Now, who shall sing thine august, old desire ?
For fury of the song,
And not for any hire ?
What leagues of south, what vast of yearning north,
Unto the empty throng,
Like to a storm in spring shall drive him forth ?
Dawn is his cup; his vintage is the night;
He seeks of sky and clod ;
He houses with the height;
With Laughter wise, and yet hot with all Tears,
His word leaps up to God,
The searching, broken song of all the years.
The song of Sorrow gathering her sheaves ;
The song of them that sow
Under the village eaves ;
Of lovers musing in a land afar;
The song of great and low,
The rose, the worm, the tempest, and the star.
The song of Singers marching in their might
To viol and to horn,
Up to the gates of light;
Sooth as with honey, sharp as though with spears ;
Men hail the rousing morn ;
Archangels listen, bending low for tears.
He mixes with the folk upon the quay;
Churl is he and the sage ;
He knows the desert’s way ;
Want is his kin, and Doubt his foe to fight;
Stark hunger all his wage ;
The stars lean down and scoff him in the night.
Now drive him forth like to a storm in spring;
This is the hour of song,
And we would hear him sing ;
For some shall heed, and hold it unforgot,
And, by that memory strong,
Grasp at the wheeling suns and perish not.
Lizette Woodworth Reese.