The Werewolves

written by William Wilfred Campbell

The Werewolves

— William Wilfred Campbell

They hasten, still they hasten,
From the even to the dawn;
And their tired eyes gleam and glisten
Under north skies white and wan.
Each panter in the darkness
Is a demon-haunted soul,
The shadowy, phantom werewolves,
Who circle round the Pole.

Their tongues are crimson flaming,
Their haunted blue eyes gleam,
And they strain them to the utmost
O'er frozen lake and stream;
Their cry one note of agony,
That is neither yelp nor bark,
These panters of the northern waste,
Who hound them to the dark.

You may hear their hurried breathing,
You may see their fleeting forms,
At the pallid polar midnight,
When the north is gathering storms;
When the arctic frosts are flaming,
And the ice-field thunders roll;
These demon-haunted werewolves,
Who circle round the Pole.

They hasten, still they hasten,
Across the northern night,
Filled with a frighted madness,
A horror of the light;
Forever and forever,
Like leaves before the wind,
They leave the wan, white gleaming
Of the dawning far behind.

Their only peace is darkness,
Their rest to hasten on
Into the heart of midnight,
Forever from the dawn.
Across far phantom ice-floes
The eye of night may mark
These horror-haunted werewolves
Who hound them to the dark.

All through this hideous journey
They are the souls of men
Who in the far dark-ages
Made Europe one black fen.
They fled from courts and convents,
And bound their mortal dust
With demon, wolfish girdles
Of human hate and lust.

These, who could have been godlike,
Chose, each a loathsome beast,
Amid the heart's foul graveyards,
On putrid thoughts to feast;
But the great God who made them
Gave each a human soul,
And so 'mid night forever
They circle round the Pole.

A-praying for the blackness,
A-longing for the night,
For each is doomed forever
By a horror of the light;
And far in the heart of midnight,
Where their shadowy flight is hurled,
They feel with pain the dawning
That creeps in round the world.

Under the northern midnight,
The white, glint ice upon,
They hasten, still they hasten,
With their horror of the dawn;
Forever and forever,
Into the night away
They hasten, still they hasten
Unto the judgment day.

About the poet


William Wilfred Campbell

William Wilfred Campbell was born 15 June 1860 in Newmarket, Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). There is some doubt as to the date and place of his birth. His father, Rev. Thomas Swainston Campbell, was an Anglican clergyman who had been assigned the task of setting up several frontier parishes in "Canada West", as Ontario was then called. Consequently, the family moved frequently. In 1871, the Campbells settled in Wiarton, Ontario, where Wilfred grew up, attending high school in nearby Owen Sound. The school later be renamed Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute). Campbell would look back on his childhood with fondness. Campbell taught in Wiarton before enrolling in the University of Toronto's University College in 1880, Wycliffe College in 1882, and at the Episcopal Theological...

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