Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RELIQUES, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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First Line: Map me the world, and watch you mark
Last Line: Will square the circle one bright day.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund

MAP me the World, and watch you mark
The tall peak poising Noah's ark;
Let the North Light's red pillar flare
Past Greenland stretched like a great bear:
Cosmographate with master quill,
Let chub-cheeked Boreas bluster still,
And on the curled main here descry
Some Golden Vanity, nor deny
A glaring and most monstrous whale
To flourish there his famous tail.
Nor grudge the Cham his turrets, nor
The Pythoness's den ignore;
Engrave as plain as Bury Fair
Magellan's Clouds, the faithful pair
That ever float with one white soul
Not twenty leagues from the South Pole.

I will not rail, I will not rant,
If you admire that hungry plant
The Borametz, in Scythia found,
That stooping crops the grass all round,
Sharpset as some young lamb: I see
With you that in furred Muscovy
Some mirrors lighten with the moon,
Horned, halved, gibbous, at full noon.
Nor do you scorn our own chalk cliffs:
Nebulgea makes dumb all "ifs":
With that heaven fats each meadow stone,
Their strange increase: such is well known.
So Kentish men once had fish tails
And hell-becks count their dead in Wales,
Shrews bite a bull, he shrivels away,
And the birds choose mates on Valentine's day.

Hermetical my aidant be,
And answer in your chymistry;
Produce us Salamander's Blood,
And Salt of Saturn, whether good
Or not so good for wens or kibes,
Bring Golden Sulphur's active tribes;
In balneo Mariae get the bubbles
To rectify my cystick troubles.
Forget not Bezoardicum
Lunale, or I'm poisoned numb.
Or would you, as some wiser hold,
From herbs allure the charming gold,
And gauging by wild-wine degrees
Moisten my hot-tongued helodes,
Enliquoring milch May-lilies well
With tincture of blue pimpernel?

Then let me steal through timeless groves
And be no more what passion moves:
There Agnus Castus, angel tree,
The verdant of virginity,
Must silver all her starry leaves
And let fall down the climbless cleaves
One leaf for me; or were it best
To lie and fill my venomed breast
With Manchinello's deadly sleep
And run like murder down the steep?
And there's a wreathed tree which woos
A weeping cloud; the kind tears ooze
And opiate thence; no richer mist
Perfumes the primal arborist;
Yet still I fly with barbed desire
To find that thorn which flowers quick fire.

But from this travel newly come
I hear the trainbands beat the drum;
And war is loosed! Then let me view
The lines which martial artists drew;
Where round the staired and steepled town
The ramparts and the embrasures frown,
The hornwork thrusts its double spikes,
The lunette tops the drowning dykes,
The covert-way surrounding lurks,
The ravelins lock the neighbouring works.
This perfect flower and pearl of arms
Fears not the forlorn-hope's alarms
And cannot ever be blown away,
Though culverins and bombards play;
Its banners dancing in the sun
Announce the eternal heptagon.

Fantastic and most sweet revival,
Land and sea that has no rival,
Where the dogs that baying meet
On moonlit hills and sheep that bleat
Are in a tale, and shepherd knows
The air is full of elf-arrows!
The yellow shafts of thunderous light
Fall lonely there on moorland height
Whence half a summer's ride is viewed,
A majesty of solitude.
There the roan horse is understood,
Though distance hides in blackening wood,
The stars above the region know
Who's born and with him natural go,
And mathematics, fresh as May,
Will square the circle one bright day.

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