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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 60

August

  • LEAVE me alone, for August’s sleepy charm
  • Is on me, and I will not break the spell;
  • My head is on the mighty Mother’s arm:
  • I will not ask if life goes ill or well.
  • There is no world!—I do not care to know
  • Whence aught has come, nor wither it shall go.
  • I want to wander over pastures still,
  • Where sheared white sheep and mild‐eyed cattle graze;
  • To climb the thymy, clover‐covered hill,
  • To look down on the valley’s hot blue haze;
  • And on the short brown turf for hours to lie
  • Gazing straight up into the clear, deep sky.
  • I want to walk through crisp gold harvest fields,
  • Through meadows yellowed by the August heat;
  • To loiter through the cool dim wood, that yields
  • Such perfect flowers and quiet so complete—
  • The happy woods, where every bud and leaf
  • Is full of dreams as life is full of grief.
  • I want to think no more of all the pain
  • That in the city thrives, a poison‐flower—
  • The eternal loss, the never‐coming gain,
  • The lifelong woe—the joy that lives an hour,
  • Bright, evanescent as the dew that dawn
  • Shows on this silent, wood‐encircled lawn.
  • I want to pull the honey‐bud that twines
  • About the blackberries and gold‐leaf sloes;
  • To part the boughs where the rare water shines,
  • Tread the soft bank whereby the bulrush grows—
  • I want to be no more myself, but be
  • Made one with all the beauty that I see.
page: 61
  • Oh, happy country, myriad voiced and dear,
  • I have no heart, no eyes, except for you;
  • Yours are the only voices I will hear,
  • Yours is the only bidding I will do:
  • You bid me be at peace, and let alone
  • That loud, rough world where peace is never known.
  • Yet through your voices comes a sterner cry,
  • A voice I cannot silence if I would;
  • It mars the song the lark sings to the sky,
  • It breaks the changeful music of the wood.
  • ‘Back to your post—a charge you have to keep—
  • Freedom is bleeding while her soldiers sleep.’
  • Oh, heart of mine I have to carry here,
  • Will you not let me rest a little while?—
  • A space ’mid doubtful fight and doubtful fear—
  • A little space to see the Mother’s smile,
  • To stretch my hands out to her, and possess
  • No sense of aught but of her loveliness?
  • Ah, just this power to feel how she is fair
  • Means just the power to see how foul life is.
  • How can I linger in the sacred air
  • And taste the pure wine of the dear sun’s kiss
  • When in the outer dark my brothers moan,
  • Nor even guess the joys that I have known?
  • Back the least soldier goes! To jar and fret,
  • To hope uncrowned—faith fried—love wounded sore—
  • To prayers that never have been answered yet,
  • To dreams that may be dreams for evermore;
  • To all that, after all, is far more dear
  • Than all the joys of all the changing year.
1886
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