Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
March
By Isabella Valancy Crawford (1850–1887)
 
SHALL Thor with his hammer
  Beat on the mountain,
As on an anvil,
  A shackle and fetter?
 
Shall the lame Vulcan        5
  Shout as he swingeth
God-like his hammer,
  And forge thee a fetter?
 
Shall Jove, the Thunderer,
  Twine his swift lightnings        10
With his loud thunders,
  And forge thee a shackle?
 
‘No!’ shouts the Titan,
  The young lion-throated;
‘Thor, Vulcan, or Jove        15
  Cannot shackle and bind me.’
 
Tell what will bind thee,
  Thou young world-shaker.
Up vault our oceans,
  Down fall our forests.        20
 
Ship masts and pillars
  Stagger and tremble,
Like reeds by the margins
  Of swift running waters.
 
Men’s hearts at thy roaring        25
  Quiver like harebells
Smitten by hailstones,
  Smitten and shaken.
 
‘O sages and wise men!
  O bird-hearted tremblers!        30
Come, I will show ye
  A shackle to bind me.
 
I, the lion-throated,
  The shaker of mountains!
I, the invincible,        35
  Lasher of oceans!
 
Past the horizon,
  Its ring of pale azure
Past the horizon,
  Where scurry the white clouds,        40
 
There are buds and small flowers—
  Flowers like snowflakes,
Blossoms like raindrops,
  So small and tremulous.
 
These in a fetter        45
  Shall shackle and bind me,
Shall weigh down my shouting
  With their delicate perfume!’
 
But who this frail fetter
  Shall forge on an anvil,        50
With hammer of feather
  And anvil of velvet?
 
‘Past the horizon
  In the palm of a valley,
Her feet in the grasses,        55
  There is a maiden.
 
She smiles on the flowers,
  They widen and redden;
She weeps on the flowers,
  They grow up and kiss her.        60
 
She breathes in their bosoms,
  They breathe back in odours;
Inarticulate homage,
  Dumb adoration.
 
She shall wreathe them in shackles,        65
  Shall weave them in fetters;
In chains shall she braid them,
  And me shall she fetter.
 
I, the invincible;
  March, the earth-shaker;        70
March, the sea-lifter;
  March, the sky-render;
 
March, the lion-throated.
  April, the weaver
Of delicate blossoms,        75
  And moulder of red buds—
 
Shall at the horizon,
  Its ring of pale azure,
Its scurry of white clouds,
  Meet in the sunlight.’        80
 
 
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