Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

BALLADE OF TWO RIDERS


 

Galloping, galloping, galloping, over the sunset world,
Out of the past and its strife into the future hurled,
Out of the past and its cry into the misty to-be,
Two riders gallop alone, out to the northland sea.
Far from the dunes behind cometh the world’s vain call,
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But these two gallop alone past the shadows that fall,
Into a region of mists that far to the northward lies;
Her world but the dream of his face, his sun but the light of her eyes.

“O love, to gallop alone, out here in this weird, wild land,
Where the winds of remembrance blow not over the shifting sand;

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Where the deeds that are done are dead and the past lies buried behind;
With hate that is cruel and strong, and fate that is crippled and blind.
Never to know again the scoff and the wounding jest,
The voice of morning that wakens the pang in the sorrowful breast;
But loved face dreaming on loved face, into the misty to-be,
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Galloping, galloping, galloping, out to the northward sea.”

What doth she see in his face? What is it he readeth in hers?
Speed like the wind their chargers, needing nor whip nor spurs.
“O love, lean nearer, lean nearer:” in vain dead phantoms arise.
“O love, draw closer, draw closer:” he drinks but the light of her eyes.

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Far over the dunes and the dusk-lands, the murmur of human life
Goes up from the strong and the weary, the old and the young in the strife;
The cry of the broken-hearted, the sob of the vanquished ones,
The dim, far curves and matins of dying and waking suns,
But dead to the surge and the tumult, visage loved visage upon,
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Wrapt in their love, these lovers for ever and ever ride on.

Galloping, galloping, galloping, knowing not morning or noon,
Only escaped to the night out of the dim afternoon;
Like wraiths of themselves that are dead, into the dusk and the mist,
Galloping, galloping, galloping, shadow and sunbeam kissed.

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Face on face illumined, set to the seaward sun,
Galloping, galloping, galloping, ride these two lovers as one.

What are the sights and the sounds unto their eyes and their ears?
What is the world with its woes, its doubts, its cares and its fears?
Battle and battle’s surcease, silence and thunder of gun

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May startle the world, but deaf they ride to the seaward sun.
“O love, lean nearer, lean nearer;” the days of the past are dead,
“O love, draw closer, draw closer;” the even forever is red.