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WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT.
Please write to Ireland, mister,
Jist a little, little bit, And ask if Mis' Maloney
Is alive, and if she's writ. Say, since the dreadful famine
That my heart has been like lead, Say “write to your son Patrick,
If it's thrue that you are dead."
WLERID SCAWEN BLUNT was born at
How nice it is when men must rave
How nice it is!
A man can't always feel the same; To think he must is quite a shame. Then what's to do, I'd like to know, But go right to his wife and blow!
How nice it is!
It wouldn't do to use men so;
How nice it is!
How nice it is!
TILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT was bor at
Crabbet ‘Park, Crawley, Sussex, in the year 1840. Educated at Stoneyhurst and St. Mary's College, Oscot, he entered the diplomatic service, and acted as attaché to British embassies at various European courts from 1858 to 1869, in which latter year he married Lady Anne Isabella Noel, daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and grand-daughter of Lord Byron. Leaving the diplomatic service, Mr. Blunt now devoted himself to travel in Spain, Algiers, Egypt, the Holy Land, Mesopotamia, and the Syrian Desert. A result of these travels was Lady Anne Blunt's “Bedouins of the Euphrates.” Mr. Blunt then visited Arabia, and published “The Future of Islam,” after which he returned to Egypt and championed the cause Arabi Pasha. It was at this time that his name came prominently before the public, and in this connection that he published “ The Wind and the Whirlwind.” During the Egyptian war he was much abused for want of patriotism, and for love of disorder and vanity. Lord Houghton used to say, “The fellow knows he has a handsome head, and wants it to be seen on Temple Bar.” His reputation as the writer of lovesonnets scarcely helped him in this connection. People would not believe that a love poet could be a serious politician. After the war, when Arabi was in prison, and apparently on the eve of execution, Mr. Blunt sent counsel from England to defend him, taking upon himself the whole expense of the defence. Mr. Blunt's early education in a strict Catholic school, and the subsequent reaction, are described in one of his prose works, “Proteus and Amadeus,” (1878). His mind regained its faith and reverence while living amongst the Arab tribes of the East, and a feeling of gratitude to them was mixed with his natural sympathy for oppressed nationalities.
This same sympathy for a national cause sent him to Ireland, where he took part in a prohibited meeting at Woodford, and did not shrink from the consequences for his defiance of what he believed to be unjust laws. He claims the honor of having been the first Englishman put in prison for the sake of Ireland. He spent two months in Galway and Kilmainham gaols, where most of the “In Vinculis” sonnets were written. Galway was made tolerable by the friendliness of the warders and of the visiting justices, who were won by his personal charm and his cheerful acquiescence in the prison rules. He daily went through his task of picking oakum, and was far from shrinking from the prison dress.
Mr. Blunt's contributions to poetic literature are
Of course we didn't court 'em so;
How nice it is!
THE PATHOS OF THE PAST.
We stand and look the ages in the face,
The gaunt, worn ages that will ever be. 'Mid proud, majestic lines we yet can trace
The pathos of the past; as plainly see The sacrificial waste of blood and race
For us. They for us. For unborn races we. While we have lights set all along the way,
Their past in thick tradition folds was hid, Though in each soul there gleamed one forceful ray,
They knew not why it gleamed, nor why it chid Their evil deeds. But we know and see to-day
That when He said, they knew not what they did, Forgiven were the people of the past,
While time was set to bring the Good at last.
“Sonnets and Songs,” (1875); “The Love-Sonnets See, I have worn no other ring but this ! of Proteus,” (1881); “The Wind and the Whirl- -Why dost thou look at me with eyes estranged? wind,” (1883); “In Vinculis,” (1889); “The New Is it not thine?-Ah, God! thou readest right! Pilgrimage,” (1889.) The “Love-Sonnets of Pro- And it is changed, and thou and I are changed, teus" are dedicated to Lord Lytton, who was the And I have written there another name. first to tell Mr. Blunt, when they were in the diplomatic service together, that he was a poet.
An Oh happiness, how has it slipped away! article by Lord Lytton in the Nineteenth Century, We who once lived and held it in our hand! November, 1881, on "A New Love Poet," drew a What is the rest that these new years can bring ? good deal of attention to Mr. Blunt's work. With Did we not love it in our loves to-day, reference to the ballad of “Sancho Sanches " in the And pleasure, which was so divine a thing, “New Pilgrimage," it will be interesting to record The sweetest and most strange to understand? that a visitor, many years ago, on going to a bull. And that is why it left regret behind, fight at Madrid, was struck by the extraordinary As though a wild bird suddenly should stay good looks of the matadore awaiting the rush of A moment at our side, and we should find, the bull in the arena, and, on inquiry, was told that When we look up, that it had taken wing. he was an amateur bull-fighter, a young man from the English Embassy, Mr. Wilfrid Blunt..
And thou, hast thou forgotten how to love? Mr. Blunt has twice contested metropolitan con- Hast thou no kissing in thy lips ?— thy tongue, stituencies for Parliament, but without success. In Has it no secret whisper for my ear? 1885 he stood for North Camberwell as a Conserv- I have been watching thee to see thee move ative Home Ruler, and in 1888, while confined in A little closer to my side, in fear Kilmainham gaol, he contested Deptford as a Rad- Of the cold night.-Oh there is room among ical candidate.
The pillows for thy head, if thou would'st sleep: Mr. Blunt makes it his boast that his work be- And thou art cold, and I would wrap my love longs rather to the literature of energy that of form. To my breast, and so my vigil keep
R. L. G. And be alone with darkness and with her.
IN THE NIGHT.
WHERE art thou, thou lost face,
Thou standest with thy hand upon my heart,
Where art thou hidden? In the boundless air
Can'st thou not speak? Thy tale was but begun.
AT A FUNERAL.
I LOVED her too, this woman who is dead.
Among the snow.
LAUGHTER AND DEATH.
ON THE SHORTNESS OF TIME.
There is no laughter in the natural world
Of beast, or fish or bird, though no sad doubt Of their futurity to them unfurled
Has dared to check the mirth-compelling shout.
The lion roars his solemn thunder out To the sleeping woods. The eagle screams her cry. Even the lark must strain a serious throat To hurl his blest defiance at the sky.
If I could live without the thought of death,
Forgetful of time's waste, thy soul's decay, I would not ask for other joy than breath;
With light and sound of birds and the sun's ray, I could sit on, untroubled day by day, Watching the grass grow and the wild flowers
range From blue to yellow and from red to gray,
In natural sequence as the season's change; I could afford to wait but for the hurt
Of this dull tick of time which chides my ear.
And staff uplifted, for death stands too near.
Fear, anger, jealousy have found a voice.
Love's pain or rapture the brute bosoms swell. Nature has symbols for her nobler joys,
Her nobler sorrows. Who had dared foretell That only man, by some sad mockery, Should learn to laugh who learns that he must die.
THERE ARE WRONGS DONE IN THE FAIR
FACE OF HEAVEN.
TO JULIET, EXHORTING HER TO PATIENCE.
There are wrongs done in the fair face of Heaven
Which cry aloud for vengeance, and shall cry; Loves beautiful in strength whose wit has striven
Vainly with loss and man's inconstancy;
Dead children's faces watched by souls that die; Pure streams defled; fair forests idly riven;
A nation, suppliant in its agony, Calling on justice, and no help is given.
Why do we fret at the inconstancy
All these are pitiful. Yet, after tears,
Come rest and sleep and calm forgetfulness, And God's good providence consoles the years.
Only the coward heart which did not guess, The dreamer of brave deeds that might have been, Shall cureless ache with wounds forever green.
FAREWELL, DARK GAOL.
TO ONE WHO WOULD MAKE A CONFESSION.
Farewell, dark gaol. You hold some better hearts
Than in this savage world I thought to find. I do not love you nor the fraudulent arts
By which men tutor men to ways unkind.
Your law is not my law, and yet my mind Remains your debtor. It has learned to see
How dark a thing the earth would be and blind But for the light of human charity.
Oh! leave the Past to bury its own dead.
I am your debtor thus and for the pang
Your image here, a glory all unsought, About my neck. Thus saints in symbol hold Their tools of death and darings manifold.