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  1. #91
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    Rudyard Kipling

    "Before a Midnight Breaks in Storm"
    1903



    Before a midnight breaks in storm,
    Or herded sea in wrath,
    Ye know what wavering gusts inform
    The greater tempest's path;
    Till the loosed wind
    Drive all from mind,
    Except Distress, which, so will prophets cry,
    O'ercame them, houseless, from the unhinting sky.

    Ere rivers league against the land
    In piratry of flood,
    Ye know what waters steal and stand
    Where seldom water stood.
    Yet who will note,
    Till fields afloat,
    And washen carcass and the returning well,
    Trumpet what these poor heralds strove to tell?

    Ye know who use the Crystal Ball
    (To peer by stealth on Doom),
    The Shade that, shaping first of all,
    Prepares an empty room.
    Then doth It pass
    Like breath from glass,
    But, on the extorted Vision bowed intent,
    No man considers why It came or went.

    Before the years reborn behold
    Themselves with stranger eye,
    And the sport-making Gods of old,
    Like Samson slaying, die,
    Many shall hear
    The all-pregnant sphere,
    Bow to the birth and sweat, but--speech denied--
    Sit dumb or--dealt in part--fall weak and wide.

    Yet instant to fore-shadowed need
    The eternal balance swings;
    That winged men, the Fates may breed
    So soon as Fate hath wings.
    These shall possess
    Our littleness,
    And in the imperial task (as worthy) lay
    Up our lives' all to piece one giant Day.
    18 U.S. Code 2381-Treason Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

  2. #92
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    Mountain Life


    IN summer dusk the valley lies
    With far-flung shadow veil;
    A cloud-sea laps the precipice
    Before the evening gale:
    The welter of the cloud-waves grey
    Cuts off from keenest sight
    The glacier, looking out by day
    O'er all the district, far away,
    And crowned with golden light.

    But o'er the smouldering cloud-wrack's flow,
    Where gold and amber kiss,
    Stands up the archipelago,
    A home of shining peace.
    The mountain eagle seems to sail
    A ship far seen at even;
    And over all a serried pale
    Of peaks, like giants ranked in mail,
    Fronts westward threatening heaven.

    But look, a steading nestles, close
    Beneath the ice-fields bound,
    Where purple cliffs and glittering snows
    The quiet home surround.
    Here place and people seem to be
    A world apart, alone; --
    Cut off from men by spate and scree
    It has a heaven more broad, more free,
    A sunshine all its own.

    Look: mute the saeter-maiden stays,
    Half shadow, half aflame;
    The deep, still vision of her gaze
    Was never word to name.
    She names it not herself, nor knows
    What goal my be its will;
    While cow-bells chime and alp-horn blows
    It bears her where the sunset glows,
    Or, maybe, further still.

    Too brief, thy life on highland wolds
    Where close the glaciers jut;
    Too soon the snowstorm's cloak enfolds
    Stone byre and pine-log hut.
    Then wilt thou ply with hearth ablaze
    The winter's well-worn tasks; --
    But spin thy wool with cheerful face:
    One sunset in the mountain pays
    For all their winter asks.


    Henrik Johan Ibsen

    *****
    Burnt Ships


    TO skies that were brighter
    Turned he his prows;
    To gods that were lighter
    Made he his vows.

    The snow-land's mountains
    Sank in the deep;
    Sunnier fountains
    Lulled him to sleep.

    He burns his vessels,
    The smoke flung forth
    On blue cloud-trestles
    A bridge to the north.

    From the sun-warmed lowland
    Each night that betides,
    To the huts of the snow-land
    A horseman rides.

    Henrik Johan Ibsen


    ****

    In The Picture Gallery

    With palette laden
    She sat, as I passed her,
    A dainty maiden
    Before an Old Master.

    What mountain-top is
    She bent upon? Ah,
    She neatly copies
    Murillo's Madonna.

    But rapt and brimming
    The eyes' full chalice says
    The heart builds dreaming
    Its fairy-palaces.

    * * *

    The eighteenth year rolled
    By, ere returning,
    I greeted the dear old
    Scenes with yearning.

    With palette laden
    She sat, as I passed her,
    A faded maiden
    Before an Old Master.

    But what is she doing?
    The same thing still--lo,
    Hotly pursuing
    That very Murillo!

    Her wrist never falters;
    It keeps her, that poor wrist,
    With panels for altars
    And daubs for the tourist.

    And so she has painted
    Through years unbrightened,
    Till hopes have fainted
    And hair has whitened.

    But rapt and brimming
    The eyes' full chalice says
    The heart builds dreaming
    Its fairy-palaces.

    Henrik Johan Ibsen

    *******************************

    A truly brilliant poet. One recently found in my ever continuing study of the old masters.--Tyr
    18 U.S. Code 2381-Treason Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

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