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This poet loves all beauteous things

Three poems by Robert Seymour Bridges

The North Wind in October

  • In the golden glade the chestnuts are fallen all;
  • From the sered boughs of the oak the acorns fall:
  • The beech scatters her ruddy fire;
  • The lime hath stripped to the cold,
  • And standeth naked above her yellow attire:
  • The larch thinneth her spire
  • To lay the ways of the wood with cloth of gold.
  • Out of the golden-green and white
  • Of the brake the fir-trees stand upright
  • In the forest of flame, and wave aloft
  • To the blue of heaven their blue-green tuftings soft.
  • But swiftly in shuddering gloom the splendors fail,
  • As the harrying North-wind beareth
  • A cloud of skirmishing hail
  • The grieved woodland to smite:
  • In a hurricane through the trees he teareth,
  • Raking the boughs and the leaves rending,
  • And whistleth to the descending
  • Blows of his icy flail.
  • Gold and snow he mixeth in spite,
  • And whirleth afar; as away on his winnowing flight
  • He passeth, and all again for a while is bright.

The Evening Darkens Over

  • The evening darkens over
  • After a day so bright
  • The windcapt waves discover
  • That wild will be the night.
  • There’s sound of distant thunder.
  • The latest sea-birds hover
  • Along the cliff’s sheer height;
  • As in the memory wander
  • Last flutterings of delight,
  • White wings lost on the white.
  • There’s not a ship in sight;
  • And as the sun goes under
  • Thick clouds conspire to cover
  • The moon that should rise yonder.
  • Thou art alone, fond lover.

I Love All Beauteous Things

  • I love all beauteous things,
  • I seek and adore them;
  • God hath no better praise,
  • And man in his hasty days
  • Is honored for them.
  • I too will something make
  • And joy in the making;
  • Altho’ to-morrow it seem
  • Like the empty words of a dream
  • Remembered on waking.

Robert Seymour Bridges(1844–1930) was Britain’s poet laureate from 1913 to 1930. Like other literary greats, such as Anton Chekov and Walker Percy, Bridges was a trained medical doctor. While he wrote verse all his life, like his friend and Oxford classmate Gerard Manley Hopkins, he achieved literary fame only after the fact. Also like Manley, Bridges experimented with prosody and poetic forms. While Bridges eventually enjoyed literary fame late in life, he also worked selflessly — and successfully — to insure that Hopkins, who died in 1889, achieved posthumous fame for his poetic efforts.

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