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

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

THE POET'S PART


 

IN the world's great round of sorrow
    Deeper is the poet's part
Than the petty day or morrow
    In the mighty throbbing heart.
Let them struggle, let them rave,
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His is more than foam of wave,
Be it life, or be it death,
Flame of sun or wintry breath.

In his course of doing, dreaming,
    Holds his vision all alone,

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'Mid the real and the seeming,
    Of the laughter and the moan.
And for comfort, in his round,
He hath secret kinship found,
Sad to lose, but sweet to find,
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In bud and leaf, in wave and wind.

See, the fevered world, rude-hearted,
    Eager in the envious chase:
Soul that hoped, or soul that smarted,
    Helot-driven in the race.

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And that spectre they pursue,
Demon swifter than all hue,
Cry they loud by hill and lake,
Love nor hate can overtake.

Horse and hound of good or evil,

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    Beaten, leashed, by furious hand,
Driven by some urgent devil,
    Leagues they sweep, by sea and land.
Ever alluring, ever lost,
Sweeps that evanescent ghost
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Of their longing round the rim
Of the ages cursed of him.

Better fate the poet's gladness
    Than to join that wild halloo,
In that hunt of demon madness

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    Where the hounds of life pursue.
Rather his to dwell apart
In the calm of mind and heart,
Where sad music hath no longing
For life's surge of wrath and wronging.
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In that vortex where all wallow,
     Hall and hovel, hut or court,
Beauty hath no heart to follow
    Where the brute world maketh sport.
He of simpler heart and mind,
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Rather dreams adown the wind,
Sun in eye and wind on lip,
Gives him heart's companionship.

From this place of inward vision,
    Keeps the spirit true and whole:

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Through the mists of indecision,
    Firm commander of his soul:
'Mid life's wrecks of hopes and fears,
Master of his days and years.