Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Laurentian Lyrics

[inscribed] Presented to the Library of the University of Toronto, by Arthur S Bourinot, T15.

January, 1916.

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LAURENTIAN LYRICS

AND

OTHER POEMS

 

 

 

BY
ARTHUR S. BOURINOT

 

 

 


 

 

 

TORONTO
THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED
MCMXV
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Copyright, Canada, 1915, by THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED,
Toronto, Ontario.
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                                               “The drift of pinions, would we hearken, 
                                                Beat at our own clay-shuttered doors.”                                                                                         
                                                                                      Francis Thompson

 

 

 

TO MY MOTHER
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The following Poems have been previously published:

Dusk in the Laurentians, in the University Magazine. 
Absence, in the Canadian Magazine. 
To the Memory of Rupert Brooke, in the “Band of Purple.” 
Others have appeared in The Citizen, Ottawa, The Globe, Toronto, and The Mail and Empire, Toronto.

A.S.B.

 

 

 

Ottawa, December, 1915.

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CONTENTS

PAGE

Isles of Sunset

7

Dusk in the Laurentians

8

The World Awakes

9

Gypsy April

10

Summer

11

Absence

12

Evening in the Hills

13

Laurentian Roads

14

Dawn in May

15

Inadequacy

16

Star O’ the West

17

A Flower in the City Street

18

Autumn Leaves

19

Revery

20

Prospice

21

Immortality

22

The Harvest Wind

23

Immutability

24

To the Memory of Rupert Brooke

25

Revéille

26

To Italy

27

Dubiety

28

Returning

29

Realization

30

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ISLES OF SUNSET

O silent isles of sunset, 
Beyond the hills of dream, 
Set in a sea of crimson, 
I watch thy white sands gleam. 

The far off shores of twilight, 
’Midst ebbing tides of day, 
Shine like the dreams of boyhood
And like them pass away. 

Bright are the seas in splendor, 
Calm as the after life
My dreams lie in their beauty, 
Serene, untouched by strife. 

O silent isles of sunset, 
Beyond the hills of dream, 
When the last bird wings westward, 
Gone is thy golden gleam. [page 7]

DUSK IN THE LAURENTIANS

The hills stretch forth their strong, unwieldy arms, 
Browned i’ the heat of summer suns, to grasp
The robes of Day, enamoured of her charms; 
But jealous Night bends swiftly down and clasps 
Them to her breast, lets loose her raven locks, 
Laughing at Day, who blushes as she mocks. [page 8]

THE WORLD AWAKES

The world wakes from her sleep; 
The soft, sweet coverlet of white
Slips down her breast, to creep 
Where morning mists, as light
As visions, cloud the sea, 
And leaves her naked, land and tree. 

The Southern wind’s warm sigh
Arouses life, and at the dawn 
The birds, with joyous cry, 
Sweep past and on and on; 
Love stirs to touch the earth
With flowers, dreams and all new birth. [page 9]

GYPSY APRIL

Gypsy April
Came a-straying, 
Swiftly o’er the fields and hills; 
Gypsy April, came a-maying, 
Racing with the running rills. 

Gypsy April 
Kissed the tulips, 
Till they flushed a crimson flame; 
Gypsy April
Touched her red lips
With the flowers as she came. 

Gypsy April
Came a-straying, 
Tripping shod with sandals white; 
Gypsy April 
Came a-maying. 
With low laughter of delight. [page 10]

SUMMER

Thousands of yellow butterflies, 
    Are sailing in the sun, 
Winging where the meadow lies, 
    Fluttering one by one. 

The ripening fields are glowing, 
    Touched with the golden rod, 
And all the streams are flowing, 
    Hushed, murmuring of God. 

The flowers are drowsing, gleaming, 
    Tired of the sun above, 
And all the world is dreaming, 
    Dreaming of love. [page 11]

ABSENCE

I cannot rest, 
For the swallow’s flying, 
And blue-birds with saffroned breasts
Blue the lea; 
How can I rest?
Earth with night is lying, 
And the white star o’ the west
Guides to Thee. 

I cannot stay
While the winds are calling
And the wild, white horses play
O’er the sea; 
How can I stay
With the red leaves falling, 
And ways in their windings stray 
But to Thee? [page 12]

EVENING IN THE HILLS

The twilight dusk sinks on the earth 
To shroud the last faint flush of light 
Which blushes o’er the hills, at birth 
Of dark, and the lips of day, bright
To the last, grow pale with the kiss of night. 

Breath of the Maid O’ the Dusk blows
With the scent of the rose, and leaves
Whisper of love, while flowers close, 
Nodding their heads in sleep which weaves 
The web of rest and dreams to all bequeathes. [page 13]

LAURENTIAN ROADS

Sweet are the paths that the traveller treads, 
    O’er the Laurentian Hills, 
With a song in his heart the warm wind weds, 
    Life to live as he wills. 

Cool as the meadows by the winding ways, 
    Where Bob-O-Links take flight, 
And the uplands allure the sun’s last rays, 
    The Northern lights by night. 

Dark i’ the dusk when the night stills the wings, 
    The white moths flutter by, 
And under the stars the wayfarer sings
    Roving the hills on high. 

White are the ways o’ the wanderer’s home, 
    Hush where the tired heart stills;
O, I will return o’er the roads to roam 
    Through the Laurentian Hills. [page 14]

DAWN IN MAY

Scent of purple lilacs drifts 
Through the azured veil of dawn; 
Birds awake, while pale o’er lawn 
The sweet night flower no more lifts
Her head, and white moths slowly wing
To sleep and silence; but earth’s breast, 
Gemmed by the hands of morn, caressed
With sunbeams, glows with light to bring
The world from rest, sweet dreams and sleep, 
And all the earth resounds with song, 
Melodies the whole day long, 
Although the hearts of many weep. [page 15]

INADEQUACY

I cannot bring thee worldly things, 
Love with thy laughing lips, 
Only a little song that sings,
Blithe and free as it trips. 

I merely bring thee simple things, 
Love with thy smiling eyes, 
Dreams o’ the blue of blue birds’ wings, 
Only a rose that dies. [page 16]

STAR O’ THE WEST

Star O’ the West, White Star O’ the West, 
    Light of the ev’ning sky, 
Brighten the dark of the old hill’s breast, 
    Rise, for my love is nigh. 

Star O’ the West, White Star O’ the West, 
    Lamp of the crimson eve, 
Light the little bird safe to her nest, 
    Come, ere my love must leave. 

Star O’ the West, White Star O’ the West, 
    Donor of sleep and dreams, 
Shine o’er my love while her tired eyes rest, 
    Glow till the daylight gleams. [page 17]

A FLOWER IN THE CITY STREET

I found a flower in the city street, 
Crumpled and crushed it lay,
Trodden down by the careless feet
Of all who passed that way. 

Its color was not o’ the fairy green,
Grey was its gypsy face, 
But still it wore a wisp o’ sheen
The world could not efface. 

It fell like a gem from a woman’s breast, 
Loosed like a frightened thing,
And I recalled the haunting rest, 
Of meadows in the spring. 

I found a flower in the city street, 
With red heart crushed to grey,
And life to me seemed sweet, so sweet, 
Bright as the break of day. [page 18]

AUTUMN LEAVES

O sunset leaves of Autumn, 
Flushed by the frost’s first breath, 
Gone is thy green of summer, 
Glorious is thy death. 

O sweet thy birth in April, 
Bursting buds of the spring, 
But sweeter far the final, 
Last radiance you bring. [page 19]

REVERY

I rose from dreams of thy lost lips, 
While shy dawn smiled through leaves of trees, 
Gold where the dancing sunlight trips, 
And breathed o’ thee the wastrel breeze. 

I wandered through the fields of morn, 
Beneath the blue-eyed, laughing sky, 
But on the winds thy voice was borne
And in my dreams thou couldst not die. [page 20]

PROSPICE

Stars will still ope their eyes, 
Blinding the dark with bredes of trembling light, 
The star of love e’er rise
And beat alone, pulsating through the night
When we have passed away. 

Dawns will ensaffron earth, 
And butterflies go sailing o’er the land, 
While meadow-flow’rs in mirth, 
Will nod their heads, touched by the wind’s soft hand: 
But will we know always? [page 21]

IMMORTALITY

They are not dead, the soldier and the sailor, 
    Fallen for Freedom’s sake; 
They merely sleep with faces that are paler
    Until they wake. 

They will not weep, the mothers, in the years
    The future will decree;
For they have died that the battles and the tears
    Should cease to be. 

They will not die, the victorious and the slain, 
    Sleeping in foreign soil, 
They gave their lives, but to the world is the gain
    Of their sad toil. 

They are not dead, the soldier and the sailor, 
    Fallen for Freedom’s sake; 
They merely sleep with faces that are paler
    Until they wake. [page 22]

THE HARVEST WIND

Last night the wind swept swiftly o’er the fields, 
Where late the wheat swayed golden in the sun, 
And where no more the singing reaper wields
His scythe, for now the harvest toil is done. 

The wind stole quietly, but with chilling breath, 
And voice as seeking, seeking without end, 
And low, its murmur said, “I bring not Death 
But only sleep, the lover and the friend.” 

The wind swept past and onward o’er the hills, 
With restless pace, unwearying in its quest, 
And in my heart I felt the fear that stills, 
For swift I heard its beating in my breast. 

The whispering of strange voices filled the night;
I dreamed the dead were drifting on the wind, 
Returning to their land with hastening flight; 
And still I hear the words the wind’s voice dinned. [page 23]

IMMUTABILITY

Life, O life, thou hast immortal beauty, 
Reaching from birth to death and far beyond
To halcyon realms of earth’s eternity
Which man knows not till the last day has dawned. 
Silence of fields when verdant grasses sway, 
Bent i’ the wind laden with scent of rose, 
Or when the young-eyed spring will swiftly stray
Kissing the vernal buds which soon unclose; 
O loveliness of dawn and night who seeps
O’er the hills, her mantle drenched i’ the dews
Of Acheron, dewing the bloom which sleeps; 
You are the soul which earth shall never lose. 
Year after year snows clothe the gelid earth, 
But love n’er fails to rouse anew life’s birth. [page 24]

TO THE MEMORY OF RUPERT BROOKE

He loved to live his life with laughing lips, 
And ever with gold sunlight on his eyes, 
To dream on flowered uplands as they rise, 
O’er which the moon like burnished metal slips; 
To hear the gypsy song in sails of ships, 
And wander o’er the waves ’neath azure skies, 
Seeing the splendour of tired day which dies
And into lone oblivion slowly dips. 

But suddenly his country clashed in arms, 
And peace was crushed and trampled like pale bloom, 
Beneath the careless feet of man and beast,—
The world was turmoil, stirred from west to east, 
And song and gladness had no longer room, 
For drum and bugle called with loud alarms. [page 25]

REVEILLE

Slowly the sun rose like a ball of flame, 
Above the hills, hid in a mist of dream, 
And from the rows of round, white tents there came 
The murmur of men’s voices through the gleam
Of dawn, and then across the morning air
Swept the shrill bugle’s warning, waking sound, 
Drowning the dreams of men with clarion blare, 
And ush’ring them again into life’s round 
Of preparation for great Freedom’s cause, 
For which their hearts and strength are steeled and strong; 
All eager to uphold down-trodden laws, 
E’er rising to their tasks with laugh and song, 
And willing if the need should ever be, 
To give their lives, their all for Liberty. [page 26]

TO ITALY

(Before her entry into the war, May, 1915)

Italia where the might of Rome held sway, 
Crowned with grey olives ’midst the Appennines, 
Awake, arise, and seize the sword that shines
And gleams with lustre gained on Milan’s day,—
O strike the foe who ever blocked thy way,
Crushed out sweet freedom, filled thy heart with hate, 
Until all love and laughter left the gate, 
And then Mazzini came, who urged the fray. 

O, follow now the way Mazzini led, 
Patriot dreamer, exiled for his dreams; 
Let Cavour’s mem’ry fan thy wrath to flame 
And Garibaldi in famed shirt of red, 
Point out the path that ever onward gleams
And leads thy sons in arms to nobler fame. [page 27]

DUBIETY

I often wonder if, when I am dead, 
I’ll know that swift with full approaching dawn
The sun glides up with glory o’er her head, 
Spreading her golden tresses on the lawn; 
Or wading through broad lakes with sandalled feet, 
And scent of all the south winds in her hair, 
Caresses with ambrosial arms and sweet, 
The glowing waters laving limbs so fair; 
Or that dark woods will thrill to sad, far note
Of wakened thrush or straying owl of white, 
In seasons when the Indian pipe’s white throat
Is dimly seem amid the forest’s light; 
I often wonder if, when I am dead, 
I’ll know the flowers are waving overhead. [page 28]

RETURNING

I came once more ’midst the Laurentian Hills, 
Where love and I with laughter used to stray, 
And wandered o’er green uplands where life stills
And fauns and fairies dance at dying day. 
The pallid trilliums nodded fast asleep, 
With pale, white faces peering through the gloom; 
A sweet and subtle incense seemed to creep
Across the silence of the world’s broad room
And breath o’ dusk was sweet in lilac time
And dark, brown throated birds burst forth in song, 
While through the valley rang the evening chime, 
And little stars flowered the skies ere long; 
Dreaming, I trod the shadowed, dusty way; 
Alas, with dawn, my dreams were dimmed and grey. [page 29]

REALIZATION

I did not know that first time that we met, 
That in you I should find my life’s ideal, 
And that my heart should ever after feel
No sorrow in your presence, no regret;
For in the past I ever loved to let
Mine eyes find their delight where eagles wheel
Above the cliffs, seeing the slow night steal 
From deep abysmal caverns dewy wet. 

I loved the sun, the stars which strew the floor
Of night, the sweetness of gold summer fields, 
And incense which the twining wild flow’r yields, 
Till dreaming on the lintel of love’s door, 
I saw thee with thy down-fallen hair so sweet, 
And laid my love with longing at thy feet. [page 30]

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