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Focus On... Isaac Rosenberg
   
 
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Below are the original copies of three of Rosenberg's poems in his own hand, including one of his most famous works, 'The Immortals'. The poems are part of the collection of documents held by The Imperial War Museum on behalf of Isaac's literary executors.
'The Immortals' by Isaac Rosenberg; from the IWM's Rosenberg collection. Reproduced with the permission of the Rosenberg Family

The Immortals

I killed them, but they would not die.
Yea! all the day and all the night,
For them I could not rest or sleep,
Nor guard from them nor hide in flight.

Then in my agony I turned,
And made my hands red in their gore.
In vain - for faster than I slew,
They rose more cruel than before.

I killed and killed with slaughter mad,
I killed till all my strength was gone.
And still they rose to torture me,
For Devils only die in fun.

I used to think the Devil hid,
In women's smiles and wine's carouse.
I called him Satan, Balzebub.
But now I call him, dirty louse.

'Spring' by Isaac Rosenberg; from the IWM's Rosenberg collection. Reproduced with the permission of the Rosenberg Family

Spring

I walk and wonder
To hear the birds sing,
Without you my lady
How can there be Spring?
I see the pink blossoms
That slept for a year;
But who could have woke them,
While you were not near?

Birds sing to the blossoms;
Blind, dreaming your pink,
These blush to the songsters,
Your music they think.
So well had you taught them,
To look and to sing;
Your bloom and your music;
The ways of the Spring.

Of any old man

Wreck not the ageing heart of quietness,
With alien uproar and rude jolly cries,
Which satyr like to a mild maidens pride,
Ripens not wisdom, but a large recoil,
Give them their withered peace, their trial grave,
Their old youth's three-scored shadowy effigy,
Mock them not with your ripened turbulence,
Their frost mailed petulance with your torrid wrath,
While edging your boisterous thunder shivers one word,
Pap to their senile shivering, drug to truth,
The feigned ramparts of bleak ignorance,
Experience - crown of naked majesties,
That tells us nought we know not - but confirms,
Oh think! You reverend shadowy austere,
Your Christ's youth was not ended when he died.

'Any Old Man' by Isaac Rosenberg; from the IWM's Rosenberg collection. Reproduced with the permission of the Rosenberg Family