• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Dedication
 Foreword
 Part I
 Part II
 Note to Part II
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover














Group Title: Comracc Líadaine i Cuirithir
Title: Liadain and Curithir
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098542/00001
 Material Information
Title: Liadain and Curithir
Series Title: Adventurers all ; a series of young poets unknown to fame. no. 15
Uniform Title: Comracc Líadaine i Cuirithir
Physical Description: 59p. : ; 20cm.
Language: English
Creator: Fox, Moireen
Publisher: B. H. Blackwell
Place of Publication: Oxford
Publication Date: 1917
 Subjects
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
General Note: Title and series title within illustrated borders.
General Note: An adaption, in verse, of "Comracc Liadaine i Cuirithir," an Irish tale of the 9th or early 10th century. cf. Foreword.
General Note: Several of the poems are reprinted from "Poetry (Chicago)" cf. Note, p.5
Statement of Responsibility: by Moireen Fox.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098542
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01732583
lccn - 19003688

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Acknowledgement
        Page 5
    Dedication
        Page 6
    Foreword
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Part I
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Part II
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Note to Part II
        Page 59
    Advertising
        Page 60
    Back Matter
        Page 61
        Page 62
    Back Cover
        Page 63
        Page 64
Full Text















OXFORD
BLACKWELL





"ADVENTURERS ALL" SERIES
No. XV.


LIADAIN AND CURITHIR



























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LIADAIN AND


CURITHIR


MOIREEN


FOX
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OXFORD
B. H. BLACKWELL, BROAD ST
1917
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MY thanks are due to Poetry (Chicago) for permis-
sion to re-publish several of these poems.


















TO ELLA YOUNG.

W OULD I could bring thee golden unfading apples,
Ripened by shadowless suns by enchanted waters,
Sweet with the God-like fragrance thy heart remembers!
These I have gathered from dark and wind-twisted branches,
Bitter fruit grown from a soil more bitter,
By tempest stricken and wasted and nine years barren.
Barren as salt sea marshes for ever save for thy coming-
And lo, I give thee thine own, the fruit thou hast tended









FOREWORD.

IADAIN and Curithir, though not amongst the most
ancient of the Irish tales, since it dates from
Christian times, has reached us in a fragmentary con-
dition. It was written down at latest in the 9th or
early 10th century, and is partly in prose, partly in
verse. I have only taken the framework of the story,
even as it exists, and where the Liadain I conceived
conflicted with that of the original I have let her take
her own way, believing it to be the only means of en-
duing her with life. We know how in every epic cycle,
whether in that of Homer or Oisin, the characters have
been changed and their proportions altered by the
different copyists; the Irish epics have especially suf,
fered at their hands, for the scribes, being themselves
monks, believed it their duty to force the old legends
into the boundaries of the new faith, hence the
euhemerism of the ancient Celtic gods, the substitu,
tion of Spain for the Land of the Ever Living and
many other acts of pious vandalism. Equally they
would desire to end this tale with Liadain reconciled
to the faith whose laws she had broken. For myself
I am unable to believe that the Liadain of passionate
impulse and unrestrained deeds they have portrayed
would so have ended her days, and this must be my
apology for my unfaithfulness to the original.








ARGUMENT.


PART I.
LIADAIN and Curithir were two poets who lived in
the seventh century. It was at that time laid down by
the Brehon law that the chief poets should travel with
their retinue, at stated intervals, from d(n to din of
the princes of Ireland, the length of their stay and the
size of their following being clearly defined. It was
when Liadain was on such a poet's visitation in Con-
nacht that she met Curithir. They fell in love, and
Curithir urged her to marry him, but she refused as
this would break her visitation and the ancient law.
They agreed that when she had again reached her own
don in Corcaguiney, in the present County of Kerry,
he should come south and marry her there. They
then parted. In the original, the story is incomplete,
and the next thing we find is that Liadain, for some
unexplained reason, has taken the veil.

PART II.
Curithir at last arrives, and in his despair at finding
Liadain lost to him, he himself becomes a monk. At
first they are allowed some freedom of intercourse,
but this leads to the breaking of their vows. Finally,
Curithir leaves Liadain for ever and journeys across
the sea to do penance and save his soul.





















PART I.















LIADAIN AND CURITHIR. 9


CURITHIR has kindled the swift battle flame,
He has spoken, the sunlight is red upon the earth
The fierce dark hosts that beleaguered me are slain.
Curithir has kindled my life into flame,
Curithir has called down the earth anew from heaven:
Curithir has established the sun within my breast.

II.
Whence hast thou come? I have heard the night speak
through thee,
I have heard the winds cry out at thy coming:
I have known the silent earth draw near with thee.

Thou hast brought close to me the terror of the skies,
Thou hast brought the fragrance of the white-thorn blossom
And the cold strange darkness of the sea.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR !


III.
When thou art hidden fears throng into my heart:
I am as one who has found a treasure of gold
Whom the stars watch
And the winds threaten
And swords wait in the dark.
Or can the dream break, Curithir, into the cold dawn ?
Do not even the angels tremble gazing on us ?
For only within God's Don such joy can live.
IV.
Come let us dream, love, that we set sail to the west
And in enchanted islands are free of the sun
And the cold blind eyes of the years that pass unheeding sorrow.
O by this sweetness of love and joy like the piercing of spears
I have known the vain life that dies beaten back to the sod,
And the moan of all impotent things cries in my heart:
For that which can wither the budding leaves can wither love.
V.
O Curithir hast thou bidden the birds to sing of thee ?
They have awoken me to the grey sweet skies
And the out-breathed light stealing over the stars.

There is no bird whose song is not of thy love
No laughter of sudden dawn winds whose joy thou art not-
O that the world could know thou lovest me, Curithir!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR M&


Like a rowan tree in the cleft of a barren rock,
Like a carven jewel set upon grey silver,
Thou shinest, 0 bright love, from among thy companions.

Our songs shall be red embers upon the wind,
They shall kindle love as a fire on the ridge of the world;
Not till men forget love shall our names perish.

I have bound thee as red gold upon my brow,
As a jewel-hilted sword I lie in thy hand,
Lift me and strike! Who shall withstand us 0 Curithir ?


When the slow weight of age is upon our limbs
And the fire of life, reborn each day like the sun,
Lingers in rising and hastens from his low skies,
Will the wonder of love too sink into greyness ?
O thou who hast gathered the colours of morn and sunset
And the unapproachable noon into thy breast
Death alone shall still my blood at thy coming!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR 1


VIII.
Sing unto me beloved, for in thy voice 1 hear
All sounds that fill my heart:
The cry of the wind and the voices that cry in the wind
And the high lone cry of the sea bird,
The crash of wind-maddened branches
The shouting of hosts
The clangour of blade upon blade and the trampling of riderless
The rustle of dying leaves crimson and amber; [horses:
Low fluting from out the dusk-hidden mountains
And flames in the twilight upleaping.
IX.
Why must the bitter winds blow through our spring
And cold rains fall ere the moons of summer rise ?
Why must our love be o'ershadowed, our paths be sundered ?
Could not joy flow on like a stream from the hills
Lost in the deep unhastening song of the river ?
X.
How can I wed thee now O beloved ? I who go hence
From don to don unto the western seas.
Not till thou seest the red-tipped boughs of the thorn
Will I pass the carven doors of my don in the south,
And the silent and dark days of our winter cease:
Come then, O secret love!
South, far south
I will wait for thee as the cold earth waits for the sun.









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR a


XI.
O like the sea thou art who urgest me,
Beating upon my heart wave upon breaking wave,
And I far spent in these tumultuous seas.

If I should yield, scorning an ancient law,
Breaking a pledge long given, and wed with thee,
Upon our friends were shame, on our foes laughter.

XII.
I would bring thee, O love, jewels that mock the sun,
Jewels that hold the purple light of the sea,
Gold, and amber, and crystal white as the foam.

I would bring thee hounds swift as the hurrying clouds,
Fierce as the white-fanged leaping wolves of the sea,
Horses with manes dyed purple and bitted with gold.

I would bring thee great shields bronze-studded and silver-rimmed,
Swords edged like the north and with jewels a-fire on their hilts,
Crimson cloaks broidered with white findruinny.

I would bring thee songs that kings will remember for ever,
I would bring thee a name untouched as the sun in heaven,
And a love more deep than the unlit depths of the skies.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XIII.
Could I forget thee with the slow passing of years ?
Could the captive eagle forget his silent skies ?
To me thou hast given the skies and the beat of untramelled wings.
But thou, 0 treasure deep hidden within my heart,
Thou who art swift and laughter-loving as golden streams,
Couldst thou forget ?

0 kiss away from me all questioning, Curithir



XIV.
Thou hast flung a torch into my heart whose flame
thou canst not quench;
Thou hast awakened that in me which will not sleep
for thy bidding;
Thou hast unchained a strength greater than thine
which thou canst not tame;
Thou hast called me forth, I that was not, but that will
be though thou desirest me not.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR '


XV.
I can bring thee no peace: [unresting
For through my heart the tides of the unappeasable sea wander
And the wind's passion beats in my blood, hungering
for storms and hidden skies.
0 thou who lovest me, be not deceived:
I can bring thee no peace.
XVI.
To-morrow-parting, but this night with thee.
To-morrow where our ways divide, grief waits:
May not this night last on for evermore ?
Let him go sleep who fears not the red dawn.
Clasp thy strong arms about me, on thy breast
I will forget the stars that wheel and fade.
Shut close the heavy doors lest dawn creep in,
Pile logs, and bid the slumbering torches flare:
Hour by long hour the night shall be our own.
XVII.
Thou art gone.
My outstretched hands fall ungrasped to my side.
Even my voice cannot reach thee.
Kiss me, 0 kiss me again but once! Come back to me!
Hast thou in truth gone from me ?
Surely it is this darkness that has hidden thee away.
O Curithir thou hast taken my life with thee, there is nothing left.
17 B







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


XVIrI.
0 silent and alien trees! Long hours have I ridden by you,
Ye who called to me,
Ye who have filled my heart with longing strange as the wind:
But no voice whispers to me out of your branches;
Cold ye are and strangers unto my grief.

XIX.
O thorn-tree shake thy blossoms upon the wind!
Cover with leaves thy deep snow-laden boughs
That swiftly may sweet crimson berries ripen.

My love has sworn when leaves and blossoms are faded
And thy bare branches are held blood-red to the skies
He will kiss grief and longing away from my heart.

XX.
O harper play me the sea and the long white hair of the waves
And the singing high-crested pride of advancing breakers
That I may see Curithir move in the dons of kings.

Play me the strength of the wind-urged sea and the tide
And the fall of sun-smitten waters that I may hear Curithir's voice
Filled with the sorrow and passion and triumph of love.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR '


XXI.
Daylong, O love, I have listened to songs of love,
And every bard sang to my heart of thee:
But how ill have they praised thee O Curithir!
Daylong with eyes close-veiled and with silent lips
I have sat in my carven chair in the close-thronged din,
How can I praise these ollavs or praise their songs ?-
Though hearkening to them the warriors droop their spears
And dreams awake in their wild far-glancing eyes
And brehons forget their wisdom and queens their pride
And the faces of maidens grow pale with the heavy sweetness of
O Curithir how can I praise them with thee in my heart ? [love-
If thou shouldst enter their songs would falter and cease:
If thou shouldst enter who would give heed to the bard ?
XXII.
These are the doors, O lover of mine, thou wilt pass,
Carven in red yew, heavy with bars of bronze:
I will set the rowan berry above their pride.
The light of this hearth will flash from thine eyes to mine
And every treasure my dun holds thou shalt see-
Lo, rushes, fresh rushes I spread for thy feet O king!
Thou wilt bring me spoil of the wolves and the forest deer
And grey-maned boars with twisted and gleaming tusks-
On the threshold before thee I lay the red boughs of the thorn!







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR A*


XXIII.
In this waning moon thou ridest by forest and moor
Over the red bog grasses, by lochs reed-fringed,
While the dwindling sickle fades in the eastern skies.

Under the kingly shadow of dark Sliav Mish
The watchers will see light broken on spear and shield-
O thou who hast taken sleep from me, ride swiftly!

XXIV.
These days I wait for thee are heavy with dream.
'All things slip away as water slips from my hand,
And the forms of men are as phantoms blown on the wind.

I am adrift in the cry of the bare dark branches
Lifting and falling under the shelterless sky
And my grief is the grief of the wind in the crimsoning sedges.

I am adrift on a tide of dreaming and silence
Setting unto the shores of a measureless sea
Where love is, but not thy love, and beauty, not thine.

Hasten and break these spells of dream that divide us-
Like hooded falcons my thoughts strive to regain thee,
Only thy hand can cast them free to the sky.









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR '


XXV.
Lo the white shield of the moon high in the quenched stars!
I that should have wed my love ere her young breast drooped to
the sea-
Cold am I and vestal as she is, Curithir.


XXVI.
Blast upon blast from the red hills
And a death-cry in the wind-
What hath befallen thee O secret love?
Thou shalt not be companionless under- the grey flagstone.


XXVII.
The hosts that ride in the wind are passing my don:
The roar of their trampling hooves is shaking the night.

But I am a whirling leaf in a blast more wild:
I am the wind-blown foam of the hissing seas.

If thou wert here O love, if thou wert here
No storm could shatter the stillness of my peace.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR 'a


XXVIII.
Bind up red boughs above the gates no more
Let the flocks go back to the mountains and the herds to the wide
Pour out the yellow mead-let the kerns rejoice in it. [fields
I will have no one watch on the bare hills:
O poets bring your praise to another duin.
This marriage feast no longer shall mock my heart!

XXIX.
Cold, cold is the wind out of the low grey skies
And grey are the bitter waters lashing the shore:
The thoughts in my heart are bitter even as they.

As a wind bending the forest thou camest to me,
Eager as the sun leaping up from the eastern hills.
What cold grey blast hath chilled thy hot blood, Curithir?

XXX.
Where liest thou O Curithir this night ?
Dost thou keep watch with the stars even as I ?
Or liest thou heavy with feasting and slumber ?

Silent as thou art, the stars move on to the west.
If I could put their coldness into my bosom
Wouldst thou not be crying for me at my gates ?








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XXXI.
Lo, the fruit of thy lingering, Curithir, is ripe!
Men say thou art snared in the north by a new love.
O bitter is the fruit of the sloe-tree though fair its blossom,
But sweeter is the sloe berry than thy love, O Curithir.

Could I have peace if thou wert full of sorrow ?
Would not thy cry reach to me over the world ?

XXXII.
Thrice have I sent to thee, thrice have I called unto silence,
No whisper of thee has come over the mountains
No word till this that blinds and deafens my heart.
If thou hast any love for me come to me now.
At thy call I would come bare-foot, without rest.

XXXIII.
O lark thy first sweet song
Drops to me out of the sky!
Be not deceived O eager heart by the sun:
Not yet has the earth awakened nor do the cold winds sleep.
Though the sun and the deep skies call thee, forget not winter
Lest thy heart break.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR 4


XXXIV.
The blossomed snow of the thorn tree drifts on the wind.
0 that I had the patience of the quiet earth
Yet has the sun returned, but not to me.

Soon will the beauty thou lovest be gone from me, Curithir.
I have no longer strength to weep for its passing.
Why comest thou not 0 love? Why comest thou not ?

XXXV.
Last night in dreams bleak waters fell on me:
To-day word comes thy marriage feast is set.

Shall I that am Liadain be cast aside
As a broken spear-shaft is cast into the fire ?
Who is this that will say "For me Liadain was forgotten "?

Unto the earth that received thine oath I make bare my knees:
As flax is bruised under the stone may thy strength be broken:
May foulness cover thy beauty so that all men shun thee;
May the sun's light be blackness before thine eyes at noon;
May the mind that forgot me be driven astray, without anchor.

As the red-beaked scald-crow that feasts after the battle
So may this curse I lay on thee eat through thy heart.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XXXVI.
This is thy love for me!
Thou who hast boasted the strength of a man's love,
The splendour of man's desire: this is thy love !
O whelp boasting of the forest and the boar-slaying!
And I that hearkened to thee-
O that my heart were ashes beneath the sod!
XXXVII.
No curses can make live what thou hast slain.
Like spectres stand the years thou hast laid waste:
In my dead breast anger and hate are stilled.

Too long have I wept for thee: shall not life pass ?
Uncounted the bitter tears that the earth has hid.
O thou who art more beautiful than tall reeds swayed by the wind
I will blot thee out of the heart that would have died for thee.
XXXVIII.
Soft and sweet are the winds bringing tender leaf to the boughs,
But I would the grey-edged blade of the north pierced through
my body,
Then would I forget the awakening of love and the long sweet
dreaming
When spring broke in a blossoming wave but a year ago:
I would only remember thy new love, O false heart, and be content.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I'


XXXIX.
Snow on the world, snow on the eager blossoms,
Snow on the nests half-built for the summer winds,
And the white peaks of the hills are a breath in the twilight.

Would that I were lying high on the desolate mountains
And flake by flake the snow fell into my heart
Till the strength and silence of frost had gathered its pain into
stillness.
XL.
Darkness is blown from the east on the bitter wind,
Night hastens out of the east:
The coldness of death, the grey breath of the night
Is moving around and above me, a grey lipped sea.

O that I could win back the sun and the days before I loved thee
Curithir!
XLI.
My mind is fire!
Love has devoured my heart and my body: its flame is pitiless.
Ifcan suffer no more.
Farewell for ever 0 Curithir, blood of my heart, farewell,
O life of me, Curithir, Curithir-

0 darkness of God, cover me close-cover me.



















PART II.







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


O VIRGINS of God
If ye have forgetfulness,
If there is peace under the Shield of God,
Let His protection be upon me;
For I fear the unknown grave
Lest peace be not found in it.
II.
Bell that tollest
Is it for love thou tollest ?
Is not all love dead ?
Yea, love is dead:
And none who live desire the night or the morning,
For the noon-tide is ashes and silence
And graves lie wide in the darkness,
For love has died, love is dead.
III.
I have been long in a dark place of dreams,
Clinging to steep black ledges, torn by the wind,
Wet with the foam whirled up from the night-hidden seas.
I would I were on the earth I once knew
And the slow drift of blossoms whiter than snow
Would softly fall, covering my heart and eyes.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR A


IV.

I remember thee through the darkness as one dead remembers the
living.
Faintly the sound of thy voice and thy laughter lingers about me,
Lifeless and wandering echoes that drift half-heard through my
dreaming.

Too far I have left thee behind me to know if love be forgotten,
For weeping and laughter and love have mingled their voices and
ceased:
Only I hear the sound of great seas long since overpassed me.

Now have I reached unto peace desiring but silence and slumber,
Slumber with even thy face covered away and forgotten,
Lost in a sleep unbroken by dreams or love or awakening.

V.
When as a swift bare-footed child Christ played
Daylong among the heather and golden whins
Did he not come with the honey-sweet twilight winds
Crying "O Mother take out the thorns from my feet."
And thou O Mother of Mercies wilt thou not take
This thorn that has pierced my soul away from me?







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I'


Freedom, and praise, and youth, and love, have I given.
Have ye given more, O calm sweet faces around me ?
Why is all guerdon denied me ? Have I not prayed ?
Have I not fasted ? Have I not scourged myself ?
Which of you in your weeping have wept as I?
Give me that which ye promised-forgetfulness and peace.


VII.
Speak not of the love of God, O sweet voiced nun,
I have torn up the roots of love from my heart.
Only in Curithir's love have I known God,
I found God's love as the sun within Curithir's breast,
If I could love God I could love Curithir:
But Curithir have I forgotten, and God also.


VIII.
As a chained wolf is my soul-
I that grasped at peace!
There is no peace to be found on the ridge of the world:
For the spear goads, and the chain binds, from birth unto the grave
And the Heart of God is barren of pity as the salt plain of the sea.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR &


IX.
O silver matins' bell whom the saints have loved !
Thou callest me, and the thrushes call, unto prayer,
Unto praise and the holy breath of peace.

What is prayer to me whose desire God will not hear?
It is whirling dust blown from the red east
In the face of one who perishes of thirst.

X.
0 lingering brazen day when wilt thou cease?
My heart is sick with grief and weariness
And all thy slow unmoving torturing hours.
Noon is not yet. Would God that it were night
And darkness sweet as love were over me.
But now the sun yet climbs the glaring south.
I have lived many years since dawn. 0 haste
Unmoving pitiless shades that mark the hours.

XI.
With mine own hands I have fashioned the stones above my grave:
With mine own hands I have plucked out my eyes.
I have bartered my soul for peace, and lo! I have nothing.

Only day-long, night-long, I hear laughter-laughter.







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR A


XII.
Is it at this time thou hast come to me, Curithir?
Now when body and soul are broken into the dust ?

But thou, great lover, what knowest thou of my love ?
My heart is unknown to thine as the blackness of the sea.
0 thou who are yet the spear-point of grief in my heart
Is there no end to that I can suffer because of thee ?

XIII.
If this be true-
If it be true thou wast not faithless, Curithir,
If thou wast snared yet broke from the hunter's prison,
0 Curithir that I have lost for ever,
By whom have I been snared ?

XIV.

0 urge me not, how can I speak with thee ?
I have chained my living soul into the grave.
Leave me, that some forgotten fragments I may find
Some broken, tarnished, pitiful shards of life-
All that the bounty of God can give me out of the world!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


XV.
Nay, not twice will I put the protection of God upon me:
Henceforth my own ways will I follow though darkness cover them,
Is not the night in my breast ?

O messenger whose eyes entreat mine
Bid Curithir await me.
XVI.
O cease, what profit is there in that bitter past ?
Let be thy blame or mine, thy deeds, or lying tongues;
What is forgiveness ? Let sleep the fierce dark hounds of grief.

Thus on thy breast my heart renews its beating
And my parched lips drink life again from thine.
O utter peace at last, shut close in darkness.
XVII.
Wilt thou for me forsake the world thou lovest,
The joy thou art made for as the falcon's wings for the sky,
And for me forget the divine birth-anguish of song?
Thou with the risen sun on thy forehead and eyes,
Wilt thou enter my darkness and silence and dwell unseen
But praying where I have prayed: in the print of thy feet
Leaving for me the heart-piercing sweetness of love ?
O Curithir I am the grey dust stirred by thy passing:
What have I done for thee O flame-winged heart ?







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XV11.
Nay, do not so O love, imprison not thyself.
Enough that one life claimed of the winds is broken,
One soul made fast in these dark toils of God.

Let the red deer bound through the forest untamed and proud
And the salmon find the foam-hidden paths of the sea
And thou the untrammelled ways of thine own heart.
We who are born of the earth are outcasts from heaven
We have drunk of the winds and the wild sweet sap of the trees,
O not for us, Curithir, the white stillness of God.
I have cast fear from my heart, I am free Curithir,
I have chosen one breath of life rather than God.
It shall sustain my soul under His Feet.

XIX.
Curithir rise! Shake off the bonds of fear
Shall we two live as children under the rod ?
Unfearing let us go forth to what doom may come.
Like eager hounds our wills strain in the leash.
Come, let us loosen them to the purple and wind-swept hills:
For those who are holden by fear deceive not God
And the night-darkening wings of His Judgment are over us.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR 4


XX.
O no submission to God is in our souls,
Let us not cover our shame by these false words:
This is the coward's deed, whom the battle has broken.
All we shall lose dost thou well know O love ?
What we may gain thou knowest not, nor I-
The sin thou fearest is it not in our hearts ?
Those whom terror of God whips to His Throne
Shall He the Chieftain of Heaven bring into His Lios
And the undaunted souls thrust out in darkness ?



XXI
Nay I will strive no more with thee beloved:
Too far are the Courts of Heaven for mine eyes
Neither do I desire to enter in as a slave.
But since for thee they shine brighter than love
Let us go seek them. So that I lose thee not
And that thy voice is not silent for ever to me
Gyve upon gyve I fasten again on my soul.







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR .


XXII.
Grieve not, 0 Heart of Love, forgive my bitterness
For I have drunk of waters where no star lives-
These I would guard from thy bright lips for ever.

Now have I done. Stoop down to where they swirl:
Perchance like a great wind thy love will sweep through heaven
And the wings of the angels be shaken, and shaken the trees
Whose blossoms and fruit are mingled unfading together:
0 may not white petals fall from those quivering boughs
And our death-bitter waters be filled with the fragrance of heaven?



XXIII.
For no great gift from kingly treasuries,
No deep draught of desire at the Gates of Death,
Dost thou adventure these barren and perilous ways:
Casting thy splendour of youth, that is lord of the world,
As the reaper scatters the ripened grain of the fields;
Nay, but to bring to my fasting, red wine of love,
And to long dark vigils the thought of thy nearness to me.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *4


XXIV.
Farewell now to thy youth and to thy pride,
Farewell unto thy swift unfaltering feet,
To these dear hands that hold my heart, farewell,
These wild sun-challenging eyes that prayer will dim:
Farewell O laughter and impetuous will
Fetters will bind you, grief will silence you,
Farewell O lips that shall touch mine no more-
O captive love I would set free-farewell!



XXV.
O voice that wakened me to love
Thou art renouncing love.
O voice that sung praises of me
Heaven's King shalt thou praise.
O voice more joyful than mountain streams
Thou wilt be broken with tears.
O voice for whose tenderness my soul is withered and parched
God alone shall waken the music of love in thee.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


XXVI.*
Curithir, once the poet, I loved,
My grief! the profit has not reached me.
He in his cell is shut with God
And I within these walls.
A short while I was in the company of Curithir
Sweet was my intimacy with him:
Yet the heart of him I loved I wrung.
When I was with Curithir the forest would sing to me
And the voice of the purple sea,
Now there is no music to lighten grief
But the singing of Hours and Canticles.
Curithir was the love of my heart
Though I loved every other.
Poor is he who was a poet once
No cattle low in his byres
Never a mate will sit at the right hand
Of Curithir once the poet.



See Note.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XXVII.
I had thought to be with Curithir on the mountains
Or in a glen by loud torrents
A hut of swaying osiers above us
Made firm with clay.
I had thought to lie on a bed of rushes
Or sweet springing boughs
Cut from the purple forests of heather.
We would have seen the stars wheeling
And the white breath of the day.
But the cold flag of prayer is under my body
And the wall is betwixt thy sleeping and mine.


XXVIII.
Now is this little cell the round rim of my skies.
I have no more the wet-breathing dusk, the night ways of the forest,
Or the thousand voices of earth and the wind in the trees.
O King of the Stars, bare is the little world Thou hast given me:
Let the white sighing plumes of angel's wings be in it
Let their pure feet shine on my floor of clay
For if I be left as foam-drift upon the rocks-
Dost Thou desire, O King of the Elements, that my soul perish ?








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


XIX.
When thou prayest, love, there is silence in all heaven
For the angels cease from their harping to listen to thee
And they lean from the ramparts of gold to gaze on thy face.

But I, what have I done that God should hearken ?
My prayer falls back from the narrowing roof of my cell:
Cold, cold on my heart are the dead words I speak.

But lo! thou knowest the unseen pathways of prayer-
O to lift me from my dulled self give wings, Curithir,
The fire wings of thy heart which has reached to God.



XXX.
O like the fire that quickens the earth in spring
That mounts in the sap and breathes in the south wind
Like the fire of thy kiss, Curithir, the sudden sweetness of God.

What Life is this that I know not, and what Love ?
O Life, O World, whose threshold shines at my feet
I would forsake a thousand kingdoms for thee!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR A


XXXI.
As a mariner driven by storm to the untracked seas
Reaches in darkness the sudden shelter of hills
And leaving his skiff high-beached on the unknown shore
Steals over dark silent cliffs by the luminous sea
And breathes the night wind blowing he knows not whence
Laden with strange sweet fragrance from hidden lands,
So I that am wrecked on the shore of an unguessed isle
Breathe in my darkness the Wind that is blowing from God
And marvel, joyous and trembling, whence it hath come
Over what unknown perilous night-hidden lands.



XXXII.
0 as the dead leaves fallen, and driven, and dark, [God !
So are the kingdoms of earth when Thou blowest, 0 Wind of
0 dead leaves caught in the swirling winds,
Leaves that the Winds of Death have torn
Driven and tossed, I follow you not
I go with the Wind of God-pass on:
I follow your ways no more 0 leaves!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR -


XXXIII.
This is the way of freedom! O proud earth kings
Vainly you fetter the body and leave the soul:
O prisoning world, 1 have found the open Gates,
O body that held me fast, now 1 am free!
Narrow the little ways of the freedom of earth,
Narrow the little life in the body pent,
I have found freedom from you, 0 bonds of the flesh!
I have the paths where the Wind of God is blowing,
The Hosts of Heaven are passing me night and day,
I follow the Hosts that ride to the Darkness of God!
XXXIV.
In Thy vast Life I am a mote of dust,
I am as nothing, lost and whelmed in Thee,
Yet Thy great Tides move through me and I hear
Rumour of seas that break upon the stars,
Echoes of joy-the least of all Thy joys
Stirred by the passing of Thine angels' feet-
Yet joy that like a tempest, drowning breath,
Beats all my shaken life prostrate and faint.
Though I be nothing yet in Thee I touch
Vast Presences Whose garments sweep the hills,
Whose unmoved eyes gaze to the rim of night,
Within Whose breasts the sea rises and falls:
Who hear the cry of the crushed trodden grass,
And at Thy word lay kingly cities waste.
43








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


XXXV.
Last night, worn with long vigil and weak with prayer,
I lay on the earthen floor of my little cell,
And life like a slow tide ebbed, and there came to me
Voices of angels singing among the stars.
Then slipped my body from me: O Love I have lost
With thee I stood beside the River of Life,
And we two wandered under the silver trees
Where the bird-winged souls of the blessed sing in the branches
Chanting the Hours-0 sweet heart-piercing voices,
Listening to you years pass like down on the wind.
But a great Cry sounded through Heaven and called us on,
And it seemed the depths of the skies drew near to us
And the wonder and beauty of earth and all the stars:
And lo! the Mother of God passed by and smiled!
But thou didst seize me and cast me under Her Feet,
And They pressed upon me and crushed my soul to the earth,
Blood-red as wine I watched it flow, and died.

But when I woke my head was upon Her Breast.









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR a


XXXVI.
All day I sought for hidden paths in vain:
I was as one o'ertaken by sudden dark,
Who stumbles bewildered and lost, in familiar ways.

To-night, ere I drew near, the Threshold flamed
And a river of sweetness flowed from the Heart of God-
O piercing Love, I have no life but Thee!



XXXVII.
O grave, pure face, remote and strange thou art,
Unwavering eyes that gaze on wars unknown,
O beautiful stern mouth and resolute,
How far from thee my weakness, and my will
That wavers like a torch blown by night winds!
Thou Warrior of God's Hosts, flame-helmed, erect,
Pausing one moment thus to look on me,
Thy beauty like a sword pierces my soul.
O terrible Loveliness, would that the Fire thou art
Could burn this mortal dross away from me!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I,


XXXVIII.
O what is this thou sayest ? Thou Curithir,
Who with thy love unveiledst heaven to me,
Wilt thou drag my soul and thine into the grave ?
Who hath blown madness upon thee ? What curse is this ?
Thy words like stones are cast into my heart.



XXXIX.
Speak no more to me, for I can bear no more.
My spirit is one great cry in the silence of God:
O speak no more-is there not laughter in hell ?



XL.
A sword two-edged are thy gifts to me, 0 Curithir:
Who coverest now my soul with the bitter night
Once gave to me the opened treasure of heaven.

And hast thou nothing who brought me to this peace ?
Nothing but the black and silent prison where God is not ?
O like a hideous phantom of the night this thought!








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR a


XLI.
Knowest thou not that I must follow thee ?
Alone no sweetness lures me, no terror goads,
No treasure I seek within God's guarded Lios.
Dust were the Fruit on the silver boughs of Heaven
And God were a wasting Fire without thee, Curithir.

No choice is mine. I follow thee as the wave
That follows, unknowing and blind, the will of the sea:
For thence is its life.



XLII.
Now all is done. O little cell of clay
Thou like a Cup hast held the Wine of God
But I shall taste of it no more for ever.
O never more, thou sun that settest on me,
Never shall peace rise in my breast again,
Never for me the Unseen Gates shall part,
Never the Wind that fills desire shall blow;
And I am left companionless, alone.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I*


XLIII.
Love, thou has conquered; lo! I come with thee.
Thou who hast lost for me the earth and heaven,
I turn from heaven and give thee back the earth.
O princely hands receive a gift as princely!
Come, let us forth into our heritage,
Let us drink up the beauty of the world,
And, while we hold them, scatter the golden days.

XLIV.
At last with thee! 0 long, long hours of sorrow
Could I have known this lay beyond you all!
0 love, thy lips have burned all bonds to ashes:
We are the leaves and the rocks and the winds of night,
We are two flames the Heart of the Earth has kindled-
One flame, one life, one kindred with the stars!

XLV.
Many and strange are the secrets hidden in love
Secrets that wait for our finding, perilous, sweet.
Where lovers of old found death we twain shall live.
We will lay our hands upon joy though it sear and slay,
And the last great flame-hidden Secret of Love shall be ours
Though, having once found and beheld it, death blinds us for ever.









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


XLVI.
O what is peace ? Is not love more, Curithir ?
Better the frozen spray and the spears of the wind
And the steep unhidden skies and the wild blood leaping!

Better a love swift and fierce than years without shadow:
Is not one hour of love longer than life ?



XLVII.
Hasten to me, for the moon is kindled
The herons fly from the marshes:
I hunger not for red deer, Curithir,
Or the drooping wings of birds
For thy breast I am an-hungered and thy lips, beloved!
Were I seeking for prey
From the slot of the deer my heart would bring me
With empty hands back to love,
And dearer thine empty hands to me now
Than the laden feasting of kings.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR A


XLVIII.
Like a black shadow silence has fallen around us:
There is no stir in the heather, the birds are hushed-
And in the sun's eye the broad wings of a hawk.

O Curithir I have seen a sword-edged shadow between us;
I have heard the feet of one who brings death.

XLIX.
Art thou grown weary of love ? Cold are thy lips,
Thine eyes are lifeless as sullen grey-shadowed waters,
And lifeless the hands that hold me-that once were fire.

Art thou so soon grown weary? If I laid my breast
Close on the cold dark breast of the earth, Curithir,
Flame would spring that could kindle the world to ashes-
But thou, O heart on my heart, O breast of my love, thou art cold.

L.
How calm thy sleep! Thou knowest not how the wind
Slips under the trembling leaves and the branches stir
And the moon-shadows waver-thou knowest not that I lie
Remembering far still dreams by love unbroken.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR &


LI.
What thoughts are behind thine eyes, dull eyes, unseeing,
That all this day have sought the shadowed earth ?
Dost thou remember the kingly feasting and laughter
The listening faces, the thunder of voices that praise ?
Or in thy heart do the eyes of another linger
For whom 1 once passed from thy mind, forgotten ?
LII.
Mourn not dead suns that never can rise for us
In this living sun alone shall we find life.
That we forsook we have slain: let it lie forgotten,
And all we have lost be less than the swirl of the leaves.
O once proud spirit, art thou ensnared by remorse ?
We have chosen the beauty and grief of the Ways of Flame-
But from him who eateth his heart are all things taken.
LIII.
Surely it were better for me if thou wert dead
For then could none bring fear or sorrow upon me
And thy love were mine for ever without change.
When I see the red breath of the sun uprise
Can I tell if thy love or mine will endure till night ?
And how may I know what thoughts stir in thy breast ?

Lo I thou that art not myself art a grief untold.







LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


LIV.
If I had known how narrow a prison is love,
Never would I have given the width of the skies
In return for thy kiss, 0 Curithir, thou my grief!
If I had known love's poverty, I would have given
Dons and forests and ploughlands and begged my bread:
For now I have lost the earth and the stars and my soul.
If I had known the strength of love, I would have laid
The ridge of the world in ashes to stay his feet:
I would have cried on a stronger Lord-on Death.

LV.
I that was wont to pass by all unmoved
As the long ridge of the tide sweeps to the shore
Am broken at last on the crags of a pitiless love.
I who was wont to see men pale at my glance
Like the quivering grass am shaken beneath thine eyes,
At thy touch my spirit is captive, my will is lost.
I would darken the sun and moon to break from thy love.
I would shatter the world to win thee again to my side.
0 aching madness of love! Have the dead repose?
Or wilt thou tear my heart in the close-shut grave ?









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR *


LVI.
Kiss me no more.
I have asked wine of thee and thou hast given me sand.
Away from me!
I will go into the darkness, I will find flame in the night,
I will be lost in the voice of the forest, the wild cry of the hills,
Flame and wind and storm and tameless passion and quenchless
desire.
I will find that I seek, but thou, cower and pray,
Thou who canst neither break from thy sin nor deny thy God.



LVII.
Once all things sang to us, now all are mute.
The woods draw silence round them where we pass;
Alien, afar-off, all things stand at gaze.

What have we done to you, dark brooding trees ?
0 what is this that in my heart lies broken ?








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I*


LVIII.
Darkness is fled and the stars. The night is past.
I have watched in vain for thee.

Had I but slain thee! Last night I read thy heart!
But thy kisses were fire in my veins, my strength was spent.
-0 false sweet mouth hast thou escaped from me ?
Rejoice, Thou art avenged, Thou merciless God I

There is no anguish I have not known this night.
It is a strange thing I should look upon dawn.
Henceforward there is no grief, there is only hate.
-Behold there is blood on the hands that thou hast kissed.



LIX.
O grey rocks unmoving undying, lean on my breast
Until this beating of my heart be stilled.
0 Curithir, whom never again my hands shall hold,
I would that thy body and mine were laid in one grave I








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR I


LX.
I that made dumb my heart, this is my reward!
Have I known one hour that it spake not to me of this?
Ay, in the darkness of our flight I knew thee Curithir.
Who that has drunken wine will keep the lees ?
Who that has slain a man will wait for revenge ?
Who that has had his desire of a woman will stay?
Farewell 0 Curithir, let thy soul be saved !
I have not found a thing that is dearer to thee.
In the eyes of God is it priceless? Who can say!
My soul is a thing of little worth unto God:
Of less worth to thee, 0 Curithir, than my love.
And unto me so small I flung it beneath thy feet.


LXI.
Never hast thou loved me. Love unto thee
Is a bird that sings in thy heart in the noon of the year.
What knowest thou of falcon wings and the cold fierce skies ?
Had I known love but as thou knowest it Curithir, [heart,
Nor brought thee the hawk's wings and the wild beating of his
In my poverty and ignorance hadst thou found content for ever.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR &


LXII.
Once, life as clay was moulded by my hands,
In every heart-beat joy or anguish hidden,
Now, like a beaten hound made dull with blows,
I lie unmoved beneath the Feet of God :
Let Him strike on or cease, I care not which.
Only I would be hidden from the sun
And flowers that grew when I loved Curithir.




LXIII.
Perchance I am truly dead at last, beloved,
And my body is lying still in some quiet place
And thou art weeping for me.
But I am one of the driven tormented dead
Whom the cold darkness sunders for ever from rest:
And this that consumes my heart is the pain of hell.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR '


LXIV.
Could I regain the vanished sweetness of day
And the long silence and cool breath of the night
O Curithir I would not seek to forget thee.
But thou hast cursed the sun for me, the noon is blackness,
Bitter is the earth now, its loveliness is grief to me:
There is madness in the empty hunger of night.
Therefore 1 put away the thought of thy kiss,
I will tremble no more O love because of thy touch,
I will find again the lost dwelling of peace.


LXV.
Whence is thy power on me, O thou weak man ?
My love is an eagle snared by thee unawares:
Thou hast left it snared for the crows to mock and rend.
With me thou couldst have dared the gates of the sun:
We could have quenched death like a wandering spark,
And the stars would shine and the earth blossom through us.
But thou hast feared. Thy portion is hunger and tears
The cold sweat of prayer and the bloody thongs of thy scourge.








LIADAIN AND CURITHIR &


LXV I.
If the dark earth hold a Power that is not God
1 pray It to bind up memory lest I die.
There was a day when Curithir loved me, now it is gone.
It was I that sundered his love from me, I myself-
Or it was God Who struck me with madness and mocked.

If the dark earth hold a Power that is not God
I pray It to hide me for ever away from His Face.

XLVIL.
All things are outworn now-grief is dead,
And passion has fallen from me like a withered leaf.
Little it were to me now though Curithir were beside me:
Though he should pass I would not turn my head.
My heart is like a stone in my body.
All I have grasped I loose again from my hands.









LIADAIN AND CURITHIR '


NOTE TO PART II., 26.

1 HAVE to acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Kuno Meyer in allowing
me to borrow the greater part of this poem from his beautiful
translation of the original. To show the full extent of my debt
I here append the part of his translation that I have borrowed:-
Curithir,
Once the poet, I loved,
The profit has not reached me . .
He shall have neither cow
Nor yearlings nor heifers,
Never a mate shall be
At the right hand of him who was once a poet . .
Joyless
The bargain I have made.
The heart of him I loved I wrung . .
A short while I was
In the company of Curithir;
Sweet was my intimacy with him.
The music of the forest
Would sing to me when with Curithir
Together with the voice of the purple sea . .
Conceal it not,
He was the love of my heart
Though I loved every other.





SO- YOUNG
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VOLUMES IN DOLPHIN OLD STYLE TYPE IN
ART WRAPPERS r TWO SHILLINGS NET EACH
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IV. CONTACTS, AND OTHER POEMS. By T. W. EARP.
V. THE IRON AGE. By FRANK BETTS. With an Introduction
by GILBERT MURRAY.
VI. THE TWO WORLDS. By SHERARD VINES.
VII. THE BURNING WHEEL. By A. L. HUXLEY.
VIII. A VAGABOND'S WALLET. By STEPHEN REID-HEYMAN.
IX. OP. I. By DOROTHY L. SAYERS.
X. LYRICAL POEMS. By DOROTHY PLOWMAN.
XI. THE WITCHES' SABBATH. By E. H. W. MEYERSTEIN.
XII. A SCALLOP SHELL OF QUIET. Poems by Four Women.
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OXFORD: B. H. BLACKWELL, BROAD STREET
NEW YORK: LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.





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