Wednesday, May 29, 2024 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Robert Williams Buchanan (1841 – 1901)

Scottish poet, novelist and dramatist.
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Robert Williams Buchanan
“O Balder, he who fashion’d us,
And bade us live and move,
Shall weave for Death’s sad heavenly hair
Immortal flowers of love.
“Ah! never fail’d my servant Death,
Whene’er I named his name,—
But at my bidding he hath flown
As swift as frost or flame.
“Yea, as a sleuth-hound tracks a man,
And finds his form, and springs,
So hath he hunted down the gods
As well as human things!
“Yet only thro’ the strength of Death
A god shall fall or rise —
A thousand lie on the cold snows,
Stone still, with marble eyes.
“But whosoe’er shall conquer Death,
Tho’ mortal man he be,
Shall in his season rise again,
And live, with thee, and me!
“And whosoe’er loves mortals most
Shall conquer Death the best,
Yea, whosoe’er grows beautiful
Shall grow divinely blest.”
The white Christ raised his shining face
To that still bright’ning sky.
“Only the beautiful shall abide,
Only the base shall die!”
Buchanan quotes
Believing hath a core of unbelieving.
Tho' the world could turn from you,
This, at least, I learn from you:
Beauty and Truth, tho' never found, are worthy to be sought,
The singer, upward-springing,
Is grander than his singing,
And tranquil self-sufficing joy illumes the dark of thought.
This, at least, you teach me,
In a revelation:
That gods still snatch, as worthy death, the soul in its aspiration.

Lo, the book I hold here,
In the city cold here !
Buchanan Robert Williams
Full of a sweet indifference.
Upward my face I turn to you,
I long for you, I yearn to you,
The spectral vision trances me to utt'rance wild and weak;
It is not that I mourn you,
To mourn you were to scorn you,
For you are one step nearer to the beauty singers seek.
But I want, and cannot see you,
I seek and cannot find you,
And, see! I touch the book of songs you tenderly left behind you!
Robert Williams Buchanan
I ask no more from mortals
Than your beautiful face implies,—
The beauty the artist beholding
Interprets and sanctifies.
Who says that men have fallen,
That life is wretched and rough?
I say, the world is lovely,
And that loveliness is enough.
So my doubting days are ended,
And the labour of life seems clear;
And life hums deeply around me,
Just like the murmur here,
And quickens the sense of living,
And shapes me for peace and storm,—
And dims my eyes with gladness
When it glides into colour and form!
Along the melting shores of earth
An emerald flame there ran,
Forest and field grew bright, and mirth
Gladdened the flocks of man.
Their hearts and sentiments were free, their appetites were hearty.
Buchanan Robert Williams
I saw the starry Tree
Put forth the blossom Time.
Robert Williams Buchanan
Even on the white English crags
A few strong spirits, in a race that binds
Its body in chains and calls them Liberty,
And calls each fresh link Progress, stood erect
With faces pale that hunger'd to the light.

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