The Camp Within The West


Roderic Quinn

O did you see a troop go by

Way-weary and oppressed,

Dead kisses on the drooping lip

And a dead heart in the breast?

Yea, I have seen them one by one

Way-weary and oppressed,

And when I asked them, "Whither speed?"

They answered, "To the West!"

And were they pale as pale could be—

Death-pale with haunted eyes,

And did you see the hot white dust

Range round their feet and rise?

Oh, they were pale as pale could be,

And pale as an embered leaf;

The hot white dust had risen, but

They laid it with their grief.

Did no one say the way is long,

And crave a little rest?

Oh no, they said, "The night is nigh,

Our camp is in the West!"

And did pain pierce their feet, as though

The way with thorns were set,

And were they visited by strange

Dark angels of regret?

Oh yea, and some were mute as death,

Though shot by many a dart,

With them the salt of inward tears

Went stinging through the heart.

And how are these wayfarers called,

And whither do they wend?

The Weary-Hearted—and their road

At sunset hath an end.

Shed tears for them...Nay, nay, no tears!

They yearn for endless rest;

Perhaps large stars will burn above

Their camp within the West.


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