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Poem by Sydney Thompson Dobell
My Love, my Lord, I think the toil of glorious day is done. I see thee leaning on thy jewelled sword, And a light-hearted child of France Is dancing to thee in the sun, And thus he carols in his dance. 'Oh, a gallant sans peur Is the merry chasseur, With his fanfaron horn and his rifle ping-pang! And his grand havresack Of gold on his back, His pistol cric-crac! And his sword cling-clang! Oh, to see him blithe and gay From some hot and bloody day, Come to dance the night away till the bugle blows 'au rang,' With a wheel and a whirl And a wheeling waltzing girl, And his bow, 'place aux dames!' and his oath 'feu et sang!' And his hop and his fling Till his gold and silver ring To the clatter and the clash of his sword cling-clang! But hark, Thro' the dark, Up goes the well-known shout! The drums beat the turn out! Cut short your coarting, Monsieur l' Amant! Saddle! mount! march! trot! Down comes the storm of shot, The foe is at the charge! En avant! His jolly havresack Of gold is on his back, Hear his pistol cric-crac! hear his rifle ping-pang! Vive l' Empereur! And where's the Chasseur? He's in Among the din Steel to steel cling-clang!' And thou within the doorway of thy tent Leanest at ease with careless brow unbent, Watching the dancer in as pleased a dream As if he were a gnat i' the evening gleam, And thou and I were sitting side by side Within the happy bower Where oft at this same hour We watched them the sweet year I was a bride. My Love, my Lord, Leaning so grandly on thy jewelled sword, Is there no thought of home to whisper thee, None can relieve the weary guard I keep, None wave the flag of breathing truce for me, Nor sound the hours to slumber or to weep? Once in a moon the bugle breaks thy rest, I count my days by trumpets and alarms: Thou liest down in thy warcloak and art blest, While I, who cannot sleep but in thine arms, Wage night and day fresh fields unknown to fame, Arm, marshal, march, charge, fight, fall, faint, and die, Know all a soldier can endure but shame, And every chance of warfare but to fly. I do not murmur at my destiny: It can but go with love, with whom it came, And love is like the sun-his light is sweet, And sweet his shadow-welcome both to me! Better for ever to endure that hurt Which thou canst taste but once than once to lie At ease when thou hast anguish. Better I Be often sad when thou art gay than gay One moment of thy sorrow. Tho' I pray Too oft I shall win nothing of the sky But my unfilled desire and thy desert Can take it and still lack. Oh, might I stay At the shut gates of heaven! that so I meet Each issuing fate, and cling about his feet And melt the dreadful purpose of his eye, And not one power pass unimpleaded by Whose bolt might be for thee! Aye, love is sweet In shine or shade! But love hath jealousy, That knowing but so little thinks so much! And I am jealous of thee even with such A fatal knowledge. For I wot too well In the set season that I cannot tell Death will be near thee. This thought doth deflour All innocence from time. I dare not say 'Not now,' but for the instant cull the hour, And for the hour reap all the doubtful day, And for the day the year: and so, forlorn, From morn till night, from startled night till morn, Like a blind slave I bear thine heavy ill Till thy time comes to take it: come when 't will The broken slave will bend beneath it still.
Sydney Thompson Dobell
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