Isabella Valancy Crawford(25 December 1850 - 12 February 1887 / Dublin, Ireland)
- by Isabella Valancy Crawford262
SLOWLY the Moon her banderoles of light Unfurls upon the sky; her fingers drip Pale, silvery tides; her armoured warriors Leave Day's bright tents of azure and of gold, Wherein they hid them, and in silence flock Upon the solemn battlefield of Night To try great issues with the blind old king, The Titan Darkness, who great Pharoah fought With groping hands, and conquered for a span.
The starry hosts with silver lances prick The scarlet fringes of the tents of Day, And turn their crystal shields upon their breasts, And point their radiant lances, and so wait The stirring of the giant in his caves.
The solitary hills send long, sad sighs As the blind Titan grasps their locks of pine And trembling larch to drag him toward the sky, That his wild-seeking hands may clutch the Moon From her war-chariot, scythed and wheeled with light, Crush bright-mailed stars, and so, a sightless king, Reign in black desolation! Low-set vales Weep under the black hollow of his foot, While sobs the sea beneath his lashing hair Of rolling mists, which, strong as iron cords, Twine round tall masts and drag them to the reefs.
Swifter rolls up Astarte's light-scythed car; Dense rise the jewelled lances, groves of light; Red flouts Mars' banner in the voiceless war (The mightiest combat is the tongueless one); The silvery dartings of the lances prick His fingers from the mountains, catch his locks And toss them in black fragments to the winds, Pierce the vast hollow of his misty foot, Level their diamond tips against his breast, And force him down to lair within his pit And thro' its chinks thrust down his groping hands To quicken Hell with horror-for the strength That is not of the Heavens is of Hell.
- by Isabella Valancy Crawford107
My masters twain made me a bed Of pine-boughs resinous, and cedar; Of moss, a soft and gentle breeder Of dreams of rest; and me they spread With furry skins, and laughing said, 'Now she shall lay her polish'd sides, As queens do rest, or dainty brides, Our slender lady of the tides!'
My masters twain their camp-soul lit, Streamed incense from the hissing cones, Large, crimson flashes grew and whirl'd Thin, golden nerves of sly light curl'd Round the dun camp, and rose faint zones, Half way about each grim bole knit, Like a shy child that would bedeck With its soft clasp a Brave's red neck; Yet sees the rough shield on his breast, The awful plumes shake on his crest, And fearful drops his timid face, Nor dares complete the sweet embrace.
Into the hollow hearts of brakes, Yet warm from sides of does and stags, Pass'd to the crisp dark river flags; Sinuous, red as copper snakes, Sharp-headed serpents, made of light, Glided and hid themselves in night.
My masters twain, the slaughtered deer Hung on fork'd boughs--with thongs of leather. Bound were his stiff, slim feet together-- His eyes like dead stars cold and drear; The wand'ring firelight drew near And laid its wide palm, red and anxious, On the sharp splendor of his branches; On the white foam grown hard and sere On flank and shoulder. Death--hard as breast of granite boulder, And under his lashes Peer'd thro' his eyes at his life's grey ashes.
My masters twain sang songs that wove (As they burnish'd hunting blade and rifle) A golden thread with a cobweb trifle-- Loud of the chase, and low of love.
'O Love, art thou a silver fish? Shy of the line and shy of gaffing, Which we do follow, fierce, yet laughing, Casting at thee the light-wing'd wish, And at the last shall we bring thee up From the crystal darkness under the cup Of lily folden, On broad leaves golden?
'O Love! art thou a silver deer, Swift thy starr'd feet as wing of swallow, While we with rushing arrows follow; And at the last shall we draw near, And over thy velvet neck cast thongs-- Woven of roses, of stars, of songs? New chains all moulden Of rare gems olden!'
They hung the slaughter'd fish like swords On saplings slender--like scimitars Bright, and ruddied from new-dead wars, Blaz'd in the light--the scaly hordes.
They piled up boughs beneath the trees, Of cedar-web and green fir tassel; Low did the pointed pine tops rustle, The camp fire blush'd to the tender breeze.
The hounds laid dew-laps on the ground, With needles of pine sweet, soft and rusty-- Dream'd of the dead stag stout and lusty; A bat by the red flames wove its round.
The darkness built its wigwam walls Close round the camp, and at its curtain Press'd shapes, thin woven and uncertain, As white locks of tall waterfalls.
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