I saw the round moon rising from the sea,
One summer evening from a lonely isle
Hard by the northern coast. A ruined pile,
Seat of some ancient lord of Brittany,
Revealed its lines in ghostly tracery,
As o'er the placid waves for many a mile
The mellow moonlight, 'like a silver Nile,'
Came floating, flowing, pulsing down to me.
I stood in mute bewilderment, entranced;
That throbbing mystery, the ocean, seemed
With all its might and mystery enhanced,
In the white radiance over all that streamed;
And the enchantment, as the night advanced,
Was deeper, sweeter than my soul had dreamed!
A wise old mother is Nature-
She guideth her children's feet
In many a flowery pathway;
And her strong life-currents beat,
Sometimes in intricate channels-
As a mountain stream may run-
But ever her purpose triumphs,
And ever the goal is won.
Her eyes are the eyes of Argus,
And she utters her decree:
The brook shall come to the river,
And the river shall reach the sea.
We have failed to read the riddle
Of the impulse and desire,
That burn in the soul of being,
Like the sun's great heart of fire,
Impelling the bird, storm-drifted,
To come to its sheltered nest,
And the mother to bring her baby
The warmth of her shielding breast;
And the blossom to yield its honey
As the spoil of the bandit bee-
While the brook goes down to the river
And the river reaches the sea.
But whatsoever we name it-
Be it Destiny, or Fate-
It leads the prince to his kingdom,
The king to his palace gate;
The lover shall taste the kisses
That grow on the maiden's lips;
And safe, in the land-locked harbor,
Shall be moored the wand'ring ships;
And the soul shall gain its heaven-
Where the white-robed angels be-
And the brook shall blend with the river
And the river shall wed the sea.
The golden glow of autumn-time
Hath faded like an ember,
And on the dreary landscape lies
The first flakes of November;
Chill blows the wind through woods discrowned
Of all their leafy glory,
As thus the seasons in their round
Repeat the endless story!
The earth hath yielded up her fruits
To bless the farmer's labors,
And peace and plenty crown the lives
Of cheery friends and neighbors;
In fertile vales, on prairies broad,
In homes by lake and river,
Ten thousand thousand hearts unite
To bless the Gracious Giver.
Thanksgiving for the harvest full,
The orchard's mellow treasures,
The purple grapes, the golden corn,
And all the joys and pleasures,
And bounties rich and manifold,
That make life worth the living-
For these, alike, the young and old,
Join in a glad thanksgiving.
The kindly pair, whose weight of years
With frosty locks hath crowned them;
Are seated at the festal board
With all their children round them;
The father giveth fervent thanks
In homely phrase and diction,
And stretches forth his aged hands
In holy benediction.
Thus friends, long sundered, reunite,
Recount each joy and pleasure-
The annals of the fading past-
And fill again the measure
Of youth, and healthful joyousness,
As in the glad time olden,
When life was new, and skies were blue,
And all the days were golden.
Thanks to the Pilgrim Fathers, then,
Whose little goodly leaven
Works out through all the buried years
This sweet foretaste of heaven.
And to the Lord, whose bounteous gifts
Make life well worth the living-
Who dwells above, whose name is Love-
Be evermore thanksgiving!
I saw a pretty bluebird, yesterday,
Rocking itself upon a budding spray-
The while it fluted forth a tender song
That brought a promise of sunshiny days.
It is the loveliest little bird that comes
In early spring-time to our northern homes.
We note its presence, bid it welcome here,
Before the crocus its green calyx parts
To lead the smiling sisterhood of flowers
In fair procession through the summer land.
The sweet-voiced warbler wears a coat that mocks
The fair, fringed gentian in its azure hue,
Or the blue larkspur.
Oftentimes a bar
Of music or the drowsy hum of bees
In an old orchard, or the faintest scent
Of a familiar blossom, leads us back
Along the track of years, to sights and sounds
Of long ago. So, ever, when I hear
The bluebird caroling its perfect song-
Whose harshest note breathes only love and peace-
And when I mark its brilliant uniform-
This midget bird, so small that it might be
Imprisoned in a lady's lily hand-
I am reminded of the battle years
When men, full-armed, and wearing suits of blue,
Marched to the music of the fife and drum
In strong battalions in a southern land.
And all the pomp and blazonry of war-
Guidons and banners tossing in the breeze,
Sabers and muskets glinting in the sun,
Carriage and caisson rumbling o'er the stones,
The midnight vigil of the lone vidette,
The shock and roar of battle, and the shouts
Of the victorious army when the fight
Was done; the aftermath of sorrows deep-
The cries and moans of wounded, dying men,
The hurried burial of the dead at night,
The broken lives in many homes, the hearths
Made desolate- all these come back to me,
As I beheld and knew them once; and then,
In sad reflection to myself I sigh:
What weak, inglorious fools we mortals are
That war must be, or any need of war.
And yet, the better day is coming when
The teachings of the lowly Nazarene
Shall be the rule of nations- as of men;
The sword and bayonet shall be preserved,
By the fair children of a nobler race,
As relics only, of a barbarous past
When men were crazed, and shed each other's blood.
All souls shall be in touch and harmony
With Nature, and her higher, holier laws;
And all the world, from farthest sea to sea,
Shall know a sweet, idyllic peace and rest,
Unmarred by strife, or any harsher sounds
Than her harmonious voices- ocean waves,
Breaking in rhythmic beat upon the shore;
The murmurous solo of the valley brook-
The wind's wild monody amid the pines-
The thrush's whistle, and the bluebird's song.