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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review October 1907


page 58


"Vex not thou poet's mind,
For thou canst not fathom it."



The Enchantment of the Sea.

Have you heard the enchantment of the sea
When you leaned over your berippled boat,
And saw the clouds float in the water free,
And far below each seaweed on its cote,
Like bronze sheep pasturing upon the sand ?
The gurnard, mullet, barracouta, slid
Like zephyr on the reds and you were fanned
By thoughts that toil disdainfully had hid.
Was there a soul shut in the liquid shelves
Leaped to you in momentary wave,
Part of the dead, a replica of ourselves
Replenishing our spirit from the grave?
If air may hold the dead, shall not the sea
Carry within her bosom what has thrown
A glory on the past ? Oh, it may be
The billow lapsing to your eye has known
The last proud smile of mariner who probed
Far beyond knowledge. Fainter grew the sail
Nor ever rose again where sea is globed,
And visionary lies beyond the pale.
Yes, you shall find an exaltation here,
Borne from the slope of dark, sea-foundered ooze
Heroic leaping of the hearts by fear
Unclouded — shades of Falconer, Perouse,
page 59 Hast thou heard the enchantment of the sea ?
Forgetting all for her divine despair,
And bending so her sorrow is to thee
Like thy own mother's when her heart is bare.
Ah, lean unto the waters; they shall hold
One thought, one word, one secrecy devout;
That unto there never shall be told,
Which thou hast not thy kingdom full without.
Earth hath too many coves for one ear;
Some music still may sound for thee alone,
And thou that listens when the tide is clear
Beneath thy keel a listens when the tide is clear
Beneath thy keel a chanting may have known
That never moral heard. Thy soul may leap
Through harmony to mighty beings dead
The very moment the unhearing creep
Unconscious of thy music It is fled
A moment leather ! Thou hast this for prize,
Through all the dull, poor years that do remain;
The Time unveiling scrolled before thine eyes
The magic chancel where the dead were fain
To ope the font of their bright stream, to pour
Its crystal pureness unalloyed for thee.
Though it hath ceased for ever, evermore
Thou hast heard the enchantment of the sea!

Hubert Church.

A Leaf from a Fly-Book.

The king's road is a troublous summons calling day and day;
But my feet take the cocksfoot track—the easy vagrant way;
Beside the restless acres and the gold of noisy gorse,
The ripple lures its lover down the dazzle of its course.

It's speech is of the yellow reaches, rich with lurking joy;
The revel of the rapids, where gay life is death's decoy;
My heart is with the laughing lips; I follow up and down;
But follow not the king's white road toward the haste of town.

A foot, the wash of waders; and aloft, the haze-veiled blue,
The heart is needed nothing, so the cast fall clean and true.
O carol of the running reel, O flash of mottled back !
and who will take the king's white road, and who the cocksfoot track ?

page 60

The hour-glass fills with weather like a wine of slow content;
I throw the world behind me as a cartridge that is spent.
Then home by summer starlight bear my grass-cool, mottled load;
I quit pleasant cocksfood track; I take the king's white road.

Seaforth Mackenzie, in "New Zealand Verse."

"The word o the Poet by whom the depths of the world are stirred,
The music that robes it in language beneath and beyond the word."


Those Goodoldays.

Those Anglo-Saxon days are gone,
On Time's elusive courser,
When Hengest sang his warlike song,
And thereupon grew Horsa;
When men did nought but fight and drink,
And no one troubled much to think
With waes hail, drink hail, kisses three,
Ah, those were days for you and me.

'Twas stroke for stroke, and blow for blow,
Where takers vied with givers;
Then wholly non-existent fleets
Sailed non-existent rivers.
Then troop met troop in fierce campaign,
Till every single man was slain,
Yet ere another moon grew pale,
The dead came back to tell the tale.

Sensation had they, flesh and bone,
To test it no appliance;
Psychology was then unknown,
As séance or as science;
And Bells rang always true and sound,
And who was Stout was mostly round,
And Hunters hunted after rations
Far more substantial than sensations.

page 61

King Alfred of his "How to teach"
Was proud as festive peacock,
And heeded not at all the speech
Of any heathen Leacock,
And when the poor passed round their hats
All ostentations Plutocrats
(They saved their souls from pains and Furies)
Showed they had hearts as well as—breweries.

Their language then was not too nice,
A truth we shan't expand on;
It bore in fact a large spice
Of brandy than of Brandon.
Their learned men were scarce and few,
Nor were they overwhelmed with screw,
And who with bulging eye was after
A larger draft, was called a draughter.

But now thou hast made, bitter, Sweet,
Those days, with dull Selections,
And authors who were once complete
Come bobbing up in sections.
Ah, were those days but back again,
And could King Alfred rule again;
With waes hail, drink hail, kisses three,
Ah, those were days for you and me.

S. E.