Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BERKSHIRE HOLIDAY, by CLIFFORD BAX



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A BERKSHIRE HOLIDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Before the spring had flowered away full summer burst in middle may
Last Line: World.
Subject(s): May (Month); Nostalgia


BEFORE the spring had flowered away full summer burst
in middle May;
The homestead walls began to glow; the garden soil
grew hot.
And we -- how light of heart were we, foregathered
round a crusted tree
Whose boughs had cooled the grass below in summers
long forgot.

He whose goodwill convened us there was not grown
thin with fast and prayer,
And princely-handed, round of face, with eye of
choleric blue,
He would not squander scanty breath in arguing of the
soul and death, --
Nay, when of these we talked a space he wonderingly
withdrew.

The young musician, pipe in hand, lay thinking out a
work he planned.
Between them, tilting back his chair and speaking
well, was one
Who lived by law but gave his heart to ancient Greek
and Tuscan art
And thought the world had nothing fair left in it but
the sun.

Our life, he said, was pinched and dry "as oranges in
late July.
How would our decorous joy compare with what was
once on earth?
And could they know how time has wrought, what had
the great Athenians thought
When beauty was the natural air that all men
breathed at birth?

"In Persia, too, men once were skilled to make life rich
as fancy willed:
Fair as a tale in verse it flowed in China's golden days:
And here in England men could find once, ere the world
grew sick of mind,
A gracious varied green abode, a life to love and
praise."

So for a while we talked and then, remembering that
the world of men
Is goodly still, for all its woe, and summertime too
short,

And there, as midnight overhead her old unaltered
beauty spread
And moths about us came to pause with tender wings
upfurled,
A voice flowed on in pleasant tone praising all times
except our own,
And, half asleep, with soft applause, we let it rend the
world.




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