Christ Of Everywhere
"Christ of the Andes," Christ of Everywhere,
Great lover of the hills, the open air,
And patient lover of impatient men
Who blindly strive and sin and strive again, --
Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,
Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed, --
Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,
Thy way of Peace, the foot path of Good Will!
Love In A Look
Let me but feel thy look's embrace,
Transparent, pure, and warm,
And I'll not ask to touch thy face,
Or fold thee with mine arm.
For in thine eyes a girl doth rise,
Arrayed in candid bliss,
And draws me to her with a charm
More close than any kiss.
A loving-cup of golden wine,
Songs of a silver brook,
And fragrant breaths of eglantine,
Are mingled in thy look.
More fair they are than any star,
Thy topaz eyes divine --
And deep within their trysting-nook
Thy spirit blends with mine.
Let me but love my love without disguise,
Nor wear a mask of fashion old or new,
Nor wait to speak till I can hear a clue,
Nor play a part to shine in others' eyes,
Nor bow my knees to what my heart denies;
But what I am, to that let me be true,
And let me worship where my love is due,
And so through love and worship let me rise.
For love is but the heart's immortal thirst
To be completely known and all forgiven,
Even as sinful souls that enter Heaven:
So take me, dear, and understand my worst,
And freely pardon it, because confessed,
And let me find in loving thee, my best.
Sicily, December 1908
O garden isle, beloved by Sun and Sea, --
Whose bluest billows kiss thy curving bays,
Whose amorous light enfolds thee in warm rays
That fill with fruit each dark-leaved orange-tree, --
What hidden hatred hath the Earth for thee?
Behold, again, in these dark, dreadful days,
She trembles with her wrath, and swiftly lays
Thy beauty waste in wreck and agony!
Is Nature, then, a strife of jealous powers,
And man the plaything of unconscious fate?
Not so, my troubled heart! God reigns above
And man is greatest in his darkest hours:
Walking amid the cities desolate,
The Son of God appears in human love.
The melancholy gift Aurora gained
From Jove, that her sad lover should not see
The face of death, no goddess asked for thee,
My Keats! But when the crimson blood-drop stained
Thy pillow, thou didst read the fate ordained, --
Brief life, wild love, a flight of poesy!
And then, -- a shadow fell on Italy:
Thy star went down before its brightness waned,
Yet thou hast won the gift Tithonus missed:
Never to feel the pain of growing old,
Nor lose the blissful sight of beauty's truth,
But with the ardent lips that music kissed
To breathe thy song, and, ere thy heart grew cold,
Become the Poet of Immortal Youth.
Waking from tender sleep,
My neighbour's little child
Put out his baby hand to me,
Looked in my face, and smiled.
It seemed as if he came
Home from a happy land,
To tell me something that my heart
Would surely understand.
Somewhere, among bright dreams,
A child that once was mine
Had whispered wordless love to him,
And given him a sign.
Comfort of kindly speech,
And counsel of the wise,
Have helped me less than what I read
In those deep-smiling eyes.
Sleep sweetly, little friend,
And dream again of heaven:
With double love I kiss your hand,--
Your message has been given.
The Hermit Thrush
O wonderful! How liquid clear
The molten gold of that ethereal tone,
Floating and falling through the wood alone,
A hermit-hymn poured out for God to hear!
0 holy, holy, holy! Hyaline,
Long light, low light, glory of eventide!
Love far away, far up. -- up, -- love divine!
Little love, too, for ever, ever, near,
Warm love, earth love, tender love of mine,
In the leafy dark where you hide,
You are mine, -- mine, -- mine!
Ah, my belovèd, do you feel with me
The hidden virtue of that melody,
The rapture and the purity of love,
The heavenly joy that can not find the word?
Then, while we wait again to hear the bird,
Come very near to me, and do not move, --
Now, hermit of the woodland, fill anew
The cool, green cup of air with harmony,
And we will drink the wine of love with you.
A Prayer For A Mother's Birthday
Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
A mother's love and tender care:
And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.
Protect her life, I pray,
Who gave the gift of life to me;
And may she know, from day to day,
The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.
As once upon her breast
Fearless and well content I lay,
So let her heart, on Thee at rest,
Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.
Her every wish fulfill;
And even if Thou must refuse
In anything, let Thy wise will
A comfort bring such as kind mothers use.
Ah, hold her by the hand,
As once her hand held mine;
And though she may not understand
Life's winding way, lead her in peace divine.
I cannot pay my debt
For all the love that she has given;
But Thou, love's Lord, wilt not forget
Her due reward,- bless her in earth and heaven.
Hide And Seek
All the trees are sleeping, all the winds are still,
All the flocks of fleecy clouds have wandered past the hill;
Through the noonday silence, down the woods of June,
Hark, a little hunter's voice comes running with a tune.
"Hide and seek!
"When I speak,
"You must answer me:
"Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Now I hear his footsteps, rustling through the grass:
Hidden in my leafy nook, shall I let him pass?
Just a low, soft whistle,--quick the hunter turns,
Leaps upon me laughing, rolls me in the ferns.
"Hold him fast,
"Caught at last!
"Now you're it, you see.
"Hide your eye,
"Till I cry,
"Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Long ago he left me, long and long ago:
Now I wander through the world and seek him high and low;
Hidden safe and happy, in some pleasant place,--
Ah, if I could hear his voice, I soon should find his face.
Many a day,
Where can Barney be?
Don't you hear?
Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!
Birds that in the spring-time thrilled his heart with joy,
Flowers he loved to pick for me, mind me of my boy.
Surely he is waiting till my steps come nigh;
Love may hide itself awhile, but love can never die.
Heart, be glad,
The little lad
Will call some day to thee:
"Heaven is here,
"Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Spring In The South
Now in the oak the sap of life is welling,
Tho' to the bough the rusty leafage clings;
Now on the elm the misty buds are swelling,
See how the pine-wood grows alive with wings;
Blue-jays fluttering, yodeling and crying,
Meadow-larks sailing low above the faded grass,
Red-birds whistling clear, silent robins flying,--
Who has waked the birds up? What has come to pass?
Last year's cotton-plants, desolately bowing,
Tremble in the March-wind, ragged and forlorn;
Red are the hill-sides of the early ploughing,
Gray are the lowlands, waiting for the corn.
Earth seems asleep still, but she's only feigning;
Deep in her bosom thrills a sweet unrest.
Look where the jasmine lavishly is raining
Jove's golden shower into Danae's breast!
Now on the plum the snowy bloom is sifted,
Now on the peach the glory of the rose,
Over the hills a tender haze is drifted,
Full to the brim the yellow river flows.
Dark cypress boughs with vivid jewels glisten,
Greener than emeralds shining in the sun.
Who has wrought the magic? Listen, sweetheart, listen!
The mocking-bird is singing Spring has begun.
Hark, in his song no tremor of misgiving!
All of his heart he pours into his lay,--
"Love, love, love, and pure delight of living:
Winter is forgotten: here's a happy day!"
Fair in your face I read the flowery presage,
Snowy on your brow and rosy on your mouth:
Sweet in your voice I hear the season's message,--
Love, love, love, and Spring in the South!
Mother of all the high-strung poets and singers departed,
Mother of all the grass that weaves over their graves the glory of the field,
Mother of all the manifold forms of life, deep-bosomed, patient, impassive,
Silent brooder and nurse of lyrical joys and sorrows!
Out of thee, yea, surely out of the fertile depth below thy breast,
Issued in some strange way, thou lying motionless, voiceless,
All these songs of nature, rhythmical, passionate, yearning,
Coming in music from earth, but not unto earth returning.
Dust are the blood-red hearts that beat in time to these measures,
Thou hast taken them back to thyself, secretly, irresistibly
Drawing the crimson currents of life down, down, down
Deep into thy bosom again, as a river is lost in the sand.
But the souls of the singers have entered into the songs that revealed them, -
Passionate songs, immortal songs of joy and grief and love and longing:
Floating from heart to heart of thy children, they echo above thee:
Do they not utter thy heart, the voices of those that love thee?
Long hadst thou lain like a queen transformed by some old enchantment
Into an alien shape, mysterious, beautiful, speechless,
Knowing not who thou wert, till the touch of thy Lord and Lover
Working within thee awakened the man-child to breathe thy secret.
All of thy flowers and birds and forests and flowing waters
Are but enchanted forms to embody the life of the spirit;
Thou thyself, earth-mother, in mountain and meadow and ocean,
Holdest the poem of God, eternal thought and emotion.
Yes, it was like you to forget,
And cancel in the welcome of your smile
My deep arrears of debt,
And with the putting forth of both your hands
To sweep away the bars my folly set
Between us -- bitter thoughts, and harsh demands,
And reckless deeds that seemed untrue
To love, when all the while
My heart was aching through and through
For you, sweet heart, and only you.
Yet, as I turned to come to you again,
I thought there must be many a mile
Of sorrowful reproach to cross,
And many an hour of mutual pain
To bear, until I could make plain
That all my pride was but the fear of loss,
And all my doubt the shadow of despair
To win a heart so innocent and fair;
And even that which looked most ill
Was but the fever-fret and effort vain
To dull the thirst which you alone could still.
But as I turned the desert miles were crossed,
And when I came the weary hours were sped!
For there you stood beside the open door,
Glad, gracious, smiling as before,
And with bright eyes and tender hands outspread
Restored me to the Eden I had lost.
Never a word of cold reproof,
No sharp reproach, no glances that accuse
The culprit whom they hold aloof, --
Ah, 't is not thus that other women use
The power they have Won!
For there is none like you, belovèd, -- none
Secure enough to do what you have done.
Where did you learn this heavenly art, --
You sweetest and most wise of all that live, --
With silent welcome to impart
Assurance of the royal heart
That never questions where it would forgive?
None but a queen could pardon me like this!
My sovereign lady, let me lay
Within each rosy palm a loyal kiss
Of penitence, then close the fingers up,
Thus -- thus! Now give the cup
Of full nepenthe in your crimson mouth,
And come -- the garden blooms with bliss,
The wind is in the south,
The rose of love with dew is wet --
Dear, it was like you to forget!
A Ballad Of Santa Claus
Among the earliest saints of old, before the first Hegira,
I find the one whose name we hold, St. Nicholas of Myra:
The best-beloved name, I guess, in sacred nomenclature,—
The patron-saint of helpfulness, and friendship, and good-nature.
A bishop and a preacher too, a famous theologian,
He stood against the Arian crew and fought them like a Trojan:
But when a poor man told his need and begged an alms in trouble,
He never asked about his creed, but quickly gave him double.
Three pretty maidens, so they say, were longing to be married;
But they were paupers, lack-a-day, and so the suitors tarried.
St. Nicholas gave each maid a purse of golden ducats chinking,
And then, for better or for worse, they wedded quick as winking.
Once, as he sailed, a storm arose; wild waves the ship surrounded;
The sailors wept and tore their clothes, and shrieked "We'll all be drownded!"
St. Nicholas never turned a hair; serenely shone his halo;
He simply said a little prayer, and all the billows lay low.
The wicked keeper of an inn had three small urchins taken,
And cut them up in a pickle-bin, and salted them for bacon.
St. Nicholas came and picked them out, and put their limbs together,—
They lived, they leaped, they gave a shout, "St. Nicholas forever!"
And thus it came to pass, you know, that maids without a nickel,
And sailor-lads when tempest blow, and children in a pickle,
And every man that's fatherly, and every kindly matron,
In choosing saints would all agree to call St. Nicholas patron.
He comes again at Christmas-time and stirs us up to giving;
He rings the merry bells that chime good-will to all the living;
He blesses every friendly deed and every free donation;
He sows the secret, golden seed of love through all creation.
Our fathers drank to Santa Claus, the sixth of each December,
And still we keep his feast because his virtues we remember.
Among the saintly ranks he stood, with smiling human features,
And said, "Be good! But not too good to love your fellow-creatures!"
Heart of France for a hundred years,
Passionate, sensitive, proud, and strong,
Quick to throb with her hopes and fears,
Fierce to flame with her sense of wrong!
You, who hailed with a morning song
Dream-light gilding a throne of old:
You, who turned when the dream grew cold,
Singing still, to the light that shone
Pure from Liberty's ancient throne,
Over the human throng!
You, who dared in the dark eclipse,--
When the pygmy heir of a giant name
Dimmed the face of the land with shame,--
Speak the truth with indignant lips,
Call him little whom men called great,
Scoff at him, scorn him, deny him,
Point to the blood on his robe of state,
Fling back his bribes and defy him!
You, who fronted the waves of fate
As you faced the sea from your island home,
Exiled, yet with a soul elate,
Sending songs o'er the rolling foam,
Bidding the heart of man to wait
For the day when all should see
Floods of wrath from the frowning skies
Fall on an Empire founded in lies,
And France again be free!
You, who came in the Terrible Year
Swiftly back to your broken land,
Now to your heart a thousand times more dear,--
Prayed for her, sung to her, fought for her,
Patiently, fervently wrought for her,
Till once again,
After the storm of fear and pain,
High in the heavens the star of France stood clear!
You, who knew that a man must take
Good and ill with a steadfast soul,
Holding fast, while the billows roll
Over his head, to the things that make
Life worth living for great and small,--
Honour and pity and truth,
The heart and the hope of youth,
And the good God over all!
You, to whom work was rest,
Dauntless Toiler of the Sea,
Following ever the joyful quest
Of beauty on the shores of old Romance,
Bard of the poor of France,
And warrior-priest of world-wide charity!
You who loved little children best
Of all the poets that ever sung,
Great heart, golden heart,
Old, and yet ever young,
Minstrel of liberty,
Lover of all free, winged things,
Now at last you are free,--
Your soul has its wings!
Heart of France for a hundred years,
Floating far in the light that never fails you,
Over the turmoil of mortal hopes and fears
Victor, forever victor, the whole world hails you!
Two dwellings, Peace, are thine.
One is the mountain-height,
Uplifted in the loneliness of light
Beyond the realm of shadows,- fine,
And far, and clear,- where advent of the night
Means only glorious nearness of the stars,
And dawn, unhindered, breaks above the bars
That long the lower world in twilight keep.
Thou sleepest not, and hast no need of sleep,
For all thy cares and fears have dropped away;
The night's fatigue, the fever-fret of day,
Are far below thee; and earth's weary wars,
In vain expense of passion, pass
Before thy sight like visions in a glass,
Or like the wrinkles of the storm that creep
Across the sea and leave no trace
Of trouble on that immemorial face,-
So brief appear the conflicts, and so slight
The wounds men give, the things for which they fight.
Here hangs a fortress on the distant steep,-
A lichen clinging to the rock:
There sails a fleet upon the deep,-
A wandering flock
Of snow-winged gulls: and yonder, in the plain,
A marble palace shines,- a grain
Of mica glittering in the rain.
Beneath thy feet the clouds are rolled
By voiceless winds: and far between
The rolling clouds new shores and peaks are seen,
In shimmering robes of green and gold,
And faint aerial hue
That silent fades into the silent blue.
Thou, from thy mountain-hold,
All day, in tranquil wisdom, looking down
On distant scenes of human toil and strife,
All night, with eyes aware of loftier life,
Uplooking to the sky, where stars are sown,
Dost watch the everlasting fields grow white
Unto the harvest of the sons of light,
And welcome to thy dwelling-place sublime
The few strong souls that dare to climb
The slippery crags and find thee on the height.
But in the depth thou hast another home,
For hearts less daring, or more frail.
Thou dwellest also in the shadowy vale;
And pilgrim-souls that roam
With weary feet o'er hill and dale,
Bearing the burden and the heat
Of toilful days,
Turn from the dusty ways
To find thee in thy green and still retreat.
Here is no vision wide outspread
Before the lonely and exalted seat
Of all-embracing knowledge. Here, instead,
A little garden, and a sheltered nook,
With outlooks brief and sweet
Across the meadows, and along the brook,-
A little stream that little knows
Of the great sea towards which it gladly flows,-
A little field that bears a little wheat
To make a portion of earth's daily bread.
The vast cloud-armies overhead
Are marshalled, and the wild wind blows
Its trumpet, but thou canst not tell
Whence the storm comes nor where it goes.
Nor dost thou greatly care, since all is well;
Thy daily task is done,
And though a lowly one,
Thou gavest it of thy best,
And art content to rest
In patience till its slow reward is won.
Not far thou lookest, but thy sight is clear;
Not much thou knowest, but thy faith is dear;
For life is love, and love is always near.
Here friendship lights the fire, and every heart,
Sure of itself and sure of all the rest,
Dares to be true, and gladly takes its part
In open converse, bringing forth its best:
Here is Sweet music, melting every chain
Of lassitude and pain:
And here, at last, is sleep, the gift of gifts,
The tender nurse, who lifts
The soul grown weary of the waking world,
And lays it, with its thoughts all furled,
Its fears forgotten, and its passions still,
On the deep bosom of the Eternal Will.
New Year's Eve
The other night I had a dream, most clear
And comforting, complete
In every line, a crystal sphere,
And full of intimate and secret cheer.
Therefore I will repeat
That vision, dearest heart, to you,
As of a thing not feigned, but very true,
Yes, true as ever in my life befell;
And you, perhaps, can tell
Whether my dream was really sad or sweet.
The shadows flecked the elm-embowered street
I knew so well, long, long ago;
And on the pillared porch where Marguerite
Had sat with me, the moonlight lay like snow.
But she, my comrade and my friend of youth,
Most gaily wise,
Most innocently loved, --
She of the blue-grey eyes
That ever smiled and ever spoke the truth, --
From that familiar dwelling, where she moved
Like mirth incarnate in the years before,
Had gone into the hidden house of Death.
I thought the garden wore
White mourning for her blessed innocence,
And the syringa's breath
Came from the corner by the fence,
Where she had made her rustic seat,
With fragrance passionate, intense,
As if it breathed a sigh for Marguerite.
My heart was heavy with a sense
Of something good forever gone. I sought
Vainly for some consoling thought,
Some comfortable word that I could say
To the sad father, whom I visited again
For the first time since she had gone away.
The bell rang shrill and lonely, -- then
The door was opened, and I sent my name
To him, -- but ah! 't was Marguerite who came!
There in the dear old dusky room she stood
Beneath the lamp, just as she used to stand,
In tender mocking mood.
"You did not ask for me," she said,
"And so I will not let you take my hand;
"But I must hear what secret talk you planned
"With father. Come, my friend, be good,
"And tell me your affairs of state:
"Why you have stayed away and made me wait
"So long. Sit down beside me here, --
"And, do you know, it seemed a year
"Since we have talked together, -- why so late?"
Amazed, incredulous, confused with joy
I hardly dared to show,
And stammering like a boy,
I took the place she showed me at her side;
And then the talk flowed on with brimming tide
Through the still night,
While she with influence light
Controlled it, as the moon the flood.
She knew where I had been, what I had done,
What work was planned, and what begun;
My troubles, failures, fears she understood,
And touched them with a heart so kind,
That every care was melted from my mind,
And every hope grew bright,
And life seemed moving on to happy ends.
(Ah, what self-beggared fool was he
That said a woman cannot be
The very best of friends?)
Then there were memories of old times,
Recalled with many a gentle jest;
And at the last she brought the book of rhymes
We made together, trying to translate
The Songs of Heine (hers were always best).
"Now come," she said,
"To-night we will collaborate
"Again; I'll put you to the test.
"Here's one I never found the way to do, --
"The simplest are the hardest ones, you know, --
"I give this song to you."
And then she read:
Mein kind, wir waren Kinder,
Zei Kinder, jung und froh.
* * * * * * * * * *
But all the while a silent question stirred
Within me, though I dared not speak the word:
"Is it herself, and is she truly here,
"And was I dreaming when I heard
"That she was dead last year?
"Or was it true, and is she but a shade
"Who brings a fleeting joy to eye and ear,
"Cold though so kind, and will she gently fade
"When her sweet ghostly part is played
"And the light-curtain falls at dawn of day?"
But while my heart was troubled by this fear
So deeply that I could not speak it out,
Lest all my happiness should disappear,
I thought me of a cunning way
To hide the question and dissolve the doubt.
"Will you not give me now your hand,
"Dear Marguerite," I asked, "to touch and hold,
"That by this token I may understand
"You are the same true friend you were of old?"
She answered with a smile so bright and calm
It seemed as if I saw new stars arise
In the deep heaven of her eyes;
And smiling so, she laid her palm
In mine. Dear God, it was not cold
But warm with vital heat!
"You live!" I cried, "you live, dear Marguerite!"
Then I awoke; but strangely comforted,
Although I knew again that she was dead.
Yes, there's the dream! And was it sweet or sad?
Dear mistress of my waking and my sleep,
Present reward of all my heart's desire,
Watching with me beside the winter fire,
Interpret now this vision that I had.
But while you read the meaning, let me keep
The touch of you: for the Old Year with storm
Is passing through the midnight, and doth shake
The corners of the house, -- man oh! my heart would break
Unless both dreaming and awake
My hand could feel your hand was warm, warm, warm!
God Of The Open Air
Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair
With flowers beneath, above with starry lights,
And set thine altars everywhere,--
On mountain heights,
In woodlands dim with many a dream,
In valleys bright with springs,
And on the curving capes of every stream:
Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings
Of morning, to abide
Upon the secret places of the sea,
And on far islands, where the tide
Visits the beauty of untrodden shores,
Waiting for worshippers to come to thee
In thy great out-of-doors!
To thee I turn, to thee I make my prayer,
God of the open air.
Seeking for thee, the heart of man
Lonely and longing ran,
In that first, solitary hour,
When the mysterious power
To know and love the wonder of the morn
Was breathed within him, and his soul was born;
And thou didst meet thy child,
Not in some hidden shrine,
But in the freedom of the garden wild,
And take his hand in thine,--
There all day long in Paradise he walked,
And in the cool of evening with thee talked.
Lost, long ago, that garden bright and pure,
Lost, that calm day too perfect to endure,
And lost the childlike love that worshipped and was sure!
For men have dulled their eyes with sin,
And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt,
And built their temple walls to shut thee in,
And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out.
But not for thee the closing of the door,
O Spirit unconfined!
Thy ways are free
As is the wandering wind,
And thou hast wooed thy children, to restore
Their fellowship with thee,
In peace of soul and simpleness of mind.
Joyful the heart that, when the flood rolled by,
Leaped up to see the rainbow in the sky;
And glad the pilgrim, in the lonely night,
For whom the hills of Haran, tier on tier,
Built up a secret stairway to the height
Where stars like angel eyes were shining clear.
From mountain-peaks, in many a land and age,
Disciples of the Persian seer
Have hailed the rising sun and worshipped thee;
And wayworn followers of the Indian sage
Have found the peace of God beneath a spreading tree.
But One, but One,--ah, child most dear,
And perfect image of the Love Unseen,--
Walked every day in pastures green,
And all his life the quiet waters by,
Reading their beauty with a tranquil eye.
To him the desert was a place prepared
For weary hearts to rest;
The hillside was a temple blest;
The grassy vale a banquet-room
Where he could feed and comfort many a guest.
With him the lily shared
The vital joy that breathes itself in bloom;
And every bird that sang beside the nest
Told of the love that broods o'er every living thing.
He watched the shepherd bring
His flock at sundown to the welcome fold,
The fisherman at daybreak fling
His net across the waters gray and cold,
And all day long the patient reaper swing
His curving sickle through the harvest-gold.
So through the world the foot-path way he trod,
Drawing the air of heaven in every breath;
And in the evening sacrifice of death
Beneath the open sky he gave his soul to God.
Him will I trust, and for my Master take;
Him will I follow; and for his dear sake,
God of the open air,
To thee I make my prayer.
>From the prison of anxious thought that greed has builded,
>From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded,
>From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion,
>From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion,
(Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!)
I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air.
By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o'er me,
By the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me,
By the height of the cloud that sails, with rest in motion,
Over the plains and the vales to the measureless ocean,
(Oh, how the sight of the things that are great enlarges the eyes!)
Lead me out of the narrow life, to the peace of the hills
and the skies.
While the tremulous leafy haze on the woodland is spreading,
And the bloom on the meadow betrays where May has been treading;
While the birds on the branches above, and the brooks flowing under,
Are singing together of love in a world full of wonder,
(Lo, in the marvel of Springtime, dreams are changed into truth!)
Quicken my heart, and restore the beautiful hopes of youth.
By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden,
By the calm of the river's flow to a goal that is hidden,
By the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation,
By the courage of wild birds' wings on the long migration,
(Wonderful secret of peace that abides in Nature's breast!)
Teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.
For the comforting warmth of the sun that my body embraces,
For the cool of the waters that run through the shadowy places,
For the balm of the breezes that brush my face with their fingers,
For the vesper-hymn of the thrush when the twilight lingers,
For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath
of a heart without care,--
I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air!
These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveller's load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
On all the brightness of the common day.
These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth:
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
Shadow of clouds that swiftly pass,
And, after showers,
The smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,--
And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.
So let me keep
These treasures of the humble heart
In true possession, owning them by love;
And when at last I can no longer move
Among them freely, but must part
From the green fields and from the waters clear,
Let me not creep
Into some darkened room and hide
From all that makes the world so bright and dear;
But throw the windows wide
To welcome in the light;
And while I clasp a well-beloved hand,
Let me once more have sight
Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,--
Then gently fall on sleep,
And breathe my body back to Nature's care,
My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.
The White Bees
Long ago Apollo called to Aristæus,
youngest of the shepherds,
Saying, "I will make you keeper of my bees."
Golden were the hives, and golden was the honey;
golden, too, the music,
Where the honey-makers hummed among the trees.
Happy Aristæus loitered in the garden, wandered
in the orchard,
Careless and contented, indolent and free;
Lightly took his labour, lightly took his pleasure,
till the fated moment
When across his pathway came Eurydice.
Then her eyes enkindled burning love within him;
drove him wild with longing,
For the perfect sweetness of her flower-like face;
Eagerly he followed, while she fled before him,
over mead and mountain,
On through field and forest, in a breathless race.
But the nymph, in flying, trod upon a serpent;
like a dream she vanished;
Pluto's chariot bore her down among the dead;
Lonely Aristæus, sadly home returning, found his
All the hives deserted, all the music fled.
Mournfully bewailing, -- "ah, my honey-makers,
where have you departed?" --
Far and wide he sought them, over sea and shore;
Foolish is the tale that says he ever found them,
brought them home in triumph,
Joys that once escape us fly for evermore.
Yet I dream that somewhere, clad in downy
whiteness, dwell the honey-makers,
In aerial gardens that no mortal sees:
And at times returning, lo, they flutter round us,
gathering mystic harvest,
So I weave the legend of the long-lost bees.
THE SWARMING OF THE BEES
WHO can tell the hiding of the white bees' nest?
Who can trace the guiding of their swift home flight?
Far would be his riding on a life-long quest:
Surely ere it ended would his beard grow white.
Never in the coming of the rose-red Spring,
Never in the passing of the wine-red Fall,
May you hear the humming of the white bee's wing
Murmur o'er the meadow, ere the night bells call.
Wait till winter hardens in the cold grey sky,
Wait till leaves are fallen and the brooks all freeze,
Then above the gardens where the dead flowers lie,
Swarm the merry millions of the wild white bees.
Out of the high-built airy hive,
Deep in the clouds that veil the sun,
Look how the first of the swarm arrive;
Timidly venturing, one by one,
Down through the tranquil air,
Wavering here and there,
Large, and lazy in flight, --
Caught by a lift of the breeze,
Tangled among the naked trees, --
Dropping then, without a sound,
To their rest on the ground.
Thus the swarming is begun.
Count the leaders, every one
Perfect as a perfect star
Till the slow descent is done.
Look beyond them, see how far
Down the vistas dim and grey,
Multitudes are on the way.
Now a sudden brightness
Dawns within the sombre day,
Over fields of whiteness;
And the sky is swiftly alive
With the flutter and the flight
Of the shimmering bees, that pour
From the hidden door of the hive
Till you can count no more.
Now on the branches of hemlock and pine
Thickly they settle and cluster and swing,
Bending them low; and the trellised vine
And the dark elm-boughs are traced with a line
Of beauty wherever the white bees cling.
Now they are hiding the wrecks of the flowers,
Softly, softly, covering all,
Over the grave of the summer hours
Spreading a silver pall.
Now they are building the broad roof ledge,
Into a cornice smooth and fair,
Moulding the terrace, from edge to edge,
Into the sweep of a marble stair.
Wonderful workers, swift and dumb,
Numberless myriads, still they come,
Thronging ever faster, faster, faster!
Where is their queen? Who is their master?
The gardens are faded, the fields are frore,
How will they fare in a world so bleak?
Where is the hidden honey they seek?
What is the sweetness they toil to store
In the desolate day, where no blossoms gleam?
Forgetfulness and a dream!
But now the fretful wind awakes;
I hear him girding at the trees;
He strikes the bending boughs, and shakes
The quiet clusters of the bees
To powdery drift;
He tosses them away,
He drives them like spray;
He makes them veer and shift
Around his blustering path.
In clouds blindly whirling,
In rings madly swirling,
Full of crazy wrath,
So furious and fast they fly
They blur the earth and blot the sky
In wild, white mirk.
They fill the air with frozen wings
And tiny, angry, icy stings;
They blind the eyes, and choke the breath,
They dance a maddening dance of death
Around their work,
Sweeping the cover from the hill,
Heaping the hollows deeper still,
Effacing every line and mark,
And swarming, storming in the dark
Through the long night;
Until, at dawn, the wind lies down,
Weary of fight.
The last torn cloud, with trailing gown,
Passes the open gates of light;
And the white bees are lost in flight.
Look how the landscape glitters wide and still,
Bright with a pure surprise!
The day begins with joy, and all past ill,
Buried in white oblivion, lies
Beneath the snowdrifts under crystal skies.
New hope, new love, new life, new cheer,
Flow in the sunrise beam,--
The gladness of Apollo when he sees,
Upon the bosom of the wintry year,
The honey-harvest of his wild white bees,
Forgetfulness and a dream!
LISTEN, my beloved, while the silver morning,
like a tranquil vision,
Fills the world around us and our hearts with peace;
Quiet is the close of Aristæus' legend, happy is
the ending --
Listen while I tell you how he found release.
Many months he wandered far away in sadness,
Only of the vanished joys he could not find;
Till the great Apollo, pitying his shepherd, loosed
him from the burden
Of a dark, reluctant, backward-looking mind.
Then he saw around him all the changeful beauty
of the changing seasons,
In the world-wide regions where his journey lay;
Birds that sang to cheer him, flowers that bloomed
beside him, stars that shone to guide him, --
Traveller's joy was plenty all along the way!
Everywhere he journeyed strangers made him
welcome, listened while he taught them
Secret lore of field and forest he had learned:
How to train the vines and make the olives fruit-
ful; how to guard the sheepfolds;
How to stay the fever when the dog-star burned.
Friendliness and blessing followed in his foot-
steps; richer were the harvests,
Happier the dwellings, wheresoe'er he came;
Little children loved him, and he left behind him,
in the hour of parting,
Memories of kindness and a god-like name.
So he travelled onward, desolate no longer,
patient in his seeking,
Reaping all the wayside comfort of his quest;
Till at last in Thracia, high upon Mount Hæmus,
far from human dwelling,
Weary Aristæus laid him down to rest.
Then the honey-makers, clad in downy whiteness,
fluttered soft around him,
Wrapt him in a dreamful slumber pure and deep.
This is life, beloved: first a sheltered garden,
then a troubled journey,
Joy and pain of seeking, -- and at last we sleep!
Daughter of Psyche, pledge of that last night
When, pierced with pain and bitter-sweet delight,
She knew her Love and saw her Lord depart,
Then breathed her wonder and her woe forlorn
Into a single cry, and thou wast born?
Thou flower of rapture and thou fruit of grief;
Invisible enchantress of the heart;
Mistress of charms that bring relief
To sorrow, and to joy impart
A heavenly tone that keeps it undefiled,--
Thou art the child
Of Amor, and by right divine
A throne of love is thine,
Thou flower-folded, golden-girdled, star-crowned Queen,
Whose bridal beauty mortal eyes have never seen!
Thou art the Angel of the pool that sleeps,
While peace and joy lie hidden in its deeps,
Waiting thy touch to make the waters roll
In healing murmurs round the weary soul.
Ah, when wilt thou draw near,
Thou messenger of mercy robed in song?
My lonely heart has listened for thee long;
And now I seem to hear
Across the crowded market-place of life,
Thy measured foot-fall, ringing light and clear
Above the unmeaning noises and the unruly strife;
In quiet cadence, sweet and slow,
Serenely pacing to and fro,
Thy far-off steps are magical and dear.
Ah, turn this way, come close and speak to me!
>From this dull bed of languor set my spirit free,
And bid me rise, and let me walk awhile with thee
Where wilt thou lead me first?
In what still region
Of thy domain,
Whose provinces are legion,
Wilt thou restore me to myself again,
And quench my heart's long thirst?
I pray thee lay thy golden girdle down,
And put away thy starry crown:
For one dear restful hour
Assume a state more mild.
Clad only in thy blossom-broidered gown
That breathes familiar scent of many a flower,
Take the low path that leads thro' pastures green;
And though thou art a Queen,
Be Rosamund awhile, and in thy bower,
By tranquil love and simple joy beguiled,
Sing to my soul, as mother to her child.
O lead me by the hand,
And let my heart have rest,
And bring me back to childhood land,
To find again the long-lost band
Of playmates blithe and blest.
Some quaint, old-fashioned air,
That all the children knew,
Shall run before us everywhere,
Like a little maid with flying hair,
To guide the merry crew.
Along the garden ways
We chase the light-foot tune,
And in and out the flowery maze,
With eager haste and fond delays,
In pleasant paths of June.
For us the fields are new,
For us the woods are rife
With fairy secrets, deep and true,
And heaven is but a tent of blue
Above the game of life.
The world is far away:
The fever and the fret,
And all that makes the heart grow gray,
Is out of sight and far away,
Dear Music, while I hear thee play
That olden, golden roundelay,
"Remember and forget!"
The tide of life is turning;
The waves of light ebb slowly down the west:
Along the edge of dark some stars are burning
To guide thy spirit safely to an isle of rest.
A little rocking on the tranquil deep
Of song, to soothe thy yearning,
A little slumber and a little sleep,
And so, forget, forget!
The day was long in pleasure;
Its echoes die away across the hill;
Now let thy heart beat time to their slow measure
That swells, and sinks, and faints, and falls, till all is still.
Then, like a weary child that loves to keep
Locked in its arms some treasure,
Thy soul in calm content shall fall asleep,
And so forget, forget.
And if thou hast been weeping,
Let go the thoughts that bind thee to thy grief:
Lie still, and watch the singing angels, reaping
The golden harvest of thy sorrow, sheaf by sheaf;
Or count thy joys like flocks of snow-white sheep
That one by one come creeping
Into the quiet fold, until thou sleep,
And so forget, forget!
Thou art a child and knowest
So little of thy life! But music tells
One secret of the world thro' which thou goest
To work with morning song, to rest with evening bells:
Life is in tune with harmony so deep
That when the notes are lowest
Thou still canst lay thee down in peace and sleep,
For God will not forget.
Out of the garden of playtime, out of the bower of rest,
Fain would I follow at daytime, music that calls to a quest.
Hark, how the galloping measure
Quickens the pulses of pleasure;
Gaily saluting the morn
With the long clear note of the hunting-horn
Echoing up from the valley,
Over the mountain side,--
Rally, you hunters, rally,
Rally, and ride!
Drink of the magical potion music has mixed with her wine,
Full of the madness of motion, joyful, exultant, divine!
Leave all your troubles behind you,
Ride where they never can find you,
Into the gladness of morn,
With the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
Swiftly o'er hillock and hollow,
Sweeping along with the wind,--
Follow, you hunters, follow,
Follow and find!
What will you reach with your riding? What is the charm of the chase?
Just the delight and the striding swing of the jubilant pace.
Danger is sweet when you front her,--
In at the death, every hunter!
Now on the breeze the mort is borne
In the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
Winding merrily, over and over,--
Come, come, come!
Home again, Ranger! home again, Rover!
Turn again, home!
Now let the sleep-tune blend with the play-tune,
Weaving the mystical spell of the dance;
Lighten the deep tune, soften the gay tune,
Mingle a tempo that turns in a trance.
Half of it sighing, half of it smiling,
Smoothly it swings, with a triplicate beat;
Calling, replying, yearning, beguiling,
Wooing the heart and bewitching the feet.
Every drop of blood
Rises with the flood,
Rocking on the waves of the strain;
Youth and beauty glide
Turning with the tide--
Music making one out of twain,
Bearing them away, and away, and away,
Like a tone and its terce--
Till the chord dissolves, and the dancers stay,
Violins leading, take up the measure,
Turn with the tune again,--clarinets clear
Answer their pleading,--harps full of pleasure
Sprinkle their silver like light on the mere.
Merry little motes,
Tangled in the haze
Of the lamp's golden rays,
In the air,
Like a spray,--
Till the fuller stream of the might of the tune,
Gliding like a dream in the light of the moon,
Bears them all away, and away, and away,
Floating in the trance of the dance.
Then begins a measure stately,
Languid, slow, serene;
All the dancers move sedately,
Stepping leisurely and straitly,
With a courtly mien;
Crossing hands and changing places,
Bowing low between,
While the minuet inlaces
Waving arms and woven paces,--
Where is she whose form is folden
In its royal sheen?
>From our longing eyes withholden
By her mystic girdle golden,
Beauty sought but never seen,
Music walks the maze, a queen.
Music, they do thee wrong who say thine art
Is only to enchant the sense.
For every timid motion of the heart,
And every passion too intense
To bear the chain of the imperfect word,
And every tremulous longing, stirred
By spirit winds that come we know not whence
And go we know not where,
And every inarticulate prayer
Beating about the depths of pain or bliss,
Like some bewildered bird
That seeks its nest but knows not where it is,
And every dream that haunts, with dim delight,
The drowsy hour between the day and night,
The wakeful hour between the night and day,--
Imprisoned, waits for thee,
Impatient, yearns for thee,
The queen who comes to set the captive free
Thou lendest wings to grief to fly away,
And wings to joy to reach a heavenly height;
And every dumb desire that Storms within the breast
Thou leadest forth to sob or sing itself to rest.
All these are thine, and therefore love is thine.
For love is joy and grief,
And trembling doubt, and certain-sure belief,
And fear, and hope, and longing unexpressed,
In pain most human, and in rapture brief
Love would possess, yet deepens when denied;
And love would give, yet hungers to receive;
Love like a prince his triumph would achieve;
And like a miser in the dark his joys would hide.
Love is most bold:
He leads his dreams like armed men in line;
Yet when the siege is set, and he must speak,
Calling the fortress to resign
Its treasure, valiant love grows weak,
And hardly dares his purpose to unfold.
Less with his faltering lips than with his eyes
He claims the longed-for prize:
Love fain would tell it all, yet leaves the best untold.
But thou shalt speak for love. Yea, thou shalt teach
The mystery of measured tone,
The Pentecostal speech
That every listener heareth as his own.
For on thy head the cloven tongues of fire,--
Diminished chords that quiver with desire,
And major chords that glow with perfect peace,--
Have fallen from above;
And thou canst give release
In music to the burdened heart of love.
Sound with the 'cellos' pleading, passionate strain
The yearning theme, and let the flute reply
In placid melody, while violins complain,
And sob, and sigh,
With muted string;
Then let the oboe half-reluctant sing
Of bliss that trembles on the verge of pain,
While 'cellos plead and plead again,
With throbbing notes delayed, that would impart
To every urgent tone the beating of the heart.
So runs the andante, making plain
The hopes and fears of love without a word.
Then comes the adagio, with a yielding theme
Through which the violas flow soft as in a dream,
While horns and mild bassoons are heard
In tender tune, that seems to float
Like an enchanted boat
Upon the downward-gliding stream,
Toward the allegro's wide, bright sea
Of dancing, glittering, blending tone,
Where every instrument is sounding free,
And harps like wedding-chimes are rung, and trumpets blown
Around the barque of love
That sweeps, with smiling skies above,
A royal galley, many-oared,
Into the happy harbour of the perfect chord.
Light to the eye and Music to the ear,--
These are the builders of the bridge that springs
>From earths's dim shore of half-remembered things
To reach the spirit's home, the heavenly sphere
Where nothing silent is and nothing dark.
So when I see the rainbow's arc
Spanning the showery sky, far-off I hear
Music, and every colour sings:
And while the symphony builds up its round
Full sweep of architectural harmony
Above the tide of Time, far, far away I see
A bow of colour in the bow of sound.
Red as the dawn the trumpet rings,
Imperial purple from the trombone flows,
The mellow horn melts into evening rose.
Blue as the sky, the choir of strings
Darkens in double-bass to ocean's hue,
Rises in violins to noon-tide's blue,
With threads of quivering light shot through and through.
Green as the mantle that the summer flings
Around the world, the pastoral reeds in time
Embroider melodies of May and June.
Yellow as gold,
Yea, thrice-refined gold,
And purer than the treasures of the mine,
Floods of the human voice divine
Along the arch in choral song are rolled.
So bends the bow complete:
And radiant rapture flows
Across the bridge, so full, so strong, so sweet,
That the uplifted spirit hardly knows
Whether the Music-Light that glows
Within the arch of tones and colours seven
Is sunset-peace of earth, or sunrise-joy of Heaven.
SEA AND SHORE
Music, I yield to thee;
As swimmer to the sea
I give my Spirit to the flood of song:
Bear me upon thy breast
In rapture and at rest,
Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong;
From strife and struggle bring release,
And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.
Remember'd songs, most dear,
In living songs I hear,
While blending voices gently swing and sway
In melodies of love,
Whose mighty currents move,
With singing near and singing far away;
Sweet in the glow of morning light,
And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.
Music, in thee we float,
And lose the lonely note
Of self in thy celestial-ordered strain,
Until at last we find
The life to love resigned
In harmony of joy restored again;
And songs that cheered our mortal days
Break on the coast of light in endless hymns of praise.