John Le Gay Brereton (1871-1933)

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The Grave

In the grey dawn I lie within my bed
Still as a frozen lake that pats no more
With murmurous delight the o'erhanging shore,
Yet grim thoughts heave obscurely in my head;
For curtains I have earthern walls, and lead
Is colder than the woollen garb I wore--
But oh! that heart of mine is still as sore
As when I did not know that I was dead.
I knew her (O my Life!) and she was fair,
And gave her beauty to the hills and sea,
The wonder of her voice to leaf and wave.
The brown earth lies between us; does she care
That since she cast the first dull clod on me
My lonely heart is aching in the grave?

At the Age of Thirty-five

Gone are the aching want, the unceasing fret,
Mad flight and moaning over battered wings,
And self-contempt whose secret penance wrings
Out of the writhing soul her bloody sweat.
But use has never taught me to forget
The glory that the common daylight flings;
Still in my heart the rebel tocsin rings,
And still is love my glowing amulet.
Calm and contented, yet with heart afire
To fight for ever for the sake of strife,
I hold the future and the past in fee.
The time to come brings riper fruit for me
Who stretch my hands with passionate desire
And welcome for the green and grey of life.

(See Milton's On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three)

(Texts from The Sonnet in Australasia.)