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Eleanor Farjeon (Элинор Фарджон)

In a Far Country

Two strangers met on a mountain-side
In a far country ...
The moon was young, the year was old,
The airs of the night were bitter-cold,
And their heavy cloaks their dress did hide.

One stranger did the other stay
In that far country:
“What brings you into the icy dark
With lifted eyes that only mark
The lights of heaven, less light than day?”

The second said the first unto
In the far country:
“Many the lights of heaven are,
But I watch for the birth of one more Star
Not yet arisen. And what do you?”

The first man to the other spoke
In the far country:
“Even as you I wait the birth
Of one new Light above the earth.
What garb do you wear beneath your cloak?”

The second dropped his outer dress
In that far country:
He wore a sheep-skin frayed and thin
Whose holes laid bare the shivering skin,
And the wind made mock of his nakedness.

The other did his robe unfold
In that far country,
And plain to see in the starlight dim
Were the furs and purple that covered him,
They were so heavy and rich with gold.

The hand of each unto each did spring
In that far country.
“Brother, why dared ye the night?” “Because
He, even as I, a Shepherd was.”
“I came, because He was a King.”

Handfast they watched the Birth on high
In the far country.
Shepherd and King forgotten be,
But not that all men’s Brother was He
Who for all men did live and die
In a far country.

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. Three Miles to Penn
  2. Sonnets. 12. I hear love answer: Since within the mesh
  3. Two Choruses from “Merlin in Broceliande”
  4. Sonnets. 4. Wilt thou put seals on love because men say
  5. Sonnets. 14. Now I have love again and life again

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