To My Mother.
THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF AMERICAN SONGS AND LYRICS
EDITED BY FREDERIC LAWRENCE KNOWLES
NEW REVISED EDITION
BOSTON L.C. PAGE AND COMPANY (INCORPORATED) MDCCCXCIX
Colonial Press: Electrotyped and Printed by C.H. Simonds & Co. Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
The numerous collections of American verse share, I think, one fault in common: they include too much. Whether this has been a bid for popularity, a concession to Philistia, I cannot say; but the fact remains that all anthologies of American poetry are, so far as I know, more or less uncritical. The aim of the present book is different. In no case has a poem been included because it is widely known. The purpose of this compilation is solely that of preserving, in attractive and permanent form, about one hundred and fifty of the best lyrics of America.
I am quite aware of the danger attending such exacting honor-rolls. At best, an editor's judgment is only personal, and the realization of this fact gives me no small diffidence in attempting to decide what American lyrics are best worthy of preservation. That every reader of the "American Treasury" will find some favorite poem omitted, there can be little doubt. But the effort made in this book towards a careful estimate of our lyrical poetry is at any rate, I feel sure, in a good direction.
There appear in the index of Mr. Stedman's "Poets of America" the names of over three hundred native writers. American verse in the last half century has been extraordinarily prolific. It would seem that the time has come, in the course of our national literature, for proving all things and holding fast that which is good.
The fact that the title of this compilation instantly calls to mind that of Mr. Palgrave's scholarly collection of English lyrics need not prove a disadvantage to the book if the purpose which led to the choice of name is understood. The verse of a single century produced in a new country should not be expected to equal the poetic wealth of an old and intellectual nation. But if American poetry cannot hope to rival the poetry of the mother country, it may at least be compared with it; and the fact of such a comparative point of view will aid rather than hinder the student of our native poetry in estimating its value.
American verse has suffered at the hands both of its admirers and its enemies. Injudicious praise, no less than supercilious contempt, has reacted unfavorably on the fame of our poets. Again and again has some minor versifier been hailed as the "American Keats" or the "American Burns." Really excellent poets, though distinctly poets of second rank, have been elevated amid the blare of critical trumpets to the company of Wordsworth and Milton. All this is unprofitable and silly. But not much better is the attitude of certain critics who patronize everything in the English language which has been written outside of England. Though America has added—leaving Poe out of account—no distinctly new notes to English poetry, it has added certainly not a few true ones. A nation need never apologize for its literature when it has produced such lyrics—to go no further—as "On a Bust of Dante," "Ichabod," "The Chambered Nautilus," and the "Waterfowl."
My method of arrangement is roughly chronological. The First Book, which is shorter than the others, might be called the book of Bryant; the Second, of Longfellow; and the Third, of Aldrich. Since the periods must of course overlap, this division of the poems can be at most only suggestive.
I have made it no part of my design to grant to the better known poets a larger number of lyrics than those given later and younger men. I have paid no regard to that purely conventional idea of proportion, that would assign to five or six writers a dozen selections each, and to another set of poets, in proportion to their popular fame, half that number. We can safely leave the final adjustment of all rival claims to Time, the best critic; in the meanwhile having the more modest aim of selecting, irrespective of contemporary judgments, whatever is best suited to our purpose.
A word more should be said about the title. I have not interpreted the term lyric so rigidly as to exclude sonnets, ballads, elegiac verse, or even pieces of almost pure description. If I had held to the strictest sense of lyric, this book would never have been compiled; for I suspect nothing will strike the reader more forcibly than the fact that, despite the excellence of the poems included, there is a notable lack of unconsciousness—of pure singing quality. Such things as Pinkney's "Health" and Holmes's "Old Ironsides" are the exception. The poems are composed cleverly, but they do not quite sing themselves to their own music. The best American verse, while not insincere, is seldom wholly spontaneous. This is not saying that much spontaneous verse has not been written in this country; much has been, but the singer's voice has too often been uncultivated, and the product inartistic.
The names of many popular poets are entirely omitted. In no case, however, was this probably due to oversight. I have gone over carefully a wide field of verse, not without finding much to admire, but never quite happening upon that final touch of successful achievement where art and inspiration join. I am especially sorry to leave unrepresented a writer—more imaginative, possibly, than any American poet except Poe—whose utter contempt for technique in the ordinary sense places him wholly outside my present purpose.
I wish to acknowledge various favors kindly shown by Professor C.T. Winchester, Professor Barrett Wendell, and Mr. H.E. Scudder. Thanks are also due Mr. T.B. Aldrich for the privilege of including the six poems from his pen, which were kindly selected for the book by the poet himself. The following firms deserve thanks for permitting the use of copyrighted poems:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co.:
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Annie Adams Fields, Louise Imogen Guiney, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Dean Howells, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Thomas William Parsons, John James Piatt, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Hiram Rich, Edward Rowland Sill, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Bayard Taylor, Henry David Thoreau, Maurice Thompson, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Edward Woodberry.
Selections from the works of the foregoing writers are included "by permission of and by special arrangement with Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers of the works of said authors."
D. Appleton & Co.: Fitz-Greene Halleck, William Cullen Bryant.
Lee & Shepard: Julia Ward Howe.
Porter & Coates: Charles Fenno Hoffman.
Roberts Brothers: Emily Dickinson, Helen Hunt Jackson, Louise Chandler Moulton.
Copeland & Day: John Banister Tabb, Richard Hovey.
W.A. Pond & Co.: Stephen Collins Foster.
Clark & Maynard: Nathaniel Parker Willis.
The Cassell Publishing Co.: John Boyle O'Reilly.
The Century Co.: Richard Watson Gilder, James Whitcomb Riley (Poems in the Century Magazine).
Estes & Lauriat: Lloyd Mifflin.
Lamson & Wolffe: Bliss Carman.
Charles Scribner's Sons: Henry Cuyler Bunner, Eugene Field, Sidney Lanier, Richard Henry Stoddard, Henry Van Dyke.
Absence of Little Wesley, The J.W. Riley 280
After All W. Winter 117
Aladdin J.R. Lowell 128
Annabel Lee E.A. Poe 10
Apart J.J. Piatt 149
At Gibraltar G.E. Woodberry 273
At Last R.H. Stoddard 153
At Night R.W. Gilder 217
Auspex J.R. Lowell 192
Ballad H.P. Spofford 202
Battle-field, The W.C. Bryant 54
Battle-hymn of the Republic I.W. Howe 108
Be Thou a Bird, My Soul (?) 282
Bedouin Song B. Taylor 85
Bereaved J.W. Riley 263
Birds R.H. Stoddard 193
Black Regiment, The G.H. Boker 100
Bucket, The S. Woodworth 8
Carolina H. Timrod 104
Chambered Nautilus, The O.W. Holmes 178
Chariot, The E. Dickinson 264
Childhood J.B. Tabb 230
City in the Sea, The E.A. Poe 15
Concord Hymn R.W. Emerson 74
Confided J.B. Tabb 266
Coronation H.H. Jackson 183
Crowded Street, The W.C. Bryant 42
Day is Done, The W. Longfellow 66
Days R.W. Emerson 126
Death-bed, A J. Aldrich 136
Destiny T.B. Aldrich 210
Dirge for a Soldier G.H. Boker 106
Discoverer, The E.C. Stedman 150
Dutch Lullaby E. Field 284
Eavesdropper, The B. Carman 298
Evening Song S. Lanier 215
Eve's Daughter E.R. Sill 247
Fall of the Leaf, The H.D. Thoreau 162
Farragut W.T. Meredith 110
Fertility M. Thompson 294
Fire of Driftwood, The H.W. Longfellow 133
Flight, The L. Mifflin 229
Flight of Youth, The R.H. Stoddard 129
Fool's Prayer, The E.R. Sill 205
Four Winds, The C.H. Lueders 258
Future, The E.R. Sill 219
Gondolieds H.H. Jackson 155
Gravedigger, The B. Carman 277
Haunted Palace E.A. Poe 26
Health, A E.C. Pinkney 12
Hebe J.R. Lowell 64
He Made the Stars Also L. Mifflin 257
Her Epitaph T.W. Parsons 147
House of Death, The L.C. Moulton 236
Humble-bee, The R.W. Emerson 169
Hunting Song R. Hovey 251
Ichabod J.G. Whittier 69
In Absence J.B. Tabb 267
In August W.D. Howells 223
Indian Summer E. Dickinson 265
In the Hospital M.W. Howland 122
In the Twilight J.R. Lowell 158
Israfel E.A. Poe 21
Jerry an' Me H. Rich 275
Katie H. Timrod 140
Kings, The L.I. Guiney 211
Last Leaf, The O.W. Holmes 95
Little Boy Blue E. Field 231
Maryland Yellow-throat, The H. Van Dyke 287
Memory T.B. Aldrich 241
Mood, A T.B. Aldrich 242
"My Life is Like the Summer Rose" R.H. Wilde 4
My Love J.R. Lowell 142
My Maryland J.R. Randall 113
My Playmate J.G. Whittier 130
My Strawberry H.H. Jackson 167
Nature H.W. Longfellow 63
Nature H.D. Thoreau 166
Negro Lullaby P.L. Dunbar 225
Night L. Mifflin 256
No More B.F. Willson 197
"O Fairest of the Rural Maids" W.C. Bryant 6
Old Ironsides O.W. Holmes 76
Old Kentucky Home, The S.C. Foster 98
On a Bust of Dante T.W. Parsons 185
On an Intaglio Head of Minerva T.B. Aldrich 248
On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake F.G. Halleck 36
On the Life-mask of Abraham Lincoln R.W. Gilder 207
Opportunity E.R. Sill 283
Pan in Wall Street E.C. Stedman 188
Paradisi Gloria T.W. Parsons 201
Parting E. Dickinson 252
Port of Ships, The C.H. Miller 199
Prescience T.B. Aldrich 221
Raven, The E.A. Poe 45
Return, The L.F. Tooker 260
Rhodora, The R.W. Emerson 165
Sea's Voice, The W.P. Foster 271
Secret, The G.E. Woodberry 290
Serenade, A E.C. Pinkney 14
Sesostris L. Mifflin 300
She Came and Went J.R. Lowell 145
Sigh, A H.P. Spofford 196
Silence of Love, The G.E. Woodberry 289
Sir Humphrey Gilbert H.W. Longfellow 71
Skipper Ireson's Ride J.G. Whittier 87
Sleeper, The E.A. Poe 57
Song R.W. Gilder 208
Song J. Shaw 3
Song R.H. Stoddard 127
Song of the Camp, The B. Taylor 119
Song of the Chattahoochee S. Lanier 268
Sparkling and Bright C.F. Hoffman 32
Stanzas C.P. Cranch 181
Still in Thy Love I Trust A.A. Fields 218
Strong as Death H.C. Bunner 233
Summer Rain, The H.D. Thoreau 172
Telling the Bees J.G. Whittier 137
"Thalatta" J.B. Brown 154
That Day You Came L.W. Reese 224
Thought H.H. Jackson 180
Tide Rises, the Tide Falls, The H.W. Longfellow 161
To a Dead Woman H.C. Bunner 209
To America G.H. Boker 75
To a Waterfowl W.C. Bryant 29
To a Young Girl Dying T.W. Parsons 198
To England G.H. Boker 79
To Helen E.A. Poe 31
To One in Paradise E.A. Poe 34
To the Dandelion J.R. Lowell 175
To the Fringed Gentian W.C. Bryant 40
To the Past W.C. Bryant 18
Toujours Amour E.C. Stedman 194
Triumph H.C. Bunner 213
Tropical Morning at Sea, A E.R. Sill 238
Under the Violets O.W. Holmes 124
Unseen Spirits N.P. Willis 24
Valley of Unrest, The E.A. Poe 38
Veery, The H. Van Dyke 296
Village Blacksmith, The H.W. Longfellow 92
Way to Arcady, The H.C. Bunner 243
When the Sultan Goes to Ispahan T.B. Aldrich 253
Whip-poor-will, The H. Van Dyke 291
White Jessamine, The J.B. Tabb 235
Wild Honeysuckle, The P. Freneau 1
Woman's Thought, A R.W. Gilder 227
Woods that Bring the Sunset Near, The R.W. Gilder 216
Wreck of the Hesperus, The H.W. Longfellow 80
AMERICAN SONGS AND LYRICS
The Wild Honeysuckle.
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow, Hid in this silent, dull retreat, Untouched thy honey'd blossoms blow, Unseen thy little branches greet; No roving foot shall crush thee here, No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature's self in white arrayed, She bade thee shun the vulgar eye, And planted here the guardian shade, And sent soft waters murmuring by; Thus quietly thy summer goes,— Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms, that must decay, I grieve to see your future doom; They died—nor were those flowers more gay— The flowers that did in Eden bloom; Unpitying frosts and Autumn's power Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews At first thy little being came; If nothing once, you nothing lose, For when you die you are the same; The space between is but an hour, The frail duration of a flower.
Who has robbed the ocean cave, To tinge thy lips with coral hue? Who from India's distant wave For thee those pearly treasures drew? Who from yonder orient sky Stole the morning of thine eye?
Thousand charms, thy form to deck, From sea, and earth, and air are torn; Roses bloom upon thy cheek, On thy breath their fragrance borne. Guard thy bosom from the day, Lest thy snows should melt away.
But one charm remains behind, Which mute earth can ne'er impart; Nor in ocean wilt thou find, Nor in the circling air, a heart. Fairest! wouldst thou perfect be, Take, oh, take that heart from me.
"My Life is Like the Summer Rose."
My life is like the summer rose That opens to the morning sky, But ere the shades of evening close, Is scattered on the ground—to die! Yet on the rose's humble bed The sweetest dews of night are shed, As if she wept the waste to see,— But none shall weep a tear for me!
My life is like the autumn leaf That trembles in the moon's pale ray; Its hold is frail,—its date is brief, Restless,—and soon to pass away! Yet ere that leaf shall fall and fade, The parent tree will mourn its shade, The winds bewail the leafless tree,— But none shall breathe a sigh for me!
My life is like the prints which feet Have left on Tampa's desert strand; Soon as the rising tide shall beat, All trace will vanish from the sand; Yet, as if grieving to efface All vestige of the human race, On that lone shore loud moans the sea,— But none, alas! shall mourn for me!
"O Fairest of the Rural Maids!"
O Fairest of the rural maids! Thy birth was in the forest shades; Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky, Were all that met thine infant eye.
Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child, Were ever in the sylvan wild; And all the beauty of the place Is in thy heart and on thy face.
The twilight of the trees and rocks Is in the light shade of thy locks; Thy step is as the wind, that weaves Its playful way among the leaves.
Thine eyes are springs, in whose serene And silent waters heaven is seen; Their lashes are the herbs that look On their young figures in the brook.
The forest depths, by foot unpressed, Are not more sinless than thy breast; The holy peace that fills the air Of those calm solitudes is there.
How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood, When fond recollection presents them to view!— The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood, And every loved spot which my infancy knew! The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it; The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell; The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it; And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well,— The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.
That moss-covered vessel I hailed as a treasure; For often at noon, when returned from the field, I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,— The purest and sweetest that nature can yield. How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing, And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell! Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing, And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well, The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.
How sweet from the green, mossy brim to receive it, As, poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips! Not a full, blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it, The brightest that beauty or revelry sips. And now, far removed from the loved habitation, The tear of regret will intrusively swell, As fancy reverts to my father's plantation, And sighs for the bucket that hangs in the well,— The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket that hangs in the well.
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love, I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsmen came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me; Yes, that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we, Of many far wiser than we; And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling,—my darling,—my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
I fill this cup to one made up Of loveliness alone,— A woman, of her gentle sex The seeming paragon; To whom the better elements And kindly stars have given A form so fair, that, like the air, 'Tis less of earth than heaven.
Her every tone is music's own, Like those of morning birds; And something more than melody Dwells ever in her words; The coinage of her heart are they, And from her lips each flows As one may see the burden'd bee Forth issue from the rose.
Affections are as thoughts to her, The measures of her hours; Her feelings have the fragrancy, The freshness of young flowers; And lovely passions, changing oft, So fill her, she appears The image of themselves by turns,— The idol of past years!
Of her bright face one glance will trace A picture on the brain; And of her voice in echoing hearts A sound must long remain, But memory, such as mine of her, So very much endears, When death is nigh, my latest sigh Will not be life's, but hers.
I fill this cup to one made up Of loveliness alone,— A woman, of her gentle sex The seeming paragon. Her health! and would on earth there stood Some more of such a frame, That life might be all poetry, And weariness a name.
Look out upon the stars, my love, And shame them with thine eyes, On which, than on the lights above, There hang more destinies. Night's beauty is the harmony Of blending shades and light: Then, lady, up,—look out, and be A sister to the night!
Sleep not!—thine image wakes for aye Within my watching breast; Sleep not!—from her soft sleep should fly, Who robs all hearts of rest. Nay, lady, from thy slumbers break, And make this darkness gay, With looks whose brightness well might make Of darker nights a day.
The City in the Sea.
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone Far down within the dim West, Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest. There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not) Resemble nothing that is ours. Around, by lifting winds forgot, Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently, Gleams up the pinnacles far and free: Up domes, up spires, up kingly halls, Up fanes, up Babylon-like walls, Up shadowy, long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers, Up many and many a marvellous shrine, Whose wreathed friezes intertwine The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie. So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air, While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idol's diamond eye,— Not the gaily-jewelled dead Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl, alas, Along that wilderness of glass; No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea; No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene!
But lo, a stir is in the air! The wave—there is a movement there! As if the towers had thrust aside, In slightly sinking, the dull tide; As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven! The waves have now a redder glow, The hours are breathing faint and low; And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down that town shall settle hence, Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Shall do it reverence.
To The Past.
Thou unrelenting Past! Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain, And fetters, sure and fast, Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.
Far in thy realm withdrawn, Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom, And glorious ages gone Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.
Childhood, with all its mirth, Youth, Manhood, Age that draws us to the ground, And last, Man's Life on earth, Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound.
Thou hast my better years; Thou hast my earlier friends, the good, the kind, Yielded to thee with tears,— The venerable form, the exalted mind.
My spirit yearns to bring The lost ones back,—yearns with desire intense, And struggles hard to wring Thy bolts apart, and pluck thy captives thence.
In vain; thy gates deny All passage save to those who hence depart; Nor to the streaming eye Thou giv'st them back,—nor to the broken heart.
In thy abysses hide Beauty and excellence unknown; to thee Earth's wonder and her pride Are gathered, as the waters to the sea;
Labors of good to man, Unpublished charity, unbroken faith, Love, that midst grief began, And grew with years, and faltered not in death.
Full many a mighty name Lurks in thy depths, unuttered, unrevered; With thee are silent fame, Forgotten arts, and wisdom disappeared.
Thine for a space are they,— Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last! Thy gates shall yet give way, Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past!
All that of good and fair Has gone into thy womb from earliest time, Shall then come forth, to wear The glory and the beauty of its prime.
They have not perished,—no! Kind words, remembered voices once so sweet, Smiles, radiant long ago, And features, the great soul's apparent seat;
All shall come back, each tie Of pure affection shall be knit again; Alone shall Evil die, And Sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.
And then shall I behold Him, by whose kind paternal side I sprung, And her, who, still and cold, Fills the next grave,—the beautiful and young.
And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures.
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell Whose heart-strings are a lute; None sing so wildly well As the angel Israfel, And the giddy stars (so legends tell), Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell Of his voice, all mute.
Tottering above In her highest noon, The enamored moon Blushes with love, While, to listen, the red levin (With the rapid Pleiads, even, Which were seven) Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir And the other listening things) That Israfeli's fire Is owing to that lyre By which he sits and sings,— The trembling living wire Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod, Where deep thoughts are a duty, Where Love's a grown-up God, Where the Houri glances are Imbued with all the beauty Which we worship in a star.
Therefore thou art not wrong, Israfeli, who despisest An unimpassioned song; To thee the laurels belong, Best bard, because the wisest: Merrily live, and long!
The ecstasies above With thy burning measures suit: Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love, With the fervor of thy lute: Well may the stars be mute!
Yes, Heaven is thine; but this Is a world of sweets and sours; Our flowers are merely—flowers, And the shadow of thy perfect bliss Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt, and he where I, He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody, While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.
The shadows lay along Broadway,— 'Twas near the twilight-tide,— And slowly there a lady fair Was walking in her pride. Alone walked she; but, viewlessly, Walked spirits at her side.
Peace charmed the street beneath her feet, And Honor charmed the air; And all astir looked kind on her, And called her good as fair— For all God ever gave to her She kept with chary care.
She kept with care her beauties rare From lovers warm and true, For her heart was cold to all but gold, And the rich came not to woo; But honored well are charms to sell, If priests the selling do.
Now walking there was one more fair,— A slight girl, lily-pale; And she had unseen company To make the spirit quail,— 'Twixt Want and Scorn she walked forlorn, And nothing could avail.
No mercy now can clear her brow For this world's peace to pray; For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air, Her woman's heart gave way! But the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven By man is cursed alway.
The Haunted Palace.
In the greenest of our valleys By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace— Radiant palace—reared its head. In the monarch Thought's dominion, It stood there; Never seraph spread a pinion Over fabric half so fair.
Banners yellow, glorious, golden, On its roof did float and flow (This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago), And every gentle air that dallied, In that sweet day, Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley Through two luminous windows saw Spirits moving musically, To a lute's well-tuned law, Round about a throne where, sitting, Porphyrogene, In state his glory well befitting, The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, And sparkling evermore, A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty Was but to sing, In voices of surpassing beauty, The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate; (Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow Shall dawn upon him desolate!) And round about his home the glory That blushed and bloomed Is but a dim-remembered story Of the old time entombed.
And travellers now within that valley Through the red-litten windows see Vast forms that move fantastically To a discordant melody; While, like a ghastly rapid river, Through the pale door A hideous throng rush out forever, And laugh—but smile no more.
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.
Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicaean barks of yore, That gently, o'er a perfumed sea, The weary, wayworn wanderer bore To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam, Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, Thy Naiad airs, have brought me home To the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like I see thee stand, The agate lamp within thy hand! Ah, Psyche, from the regions which Are Holy Land!
Sparkling and Bright.
Sparkling and bright in liquid light Does the wine our goblets gleam in, With hue as red as the rosy bed Which a bee would choose to dream in. Then fill to-night, with hearts as light, To loves as gay and fleeting As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips while meeting.
Oh! if Mirth might arrest the flight Of Time through Life's dominions, We here awhile would now beguile The graybeard of his pinions, To drink to-night, with hearts as light, To loves as gay and fleeting As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips while meeting.
But since Delight can't tempt the wight, Nor fond Regret delay him, Nor Love himself can hold the elf, Nor sober Friendship stay him, We'll drink to-night, with hearts as light, To loves as gay and fleeting As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips while meeting.
To One in Paradise.
Thou wast all that to me, love, For which my soul did pine: A green isle in the sea, love, A fountain and a shrine All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers, And all the flowers were mine.
Ah, dream too bright to last! Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise But to be overcast! A voice from out the Future cries, "On! on!"—but o'er the Past (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies Mute, motionless, aghast.
For, alas! alas! with me The light of Life is o'er! No more—no more—no more— (Such language holds the solemn sea To the sands upon the shore) Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, Or the stricken eagle soar.
And all my days are trances, And all my nightly dreams Are where thy gray eye glances, And where thy footstep gleams,— In what ethereal dances, By what eternal streams.
On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake.
Green be the turf above thee, Friend of my better days! None knew thee but to love thee, Nor named thee but to praise.
Tears fell when thou wert dying, From eyes unused to weep, And long, where thou art lying, Will tears the cold turf steep.
When hearts, whose truth was proven, Like thine, are laid in earth, There should a wreath be woven To tell the world their worth;
And I, who woke each morrow To clasp thy hand in mine, Who shared thy joy and sorrow, Whose weal and woe were thine,
It should be mine to braid it Around thy faded brow, But I've in vain essayed it, And feel I cannot now.
While memory bids me weep thee, Nor thoughts nor words are free, The grief is fixed too deeply That mourns a man like thee.
The Valley of Unrest.
Once it smiled a silent dell Where the people did not dwell; They had gone unto the wars, Trusting to the mild-eyed stars, Nightly, from their azure towers, To keep watch above the flowers, In the midst of which all day The red sunlight lazily lay. Now each visitor shall confess The sad valley's restlessness. Nothing there is motionless, Nothing save the airs that brood Over the magic solitude. Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees That palpitate like the chill seas Around the misty Hebrides! Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven That rustle through the unquiet Heaven Uneasily, from morn to even, Over the violets there that lie In myriad types of the human eye, Over the lilies there that wave And weep above a nameless grave! They wave:—from out their fragrant tops Eternal dews come down in drops. They weep:—from off their delicate stems Perennial tears descend in gems.
To the Fringed Gentian.
Thou blossom bright with autumn dew, And colored with the heaven's own blue, That openest when the quiet light Succeeds the keen and frosty night:
Thou comest not when violets lean O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen, Or columbines, in purple dressed, Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.
Thou waitest late and com'st alone, When woods are bare and birds are flown, And frosts and shortening days portend The aged year is near his end.
Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye Look through its fringes to the sky, Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall A flower from its cerulean wall.
I would that thus, when I shall see The hour of death draw near to me, Hope, blossoming within my heart, May look to heaven as I depart.
The Crowded Street.
Let me move slowly through the street, Filled with an ever-shifting train, Amid the sound of steps that beat The murmuring walks like autumn rain.
How fast the flitting figures come! The mild, the fierce, the stony face,— Some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some Where secret tears have left their trace.
They pass—to toil, to strife, to rest; To halls in which the feast is spread; To chambers where the funeral guest In silence sits beside the dead.
And some to happy homes repair, Where children, pressing cheek to cheek, With mute caresses shall declare The tenderness they cannot speak.
And some, who walk in calmness here, Shall shudder as they reach the door Where one who made their dwelling dear, Its flower, its light, is seen no more.
Youth, with pale cheek and slender frame, And dreams of greatness in thine eye! Go'st thou to build an early name, Or early in the task to die?
Keen son of trade, with eager brow! Who is now fluttering in thy snare? Thy golden fortunes, tower they now, Or melt the glittering spires in air?
Who of this crowd to-night shall tread The dance till daylight gleam again? Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead? Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?
Some, famine-struck, shall think how long The cold, dark hours, how slow the light; And some, who flaunt amid the throng, Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.
Each where his tasks or pleasures call, They pass, and heed each other not. There is who heeds, who holds them all In His large love and boundless thought.
These struggling tides of life, that seem In wayward, aimless course to tend, Are eddies of the mighty stream That rolls to its appointed end.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping—rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door,— Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore,— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,— Nameless here forevermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, —Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping—tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you;"—here I opened wide the door:— Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore:" Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore,— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— 'Tis the wind, and nothing more."
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore,— Tell, me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore."
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before." Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore, Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never—nevermore.'"
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor. "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels He hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore,— Is there,—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore." Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting,— "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted,—nevermore!
Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and armed hands Encountered in the battle-cloud.
Ah! never shall the land forget How gushed the life-blood of her brave,— Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet, Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now all is calm and fresh and still; Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill, And bell of wandering kine are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain; Men start not at the battle-cry; Oh, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought; but thou Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now, Thy warfare only ends with life.
A friendless warfare! lingering long Through weary day and weary year; A wild and many-weaponed throng Hang on thy front and flank and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof, And blench not at thy chosen lot; The timid good may stand aloof, The sage may frown,—yet faint thou not!
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast, The foul and hissing bolt of scorn, For with thy side shall dwell, at last, The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain, And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust, Like those who fell in battle here.
Another hand thy sword shall wield, Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon. An opiate vapor, dewy, dim, Exhales from out her golden rim, And, softly dripping, drop by drop, Upon the quiet mountain-top, Steals drowsily and musically Into the universal valley. The rosemary nods upon the grave; The lily lolls upon the wave; Wrapping the fog about its breast, The ruin moulders into rest; Looking like Lethe, see! the lake A conscious slumber seems to take, And would not, for the world, awake. All beauty sleeps!—and lo! where lies Irene, with her destinies!
O lady bright! can it be right, This window open to the night? The wanton airs from the tree-top Laughingly through the lattice drop; The bodiless airs, a wizard rout, Flit through thy chamber in and out, And wave the curtain canopy So fitfully, so fearfully, Above the closed and fringed lid 'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid, That, o'er the floor and down the wall, Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall. O lady dear, hast thou no fear? Why and what art thou dreaming here? Sure thou art come o'er far-off seas, A wonder to these garden trees! Strange is thy pallor; strange thy dress; Strange, above all, thy length of tress, And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps. Oh, may her sleep, Which is enduring, so be deep! Heaven have her in its sacred keep! This chamber changed for one more holy, This bed for one more melancholy, I pray to God that she may lie Forever with unopened eye, While the pale sheeted ghosts go by.
My love, she sleeps. Oh, may her sleep, As it is lasting, so be deep! Soft may the worms about her creep! Far in the forest, dim and old, For her may some tall vault unfold: Some vault that oft hath flung its black And winged panels fluttering back, Triumphant, o'er the crested palls Of her grand family funerals; Some sepulchre, remote, alone, Against whose portal she hath thrown, In childhood, many an idle stone; Some tomb from out whose sounding door She ne'er shall force an echo more, Thrilling to think, poor child of sin, It was the dead who groaned within!
As a fond mother, when the day is o'er, Leads by the hand her little child to bed, Half willing, half reluctant to be led, And leave his broken playthings on the floor, Still gazing at them through the open door, Nor wholly reassured and comforted By promises of others in their stead, Which, though more splendid, may not please him more,— So Nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know.
I saw the twinkle of white feet, I saw the flash of robes descending; Before her ran an influence fleet, That bowed my heart like barley bending.
As, in bare fields, the searching bees Pilot to blooms beyond our finding, It led me on, by sweet degrees Joy's simple honey-cells unbinding.
Those Graces were that seemed grim Fates; With nearer love the sky leaned o'er me; The long-sought Secret's golden gates On musical hinges swung before me.
I saw the brimmed bowl in her grasp Thrilling with godhood; like a lover I sprang the proffered life to clasp;— The beaker fell; the luck was over.
The Earth has drunk the vintage up; What boots it patch the goblet's splinters? Can Summer fill the icy cup, Whose treacherous crystal is but Winter's?
O spendthrift haste! await the Gods; Their nectar crowns the lips of Patience; Haste scatters on unthankful sods The immortal gift in vain libations.
Coy Hebe flies from those that woo, And shuns the hands would seize upon her; Follow thy life, and she will sue To pour for thee the cup of honor.
The Day is Done.
The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters, Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music, Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet, Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer, Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn Which once he wore! The glory from his gray hairs gone Forevermore!
Revile him not,—the Tempter hath A snare for all; And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath, Befit his fall!
Oh, dumb be passion's stormy rage, When he who might Have lighted up and led his age, Falls back in night.
Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark A bright soul driven, Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark, From hope and heaven!
Let not the land once proud of him Insult him now, Nor brand with deeper shame his dim, Dishonored brow.
But let its humbled sons, instead, From sea to lake, A long lament, as for the dead, In sadness make.
Of all we loved and honored, naught Save power remains,— A fallen angel's pride of thought, Still strong in chains.
All else is gone; from those great eyes The soul has fled: When faith is lost, when honor dies. The man is dead!
Then, pay the reverence of old days To his dead fame; Walk backward, with averted gaze, And hide the shame!
Sir Humphrey Gilbert.
Southward with fleet of ice Sailed the corsair Death; Wild and fast blew the blast, And the east-wind was his breath.
His lordly ships of ice Glisten in the sun; On each side, like pennons wide, Flashing crystal streamlets run.
His sails of white sea-mist Dripped with silver rain; But where he passed there were cast Leaden shadows o'er the main.
Eastward from Campobello Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed; Three days or more seaward he bore, Then, alas! the land-wind failed.
Alas! the land-wind failed, And ice-cold grew the night; And nevermore, on sea or shore, Should Sir Humphrey see the light.
He sat upon the deck, The Book was in his hand; "Do not fear! Heaven is as near," He said, "by water as by land!"
In the first watch of the night, Without a signal's sound, Out of the sea, mysteriously, The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star Were hanging in the shrouds; Every mast, as it passed, Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize, At midnight black and cold! As of a rock was the shock; Heavily the ground-swell rolled.
Southward through day and dark, They drift in close embrace, With mist and rain, o'er the open main; Yet there seems no change of place.
Southward, forever southward, They drift through dark and day; And like a dream, in the Gulf Stream Sinking, vanish all away.
Sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, April 19, 1836.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone, That memory may their deed redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee.
What, cringe to Europe! Band it all in one, Stilt its decrepit strength, renew its age, Wipe out its debts, contract a loan to wage Its venal battles,—and, by yon bright sun, Our God is false, and liberty undone, If slaves have power to win your heritage! Look on your country, God's appointed stage, Where man's vast mind its boundless course shall run: For that it was your stormy coast He spread— A fear in winter; girded you about With granite hills, and made you strong and dread. Let him who fears before the foemen shout, Or gives an inch before a vein has bled, Turn on himself, and let the traitor out!
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down! Long has it waved on high, And many an eye has danced to see That banner in the sky; Beneath it rung the battle shout, And burst the cannon's roar;— The meteor of the ocean air Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood, Where knelt the vanquished foe, When winds were hurrying o'er the flood, And waves were white below, No more shall feel the victor's tread, Or know the conquered knee; The harpies of the shore shall pluck The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk Should sink beneath the wave! Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag, Set every threadbare sail, And give her to the god of storms, The lightning, and the gale!
Lear and Cordelia! 'twas an ancient tale Before thy Shakespeare gave it deathless fame; The times have changed, the moral is the same. So like an outcast, dowerless and pale, Thy daughter went; and in a foreign gale Spread her young banner, till its sway became A wonder to the nations. Days of shame Are close upon thee; prophets raise their wail. When the rude Cossack with an outstretched hand Points his long spear across the narrow sea,— "Lo! there is England!" when thy destiny Storms on thy straw-crowned head, and thou dost stand Weak, helpless, mad, a by-word in the land,— God grant thy daughter a Cordelia be!
Stand, thou great bulwark of man's liberty! Thou rock of shelter, rising from the wave, Sole refuge to the overwearied brave Who planned, arose, and battled to be free, Fell, undeterred, then sadly turned to thee, Saved the free spirit from their country's grave, To rise again, and animate the slave, When God shall ripen all things. Britons, ye Who guard the sacred outpost, not in vain Hold your proud peril! Freemen undefiled, Keep watch and ward! Let battlements be piled Around your cliffs; fleets marshalled, till the main Sink under them; and if your courage wane, Through force or fraud, look westward to your child!
The Wreck of the Hesperus.
It was the schooner Hesperus, That sailed the wintry sea; And the skipper had taken his little daughter, To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax, Her cheeks like the dawn of day, And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds, That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm, His pipe was in his mouth, And he watched how the veering flaw did blow The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor, Had sailed to the Spanish Main, "I pray thee, put into yonder port, For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring, And to-night no moon we see!" The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe, And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind, A gale from the Northeast, The snow fell hissing in the brine, And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain The vessel in its strength; She shuddered and paused, like a frightened steed, Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter, And do not tremble so; For I can weather the roughest gale That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat Against the stinging blast; He cut a rope from a broken spar, And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church-bells ring, Oh, say, what may it be?" "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"— And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns, Oh, say, what may it be?" "Some ship in distress, that cannot live In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light, Oh, say, what may it be?" But the father answered never a word, A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark, With his face turned to the skies, The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed That saved she might be; And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave, On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear, Through the whistling sleet and snow, Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between A sound came from the land; It was the sound of the trampling surf On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows, She drifted a dreary wreck, And a whooping billow swept the crew Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves Looked soft as carded wool, But the cruel rocks, they gored her side Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice, With the masts went by the board; Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank, Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach, A fisherman stood aghast, To see the form of a maiden fair, Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast, The salt tears in her eyes; And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed, On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus, In the midnight and the snow! Christ save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!
From the Desert I come to thee On a stallion shod with fire, And the winds are left behind In the speed of my desire. Under thy window I stand, And the midnight hears my cry: I love thee, I love but thee, With a love that shall not die Till the sun grows cold, And the stars are old, And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold!
Look from thy window and see My passion and my pain; I lie on the sands below, And I faint in thy disdain. Let the night-winds touch thy brow With the heat of my burning sigh, And melt thee to hear the vow Of a love that shall not die Till the sun grows cold, And the stars are old, And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold!
My steps are nightly driven, By the fever in my breast, To hear from thy lattice breathed The word that shall give me rest. Open the door of thy heart, And open thy chamber door, And my kisses shall teach thy lips The love that shall fade no more Till the sun grows cold, And the stars are old, And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold!
Skipper Ireson's Ride.
Of all the rides since the birth of time, Told in story or sung in rhyme,— On Apuleius's Golden Ass, Or one-eyed Calendar's horse of brass, Witch astride of a human back, Islam's prophet on Al-Borak,— The strangest ride that ever was sped Was Ireson's, out from Marblehead! Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
Body of turkey, head of owl, Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl, Feathered and ruffled in every part, Skipper Ireson stood in the cart. Scores of women, old and young, Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue, Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane, Shouting and singing the shrill refrain: "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!"
Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips, Girls in bloom of cheek and lips, Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase Bacchus round some antique vase, Brief of skirt, with ankles bare, Loose of kerchief and loose of hair, With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang, Over and over the Maenads sang: "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!"
Small pity for him!—He sailed away From a leaking ship, in Chaleur Bay,— Sailed away from a sinking wreck, With his own town's-people on her deck! "Lay by! lay by!" they called to him. Back he answered, "Sink or swim! Brag of your catch of fish again!" And off he sailed through the fog and rain! Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur That wreck shall lie forevermore. Mother and sister, wife and maid, Looked from the rocks of Marblehead Over the moaning and rainy sea,— Looked for the coming that might not be! What did the winds and the sea-birds say Of the cruel captain who sailed away?— Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
Through the street, on either side, Up flew windows, doors swung wide; Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray, Treble lent the fish-horn's bray. Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound, Hulks of old sailors run aground, Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane, And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain: "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!"
Sweetly along the Salem road Bloom of orchard and lilac showed. Little the wicked skipper knew Of the fields so green and the sky so blue. Riding there in his sorry trim, Like an Indian idol glum and grim, Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear Of voices shouting, far and near: "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!"
"Hear me, neighbors!" at last he cried,— "What to me is this noisy ride? What is the shame that clothes the skin To the nameless horror that lives within? Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck, And hear a cry from a reeling deck! Hate me and curse me,—I only dread The hand of God and the face of the dead!" Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea Said, "God has touched him! Why should we?" Said an old wife, mourning her only son: "Cut the rogue's tether and let him run!" So with soft relentings and rude excuse, Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose, And gave him a cloak to hide him in, And left him alone with his shame and sin. Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
The Village Blacksmith.
Under a spreading chestnut-tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long, His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes A tear out of his eyes.
Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done. Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought.
The Last Leaf.
I saw him once before, As he passed by the door, And again The pavement stones resound, As he totters o'er the ground With his cane.
They say that in his prime, Ere the pruning-knife of Time Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the crier on his round Through the town.
But now he walks the streets, And he looks at all he meets Sad and wan, And he shakes his feeble head, That it seems as if he said, "They are gone."
The mossy marbles rest On the lips that he has pressed In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said— Poor old lady, she is dead Long ago— That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose In the snow.
But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin Like a staff, And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack In his laugh.
I know it is a sin For me to sit and grin At him here; But the old three-cornered hat, And the breeches, and all that, Are so queer!
And if I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree In the spring, Let them smile, as I do now, At the old, forsaken bough Where I cling.
The Old Kentucky Home.
A NEGRO MELODY.
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky Home; 'Tis summer, the darkies are gay; The corn-top's ripe, and the meadow's in the bloom, While the birds make music all the day. The young folks roll on the little cabin floor, All merry, all happy and bright; By-'n'-by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,— Then my old Kentucky Home, good-night!
Weep no more, my lady, Oh, weep no more to-day! We will sing one song for the old Kentucky Home, For the old Kentucky Home, far away.
They hunt no more for the possum and the coon, On the meadow, the hill, and the shore; They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon, On the bench by the old cabin door. The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart, With sorrow, where all was delight; The time has come when the darkies have to part,— Then my old Kentucky Home, good-night!
The head must bow, and the back will have to bend, Wherever the darkey may go; A few more days, and the trouble all will end, In the field where the sugar-canes grow. A few more days for to tote the weary load,— No matter, 'twill never be light; A few more days till we totter on the road,— Then my old Kentucky Home, good-night!
Weep no more, my lady, Oh, weep no more to-day! We will sing one song for the old Kentucky Home, For the old Kentucky Home, far away.
The Black Regiment.
Port Hudson, May 27, 1863.
Dark as the clouds of even, Ranked in the western heaven, Waiting the breath that lifts All the dread mass, and drifts Tempest and falling brand Over a ruined land;— So still and orderly, Arm to arm, knee to knee, Waiting the great event, Stands the black regiment.
Down the long, dusky line Teeth gleam, and eyeballs shine; And the bright bayonet, Bristling and firmly set, Flashed with a purpose grand, Long ere the sharp command Of the fierce rolling drum Told them their time had come, Told them what work was sent For the black regiment.
"Now," the flag-sergeant cried, "Though death and hell betide, Let the whole nation see If we are fit to be Free in this land; or bound Down, like the whining hound,— Bound with red stripes of pain In our old chains again!" Oh, what a shout there went From the black regiment!
"Charge!" Trump and drum awoke, Onward the bondmen broke; Bayonet and sabre-stroke Vainly opposed their rush. Through the wild battle's crush, With but one thought aflush, Driving their lords like chaff, In the guns' mouths they laugh; Or at the slippery brands Leaping with open hands, Down they tear man and horse, Down in their awful course; Trampling with bloody heel Over the crashing steel, All their eyes forward bent, Rushed the black regiment.
"Freedom!" their battle-cry,— "Freedom! or leave to die!" Ah! and they meant the word, Not as with us 'tis heard, Not a mere party shout; They gave their spirits out, Trusted the end to God, And on the gory sod Rolled in triumphant blood. Glad to strike one free blow, Whether for weal or woe; Glad to breathe one free breath, Though on the lips of death; Praying—alas! in vain!— That they might fall again, So they could once more see That burst to liberty! This was what "freedom" lent To the black regiment.
Hundreds on hundreds fell; But they are resting well; Scourges and shackles strong Never shall do them wrong. Oh, to the living few, Soldiers, be just and true! Hail them as comrades tried; Fight with them side by side; Never, in field or tent, Scorn the black regiment.
The despot treads thy sacred sands, Thy pines give shelter to his bands, Thy sons stand by with idle hands, Carolina! He breathes at ease thy airs of balm, He scorns the lances of thy palm; Oh! who shall break thy craven calm, Carolina! Thy ancient fame is growing dim, A spot is on thy garment's rim; Give to the winds thy battle-hymn, Carolina!
Call on thy children of the hill, Wake swamp and river, coast and rill, Rouse all thy strength and all thy skill, Carolina! Cite wealth and science, trade and art, Touch with thy fire the cautious mart, And pour thee through the people's heart, Carolina! Till even the coward spurns his fears, And all thy fields, and fens, and meres Shall bristle like thy palm with spears, Carolina!
I hear a murmur as of waves That grope their way through sunless caves, Like bodies struggling in their graves, Carolina! And now it deepens; slow and grand It swells, as, rolling to the land, An ocean broke upon thy strand, Carolina! Shout! Let it reach the startled Huns! And roar with all thy festal guns! It is the answer of thy sons, Carolina!
Dirge for a Soldier.
Close his eyes; his work is done! What to him is friend or foeman, Rise of moon, or set of sun, Hand of man, or kiss of woman? Lay him low, lay him low, In the clover or the snow! What cares he? He cannot know; Lay him low!
As man may, he fought his fight, Proved his truth by his endeavor; Let him sleep in solemn night, Sleep forever and forever. Lay him low, lay him low, In the clover or the snow! What cares he? He cannot know; Lay him low!
Fold him in his country's stars, Roll the drum and fire the volley! What to him are all our wars, What but death bemocking folly? Lay him low, lay him low, In the clover or the snow! What cares he? He cannot know; Lay him low!
Leave him to God's watching eye; Trust him to the hand that made him. Mortal love weeps idly by; God alone has power to aid him. Lay him low, lay him low, In the clover or the snow! What cares he? He cannot know! Lay him low!
Battle-hymn of the Republic.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fatal lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps; They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel: "As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel! Since God is marching on."
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat; Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born, across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
Farragut, Farragut, Old Heart of Oak, Daring Dave Farragut, Thunderbolt stroke, Watches the hoary mist Lift from the bay, Till his flag, glory-kissed, Greets the young day.
Far, by gray Morgan's walls, Looms the black fleet. Hark, deck to rampart calls With the drums' beat! Buoy your chains overboard, While the steam hums; Men! to the battlement, Farragut comes.
See, as the hurricane Hurtles in wrath Squadrons of clouds amain Back from its path! Back to the parapet, To the guns' lips, Thunderbolt Farragut Hurls the black ships.
Now through the battle's roar Clear the boy sings, "By the mark fathoms four," While his lead swings. Steady the wheelmen five "Nor' by east keep her," "Steady," but two alive: How the shells sweep her!
Lashed to the mast that sways Over red decks, Over the flame that plays Round the torn wrecks, Over the dying lips Framed for a cheer, Farragut leads his ships, Guides the line clear.
On by heights cannon-browed, While the spars quiver; Onward still flames the cloud Where the hulks shiver. See, yon fort's star is set, Storm and fire past. Cheer him, lads,—Farragut, Lashed to the mast!
Oh! while Atlantic's breast Bears a white sail, While the Gulf's towering crest Tops a green vale; Men thy bold deeds shall tell, Old Heart of Oak, Daring Dave Farragut, Thunderbolt stroke!
The despot's heel is on thy shore, Maryland! His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland! Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore, And be the battle-queen of yore, Maryland, my Maryland!
Hark to an exiled son's appeal, Maryland! My Mother State, to thee I kneel, Maryland! For life and death, for woe and weal, Thy peerless chivalry reveal, And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel, Maryland, my Maryland!
Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland! Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland! Remember Carroll's sacred trust, Remember Howard's warlike thrust, And all thy slumberers with the just, Maryland, my Maryland!
Come! 'tis the red dawn of the day, Maryland! Come with thy panoplied array, Maryland! With Ringgold's spirit for the fray, With Watson's blood at Monterey, With fearless Lowe and dashing May, Maryland, my Maryland!
Dear Mother, burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland! Virginia should not call in vain, Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain,— "Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain That baffles minions back amain, Maryland! Arise in majesty again, Maryland, my Maryland!
Come! for thy shield is bright and strong, Maryland! Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong, Maryland! Come to thine own heroic throng Stalking with Liberty along, And chant thy dauntless slogan-song, Maryland, my Maryland!
I see the blush upon thy cheek, Maryland! For thou wast ever bravely meek, Maryland! But lo! there surges forth a shriek, From hill to hill, from creek to creek, Potomac calls to Chesapeake, Maryland, my Maryland!
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll, Maryland! Thou wilt not crook to his control, Maryland! Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the shot, the blade, the bowl, Than crucifixion of the soul, Maryland, my Maryland!
I hear the distant thunder-hum, Maryland! The old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, Maryland! She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb; Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum! She breathes! She burns! She'll come! She'll come! Maryland, my Maryland!
The apples are ripe in the orchard, The work of the reaper is done, And the golden woodlands redden In the blood of the dying sun.
At the cottage door the grandsire Sits, pale, in his easy-chair, While a gentle wind of twilight Plays with his silver hair.
A woman is kneeling beside him; A fair young head is prest, In the first wild passion of sorrow, Against his aged breast.
And far from over the distance The faltering echoes come, Of the flying blast of trumpet, And the rattling roll of drum.
And the grandsire speaks in a whisper: "The end no man can see; But we give him to his country, And we give our prayers to Thee."
* * * * *
The violets star the meadows, The rose-buds fringe the door, And over the grassy orchard The pink-white blossoms pour.
But the grandsire's chair is empty, The cottage is dark and still, There's a nameless grave in the battle-field, And a new one under the hill.
And a pallid, tearless woman By the cold hearth sits alone, And the old clock in the corner Ticks on with a steady drone.
 From "Wanderers," copyright, 1892, by Macmillan and Co.
The Song of the Camp.
"Give us a song!" the soldiers cried, The outer trenches guarding, When the heated guns of the camps allied Grew weary of bombarding.
The dark Redan, in silent scoff, Lay grim and threatening under; And the tawny mound of the Malakoff No longer belch'd its thunder.
There was a pause. A guardsman said: "We storm the forts to-morrow; Sing while we may, another day Will bring enough of sorrow."
They lay along the battery's side, Below the smoking cannon: Brave hearts from Severn and from Clyde, And from the banks of Shannon.
They sang of love, and not of fame; Forgot was Britain's glory: Each heart recall'd a different name, But all sang "Annie Laurie."
Voice after voice caught up the song, Until its tender passion Rose like an anthem, rich and strong,— Their battle-eve confession.
Dear girl, her name he dared not speak, But as the song grew louder, Something upon the soldier's cheek Washed off the stains of powder.
Beyond the darkening ocean burn'd The bloody sunset's embers, While the Crimean valleys learn'd How English love remembers.
And once again a fire of hell Rain'd on the Russian quarters, With scream of shot, and burst of shell, And bellowing of the mortars!
And Irish Nora's eyes are dim For a singer dumb and gory; And English Mary mourns for him Who sang of "Annie Laurie."
Sleep, soldiers! still in honor'd rest Your truth and valor wearing: The bravest are the tenderest,— The loving are the daring.
In the Hospital.
I lay me down to sleep, With little thought or care Whether my waking find Me here or there.
A bowing, burdened head, That only asks to rest, Unquestioning, upon A loving breast.
My good right hand forgets Its cunning now. To march the weary march I know not how.
I am not eager, bold, Nor strong—all that is past; I am ready not to do At last, at last.
My half day's work is done, And this is all my part; I give a patient God My patient heart,
And grasp His banner still, Though all its blue be dim; These stripes, no less than stars, Lead after Him.
Under the Violets.
Her hands are cold; her face is white; No more her pulses come and go; Her eyes are shut to life and light;— Fold the white vesture, snow on snow, And lay her where the violets blow.
But not beneath a graven stone, To plead for tears with alien eyes; A slender cross of wood alone Shall say, that here a maiden lies In peace beneath the peaceful skies.
And gray old trees of hugest limb Shall wheel their circling shadows round To make the scorching sunlight dim That drinks the greenness from the ground, And drop their dead leaves on her mound.
When o'er their boughs the squirrels run, And through their leaves the robins call, And, ripening in the autumn sun, The acorns and the chestnuts fall, Doubt not that she will heed them all.
For her the morning choir shall sing Its matins from the branches high, And every minstrel voice of Spring, That trills beneath the April sky, Shall greet her with its earliest cry.
When, turning round their dial-track, Eastward the lengthening shadows pass, Her little mourners, clad in black, The crickets, sliding through the grass, Shall pipe for her an evening mass.
At last the rootlets of the trees Shall find the prison where she lies, And bear the buried dust they seize In leaves and blossoms to the skies. So may the soul that warmed it rise!
If any, born of kindlier blood, Should ask, What maiden lies below? Say only this: A tender bud, That tried to blossom in the snow, Lies withered where the violets blow.
Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days, Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes, And marching single in an endless file, Bring diadems and fagots in their hands. To each they offer gifts after his will, Bread, kingdoms, stars, and sky that holds them all. I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp, Forgot my morning wishes, hastily Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day Turned and departed silent. I, too late, Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.
You know the old Hidalgo (His box is next to ours), Who threw the Prima Donna The wreath of orange-flowers; He owns the half of Aragon, With mines beyond the main; A very ancient nobleman, And gentleman of Spain.
They swear that I must wed him, In spite of yea or nay, Though uglier than the Scaramouch, The spectre in the play; But I will sooner die a maid Than wear a gilded chain, For all the ancient noblemen And gentlemen of Spain!
 From "The Poems of R.H. Stoddard," copyright, 1880, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
When I was a beggarly boy, And lived in a cellar damp, I had not a friend nor a toy, But I had Aladdin's lamp; When I could not sleep for cold, I had fire enough in my brain, And builded, with roofs of gold, My beautiful castles in Spain!
Since then I have toiled day and night, I have money and power good store, But I'd give all my lamps of silver bright, For the one that is mine no more; Take, Fortune, whatever you choose,— You gave, and may snatch again; I have nothing 'twould pain me to lose, For I own no more castles in Spain!
The Flight of Youth.
There are gains for all our losses, There are balms for all our pain; But when youth, the dream, departs, It takes something from our hearts, And it never comes again.
We are stronger, and are better, Under manhood's sterner reign; Still, we feel that something sweet Followed youth, with flying feet, And will never come again.
Something beautiful is vanished, And we sigh for it in vain; We behold it everywhere, On the earth, and in the air, But it never comes again.
 From "The Poems of R.H. Stoddard," copyright, 1880, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
The pines were dark on Ramoth hill, Their song was soft and low; The blossoms in the sweet May wind Were falling like the snow.
The blossoms drifted at our feet, The orchard birds sang clear; The sweetest and the saddest day It seemed of all the year.
For, more to me than birds or flowers, My playmate left her home, And took with her the laughing spring, The music and the bloom.
She kissed the lips of kith and kin, She laid her hand in mine: What more could ask the bashful boy Who fed her father's kine?
She left us in the bloom of May: The constant years told o'er Their seasons with as sweet May morns, But she came back no more.
I walk, with noiseless feet, the round Of uneventful years; Still o'er and o'er I sow the spring And reap the autumn ears.
She lives where all the golden year Her summer roses blow; The dusky children of the sun Before her come and go.
There haply with her jewelled hands She smooths her silken gown,— No more the homespun lap wherein I shook the walnuts down.
The wild grapes wait us by the brook, The brown nuts on the hill, And still the May-day flowers make sweet The woods of Follymill.
The lilies blossom in the pond, The bird builds in the tree, The dark pines sing on Ramoth hill The slow song of the sea.
I wonder if she thinks of them, And how the old time seems, If ever the pines of Ramoth wood Are sounding in her dreams.
I see her face, I hear her voice: Does she remember mine? And what to her is now the boy Who fed her father's kine?
What cares she that the orioles build For other eyes than ours,— That other hands with nuts are filled, And other laps with flowers?
O playmate in the golden time! Our mossy seat is green, Its fringing violets blossom yet, The old trees o'er it lean.
The winds so sweet with birch and fern A sweeter memory blow; And there in spring the veeries sing The song of long ago.
And still the pines of Ramoth wood Are moaning like the sea,— The moaning of the sea of change Between myself and thee!
The Fire of Driftwood.
DEVEREUX FARM, NEAR MARBLEHEAD.
We sat within the farmhouse old, Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold, An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port, The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night, Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight, Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene, Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been, And who was changed, and who was dead;
And all that fills the hearts of friends, When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, And never can be one again;
The first slight swerving of the heart, That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips, As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships, The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed, We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames, The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames, All mingled vaguely in our speech;
Until they made themselves a part Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart, That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned! They were indeed too much akin, The driftwood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.
Her suffering ended with the day, Yet lived she at its close, And breathed the long, long night away In statue-like repose.
But when the sun in all his state Illumed the eastern skies, She passed through Glory's morning gate And walked in Paradise.
Telling the Bees.
Here is the place; right over the hill Runs the path I took; You can see the gap in the old wall still, And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.
There is the house, with the gate red-barred, And the poplars tall; And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard, And the white horns tossing above the wall.
There are the beehives ranged in the sun; And down by the brink Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun,— Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.
A year has gone, as the tortoise goes, Heavy and slow; And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows, And the same brook sings of a year ago.
There's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze; And the June sun warm Tangles his wings of fire in the trees, Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.
I mind me how with a lover's care From my Sunday coat I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair, And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.
Since we parted, a month had passed,— To love, a year; Down through the beeches I looked at last On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.
I can see it all now,—the slantwise rain Of light through the leaves, The sundown's blaze on her window-pane, The bloom of her roses under the eaves.
Just the same as a month before,— The house and the trees, The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door,— Nothing changed but the hives of bees.
Before them, under the garden wall, Forward and back, Went, drearily singing, the chore-girl small, Draping each hive with a shred of black.
Trembling, I listened; the summer sun Had the chill of snow; For I knew she was telling the bees of one Gone on the journey we all must go!
Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps For the dead to-day; Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps The fret and the pain of his age away."
But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill, With his cane to his chin, The old man sat; and the chore-girl still Sung to the bees stealing out and in.