In Divers Tones

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by Tracy Ware



(From the French of Louis Honore Fréchette.)


A child, I set the thirsting of my mouth
   To the gold chalices of loves that craze.
Surely, alas, I have found therein but drouth,
   Surely has sorrow darkened o’er my days.
While worldlings chase each other madly round
   Their giddy track of frivolous gayety,
Dreamer, my dream earth’s utmost longings bound:
   One love alone is mine, my love is Liberty.

I have sung them all;—youth’s lightsomeness that fleets,
   Pure friendship, my most fondly cherished dreams,

Wild blossoms and the winds that steal their sweets,
   Wood odors, and the star that whitely gleams.
But our hearts change; the spirit dulls its edge
   In the chill contact with reality;
These vanished like the foam-bells on the sedge:
   I sing one burden now, my song is Liberty.

I drench my spirit in ecstacy, consoled,
   And my gaze trembles toward the azure arc,
When in the wide world-records I behold
   Flame like a meteor God’s finger thro’ the dark[.]

But if, at times, bowed over the abyss
   Wherein man crawls towards immortality,—
Beholding here how sore his suffering is,
   I make my prayer with tears, it is for Liberty.