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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1924

The Phoenician

The Phoenician

Far in the darkening East sinks Tyre o'er the shimmering waters:
Broken her towers, and bowed 'neath the proud Persian her locks.
Bent to the earth are her virgins, and naught the pride of her merchants;
Furled are her sails for aye, rent her benches and looms.
Into the West I bear me, that once was captain of thousands,
Now of forty the chief, fleeing in shame from the sword.
Naught but the loud wind claps in the shrouds, and the manes of our horses
Toss as they neigh to the foam, anxious, unsettled and strange.
Still is the moon, and the sky mocks the wild passionate ocean,
E'en as the mood of my heart frets at the calm of the gods.
Are ye laughing in scorn, that so ye tear your creation?
Her ye built in delight, child of all pleasure, our Tyre—
Lord of dangerous seas, and blood that throbbed at adventure,
Born to seek the unknown, build on all desolate coasts—
Her ye give to the bent-browed Cyrus, the lover of bowmen.
She is destroyed, my life! She is laid bare, my love!
Tyre! shall thy worthless sons bear naught of thee forth to the ocean,
Yet the blood of thy heart throbs in alien lands?
Tyre! wherever we sail thou art, thou proud one, not fallen,
Thou art not castles and towers, thou art our hearts and our souls.
Wide through the world we wander, and scatter thy restless endeavour,
Build we a little Tyre e'er when our foot shall tread earth;
E'en to the Blessed Isles sow we the seed of thy thirsting,
Seekers of farthest lands, of Ultima Thule the lords.
Never a lyre is wrung on the cliffs of ocean-kissed Hellas,
But the wild sound on the wind sings to the sailor at sea.
Never a fight is fought on the brow of the Asian mountains,
But with the milk of the bard suckles the warrior born.
Never a city dead, but her soul on the wings of the ages
Into the mouth of the new blows the great breath of the old.
Shout, for Tyre shall survive, and over the years that are dawning
Ever her spirit of quest run like a wind through the grass.
Shout, for the day that stirs is the child of the day that is waning,
She that is dead is born, Tyre, for the ages, Tyre!