The Sunken Garden, and Other Poems by Walter de la Mare

bookshelves: autumn-2015, e-book, gutenberg-project, poetry, published-1917

Read on October 18, 2015
William Butler Yeats, Walter de la Mare by Lady Ottoline Morrell

THE SUNKEN GARDEN: Speak not—whisper not
THE RIDDLERS: ‘Thou Solitary!’ the Blackbird cried
MRS. GRUNDY: ‘Step very softly, sweet Quiet-foot
THE DARK HOUSE: See this house, how dark it is
MISTRESS FELL: ‘Whom seek you here, sweet Mistress Fell?’
THE STRANGER: In the woods as I did walk
THE FLIGHT: How do the days press on, and lay
THE REMONSTRANCE: I was at peace until you came
THE EXILE: I am that Adam who, with Snake for guest
EYES: O Strange Devices that alone divide
THE TRYST: Why in my heart, O grief
THE OLD MEN: Old and alone, sit we
THE FOOL’S SONG: Never, no, never, listen too long
THE DREAMER: O Thou who giving helm and sword
MOTLEY: Come, Death, have a word with thee
TO E. T.: 1917: You sleep too well—too far away
ALEXANDER: It was the great Alexander
FOR ALL THE GRIEF: For all the grief I have given with words
FAREWELL: When I lie where shades of darkness
CLEAR EYES: Clear eyes do dim at last
MUSIC: When Music sounds, gone is the earth I know
IN A CHURCHYARD: As children bidden to go to bed
TWO HOUSES: In the strange city of life


Here bloweth thyme and bergamot;
Softly on the evening hour,
Secret herbs their spices shower,
Dark-spiked rosemary and myrrh,
Lean-stalked, purple lavender;
Hides within her bosom, too,
All her sorrows, bitter rue.

Breathe not—trespass not;
Of this green and darkling spot,
Latticed from the moon’s beams,
Perchance a distant dreamer dreams;
Perchance upon its darkening air,
The unseen ghosts of children fare,
Faintly swinging, sway and sweep,
Like lovely sea-flowers in its deep;
While, unmoved, to watch and ward,
’Mid its gloom’d and daisied sward,
Stands with bowed and dewy head
That one little leaden Lad.

Although this is, it seems to me, the best time of year to read this collection, there is but the merest sniff of Hallowe’en. I should like to read his ghostly short stories.

Also, seeing as this collection was published in 1917, there is only the slightest of gunpowdered draft curling round the door, the nearest we get to see of that atrocious event is in ‘Mockery’, verse three:

They’re all at war!—
Yes, yes, their bodies go
’Neath burning sun and icy star
To chaunted songs of woe,
Dragging cold cannon through a mire
Of rain and blood and spouting fire,
The new moon glinting hard on eyes
Wide with insanities!

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