Nature and Time, by Lord Dunsany
Through the streets of Coventry one winter's night strode a
triumphant spirit. Behind him stooping, unkempt, utterly ragged,
wearing the clothes and look that outcasts have, whining, weeping,
reproaching, an ill-used spirit tried to keep pace with him. Continually
she plucked him by the sleeve and cried out to him as she panted
after and he strode resolute on.
It was a bitter night, yet it did not seem to be the cold that she feared,
ill-clad though she was, but the trams and the ugly shops and the glare
of the factories, from which she continually winced as she hobbled on,
and the pavement hurt her feet.
He that strode on in front seemed to care for nothing, it might be hot
or cold, silent or noisy, pavement or open fields, he merely had the
air of striding on.
And she caught up and clutched him by the elbow. I heard her
speak in her unhappy voice, you scarcely heard it for the noise of
"You have forgotten me," she complained to him. "You have forsaken
She pointed to Coventry with a wide wave of her arm and seemed
to indicate other cities beyond. And he gruffly told her to keep
pace with him and that he did not forsake her. And she went on
with her pitiful lamentation.
"My anemones are dead for miles," she said, "all my woods are
fallen and still the cities grow. My child Man is unhappy and my other
children are dying, and still the cities grow and you have forgotten me!"
And then he turned angrily on her, almost stopping in that stride of
his that began when the stars were made.
"When have I ever forgotten you?" he said, "or when forsaken you
ever? Did I not throw down Babylon for you? And is not Nineveh
gone? Where is Persepolis that troubled you? Where Tarshish and
Tyre? And you have said I forget you."
And at this she seemed to take a little comfort. I heard her speak
once more, looking wistfully at her companion. "When will the fields
come back and the grass for my children?"
"Soon, soon," he said: then they were silent. And he strode away,
she limping along behind him, and all the clocks in the towers chimed
as he passed.