Eos: An Epic of the Dawn, and Other Poems

By Nicholas Flood Davin




My thoughts poor plummet deep I sink,
    But never bottom find,
And, rudder gone and compass lost,
    The sport of every wind,

Survey the veiled-up heavens in vain;
    No sun-gleam in the day,
And in the night never a star,
    E’en could I shape my way.

Like wild sea gulls my mind wheels on—
    A weary worthless chase,
And sometimes folds her jaded wing,
    And rests a little space.

No glimpse of blue the clouds glints through,
    Yet comes a sunny dream;
A boy bends o’er an old oak bridge
    And babbles to the stream.

At dusk the garden walls he scales,
    Himself and pockets fills,
Or holds a tryst with Mary Bate
    Beside old Lambert’s Mills;

Or in the play ground ’mid a ring
    He fights with Charlie Brown,
One dreadful moment there they stand,
    The next and Brown is down. [Page 66]

The big boys lift them up and cry:
    “Now for another round!”
They wildly strike, then close again;
    This time he meets the ground.

A third time front to front they stand,
    Brown takes him ’neath the chin,
But soon gets into chancery,
    And so must e’en give in.

With claret, so we called it then,
    My sleeve shows many a stain,
But victor never prouder felt
    Upon the foughten plain.

The river fouls in flowing on.
    To taste its waves we shrink,
But at its source the stream is pure,
    And angels there might drink;

And pure that stream to which I fly
    From present thoughts appalling,
And liquid clear it strikes the ear,
    Like founts on Pindus falling.

Ah! then whate’er the world’s time,
    However dark the sky,
Refulgent suns of youth sublime
    Light up the inner eye:

Sweet tender memories full of sounds
    Of home, and fragrant days
All glad, and dewy lawns, and hounds
    And games, and wholesome praise. [Page 67]

Bright morning trips with rosy smiles
    Across those ancient pine,
And in her glance the white rose glows,
    Two garden lakelets shine.

My dogs bound round with eager bark,
    And fain would force the will,
They wag their tails and gripe the hand,
    And look towards yonder hill,

Where well they know a hundred hares
    Through dewy brambles peep;
The hill is gained; old Gip gives cry;
    And puss flies up the steep.

A vigorous run, the quarry’s won,
    I rest upon the ridge,
And watch the river roll below,
    The wain toil o’er the bridge,

The village white, the curling smoke,
    The old stone spire, the school,
The listening horse, the grazing kine,
    The fat geese in the pool.

And then across the fields for home,
    By hedges fresh and green,
Where berries oft invite to pause,
    And wild flowers bloom between.

Soon in that ancient antler’d hall
    My dogs jump and rejoice;
I hear the maids sing at their work,
    I hear my mother’s voice; [Page 68]

She comes to know how fortune fared;
    I see her look so bright;
Her golden hair, her sweet blue eye,
    Her tiny figure slight.

The game I show, receive a kiss;
    Ah! who could dream the years
Would roll and roll, until one day
    That kiss would cause but tears?

Above dark woods of oak and elm,
    The placid moon shines clear;
A young man in a garden bower—
    He holds his breath to hear.

His eyes on fire, as tho’ enraged,
    Survey the twinkling stars;
His heart beats like some wild thing caged
    Against its prison bars.

A glimpse of muslin—flash of feet,
    And eyes—red lips apart
In smiles. He springs his love to greet;
    She’s folded to his heart.

He kisses her; he pats her hair;
    One long perfervid kiss:
His life he’d wreak in kisses there,
    For life has naught like this.

But she must go—O yes she must—
    Another kiss and then—
Yes—she must go—to-morrow night,
    To-morrow in the glen. [Page 69]

Thus Fancy flying through the past
    Flits now from that to this,
And present woe is all forgot
    In unforgotten bliss.

On magic waves I’m borne away
    To happier shores serene,
Where founts of joy forever play
    ’Mid fields for ever green.

And here at times a stronger spell
    Upon my spirit falls,
I lie on banks of Asphodel
    And tread Elysian halls,

While thronging round come shapes of light.
    With eyes of temper’d fire;
The Muses nine, the Graces three,
    Apollo with his lyre;

And fairer forms than e’er were feigned
    On poets powerful scroll
And sweeter strains of rarer song,
    Than e’er touch’d human soul.

The world is enter’d—comes the prose;
    Man’s falsehood, woman’s wiles,
The plot of scoundrels o’er the wine,
    The treachery masked in smiles.

The dream is gone—the river fades,
    Those wooded heights are lost,
Once more upon a lonely sea
    A lonely bark is tost. [Page 70]