Edward Burrough Brownlow (1857-1895)

Text from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.

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The Sonnet

The sonnet is a diamond flashing round
From every facet true rare coloured lights;
A gem of thought carved in poetic nights
To grace the brow of art by fancy crowned;
A miniature of soul wherein are found
Marvels of beauty and resplendent sights;
A drop of blood with which a lover writes
His heart's sad epitaph in its own bound;
A pearl gained from dark waters when the deep
Rocked in its frenzied passion; the last note
Heard from a heaven-saluting skylark's throat;
A cascade small flung in a canyon steep
With crystal music. At this shrine of song
High priests of poesy have worshipped long.

The Great Play

There is a playwright older than the years,
Who maketh all men actors in his play,
And, though they know not what they do or say,
The purpose of the plot in all appears.
Each in his turn, beset with inborn fears,
Enters unseen youth's comedy so gay,
Laughs through the hours that glide too soon away
Beneath the clouds of soul-consuming tears.
Then manhood's tragedy with perils fraught,
Pursues its fickle fortunes to the end,
When Fate, the villain of the piece doth send
By whom the last exciting scene is wrought;
A timely stab from Death's sure-falling knife
Brings down the curtain o'er the play of life.

The Great Play

Vine tendrils drooping in the midday sun
Take me to Greece, ere Sappho sang those lays,
Whose echoes, falling down this length of days,
Trance us with beauty, sweet and halcyon;
Satyrs, green-garlanded, skip madly on
Through woody wilds, loud shouts of ribald praise
Mingle with merry laughter, and amaze
The peaceful shepherds, who, affrighted, run;
Fair dryads swell the riot-filling song
From every tree-trunk, and from each pure spring
Sweet naiad voices rise with silvery ring
To welcome him who leads the dancing throng,
Old Bacchus! reeling 'neath the weight of wine,
Chanting a stave, half drunken, half divine.