Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
William Watson. 1858–
 
23. Ode in May
 
LET me go forth, and share 
The overflowing Sun 
With one wise friend, or one 
Better than wise, being fair, 
Where the pewit wheels and dips         5
On heights of bracken and ling, 
And Earth, unto her leaflet tips, 
Tingles with the Spring. 
  
What is so sweet and dear 
As a prosperous morn in May,  10
The confident prime of the day, 
And the dauntless youth of the year, 
When nothing that asks for bliss, 
Asking aright, is denied, 
And half of the world a bridegroom is,  15
And half of the world a bride? 
  
The Song of Mingling flows, 
Grave, ceremonial, pure, 
As once, from lips that endure, 
The cosmic descant rose,  20
When the temporal lord of life, 
Going his golden way, 
Had taken a wondrous maid to wife 
That long had said him nay. 
  
For of old the Sun, our sire,  25
Came wooing the mother of men, 
Earth, that was virginal then, 
Vestal fire to his fire. 
Silent her bosom and coy, 
But the strong god sued and pressed;  30
And born of their starry nuptial joy 
Are all that drink of her breast. 
  
And the triumph of him that begot, 
And the travail of her that bore, 
Behold, they are evermore  35
As warp and weft in our lot. 
We are children of splendour and flame, 
Of shuddering, also, and tears. 
Magnificent out of the dust we came, 
And abject from the Spheres.  40
  
O bright irresistible lord, 
We are fruit of Earth's womb, each one, 
And fruit of thy loins, O Sun, 
Whence first was the seed outpoured. 
To thee as our Father we bow,  45
Forbidden thy Father to see, 
Who is older and greater than thou, as thou 
Art greater and older than we. 
  
Thou art but as a word of his speech, 
Thou art but as a wave of his hand;  50
Thou art brief as a glitter of sand 
'Twixt tide and tide on his beach; 
Thou art less than a spark of his fire, 
Or a moment's mood of his soul: 
Thou art lost in the notes on the lips of his choir  55
That chant the chant of the Whole. 
 
 
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