Some Rizzio nightingale that plained adulterous love
Beneath the boudoir-bough of some fast-married bird,
Some dove that cooed to some one else's lawful dove,
And felt the dagger-beak pierce while his lady heard.
Then, maybe, dangling from thy gloomy gallows boughs,
A human corpse swings, mournful, rattling bones and chains—
His eighteenth century flesh hath fattened nineteenth century
Ghastly Æolian harp fingered of winds and rains.
Poor Rizpah comes to reap each newly-fallen bone
That once thrilled soft, a little limb, within her womb;
And mark yon alchemist, with zodiac-spangled zone,
Wrenching the mandrake root that fattens in the gloom.
So rounds thy day, from maiden morn to haunted night,
From larks and sunlit dreams to owl and gibbering ghost;
A catacomb of dark, a sponge of living light,
To the wide sea of air a green and welcome coast.
I seek a god, old tree: accept my worship, thou!
All other gods have failed me always in my need.
I hang my votive song beneath thy temple bough,
Unto thy strength I cry—Old monster, be my creed!
Give me to clasp this earth with feeding roots like thine,
To mount yon heaven with such star-aspiring head,
Fill full with sap and buds this shrunken life of mine,
And from my boughs O might such stalwart sons be shed!