Eleutheria

The Dream of Poor Bazin

Jerry Stratton

What if the Three Musketeers were journalists in Washington, DC? What if journalists were swashbuckling, swaggering, hard-drinking warriors of truth? Find out in Jerry Stratton’s The Dream of Poor Bazin.

Sonnet To Liberty

  • Not that I love thy children, whose dull eyes
  • See nothing save their own unlovely woe,
  • Whose minds know nothing, nothing care to know,-
  • But that the roar of thy Democracies,
  • Thy reigns of Terror, thy great Anarchies,
  • Mirror my wildest passions like the sea,
  • And give my rage a brother-! Liberty!
  • For his sake only do thy dissonant cries
  • Delight my discreet soul, else might all kings
  • By bloody knout or treacherous cannonades
  • Rob nations of their rights inviolate
  • And I remain unmoved- and yet, and yet,
  • These Christs that die upon the barricades,
  • God knows it I am with them, in some things.

Ave Imperatrix

    • Set in this stormy Northern sea,
    • Queen of these restless fields of tide,
    • England! what shall men say of thee,
    • Before whose feet the worlds divide?
    • The earth, a brittle globe of glass,
    • Lies in the hollow of thy hand,
    • And through its heart of crystal pass,
    • Like shadows through a twilight land,
    • The spears of crimson-suited war,
    • The long white-crested waves of fight,
    • And all the deadly fires which are
    • The torches of the lords of Night.
    • The yellow leopards, strained and lean,
    • The treacherous Russian knows so well,
    • With gaping blackened jaws are seen
    • Leap through the hail of screaming shell.
    • The strong sea-lion of England’s wars
    • Hath left his sapphire cave of sea,
    • To battle with the storm that mars
    • The star of England’s chivalry.
    • The brazen-throated clarion blows
    • Across the Pathan’s reedy fen,
    • And the high steeps of Indian snows
    • Shake to the tread of armed men.
    • And many an Afghan chief, who lies
    • Beneath his cool pomegranate-trees,
    • Clutches his sword in fierce surmise
    • When on the mountain-side he sees
    • The fleet-foot Marri scout, who comes
    • To tell how he hath heard afar
    • The measured roll of English drums
    • Beat at the gates of Kandahar.
    • For southern wind and east wind meet
    • Where, girt and crowned by sword and fire,
    • England with bare and bloody feet
    • Climbs the steep road of wide empire.
    • O lonely Himalayan height,
    • Gray pillar of the Indian sky,
    • Where saw’st thou last in clanging fight,
    • Our winged dogs of Victory?
    • The almond groves of Samarcand,
    • Bokhara, where red lilies blow,
    • And Oxus, by whose yellow sand
    • The grave white-turbaned merchants go:
    • And on from thence to Ispahan,
    • The gilded garden of the sun,
    • Whence the long dusty caravan
    • Brings cedar and vermilion;
    • And that dread city of Cabool
    • Set at the mountain’s scarped feet,
    • Whose marble tanks are ever full
    • With water for the noon-day heat:
    • Where through the narrow straight Bazaar
    • A little maid Circassian
    • Is led, a present from the Czar
    • Unto some old and bearded khan,-
    • Here have our wild war-eagles flown,
    • And flapped wide wings in fiery fight;
    • But the sad dove, that sits alone
    • In England- she hath no delight.
    • In vain the laughing girl will lean
    • To greet her love with love-lit eyes:
    • Down in some treacherous black ravine,
    • Clutching his flag, the dead boy lies.
    • And many a moon and sun will see
    • The lingering wistful children wait
    • To climb upon their father’s knee;
    • And in each house made desolate
    • Pale women who have lost their lord
    • Will kiss the relics of the slain-
    • Some tarnished epaulet- some sword-
    • Poor toys to soothe such anguished pain.
    • For not in quiet English fields
    • Are these, our brothers, laid to rest.
    • Where we might deck their broken shields
    • With all the flowers the dead love best.
    • For some are by the Delhi walls,
    • And many in the Afghan land,
    • And many where the Ganges falls
    • Through seven mouths of shifting sand.
    • And some in Russian waters lie,
    • And others in the seas which are
    • The portals to the East, or by
    • The wind-swept heights of Trafalgar.
    • O wandering graves! O restless sleep!
    • O silence of the sunless day!
    • O still ravine! O stormy deep!
    • Give up your prey! Give up your prey!
    • And thou whose wounds are never healed,
    • Whose weary race is never won,
    • O Cromwell’s England! must thou yield
    • For every inch of ground a son?
    • Go! crown with thorns thy gold-crowned head,
    • Change thy glad song to song of pain;
    • Wind and wild wave have got thy dead,
    • And will not yield them back again.
    • Wave and wild wind and foreign shore
    • Possess the flower of English land-
    • Lips that thy lips shall kiss no more,
    • Hands that shall never clasp thy hand.
    • What profit now that we have bound
    • The whole round world with net of gold,
    • If hidden in our heart is found
    • The care that groweth never old?
    • What profit that our galleys ride,
    • Pine-forest-like, on every main?
    • Ruin and wreck are at our side,
    • Grim warders of the House of pain.
    • Where are the brave, the strong, the fleet
    • Where is our English chivalry?
    • Wild grasses are their burial-sheet,
    • And sobbing waves their threnody.
    • O loved ones lying far away,
    • What word of love can dead lips send!
    • O wasted dust! O senseless clay!
    • Is this the end! is this the end!
    • Peace, peace! we wrong the noble dead
    • To vex their solemn slumber so:
    • Though childless, and with thorn-crowned head,
    • Up the steep road must England go,
    • Yet when this fiery web is spun,
    • Her watchmen shall decry from far
    • The young Republic like a sun
    • Rise from these crimson seas of war.

To Milton

  • Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away
  • From these white cliffs, and high embattled-towers;
  • This gorgeous fiery-colored world of ours
  • Seems fallen into ashes dull and gray,
  • And the age changed unto a mimic play,
  • Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours:
  • For all our pomp and pageantry and powers
  • We are but fit to delve the common clay,
  • Seeing this little isle on which we stand,
  • This England, this sea-lion of the sea,
  • By ignorant demagogues is held in fee,
  • Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land
  • Which bare a triple empire in her hand
  • When Cromwell spake the word Democracy!

Louis Napoleon

    • Eagle of Austerlitz! where were thy wings
    • When far away upon a barbarous strand,
    • In fight unequal, by an obscure hand,
    • Fell the last scion of thy brood of Kings!
    • Poor boy! thou wilt not flaunt thy cloak of red,
    • Nor ride in state through Paris in the van
    • Of thy returning legions, but instead
    • Thy mother France, free and republican,
    • Shall on thy dead and crownless forehead place
    • The better laurels of a soldier’s crown,
    • That not dishonored should thy soul go down
    • To tell the mighty Sire of thy race
    • That France hath kissed the mouth of Liberty,
    • And found it sweeter than his honeyed bees,
    • And that the giant wave Democracy
    • Breaks on the shores where Kings lay couched at ease.

Sonnet On the Massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria

  • Christ, dost Thou live indeed? or are Thy bones
  • Still straightened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
  • And was Thy Rising only dreamed by her
  • Whose love of Thee for all her sin atones?
  • For here the air is horrid with men’s groans,
  • The priests who call upon Thy name are slain,
  • Dost Thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
  • From those whose children lie upon the stones?
  • Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
  • Curtains the land, and through the starless night
  • Over Thy Cross the Crescent moon I see!
  • If Thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
  • Come down, O Son of Man! and show Thy might
  • Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!

Quantum Mutata

  • There was a time in Europe long ago,
  • When no man died for freedom anywhere,
  • But England’s lion leaping from its lair
  • Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
  • While England could a great Republic show.
  • Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
  • Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
  • The Pontiff in his painted portico
  • Trembled before our stern embassadors.
  • How comes it then that from such high estate
  • We have thus fallen, save that Luxury
  • With barren merchandise piles up the gate
  • Where nobler thoughts and deeds should enter by:
  • Else might we still be Milton’s heritors.

Libertatis Sacra Fames

  • Albeit nurtured in democracy,
  • And liking best that state republican
  • Where every man is Kinglike and no man
  • Is crowned above his fellows, yet I see
  • Spite of this modern fret for Liberty,
  • Better the rule of One, whom all obey,
  • Than to let clamorous demagogues betray
  • Our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.
  • Wherefore I love them not whose hands profane
  • Plant the red flag upon the piled-up street
  • For no right cause, beneath whose ignorant reign
  • Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honor, all things fade,
  • Save Treason and the dagger of her trade,
  • And Murder with his silent bloody feet.

Theoretikos

  • This mighty empire hath but feet of clay;
  • Of all its ancient chivalry and might
  • Our little island is forsaken quite:
  • Some enemy hath stolen its crown of bay,
  • And from its hills that voice hath passed away
  • Which spake of Freedom: O come out of it,
  • Come out of it, my Soul, thou art not fit
  • For this vile traffic-house, where day by day
  • Wisdom and reverence are sold at mart,
  • And the rude people rage with ignorant cries
  • Against an heritage of centuries.
  • It mars my calm: wherefore in dreams of Art
  • And loftiest culture I would stand apart,
  • Neither for God, nor for His enemies.