OF THIS edition of THE VALE OF LUXOR, by W. V. Newson, two hundred and fifty copies have been printed. This Chap-book is a product of The Ryerson Press, Toronto, Canada.
Copies of this Chap-book may be secured from the Ryerson Press, Toronto, and from Macrae Smith Company, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
Copyright, Canada, 1926
by The Ryerson Press
[inside front cover]
LIFE is full of surprises!
I thought I knew Mr. W. V. Newson, the dignified Deputy Treasurer of our Province, to whom we went when we had saved money enough to buy a bond. He has been one of the institutions of our Province, a solid rock of security—accessible, courteous, well-informed. But now we find that we did not know him at all—even those of us who went in and out of the same buiding, and saw him often. When we looked at that clear-cut, thoughtful face, we believed he was pondering on dull grey things like maturing bonds, Savings Certificates, and such—but now we know he was looking clear through these, down into the Vale of Luxor.
"Where gathered once the dynasties of eld Their precious baubles, beryl, chrysoprase, Bronze fibulae—an alabaster vase." A poet has waked with us, and we did not know it!
The most poignant poem in the collection, in my opinion, is the opening one, “To My Mother,” in which the poet sets apart a little room of memory in his heart for his mother, where he can always come and visit her.
"There immortal you will be Unpercieved by all but me."
Best of all, I like the poem entitled “The Workers,” in which the life of the bee is told in fragrant words that lilt and sing with languorous sweetness. It bears the mark of real genius, for it weaves a spell around the reader.
It is the poet’s mission to show us the beauty of common things—to mend the broken harp of life with the magic of beauty, and make it play once more, and to this Mr. Newson has made his contribution. We sincerely congratulate him and gratefully acknowledge that he has shown us bits of beauty that our dull eyes had not perceived.
NELLIE L. McCLUNG
Calgary, June 14th, 1926 [page 1]
The Vale of Luxor
By W. V. Newson
To my Mother—Elizabeth A. Newson
Ever, ever, do I find, In the runway of my mind, Every beaten path or new Hath its origin in you; Nor park nor pale of wonderland, But hath known thy guiding hand. Far along the Hesperian way, 'Twas yours to give and mine to play, Yours in faith to feel, and know, Mine to doubt, and learn, and grow. Ever, ever, Love will give Me a room where you will live, A room of memory sweet and true, Where I may come and visit you, There immortal, you will be, Unperceived by all but me.
The Eyes of a Child
Two little pools,—twin lily ponds, Demure and tranquil as the fronds, That smile in affluent bloom adorning The dear glades of youth's morning Till the first sorrows of the baby mind Ripple their tender blue, as a soft wind Dimples the sunny waters of a mere, Or shadows creep from nowhere unto here— But wondrous things those eyes can do To keep love awake in me and you! [page 2]
Alberta—Land of Sunshine
I stand on the brink of the prairie And the foot-hills roll at my fee; I'm proud of my towering mountain crags, My flowering wolds and my wheat. I've made a truce with Apollo; I've borrowed his golden bow; The lordly might of his shafts of light Are warm in the grain I grow. I hide in my breast my riches,— My coal and naphtha and mould, And power I store in a freshet's roar To pay me a million fold. I guard my gold in my rivers And placer it in my coulees; I hold in my hand a voluptuous land; I wear my dower of trees. This is the gift I offer,— This to the strong and the bold: I'm open to all who follow the call,— Alberta—the new and the old.
My river, dear dream river, Close thy brimming braes beside, Weary of the passing tide,— I ponder. Autumn leaves, sad Autumn leaves, From the forest falling low, Into my restless dream you go— Dream fodder! [page 3] Beaming star, far beaming star, Purple deeps of Winter's gloom Nightly do you lamps relum— Dream Giver! Spring days, O bright Spring days, Still my dream goes prattling by, Yet upon thy banks I lie,— And wonder.
“And the Power and the Glory”
Leave me not, O dread immortal Power! Though so vaguely near, I feel thy need yet nearer; I would not loose my hold upon Thee, Yet must Thou know how devoid I am Of Knwoledge,—how reason balks my will! Thou who are Infinite, forbear With those, who must foever grope In that dark solitude of night Where Thou art not— Ever pursuing a distant glory That men variously call God— A Being remote and cold Of unutterable magnitude— A Supernal Phantom O bid me learn no more Of Kingdoms vast, exalted Beyond all human splendour, But give me a home, near and warm, Where I may dwell with my Preceptor; Where are Honour, Beauty, Love; Where there is One Who takes me to Him Tired and worn, prepared to pass How eager to that haven! [page 4]
Heart of the Lotus
A Sub-Conscious Prayer
O sovereign-lord of my destiny, Eternal keeper of my innermost thoughts, Daily do I commit myself to thy keeping; Be receptive of the hopes of my conscious will When I repeat what I desire to be And to become; Upon my praying-wheel I interminably revolve My countless aspirations, but especially That I may be kept strong in honour, Free from all meanness, Eager in work and buoyant in play, And that the ending of each day May find me reasonably happy But not wholly satisfied,— To the end that I may exalt my character Beyond even the possibilities of my will.
Just One of God’s Moments
Just one of God's moments, O Mother of mine— Just one of God's moments 'Tween life and life, One goes, one lingers a trifle of years— It's a moment of God's divides us all. Just one of God's moments From babe to babe, Just one of God's moments 'Tween age and age, One goes, one lingers a trifle of years— It's a moment of God's divides us all. Just one of God's moments From babe to babe, Just one of God's moments 'Tween age and age, One lives, one loves, and flings onward the torch— How little the moment that God has given! Just one of God's moments— I laugh at time; Just one of God's moments For me and mine, Yet something within me will live for aye— And one of God's moments has passed this way. [page 5]
All that thou givest demandeth no return, For gratitude, youth, love—in sorrow, Have paid ever for their glad to-morrow; So, when thou receivest favour, learn That nought's expected, nought awaited By the big of heart, that find in giving Recompense in full that's ne'er belated; But you, to earn full measure in the living, Must give in turn—a kindly thought retold,— A loyal word, just when it's in season— Forbearance of betrayal—all these a thousand fol Repay the heart that gives without reason.
I sleep amid my myriad thoughts, Dreaming betimes, now sad, now rapturous, Till at last I wake and find you there Beckoning some strange, weird form of beauty Out of the vast infinitude of God Into my consciousness; See what a debt I owe to those Who talk with me, and rouse My languorous thoughts to conception,— Thoughts, that but for you and you Would sleep unborn, and Ever in eternal solitude lie Unwakened and adrift; So in my spirit's highest noon You woo them for their timeless swoon.
Two children hand in hand go by, They know not where, they know not why — Just looking for something, like you and I, A sombering gleam in the Western sky. [page 6] Many the hills to brave and breast, Children still—though far from nest, But ever remains the lure of the quest, The golden lure of the gleam in the West. Two little children, older grown, Still seeking the dream of the Great Unknown, Thro' widening eyes of a flower blown, But half of the glory of wonder flown.
There lay I dreaming deep within my chair, When you came by and gently laid my hand Warm in thine own—dear tendrils of command— And bade me rise—but first you kissed my hair, Then slowly to the window gravely drew, And pointing Westward to the prairie dim Showed me a filmy lake, just by its rim: Headlands out-jutting, bays of distant blue— All this discerned in evening's fleecy mure; As we in fancy ever first do hope, Or e'en portray the things we would make sure; And then, how often do our actions cope The dream that doth our deeds procure And doth prevent us in life's highest slope.
To you they go, These wayward, vagrant thoughts; Vibrant and yearning theeward They press on to enfold you; Musings oy-winged, sweet and true, Wooed into life by you; From some far-thought haven They bring their dear love burden, Nor need they be spoken— These thoughts from dream-clouds woven, But trip along from Soul of mine And find anchorage in thine. [page 7]
The Vale of Luxour
Here gathered once, the dynasties of eld Their precious baubles: beryl; chrysoprase; Bronze fibulae; an alabaster vase Dimly delined, that perfumed unguents held And queenly fingers dipped—how finely rich Against the velvet darkness of a niche,— Pure and complete! Unbroken crowns of light Lave round their form, as if to make Of beauty a caress and fondly shake Desire, unsurfeited, from the rapturous sight: What rare altars! What canopies of gold, Like veils of Isis, lifted fold on fold Display new mysteries! Petals of vast Ambrosial flowers, faded and hoar, On ancient thorns impaled, fragrant no more! What splendor of a King's immortal past, Now, peaceful in that inner crypt of his, At last is laid—a Pharaoh's chrysalis!
So came they here—their last pathetic way, Tyrants of creeds, and mystic formulae; And what avail their power, their panoply Of State, their pomp, their plaints of yesterday! Their titan tumuli of stone, stern, Majestic, rear their immemorial urn About them; cleft pilar and architrave And all the priestly trappings of their time That went with Death, or saw their spirit climb To Osiris, from mummy case and grave; Their dust embalmed—the least would Oros save In that great sepulchre of what he gave Posterity; nor his wanton stylus Weave all its story, save perhaps to trace The ever mortal strivings of a race For victory over time—his own papyrus; Thus all have passed, both their beliefs and they; Yet Truth, Beauty, Love will forever stay! [page 8]
Above its Parian plinth, an ivory shaft Empoised upon its airy pedestal The Cyprian King had built, his mind entrall To shape a form beyond the power of craft; By groves of Ilex and by grassy mead And azure fountain tinkling in the wind Fair Aphrodite came, intent to find A play for love, her warm and amorous need, Nor strove in vain, for lo! Pygmalion kneels Before the carven promise of a fair, His hand perfected and his souls inspired; Anon she seems to breathe, and now he feels Her strangely move, the fillet in her hair Encintured, falls,—she lives,—is his desired.
A rustic bench beneath an apple bough And blossoms pink and white to flaunt their lace Above us, while Althea's golden mace In silk corolla framed, now flicks the brow As if to keep the drowsy noon awake And opulently strews her waxen flake; And yellow banded messengers, o'er sees Of flowers, content and nectar laden, fleet Their busy way, on lighting board to meet, With bodies redolent of bloom and breeze Of summer; working, panting, palpitate, The narrow hiveway entrance, ventilate; While drones and robbers are by some expelled And some within, their precious burden store Or preen the pollen, mid the murmur'us roar From tawny leg, to frame and comb encelled And feed the Royal Nymphs;—Can it be Instinct and habit of heredity? [page 9]
Another note is heard, happy and clear. A quiet hum;—they dart against our face And tangle in our hair, scouting a place To swarm; the Royal bride to heaven near Her nuptial flight has taken; and now emerge The drones from apathy, and find their urge To soar the firmament, and seek their mate Whom strongest wings and bravest eyes will find, And finding her will die, and dying bind With one great moment of his envious fate A countless host of fellows yet unborn, To life and work and to the sunny morn. Now soon the lang'rous consort droops to earth— In garden falls and sits upon a frond Of fragrant brier, whom, lo! the workers fond, Espy, and gather round their queen in mirth And cover neighboring bole, and shrub and tree From chaos to cohere, around the mother bee.
And so fall pendulous, like autumn grapes, That mellow, bend the vine, their ripened blue Painting an arabesque, that holds them true; The keeper of the hives, the brindled shapes, Disclosed against their leafy resting-place His casual eye and calm and placid face, Perceiving, drapes a square of lawn beneath; Then straightway shakes them down, honey engorged, From hymeneal feast,—their temper forged To numbness, by satiety's relief; Lo! now to waiting hive the master takes The queen safe home; the mob to motion wakes And they become a moving, seething mass; But, what a sight!—They range themselves in ranks Like phalanxes of old: their tiny flanks Surmount the board: in martial order pass,— Sublimely brave, like legions of Rome, To claim their place in corridors of comb. [page 10]
To Rupert Brooke
Could earthly passion have inflamed a soul Like unto this or soiled the limpid deeps Of its imaginings—that like a spirit leaps From the unutterable void of Time, the Goal And Origin of all poor mortals! Wafted or winging through life's portals He came, too dear a thing for life And its mad dissonance and strife; Thoughts, fine, wondrous and perfumed, Came from the Infinite, to be relumed Into our being,—dim elusive shades Caught in immortal tracery that fades Faintly, like the slow disappearing breath Of an infant claimed by death.
An Exile’s Lament
Ere westering call of eve and shadow song And weary years have told their all to me, O to return, my Island home, to thee! To pastoral scenes where calm delights prolong Life's afternoon in lingering light, and glow Like some enchanting tale, whoe theme would keep The tired eyes wide, that else would gladly sleep, Or some sweet rime, whose tale is told full slow; There, in life's short evening, would I view Thy blossomed gardens, in their summer green, The sloping banks of dun against the blue; Now fade the purple shades upon the screen Softer than evening and leave me nought to fear— A slumbering child that knows its mother near.
By the Sea
How like a woman's smile you seem Glowing in sapient wonder—like a gleam Of gladness, far spreading o'er the mere, Sweetly at peace; till the soughing sere Of the wind gathers thy brow in wrinkles That an hour ago were dimples; [page 11] From thy log pavilion looking down I love to view the vagaries of thy frown And wonder will Apollo come To chase the scurrying shadows one by one Back from thy glory! What soft in-tuned story Breathes in the deep, And strives its mystery to keep!
The Call of the Plains
Dawn and the warm earth odours,— God! What a land! What a day! The hungering leap after winter's sleep, The pulse of the mead and the ley! The myriad darts of the morning Spraying the palpitant glebe, And a soul washed clean from the false and the mean In the glory of things to be. Far away, down by the marshes A familiar bruit and blare; You pause and hark to the distant bark!— Your lowly friend and a hare. So your plough pushes on in the furrow And you dream on your dawnward way While saffron flake and crimson lake Are tinting the portals of day. And this is the call of the prairie Just simple and sweet and gay, Over the hills and under the hills,— The call of the Plains—in May. [page 12]
The Ryerson Poetry Chap-Books
The Ryerson Press believes that lovers of poetry care more for poetry of high quality than for costly bindings.
Furthermore, we believe that the cause of Canadian poetry can best be served by enabling the author more frequently to reach his audience.
Finally, a chap-book necessitates careful discrimination by the poet, and hence the presentation of small and choice selections.
These chap-books will present significant little offerings by our older and younger poets.
|THE SWEET O’ THE YEAR.||By Chrles G. D. Roberts.|
|COMPANIONSHIP AND THE CROWD.||By W. H. F. Tenny.|
|FORFEIT AND OTHER POEMS.||By Kathryn Munro.|
|THE EAR TRUMPET.||By Annie C. Dalton.|
|A VALE IN LUXOR.||By W. V. Newson.|
|A POOL OF STARS.||By Lionel Stevenson.|
|SPRING IN SAVARY.||By Alice Brewer.|
|THE CAPTIVE GIPSY.||By Constance Davies-Woodrow.|
|THE LOST SHIPMATE.||By Theodore Goodridge Roberts.|
|WINDFALLS FOR CIDER.||By Raymond Knister.|
|SELECTED POEMS.||By Canon Frederick George Scott.|
|A BREATH OF THE WOODS.||By Lilian Leveridge.|
[inside back cover]