The Dread Voyage Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell




WITH purple glow at even,
      With crimson waves at dawn,
Cool bending blue of heaven,
      O blue lakes pulsing on;
Lone haunts of wilding creatures dead to wrong;

      Your trance of mystic beauty
      Is wove into my song.

I know no gladder dreaming
      In all the haunts of men,
I know no silent seeming

      Like to your shore and fen;
No world of restful beauty like your world
        Of curvèd shores and waters,
      In sunlight vapors furled.

I pass and repass under


      Your depths of peaceful blue,
You dream your wild, hushed wonder
      Mine aching heart into;
And all the care and unrest pass away
        Like night’s grey, haunted shadows

      At the red birth of day.

You lie in moon-white splendour
      Beneath the northern sky,
Your voices soft and tender
      In dream-worlds fade and die,

In whispering beaches, haunted bays and capes,

      Where mists of dawn and midnight
      Drift past in spectral shapes.

Beside your far north beaches,
      Comes late the quickening spring;
  With soft, voluptuous speeches
      The summer, lingering,
Fans with hot winds your breasts so still and wide,
        Where June, with trancèd silence,
      Drifts over shore and tide.
Beneath great crags the larches,
      By some lone, northern bay,
Bend, as the strong wind marches
      Out of the dull, north day,
Horning along the borders of the night,


      With icèd, chopping waters
      Out in the shivering light.

Here the white winter’s fingers
      Tip with dull fires the dawn,
Where the pale morning lingers


      By stretches bleak and wan;
Kindling the icèd capes with heatless glow,
        That renders cold and colder
      Lone waters, rocks and snow.

Here in the glad September,


      When all the woods are red
And gold, and hearts remember
      The long days that are dead;
And all the world is mantled in a haze;
        And the wind, a mad musician,
        Melodious makes the days;

And the nights are still, and slumber
      Holds all the frosty ground,
And the white stars whose number
       In God’s great books are found,

Gird with pale flames the spangled, frosty sky;

      By white, moon-curvèd beaches
      The haunted hours go by.