I heard the city time-bells call
Far off in hollow towers,
And one by one with measured fall
Count out the old dead hours;

I felt the march, the silent press
Of time, and held my breath;
I saw the haggard dreadfulness
Of dim old age and death.

The Bird And The Hour

The sun looks over a little hill
And floods the valley with gold-
A torrent of gold;
And the hither field is green and still;
Beyond it a cloud outrolled,
Is glowing molten and bright;
And soon the hill, and the valley and all,
With a quiet fall,
Shall be gathered into the night.
And yet a moment more,
Out of the silent wood,
As if from the closing door
Of another world and another lovelier mood,
Hear'st thou the hermit pour-
So sweet! so magical!-
His golden music, ghostly beautiful.

The Mystery Of A Year

A little while, a year agone,
I knew her for a romping child,
A dimple and a glance that shone
With idle mischief when she smiled.

To-day she passed me in the press,
And turning with a quick surprise
I wondered at her stateliness,
I wondered at her altered eyes.

To me the street was just the same,
The people and the city's stir;
But life had kindled into flame,
And all the world was changed for her.

I watched her in the crowded ways,
A noble form, a queenly head,
With all the woman in her gaze,
The conscious woman in her tread.

The old grey year is near his term in sooth,
And now with backward eye and soft-laid palm
Awakens to a golden dream of youth,
A second childhood lovely and most calm,
And the smooth hour about his misty head
An awning of enchanted splendour weaves,
Of maples, amber, purple and rose-red,
And droop-limbed elms down-dropping golden leaves.
With still half-fallen lids he sits and dreams
Far in a hollow of the sunlit wood,
Lulled by the murmur of thin-threading streams,
Nor sees the polar armies overflood
The darkening barriers of the hills, nor hears
The north-wind ringing with a thousand spears.

Slow figures in some live remorseless frieze,
The approaching days escapeless and unguessed,
With mask and shroud impenetrably dressed;
Time, whose inexorable destinies
Bear down upon us like impending seas;
And the huge presence of the world, at best
A sightless giant wandering without rest,
Aged and mad with many miseries.

The weight and measure of these things who knows?
Resting at times beside life's thought-swept stream,
Sobered and stunned with unexpected blows,
We scarcely hear the uproar; life doth seem,
Save for the certain nearness of its woes,
Vain and phantasmal as a sick man's dream.

The Song Sparrow

Fair little scout, that when the iron year
Changes, and the first fleecy clouds deploy,
Comest with such a sudden burst of joy,
Lifting on winter's doomed and broken rear
That song of silvery triumph blithe and clear;
Not yet quite conscious of the happy glow,
We hungered for some surer touch, and lo!
One morning we awake, and thou art here.
And thousands of frail-stemmed hepaticas,
With their crisp leaves and pure and perfect hues,
Light sleepers, ready for the golden news,
Spring at thy note beside the forest ways--
Next to thy song, the first to deck the hour--
The classic lyrist and the classic flower.

The Cup Of Life

One after one the high emotions fade;
Time's wheeling measure empties and refills
Year after year; we seek no more the hills
That lured our youth divine and unafraid,
But swarming on some common highway, made
Beaten and smooth, plod onward with blind feet
And only where the crowded crossways meet
We halt and question, anxious and dismayed.
Yet can we not escape it; some we know
Have angered and grown mad, some scornfully laughed;
Yet surely to each lip--to mine to thin--
Comes with strange scent and pallid poisonous glow
The cup of Life, that dull Circean draught,
That taints us all, and turns the half to swine.

In Beechwood Cemetery

Here the dead sleep--the quiet dead. No sound
Disturbs them ever, and no storm dismays.
Winter mid snow caresses the tired ground,
And the wind roars about the woodland ways.
Springtime and summer and red autumn pass,
With leaf and bloom and pipe of wind and bird,
And the old earth puts forth her tender grass,
By them unfelt, unheeded and unheard.
Our centuries to them are but as strokes
In the dim gamut of some far-off chime.
Unaltering rest their perfect being cloaks--
A thing too vast to hear or feel or see--
Children of Silence and Eternity,
They know no season but the end of time.

An Old Lesson From The Fields

Even as I watched the daylight how it sped
From noon till eve, and saw the light wind pass
In long pale waves across the flashing grass,
And heard through all my dreams, wherever led,
The thin cicada singing overhead,
I felt what joyance all this nature has,
And saw myself made clear as in a glass,
How that my soul was for the most part dead.

Oh, light, I cried, and, heaven, with all your blue,
Oh, earth, with all your sunny fruitfulness,
And ye, tall lillies, of the wind-vexed field,
What power and beauty life indeed might yield,
Could we but cast away its conscious stress,
Simple of heart, becoming even as you.

What is more large than knowledge and more sweet;
Knowledge of thoughts and deeds, of rights and wrongs,
Of passions and of beauties and of songs;
Knowledge of life; to feel its great heart beat
Through all the soul upon her crystal seat;
To see, to feel, and evermore to know;
To till the old world's wisdom till it grow
A garden for the wandering of our feet.

Oh for a life of leisure and broad hours,
To think and dream, to put away small things,
This world's perpetual leaguer of dull naughts;
To wander like the bee among the flowers
Till old age find us weary, feet and wings
Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts.

Over the dripping roofs and sunk snow-barrows,
The bells are ringing loud and strangely near,
The shout of children dins upon mine ear
Shrilly, and like a flight of silvery arrows
Showers the sweet gossip of the British sparrows,
Gathered in noisy knots of one or two,
To joke and chatter just as mortals do
Over the days long tale of joys and sorrows;

Talk before bed-time of bold deeds together,
Of thefts and fights, of hard-times and the weather,
Till sleep disarm them, to each little brain
Bringing tucked wings and many a blissful dream,
Visions of wind and sun, of field and stream,
And busy barn-yards with their scattered grain.

The thoughts of all the maples who shall name,
When the sad landscape turns to cold and grey?
Yet some for very ruth and sheer dismay,
Hearing the northwind pipe the winter's name,
Have fired the hills with beaconing clouds of flame;
And some with softer woe that day by day,
So sweet and brief, should go the westward way,
Have yearned upon the sunset with such shame,
That all their cheeks have turned to tremulous rose;
Others for wrath have turned a rusty red,
And some that knew not either grief or dread,
Ere the old year should find its iron close,
Have gathered down the sun's last smiles acold,
Deep, deep, into their luminous hearts of gold.

Friend, though thy soul should burn thee, yet be still
Thoughts were not meant for strife, nor tongues for swords,
He that sees clear is gentlest of his words,
And that's not truth that hath the heart to kill.
The whole world's thought shall not one truth fulfil.
Dull in our age, and passionate in youth,
No mind of man hath found the perfect truth,
Nor shalt thou find it; therefore, friend, be still.

Watch and be still, nor hearken to the fool,
The babbler of consistency and rule:
Wisest is he, who, never quite secure,
Changes his thoughts for better day by day:
To-morrow some new light will shine, be sure,
And thou shalt see thy thought another way.

To A Millionaire

The world in gloom and splendour passes by,
And thou in the midst of it with brows that gleam,
A creature of that old distorted dream
That makes the sound of life an evil cry.
Good men perform just deeds, and brave men die,
And win not honour such as gold can give,
While the vain multitudes plod on, and live,
And serve the curse that pins them down: But I
Think only of the unnumbered broken hearts,
The hunger and the mortal strife for bread,
Old age and youth alike mistaught, misfed,
By want and rags and homelessness made vile,
The griefs and hates, and all the meaner parts
That balance thy one grim misgotten pile.

Among The Millet

The dew is gleaming in the grass,
The morning hours are seven,
And I am fain to watch you pass,
Ye soft white clouds of heaven.

Ye stray and gather, part and fold;
The wind alone can tame you;
I think of what in time of old
The poets loved to name you.

They called you sheep, the sky your sward,
A field without a reaper;
They called the shining sun your lord,
The shepherd wind your keeper.

Your sweetest poets I will deem
The men of old for moulding
In simple beauty such a dream,
And I could lie beholding,

Where daisies in the meadow toss,
The wind from morn till even,
Forever shepherd you across
The shining field of heaven.

The Clearer Self

Before me grew the human soul,
And after I am dead and gone,
Through grades of effort and control
The marvellous work shall still go on.

Each mortal in his little span
Hath only lived, if he have shown
What greatness there can be in man
Above the measured and the known;

How through the ancient layers of night,
In gradual victory secure,
Grows ever with increasing light
The Energy serene and pure:

The Soul, that from a monstrous past,
From age to age, from hour to hour,
Feels upward to some height at last
Of unimagined grace and power.

Though yet the sacred fire be dull,
In folds of thwarting matter furled,
Ere death be nigh, while life is full,
O Master Spirit of the world,

Grant me to know, to seek, to find,
In some small measure though it be,
Emerging from the waste and blind,
The clearer self, the grander me!

I love the warm bare earth and all
That works and dreams thereon:
I love the seasons yet to fall:
I love the ages gone,

The valleys with the sheeted grain,
The river's smiling might,
The merry wind, the rustling rain,
The vastness of the night.

I love the morning's flame, the steep
Where down the vapour clings:
I love the clouds that float and sleep,
And every bird that sings.

I love the purple shower that pours
On far-off fields at even:
I love the pine-wood dusk whose floors
Are like the courts of heaven.

I love the heaven's azure span,
The grass beneath my feet:
I love the face of every man
Whose thought is swift and sweet.

I let the wrangling world go by,
And like an idle breath
Its echoes and its phantoms fly:
I care no jot for death.

Time like a Titan bright and strong
Spreads one enchanted gleam:
Each hour is but a fluted song,
And life a lofty dream.

From this windy bridge at rest,
In some former curious hour,
We have watched the city's hue,
All along the orange west,
Cupola and pointed tower,
Darken into solid blue.

Tho' the biting north wind breaks
Full across this drifted hold,
Let us stand with iced cheeks
Watching westward as of old;

Past the violet mountain-head
To the farthest fringe of pine,
Where far off the purple-red
Narrows to a dusky line,
And the last pale splendours die
Slowly from the olive sky;

Till the thin clouds wear away
Into threads of purple-gray,
And the sudden stars between
Brighten in the pallid green;

Till above the spacious east,
Slow returned one by one,
Like pale prisoners released
From the dungeons of the sun,
Capella and her train appear
In the glittering Charioteer;

Till the rounded moon shall grow
Great above the eastern snow,
Shining into burnished gold;
And the silver earth outrolled,
In the misty yellow light,
Shall take on the width of night.

A Ballade Of Waiting

No girdle hath weaver or goldsmith wrought
So rich as the arms of my love can be;
No gems with a lovelier lustre fraught
Than her eyes, when they answer me liquidly.
Dear lady of love, be kind to me
In days when the waters of hope abate,
And doubt like a shimmer on sand shall be,
In the year yet, Lady, to dream and wait.

Sweet mouth, that the wear of the world hath taught
No glitter of wile or traitorie,
More soft than a cloud in the sunset caught,
Or the heart of a crimson peony;
Oh turn not its beauty away from me;
To kiss it and cling to it early and late
Shall make sweet minutes of days that flee,
In the year yet, Lady, to dream and wait.

Rich hair, that a painter of old had sought
For the weaving of some soft phantasy,
Most fair when the streams of it run distraught
On the firm sweet shoulders yellowly;
Dear Lady, gather it close to me,
Weaving a nest for the double freight
Of cheeks and lips that are one and free,
For the year yet, Lady, to dream and wait.


So time shall be swift till thou mate with me,
For love is mightiest next to fate,
And none shall be happier, Love, than we,
In the year yet, Lady, to dream and wait.

The Return Of The Year

Again the warm bare earth, the noon
That hangs upon her healing scars,
The midnight round, the great red moon,
The mother with her brood of stars,

The mist-rack and the wakening rain
Blown soft in many a forest way,
The yellowing elm-trees, and again
The blood-root in its sheath of gray.

The vesper-sparrow's song, the stress
Of yearning notes that gush and stream,
The lyric joy, the tenderness,
And once again the dream! the dream!

A touch of far-off joy and power,
A something it is life to learn,
Comes back to earth, and one short hour
The glamours of the gods return.

This life's old mood and cult of care
Falls smitten by an older truth,
And the gray world wins back to her
The rapture of her vanished youth.

Dead thoughts revive, and he that heeds
Shall hear, as by a spirit led,
A song among the golden reeds:
'The gods are vanished but not dead!'

For one short hour, unseen yet near,
They haunt us, a forgotten mood,
A glory upon mead and mere,
A magic in the leafless wood.

At morning we shall catch the glow
Of Dian's quiver on the hill,
And somewhere in the glades I know
That Pan is at his piping still.

Grief was my master yesternight;
To-morrow I may grieve again;
But now along the windy plain
The clouds have taken flight.

The sowers in the furrows go;
The lusty river brimmeth on;
The curtains from the hills are gone;
The leaves are out; and lo,

The silvery distance of the day,
The light horizons, and between
The glory of the perfect green,
The tumult of the May.

The bobolinks at noonday sing
More softly than the softest flute,
And lightlier than the lightest lute
Their fairy tambours ring.

The roads far off are towered with dust;
The cherry-blooms are swept and thinned;
In yonder swaying elms the wind
Is charging gust on gust.

But here there is no stir at all;
The ministers of sun and shadow
Horde all the perfumes of the meadow
Behind a grassy wall.

An infant rivulet wind-free
Adown the guarded hollow sets,
Over whose brink the violets
Are nodding peacefully.

From pool to pool it prattles by;
The flashing swallows dip and pass,
Above the tufted marish grass,
And here at rest am I.

I care not for the old distress,
Nor if to-morrow bid me moan;
To-day is mine, and I have known
An hour of blessedness.

'Tis a land where no hurricane falls,
But the infinite azure regards
Its waters for ever, its walls
Of granite, its limitless swards;
Where the fens to their innermost pool
With the chorus of May are aring,
And the glades are wind-winnowed and cool
With perpetual spring;

Where folded and half withdrawn
The delicate wind-flowers blow,
And the bloodroot kindles at dawn
Her spiritual taper of snow;
Where the limits are met and spanned
By a waste that no husbandman tills,
And the earth-old pine forests stand
In the hollows of hills.

'Tis the land that our babies behold,
Deep gazing when none are aware;
And the great-hearted seers of old
And the poets have known it, and there
Made halt by the well-heads of truth
On their difficult pilgrimage
From the rose-ruddy gardens of youth
To the summits of age.

Now too, as of old, it is sweet
With a presence remote and serene;
Still its byways are pressed by the feet
Of the mother immortal, its queen:
The huntress whose tresses, flung free,
And her fillets of gold, upon earth,
They only have honour to see
Who are dreamers from birth.

In her calm and her beauty supreme,
They have found her at dawn or at eve,
By the marge of some motionless stream,
Or where shadows rebuild or unweave
In a murmurous alley of pine,
Looking upward in silent surprise,
A figure, slow-moving, divine,
With inscrutable eyes.

In the silent depth of space,
Immeasurably old, immeasurably far,
Glittering with a silver flame
Through eternity,
Rolls a great and burning star,
With a noble name,

In the glorious chart of heaven
It is marked the first of seven;
'Tis a Pleiad:
And a hundred years of earth
With their long-forgotten deeds have come and gone,
Since that tiny point of light,
Once a splendour fierce and bright,
Had its birth
In the star we gaze upon.

It has travelled all that time--
Thought has not a swifter flight--
Through a region where no faintest gust
Of life comes ever, but the power of night
Dwells stupendous and sublime,
Limitless and void and lonely,
A region mute with age, and peopled only
With the dead and ruined dust
Of worlds that lived eternities ago.

Man! when thou dost think of this,
And what our earth and its existence is,
The half-blind toils since life began,
The little aims, the little span,
With what passion and what pride,
And what hunger fierce and wide,
Thou dost break beyond it all,
Seeking for the spirit unconfined
In the clear abyss of mind
A shelter and a peace majestical.
For what is life to thee,
Turning toward the primal light,
With that stern and silent face,
If thou canst not be
Something radiant and august as night,
Something wide as space?

Therefore with a love and gratitude divine
Thou shalt cherish in thine heart for sign
A vision of the great and burning star,
Immeasurably old, immeasurably far,
Surging forth its silver flame
Through eternity;
And thine inner heart shall ring and cry
With the music strange and high,
The grandeur of its name

Canst thou not rest, O city,
That liest so wide and fair;
Shall never an hour bring pity,
Nor end be found for care?

Thy walls are high in heaven,
Thy streets are gay and wide,
Beneath thy towers at even
The dreamy waters glide.

Thou art fair as the hills at morning,
And the sunshine loveth thee,
But its light is a gloom of warning
On a soul no longer free.

The curses of gold are about thee,
And thy sorrow deepeneth still;
One madness within and without thee,
One battle blind and shrill.

I see the crowds for ever
Go by with hurrying feet;
Through doors that darken never
I hear the engines beat.

Through days and nights that follow
The hidden mill-wheel strains;
In the midnight's windy hollow
I hear the roar of trains.

And still the day fulfilleth,
And still the night goes round,
And the guest-hall boometh and shrilleth,
With the dance's mocking sound.

In chambers of gold elysian,
The cymbals clash and clang,
But the days are gone like a vision
When the people wrought and sang.

And toil hath fear for neighbour,
Where singing lips are dumb,
And life is one long labour,
Till death or freedom come.

Ah! the crowds that for ever are flowing--
They neither laugh nor weep--
I see them coming and going,
Like things that move in sleep:

Grey sires and burdened brothers,
The old, the young, the fair,
Wan cheeks of pallid mothers,
And the girls with golden hair.

Care sits in many a fashion,
Grown grey on many a head,
And lips are turned to ashen
Whose years have right to red.

Canst thou not rest, O city,
That liest so wide, so fair;
Shalt never an hour bring pity,
Nor end be found for care?

The Largest Life

I lie upon my bed and hear and see.
The moon is rising through the glistening trees;
And momently a great and sombre breeze,
With a vast voice returning fitfully,
Comes like a deep-toned grief, and stirs in me,
Somehow, by some inexplicable art,
A sense of my soul's strangeness, and its part
In the dark march of human destiny.
What am I, then, and what are they that pass
Yonder, and love and laugh, and mourn and weep?
What shall they know of me, or I, alas!
Of them? Little. At times, as if from sleep,
We waken to this yearning passionate mood,
And tremble at our spiritual solitude.
Nay, never once to feel we are alone,
While the great human heart around us lies:
To make the smile on other lips our own,
To live upon the light in others' eyes:
To breathe without a doubt the limped air
Of that most perfect love that knows no pain:
To say–I love you–only, and not care
Whether the love come back to us again:
Divinest self-forgetfulness, at first
A task, and then a tonic, then a need;
To greet with open hands the best and worst,
And only for another's wound to bleed:
This is to see the beauty that God meant,
Wrapped round with life, ineffably content.
There is a beauty at the goal of life,
A beauty growing since the world began,
Through every age and race, through lapse and strife
Till the great human soul complete her span.
Beneath the waves of storm that lash and burn,
The currents of blind passion that appall,
To listen and keep watch till we discern
The tide of sovereign truth that guides it all;
So to address our spirits to the height,
And so attune them to the valiant whole,
That the great light be clearer for our light,
And the great soul the stronger for our soul:
To have done this is to have lived, though fame
Remember us with no familiar name.

Peccavi, Domine

O Power to whom this earthly clime
Is but an atom in the whole,
O Poet-heart of Space and Time,
O Maker and Immortal Soul,
Within whose glowing rings are bound,
Out of whose sleepless heart had birth
The cloudy blue, the starry round,
And this small miracle of earth:

Who liv'st in every living thing,
And all things are thy script and chart,
Who rid'st upon the eagle's wing,
And yearnest in the human heart;
O Riddle with a single clue,
Love, deathless, protean, secure,
The ever old, the ever new,
O Energy, serene and pure.

Thou, who art also part of me,
Whose glory I have sometime seen,
O Vision of the Ought-to-be,
O Memory of the Might-have-been,
I have had glimpses of thy way,
And moved with winds and walked with stars,
But, weary, I have fallen astray,
And, wounded, who shall count my scars?

O Master, all my strength is gone;
Unto the very earth I bow;
I have no light to lead me on;
With aching heart and burning brow,
I lie as one that travaileth
In sorrow more than he can bear;
I sit in darkness as of death,
And scatter dust upon my hair.

The God within my soul hath slept,
And I have shamed the nobler rule;
O Master, I have whined and crept;
O Spirit, I have played the fool.
Like him of old upon whose head
His follies hung in dark arrears,
I groan and travail in my bed,
And water it with bitter tears.

I stand upon thy mountain-heads,
And gaze until mine eyes are dim;
The golden morning glows and spreads;
The hoary vapours break and swim.
I see thy blossoming fields, divine,
Thy shining clouds, thy blessed trees--
And then that broken soul of mine--
How much less beautiful than these!

O Spirit, passionless, but kind,
Is there in all the world, I cry,
Another one so base and blind,
Another one so weak as I?
O Power, unchangeable, but just,
Impute this one good thing to me,
I sink my spirit to the dust
In utter dumb humility.

The Child's Music Lesson

Why weep ye in your innocent toil at all?
Sweet little hands, why halt and tremble so?
Full many a wrong note falls, but let it fall!
Each note to me is like a golden glow;
Each broken cadence like a mourning call;
Nay, clear and smooth I would not have you go,
Soft little hands, upon the curtained threshold set
Of this long life of labour, and unrestful fret.

Soft sunlight flickers on the checkered green:
Warm winds are stirring round my dreaming seat:
Among the yellow pumpkin blooms, that lean
Their crumpled rims beneath the heavy heat,
The striped bees in lazy labour glean
From bell to bell with golden-feathered feet;
Yet even here the voices of hard life go by;
Outside, the city strains with its eternal cry.

Here, as I sit-the sunlight on my face,
And shadows of green leaves upon mine eyes-
My heart, a garden in a hidden place,
Is full of folded buds of memories.
Stray hither then with all your old time grace,
Child-voices, trembling from the uncertain keys;
Play on, ye little fingers, touch the settled gloom,
And quickly, one by one, my waiting buds will bloom.

Ah me, I may not set my feet again
In any part of that old garden dear,
Or pluck one widening blossom, for my pain;
But only at the wicket gaze I hear:
Old scents creep into mine inactive brain,
Smooth scents of things, I may not come anear;
I see, far off, old beaten pathways they adorn;
I cannot feel with hands the blossom of the thorn.

Toil on, sweet hands; once more I see the child;
The little child, that was myself, appears,
And all the old time beauties, undefiled,
Shine back to me across the opening years,
Quick griefs, that made the tender bosom wild,
Short blinding gusts, that died in passionate tears,
Sweet life, with all its change, that now so happy seems,
With all its child-heart glories, and untutored dreams.

Play on into the golden sunshine so,
Sweeter than all great artists' labouring:
I too was like you once, an age ago:
God keep you, dimpled fingers, for you bring
Quiet gliding ghosts to me of joy and woe,
No certain things at all that thrill or sting,
But only sounds and scents and savours of things bright,
No joy or aching pain; but only dim delight.

Favorites Of Pan

Once, long ago, before the gods
Had left this earth, by stream and forest glade,
Where the first plough upturned the clinging sods,
Or the lost shepherd strayed,

Often to the tired listener's ear
There came at noonday or beneath the stars
A sound, he knew not whence, so sweet and clear,
That all his aches and scars

And every brooded bitterness,
Fallen asunder from his soul took flight,
Like mist or darkness yielding to the press
Of an unnamed delight,-

A sudden brightness of the heart,
A magic fire drawn down from Paradise,
That rent the cloud with golden gleam apart,-
And far before his eyes

The loveliness and calm of earth
Lay like a limitless dream remote and strange,
The joy, the strife, the triumph and the mirth,
And the enchanted change;

And so he followed the sweet sound,
Till faith had traversed her appointed span,
And murmured as he pressed the sacred ground:
'It is the note of Pan!'

Now though no more by marsh or stream
Or dewy forest sounds the secret reed-
For Pan is gone-Ah yet, the infinite dream
Still lives for them that heed.

In April, when the turning year
Regains its pensive youth, and a soft breath
And amorous influence over marsh and mere
Dissolves the grasp of death,

To them that are in love with life,
Wandering like children with untroubled eyes,
Far from the noise of cities and the strife,
Strange flute-like voices rise

At noon and in the quiet of the night
From every watery waste; and in that hour
The same strange spell, the same unnamed delight,
Enfolds them in its power.

An old-world joyousness supreme,
The warmth and glow of an immortal balm,
The mood-touch of the gods, the endless dream,
The high lethean calm.

They see, wide on the eternal way,
The services of earth, the life of man;
And, listening to the magic cry they say:
'It is the note of Pan!'

For, long ago, when the new strains
Of hostile hymns and conquering faiths grew keen,
And the old gods from their deserted fanes,
Fled silent and unseen,

So, too, the goat-foot Pan, not less
Sadly obedient to the mightier hand,
Cut him new reeds, and in a sore distress
Passed out from land to land;

And lingering by each haunt he knew,
Of fount or sinuous stream or grassy marge,
He set the syrinx to his lips, and blew
A note divinely large;

And all around him on the wet
Cool earth the frogs came up, and with a smile
He took them in his hairy hands, and set
His mouth to theirs awhile,

And blew into their velvet throats;
And ever from that hour the frogs repeat
The murmur of Pan's pipes, the notes,
And answers strange and sweet;

And they that hear them are renewed
By knowledge in some god-like touch conveyed,
Entering again into the eternal mood,
Wherein the world was made.

The long days came and went; the riotous bees
Tore the warm grapes in many a dusty vine,
And men grew faint and thin with too much ease,
And Winter gave no sign:
But all the while beyond the northmost woods
He sat and smiled and watched his spirits play
In elfish dance and eery roundelay,
Tripping in many moods
With snowy curve and fairy crystal shine.

But now the time is come: with southward speed
The elfin spirits pass: a secret sting
Hath fallen and smitten flower and fruit and weed,
And every leafy thing.
The wet woods moan: the dead leaves break and fall;
In still night-watches wakeful men have heard
The muffled pipe of many a passing bird,
High over hut and hall,
Straining to southward and unresting wing.

And then they come with colder feet, and fret
The winds with snow, and tuck the streams to sleep
With icy sheet and gleaming coverlet,
And fill the valleys deep
With curved drifts, and a strange music raves
Among the pines, sometimes in wails, and then
In whistled laughter, till affrighted men
Draw close, and into caves
And earthy holes the blind beasts curl and creep.

And so all day above the toiling heads
Of men's poor chimneys, full of impish freaks,
Tearing and twisting in tight-curled shreds
The vain unnumbered reeks,
The Winter speeds his fairies forth and mocks
Poor bitten men with laughter icy cold,
Turning the brown of youth to white and old
With hoary-woven locks,
And grey men young with roses in their cheeks.

And after thaws, when liberal water swells
The bursting eaves, he biddeth drip and grow
The curly horns of ribbed icicles
In many a beard-like row.
In secret moods of mercy and soft dole,
Old warped wrecks and things of mouldering death
That summer scorns and man abandoneth
His careful hands console
With lawny robes and draperies of snow.

And when the night comes, his spirits with chill feet,
Winged with white mirth and noiseless mockery,
Across men's pallid windows peer and fleet,
And smiling silverly
Draw with mute fingers on the frosted glass
Quaint fairy shapes of iced witcheries,
Pale flowers and glinting ferns and frigid trees
And meads of mystic grass,
Graven in many an austere phantasy.

But far away the Winter dreams alone,
Rustling among his snow-drifts, and resigns
Cold fondling ears to hear the cedars moan
In dusky-skirted lines
Strange answers of an ancient runic call;
Or somewhere watches with antique eyes,
Gray-chill with frosty-lidded reveries,
The silvery moonshine fall
In misty wedges through the girth of pines.

Poor mortals haste and hide away: creep soon
Into your icy beds: the embers die:
And on your frosted panes the pallid moon
Is glimmering brokenly.
Mutter faint prayers that spring will come e'erwhile,
Scarring with thaws and dripping days and nights
The shining majesty of him that smites
And slays you with a smile
Upon his silvery lips, of glinting mockery.

Between The Rapids

The point is turned; the twilight shadow fills
The wheeling stream, the soft receding shore,
And on our ears from deep among the hills
Breaks now the rapid's sudden quickening roar.
Ah yet the same, or have they changed their face,
The fair green fields, and can it still be seen,
The white log cottage near the mountain's base,
So bright and quiet, so home-like and serene?
Ah, well I question, for as five years go,
How many blessings fall, and how much woe.

Aye there they are, nor have they changed their cheer,
The fields, the hut, the leafy mountain brows;
Across the lonely dusk again I hear
The loitering bells, the lowing of the cows,
The bleat of many sheep, the stilly rush
Of the low whispering river, and through all,
Soft human tongues that break the deepening hush
With faint-heard song or desultory call:
Oh comrades hold; the longest reach is past;
The stream runs swift, and we are flying fast.

The shore, the fields, the cottage just the same,
But how with them whose memory makes them sweet?
Oh if I called them, hailing name by name,
Would the same lifts the same old shouts repeat?
Have the rough years, so big with death and ill,
Gone lightly by and left them smiling yet?
Wild black-eyed Jeanne whose tongue was never still,
Old wrinkled Picaud, Pierre and pale Lisette,
The homely hearts that never cared to range,
While life's wide fields were filled with rush and change.

And where is Jacques, and where is Verginie?
I cannot tell; the fields are all a blur.
The lowing cows whose shapes I scarcely see,
Oh do they wait and do they call for her?
And is she changed, or is her heart still clear
As wind or morning, light as river foam?
Or have life's changes borne her far from here,
And far from rest, and far from help and home?
Ah comrades, soft, and let us rest awhile,
For arms grow tired with paddling many a mile.

The woods grow wild, and from the rising shore
The cool wind creeps, the faint wood odours steal;
Like ghosts down the rivers blackening floor
The misty fumes begin to creep and reel.
Once more I leave you, wandering toward the night,
Sweet home, sweet heart, that would have held me in;
Whither I go I know not, and the light
Is faint before, and rest is hard to win.
Ah sweet ye were and near to heaven's gate;
But youth is blind and wisdom comes too late.

Blacker and loftier grow the woods, and hark!
The freshening roar! The chute is near us now,
And dim the canyon grows, and inky dark
The water whispering from the birchen prow.
One long last look, and many a sad adieu,
While eyes can see and heart can feel you yet,
I leave sweet home and sweeter hearts to you,
A prayer for Picaud, one for pale Lisette,
A kiss for Pierre, my little Jacques, and thee,
A sigh for Jeanne, a sob for Verginie.

Oh, does she still remember? Is the dream
Now dead, or has she found another mate?
So near, so dear; and ah, so swift the stream;
Even now perhaps it were not yet too late.
But oh, what matter; for before the night
Has reached its middle, we have far to go:
Bend to your paddles, comrades; see, the light
Ebbs off apace; we must not linger so.
Aye thus it is! Heaven gleams and then is gone
Once, twice, it smiles, and still we wander on.

A Vision Of Twilight

By a void and soundless river
On the outer edge of space,
Where the body comes not ever,
But the absent dream hath place,
Stands a city, tall and quiet,
And its air is sweet and dim;
Never sound of grief or riot
Makes it mad, or makes it grim.

And the tender skies thereover
Neither sun, nor star, behold--
Only dusk it hath for cover,--
But a glamour soft with gold,
Through a mist of dreamier essence
Than the dew of twilight, smiles
On strange shafts and domes and crescents,
Lifting into eerie piles.

In its courts and hallowed places
Dreams of distant worlds arise,
Shadows of transfigured faces,
Glimpses of immortal eyes,
Echoes of serenest pleasure,
Notes of perfect speech that fall,
Through an air of endless leisure,
Marvellously musical.

And I wander there at even,
Sometimes when my heart is clear,
When a wider round of heaven
And a vaster world are near,
When from many a shadow steeple
Sounds of dreamy bells begin,
And I love the gentle people
That my spirit finds therein.

Men of a diviner making
Than the sons of pride and strife,
Quick with love and pity, breaking
From a knowledge old as life;
Women of a spiritual rareness,
Whom old passion and old woe
Moulded to a slenderer fairness
Than the dearest shapes we know.

In its domed and towered centre
Lies a garden wide and fair,
Open for the soul to enter,
And the watchful townsmen there
Greet the stranger gloomed and fretting
From this world of stormy hands,
With a look that deals forgetting
And a touch that understands.

For they see with power, not borrowed
From a record taught or told,
But they loved and laughed and sorrowed
In a thousand worlds of old;
Now they rest and dream for ever,
And with hearts serene and whole
See the struggle, the old fever,
Clear as on a painted scroll.

Wandering by that grey and solemn
Water, with its ghostly quays--
Vistas of vast arch and column,
Shadowed by unearthly trees--
Biddings of sweet power compel me,
And I go with bated breath,
Listening to the tales they tell me,
Parables of Life and Death.

In a tongue that once was spoken,
Ere the world was cooled by Time,
When the spirit flowed unbroken
Through the flesh, and the Sublime
Made the eyes of men far-seeing,
And their souls as pure as rain,
They declare the ends of being,
And the sacred need of pain.

For they know the sweetest reasons
For the products most malign--
They can tell the paths and seasons
Of the farthest suns that shine.
How the moth-wing's iridescence
By an inward plan was wrought,
And they read me curious lessons
In the secret ways of thought.

When day turns, and over heaven
To the balmy western verge
Sail the victor fleets of even,
And the pilot stars emerge,
Then my city rounds and rises,
Like a vapour formed afar,
And its sudden girth surprises,
And its shadowy gates unbar.

Dreamy crowds are moving yonder
In a faint and phantom blue;
Through the dusk I lean, and wonder
If their winsome shapes are true;
But in veiling indecision
Come my questions back again--
Which is real? The fleeting vision?
Or the fleeting world of men?

The City At The End Of Things

Beside the pounding cataracts
Of midnight streams unknown to us
'Tis builded in the leafless tracts
And valleys huge of Tartarus.
Lurid and lofty and vast it seems;
It hath no rounded name that rings,
But I have heard it called in dreams
The City of the End of Things.
Its roofs and iron towers have grown
None knoweth how high within the night,
But in its murky streets far down
A flaming terrible and bright
Shakes all the stalking shadows there,
Across the walls, across the floors,
And shifts upon the upper air
From out a thousand furnace doors;
And all the while an awful sound
Keeps roaring on continually,
And crashes in the ceaseless round
Of a gigantic harmony.
Through its grim depths re-echoing
And all its weary height of walls,
With measured roar and iron ring,
The inhuman music lifts and falls.
Where no thing rests and no man is,
And only fire and night hold sway;
The beat, the thunder and the hiss
Cease not, and change not, night nor day.
And moving at unheard commands,
The abysses and vast fires between,
Flit figures that with clanking hands
Obey a hideous routine;
They are not flesh, they are not bone,
They see not with the human eye,
And from their iron lips is blown
A dreadful and monotonous cry;
And whoso of our mortal race
Should find that city unaware,
Lean Death would smite him face to face,
And blanch him with its venomed air:
Or caught by the terrific spell,
Each thread of memory snapt and cut,
His soul would shrivel and its shell
Go rattling like an empty nut.

It was not always so, but once,
In days that no man thinks upon,
Fair voices echoed from its stones,
The light above it leaped and shone:
Once there were multitudes of men,
That built that city in their pride,
Until its might was made, and then
They withered age by age and died.
But now of that prodigious race,
Three only in an iron tower,
Set like carved idols face to face,
Remain the masters of its power;
And at the city gate a fourth,
Gigantic and with dreadful eyes,
Sits looking toward the lightless north,
Beyond the reach of memories;
Fast rooted to the lurid floor,
A bulk that never moves a jot,
In his pale body dwells no more,
Or mind or soul,—an idiot!
But sometime in the end those three
Shall perish and their hands be still,
And with the master's touch shall flee
Their incommunicable skill.
A stillness absolute as death
Along the slacking wheels shall lie,
And, flagging at a single breath,
The fires shall moulder out and die.
The roar shall vanish at its height,
And over that tremendous town
The silence of eternal night
Shall gather close and settle down.
All its grim grandeur, tower and hall,
Shall be abandoned utterly,
And into rust and dust shall fall
From century to century;
Nor ever living thing shall grow,
Nor trunk of tree, nor blade of grass;
No drop shall fall, no wind shall blow,
Nor sound of any foot shall pass:
Alone of its accursèd state,
One thing the hand of Time shall spare,
For the grim Idiot at the gate
Is deathless and eternal there.

Now hath the summer reached her golden close,
And, lost amid her corn-fields, bright of soul,
Scarcely perceives from her divine repose
How near, how swift, the inevitable goal:
Still, still, she smiles, though from her careless feet
The bounty and the fruitful strength are gone,
And through the soft long wondering days goes on
The silent sere decadence sad and sweet.

The kingbird and the pensive thrush are fled,
Children of light, too fearful of the gloom;
The sun falls low, the secret word is said,
The mouldering woods grow silent as the tomb;
Even the fields have lost their sovereign grace,
The cone-flower and the marguerite; and no more,
Across the river's shadow-haunted floor,
The paths of skimming swallows interlace.

Already in the outland wilderness
The forests echo with unwonted dins;
In clamorous gangs the gathering woodmen press
Northward, and the stern winter's toil begins.
Around the long low shanties, whose rough lines
Break the sealed dreams of many an unnamed lake,
Already in the frost-clear morns awake
The crash and thunder of the falling pines.

Where the tilled earth, with all its fields set free,
Naked and yellow from the harvest lies,
By many a loft and busy granary,
The hum and tumult of the thrashers rise;
There the tanned farmers labor without slack,
Till twilight deepens round the spouting mill,
Feeding the loosened sheaves, or with fierce will,
Pitching waist-deep upon the dusty stack.

Still a brief while, ere the old year quite pass,
Our wandering steps and wistful eyes shall greet
The leaf, the water, the beloved grass;
Still from these haunts and this accustomed seat
I see the wood-wrapt city, swept with light,
The blue long-shadowed distance, and, between,
The dotted farm-lands with their parcelled green,
The dark pine forest and the watchful height.

I see the broad rough meadow stretched away
Into the crystal sunshine, wastes of sod,
Acres of withered vervain, purple-gray,
Branches of aster, groves of goldenrod;
And yonder, toward the sunlit summit, strewn
With shadowy boulders, crowned and swathed with weed,
Stand ranks of silken thistles, blown to seed,
Long silver fleeces shining like the noon.

In far-off russet corn-fields, where the dry
Gray shocks stand peaked and withering, half concealed
In the rough earth, the orange pumpkins lie,
Full-ribbed; and in the windless pasture-field
The sleek red horses o'er the sun-warmed ground
Stand pensively about in companies,
While all around them from the motionless trees
The long clean shadows sleep without a sound.

Under cool elm-trees floats the distant stream,
Moveless as air; and o'er the vast warm earth
The fathomless daylight seems to stand and dream,
A liquid cool elixir-all its girth
Bound with faint haze, a frail transparency,
Whose lucid purple barely veils and fills
The utmost valleys and the thin last hills,
Nor mars one whit their perfect clarity.

Thus without grief the golden days go by,
So soft we scarcely notice how they wend,
And like a smile half happy, or a sigh,
The summer passes to her quiet end;
And soon, too soon, around the cumbered eaves
Sly frosts shall take the creepers by surprise,
And through the wind-touched reddening woods shall rise
October with the rain of ruined leaves.

Long, long ago, it seems, this summer morn
That pale-browed April passed with pensive tread
Through the frore woods, and from its frost-bound bed
Woke the arbutus with her silver horn;
And now May, too, is fled,
The flower-crowned month, the merry laughing May,
With rosy feet and fingers dewy wet,
Leaving the woods and all cool gardens gay
With tulips and the scented violet.

Gone are the wind-flower and the adder-tongue
And the sad drooping bellwort, and no more
The snowy trilliums crowd the forest's floor;
The purpling grasses are no longer young,
And summer's wide-set door
O'er the thronged hills and the broad panting earth
Lets in the torrent of the later bloom,
Haytime, and harvest, and the after mirth,
The slow soft rain, the rushing thunder plume.

All day in garden alleys moist and dim,
The humid air is burdened with the rose;
In moss-deep woods the creamy orchid blows;
And now the vesper-sparrows' pealing hymn
From every orchard close
At eve comes flooding rich and silvery;
The daisies in great meadows swing and shine;
And with the wind a sound as of the sea
Roars in the maples and the topmost pine.

High in the hills the solitary thrush
Tunes magically his music of fine dreams,
In briary dells, by boulder-broken streams;
And wide and far on nebulous fields aflush
The mellow morning gleams.
The orange cone-flowers purple-bossed are there,
The meadow's bold-eyed gypsies deep of hue,
And slender hawkweed tall and softly fair,
And rosy tops of fleabane veiled with dew.

So with thronged voices and unhasting flight
The fervid hours with long return go by;
The far-heard hylas piping shrill and high
Tell the slow moments of the solemn night
With unremitting cry;
Lustrous and large out of the gathering drouth
The planets gleam; the baleful Scorpion
Trails his dim fires along the droused south;
The silent world-incrusted round moves on.

And all the dim night long the moon's white beams
Nestle deep down in every brooding tree,
And sleeping birds, touched with a silly glee,
Waken at midnight from their blissful dreams,
And carol brokenly.
Dim surging motions and uneasy dreads
Scare the light slumber from men's busy eyes,
And parted lovers on their restless beds
Toss and yearn out, and cannot sleep for sighs.

Oft have I striven, sweet month, to figure thee,
As dreamers of old time were wont to feign,
In living form of flesh, and striven in vain;
Yet when some sudden old-world mystery
Of passion fired my brain,
Thy shape hath flashed upon me like no dream,
Wandering with scented curls that heaped the breeze,
Or by the hollow of some reeded stream
Sitting waist-deep in white anemones;

And even as I glimpsed thee thou wert gone,
A dream for mortal eyes too proudly coy,
Yet in thy place for subtle thought's employ
The golden magic clung, a light that shone
And filled me with thy joy.
Before me like a mist that streamed and fell
All names and shapes of antique beauty passed
In garlanded procession with the swell
Of flutes between the beechen stems; and last,

I saw the Arcadian valley, the loved wood,
Alpheus stream divine, the sighing shore,
And through the cool green glades, awake once more,
Psyche, the white-limbed goddess, still pursued,
Fleet-footed as of yore,
The noonday ringing with her frighted peals,
Down the bright sward and through the reeds she ran,
Urged by the mountain echoes, at her heels
The hot-blown cheeks and trampling feet of Pan.

Pale season, watcher in unvexed suspense,
Still priestess of the patient middle day,
Betwixt wild March's humored petulance
And the warm wooing of green kirtled May,
Maid month of sunny peace and sober grey,
Weaver of flowers in sunward glades that ring
With murmur of libation to the spring:

As memory of pain, all past, is peace,
And joy, dream-tasted, hath the deepest cheer,
So art thou sweetest of all months that lease
The twelve short spaces of the flying year.
The bloomless days are dead, and frozen fear
No more for many moons shall vex the earth,
Dreaming of summer and fruit laden mirth.

The grey song-sparrows full of spring have sung
Their clear thin silvery tunes in leafless trees;
The robin hops, and whistles, and among
The silver-tasseled poplars the brown bees
Murmur faint dreams of summer harvestries:
The creamy sun at even scatters down
A gold-green mist across the murmuring town.

By the slow streams the frogs all day and night
Dream without thought of pain or heed of ill,
Watching the long warm silent hours take flight,
And ever with soft throats that pulse and thrill,
From the pale-weeded shallows trill and trill,
Tremulous sweet voices, flute-like, answering
One to another glorying in the spring.

All day across the ever-cloven soil,
Strong horses labour, steaming in the sun,
Down the long furrows with slow straining toil,
Turning the brown of clean layers; and one by one
The crows gloom over them till daylight done
Finds them asleep somewhere in dusked lines
Beyond the wheatlands in the northern pines.

The old year's cloaking of brown leaves, that bind
The forest floor-ways, plated close and true-
The last love's labour of the autumn wind-
Is broken with curled flower buds white and blue
In all the matted hollows and speared through
With thousand serpent-spotted blades up-sprung,
Yet bloomless, of the slender adder-tongue.

In the warm noon the south wind creeps and cools,
Where the red-budded stems of maples throw
Still tangled etchings on the amber pools,
Quite silent now, forgetful of the slow
Drip of the taps, the troughs, and trampled snow,
The keen March mornings, and the silvering rime
And mirthful labour of the sugar prime.

Ah, I have wandered with unwearied feet,
All the long sweetness of an April day,
Lulled with cool murmurs and the drowsy beat
Of partridge wings in secret thickets grey,
The marriage hymns of all the birds at play,
The faces of sweet flowers, and easeful dreams
Beside slow reaches of frog-haunted streams;

Wandered with happy feet, and quite forgot
The shallow toil, the strife against the grain,
Near souls, that hear us call, but answer not,
The loneliness, perplexity and pain,
And high thoughts cankered with an earthly stain
And then the long draught emptied to the lees,
I turn me homeward in slow pacing ease,

Cleaving the cedar shadows and the thin
Mist of grey gnats that cloud the river shore,
Sweet even choruses, that dance and spin
Soft tangles in the sunset; and once more
The city smites me with its dissonant roar.
To its hot heart I pass, untroubled yet,
Fed with calm hope, without desire or fret.

So to the year's first alter step I bring
Gifts of meek song, and make my spirit free
With the blind working if unanxious spring,
Careless with her, whether the days that flee
Pale drouth or golden-fruited plenty see,
So that we toil, brothers, without distress,
In calm-eyed peace and god-like blamelessness.

The Poet's Song


There came no change from week to week
On all the land, but all one way,
Like ghosts that cannot touch nor speak,
Day followed day.

Within the palace court the rounds
Of glare and shadow, day and night,
Went ever with the same dull sounds,
The same dull flight:

The motion of slow forms of state,
The far-off murmur of the street,
The din of couriers at the gate,
Half-mad with heat;

Sometimes a distant shout of boys
At play upon the terrace walk,
The shutting of great doors, and noise
Of muttered talk.

In one red corner of the wall,
That fronted with its granite stain
The town, the palms, and, beyond all,
The burning plain,

As listless as the hour, alone,
The poet by his broken lute
Sat like a figure in the stone,
Dark-browed and mute.

He saw the heat on the thin grass
Fall till it withered joint by joint,
The shadow on the dial pass
From point to point.

He saw the midnight bright and bare
Fill with its quietude of stars
The silence that no human prayer
Attains or mars.

He heard the hours divide, and still
The sentry on the outer wall
Make the night wearier with his shrill
Monotonous call.

He watched the lizard where it lay,
Impassive as the watcher's face;
And only once in the long day
It changed its place.

Sometimes with clank of hoofs and cries
The noon through all its trance was stirred;
The poet sat with half-shut eyes,
Nor saw, nor heard.

And once across the heated close
Light laughter in a silver shower
Fell from fair lips: the poet rose
And cursed the hour.

Men paled and sickened; half in fear,
There came to him at dusk of eve
One who but murmured in his ear
And plucked his sleeve:

'The king is filled with irks, distressed,
And bids thee hasten to his side;
For thou alone canst give him rest.'
The poet cried:

'Go, show the king this broken lute!
Even as it is, so am I!
The tree is perished to its root,
The fountain dry.

'What seeks he of the leafless tree,
The broken lute, the empty spring?
Yea, tho' he give his crown to me,
I cannot sing!'


That night there came from either hand
A sense of change upon the land;
A brooding stillness rustled through
With creeping winds that hardly blew;
A shadow from the looming west,
A stir of leaves, a dim unrest;
It seemed as if a spell had broke.

And then the poet turned and woke
As from the darkness of a dream,
And with a smile divine supreme
Drew up his mantle fold on fold,
And strung his lute with strings of gold,
And bound the sandals to his feet,
And strode into the darkling street.

Through crowds of murmuring men he hied,
With working lips and swinging stride,
And gleaming eyes and brow bent down;
Out of the great gate of the town
He hastened ever and passed on,
And ere the darkness came, was gone,
A mote beyond the western swell.

And then the storm arose and fell
From wheeling shadows black with rain
That drowned the hills and strode the plain;
Round the grim mountain-heads it passed,
Down whistling valleys blast on blast,
Surged in upon the snapping trees,
And swept the shuddering villages.

That night, when the fierce hours grew long,
Once more the monarch, old and grey,
Called for the poet and his song,
And called in vain. But far away,
By the wild mountain-gorges, stirred,
The shepherds in their watches heard,
Above the torrent's charge and clang,
The cleaving chant of one that sang.

Here when the cloudless April days begin,
And the quaint crows flock thicker day by day,
Filling the forests with a pleasant din,
And the soiled snow creeps secretly away,
Comes the small busy sparrow, primed with glee,
First preacher in the naked wilderness,
Piping an end to all the long distress
From every fence and every leafless tree.

Now with soft slight and viewless artifice
Winter's iron work is wondrously undone;
In all the little hollows cored with ice
The clear brown pools stand simmering in the sun,
Frail lucid worlds, upon whose tremulous floors
All day the wandering water-bugs at will,
Shy mariners whose oars are never still,
Voyage and dream about the heightening shores.

The bluebird, peeping from the gnarled thorn,
Prattles upon his frolic flute, or flings,
In bounding flight across the golden morn,
An azure gleam from off his splendid wings.
Here the slim-pinioned swallows sweep and pass
Down to the far-off river; the black crow
With wise and wary visage to and fro
Settles and stalks about the withered grass.

Here, when the murmurous May-day is half gone,
The watchful lark before my feet takes flight,
And wheeling to some lonelier field far on,
Drops with obstreperous cry; and here at night,
When the first star precedes the great red moon,
The shore-lark tinkles from the darkening field,
Somewhere, we know not, in the dusk concealed,
His little creakling and continuous tune.

Here, too, the robins, lusty as of old,
Hunt the waste grass for forage, or prolong
From every quarter of these fields the bold,
Blithe phrases of their never-finished song.
The white-throat's distant descant with slow stress
Note after note upon the noonday falls,
Filling the leisured air at intervals
With his own mood of piercing pensiveness.

How often from this windy upland perch,
Mine eyes have seen the forest break in bloom,
The rose-red maple and the golden birch,
The dusty yellow of the elms, the gloom
Of the tall poplar hung with tasseled black;
Ah, I have watched, till eye and ear and brain
Grew full of dreams as they, the moted plain,
The sun-steeped wood, the marsh-land at its back,

The valley where the river wheels and fills,
Yon city glimmering in its smoky shroud,
And out at the last misty rim the hills
Blue and far off and mounded like a cloud,
And here the noisy rutted road that goes
Down the slope yonder, flanked on either side
With the smooth-furrowed fields flung black and wide,
Patched with pale water sleeping in the rows.

So as I watched the crowded leaves expand,
The bloom break sheath, the summer's strength uprear,
In earth's great mother's heart already planned
The heaped and burgeoned plenty of the year,
Even as she from out her wintry cell
My spirit also sprang to life anew,
And day by day as the spring's bounty grew,
Its conquering joy possessed me like a spell.

In reverie by day and midnight dream
I sought these upland fields and walked apart,
Musing on Nature, till my thought did seem
To read the very secrets of her heart;
In mooded moments earnest and sublime
I stored the themes of many a future song,
Whose substance should be Nature's, clear and strong,
Bound in a casket of majestic rhyme.

Brave bud-like plans that never reached the fruit,
Like hers our mother's who with every hour,
Easily replenished from the sleepless root,
Covers her bosom with fresh bud and flower;
Yet I was happy as young lovers be,
Who in the season of their passion's birth
Deem that they have their utmost worship's worth,
If love be near them, just to hear and see.

Among The Timothy

Long hours ago, while yet the morn was blithe,
Nor sharp athirst had drunk the beaded dew,
A reaper came, and swung his cradled scythe
Around this stump, and, shearing slowly, drew
Far round among the clover, ripe for hay,
A circle clean and grey;
And here among the scented swathes that gleam,
Mixed with dead daisies, it is sweet to lie
And watch the grass and the few-clouded sky,
Nor think but only dream.

For when the noon was turning, and the heat
Fell down most heavily on field and wood,
I too came hither, borne on restless feet,
Seeking some comfort for an echoing mood.
Ah, I was weary of the drifting hours,
The echoing city towers,
The blind grey streets, the jingle of the throng,
Weary of hope that like a shape of stone,
Sat near at hand without a smile or moan,
And weary most of song.

And those high moods of mine that someone made
My heart a heaven, opening like a flower,
A sweeter world where I in wonder strayed,
Begirt with shapes of beauty and the power
Of dreams that moved through that enchanted clime
With changing breaths of rhyme,
Were all gone lifeless now like those white leaves.
That hang all winter, shivering dead and blind
Among the sinewy beeches in the wind,
That vainly calls and grieves.

Ah! I will set no more mine overtasked brain
To barren search and toil that beareth nought,
Forever following with sorefooted pain
The crossing pathways of unbourned thought;
But let it go, as one that hath no skill,
To take what shape it will,
An ant slow-burrowing in the earthy gloom,
A spider bathing in the dew at morn,
Or a brown bee in wayward fancy borne
From hidden bloom to bloom.

Hither and thither o'er the rocking grass
The little breezes, blithe as they are blind,
Teasing the slender blossoms pass and pass,
Soft-footed children of the gipsy wind,
To taste of every purple-fringed head
Before the bloom is dead;
And scarcely heed the daisies that, endowed
With stems so short they cannot see, up-bear
Their innocent sweet eyes distressed, and stare
Like children in a crowd.

Not far to fieldward in the central heat,
Shadowing the clover, a pale poplar stands
With glimmering leaves that, when the wind comes, beat
Together like innumerable small hands,
And with the calm, as in vague dreams astray,
Hang wan and silver-grey;
Like sleepy maenads, who in pale surprise,
Half-wakened by a prowling beast, have crept
Out of the hidden covert, where they slept,
At noon with languid eyes.

The crickets creak, and through the noonday glow,
That crazy fiddler of the hot mid-year,
The dry cicada plies his wiry bow
In long-spun cadence, thin and dusty sere:
From the green grass the small grasshoppers' din
Spreads soft and silvery thin:
And ever and anon a murmur steals
Into mine ears of toil that moves alway,
The crackling rustle of the pitch-forked hay
And lazy jerk of wheels.

As so I lie and feel the soft hours a wane,
To wind and sun and peaceful sound laid bare,
That aching dim discomfort of the brain
Fades off unseen, and shadowy-footed care
Into some hidden corner creeps at last
To slumber deep and fast;
And gliding on, quite fashioned to forget,
From dream to dream I bid my spirit pass
Out into the pale green ever-swaying grass
To brood, but no more fret.

And hour by hour among all shapes that grow
Of purple mints and daisies gemmed with gold
In sweet unrest my visions come and go;
I feel and hear and with quiet eyes behold;
And hour by hour, the ever-journeying sun,
In gold and shadow spun,
Into mine eyes and blood, and through the dim
Green glimmering forest of the grass shines down,
Till flower and blade, and every cranny brown,
And I are soaked with him.

Out of the gray northwest, where many a day gone by
Ye tugged and howled in your tempestuous grot,
And evermore the huge frost giants lie,
Your wizard guards in vigilance unforgot,
Out of the gray northwest, for now the bonds are riven,
On wide white wings your thongless flight is driven,
That lulls but resteth not.
And all the gray day long, and all the dense wild night,
Ye wheel and hurry with the sheeted snow,
By cedared waste and many a pine-dark height,
Across white rivers frozen fast below;
Over the lonely forests, where the flowers yet sleeping
Turn in their narrow beds with dreams of weeping
In some remembered woe;

Across the unfenced wide marsh levels, where the dry
Brown ferns sigh out, and last year's sedges scold
In some drear language, rustling haggardly
Their thin dead leaves and dusky hoods of gold;
Across gray beechwoods where the pallid leaves unfalling
In the blind gusts like homeless ghosts are calling
With voices cracked and old;

Across the solitary clearings, where the low
Fierce gusts howl through the blinded woods, and round
The buried shanties all day long the snow
Sifts and piles up in many a spectral mound;
Across lone villages in eerie wildernesses
Whose hidden life no living shape confesses
Nor any human sound;

Across the serried masses of dim cities, blown
Full of the snow that ever shifts and swells,
While far above them all their towers of stone
Stand and beat back your fierce and tyrannous spells,
And hour by hour send out, like voices torn and broken
Of battling giants that have grandly spoken,
The veering sound of bells;

So day and night, O Wind, with hiss and moan you fleet,
Where once long gone on many a green-leafed day
Your gentler brethren wandered with light feet
And sang, with voices soft and sweet as they,
The same blind thought that you with wilder might are speaking,
Seeking the same strange thing that you are seeking
In this your stormier way.

O Wind, wild-voicèd brother, in your northern cave,
My spirit also being so beset
With pride and pain, I heard you beat and rave,
Grinding your chains with furious howl and fret,
Knowing full well that all earth's moving things inherit
The same chained might and madness of the spirit,
That none may quite forget.

You in your cave of snows, we in our narrow girth
Of need and sense, for ever chafe and pine;
Only in moods of some demonic birth
Our souls take fire, our flashing wings untwine;
Even like you, mad Wind, above our broken prison,
With streaming hair and maddened eyes uprisen,
We dream ourselves divine;

Mad moods that come and go in some mysterious way,
That flash and fall, none knoweth how or why,
O Wind, our brother, they are yours today,
The stormy joy, the sweeping mastery;
Deep in our narrow cells, we hear you, we awaken,
With hands afret and bosoms strangely shaken,
We answer to your cry.

I most that love you, Wind, when you are fierce and free,
In these dull fetters cannot long remain;
Lo, I will rise and break my thongs and flee
Forth to your drift and beating, till my brain
Even for an hour grow wild in your divine embraces,
And then creep back into mine earthly traces,
And bind me with my chain.

Nay, Wind, I hear you, desperate brother, in your might
Whistle and howl; I shall not tarry long,
And though the day be blind and fierce, the night
Be dense and wild, I still am glad and strong
To meet you face to face; through all your gust and drifting
With brow held high, my joyous hands uplifting,
I cry you song for song.

An Ode To The Hills

AEons ago ye were,
Before the struggling changeful race of man
Wrought into being, ere the tragic stir
Of human toil and deep desire began:
So shall ye still remain,
Lords of an elder and immutable race,
When many a broad metropolis of the plain,
Or thronging port by some renowned shore,
Is sunk in nameless ruin, and its place
Recalled no more.

Empires have come and gone,
And glorious cities fallen in their prime;
Divine, far-echoing, names once writ in stone
Have vanished in the dust and void of time;
But ye, firm-set, secure,
Like Treasure in the hardness of God's palm,
Are yet the same for ever; ye endure
By virtue of an old slow-ripening word,
In your grey majesty and sovereign calm,
Untouched, unstirred.

Tempest and thunderstroke,
With whirlwinds dipped in midnight at the core,
Have torn strange furrows through your forest cloak,
And made your hollow gorges clash and roar,
And scarred your brows in vain.
Around your barren heads and granite steeps
Tempestuous grey battalions of the rain
Charge and recharge, across the plateaued floors,
Drenching the serried pines; and the hail sweeps
Your pitiless scaurs.

The long midsummer heat
Chars the thin leafage of your rocks in fire:
Autumn with windy robe and ruinous feet
On your wide forests wreaks his fell desire,
Heaping in barbarous wreck
The treasure of your sweet and prosperous days;
And lastly the grim tyrant, at whose beck
Channels are turned to stone and tempests wheel,
On brow and breast and shining shoulder lays
His hand of steel.

And yet not harsh alone,
Nor wild, nor bitter are your destinies,
O fair and sweet, for all your heart of stone,
Who gather beauty round your Titan knees,
As the lens gathers light.
The dawn gleams rosy on your splendid brows,
The sun at noonday folds you in his might,
And swathes your forehead at his going down,
Last leaving, where he first in pride bestows,
His golden crown.

In unregarded glooms,
Where hardly shall a human footstep pass,
Myriads of ferns and soft maianthemums,
Or lily-breathing slender pyrolas
Distil their hearts for you.
Far in your pine-clad fastnesses ye keep
Coverts the lonely thrush shall wander through,
With echoes that seem ever to recede,
Touching from pine to pine, from steep to steep,
His ghostly reed.

The fierce things of the wild
Find food and shelter in your tenantless rocks,
The eagle on whose wings the dawn hath smiled,
The loon, the wild-cat, and the bright-eyed fox;
For far away indeed
Are all the ominous noises of mankind,
The slaughterer's malice and the trader's greed:
Your rugged haunts endure no slavery:
No treacherous hand is there to crush or bind,
But all are free.

Therefore out of the stir
Of cities and the ever-thickening press
The poet and the worn philosopher
To your bare peaks and radiant loneliness
Escape, and breathe once more
The wind of the Eternal: that clear mood,
Which Nature and the elder ages bore,
Lends them new courage and a second prime,
At rest upon the cool infinitude
Of Space and Time.

The mists of troublous days,
The horror of fierce hands and fraudful lips,
The blindness gathered in Life's aimless ways
Fade from them, and the kind Earth-spirit strips
The bandage from their eyes,
Touches their hearts and bids them feel and see;
Beauty and Knowledge with that rare apprise
Pour over them from some divine abode,
Falling as in a flood of memory,
The bliss of God.

I too perchance some day,
When Love and Life have fallen far apart,
Shall slip the yoke and seek your upward way
And make my dwelling in your changeless heart;
And there in some quiet glade,
Some virgin plot of turf, some innermost dell,
Pure with cool water and inviolate shade,
I'll build a blameless altar to the dear
And kindly gods who guard your haunts so well
From hurt or fear.

There I will dream day-long,
And honour them in many sacred ways,
With hushed melody and uttered song,
And golden meditation and with praise.
I'll touch them with a prayer,
To clothe my spirit as your might is clad
With all things bountiful, divine, and fair,
Yet inwardly to make me hard and true,
Wide-seeing, passionless, immutably glad,
And strong like you.