WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
TO THE READER.
I have been asked to consent that an edition of my poems should be published at Dessau in Germany, solely for circulation on the continent of Europe. To this request I have the more readily yielded, inasmuch as the reputation enjoyed by the gentleman under whose inspection the volume will pass through the press, assures me that the edition will be faithfully and minutely accurate.
New York, November 2, 1853.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
The Ages deg. Thanatopsis The Yellow Violet Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood Song.—"Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow" To a Waterfowl Green River A Winter Piece The West Wind The Burial-place. deg. A Fragment Blessed are they that Mourn No Man knoweth his Sepulchre A Walk at Sunset Hymn to Death The Massacre at Scio deg. The Indian Girl's Lament deg. Ode for an Agricultural Celebration Rizpah The Old Man's Funeral The Rivulet March Sonnet.—To— An Indian Story Summer Wind An Indian at the Burial-place of his Fathers Song—"Dost thou idly ask to hear" Hymn of the Waldenses Monument Mountain deg. After a Tempest Autumn Woods Sonnet.—Mutation Sonnet.—November Song of the Greek Amazon To a Cloud The Murdered Traveller deg. Hymn to the North Star The Lapse of Time Song of the Stars A Forest Hymn "Oh fairest of the rural maids" "I broke the spell that held me long" June A Song of Pitcairn's Island The Skies "I cannot forget with what fervid devotion" To a Musquito Lines on Revisiting the Country The Death of the Flowers Romero A Meditation on Rhode Island Coal The New Moon Sonnet.—October The Damsel of Peru The African Chief deg. Spring in Town The Gladness of Nature The Disinterred Warrior Sonnet.—Midsummer The Greek Partisan The Two Graves The Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus deg. A Summer Ramble Scene on the Banks of the Hudson The Hurricane deg. Sonnet.—William Tell deg. The Hunter's Serenade deg. The Greek Boy The Past "Upon the mountain's distant head" The Evening Wind "When the firmament quivers with daylight's young beam" "Innocent child and snow-white flower" To the River Arve Sonnet.—To Cole, the Painter, departing for Europe To the fringed Gentian The Twenty-second of December Hymn of the City The Prairie deg. Song of Marion's Men deg. The Arctic Lover The Journey of Life
TRANSLATIONS. Version of a Fragment of Simonides From the Spanish of Villegas Mary Magdalen. deg. (From the Spanish of Bartolome Leonardo de Argensola) The Life of the Blessed. (From the Spanish of Luis Ponce de Leon) Fatima and Raduan. deg. (From the Spanish) Love and Folly. deg. (From la Fontaine) The Siesta. (From the Spanish) The Alcayde of Molina. deg. (From the Spanish) The Death of Aliatar. deg. (From the Spanish) Love in the Age of Chivalry. deg. (From Peyre Vidal, the Troubadour) The Love of God. deg. (From the Provencal of Bernard Rascas) From The Spanish of Pedro de Castro y Anaya deg. Sonnet. (From the Portuguese of Semedo) Song. (From the Spanish of Iglesias) The Count of Greiers. (From the German of Uhland) The Serenade. (From the Spanish) A Northern Legend. (From the German of Uhland)
LATER POEMS. To the Apennines Earth The Knight's Epitaph The Hunter of the Prairies Seventy-Six The Living Lost Catterskill Falls The Strange Lady Life deg. "Earth's children cleave to earth" The Hunter's Vision The Green Mountain Boys deg. A Presentiment The Child's Funeral deg. The Battlefield The Future Life The Death of Schiller deg. The Fountain deg. The Winds The Old Man's Counsel deg. Lines in Memory of William Leggett An Evening Revery deg. The Painted Cup deg. A Dream The Antiquity of Freedom The Maiden's Sorrow The Return of Youth A Hymn of the Sea Noon. deg. (From an unfinished Poem) The Crowded Street The White-footed Deer deg. The Waning Moon The Stream of Life
NOTES ( deg.)
* * * * *
THE AGES. deg.
When to the common rest that crowns our days, Called in the noon of life, the good man goes, Or full of years, and ripe in wisdom, lays His silver temples in their last repose; When, o'er the buds of youth, the death-wind blows, And blights the fairest; when our bitter tears Stream, as the eyes of those that love us close, We think on what they were, with many fears Lest goodness die with them, and leave the coming years:
And therefore, to our hearts, the days gone by,— When lived the honoured sage whose death we wept, And the soft virtues beamed from many an eye, And beat in many a heart that long has slept,— Like spots of earth where angel-feet have stepped— Are holy; and high-dreaming bards have told Of times when worth was crowned, and faith was kept, Ere friendship grew a snare, or love waxed cold— Those pure and happy times—the golden days of old.
Peace to the just man's memory,—let it grow Greener with years, and blossom through the flight Of ages; let the mimic canvas show His calm benevolent features; let the light Stream on his deeds of love, that shunned the sight Of all but heaven, and in the book of fame, The glorious record of his virtues write, And hold it up to men, and bid them claim A palm like his, and catch from him the hallowed flame.
But oh, despair not of their fate who rise To dwell upon the earth when we withdraw! Lo! the same shaft by which the righteous dies, Strikes through the wretch that scoffed at mercy's law, And trode his brethren down, and felt no awe Of Him who will avenge them. Stainless worth, Such as the sternest age of virtue saw, Ripens, meanwhile, till time shall call it forth From the low modest shade, to light and bless the earth.
Has Nature, in her calm, majestic march Faltered with age at last? does the bright sun Grow dim in heaven? or, in their far blue arch, Sparkle the crowd of stars, when day is done, Less brightly? when the dew-lipped Spring comes on, Breathes she with airs less soft, or scents the sky With flowers less fair than when her reign begun? Does prodigal Autumn, to our age, deny The plenty that once swelled beneath his sober eye?
Look on this beautiful world, and read the truth In her fair page; see, every season brings New change, to her, of everlasting youth; Still the green soil, with joyous living things, Swarms, the wide air is full of joyous wings, And myriads, still, are happy in the sleep Of ocean's azure gulfs, and where he flings The restless surge. Eternal Love doth keep In his complacent arms, the earth, the air, the deep.
Will then the merciful One, who stamped our race With his own image, and who gave them sway O'er earth, and the glad dwellers on her face, Now that our swarming nations far away Are spread, where'er the moist earth drinks the day, Forget the ancient care that taught and nursed His latest offspring? will he quench the ray Infused by his own forming smile at first, And leave a work so fair all blighted and accursed?
Oh, no! a thousand cheerful omens give Hope of yet happier days, whose dawn is nigh. He who has tamed the elements, shall not live The slave of his own passions; he whose eye Unwinds the eternal dances of the sky, And in the abyss of brightness dares to span The sun's broad circle, rising yet more high, In God's magnificent works his will shall scan— And love and peace shall make their paradise with man.
Sit at the feet of history—through the night Of years the steps of virtue she shall trace, And show the earlier ages, where her sight Can pierce the eternal shadows o'er their face;— When, from the genial cradle of our race, Went forth the tribes of men, their pleasant lot To choose, where palm-groves cooled their dwelling-place, Or freshening rivers ran; and there forgot The truth of heaven, and kneeled to gods that heard them not.
Then waited not the murderer for the night, But smote his brother down in the bright day, And he who felt the wrong, and had the might, His own avenger, girt himself to slay; Beside the path the unburied carcass lay; The shepherd, by the fountains of the glen, Fled, while the robber swept his flock away, And slew his babes. The sick, untended then, Languished in the damp shade, and died afar from men.
But misery brought in love—in passion's strife Man gave his heart to mercy, pleading long, And sought out gentle deeds to gladden life; The weak, against the sons of spoil and wrong, Banded, and watched their hamlets, and grew strong. States rose, and, in the shadow of their might, The timid rested. To the reverent throng, Grave and time-wrinkled men, with locks all white, Gave laws, and judged their strifes, and taught the way of right;
Till bolder spirits seized the rule, and nailed On men the yoke that man should never bear, And drove them forth to battle. Lo! unveiled The scene of those stern ages! What is there! A boundless sea of blood, and the wild air Moans with the crimson surges that entomb Cities and bannered armies; forms that wear The kingly circlet rise, amid the gloom, O'er the dark wave, and straight are swallowed in its womb.
Those ages have no memory—but they left A record in the desert—columns strown On the waste sands, and statues fallen and cleft, Heaped like a host in battle overthrown; Vast ruins, where the mountain's ribs of stone Were hewn into a city; streets that spread In the dark earth, where never breath has blown Of heaven's sweet air, nor foot of man dares tread The long and perilous ways—the Cities of the Dead:
And tombs of monarchs to the clouds up-piled— They perished—but the eternal tombs remain— And the black precipice, abrupt and wild, Pierced by long toil and hollowed to a fane;— Huge piers and frowning forms of gods sustain The everlasting arches, dark and wide, Like the night-heaven, when clouds are black with rain. But idly skill was tasked, and strength was plied, All was the work of slaves to swell a despot's pride.
And Virtue cannot dwell with slaves, nor reign O'er those who cower to take a tyrant's yoke; She left the down-trod nations in disdain, And flew to Greece, when Liberty awoke, New-born, amid those glorious vales, and broke Sceptre and chain with her fair youthful hands: As rocks are shivered in the thunder-stroke. And lo! in full-grown strength, an empire stands Of leagued and rival states, the wonder of the lands.
Oh, Greece! thy flourishing cities were a spoil Unto each other; thy hard hand oppressed And crushed the helpless; thou didst make thy soil Drunk with the blood of those that loved thee best; And thou didst drive, from thy unnatural breast, Thy just and brave to die in distant climes; Earth shuddered at thy deeds, and sighed for rest From thine abominations; after times, That yet shall read thy tale, will tremble at thy crimes.
Yet there was that within thee which has saved Thy glory, and redeemed thy blotted name; The story of thy better deeds, engraved On fame's unmouldering pillar, puts to shame Our chiller virtue; the high art to tame The whirlwind of the passions was thine own; And the pure ray, that from thy bosom came, Far over many a land and age has shone, And mingles with the light that beams from God's own throne;
And Rome—thy sterner, younger sister, she Who awed the world with her imperial frown— Rome drew the spirit of her race from thee,— The rival of thy shame and thy renown. Yet her degenerate children sold the crown Of earth's wide kingdoms to a line of slaves; Guilt reigned, and we with guilt, and plagues came down, Till the north broke its floodgates, and the waves Whelmed the degraded race, and weltered o'er their graves.
Vainly that ray of brightness from above, That shone around the Galilean lake, The light of hope, the leading star of love, Struggled, the darkness of that day to break; Even its own faithless guardians strove to slake, In fogs of earth, the pure immortal flame; And priestly hands, for Jesus' blessed sake, Were red with blood, and charity became, In that stern war of forms, a mockery and a name.
They triumphed, and less bloody rites were kept Within the quiet of the convent cell: The well-fed inmates pattered prayer, and slept, And sinned, and liked their easy penance well. Where pleasant was the spot for men to dwell, Amid its fair broad lands the abbey lay, Sheltering dark orgies that were shame to tell, And cowled and barefoot beggars swarmed the way, All in their convent weeds, of black, and white, and gray.
Oh, sweetly the returning muses' strain Swelled over that famed stream, whose gentle tide In their bright lap the Etrurian vales detain, Sweet, as when winter storms have ceased to chide, And all the new-leaved woods, resounding wide, Send out wild hymns upon the scented air. Lo! to the smiling Arno's classic side The emulous nations of the west repair, And kindle their quenched urns, and drink fresh spirit there.
Still, Heaven deferred the hour ordained to rend From saintly rottenness the sacred stole; And cowl and worshipped shrine could still defend The wretch with felon stains upon his soul; And crimes were set to sale, and hard his dole Who could not bribe a passage to the skies; And vice, beneath the mitre's kind control, Sinned gaily on, and grew to giant size, Shielded by priestly power, and watched by priestly eyes.
At last the earthquake came—the shock, that hurled To dust, in many fragments dashed and strown, The throne, whose roots were in another world, And whose far-stretching shadow awed our own. From many a proud monastic pile, o'erthrown, Fear-struck, the hooded inmates rushed and fled; The web, that for a thousand years had grown O'er prostrate Europe, in that day of dread Crumbled and fell, as fire dissolves the flaxen thread.
The spirit of that day is still awake, And spreads himself, and shall not sleep again; But through the idle mesh of power shall break Like billows o'er the Asian monarch's chain; Till men are filled with him, and feel how vain, Instead of the pure heart and innocent hands, Are all the proud and pompous modes to gain The smile of heaven;—till a new age expands Its white and holy wings above the peaceful lands.
For look again on the past years;—behold, How like the nightmare's dreams have flown away Horrible forms of worship, that, of old, Held, o'er the shuddering realms, unquestioned sway: See crimes, that feared not once the eye of day, Rooted from men, without a name or place: See nations blotted out from earth, to pay The forfeit of deep guilt;—with glad embrace The fair disburdened lands welcome a nobler race.
Thus error's monstrous shapes from earth are driven; They fade, they fly—but truth survives their flight; Earth has no shades to quench that beam of heaven; Each ray that shone, in early time, to light The faltering footsteps in the path of right, Each gleam of clearer brightness shed to aid In man's maturer day his bolder sight, All blended, like the rainbow's radiant braid, Pour yet, and still shall pour, the blaze that cannot fade.
Late, from this western shore, that morning chased The deep and ancient night, that threw its shroud O'er the green land of groves, the beautiful waste, Nurse of full streams, and lifter-up of proud Sky-mingling mountains that o'erlook the cloud. Erewhile, where yon gay spires their brightness rear, Trees waved, and the brown hunter's shouts were loud Amid the forest; and the bounding deer Fled at the glancing plume, and the gaunt wolf yelled near;
And where his willing waves yon bright blue bay Sends up, to kiss his decorated brim, And cradles, in his soft embrace, the gay Young group of grassy islands born of him, And crowding nigh, or in the distance dim, Lifts the white throng of sails, that bear or bring The commerce of the world;—with tawny limb, And belt and beads in sunlight glistening, The savage urged his skiff like wild bird on the wing.
Then all this youthful paradise around, And all the broad and boundless mainland, lay Cooled by the interminable wood, that frowned O'er mount and vale, where never summer ray Glanced, till the strong tornado broke his way Through the gray giants of the sylvan wild; Yet many a sheltered glade, with blossoms gay, Beneath the showery sky and sunshine mild, Within the shaggy arms of that dark forest smiled.
There stood the Indian hamlet, there the lake Spread its blue sheet that flashed with many an oar, Where the brown otter plunged him from the brake, And the deer drank: as the light gale flew o'er, The twinkling maize-field rustled on the shore; And while that spot, so wild, and lone, and fair, A look of glad and guiltless beauty wore, And peace was on the earth and in the air, The warrior lit the pile, and bound his captive there:
Not unavenged—the foeman, from the wood, Beheld the deed, and when the midnight shade Was stillest, gorged his battle-axe with blood; All died—the wailing babe—the shrieking maid— And in the flood of fire that scathed the glade, The roofs went down; but deep the silence grew, When on the dewy woods the day-beam played; No more the cabin smokes rose wreathed and blue, And ever, by their lake, lay moored the light canoe.
Look now abroad—another race has filled These populous borders—wide the wood recedes, And towns shoot up, and fertile realms are tilled: The land is full of harvests and green meads; Streams numberless, that many a fountain feeds, Shine, disembowered, and give to sun and breeze Their virgin waters; the full region leads New colonies forth, that toward the western seas Spread, like a rapid flame among the autumnal trees.
Here the free spirit of mankind, at length, Throws its last fetters off; and who shall place A limit to the giant's unchained strength, Or curb his swiftness in the forward race! Far, like the cornet's way through infinite space Stretches the long untravelled path of light, Into the depths of ages: we may trace, Distant, the brightening glory of its flight, Till the receding rays are lost to human sight.
Europe is given a prey to sterner fates, And writhes in shackles; strong the arms that chain To earth her struggling multitude of states; She too is strong, and might not chafe in vain Against them, but might cast to earth the train That trample her, and break their iron net. Yes, she shall look on brighter days and gain The meed of worthier deeds; the moment set To rescue and raise up, draws near—but is not yet.
But thou, my country, thou shalt never fall, Save with thy children—thy maternal care, Thy lavish love, thy blessings showered on all— These are thy fetters—seas and stormy air Are the wide barrier of thy borders, where, Among thy gallant sons that guard thee well, Thou laugh'st at enemies: who shall then declare The date of thy deep-founded strength, or tell How happy, in thy lap, the sons of men shall dwell.
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, e're he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air,— Comes a still voice—Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone—nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre.—The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods—rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste,— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings Of morning—and the Barcan desert pierce, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings—yet—the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest—-and what, if thou withdraw Unheeded by the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come, And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man,— Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, that moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
THE YELLOW VIOLET.
When beechen buds begin to swell, And woods the blue-bird's warble know, The yellow violet's modest bell Peeps from the last year's leaves below.
Ere russet fields their green resume, Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare, To meet thee, when thy faint perfume Alone is in the virgin air.
Of all her train, the hands of Spring First plant thee in the watery mould, And I have seen thee blossoming Beside the snow-bank's edges cold.
Thy parent sun, who bade thee view Pale skies, and chilling moisture sip, Has bathed thee in his own bright hue, And streaked with jet thy glowing lip.
Yet slight thy form, and low thy seat, And earthward bent thy gentle eye, Unapt the passing view to meet, When loftier flowers are flaunting nigh.
Oft, in the sunless April day, Thy early smile has stayed my walk; But midst the gorgeous blooms of May, I passed thee on thy humble stalk.
So they, who climb to wealth, forget The friends in darker fortunes tried. I copied them—but I regret That I should ape the ways of pride.
And when again the genial hour Awakes the painted tribes of light, I'll not o'erlook the modest flower That made the woods of April bright.
INSCRIPTION FOR THE ENTRANCE TO A WOOD.
Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs No school of long experience, that the world Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth, But not in vengeance. God hath yoked to guilt Her pale tormentor, misery. Hence, these shades Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof Of green and stirring branches is alive And musical with birds, that sing and sport In wantonness of spirit; while below The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect, Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam That waked them into life. Even the green trees Partake the deep contentment; as they bend To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene. Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy Existence, than the winged plunderer That sucks its sweets. The massy rocks themselves, And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots, With all their earth upon them, twisting high, Breathe fixed tranquillity. The rivulet Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks, Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice In its own being. Softly tread the marge, Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren That dips her bill in water. The cool wind, That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee, Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.
Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow Reflects the day-dawn cold and clear, The hunter of the west must go In depth of woods to seek the deer.
His rifle on his shoulder placed, His stores of death arranged with skill, His moccasins and snow-shoes laced,— Why lingers he beside the hill?
Far, in the dim and doubtful light, Where woody slopes a valley leave, He sees what none but lover might, The dwelling of his Genevieve.
And oft he turns his truant eye, And pauses oft, and lingers near; But when he marks the reddening sky, He bounds away to hunt the deer.
TO A WATERFOWL.
Whither, midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As, darkly painted on the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, Or where the rocking billows rise and sink On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,— The desert and illimitable air,— Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.
When breezes are soft and skies are fair, I steal an hour from study and care, And hie me away to the woodland scene, Where wanders the stream with waters of green, As if the bright fringe of herbs on its brink Had given their stain to the wave they drink; And they, whose meadows it murmurs through, Have named the stream from its own fair hue.
Yet pure its waters—its shallows are bright With coloured pebbles and sparkles of light, And clear the depths where its eddies play, And dimples deepen and whirl away, And the plane-tree's speckled arms o'ershoot The swifter current that mines its root, Through whose shifting leaves, as you walk the hill, The quivering glimmer of sun and rill With a sudden flash on the eye is thrown, Like the ray that streams from the diamond stone. Oh, loveliest there the spring days come, With blossoms, and birds, and wild bees' hum; The flowers of summer are fairest there, And freshest the breath of the summer air; And sweetest the golden autumn day In silence and sunshine glides away.
Yet fair as thou art, thou shunnest to glide, Beautiful stream! by the village side; But windest away from haunts of men, To quiet valley and shaded glen; And forest, and meadow, and slope of hill, Around thee, are lonely, lovely, and still. Lonely—save when, by thy rippling tides, From thicket to thicket the angler glides; Or the simpler comes with basket and book, For herbs of power on thy banks to look; Or haply, some idle dreamer, like me, To wander, and muse, and gaze on thee. Still—save the chirp of birds that feed On the river cherry and seedy reed, And thy own wild music gushing out With mellow murmur and fairy shout, From dawn to the blush of another day, Like traveller singing along his way.
That fairy music I never hear, Nor gaze on those waters so green and clear, And mark them winding away from sight, Darkened with shade or flashing with light, While o'er them the vine to its thicket clings, And the zephyr stoops to freshen his wings, But I wish that fate had left me free To wander these quiet haunts with thee, Till the eating cares of earth should depart, And the peace of the scene pass into my heart; And I envy thy stream, as it glides along, Through its beautiful banks in a trance of song.
Though forced to drudge for the dregs of men, And scrawl strange words with the barbarous pen, And mingle among the jostling crowd, Where the sons of strife are subtle and loud— I often come to this quiet place, To breathe the airs that ruffle thy face, And gaze upon thee in silent dream, For in thy lonely and lovely stream An image of that calm life appears That won my heart in my greener years.
A WINTER PIECE.
The time has been that these wild solitudes, Yet beautiful as wild, were trod by me Oftener than now; and when the ills of life Had chafed my spirit—when the unsteady pulse Beat with strange flutterings—I would wander forth And seek the woods. The sunshine on my path Was to me as a friend. The swelling hills, The quiet dells retiring far between, With gentle invitation to explore Their windings, were a calm society That talked with me and soothed me. Then the chant Of birds, and chime of brooks, and soft caress Of the fresh sylvan air, made me forget The thoughts that broke my peace, and I began To gather simples by the fountain's brink, And lose myself in day-dreams. While I stood In nature's loneliness, I was with one With whom I early grew familiar, one Who never had a frown for me, whose voice Never rebuked me for the hours I stole From cares I loved not, but of which the world Deems highest, to converse with her. When shrieked The bleak November winds, and smote the woods, And the brown fields were herbless, and the shades, That met above the merry rivulet, Were spoiled, I sought, I loved them still,—they seemed Like old companions in adversity. Still there was beauty in my walks; the brook, Bordered with sparkling frost-work, was as gay As with its fringe of summer flowers. Afar, The village with its spires, the path of streams, And dim receding valleys, hid before By interposing trees, lay visible Through the bare grove, and my familiar haunts Seemed new to me. Nor was I slow to come Among them, when the clouds, from their still skirts, Had shaken down on earth the feathery snow, And all was white. The pure keen air abroad, Albeit it breathed no scent of herb, nor heard Love-call of bird, nor merry hum of bee, Was not the air of death. Bright mosses crept Over the spotted trunks, and the close buds, That lay along the boughs, instinct with life, Patient, and waiting the soft breath of Spring, Feared not the piercing spirit of the North. The snow-bird twittered on the beechen bough, And 'neath the hemlock, whose thick branches bent Beneath its bright cold burden, and kept dry A circle, on the earth, of withered leaves, The partridge found a shelter. Through the snow The rabbit sprang away. The lighter track Of fox, and the racoon's broad path, were there, Crossing each other. From his hollow tree, The squirrel was abroad, gathering the nuts Just fallen, that asked the winter cold and sway Of winter blast, to shake them from their hold.
But Winter has yet brighter scenes,—he boasts Splendours beyond what gorgeous Summer knows; Or Autumn with his many fruits, and woods All flushed with many hues. Come when the rains Have glazed the snow, and clothed the trees with ice; While the slant sun of February pours Into the bowers a flood of light. Approach! The incrusted surface shall upbear thy steps, And the broad arching portals of the grove Welcome thy entering. Look! the massy trunks Are cased in the pure crystal; each light spray, Nodding and tinkling in the breath of heaven, Is studded with its trembling water-drops, That stream with rainbow radiance as they move. But round the parent stem the long low boughs Bend, in a glittering ring, and arbours hide The glassy floor. Oh! you might deem the spot The spacious cavern of some virgin mine, Deep in the womb of earth—where the gems grow, And diamonds put forth radiant rods and bud With amethyst and topaz—and the place Lit up, most royally, with the pure beam That dwells in them. Or haply the vast hall Of fairy palace, that outlasts the night, And fades not in the glory of the sun;— Where crystal columns send forth slender shafts And crossing arches; and fantastic aisles Wind from the sight in brightness, and are lost Among the crowded pillars. Raise thine eye,— Thou seest no cavern roof, no palace vault; There the blue sky and the white drifting cloud Look in. Again the wildered fancy dreams Of spouting fountains, frozen as they rose, And fixed, with all their branching jets, in air, And all their sluices sealed. All, all is light; Light without shade. But all shall pass away With the next sun. From numberless vast trunks, Loosened, the crashing ice shall make a sound Like the far roar of rivers, and the eve Shall close o'er the brown woods as it was wont.
And it is pleasant, when the noisy streams Are just set free, and milder suns melt off The plashy snow, save only the firm drift In the deep glen or the close shade of pines,— 'Tis pleasant to behold the wreaths of smoke Roll up among the maples of the hill, Where the shrill sound of youthful voices wakes The shriller echo, as the clear pure lymph, That from the wounded trees, in twinkling drops, Falls, mid the golden brightness of the morn, Is gathered in with brimming pails, and oft, Wielded by sturdy hands, the stroke of axe Makes the woods ring. Along the quiet air, Come and float calmly off the soft light clouds, Such as you see in summer, and the winds Scarce stir the branches. Lodged in sunny cleft, Where the cold breezes come not, blooms alone The little wind-flower, whose just opened eye Is blue as the spring heaven it gazes at— Startling the loiterer in the naked groves With unexpected beauty, for the time Of blossoms and green leaves is yet afar. And ere it comes, the encountering winds shall oft Muster their wrath again, and rapid clouds Shade heaven, and bounding on the frozen earth Shall fall their volleyed stores rounded like hail, And white like snow, and the loud North again Shall buffet the vexed forest in his rage.
THE WEST WIND.
Beneath the forest's skirts I rest, Whose branching pines rise dark and high, And hear the breezes of the West Among the threaded foliage sigh.
Sweet Zephyr! why that sound of woe? Is not thy home among the flowers? Do not the bright June roses blow, To meet thy kiss at morning hours?
And lo! thy glorious realm outspread— Yon stretching valleys, green and gay, And yon free hill-tops, o'er whose head The loose white clouds are borne away.
And there the full broad river runs, And many a fount wells fresh and sweet, To cool thee when the mid-day suns Have made thee faint beneath their heat.
Thou wind of joy, and youth, and love; Spirit of the new-wakened year! The sun in his blue realm above Smooths a bright path when thou art here.
In lawns the murmuring bee is heard, The wooing ring-dove in the shade; On thy soft breath, the new-fledged bird Takes wing, half happy, half afraid.
Ah! thou art like our wayward race;— When not a shade of pain or ill Dims the bright smile of Nature's face, Thou lovest to sigh and murmur still.
THE BURIAL-PLACE. deg.
Erewhile, on England's pleasant shores, our sires Left not their churchyards unadorned with shades Or blossoms; and indulgent to the strong And natural dread of man's last home, the grave, Its frost and silence—they disposed around, To soothe the melancholy spirit that dwelt Too sadly on life's close, the forms and hues Of vegetable beauty.—There the yew, Green even amid the snows of winter, told Of immortality, and gracefully The willow, a perpetual mourner, drooped; And there the gadding woodbine crept about, And there the ancient ivy. From the spot Where the sweet maiden, in her blossoming years Cut off, was laid with streaming eyes, and hands That trembled as they placed her there, the rose Sprung modest, on bowed stalk, and better spoke Her graces, than the proudest monument. There children set about their playmate's grave The pansy. On the infant's little bed, Wet at its planting with maternal tears, Emblem of early sweetness, early death, Nestled the lowly primrose. Childless dames, And maids that would not raise the reddened eye— Orphans, from whose young lids the light of joy Fled early,—silent lovers, who had given All that they lived for to the arms of earth, Came often, o'er the recent graves to strew Their offerings, rue, and rosemary, and flowers.
The pilgrim bands who passed the sea to keep Their Sabbaths in the eye of God alone, In his wide temple of the wilderness, Brought not these simple customs of the heart With them. It might be, while they laid their dead By the vast solemn skirts of the old groves, And the fresh virgin soil poured forth strange flowers About their graves; and the familiar shades Of their own native isle, and wonted blooms, And herbs were wanting, which the pious hand Might plant or scatter there, these gentle rites Passed out of use. Now they are scarcely known, And rarely in our borders may you meet The tall larch, sighing in the burying-place, Or willow, trailing low its boughs to hide The gleaming marble. Naked rows of graves And melancholy ranks of monuments Are seen instead, where the coarse grass, between, Shoots up its dull green spikes, and in the wind Hisses, and the neglected bramble nigh, Offers its berries to the schoolboy's hand, In vain—they grow too near the dead. Yet here, Nature, rebuking the neglect of man, Plants often, by the ancient mossy stone, The brier rose, and upon the broken turf That clothes the fresher grave, the strawberry vine Sprinkles its swell with blossoms, and lays forth Her ruddy, pouting fruit. * * * * *
[Transcriber's note: The above 5 asterisks are printed as in the Original. They do not represent a thought break.]
"BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN."
Oh, deem not they are blest alone Whose lives a peaceful tenor keep; The Power who pities man, has shown A blessing for the eyes that weep.
The light of smiles shall fill again The lids that overflow with tears; And weary hours of woe and pain Are promises of happier years.
There is a day of sunny rest For every dark and troubled night; And grief may bide an evening guest, But joy shall come with early light.
And thou, who, o'er thy friend's low bier, Sheddest the bitter drops like rain, Hope that a brighter, happier sphere Will give him to thy arms again.
Nor let the good man's trust depart, Though life its common gifts deny,— Though with a pierced and broken heart, And spurned of men, he goes to die.
For God has marked each sorrowing day And numbered every secret tear, And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay For all his children suffer here.
"NO MAN KNOWETH HIS SEPULCHRE."
When he, who, from the scourge of wrong, Aroused the Hebrew tribes to fly, Saw the fair region, promised long, And bowed him on the hills to die;
God made his grave, to men unknown, Where Moab's rocks a vale infold, And laid the aged seer alone To slumber while the world grows old.
Thus still, whene'er the good and just Close the dim eye on life and pain, Heaven watches o'er their sleeping dust Till the pure spirit comes again.
Though nameless, trampled, and forgot, His servant's humble ashes lie, Yet God has marked and sealed the spot, To call its inmate to the sky.
A WALK AT SUNSET.
When insect wings are glistening in the beam Of the low sun, and mountain-tops are bright, Oh, let me, by the crystal valley-stream, Wander amid the mild and mellow light; And while the wood-thrush pipes his evening lay, Give me one lonely hour to hymn the setting day.
Oh, sun! that o'er the western mountains now Goest down in glory! ever beautiful And blessed is thy radiance, whether thou Colourest the eastern heaven and night-mist cool, Till the bright day-star vanish, or on high Climbest and streamest thy white splendours from mid-sky.
Yet, loveliest are thy setting smiles, and fair, Fairest of all that earth beholds, the hues That live among the clouds, and flush the air, Lingering and deepening at the hour of dews. Then softest gales are breathed, and softest heard The plaining voice of streams, and pensive note of bird.
They who here roamed, of yore, the forest wide, Felt, by such charm, their simple bosoms won; They deemed their quivered warrior, when he died, Went to bright isles beneath the setting sun; Where winds are aye at peace, and skies are fair, And purple-skirted clouds curtain the crimson air.
So, with the glories of the dying day, Its thousand trembling lights and changing hues, The memory of the brave who passed away Tenderly mingled;—fitting hour to muse On such grave theme, and sweet the dream that shed Brightness and beauty round the destiny of the dead.
For ages, on the silent forests here, Thy beams did fall before the red man came To dwell beneath them; in their shade the deer Fed, and feared not the arrow's deadly aim. Nor tree was felled, in all that world of woods, Save by the beaver's tooth, or winds, or rush of floods.
Then came the hunter tribes, and thou didst look, For ages, on their deeds in the hard chase, And well-fought wars; green sod and silver brook Took the first stain of blood; before thy face The warrior generations came and passed, And glory was laid up for many an age to last.
Now they are gone, gone as thy setting blaze Goes down the west, while night is pressing on, And with them the old tale of better days, And trophies of remembered power, are gone. Yon field that gives the harvest, where the plough Strikes the white bone, is all that tells their story now.
I stand upon their ashes in thy beam, The offspring of another race, I stand, Beside a stream they loved, this valley stream; And where the night-fire of the quivered band Showed the gray oak by fits, and war-song rung, I teach the quiet shades the strains of this new tongue.
Farewell! but thou shalt come again—thy light Must shine on other changes, and behold The place of the thronged city still as night— States fallen—new empires built upon the old— But never shalt thou see these realms again Darkened by boundless groves, and roamed by savage men.
HYMN TO DEATH.
Oh! could I hope the wise and pure in heart Might hear my song without a frown, nor deem My voice unworthy of the theme it tries,— I would take up the hymn to Death, and say To the grim power: The world hath slandered thee And mocked thee. On thy dim and shadowy brow They place an iron crown, and call thee king Of terrors, and the spoiler of the world, Deadly assassin, that strik'st down the fair, The loved, the good—that breathest on the lights Of virtue set along the vale of life, And they go out in darkness. I am come, Not with reproaches, not with cries and prayers, Such as have stormed thy stern, insensible ear from the beginning. I am come to speak Thy praises. True it is, that I have wept Thy conquests, and may weep them yet again: And thou from some I love wilt take a life Dear to me as my own. Yet while the spell Is on my spirit, and I talk with thee In sight of all thy trophies, face to face, Meet is it that my voice should utter forth Thy nobler triumphs; I will teach the world To thank thee.—Who are thine accusers?—Who? The living!—they who never felt thy power, And know thee not. The curses of the wretch Whose crimes are ripe, his sufferings when thy hand Is on him, and the hour he dreads is come, Are writ among thy praises. But the good— Does he whom thy kind hand dismissed to peace, Upbraid the gentle violence that took off His fetters, and unbarred his prison cell?
Raise then the hymn to Death. Deliverer! God hath anointed thee to free the oppressed And crush the oppressor. When the armed chief, The conqueror of nations, walks the world, And it is changed beneath his feet, and all Its kingdoms melt into one mighty realm— Thou, while his head is loftiest and his heart Blasphemes, imagining his own right hand Almighty, thou dost set thy sudden grasp Upon him, and the links of that strong chain That bound mankind are crumbled; thou dost break Sceptre and crown, and beat his throne to dust. Then the earth shouts with gladness, and her tribes Gather within their ancient bounds again. Else had the mighty of the olden time, Nimrod, Sesostris, or the youth who feigned His birth from Libyan Ammon, smitten yet The nations with a rod of iron, and driven Their chariot o'er our necks. Thou dost avenge, In thy good time, the wrongs of those who know No other friend. Nor dost thou interpose Only to lay the sufferer asleep, Where he who made him wretched troubles not His rest—thou dost strike down his tyrant too. Oh, there is joy when hands that held the scourge Drop lifeless, and the pitiless heart is cold. Thou too dost purge from earth its horrible And old idolatries;—from the proud fanes Each to his grave their priests go out, till none Is left to teach their worship; then the fires Of sacrifice are chilled, and the green moss O'ercreeps their altars; the fallen images Cumber the weedy courts, and for loud hymns, Chanted by kneeling multitudes, the wind Shrieks in the solitary aisles. When he Who gives his life to guilt, and laughs at all The laws that God or man has made, and round Hedges his seat with power, and shines in wealth,— Lifts up his atheist front to scoff at Heaven, And celebrates his shame in open day, Thou, in the pride of all his crimes, cutt'st off The horrible example. Touched by thine, The extortioner's hard hand foregoes the gold Wrung from the o'er-worn poor. The perjurer, Whose tongue was lithe, e'en now, and voluble Against his neighbour's life, and he who laughed And leaped for joy to see a spotless fame Blasted before his own foul calumnies, Are smit with deadly silence. He, who sold His conscience to preserve a worthless life, Even while he hugs himself on his escape, Trembles, as, doubly terrible, at length, Thy steps o'ertake him, and there is no time For parley—nor will bribes unclench thy grasp. Oft, too, dost thou reform thy victim, long Ere his last hour. And when the reveller, Mad in the chase of pleasure, stretches on, And strains each nerve, and clears the path of life Like wind, thou point'st him to the dreadful goal, And shak'st thy hour-glass in his reeling eye, And check'st him in mid course. Thy skeleton hand Shows to the faint of spirit the right path, And he is warned, and fears to step aside. Thou sett'st between the ruffian and his crime Thy ghastly countenance, and his slack hand Drops the drawn knife. But, oh, most fearfully Dost thou show forth Heaven's justice, when thy shafts Drink up the ebbing spirit—then the hard Of heart and violent of hand restores The treasure to the friendless wretch he wronged. Then from the writhing bosom thou dost pluck The guilty secret; lips, for ages sealed, Are faithless to the dreadful trust at length, And give it up; the felon's latest breath Absolves the innocent man who bears his crime; The slanderer, horror-smitten, and in tears, Recalls the deadly obloquy he forged To work his brother's ruin. Thou dost make Thy penitent victim utter to the air The dark conspiracy that strikes at life, And aims to whelm the laws; ere yet the hour Is come, and the dread sign of murder given.
Thus, from the first of time, hast thou been found On virtue's side; the wicked, but for thee, Had been too strong for the good; the great of earth Had crushed the weak for ever. Schooled in guile For ages, while each passing year had brought Its baneful lesson, they had filled the world With their abominations; while its tribes, Trodden to earth, imbruted, and despoiled, Had knelt to them in worship; sacrifice Had smoked on many an altar, temple roofs Had echoed with the blasphemous prayer and hymn: But thou, the great reformer of the world, Tak'st off the sons of violence and fraud In their green pupilage, their lore half learned— Ere guilt had quite o'errun the simple heart God gave them at their birth, and blotted out His image. Thou dost mark them flushed with hope, As on the threshold of their vast designs Doubtful and loose they stand, and strik'st them down.
* * * * *
Alas! I little thought that the stern power Whose fearful praise I sung, would try me thus Before the strain was ended. It must cease— For he is in his grave who taught my youth The art of verse, and in the bud of life Offered me to the muses. Oh, cut off Untimely! when thy reason in its strength, Ripened by years of toil and studious search, And watch of Nature's silent lessons, taught Thy hand to practise best the lenient art To which thou gavest thy laborious days, And, last, thy life. And, therefore, when the earth Received thee, tears were in unyielding eyes And on hard cheeks, and they who deemed thy skill Delayed their death-hour, shuddered and turned pale When thou wert gone. This faltering verse, which thou Shalt not, as wont, o'erlook, is all I have To offer at thy grave—this—and the hope To copy thy example, and to leave A name of which the wretched shall not think As of an enemy's, whom they forgive As all forgive the dead. Rest, therefore, thou Whose early guidance trained my infant steps— Rest, in the bosom of God, till the brief sleep Of death is over, and a happier life Shall dawn to waken thine insensible dust.
Now thou art not—and yet the men whose guilt Has wearied Heaven for vengeance—he who bears False witness—he who takes the orphan's bread, And robs the widow—he who spreads abroad Polluted hands of mockery of prayer, Are left to cumber earth. Shuddering I look On what is written, yet I blot not out The desultory numbers—let them stand, The record of an idle revery.
THE MASSACRE AT SCIO. deg.
Weep not for Scio's children slain; Their blood, by Turkish falchions shed, Sends not its cry to Heaven in vain For vengeance on the murderer's head.
Though high the warm red torrent ran Between the flames that lit the sky, Yet, for each drop, an armed man Shall rise, to free the land, or die.
And for each corpse, that in the sea Was thrown, to feast the scaly herds, A hundred of the foe shall be A banquet for the mountain birds.
Stern rites and sad, shall Greece ordain To keep that day, along her shore, Till the last link of slavery's chain Is shivered, to be worn no more.
THE INDIAN GIRL'S LAMENT. deg.
An Indian girl was sitting where Her lover, slain in battle, slept; Her maiden veil, her own black hair, Came down o'er eyes that wept; And wildly, in her woodland tongue, This sad and simple lay she sung:
"I've pulled away the shrubs that grew Too close above thy sleeping head, And broke the forest boughs that threw Their shadows o'er thy bed, That, shining from the sweet south-west, The sunbeams might rejoice thy rest.
"It was a weary, weary road That led thee to the pleasant coast, Where thou, in his serene abode, Hast met thy father's ghost: Where everlasting autumn lies On yellow woods and sunny skies.
"Twas I the broidered mocsen made, That shod thee for that distant land; 'Twas I thy bow and arrows laid Beside thy still cold hand; Thy bow in many a battle bent, Thy arrows never vainly sent.
"With wampum belts I crossed thy breast, And wrapped thee in the bison's hide, And laid the food that pleased thee best, In plenty, by thy side, And decked thee bravely, as became A warrior of illustrious name.
"Thou'rt happy now, for thou hast passed The long dark journey of the grave, And in the land of light, at last, Hast joined the good and brave; Amid the flushed and balmy air, The bravest and the loveliest there.
"Yet, oft to thine own Indian maid Even there thy thoughts will earthward stray,— To her who sits where thou wert laid, And weeps the hours away, Yet almost can her grief forget, To think that thou dost love her yet.
"And thou, by one of those still lakes That in a shining cluster lie, On which the south wind scarcely breaks The image of the sky, A bower for thee and me hast made Beneath the many-coloured shade.
"And thou dost wait and watch to meet My spirit sent to join the blessed, And, wondering what detains my feet From the bright land of rest, Dost seem, in every sound, to hear The rustling of my footsteps near."
ODE FOR AN AGRICULTURAL CELEBRATION.
Far back in the ages, The plough with wreaths was crowned; The hands of kings and sages Entwined the chaplet round; Till men of spoil disdained the toil By which the world was nourished, And dews of blood enriched the soil Where green their laurels flourished: —Now the world her fault repairs— The guilt that stains her story; And weeps her crimes amid the cares That formed her earliest glory.
The proud throne shall crumble, The diadem shall wane, The tribes of earth shall humble The pride of those who reign; And War shall lay his pomp away;— The fame that heroes cherish, The glory earned in deadly fray Shall fade, decay, and perish. Honour waits, o'er all the Earth, Through endless generations, The art that calls her harvests forth, And feeds the expectant nations.
And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord; and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of the harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley-harvest.
And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest upon them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
2 SAMUEL, xxi. 10.
Hear what the desolate Rizpah said, As on Gibeah's rocks she watched the dead. The sons of Michal before her lay, And her own fair children, dearer than they: By a death of shame they all had died, And were stretched on the bare rock, side by side. And Rizpah, once the loveliest of all That bloomed and smiled in the court of Saul, All wasted with watching and famine now, And scorched by the sun her haggard brow, Sat mournfully guarding their corpses there, And murmured a strange and solemn air; The low, heart-broken, and wailing strain Of a mother that mourns her children slain:
"I have made the crags my home, and spread On their desert backs my sackcloth bed; I have eaten the bitter herb of the rocks, And drunk the midnight dew in my locks; I have wept till I could not weep, and the pain Of my burning eyeballs went to my brain. Seven blackened corpses before me lie, In the blaze of the sun and the winds of the sky. I have watched them through the burning day, And driven the vulture and raven away; And the cormorant wheeled in circles round, Yet feared to alight on the guarded ground. And when the shadows of twilight came, I have seen the hyena's eyes of flame, And heard at my side his stealthy tread, But aye at my shout the savage fled: And I threw the lighted brand to fright The jackal and wolf that yelled in the night.
"Ye were foully murdered, my hapless sons, By the hands of wicked and cruel ones; Ye fell, in your fresh and blooming prime, All innocent, for your father's crime. He sinned—but he paid the price of his guilt When his blood by a nameless hand was spilt; When he strove with the heathen host in vain, And fell with the flower of his people slain, And the sceptre his children's hands should sway From his injured lineage passed away.
"But I hoped that the cottage roof would be A safe retreat for my sons and me; And that while they ripened to manhood fast, They should wean my thoughts from the woes of the past. And my bosom swelled with a mother's pride, As they stood in their beauty and strength by my side, Tall like their sire, with the princely grace Of his stately form, and the bloom of his face.
"Oh, what an hour for a mother's heart, When the pitiless ruffians tore us apart! When I clasped their knees and wept and prayed, And struggled and shrieked to Heaven for aid, And clung to my sons with desperate strength, Till the murderers loosed my hold at length, And bore me breathless and faint aside, In their iron arms, while my children died. They died—and the mother that gave them birth Is forbid to cover their bones with earth.
"The barley-harvest was nodding white, When my children died on the rocky height, And the reapers were singing on hill and plain, When I came to my task of sorrow and pain. But now the season of rain is nigh, The sun is dim in the thickening sky, And the clouds in sullen darkness rest Where he hides his light at the doors of the west. I hear the howl of the wind that brings The long drear storm on its heavy wings; But the howling wind and the driving rain Will beat on my houseless head in vain: I shall stay, from my murdered sons to scare The beasts of the desert, and fowls of air."
THE OLD MAN'S FUNERAL.
I saw an aged man upon his bier, His hair was thin and white, and on his brow A record of the cares of many a year;— Cares that were ended and forgotten now. And there was sadness round, and faces bowed, And woman's tears fell fast, and children wailed aloud.
Then rose another hoary man and said, In faltering accents, to that weeping train, "Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead? Ye are not sad to see the gathered grain, Nor when their mellow fruit the orchards cast, Nor when the yellow woods shake down the ripened mast.
"Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled, His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky, In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled, Sinks where his islands of refreshment lie, And leaves the smile of his departure, spread O'er the warm-coloured heaven and ruddy mountain head.
"Why weep ye then for him, who, having won The bound of man's appointed years, at last, Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labours done, Serenely to his final rest has passed; While the soft memory of his virtues, yet, Lingers like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set?
"His youth was innocent; his riper age Marked with some act of goodness every day; And watched by eyes that loved him, calm, and sage, Faded his late declining years away. Cheerful he gave his being up, and went To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.
"That life was happy; every day he gave Thanks for the fair existence that was his; For a sick fancy made him not her slave, To mock him with her phantom miseries. No chronic tortures racked his aged limb, For luxury and sloth had nourished none for him.
"And I am glad that he has lived thus long, And glad that he has gone to his reward; Nor can I deem that nature did him wrong, Softly to disengage the vital cord. For when his hand grew palsied, and his eye Dark with the mists of age, it was his time to die."
This little rill, that from the springs Of yonder grove its current brings, Plays on the slope a while, and then Goes prattling into groves again, Oft to its warbling waters drew My little feet, when life was new, When woods in early green were dressed, And from the chambers of the west The warmer breezes, travelling out, Breathed the new scent of flowers about, My truant steps from home would stray, Upon its grassy side to play, List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn, And crop the violet on its brim, With blooming cheek and open brow, As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou.
And when the days of boyhood came, And I had grown in love with fame, Duly I sought thy banks, and tried My first rude numbers by thy side. Words cannot tell how bright and gay The scenes of life before me lay. Then glorious hopes, that now to speak Would bring the blood into my cheek, Passed o'er me; and I wrote, on high, A name I deemed should never die.
Years change thee not. Upon yon hill The tall old maples, verdant still, Yet tell, in grandeur of decay, How swift the years have passed away, Since first, a child, and half afraid, I wandered in the forest shade. Thou ever joyous rivulet, Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet; And sporting with the sands that pave The windings of thy silver wave, And dancing to thy own wild chime, Thou laughest at the lapse of time. The same sweet sounds are in my ear My early childhood loved to hear; As pure thy limpid waters run, As bright they sparkle to the sun; As fresh and thick the bending ranks Of herbs that line thy oozy banks; The violet there, in soft May dew, Comes up, as modest and as blue, As green amid thy current's stress, Floats the scarce-rooted watercress: And the brown ground-bird, in thy glen, Still chirps as merrily as then.
Thou changest not—but I am changed, Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged; And the grave stranger, come to see The play-place of his infancy, Has scarce a single trace of him Who sported once upon thy brim. The visions of my youth are past— Too bright, too beautiful to last. I've tried the world—it wears no more The colouring of romance it wore. Yet well has Nature kept the truth She promised to my earliest youth. The radiant beauty shed abroad On all the glorious works of God, Shows freshly, to my sobered eye, Each charm it wore in days gone by.
A few brief years shall pass away, And I, all trembling, weak, and gray, Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold My ashes in the embracing mould, (If haply the dark will of fate Indulge my life so long a date) May come for the last time to look Upon my childhood's favourite brook. Then dimly on my eye shall gleam The sparkle of thy dancing stream; And faintly on my ear shall fall Thy prattling current's merry call; Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright As when thou met'st my infant sight.
And I shall sleep—and on thy side, As ages after ages glide, Children their early sports shall try, And pass to hoary age and die. But thou, unchanged from year to year, Gayly shalt play and glitter here; Amid young flowers and tender grass Thy endless infancy shalt pass; And, singing down thy narrow glen, Shalt mock the fading race of men.
The stormy March is come at last, With wind, and cloud, and changing skies, I hear the rushing of the blast, That through the snowy valley flies.
Ah, passing few are they who speak, Wild stormy month! in praise of thee; Yet, though thy winds are loud and bleak, Thou art a welcome month to me.
For thou, to northern lands, again The glad and glorious sun dost bring, And thou hast joined the gentle train And wear'st the gentle name of Spring.
And, in thy reign of blast and storm, Smiles many a long, bright, sunny day, When the changed winds are soft and warm, And heaven puts on the blue of May.
Then sing aloud the gushing rills And the full springs, from frost set free, That, brightly leaping down the hills, Are just set out to meet the sea.
The year's departing beauty hides Of wintry storms the sullen threat; But in thy sternest frown abides A look of kindly promise yet.
Thou bring'st the hope of those calm skies, And that soft time of sunny showers, When the wide bloom, on earth that lies, Seems of a brighter world than ours.
SONNET TO ——.
Ay, thou art for the grave; thy glances shine Too brightly to shine long; another Spring Shall deck her for men's eyes,—but not for thine— Sealed in a sleep which knows no wakening. The fields for thee have no medicinal leaf, And the vexed ore no mineral of power; And they who love thee wait in anxious grief Till the slow plague shall bring the fatal hour. Glide softly to thy rest then; Death should come Gently, to one of gentle mould like thee, As light winds wandering through groves of bloom Detach the delicate blossom from the tree. Close thy sweet eyes, calmly, and without pain; And we will trust in God to see thee yet again.
AN INDIAN STORY.
"I know where the timid fawn abides In the depths of the shaded dell, Where the leaves are broad and the thicket hides, With its many stems and its tangled sides, From the eye of the hunter well.
"I know where the young May violet grows, In its lone and lowly nook, On the mossy bank, where the larch-tree throws Its broad dark boughs, in solemn repose, Far over the silent brook.
"And that timid fawn starts not with fear When I steal to her secret bower; And that young May violet to me is dear, And I visit the silent streamlet near, To look on the lovely flower."
Thus Maquon sings as he lightly walks To the hunting-ground on the hills; 'Tis a song of his maid of the woods and rocks, With her bright black eyes and long black locks, And voice like the music of rills.
He goes to the chase—but evil eyes Are at watch in the thicker shades; For she was lovely that smiled on his sighs, And he bore, from a hundred lovers, his prize, The flower of the forest maids.
The boughs in the morning wind are stirred, And the woods their song renew, With the early carol of many a bird, And the quickened tune of the streamlet heard Where the hazels trickle with dew.
And Maquon has promised his dark-haired maid, Ere eve shall redden the sky, A good red deer from the forest shade, That bounds with the herd through grove and glade, At her cabin-door shall lie.
The hollow woods, in the setting sun, Ring shrill with the fire-bird's lay; And Maquon's sylvan labours are done, And his shafts are spent, but the spoil they won He bears on his homeward way.
He stops near his bower—his eye perceives Strange traces along the ground— At once to the earth his burden he heaves, He breaks through the veil of boughs and leaves, And gains its door with a bound.
But the vines are torn on its walls that leant, And all from the young shrubs there By struggling hands have the leaves been rent, And there hangs on the sassafras, broken and bent, One tress of the well-known hair.
But where is she who, at this calm hour, Ever watched his coming to see? She is not at the door, nor yet in the bower; He calls—but he only hears on the flower The hum of the laden bee.
It is not a time for idle grief, Nor a time for tears to flow; The horror that freezes his limbs is brief— He grasps his war-axe and bow, and a sheaf Of darts made sharp for the foe.
And he looks for the print of the ruffian's feet, Where he bore the maiden away; And he darts on the fatal path more fleet Than the blast that hurries the vapour and sleet O'er the wild November day.
'Twas early summer when Maquon's bride Was stolen away from his door; But at length the maples in crimson are dyed, And the grape is black on the cabin side,— And she smiles at his hearth once more.
But far in the pine-grove, dark and cold, Where the yellow leaf falls not, Nor the autumn shines in scarlet and gold, There lies a hillock of fresh dark mould, In the deepest gloom of the spot.
And the Indian girls, that pass that way, Point out the ravisher's grave; "And how soon to the bower she loved," they say, "Returned the maid that was borne away From Maquon, the fond and the brave."
It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk The dew that lay upon the morning grass; There is no rustling in the lofty elm That canopies my dwelling, and its shade Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint And interrupted murmur of the bee, Settling on the sick flowers, and then again Instantly on the wing. The plants around Feel the too potent fervours: the tall maize Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms. But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills, With all their growth of woods, silent and stern, As if the scorching heat and dazzling light Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds, Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven,— Their bases on the mountains—their white tops Shining in the far ether—fire the air With a reflected radiance, and make turn The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf, Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun, Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind That still delays its coming. Why so slow, Gentle and voluble spirit of the air? Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge, The pine is bending his proud top, and now Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes! Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves! The deep distressful silence of the scene Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds And universal motion. He is come, Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs, And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs, And sound of swaying branches, and the voice Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers, By the road-side and the borders of the brook, Nod gayly to each other; glossy leaves Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew Were on them yet, and silver waters break Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.
AN INDIAN AT THE BURIAL-PLACE OF HIS FATHERS.
It is the spot I came to seek,— My fathers' ancient burial-place Ere from these vales, ashamed and weak, Withdrew our wasted race. It is the spot—I know it well— Of which our old traditions tell.
For here the upland bank sends out A ridge toward the river-side; I know the shaggy hills about, The meadows smooth and wide,— The plains, that, toward the southern sky, Fenced east and west by mountains lie.
A white man, gazing on the scene, Would say a lovely spot was here, And praise the lawns, so fresh and green, Between the hills so sheer. I like it not—I would the plain Lay in its tall old groves again.
The sheep are on the slopes around, The cattle in the meadows feed, And labourers turn the crumbling ground, Or drop the yellow seed, And prancing steeds, in trappings gay, Whirl the bright chariot o'er the way.
Methinks it were a nobler sight To see these vales in woods arrayed, Their summits in the golden light, Their trunks in grateful shade, And herds of deer, that bounding go O'er hills and prostrate trees below.
And then to mark the lord of all, The forest hero, trained to wars, Quivered and plumed, and lithe and tall, And seamed with glorious scars, Walk forth, amid his reign, to dare The wolf, and grapple with the bear.
This bank, in which the dead were laid, Was sacred when its soil was ours; Hither the artless Indian maid Brought wreaths of beads and flowers, And the gray chief and gifted seer Worshipped the god of thunders here.
But now the wheat is green and high On clods that hid the warrior's breast, And scattered in the furrows lie The weapons of his rest; And there, in the loose sand, is thrown Of his large arm the mouldering bone.
Ah, little thought the strong and brave Who bore their lifeless chieftain forth— Or the young wife, that weeping gave Her first-born to the earth, That the pale race, who waste us now, Among their bones should guide the plough.
They waste us—ay—like April snow In the warm noon, we shrink away; And fast they follow, as we go Towards the setting day,— Till they shall fill the land, and we Are driven into the western sea.
But I behold a fearful sign, To which the white men's eyes are blind; Their race may vanish hence, like mine, And leave no trace behind, Save ruins o'er the region spread, And the white stones above the dead.
Before these fields were shorn and tilled, Full to the brim our rivers flowed; The melody of waters filled The fresh and boundless wood; And torrents dashed and rivulets played, And fountains spouted in the shade.
Those grateful sounds are heard no more, The springs are silent in the sun; The rivers, by the blackened shore, With lessening current run; The realm our tribes are crushed to get May be a barren desert yet.
Dost thou idly ask to hear At what gentle seasons Nymphs relent, when lovers near Press the tenderest reasons? Ah, they give their faith too oft To the careless wooer; Maidens' hearts are always soft: Would that men's were truer!
Woo the fair one, when around Early birds are singing; When, o'er all the fragrant ground. Early herbs are springing: When the brookside, bank, and grove, All with blossoms laden, Shine with beauty, breathe of love,— Woo the timid maiden.
Woo her when, with rosy blush, Summer eve is sinking; When, on rills that softly gush, Stars are softly winking; When, through boughs that knit the bower, Moonlight gleams are stealing; Woo her, till the gentle hour Wake a gentler feeling.
Woo her, when autumnal dyes Tinge the woody mountain; When the dropping foliage lies In the weedy fountain; Let the scene, that tells how fast Youth is passing over, Warn her, ere her bloom is past, To secure her lover.
Woo her, when the north winds call At the lattice nightly; When, within the cheerful hall, Blaze the fagots brightly; While the wintry tempest round Sweeps the landscape hoary, Sweeter in her ear shall sound Love's delightful story.
HYMN OF THE WALDENSES.
Hear, Father, hear thy faint afflicted flock Cry to thee, from the desert and the rock; While those, who seek to slay thy children, hold Blasphemous worship under roofs of gold; And the broad goodly lands, with pleasant airs That nurse the grape and wave the grain, are theirs.
Yet better were this mountain wilderness, And this wild life of danger and distress— Watchings by night and perilous flight by day, And meetings in the depths of earth to pray, Better, far better, than to kneel with them, And pay the impious rite thy laws condemn.
Thou, Lord, dost hold the thunder; the firm land Tosses in billows when it feels thy hand; Thou dashest nation against nation, then Stillest the angry world to peace again. Oh, touch their stony hearts who hunt thy sons— The murderers of our wives and little ones.
Yet, mighty God, yet shall thy frown look forth Unveiled, and terribly shall shake the earth. Then the foul power of priestly sin and all Its long-upheld idolatries shall fall. Thou shalt raise up the trampled and oppressed, And thy delivered saints shall dwell in rest.
MONUMENT MOUNTAIN. deg.
Thou who wouldst see the lovely and the wild Mingled in harmony on Nature's face, Ascend our rocky mountains. Let thy foot Fail not with weariness, for on their tops The beauty and the majesty of earth, Spread wide beneath, shall make thee to forget The steep and toilsome way. There, as thou stand'st, The haunts of men below thee, and around The mountain summits, thy expanding heart Shall feel a kindred with that loftier world To which thou art translated, and partake The enlargement of thy vision. Thou shalt look Upon the green and rolling forest tops, And down into the secrets of the glens, And streams, that with their bordering thickets strive To hide their windings. Thou shalt gaze, at once, Here on white villages, and tilth, and herds, And swarming roads, and there on solitudes That only hear the torrent, and the wind, And eagle's shriek. There is a precipice That seems a fragment of some mighty wall, Built by the hand that fashioned the old world, To separate its nations, and thrown down When the flood drowned them. To the north, a path Conducts you up the narrow battlement. Steep is the western side, shaggy and wild With mossy trees, and pinnacles of flint, And many a hanging crag. But, to the east, Sheer to the vale go down the bare old cliffs,— Huge pillars, that in middle heaven upbear Their weather-beaten capitals, here dark With the thick moss of centuries, and there Of chalky whiteness where the thunderbolt Has splintered them. It is a fearful thing To stand upon the beetling verge, and see Where storm and lightning, from that huge gray wall, Have tumbled down vast blocks, and at the base Dashed them in fragments, and to lay thine ear Over the dizzy depth, and hear the sound Of winds, that struggle with the woods below, Come up like ocean murmurs. But the scene Is lovely round; a beautiful river there Wanders amid the fresh and fertile meads, The paradise he made unto himself, Mining the soil for ages. On each side The fields swell upward to the hills; beyond, Above the hills, in the blue distance, rise The mighty columns with which earth props heaven.
There is a tale about these reverend rocks, A sad tradition of unhappy love, And sorrows borne and ended, long ago, When over these fair vales the savage sought His game in the thick woods. There was a maid, The fairest of the Indian maids, bright-eyed, With wealth of raven tresses, a light form, And a gay heart. About her cabin-door The wide old woods resounded with her song And fairy laughter all the summer day. She loved her cousin; such a love was deemed, By the morality of those stern tribes, Incestuous, and she struggled hard and long Against her love, and reasoned with her heart, As simple Indian maiden might. In vain. Then her eye lost its lustre, and her step Its lightness, and the gray-haired men that passed Her dwelling, wondered that they heard no more The accustomed song and laugh of her, whose looks Were like the cheerful smile of Spring, they said, Upon the Winter of their age. She went To weep where no eye saw, and was not found When all the merry girls were met to dance, And all the hunters of the tribe were out; Nor when they gathered from the rustling husk The shining ear; nor when, by the river's side, Thay pulled the grape and startled the wild shades With sounds of mirth. The keen-eyed Indian dames Would whisper to each other, as they saw Her wasting form, and say the girl will die.
One day into the bosom of a friend, A playmate of her young and innocent years, She poured her griefs. "Thou know'st, and thou alone," She said, "for I have told thee, all my love, And guilt, and sorrow. I am sick of life. All night I weep in darkness, and the morn Glares on me, as upon a thing accursed, That has no business on the earth. I hate The pastimes and the pleasant toils that once I loved; the cheerful voices of my friends Have an unnatural horror in mine ear. In dreams my mother, from the land of souls, Calls me and chides me. All that look on me Do seem to know my shame; I cannot bear Their eyes; I cannot from my heart root out The love that wrings it so, and I must die."
It was a summer morning, and they went To this old precipice. About the cliffs Lay garlands, ears of maize, and shaggy skins Of wolf and bear, the offerings of the tribe Here made to the Great Spirit, for they deemed, Like worshippers of the elder time, that God Doth walk on the high places and affect The earth-o'erlooking mountains. She had on The ornaments with which her father loved To deck the beauty of his bright-eyed girl, And bade her wear when stranger warriors came To be his guests. Here the friends sat them down, And sang, all day, old songs of love and death, And decked the poor wan victim's hair with flowers, And prayed that safe and swift might be her way To the calm world of sunshine, where no grief Makes the heart heavy and the eyelids red. Beautiful lay the region of her tribe Below her—waters resting in the embrace Of the wide forest, and maize-planted glades Opening amid the leafy wilderness. She gazed upon it long, and at the sight Of her own village peeping through the trees, And her own dwelling, and the cabin roof Of him she loved with an unlawful love, And came to die for, a warm gush of tears Ran from her eyes. But when the sun grew low And the hill shadows long, she threw herself From the steep rock and perished. There was scooped Upon the mountain's southern slope, a grave; And there they laid her, in the very garb With which the maiden decked herself for death, With the same withering wild flowers in her hair. And o'er the mould that covered her, the tribe Built up a simple monument, a cone Of small loose stones. Thenceforward all who passed, Hunter, and dame, and virgin, laid a stone In silence on the pile. It stands there yet. And Indians from the distant West, who come To visit where their fathers' bones are laid, Yet tell the sorrowful tale, and to this day The mountain where the hapless maiden died Is called the Mountain of the Monument.
AFTER A TEMPEST.
The day had been a day of wind and storm;— The wind was laid, the storm was overpast,— And stooping from the zenith bright and warm Shone the great sun on the wide earth at last. I stood upon the upland slope, and cast My eye upon a broad and beauteous scene, Where the vast plain lay girt by mountains vast, And hills o'er hills lifted their heads of green, With pleasant vales scooped out and villages between.
The rain-drops glistened on the trees around, Whose shadows on the tall grass were not stirred, Save when a shower of diamonds, to the ground, Was shaken by the flight of startled bird; For birds were warbling round, and bees were heard About the flowers; the cheerful rivulet sung And gossiped, as he hastened ocean-ward; To the gray oak the squirrel, chiding, clung, And chirping from the ground the grasshopper upsprung.
And from beneath the leaves that kept them dry Flew many a glittering insect here and there, And darted up and down the butterfly, That seemed a living blossom of the air. The flocks came scattering from the thicket, where The violent rain had pent them; in the way Strolled groups of damsels frolicksome and fair; The farmer swung the scythe or turned the hay, And 'twixt the heavy swaths his children were at play.
It was a scene of peace—and, like a spell, Did that serene and golden sunlight fall Upon the motionless wood that clothed the fell, And precipice upspringing like a wall, And glassy river and white waterfall, And happy living things that trod the bright And beauteous scene; while far beyond them all, On many a lovely valley, out of sight, Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft golden light.
I looked, and thought the quiet of the scene An emblem of the peace that yet shall be, When o'er earth's continents, and isles between, The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea, And married nations dwell in harmony; When millions, crouching in the dust to one, No more shall beg their lives on bended knee, Nor the black stake be dressed, nor in the sun The o'erlaboured captive toil, and wish his life were done.
Too long, at clash of arms amid her bowers And pools of blood, the earth has stood aghast, The fair earth, that should only blush with flowers And ruddy fruits; but not for aye can last The storm, and sweet the sunshine when 'tis past. Lo, the clouds roll away—they break—they fly, And, like the glorious light of summer, cast O'er the wide landscape from the embracing sky, On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall lie.
Ere, in the northern gale, The summer tresses of the trees are gone, The woods of Autumn, all around our vale, Have put their glory on.
The mountains that infold, In their wide sweep, the coloured landscape round, Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold, That guard the enchanted ground.
I roam the woods that crown The upland, where the mingled splendours glow, Where the gay company of trees look down On the green fields below.
My steps are not alone In these bright walks; the sweet south-west, at play, Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strown Along the winding way.
And far in heaven, the while, The sun, that sends that gale to wander here, Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile,— The sweetest of the year.
Where now the solemn shade, Verdure and gloom where many branches meet; So grateful, when the noon of summer made The valleys sick with heat?
Let in through all the trees Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright? Their sunny-coloured foliage, in the breeze, Twinkles, like beams of light.
The rivulet, late unseen, Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run, Shines with the image of its golden screen, And glimmerings of the sun.
But 'neath yon crimson tree, Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame, Nor mark, within its roseate canopy, Her blush of maiden shame.
Oh, Autumn! why so soon Depart the hues that make thy forests glad; Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon, And leave thee wild and sad!
Ah! 'twere a lot too blessed For ever in thy coloured shades to stray; Amid the kisses of the soft south-west To rove and dream for aye;
And leave the vain low strife That makes men mad—the tug for wealth and power, The passions and the cares that wither life, And waste its little hour.
They talk of short-lived pleasure—be it so— Pain dies as quickly: stern, hard-featured pain Expires, and lets her weary prisoner go. The fiercest agonies have shortest reign; And after dreams of horror, comes again The welcome morning with its rays of peace; Oblivion, softly wiping out the stain, Makes the strong secret pangs of shame to cease: Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase Are fruits of innocence and blessedness: Thus joy, o'erborne and bound, doth still release His young limbs from the chains that round him press. Weep not that the world changes—did it keep A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep.
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun! One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air, Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds run, Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare. One smile on the brown hills and naked trees, And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast, And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze, Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last. Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way, The cricket chirp upon the russet lea, And man delight to linger in thy ray. Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
SONG OF THE GREEK AMAZON.
I buckle to my slender side The pistol and the scimitar, And in my maiden flower and pride Am come to share the tasks of war. And yonder stands my fiery steed, That paws the ground and neighs to go, My charger of the Arab breed,— I took him from the routed foe.
My mirror is the mountain spring, At which I dress my ruffled hair; My dimmed and dusty arms I bring, And wash away the blood-stain there. Why should I guard from wind and sun This cheek, whose virgin rose is fled? It was for one—oh, only one— I kept its bloom, and he is dead.
But they who slew him—unaware Of coward murderers lurking nigh— And left him to the fowls of air, Are yet alive—and they must die. They slew him—and my virgin years Are vowed to Greece and vengeance now, And many an Othman dame, in tears, Shall rue the Grecian maiden's vow.
I touched the lute in better days, I led in dance the joyous band; Ah! they may move to mirthful lays Whose hands can touch a lover's hand. The march of hosts that haste to meet Seems gayer than the dance to me; The lute's sweet tones are not so sweet As the fierce shout of victory.
TO A CLOUD.
Beautiful cloud! with folds so soft and fair, Swimming in the pure quiet air! Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below Thy shadow o'er the vale moves slow; Where, midst their labour, pause the reaper train As cool it comes along the grain. Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee In thy calm way o'er land and sea: To rest on thy unrolling skirts, and look On Earth as on an open book; On streams that tie her realms with silver bands, And the long ways that seem her lands; And hear her humming cities, and the sound Of the great ocean breaking round. Ay—I would sail upon thy air-borne car To blooming regions distant far, To where the sun of Andalusia shines On his own olive-groves and vines, Or the soft lights of Italy's bright sky In smiles upon her ruins lie. But I would woo the winds to let us rest O'er Greece long fettered and oppressed, Whose sons at length have heard the call that comes From the old battle-fields and tombs, And risen, and drawn the sword, and on the foe Have dealt the swift and desperate blow, And the Othman power is cloven, and the stroke Has touched its chains, and they are broke. Ay, we would linger till the sunset there Should come, to purple all the air, And thou reflect upon the sacred ground The ruddy radiance streaming round.