Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

Recollections Of Cornwall - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

To R. G. R. and H. P. P.
Let not the mind, that would have peace,
Too much repose on former joy,
Nor in pourtraying past delight
Her needed, active power employ!

So, as we linger and look back,
Tired, and perplext with present fears,
Comes the clear voice of something stern
Across the frivolous, fleeting years.

Pressed onward, without power to pause,
By their imperious, silent wave,
How little of the precious past,
Hoarded so anxiously, we save.

Scarce with beseeching tears we cry,
To some delicious moment, stay!
Ere the rude hours have swept us on:
Lamenting we are borne away.

Yet often, in our deep desire,
Backward we cannot help but gaze,
If gazing might perchance restore
Some lost and lovely yesterdays.

Come then, and ere Time takes them quite,
Gather with careful choice, to find
Whatever flowering memories serve
To make a garden of the mind.

Near tender thoughts and unsoiled names,
Names murmured to our hearts in sleep,
And dreams, too pure for the world's eye,
These too, their sacred place shall keep.

Then let the cloud--swept midnight blow
Fresh on our cheeks again the spray,
As the prow plunges, where we stand
And watch the coast, from bay to bay.

Lying so lonely, sleeping soft
Under the breezes of the night;
Only on each dim headland gleams,
Far--seen, its beaconing, faithful light.

Again upon our waking eyes
Let Plymouth Sound and Plymouth Hoe,
The woody Mount, the ships, the strand,
Bright in the morning sunshine glow.

Or let the tender twilight steep,
As at our journey's end, the moor,
When glad and tired at last we reach
The Lizard, and our cottage door.

The Lizard! hark! the name brings back
The noise remote of moving seas,
Storied as those, whose waters foamed
Round the renowned Hesperides.

On Kynance Cove our window looks,
The foam--swept rocks, the tides' unrest,
The gathering dusk, and one pure star
Deep in the visionary west.

And there we sit, while evening dies
Far o'er that lone, romantic sea,
Where famous, fallen Lyonness
Sleeps with its ruined chivalry.

By Dolour Hugo's wondrous walls,
Under their arching gloom we glide:
Rocking our boat, with rustling noise,
The shadowy waters swell, subside.

Cold strikes the air; our voices wake
Weird echoes in the roof: below,
Deep through the glimmering waves, we see
The long weeds washing to and fro.

Then round the headland's troops of gulls
To hospitable Cadgwith come;
Sweet Cadgwith, climbing o'er the cliff
With cottage gardens bright in bloom.

Ah, morns at Housel, where we bathe!
Where, sounding up the cliffs and caves,
The blue sea tumbles, salt and bright;
Fresh in our faces burst the waves.

Ah, that wild slope, beyond Penzance,
Where, deep in heather, drowsed we lie,
Till on us steals the fairy mist
And makes a blank of sea and sky;

Blots out the distant Lizard coast,
And steals across the silent bay:
Saint Michael's Mount becomes a cloud,
And dimly wanes the lingering day.

So may not the oblivious months
With other scenes, however bright,
Wash out your names, with all that made
Our sojourn by your shores delight.

Sweet shores! to the remembering mind
Thrice lovelier now: for what were ye
Without the charm, that still survives,
Of chosen friends' society?

Nay, can Earth's sweetest sights and sounds,
A running stream, a rosy sky,
Uncheered by human thoughts, assuage
The deep desire for sympathy?

Like a fair face, without a heart,
They charm, and for an hour control;
But easily we turn away:
They have not lingered in the soul.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010



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