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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

— ; MOSES Destroy the

— ; MOSES Destroy the dawn, night would be mixed with light, No night or light would be, but a new thing : So with these slaves, who perhaps have dreamt of freedom, Egypt was in the way ; I'll strike it out With my ways curious and unusual. I have a trouble in my mind for largeness, Rough-hearted, shaggy, which your grave ardours lack : Here is the quarry quiet for me to hew ; Here are the springs, primeval elements, The roots 1 hid secrecy, old source of race, Unreasoned reason of the savage instinct. I'd shape one impulse through the contraries Of vain ambitious men, selfish and callous, And frail life -drifters, reticent, delicate Litheness thread bulk, a nation's harmony : These are not lame nor bent awry, but placeless With the rust and stagnant. All that's low I'll charm, Barbaric love sweeten to tenderness, Cunning ran into wisdom, craft turn to skill Their meanness, threaded right and sensibly, Change to a prudence envied and not sneered ; Their hugeness be a driving wedge to a thing 77

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG Ineffable and useable, as near Solidity as human life can be : So grandly fashion these rude elements Into some newer nature, a consciousness Like naked light seizing the all-eyed soul, Oppressing with its gorgeous tyranny T C ntil they take it thus— or die. {While .speaking, he places his hand on the unsuspecting Egyptian's head and gently, caressingly, pulls his hair back until his chin is above hisforehead, and holds him so till he is suffocated. In the darkness ahead is seen the glimmer ofjavelins and spears : it is Prince Intra s cohorts come to arrest Moses.] The End. 78