Happy Samhain dear listener.

You may be thinking “Timothy, you have gone mad. Samhain is Hallowe’en, and that is in October.” to which I answer “Ah, but I am in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer’s end is this weekend.” Also, I have too many Hallowe’en poems, and some extra space in my data plan for the podcast, so…some poems for Summer’s End.

First, two by Thomas Hall Shastid recorded for Librivox by Andrew Gaunce. I like the idea that the first one has two demons. I’ll write statistics for them eventually.

THE SPECTRES
In a palace sad and lonely
Flit two spectres all the day—
Spectres chasing joy and brightness
From each window far away.

One is Sorrow clad in raiment,
Sombre as the shades of night,
While her trailing robes of darkness
Chase away each ray of light.

But the other one is Envy
Clad in blackness, clad with woe,
Sorrow’s only sad companion,
Flitting ever to and fro.

By the windows ever gliding,
Filling all with thoughts of pain;
All who gaze are doomed forever,
Ne’er to see bright joy again.

THE HAUNTED HOUSE
See the grass upon its threshold;
See the ivy on its wall;
Vacant are its crumbling windows,
Vacant is its mossy hall.

Ah! the step of man upon it
Shall resound along no more,
For the spirits of the dead ones
Ever flit about the door.

There the whisperings of the voices
Of the spirits of the dead;
Those of friends and enemies
Ever murmur ’round your head.{10}

Let us leave the haunted ruin;
Spirits walk the crumbling floor;
Light their step, but oh! their voices
Haunt the building evermore.

GHOSTS
Here the columned cliffs far out have planted
Their daring shafts in the Northern foam,
There hangs a castle that should be haunted,
A ruin meet for a phantom’s home.
For heavily in the caverns under
The hidden tide like a muffled drum,
Beats distinct through the level thunder
Of the wintry waste whence storm-winds come.
And fire has blackened the mouldering rafter,
And stairs have crumbled from bolted doors ;
At night there’s a sound of wail and laughter.
And footsteps crossing the creaking floors.
And in and out through the courts forsaken
Wild shapes are drifted from hall to hall.
With a trumpet sound the towers are shaken,
And banners flutter along the wall.
‘Tis but the storms and the seas enchant it.
Its ghosts are shadow and wind and spray.
If ever a phantom used to haunt it,
That too was mortal and passed away.

Now a couple from a Librivox reader who I really enjoy, called Newgate Novelist.

GHOSTS by Margaret Louisa Woods.
The ghosts have found where the hills embosom
A windless garden—they walk at noon,
When the beds and branches burn with blossom,
And hardly wait for the rising moon.

When the starry charm of the night is broken
And the day but lives as a child unborn,
They pass with echoes of words once spoken
And silent footsteps and eyes forlorn.

From the blind gray house where all are sleeping
A mocking music sounds wild and clear,
The faint lights glimmer and past them sweeping
The dancers appear and disappear.

And the swinging branches close to cover
The two who tremble there heart to heart,
The ghostly lady and phantom lover,
The souls long parted that cannot part.

They seem as shadows of morn and even,
For ever fading to come again ;
They are as shadows of tempest driven,
Stormily sighing across the plain.

For these depart as the rest departed.
The garden under the hill shall be
As ghost-forsaken, as past-deserted
As the castle over the Northern sea.

THE BOY ON THE MOOR by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff
‘Tis an eerie thing o ‘er the moor to fare
When the eddies of peat-smoke justle,
When the wraiths of mist whirl here and there
And wind-blown tendrils tussle,
When every step starts a hidden spring
And the trodden moss-tufts hiss and sing—
*Tis an eerie thing o ‘er the moor to fare
When the tangled reed-beds rustle.
The child with his primer sets out alone
And speeds as if he were hunted,
The wind goes by with a hollow moan—
There’s a noise in the hedge-row stunted.
‘Tis the turf-digger’s ghost, near-by he dwells,
And for drink his master’s turf he sells.
‘ Whoo ! whoo !’ ‘ comes a sound like a stray cow ‘s groan ;
The poor boy’s courage is daunted.
Then stumps loom up beside the ditch,
Uncannily nod the the bushes.
The boy running on, each nerve a-twitch,
Through a jungle of spear-grass pushes.
And where it trickles and crackles apace
Is the Spinner’s unholy hiding-place,
The home of the cursed Spinning-witch
Who turns her wheel ‘mid the rushes.
On, ever on, goes the fearsome rout,
In pursuit through that region fenny,
At each wild stride the bubbles burst out.
And the sounds from beneath are many.
Until at length from the midst of the din
Comes the squeak of a spectral violin,
That must be the rascally fiddler lout
Who ran off with the bridal penny
The turf splits open, and from the hole
Bursts forth an unhappy sighing,
*Alas, alas, for my wretched soul!”
‘Tis poor damned Margaret crying!
The lad he leaps like a wounded deer,
And were not his guardian angel near
Some digger might find in a marshy knoll
Where his little bleached bones were lying.
But the ground grows firmer beneath his feet,
And there from over the meadow
A lamp is flickering homely-sweet;
The boy at the edge of the shadow
Looks back as he pauses to take his breath,
And in his glance is the fear of death.
‘Twas eerie there ‘mid the sedge and peat,
Ah, that was a place to dread, !

And one last one:

HALLOWE’EN by Joel Benton in Harper’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 1896.
Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,—
In the wan moon’s silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play.
Fond of cellar, barn, or stack
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.
Cabbage-stumps—straws wet with dew—
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
And a mirror for some lass
Show what wonders come to pass.
Doors they move, and gates they hide
Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride
Are their deeds,—and, by their spells,
Love records its oracles.
Don’t we all, of long ago
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?
Eery shadows were they then—
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen
Precious would be Hallowe’en.


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