Songs of the Common Day, and Ave!

An Ode for the Shelley Centenary

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

AUTOCHTHON


 

I

 

 
I AM the spirit astir
   To swell the grain
When fruitful suns confer
   With labouring rain;
I am the life that thrills
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   In branch and bloom;
I am the patience of abiding hills,
   The promise masked in doom.

 

II

 

When the sombre lands are wrung,
   And storms are out,
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And giant woods give tongue,
   I am the shout
And when the earth would sleep,
   Wrapped in her snows,
I am the infinite gleam of eyes that keep
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   The post of her repose.

 

III

 

I am the hush of calm,
   I am the speed,
The flood-tide's triumphing psalm,
   The marsh-pool's heed;
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I work in the rocking roar
   Where cataracts fall;
I flash in the prismy fire that dance o'er
   The dew's ephemeral ball.

 

IV

 

I am the voice of wind
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   And wave and tree,
Of stern desires and blind,
   Of strength to be;
I am the cry by night
   At point of dawn,
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The summoning bugle from the unseen height,
   In cloud and doubt withdrawn.

 

V

 

I am the strife that shapes
   The stature of man,
The pang no hero escapes,
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   The blessing, the ban;
I am the hammer that moulds
   The iron of our race,
The omen of God in our blood that a people beholds,
   The foreknowledge veiled in our face.
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