Poems: Old and New

by Frederick George Scott




“I HEAR a cry from the Sansard cave,
   O mother, will no one hearken?
A cry of the lost,—will no one save?
A cry of the dead, though the oceans rave,
And the scream of a gull as he wheels o’er a grave,
   While the shadows darken and darken.”

“Oh, hush thee, child, for the night is wet,
   And the cloud-caves split asunder,
With lightening in a jagged fret,
Like the gleam of a salmon in the net,

When the rocks are rich in the red sunset,
   And the stream rolls down in thunder.”

“Mother, O mother, a pain at my heart,
   A pain like the pang of dying.”
“Oh, hush thee, child, for the wild birds dart

Up and down, and close and part, [Page 20]
Wheeling round where the black cliffs start,
   And the foam at their feet is flying.”

“O mother, a strife like the black clouds’ strife,
   And a peace that cometh after.”

“Hush, child, for peace is the end of life,
And the heart of a maiden finds peace as a wife,
But the sky and the cliffs and the ocean are rife
   With the storm and thunder’s laughter.”

“Come in, my sons, come in and rest,

   For the shadows darken and darken,
And your sister is pale as the white swan’s breast,
And her eyes are fixed and her lips are pressed
In the death of a name ye might have guessed,
   Had ye twain been here to hearken.”

“Hush, mother, a corpse lies on the strand,
   And the spray is round it driven,
It lies on its face, and one white hand
Points through the mist on the belt of sand
To where the cliffs of Sansard stand,
   And the ocean’s strength is riven.” [Page 21]

“Was it God, my sons, who laid him there?
   Or the sea that left him sleeping?”
“Nay, mother, our dirks where his heart was bare,
As swift as the rain through the teeth of the air

The foam-fingers play in the Saxon’s hair,
   And the tides are round him creeping.”

“Oh, curses on you hand and head,
   Like the rains in this wild weather,
The guilt of blood is swift and dread,

Your sister’s face is cold and dead,
Ye may not part whom God would wed
   And love hath knit together.” [Page 22]