BLTC Press Titles

available for Kindle at

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

The Characters of Theophrastus


Lord Stirling's stand, and other poems

by William Henry Babcock



Room for the song I sing,

Or rather the tale I tell!
For I count it an idle thing

(And I never could warble well),
A pitiful thing and vain,
To call, with our poet train,
The vision one's soul has caught,
The lesson its toil has taught,
Its memories grandly wrought,
A lay or a song or a strain:
The cant of a time outspanned,
That was true in an older land,

But is silly and false, I say;
For who would dare to stand,

And chant in the face of day,

Ay, or the twilight gray,
His most melodious verse—

The thing that he calls a lay,
Though 'tis something better or worse?
But never singer of old

When fancies were wrought on air,
Voicing mellow and bold,

With listeners everywhere,
Was haunted by gloried dream

As I by the simple theme

That will have space and to spare. That mounts from the hidden spring

Of life, in the heart and brain, And hovers on fitful wing,

And will not vanish again.

It went with me this morn,

As it often has gone before,

When I passed by the temple door
Of Liberty's latest born:

I heard the sounds of yore
In the water's murmurous fall
On the terrace below the hall,
By a million footsteps worn.
Like a dove through the waving corn
A vision before me passed,

Through the trees and the peopled street,

And the upward glancing heat And the downward furnace blast: And it comes again, midway

As I sit between crowd and sky,

With the noisy birds on high,

While the wheels below go by,
And the sparrows brown and gray
And martins, sallying out
With furtive rally and rout,
Strive for the petty sway
Of the curled acanthus leaves,
That cap with their carven sheaves

Yon grove which has turned to stone.
And the sounds of a larger strife
Rise from the lower life

Through the ceaseless feverish glare. And over them all in air,

Patient and still and lone, A hawk is hovering there.

It was back in the old, old years

Which seem so far away,
When the air was heavy with tears
And chilled by the breath of fears

And fevered with ceaseless fray,
When the gentlest hearts beat time

To the cry of "blood for blood," And the nation's march sublime Recked little of folly and crime, Like a drunkard staggering on Under the angry sun,

Waist-deep in the gory flood.

The pleasant hills that we knew,
Fringing the southern view,

Were shorn to a bristling ridge;
The tramp of marching feet
Echoed in glen and street

And the long, long reach of bridge. Where once the tossing corn Laughed in the eye of morn, Ugly and dull and worn

Upreared the grim redoubt. Instead of the amber ears, Crowning the wheat-field spears,

Came bayonets bursting out. Churches and homes and halls Were changed to hospitals

Vivid with human pain;
The college overflowed,
And up and down the road,
And out to left and right,
Scattered its tentlets white,

Scattered its ruby rain.

It is easy to deal with words,

But where are the words to tell Of the days when thoughts were swords

And man hurled man to Hell? When death in anger done

Was a theme for the veriest child,

A thing of his every hour?
When he ran to see—and smiled—
As the captive ranks defiled;
And the hearses passing on

Were a cheap and common show,

And the wounded journeying slow In the heat of an August sun

Scarce stirred a deeper woe

Than the hurt of a bird or a flower! The seed that zeal had sown

Was bearing an evil fruit,
For the life of man had grown

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