Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BOREAS, by PATRICK MACGILL



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BOREAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He threw the pine tree in the fiord
Last Line: A sort of roving fellowship.
Subject(s): Adventure And Adventurers; Sailing & Sailors; Vikings


HE threw the pine tree in the fiord,
And down the spumous seas he hurled
The jagged iceberg of the north
To languish in a stagnant world,
And o'er the highway of the skies
The clouds impetuously whirled.

Upon the bald, blank hill we met,
He blustered in insensate wrath,
He caught and flung me like a child,
He shook and bent me like a lath,
Because I dared to flaunt his power,
Because I ventured on his path.

"Zephyrus, Eurus, Africus,
Boreas, Auster, Aquilo,
Or one or all, I know not which,
And care not though I do not know,
Why use your means to work me harm?
And bash and birl and bend me so?

"The flashing lightnings pierce you through,
You bluster vainly at the hill,
Ten thousand times you beat his crest,
Ten million, and he flaunts you still;
You are the fettered slave of man,
You bow obedient to his will."

"You — you — unblushingly you rave
Of all the pigmy deeds of men —
I've swept across the clay that was
Or Paladin or Saracen,
When naked Adam blushed for shame
I gloried in my starkness then!

"I saw the might of Babylon,
I saw the verdant fields of Thrace,
I marked the Romans in their power,
I've seen them in their dire disgrace —
I am; they were, and Cæsar now
Can't wipe the maggot off his face.

"Where is the glory that was Greece?
Let Athens' crumbling walls reply —
Where is the pride of Nineveh,
Thou shivering fool of destiny?
Between the earth and sky I've borne
The ashes that were Pompeii!

"What is the pride you rave of worth?
What are the things that you have done?
Are all your deeds of deathless fame
From David to Napoleon,
A musty coffin full of dust,
A grimly grinning skeleton?

"I bear the scent of briar and rose
Through all the lover-longed-for June,
I hurl the death-black clouds athwart
The silvern oceans of the moon,
I am Siroc and Harmattan,
Solano, Mistral, and Simoon.

"Upon the proud Armada I
Came vengeful and in dreadful shape,
I drove its ships through goaded seas
Where slimy-walled the fissures gape
In many a gloomy, deadly bluff,
In many a chasmed, tusk-edged cape.

"The ringed and sworded buccaneers,
They blessed me in the siren breeze,
I lured the Vikings wild and rude
Across the icy northern seas,
And then I laughed their faith to scorn,
And swept their laden argosies.

"Beyond the reaches of the stars,
Impearled byways of the night,
In dark abyssmal zarahs, far
I've ventured on my endless flight,
Beyond the thrones of gods unknown,
And margents of the infinite."

He came I wist not whence, nor where,
The bluster ready on his lip,
He fled, and left me wondering,
Impotent, helpless, from his grip —
Despite it all, I felt with him
A sort of roving fellowship.





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