Note: The text shifts to a second column after line 40 of the first poem.
Manuscript Addition: stet
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the initially cancelled lines 54-55
- A constant keeping past of shaken trees,
- And a bewildered glitter of loose road;
- Banks of bright growth, with single blades atop
- Against white sky; and wires—a constant chain—
- That seem to draw the clouds along with them;
- (Things which one stoops against the light to see
- Through the low window;—shaking by at rest,
- Or fierce like water as the swiftness grows;)
- And, seen through fences or a bridge far off,
10Trees that in moving keep their
- Still one 'twixt bar and bar; and then at times
- Long reaches of green level, where one cow,
- Feeding among her fellows that feed on,
- Lifts her slow neck, and gazes for the sound.
- There are six of us, I that write away;
- Hunt reads Dumas, hard-lipped, with heavy jowl
- And brows hung low, and the long ends of hair
- Standing out limp. A grazier at one end
- (Thank luck not my end!) has
blocked out the air,
20And sits in heavy consciousness of guilt.
- The poor young muff who's face to face with me
- Is pitiful in loose collar & black tie,
- His latchet-button shaking as we go.
- There are flowers by me, half upon my knees,
- Owned by a dame who's fair in soul, no doubt.
- The wind that beats among us carries off
- Their scent; but still I have them for my eye.
- Fields mown in ridges; and close garden-crops
- Of the earth's increase; and a constant sky
30Still with clear trees that let you see the wind;
- And snatches of the engine-smoke, by fits
- Tossed to the wind against the landscape, where
- Rooks, stooping, heave their wings upon the day.
- Brick walls we pass between, past so at once
- That for the suddenness I cannot know
- Or what, or where begun, or where at end.
- Sometimes a station in grey quiet; whence,
- With a short gathered champing of pent sound,
- We are let out upon the air again.
40Now nearly darkness; knees, & arms, & sides
- Feel the least touch; and close about the face
- A wind of noise that is along like God.
- Pauses of water soon, at intervals,
- That has the sky in it:—the reflexes
- O' the trees move towards the bank as we go by,
- Leaving the water's surface plain. I now
- Lie back and close my eyes a space; for they
- Smart from the open forwardness of thought
- Fronting the wind.
- I did not scribble more,
50Be certain, after this; but yawned, & read,
- And nearly dozed a little, I believe,
- Till, stretching up against the carriage-back,
- I was roused altogether, and looked out
- To where, upon the desolate verge of light,
- Yearned, pale and vast, the iron-coloured sea.
- To where the pale sea brooded motion[less].
Note: The final three lines, initially crossed out, are marked “stet”.
“Darkness, as darkness itself, and
as the shadow of death;
any order, and where the light
is as darkness.”
“If ye know them, they are in the
valley of the shadow of
- The sea is in its listless chime,
- Like Time's lapse rendered audible,—
- The murmur of the earth's large shell.
- In a sad blueness, beyond rhyme
- It ends: Sense, without thought, can pass
- No stadium further. Since Time was,
- This sound hath told the lapse of Time.
- No stagnance that Death wins,—it hath
- The mournfulness of ancient life,
10 Always enduring at dull strife.
- Like the world's heart, in calm and wrath,
- Its painful pulse is in the sands.
- Last utterly, the whole sky stands,
- Grey & not known, along its path.
Note: The text shifts to a second column after line 43 of the first
- Strong extreme speed, that the brain hurries with
- Further than trees, and hedges, & green grass
- Whitened by distance,—further than small pools
- Held among fields and gardens,—further than
- Haystacks, and windmillsails, and roofs, & herds,—
- The sea's last margin ceases at the sun.
- The sea has left us, but the sun remains.
- Sometimes the country spreads aloof in tracts
- Smooth from the harvest: sometimes sky & land
10Are shut from the square space the window leaves,
- By a dense crowd of trees, stem behind stem
- Passing across each other as we pass:
- Sometimes tall poplar-wands stand white, their heads
- Outmeasuring the distant hills. Sometimes
- The ground has a deep greenness; sometimes brown
- In stubble; and sometimes no ground at all,
- For the close strength of crops that stand unreaped.
- The water-plots are sometimes all the sun's,—
- Sometimes quite green through shadows filling them
20Or islanded with growths of reeds,—or else
- Masked in green dust like the wide face o' the fields.
- And still the swiftness lasts; that to our speed,
- The trees seem shaken like a press of spears.
- There is some count of us:—folks travelling capped,
- Priesthood, and lank hard-featured soldiery;
- Females (no women), Blouses, Hunt, & I.
- We are relayed at Amiens. The steam
- Snorts, chafes and bridles like 300 horse,
- And flings its dusky mane upon the air.
30Our company is thinned, and lamps alight.
- But still there are the folks in travelling-caps,
- (No priesthood now, but always soldiery,
- And babies to make up for show in noise,)
- Females (no women), Blouses, Hunt, & I.
- Our windows at one side are shut for warmth.
- Upon the other side, a leaden sky,
- Hung in blank glare, makes all the country
- Which too seems bald and meagre,—be it truth,
- Or of the waxing darkness. Here and there
40The shade takes light, where in thin patches stand
unstirred dregs of water. Hunt can see
- A moon, he says; but I am too far back.
- Still the same speed & thunder. We are stopt
- Again, and speech
tells clearer than in day.
- Hunt has just stretched to tell me that he fears
- I and my note-book may be taken for
- The stuff that goes to make an “émissaire”
- “De la perfide.” Let me abate my zeal:
- There is a stout gendarme within the coach.
50This cursed pitching is too bad. My teeth
- Jingle together in it; and my legs
- (Which I got wet at Boulogne this good day
- Wading for starfish) are so chilled that I
- Would don my coat, were not these seats too hard
- To spare it from beneath me, and were not
- The love of ease less than the love of sloth.
- Hunt has just told me it is nearly 8:
- We do not reach till 1/2 past 10. Drat verse,
- And steam, and Paris, & the
fins of time!
60Marry, for me, look you, I will go sleep.
- Most of them slept; I could not—held awake
- By jolting clamour, with shut eyes; my head
- Willing to nod and fancy itself vague.
- Only at stations I looked round me, when
Short silence paused among us, & I felt
- A creeping in my feet,
from abrupt calm.
- At such times Hunt would jerk himself, & then
- Tumble uncouthly forward in his sleep.
- This lasted near 3 hours. The darkness now
70Stayeth behind us on the sullen road,
- And all this light is Paris. Dieu
to me, dear William, by return of post,
- As much as you can manage of that rhyme
- Incurred at Ventnor. Bothers and delays
- Have still prevented me from copying this
- Till now: now that I do so, let it be
- Anticipative compensation.
- Numéro 4, Rue Geoffroy Marie,
- Faubourg Montmartre, près des Boulevards.
80Dear William, labelled thus the thing will reach.