[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]



CHILDE DAKYNS, I’d have had thee born
To other heritage than ours,
To larger compass, nobler scorn,
Faith, courage, hope than dowers
The old and impotent world.
So had thy powers
Been tuned to primal rhythms : in Noah’s ark

Thou might’st have dreamed thy dove-bemurmured dream;
Or lain and heard old Nimrod’s sleuth-hounds bark,
Echoing great Babel’s towers;
Or played with Laban’s teraphim.

Or nearer, yet remote from us,
Thou might’st have grown a civic man
Protagonist to Aeschylus;
Or blocked Pentelican
For Phidias ; or, foremost in the van,
Whose lithe-armed grapplings broke the Orient’s pride,
Thou might’st have fought on Marathon’s red beach;
Or, olive-screened by fair Ilissus’ side,
Surprised the sleeping Pan;
Or heard the martyr-sophist preach.

Perchance, to higher ends devote,
A fisher on Gennesareth,
Thou might’st have heard him from the boat,
And loved him unto death,
Who, with the outgoing of his latest breath,
Desired the souls of men : thy thought to lay
His pillow in the stern, when blast on blast
Came sweeping from the ridge of Magdala;
Thy charge to ward all scathe
From that supreme enthusiast.

Or, still in time for purpose true,
Though haply fallen on later years,
Thou might’st have stemmed the Cyprian blue
With Richard and his peers,
Cross-dight as chosen God’s own cavaliers;
Or borne a banner into Crecy fight;
Or with Earl Simon on the Lewes fields
Stood strong-embattled for the Commons’ right,
Or scattered at Poitiers
The wall of Gallic shields.

Or, borne with Raleigh to the West,
Thou might’st have felt the glad çmprise
Of men who follow a behest
Self-sealed, and spurn the skies

Familiar ; leaving to the would-be wise
These seats ; as wondering not in any zone
If some sweet island bloom beneath their prow:
" Let the daft Stuart maunder on his throne!
Let slack-knee’d varlets bow!
We will away !—the world has room enow!"

Childe Dakyns, it may not be so!
The long-breathed pulse, the aim direct
The forces that concurrent flow,
Charged with their sure effect—
Sure joy, childe Dakyns, must thou not expect;
But fever-throb ; but agues of desire,
Like zig-zag lightnings scrabbled on a cloud;
Irresolute execution ; paling fire
Of Hope ; life’s springs by cold Suspicion bowed—
All these thou needs must know;
And I will meet thee somewhere in the crowd.

Ah then, childe Dakyns, what of generous ire,
Of Honour, Truth, of Chastity’s bright snow,
The pitying centuries have allowed
To us forlorn, thou child elect,
Grant me to see it on thy forehead glow!


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000