Alfred Noyes Poems Part 1

Alfred Noyes Poems Part 1,Alfred Noyes was an poet of English descent of some renown, publishing well-loved poems such as The Barrel Organ and The Highwayman.  The latter is a particular favourite, as illustrated in 1995 by a BBC nationwide poll to find Britain’s Favourite Poem and The Highwayman came in at Number 15.  Born in 1880 in the west midlands town of Wolverhampton, the family soon moved to the Welsh coast where Alfred’s father was a teacher of Greek as well as Latin.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems
The young, budding poet was inspired by the mountains and sea around Aberystwyth and his writing occupied much of his time, even when studying for a degree at Exeter College, based in Oxford.  He failed at the final hurdle here though, partly because he was discussing with his publisher about releasing his first book of poems when he should have been in college taking his finals.
The Loom of Years was that first collection and was published in 1902.  This was followed by a further five collections of poetry over the next 11 years, including the above mentioned Highwayman in 1906.  Epic pieces of work such as an account of Sir Francis Drake’s career which took up two hundred pages, was released in 1908 and 1906 (two separate volumes) and he followed this with a play called Sherwood which was re-written in later years and re-named Robin Hood.
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Alfred Noyes Poems Part 1

“In The Cool Of The Evening”

In the cool of the evening, when the low sweet whispers waken,
When the laborers turn them homeward, and the weary have their will,
When the censers of the roses o’er the forest aisles are shaken,
Is it but the wind that cometh o’er the far green hill?

For they say ’tis but the sunset winds that wander through the heather,
Rustle all the meadow-grass and bend the dewy fern;
They say ’tis but the winds that bow the reeds in prayer together,
And fill the shaken pools with fire along the shadowy burn.

In the beauty of the twilight, in the Garden that He loveth,
They have veiled His lovely vesture with the darkness of a name!
Through His Garden, through His Garden, it is but the wind that moveth,
No more! But O the miracle, the miracle is the same.

In the cool of the evening, when the sky is an old story,
Slowly dying, but remembered, ay, and loved with passion still . . .
Hush! . . . the fringes of His garment, in the fading golden glory
Softly rustling as He cometh o’er the far green hill.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

“When Spring Comes Back To England”

When Spring comes back to England
And crowns her brows with May,
Round the merry moonlit world
She goes the greenwood way:
She throws a rose to Italy,
A fleur-de-lys to France;
But round her regal morris-ring
The seas of England dance.When Spring comes back to England
And dons her robe of green,
There’s many a nation garlanded
But England is the Queen;
She’s Queen, she’s Queen of all the world
Beneath the laughing sky,
For the nations go a-Maying
When they hear the New Year cry -“Come over the water to England,
My old love, my new love,
Come over the water to England,
In showers of flowery rain;
Come over the water to England,
April, my true love;
And tell the heart of England
The Spring is here again!”
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

A Prayer in Time of War

The war will change many things in art and life, and among them, it is to be hoped, many of our own ideas as to what is, and what is not, “intellectual.”

Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known,
To-night a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting — at Thy Throne.

The towering Babels that we raised
Where scoffing sophists brawl,
The little Antichrists we praised —
The night is on them all.

The fool hath said . . . The fool hath said . ..
And we, who deemed him wise,
We who believed that Thou wast dead,
How should we seek Thine eyes?

How should we seek to Thee for power
Who scorned Thee yesterday?
How should we kneel, in this dread hour?
Lord, teach us how to pray!

Grant us the single heart, once more,
That mocks no sacred thing,
The Sword of Truth our fathers wore
When Thou wast Lord and King.

Let darkness unto darkness tell
Our deep unspoken prayer,
For, while our souls in darkness dwell,
We know that Thou art there.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

A Song of Sherwood

Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,
Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon,
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.Merry, merry England is waking as of old,
With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold:
For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Love is in the greenwood building him a house
Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs:
Love is in the greenwood, dawn is in the skies,
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.

Hark! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep!
Marian is waiting: is Robin Hood asleep?
Round the fairy grass-rings frolic elf and fay,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Oberon, Oberon, rake away the gold,
Rake away the red leaves, roll away the mould,
Rake away the gold leaves, roll away the red,
And wake Will Scarlett from his leafy forest bed.

Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together
With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather.
The dead are coming back again, the years are rolled away
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Softly over Sherwood the south wind blows.
All the heart of England his in every rose
Hears across the greenwood the sunny whisper leap,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Hark, the voice of England wakes him as of old
And, shattering the silence with a cry of brighter gold
Bugles in the greenwood echo from the steep,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Where the deer are gliding down the shadowy glen
All across the glades of fern he calls his merry men–
Doublets of the Lincoln green glancing through the May
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day–

Calls them and they answer: from aisles of oak and ash
Rings the Follow! Follow! and the boughs begin to crash,
The ferns begin to flutter and the flowers begin to fly,
And through the crimson dawning the robber band goes by.

Robin! Robin! Robin! All his merry thieves
Answer as the bugle-note shivers through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Art, The Herald

I

Yes! Beauty still rebels!
Our dreams like clouds disperse:
She dwells
In agate, marble, verse.

No false constraint be thine!
But, for right walking, choose
The fine,
The strict cothurnus, Muse.

Vainly ye seek to escape
The toil! The yielding phrase
Ye shape
Is clay, not chrysoprase.

And all in vain ye scorn
That seeming ease which ne’er
Was born
Of aught but love and care.

Take up the sculptor’s tool!
Recall the gods that die
To rule
In Parian o’er the sky.

II

Poet, let passion sleep
Till with the cosmic rhyme
You keep
Eternal tone and time,

By rule of hour and flower,
By strength of stern restraint
And power
To fail and not to faint.

The task is hard to learn
While all the songs of Spring
Return
Along the blood and sing.

Yet hear—from her deep skies,
How Art, for all your pain,
Still cries
Ye must be born again!

Reject the wreath of rose,
Take up the crown of thorn
That shows
To-night a child is born.

The far immortal face
In chosen onyx fine
Enchase,
Delicate line by line.

Strive with Carrara, fight
With Parian, till there steal
To light
Apollo’s pure profile.

Set the great lucid form
Free from its marble tomb
To storm
The heights of death and doom.

Take up the sculptor’s tool!
Recall the gods that die
To rule
In Parian o’er the sky.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Daddy Fell into the Pond

Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And there seemed to be nothing beyond,
THEN
Daddy fell into the pond!And everyone’s face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
“Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He’s crawling out of the duckweed.”
Click!Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft
And is sounded as if the old drake laughed.
O, there wasn’t a thing that didn’t respond
WHEN
Daddy fell into the pond!
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Epilogue

Carol, every violet has
Heaven for a looking-glass!Every little valley lies
Under many-clouded skies;
Every little cottage stands
Girt about with boundless lands.
Every little glimmering pond
Claims the mighty shores beyond—
Shores no seamen ever hailed,
Seas no ship has ever sailed.All the shores when day is done
Fade into the setting sun,
So the story tries to teach
More than can be told in speech.Beauty is a fading flower,
Truth is but a wizard’s tower,
Where a solemn death-bell tolls,
And a forest round it rolls.

We have come by curious ways
To the light that holds the days;
We have sought in haunts of fear
For that all-enfolding sphere:
And lo! it was not far, but near.
We have found, O foolish-fond,
The shore that has no shore beyond.

Deep in every heart it lies
With its untranscended skies;
For what heaven should bend above
Hearts that own the heaven of love?

Carol, Carol, we have come
Back to heaven, back to home.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Kilmeny (A Song of the Trawlers)

Dark, dark, lay the drifters, against the red west,
As they shot their long meshes of steel overside;
And the oily green waters were rocking to rest
When Kilmeny went out, at the turn of the tide.
And nobody knew where that lassie would roam,
For the magic that called her was tapping unseen.
It was well nigh a week ere Kilmeny came home,
And nobody knew hwere Kilmeny had been.She’d a gun at her bow that was Newcastle’s best,
And a gun at her stern that was fresh from the Clyde,
And a secret her skipper had never confessed,
Not even at dawn, to his newly wed bride;
And a wireless that whispered above like a gnome,
The laughter of London, the boasts of Berlin.
O, it may have been mermaids that lured her from home,
But nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.It was dark when Kilmeny came home from her quest,
With her bridge dabbled red where her skipper had died;
But she moved like a bride with a rose at her breast;
And “Well done,Kilmeny!” the admiral cried.
Now at sixty-four fathom a conger may come,
And nose at the bones of a drowned submarine;
But late in the evening Kilmeny came home,
And nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.There’s a wandering shadow that stares at the foam,
Though they sing all night to old England, their queen,
Late, late in the evening Kilmeny came home,
And nobody knew where Kilmeny had been.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Princeton, May, 1917

Here Freedom stood by slaughtered friend and foe,
And, ere the wrath paled or that sunset died,
Looked through the ages; then, with eyes aglow,
Laid them to wait that future, side by side.(Lines for a monument to the American and British soldiers of the Revolutionary War who fell on the Princeton battlefield and were buried in one grave.)Now lamp-lit gardens in the blue dusk shine
Through dogwood, red and white;
And round the gray quadrangles, line by line,
The windows fill with light,
Where Princeton calls to Magdalen, tower to tower,
Twin lanthorns of the law;
And those cream-white magnolia boughs embower
The halls of “Old Nassau.”The dark bronze tigers crouch on either side
Where redcoats used to pass;
And round the bird-loved house where Mercer died,
And violets dusk the grass,
By Stony Brook that ran so red of old,
But sings of friendship now,
To feed the old enemy’s harvest fifty-fold
The green earth takes the plow.

Through this May night, if one great ghost should stray
With deep remembering eyes,
Where that old meadow of battle smiles away
Its blood-stained memories,
If Washington should walk, where friend and foe
Sleep and forget the past,
Be sure his unquenched heart would leap to know
Their souls are linked at last.

Be sure he walks, in shadowy buff and blue,
Where those dim lilacs wave.
He bends his head to bless, as dreams come true,
The promise of that grave;
Then, with a vaster hope than thought can scan,
Touching his ancient sword,
Prays for that mightier realm of God in man:
“Hasten thy kingdom, Lord.

“Land of our hope, land of the singing stars,
Type of the world to be,
The vision of a world set free from wars
Takes life, takes form from thee;
Where all the jarring nations of this earth,
Beneath the all-blessing sun,
Bring the new music of mankind to birth,
And make the whole world one.”

And those old comrades rise around him there,
Old foemen, side by side,
With eyes like stars upon the brave night air,
And young as when they died,
To hear your bells, O beautiful Princeton towers,
Ring for the world’s release.
They see you piercing like gray swords through flowers,
And smile, from souls at peace.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Resurrection

Once more I hear the everlasting sea
Breathing beneath the mountain’s fragrant
breast,
Come unto Me, come unto Me,
And I will give you rest.We have destroyed the Temple and in three days
He hath rebuilt it — all things are made new:
And hark what wild throats pour His praise
Beneath the boundless blue.We plucked down all His altars, cried aloud
And gashed ourselves for little gods of clay!
Yon floating cloud was but a cloud,
The May no more than May.We plucked down all His altars, left not one
Save where, perchance (and ah, the joy was fleet),
We laid our garlands in the sun
At the white Sea-born’s feet.

We plucked down all His altars, not to make
The small praise greater, but the great praise less,
We sealed all fountains where the soul could slake
Its thirst and weariness.

“Love” was too small, too human to be found
In that transcendent source whence love was
born:
We talked of “forces”: heaven was crowned
With philosophic thorn.

“Your God is in your image,” we cried, but O,
‘Twas only man’s own deepest heart ye gave,
Knowing that He transcended all ye know,
While — we dug His grave.

Denied Him even the crown on our own brow,
E’en these poor symbols of His loftier reign,
Levelled His Temple with the dust, and now
He is risen, He is risen again,

Risen, like this resurrection of the year,
This grand ascension of the choral spring,
Which those harp-crowded heavens bend to hear
And meet upon the wing.

“He is dead,” we cried, and even amid that gloom
The wintry veil was rent! The new-born day
Showed us the Angel seated in the tomb
And the stone rolled away.

It is the hour! We challenge heaven above
Now, to deny our slight ephemeral breath
Joy, anguish, and that everlasting love
Which triumphs over death.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Shadows on the Down

When daffodils danced in Chuck Hatch, and white clouds
Drew their own shadowy purple across the hills,
Darkening the valley where the small flint church
The Saxon built stood roofless to the sun,
Believe me, Memory, it was not a shadow!
No shadow of a cloud you saw that day
Flowing across the smooth deep-breasted downs,
But something darker, sweeter,–the wild thyme
Of Sussex, flowing like a river of joy
That tossed a hundred skylarks up.
No shadow,
Believe me, Memory, but the purple thyme
Flowing by windmill and by wattled fold
On to the white chalk coast and sparkling sea.
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Shakespeare’s Kingdom

When Shakespeare came to London
He met no shouting throngs;
He carried in his knapsack
A scroll of quiet songs.No proud heraldic trumpet
Acclaimed him on his way;
Their court and camp have perished;
The songs live on for ay.Nobody saw or heard them,
But, all around him there,
Spirits of light and music
Went treading the April air.He passed like any pedlar,
Yet he had wealth untold.
The galleons of th’ armada
Could not contain his gold.

The kings rode on to darkness.
In England’s conquering hour,
Unseen arrived her splendour;
Unknown, her conquering power.

Song

I came to the door of the House of Love
And knocked as the starry night went by;
And my true love cried “Who knocks?” and I said
“It is I.”And Love looked down from a lattice above
Where the roses were dry as the lips of the dead:
“There is not room in the House of Love
For you both,” he said.I plucked a leaf from the porch and crept
Away through a desert of scoffs and scorns
To a lonely place where I prayed and wept
And wove me a crown of thorns.I came once more to the House of Love
And knocked, ah, softly and wistfully,
And my true love cried “Who knocks?” and I said
“None now but thee.”

And the great doors opened wide apart
And a voice rang out from a glory of light,
“Make room, make room for a faithful heart
In the House of Love, to-night.”

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Barrel-Organ

There’s a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
In the City as the sun sinks low;
And the music’s not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
And fulfilled it with the sunset glow;
And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light;
And they’ve given it a glory and a part to play again
In the Symphony that rules the day and night.And now it’s marching onward through the realms of old romance,
And trolling out a fond familiar tune,
And now it’s roaring cannon down to fight the King of France,
And now it’s prattling softly to the moon.
And all around the organ there’s a sea without a shore
Of human joys and wonders and regrets;
To remember and to recompense the music evermore
For what the cold machinery forgets…Yes; as the music changes,
Like a prismatic glass,
It takes the light and ranges
Through all the moods that pass;
Dissects the common carnival
Of passions and regrets,
And gives the world a glimpse of all
The colours it forgets.And there La Traviata sighs
Another sadder song;
And there Il Trovatore cries
A tale of deeper wrong;
And bolder knights to battle go
With sword and shield and lance,
Than ever here on earth below
Have whirled into–a dance!–

Go down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn’t far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer’s wonderland;
Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn’t far from London!)

The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume,
The cherry-trees are seas of bloom (and oh, so near to London!)
And there they say, when dawn is high and all the world’s a blaze of sky
The cuckoo, though he’s very shy, will sing a song for London.

The nightingale is rather rare and yet they say you’ll hear him there
At Kew, at Kew in lilac-time (and oh, so near to London!)
The linnet and the throstle, too, and after dark the long halloo
And golden-eyed tu-whit, tu-whoo of owls that ogle London.

For Noah hardly knew a bird of any kind that isn’t heard
At Kew, at Kew in lilac-time (and oh, so near to London!)
And when the rose begins to pout and all the chestnut spires are out
You’ll hear the rest without a doubt, all chorusing for London:–

Come down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn’t far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer’s wonderland;
Come down to Kew in lilac-time (is isn’t far from London!)

And then the troubadour begins to thrill the golden street,
In the city as the sun sinks low;
And in all the gaudy busses there are scores of weary feet
Marking time, sweet time, with a dull mechanic beat,
And a thousand hearts are plunging to a love they’ll never meet,
Through the meadows of the sunset, through the poppies and the wheat,
In the land where the dead dreams go.

Verdi, Verdi, when you wrote Il Trovatore did you dream
Of the City when the sun sinks low,
Of the organ and the monkey and the many-coloured stream
On the Piccadilly pavement, of the myriad eyes that seem
To be litten for a moment with a wild Italian gleam
As A che la morte parodies the world’s eternal theme
And pulses with the sunset-glow?

There’s a thief, perhaps, that listens with a face of frozen stone
In the City as the sun sinks low;
There’s a portly man of business with a balance of his own,
There’s a clerk and there’s a butcher of a soft reposeful tone,
And they’re all of them returning to the heavens they have known:
They are crammed and jammed in busses and–they’re each of them alone
In the land where the dead dreams go.

There’s a labourer that listens to the voices of the dead
In the City as the sun sinks low;
And his hand begins to tremble and his face is rather red
As he sees a loafer watching him and–there he turns his head
And stares into the sunset where his April love is fled,
For he hears her softly singing and his lonely soul is led
Through the land where the dead dreams go…

There’s a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
In the City as the sun sinks low;
Though the music’s only Verdi there’s a world to make it sweet
Just as yonder yellow sunset where the earth and heaven meet
Mellows all the sooty City! Hark, a hundred thousand feet
Are marching on to glory through the poppies and the wheat
In the land where the dead dreams go.

So it’s Jeremiah, Jeremiah,
What have you to say
When you meet the garland girls
Tripping on their way?
All around my gala hat
I wear a wreath of roses
(A long and lonely year it is
I’ve waited for the May!)
If any one should ask you,
The reason why I wear it is–
My own love, my true love is coming home to-day.

And it’s buy a bunch of violets for the lady
(It’s lilac-time in London; it’s lilac-time in London!)
Buy a bunch of violets for the lady;
While the sky burns blue above:

On the other side the street you’ll find it shady
(It’s lilac-time in London; it’s lilac-time in London!)
But buy a bunch of violets for the lady,
And tell her she’s your own true love.

There’s a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
In the City as the sun sinks glittering and slow;
And the music’s not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
And enriched it with the harmonies that make a song complete
In the deeper heavens of music where the night and morning meet,
As it dies into the sunset glow;

And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light,
And they’ve given it a glory and a part to play again
In the Symphony that rules the day and night.

And there, as the music changes,
The song runs round again;
Once more it turns and ranges
Through all its joy and pain:
Dissects the common carnival
Of passions and regrets;
And the wheeling world remembers all
The wheeling song forgets.

Once more La Traviata sighs
Another sadder song:
Once more Il Trovatore cries
A tale of deeper wrong;
Once more the knights to battle go
With sword and shield and lance
Till once, once more, the shattered foe
Has whirled into–a dance!

Come down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn’t far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with Love in summer’s wonderland,
Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn’t far from London!)

Leave a Comment