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Then, at the point of death, Sohrab re Till now all strength was ebbed, and from plied: :

his limbs, "A life of blood indeed, thou dreadful | Unwillingly the spirit fled away, man!

Regretting the warm mansion which it But thou shalt yet have peace; only not left, now,

And youth, and bloom, and this delightful Not yet! but thou shalt have it on that world. day,

830 When thou shalt sail in a high-masted So, on the bloody sand, Sohrab lay dead; ship,

And the great Rustum drew his horseThou and the other peers of Kai Khosroo, man's cloak Returning home over the salt blue sea, Down o'er his face, and sate by his dead From laying thy dear master in his grave.”

As those black granite pillars, once highAnd Rustum gazed in Sohrab's face,

reared and said:

By Jemshid in Persepolis, to bear "Soon be that day, my son, and deep that

His house, now 'mid their broken flights sea! Till then, if fate so wills, let me endure."

Lie prone, enormous, down the mountain

side He spoke; and Sohrab smiled on him,

So in the sand lay Rustum by his son. and took The spear, and drew it from his side, and eased

And night came down over the solemn His wound's imperious anguish; but the

waste, blood

And the two gazing hosts, and that sole Came welling from the open gash, and

pair, life

And darkened all; and a cold fog, with Flowed with the stream: all down his

night, cold white side

Crept from the Oxus. Soon a hum arose, The crimson torrent ran, dim now and

As of a great assembly loosed, and fires soiled,

Began to twinkle through the fog; for Like the soiled tissue of white violets Left, freshly gathered, on the native

Both armies moved to camp, and took bank,

their meal; By children whom their nurses call with

The Persians took it on the open sands haste

Southward, the Tartars by the river Indoors from the sun's eye; his head marge; drooped low,

And Rustum and his son were left alone. His limbs grew slack; motionless, white, he lay

But the majestic river floated on, White, with eyes closed; only when heavy Out of the mist and hum of that low land, gasps,

Into the frosty starlight, and there moved, Deep heavy gasps quivering through all Rejoicing, through the hushed Chorasmian his frame,

waste, Convulsed him back to life, he opened Under the solitary moon; — he flowed them,

Right for the polar star, past Orgunjè, And fixed them feebly on his father's Brimming, and bright, and large; then face;

sands began

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corn

To hem his watery march, and dam his

streams, And split his currents; that for many a

league The shorn and parcelled Oxus strains

along Through beds of sand and matted rushy

isles Oxus, forgetting the bright speed he had In his high mountain-cradle in Pamere, A foiled circuitous wanderer — till at last The longed-for dash of waves is heard,

and wide His luminous home of waters opens,

bright And tranquil, from whose floor the new

bathed stars Emerge, and shine upon the Aral Sea.

All the live murmur of a summer's day. 20

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Screened is this nook o'er the high, half

reaped field, And here till sun-down, shepherd! will i

be. Through the thick corn the scarlet pop

pies peep, And round green

roots and yellowing stalks I see Pale pink convolvulus in tendrils

creep;

And air-swept lindens yield Their scent, and rustle down their per

fumed showers Of bloom on the bent grass where I am

laid, And bower me from the August sun

with shade; And the eye travels down to Oxford's

towers.

THE SCHOLAR-GIPSY

(1853)

25

Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the

hill: Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes !

No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed, Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their

throats, Nor the cropped herbage shoot another

head.

But when the fields are still, And the tired men and dogs all gone to

rest, And only the white sheep are sometimes

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And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's

book Come, let me read the oft-read tale again!

The story of the Oxford scholar poor, Of pregnant parts and quick inventive

brain, Wno, tired of knocking at preferment's door,

35 One summer-morn forsook His friends, and went to learn the gipsy

lore, And roamed the world with that wild

brotherhood, And came, as most men deemed, to little

good. But came to Oxford and his friends no

Here, where the reaper was at work of

lateIn this high field's dark corner, where he

leaves His coat, his basket, and his earthen

cruse, And in the sun all morning binds the

sheaves,

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But once, years after, in the country lanes, Two scholars, whom at college erst he

knew, Met him, and of his way of life en

quired; Whereat he answered, that the gipsy

crew, His mates, had arts to rule as they de

sired

The workings of men's brains, And they can bind them to what thoughts

they will. "And I,” he said, "the secret of their

art, When fully learned, will to the world

impart; But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill.”

50

For most, I know, thou lov'st retired

ground! Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe, Returning home on summer-nights, have

met Crossing the stripling Thames at Bablock

hithe, Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet,

75 As the punt's rope chops round; And leaning backward in a pensive dream, And fostering in thy lap a heap of

flowers Plucked in shy fields and distant Wych

wood bowers, And thine eyes resting on the moonlit

This said, he left them, and returned no

more.

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But rumors hung about the countryside That the lost Scholar long was seen to

stray, Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue

tied, In hat of antique shape, and cloak of

gray,

The same the gipsies wore. Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in

spring; At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire

moors, On the warm ingle-bench, the smock

frocked boors Had found him seated at their entering. 60

And then they land, and thou art seen

no more! Maidens, who from the distant hamlets

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But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he would

fly. And I myself seem half to know thy looks, And put the shepherds, wanderer! on

thy trace; And boys who in lone wheatfields scare

the rooks I ask if thou hast passed their quiet

place;

Or in my boat I lie Moored to the cool bank in the summer

heats,

Or cross a stile into the public way.

Oft thou hast given them store Of flowers - the frail-leafed, white ane

mone, Dark bluebells drenched with dews of

summer eves, And purple orchises

orchises with

with spotted leaves But none hath words she can report of

thee.

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And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay

time's here In June, and many a scythe in sunshine

flames,

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air

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tered grange.

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Men who through those wide fields of Rapt, twirling in thy hand a withered breezy grass

spray, Where black-winged swallows haunt the And waiting for the spark from heaven glittering Thames,

to fall. To bathe in the abandoned lasher pass,

And once, in winter, on the causeway chill Have often passed thee near

Where home through flooded fields footSitting upon the river bank o'ergrown;

travellers go, Marked thine outlandish garb, thy figure Have I not passed thee on the wooden spare,

bridge, Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the

snow, But, when they came from bathing, thou Thy face toward Hinksey and its wintry wast gone!

ridge?

And thou hast climbed the hill,

And gained the white brow of the CumAt some lone homestead in the Cumner

ner range; hills,

Turned once to watch, while thick the Where at her open door the housewife

snowflakes fall, darns, Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a

The line of festal light in Christ-Church

hall gate

Then sought thy straw in some sequesTo watch the threshers in the mossy barns.

130 Children, who early range these slopes

But what — I dream! Two hundred years and late

are flown For cresses from the rills, Have known thee eying, all an April-day,

Since first thy story ran through Oxford

halls, The springing pastures and the feeding kine;

And the grave Glanvil did the tale in

scribe And marked thee, when the stars come

That thou wert wandered from the stuout and shine,

dious walls Through the long dewy grass move slow

To learn strange arts, and join a gipsyaway.

tribe;

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And thou from earth art gone In autumn, the skirts of Bagley | Long since, and in some quiet churchyard Wood

laid Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged Some country-nook, where o'er thy un

way Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush Tall grasses and white flowering nettles you see

wave, With scarlet patches tagged and shreds of Under dark, red-fruited yew-tree's gray,

shade. Above the forest-ground called Thessaly

- No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of The blackbird, picking food,

hours ! Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears For what wears out the life of mortal at all;

men? So often has he known thee past hin: 'Tis that from change to change their stray,

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'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again, Who never deeply felt, nor clearly Exhaust the energy of strongest souls 145

willed, And numb the elastic powers.

Whose insight never has borne fruit in Till having used our nerves with bliss

deeds,

Whose vague resolves never have been And tired upon a thousand schemes our

fulfilled;

175 wit,

For whom each year we see To the just-pausing Genius we remit Breeds new beginnings, disappointments Our worn-out life, and are — what we

new; have been.

Who hesitate and falter life away,

And lose tomorrow the ground won toThou hast not lived, why should'st thou

day perish, so?

Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too? 180 Thou hadstone aim, one business, one desire;

Yes, we await it! — but it still delays, Else wert thou long since numbered with And then we suffer! and amongst us one, the dead!

Who most has suffered, takes dejectedly Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy His seat upon the intellectual throne; fire!

And all his store of sad experience The generations of thy peers are fled, 155

he

185 And we ourselves shall go;

Lays bare of wretched days; But thou possessest an immortal lot, Tells us his misery's birth and growth and And we imagine thee exempt from age

signs, And living as thou liv'st on Glanvil's And how the dying spark of hope was fed, page,

And how the breast was soothed, and how Because thou hadst— what we, alas! have

the head, not.

And all his hourly varied anodynes.

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For early didst thou leave the world, with This for our wisest! And we others pine, powers

And wish the long unhappy dream would Fresh, undiverted to the world without,

end, Firm to their mark, not spent on other And waive all claim to bliss, and try things;

to bear; Free from the sick fatigue, the languid With close-lipped patience for our only doubt,

friend, Which much to have tried, in much Sad patience, too near neighbor to been baffled, brings.

despair

195 O life unlike to ours !

But none has hope like thine! Who fluctuate idly without term or scope, Thou through the fields and through the Of whom each strives, nor knows for

woods dost stray, what he strives,

Roaming the country-side, a truant boy, And each half lives a hundred different Nursing thy project in unclouded joy, lives;

And

every doubt long blown by time Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in

away. hope.

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O born in days when wits were fresh and Thou waitest for the spark from heaven!

clear,

And life ran gaily as the sparkling Light half-believers of our casual creeds,

Thames;

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and we,

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