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William Ernest Henley (Уильям Эрнст Хенли)

Rhymes and Rhythms. 17. Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Crook

               To H. S.

Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Crook
   And the rope of the Black Election,
’Tis the faith of the Fool that a race you rule
   Can never achieve perfection:
So ‘It’s O, for the time of the new Sublime
   And the better than human way,
When the Rat (poor beast) shall come to his own
   And the Wolf shall have his day!’

For Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Beam
   And the power of provocation,
You have cockered the Brute with your dreadful fruit
   Till your fruit is mere stupration:
And ‘It’s how should we rise to be pure and wise,
   And how can we choose but fall,
So long as the Hangman makes us dread,
   And the Noose floats free for all?’

So Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Coign
   And the trick there’s no recalling,
They will haggle and hew till they hack you through
   And at last they lay you sprawling:
When ‘Hey! for the hour of the race in flower
   And the long good-bye to sin!’
And for the lack the fires of Hell gone out
   Of the fuel to keep them in!’

But Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Bough
   And the ghastly Dreams that tend you,
Your growth began with the life of Man,
   And only his death can end you.
They may tug in line at your hempen twine,
   They may flourish with axe and saw;
But your taproot drinks of the Sacred Springs
   In the living rock of Law.

And Tree, Old Tree of the Triple Fork,
   When the spent sun reels and blunders
Down a welkin lit with the flare of the Pit
   As it seethes in spate and thunders,
Stern on the glare of the tortured air
   Your lines august shall gloom,
And your master-beam be the last thing whelmed
   In the ruining roar of Doom.

William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. Echoes. 17. The Sands Are Alive with Sunshine
  2. Rhymes and Rhythms. 10. Midsummer Midnight Skies
  3. Rhymes and Rhythms. 12. Some Starlit Garden Grey with Dew
  4. In Hospital. 3. Interior
  5. Envoy

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