Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
I. Disappointment in Love
Home, Wounded
Sydney Dobell (1824–1874)
 
WHEEL me into the sunshine,
Wheel me into the shadow,
There must be leaves on the woodbine,
Is the king-cup crowned in the meadow?
 
Wheel me down to the meadow,        5
Down to the little river,
In sun or in shadow
I shall not dazzle or shiver,
I shall be happy anywhere,
Every breath of the morning air        10
Makes me throb and quiver.
 
Stay wherever you will,
By the mount or under the hill,
Or down by the little river:
Stay as long as you please,        15
Give me only a bud from the trees,
Or a blade of grass in morning dew,
Or a cloudy violet clearing to blue,
I could look on it forever.
 
Wheel, wheel through the sunshine,        20
Wheel, wheel through the shadow;
There must be odors round the pine,
There must be balm of breathing kine,
Somewhere down in the meadow.
Must I choose? Then anchor me there        25
Beyond the beckoning poplars, where
The larch is snooding her flowery hair
With wreaths of morning shadow.
 
Among the thickest hazels of the brake
Perchance some nightingale doth shake        30
His feathers, and the air is full of song;
In those old days when I was young and strong,
He used to sing on yonder garden tree,
Beside the nursery.
Ah, I remember how I loved to wake,        35
And find him singing on the self-same bough
(I know it even now)
Where, since the flit of bat,
In ceaseless voice he sat,
Trying the spring night over, like a tune,        40
Beneath the vernal moon;
And while I listed long,
Day rose, and still he sang,
And all his stanchless song,
As something falling unaware,        45
Fell out of the tall trees he sang among,
Fell ringing down the ringing morn, and rang,—
Rang like a golden jewel down a golden stair.
*        *        *        *        *
My soul lies out like a basking hound,—
A hound that dreams and dozes;        50
Along my life my length I lay,
I fill to-morrow and yesterday,
I am warm with the suns that have long since set,
I am warm with the summers that are not yet,
And like one who dreams and dozes        55
Softly afloat on a sunny sea,
Two worlds are whispering over me,
And there blows a wind of roses
From the backward shore to the shore before,
From the shore before to the backward shore,        60
And like two clouds that meet and pour
Each through each, till core in core
A single self reposes,
The nevermore with the evermore
Above me mingles and closes;        65
As my soul lies out like the basking hound,
And wherever it lies seems happy ground,
And when, awakened by some sweet sound,
A dreamy eye uncloses,
I see a blooming world around,        70
And I lie amid primroses,—
Years of sweet primroses,
Springs of fresh primroses,
Springs to be, and springs for me
Of distant dim primroses.        75
 
O, to lie a-dream, a-dream,
To feel I may dream and to know you deem
My work is done forever,
And the palpitating fever,
That gains and loses, loses and gains,        80
And beats the hurrying blood on the brunt of a thousand pains,
Cooled at once by that blood-let
Upon the parapet;
And all the tedious taskèd toil of the difficult long endeavor
Solved and quit by no more fine        85
Than these limbs of mine,
Spanned and measured once for all
By that right-hand I lost,
Bought up at so light a cost
As one bloody fall        90
On the soldier’s bed,
And three days on the ruined wall
Among the thirstless dead.
 
O, to think my name is crost
From duty’s muster-roll;        95
That I may slumber though the clarion call,
And live the joy of an embodied soul
Free as a liberated ghost.
O, to feel a life of deed
Was emptied out to feed        100
That fire of pain that burned so brief awhile,—
That fire from which I come, as the dead come
Forth from the irreparable tomb,
Or as a martyr on his funeral pile
Heaps up the burdens other men do bear        105
Through years of segregated care,
And takes the total load
Upon his shoulders broad,
And steps from earth to God.
 
O, to think, through good or ill,        110
Whatever I am you ’ll love me still;
O, to think, though dull I be,
You that are so grand and free,
You that are so bright and gay,
Will pause to hear me when I will,        115
As though my head were gray;
A single self reposes,
The nevermore with the evermore
Above me mingles and closes;
As my soul lies out like the basking hound,        120
And wherever it lies seems happy ground,
And when, awakened by some sweet sound,
A dreamy eye uncloses,
I see a blooming world around,
And I lie amid primroses,—        125
Years of sweet primroses,
Springs of fresh primroses,
Springs to be, and springs for me
Of distant dim primroses.
 
O, to lie a-dream, a-dream,        130
To feel I may dream and to know you deem
My work is done forever,
And the palpitating fever,
That gains and loses, loses and gains,
And she,        135
Perhaps, O even she
May look as she looked when I knew her
In those old days of childish sooth,
Ere my boyhood dared to woo her.
I will not seek nor sue her,        140
For I ’m neither fonder nor truer
Than when she slighted my lovelorn youth,
My giftless, graceless, guinealess truth,
And I only lived to rue her.
But I ’ll never love another,        145
And, in spite of her lovers and lands,
She shall love me yet, my brother!
 
As a child that holds by his mother,
While his mother speaks his praises,
Holds with eager hands,        150
And ruddy and silent stands
In the ruddy and silent daisies,
And hears her bless her boy,
And lifts a wondering joy,
So I ’ll not seek nor sue her,        155
But I ’ll leave my glory to woo her,
And I ’ll stand like a child beside,
And from behind the purple pride
I ’ll lift my eyes unto her,
And I shall not be denied.        160
And you will love her, brother dear,
And perhaps next year you ’ll bring me here
All through the balmy April tide,
And she will trip like spring by my side,
And be all the birds to my ear.        165
And here all three we ’ll sit in the sun,
And see the Aprils one by one,
Primrosed Aprils on and on,
Till the floating prospect closes
In golden glimmers that rise and rise,        170
And perhaps are gleams of Paradise,
And perhaps too far for mortal eyes,
New springs of fresh primroses,
Springs of earth’s primroses,
Springs to be, and springs for me        175
Of distant dim primroses.
 
 
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