Poem: The Poet and the Muse by Victor Daley

                        THE POET

The Darling of the Year with sifted gold
   Of sunshine makes the old earth young again;
   Spring's dancing music lilts in praise and vein,
And all the world is merry as of old:
   But shadows only dwell within my brain;
My heart is like a heath with ashes cold.

O Muse, if I have loved thee late and long,
   If I have worshipped thee, and made a shrine
   To hold thine image in this heart of mine,
And served thee with the service of my song,
   And poured my years out at thy feet divine --
Where art thou now when ghosts around me throng?

Where is the pride, above the pride of kings,
   That once I felt when in the glowing air
   I saw the shining wonder of thy hair,
And heard the rustle of thy radiant wings
   Alas, and have I come by ways so fair
To dust and ashes and the end of things?

My soul is compassed round by phantoms vast,
   Whose black wings shut from me the sweet blue sky
   And blue broad sea I knew when thou wert nigh.
O Muse, return to me! ... She comes at last!
   And I can now, clear-voiced, like Agag, cry --
Surely the bitterness of Death is past!

                        THE MUSE

Thou wert my servant in the time gone by,
   And through the world I led thee by the hand,
   And showed thee all the beauty of the land,
And all the marvels of the Earth and Sky.
   Thy nights and days I held at my command,
And unto thee I gave the Seeing Eye.

The sacred secret of the infinite
   That burns beneath the beauty of the rose,
   And in the hearts of youth and maiden glows,
And fills and thrills the world with life and light,
   And is the soul of all that breathes and grows --
I made it visible unto thy sight.

But now another Muse holds thee in thrall.
   Thou canst not serve us twain: that is the law.

                        THE POET

   "O Goddess, ere thou dost from me withdraw,
Show me what other Muse I serve withal!"

                        THE MUSE

                        The Poet turned and saw
The shadow of a Wine-Jar on the wall.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 December 1900

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 29, 2008 9:37 AM.

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