One Little Song

For you ‘one little song to sing
That deep within your heart
May live, a sweet and sacred thing
From all the world apart.’

A song? -the rhythmic rapture of
A passion that endures! -
And one, alone, for you? Ah, Love,
When all my songs are yours!

Night Wind, The

The night wind in its passing
Sweeps the blossoms of the tree,
And fragrance, like a melody,
Is wafted up to me.

I know not whence, nor whither,
Of fragrance born, of song,
But O, but O, the memories
Tonight that ‘round me throng!


Blue waves that wash a curved beach
Of sand, like drifted snow;
Song-waves, that sing in silvery speech,
A music soft and low.

A cloudless sun in heaven’s blue sweep;
Great stars, how near that seem!
The night an hour of sea-lulled sleep,
The day a rosy dream.

As bright the dew upon the rose,
Though no eye sees its glisten;
As sweet the song the singer sings,
Though none may look nor listen.

What matter if the world go by
Nor praise nor incense bringing!
Sing as the birds, God’s poets, sing
For the full joy of singing.

I: ‘Whose Name Was Writ In Water’

Too high he soared above his multitude-
Singer of Youth immortal and of Art-
Today whose name is writ in the warm blood
Of every human heart.

II: ‘Cor Cordium’

And he, twin-soul, vibrant, pulsating still,
Voices of song made perfect, every vale
Of English soil and English tongue who thrill,
Shelly, the lark, and Keats, the nightingale.

A bird flies over the sea-
Over the golden sea,
With a message from me to thee,
O my beloved!

Swift to thy lattice bar,
My life, my beloved,
Under the morning-star
He shall rest where my soul-thoughts are,
O my beloved.

He shall ‘light in the viny rings;
At the window fastenings
He shall beat with his eager wings,
O my beloved.

And ah! for the wild, sweet note,
My dove, my beloved;
And O for the mad, sweet note
That shall float from his honeyed throat,
O love, my beloved!

At The Dawn (Song)

Awake, beloved! my heart awakes, -
Though still in slumber lies
The world; the pearl of morning breaks
Along the eastern skies.
The moon, the stars, that rule the night,
And look on land and sea,
A pathway are of luring light
My spirit walks to thee.

‘Wake! ere between again shall lift
The day his lance of flame;
From the still shores of dreamland drift
One hour to love’s dear claim.
O love! My love! the shadows part, -
Thine eager arms I see, -
“As for the water-brook the hart, ”
So is my soul for thee!

It befell me on a day-
Long ago; ah, long ago!
When my life was in its May,
In the May-month of the year.
All the orchards were like snow
With pink-flushes here and there;
And a bird sang building near-
And a bird sang far away,
Where the early twilight lay.

Long ago; ah, long ago!
Youth’s sweet May passed quite away-
May that never more is May.
And I hear the nightingale
Singing far adown the vale
Where the early twilight lies:
Singing sad, and sweet, and strong;
And I wonder if the song
May be heard in Paradise!

Unknown Great, The

Note to the brave on the battle-field
Alone, the palms of victory belong,
Nor only to the great of earth the song
Of praise and paean should the singer yield.
Greater the souls, who single-handed, wield
The battle-axe against the hosts of wrong,
Unknown, unnoted, in life’s reckless throng,
And only in God’s day to stand revealed.
Ah, by our side in patient, humble guise,
How many walk the silent conqueror’s way! -
As fixed stars in fame’s eternal skies
Their stainless luster worthiest to shine.
Unlaureled heroes! Reverently I lay
Low at your feet this tribute leaf of mine.

In the garden that I know,
Only palest blossoms blow.

There the lily, purest nun,
Hides her white face from the sun,

And the maiden rose-bud stirs
In a garment fair as hers.

One shy bird, with folded wings,
Sits within the leaves and sings;

Sits and sings the daylight long,
Just a patient plaintive song.

Other gardens greet the spring
With a blaze of blossoming;

Other song-birds, piping clear:
Chorus from the branches near:

But my blossoms, palest known,
Bloom for me and me alone;

And my birdling, sad and lonely,
Sings for me, and for me only.

A Leaf For Memory

Not to the brave upon the battle-field
Alone, the palms of victory belong;
Nor only to the great of earth the song
Of praise and paean should the singer yield.
Greater the souls that, single handed, wield
The battle-ax against the hosts of wrong,
Unknown, un-noted, in life’s reckless throng,
And only in God’s day to stand revealed.
How many such, in patient, humble guise,
Beside us walk their grief-appointed way!
Nobly enduring; worthiest to shine
As fixed stars in fame’s eternal skies.
For these, for this, I reverently lay
On her dear dust this little leaf of mine.

‘ All These I Will Give Thee’

World plaudits!
Glamour of the tinsel crowd
In adulation! Fame, the meator Fame,
And Youth, still golden Youth!
The price-a Soul.

Failure! -if it be failure still to hold
The Dream unbroken!
Bent, paupered, old-
The great World turned aside,
Ever unhearing, from that Voice divine.
But still, else lost, the Voice divine his own,
No accent missing,
Still each cord supreme!
Failure! -if it be failure-his to be,
The Soul’s immortal Youth upon his brow,
One with endless rapture of all Sound,
Song of all Song,
The music of the spheres-
God’s Hand upon the Keys!

Flight Of Song, The

How may the poet sing
When Song is far away?
He has no charm to bring,
No power of yea or nay,
To lure that peerless wing,
To bid it go or stay.
How may the poet sing
With Song so far away?

Bind-and her voice is dumb;
She droops, she dies.
Loose her- no echoes come
From her far skies.
Farther she mounts, and higher;
Elate, elusive still,
She knows alone one will-
Her own desire.
O lingering delay!
When, lo, on one glad day,
Into the heart she slips
With swift surprise!
Her touch upon the lips,
Upon the eyes,
And all life’s pulses thrill,
And all the world is spring-
Is spring in Paradise:
Then may the poet sing!

For the fledgeling bird-life stilled,
Its wings untaught,
Its music all untrilled;
For the poet’s voiceless thought,
The song unsung;
For the loving heart unsought;
Hope, fair and sweet and young,
Dead-nor forgot;
For the seed that is not sown,
And the bud that falls unblown,
What shall atone?

Somewhere the seed must spring.
The song be sung;
Somewhere, green boughs among,
The bird must sing,
Must brood and build;
Somewhere, the heart be wooed;
Somewhere, far out of pain,
Hope, fair and strong, again
Rise from the tomb.
Somewhere, for God is good,
Life’s blossoms, unfilled,
Must spring from dust and gloom
To perfect bloom.

At The Hill’s Base

O singers, singing up the laureled height
Whereon song dwells-with thoughts to rhyme that run
As flowers unfold and gladden the sun-
Have ye no room for one
Whose soul uplift with longing infinite,
Findeth in song alone
The perfect meed and measure of delight?

Like to a reed in some still river-bed
That grew, with drowsy lotus-leaves afloat-
A reed some child hath plucked and fashioned
Flute-wise, to take within the young mouth’s red,
And blow one shrill, clear note;

Lo, such am I! Upon the crowned hill,
For one so lacking skill
Have ye no room, O singers, at whose feet
The lowliest place were sweet?
No space where one that can not sing, indeed,
May pipe the slender music of the reed,
O, thou divinest song,
That I have loved so long!

On Hearing Mr. Edgar S. Kelley’s Music 0f “macbeth”

O Melody, what children strange are these
From thy most vast, illimitable realm!
These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
The soul with shuddering ecstacy! Lo! here
The night is, and the deeds that make night fear;
Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees
Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned,
Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land;
The incantation of the Sisters Three,
Nameless of deed and name, -the mystic chords
Weird repetitions of the mystic words;
The mad, remorseful terrors of the Thane,
And bloody hands-which bloody must remain.
Last, the wild march, and battle hand and hand
Of clashing arms, in awful harmony,
Sublimely grand, and terrible as grand!
The clan-cries; the barbaric trumpetry;
And the one fateful note, that, throughout all,
Leads, follows, calls, compels, and holds in thrall.

Edward Rowland Sill

Bay and cypress bring we here
For a poet on his bier.

Laurel for the songs he sung,
Cypress for the harp unstrung’
Ere life’s deepest deep was stirred,
And the fullest chord was heard.

All to soon the music dumb,
All to soon the Silence come.

Yet among the crowned throng
In the realms of deathless song,
Through her late born minstrelsies,
Rings no truer tone than his.

In the land he loved so well
Green his memory will dwell
As the spring-sown leafage spread
O’er the hills he used to tread,
Watching, through the Golden Gate,
Golden sunsets lingering late.

Leave the world his name and fame, -
Ours is yet a dearer claim.

Leave the world the Poet’s art, -
Ours the soul’s diviner part:
All its treasures manifold,
All the Man’s unsullied gold,
We who knew him first and best,
Last will hold, and tenderest.

Bay and cypress leave we here,
Poet, -friend, -upon thy bier.

Pleasant as sound of falling rain among
The summer leaves, and the sweet as after rain
The moist earth is when the sun shines again,
The measure and the music of his song.
Not to his muse, most gentle, may belong
The throb of passion, the wild pulse of pain;
Upon his perfect purity no stain;
And the world’s turmoil would but do him wrong.
But with a tender ministry he glides
Into our hearts, and like an angel guest
That presence evermore with us abides
With healing, strength; with comforting and rest.
O, bard beloved! the blessed labor thine
To show thine art how pure, and how divine.

He sang the New World’s song unto the Old:
The fading story of a fading race
Revived upon his lips in numbers bold,
Art without art, and grace untaught of grace.
With master hand that wakened and controlled,
The lyres of other lands he made his own,
And gave the added magic of his tone,
Their golden legends touched with finer gold.
Well won thy bays-and not alone the bays,
O, poet! great as is thy meed of praise,
Greater the love that follows after thee
To that new life, new land; where, with calm eyes,
And brow serene, there greets thee lovingly,
Thy Dante, in the gates of Paradise!

Helen Hunt Jackson

(“H. H.”)

What songs found voice upon those lips,
What magic dwelt within the pen,
Whose music into silence slips-
Whose spell lives not again!

For her the clamorous to-day
The dreamful yesterday became;
The brands upon dead hearths that lay
Leaped into living flame....

Clear ring the silvery Mission bells
Their calls to vesper and to mass;
O’er vineyard slopes, thro’ fruited dells,
The long processions pass;

The pale Franciscan lifts in air
The Cross, above the kneeling throng;
Their simple world how sweet with pray’r,
With chant and matin-song!

There, with her dimpled, lifted hands,
Parting the mustard’s golden plumes,
The dusk maid, Ramona, stands
Amid the sea of blooms.

And Alessandro, type of all
His broken tribe, forevermore
An exile, hears the stranger call
Within his father’s door.

The visions vanish and are not,
Still are the sounds of peace and strive, -
Passed with the earnest heart and thought
Which lured them back to life.

O, sunset land! O, land of vine,
And rose, and bay! In silence here
Let fall one little leaf of thine,
With love, upon her bier.

To-Day’s Singing

Weave me a rhyme to-day:
No pleasant roundelay.
But some vague, restless yearning of the heart
Shaped with but little art
To broken numbers, that shall glow
Most dreamily and slow.
I think no cherry fancy should belong
To this day’s song.

Look how the maple stands.
Waving its bleeding hands.
With such weird gestures; and the petals fall
From the dry roses-pale, nor longer sweet:
And by the garden-wall
The unclasped vines, and all
These sad dead leaves, a-rustle at our feet.

Dear bodies of the flowers,
From which the little fragrant souls are fled,
Beside you, lying dead,
We say, “Another summer shall be ours
When all these naked boughs shall flush and flame
With fresh, young blossoms.” Aye, but not the same!
And that is saddest. By the living bloom,
Who cares for last year’s beauty-in the tomb?

Spring, blossom, and decay.
Ah, poet, sing thy day-
So brief a day, alas! . . . .
Beloved, and shall we pass
Beneath the living grass,
Out from the glad, warm splendor of the sun?
A little dust about some old tree’s root,
With all our voices mute,
And all our singing done?

“The song were sweeter and better
If only the thought were glad.”
Be hidden the chafe of the fetter,
The scars of the wounds you have had;
Be silent of strife and endeavor,
But shout of the victory won!
You may sit in the shadow forever,
If only you’ll sing of the sun.

There are hearts, you must know, over tender
With the wine of the joy-cup of years;
One might dim for a moment the splendor
Of eyes unaccustomed to tears:
So sing, if you must, with the gladness
That brimmed the lost heart of your youth,
Lest you breath, in the song and its sadness,
The secret of life at its truth.

O, violets, born of the valley,
You are sweet in the sun and the dew;
But your sisters, in yonder dim alley,
Are sweeter-and paler-than you!
O, birds, you are blith in the meadow,
But your mates of the forest I love;
And sweeter their songs in the shadow,
Though sadder the singing thereof!

To the weary in life’s wildernesses
The soul of the singer belongs.
Small need, in your green, sunny places,
Glad dwellers, have you of my songs.
For you the blith birds of the meadow
Trill silverly sweet, every one;
But I can not sit in the shadow
Forever, and sing of the sun.

Colonel’s Toast, The *

‘May the Lord love us and not call for us Too Soon’

Unto the little child whose happy heart
With dancing feet keeps merry time and tune,
When death comes, and the life-plan falls apart,
‘Too soon, ’ we cry; ‘Alas, too soon, too soon! ’

To youth, the dreamer, in whose vision lies
Life, one long splendid day of splendid June,
While Love, the great enchantress, veils his eyes,
Too soon the latest summons, all too soon.

Even to the heart grown old with years and care,
Whose song of life is set to saddest rune, -
Youth’s shinning curls, and age’s thin gray hair,
Alike the cry, ‘Too soon the call, too soon! ’

O Death! Thou truest friend of this sad earth,
Drawing our souls as draws the tides, the moon,
When shall we know thee, not as death but birth
To that new life, which may not be to soon?

We count the vacant chairs where used to sit
Dear friends with merry jest, and laugh, and tune,
Called hence, ah! question not the truth of it-
To us but not to them, ‘Too soon, too soon! ’

It must be that from some diviner sphere
Back-looking to earth’s morn and night and noon,
We yet shall say, ‘Our world was fair and dear,
But loving us God might not call too soon.’

* Written for the Bohemian Club.

I gathered flowers the summer long;
I dozed the days on sunny leas,
And wove my fancies into song,
Or dreamed in aimless ease.

Or watched, from jutting cliffs, the dyes
Of changeful waters under me-
The lazy gulls that dip and rise,
White specs upon the sea;

And far away, where blue to blue
Was wed, the ships that came and went;
And thought O happy world! And drew
There from a full content.

My mates toiled in the ripening field,
Nor paused for rest in cool or heat;
The yellow grain made haste to yield
Its harvesting complete:

My mates toiled in their pleasant homes,
They plucked the fruit from laden boughs,
And sang-“For if the Master comes
And find no ready house! ”-

And far and strange their singing seemed,
And harsh the voices every one,
That woke the pleasant dream I dream’d
To thought of tasks undone.

Yet still I waited, lingered still,
Won by a cloud-a soaring lark;
Till, by-and-by, the land was chill,
And all the sky was dark.

And lo, the Master! -Through the night
My mates come forth to welcome Him:
Their labor done, their garments white,
While mine are stained and dim.

They bring to Him their golden sheaves;
To Him their finished toil belongs;
While I have but these withered leaves,
And these poor, foolish songs!

Chosen Hour, The

Not when the earth, supine,
In sultry summer-shine
Panted in tawny vesture, leonine;
Panted amid the main
Of billowy golden grain
And golden-tasseled corn;
Faint with the odors, born
Of field and fallow-waving fan and plume
Of the hot tropic bloom,
The lilies’ luster and the roses’ flame,
The pure Redeemer came;
Not with the argosies
Borne on the teeming tides of harvestries,
When ripened fruits fall to the ripened sheaves,
And rainbows tangle in the drifted leaves.

Not when, the woods within,
The brown, bared boughs begin,
Green speck on speck,
Their nakedness to deck,
Till branch and tree glow as with emerald fire;
And one by one return the forest-choir,
Note answering note
From feathered throat to throat,
Pipe, trill. flute, carol-till full song takes wing
With budded sunshine-choruses that ring
To the glad world awakening, the glad Spring-
Came He our Lord and King.

But at earth’s travail-hour!
In time of tempest-lower
And wild winds’ roar,
And maddened ocean-shock
Upon the livid rock,
And drenched, drowned shore.
When from the shuddering cold
The shepherd leads his bleating flock to fold,
And all things seek release
From earth’s wild tumult, came the Prince of Peace!
And from the heavens-those centuries ago-
The New Star shone upon the wastes of snow.

Midwinter East And West

No flower in all the land-
No leaf upon the tree,
Blossom, or bud, or fruit,
But an icy fringe instead;
And the birds are flown, or dead,
And the world is mute.
The white, cold moonbeams shiver
On the dark face of the river,
While still and slow the waters flow
Out to the open sea;
The moveless pine-trees stand,
Black fortressed on the hill;
And white, and cold, and still,
Wherever the eye may go,
The ghostly snow:
The vast, unbroken silence of snow.

I l; ook out upon the night,
And the darkly flowing river,
And the near stars, with no quiver
In their calm and steady light,
And listen for the voice of the great sea,
And the silence answers me.
O Sea of the West, that comes
With a sound as of rolling drums,
With a muffled beat
As of marching feet,
Up the long lifts of sand,
The golden drifts of sand,
On the long, long shining strand.
An opal, rimmed with blue,
An emerald, shinning through
The pearl’s and ruby’s dyes,
And crests that catch the blaze
Of the diamond’s rays,
Under thy perfect skies!

O Land of the West, I know
How the field flowers bud and blow,
And the grass springs and the grain,
To the first soft touch and summons of the rain.
O, the music of the rain!
O, the music of the streams!
Dream music, heard in dreams,
As I listen through the night,
While the snow falls, still and white.
I hear the branches sway
In the breeze’s play,
And the forests’ solemn hymns:
Almost I hear the stir
Of the sap in their mighty limbs
Like blood in living veins!
The rose is in the lanes,
And the insects buzz and whir;
And where the purple fills
The spaces of the hills,
In one swift month the poppy will lift up
Its golden cup.
And O, and O, in the sunshine and the rain,
Rings out that perfect strain, -
The earth’s divinest song!
My bird with the plain, brown breast,
My lark of the golden west,
Up, up, thy joy notes soar,
And sorrow is no more,
And pain has passed away
In the rapture of thy lay!
Up, up, the glad notes throng,
And the soul is borne along
On the pinions of thy song,
Up from the meadow’s sod,
Up from the world’s unrest,
To peace, to heaven, to God!

And I listen through the silence of the night,
While the snow falls, still and white.

A Song Of The Summer Wind

Balmily, balmily, summer wind,
Sigh through the mountain-passes,
Over the sleep of the beautiful deep,
Over the woods’ green masses;
Ripple the grain of the valley and plain,
And the reeds and the river grasses!

How many songs, O summer wind,
How many songs you know,
Of fair, sweet things in your wanderings,
As over the earth you go-
To the Norland bare and bleak, from where
The red south roses blow.

Where the red south blossoms blow, O wind,
(Sing low to me, low and silly!)
And the golden green of the citrons lean
To the white of the saintly lily;
Where the sun-rays drowse in the orange-boughs,
(Sing, sing, for the heart grows chilly!)
And the belted bee hangs heavily
In rose and daffodilly.

I know a song, O summer wind,
A song of a willow-tree:
Soft as the sweep of its fringes deep
In languorous swoons of tropic noons,
But sad as sad can be!
Yet I would you might sing it, summer wind,
I would you might sing it me.

(O, tremulous, musical murmur of leaves!
O mystical melancholy
Of waves that call from the far sea-wall! -
Shall I render your meaning wholly
Ere the day shall wane to the night again,
And the stars come, slowly, slowly?)

I would you might sing me, summer wind,
A song of a little chamber:
Sing soft, sing low, how the roses grow
And the starry jasmines clamber;
Through the emerald rifts how the moonlight drifts,
And the sulight’s wellow amber.

Sing of a hand in the fluttering leaves,
Like a wee white bird in its nest;
Of a white hand twined in the leaves to find
A bloom for the fair young breast.
Sing of my love, my little love,
My snow-white dove in her nest,
As she looks through the fragrant jasmine leaves
Into the wasting west.

Tenderly. Tenderly, summer wind,
With murmurous word-caresses,
O, wind of the south, to her beautiful mouth
Did you cling with your balmy kisses-
Flutter and float o’er the white, white throat,
And ripple the golden tresses?

“The long year growth from green to gold, ”
Saith the song of the willow-tree;
“My tresses cover, my roots enfold.”
O, summer wind, sing it me!
Lorn and dreary, sad and weary,
As lovers that parted be___
But sweet as the grace of a fair young face
I never again may see!

Singer Of The Sea, The

In Memory of Celia Thaxter.

There is a shadow on the sea!
And a murmur, and a moan,
In its muffed monotone,
Like a solemn threnody;
And the sea-gulls, on their white
Pinions, moving to and fro,

Are like phantoms, in their flight;
As they sweep from off the gray,
Misty headlands, far away,
And about the Beacon Light,
Wheel in circles, low and slow,
Wheel and circle, peer and cry,
As though seeling, restlessly,
Something vanished from their sight.
As though listening for the clear
Tones they never more may hear, -
Music missing from the day,
Music, missing from the night, -
Through the years, that wax and wane,
That may never sound again.

She, who ever loved the sea,
Loved and voiced its minstrelsy, -
Sang its white-caps, tossing free,
Sang the ceasless breaker-shocks,
Dashing, crashing, on the rocks,
Sang itsmoon-drawn tides, its speech,
Silver-soft, upon the beach,
Walks the margin’s golden floor, -
Floats upon its breast no more,

Nay! how know we this to be?
That the forms we may not see,
Passed from mortal touch and ken,

Never come to earth again?
When the brittle house of clay
From the spirit breaks away,
Does the mind forego its will?
Is the voice’s music still?
Do the hands forget their skill?
From the harp-great homer’s heart, -
Do not mighty numbers come?
Lost, divinest Raphael’s art,
And the lips of Shakespeare dumb?
All the years of joy and pain
That are lived, but lived in vain;
Memory’s graven page a blot,
Unrecorded and forgot!

Oh, believe, believe it not!
Man is God’s incarnate thought:
Life, with all the gifts He gave,
All the wondrous powers He wrought,
Finds not ending at the grave.
Part, himself, of Deity,
Man, the spirit, can not die.
“In my Father’s house are
Many mansions.” Did Christ say
Whether near, or whether far?
It may be beside us still
Bide these forms invisible;
Or, if passed to realms away,
Beyond sight’s remotest star,

Does that bind the soul to stay, -
Never, never, to retrace
The golden passage-ways of space? -
As a parted child might yearn
For the mothers arms, and turn,
Fain to look on Earth’s dear face.
‘Twixt the heart that loves and her
Space could place no barrier:
Thought, that swifter is than light,
Leaps a universe in flight.

So I love to think, indeed,
That this singing spirit, free
From her lesser, lower height-

Soaring to the Infinite, -
Turns with loving eyes, and a smile,
Still Sees the tower’s beacon-light,
Shining safely through the night;
Sees the white surf as it rolls
Round her treasured Isle of Shoals, -
Looking from that vaster sea,
Which we name Eternity.

From Living Waters

Commencement poem, written for the
University of California, June,1876.

“Into the balm of the clover,
Into the dawn and the dew,
Come, O my poet, my lover,
Single of spirit and true!

“ Sweeter the song of the throstle
Shall ring from its nest in the vine,
And the lark, my beloved apostle,
Shall chant thee a gospel divine.

“Ah! not to the dullard, the schemer,
I of my fullness may give,
But thou, whom the world calleth dreamer,
Drink of my fountains and live! ”

O, and golden in the sun did the river waters run,
O, and golden in its shinning all the mellow land-
scape lay;
And the poet’s simple rhyme blended softly with
the chime
Of the bells that rang the noontide, in the city,
far away.

And the gold and amethyst of the thin. Trans-
parent mist,
Lifted, drifted from the ocean to the far hori-
zon’s rim,
Where the white, transfigured ghost of some ves-
sel, long since lost,
Half in cloud and half in billow, trembled on
its utmost brim.

And I said, “Most beautiful, in the noontide
dream and lull,
Art thou, Nature, sweetest mother, in thy sum-
mer raiment drest;
Aye, in all thy moods and phases, lovingly I
name thy praises,
Yet through all my love and longing chafeth
still the old unrest.”

“Art thou a-worn and a-weary,
Sick with the doubts that perplex,
Come from thy wisdom most dreary,
Less fair than the faith which it wrecks.”

“Not in the tomes of the sages
Lieth the word to thy need;
Truer my blossomy pages,
Sweeter their lessons to read.”

“Aye, ” I said, “but con it duly, who may read
the lesson truly;
Who may grasp the mighty meaning, hidden
past our finding out?
From the weary search unsleeping, what is yielded
to our keeping?
All our knowledge, peradventure; all our wisdom
merely doubt!

“O my earth, to know thee fully! I that love
thee, singly, wholly!
In the beauty thou art veiled; in thy melody
art dumb.
Once, unto my perfect seeing give this mystery
of being;
Once, thy silence breaking, tell me, whither go
we? whence we come? ”

And I heard the rustling leaves, and the sheaves
against the sheaves
Clashing lightly, clashing brightly, as they rip-
ened in the sun;
And the gracious air astir with the insect hum
and whirr,
And the merry plash and ripple where the river
waters run:
Heard the anthem of the sea-that most mighty
Only these; yet something deeper than to own
my spirit willed.
Like a holy calm descending, with my inmost
being blending-
Like the “Peace” to troubled waters, that are
pacified and stilled.

And I said: “Ah, what are we? Children at the
Master’s knee-
Little higher than these grasses glancing upward
from the sods!
Just the few first pages turning in His mighty
book of learning-
We, mere atoms of beginning, that would wres-
tle with the gods! ”

“In the least one of my daisies
Deeper a meaning is set,
Than the seers ye crown with your praises,
Have wrung from the centuries yet.

“Leave them their doubt and derision;
Lo, to the knowledge I bring,
Clingeth no dimness of vision!
Come, O my chosen, my king!

“Out from the clouds that cover,
The night that would blind and betray,
Come, O my poet, my lover,
Into the golden day! ”

O, and deeper through the calm rolled the cease-
less ocean psalm;
O, and brighter in the sunshine all the meadows
stretched away;
And a little lark sang clear from the willow
branches near,
And the glory and the gladness closed about me
where I lay.

And I said: “Aye, verily, waiteth yet the mas-
ter key,
All these mysteries that shall open, though to
surer hand than mine;
All these doubts of our discerning, to the peace
of knowledge turning,
All our darkness, which is human, to the light,
Which is devine! ”


The sea-tides ebb and flow;
The seasons come and go,
Summer and sun succeed the cloud and snow,
And April rain awakes the violet.
Earth puts away
Her somber robes, and cheeks with tear-drops wet
In some sad yesterday
Dimple again with smiles, and half forget
Their grief, as the warm rose
Forgets the night-dews when the noontide glows.

Change follows upon change
Swift as the hours; and far away, and strange
As the dim memory of night’s troubled dream
In dawn’s returning beam,
Seem the dark, troubled years,
The sad, but glorious years,
Writ on the nation’s heart in blood and tears.

Ah, God! and yet we know
It was no dream in those days, long ago:
It was no dream, the beat
To arms, the steady tramp along the street
Of answering thousands, quick with word and deed
Unto their country’s need;
No dream the banners, flinging, fresh and fair
Their colors on the air-
Not stained and worn like these
Returning witnesses,
With sad, dumb lips, most eloquent of those
Returning nevermore!
Of those on many a hard-fought battlefield,
From hand to hand that bore
Their starry folds, and, knowing not to yield,
Fell, with a brave front steady to their foes.

Year after year the spring steals back again,
Bringing the bird and blossom in her train,
Beauty and melody,
But they return no more!
Borne on what tides of pain,
Over the unknown sea,
Unto the unknown shore:
Amid the pomp and show
Of glittering ranks, the cannon’s smoke and roar,
Tossed in the rock and reel
Of the wild waves of battle to and fro,
Amid the roll of drums, the ring of steel,
The clash of sabre, and the fiery hell
Of bursting shot and shell,
The scream of wounded steeds, the thunder tones
Of firm command, the prayers, the cheers, the groans, -
War’s mingled sounds of triumph and despair.
Blending with trumpet-blast and bugle-blare.

But not alone amid the battle wrack
They died, - our brave true men.
By southern glade and glen,
In dark morass, within whose pathless deeps,
The serpent coils and creeps,
They fell, with the fierce bloodhound on their track.
Amid the poisonous breath
Of crowded cells, and the rank, festering death
Of the dread prison-pen;
From dreary hospital,
And the dear, sheltering wall
Of home, that claimed them but to lose again,
They passed away, - the army of our slain!

O leader! Tried and true,
What words may speak of thee?
Last sacrifice divine,
Upon our country’s shrine!
O man, that toward above
Thy follow-men, with heart the tenderest,
And “whitest soul the nation ever knew! ”
Bravest and kingliest!
We lay our sorrow down
Before thee, as a crown;
We fold thee with our love
In silence: where are words to speak of thee?

For us the budded laughter of the May
Is beautiful to-day,
Upon the land, but nevermore for them,
Our heroes gone the rose upon its stem
Unfolds, or the fair lily blooms to bless
Their living eyes, with its pure loveliness;
No song-bird at the morn
Greets them with gladness of a day new-born;
No kiss of a child or wife
Warms their cold lips again to love and life,
Breaking sweet slumbers with as sweet release.
They may not wake again!
But from the precious soil,
Born of their toil-
Nursed with what crimson rain-
We pluck to-day the snow-white flower of peace.

He does not die, who in a noble cause
Renders his life: immortal as the laws
By which God rules the universe is he.
Silence his name may hold,
His fame untold
In all the annals of earth’s great may be,
But, bounded by no span
Of years which rounds the common lot of man,
Lo! he is one
Henceforward, with the work which he has done,
Whose meed and measure is Eternity.

They are not lost to us, they still are ours,
They do not rest. Cover their graves with flowers-
Earth’s fairest treasures, fashioned with skill,
Which makes the daisy’s disk a miracle
No less than man. On monument and urn,
Let their rich fragrance burn,
Like incense on a altar; softly spread
A royal mantle o’er each unmarked bed,
And, as a jeweled-rain,
Drop their bright petals for the nameless dead
And lonely, scattered wide
On plain and mountain-side,
Beneath the wave, and by the river-tide.
So let them rest
Upon their country’s breast.
They have not died in vain:
Through them she lives, with head no longer bowed
Among the nations, but erect and proud-
Washed clean of wrong and shame,
Her freedom never more an empty name,
Her all her scattered stars as one again.

Was it the sigh and shiver of the leaves?
Was it the murmer of the meadow brook,
That in and out the reeds and water weeds
Slipped silverly, and on their tremulous keys
Uttered her many melodies? Or voice
Of the far sea, red with the sunset gold,
That sang within her shining shores, and sang
Within the gate, that in the sunset shone
A gate of fire against the outer world?

For, ever as I turned the magic page
Of that old song the old, blind singer sang
Unto the world, when it and song were young—
The ripple of the reeds, or odorous,
Soft sigh of leaves, or voice of the far sea-
A mystical, low murmur, tremulous
Upon the wind, came in with musk of rose,
The salt breath of the waves, and far, faint smell
Of laurel up the slopes of Tamalpais....

“Am I less fair, am I less fair than these,
Daughters of far-off seas?

Daughters of far-off shores, - bleak, over-blown
With foam of fretful tides, with wail and moan
Of waves, that toss wild hands, that clasp and beat
Wild, desolate hands above the lonely sands,
Printed no more with pressure of their feet:
That chase no more the light feet flying swift
Up golden sands, nor lift
Foam fingers white unto their garment hem,
And flowing hair of them.

“For these are dead: the fair, great queens are dead!
The long hair’s gold a dust the wind bloweth
Wherever it may list;
The curved lips, that kissed
Heroes and kings of men, a dust that breath,
Nor speech, nor laughter, ever guickeneth;
And all the glory sped
From the large, marvelous eyes, the light whereof
Wrought wonder in their hearts, - desire, and love!
And wrought not any good:
But strife, and curses of the gods, and flood,
And fire and battle-death!
Am I less fair, less fair,
Because that my hands bear
Neither a sword, nor any flaming brand,
To blacken and make desolate my land,
But on my brows are leaves of olive boughs,
And in mine arms a dove!

“Sea-born and goddess, blossom of the foam
Pale Aphrodite, shadowy as a mist
Not any sun hath kissed!
Tawny of limb I roam,
The dusks of forests dark within my hair;
The far Yosemite,
For garment and for covering me,
Wove the white foam and mist,
The amber and the rose and amethyst
Of her wild fountains, shaken loose in air.
And I am of the hills and of the sea:
Strong with the strength of my great hills, and calm
With calm of the fair sea, whose billowy gold
Girdles the land whose queen and love I am!
Lo! Am I less than thou,
That with a sound of lyres, and harp-playing,
Not any voice doth sing
The beauty of mine eyelids and my brow?
Nor hymn in all my fair and gracious ways,
And lengths of golden days,
The measure and the music of my praise?

“Ah, what indeed is this
Old land beyond the seas, that ye should miss
For her the grace and majesty of mine?
Are not the fruits and vine
Fair on my hills, and in my vales the roses?
The palm-tree and the pine
Strike hands together under the same skies
In every wind that blows.
What clearer heavens can shine
Above the land whereon the shadow lies
Of her dead glory, and her slaughtered kings,

And lost, evanished gods?
Upon my fresh green sods
No king has walked to curse and desolate:
But in the valleys Freedom sits and sings,
And on ths heights above;
Upon her brows the leaves of olive boughs,
And in her arms a dove;
And the great hills are pure, undesecrate,
White with their snows untrod,
And mighty with the presence of their God!

“Harken, how many years
I sat alone, I sat alone and heard
Only the silence stirred
By wind and leaf, by clash of grassy spears,
And singing bird that called to singing bird.
Heard but the savage tongue
Of my brown savage children, that among
The hills and valleys chased the buck and doe,
And round the wigwam fires
Chanted wild songs of their wild savage sires,
And danced their wild, weird dances to and fro,
And wrought their beaded robes of buffalo.
Day following upon day,
Saw but the panther crouched upon the limb,
Smooth serpents, swift and slim,
Slip through the reeds and grasses, and the bear
Crush through his tangled lair
Of chapparal, upon the startled prey!

“Listen, how I have seen
Flash of strange fires in gorge and black ravine;
Heard the sharp clang of steel, that came to drain
The mountain’s golden vein-
And laughed and sang, and sang and laughed again,
Because that ‘now, ’ I said, ‘I shall be known!
I shall not set alone;
But reach my hands unto my sister lands!
And they? Will they not turn
Old, wondering dim eyes to me, and yearn-
Aye, they will yearn, in sooth,
To my glad beauty, and my glad fresh youth! ’

“What matters though the morn
Redden upon my singing fields of corn!
What matters though the wind’s unresting feet
Ripple the vales run with wine,
Ang on these hills of mine
The orchard boughs droop heavy with ripe fruit?
When with nor sound of lute
Nor lyre, doth any singer chant and sing
Me, in my life’s fair spring:
The matin song of me in my young day?
But all my lays and mountain to the farther hem
Of sea, and there be none to gather them.

“Lo! I have waited long!
How longer yet must my strung harp be dumb,
Ere its great master come?
Till the fair singer comes to wake the strong,
Rapt chords of it unto the new, glad song!

Him a diviner speech
My song-birds wait to teach:
The secrets of the field
My blossoms will not yeld
To other hands than his;
And, lingering for this,
My Laurels lend the glory of their boughs
To crown no narrower brows.
For on his lips must wisdom sit with youth,
And in his eyes, and on his lids thereof,
The light of a great love-
And on his forehead, truth! ”...

Was in the wind, or the soft sigh of leaves,
Or sound of singing waters? Lo, I looked,
And saw the silvery ripples of the brook,
The fruit upon the hills, the waving trees,
And mellow fields of harvest; saw the Gate
Burn in the sunset; the thin thread of mist
Creep white across the Saucelito hills;
Till the day darkened down the ocean rim,
The sunset purple slipped from Tamalpais,
And bay and sky were bright with sudden stars.