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All Ye That Pass By

On the long dusty ribbon of the long city street,

The pageant of life is passing me on multitudinous feet,

With a word here of the hills, and a song there of the sea

And—the great movement changes—the pageant passes me.

Faces—passionate faces—of men I may not know,

They haunt me, burn me to the heart, as I turn aside to go:

The king's face and the cur's face, and the face of the stuffed swine,

They are passing, they are passing, their eyes look into mine.

I never can tire of the music of the noise of many feet,

The thrill of the blood pulsing, the tick of the heart's beat,

Of the men many as sands, of the squadrons ranked and massed

Who are passing, changing always, and never have changed or passed.


I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills

Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain:

I have seen the lady April bringing the daffodils,

Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea,

And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships;

But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me

Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

On Growing Old

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying;

My dog and I are old, too old for roving.

Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying,

Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.

I take the book and gather to the fire,

Turning old yellow leaves; minute by minute

The clock ticks to my heart. A withered wire,

Moves a thiun ghost of music in the spinet.

I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander

Your cornland, nor your hill-land, nor your valleys

Ever again, nore share the battle yonder

Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies.

Only stay quiet while my mind remembers

The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers.

Beauty, have pity! for the strong have power,

The rich their wealth, the beautiful their grace,

Summer of man its sunlight and its flower.

Spring-time of man, all April in a face.

Only, as in the jostling in the Strand,

Where the mob thrusts, or loiters, or is loud,

The beggar with the saucer in his hand

Asks only a penny from the passing crowd,

So, from this glittering world with all its fashion,

Its fire, and play of men, its stir, its march,

Let me have wisdom, Beauty, wisdom and passion,

Bread to the soul, rain when the summers parch.

Give me but these, and though the darkness close

Even the night will blossom as the rose.