What The Sea Says To The Shore: Flood-Tide
I kiss thy feet.
It is permitted me
So much to keep of thee,
So much to give to thee.
I touch thy dusky garments' hem.
Thy dazzling feet lie bare;
But now the moonlit air,
In hurrying by, did gaze at them.
Who can guess
The temper of a love denied?
See! to my lips I press,-
I press and hide
And cover them from sight of all the world.
Till thou and I were riven apart,
Never was it known
By any one
That storms could tear an ocean's heart.
Nor shall it be again
That storms can cause an ocean pain.
But when He said:
'No farther, thus far, shalt thou go;
Shall thy proud waves be stayed,'-
Raging, rebel, and afraid,
What could shore or ocean do?
Fling down thy long loose hair
For a little share
Of the little kiss I still may bring to thee.
O Love! turn unto me!
The hours are short that I may be
Rich though so scantily,
Blest although so broken-hearted.
Sweet my Love! when we are parted,
When unheard orders bid me go
Obedient to an unknown Will,
The pain of pains selects me so,
That I must go, and thou lie still.
While yet my lips may hunger near thy feet,
Turn to me, Sweet!
Of A Family Of Reformers
Push the bursting buds away,
Throw aside the ripened roses,
Hush the low-voiced waters' play,
Where the weary sun reposes
With his head upon his hand,
Grave and grand!
Now I stand,
And shade my eyes to see
What life shall mean to me.
Cut the silver-hearted mist
Stealing softly down the valley;
Blot me out the purple, kissed
By phantoms crowned in gold, that rally
Merrily upon the land,
Gay and grand.
Here I stand,
And turn my eyes to see
What life may mean to me.
There seems-a path across a hill,
But little worn (but little lonely),
A climb into the twilight still;
There seems-a midnight watch, and only
Through the dark a low command
(Grave and grand),
'Still you stand,
And strain your eyes to see
What life to you shall be.'
The binding up of bruiséd reéds
Of thought and act; the steady bearing
Out of scorned purposes to deeds,
The rest of strife; the doubt of daring,-
The hope that He will understand
Why my hand
(Though I stand)
Trembles at my eyes to see
What else life means to me.
The dropping of love's golden fruit,
The slowly builded walls of distance,
The outstretched hand, the meeting foot,
Withdrawn in doubt, and drear, late chance
Of cooling autumn; wind and sand
On the land.-
But I stand,
And brush my tears to see
All that life means to me.
The honest choice of good or ill,
A heart of marble, prayer, and fire,
The strength to do, the power to will
From earth's reluctance, Heaven's desire,
And God's step upon the land
(Grave and grand).
Glad I stand
And lift my eyes to see
The life He sends to me.
Arise, and call her blessed,-seventy years!
Each one a tongue to speak for her, who needs
No poor device of ours to tell to-day
The story of her glory in our hearts.
Precede us all, ye quiet lips of love,
Ye honors high of home-nobilities
Of mother and of wife-the heraldry
Of happiness; dearer to her than were
The homage of the world. We yield unto
The royal claims of tenderness. Speak thou
Before all voices, ripened human life!
Arise, and call her blessed, dark-browed men!
She put the silver lyre aside for you.
She could not stroll across the idle strings
Of fancy, while you wept uncomforted,
But rang upon the fetters of a race
Enchained, the awful chord which pealed along,
And echoed in the cannon-shot that broke
The manacle, and bade the bound go free.
She brought a Nation on its knees for shame,
She brought a world into a black slave's heart.
Where are our lighter laurels? O my friends!
Brothers and sisters of the busy pen,
Five million freemen crown her birthday feast,
Before whose feet our little leaf we lay.
Arise and call her blessed, fainting souls!
For whom she sang the strains of holy hope.
Within the gentle twilight of her days,
Like angels, bid her own hymns visit her.
Her life no ivy-tangled door, but wide
And welcome to His solemn feet, who need
Not knock for entrance, nor one ever ask
'Who cometh there?' so still and sure the step,
So well we know God doth 'abide in her.'
Oh, wait to make her blessed, happy world!-
To which she looketh onward, ardently.
Lie in fair distance far, ye streets of gold,
Where up and down light-hearted spirits walk,
And wonder that they stayed so long away.
Be patient for her coming, for our sakes,
Who will love Heaven better, keeping her.
This only ask we:-When from prayer to praise
She moves, and when from peace to joy; be hers
To know she hath the life eternal, since
Her own heart's dearest wish did meet her there.
The Lost Winter
Deep-hearted as an untried joy
The warm light blushes on the bay,
And placid as long happiness
The perfect sky of Florida.
Silent and swift the gulls wheel by,-
Fair silver spots seen flittingly
To sparkle like lost thoughts, and dip
And vanish in a silver sea.
And green with an immortal spring
The little lonely islands stand;
And lover-like, the winds caress
The fresh-plucked roses in my hand.
And sweet with all the scents of June,
And gentle with the breath of May,
And passionate with harvest calm,
Dawns the strange face of Christmas-day.
O vanished world of ache and chill!
If purple-cold the shadows blow
Somewhere upon the shrunken cheeks
Of wan, tormented drifts of snow;
And if, beneath the steady stare
Of a pale sunset's freezing eye,
The coming tempest, lurking, stabs
The lonely traveller hurrying by,-1
What art can make me understand?
What care I, can I care to know?
Star-like, among the tender grass,
The little white wild-flowers show!
There is no winter in the world!
There is no winter anywhere!
Earth turns her face upon her arm,
And sleeps within the golden air.
If once within the story told-
Of peace or pain, of calm or strife-
The clear revealéd sequencés
Of every finished human life,
It chanceth that the record reads:
This wanderer, something torn and tossed
By certain storms he had passed through,
And something faint and chilly, lost
Just here a little while the sense
Of winter from his heavy heart,
And felt within his life the roots
Of spring eternal stir and start;
Could not one blessed little while,
For very happiness, believe
That anywhere upon God's earth
Souls could be cold and worn and live,-
That blessed once a glory were
Enough, I think, to crown one's days.
O swift-departing days of youth,
Lend me your evanescent grace
Of fancy, while my graver years
Like happy children rise and bless
The shadow of the memory of
Love's sweet and helpless selfishness!
Ah, many, many years shall learn
To blush and bloom as young years may,
But only once the soul forget
All else but its own Florida!