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!

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.

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!

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!

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.

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’!

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.

Now the summer all is over!
We have wandered through the clover,
We have plucked in wood and lea
Blue-bell and anemone.

We ere children of the sun,
Very brown to look upon:
We were stained, hands and lips,
With the berries’ juicy tips.

And I think that we may know
Where the rankest nettles grow,
And where oak and ivy weave
Crimson glories to deceive.

Now the merry days are over!
Woodland-tenants seek their cover,
And the swallow leaves again
For his castle-nests in Spain.

Shut the door, and close the blind:
We shall have the bitter wind,
We shall have the dreary rain
Striving, driving at the pane.

Send the ruddy fire-light higher;
Draw your easy chair up nigher;
Through the winter, bleak and chill,
We may have our summer still.

Here are poems we may read,
Pleasant fancies to our need:
Ah, eternal summer-time,
Dwells within the poet’s rhyme!

All the birds’ sweet melodies
Linger in these songs of his;
And the blossoms of all ages
Waft their fragrance from his pages.

Now the Summer all is over!
We have wandered through the clover,
We Have plucked in wood and lea
Blue-bell and anemone.

We were children of the Sun,
Very brown to look upon;
We were stained, hands and lips,
With the berries’ juicy tips.

And I think that we may know
Where the rankest nettles grow,
And where oak and ivy weave
Crimson glories to deceive.

Now the merry days are over!
Woodland-tenants seek their cover,
And the swallow leaves again
For his castle-nests in Spain.

Shut the door, and close the blind:
We shall have the bitter wind,
We shall have the dreary rain
Striving, driving at the pane.

Send the ruddy fire-light higher;
Draw your easy chair up nigher;
Through the winter, bleak and chill,
We may have our summer still.

Here are poems we may read—
Pleasant fancies to our need.
Ah, eternal Summer-time,
Dwells within the Poet’s rhyme!

All the birds’sweet melodies
Linger in these songs of his;
And the blossoms of all ages
Waft their fragrance from his pages.

While Lilies Bud And Blow

While lilies bud and blow,
While roses grow,
And trees wave greenly in the sun-
Wave greenly to and fro;
And ring-doves coo and coo,
And skies dropp dew,
And th’ throstle pipes above the nest
His wee mate broods upon:
How can one choose but sing
Of joy, love-every thing!

While the north wind sobs and grieves,
While the trees dropp leaves,
And scentless, budless meadows lie
Bare to the beating rain;
And the birds are grown and flown,
And the nests are alone,
And love, like closing day,
Grows cold, grows old and gray:
How can one help but sigh,
While night draws nigh,
And darkly runs the river to the main!

A little plat where showers
May bring forth flowers,
Poppies, mandragora, and all sweet balm!
Ah me! Who can but smile?
Only a little while,
And hearts forget to ache
And eyes to wake;
The grass clasps softly velvet palm with palm
Above the quiet breast,
And Hope, and God’s white angels, know the rest!

The night falls, heavy with the coming storm!
Far out, the ocean frets against the bar,
And the cloud-legions, gathering force and form,
Shut, with closed ranks, all gleam of moon or star.
Tempestuous darkness! and unto the dawn,
Long hours. Ah! with the passing will there be
The gold and crimson by the sun-rays drawn,
Or tempest still, and moaning of the sea?
The world is heavy with the coming storm!
No nation wars with nation, race with race,
But where the love-pulse should beat quick and warm,
Lo! brother against brother, face to face.
Abel unto the god of blood gives blood,
Who heeds not the fair fruitage of the land,
And wrong and rage, of viper-nests the brood,
Arm Cain with flaming heart and flaming brand.
Where is the peace that should with thee abide
O Earth? Art still beneath the primal ban,
Availing naught the Holy Crucified?
No faith in God because no faith in man!
Thy helpless idols help thee not-Awake!
Arise, and let thy weary burden fall!
Captive, the fetters of the ages break,
And, thrall to Mammon, be no longer thrall.

O Spirit of the Holy One, from where
On high Thou dwellest, lend Thy loving will
To quell these battle-giants of the air,
And to the warring waters speak, 'Be still.'
Or if from darkness, only, springs the light,
And but from struggle blessed peace is born,
Loose all the awful thunders of Thy might-
And hail, the night! that heralds the glad morn.

My Cloth-Of-Gold

O but the wind is keen
And the sky is dull as lead!
If only leaves were brown,
Were only withered and dead,
Perhaps I might not frown,
However the storm might beat.
But to see their delicate green
Tossing in wind and rain,
Whirling in lane and street,
Trampled in mud and dirt:
Alive to the winter-pain,
To the sting and the hurt.

I wish they all were hid
In a fleecy coverlid;
I wish I could bury the rose
Under the northern snows;
And make the land take off
The purple and red and buff,
And flamy tints that please
Her tropical Spanish taste;
And mantle her shapeliness,
Just once in the delicate dress
Of her sisters, fairer-faced,
Over the seas.

If but for a single day
This vivid, incessant green
Might vanish quite away,
And never a leaf be seen;
And woods be brown and sere,
And flowers disappear:
If only I might not see
Forever the fruit on the tree,
The rose on its stem!
For spring is sweet, and summer
Ever a blithe new-comer-
But one tires even of them.

You were pleasant to behold,
When days were warm and bland,
My beautiful “Cloth-of-Gold, ”
My rose of roses, nursed
With careful, patient hand.
So sunny and content-
With butterflies about you,
And bees that came and went,
And could not do without you.
But better to die at first,
With the earliest blossom born
Than to live so crumpled and torn,
So dripping and forlorn.

Better that you should be
Safe-housed and asleep,
Under the tough brown bark,
Like you kindred over the sea:
Nor know if the day be drear,
Nor heed if the sky be dark,
If it rain or snow.
But ah! to be captive here,
The live-long, dragging year,
To the skies that smile and weep;
The skies that thrill and woo you,
That torture and undo you;
That lure and hold you so-
And will not let you go!

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!

What wizardry is this? What necromance?
These forest-aisles, these mountains grim and vast?
These shadowy forms and faces that advance
From out of the misty past?

The old familiar faces, how they crowd!
Like ghosts returning from the farther shore!
These Beings without Being, yet endowed
With life for evermore.

Each in my own life-weft has woven part,
Whether or grave or gay; unkempt or shorn;
This one, ‘The Luck’ they call him, stole my heart
The day that he was born.

With these I sat beside the camp-fire’s glow
And heard, through untaught lips, old Homer tell
The Tale of Troy, till with the falling snow
God’s last white silence fell.

I knew the cabin in the lone ravine
Where she, the Fallen, far from mart and men,
Watched by the stricken and, unknown, made clean
Her garment’s hem again.

And these, the Partners in world-storm and stress,
With faithful love, unknowing selfish aim;
The friendship pure that grew not cold nor less
Through good or evil fame.

These, too (I loved them!) , reckless, debonair,
That life and fortune staked upon a cast;
The soul itself held lightly as the air,
To win or lose at last.

I tracked the mountain trail with them; the sweet
Cool smell of pines I breathed beneath the stars;
The laugh, the song I heard; the rhythmic feet
To tinkle of guitars.

I knew the Mission’s fragrant garden-close,
Heavy with blooms the wind might scarcely stir,
Its little laughing maid-Castilian rose! -
And saucy speech of her.

I knew them all-but best of all I knew
(Who in himself had something of all these)
The Man, within whose teeming fancy grew
These wondrous histories.

I see him often, with the brown hair half
Tossed from the leaning brow, the soft yet keen
Gray eyes uplifted with a tear or laugh
From the pen-pictured scene.

And hear the voice that read to me his dear
World-children-and I listen till I seem
Back in the olden days; they are the near
And these are but a dream.

O Prince of Song and Story! Thee we claim,
The first and dearest, still our very own!
We will not yield the glory of thy name
Nor share thy laureled throne!

Altho beneath a gray and alien sky,
Across long leagues of land and leagues of wave,
We may not reach thy dust with tear and sigh,
Nor deck thy lonely grave.

* Written for the Bret Harte Memorial Jinks of the Bohemian Club,
San Francisco, California; on which occasion the Jinks Room was
Transformed into a mining camp in the Sierras, and the chief
characters in Bret Hart’s works were represented by the club


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.