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Sydney Wheeler Jephcott

Chaucer

O gracious morning eglantine,
Making the far old English ways divine!
Though from thy stock our mateless rose was bred,
Staining the world's skies with its red,
Our garden gives no scent so fresh as thine,
Sweet, thorny-seeming eglantine.

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A Fragment

But, under all, my heart believes the day
Was not diviner over Athens, nor
The West wind sweeter thro' the Cyclades
Than here and now; and from the altar of To-day
The eloquent, quick tongues of flame uprise
As fervid, if not unfaltering as of old,
And life atones with speed and plenitude
For coarser texture. Our poor present will,
Far in the brooding future, make a past
Full of the morning's music still, and starred
With great tears shining on the eyelids' eaves
Of our immortal faces yearning t'wards the sun.

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Home-Woe

The wreckage of some name-forgotten barque,
Half-buried by the dolorous shore;
Whereto the living waters never more
Their urgent billows pour;
But the salt spray can reach and cark --

So lies my spirit, lonely and forlorn,
On Being's strange and perilous strand.
And rusted sword and fleshless hand
Point from the smothering sand;
And anchor chainless and out-worn.

But o'er what Deep, unconquered and uncharted,
And steering by what vanished star;
And where my dim-imagined consorts are,
Or hidden harbour far,
From whence my sails, unblessed, departed,

Can memory, nor still intuition teach.
And so I watch with alien eyes

[...] Read more

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A Ballad of the Last King of Thule

There was a King of Thule
Whom a Witch-wife stole at birth;
In a country known but newly,
All under the dumb, huge Earth.

That King's in a Forest toiling;
And he never the green sward delves
But he sees all his green waves boiling
Over his sands and shelves;

In these sunsets vast and fiery,
In these dawns divine he sees
Hy-Brasil, Mannan and Eire,
And the Isle of Appletrees;

He watches, heart-still and breathless,
The clouds through the deep day trailing,
As the white-winged vessels gathered,
Into his harbours sailing;

[...] Read more

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White Paper

SNOWY-SMOOTH beneath the pen—
Richest field that iron ploughs,
Germinating thoughts of men,
Tho’ no heaven its rain allows.

There they ripen, thousand-fold;
And our spirits reap the corn,
In a day-long dream of gold—
Food for all the souls unborn.

Like the murmur of the earth,
When we listen stooping low,
Like sap singing nature’s mirth
Foaming up the trees that grow.

Evermore a subtle song
Sings the pen unto it, while
Fluid idea flows along,
Each new Era’s mother-Nile.

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Splitting

Morning.

Out from the hut at break of day,
And up the hills in the dawning grey;
With the young wind flowing
From the blue east, growing
Red with the white sun's ray!

Lone and clear as a deep-bright dream
Under mid-night's and mid-slumber's stream,
Up rises the mount against the sunrise shower,
Vast as a kingdom, fair as a flower:
O'er it doth the foam of foliage ream

In vivid softness serene,
Pearly-purple and marble green;
Clear in their mingling tinges,
Up away to the crest that fringes
Skies studded with cloud-crags sheen.

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The Dreamers

HAVE courage, O my comradry of dreamers!
All things, except mere Earth, are ours.
We pluck its passions for our flowers.
Dawn-dyed our great cloud-banners toss their streamers
Above its quaking tyrant-towers!
Making this stern grey planet shine with jewel-showers.

Our lives are mantled in forgotten glory,
Like trees that fringe yon dark hill-crest
Alight against the molten west.
The great night shuddering yields her stress of story—
The dreams that stir the past’s long rest—
Strange, scented night-winds sighing on our naked breast.

Through all the spirit’s spacious, secret regions—
By pathways we believed unknown—
Still thoughts immortal meet our own.
Ideas!—In innumerable legions!
Like summer’s stir in forests lone
Their various music merges in time’s monotone.

[...] Read more

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