D.J. at 40
I have heard sweeter voices :
Many the gentle murmur , the soft speech I have heard ;
But my hearing is well content , my heart rejoices
At the ring of her roughest word .
I have seen fairer faces :
Many the delicate pallor , the smooth cheek I have seen ;
But my sight retains an image my heart embraces
Of the lines where her smile has been .
I have known love worth taking :
Many the wilful conquest , the stolen joy I have known ;
But my mind would have me believe my heart is breaking
For her love , for her love alone .
23 May 1954
If but a wish could bring you to my arms ,
My honour would not bear
Without your free consent to wish you there :
If your consent were given .
Then without need to wish I were in heaven .
Why do I then repine
That I have not the power to wish you mine ?
If but a dream could make your love my own ,
I would not stoop so low
Without your knowledge to possess you so :
If once my dream you knew ,
Then without need to dream my dream were true .
Why do I then repine
That I have not the power to dream you mine ?
If but a call to me would pass your lips ,
My honour would allow
Without more thought that you should call me now :
If you would think one word
Then without need to call you should be heard :
Why else do I repine
That I have not the power to call you mine ?
22 May 1954
The Shepherd Swain
All in a morning of May ,
A rather bleak May morning ,
My friends and companions scorning ,
I wandered the woodland way :
That is to say
I lurked beneath the few trees yet remaining,
Because I had no hat , and it was raining .
The while I thought to frame a pastoral song
Tuned to the rude pipe of some rustic swain .
This did not take me long .
So sad my music , yet so sweet the strain
I could not choose but weep :
The sky wept with me in a swirl of rain
And by this sign I knew my song was good .
I thought to go and sing it to the sheep
So turned my collar up and left the wood ,
Skirted the meadow , plashed across the stream ,
And came upon them unexpectedly :
With moving mouths they stood ,
Their long mild faces all incurious ,
Like a row of American airmen chewing gum ;
They made me furious .
“Up , fleecy flock! ” said I , “The spring is come ,
Why do you loiter undirectedly ?
Shake off your sheepish dream .
Caper and prance and bound
(As Wordsworth bade you ) to the tabor’s sound !
Ah, let your guileless glee
A dumb rebuke , a fitting lesson be
To miserable me ,
Unhappy swain , sad shepherd that I am !”
They stood and gazed at me without reply .
I measured glances with the nearest lamb :
The first to blush was I .
[ 18 crossed out and 17 written above ]
18 May 1954