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With Thoughts of Sergeant M---- (Pensioner), who died 185-
"WHY, Sergeant, stray on the Ivel Way,
As though at home there were spectres rife?
From first to last 'twas a proud career!
And your sunny years with a gracious wife
Have brought you a daughter dear.
"I watched her to-day; a more comely maid,
As she danced in her muslin bowed with blue,
Round a Hintock maypole never gayed."
--"Aye, aye; I watched her this day, too,
As it happens," the Sergeant said.
"My daughter is now," he again began,
"Of just such an age as one I knew
When we of the Line, in the Foot-Guard van,
On an August morning--a chosen few--
Stormed San Sebastian.
"She's a score less three; so about was she--
The maiden I wronged in Peninsular days....
You may prate of your prowess in lusty times,
But as years gnaw inward you blink your bays,
And see too well your crimes!
"We'd stormed it at night, by the vlanker-light
Of burning towers, and the mortar's boom:
We'd topped the breach but had failed to stay,
For our files were misled by the baffling gloom;
And we said we'd storm by day.
"So, out of the trenches, with features set,
On that hot, still morning, in measured pace,
Our column climbed; climbed higher yet,
Past the fauss'bray, scarp, up the curtain-face,
And along the parapet.
"From the batteried hornwork the cannoneers
Hove crashing balls of iron fire;
On the shaking gap mount the volunteers
In files, and as they mount expire
Amid curses, groans, and cheers.
"Five hours did we storm, five hours re-form,
As Death cooled those hot blood pricked on;
Till our cause was helped by a woe within;
They swayed from the summit we'd leapt upon,
And madly we entered in.
"On end for plunder, 'mid rain and thunder
That burst with the lull of our cannonade,
We vamped the streets in the stifling air--
Our hunger unsoothed, our thirst unstayed--
And ransacked the buildings there.
"Down the stony steps of the house-fronts white
We rolled rich puncheons of Spanish grape,
Till at length, with the fire of the wine alight,
I saw at a doorway a fair fresh shape--
A woman, a sylph, or sprite.
"Afeard she fled, and with heated head
I pursued to the chamber she called her own;
--When might is right no qualms deter,
And having her helpless and alone
I wreaked my lust on her.
"She raised her beseeching eyes to me,
And I heard the words of prayer she sent
In her own soft language.... Seemingly
I copied those eyes for my punishment
In begetting the girl you see!
"So, to-day I stand with a God-set brand
Like Cain's, when he wandered from kindred's ken....
I served through the war that made Europe free;
I wived me in peace-year. But, hid from men,
I bear that mark on me.
"And I nightly stray on the Ivel Way
As though at home there were spectres rife;
I delight me not in my proud career;
And 'tis coals of fire that a gracious wife
Should have brought me a daughter dear!" read more »
14.Darling Daughter of Babylon
Too soon you wearied of our tears.
And then you danced with spangled feet,
Leading Belshazzar's chattering court
A-tinkling through the shadowy street. read more »
15.A Prayer For My Daughter
ONCE more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind. read more »
16.The Dole Of The King's Daughter (Breton)
Seven stars in the still water,
And seven in the sky;
Seven sins on the King's daughter,
Deep in her soul to lie. read more »
17.Joe Golightly - Or, The First Lord's Daughter
A tar, but poorly prized,
Long, shambling, and unsightly,
Thrashed, bullied, and despised,
Was wretched JOE GOLIGHTLY. read more »
18.A Flower Given to My Daughter
Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time's wan wave. read more »
19.THE DIRGE OF JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER:SUNG BY THE VIRGINS
O thou, the wonder of all days!
O paragon, and pearl of praise!
O Virgin-martyr, ever blest
Above the rest read more »
20.Sonnet to My Beloved Daughter
WHEN FATE in ruthless rage assail'd my breast,
And Heaven relentless seal'd the harsh decree;
HOPE, placid soother of the mind distress'd;
To calm my rending sorrowsgave me THEE. read more »
21.Mother and Daughter
Linda, you are leaving
your old body now,
It lies flat, an old butterfly,
all arm, all leg, all wing, read more »
22.Sonnet X: Daughter to that good Earl
To the Lady Margaret Ley
Daughter to that good Earl, once President
Of England's Council, and her Treasury, read more »
23.Bells For John Whiteside's Daughter
There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study Astonishes us all read more »
24.The House of Fortune III
My wearied heart bade me farewell and left for the House of Fortune. As he reached that holy city which the soul had blessed and worshipped, he commenced wondering, for he could not find what he had always imagined would be there. The city was empty of power, money, and authority.
And my heart spoke to the daughter of Love saying, "Oh Love, where can I find Contentment? I heard that she had come here to join you." read more »
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- carpe diem