Isabella Valancy Crawford

(25 December 1850 – 12 February 1887 / Dublin, Ireland)

The Sword


THE FORGING OF THE SWORD.

At the forging of the Sword--
The mountain roots were stirr'd,
Like the heart-beats of a bird;
Like flax the tall trees wav'd,
So fiercely struck the Forgers of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
So loud the hammers fell,
The thrice seal'd gates of Hell,
Burst wide their glowing jaws;
Deep roaring, at the forging of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
Kind mother Earth was rent,
Like an Arab's dusky tent,
And monster-like she fed--
On her children; at the forging of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
So loud the blows they gave,
Up sprang the panting wave;
And blind and furious slew,
Shrill-shouting to the Forgers of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
The startled air swift whirl'd
The red flames round the world,
From the Anvil where was smitten,
The steel, the Forgers wrought into the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
The Maid and Matron fled,
And hid them with the dead;
Fierce prophets sang their doom,
More deadly, than the wounding of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword--
Swift leap'd the quiet hearts,
In the meadows and the marts;
The tides of men were drawn,
By the gleaming sickle-planet of the Sword!

* * * * *

Thus wert thou forged, O lissome sword;
On such dusk anvil wert thou wrought;
In such red flames thy metal fused!
From such deep hells that metal brought;
O sword, dread lord, thou speak'st no word,
But dumbly rul'st, king and lord!

Less than the Gods by some small span,
Slim sword, how great thy lieges be!
Glint but in _one_ wild camp-fire's light,
Thy God-like vassals rush to thee.
O sword, dread lord, thou speak'st no word,
But dumbly rul'st, king and lord!

Sharp, God, how vast thy altars be!
Green vallies, sacrificial cups,
Flow with the purple lees of blood;
Its smoke is round the mountain tops.
O sword, dread lord, thou speak'st no word,
But dumbly rul'st, king and lord!

O amorous God, fierce lover thou!
Bright sultan of a million brides,
Thou know'st no rival to _thy_ kiss,
Thy loves are _thine_ whate're betides,
O sword, dread lord, thou speak'st no word,
But dumbly rul'st, king and lord.

Unflesh thee, sword! No more, no more,
Thy steel no more shall sting and shine,
Pass thro' the fusing fires again;
And learn to prune the laughing vine.
Fall sword, dread lord, with one accord,
The plough and hook we'll own as lord!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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