The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 64

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But still he conquered; and the end was this, That though he often had to face the eyes Of that bleak Virtue which is not of Christ (Because the gracious Lord of Love was one with Him Who blessed the dying thief upon the cross), He held his way with no unfaltering steps, And gathered hope and light, and never missed To do a thing for the sake of good.

And every day that glided through the world Saw some fine instance of his bright reform, And some a.s.surance he would never fall Into the pits and traps of h.e.l.l again.

And thus it came to pa.s.s that Basil's name Grew sweet with men; and, when he died, his end Was calm--was evening-like, and beautiful.

Here ends the tale of Basil Moss. To wives Who suffer as the Painter's darling did, I dedicate these lines; and hope they'll bear In mind those efforts of her lovely life, Which saved her husband's soul; and proved that while A man who sins can entertain remorse, He is not wholly lost. If such as they But follow her, they may be sure of this, That Love, that sweet authentic messenger From G.o.d, can never fail while there is left Within the fallen one a single pulse Of what the angels call humanity.

Hunted Down

Two years had the tiger, whose shape was that of a sinister man, Been out since the night of escape--two years under horror and ban.

In a time full of thunder and rain, when hurricanes hackled the tree, He slipt through the sludge of a drain, and swam a fierce fork of the sea.

Through the roar of the storm, and the ring and the wild savage whistle of hail, Did this naked, whipt, desperate thing break loose from the guards of the gaol.

And breasting the foam of the bay, and facing the fangs of the bight, With a great cruel cry on his way, he dashed through the darkness of night.

But foiled was the terror of fin, and baffled the strength of the tide, For a devil supported his chin and a fiend kept a watch at his side.

And hands of iniquity drest the h.e.l.lish hyena, and gave Him food in the hills of the west--in cells of indefinite cave.

Then, strengthened and weaponed, this peer of the brute, on the track of its prey, Sprang out, and shed sorrow and fear through the beautiful fields of the day.

And pillage and murder, and worse, swept peace from the face of the land-- The black, bitter work of this curse with the blood on his infamous hand.

But wolf of the hills at the end--chased back to the depths of his lair-- Had horror for neighbour and friend--he supped in the dark with despair.

A whisper of leaf or a breath of the wind in the watch of the night Was ever as message of death to this devil bent double with fright.

For now were the hunters abroad; and the fiend like an adder at bay, Cast out of the sight of the Lord, in the folds of his fastnesses lay.

Yea, skulking in pits of the slime--in venomous dens of eclipse-- He cowered and bided his time, with the white malice set on his lips.

Two years had his shadow been cast in forest, on highway, and run; But Nemesis tracked him at last, and swept him from under the sun.

Foul felons in chains were ashamed to speak of the bloodthirsty thing Who lived, like a panther inflamed, the life that no singer can sing-- Who butchered one night in the wild three women, a lad, and a maid, And cut the sweet throat of a child--its mother's pure blood on his blade!

But over the plains and away by the range and the forested lake, Rode hard, for a week and a day, the terrible tracker, d.i.c.k Blake.

d.i.c.k Blake had the scent of a hound, the eye of a lynx, and could track Where never a sign on the ground or the rock could be seen by the black.

A rascal at large, when he heard that Blake was out hard at his heels, Felt just as the wilderness bird, in the snare fettered hopelessly, feels.

And, hence, when the wolf with the brand of Cain written thrice on his face, Knew terrible d.i.c.k was at hand, he slunk like a snake to his place-- To the depths of his kennel he crept, far back in the pa.s.sages dim; But Blake and his mates never slept; they hunted and listened for him.

The mountains were many, but he who had captured big Terrigal Bill, The slayer of Hawkins and Lee, found tracks by a conical hill.

There were three in the party--no more: d.i.c.k Blake and his brother, and one Who came from a far-away sh.o.r.e, called here by the blood of his son.

Two nights and two days did they wait on the trail of the curst of all men; But on the third morning a fate led d.i.c.k to the door of the den; And a thunder ran up from the south and smote all the woods into sound; And Blake, with an oath on his mouth, called out for the fiend underground.

But the answer was blue, bitter lead, and the brother of d.i.c.k, with a cry, Fell back, and the storm overhead set night like a seal on the sky; And the strength of the hurricane tore asunder hill-turrets uphurled; And a rushing of rain and a roar made wan the green widths of the world.

The flame, and the roll, and the ring, and the hiss of the thunder and hail Set fear on the face of the Spring laid bare to the arrow of gale.

But here in the flash and the din, in the cry of the mountain and wave, d.i.c.k Blake, through the shadow, dashed in and strangled the wolf in his cave.


Just a sh.e.l.l, to which the seaweed glittering yet with greenness clings, Like the song that once I loved so, softly of the old time sings-- Softly of the old time speaketh--bringing ever back to me Sights of far-off lordly forelands--glimpses of the sounding sea!

Now the cliffs are all before me--now, indeed, do I behold Shining growths on wild wet hillheads, quiet pools of green and gold.

And, across the gleaming beaches, lo! the mighty flow and fall Of the great ingathering waters thundering under Wamberal!

Back there are the pondering mountains; there the dim, dumb ranges loom-- Ghostly shapes in dead grey vapour--half-seen peaks august with gloom.

There the voice of troubled torrents, hidden in unfathomed deeps, Known to moss and faint green sunlight, wanders down the oozy steeps.

There the lake of many runnels nestles in a windless wild Far amongst thick-folded forests, like a radiant human child.

And beyond surf-smitten uplands--high above the highest spur-- Lo! the clouds like tents of tempest on the crags of Kinc.u.mber!

Wamberal, the home of echoes! Hard against a streaming strand, Sits the hill of blind black caverns, at the limits of the land.

Here the haughty water marches--here the flights of straitened sea Make a noise like that of trumpets, breaking wide across the lea!

But behold, in yonder crescent that a ring of island locks Are the gold and emerald cisterns shining moonlike in the rocks!

Clear, bright cisterns, zoned by mosses, where the faint wet blossoms dwell With the leaf of many colours--down beside the starry sh.e.l.l.

Friend of mine beyond the mountains, here and here the perished days Come like sad reproachful phantoms, in the deep grey evening haze-- Come like ghosts, and sit beside me when the noise of day is still, And the rain is on the window, and the wind is on the hill.

Then they linger, but they speak not, while my memory roams and roams Over scenes by death made sacred--other lands and other homes!

Places sanctified by sorrow--sweetened by the face of yore-- Face that you and I may look on (friend and brother) nevermore!

Seasons come with tender solace--time lacks neither light nor rest; But the old thoughts were such _dear_ ones, and the old days seem the best.

And to those who've loved and suffered, every pulse of wind or rain-- Every song with sadness in it, brings the peopled Past again.

Therefore, just this sh.e.l.l yet dripping, with this weed of green and grey, Sets me thinking--sets me dreaming of the places far away; Dreaming of the golden rockpools--of the foreland and the fall; And the home behind the mountains looming over Wamberal.

_In Memoriam_--Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse

-- * Daughter of Nicol Drysdale Stenhouse.

The grand, authentic songs that roll Across grey widths of wild-faced sea, The lordly anthems of the Pole, Are loud upon the lea.

Yea, deep and full the South Wind sings The mighty symphonies that make A thunder at the mountain springs-- A whiteness on the lake.

And where the hermit hornet hums, When Summer fires his wings with gold, The hollow voice of August comes, Across the rain and cold.

Now on the misty mountain tops, Where gleams the crag and glares the fell, Wild Winter, like one hunted, stops And shouts a fierce farewell.

Keen fitful gusts shoot past the sh.o.r.e And hiss by moor and moody mere-- The heralds bleak that come before The turning of the year.

A sobbing spirit wanders where By fits and starts the wild-fire shines; Like one who walks in deep despair, With Death amongst the pines.

And ah! the fine, majestic grief Which fills the heart of forests lone, And makes a lute of limb and leaf Is human in its tone.

Too human for the thought to slip-- How every song that sorrow sings Betrays the broad relationship Of all created things.

Man's mournful speech, the wail of tree, The words the winds and waters say, Make up that general elegy, Whose burden is decay.

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 64 summary

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