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William Canton

The Inquisition

I Woke at dead of night;
The room was still as death;
All in the dark I saw a sight
Which made me catch my breath.

Although she slumbered near,
The silence hung so deep
I leaned above her crib to hear
If it were death or sleep.

As low—all quick—I leant,
Two large eyes thrust me back;
Dark eyes—too wise—which gazed intent;
Blue eyes transformed to black.

Heavens! how those steadfast eyes
Their eerie vigil kept!
Was this some angel in disguise
Who searched us while we slept;

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A Carol

This gospel sang the angels bright:
Lord Jhesu shall be born this night;
Born not in house nor yet in hall,
Wrapped not in purple nor in pall,
Rocked not in silver, neither gold;
This word the angels sang of old;
Nor christened with white wine nor red;
This word of old the angels said
Of Him which holdeth in His hand
The strong sea and green land.

This thrice and four times happy night—
These tidings sang the angels bright—
Forlorn, betwixen ear and horn,
A babe shall Jhesu Lord be born,
A weeping babe in all the cold;—
This word the angels sang of old—
And wisps of hay shall be his bed;
This word of old the angels said
Of Him which keepeth in His hand

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An Indian Cowrie

A GENTLE creature grew
Within this cell of pearly blue—
How many centuries ago
No seer can tell us. We can only know
It found life pleasant, moved, and took its ease
By palmy island shores in distant Indian seas.

The world has changed since then!
Tongues have died out; and tribes of men
Have clamoured, and have passed away,
Like crow-flights through the sunset of a day;
No pillar marks where gorgeous cities fell;
But this small speechless life hath left its storied shell.

What matters now to seek
How man in that dim dawn antique
First owned it; whether fisher spread
His snare of palm-tree leaves and baited thread,
Or leaf-girt negress, whistling in her speech,
Gathered an empty husk upon a tangled beach?

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poem by William Canton (1887)Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Veronica Serbanoiu
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