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The Weaver
(17 November 1861 - 10 February 1899 / Morpeth, Ontario)

The Weaver

All day, all day, round the clacking net
The weaver's fingers fly:
Gray dreams like frozen mists are set
In the hush of the weaver's eye;
A voice from the dusk is calling yet,
'Oh, come away, or we die!'

Without is a horror of hosts that fight,
That rest not, and cease not to kill,
The thunder of feet and the cry of the flight,
A slaughter weird and shrill;
Gray dreams are set in the weaver's sight,
The weaver is weaving still.

'Come away, dear soul, come away or we die;
Hear'st thou the moan and the rush! Come away;
The people are slain at the gates, and they fly;
The kind God hath left them this day;
The battle-axes cleaves, and the foemen cry,
And the red swords swing and slay.'

'Nay, wife, what boots to fly from pain,
When pain is wherever we fly?
And death is a sweeter thing than a chain:
'Tis sweeter to sleep than to cry,
The kind God giveth the days that wane;
If the kind God hath said it, I die.'

And the weaver wove, and the good wife fled,
And the city was made a tomb,
And a flame that shook from the rocks overhead
Shone into that silent room,
And touched like a wide red kiss on the dead
Brown weaver slain by his loom.

Yet I think that in some dim shadowy land,
Where no suns rise or set,
Where the ghost of a whilom loom doth stand
Round the dusk of its silken net,
Forever flyeth his shadowy hand,
And the weaver is weaving yet.

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