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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Robert Buchanan (1841–1901)

The Strange Country

I HAVE come from a mystical Land of Light

To a Strange Country;

The land I have left is forgotten quite

In the land I see.

The round earth rolls beneath my feet,

And the still stars glow;

The murmuring waters rise and retreat,

The winds come and go.

Sure as a heart-beat all things seem

In this Strange Country;

So sure, so still, in a dazzle of dream,

All things flow free.

’Tis life, all life, be it pleasure or pain,

In the field and the flood,

In the beating heart, in the burning brain,

In the flesh and the blood.

Deep as death is the daily strife

Of this Strange Country:

All things thrill up till they blossom in life,

And flutter and flee.

Nothing is stranger than the rest,

From the Pole to the Pole,—

The weed by the way, the eggs in the nest,

The flesh and the soul.

Look in mine eyes, O man I meet

In this Strange Country!

Lie in my arms, O maiden sweet,

With thy mouth kiss me!

Go by, O king, with thy crownèd brow

And thy sceptred hand—

Thou art a straggler too, I vow,

From the same Strange Land.

O wondrous faces that upstart

In this Strange Country!

O souls, O shades, that become a part

Of my soul and me!

What are ye working so fast and fleet,

O human-kind?

“We are building cities for those whose feet

Are coming behind;

“Our stay is short; we must fly again

From this Strange Country:

But others are growing, women and men,


Child, what art thou? and what am I?

But a breaking wave!

Rising and rolling on, we hie

To the shore of the grave.

I have come from a mystical Land of Light

To this Strange Country:

This dawn I came; I shall go to-night,

Ay me! ay me!

I hold my hand to my head, and stand

’Neath the air’s blue arc;

I try to remember the mystical Land,

But all is dark.

And all around me swim shapes like mine

In this Strange Country;

They break in the glamour of gleams divine,

And they moan “Ay me!”

Like waves in the cold moon’s silvern breath

They gather and roll;

Each crest of white is a birth or death,

Each sound is a soul.

Oh, whose is the eye that gleams so bright

O’er this Strange Country?

It draws us along with a chain of light,

As the moon the sea!