering yelps half tongued to grisly words. Doubtless to-night thou’lt see him, leading his pack, And with his jaws savagely tampering With our earth-builded safety.—But now, Brys, Is it not certain that the stars have done This evil to Gwat’s heart, and curdled all The manhood in him?
When I was wanderer,
I came upon a lake, set in a land
Which has no fear of wolves. A fisher folk
Live there in houses stilted over the water,
And the stars walk like spectres of white fire
Upon the misty waters of the mere.
Ay, if they have no wolves, they have the fear
All as thou hast; the sedges in the night
Shudder, and out of the reeds there comes a cry
Half chuckling, half bewailing; but, as I think,
It is the mallard calling. Now among
This haunted folk, I markt a man who went
With shining eyes, and a joy in his face, about
His needs of living. Clear it was to me
He knew of some sweet race in his daily wont
Which blest him wonderly. I lived with him,
And from him learnt marvels. Yea, for he gave me
A wit to see in our earth more than fear.
Brother, how shall I tell thee, who hast still