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The Spring of the Year
ONE were but the winter cold,
And gone were but the snow,
I could sleep in the wild woods
Where primroses blow.
Cold's the snow at my head,
And cold at my feet;
And the finger of death's at my c'en,
Closing them to sleep.
Let none tell my father
Or my mother so dear:
I'll meet them both in heaven
At the spring of the year.
THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK
RTHUR SYMONS says: "Peacock's learned wit, his satire upon the vulgarity of progress, are more continuously present in his prose than in his verse. * * * They are like no other verse: they are startling, grotesque, full of hearty extravagances, at times thrilling with unexpected beauty. The masterpiece, perhaps, *** is The War-Song of Dinas Vawr, which is, as the author says in due commendation of it, 'the quintessence of all war-songs that ever were written, and the sum and substance of all the tendencies and consequences of the military.' * * * Was comic verse ever more august?" And did the tooth of satire ever bite more deeply into the horror of war?
The War-Song of Dinas Vawr
HE mountain sheep are sweeter,
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter.
We made an expedition;
We met an host and quelled it;
We forced a strong position,
And killed the men who held it.
On Dyfed's richest valley,
Where herds of kine were browsing,
We made a mighty sally,
To furnish our carousing.
Fierce warriors rushed to meet us;
We met them and o'erthrew them:
They struggled hard to beat us,
But we conquered them, and slew them.
As we drove our prize at leisure,
The king marched forth to catch us:
His rage surpassed all measure,
But his people could not match us.
He fled to his hall-pillars;
And, ere our force we led off,
Some sacked his house and cellars,
While others cut his head off.
We there, in strife bewildering,
Spilt blood enough to swim in:
We orphaned many children
And widowed many women.
The eagles and the ravens
We glutted with our foemen-
The heroes and the cravens,
The spearmen and the bowmen.
We brought away from battle,
And much their land bemoaned them,
Two thousand head of cattle
And the head of him who owned them.
Ednyfed, King of Dyfed,
His head was borne before us;
His wine and beasts supplied our feasts,
And his overthrow, our chorus.
The Grave of Love
DUG, beneath the cypress shade, What well might seem an elfin's grave; And every pledge in earth I laid, That erst thy false affection gave.
I pressed them down the sod beneath;
I placed one mossy stone above;
And twined the rose's fading wreath
Around the sepulchre of love.
Frail as thy love, the flowers were dead
Ere yet the evening sun was set:
But years shall see the cypress spread,
Immutable as my regret.
I come not here to talk. Ye know too well
The story of our thraldom. We are slaves!
The bright sun rises to his course, and lights
A race of slaves! he sets, and his last beam
Falls on a slave! Not such as, swept along
By the full tide of power, the conqueror leads
To crimson glory and undying fame,
But base, ignoble slaves!-slaves to a horde
Of petty tyrants, feudal despots; lords
Rich in some dozen paltry villages,
Strong in some hundred spearmen, only great
In that strange spell-a name! Each hour, dark fraud, Or open rapine, or protected murder,
Cries out against them. But this very day
An honest man, my neighbor-there he stands—
Was struck-struck like a dog-by one who wore
The badge of Ursini! because, forsooth,
He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts,
At sight of that great ruffian! Be we men,
And suffer such dishonor? men, and wash not
The stain away in blood? Such shames are common.
I have known deeper wrongs. I, that speak to ye-
I had a brother once, a gracious boy,
Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope,
Of sweet and quiet joy; there was the look
Of Heaven upon his face which limners give
To the beloved disciple. How I loved
That gracious boy! younger by fifteen years,
Brother at once and son! He left my side-
A summer bloom on his fair cheeks, a smile
Parting his innocent lips. In one short hour
The pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw
The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried
For vengeance! Rouse ye, Romans! Rouse ye, slaves!
Have ye brave sons?-Look in the next fierce brawl
To see them die! Have ye fair daughters?-Look
To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Dishonored; and, if ye dare call for justice,
Be answered by the lash! Yet this is Rome,
That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne
Of beauty ruled the world! Yet we are Romans!
Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman
Was greater than a king! And once again-
Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread
Of either Brutus !-once again, I swear,
The eternal city shall be free!
"BARRY CORNWALL" (BRYAN WALLER
The Blood Horse
AMARRA is a dainty steed,
Full of fire, and full of bone,
With all his line of fathers known;
Fine his nose, his nostrils thin,
But blown abroad by the pride within!
His mane is like a river flowing,