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Here is Locksley Hall, my grandson, here the lion-guarded gate.
Not to-night in Locksley Hall - to-morrow- you, you come so late.
Wreck'd your train —or all but wreck'd? a shatter'd wheel? a vicious boy! Good, this forward, you that preach it, is it well to wish you joy?
Is it well that while we range with Science, glorying in the Time,
There among the glooming alleys Progress halts on palsied feet,
There the Master scrimps his haggard sempstress of her daily bread,
There the smouldering fire of fever creeps across the rotted floor,
Nay, your pardon, cry your 'forward,' yours are hope and youth, but I
Lame and old, and past his time, and passing now into the night;
Light the fading gleam of Even? light the glimmer of the dawn?
Earth may reach her earthly-worst, or if she gain her earthly-best,
Forward then, but still remember how the course of Time will swerve,
Not the Hall to-night, my grandson! Death and Silence hold their own. Leave the Master in the first dark hour of his last sleep alone.
Worthier soul was he than I am, sound and honest, rustic Squire,
Cast the poison from your bosom, oust the madness from your brain.
Youthful! youth and age are scholars yet but in the lower school,
Yonder lies our young sea-village-Art and Grace are less and less:
There is one old Hostel left us where they swing the Locksley shield,
Poor old Heraldry, poor old History, poor old Poetry, passing hence,
Poor old voice of eighty crying after voices that have fled!
All the world is ghost to me, and as the phantom disappears,
In this Hostel
I remember I repent it o'er his grave-
From that casement where the trailer mantles all the mouldering bricksI was then in early boyhood, Edith but a child of six
While I shelter'd in this archway from a day of driving showers
Here to-night! the Hall to-morrow, when they toll the Chapel bell!
Then a peal that shakes the portal - one has come to claim his bride,
Strove for sixty widow'd years to help his homelier brother men,
Served the poor, and built the cottage, raised the school, and drain'd the fen.
Hears he now the Voice that wrong'd him? who shall swear it cannot be? Earth would never touch her worst, were one in fifty such as he.
Ere she gain her Heavenly-best, a God must mingle with the game:
Felt within us as ourselves, the Powers of Good, the Powers of Ill,
Follow you the Star that lights a desert pathway, yours or mine.
Follow Light, and do the Right-for man can half-control his doom -
Forward, let the stormy moment fly and mingle with the Past.
I that loathed, have come to love him. Love will conquer at the last.
Gone at eighty, mine own age, and I and you will bear the pall;
556 PROLOGUE-THE CHARGE OF THE HEAVY BRIGADE.
TO GENERAL HAMLEY.
OUR birches yellowing and from each
You came, and look'd and loved the view
With one gray glimpse of sea;
Most marvellous in the wars your own Crimean eyes had seen;
And now like old-world inns that take Some warrior for a sign
That therewithin a guest may make
True cheer with honest wine Because you heard the lines I read
Nor utter'd word of blame,
I dare without your leave to head
Yet know you, as your England knows
Thro' darkness, and the foe was driven,
THE CHARGE OF THE HEAVY BRIGADE AT BALACLAVA. OCTOBER 25, 1854.
THE charge of the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade!
Down the hill, down the hill, thousands of Russians,
Thousands of horsemen, drew to the valley and stay'd;
For Scarlett and Scarlett's three hundred were riding by
When the points of the Russian lances arose in the sky;
THE CHARge of the HEAVY BRIGADE — EPILOGUE.
And were only standing at gaze,
And roll'd them around like a cloud,
> mad for the charge and the battle
When our own good redcoats sank from sight,
Like drops of blood in a dark-gray sea, And we turn'd to each other, whispering, all dismay'd,
'Lost are the gallant three hundred of Scarlett's Brigade!'
'Lost one and all' were the words
But they rode like Victors and Lords
Ranged like a storm or stood like a rock
For our men gallopt up with a cheer and a shout,
And the foeman surged, and waver'd, and reel'd
Up the hill, up the hill, up the hill, out of the field,
And over the brow and away.
Glory to each and to all, and the charge that they made!
Glory to all the three hundred, and all
NOTE.- -The three hundred' of the 'Heavy Brigade' who made this famous charge were the Scots Greys and the 2nd squadron of Inniskillings, the remainder of the Heavy Brigade' subsequently dashing up to their support.
The three' were Scarlett's aide-de-camp, Elliot, and the trumpeter and Shegog the orderly, who had been close behind him.
You praise when you should blame The barbarism of wars.
A juster epoch has begun.
Yet tho' this cheek be gray, And that bright hair the modern sun, Those eyes the blue to-day, You wrong me, passionate little friend. I would that wars should cease, I would the globe from end to end Might sow and reap in peace, And some new Spirit o'erbear the old, Or Trade refrain the Powers From war with kindly links of gold,
Or Love with wreaths of flowers. Slav, Teuton, Kelt, I count them all
My friends and brother souls, With all the peoples, great and small, That wheel between the poles. But since, our mortal shadow, Ill To waste this earth beganPerchance from some abuse of Will In worlds before the man
- he needs must fight To make true peace his own,
He needs must combat might with might,
And who loves War for War's own sake
His meed of fame in verse;
It still were right to crown with song
A crown the Singer hopes may last,
Let it live then-ay, till when?. Earth passes, all is lost
In what they prophesy, our wise men, Sun-flame or sunless frost,
And deed and song alike are swept
Away, and all in vain
As far as man can see, except
The man himself remain;
He wrought of good or brave Will mould him thro' the cycle-year That dawns behind the grave.
And here the Singer for his Art
'The song that nerves a nation's heart, Is in itself a deed.'
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF THE MANTUANS FOR THE NINETEENTH CENTENARY OF VIRGIL'S DEATH.
ROMAN VIRGIL, thou that singest
Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;
Landscape-lover, lord of language more than he that sang the Works and Days,
All the chosen coin of fancy
flashing out from many a golden phrase;
Thou that singest wheat and woodland, tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the Muses often flowering in a lonely word;
Poet of the happy Tityrus
piping underneath his beechen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr
whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;