“ Sleep, Dolores”
“Sleep, Dólorès,” my mother sang to me,
When life was all a play, dear,
In joyous rhythms rung;
Quaint, fantastic, wayward melody –
Now life is closing grey, dear,
And all its songs are sung.
“Sleep, Dólorès! The grey wolves ride away,”
I saw them in a far-line
Across the looming plains
(“Sleep, Dólorès, sweet, slumber while you may”) –
Gaunt shapes athwart the star-line
That broke their bridle reins.
“Sleep, Dólorès.” In that old world o’ mine,
Where fancy vainly lingers
Were palaces to let;
No gates, toll gates, nor title deeds to sign,
Nor tangle of cold fingers
That never should have met.
“Sleep, Dólorès!” I thought the shining stars
Were lamps along the night coast
Of cities far away;
Head lights, red lights, that flashed among the spars
Of schooners on the white coast,
Adown the Milky Way.
“Sleep, Dólorès!” And tranced in slumber song
Bright, wondrous things I saw, dear,
My starry cities in –
Child dreams, wild dreams, that recked not right nor wrong,
And Love was over Law, dear,
And knew not shame or sin.
“Hush, Dólorès! The wolves are near the town”;
A thrust, a thin red knife-line
The blade is sharp and keen.
“Wake, Dólorès! The grey wolves ride thee down!
Gaunt shapes athwart thy life-line,
And not a league between.”
‘“Sleep, Dolores,”’ Bulletin 7 Jul 1904: 3. NSW.
See also ‘Sleep, Dolorias,’ Verses 1905: 33-34.