Roses In Madrid
Roses, Senors, roses!
Love is subtly hid
In the fragrant roses,
Blown in gay Madrid.
Roses, Senors, roses!
Look, look, look, and see
Love hanging in the roses,
Like a golden bee!
Ha! ha! shake the roses--
Hold a palm below;
Shake him from the roses,
Catch the vagrant so!
High I toss the roses
From my brown palm up;
Like the wine that bubbles
From a golden cup.
Catch the roses, Senors,
Light on finger tips;
He who buys red roses,
Dreams of crimson lips!
Tinkle! my fresh roses,
With the rare dews wet;
Clink! my crisp, red roses,
Like a castanet!
Roses, Senors, roses,
Come, Hidalgo, buy!
Proudly wait my roses
For thy rose's eye
Be thy rose as stately
As a pacing deer;
Worthy are my roses
To burn behind her ear.
Ha I ha! I can see thee,
Where the fountains foam,
Twining my red roses
In her golden comb!
Roses, Donnas, roses,
None so fresh as mine,
Pluck'd at rose of morning
By our Lady's shrine.
Those that first I gather'd
Laid I at her feet,
That is why my roses
Still are fresh and sweet.
Roses, Donnas, roses!
Roses waxen fair!
Acolytes my roses,
Censing ladies' pray'r!
Roses, roses, roses!
Hear the tawny bull
Thund'ring in the circus--
Buy your arms full.
Roses by the dozen!
Roses by the score!
Pelt the victor with them--
Bull or Toreador!
SLOWLY the Moon her banderoles of light
Unfurls upon the sky; her fingers drip
Pale, silvery tides; her armoured warriors
Leave Day's bright tents of azure and of gold,
Wherein they hid them, and in silence flock
Upon the solemn battlefield of Night
To try great issues with the blind old king,
The Titan Darkness, who great Pharoah fought
With groping hands, and conquered for a span.
The starry hosts with silver lances prick
The scarlet fringes of the tents of Day,
And turn their crystal shields upon their breasts,
And point their radiant lances, and so wait
The stirring of the giant in his caves.
The solitary hills send long, sad sighs
As the blind Titan grasps their locks of pine
And trembling larch to drag him toward the sky,
That his wild-seeking hands may clutch the Moon
From her war-chariot, scythed and wheeled with light,
Crush bright-mailed stars, and so, a sightless king,
Reign in black desolation! Low-set vales
Weep under the black hollow of his foot,
While sobs the sea beneath his lashing hair
Of rolling mists, which, strong as iron cords,
Twine round tall masts and drag them to the reefs.
Swifter rolls up Astarte's light-scythed car;
Dense rise the jewelled lances, groves of light;
Red flouts Mars' banner in the voiceless war
(The mightiest combat is the tongueless one);
The silvery dartings of the lances prick
His fingers from the mountains, catch his locks
And toss them in black fragments to the winds,
Pierce the vast hollow of his misty foot,
Level their diamond tips against his breast,
And force him down to lair within his pit
And thro' its chinks thrust down his groping hands
To quicken Hell with horror-for the strength
That is not of the Heavens is of Hell.
Two Songs Of Spain
Fountain, cans't thou sing the song
My Juan sang to me
The moonlit orange groves among?
Then list the words from me,
And mark thee, by the morning's light,
Or by the moon's soft beam,
Or when my eyes with smiles are bright,
Or when I wake or dream.
O, Fountain, thou must sing the song
My Juan sang to me;
Yet stay--the only words I know
Are 'Inez, Love and Thee!'
Fountain, on my light guitar
I'll play the strain to thee,
And while I watch yon laughing star,
The words will come to me.
And mark thee, when my heart is sad,
And full of sweet regrets,
Or when it throbs to laughter glad,
Like feet to castanets.
O, Fountain, thou must sing the song
My Juan sang to me;
Yet stay--the only words I know
Are 'Inez, Love, and Thee!'
Fountain, clap thy twinkling hands
Beneath yon floating moon,
And twinkle to the starry bands
That dance upon the gloom,
For I am glad, for who could crave,
The joyous night to fill,
A richer treasure than I have
In Juan's seguedille?
So, Fountain, mark, no other song
Dare ever sing, to me,
Tho' only four short words I know,
Just, 'Inez, Love and Thee!'
* * * * *
Morello strikes on his guitar,
When over the olives the star
Of eve, like a rose touch'd with gold,
Doth slowly its sweet rays unfold.
Perchance 'tis in some city square,
And the people all follow us there.
Don, donna, slim chulo, padrone,
The very dog runs with his bone;
One half of the square is in the shade,
On the other the red sunset fades;
The fount, as it flings up its jets,
Responds to my brisk castanets;
I wear a red rose at my ear;
And many a whisper I hear:
'If she were a lady, behold,
None other should share my red gold!'
'St. Anthony save us, what eyes!
How gem-like her little foot flies!'
'These dancers should all be forbid
To dance in the streets of Madrid.'
'If I were a monarch I'd own
No other to sit on my throne!'
Two scarlet streamers tie my hair;
They burn like red stars on the air;
My dark eyes flash, my clear cheek burns,
My kirtle eddies in swift turns,
My golden necklet tinkles sweet;
Yes, yes, I love the crowded street!
The Roman Rose-Seller
Not from Paestum come my roses; Patrons, see
My flowers are Roman-blown; their nectaries
Drop honey amber, and their petals throw
Rich crimsons on the lucent marble of the shrine
Where snowy Dian lifts her pallid brow,
As crimson lips of Love may seek to warm
A sister glow in hearts as pulseless hewn.
Caesar from Afric wars returns to-day;
Patricians, buy my royal roses; strew
His way knee-deep, as though old Tiber roll'd
A tide of musky roses from his bed to do
A wonder, wond'rous homage. Marcus Lucius, thou
To-day dost wed; buy roses, roses, roses,
To mingle with the nuptial myrtle; look,
I strip the polish'd thorns from the stems,
The nuptial rose should be a stingless flower;
Lucania, pass not by my roses. Virginia,
Here is a rose that has a canker in't, and yet
It is most glorious-dyed and sweeter smells
Than those death hath not touched. To-day they bear
The shield of Claudius with his spear upon it,
Close upon Caesar's chariot--heap, heap it up
With roses such as these; 'tis true he's dead
And there's the canker! but, Romans, he
Died glorious, there's the perfume! and his virtues
Are these bright petals; so buy my roses, Widow.
No Greek-born roses mine. Priestess, priestess!
Thy ivory chariot stay; here's a rose and not
A white one, though thy chaste hands attend
On Vesta's flame. Love's of a colour--be it that
Which ladders Heaven and lives amongst the Gods;
Or like the Daffodil blows all about the earth;
Or, Hesperus like, is one sole star upon
The solemn sky which bridges same sad life,
So here's a crimson rose: Be, thou as pure
As Dian's tears iced on her silver cheek,
And know no quality of love, thou art
A sorrow to the Gods! Oh mighty Love!
I would my roses could but chorus Thee.
No roses of Persepolis are mine. Helot, here--
I give thee this last blossom: A bee as red
As Hybla's golden toilers sucked its sweets;
A butterfly, wing'd like to Eros nipp'd
Its new-pinked leaves; the sun, bright despot, stole
The dew night gives to all. Poor slave, methinks
A bough of cypress were as gay a gift, and yet
It hath some beauty left! a little scarlet--for
The Gods love all; a little perfume, for there is no life,
Poor slave, but hath its sweetness. Thus I make
My roses Oracles. O hark! the cymbals beat
In god-like silver bursts of sound; I go
To see great Caesar leading Glory home,
From Campus Martius to the Capitol!
The Earth Waxeth Old.
When yellow-lock'd and crystal ey'd
I dream'd green woods among;
Where tall trees wav'd from side to side,
And in their green breasts deep and wide,
I saw the building blue jay hide,
O, then the earth was young!
The winds were fresh and brave and bold,
The red sun round and strong;
No prophet voice chill, loud and cold,
Across my woodland dreamings roll'd,
'The green earth waxeth sere and old,
That once was fair and young!'
I saw in scarr'd and knotty bole,
The fresh'ning of the sap;
When timid spring gave first small dole,
Of sunbeams thro' bare boughs that stole,
I saw the bright'ning blossoms roll,
From summer's high pil'd lap.
And where an ancient oak tree lay
The forest stream across,
I mus'd above the sweet shrill spray,
I watch'd the speckl'd trout at play,
I saw the shadows dance and sway
On ripple and on moss.
I pull'd the chestnut branches low,
As o'er the stream they hung,
To see their bursting buds of snow--
I heard the sweet spring waters flow--
My heart and I we did not know
But that the earth was young!
I joy'd in solemn woods to see,
Where sudden sunbeams clung,
On open space of mossy lea,
The violet and anemone,
Wave their frail heads and beckon me--
Sure then the earth was young!
I heard the fresh wild breezes birr,
New budded boughs among,
I saw the deeper tinting stir
In the green tassels of the fir,
I heard the pheasant rise and whirr,
Above her callow young.
I saw the tall fresh ferns prest,
By scudding doe and fawn;
I say the grey dove's swelling breast,
Above the margin of her nest;
When north and south and east and west
Roll'd all the red of dawn.
At eventide at length I lay,
On grassy pillow flung;
I saw the parting bark of day,
With crimson sails and shrouds all gay,
With golden fires drift away,
The billowy clouds among.
I saw the stately planets sail
On that blue ocean wide;
I saw blown by some mystic gale,
Like silver ship in elfin tale,
That bore some damsel rare and pale,
The moon's slim crescent glide.
And ev'ry throb of spring
The rust'ling boughs among,
That filled the silver vein of brook,
That lit with bloom the mossy nook,
Cried to my boyish bosom: 'Look!
How fresh the earth and young!'
The winds were fresh, the days as clear
As crystals set in gold.
No shape, with prophet-mantle drear,
Thro' those old woods came drifting near,
To whisper in my wond'ring ear,
'The green earth waxeth old.'
My masters twain made me a bed
Of pine-boughs resinous, and cedar;
Of moss, a soft and gentle breeder
Of dreams of rest; and me they spread
With furry skins, and laughing said,
'Now she shall lay her polish'd sides,
As queens do rest, or dainty brides,
Our slender lady of the tides!'
My masters twain their camp-soul lit,
Streamed incense from the hissing cones,
Large, crimson flashes grew and whirl'd
Thin, golden nerves of sly light curl'd
Round the dun camp, and rose faint zones,
Half way about each grim bole knit,
Like a shy child that would bedeck
With its soft clasp a Brave's red neck;
Yet sees the rough shield on his breast,
The awful plumes shake on his crest,
And fearful drops his timid face,
Nor dares complete the sweet embrace.
Into the hollow hearts of brakes,
Yet warm from sides of does and stags,
Pass'd to the crisp dark river flags;
Sinuous, red as copper snakes,
Sharp-headed serpents, made of light,
Glided and hid themselves in night.
My masters twain, the slaughtered deer
Hung on fork'd boughs--with thongs of leather.
Bound were his stiff, slim feet together--
His eyes like dead stars cold and drear;
The wand'ring firelight drew near
And laid its wide palm, red and anxious,
On the sharp splendor of his branches;
On the white foam grown hard and sere
On flank and shoulder.
Death--hard as breast of granite boulder,
And under his lashes
Peer'd thro' his eyes at his life's grey ashes.
My masters twain sang songs that wove
(As they burnish'd hunting blade and rifle)
A golden thread with a cobweb trifle--
Loud of the chase, and low of love.
'O Love, art thou a silver fish?
Shy of the line and shy of gaffing,
Which we do follow, fierce, yet laughing,
Casting at thee the light-wing'd wish,
And at the last shall we bring thee up
From the crystal darkness under the cup
Of lily folden,
On broad leaves golden?
'O Love! art thou a silver deer,
Swift thy starr'd feet as wing of swallow,
While we with rushing arrows follow;
And at the last shall we draw near,
And over thy velvet neck cast thongs--
Woven of roses, of stars, of songs?
New chains all moulden
Of rare gems olden!'
They hung the slaughter'd fish like swords
On saplings slender--like scimitars
Bright, and ruddied from new-dead wars,
Blaz'd in the light--the scaly hordes.
They piled up boughs beneath the trees,
Of cedar-web and green fir tassel;
Low did the pointed pine tops rustle,
The camp fire blush'd to the tender breeze.
The hounds laid dew-laps on the ground,
With needles of pine sweet, soft and rusty--
Dream'd of the dead stag stout and lusty;
A bat by the red flames wove its round.
The darkness built its wigwam walls
Close round the camp, and at its curtain
Press'd shapes, thin woven and uncertain,
As white locks of tall waterfalls.
The Farmer's Daughter Cherry
The Farmer quit what he was at,
The bee-hive he was smokin':
He tilted back his old straw hat--
Says he, 'Young man, you're jokin'!
O Lordy! (Lord, forgive the swar,)
Ain't ye a cheeky sinner?
Come, if I give my gal thar,
Where would _you_ find her dinner?
'Now look at _me_; I settl'd down
When I was one and twenty,
Me, and my axe and Mrs. Brown,
And stony land a plenty.
Look up thar! ain't that homestead fine,
And look at them thar cattle:
I tell ye since that early time
I've fit a tidy battle.
'It kinder wrestles down a man
To fight the stuns and mire:
But I sort of clutch'd to thet thar plan
Of David and Goliar.
Want was the mean old Philistine
That strutted round the clearin',
Of pebbles I'd a hansum line,
And flung 'em nothin' fearin'.
'They hit him square, right whar they ought,
Them times I _had_ an arm!
I lick'd the giant and I bought
A hundred acre farm.
My gal was born about them days,
I was mowin' in the medder;
When some one comes along and says--
'The wife's gone thro' the shadder!'
'Times thought it was God's will she went--
Times thought she work'd too slavin'--
And for the young one that was sent,
I took to steady savin'.
Jest cast your eye on that thar hill
The sugar bush just tetches,
And round by Miller Jackson's mill,
All round the farm stretches.
''Ain't got a mind to give that land
To any snip-snap feller
That don't know loam from mud or sand,
Or if corn's blue or yaller.
I've got a mind to keep her yet--
Last Fall her cheese and butter
Took prizes; sakes! I can't forget
Her pretty pride and flutter.
'Why, you be off! her little face
For me's the only summer;
Her gone, 'twould be a queer, old place,
The Lord smile down upon her!
All goes with her, the house and lot--
You'd like to get 'em, very!
I'll give 'em when this maple bears
A bouncin' ripe-red cherry!'
The Farmer fixed his hat and specks
And pursed his lips together,
The maple wav'd above his head,
Each gold and scarlet feather:
The Teacher's Honest heart sank down:
How could his soul be merry?
He knew--though teaching in a town,
No maple bears a cherry.
Soft blew the wind; the great old tree,
Like Saul to David's singing,
Nodded its jewelled crown, as he
Swayed to the harp-strings' ringing;
A something rosy--not a leaf
Stirs up amid the branches;
A miracle _may_ send relief
To lovers fond and anxious!
O rosy is the velvet cheek
Of one 'mid red leaves sitting!
The sunbeams played at hide-and-seek
With the needles in her knitting.
'O Pa!' The Farmer prick'd his ears,
Whence came that voice so merry?
(The Teacher's thoughtful visage clears)
'The maple bears a cherry!'
The Farmer tilted back his hat:
'Well, gal--as I'm a human,
I'll always hold as doctrine that
Thar's nothin' beats a woman!
When crown'd that maple is with snow,
And Christmas bells are merry,
I'll let you have her, Jack--that's so!
Be sure you're good to Cherry!'
BOUCHE-MIGNONNE lived in the mill,
Past the vineyards shady,
Where the sun shone on a rill
Jewelled like a lady.
Proud the stream with lily-bud,
Gay with glancing swallow;
Swift its trillion-footed flood
Winding ways to follow;
Coy and still when flying wheel
Rested from its labour;
Singing when it ground the meal,
Gay as lute or tabor.
'Bouche-Mignonne,' it called, when red
In the dawn were glowing
Eaves and mill-wheel, 'leave thy bed;
Hark to me a-flowing!'
Bouche-Mignonne awoke, and quick
Glossy tresses braided.
Curious sunbeams clustered thick;
Vines her casement shaded
Deep with leaves and blossoms white
Of the morning-glory,
Shaking all their banners bright
From the mill-eaves hoary.
Swallows turned their glossy throats,
When, to hear their matin notes,
Peeped she thro' her curtain.
Shook the mill-stream sweet and clear
With its silvery laughter;
Shook the mill, from flooring sere
Up to oaken rafter.
'Bouche-Mignonne!' it cried, 'come down;
Other flowers are stirring:
Pierre, with fingers strong and brown,
Sets the wheel a-birring.'
Bouche-Mignonne her distaff plies
Where the willows shiver;
Round the mossy mill-wheel flies;
Flash athwart the lily-beds,
Pierce the dry reeds' thicket;
Where the yellow sunlight treads,
Chants the friendly cricket.
Butterflies about her skim-
Pouf! their simple fancies
In the willow shadows dim
Take her eyes for pansies.
Buzzing comes a velvet bee;
Sagely it supposes
Those red lips beneath the tree
Are two crimson roses.
Laughs the mill-stream wise and bright-
It is not so simple;
Knew it, since she first saw light,
Every blush and dimple.
'Bouche-Mignonne!' it laughing cries,
'Pierre as bee is silly;
Thinks two morning stars thine eyes,
And thy neck a lily.'
Bouche-Mignonne, when shadows crept
From the vine-dark hollows,
When the mossy mill-wheel slept,
Curved the airy swallows,
When the lilies closed white lids
Over golden fancies,
Homeward drove her goats and kids.
Bright the gay moon dances
With her light and silver feet,
On the mill-stream flowing;
Come a thousand perfumes sweet,
Dewy buds are blowing;
Comes an owl and greyly flits,
Jewel-eyed and hooting,
Past the green tree where she sits;
Nightingales are fluting;
Soft the wind as rustling silk
On a courtly lady;
Tinkles down the flowing milk;
Huge and still and shady
Stands the mill-wheel, resting still
From its loving labour.
Dances on the tireless rill,
Gay as lute or tabor;
'Bouche-Mignonne!' it laughing cries,
'Do not blush and tremble;
If the night has ears and eyes,
I'll for thee dissemble;
'Loud and clear and sweet I'll sing
On my far way straying;
I will hide the whispered thing
Pierre to thee is saying.
'Bouche-Mignonne, good night, good night!
Every silver hour
I will toss my lilies white
'Gainst thy maiden bower.'
The Deacon And His Daughter
He saved his soul and saved his pork,
With old time preservation;
He did not hold with creosote,
Or new plans of salvation;
He said that 'Works would show the man,'
'The smoke-house tell upon the ham!'
He didn't, when he sunk a well,
Inspect the stuns and gravel;
To prove that Moses was a dunce,
Unfit for furrin travel;
He marvell'd at them works of God--
An' broke 'em up to mend the road!
And when the Circus come around,
He hitch'd his sleek old horses;
And in his rattling wagon took
His dimpl'd household forces--
The boys to wonder at the Clown,
And think his fate Life's highest crown.
He wondered at the zebras wild,
Nor knew 'em painted donkeys;
An' when he gave the boys a dime
For cakes to feed the monkeys,
He never thought, in any shape,
He had descended from an ape!
And when he saw some shallow-pate,
With smallest brain possession,
He uttered no filosofy
On Nature's retrogression.
To ancient types, by Darwin's rule,
He simply said, 'Wal, darn a fool.'
He never had an enemy,
But once a year to meetin',
When he and Deacon Maybee fought
On questions of free seatin';
Or which should be the one t' rebuke
Pastor for kissin' sister Luke.
His farm was well enough, but stones
Kind of stern, ruthless facts is;
An' he jest made out to save a mite,
An' pay his righteous taxes,
An' mebbe tote some flour an' pork
To poor old critters past their work.
But on the neatest thing he hed
Around the place or dwellin',
I guess he never paid a red
Of taxes. No mush melon
Was rounder, sweeter, pinker than
The old Man's daughter, Minta Ann.
I've been at Philadelfy's show
An' other similar fusses,
An' seen a mighty sight of stone,
Minarveys and Venusses;
An' Sikeys clad in flowers an' wings,
But not much show of factory things.
I've seen the hull entire crowd
Of Jove's female relations,
An' I feel to make a solemn swear
On them thar 'Lamentations,'
That as a sort of general plan
I'd rather spark with Minta Ann!
You'd ought to see her dimpled chin,
With one red freckle on it,
Her brown eyes glancing underneath
Her tilted shaker bonnet.
I vow, I often did desire,
They'd set the plaguey thing a-fire!
You'd ought to hear that gal sing
On Sabbath, up to meetin',
You'd kind of feel high lifted up,
Your soul for Heaven fleetin'.
And then--came supper, down she'd tie
You to this earth with pumpkin pie!
I tell you, stranger, 'twas a sight
For poetry and speeches,
To see her sittin' on the stoop,
A-peelin' scarlet peaches,
Inter the kettle at her feet,--
I tell you, 'twas a show complete!
Drip, droppin' thro' the rustlin' vine,
The sunbeams came a flittin';
An' sort of danced upon the floor,
Chas'd by the tabby kitten;
Losh! to see the critter's big surprise,
When them beams slipped into Minta's eyes!
An' down her brow her pretty hair
Cum curlin', crinklin', creepin',
In leetle, yaller mites of rings,
Inter them bright eyes, peepin',
Es run the tendrils of the vine,
To whar the merry sunbeams shine.
But losh! her smile was dreadful shy,
An' kept her white lids under;
Jest as when darkens up the sky
An' growls away the thunder;
Them skeery speckled trout will hide
Beneath them white pond lilies' pride!
An' then her heart, 'twas made clar through
Of Californy metal,
Chock full of things es sugar sweet
Es a presarvin' kettle.
The beaux went crazed fur menny a mile
When I got thet kettle on the bile.
The good old deacon's gone to whar
Thar ain't no wild contentions
On Buildin' Funds' Committees and
No taxes nor exemptions.
Yet still I sort of feel he preaches,
And Minta Ann preserves my peaches.
Between The Wind And Rain
'The storm is in the air,' she said, and held
Her soft palm to the breeze; and looking up,
Swift sunbeams brush'd the crystal of her eyes,
As swallows leave the skies to skim the brown,
Bright woodland lakes. 'The rain is in the air.
'O Prophet Wind, what hast thou told the rose,
'That suddenly she loosens her red heart,
'And sends long, perfum'd sighs about the place?
'O Prophet Wind, what hast thou told the Swift,
'That from the airy eave, she, shadow-grey,
'Smites the blue pond, and speeds her glancing wing
'Close to the daffodils? What hast thou told small bells,
'And tender buds, that--all unlike the rose--
'They draw green leaves close, close about their breasts
'And shrink to sudden slumber? The sycamores
'In ev'ry leaf are eloquent with thee;
'The poplars busy all their silver tongues
'With answ'ring thee, and the round chestnut stirs
'Vastly but softly, at thy prophecies.
'The vines grow dusky with a deeper green--
'And with their tendrils snatch thy passing harp,
'And keep it by brief seconds in their leaves.
'O Prophet Wind, thou tellest of the rain,
'While, jacinth blue, the broad sky folds calm palms,
'Unwitting of all storm, high o'er the land!
'The little grasses and the ruddy heath
'Know of the coming rain; but towards the sun
'The eagle lifts his eyes, and with his wings
'Beats on a sunlight that is never marr'd
'By cloud or mist, shrieks his fierce joy to air
'Ne'er stir'd by stormy pulse.'
'The eagle mine,' I said: 'O I would ride
'His wings like Ganymede, nor ever care
'To drop upon the stormy earth again,--
'But circle star-ward, narrowing my gyres,
'To some great planet of eternal peace.'.
'Nay,' said my wise, young love, 'the eagle falls
'Back to his cliff, swift as a thunder-bolt;
'For there his mate and naked eaglets dwell,
'And there he rends the dove, and joys in all
'The fierce delights of his tempestuous home.
'And tho' the stormy Earth throbs thro' her poles--
'With tempests rocks upon her circling path--
'And bleak, black clouds snatch at her purple hills--
'While mate and eaglets shriek upon the rock--
'The eagle leaves the hylas to its calm,
'Beats the wild storm apart that rings the earth,
'And seeks his eyrie on the wind-dash'd cliff.
'O Prophet Wind! close, close the storm and rain!'
Long sway'd the grasses like a rolling wave
Above an undertow--the mastiff cried;
Low swept the poplars, groaning in their hearts;
And iron-footed stood the gnarl'd oaks,
And brac'd their woody thews against the storm.
Lash'd from the pond, the iv'ry cygnets sought
The carven steps that plung'd into the pool;
The peacocks scream'd and dragg'd forgotten plumes.
On the sheer turf--all shadows subtly died,
In one large shadow sweeping o'er the land;
Bright windows in the ivy blush'd no more;
The ripe, red walls grew pale--the tall vane dim;
Like a swift off'ring to an angry God,
O'erweighted vines shook plum and apricot,
From trembling trellis, and the rose trees pour'd
A red libation of sweet, ripen'd leaves,
On the trim walks. To the high dove-cote set
A stream of silver wings and violet breasts,
The hawk-like storm swooping on their track.
'Go,' said my love, 'the storm would whirl me off
'As thistle-down. I'll shelter here--but you--
'You love no storms!' 'Where thou art,' I said,
'Is all the calm I know--wert thou enthron'd
'On the pivot of the winds--or in the maelstrom,
'Thou holdest in thy hand my palm of peace;
'And, like the eagle, I would break the belts
'Of shouting tempests to return to thee,
'Were I above the storm on broad wings.
'Yet no she-eagle thou! a small, white, lily girl
'I clasp and lift and carry from the rain,
'Across the windy lawn.'
With this I wove
Her floating lace about her floating hair,
And crush'd her snowy raiment to my breast,
And while she thought of frowns, but smil'd instead,
And wrote her heart in crimson on her cheeks,
I bounded with her up the breezy slopes,
The storm about us with such airy din,
As of a thousand bugles, that my heart
Took courage in the clamor, and I laid
My lips upon the flow'r of her pink ear,
And said: 'I love thee; give me love again!'
And here she pal'd, love has its dread, and then
She clasp'd its joy and redden'd in its light,
Till all the daffodils I trod were pale
Beside the small flow'r red upon my breast.
And ere the dial on the slope was pass'd,
Between the last loud bugle of the Wind
And the first silver coinage of the Rain,
Upon my flying hair, there came her kiss,
Gentle and pure upon my face--and thus
Were we betroth'd between the Wind and Rain.
The Ghosts Of The Trees
The silver fangs of the mighty axe,
Bit to the blood of our giant boles;
It smote our breasts and smote our backs,
Thunder'd the front-cleared leaves--
As sped in fire,
The whirl and flame of scarlet leaves
With strong desire
Leaped to the air our captive souls.
While down our corpses thunder'd,
The air at our strong souls gazed and wondered
And cried to us, 'Ye
Are full of all mystery to me!
I saw but thy plumes of leaves,
Thy strong, brown greaves;
The sinewy roots and lusty branches,
And fond and anxious,
I laid my ear and my restless breast
By each pride-high crest;
And softly stole
And listen'd by limb and listen'd by bole,
Nor ever the stir of a soul,
Heard I in ye--
Great is the mystery!'
The strong, brown eagle plung'd from his peak,
From the hollow iron of his beak;
The wood pigeon fell; its breast of blue
Cold with sharp death all thro' and thro',
To our ghosts he cried.
'With talons of steel,
I hold the storm;
Where the high peaks reel,
My young lie warm.
In the wind-rock'd spaces of air I bide;
My wings too wide--
Too angry-strong for the emerald gyves,
Of woodland cell where the meek dove thrives.
And when at the bar,
Of morn I smote with my breast its star,
My wings grew purple, the jealous thunder,
With the flame of the skies
Hot in my breast, and red in my eyes;
From peak to peak of sunrise pil'd
That set space glowing,
With flames from air-based crater's blowing--
I downward swept, beguiled
By the close-set forest gilded and spread
A sea for the lordly tread,
Of a God's wardship--
I broke its leafy turf with my breast;
My iron lip
I dipp'd in the cool of each whispering crest;
From thy leafy steeps,
I saw in my deeps,
Red coral the flame necked oriole--
But never the stir of a soul
Heard I in ye--
Great is the mystery!'
From its ferny coasts,
The river gazed at our strong, free ghosts,
And with rocky fingers shed
Apart the silver curls of its head;
Laid its murmuring hands,
On the reedy bands;
And at gaze
Stood in the half-moon's of brown, still bays;
Like gloss'd eyes of stags
Its round pools gaz'd from the rusty flags,
At our ghostly crests
At the bark-shields strong on our phantom breasts;
And its tide
Took lip and tongue and cried.
'I have push'd apart
The mountain's heart;
I have trod the valley down;
With strong hands curled,
Have caught and hurled,
To the earth the high hill's crown!
My brow I thrust,
Through sultry dust,
That the lean wolf howl'd upon;
I drove my tides,
Between the sides,
Of the bellowing canon.
From chrystal shoulders,
I hurled my boulders,
On the bridge's iron span.
When I rear'd my head
From its old time bed,
Shook the pale cities of man!
I have run a course
With the swift, wild horse;
I have thunder'd pace for pace,
With the rushing herds--
I have caught the beards
Of the swift stars in the race!
Neither moon nor sun
Could me out-run;
Deep cag'd in my silver bars,
I hurried with me,
To the shouting sea,
Their light and the light of the stars!
The reeling earth
In furious mirth
With sledges of ice I smote.
I whirled my sword
Where the pale berg roar'd,
I took the ship by the throat!
With stagnant breath
I called chill Death
My guest to the hot bayou.
I built men's graves,
With strong thew'd waves
That thing that my strength might do.
I did right well--
Men cried 'From Hell
The might of Thy hand is given!'
By loose rocks stoned
The stout quays groaned,
Sleek sands by my spear were riven.
O'er shining slides,
On my gloss'd tides,
The brown cribs close woven roll'd;
The stout logs sprung,
Their height among
My loud whirls of white and gold!
The great raft prest,
My calm, broad breast--
A dream thro' my shady trance,
The light canoe--
A spirit flew--
The pulse of my blue expanse.
Wing'd swift the ships.
My foaming lips
Made rich with dewy kisses,
All night and morn,
Field's red with corn,
And where the mill-wheel hisses.
And shivers and sobs,
With lab'ring throbs,
With its whirls my strong palms play'd.
I parted my flags,
For thirsty stags,
On the necks of arches laid.
To the dry-vined town
My tide roll'd down--
Dry lips and throats a-quiver,
Rent sky and sod
With shouts 'From God
The strength of the mighty river!'
I, list'ning, heard
The soft-song'd bird;
The beetle about thy boles.
The calling breeze,
In thy crests, O Trees--
Never the voices of souls!'
* * * * *
We, freed souls, of the Trees look'd down
On the river's shining eyes of brown;
And upward smiled
At the tender air and its warrior child,
The iron eagle strong and wild.
* * * * *
'No will of ours,
The captive souls of our barky tow'rs;
'His the deed
Who laid in the secret earth the seed;
And with strong hand
Knitted each woody fetter and band.
Ask of the tree,
The 'Wherefore' or 'Why' the tall trees stand,
Built in their places on the land
Their souls unknit;
With any wisdom or any wit,
The subtle 'Why,'
Ask ye not of earth or sky--
But one command it.
Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part I.
Max plac'd a ring on little Katie's hand,
A silver ring that he had beaten out
From that same sacred coin--first well-priz'd wage
For boyish labour, kept thro' many years.
'See, Kate,' he said, 'I had no skill to shape
Two hearts fast bound together, so I grav'd
Just K. and M., for Katie and for Max.'
'But, look; you've run the lines in such a way,
That M. is part of K., and K. of M.,'
Said Katie, smiling. 'Did you mean it thus?
I like it better than the double hearts.'
'Well, well,' he said, 'but womankind is wise!
Yet tell me, dear, will such a prophecy
Not hurt you sometimes, when I am away?
Will you not seek, keen ey'd, for some small break
In those deep lines, to part the K. and M.
For you? Nay, Kate, look down amid the globes
Of those large lilies that our light canoe
Divides, and see within the polish'd pool
That small, rose face of yours,--so dear, so fair,--
A seed of love to cleave into a rock,
And bourgeon thence until the granite splits
Before its subtle strength. I being gone--
Poor soldier of the axe--to bloodless fields,
(Inglorious battles, whether lost or won).
That sixteen summer'd heart of yours may say:
''I but was budding, and I did not know
My core was crimson and my perfume sweet;
I did not know how choice a thing I am;
I had not seen the sun, and blind I sway'd
To a strong wind, and thought because I sway'd,
'Twas to the wooer of the perfect rose--
That strong, wild wind has swept beyond my ken--
The breeze I love sighs thro' my ruddy leaves.'
'O, words!' said Katie, blushing, 'only words!
You build them up that I may push them down;
If hearts are flow'rs, I know that flow'rs can root--
'Bud, blossom, die--all in the same lov'd soil;
They do so in my garden. I have made
Your heart my garden. If I am a bud
And only feel unfoldment--feebly stir
Within my leaves: wait patiently; some June,
I'll blush a full-blown rose, and queen it, dear,
In your lov'd garden. Tho' I be a bud,
My roots strike deep, and torn from that dear soil
Would shriek like mandrakes--those witch things I read
Of in your quaint old books. Are you content?'
'Yes--crescent-wise--but not to round, full moon.
Look at yon hill that rounds so gently up
From the wide lake; a lover king it looks,
In cloth of gold, gone from his bride and queen;
And yet delayed, because her silver locks
Catch in his gilded fringes; his shoulders sweep
Into blue distance, and his gracious crest,
Not held too high, is plum'd with maple groves;--
One of your father's farms. A mighty man,
Self-hewn from rock, remaining rock through all.'
'He loves me, Max,' said Katie: 'Yes, I know--
A rock is cup to many a crystal spring.
Well, he is rich; those misty, peak-roof'd barns--
Leviathans rising from red seas of grain--
Are full of ingots, shaped like grains of wheat.
His flocks have golden fleeces, and his herds
Have monarchs worshipful, as was the calf
Aaron call'd from the furnace; and his ploughs,
Like Genii chained, snort o'er his mighty fields.
He has a voice in Council and in Church--'
'He work'd for all,' said Katie, somewhat pain'd.
'Aye, so, dear love, he did; I heard him tell
How the first field upon his farm was ploughed.
He and his brother Reuben, stalwart lads,
Yok'd themselves, side by side, to the new plough;
Their weaker father, in the grey of life
(But rather the wan age of poverty
Than many winters), in large, gnarl'd hands
The plunging handles held; with mighty strains
They drew the ripping beak through knotted sod,
Thro' tortuous lanes of blacken'd, smoking stumps;
And past great flaming brush heaps, sending out
Fierce summers, beating on their swollen brows.
O, such a battle! had we heard of serfs
Driven to like hot conflict with the soil,
Armies had march'd and navies swiftly sail'd
To burst their gyves. But here's the little point--
The polish'd di'mond pivot on which spins
The wheel of Difference--they OWN'D the rugged soil,
And fought for love--dear love of wealth and pow'r,
And honest ease and fair esteem of men;
One's blood heats at it!' 'Yet you said such fields
Were all inglorious,' Katie, wondering, said.
'Inglorious? yes; they make no promises
Of Star or Garter, or the thundering guns
That tell the earth her warriors are dead.
Inglorious! aye, the battle done and won
Means not--a throne propp'd up with bleaching bones;
A country sav'd with smoking seas of blood;
A flag torn from the foe with wounds and death;
Or Commerce, with her housewife foot upon
Colossal bridge of slaughter'd savages,
The Cross laid on her brawny shoulder, and
In one sly, mighty hand her reeking sword;
And in the other all the woven cheats
From her dishonest looms. Nay, none of these.
It means--four walls, perhaps a lowly roof;
Kine in a peaceful posture; modest fields;
A man and woman standing hand in hand
In hale old age, who, looking o'er the land,
Say: 'Thank the Lord, it all is mine and thine!'
It means, to such thew'd warriors of the Axe
As your own father;--well, it means, sweet Kate,
Outspreading circles of increasing gold,
A name of weight; one little daughter heir.
Who must not wed the owner of an axe,
Who owns naught else but some dim, dusky woods
In a far land; two arms indifferent strong--'
'And Katie's heart,' said Katie, with a smile;
For yet she stood on that smooth, violet plain,
Where nothing shades the sun; nor quite believed
Those blue peaks closing in were aught but mist
Which the gay sun could scatter with a glance.
For Max, he late had touch'd their stones, but yet
He saw them seam'd with gold and precious ores,
Rich with hill flow'rs and musical with rills.
'Or that same bud that will be Katie's heart,
Against the time your deep, dim woods are clear'd,
And I have wrought my father to relent.'
'How will you move him, sweet? why, he will rage
And fume and anger, striding o'er his fields,
Until the last bought king of herds lets down
His lordly front, and rumbling thunder from
His polish'd chest, returns his chiding tones.
How will you move him, Katie, tell me how?'
'I'll kiss him and keep still--that way is sure,'
Said Katie, smiling. 'I have often tried.'
'God speed the kiss,' said Max, and Katie sigh'd,
With pray'rful palms close seal'd, 'God speed the axe!'
* * * * *
O, light canoe, where dost thou glide?
Below thee gleams no silver'd tide,
But concave heaven's chiefest pride.
* * * * *
Above thee burns Eve's rosy bar;
Below thee throbs her darling star;
Deep 'neath thy keel her round worlds are!
* * * * *
Above, below, O sweet surprise,
To gladden happy lover's eyes;
No earth, no wave--all jewell'd sides!
* * * * *
Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part V.
Said the high hill, in the morning: 'Look on me--
'Behold, sweet earth, sweet sister sky, behold
'The red flames on my peaks, and how my pines
'Are cressets of pure gold; my quarried scars
'Of black crevase and shadow-fill'd canon,
'Are trac'd in silver mist. How on my breast
'Hang the soft purple fringes of the night;
'Close to my shoulder droops the weary moon,
'Dove-pale, into the crimson surf the sun
'Drives up before his prow; and blackly stands
'On my slim, loftiest peak, an eagle, with
'His angry eyes set sunward, while his cry
'Falls fiercely back from all my ruddy heights;
'And his bald eaglets, in their bare, broad nest,
'Shrill pipe their angry echoes: ''Sun, arise,
''And show me that pale dove, beside her nest,
''Which I shall strike with piercing beak and tear
''With iron talons for my hungry young.''
And that mild dove, secure for yet a space,
Half waken'd, turns her ring'd and glossy neck
To watch dawn's ruby pulsing on her breast,
And see the first bright golden motes slip down
The gnarl'd trunks about her leaf-deep nest,
Nor sees nor fears the eagle on the peak.
* * * * *
'Aye, lassie, sing--I'll smoke my pipe the while,
'And let it be a simple, bonnie song,
'Such as an old, plain man can gather in
'His dulling ear, and feel it slipping thro'
'The cold, dark, stony places of his heart.'
'Yes, sing, sweet Kate,' said Alfred in her ear;
'I often heard you singing in my dreams
'When I was far away the winter past.'
So Katie on the moonlit window lean'd,
And in the airy silver of her voice
Sang of the tender, blue 'Forget-me-not.'
Could every blossom find a voice,
And sing a strain to me;
I know where I would place my choice,
Which my delight should be.
I would not choose the lily tall,
The rose from musky grot;
But I would still my minstrel call
The blue 'Forget-me-not!'
And I on mossy bank would lie
Of brooklet, ripp'ling clear;
And she of the sweet azure eye,
Close at my list'ning ear,
Should sing into my soul a strain
Might never be forgot--
So rich with joy, so rich with pain
The blue 'Forget-me-not!'
Ah, ev'ry blossom hath a tale
With silent grace to tell,
From rose that reddens to the gale
To modest heather bell;
But O, the flow'r in ev'ry heart
That finds a sacred spot
To bloom, with azure leaves apart,
Is the 'Forget-me-not!'
Love plucks it from the mosses green
When parting hours are nigh,
And places it loves palms between,
With many an ardent sigh;
And bluely up from grassy graves
In some lov'd churchyard spot,
It glances tenderly and waves,
The dear 'Forget-me-not!'
And with the faint last cadence, stole a glance
At Malcolm's soften'd face--a bird-soft touch
Let flutter on the rugged silver snarls
Of his thick locks, and laid her tender lips
A second on the iron of his hand.
'And did you ever meet,' he sudden ask'd,
Of Alfred, sitting pallid in the shade,
'Out by yon unco place, a lad,--a lad
'Nam'd Maxwell Gordon; tall, and straight, and strong;
'About my size, I take it, when a lad?'
And Katie at the sound of Max's name,
First spoken for such space by Malcolm's lips,
Trembl'd and started, and let down her brow,
Hiding its sudden rose on Malcolm's arm.
'Max Gordon? Yes. Was he a friend of yours?'
'No friend of mine, but of the lassie's here--
'How comes he on? I wager he's a drone,
'And never will put honey in the hive.'
'No drone,' said Alfred, laughing; 'when I left
'He and his axe were quarr'ling with the woods
'And making forests reel--love steels a lover's arm.'
O, blush that stole from Katie's swelling heart,
And with its hot rose brought the happy dew
Into her hidden eyes. 'Aye, aye! is that the way?'
Said Malcolm smiling. 'Who may be his love?'
'In that he is a somewhat simple soul,
'Why, I suppose he loves--' he paused, and Kate
Look'd up with two 'forget-me-nots' for eyes,
With eager jewels in their centres set
Of happy, happy tears, and Alfred's heart
Became a closer marble than before.
'--Why I suppose he loves--his lawful wife.'
'His wife! his wife!' said Malcolm, in a maze,
And laid his heavy hand on Katie's head;
'Did you play me false, my little lass?
'Speak and I'll pardon! Katie, lassie, what?'
'He has a wife,' said Alfred, 'lithe and bronz'd,
'An Indian woman, comelier than her kind;
'And on her knee a child with yellow locks,
'And lake-like eyes of mystic Indian brown.
'And so you knew him? He is doing well.'
'False, false!' said Katie, lifting up her head.
'O, you know not the Max my father means!'
'He came from yonder farm-house on the slope.'
'Some other Max--we speak not of the same.'
'He has a red mark on his temple set.'
'It matters not--'tis not the Max we know.'
'He wears a turquoise ring slung round his neck.'
'And many wear them--they are common stones.'
'His mother's ring--her name was Helen Wynde.'
'And there be many Helens who have sons.'
'O Katie, credit me--it is the man.'
'O not the man! Why, you have never told
'Us of the true soul that the true Max has;
'The Max we know has such a soul, I know.'
'How know you that, my foolish little lass?'
Said Malcolm, a storm of anger bound
Within his heart, like Samson with green withs--
'Belike it is the false young cur we know!'
'No, no,' said Katie, simply, and low-voic'd;
'If he were traitor I must needs be false,
'For long ago love melted our two hearts.
'And time has moulded those two hearts in one,
'And he is true since I am faithful still.'
She rose and parted, trembling as she went,
Feeling the following steel of Alfred's eyes,
And with the icy hand of scorn'd mistrust
Searching about the pulses of her heart--
Feeling for Max's image in her breast.
'To-night she conquers Doubt; to-morrow's noon
'His following soldiers sap the golden wall,
'And I shall enter and possess the fort,'
Said Alfred, in his mind. 'O Katie, child,
'Wilt thou be Nemesis, with yellow hair,
'To rend my breast? for I do feel a pulse
'Stir when I look into thy pure-barb'd eyes--
'O, am I breeding that false thing, a heart?
'Making my breast all tender for the fangs
'Of sharp Remorse to plunge their hot fire in.
'I am a certain dullard! Let me feel
'But one faint goad, fine as a needle's point,
'And it shall be the spur in my soul's side
'To urge the madd'ning thing across the jags
'And cliffs of life, into the soft embrace
'Of that cold mistress, who is constant too,
'And never flings her lovers from her arms--
'Not Death, for she is still a fruitful wife,
'Her spouse the Dead, and their cold marriage yields
'A million children, born of mould'ring flesh--
'So Death and Flesh live on--immortal they!
'I mean the blank-ey'd queen whose wassail bowl
'Is brimm'd from Lethe, and whose porch is red
'With poppies, as it waits the panting soul--
'She, she alone is great! No scepter'd slave
'Bowing to blind creative giants, she;
'No forces seize her in their strong, mad hands,
'Nor say, ''Do this--be that!'' Were there a God,
'His only mocker, she, great Nothingness!
'And to her, close of kin, yet lover too,
'Flies this large nothing that we call the soul.'
* * * * *
'Doth true Love lonely grow?
Ah, no! ah, no!
Ah, were it only so--
That it alone might show
Its ruddy rose upon its sapful tree,
Then, then in dewy morn,
Joy might his brow adorn
With Love's young rose as fair and glad as he.'
* * * * *
But with Love's rose doth blow
Ah, woe! ah, woe!
Truth with its leaves of snow,
And Pain and Pity grow
With Love's sweet roses on its sapful tree!
Love's rose buds not alone,
But still, but still doth own
A thousand blossoms cypress-hued to see!
* * * * *
Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part Ii.
The South Wind laid his moccasins aside,
Broke his gay calumet of flow'rs, and cast
His useless wampun, beaded with cool dews,
Far from him, northward; his long, ruddy spear
Flung sunward, whence it came, and his soft locks
Of warm, fine haze grew silver as the birch.
His wigwam of green leaves began to shake;
The crackling rice-beds scolded harsh like squaws:
The small ponds pouted up their silver lips;
The great lakes ey'd the mountains, whisper'd 'Ugh!'
'Are ye so tall, O chiefs? Not taller than
Our plumes can reach.' And rose a little way,
As panthers stretch to try their velvet limbs,
And then retreat to purr and bide their time.
At morn the sharp breath of the night arose
From the wide prairies, in deep struggling seas,
In rolling breakers, bursting to the sky;
In tumbling surfs, all yellow'd faintly thro'
With the low sun--in mad, conflicting crests,
Voic'd with low thunder from the hairy throats
Of the mist-buried herds; and for a man
To stand amid the cloudy roll and moil,
The phantom waters breaking overhead,
Shades of vex'd billows bursting on his breast,
Torn caves of mist wall'd with a sudden gold,
Reseal'd as swift as seen--broad, shaggy fronts,
Fire-ey'd and tossing on impatient horns
The wave impalpable--was but to think
A dream of phantoms held him as he stood.
The late, last thunders of the summer crash'd,
Where shrieked great eagles, lords of naked cliffs.
The pulseless forest, lock'd and interlock'd
So closely, bough with bough, and leaf with leaf,
So serf'd by its own wealth, that while from high
The moons of summer kiss'd its green-gloss'd locks;
And round its knees the merry West Wind danc'd;
And round its ring, compacted emerald;
The south wind crept on moccasins of flame;
And the fed fingers of th' impatient sun
Pluck'd at its outmost fringes--its dim veins
Beat with no life--its deep and dusky heart,
In a deep trance of shadow, felt no throb
To such soft wooing answer: thro' its dream
Brown rivers of deep waters sunless stole;
Small creeks sprang from its mosses, and amaz'd,
Like children in a wigwam curtain'd close
Above the great, dead, heart of some red chief,
Slipp'd on soft feet, swift stealing through the gloom,
Eager for light and for the frolic winds.
In this shrill moon the scouts of winter ran
From the ice-belted north, and whistling shafts
Struck maple and struck sumach--and a blaze
Ran swift from leaf to leaf, from bough to bough;
Till round the forest flash'd a belt of flame.
And inward lick'd its tongues of red and gold
To the deep, tranied inmost heart of all.
Rous'd the still heart--but all too late, too late.
Too late, the branches welded fast with leaves,
Toss'd, loosen'd, to the winds--too late the sun
Pour'd his last vigor to the deep, dark cells
Of the dim wood. The keen, two-bladed Moon
Of Falling Leaves roll'd up on crested mists
And where the lush, rank boughs had foiled the sun
In his red prime, her pale, sharp fingers crept
After the wind and felt about the moss,
And seem'd to pluck from shrinking twig and stem
The burning leaves--while groan'd the shudd'ring wood.
Who journey'd where the prairies made a pause,
Saw burnish'd ramparts flaming in the sun,
With beacon fires, tall on their rustling walls.
And when the vast, horn'd herds at sunset drew
Their sullen masses into one black cloud,
Rolling thund'rous o'er the quick pulsating plain,
They seem'd to sweep between two fierce red suns
Which, hunter-wise, shot at their glaring balls
Keen shafts, with scarlet feathers and gold barbs,
By round, small lakes with thinner, forests fring'd,
More jocund woods that sung about the feet
And crept along the shoulders of great cliffs;
The warrior stags, with does and tripping fawns,
Like shadows black upon the throbbing mist
Of Evening's rose, flash'd thro' the singing woods--
Nor tim'rous, sniff'd the spicy, cone-breath'd air;
For never had the patriarch of the herd
Seen limn'd against the farthest rim of light
Of the low-dipping sky, the plume or bow
Of the red hunter; nor when stoop'd to drink,
Had from the rustling rice-beds heard the shaft
Of the still hunter hidden in its spears;
His bark canoe close-knotted in its bronze,
His form as stirless as the brooding air,
His dusky eyes too, fix'd, unwinking, fires;
His bow-string tighten'd till it subtly sang
To the long throbs, and leaping pulse that roll'd
And beat within his knotted, naked breast.
There came a morn. The Moon of Falling Leaves,
With her twin silver blades had only hung
Above the low set cedars of the swamp
For one brief quarter, when the sun arose
Lusty with light and full of summer heat,
And pointing with his arrows at the blue,
Clos'd wigwam curtains of the sleeping moon,
Laugh'd with the noise of arching cataracts,
And with the dove-like cooing of the woods,
And with the shrill cry of the diving loon
And with the wash of saltless, rounded seas,
And mock'd the white moon of the Falling Leaves.
'Esa! esa! shame upon you, Pale Face!
'Shame upon you, moon of evil witches!
'Have you kill'd the happy, laughing Summer?
'Have you slain the mother of the Flowers
'With your icy spells of might and magic?
'Have you laid her dead within my arms?
'Wrapp'd her, mocking, in a rainbow blanket.
'Drown'd her in the frost mist of your anger?
'She is gone a little way before me;
'Gone an arrow's flight beyond my vision;
'She will turn again and come to meet me,
'With the ghosts of all the slain flowers,
'In a blue mist round her shining tresses;
'In a blue smoke in her naked forests--
'She will linger, kissing all the branches,
'She will linger, touching all the places,
'Bare and naked, with her golden fingers,
'Saying, 'Sleep, and dream of me, my children
''Dream of me, the mystic Indian Summer;
''I, who, slain by the cold Moon of Terror,
''Can return across the path of Spirits,
''Bearing still my heart of love and fire;
''Looking with my eyes of warmth and splendour;
''Whisp'ring lowly thro' your sleep of sunshine?
''I, the laughing Summer, am not turn'd
''Into dry dust, whirling on the prairies,--
''Into red clay, crush'd beneath the snowdrifts.
''I am still the mother of sweet flowers
''Growing but an arrow's flight beyond you--
''In the Happy Hunting Ground--the quiver
''Of great Manitou, where all the arrows
''He has shot from his great bow of Pow'r,
''With its clear, bright, singing cord of Wisdom,
''Are re-gather'd, plum'd again and brighten'd,
''And shot out, re-barb'd with Love and Wisdom;
''Always shot, and evermore returning.
''Sleep, my children, smiling in your heart-seeds
''At the spirit words of Indian Summer!''
'Thus, O Moon of Falling Leaves, I mock you!
'Have you slain my gold-ey'd squaw, the Summer?'
The mighty morn strode laughing up the land,
And Max, the labourer and the lover, stood
Within the forest's edge, beside a tree;
The mossy king of all the woody tribes,
Whose clatt'ring branches rattl'd, shuddering,
As the bright axe cleav'd moon-like thro' the air,
Waking strange thunders, rousing echoes link'd
From the full, lion-throated roar, to sighs
Stealing on dove-wings thro' the distant aisles.
Swift fell the axe, swift follow'd roar on roar,
Till the bare woodland bellow'd in its rage,
As the first-slain slow toppl'd to his fall.
'O King of Desolation, art thou dead?'
Thought Max, and laughing, heart and lips, leap'd on
The vast, prone trunk. 'And have I slain a King?
'Above his ashes will I build my house--
No slave beneath its pillars, but--a King!'
Max wrought alone, but for a half-breed lad,
With tough, lithe sinews and deep Indian eyes,
Lit with a Gallic sparkle. Max, the lover, found
The labourer's arms grow mightier day by day--
More iron-welded as he slew the trees;
And with the constant yearning of his heart
Towards little Kate, part of a world away,
His young soul grew and shew'd a virile front,
Full-muscl'd and large statur'd, like his flesh.
Soon the great heaps of brush were builded high,
And like a victor, Max made pause to clear
His battle-field, high strewn with tangl'd dead.
Then roar'd the crackling mountains, and their fires
Met in high heaven, clasping flame with flame.
The thin winds swept a cosmos of red sparks
Across the bleak, midnight sky; and the sun
Walk'd pale behind the resinous, black smoke.
And Max car'd little for the blotted sun,
And nothing for the startl'd, outshone stars;
For Love, once set within a lover's breast,
Has its own Sun--it's own peculiar sky,
All one great daffodil--on which do lie
The sun, the moon, the stars--all seen at once,
And never setting; but all shining straight
Into the faces of the trinity,--
The one belov'd, the lover, and sweet Love!
It was not all his own, the axe-stirr'd waste.
In these new days men spread about the earth,
With wings at heel--and now the settler hears,
While yet his axe rings on the primal woods,
The shrieks of engines rushing o'er the wastes;
Nor parts his kind to hew his fortunes out.
And as one drop glides down the unknown rock
And the bright-threaded stream leaps after it,
With welded billions, so the settler finds
His solitary footsteps beaten out,
With the quick rush of panting, human waves
Upheav'd by throbs of angry poverty;
And driven by keen blasts of hunger, from
Their native strands--so stern, so dark, so dear!
O, then, to see the troubl'd, groaning waves,
Throb down to peace in kindly, valley beds;
Their turbid bosoms clearing in the calm
Of sun-ey'd Plenty--till the stars and moon,
The blessed sun himself, has leave to shine
And laugh in their dark hearts! So shanties grew
Other than his amid the blacken'd stumps;
And children ran, with little twigs and leaves
And flung them, shouting, on the forest pyres,
Where burn'd the forest kings--and in the glow
Paus'd men and women when the day was done.
There the lean weaver ground anew his axe,
Nor backward look'd upon the vanish'd loom,
But forward to the ploughing of his fields;
And to the rose of Plenty in the cheeks.
Of wife and children--nor heeded much the pangs
Of the rous'd muscles tuning to new work.
The pallid clerk look'd on his blister'd palms
And sigh'd and smil'd, but girded up his loins
And found new vigour as he felt new hope.
The lab'rer with train'd muscles, grim and grave,
Look'd at the ground and wonder'd in his soul,
What joyous anguish stirr'd his darken'd heart,
At the mere look of the familiar soil,
And found his answer in the words--'_Mine own!_'
Then came smooth-coated men, with eager eyes,
And talk'd of steamers on the cliff-bound lakes;
And iron tracks across the prairie lands;
And mills to crush the quartz of wealthy hills;
And mills to saw the great, wide-arm'd trees;
And mills to grind the singing stream of grain;
And with such busy clamour mingled still
The throbbing music of the bold, bright Axe--
The steel tongue of the Present, and the wail
Of falling forests--voices of the Past.
Max, social-soul'd, and with his practised thews,
Was happy, boy-like, thinking much of Kate,
And speaking of her to the women-folk;
Who, mostly, happy in new honeymoons
Of hope themselves, were ready still to hear
The thrice told tale of Katie's sunny eyes
And Katie's yellow hair, and household ways:
And heard so often, 'There shall stand our home--
'On yonder slope, with vines about the door!'
That the good wives were almost made to see
The snowy walls, deep porches, and the gleam
Of Katie's garments flitting through the rooms;
And the black slope all bristling with burn'd stumps
Was known amongst them all as 'Max's House.'
* * * * *
O, Love builds on the azure sea,
And Love builds on the golden sand;
And Love builds on the rose-wing'd cloud,
And sometimes Love builds on the land.
* * * * *
O, if Love build on sparkling sea--
And if Love build on golden strand--
And if Love build on rosy cloud--
To Love these are the solid land.
* * * * *
O, Love will build his lily walls,
And Love his pearly roof, will rear,--
On cloud or land, or mist or sea--
Love's solid land is everywhere!
* * * * *