Lines Written in Belief That the Ancient Roman Festival of the Dead Was Called Ambarvalia

- 1887-1915
Swings the way still by hollow and hill,
    And all the world’s a song;
‘She’s far,’ it sings me, ‘but fair,’ it rings me.
    ‘Quiet,’ it laughs, ‘and strong!’

Oh! spite of the miles and years between us,
    Spite of your chosen part,
I do remember; and I go
    When laughter in my heart.

So above the little folk that know now,
    Out of the white hill-town,
High up I clamber; and I remember;
    And watch the day go down.

Gold is my heart, and the world’s golden,
    And one peak tipped with light;
And the air lies still about the hill
    With the first fear of night;

Till mystery down the soundless valley
    Thunders, and dark is here;
And the wind blows, and the light goes,
    And the night is full of fear.

And I know, one night, on some far height,
    In the tongue I never knew,
I yet shall hear the tidings clear
    From them that were friends of you.

They’ll call the news from hill to hill,
    Dark and uncomforted,
Earth and sky and the winds; and I
    Shall know that you are dead.

I shall not hear your trentals,
    Nor eat your arval bread;
For the kin of you will surely do
    their duty by the dead.

Their little dull greasy eyes will water;
    They’ll paw you, and gulp afresh.
They’ll sniffle and weep, and their thoughts will creep
    Like flies on the cold flesh.

They will put pence on your grey eyes,
    Bind up your fallen chin,
And lay you straight, the fools that loved you
    Because they were your kin.

They will praise all the bad about you,
    And hush the good away,
And wonder how they’ll do without you,
    And then they’ll go away.

But quieter than one sleeping,
    And stranger than of old,
You will not stir for weeping,
    You will not mind the cold;

But through the night the lips will laugh not,
    The hands will be in place,
And at length the hair be lying still
    About the quiet face. 

With sniffle and sniff and handkerchief,
    And dim and decorous mirth,
With ham and sherry, they’ll meet to bury
    The lordliest lass of earth. 

The little dead hearts will tramp ungrieving
    Behind lone-riding you,
The heart so high, the heart so living,
    Heart that they never knew.

I shall not hear your trentals,
    Nor eat your arval bread.
Nor with smug breath tell lies of death
    To the unanswering dead.

With snuffle and sniff and handkerchief,
    The folk who loved you now
Will bury you, and go wondering
    Back home. And you will rot.

But laughing and half-way up to heaven,
    With wind and hill and star,
I yet shall keep, before I sleep,
    Your Ambarvalia. 

More by Rupert Brooke

Tiare Tahiti

Mamua, when our laughter ends,
And hearts and bodies, brown as white,
Are dust about the doors of friends,
Or scent ablowing down the night,
Then, oh! then, the wise agree,
Comes our immortality.
Mamua, there waits a land
Hard for us to understand.
Out of time, beyond the sun,
All are one in Paradise,
You and Pupure are one,
And Tau, and the ungainly wise.
There the Eternals are, and there
The Good, the Lovely, and the True,
And Types, whose earthly copies were
The foolish broken things we knew;
There is the Face, whose ghosts we are;
The real, the never-setting Star;
And the Flower, of which we love
Faint and fading shadows here;
Never a tear, but only Grief;
Dance, but not the limbs that move;
Songs in Song shall disappear;
Instead of lovers, Love shall be;
For hearts, Immutability;
And there, on the Ideal Reef,
Thunders the Everlasting Sea! 

And my laughter, and my pain,
Shall home to the Eternal Brain.
And all lovely things, they say,
Meet in Loveliness again;
Miri's laugh, Teipo's feet,
And the hands of Matua,
Stars and sunlight there shall meet,
Coral's hues and rainbows there,
And Teura's braided hair;
And with the starred 'tiare's' white,
And white birds in the dark ravine,
And 'flamboyants' ablaze at night,
And jewels, and evening's after-green,
And dawns of pearl and gold and red,
Mamua, your lovelier head!
And there'll no more be one who dreams
Under the ferns, of crumbling stuff,
Eyes of illusion, mouth that seems,
All time-entangled human love.
And you'll no longer swing and sway
Divinely down the scented shade,
Where feet to Ambulation fade,
And moons are lost in endless Day.
How shall we wind these wreaths of ours,
Where there are neither heads nor flowers?
Oh, Heaven's Heaven! -- but we'll be missing
The palms, and sunlight, and the south;
And there's an end, I think, of kissing,
When our mouths are one with Mouth. . . . 

'Taü here', Mamua,
Crown the hair, and come away!
Hear the calling of the moon,
And the whispering scents that stray
About the idle warm lagoon.
Hasten, hand in human hand,
Down the dark, the flowered way,
Along the whiteness of the sand,
And in the water's soft caress,
Wash the mind of foolishness,
Mamua, until the day.
Spend the glittering moonlight there
Pursuing down the soundless deep
Limbs that gleam and shadowy hair,
Or floating lazy, half-asleep.
Dive and double and follow after,
Snare in flowers, and kiss, and call,
With lips that fade, and human laughter
And faces individual,
Well this side of Paradise! . . .
There's little comfort in the wise.


Love is a breach in the walls, a broken gate,
    Where that comes in that shall not go again;
Love sells the proud heart’s citadel to Fate.
    They have known shame, who love unloved. Even then,
When two mouths, thirsty each for each, find slaking,
    And agony’s forgot, and hushed the crying
Of credulous hearts, in heaven—such are but taking
    Their own poor dreams within their arms, and lying
Each in his lonely night, each with a ghost.
    Some share that night. But they know love grows colder,
Grows false and dull, that was sweet lies at most.
    Astonishment is no more in hand or shoulder,
But darkens, and dies out from kiss to kiss.
All this is love; and all love is but this.

Beauty and Beauty

When Beauty and Beauty meet
   All naked, fair to fair,
The earth is crying-sweet,
   And scattering-bright the air,
Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
   With soft and drunken laughter;
Veiling all that may befall

Where Beauty and Beauty met,
   Earth’s still a-tremble there,
And winds are scented yet,
   And memory-soft the air,
Bosoming, folding glints of light,
   And shreds of shadowy laughter;
Not the tears that fill the years