Duncan Campbell Scott

(2 August 1862 – 19 December 1947 / Ottawa, Ontario)

At William Maclennan's Grave


Here where the cypress tall
Shadows the stucco wall,
Bronze and deep,
Where the chrysanthemums blow,
And the roses--blood and snow--
He lies asleep.

Florence dreameth afar;
Memories of foray and war,
Murmur still;
The Certosa crowns with a cold
Cloud of snow and gold
The olive hill.

What has he now for the streams
Born sweet and deep with dreams
From the cedar meres?
Only the Arno's flow,
Turbid, and weary, and slow
With wrath and tears.

What has he now for the song
Of the boatmen, joyous and long,
Where the rapids shine?
Only the sound of toil,
Where the peasants press the soil
For the oil and wine.

Spirit-fellow in sooth
With bold La Salle and Duluth,
And La Vérandrye,--
Nothing he has but rest,
Deep in his cypress nest
With memory.

Hearts of steel and of fire,
Why do ye love and aspire,
When follows
Death--all your passionate deeds,
Garnered with rust and with weeds
In the hollows?

God that hardened the steel,
Bid the flame leap and reel,
Gave us unrest;
We act in the dusk afar,
In a star beyond your star,
His behest.

'We leave you dreams and names
Still we are iron and flames,
Biting and bright;
Into some virgin world,
Champions, we are hurled,
Of venture and fight.'

Here where the shadows fall,
From the cypress by the wall,
Where the roses are--
Here is a dream and a name,
There, like a rose of flame,
Rises--a star.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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