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'I knew his times and his seasons, as he knew mine, that fed

By night in the ripened maizefield and robbed my

of bread;


I knew his strength and cunning, as he knew mine, that


At dawn to the crowded goat-pens and plundered while

I slept.

'Up from his stony playground-down from his welldigged lair

Out on the naked ridges ran Adam-zad the Bear; Groaning, grunting, and roaring, heavy with stolen meals,

Two long marches to northward, and I was at his heels!

'Two full marches to northward, at the fall of the second night,

I came on mine enemy Adam-zad all panting from his flight.

There was a charge in the musket-pricked and primed was the pan

My finger crooked on the trigger-when he reared up like a man.

'Horrible, hairy, human, with paws like hands in prayer,

Making his supplication rose Adam-zad the Bear!

I looked at the swaying shoulders, at the paunch's swag

and swing,

And my heart was touched with pity for the monstrous,

pleading thing.


"Touched with pity and wonder, I did not fire then

I have looked no more on women-I have walked no

more with men.

Nearer he tottered and nearer, with paws like hands

that pray

From brow to jaw that steel-shod paw, it ripped my face away!

'Sudden, silent, and savage, searing as flame the blowFaceless I fell before his feet, fifty summers ago.

I heard him grunt and chuckle-I heard him pass to his den,

He left me blind to the darkened years and the little mercy of men.

'Now ye go down in the morning with guns of the newer style,

That load (I have felt) in the middle and range (I have heard) a mile?

Luck to the white man's rifle, that shoots so fast and


But-pay, and I lift my bandage and show what the Bear can do!'

(Flesh like slag in the furnace, knobbed and withered and gray

Matun, the old blind beggar, he gives good worth for his pay.)

'Rouse him at noon in the bushes, follow and press him


Not for his ragings and roarings flinch ye from Adam


'But (pay, and I put back the bandage) this is the time to fear,

When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and


When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute


When he veils the hate and cunning of the little, swinish eyes;

'When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer,

That is the time of peril—the time of the Truce of the Bear!'

Eyeless, noseless, and lipless, asking a dole at the door, Matun, the old blind beggar, he tells it o'er and o'er; Fumbling and feeling the rifles, warming his hands at the flame,

Hearing our careless white men talk of the morrow's game;

Over and over the story, ending as he began:—

'There is no truce with Adam-zad, the Bear that looks like a man!'




HIS is our lot if we live so long and labour unto the end

That we outlive the impatient years and the much too patient friend:

And because we know we have breath in our mouth and think we have thought in our head,

We shall assume that we are alive, whereas we are really dead.

We shall not acknowledge that old stars fade or alien planets arise

(That the sere bush buds or the desert blooms or the ancient well-head dries),

Or any new compass wherewith new men adventure 'neath new skies.

We shall lift up the ropes that constrained our youth to bind on our children's hands;

We shall call to the water below the bridges to return and replenish our lands;

We shall harness horses (Death's own pale horses) and scholarly plough the sands.

We shall lie down in the eye of the sun for lack of a light on our way

We shall rise up when the day is done and chirrup,

'Behold, it is day!'

We shall abide till the battle is won ere we amble into the fray.

We shall peck out and discuss and dissect, and evert and extrude to our mind,

The flaccid tissues of long-dead issues offensive to God and mankind—

(Precisely like vultures over an ox that the Army has left behind).

We shall make walk preposterous ghosts of the glories we once created

(Immodestly smearing from muddled palettes amazing pigments mismated)

And our friends will weep when we ask them with boasts if our natural force be abated.

The Lamp of our Youth will be utterly out: but we shall subsist on the smell of it,

And whatever we do, we shall fold our hands and suck our gums and think well of it.

Yes, we shall be perfectly pleased with our work, and that is the perfectest Hell of it!

This is our lot if we live so long and listen to those who love us

That we are shunned by the people about and shamed by the Powers above us.

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