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Aylwin   By: (1832-1914)

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E text prepared by Roy Brown, Trowbridge, England

AYLWIN

With Two Appendices, One Containing a Note on the Character of D'arcy; the Other a Key to the Story, Reprinted from Notes and Queries

by

THEODORE WATTS DUNTON

Author of 'The Coming of Love: Rhona Boswell's Story,' etc. etc.

TO C. J. R. IN REMEMBRANCE OF SUNNY DAYS AND STARLIT NIGHTS WHEN WE RAMBLED TOGETHER ON CRUMBLING CLIFFS THAT ARE NOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA THIS EDITION OF A STORY WHICH HAS BEEN A LINK BETWEEN US IS INSCRIBED

CAUGHT IN THE EBBING TIDE

A REMINISCENCE OF RAXTOX CLIFFS

The mightiest Titan's stroke could not withstand An ebbing tide like this. These swirls denote How wind and tide conspire. I can but float To the open sea and strike no more for land. Farewell, brown cliffs, farewell, beloved sand Her feet have pressed farewell, dear little boat Where Gelert,[Footnote] calmly sitting on my coat, Unconscious of my peril, gazes bland!

All dangers grip me save the deadliest, fear: Yet these air pictures of the past that glide These death mirages o'er the heaving tide Showing two lovers in an alcove clear, Will break my heart. I see them and I hear As there they sit at morning, side by side.

[Footnote: A famous swimming dog.]

THE VISION

With Barton elms behind in front the sea, Sitting in rosy light in that alcove, They hear the first lark rise o'er Raxton Grove: 'What should I do with fame, dear heart?' says he, 'You talk of fame, poetic fame, to me Whose crown is not of laurel but of love To me who would not give this little glove On this dear hand for Shakespeare's dower in fee.

While, rising red and kindling every billow, The sun's shield shines 'neath many a golden spear, To lean with you, against this leafy pillow, To murmur words of love in this loved ear To feel you bending like a bending willow, This is to be a poet this, my dear!'

O God, to die and leave her die and leave The heaven so lately won! And then, to know What misery will be hers what lonely woe! To see the bright eyes weep, to see her grieve Will make me a coward as I sink, and cleave To life though Destiny has bid me go. How shall I bear the pictures that will glow Above the glowing billows as they heave?

One picture fades, and now above the spray Another shines: ah, do I know the bowers Where yon sweet woman stands the woodland flowers, In that bright wreath of grass and new mown hay That birthday wreath I wove when earthly hours Wore angel wings, till portents brought dismay?

Shall I turn coward here who sailed with Death Through many a tempest on mine own North Sea, And quail like him of old who bowed the knee Faithless to billows of Genesereth? Did I turn coward when my very breath Froze on my lips that Alpine night when He Stood glimmering there, the Skeleton, with me, While avalanches rolled from peaks beneath?

Each billow bears me nearer to the verge Of realms where she is not where love must wait. If Gelert, there, could hear, no need to urge That friend, so faithful, true, affectionate, To come and help me, or to share my fate. Ah! surely I see him springing through the surge. [ The dog, plunging into the tide and striking towards his master with immense strength, reaches him and swims round him. ]

Oh, Gelert, strong of wind and strong of paw, Here gazing like your namesake, 'Snowdon's Hound,' When great Llewelyn's child could not be found, And all the warriors stood in speechless awe Mute as your namesake when his master saw The cradle tossed the rushes red around With never a word, but only a whimpering sound To tell what meant the blood on lip and jaw!

In such a strait, to aid this gaze so fond, Should I, brave friend, have needed other speech Than this dear whimper? Is there not a bond Stronger than words that binds us each to each? But Death has caught us both... Continue reading book >>




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