When you deliberate the page
Of Alexander's pilgrimage,
Or say -- "It is three years, or ten,
Since Easter slew Connolly's men,"
Or prudently to judgment come
Of Antony or Absalom,
And think how duly are designed
Case and instruction for the mind,
Remember then that also we,
In a moon's course, are history.
John Drinkwater (1882-1937), Loyalties (1919).
"Easter slew Connolly's men" refers to the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland, and the subsequent execution of James Connolly and other participants.
William Rothenstein (1872-1945), "South-west Wind"
I saw history in a poet's song,
In a river-reach and a gallows-hill,
In a bridal bed, and a secret wrong,
In a crown of thorns: in a daffodil.
I imagined measureless time in a day,
And starry space in a wagon-road,
And the treasure of all good harvests lay
In the single seed that the sower sowed.
My garden-wind had driven and havened again
All ships that ever had gone to sea,
And I saw the glory of all dead men
In the shadow that went by the side of me.
John Drinkwater, Poems 1908-1914 (1917).
William Rothenstein, "Barn at Cherington, Gloucestershire" (1935)
Now, some might think that these two poems are commonplace observations by a little-known Georgian poet. But consider this:
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
An argument can be made that these lines are a somewhat prosy and less mellifluous version of what Drinkwater is getting at in "Passage" and "Symbols." The lines come from T. S. Eliot's "Burnt Norton," which was written in 1935. Thus, Drinkwater visited the same territory nearly 20 years in advance of Eliot. He didn't go on about the subject as long as Eliot does in "Burnt Norton," but I'm not willing to say that Drinkwater's poems are less lovely than Eliot's poem. "Burnt Norton" is definitely more grandiose, which may or may not be a good thing. There is something to be said for economy.
William Rothenstein, "Nature's Ramparts" (1908)