COMRADES, leave me here a little, while as yet ’tis early morn:
Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle horn.
’Tis the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro’ the mellow shade,
Here about the beach I wander’d, nourishing a youth sublime
When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
And I said, ‘My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
And she turn’d—her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs—
Saying, ‘I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong’;
Love took up the glass of Time, and turn’d it in his glowing hands;
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
Is it well to wish thee happy?—having known me—to decline
Yet it shall be: thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
What is this? his eyes are heavy: think not they are glazed with wine.
It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand—
Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart’s disgrace,
Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature’s rule!
Well—’tis well that I should bluster!—Hadst thou less unworthy proved—
Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
Never, tho’ my mortal summers to such length of years should come
Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
I remember one that perish’d: sweetly did she speak and move:
Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
Comfort? comfort scorn’d of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
Thou shalt hear the ‘Never, never,’ whisper’d by the phantom years,
And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry,
Baby lips will laugh me down: my latest rival brings thee rest.
O, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due.
O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
‘They were dangerous guides the feelings—she herself was not exempt—
Overlive it—lower yet—be happy! wherefore should I care,
What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every gate is throng’d with suitors, all the markets overflow.
I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman’s ground,
But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
So I triumph’d, ere my passion sweeping thro’ me left me dry,
Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint,
Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Yet I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing purpose runs,
What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the bugle-horn,
Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a moulder’d string?
Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman’s pleasure, woman’s pain—
Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match’d with mine,
Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat
Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil-starr’d;—
Or to burst all links of habit—there to wander far away,
Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and happy skies,
Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag,
Droops the heavy-blossom’d bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree—
There methinks would be enjoyment more than in this march of mind,
There the passions cramp’d no longer shall have scope and breathing-space;
Iron-jointed, supple-sinew’d, they shall dive, and they shall run,
Whistle back the parrot’s call, and leap the rainbows of the brooks.
Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun or clime?
I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range.
Thro’ the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day:
Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;