[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]
TO HIS GODSON
CHILDE DAKYNS, Id 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 Noahs ark
Thou mightst have dreamed thy dove-bemurmured dream;
Or lain and heard old Nimrods sleuth-hounds bark,
Echoing great Babels towers;
Or played with Labans teraphim.
Or nearer, yet remote from us,
Thou mightst have grown a civic man
Protagonist to Aeschylus;
Or blocked Pentelican
For Phidias ; or, foremost in the van,
Whose lithe-armed grapplings broke the Orients pride,
Thou mightst have fought on Marathons 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 mightst 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 mightst have stemmed the Cyprian blue
With Richard and his peers,
Cross-dight as chosen Gods 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 mightst 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-kneed 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 ; lifes 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 Chastitys bright snow,
The pitying centuries have allowed
To us forlorn, thou child elect,
Grant me to see it on thy forehead glow!