Honey-Throats, upon the boughs,
Piping all day long-
Sun-flecks in the leaves that house
Quickened into song-

In your notes a gospel lies-
Teach it yet to me! -
What the Maker in the skies
Meant His world to be.


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.

With A La France Rose

For a love with a light that can fashion
A glory that knows not eclipse,
What voice, when its uttermost passion
Sets of silence the seal on the lips?

Lo, here on the leaves of the blossom
Behold it, in symbol and sign,
And I send it, a throb from my bosom,
Beloved, to thine!

There are no comrade roses at my window,
No green things in the lane;
Upon the roof no sibilant soft patter-
The lullaby of rain;
Without is silence, and within is silence,
Till silence grows a pain.

Within is silence, and without is silence,
The snow is on the sill,
In snow the window wreath’d instead of roses,
And snow is very still....
I wonder is it singing in the grasses,
The rain, on Russian Hill?

Sea’s Answer, The

I am the Sea, which God’s controlling hand
Holds in command.
Subservient in seeming good or ill
To work His will.
Or if my voice in peace or pain be heard
I speak His word;
He shapes His purpose through world-wrack or rest
As seems Him best.

This globe-of his vast universe a part-
I am, thou art,
An atom, each, in the eternal plan
We may not scan.

In Time Of Storm

Sunshine and melody follow the rain-
Patter the rain-drops merrily!
Spring joy follows the winter pain,
Then, ho! For earth’s green holiday.

Flutter the rovers from over the sea-
Greet them, robin, right heartily!
Nest and twitter in field and tree,
And O! for loves sweet hoiday.

Wait, and the winds of the winter cease:
Up, little heart, beat hopefully!
After the warfare cometh peace-
And O! for a life’s glad holiday.

Sing, sky-lark, in the sky;
Sing, throstle- for love’s sake!
Sing sweet, as if no heart might ever break.

O, little summer-sigh
Of winds, that flutters down
The blossom-rain, as if no storms had blown!

Smile, flowers, along the way;
Your dainty beauty stirs
Such blessed thoughts, ye little comforters!

O Earth, for one kind day,
Let me be glad again-
Forgetting grief that is, and that has been!

Newly wedded, and happy quite,
Careless alike of wind and weather,
Two wee birds, from a merry flight,
Swing in the tree-top, sing together:
Love to them, in the wintry hour,
Summer and sunshine, bud and flower!

So, beloved, when skies are sad,
Love can render their somber golden;
A thought of thee, and the day is glad
As a rose in the dewy dawn unfolden;
And away, away, on passionate wings,
My heart like a bird at thy window sings!

The sea is a molten pearl,
And pearl the fleckless sky’
The firstling leaves unfurl,
And the air is a fragrant sigh.

A bird’s soft madrigal
In the pear-tree’s blossoming;
High on the church-spire tall
A white dove preens her wing.

The elemental strife
Lost in a peace profound,
In sound of quickened life
That yet is scarcely sound.

One with the starry chime
Earth keeps her rhythmic beat-
Our mother, old as time
With heart still young and sweet.

Who knoweth the hope that was born to me,
When the spring-time came with its greenery!
With orchard blossoming, fair to see,
With drone of beetle, and buzz of bee,
And robin a trill on his apple-tree,
Cheerily, cheerily!
Who knoweth the hope that was dead-ah me!
That was dead- and never again to be,
When the winter came, all dismally,
With desolate rain on desolate sea;
With cold snow-blossoms for wood and lea,
And the wind a-moan in the apple-tree,
Drearily, drearily!

From Year To Year

The green leaves grow and grow,
And the birds build in the trees:
Ah, Sweethearts, could I linger, linger,
With soul at ease!

O long, cool vineyard rows!
The path is blind with heat;
With you rest is, and sound of waters,
And shadow sweet.

The dry leaves fall and fall;
The days grow less in the sun:
I falter, fail, and my soul is weary-
The quest unwon!

It may come with the morn!
It may come with the night!
O near, far Hope, I follow, follow,
From dark to light!

The green leaves grow and grow,
And the birds build in the trees;
Ah, sweethearts, could I linger, linger,
With soul at ease!

O long, cool vineyard rows,
The path is blind with heat;
With you rest is, and sound of waters,
And shadow sweet.

The dry leaves fall and fall;
The days grow less in the sun:
I falter, fail, and my soul is weary-
The quest unwon.

It may come with the morn!
It may come with the night!
O near, far Hope, I follow, follow,
From dark to light?

Faded Flower, The

We watched in the dear Home garden
Our tenderest flower that grew:
Never a building rarer
The sun of the ages knew!

And we said, “When our leaves shall wither,
Our petals shall dropp away,
The grace of this perfect blossom
Shall brighten our own decay.”. . . .

Never the dews shall nourish,
Never the tender rain;
Never the sun’s warm kisses
Shall crimson thy lips again!
O heart of our hearts, May-blossom,
Hope of our lessening day,
The bloom and the grace and the fragrance,
Are passed with thy breath away!

Mariposa Lily, The

Insect or blossom? Fragile, fairy thing,
Poised upon slender tip, and quivering
To flight! a flower of the fields of air;
A jewelled moth; a butterfly, with rare
And tender tints upon his downy wing,
A moment resting in our happy sight;
A flower held captive by a thread so slight
Its petal-wings of broidered gossamer
Are, light as the wind, with every wind astir, —
Wafting sweet odor, faint and exquisite.
O dainty nursling of the field and sky,
What fairer thing looks up to heaven’s blue
And drinks the noontide sun, the dawning’s dew?
Thou wingëd bloom! thou blossom-butterfly!

This is my Sea, that to its circling sands
Reached dimpled hands,
Like a tired child that, lulled to slumber, lay
But yesterday.

Now a huge, hungry beast that from its lair
Would leap to tear
And crush and mangle and destroy its prey,
It threats today.

This too will cease, my Sea! Cease as a dream!
But wilt thou seem
Ever again, in anger or in play,
As yesterday?

* The sound of the ocean on San Francisco’s ‘Tragic Dawn’
April 18,1906, the date of the great earthquake, is said to
have been appalling.

Along yon purple rim of hills,
How bright the sunset glory lies!
Its radiance spans the western skies,
And all the slumberous valley fills.

Broad shafts of lucid crimson, blent
With lustrous pearl in massed white,
And one great spear of amber light
That flames o’er half the firmament.

Vague, murmurous sounds the breezes bear;
A thousand subtle breaths of balm,
Blown shoreward from the isles of calm,
Float in upon the tranced air.

And, muffling all its giant roar,
The restless waste of waters, rolled
To one broad sea of liquid gold,
Moves singing up the shining shore!

To-Morrow Is Too Far Away

To-Morrow is too far away!
A bed of spice the garden is,
Nor bud nor blossom that we miss;
The roses tremble on the stem,
The violets and anemones:
Why should we wait to gather them?
Their bloom and balm are ours to-day,
To-morrow-who can say?

To-morrow is to far away.
Why should we slight the joy complete,
The flower open at our feet?
For us to-day the robin sings,
His curved flight the swallow wings,
For us the happy moments stay.
Stay yet, nor leave us all too fleet!
For life is sweet, and youth is sweet,
And love-ah, love is sweet to-day,
To-morrow- who can say?

“And love will stay-a summer’s day! ”
A long wave rippled up the strand;
She flashed a white hand through the spray,
And plucked a sea-shell form the sand.
And, softly: “ Let thy heart have peace.
Mine shall not fail in aught to thee,
Until this little shell doth cease
To sing its love-the sea.”

Ah, well! Sweet summer’s past and gone,
And love, perhaps, dreads winter weather,
And so the happy dears are flown
On careless wings together!
And yet I smile: this pearly-lined,
Rose-veined shell she gave to me,
With foolish, faithful lips to find
Still singing of the sea!

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.

Art Of William Keith, The

Here, vast and awful, the Sierras rear
Their everlasting summits to the sky;
The mighty waters of the sunset lie
In all their changing opalescence; here
The brooding melancholy or the sere,
Dun autumn woods; the laughing leafery
Of budding boughs, blending each tender dye
With the lush green of the awakening year.
This is not painted canvas, -this is life,
Creation, earth, in all her varying moods!
These fields a-thrill with motion and with light,
These forest-ways, with dream and mystery rife!
Here nature’s heart throbs through the solitudes!
Here nature’s soul looks from the mystic height.

Hark, from the budding boughs that burst of song!
And where the leagues of emerald stretch away,
How rings the meadow-lark’s ecstatic lay
And all the hills the liquid notes prolong.
The stately callas shine, a saintly throng.
From their broad leaves; and in her queenly sway,
The royal rose unfolds unto the day.
O gentle March! O turbulent and strong!
The dove, the tiger, in thy changeful mood:
For while the larks sing, and the linnets brood,
Lo, sullen storm-clouds sweep the smiling dome,
And roar of winds, and the mad tempest-wrath
Beat on the blossomed plain, the forest-path,
And the vast ocean smite to seething foam!

After The Winter Rain

After the winter rain,
Sing robin! -sing, swallow!
Grasses are in the lane,
Buds and flowers will follow.

Woods shall ring, blith and gay,
With bird-trill and twitter,
Though the sky weep to-day,
And the winds are bitter.

Though deep call unto deep
As calls the thunder,
And white the billows leap
The tempest under;

Softly the waves shall come
Up the long, bright beaches,
With dainty flowers of foam
And tenderest speeches.

* * * * * *

After the wintery pain,
And the long, long sorrow,
Sing heart! -for thee again
Joy comes with the morrow.

Unto the earth the Summer comes again:
She has, to quench her thirst, the dews and rain;
She has glad light about her all life’s hour,
And love for gracious dower.

She makes the valleys pleasant for the herds;
Her seeds and berries ripen for the birds,
And cool about their nests she deftly weaves
A screen of tender leaves.

Her soft, delicious breath revives the land;
Her many flowers she feeds with lavish hand;
Clothes the bare hill, and to the rugged place
Gives comeliness and grace.

To all things else she cometh, once a year,
With strong, new life, with beauty and glad cheer-
To all things else: Ah, sometime, it must be
That she will come to me!

One Touch Of Nature

A lark’s song dropped from heaven,
A rose’s breath at noon;
A still, sweet stream that flows and flows
Beneath a still, sweet moon:

A little way-side flower
Plucked from the grasses, thus-
A sound, a breath, a glance- and yet
What is it they bring to us?

For the world grows far too wise,
And wisdom is but grief;
Much thought makes but a weary way,
And question, unbelief.

Thank God for the bird’s song,
And for the flower’s breath!
Thank God for any voice to wake
The old sweet hymn of faith!

For a world grown all too wise,
(Or is it not wise enough?)
Thank God for anything that makes
The path less dark and rough!

March. By The Pacific

Hark, from the budding boughs that burst of song!
And where the leagues of emerald stretch away,
Out rings the meadow-lark’s ecstatic lay,
While the green hills the liquid notes prolong.
The slender callas shine, a saintly throng,
From their broad leaves; and her slim stem upon,
The royal rose unfolds her to the sun.
O gentle March! O turbulent and strong!
The dove, the tiger, in thy changeful mood.
For while the larks sing, and the linnets brood,
Lo! sullen storm-clouds sweep the smiling dome;
And roar of winds; and the mad tempest-wrath
Beats on the blossomed plain, the forest path,
And the vast ocean smites to seething foam.

Because the rose the bloom of blossoms is,
And queenliest in beauty and in grace,
The violet’s tender blue we love no less,
Or daisy, glancing up with shy, sweet face.

For all the music which the forest has,
The ocean waves, that crash upon the beach,
Still would we miss the whisper of the grass;
The hum of bees; the brooklet’s silver speech.

We would not have the timid wood-thrust mute
Because the bul-bul more divinely sings,
Nor lose the scarlet of dear robin’s throat,
For all the tropics’ flash of golden wings.

So do I think, though weak we be, and small,
Yet is there One whose care is none the less:
Who finds, perchance, some grain of worth in all,
Or loves us for our very humbleness!

Tent me within your cool, leaf-latticed house.
Pomegranate bough!
A carpet, sown with blossom-rubies, spread,
A queen might tread.
Toss your pink-petal banners to the breeze,
Bloom of the almond trees;
Tide to and fro
In seas of fragrances,
Peach blow and apple-snow-
Of every blossoming thing I am a part
Since love is at my heart.

They are talking very busily, the birds,
With such soft words
And sudden just-can’t-help-it bursts of song,
The nesting leaves among!
Listen, that trill and tone!
Was ever such ecstatic rapture known?
Ah, sweethearts! Yet a moment pause, I pray-
I know what you say,
Since love is mine today.

A breath of balm—of orange bloom!
By what strange fancy wafted me,
Through the lone starlight of the room?
And suddenly I seem to see

The long, low vale, with tawny edge
Of bills, within the sunset glow;
Cool vine-rows through the cactus hedge,
And fluttering gleams of orchard snow.

Far off, the slender line of white
Against the blue of ocean’s crest;
The slow sun sinking into night,
A quivering opal in the west.

Somewhere a stream sings, far away;
Somewhere from out the hidden groves,
And dreamy as the dying day,
Comes the soft coo of mourning doves.

One moment all the world is peace!
The years like clouds are rolled away,
And I am on those sunny leas,
A child, amid the flowers at play.

With The Laurel

To Edmund Clarence Stedman on his seventieth birthday, October 8,1903

Who wears this crown-greater than kings may wear-
Is monarch of a kingdom, once possessed,
Nor foe nor fate from him may ever wrest!
Illimitable as space is, and as fair
As its illumined depths, he gathers there
All things, obedient to his high behest.
His is the sea, the valley’s verdant breast,
And his the mountain-summit, lost in air.

Thought’s infinite range to him no barrier bars;
His soul no boundary knows of time or space;
Bird, beast, flower, tree, to him in love belong;
Child of the earth, yet kindred to the stars,
He walks in dreams with angels face to face,
And God Himself speaks in his voice of song.

Flower O’ The World

Dawn on the fills, and in the quickening skies
In flooding splendor lies!
Primrose and daffodil, in shifting light,
Cresting the cresting height,
While all the silken water-ways beneath
Glow in a golden sheath.
The little wandering winds of morning pass
Along the grass,
And insect stir and whir
Begin, with rustling wings, and chirp and chirr,
And downy, drowsy bees
Dip in the nectar-deeps of blossom-seas.

Mid-sky a lark, a joy incarnate, trills;
The slopes with poppies burn;
There is a murmurous monotone of rills
That all the air with lulling music fills-
And in the velvet hollows of the hills
An emerald mist of fern.
Dawn on the hills-and sweet with its night shower
The world in flower!

What do I owe the years, that I should bring
Green leaves to crown the king?
Bloen, barren sands, the thistle, and the brier,
Dead hope, and mocked desire,
And sorrow, vast and pitiless as the sea:
These are their gifts to me.

What do I owe the years, that I should love
And sing the praise thereof?
Perhaps, the lark’s clear carol wakes with morn,
And winds amid the corn
Clash fairy cymbals; but I miss the joys,
Missing the tender voice-
Sweet as a throstle’s after April rain-
That may not sing again.

What do I owe the years, that I should greet
Their bitter, and not sweet,
With wine, and wit, and laughter? Rather thrust
The wine-cup to the dust!
What have they brought to me, these many years?
Silence and bitter tears.

I think I would not be
A stately tree,
Broad-boughed, with haughty crest that seeks the sky;
Too many sorrows lie
In years, too much of bitter for the sweet.
Frost-bite, and blast, and heat,
Blind drought, cool rains, must all grow wearisome,
Ere one could put away
Their leafy garb for aye,
And let death come.

Rather this wayside flower!
To live its happy hour
Of balmy air, of sunshine, and of dew.
A sinless face held upward to the blue,
A bird-song sung to it,
A butterfly to flit
On dazzling wings above it, hither, thither-
A sweet surprise of life-and then exhale
A little fragrant soul on the soft gale,
To float-ah, whither!

William Keith, Artist

We read that under the far Indian skies,
The dusk magician with his magic wand
Calls from the arid and unseeded sand,
Whereon the shadowless sun’s hot fervor lies,
A perfect tree before our wondering eyes:
First a green shoot uplifts a tender hand,
Then trunk and spreading foliage expand
To flower and fruit-and then it drops and dies.

But he-our wizard of the tinted brush-
In God’s diviner necromancy skilled,
Gives to our vision Earth, in grandeur free!
Rose-gold of dawn, the evening’s purple hush,
The Druid-woods with Nature’s worship filled,
The mountains and the everlasting sea.
Upon the heights beyond my reach
You drink from Art’s immortal spring,
And vision dreams denied my speech,
And paint the songs I may not sing.

Citron, pomegranate, apricot, and peach;
Flutter of apple-blows, whiter than the snow:
Filling the silence with their leafy speech,
Budding and blossoming down row after row.

Breaths of blown spices which the meadows yield,
From blossoms broad-petaled, starry buds and small,
Gold of the hill-side, purple of the field,
Waft to my nostrils your fragrance, one and all.

Birds in the tree-tops, birds that fill the air,
Trilling, piping, singing, in your merry moods:
Gold wing and brown wing flitting here and there,
To the coo and chirrup of your downy broods.

What grace has summer better that can suit?
What gift can autumn bring us more to please?
Red of blown roses, mellow tints of fruit,
Never can be fairer, sweeter than are these.

The wind it bloweth a-cold, a-cold,
And the dreary Winter rain is falling;
And over the desolate, drenched wold
The sad sea-voice is calling:
The wood stands barren and bleak, and dumb,
And the days are wearisome.

And the wet blue hills in the mist are lost;
The skies grow gray in the daylight’s wane,
And the lonesome moon, like a wan, white ghost,
Looks in at the window-pane;
And the death-watch ticks in the darken’d room,
And the nights are wearisome.

O, storm-wind, beat on the blacken’d moor,
Sob, shivering boughs, in your fringe of tears;
Drift, wild, white sea, o’er the wild, white shore-
As my thoughts drift over the years,
Till my heart grows bitter and cold, and numb,
And my life is wearisome’!

In winter time one steadfast hope I had:
When rains should cease to fall,
And earth resummoned all
Her blossom-quests, I should again be glad.

And then my heart unlifted still, I said,
“Too pallid and too chill
These skies; wait yet until
The summer’s serene blue smiles overhead.”

Its red the rose surrenders to the leaves;
The orchard branches yield
Their fruit, and far a-field
The reapers sing amid their gathered sheaves.

The circle of the year is all complete:
And in her wintry hour,
In fruitage or in flower,
I know the world is very fair and sweet.

Yet, O, not here the peace I long for dwells:
But past the restful night
Of death, within the light
Of God, amid unfading asphodels.

Sorrow Is Better Than Laughter

(Eccl. VII,3) To ‘Uncle George Bromley

I hold not that sorrow than laughter
Is better for man;
The storm-clouds that darken the heavens
Than rainbows that span.
Ah! rather the skies in there shinning
Than dreary with rain, -
And the heart that is lightsome in gladness
Than heavy with pain.

There are thorns in the smoothest of pathways
Enough and to spare;
No wheat-field so carefully tended
That knows not the tare;
But the harvester gathers the harvest
In the gold of its sheaves,
And the briar is forgot of the branches
In the laugh of its leaves.

The voice in its merriment ringing
The laughter-bells clear!
May their melody linger about him,
And the seed he has sown
Of joy in the heart-fields of others
Find bloom in his own.

Clean winds sweep over it,
Blue sky to cover it,
The sun to give it light
And moon and stars of night;
Jeweled the floor is,
Golden the door is,
Hung all with ‘broideries,
Many-hued, many-wise.
Who would not covet,
Who would not love it?

I love it so-
I love it so
I would not care to know
Another space,
Another sphere,
However fair,
However dear,
Or far or near.
Each leaf my lover is,
Each flower a fragrant bliss;
No bird that wings through it,
No voice that sings to it-
Tree-note, bird, water, all-
But holds me thrall.

Yet He who builded,
Fashioned and gilded,
Guards it and tends it,
But only lends it.
Mine for a single day-
A day and night to stay . . .
If it might be always!

The world is old and the world is cold,
And never a day is fair, I said.
Out of the heavens the sunlight rolled,
The green leaves rustled above my head,
And the sea was a sea of gold.

The world is cruel, I said again,
Her voice is harsh to my shrinking ear,
And the nights are dreary and full of pain.
Out of the darkness sweet and clear,
There rippled a tender strain:

Rippled the song of a bird asleep,
That sang in a dream of the budding wood;
Of shinning fields where the reapers reap,
Of a wee brown mate and a nestling brood,
And the grass where the berries peep.

The world is false, though the world be fair,
And never a heart is pure, I said.
And lo! the clinging of white arms bare,
The innocent gold of my baby’s head,
And the lisp of a childish prayer.

Mother’s Grief, The

So fair the sun rose, yester-morn,
The mountain-cliffs adoring!
The golden tassels of the corn
Danced in the breath of morning;
The cool, clear stream that runs before,
Such happy words was saying;
And in the open cottage door
My pretty babe was playing.
Aslant the sill a sunbeam lay-
I laughed, in carless pleasure,
To see his little hand essay
To grasp the shinning treasure.

To-day no shafts of golden flame
Across the sill are lying;
To-day I call my baby’s name,
And hear no lisped replying:
To-day-ah, baby mine, to-day-
God holds thee in his keeping!
And yet I weep, as one pale ray
Breaks in upon thy sleeping;
I weep to see its shining band
Reach, with a fond endeavor,
To where the little restless hands
Are crossed in rest forever!