The Moon Endureth by John Buchan - HTML preview

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From The Pentlands Looking North And South

Around my feet the clouds are drawn

In the cold mystery of the dawn;

No breezes cheer, no guests intrude

My mossy, mist-clad solitude;

When sudden down the steeps of sky

Flames a long, lightening wind.  On high

The steel-blue arch shines clear, and far,

In the low lands where cattle are,

Towns smoke.  And swift, a haze, a gleam,--

The Firth lies like a frozen stream,

Reddening with morn.  Tall spires of ships,

Like thorns about the harbour's lips,

Now shake faint canvas, now, asleep,

Their salt, uneasy slumbers keep;

While golden-grey, o'er kirk and wall,

Day wakes in the ancient capital. 


Before me lie the lists of strife,

The caravanserai of life,

Whence from the gates the merchants go

On the world's highways; to and fro

Sail laiden ships; and in the street

The lone foot-traveller shakes his feet,

And in some corner by the fire

Tells the old tale of heart's desire.

Thither from alien seas and skies

Comes the far-questioned merchandise:--

Wrought silks of Broussa, Mocha's ware

Brown-tinted, fragrant, and the rare

Thin perfumes that the rose's breath

Has sought, immortal in her death:

Gold, gems, and spice, and haply still

The red rough largess of the hill

Which takes the sun and bears the vines

Among the haunted Apennines.

And he who treads the cobbled street

To-day in the cold North may meet,

Come month, come year, the dusky East,

And share the Caliph's secret feast;

Or in the toil of wind and sun

Bear pilgrim-staff, forlorn, fordone,

Till o'er the steppe, athwart the sand

Gleam the far gates of Samarkand.

The ringing quay, the weathered face

Fair skies, dusk hands, the ocean race

The palm-girt isle, the frosty shore,

Gales and hot suns the wide world o'er

Grey North, red South, and burnished West

The goals of the old tireless quest,

Leap in the smoke, immortal, free,

Where shines yon morning fringe of sea

I turn, and lo! the moorlands high

Lie still and frigid to the sky.

The film of morn is silver-grey

On the young heather, and away,

Dim, distant, set in ribs of hill,

Green glens are shining, stream and mill,

Clachan and kirk and garden-ground,

All silent in the hush profound

Which haunts alone the hills' recess,

The antique home of quietness.

Nor to the folk can piper play

The tune of "Hills and Far Away,"

For they are with them.  Morn can fire

No peaks of weary heart's desire,

Nor the red sunset flame behind

Some ancient ridge of longing mind.

For Arcady is here, around,

In lilt of stream, in the clear sound

Of lark and moorbird, in the bold

Gay glamour of the evening gold,

And so the wheel of seasons moves

To kirk and market, to mild loves

And modest hates, and still the sight

Of brown kind faces, and when night

Draws dark around with age and fear

Theirs is the simple hope to cheer.--

A land of peace where lost romance

And ghostly shine of helm and lance

Still dwell by castled scarp and lea,

And the last homes of chivalry,

And the good fairy folk, my dear,

Who speak for cunning souls to hear,

In crook of glen and bower of hill

Sing of the Happy Ages still. 


O Thou to whom man's heart is known,

Grant me my morning orison.

Grant me the rover's path--to see

The dawn arise, the daylight flee,

In the far wastes of sand and sun!

Grant me with venturous heart to run

On the old highway, where in pain

And ecstasy man strives amain,

Conquers his fellows, or, too weak,

Finds the great rest that wanderers seek!

Grant me the joy of wind and brine,

The zest of food, the taste of wine,

The fighter's strength, the echoing strife

The high tumultuous lists of life--

May I ne'er lag, nor hapless fall,

Nor weary at the battle-call!...

But when the even brings surcease,

Grant me the happy moorland peace;

That in my heart's depth ever lie

That ancient land of heath and sky,

Where the old rhymes and stories fall

In kindly, soothing pastoral.

There in the hills grave silence lies,

And Death himself wears friendly guise

There be my lot, my twilight stage,

Dear city of my pilgrimage.