Alone in lowly friendship

With the green grass and the sky.

He murmured ancient music

His red heart burned to sing

Because his perfect conquest

Had grown a weary thing.

No chant of gilded triumph --

His lonely song was made

Of Art's deliberate freedom;

Of minor chords arrayed

In soft and shadowy colors

That once were radiant flowers: --

The Rose of Sharon, bleeding

In Olive-shadowed bowers: --

And all the other roses

In the songs of East and West

Of love and war and worshipping,

And every shield and crest

Of thistle or of lotus

Or sacred lily wrought

In creeds and psalms and palaces

And temples of white thought: --

# To be read very softly, yet in spirited response. #

All these he sang, half-smiling

And weeping as he smiled,

Laughing, talking to his harp

As to a new-born child: --

As though the arts forgotten

But bloomed to prophecy

These careless, fearless harp-strings,

New-crying in the sky.

# To be sung. #

"When this his hour of sorrow

For flowers and Arts of men

Has passed in ghostly music,"

I asked my wild heart then --

What will he sing to-morrow,

What wonder, all his own

Alone, set free, rejoicing,

With a green hill for his throne?

What will he sing to-morrow

What wonder all his own

Alone, set free, rejoicing,

With a green hill for his throne?

Second Section

Incense

An Argument

I. The Voice of the Man Impatient with Visions and Utopias

We find your soft Utopias as white

As new-cut bread, and dull as life in cells,

O, scribes who dare forget how wild we are

How human breasts adore alarum bells.

You house us in a hive of prigs and saints

Communal, frugal, clean and chaste by law.

I'd rather brood in bloody Elsinore

Or be Lear's fool, straw-crowned amid the straw.

Promise us all our share in Agincourt

Say that our clerks shall venture scorns and death,

That future ant-hills will not be too good

For Henry Fifth, or Hotspur, or Macbeth.

Promise that through to-morrow's spirit-war

Man's deathless soul will hack and hew its way,

Each flaunting Caesar climbing to his fate

Scorning the utmost steps of yesterday.

Never a shallow jester any more!

Let not Jack Falstaff spill the ale in vain.

Let Touchstone set the fashions for the wise

And Ariel wreak his fancies through the rain.

II. The Rhymer's Reply. Incense and Splendor

Incense and Splendor haunt me as I go.

Though my good works have been, alas, too few,

Though I do naught, High Heaven comes down to me,

And future ages pass in tall review.

I see the years to come as armies vast,

Stalking tremendous through the fields of time.

MAN is unborn. To-morrow he is born,

Flame-like to hover o'er the moil and grime,

Striving, aspiring till the shame is gone,

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