Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

(1840 - 1922 / England)

To A Happy Warrior - Poem by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Glory to God who made a man like this!
To God be praise who in the empty heaven
Set Earth's gay globe
With its green vesture given
And nuptial robe
To be the home enthroned of happiness!
Who from the silences
Of the dumb Universe,
For listening ears,
Constructed song
And fashioned the first note
Of the first linnet's throat,
His audible whisper the deep woods among!
Who, with His dance--masters,
The dappled deer
And their fleet fawns,
With rhythmic beat
Of their light feet
Upon the thyme--sweet lawns,
Framed the free gamut of the wakening year
And gave command to mirth His minister
That all things young and glad
And mad,
In this fair world's expanse
Should dance!
Praise be! and most for these,
The lyric ecstasies
Sublime in each least lot,
The passionate plot
Subtly contrived to propagate their kind
By beast and bird and in Man's livelier mind
To make of life new life,
Of joy new joy, in corporal bliss
Entwined,
Man's who is man and wife,
Though neither he have thought
Nor she, in their love blind,
Of that child's smile
Half hers half his
Unborn, the while
They clasp and kiss!
These are the vastnesses
That bid us give God glory for his depths of guile.

And he? The ultimate man,
The heir of their delight,
Whose keener sight
Grasped the full vision of Time's master--plan,
And who, because he knew,
Found power to do
What the rest dared not and was thus the priest
Of the divine high feast
Of Love on Earth? Poet, whose prosody
Embraced heaven's infinite blue
And the white light of stars,
The moon's proud chastity
And the sea beating on its prison bars;
Whose ritual
Was the procession of the months and days
In ordered praise
Of ceremonial flowers, Earth's virginal
Patchwork of shredded colours in the grass;
Whose incense was
The mist of morning, and whose sacrifice
The sun in splendour by whose light all live?
How shall we give
To one thus wise
Our homage who so loved him and alas
Now weep for him with unavailing eyes?

For what is wisdom more than this one thought,
To harvest happiness? Time has its wheat,
Its rule of life discreet,
By scholars taught,
For daily bread; and its weeds too,
Its wild crop of the woods which is not bought,
Its way that fools call folly,
Choke--pear, crab, holly,
All the riot
Of the bird's diet,
For maid and boy,
Their winter--pick of joy,
If they but knew!
And these to learn and gather in their prime
Is youth's sublime.

Here lay his victory. Not flowers alone
Nor fruits were his,
But the world's sadnesses
He gathered also, its loves lost and gone,
The tragic things that are
As the maple leaves
Of the fast dying year,
Crowning its funeral car,
The glory of its passing set on fire
In the late hedges,
The wreathed bryony
Black with the Autumn saltings of the Sea,
And those lone sedges at the lake's edges
Which winter winds have whitened on the mere.
These, as the symbols of his Soul's romance
In antique lands,
He bound into the sheaves
Of his desire,
A wreath,
Nobler for death.
Of these he fashioned a new chivalry
For days to be,
Incorporate with the glories of all Time,
The immortal rhyme
Of Roland and the paladins of France,
Of Charlemagne,
The Cid Bivar of Spain,
And those pround questers of the Holy Grail
Who rode with Arthur cap à pie in mail,
Till in his hands
It seemed the actual lance
Of Lancelot trembled and took edge and shook
Defiance at his foes in Lyonnesse,
No less than those
Of whom it is written in the old French book
That he pursued and slew and scattering rent
Their ranks in fear,
While the Earth trembled his glad shout to hear.
So he in his high rage in Parliament.

Anon, too, at the feasts
Where with the knights and ladies crowned he sat,
Their laureate
Of that famed Table Round, its pleasure's lord,
His was the tongue
To celebrate their praise,
Theirs the adored,
With virile minstrelsy and mirth and song,
And generous wine
Outpoured
In draughts divine from flagons
Rich with the mellow fruitage of the vine;
His was the tongue
To tell of valorous deeds
Done for high honour's needs
On pestilent dragons in dank forest places
Vanquished and slain, and felon knights laid low,
For fair loved faces
In days long ago;
Amorous sad tales of dolorous mistakes
At hands that sought to save;
Ancient heart--aches,
Each laid to rest in its forgotten grave.
And with them griefs, which venturing found their hour,
Fruitage and flower,
And were fulfilled of joy;--and chiefly hers,
Royal sad Guinevere's
Noblest of all among the tragic dead.
Of her he loved to tell.
And he did well;
For she, the lady of his dreams, one night,
As it is said,
In Glastonbury,
Hearing his young steps hurry
As to a goal,
To kneel at her dead feet,
Where as she lay with her sleep--folded palms
In the long calms
Of a passed soul,
Did from her cerements white
Awake,
And feel her passionate heart beat
To his desire,
And in new bride's attire
Arise and live a woman for his sake,
A woman and no dream.
These were the rhapsodies of life to him,
The things that his heart's zeal
Made real.

And who shall wonder if to--day we weep
Our Prince of happiness,
Our warrior dead?
If we, who saw
These wonders beyond law,
And his proud soul's essay
To live the great life of the Fellowship
In our late day,
Should mourn him fled,
Yet, none the less,
Give praise
To God, with chastened but undoubting lip,
For this exemplar of His works and ways?
Since that we know that in His scheme of bliss
No permanent anguish is,
But beauty only and high ruth and truth,
And that Life's law is this:
Pleasure is duty, duty pleasure
In equal measure;
And Time's happiness
God's all--sufficient reason with the wise,
As with this man
Who sleeps in Paradise.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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