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[Epilogue] O true and tried, so well and long, Demand not thou a marriage lay; In that it is thy marriage day Is music more than any song. Nor have I felt so much of bliss Since first he told me that he loved A daughter of our house; nor proved Since that dark day a day like this; Tho' I since then have numbered o'er Some thrice three years: they went and came, Remade the blood and changed the frame, And yet is love not less, but more; No longer caring to embalm In dying songs a dead regret, But like a statue solid-set, And moulded in colossal calm. Regret is dead, but love is more Than in the summers that are flown, For I myself with these have grown To something greater than before; Which makes appear the songs I made As echoes out of weaker times, As half but idle brawling rhymes, The sport of random sun and shade. But where is she, the bridal flower, That must be made a wife ere noon? She enters, glowing like the moon Of Eden on its bridal bower: On me she bends her blissful eyes And then on thee; they meet thy look And brighten like the star that shook Betwixt the palms of paradise. O when her life was yet in bud, He too foretold the perfect rose. For thee she grew, for thee she grows For ever, and as fair as good. And thou art worthy; full of power; As gentle; liberal-minded, great, Consistent; wearing all that weight Of learning lightly like a flower. But now set out: the noon is near, And I must give away the bride; She fears not, or with thee beside And me behind her, will not fear. For I that danced her on my knee, That watched her on her nurse's arm, That shielded all her life from harm At last must part with her to thee; Now waiting to be made a wife, Her feet, my darling, on the dead Their pensive tablets round her head, And the most living words of life Breathed in her ear. The ring is on, The `wilt thou' answered, and again The `wilt thou' asked, till out of twain Her sweet "I will" has made you one. Now sign your names, which shall be read, Mute symbols of a joyful morn, By village eyes as yet unborn; The names are signed, and overhead Begins the clash and clang that tells The joy to every wandering breeze; The blind wall rocks, and on the trees The dead leaf trembles to the bells. O happy hour, and happier hours Await them. Many a merry face Salutes them -- maidens of the place, That pelt us in the porch with flowers. O happy hour, behold the bride With him to whom her hand I gave. They leave the porch, they pass the grave That has to-day its sunny side. To-day the grave is bright for me, For them the light of life increased, Who stay to share the morning feast, Who rest to-night beside the sea. Let all my genial spirits advance To meet and greet a whiter sun; My drooping memory will not shun The foaming grape of eastern France. It circles round, and fancy plays, And hearts are warmed and faces bloom, As drinking health to bride and groom We wish them store of happy days. Nor count me all to blame if I Conjecture of a stiller guest, Perchance, perchance, among the rest, And, tho' in silence, wishing joy. But they must go, the time draws on, And those white-favoured horses wait; They rise, but linger; it is late; Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone. A shade falls on us like the dark From little cloudlets on the grass, But sweeps away as out we pass To range the woods, to roam the park, Discussing how their courtship grew, And talk of others that are wed, And how she looked, and what he said, And back we come at fall of dew. Again the feast, the speech, the glee, The shade of passing thought, the wealth Of words and wit, the double health, The crowning cup, the three-times-three, And last the dance; -- till I retire: Dumb is that tower which spake so loud, And high in heaven the streaming cloud, And on the downs a rising fire: And rise, O moon, from yonder down, Till over down and over dale All night the shining vapour sail And pass the silent-lighted town, The white-faced halls, the glancing rills, And catch at every mountain head, And o'er the friths that branch and spread Their sleeping silver through the hills; And touch with shade the bridal doors, With tender gloom the roof, the wall; And breaking let the splendour fall To spangle all the happy shores By which they rest, and ocean sounds, And, star and system rolling past, A soul shall draw from out the vast And strike his being into bounds, And, moved through life of lower phase, Result in man, be born and think, And act and love, a closer link Betwixt us and the crowning race Of those that, eye to eye, shall look On knowledge; under whose command Is Earth and Earth's, and in their hand Is Nature like an open book; No longer half-akin to brute, For all we thought and loved and did, And hoped, and suffered, is but seed Of what in them is flower and fruit; Whereof the man, that with me trod This planet, was a noble type Appearing ere the times were ripe, That friend of mine who lives in God, That God, which ever lives and loves, One God, one law, one element, And one far-off divine event, To which the whole creation moves. Tennyson ~
...back to the young pilot killed in WW1, the following poem should be known by heart by every LGBT poet...
To a Friend
Thy voice, as tender as the light
That shivers low at eve –
Thy hair, where myriad flashes bright
Do in and outward weave –
Thy charms in their diversity
Half frighten and astonish me.
Thy hands, that move above the keys
With eager touch and swift –
Whereby thy mind, with magic ease
Doth into music drift –
They fill me with a strange delight
That doth defy expression quite.
Thine eyes, that hold a mirth subdued –
Like deep pools scattering fire –
Mine dare not meet them in their mood,
For fear of my desire,
Lest thou that secret do descry
Which evermore I must deny.
Thy very quiet dignity
Thy silence, too, I love –
Nay – thy light word is destiny
Decreed in spheres above –
My mind, my heart is bowed to thee,
And hard it is that I must flee.
Hard is a world that dare not give
For every love a place:
Hard is a power that bids us live
A life bereft of grace –
Hard, hard to lose thy figure dear,
My star and my religion here.
James Fenimore Cooper, II
"Hard is a world that dare not give for every love a place"
129. O living will that shalt endure When all that seems shall suffer shock, Rise in the spiritual rock, Flow through our deeds and make them pure, That we may lift from out of dust A voice as unto him that hears, A cry above the conquered years To one that with us works, and trust, With faith that comes of self-control, The truths that never can be proved Until we close with all we loved, And all we flow from, soul in soul. Tennyson
Please check it out
For the first week of August, Summer 2020 – Hell in a Handbasket will be available as a free downloadable e-book from Kindle and Amazon. Check out the link, and if you like the book, and/or think the work is important, tell your friends and family to hurry and get their own free copy.
This offer is available on all international Amazon sites as well; just search “AC Benus” on Amazon.co.UK, .DE, .FR, .JP, etc., etc., etc.
I downloaded your book. Stirring, your voice is heard loud and clear. Fitting for the times we're in. Congrats on publishing your work :).
@BDANRThank you for reading it, and encouraging me I'd be honored and grateful if you give the book 5 stars and repeat your comments above as a review on Amazon. Every little bit helps. Thanks again!
128. Thy voice is on the rolling air; I hear thee where the waters run; Thou standest in the rising sun, And in the setting thou art fair. What art thou then? I cannot guess; But though I seem in star and flower To feel thee some diffusive power, I do not therefore love thee less: My love involves the love before; My love is vaster passion now; Though mixed with God and Nature thou, I seem to love thee more and more. Far off thou art, but ever nigh; I have thee still, and I rejoice; I prosper, circled with thy voice; I shall not lose thee though I die. Tennyson
127. Dear friend, far off, my lost desire, So far, so near in woe and weal; O loved the most, when most I feel There is a lower and a higher; Known and unknown; human, divine; Sweet human hand and lips and eye; Dear heavenly friend that canst not die, Mine, mine, for ever, ever mine; Strange friend, past, present, and to be; Loved deeplier, darklier understood; Behold, I dream a dream of good, And mingle all the world with thee. Tennyson
126. The love that rose on stronger wings, Unpalsied when he met with Death, Is comrade of the lesser faith That sees the course of human things. No doubt vast eddies in the flood Of onward time shall yet be made, And throned races may degrade; Yet, O ye mysteries of good, Wild Hours that fly with Hope and Fear, If all your office had to do With old results that look like new; If this were all your mission here, To draw, to sheathe a useless sword, To fool the crowd with glorious lies, To cleave a creed in sects and cries, To change the bearing of a word, To shift an arbitrary power, To cramp the student at his desk, To make old bareness picturesque And tuft with grass a feudal tower; Why then my scorn might well descend On you and yours. I see in part That all, as in some piece of art, Is toil cöoperant to an end. Tennyson
Now we have parted, and the day
Brings not the hope of seeing thee
Now thou hast taken that dark way
That long I feared one thing I pray:
Forget me not!
By daylight and by moonlight grey
I swear I only think of thee;
And often stopping by the way
I say the things I did not say:
Forget me not!
Chide, upbraid me if thou wilt,
I’ll own my failings every one
Forswear the dreams that we have built --
I only ask to know my guilt
Forget me not!
Thy silence haunts me day by day
And whispereth that in thy joy
Of living, I am cast away
Yet once, O once, to thee I’ll say
Forget me not!
No. 125 speaks to our times directly, although it describes the beginning of the world-changing year of 1848. The "February Revolution" began in France, but by the end of the year, democracy movements had been initiated and quashed in a dozen European countries, including the UK, sadly. The brutal repression that followed, and the doubling down on "empire" by the people in charge, led one Women's Rights activist to mourn in this way: At the end of 1849 The bells resound mute at the end of a year, Which in these hard and baleful times of woe, Must escort German Freedom to the graveyard – Ah! All without hope for a change of fate. Imprisonment, exile or death – the tribute Of those who consigned themselves to the homeland, Who fought for rights and the union of people, That we might join together as a Nation. But still, but still – liberty cannot die In a people so willing to sacrifice, At least, not forever; not when it's ever-fresh. And even though hope for the seeds is withered – The ones we sowed – folks will inherit one day What we're fighting for and have not yet achieved. Louise Otto-Peters
125. And all is well, though faith and form Be sundered in the night of fear; Well roars the storm to those that hear A deeper voice across the storm, Proclaiming social truth shall spread, And justice, ev'n though thrice again The red fool-fury of the Seine Should pile her barricades with dead. But ill for him that wears a crown, And him, the lazar, in his rags: They tremble, the sustaining crags; The spires of ice are toppled down, And molten up, and roar in flood; The fortress crashes from on high, The brute earth lightens to the sky, And the great Aeon sinks in blood, And compassed by the fires of Hell; While thou, dear spirit, happy star, O'erlook'st the tumult from afar, And smilest, knowing all is well. Tennyson
124. Love is and was my Lord and King, And in his presence I attend To hear the tidings of my friend, Which every hour his couriers bring. Love is and was my King and Lord, And will be, though as yet I keep Within his court on earth, and sleep Encompassed by his faithful guard, And hear at times a sentinel Who moves about from place to place, And whispers to the worlds of space, In the deep night, that all is well. Tennyson