Sydney Wheeler Jephcott poems

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A Ballad of the Last King of Thule

- by Sydney Wheeler Jephcott 21

There was a King of Thule
Whom a Witch-wife stole at birth;
In a country known but newly,
All under the dumb, huge Earth.

That King's in a Forest toiling;
And he never the green sward delves
But he sees all his green waves boiling
Over his sands and shelves;

In these sunsets vast and fiery,
In these dawns divine he sees
Hy-Brasil, Mannan and Eire,
And the Isle of Appletrees;

He watches, heart-still and breathless,
The clouds through the deep day trailing,
As the white-winged vessels gathered,
Into his harbours sailing;

Ranked Ibis and lazy Eagles
In the great blue flame may rise,
But ne'er Sea-mew or Solan beating
Up through their grey low skies;

When the storm-led fires are breaking,
Great waves of the molten night,
Deep in his eyes comes aching
The icy Boreal Light.

O, lost King, and O, people perished,
Your Thule has grown one grave!
Unvisited as uncherished,
Save by the wandering wave!

The billows burst in his doorways,
The spray swoops over his walls! --
O, his banners that throb dishonoured
O'er arms that hide in his halls --

Deserved is your desolation! --
Why could you not stir and save
The last-born heir of your nation? --
Sold into the South, a slave

Till he dies, and is buried duly
In the hot Australian earth --
The lorn, lost King of Thule,
Whom a Witch-wife stole at birth

The Dreamers

- by Sydney Wheeler Jephcott 21

HAVE courage, O my comradry of dreamers!
All things, except mere Earth, are ours.
We pluck its passions for our flowers.
Dawn-dyed our great cloud-banners toss their streamers
Above its quaking tyrant-towers!
Making this stern grey planet shine with jewel-showers.

Our lives are mantled in forgotten glory,
Like trees that fringe yon dark hill-crest
Alight against the molten west.
The great night shuddering yields her stress of story—
The dreams that stir the past's long rest—
Strange, scented night-winds sighing on our naked breast.

Through all the spirit's spacious, secret regions—
By pathways we believed unknown—
Still thoughts immortal meet our own.
Ideas!—In innumerable legions!
Like summer's stir in forests lone
Their various music merges in time's monotone.

The dreamer sees the deep-drawn ore-veins brightening
Through all the huge blind bulk of Earth;
He led the ship around its girth;
He plays, as on the pulses of the lightning,
The song that gives its workings worth,
The song foredained to bring man's morrow to the birth.

Base, base mere doers, blind and dreamless;
Whose bodies engines are of toil!
Greasy with greed and lust they moil;
They cast lots for the dreamer's garment seamless,
To rot among their useless spoil;
The fathomless infinity their breath does soil.

Hail to the dream that roused the sleeping savage,
And let him from his bloody lair,
Across light's bridge, that single hair,
Above th' unpurposed, eyeless hell of ravage
That, beasts and men, the soulless share,
And left him, waking in thought's temple, Heaven's heir!

Our souls, in these vast Heavens unbeholden
Of eyes, our angel-hopes embrance;
Or being's shining trail retrace,
Through pregnant skies about our forms enfolden
In rapture of our kindred race,
Until the gaze of God consume us, face to face.

Ah, God! In what undying dream of beauty
Wrought Thou our world, so strange and fair,
Afloat in Thy illusive air?—
Aye me! We know that dreaming is our duty!
These dreams more intimate than prayer;
For in Thy dream divine our laureate spirits share.

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