The Great War

from Retrogression and Other Poems: Electronic Edition

The Husbandman of Heaven
[Lines written near the burial-place of Burns]

POET, whose very dust, here shed,

Is as the quick among the dead,

Where revels thy carousing soul?

What Hebe fills what mighty bowl,

Mantling with what immortal drink?

Nay, great and blissful one! I think

That, taught by Time himself to flee

The taverns of Eternity,

Amid yon constellations thou

Drivest all night the heavenly Plough,

Wooing with song some sky-nymph fair

Who sits in Cassiopeia's Chair,

Or half unravels on her knees

That tangled net, the Pleiades,

Or, at thy over amorous strain

Bridling with wrath she needs must feign,

Flits to a region pale and gray,

Shimmers through nebula away,

Coldly beyond thy fires to roam,

Hid in Orion's astral foam,

But wandering back, with starlike tears

Yields to the Ploughman of the Spheres.