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SACKVILLE-WEST, Vita



Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a religious fanatic, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity’s sake be it to the top of your bent — Live — live fully, live passionately, live disastrously if necessary. Live the gamut of human experiences, build, destroy, build up again! Live, let’s live, you and I — let’s live as none ever lived before, let’s explore and investigate, let’s tread fearlessly where even the most intrepid have faltered and held back!



Moonlight

What time the meanest brick and stone

Take on a beauty not their own,

And past the flaw of builded wood

Shines the intention whole and good,

And all the little homes of man

Rise to a dimmer, nobler span;

When colour's absence gives escape

To the deeper spirit of the shape,


-- Then earth's great architecture swells

Among her mountains and her fells

Under the moon to amplitude

Massive and primitive and rude:


-- Then do the clouds like silver flags

Stream out above the tattered crags,

And black and silver all the coast

Marshalls its hunched and rocky host,

And headlands striding sombrely

Buttress the land against the sea,

-- The darkened land, the brightening wave --

And moonlight slants through Merlin's cave.


The Land

Spring

......
Sometimes in apple country you may see
A ghostly orchard standing all in white,
Aisles of white trees, white branches, in the green,
On some still day when the year hangs between
Winter and spring, and heaven is full of light.
And rising from the ground pale clouds of smoke
Float through the trees and hang upon the air,
Trailing their wisps of blue like a swelled cloak
From the round cheeks of breezes. But though fair
To him who leans upon the gate to stare
And muse "How delicate in spring they be,
That mobled blossom and that wimpled tree,"
There is a purpose in the cloudy aisles
That took no thought of beauty for its care.
For here's the beauty of all country miles,
Their rolling pattern and their space:
That there's a reason for each changing square,
Here sleeping fallow, there a meadow mown,
All to their use ranged different each year,
The shaven grass, the gold, the brindled roan,
Not in some search for empty grace,
But fine through service and intent sincere.

…..
She walks in the loveliness she made,

Between the apple-blossom and the water--

She walks among the patterned pied brocade,

Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.

…..


Mariana In The North


All her youth is gone, her beautiful youth outworn,

Daughter of tarn and tor, the moors that were once her home

No longer know her step on the upland tracks forlorn

Where she was wont to roam.


All her hounds are dead, her beautiful hounds are dead,

That paced beside the hoofs of her high and nimble horse,

Or streaked in lean pursuit of the tawny hare that fled

Out of the yellow gorse.


All her lovers have passed, her beautiful lovers have passed,

The young and eager men that fought for her arrogant hand,

And the only voice which endures to mourn for her at the last

Is the voice of the lonely land.