Richard Doddridge Blackmore ( )


Mount Arafa


THE PARTING

I

Driven away from Eden's gate
With biasing falchions fenced about,
Into a desert desolate,
A miserable pair came out,
To meet their fate.

To wander in a world of woe,
To ache and starve, to burn and shiver,
With every living thing their foe
The fire of God above, the river
Of death below.

Of home, of hope, of Heaven bereft;
It is the destiny of man
To cower beneath his Maker's ban,
And hide from his own theft!

II

The father of a world unborn
Who hath begotten death, ere life
In sullen silence plods forlorn;
His love and pride in his fair wife
Are rage and scorn.

Instead of Angel ministers,
What hath he now but fiends devouring;
Instead of grapes and melons, burs;
In lieu of manna, crab and souring
By whose fault? Hers!

Alack, good sire of feeble knees,
New penance waits thee; sincewhen thus
Thou shouldst have wept for all of us
Thou mournest thine own ease I

III

The mother of all loving wives
(Condemned unborn to many a tear)
Is fain to take his hand, and strives
In sorrow to be doubly dear
But shame deprives.

The Shame, The Woe, The Black Surprise,
That Love's First Dream Should Have Such Ending,
to Weep, and Wipe Neglected Eyes I
Oh Loss of True Love, Far Transcending
Lost Paradise!




For is it faith, that cannot live
One gloomy hour, and soar above
The clouds of fate? And is it love,
That will not e'en forgive?

IV

The houseless monarch of the earth
Hath quickly found what empire means;
For while he scoffs with bitter mirth,
And curses, after Eden's scenes,
This dreary dearth.

A snake, that twined in playful zeal,
But yester morn, around his ankle,
Now driven along the dust to steal,
Steals up, and leaves its venom'd rankle
Deep in his heel.

He groans awhile. He seeks anon
For comfort to this first of pain,
Where all his sons to-day are fain;
He seeksbut Eve is gone!

PART IADAM

O'er hill, and highland, moor, and plain,
A hundred years, he seeks in vain;
Oer hill and plain, a hundred years,
He pours the sorrow no one hears;
Yet finds, as wildest mourners find,
Some ease of heart in toil of mind.

I

'YE mountains, that forbid the day,
Ye glens, that are the steps of night,
How long amid you must I stray,
Deserted, banished from God's sight,
And castaway?

'Ye trees and flowers the Lord hath made,
Ye beasts, to my good-will committed
Although your trust hath been betrayed
Not long ago ye would have pitied
Your old comrade.

'Oh, nature, noblest when alone,
Albeit I love your outward part;
The nature that enthrals my heart
Must be more like my own.

II

'The Maker once appointed me
I know not, and I care not why
The lord of everything I see,
Or if they walk, or swim, or fly,
Whate'er they be.

'And all the earth whereon they dwell,
And all the heavens they are inhaling,
And powers, whereof I cannot tell
Dark miscreants, supine and wailing,
Until I fell.

'Twas good and glorious to believe;
But now mv majesty is o'er;
And I would give it all, and more,
For one sweet glimpse of Eve.

III

'For what is glory, what is power?
And what the pride of standing first?
A twig struck down by a thunder shower,
A crown of thistle to quench the thirst,
A sun-scorched flower.

'God grant the men who spring from me,
As knowledge waxeth deep and splendid,
To find a loftier pedigree
Than any by the Lord intended
Frog, slug, or tree!

'So shall they live, without the grief
Of having womankind to love,
Find nought below, and less above,
And be their own belief.

IV

'So weak was I, so poorly taught,
By any but my Maker's voice,
Too happy to indulge in thought,
Which gives me Tittle to rejoice,
And ends in nought.

'But now and then, my path grows clear,
My mind casts off its grim confusion,
When I have chanced on goodly cheer:
Then happiness seems no delusion,
Even down here.

'With love and faith, to bless the curse,
To heal the mind by touch of heart,
To make me feel my better part,
And fight against the worse.

V

'It may be that I did o'erprize,
Above the Giver, that rare gift,
Ungird my will for softer ties,
And hold my manhood little thrift
To woman's eyes.

'So far she was, so full of grace,
So innocent with coy caresses,
So proud to step at my own pace,
So rosy through her golden tresses;
And such a face!

'Suffice my sins; I'll ne'er approve
A thought against my faithful Eve;
Suffice my sins; I'll never believe.
That it was one, to love.

VI

'Oh; love, if e'er this desert plain,
Where I must sweat with axe and spade,
Shall hold a people sprung from twain,
Or better made by Him, who made
That pair in vain.

'Shall any know, as we have known,
Thy rapture, terror, vaunting, fretting,
Profound despair, ecstatic tone,
Crowning of reason, and upsetting
Of reason's throne?

'Bright honey quaffed from cells of gall,
Or crimson sting from creamy rose
Thy heavenly half from Eden flows,
Thy venom from our fall.'

Awhile he ceased; far scorching woe
Had made a drought of vocal flow;
When hungry, weary, desolate,
A fox crept home to his defis gate.
The sight brought Adam's memory back,
And touched him with a keener lack.

VII

'Home! Where is home? Of old I thought
(Or felt in mystery of bliss)
That so divinely was I wrought
As not to care for that or this,
And value nought;

'But sit or saunter, rest or roam,
Regarding all things most sublimely,
As if enthroned on heaven's dome;
Away with paltry and untimely
Hankerings for Home!

'But now the weary heart is fain
For shelter in some lowly nest
To sink upon a softer breast,
And smile away its pain,

VIII

'For me, what home, what hope is left?
What difference of good or ill?
Of all I ever loved bereft,
Disgraced, discarded, outlawed still,
For one small theft!

'I sicken of my skill and pride;
I work, without a bit of caring.
The world is waste, the world is wide;
Why make good things, with no one sharing
Them at my side?

'What matters how I dwell, or die?
Away with such a niggard life!
The Lord hath robbed me of my wife;
And life is only I.

IX

'God, who hast said it is not good
For man, thy son, to live alone;
Is everlasting solitude,
When once united bliss was known,
A livelier food?

'Can'st thou suppose it right or just,
When thine own creature so misled us,
In virtue of our simple trust,
To torture us like this, and tread us
Back into dust?

'Oh, fool I am. Oh, rebel worm!
If, when immortal, I was slain,
For daring to impugn his reign,
How shall I, thus infirm?

X

'Woe me, poor me! No humbler yet,
For all the penance on me laid!
Forgive me, Lord, if I forget
That I am but what Thou hast made,
My soul Thy debt!

'Inspire me to survey the skies,
And tremble at their golden wonder;
To learn the space that I comprise,
At once to marvel, and to ponder,
And drop mine eyes.

'And grant me?for I do but find,
In seeking more than God hath shown,
I scorn His power and lose my own
Grant me a lowly mind.

XI

'A lowly mind! Thou wondrous sprite,
Whose frolics make their master weep;
Anon, endowed with eagle's flight,
Anon, too impotent to creep,
Or blink aright;

'Howe'er, thy trumpery flashes play
Among the miracles above thee,
Be taught to feel thy Maker's sway,
To labour, so that He shall love thee,
And guide thy way.

'Be led, from out the cloudy dreams
Of thy too visionary part,
To listen to the whispering heart,
And curb thine own extremes.

XII

'Then hope shall shine from heaven, and give
To fruit of hard work, sunny cheek,
And flowers of grace and love revive,
And shrivelled pasturage grow sleek,
And corn snail thrive.

'Beholding gladness, Eve and I,
Enfolding it also in each other,
May talk of heaven without a sigh;
Because our heaven in one another
Love shall supply.

'For courage, faith, and bended knees,
By stress of patience, cure distress,
And turn wild Love-in-idleness
Into the true Heartsease.'

The Lord breathed on the first of men,
And strung his limbs to strength again;
He scorned a century of ill,
And girt his loins to climb the parting hill.

PART IIEVE

Meanwhile through lowland, holt, and glade,
Sad Eve her lonely travel made;
Not fierce, or proud, but well content
To own the righteous punishment;
Yet found, as gentle mourners find,
The hearts confession soothe the mind.

I

'Ye valleys, and ye waters vast,
Who answer all that look on you
With shadows of themselves, that last
As long as they, and are as true
Where hath he past?

'Oh woods, and heights of rugged stone,
Oh weariness of sky above me,
For ever must I pine and moan,
With none to comfort, none to love me,
Alone, alone?

'Thou bird, that hoverest at heaven's gate,
Or cleavest limpid lines of air,
Returnfor thou hast one to care
Return to thy dear mate.

II

'For trie, no joy of earth or sky,
No commune with the things I see,
But dreary converse of the eye
With worlds too grand to look at me
No smile, no sigh!

'In vain I fall Upon my knees,
In vain I weep and sob for ever;
All other miseries have ease,
All other prayers have ruthbut never
Any for these.

'Are we endowed with heavenly breath,
And God's own form, that we should win
A proud priority of sin,
And teach creation death?

III

'Not, that is too profound for me,
Too lofty for a fallen thing.
More keenly do I feel than see;
Far liefer would I, than take wing,
Beneath it be.

'The nightthe darkwill soon be here,
The gloom that doth my heart appal so I
How can I tell what may be near?
My faith is in the Lordbut also
He hath made fear.

'I quail, I cower, I strive to flee;
Though oft I watched without affright,
The stern magnificence of night,
When Adam was with me

IV

'My husband! Ah, I thought sometime
That I could do without him well,
Communing with the heaven at prime,
And in my womanhood could dwell
Calm and sublime.

'Declining, with a playful strife,
All thoughts below my own transcendence,
All common-sense of earth and life,
And counting it a poor dependence
To be his wife,

'But now I know, by trouble's test,
How little my poor strength can bear,
What folly wisdom is, whene'er
The grief is in the breast!

'The grief is in my breast, because
I have not always been as kind
As woman should, by nature's laws,
But showed sometimes a wilful mind,
Carping at straws.

'While he, perhaps, with larger eyne,
Was pleased, instead of vexed, at seeing
Some little petulance in mine,
And loved me all the more, for being;
Not too divine.

'Until the pride became a snare,
The reason a deceit, wherein
I dallied face to face with sinh
And made a mortal pair.

VI

'Dark sin, the deadly foe of love,
All bowers of bliss thou shalt infest,
Implanting thorns the flowers above,
And one black feather in the breast
Of purest dove.

'Almighty Father, once our friend,
And ready even now to love us.
Thy pitying gaze upon us bend,
And through the tempest-clouds above us
Thine arm extend.

'That so thy children may begin
In lieu of bliss, to earn content,
And find that sinful Eve was meant
Not only for a sin.'

Awhile she ceased; for memory's flow
Had drowned the utterance of woe;
Until a young hind crossed the lawn,
And fondly trotted forth her fawn,
Whose frolics of delight made Eve,
As in a weeping vision, grieve.

VII

'For me, poor me, no hope to learn
That sweeter bliss than Paradise,
The joy that makes a mother yearn
O'er that bright message from the skies
Her pains do earn.

She stoops entranced; she fears to stir,
Or think; lest each a thought endanger
(While two enraptured hearts confer)
That wonderful and wondering stranger,
Come home to her,

'He watches her, in solemn style;
A world of love flows to and fro;
He smiles; that he may learn to know
His mother by her smile.

VIII

'Oh, bliss, that to all other bliss
Shall be as sunrise unto night,
Or heaven to such a place as this,
Or God's own voice, with angels bright,
To serpent's hiss!

'I have I betrayed thee, or cast by
The pledge in which my soul delighted
That all this wrong and misery
Should be avenged at last, and righted,
And so should I?

'Belike, they look on me as dead,
Those fiends that found me soft and sweet;
But God hath promised me one treat
To crush that serpent's head!

IX

'Revenge! Oh, heaven, let some one rise,
Some woman, since revenge is small,
Who shall not care about its size,
If only she can get it all,
For those black lies!

'Poor Adam is too good and great,
I felt it, though he said so little
To hate his foes, as I can hate
And pay them every jot, and tittle,
At their own rate.

'For was there none but I to blame?
God knows that if, instead of me,
There had been any other she,
She would have done the same,

X

'Poor me! Of course the whole disgrace,
In spite of reason, falls on me:
And so all women of my race,
In pure right, shall be reason-free,
In every case.

'It shall not be in power of man
To bind them to their own contentions;
But each shall speak, as speak she can,
And start anew with fresh inventions,
Where she began.

'And so shall they be dearer still;
For man shall ne'er suspect in them
The plucking of the fatal stem,
That brought him all his ill.

XI

'And when hereafteras there must,
Since He, that made us, so hath sworn
From that whereof we are, the dust,
And whereunto we shall return
In higher trust

'There spring a grand and countless race,
Replenishing this vast possession,
Till life, hath won a larger space
Than death, by quick and fair succession
Of health and grace;

'They too shall find as I have found
The grief, that lifts its head on high,
A dewy bud the sun shall dry
But not while on the ground.

XII

'Then men shall love their wives again,
Allowing for the frailer kind,
Content to keep the heart's Amen,
Content to own the turns of mind
Beyond their ken.

'And wives shall in their lords be blest,
Their higher sense of right perceiving
(When possible) with love their test;
Exalting, solacing, believing
All for the test.

'And for the best shall all things be,
If God once more will shine around,
And lift my husband from the ground,
And teach him to lift me.'

New faith inspired the first of wives,
She smiles, and drooping hope revives;
She scorns a hundred years of woe%
And binds her hair, because the breezes blow.

THE MEETING

I

The wind is hushed, the moon is bright,
More stars on heaven than may be told;
Young flowers are coying with the light,
That softly tempts them to unfold,
And trust the night.

What form comes bounding from above
Down Arafa, the mountain lonely,
Afraid to scare its long-lost dove,
Yet swift as joy'It can be only,
Only my love!'

What shape is thattoo fair to leave
On Arafa, the mountain lone?
So trembling, and so faint'My own,
It must be my own Eve!'

II

As when the mantled heavens display
The glory of the morning glow,
And spread the mountain heights with day,
And bid the clouds and shadows go
Trooping away,

The Spirit of the Lord arose,
And made the earth and heaven to quiver,
And scattered all his hellish foes,
And deigned his good stock to deliver
From all their woes.

So Long the Twain Had Strayed Apart,
That Each As at a Marvel Gazed,
With Eyes Abashed, and Brain Amazed;
While Heart Enquired of Heart.




III

Our God hath made a fairer thing
Than fairest dawn of summer day
A gentle, timid, fluttering,
Confessing glance, that seeks alway
Rest for its wing.

A sweeter sight than azure skies,
Or golden star thereon that glideth;
And blest are they who see it rise,
For, if it cometh, it abideth
In woman's eyes.

The first of men such blessing sued;
The first of women smiled consent;
For husband, wife and home it meant,
And no more solitude!

IV

We trample now the faith of old,
We make our Gods of dream and doubt;
Yet life is but a tale untold,
Without one heart to love, without
One hand to hold

The fairer half of humankind,
More gentle, playful, and confiding:
Whose soul is not the slave of mind,
Whose spirit hath a nobler guiding
Than we can find.

So Eve restores the sweeter part
Of what herself unwitting stole,
And makes the wounded Adam whole;
For half the mind is heart. 



Richard Doddridge Blackmore's other poems:
  1. Kadisha; Or, The First Jealousy
  2. To My Pen
  3. To Fame
  4. Exmoor Harvest-Song
  5. The King and his Staff


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