Richard Garnett (1835-1906)

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I will not rail or grieve when torpid eld
Frosts the slow-journeying blood, for I shall see
The lovelier leaves hang yellow on the tree,
The nimbler brooks in icy fetters held.
Methinks the aged eye that first beheld
Pale Autumn in her waning pageantry,
Then knew himself, dear Nature, child of thee,
Marking the common doom, that all compelled.
No kindred we to thy belovèd brods,
If, dying these, we drew a selfish breath;
But one path travel all their multitudes,
And none dispute the solemn voice that saith:
"Sun to thy setting; to your autumn, woods;
Stream to thy sea; and man unto thy death!"

The Taper

This little light is not a little sign
Of duteous service innocent of blame,
Contented with obscurity till came
Mandate that as a star her beam should shine.
On sickness did she wait, or scribe, or shrine,
The law of her beneficence the same,
Somewhat to sunder from her fragile frame,
Something of her own being to resign.
So wasted now, that, let the lustre be
Resummoned but once more, the fuel dies;
Yet virtues six dorn her brevity,
Singly too seldom met of mortal eyes;
Discretion, faithfulness, frugality,
Purity, vigilance, self-sacrifice.

Written in Miles' "Poets of the Century"

I saw the youthful singers of my day
To sound of lutes and lyres in morning hours
Trampling with eager feet the teeming flowers,
Bound for Fame's temple upon Music's way:
A happy band, a folk of holiday:
But some lay down and slept among the bowers;
Some turned aside to fanes of alien Powers;
Some Death took by the hand and led away.
Now gathering twilight clouds the land with grey,
Yet, where last light is lit, last pilgrims go,
Outlined in gliding shade by dying glow,
And fain with weary fortitude essay
The last ascent. The end is hid, but they
Who follow on my step shall surely know.

(Text above from The Golden Book of English Sonnets.)


Poet, whose unscarr'd feet have trodden Hell,
By what grim path and dread environing
Of fire couldst thou that dauntless footstep bring
And plant it firm amid the dolorous cell
Of darkness where perpetually dwell
The spirits cursed beyond imagining?
Or else is thine a visionary wing,
And all thy terror but a tale to tell?
Neither and both, thou seeker! I have been
No wilder path than thou thyself dost go,
Close mask'd in an impenetrable screen,
Which having rent I gaze around, and know
What tragic wastes of gloom, before unseen,
Curtain the soul that strives and sins below.