Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

EARTH


 

MYSTICAL ash of all being,
Tomb and womb of all time,
Healing, destroying, upbuilding,
Receiving, riving apart;
Cool and warm for rest,
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Or hot for burgeoning life;
Clod; yet pulsate with being;
Infinite, ever-recurring,
Dark, sad house of all joy.

Night that dawns in the bud

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Whose perfect day is the flower;
Earth, red mantle of ruin,
Beautiful shroud of decay,
Marriage-bed of the cosmos,
Love that gives and receives,
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Nubian nurse of all beauty,
Swart, ultimate fondler of joy;
Out of thy bosom all come,
Back to thy bosom return,
Where, in thy mystical chambers,
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Purified, sifted, restored,
All life, dismantled, outworn,
Obeys the inevitable law.

Red Eygpt rose from thy dust;
Greece, thine ineffable bloom,

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Child of thy magical beauty,
Woke like a lotus at dawn.
All the mad might of the ages,
Their sad fated beauty, their joy,
Their passionate hopes and despairs,
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Arose from thy bosom, and back
To thy yearning bosom return.

And thou, Swart Mother, O Wise!
Thou to thy children wert kind.
Thou smoothedst the saddest of brows,

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Held to thy breast all lovers,
Folded their beauty of limb,
As thou dost fold to thy rest
Thy rarest and fairest of bloom.

And never undaunted spirit

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Trod like a god thy rime,
But thou gavest him splendid rest,
Where in thy sepulchred chambers,
Thy great imperishable sleep,
Those kings of thy heart’s best joy.
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