Laurence Binyon.

b. 1869

915   Invocation to Youth

COME then, as ever, like the wind at morning!
  Joyous, O Youth, in the agàd world renew
Freshness to feel the eternities around it,
  Rain, stars and clouds, light and the sacred dew.
     The strong sun shines above thee:
     That strength, that radiance bring!
     If Winter come to Winter,
     When shall men hope for Spring?

916   O World, be Nobler

O WORLD, be nobler, for her sake!
If she but knew thee what thou art,
What wrongs are borne, what deeds are done
In thee, beneath thy daily sun,
  Know’st thou not that her tender heart
For pain and very shame would break?
O World, be nobler, for her sake!

917   The Statues

TARRY a moment, happy feet,
That to the sound of laughter glide!
O glad ones of the evening street,
Behold what forms are at your side!

You conquerors of the toilsome day
Pass by with laughter, labour done;
But these within their durance stay;
Their travail sleeps not with the sun.

They, like dim statues without end,
Their patient attitudes maintain;
Your triumphing bright course attend,
But from your eager ways abstain.

Now, if you chafe in secret thought,
A moment turn from light distress,
And see how Fate on these hath wrought,
Who yet so deeply acquiesce.

Behold them, stricken, silent, weak,
The maim’d, the mute, the halt, the blind,
Condemn’d amid defeat to seek
The thing which they shall never find.

They haunt the shadows of your ways
In masks of perishable mould:
Their souls a changing flesh arrays,
But they are changeless from of old.

Their lips repeat an empty call,
But silence wraps their thoughts around.
On them, like snow, the ages fall;
Time muffles all this transient sound.

When Shalmaneser pitch’d his tent
By Tigris, and his flag unfurl’d,
And forth his summons proudly sent
Into the new unconquer’d world;

Or when with spears Cambyses rode
Through Memphis and her bending slaves,
Or first the Tyrian gazed abroad
Upon the bright vast outer waves;

When sages, star-instructed men,
To the young glory of Babylon
Foreknew no ending; even then
Innumerable years had flown

Since first the chisel in her hand
Necessity, the sculptor, took,
And in her spacious meaning plann’d
These forms, and that eternal look;

These foreheads, moulded from afar,
These soft, unfathomable eyes,
Gazing from darkness, like a star;
These lips, whose grief is to be wise.

As from the mountain marble rude
The growing statue rises fair,
She from immortal patience hew’d
The limbs of ever-young despair.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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