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The Village Wife's Lament   By: (1861-1923)

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THE VILLAGE WIFE'S LAMENT

POETICAL WORKS OF MAURICE HEWLETT

A Masque of Dead Florentines Pan and the Young Shepherd: a pastoral Artemision The Agonists: a trilogy Helen Redeemed and other Poems Gai Saber: Tales and Songs The Song of the Plow Peridore and Paravail The Village Wife's Lament

THE VILLAGE WIFE'S LAMENT

BY

MAURICE HEWLETT

LONDON

MARTIN SECKER LONDON: MARTIN SECKER (LTD) 1918

I

i

O what is this you've done to me, Or what have I done, That bare should be our fair roof tree, And I all alone? 'Tis worse than widow I become More than desolate, To face a worse than empty home Without child or mate.

'Twas not my strife askt him his life When it was but begun, Nor mine, I was a new made wife And now I am none; Nor mine that many a sapless ghost Wails in sorrow fare But this does cost my pride the most, That bloodshedding to share.

Image of streaming eyes, tear gleaming, Of women foiled and defeat, I am like Christ shockt out of dreaming, Showing His hands and feet; Showing His feet and hands to God, Saying, "Are these in vain? For men I have trod the sorrowful road, And by them I am slain."

Seeing I have a breast in common, I must share in that shame, Since from the womb of some poor woman Each evil one came Every hot and blundering thought, Every hag rid will, And every haut king pride distraught That drove men out to kill.

A woman's womb did fashion him, Her bosom was his nurse, And many women's eyes are dim To see their sons a curse. Had I the wit some women have To one such I would say, "Think you this love the good Lord gave Is yours to take away?"

O Hand divine that for a sign Didst bend the rose red bow, Betokening wrath was no more Thine With man's Cain branded brow What now, O Lord, shouldst Thou accord To such a shameful brood? A bow as crimson as the sword Which men have soakt in blood.

ii

I cannot see the grass Or feel the wind blowing, But I think of brother and brother And hot blood flowing.

The whole world akin, And I, an alien, Walk branded with the sin And the blood guilt of men.

And often I cry In my sharp distress, It were better to die Than know such bitterness.

iii

The Lord of Life He did ordain How this world should run, That Love should call thro' joy and pain Two natures to be one; Now jags across the high God's plan Division like a scar, For this is true, that He made man, But man made war.

Had men the dower of teeth and claws And not a grace beside them? Were they given wit to know the laws And hard hearts to outride them? What drove them turn the sweet green earth Into a puddle of blood? What drove them drown our simple mirth In salt tear flood?

Has man been lifted up erect, A lord of life and death, His world's elect, and his brow deckt With murder for a wreath? What shall be done with such an one, And whither he be hurl'd? The Lord let crucify His Son Who gibbetted His world?

iv

Be it Pole Star or Southern Cross That shelters me or you, The same things are gain and loss, And the same things true: The home love, the mother love, The old, old things; The lad's love of maiden's love That gives a man wings,

And makes a maid stand still, afraid Lest it were all a dream That he do think himself apaid If she be all to him... Continue reading book >>




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