The Man And The Centaur

By William Sharp


Upon the mountain-heights thou goest,
As swift as some fierce wind-swept flame;
Thy doom thou scornest while thou knowest
Men mock thy name.

But thou — thou hast the mountain-splendour
The lonely streams, blue lakes serene,
Wouldst thou these virgin haunts surrender
For man’s demesne?

Wouldst thou, for peaks where eagles gather,
Where moon-white skies slow flush with dawn,
Where, drenched with dew thy chieftain-father
Is far withdrawn —

Wouldst thou all these exchange, give over
Thy wild free joys and all delights,
Thy proud and passionate mountain-lover,
Thy starry nights,

For that drear life in huddled places
Where men, like ants move to and fro
Tired men, with ever on their faces
The shadow of woe?


I would not change — did not the waters
Did not the winds, all living things
Proclaim that we, the sons and daughters
Of Time’s first kings,

That we must change and pass and perish
Even as autumnal leaves that fall;
Even as the wind the hill-flowers cherish,
At Winter’s call:

That we, even we should know no morrow
For as our body, so our soul:
O human, fair thy life of sorrow,
Thou hast a Goal!

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