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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon

Two Choruses from Merlin in Broceliande


Life, what art thou? Springing water art thou: 
When the waters flash and spring, life, start thou!

When the spirit burns within the chapels
The stones are quick with faith.
When the branch hangs out its reddened apples
The tree is strong with breath;
When loves womb conceives the stirring blossom
The heart is full of power;
When youth leaps in the darkness of the bosom
The body is in flower.
When the fiery spirit deserts the chapels,
Bury religions corse;
When the branch no more puts forth its apples,
Fell the tree at the source;
When love feeds itself and not its blossom
The hearts core withereth;
When youth makes no movement in the bosom
The body is signed to death.

Life, what art thou? A golden fountain art thou:
When the fountain springs not, life, depart thou!


 First Voices.

Saw ye the stars last night, all still,
Remote, and bitter-cold,
Who were too passionless to thrill,
Being so wise and old?

 Second Voices.

O saw ye not one star alight,
A leap of silver fire,
Did ye not see it sear the night
And die of its own desire?

 First Voices.

Saw ye the ancient stars look on
Locked in a chilly dream
Which banished the awakened one
Beyond their frozen scheme?

 Second Voices.

O saw ye not the ashen band
Fade in the morning-gold,
Who long had ceased to understand,
Being so bitter-old?

 All the Voices.

Ye petrified on heavenly thrones,
Was there not chaos once?
Ye did not keep your ordered zones
When ye were raging suns!

Once flaming rivers were your breath
And the wild hairs of your brow--
Once ye were life, once ye were death!
Ye are not either now.

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. Sonnets. 7. When I see two delay their wings at heaven
  2. Sonnets. 9. Love Needs not Two the Render It Complete
  3. Sonnet (About the house go terrible winds in flight)
  4. Sonnets. 10. What is this anguish then that always stands
  5. Vagrant Songs

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