For I had pondered on a rune of roses,
Which to her votaries the moon discloses.

The wisdom of the world said: "There are bays:
Go forth and run, for victory is good,

After the stress of the laborious days."

"Yet," said I, "shall I be the worms' sweet food," As I went musing on a rune of roses,

Which in her hour, the pale, soft moon discloses.

Then said my voices: "Wherefore strive or run,
On dusty highways ever, a vain race?
The long night cometh, starless, void of sun,
What light shall serve thee like her golden face?"
For I had pondered on a rune of roses,

And knew some secrets which the moon discloses.

"Yea," said I, "for her eyes are pure and sweet
As lilies, and the fragrance of her hair
Is many laurels; and it is not meet

To run for shadows when the prize is here";
And I went reading in that rune of roses
Which to her votaries the moon discloses.
Ernest Dowson [1867-1900]



To live within a cave-it is most good;
But, if God make a day,

And some one come, and say,

"Lo! I have gathered fagots in the wood!" E'en let him stay,

And light a fire, and fan a temporal mood!

So sit till morning! when the light is grown
That he the path can read,

Then bid the man God-speed!

His morning is not thine: yet must thou own

They have a cheerful warmth-those ashes on the stone. Thomas Edward Brown [1830-1897]


ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"-The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Leigh Hunt [1784-1859]


From "More Songs from Vagabondia "


WHOSE furthest footstep never strayed
Beyond the village of his birth,
Is but a lodger for the night
In this old wayside inn of earth.

To-morrow he shall take his pack,
And set out for the ways beyond,
On the old trail from star to star,
An alien and a vagabond.


If any record of our names
Be blown about the hills of time,
Let no one sunder us in death,-
The man of paint, the men of rhyme.

Of all our good, of all our bad,
This one thing only is of worth,-
We held the league of heart to heart
The only purpose of the earth.

Richard Hovey [1864-1900]


You ask me "why I like him." Nay,
I cannot; nay, I would not, say.

I think it vile to pigeonhole

The pros and cons of a kindred soul.

You "wonder he should be my friend." But then why should you comprehend? Thank God for this a new-surprise: My eyes, remember, are not your eyes.

Cherish this one small mystery;
And marvel not that love can be
"In spite of all his many flaws.”
In spite? Supposing I said "Because."

A truce, a truce to questioning:
"We two are friends" tells everything.
Yet if you must know, this is why:
Because he is he and I am I.

Edward Verrall Lucas [18


ALL that he came to give,
He gave and went again:
I have seen one man live,
I have seen one man reign,
With all the graces in his train.

As one of us, he wrought Things of the common hour: Whence was the charmed soul brought, That gave each act such power; The natural beauty of a flower?

Magnificence and grace,
Excellent courtesy:

A brightness on the face,

Airs of high memory:

Whence came all these, to such as he?

Like young Shakespearean kings, He won the adoring throng: And as Apollo sings, He triumphed with a song: Triumphed, and sang, and passed along.

With a light word, he took
The hearts of men in thrall:
And, with a golden look,
Welcomed them, at his call
Giving their love, their strength, their all.

No man less proud than he,
Nor cared for homage less:
Only, he could not be

Far off from happiness:

Nature was bound to his success.

Weary, the cares, the jars,

The lets, of every day:

But the heavens filled with stars,

Chanced he upon the way:

And where he stayed, all joy would stay.

Now when the night draws down,
When the austere stars burn;
Roaming the vast live town,
My thoughts and memories yearn
Toward him, who never will return.

Yet have I seen him live,
And owned my friend, a king:
All that he came to give,
He gave and I, who sing
His praise, bring all I have to bring.

Lionel Johnson [1867-1902]


COME, dear old comrade, you and I
Will steal an hour from days gone by,
The shining days when life was new,
And all was bright with morning dew,
The lusty days of long ago,
When you were Bill and I was Joe:

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