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The Wild Knight and Other Poems

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If trees were tall and grasses short,  As in some crazy tale,If here and there a sea were blue  Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air  To warm me one day through,If deep green hair grew on great hills,  I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there  Are great eyes cold or kind,And twisted streets and silent doors,  And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,  And leave to weep and fight,Than all the ages I have ruled  The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave  Within that world to stand,I would be good through all the day  I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me  Of selfishness or scorn,If only I could find the door,  If only I were born.


My eyes are full of lonely mirth:  Reeling with want and worn with scars,For pride of every stone on earth,  I shake my spear at all the stars.

A live bat beats my crest above,  Lean foxes nose where I have trod,And on my naked face the love  Which is the loneliness of God.

Outlawed: since that great day gone by—  When before prince and pope and queenI stood and spoke a blasphemy—  'Behold the summer leaves are green.'

They cursed me: what was that to me  Who in that summer darkness furled,With but an owl and snail to see,  Had blessed and conquered all the world?

They bound me to the scourging-stake,  They laid their whips of thorn on me;I wept to see the green rods break,  Though blood be beautiful to see.

Beneath the gallows' foot abhorred  The crowds cry 'Crucify!' and 'Kill!'Higher the priests sing, 'Praise the Lord,  The warlock dies'; and higher still

Shall heaven and earth hear one cry sent  Even from the hideous gibbet height,'Praise to the Lord Omnipotent,  The vultures have a feast to-night.'


Chattering finch and water-flyAre not merrier than I;Here among the flowers I lieLaughing everlastingly.No: I may not tell the best;Surely, friends, I might have guessedDeath was but the good King's jest,  It was hid so carefully.


My Lady clad herself in grey,  That caught and clung about her throat;Then all the long grey winter day  On me a living splendour smote;And why grey palmers holy are,  And why grey minsters great in story,And grey skies ring the morning star,  And grey hairs are a crown of glory.

My Lady clad herself in green,  Like meadows where the wind-waves pass;Then round my spirit spread, I ween,  A splendour of forgotten grass.Then all that dropped of stem or sod,  Hoarded as emeralds might be,I bowed to every bush, and trod  Amid the live grass fearfully.

My Lady clad herself in blue,  Then on me, like the seer long gone,The likeness of a sapphire grew,  The throne of him that sat thereon.Then knew I why the Fashioner  Splashed reckless blue on sky and sea;And ere 'twas good enough for her,  He tried it on Eternity....