Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell




HE woke with the dawning,
    Met eyes with the sun,
And drank the wild rapture
    Of living begun.

But he went with the moment

    To follow the clue,
Ere the first red of dawning
    Had drunk the blue dew.

Follow him, follow him,
    Where the world will,

Under the sunlight
    By meadow and hill.

Down the blue distance,
    Round the world's rim,
Where the hosts of the future

    Are horning for him.

Follow him, call to him
    Pray to him, Sweet,
Tell him the morning
    Is fresh for his feet;


Sing him the rapture,
    The glamour, the gleam,
Of pearly dew-azure
    That curtains the stream;

Sing the glad thrush-note

    That never knew pain,
But sing him and call him
    And pray him in vain.

For ere the red dewdrop
    In sunlight was pearled,

He heard that mad ocean
    That whelms the world.

Yea, heard that voice calling
    Past sunlight and dew,
That rarest, alluringest,

    Ever heart knew.

That siren of sunrise,
    That weaver of songs,
Till the heart of man hearkens
    And gladdens and longs,


Till o'er the blue distance,
    As opens the rose,
The yearning impulsion
    Of all his life goes.

And many a dragon

    Chimera so grim,
Down the dream of the morning
    Is vanquished by him.

Yea, sing to him, call him through
    Heartache in vain;

But the gladdest day wakened
    To glory, must wane.

And the noonday he longed for
    To fierce light will burn,
And the battles he wages

    Grow bitter and stern,

And the surge of life sink
    To the moan of a bar,
And the hopes of the morning
    Grow hollow and far;


And the road that he follows,
    Less luring and true,
Till he longs for a whiff
    Of the morning he knew.

For he hears thy far singing,

    That lures not in vain,
Till he comes to thy beauty
    Of morning again.

But the roads of returning
    Are never the same

As the sweet dewy meadows
    Of morning we came.

But the song of alluring
    Is ever as true,
To lead the heart back

    To the beauty it knew.

And vain the mad magic
    Where life's glories burn,
For the heart of the yearner,
    Who longs to return.


For he hears that voice calling,
    Voiced never in vain,
To world-heart aweary
    For all dreamings fain.

And he hears the low grasses,

    The green tents of sod,
From rooftrees of slumber
    As voices of God.

And the spinning and turning,
    Of madness amain,

Fade out from his dreaming
    As night from the pane;

When the rosy-red splendour
    In dew-dreams impearled,
From ashes of slumber,

    Lifts over the world.

Yea, back to those echoes
    Of bugles that blew,
Heart-weary, life-broken,
    He wanders to you;


Yea, back to his truest,
    Those far broken gleams
Of that rosy-red, morning-lit
    House of his dreams,

Where all hours were splendid,

    And all hearts held true,
In those glory-lit visions
    Of beauty and you.

Yea, call to him, cry to him,
    Mother of all;

You lit his youth's torches,
    You saw their flames fall.

You loved him, upheld him,
    This child of your breast;
And now give him surcease

    In dreamings and rest.

Your note was the one note
    He heard in the fray,
That bore him far out
    In the heat of the day;


Your call is the one call
    That beckons him home,
When day-fires darken
    By forest and foam.

When o'er all the heartache,

    The visions untrue,
Love draws her dim curtains
    Of duskfire and dew.

While the bells ring for slumber
    As out of the deep,

Come pleading those velvet-winged
    Spirits of sleep.

And there at your doorways
    Of slumber he stands,
Like him of old Horeb,

    And sees his heart's lands;

While under the white awe
    Of planets that swim,
Knows dawning and even
    As one world to him.