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Hawthorn and Lavender with Other Verses   By: (1849-1903)

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With Other Verses , by WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

O , how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wrackful siege of battering days ?


LONDON Published by DAVID NUTT at the Sign of the Phoenix IN LONG ACRE 1901

First Edition printed October 1901 Second Edition printed November 1901

Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, (late) Printers to Her Majesty


Ask me not how they came , These songs of love and death , These dreams of a futile stage , These thumb nails seen in the street : Ask me not how nor why , But take them for your own , Dear Wife of twenty years , Knowing O , who so well ? You it was made the man That made these songs of love , Death , and the trivial rest : So that , your love elsewhere , These songs , or bad or good How should they ever have been ?

WORTHING, July 31, 1901.


These to the glory and praise of the green land That bred my women, and that holds my dead, ENGLAND , and with her the strong broods that stand Wherever her fighting lines are thrust or spread! They call us proud? Look at our English Rose! Shedders of blood? Where hath our own been spared? Shopkeepers? Our accompt the high GOD knows. Close? In our bounty half the world hath shared. They hate us, and they envy? Envy and hate Should drive them to the PIT'S edge? Be it so! That race is damned which misesteems its fate; And this, in GOD'S good time, they all shall know, And know you too, you good green ENGLAND , then Mother of mothering girls and governing men!



My songs were once of the sunrise : They shouted it over the bar ; First footing the dawns , they flourished , And flamed with the morning star .

My songs are now of the sunset : Their brows are touched with light , But their feet are lost in the shadows And wet with the dews of night .

Yet for the joy in their making Take them , O fond and true , And for his sake who made them Let them be dear to You .


Largo espressivo

In sumptuous chords, and strange, Through rich yet poignant harmonies: Subtle and strong browns, reds Magnificent with death and the pride of death, Thin, clamant greens And delicate yellows that exhaust The exquisite chromatics of decay: From ruining gardens, from reluctant woods Dear, multitudinously reluctant woods! And sering margents, forced To be lean and bare and perished grace by grace, And flower by flower discharmed, Comes, to a purpose none, Not even the Scorner, which is the Fool, can blink, The dead march of the year.

Dead things and dying! Now the long laboured soul Listens, and pines. But never a note of hope Sounds: whether in those high, Transcending unisons of resignation That speed the sovran sun, As he goes southing, weakening, minishing, Almighty in obedience; or in those Small, sorrowful colloquies Of bronze and russet and gold, Colour with colour, dying things with dead, That break along this visual orchestra: As in that other one, the audible, Horn answers horn, hautboy and violin Talk, and the 'cello calls the clarionet And flute, and the poor heart is glad. There is no hope in these only despair.

Then, destiny in act, ensues That most tremendous passage in the score: When hangman rains and winds have wrought Their worst, and, the brave lights gone down, The low strings, the brute brass, the sullen drums Sob, grovel, and curse themselves Silent. . . . But on the spirit of Man And on the heart of the World there falls A strange, half desperate peace: A war worn, militant, gray jubilance In the unkind, implacable tyranny Of Winter, the obscene, Old, crapulous Regent, who in his loins O, who but feels he carries in his loins The wild, sweet blooded, wonderful harlot, Spring?


Low low Over a perishing after glow, A thin, red shred of moon Trailed. In the windless air The poplars all ranked lean and chill... Continue reading book >>

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