The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 40

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A Hyde Park Larrikin

-- * To the servants of G.o.d that are to be found in every denomination, these verses, of course, do not apply.--H.K.

You may have heard of Proclus, sir, If you have been a reader; And you may know a bit of her Who helped the Lycian leader.

I have my doubts--the head you "sport"

(Now mark me, don't get crusty) Is hardly of the cla.s.sic sort-- Your lore, I think, is fusty.

Most likely you have stuck to tracts Flushed through with flaming curses-- I judge you, neighbour, by your acts-- So don't you d----n my verses.

But to my theme. The Asian sage, Whose name above I mention, Lived in the pitchy Pagan age, A life without pretension.

He may have worshipped G.o.ds like Zeus, And termed old Dis a master; But then he had a strong excuse-- He never heard a pastor.

However, it occurs to me That, had he cut Demeter And followed you, or followed me, He wouldn't have been sweeter.

No doubt with "shepherds" of this time He's not the "clean potato", Because--excuse me for my rhyme-- He pinned his faith to Plato.

But these are facts you can't deny, My pastor, smudged and sooty, His mind was like a summer sky-- He lived a life of beauty--

To lift his brothers' thoughts above This earth he used to labour: His heart was luminous with love-- He didn't wound his neighbour.

To him all men were just the same-- He never foamed at altars, Although he lived ere Moody came-- Ere Sankey dealt in psalters.

The Lycian sage, my "reverend" sir, Had not your chances ample; But, after all, I must prefer His perfect, pure example.

You, having read the Holy Writ-- The Book the angels foster-- Say have you helped us on a bit, You overfed impostor?

What have you done to edify, You clammy chapel tinker?

What act like his of days gone by-- The grand old Asian thinker?

Is there no deed of yours at all With beauty shining through it?

Ah, no! your heart reveals its gall On every side I view it.

A blatant bigot with a big Fat heavy fetid carca.s.s, You well become your greasy "rig"-- You're not a second Arcas.

What sort of "gospel" do you preach?

What "Bible" is your Bible?

There's worse than wormwood in your speech, You livid, living libel!

How many lives are growing gray Through your depraved behaviour!

I tell you plainly--every day You crucify the Saviour!

Some evil spirit curses you-- Your actions never vary: You cannot point your finger to One fact to the contrary.

You seem to have a wicked joy In your malicious labour, Endeavouring daily to destroy The neighbour's love for neighbour.

The brutal curses you eject Make strong men dread to hear you.

The world outside your petty sect Feels sick when it is near you.

No man who shuns that little hole You call your tabernacle Can have, you shriek, a ransomed soul-- He wears the devil's shackle.

And, hence the "Papist" by your clan Is dogged with words inhuman, Because he loves that friend of man The highest type of woman--

Because he has that faith which sees Before the high Creator A Virgin pleading on her knees-- A shining Mediator!

G.o.d help the souls who grope in night-- Who in your ways have trusted!

I've said enough! the more I write, The more I feel disgusted.

The warm, soft air is tainted through With your pernicious leaven.

I would not live _one hour_ with you In your peculiar heaven!

Now mount your musty pulpit--thump, And muddle flat clodhoppers; And let some long-eared b.o.o.by "hump"

The plate about for coppers.

At priest and parson spit and bark, And shake your "church" with curses, You bitter blackguard of the dark-- With this I close my verses.

Names Upon a Stone

(Inscribed to G. L. f.a.gan, Esq.)

Across bleak widths of broken sea A fierce north-easter breaks, And makes a thunder on the lea-- A whiteness of the lakes.

Here, while beyond the rainy stream The wild winds sobbing blow, I see the river of my dream Four wasted years ago.

Narrara of the waterfalls, The darling of the hills, Whose home is under mountain walls By many-luted rills!

Her bright green nooks and channels cool I never more may see; But, ah! the Past was beautiful-- The sights that used to be.

There was a rock-pool in a glen Beyond Narrara's sands; The mountains shut it in from men In flowerful fairy lands; But once we found its dwelling-place-- The lovely and the lone-- And, in a dream, I stooped to trace Our names upon a stone.

Above us, where the star-like moss Shone on the wet, green wall That spanned the straitened stream across, We saw the waterfall-- A silver singer far away, By folded hills and h.o.a.r; Its voice is in the woods to-day-- A voice I hear no more.

I wonder if the leaves that screen The rock-pool of the past Are yet as soft and cool and green As when we saw them last!

I wonder if that tender thing, The moss, has overgrown The letters by the limpid spring-- Our names upon the stone!

Across the face of scenes we know There may have come a change-- The places seen four years ago Perhaps would now look strange.

To you, indeed, they cannot be What haply once they were: A friend beloved by you and me No more will greet us there.

Because I know the filial grief That shrinks beneath the touch-- The n.o.ble love whose words are brief-- I will not say too much; But often when the night-winds strike Across the sighing rills, I think of him whose life was like The rock-pool's in the hills.

A beauty like the light of song Is in my dreams, that show The grand old man who lived so long As spotless as the snow.

A fitting garland for the dead I cannot compa.s.s yet; But many things he did and said I never will forget.

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 40 summary

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