By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies

by Bliss Carman


 

ILICET


 

FRIENDS, let him rest
In midnight now.
Desire has gone
On the weary quest
With aching brow;
5

Until the dawn,
Friends, let him rest.

With a boy's desire
He set the cup
To his lips to drink;

10

The ruddy fire
Was lifted up
At day's cool brink,
With a boy's desire.

The heart of a boy!

15
He tasted life,
And the bitter sting
Of sorrow in joy,
Failure in strife,
Was pain to wring
20

The heart of a boy.

In a childish whim,
He spilled the wine
Upon the floor,—
In beads on the brim

25

Was a glitter of brine,—
Then, out at the door
In a childish whim!

Out of the storm,
In the flickering light,

30
A broken glass
Lies on our warm
Hearthstone to-night,
While shadows pass
Out of the storm.
35

Friends, let him rest
In midnight now.
Desire has gone
On the weary quest
With aching brow:
40

Until the dawn,
Friends, let him rest.

In sorrow and shame
For the craven heart,
In manhood's breast

45

With valor's name,
Let him depart
Unto his rest
In sorrow and shame.

In after years

50
God, who bestows
Or withholds the valor,
Shall wipe all tears—
Haply, who knows?—
From his face's pallor
55

In after years.

He could not learn
To fight with his peers
In sturdier fashion;
Let him return

60

Through the night with tears,
Stung with the passion
He could not learn.

All-bountiful, calm,
Where the great stars burn,

65

The night with balm,
Let him return
To the silent Mother's
All-bountiful calm.

Friends, let him rest

70
In midnight now.
Desire has gone
On the weary quest
With aching brow:
Until the dawn,
75
Friends, let him rest.