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Normale Version: Twilights of the Gods and the Folk (7)
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I

We nameless, that have labour'd in the dumb
patience of more than thousand years, whose task
what harvest claim'd our faith stay'd not to ask,
must all we perish ere the sabbath come?

The dawn was chill about our going forth
each morn, and black the earth in that damp hour
with presage of a ne'er-vouchsafed flower,
and bitter in our eyes the sleety north.

Harsh mother, thou hast drunk our soul unborn;
take now this outworn flesh and our despair:
within thy lap at least we shall not care

if here no grove of pillar'd arches warn
some wanderer above our moulder'd bones
how once we dream'd beside these uncouth stones.

II

Are ye indeed gone forth, and is your place
emptied of all that might whereby we held
our fields and home and faith derived of eld,
and whither now is turn'd your alter'd face?

The hearth-flame shakes and dies that once we bore
hither from altars of our happier sires;
now the young foe sows wide his ruin-fires:
the land is changed to know us never more.

The sword is vain, perish'd in age-long rust;
cover each head and wait by the dead flame
the ending of our tale upon this earth:

whom gather'd virtue of our darkling trust
hung stars, now war against their cherish'd name,
that this night's pyre release their phoenix-birth.

III

In that last fight upon the western hill
against the shifting face of elder ill
whence yet the horizon's daily passing bleeds,
hero, our hope that not in dusty needs
the breath should choke entrusted us to speak
some god in time, we watch'd thee strive and wreak
the deed of light, we trembling where we held
our humble tilths, and thee, that bulk compell'd,
high in the golden limbeck of the west
as whom the hour should momently invest
Hesperian, flesh exempt from blight and frost:
and the mount smoked and trembled, and thou wert lost.
Hero, alas, what traitor wind of fear
or mortal weariness of that dread sphere
touch'd thee and took, that we have never seen
thy glory, and our wintry musings ween
how somewhere lone thou art laid, untended, stark,
a naked corpse under the triumphing dark.

IIII

Night has resumed our hope: the fight is done,
and fall'n once more the high heart that dared to assume
a god for us; and few beside the tomb
we bend, of all the folk his love made one,

questioning the deep mind if fame, to have won,
had made so sacred evermore their doom
as night herself hath wed intemerate, whom
she spared the crown that brands the victor Hun.

She knows, the night with whom they lie, she knows:
and earth remembers when our unfaith grows;
each autumn of her dolorous year shall have

lost winds that sweep the obscure storm of our griefs
where drear hills hide the little folks, once brave,
and rain in the dark on mounds of all foil'd chiefs.

V

An iron folk, with iron hand, and hate
our welcome where we come; driven o'er the earth
in storm of conquest; venturing the salt firth;
homeless, the sword our bride, insatiate:

nor yet that we had sought to make us great
who had dwelt right fain in vales of love and mirth;
but thy dire hest summon'd us at our birth,
thy ministers of evil, consecrate:

thou torturer! to us no gentler god
than we were masters to those slaves; thy rod
was in our hands, but in our hearts the curse

rung back, this night, in mockery of our pangs
where o'er the void dismantled universe
the iron chamber of thine absence hangs.

VI

O sunk in surge of purple, it is told
how thy hot hand was heavy o'er the world,
belying the fair troth of thy impearl'd
Orient, and thy gracious van of gold:

and thee, once Moloch infamous or old
Kronos, who knows if ever, radiant-curl'd,
thou didst abash the chaos, seeing thee hurl'd
by crouching hate to join the sullen mould.

Now is the shrouded hour, and the gray mood
o'er the all-pervasive and vain grave may brood,
or yet again the circling torch begin,

if all the ends of hope in dawning eyes
be this, prestige of undecipher'd sin,
his grisly shade, gaunt upon vacant skies.

VII

O vanish'd star, fall'n flower, O god deceas'd
and deep in marble night sepulchred, where
rises the might that sank, disastrous flare,
in the agonizing dream thy latest priest?

Far hence in the awful vault another East
blossoms ecstatic rose and Eden air
is sweet on singing flesh that knows no share
in thy void grave whence all the springs have ceas'd.

Stars that with all our glory laden shift
aimless, what term is set unto this drift?
All dawns are spilt along the hopeless way,

and far the white hour when our darkling prayer
must be consumed and wrathful love shall slay:
— Ye are but jewels in her scatter'd hair.
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