Hymn For The Opening Of Plymouth Church, St. Paul, Minnesota
All things are Thine: no gift have we,
Lord of all gifts, to offer Thee;
And hence with grateful hearts to-day,
Thy own before Thy feet we lay.
Thy will was in the builders' thought;
Thy hand unseen amidst us wrought;
Through mortal motive, scheme and plan,
Thy wise eternal purpose ran.
No lack Thy perfect fulness knew;
For human needs and longings grew
This house of prayer, this home of rest,
In the fair garden of the West.
In weakness and in want we call
On Thee for whom the heavens are small;
Thy glory is Thy children's good,
Thy joy Thy tender Fatherhood.
O Father! deign these walls to bless,
Fill with Thy love their emptiness,
And let their door a gateway be
To lead us from ourselves to Thee!
Hymn For The House Of Worship At Georgetown, Erected In Memory Of A Mother
Thou dwellest not, O Lord of all
In temples which thy children raise;
Our work to thine is mean and small,
And brief to thy eternal days.
Forgive the weakness and the pride,
If marred thereby our gift may be,
For love, at least, has sanctified
The altar that we rear to thee.
The heart and not the hand has wrought
From sunken base to tower above
The image of a tender thought,
The memory of a deathless love!
And though should never sound of speech
Or organ echo from its wall,
Its stones would pious lessons teach,
Its shade in benedictions fall.
Here should the dove of peace be found,
And blessings and not curses given;
Nor strife profane, nor hatred wound,
The mingled loves of earth and heaven.
Thou, who didst soothe with dying breath
The dear one watching by Thy cross,
Forgetful of the pains of death
In sorrow for her mighty loss,
In memory of that tender claim,
O Mother-born, the offering take,
And make it worthy of Thy name,
And bless it for a mother's sake!
The Memory Of Burns
How sweetly come the holy psalms
From saints and martyrs down,
The waving of triumphal palms
Above the thorny crown
The choral praise, the chanted prayers
From harps by angels strung,
The hunted Cameron's mountain airs,
The hymns that Luther sung!
Yet, jarring not the heavenly notes,
The sounds of earth are heard,
As through the open minster floats
The song of breeze and bird
Not less the wonder of the sky
That daisies bloom below;
The brook sings on, though loud and high
The cloudy organs blow!
And, if the tender ear be jarred
That, haply, hears by turns
The saintly harp of Olney's bard,
The pastoral pipe of Burns,
No discord mars His perfect plan
Who gave them both a tongue;
For he who sings the love of man
The love of God hath sung!
To-day be every fault forgiven
Of him in whom we joy
We take, with thanks, the gold of Heaven
And leave the earth's alloy.
Be ours his music as of spring,
His sweetness as of flowers,
The songs the bard himself might sing
In holier ears than ours.
Sweet airs of love and home, the hum
Of household melodies,
Come singing, as the robins come
To sing in door-yard trees.
And, heart to heart, two nations lean,
No rival wreaths to twine,
But blending in eternal green
The holly and the pine!
The Poet And The Children
WITH a glory of winter sunshine
Over his locks of gray,
In the old historic mansion
He sat on his last birthday;
With his books and his pleasant pictures,
And his household and his kin,
While a sound as of myriads singing
From far and near stole in.
It came from his own fair city,
From the prairie's boundless plain,
From the Golden Gate of sunset,
And the cedarn woods of Maine.
And his heart grew warm within him,
And his moistening eyes grew dim,
For he knew that his country's children
Were singing the songs of him,
The lays of his life's glad morning,
The psalms of his evening time,
Whose echoes shall float forever
On the winds of every clime.
All their beautiful consolations,
Sent forth like birds of cheer,
Came flocking back to his windows,
And sang in the Poet's ear.
Grateful, but solemn and tender,
The music rose and fell
With a joy akin to sadness
And a greeting like farewell.
With a sense of awe he listened
To the voices sweet and young;
The last of earth and the first of heaven
Seemed in the songs they sung.
And waiting a little longer
For the wonderful change to come,
He heard the Summoning Angel,
Who calls God's children home!
And to him in a holier welcome
Was the mystical meaning given
Of the words of the blessed Master
'Of such is the kingdom of heaven!'
The Pine Tree
LIFT again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
Give to Northern winds the Pine-Tree on our banner's tattered field.
Sons of men who sat in council with their Bibles round the board,
Answering England's royal missive with a firm, 'Thus saith the Lord!'
Rise again for home and freedom! set the battle in array!
What the fathers did of old time we their sons must do to-day.
Tell us not of banks and tariffs, cease your paltry pedler cries;
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
Would ye barter man for cotton? That your gains may sum up higher,
Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the fire?
Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a dream?
Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam?
O my God! for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
Smote the Province House with terror, struck the crest of Andros down!
For another strong-voiced Adams in the city's streets to cry,
'Up for God and Massachusetts! Set your feet on Mammon's lie!
Perish banks and perish traffic, spin your cotton's latest pound,
But in Heaven's name keep your honor, keep the heart o' the Bay State sound!'
Where's the man for Massachusetts! Where's the voice to speak her free?
Where's the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer? Sits she dumb in her despair?
Has she none to break the silence? Has she none to do and dare?
O my God! for one right worthy to lift up her rushed shield,
And to plant again the Pine-Tree in her banner's tattered field!
Hymn For The Opening Of Thomas Starr King’s House Of Worship, 1864
Amidst these glorious works of Thine,
The solemn minarets of the pine,
And awful Shasta's icy shrine,--
Where swell Thy hymns from wave and gale,
And organ-thunders never fail,
Behind the cataract's silver veil,
Our puny walls to Thee we raise,
Our poor reed-music sounds Thy praise:
Forgive, O Lord, our childish ways!
For, kneeling on these altar-stairs,
We urge Thee not with selfish prayers,
Nor murmur at our daily cares.
Before Thee, in an evil day,
Our country's bleeding heart we lay,
And dare not ask Thy hand to stay;
But, through the war-cloud, pray to Thee
For union, but a union free,
With peace that comes of purity!
That Thou wilt bare Thy arm to, save
And, smiting through this Red Sea wave,
Make broad a pathway for the slave!
For us, confessing all our need,
We trust nor rite nor word nor deed,
Nor yet the broken staff of creed.
Assured alone that Thou art good
To each, as to the multitude,
Eternal Love and Fatherhood,--
Weak, sinful, blind, to Thee we kneel,
Stretch dumbly forth our hands, and feel
Our weakness is our strong appeal.
So, by these Western gates of Even
We wait to see with Thy forgiven
The opening Golden Gate of Heaven!
Suffice it now. In time to be
Shall holier altars rise to Thee,--
Thy Church our broad humanity
White flowers of love its walls shall climb,
Soft bells of peace shall ring its chime,
Its days shall all be holy time.
A sweeter song shall then be heard,--
The music of the world's accord
Confessing Christ, the Inward Word!
That song shall swell from shore to shore,
One hope, one faith, one love, restore
The seamless robe that Jesus wore.
For An Autumn Festival
The Persian's flowery gifts, the shrine
Of fruitful Ceres, charm no more;
The woven wreaths of oak and pine
Are dust along the Isthmian shore.
But beauty hath its homage still,
And nature holds us still in debt;
And woman's grace and household skill,
And manhood's toil, are honored yet.
And we, to-day, amidst our flowers
And fruits, have come to own again
The blessings of the summer hours,
The early and the latter rain;
To see our Father's hand once more
Reverse for us the plenteous horn
Of autumn, filled and running o'er
With fruit, and flower, and golden corn!
Once more the liberal year laughs out
O'er richer stores than gems or gold;
Once more with harvest-song and shout
Is Nature's bloodless triumph told.
Our common mother rests and sings,
Like Ruth, among her garnered sheaves;
Her lap is full of goodly things,
Her brow is bright with autumn leaves.
Oh, favors every year made new!
Oh, gifts with rain and sunshine sent
The bounty overruns our due,
The fulness shames our discontent.
We shut our eyes, the flowers bloom on;
We murmur, but the corn-ears fill,
We choose the shadow, but the sun
That casts it shines behind us still.
God gives us with our rugged soil
The power to make it Eden-fair,
And richer fruits to crown our toil
Than summer-wedded islands bear.
Who murmurs at his lot to-day?
Who scorns his native fruit and bloom?
Or sighs for dainties far away,
Beside the bounteous board of home?
Thank Heaven, instead, that Freedom's arm
Can change a rocky soil to gold,--
That brave and generous lives can warm
A clime with northern ices cold.
And let these altars, wreathed with flowers
And piled with fruits, awake again
Thanksgivings for the golden hours,
The early and the latter rain!
On The Big Horn
THE years are but half a score,
And the war-whoop sounds no more
With the blast of bugles, where
Straight into a slaughter pen,
With his doomed three hundred men,
Rode the chief with the yellow hair.
O Hampton, down by the sea!
What voice is beseeching thee
For the scholar's lowliest place?
Can. this be the voice of him
Who fought on the Big Horn's rim?
Can this be Rain-in-the-Face?
His war-paint is washed away,
Hls hands have forgotten to slay;
He seeks for himself and his race
The arts of peace and the lore
That give to the skilled hand more
Than the spoils of war and chase.
O chief of the Christ-like school!
Can the zeal of thy heart grow cool
When the victor scarred with fight
Like a child for thy guidance craves,
And the faces of hunters and braves
Are turning to thee for light?
The hatchet lies overgrown
With grass by the Yellowstone,
Wind River and Paw of Bear;
And, in sign that foes are friends,
Each lodge like a peace-pipe sends
Its smoke in the quiet air.
The hands that have done the wrong
To right the wronged are strong,
And the voice of a nation saith:
'Enough of the war of swords,
Enough of the lying words
And shame of a broken faith!'
The hills that have watched afar
The valleys ablaze with war
Shall look on the tasselled corn;
And the dust of the grinded grain,
Instead of the blood of the slain,
Shall sprinkle thy banks, Big Horn!
The Ute and the wandering Crow
Shall know as the white men know,
And fare as the white men fare;
The pale and the red shall be brothers,
One's rights shall be as another's,
Home, School, and House of Prayer!
O mountains that climb to snow,
O river winding below,
Through meadows by war once trod,
O wild, waste lands that await
The harvest exceeding great,
Break forth into praise of God!
Still linger in our noon of time
And on our Saxon tongue
The echoes of the home-born hymns
The Aryan mothers sung.
And childhood had its litanies
In every age and clime;
The earliest cradles of the race
Were rocked to poet's rhyme.
Nor sky, nor wave, nor tree, nor flower,
Nor green earth's virgin sod,
So moved the singer's heart of old
As these small ones of God.
The mystery of unfolding life
Was more than dawning morn,
Than opening flower or crescent moon
The human soul new-born.
And still to childhood's sweet appeal
The heart of genius turns,
And more than all the sages teach
From lisping voices learns,--
The voices loved of him who sang,
Where Tweed and Teviot glide,
That sound to-day on all the winds
That blow from Rydal-side,--
Heard in the Teuton's household songs,
And folk-lore of the Finn,
Where'er to holy Christmas hearths
The Christ-child enters in!
Before life's sweetest mystery still
The heart in reverence kneels;
The wonder of the primal birth
The latest mother feels.
We need love's tender lessons taught
As only weakness can;
God hath His small interpreters;
The child must teach the man.
We wander wide through evil years,
Our eyes of faith grow dim;
But he is freshest from His hands
And nearest unto Him!
And haply, pleading long with Him
For sin-sick hearts and cold,
The angels of our childhood still
The Father's face behold.
Of such the kingdom!--Teach Thou us,
O-Master most divine,
To feel the deep significance
Of these wise words of Thine!
The haughty eye shall seek in vain
What innocence beholds;
No cunning finds the key of heaven,
No strength its gate unfolds.
Alone to guilelessness and love
That gate shall open fall;
The mind of pride is nothingness,
The childlike heart is all!
One Of The Signers
O storied vale of Merrimac
Rejoice through all thy shade and shine,
And from his century's sleep call back
A brave and honored son of thine.
Unveil his effigy between
The living and the dead to-day;
The fathers of the Old Thirteen
Shall witness bear as spirits may.
Unseen, unheard, his gray compeers
The shades of Lee and Jefferson,
Wise Franklin reverend with his years
And Carroll, lord of Carrollton!
Be thine henceforth a pride of place
Beyond thy namesake's over-sea,
Where scarce a stone is left to trace
The Holy House of Amesbury.
A prouder memory lingers round
The birthplace of thy true man here
Than that which haunts the refuge found
By Arthur's mythic Guinevere.
The plain deal table where he sat
And signed a nation's title-deed
Is dearer now to fame than that
Which bore the scroll of Runnymede.
Long as, on Freedom's natal morn,
Shall ring the Independence bells,
Give to thy dwellers yet unborn
The lesson which his image tells.
For in that hour of Destiny,
Which tried the men of bravest stock,
He knew the end alone must be
A free land or a traitor's block.
Among those picked and chosen men
Than his, who here first drew his breath,
No firmer fingers held the pen
Which wrote for liberty or death.
Not for their hearths and homes alone,
But for the world their work was done;
On all the winds their thought has flown
Through all the circuit of the sun.
We trace its flight by broken chains,
By songs of grateful Labor still;
To-day, in all her holy fanes,
It rings the bells of freed Brazil.
O hills that watched his boyhood's home,
O earth and air that nursed him, give,
In this memorial semblance, room
To him who shall its bronze outlive!
And thou, O Land he loved, rejoice
That in the countless years to come,
Whenever Freedom needs a voice,
These sculptured lips shall not be dumb!
Telling The Bees
Here is the place; right over the hill
Runs the path I took;
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.
There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
And the poplars tall;
And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard,
And the white horns tossing above the wall.
There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun,
Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.
A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
And the same brook sings of a year ago.
There 's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.
I mind me how with a lover's care
From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.
Since we parted, a month had passed, --
To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.
I can see it all now, -- the slantwise rain
Of light through the leaves,
The sundown's blaze on her window-pane,
The bloom of her roses under the eaves.
Just the same as a month before, --
The house and the trees,
The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door, --
Nothing changed but the hives of bees.
Before them, under the garden wall,
Forward and back,
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.
Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go!
Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps
For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
The fret and the pain of his age away."
But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill,
With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
Sung to the bees stealing out and in.
And the song she was singing ever since
In my ear sounds on: --
"Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone!"
To A Friend
ON HER RETURN FROM EUROPE.
How smiled the land of France
Under thy blue eye's glance,
Old walls of chateaux gray,
Towers of an early day,
Which the Three Colors play
Now midst the brilliant train
Thronging the banks of Seine
Now midst the splendor
Of the wild Alpine range,
Waking with change on change
Thoughts in thy young heart strange,
Lovely, and tender.
Vales, soft Elysian,
Like those in the vision
Of Mirza, when, dreaming,
He saw the long hollow dell,
Touched by the prophet's spell,
Into an ocean swell
With its isles teeming.
Cliffs wrapped in snows of years,
Splintering with icy spears
Autumn's blue heaven
Loose rock and frozen slide,
Hung on the mountain-side,
Waiting their hour to glide
Rhine-stream, by castle old,
Baron's and robber's hold,
Sweeping through vineyards green,
Or where the cliffs are seen
O'er the broad wave between
Grim shadows throwing.
Or, where St. Peter's dome
Swells o'er eternal Rome,
Vast, dim, and solemn;
Hymns ever chanting low,
Censers swung to and fro,
Sable stoles sweeping slow
Cornice and column!
Oh, as from each and all
Will there not voices call
Evermore back again?
In the mind's gallery
Wilt thou not always see
Dim phantoms beckon thee
O'er that old track again?
New forms thy presence haunt,
New voices softly chant,
New faces greet thee!
Pilgrims from many a shrine
Hallowed by poet's line,
At memory's magic sign,
Rising to meet thee.
And when such visions come
Unto thy olden home,
Will they not waken
Deep thoughts of Him whose hand
Led thee o'er sea and land
Back to the household band
Whence thou wast taken?
While, at the sunset time,
Swells the cathedral's chime,
Yet, in thy dreaming,
While to thy spirit's eye
Yet the vast mountains lie
Piled in the Switzer's sky,
Icy and gleaming:
Prompter of silent prayer,
Be the wild picture there
In the mind's chamber,
And, through each coming day
Him who, as staff and stay,
Watched o'er thy wandering way,
So, when the call shall be
Soon or late unto thee,
As to all given,
Still may that picture live,
All its fair forms survive,
And to thy spirit give
Gladness in Heaven!
To James T. Fields
ON A BLANK LEAF OF 'POEMS PRINTED, NOT PUBLISHED.'
Well thought! who would not rather hear
The songs to Love and Friendship sung
Than those which move the stranger's tongue,
And feed his unselected ear?
Our social joys are more than fame;
Life withers in the public look.
Why mount the pillory of a book,
Or barter comfort for a name?
Who in a house of glass would dwell,
With curious eyes at every pane?
To ring him in and out again,
Who wants the public crier's bell?
To see the angel in one's way,
Who wants to play the ass's part,--
Bear on his back the wizard Art,
And in his service speak or bray?
And who his manly locks would shave,
And quench the eyes of common sense,
To share the noisy recompense
That mocked the shorn and blinded slave?
The heart has needs beyond the head,
And, starving in the plenitude
Of strange gifts, craves its common food,--
Our human nature's daily bread.
We are but men: no gods are we,
To sit in mid-heaven, cold and bleak,
Each separate, on his painful peak,
Thin-cloaked in self-complacency.
Better his lot whose axe is swung
In Wartburg woods, or that poor girl's
Who by the him her spindle whirls
And sings the songs that Luther sung,
Than his who, old, and cold, and vain,
At Weimar sat, a demigod,
And bowed with Jove's imperial nod
His votaries in and out again!
Ply, Vanity, thy winged feet!
Ambition, hew thy rocky stair!
Who envies him who feeds on air
The icy splendor of his seat?
I see your Alps, above me, cut
The dark, cold sky; and dim and lone
I see ye sitting,--stone on stone,--
With human senses dulled and shut.
I could not reach you, if I would,
Nor sit among your cloudy shapes;
And (spare the fable of the grapes
And fox) I would not if I could.
Keep to your lofty pedestals!
The safer plain below I choose
Who never wins can rarely lose,
Who never climbs as rarely falls.
Let such as love the eagle's scream
Divide with him his home of ice
For me shall gentler notes suffice,--
The valley-song of bird and stream;
The pastoral bleat, the drone of bees,
The flail-beat chiming far away,
The cattle-low, at shut of day,
The voice of God in leaf and breeze;
Then lend thy hand, my wiser friend,
And help me to the vales below,
(In truth, I have not far to go,)
Where sweet with flowers the fields extend.
Flowers In Winter
How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flower,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!
How well the conscious wood retains
The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
And golden hues of bloom!
It was a happy thought to bring
To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
This dream of summertime.
Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
The guise of present truth.
A wizard of the Merrimac, -
So old ancestral legends say, -
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.
The dry logs of the cottage wall,
Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
Played round the icy eaves.
The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale
Sweet summer lilies rise.
To their old homes, by man profaned
Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
Of household use and wrong.
The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green,
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.
Haply our gentle friend hath met,
While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
That Druid of the West;
And while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in the moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.
But welcome, be it new or old,
The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
And darkness, warmth and light!
Without is neither gold nor green;
Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
The autumn and the spring.
The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.
Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the banks where roses blow
And swing the azure bells!
O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A live beyond their bloom.
And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening slope and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain
Her darlings of the wood.
Ho! workers of the old time styled
The Gentle Craft of Leather!
Young brothers of the ancient guild,
Stand forth once more together!
Call out again your long array,
In the olden merry manner!
Once more, on gay St. Crispin's day,
Fling out your blazoned banner!
Rap, rap! upon the well-worn stone
How falls the polished hammer!
Rap, rap! the measured sound has grown
A quick and merry clamor.
Now shape the sole! now deftly curl
The glossy vamp around it,
And bless the while the bright-eyed girl
Whose gentle fingers bound it!
For you, along the Spanish main
A hundred keels are ploughing;
For you, the Indian on the plain
His lasso-coil is throwing;
For you, deep glens with hemlock dark
The woodman's fire is lighting;
For you, upon the oak's gray bark,
The woodman's axe is smiting.
For you, from Carolina's pine
The rosin-gum is stealing;
For you, the dark-eyed Florentine
Her silken skein is reeling;
For you, the dizzy goatherd roams
His rugged Alpine ledges;
For you, round all her shepherd homes,
Bloom England's thorny hedges.
The foremost still, by day or night,
On moated mound or heather,
Whete'er the need of trampled right
Brought toiling men together;
Where the free burghers from the wall
Defied the mail-clad master,
Than yours, at Freedom's trumpet-call,
No craftsmen rallied faster.
Let foplings sneer, let fools deride,
Ye heed no idle scorner;
Free hands and hearts are still your pride,
And duty done, your honor.
Ye dare to trust, for honest fame,
The jury Time empanels,
And leave to truth each noble name
Which glorifies your annals.
Thy songs, Han Sachs, are living yet,
In strong and hearty German;
And Bloomfield's lay, and Gifford's wit,
And patriot fame of Sherman;
Still from his book, a mystic seer,
The soul of Behmen teaches,
And England's priestcraft shakes to hear
Of Fox's leathern breeches.
The foot is yours; where'er it falls,
It treads your well-wrought leather,
On earthen floor, in marble halls,
On carpet, or on heather.
Still there the sweetest charm is found
Of matron grace or vestal's,
As Hebe's foot bore nectar round
Among the old celestials!
Rap, rap! — your stout and bluff brogan,
With footsteps slow and weary,
May wander where the sky's blue span
Shuts down upon the prairie.
On Beauty's foot your slippers glance,
By Saratoga's fountains,
Or twinkle down the summer dance
Beneath the Crystal Mountains!
The red brick to the mason's hand,
The brown earth to the tiller's,
The shoe in yours shall wealth command,
Like fairy Cinderella's!
As they who shunned the household maid
Beheld the crown upon her,
So all shall see your toil repaid
With hearth and home and honor.
Then let the toast be freely quaffed,
In water cool and brimming,
'All honor to the good old Craft,
Its merry men and women!'
Call out again your long array,
In the old time's pleasant manner:
Once more, on gay St. Crispin's day,
Fling out his blazoned banner!
IT was late in mild October, and the long autumnal rain
Had left the summer harvest-fields all green with grass again;
The first sharp frosts had fallen, leaving all the woodlands gay
With the hues of summer's rainbow, or the meadow flowers of May.
Through a thin, dry mist, that morning, the sun rose broad and red,
At first a rayless disk of fire, he brightened as he sped;
Yet, even his noontide glory fell chastened and subdued,
On the cornfields and the orchards, and softly pictured wood.
And all that quiet afternoon, slow sloping to the night,
He wove with golden shuttle the haze with yellow light;
Slanting through the painted beeches, he glorified the hill;
And, beneath it, pond and meadow lay brighter, greener still.
And shouting boys in woodland haunts caught glimpses of that sky,
Flecked by the many-tinted leaves, and laughed, they knew not why;
And school-girls, gay with aster-flowers, beside the meadow brooks,
Mingled the glow of autumn with the sunshine of sweet looks.
From spire and barn looked westerly the patient weathercocks;
But even the birches on the hill stood motionless as rocks.
No sound was in the woodlands, save the squirrel's dropping shell,
And the yellow leaves among the boughs, low rustling as they fell.
The summer grains were harvested; the stubblefields lay dry,
Where June winds rolled, in light and shade, the pale green waves of rye;
But still, on gentle hill-slopes, in valleys fringed with wood,
Ungathered, bleaching in the sun, the heavy corn crop stood.
Bent low, by autumn's wind and rain, through husks that, dry and sere,
Unfolded from their ripened charge, shone out the yellow ear;
Beneath, the turnip lay concealed, in many a verdant fold,
And glistened in the slanting light the pumpkin's sphere of gold.
There wrought the busy harvesters; and many a creaking wain
Bore slowly to the long barn-floor is load of husk and grain;
Till broad and red, as when he rose, the sun sank down, at last,
And like a merry guest's farewell, the day in brightness passed.
And lo! as through the western pines, on meadow, stream, and pond,
Flamed the red radiance of a sky, set all afire beyond,
Slowly o'er the eastern sea-bluffs a milder glory shone,
And the sunset and the moonrise were mingled into one!
As thus into the quiet night the twilight lapsed away,
And deeper in the brightening moon the tranquil shadows lay;
From many a brown old farm-house, and hamlet without name,
Their milking and their home-tasks done, the merry huskers came.
Swung o'er the heaped-up harvest, from pitchforks in the mow,
Shone dimly down the lanterns on the pleasant scene below;
The growing pile of husks behind, the golden ears before,
And laughing eyes and busy hands and brown cheeks glimmering o'er.
Half hidden, in a quiet nook, serene of look and heart,
Talking their old times over, the old men sat apart;
While up and down the unhusked pile, or nestling in its shade,
At hide-and-seek, with laugh and shout, the happy children played.
Urged by the good host's daughter, a maiden young and fair,
Lifting to light her sweet blue eyes and pride of soft brown hair,
The master of the village school, sleek of hair and smooth of tongue,
To the quaint tune of some old psalm, a husking-ballad sung.
The Swan Song Of Parson Avery
When the reaper's task was ended, and the summer wearing late,
Parson Avery sailed from Newbury, with his wife and children eight,
Dropping down the river-harbor in the shallop 'Watch and Wait.'
Pleasantly lay the clearings in the mellow summer-morn,
With the newly planted orchards dropping their fruits first-born,
And the home-roofs like brown islands amid a sea of corn.
Broad meadows reached out 'seaward the tided creeks between,
And hills rolled wave-like inland, with oaks and walnuts green;-
A fairer home, a-goodlier land, his eyes had never seen.
Yet away sailed Parson Avery, away where duty led,
And the voice of God seemed calling, to break the living bread
To the souls of fishers starving on the rocks of Marblehead.
All day they sailed: at nightfall the pleasant land-breeze died,
The blackening sky, at midnight, its starry lights denied,
And far and low the thunder of tempest prophesied.
Blotted out were all the coast-lines, gone were rock, and wood, and sand;
Grimly anxious stood the skipper with the rudder in his hand,
And questioned of the darkness what was sea and what was land.
And the preacher heard his dear ones, nestled round him, weeping sore,
'Never heed, my little children! Christ is walking on before;
To the pleasant land of heaven, where the sea shall be no more.'
All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain drawn aside,
To let down the torch of lightning on the terror far and wide;
And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote the tide.
There was wailing in the shallop, woman's wail and man's despair,
A crash of breaking timbers on the rocks so sharp and bare,
And, through it all, the murmur of Father Avery's prayer.
From his struggle in the darkness with the wild waves and the blast,
On a rock, where every billow broke above him as it passed,
Alone, of all his household, the man of God was cast.
There a comrade heard him praying, in the pause of wave and wind
'All my own have gone before me, and I linger just behind;
Not for life I ask, but only for the rest Thy ransomed find!
'In this night of death I challenge the promise of Thy word!-
Let me see the great salvation of which mine ears have heard!-
Let me pass from hence forgiven, through the grace of Christ, our Lord!
'In the baptism of these waters wash white my every sin,
And let me follow up to Thee my household and my kin!
Open the sea-gate of Thy heaven, and let me enter in!'
When the Christian sings his death-song, all the listening heavens draw near,
And the angels, leaning over the walls of crystal, hear
How the notes so faint and broken swell to music in God's ear.
The ear of God was open to His servant's last request;
As the strong wave swept him downward the sweet hymn upward pressed,
And the soul of Father Avery went, singing, to its rest.
There was wailing on the mainland, from the rocks of Marblehead;
In the stricken church of Newbury the notes of prayer were read;
And long, by board and hearthstone, the living mourned the dead.
And still the fishers outbound, or scudding from the squall,
With grave and reverent faces, the ancient tale recall,
When they see the white waves breaking on the Rock of Avery's Fall!
A Sabbath Scene
SCARCE had the solemn Sabbath-bell
Ceased quivering in the steeple,
Scarce had the parson to his desk
Walked stately through his people,
When down the summer-shaded street
A wasted female figure,
With dusky brow and naked feet,
Came rushing wild and eager.
She saw the white spire through the trees,
She heard the sweet hymn swelling:
O pitying Christ! a refuge give
The poor one in Thy dwelling!
Like a scared fawn before the hounds,
Right up the aisle she glided,
While close behind her, whip in hand,
A lank-haired hunter strided.
She raised a keen and bitter cry,
To Heaven. and Earth appealing;
Were manhood's generous pulses dead?
Had woman's heart no feeling?
A score of stout hands rose between
The hunter and the flying:
Age clenched his staff, and maiden eyes
Flashed tearful, yet defying.
'Who dares profane this house and day?'
Cried out the angry pastor.
'Why, bless your soul, the wench's a slave,
And I'm her lord and master!
'I've law and gospel on my side,
And who shall dare refuse me?'
Down came the parson, bowing low,
'My good sir, pray excuse me!
'Of course I know your right divine
To own and work and whip her;
Quick, deacon, throw that Polyglott
Before the wench, and trip her!'
Plump dropped the holy tome, and o'er
Its sacred pages stumbling,
Bound hand and foot, a slave once more,
The hapless wretch lay trembling.
I saw the parson tie the knots,
The while his flock addressing,
The Scriptural claims of slavery
With text on text impressing.
'Although,' said he, 'on Sabbath day
All secular occupations
Are deadly sins, we must fulfil
Our moral obligations:
'And this commends itself as one
To every conscience tender;
As Paul sent back Onesimus,
My Christian friends, we send her!'
Shriek rose on shriek, — the Sabbath air
Her wild cries tore asunder;
I listened, with hushed breath, to hear
God answering with his thunder!
All still! the very altar's cloth
Had smothered down her shrieking,
And, dumb, she turned from face to face,
For human pity seeking!
I saw her dragged along the aisle,
Her shackles harshly clanking;
I heard the parson, over all,
The Lord devoutly thanking!
My brain took fire: 'Is this,' I cried,
'The end of prayer and preaching?
Then down with pulpit, down with priest,
And give us Nature's teaching!
'Foul shame and scorn be on ye all
Who turn the good to evil,
And steal the Bible from the Lord,
To give it to the Devil!
'Than garbled text or parchment law
I own a statute higher;
And God is true, though every book
And every man's a liar!'
Just then I felt the deacon's hand
In wrath my coat-tail seize on;
I heard the priest cry, 'Infidel!'
The lawyer mutter, 'Treason!'
I started up, — where now were church,
Slave, master, priest, and people?
I only heard the supper-bell,
Instead of clanging steeple.
But, on the open window's sill,
O'er which the white blooms drifted,
The pages of a good old Book
The wind of summer lifted,
And flower and vine, like angel wings
Around the Holy Mother,
Waved softly there, as if God's truth
And Mercy kissed each other.
And freely from the cherry-bough
Above the casement swinging,
With golden bosom to the sun,
The oriole was singing.
As bird and flower made plain of old
The lesson of the Teacher,
So now I heard the written Word
Interpreted by Nature!
For to my ear methought the breeze
Bore Freedom's blessed word on;
Thus saith the Lord: Break every yoke,
Undo the heavy burden!
THROUGH heat and cold, and shower and sun,
Still onward cheerly driving!
There's life alone in duty done,
And rest alone in striving.
But see! the day is closing cool,
The woods are dim before us;
The white fog of the wayside pool
Is creeping slowly o'er us.
The night is falling, comrades mine,
Our footsore beasts are weary,
And through yon elms the tavern sign
Looks out upon us cheery.
The landlord beckons from his door,
His beechen fire is glowing;
These ample barns, with feed in store,
Are filled to overflowing.
From many a valley frowned across
By brows of rugged mountains;
From hillsides where, through spongy moss,
Gush out the river fountains;
From quiet farm-fields, green and low,
And bright with blooming clover;
From vales of corn the wandering crow
No richer hovers over;
Day after day our way has been
O'er many a hill and hollow;
By lake and stream, by wood and glen,
Our stately drove we follow.
Through dust-clouds rising thick and dun,
As smoke of battle o'er us,
Their white horns glisten in the sun,
Like plumes and crests before us.
We see them slowly climb the hill,
As slow behind it sinking;
Or, thronging close, from roadside rill,
Or sunny lakelet, drinking.
Now crowding in the narrow road,
In thick and struggling masses,
They glare upon the teamster's load,
Or rattling coach that passes.
Anon, with toss of horn and tail,
And paw of hoof, and bellow,
They leap some farmer's broken pale,
O'er meadow-close or fallow.
Forth comes the startled goodman; forth
Wife, children, house-dog, sally,
Till once more on their dusty path
The baffled truants rally.
We drive no starvelings, scraggy grown,
Loose-legged, and ribbed and bony,
Like those who grind their noses down
On pastures bare and stony, —
Lank oxen, rough as Indian dogs,
And cows too lean for shadows,
Disputing feebly with the frogs
The crop of saw-grass meadows!
In our good drove, so sleek and fair,
No bones of leanness rattle;
No tottering hide-bound ghosts are there,
Or Pharaoh's evil cattle.
Each stately beeve bespeaks the hand
That fed him unrepining;
The fatness of a goodly land
In each dun hide is shining.
We've sought them where, in warmest nooks,
The freshest feed is growing,
By sweetest springs and clearest brooks
Through honeysuckle flowing;
Wherever hillsides, sloping south,
Are bright with early grasses,
Or, tracking green the lowland's drouth,
The mountain streamlet passes.
But now the day is closing cool,
The woods are dim before us,
The white fog of the wayside pool
Is creeping slowly o'er us.
The cricket to the frog's bassoon
His shrillest time is keeping;
The sickle of yon setting moon
The meadow-mist is reaping.
The night is falling, comrades mine,
Our footsore beasts are weary,
And through yon elms the tavern sign
Looks out upon us cheery.
To-morrow, eastward with our charge
We'll go to meet the dawning,
Ere yet the pines of Kearsarge
Have seen the sun of morning.
When snow-flakes o'er the frozen earth,
Instead of birds, are flitting;
When children throng the glowing hearth,
And quiet wives are knitting;
While in the fire-light strong and clear
Young eyes of pleasure glisten,
To tales of all we see and hear
The ears of home shall listen.
By many a Northern lake and hill,
From many a mountain pasture,
Shall Fancy play the Drover still,
And speed the long night faster.
Then let us on, through shower and sun,
And heat and cold, be driving;
There's life alone in duty done,
And rest alone in striving.
Years since (but names to me before),
Two sisters sought at eve my door;
Two song-birds wandering from their nest,
A gray old farm-house in the West.
How fresh of life the younger one,
Half smiles, half tears, like rain in sun!
Her gravest mood could scarce displace
The dimples of her nut-brown face.
Wit sparkled on her lips not less
For quick and tremulous tenderness;
And, following close her merriest glance,
Dreamed through her eyes the heart's romance.
Timid and still, the elder had
Even then a smile too sweetly sad;
The crown of pain that all must wear
Too early pressed her midnight hair.
Yet ere the summer eve grew long,
Her modest lips were sweet with song;
A memory haunted all her words
Of clover-fields and singing birds.
Her dark, dilating eyes expressed
The broad horizons of the west;
Her speech dropped prairie flowers; the gold
Of harvest wheat about her rolled.
Fore-doomed to song she seemed to me
I queried not with destiny
I knew the trial and the need,
Yet, all the more, I said, God speed?
What could I other than I did?
Could I a singing-bird forbid?
Deny the wind-stirred leaf? Rebuke
The music of the forest brook?
She went with morning from my door,
But left me richer than before;
Thenceforth I knew her voice of cheer,
The welcome of her partial ear.
Years passed: through all the land her name
A pleasant household word became
All felt behind the singer stood
A sweet and gracious womanhood.
Her life was earnest work, not play;
Her tired feet climbed a weary way;
And even through her lightest strain
We heard an undertone of pain.
Unseen of her her fair fame grew,
The good she did she rarely knew,
Unguessed of her in life the love
That rained its tears her grave above.
When last I saw her, full of peace,
She waited for her great release;
And that old friend so sage and bland,
Our later Franklin, held her hand.
For all that patriot bosoms stirs
Had moved that woman's heart of hers,
And men who toiled in storm and sun
Found her their meet companion.
Our converse, from her suffering bed
To healthful themes of life she led
The out-door world of bud and bloom
And light and sweetness filled her room.
Yet evermore an underthought
Of loss to come within us wrought,
And all the while we felt the strain
Of the strong will that conquered pain.
God giveth quietness at last!
The common way that all have passed
She went, with mortal yearnings fond,
To fuller life and love beyond.
Fold the rapt soul in your embrace,
My dear ones! Give the singer place
To you, to her,--I know not where,--
I lift the silence of a prayer.
For only thus our own we find;
The gone before, the left behind,
All mortal voices die between;
The unheard reaches the unseen.
Again the blackbirds sing; the streams
Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams,
And tremble in the April showers
The tassels of the maple flowers.
But not for her has spring renewed
The sweet surprises of the wood;
And bird and flower are lost to her
Who was their best interpreter.
What to shut eyes has God revealed?
What hear the ears that death has sealed?
What undreamed beauty passing show
Requites the loss of all we know?
O silent land, to which we move,
Enough if there alone be love,
And mortal need can ne'er outgrow
What it is waiting to bestow!
O white soul! from that far-off shore
Float some sweet song the waters o'er.
Our faith confirm, our fears dispel,
With the old voice we loved so well!
In the old days (a custom laid aside
With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
Their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas,
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.
'T was on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,--
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
The crater's sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barn-yard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
'It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,'
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. 'This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord's command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hath set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,--
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.' And they brought them in.
Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd dry humor natural to the man
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.
And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.
. . . . .
He ceased: just then the ocean seemed
To lift a half-faced moon in sight;
And, shore-ward, o'er the waters gleamed,
From crest to crest, a line of light,
Such as of old, with solemn awe,
The fishers by Gennesaret saw,
When dry-shod o'er it walked the Son of God,
Tracking the waves with light where'er his sandals trod.
Silently for a space each eye
Upon that sudden glory turned
Cool from the land the breeze blew by,
The tent-ropes flapped, the long beach churned
Its waves to foam; on either hand
Stretched, far as sight, the hills of sand;
With bays of marsh, and capes of bush and tree,
The wood's black shore-line loomed beyond the meadowy sea.
The lady rose to leave. 'One song,
Or hymn,' they urged, 'before we part.'
And she, with lips to which belong
Sweet intuitions of all art,
Gave to the winds of night a strain
Which they who heard would hear again;
And to her voice the solemn ocean lent,
Touching its harp of sand, a deep accompaniment.
Stream of my fathers! sweetly still
The sunset rays thy valley fill;
Poured slantwise down the long defile,
Wave, wood, and spire beneath them smile.
I see the winding Powow fold
The green hill in its belt of gold,
And following down its wavy line,
Its sparkling waters blend with thine.
There 's not a tree upon thy side,
Nor rock, which thy returning tide
As yet hath left abrupt and stark
Above thy evening water-mark;
No calm cove with its rocky hem,
No isle whose emerald swells begin
Thy broad, smooth current; not a sail
Bowed to the freshening ocean gale;
No small boat with its busy oars,
Nor gray wall sloping to thy shores;
Nor farm-house with its maple shade,
Or rigid poplar colonnade,
But lies distinct and full in sight,
Beneath this gush of sunset light.
Centuries ago, that harbor-bar,
Stretching its length of foam afar,
And Salisbury's beach of shining sand,
And yonder island's wave-smoothed strand,
Saw the adventurer's tiny sail,
Flit, stooping from the eastern gale;
And o'er these woods and waters broke
The cheer from Britain's hearts of oak,
As brightly on the voyager's eye,
Weary of forest, sea, and sky,
Breaking the dull continuous wood,
The Merrimac rolled down his flood;
Mingling that clear pellucid brook,
Which channels vast Agioochook
When spring-time's sun and shower unlock
The frozen fountains of the rock,
And more abundant waters given
From that pure lake, 'The Smile of Heaven,'
Tributes from vale and mountain-side,-
With ocean's dark, eternal tide!
On yonder rocky cape, which braves
The stormy challenge of the waves,
Midst tangled vine and dwarfish wood,
The hardy Anglo-Saxon stood,
Planting upon the topmost crag
The staff of England's battle-flag;
And, while from out its heavy fold
Saint George's crimson cross unrolled,
Midst roll of drum and trumpet blare,
And weapons brandishing in air,
He gave to that lone promontory
The sweetest name in all his story;
Of her, the flower of Islam's daughters,
Whose harems look on Stamboul's waters,-
Who, when the chance of war had bound
The Moslem chain his limbs around,
Wreathed o'er with silk that iron chain,
Soothed with her smiles his hours of pain,
And fondly to her youthful slave
A dearer gift than freedom gave.
But look! the yellow light no more
Streams down on wave and verdant shore;
And clearly on the calm air swells
The twilight voice of distant bells.
From Ocean's bosom, white and thin,
The mists come slowly rolling in;
Hills, woods, the river's rocky rim,
Amidst the sea-like vapor swim,
While yonder lonely coast-light, set
Within its wave-washed minaret,
Half quenched, a beamless star and pale,
Shines dimly through its cloudy veil!
Home of my fathers!-I have stood
Where Hudson rolled his lordly flood
Seen sunrise rest and sunset fade
Along his frowning Palisade;
Looked down the Appalachian peak
On Juniata's silver streak;
Have seen along his valley gleam
The Mohawk's softly winding stream;
The level light of sunset shine
Through broad Potomac's hem of pine;
And autumn's rainbow-tinted banner
Hang lightly o'er the Susquehanna;
Yet wheresoe'er his step might be,
Thy wandering child looked back to thee!
Heard in his dreams thy river's sound
Of murmuring on its pebbly bound,
The unforgotten swell and roar
Of waves on thy familiar shore;
And saw, amidst the curtained gloom
And quiet of his lonely room,
Thy sunset scenes before him pass;
As, in Agrippa's magic glass,
The loved and lost arose to view,
Remembered groves in greenness grew,
Bathed still in childhood's morning dew,
Along whose bowers of beauty swept
Whatever Memory's mourners wept,
Sweet faces, which the charnel kept,
Young, gentle eyes, which long had slept;
And while the gazer leaned to trace,
More near, some dear familiar face,
He wept to find the vision flown,-
A phantom and a dream alone!
FRANCONIA FROM THE PEMIGEWASSET
Once more, O Mountains of the North, unveil
Your brows, and lay your cloudy mantles by
And once more, ere the eyes that seek ye fail,
Uplift against the blue walls of the sky
Your mighty shapes, and let the sunshine weave
Its golden net-work in your belting woods,
Smile down in rainbows from your falling floods,
And on your kingly brows at morn and eve
Set crowns of fire! So shall my soul receive
Haply the secret of your calm and strength,
Your unforgotten beauty interfuse
My common life, your glorious shapes and hues
And sun-dropped splendors at my bidding come,
Loom vast through dreams, and stretch in billowy length
From the sea-level of my lowland home!
They rise before me! Last night's thunder-gust
Roared not in vain: for where its lightnings thrust
Their tongues of fire, the great peaks seem so near,
Burned clean of mist, so starkly bold and clear,
I almost pause the wind in the pines to hear,
The loose rock's fall, the steps of browsing deer.
The clouds that shattered on yon slide-worn walls
And splintered on the rocks their spears of rain
Have set in play a thousand waterfalls,
Making the dusk and silence of the woods
Glad with the laughter of the chasing floods,
And luminous with blown spray and silver gleams,
While, in the vales below, the dry-lipped streams
Sing to the freshened meadow-lands again.
So, let me hope, the battle-storm that beats
The land with hail and fire may pass away
With its spent thunders at the break of day,
Like last night's clouds, and leave, as it retreats,
A greener earth and fairer sky behind,
Blown crystal-clear by Freedom's Northern wind!
MONADNOCK FROM WACHUSET.
I would I were a painter, for the sake
Of a sweet picture, and of her who led,
A fitting guide, with reverential tread,
Into that mountain mystery. First a lake
Tinted with sunset; next the wavy lines
Of far receding hills; and yet more far,
Monadnock lifting from his night of pines
His rosy forehead to the evening star.
Beside us, purple-zoned, Wachuset laid
His head against the West, whose warm light made
His aureole; and o'er him, sharp and clear,
Like a shaft of lightning in mid-launching stayed,
A single level cloud-line, shone upon
By the fierce glances of the sunken sun,
Menaced the darkness with its golden spear!
So twilight deepened round us. Still and black
The great woods climbed the mountain at our back;
And on their skirts, where yet the lingering day
On the shorn greenness of the clearing lay,
The brown old farm-house like a bird's-nest hung.
With home-life sounds the desert air was stirred
The bleat of sheep along the hill we heard,
The bucket plashing in the cool, sweet well,
The pasture-bars that clattered as they fell;
Dogs barked, fowls fluttered, cattle lowed; the gate
Of the barn-yard creaked beneath the merry weight
Of sun-brown children, listening, while they swung,
The welcome sound of supper-call to hear;
And down the shadowy lane, in tinklings clear,
The pastoral curfew of the cow-bell rung.
Thus soothed and pleased, our backward path we took,
Praising the farmer's home. He only spake,
Looking into the sunset o'er the lake,
Like one to whom the far-off is most near:
'Yes, most folks think it has a pleasant look;
I love it for my good old mother's sake,
Who lived and died here in the peace of God!'
The lesson of his words we pondered o'er,
As silently we turned the eastern flank
Of the mountain, where its shadow deepest sank,
Doubling the night along our rugged road:
We felt that man was more than his abode,--
The inward life than Nature's raiment more;
And the warm sky, the sundown-tinted hill,
The forest and the lake, seemed dwarfed and dim
Before the saintly soul, whose human will
Meekly in the Eternal footsteps trod,
Making her homely toil and household ways
An earthly echo of the song of praise
Swelling from angel lips and harps of seraphim.
'Midst the men and things which will
Haunt an old man's memory still,
Drollest, quaintest of them all,
With a boy's laugh I recall
Good old Abram Morrison.
When the Grist and Rolling Mill
Ground and rumbled by Po Hill,
And the old red school-house stood
Midway in the Powow's flood,
Here dwelt Abram Morrison.
From the Beach to far beyond
Bear-Hill, Lion's Mouth and Pond,
Marvellous to our tough old stock,
Chips o' the Anglo-Saxon block,
Seemed the Celtic Morrison.
Mudknock, Balmawhistle, all
Only knew the Yankee drawl,
Never brogue was heard till when,
Foremost of his countrymen,
Hither came Friend Morrison;
Yankee born, of alien blood,
Kin of his had well withstood
Pope and King with pike and ball
Under Derry's leaguered wall,
As became the Morrisons.
Wandering down from Nutfield woods
With his household and his goods,
Never was it clearly told
How within our quiet fold
Came to be a Morrison.
Once a soldier, blame him not
That the Quaker he forgot,
When, to think of battles won,
And the red-coats on the run,
Laughed aloud Friend Morrison.
From gray Lewis over sea
Bore his sires their family tree,
On the rugged boughs of it
Grafting Irish mirth and wit,
And the brogue of Morrison.
Half a genius, quick to plan,
Blundering like an Irishman,
But with canny shrewdness lent
By his far-off Scotch descent,
Such was Abram Morrison.
Back and forth to daily meals,
Rode his cherished pig on wheels,
And to all who came to see
'Aisier for the pig an' me,
Sure it is,' said Morrison.
Simple-hearted, boy o'er-grown,
With a humor quite his own,
Of our sober-stepping ways,
Speech and look and cautious phrase,
Slow to learn was Morrison.
Much we loved his stories told
Of a country strange and old,
Where the fairies danced till dawn,
And the goblin Leprecaun
Looked, we thought, like Morrison.
Or wild tales of feud and fight,
Witch and troll and second sight
Whispered still where Stornoway
Looks across its stormy bay,
Once the home of Morrisons.
First was he to sing the praise
Of the Powow's winding ways;
And our straggling village took
City grandeur to the look
Of its poet Morrison.
All his words have perished. Shame
On the saddle-bags of Fame,
That they bring not to our time
One poor couplet of the rhyme
Made by Abram Morrison!
When, on calm and fair First Days,
Rattled down our one-horse chaise,
Through the blossomed apple-boughs
To the old, brown meeting-house,
There was Abram Morrison.
Underneath his hat's broad brim
Peered the queer old face of him;
And with Irish jauntiness
Swung the coat-tails of the dress
Worn by Abram Morrison.
Still, in memory, on his feet,
Leaning o'er the elders' seat,
Mingling with a solemn drone,
Celtic accents all his own,
Rises Abram Morrison.
'Don't,' he's pleading, 'don't ye go,
Dear young friends, to sight and show,
Don't run after elephants,
Learned pigs and presidents
And the likes!' said Morrison.
On his well-worn theme intent,
Simple, child-like, innocent,
Heaven forgive the half-checked smile
Of our careless boyhood, while
Listening to Friend Morrison!
We have learned in later days
Truth may speak in simplest phrase;
That the man is not the less
For quaint ways and home-spun dress,
Thanks to Abram Morrison!
Not to pander nor to please
Come the needed homilies,
With no lofty argument
Is the fitting message sent,
Through such lips as Morrison's.
Dead and gone! But while its track
Powow keeps to Merrimac,
While Po Hill is still on guard,
Looking land and ocean ward,
They shall tell of Morrison!
After half a century's lapse,
We are wiser now, perhaps,
But we miss our streets amid
Something which the past has hid,
Lost with Abram Morrison.
Gone forever with the queer
Characters of that old year
Now the many are as one;
Broken is the mould that run
Men like Abram Morrison.
Randolph Of Roanoke
O Mother Earth! upon thy lap
Thy weary ones receiving,
And o'er them, silent as a dream,
Thy grassy mantle weaving,
Fold softly in thy long embrace
That heart so worn and broken,
And cool its pulse of fire beneath
Thy shadows old and oaken.
Shut out from him the bitter word
And serpent hiss of scorning;
Nor let the storms of yesterday
Disturb his quiet morning.
Breathe over him forgetfulness
Of all save deeds of kindness,
And, save to smiles of grateful eyes,
Press down his lids in blindness.
There, where with living ear and eye
He heard Potomac's flowing,
And, through his tall ancestral trees,
Saw autumn's sunset glowing,
He sleeps, still looking to the west,
Beneath the dark wood shadow,
As if he still would see the sun
Sink down on wave and meadow.
Bard, Sage, and Tribune! in himself
All moods of mind contrasting, -
The tenderest wail of human woe,
The scorn like lightning blasting;
The pathos which from rival eyes
Unwilling tears could summon,
The stinging taunt, the fiery burst
Of hatred scarcely human!
Mirth, sparkling like a diamond shower,
From lips of life-long sadness;
Clear picturings of majestic thought
Upon a ground of madness;
And over all Romance and Song
A classic beauty throwing,
And laurelled Clio at his side
Her storied pages showing.
All parties feared him: each in turn
Beheld its schemes disjointed,
As right or left his fatal glance
And spectral finger pointed.
Sworn foe of Cant, he smote it down
With trenchant wit unsparing,
And, mocking, rent with ruthless hand
The robe Pretence was wearing.
Too honest or too proud to feign
A love he never cherished,
Beyond Virginia's border line
His patriotism perished.
While others hailed in distant skies
Our eagle's dusky pinion,
He only saw the mountain bird
Stoop o'er his Old Dominion!
Still through each change of fortune strange
Racked nerve, and brain all burning,
His loving faith in Mother-land
Knew never shade of turning;
By Britain's lakes, by Neva's tide,
Whatever sky was o'er him,
He heard her rivers' rushing sound,
Her blue peaks rose before him.
He held his slaves, yet made withal
No false and vain pretences,
Nor paid a lying priest to seek
For Scriptural defences.
His harshest words of proud rebuke,
His bitterest taunt and scorning,
Fell fire-like on the Northern brow
That bent to him in fawning.
He held his slaves; yet kept the while
His reverence for the Human;
In the dark vassals of his will
He saw but Man and Woman!
No hunter of God's outraged poor
His Roanoke valley entered;
No trader in the souls of men
Across his threshold ventured.
And when the old and wearied man
Lay down for his last sleeping,
And at his side, a slave no more,
His brother-man stood weeping,
His latest thought, his latest breath,
To Freedom's duty giving,
With failing tongue and trembling hand
The dying blest the living.
Oh, never bore his ancient State
A truer son or braver!
None trampling with a calmer scorn
On foreign hate or favor.
He knew her faults, yet never stooped
His proud and manly feeling
To poor excuses of the wrong
Or meanness of concealing.
But none beheld with clearer eye
The plague-spot o'er her spreading
None heard more sure the steps of Doom
Along her future treading.
For her as for himself he spake,
When, his gaunt frame upbracing,
He traced with dying hand 'Remorse!'
And perished in the tracing.
As from the grave where Henry sleeps,
From Vernon's weeping willow,
And from the grassy pall which hides
The Sage of Monticello,
So from the leaf-strewn burial-stone
Of Randolph's lowly dwelling,
Virginia! o'er thy land of slaves
A warning voice is swelling!
And hark! from thy deserted fields
Are sadder warnings spoken,
From quenched hearths, where thy exiled sons
Their household gods have broken.
The curse is on thee, - wolves for men,
And briers for corn-sheaves giving!
Oh, more than all thy dead renown
Were now one hero living!
The Captain’s Well
From pain and peril, by land and main,
The shipwrecked sailor came back again;
And like one from the dead, the threshold cross'd
Of his wondering home, that had mourned him lost.
Where he sat once more with his kith and kin,
And welcomed his neighbors thronging in.
But when morning came he called for his spade.
'I must pay my debt to the Lord,' he said.
'Why dig you here?' asked the passer-by;
'Is there gold or silver the road so nigh?'
'No, friend,' he answered: 'but under this sod
Is the blessed water, the wine of God.'
'Water! the Powow is at your back,
And right before you the Merrimac,
'And look you up, or look you down,
There 's a well-sweep at every door in town.'
'True,' he said, 'we have wells of our own;
But this I dig for the Lord alone.'
Said the other: 'This soil is dry, you know.
I doubt if a spring can be found below;
'You had better consult, before you dig,
Some water-witch, with a hazel twig.'
'No, wet or dry, I will dig it here,
Shallow or deep, if it takes a year.
'In the Arab desert, where shade is none,
The waterless land of sand and sun,
'Under the pitiless, brazen sky
My burning throat as the sand was dry;
'My crazed brain listened in fever dreams
For plash of buckets and ripple of streams;
'And opening my eyes to the blinding glare,
And my lips to the breath of the blistering air,
'Tortured alike by the heavens and earth,
I cursed, like Job, the day of my birth.
'Then something tender, and sad, and mild
As a mother's voice to her wandering child,
'Rebuked my frenzy; and bowing my head,
I prayed as I never before had prayed:
'Pity me, God! for I die of thirst;
Take me out of this land accurst;
'And if ever I reach my home again,
Where earth has springs, and the sky has rain,
'I will dig a well for the passers-by,
And none shall suffer from thirst as I.
'I saw, as I prayed, my home once more,
The house, the barn, the elms by the door,
'The grass-lined road, that riverward wound,
The tall slate stones of the burying-ground,
'The belfry and steeple on meeting-house hill,
The brook with its dam, and gray grist mill,
'And I knew in that vision beyond the sea,
The very place where my well must be.
'God heard my prayer in that evil day;
He led my feet in their homeward way,
'From false mirage and dried-up well,
And the hot sand storms of a land of hell,
'Till I saw at last through the coast-hill's gap,
A city held in its stony lap,
'The mosques and the domes of scorched Muscat,
And my heart leaped up with joy thereat;
'For there was a ship at anchor lying,
A Christian flag at its mast-head flying,
'And sweetest of sounds to my homesick ear
Was my native tongue in the sailor's cheer.
'Now the Lord be thanked, I am back again,
Where earth has springs, and the skies have rain,
'And the well I promised by Oman's Sea,
I am digging for him in Amesbury.'
His kindred wept, and his neighbors said
'The poor old captain is out of his head.'
But from morn to noon, and from noon to night,
He toiled at his task with main and might;
And when at last, from the loosened earth,
Under his spade the stream gushed forth,
And fast as he climbed to his deep well's brim,
The water he dug for followed him,
He shouted for joy: 'I have kept my word,
And here is the well I promised the Lord!'
The long years came and the long years went,
And he sat by his roadside well content;
He watched the travellers, heat-oppressed,
Pause by the way to drink and rest,
And the sweltering horses dip, as they drank,
Their nostrils deep in the cool, sweet tank,
And grateful at heart, his memory went
Back to that waterless Orient,
And the blessed answer of prayer, which came
To the earth of iron and sky of flame.
And when a wayfarer weary and hot,
Kept to the mid road, pausing not
For the well's refreshing, he shook his head;
'He don't know the value of water,' he said;
'Had he prayed for a drop, as I have done,
In the desert circle of sand and sun,
'He would drink and rest, and go home to tell
That God's best gift is the wayside well!'
The Slaves Of Martinique
BEAMS of noon, like burning lances, through the tree-tops flash and glisten,
As she stands before her lover, with raised face to look and listen.
Dark, but comely, like the maiden in the ancient Jewish song:
Scarcely has the toil of task-fields done her graceful beauty wrong.
He, the strong one and the manly, with the vassal's garb and hue,
Holding still his spirit's birthright, to his higher nature true;
Hiding deep the strengthening purpose of a freeman in his heart,
As the gregree holds his Fetich from the white man's gaze apart.
Ever foremost of his comrades, when the driver's morning horn
Calls away to stifling mill-house, to the fields of cane and corn:
Fall the keen and burning lashes never on his back or limb;
Scarce with look or word of censure, turns the driver unto him.
Yet, his brow is always thoughtful, and his eye is hard and stern;
Slavery's last and humblest lesson he has never deigned to learn.
And, at evening, when his comrades dance before their master's door,
Folding arms and knitting forehead, stands he silent evermore.
God be praised for every instinct which rebels against a lot
Where the brute survives the human, and man's upright form is not!
As the serpent-like bejuco winds his spiral fold on fold
Round the tall and stately ceiba, till it withers in his hold;
Slow decays the forest monarch, closer girds the fell embrace,
Till the tree is seen no longer, and the vine is in its place;
So a base and bestial nature round the vassal's manhood twines,
And the spirit wastes beneath it, like the ceiba choked with vines.
God is Love, saith the Evangel; and our world of woe and sin
Is made light and happy only when a Love is shining in.
Ye whose lives are free as sunshine, finding, wheresoe'er ye roam,
Smiles of welcome, looks of kindness, making all the world like home;
In the veins of whose affections kindred blood is but a part,
Of one kindly current throbbing from the universal heart;
Can ye know the deeper meaning of a love in Slavery nursed,
Last flower of a lost Eden, blooming in that Soil accursed?
Love of Home, and Love of Woman! — dear to all, but doubly dear
To the heart whose pulses elsewhere measure only hate and fear.
All around the desert circles, underneath a brazen sky,
Only one green spot remaining where the dew is never dry!
From the horror of that desert, from its atmosphere of hell,
Turns the fainting spirit thither, as the diver seeks his bell.
'Tis the fervid tropic noontime; faint and low the sea-waves beat;
Hazy rise the inland mountains through the glimmer of the heat, —
Where, through mingled leaves and blossoms, arrowy sunbeams flash and glisten,
Speaks her lover to the slave-girl, and she lifts her head to listen: —
'We shall live as slaves no longer! Freedom's hour is close at hand!
Rocks her bark upon the waters, rests the boat upon the strand!
'I have seen the Haytien Captain; I have seen his swarthy crew,
Haters of the pallid faces, to their race and color true.
'They have sworn to wait our coming till the night has passed its noon,
And the gray and darkening waters roll above the sunken moon!'
Oh, the blessed hope of freedom! how with joy and glad surprise,
For an instant throbs her bosom, for an instant beam her eyes!
But she looks across the valley, where her mother's hut is seen,
Through the snowy bloom of coffee, and the lemon-leaves so green.
And she answers, sad and earnest: 'It were wrong for thee to stay;
God hath heard thy prayer for freedom, and his finger points the way.
'Well I know with what endurance, for the sake of me and mine,
Thou hast borne too long a burden never meant for souls like thine.
'Go; and at the hour of midnight, when our last farewell is o'er,
Kneeling on our place of parting, I will bless thee from the shore.
'But for me, my mother, lying on her sick-bed all the day,
Lifts her weary head to watch me, coming through the twilight gray.
'Should I leave her sick and helpless, even freedom, shared with thee,
Would be sadder far than bondage, lonely toil, and stripes to me.
'For my heart would die within me, and my brain would soon be wild;
I should hear my mother calling through the twilight for her child!'
Blazing upward from the ocean, shines the sun of morning-time,
Through the coffee-trees in blossom, and green hedges of the lime.
Side by side, amidst the slave-gang, toil the lover and the maid;
Wherefore looks he o'er the waters, leaning forward on his spade?
Sadly looks he, deeply sighs he: 't is the Haytien's sail he sees,
Like a white cloud of the mountains, driven seaward by the breeze!
But his arm a light hand presses, and he hears a low voice call:
Hate of Slavery, hope of Freedom, Love is mightier than all.
O river winding to the sea!
We call the old time back to thee;
From forest paths and water-ways
The century-woven veil we raise.
The voices of to-day are dumb,
Unheard its sounds that go and come;
We listen, through long-lapsing years,
To footsteps of the pioneers.
Gone steepled town and cultured plain,
The wilderness returns again,
The drear, untrodden solitude,
The gloom and mystery of the wood!
Once more the bear and panther prowl,
The wolf repeats his hungry howl,
And, peering through his leafy screen,
The Indian's copper face is seen.
We see, their rude-built huts beside,
Grave men and women anxious-eyed,
And wistful youth remembering still
Dear homes in England's Haverhill.
We summon forth to mortal view
Dark Passaquo and Saggahew,--
Wild chiefs, who owned the mighty sway
Of wizard Passaconaway.
Weird memories of the border town,
By old tradition handed down,
In chance and change before us pass
Like pictures in a magic glass,--
The terrors of the midnight raid,
The winter march, through deserts wild,
Of captive mother, wife, and child.
Ah! bleeding hands alone subdued
And tamed the savage habitude
Of forests hiding beasts of prey,
And human shapes as fierce as they.
Slow from the plough the woods withdrew,
Slowly each year the corn-lands grew;
Nor fire, nor frost, nor foe could kill
The Saxon energy of will.
And never in the hamlet's bound
Was lack of sturdy manhood found,
And never failed the kindred good
Of brave and helpful womanhood.
That hamlet now a city is,
Its log-built huts are palaces;
The wood-path of the settler's cow
Is Traffic's crowded highway now.
And far and wide it stretches still,
Along its southward sloping hill,
And overlooks on either hand
A rich and many-watered land.
And, gladdening all the landscape, fair
As Pison was to Eden's pair,
Our river to its valley brings
The blessing of its mountain springs.
And Nature holds with narrowing space,
From mart and crowd, her old-time grace,
And guards with fondly jealous arms
The wild growths of outlying farms.
Her sunsets on Kenoza fall,
Her autumn leaves by Saltonstall;
No lavished gold can richer make
Her opulence of hill and lake.
Wise was the choice which led out sires
To kindle here their household fires,
And share the large content of all
Whose lines in pleasant places fall.
More dear, as years on years advance,
We prize the old inheritance,
And feel, as far and wide we roam,
That all we seek we leave at home.
Our palms are pines, our oranges
Are apples on our orchard trees;
Our thrushes are our nightingales,
Our larks the blackbirds of our vales.
No incense which the Orient burns
Is sweeter than our hillside ferns;
What tropic splendor can outvie
Our autumn woods, our sunset sky?
If, where the slow years came and went,
And left not affluence, but content,
Now flashes in our dazzled eyes
The electric light of enterprise;
And if the old idyllic ease
Seems lost in keen activities,
And crowded workshops now replace
The hearth's and farm-field's rustic grace;
No dull, mechanic round of toil
Life's morning charm can quite despoil;
And youth and beauty, hand in hand,
Will always find enchanted land.
No task is ill where hand and brain
And skill and strength have equal gain,
And each shall each in honor hold,
And simple manhood outweigh gold.
Earth shall be near to Heaven when all
That severs man from man shall fall,
For, here or there, salvation's plan
Alone is love of God and man.
O dwellers by the Merrimac,
The heirs of centuries at your back,
Still reaping where you have not sown,
A broader field is now your own.
Hold fast your Puritan heritage,
But let the free thought of the age
Its light and hope and sweetness add
To the stern faith the fathers had.
Adrift on Time's returnless tide,
As waves that follow waves, we glide.
God grant we leave upon the shore
Some waif of good it lacked before;
Some seed, or flower, or plant of worth,
Some added beauty to the earth;
Some larger hope, some thought to make
The sad world happier for its sake.
As tenants of uncertain stay,
So may we live our little day
That only grateful hearts shall fill
The homes we leave in Haverhill.
The singer of a farewell rhyme,
Upon whose outmost verge of time
The shades of night are falling down,
I pray, God bless the good old town!
NIGHT on the city of the Moor!
On mosque and tomb, and white-walled shore,
On sea-waves, to whose ceaseless knock
The narrow harbor gates unlock,
On corsair's galley, carack tall,
And plundered Christian caraval!
The sounds of Moslem life are still;
No mule-bell tinkles down the hill;
Stretched in the broad court of the khan,
The dusty Bornou caravan
Lies heaped in slumber, beast and man;
The Sheik is dreaming in his tent,
His noisy Arab tongue o'erspent;
The kiosk's glimmering lights are gone,
The merchant with his wares withdrawn;
Rough pillowed on some pirate breast,
The dancing-girl has sunk to rest;
And, save where measured footsteps fall
Along the Bashaw's guarded wall,
Or where, like some bad dream, the Jew
Creeps stealthily his quarter through,
Or counts with fear his golden heaps,
The City of the Corsair sleeps!
But where yon prison long and low
Stands black against the pale star-glow,
Chafed by the ceaseless wash of waves,
There watch and pine the Christian slaves;
Rough-bearded men, whose far-off wives
Wear out with grief their lonely lives;
And youth, still flashing from his eyes
The clear blue of New England skies,
A treasured lock of whose soft hair
Now wakes some sorrowing mother's prayer;
Or, worn upon some maiden breast,
Stirs with the loving heart's unrest!
A bitter cup each life must drain,
The groaning earth is cursed with pain,
And, like the scroll the angel bore
The shuddering Hebrew seer before,
O'erwrit alike, without, within,
With all the woes which follow sin;
But, bitterest of the ills beneath
Whose load man totters down to death,
Is that which plucks the regal crown
Of Freedom from his forehead down,
And snatches from his powerless hand
The sceptred sign of self-command,
Effacing with the chain and rod
The image and the seal of God;
Till from his nature, day by day,
The manly virtues fall away,
And leave him naked, blind and mute,
The godlike merging in the brute!
Why mourn the quiet ones who die
Beneath affection's tender eye,
Unto their household and their kin
Like ripened corn-sheaves gathered in?
O weeper, from that tranquil sod,
That holy harvest-home of God,
Turn to the quick and suffering, shed
Thy tears upon the living dead!
Thank God above thy dear ones' graves,
They sleep with Him, they are not slaves.
What dark mass, down the mountain-sides
Swift-pouring, like a stream divides?
A long, loose, straggling caravan,
Camel and horse and armëd man.
The moon's low crescent, glimmering o'er
Its grave of waters to the shore,
Lights up that mountain cavalcade,
And gleams from gun and spear and blade
Near and more near! now o'er them falls
The shadow of the city walls.
Hark to the sentry's challenge, drowned
In the fierce trumpet's charging sound!
The rush of men, the musket's peal,
The short, sharp clang of meeting steel!
Vain, Moslem, vain thy lifeblood poured
So freely on thy foeman's sword!
Not to the swift nor to the strong
The battles of the right belong;
For he who strikes for Freedom wears
The armor of the captive's prayers,
And Nature proffers to his cause
The strength of her eternal laws;
While he whose arm essays to bind
And herd with common brutes his kind
Strives evermore at fearful odds
With Nature and the jealous gods,
And dares the dread recoil which late
Or soon their right shall vindicate.
'T is done, the hornëd crescent falls!
The star-flag flouts the broken walls!
Joy to the captive husband! joy
To thy sick heart, O brown-locked boy!
In sullen wrath the conquered Moor
Wide open flings your dungeon-door,
And leaves ye free from cell and chain,
The owners of yourselves again.
Dark as his allies desert-born,
Soiled with the battle's stain, and worn
With the long marches of his band
Through hottest wastes of rock and sand,
Scorched by the sun and furnace-breath
Of the red desert's wind of death,
With welcome words and grasping hands,
The victor and deliverer stands!
The tale is one of distant skies;
The dust of half a century lies
Upon it; yet its hero's name
Still lingers on the lips of Fame.
Men speak the praise of him who gave
Deliverance to the Moorman's slave,
Yet dare to brand with shame and crime
The heroes of our land and time, —
The self-forgetful ones, who stake
Home, name, and life for Freedom's sake.
God mend his heart who cannot feel
The impulse of a holy zeal,
And sees not, with his sordid eyes,
The beauty of self-sacrifice!
Though in the sacred place he stands,
Uplifting consecrated hands,
Unworthy are his lips to tell
Of Jesus' martyr-miracle,
Or name aright that dread embrace
Of suffering for a fallen race!
O Dearly loved!
And worthy of our love! No more
Thy aged form shall rise before
The bushed and waiting worshiper,
In meek obedience utterance giving
To words of truth, so fresh and living,
That, even to the inward sense,
They bore unquestioned evidence
Of an anointed Messenger!
Or, bowing down thy silver hair
In reverent awfulness of prayer,
The world, its time and sense, shut out
The brightness of Faith's holy trance
Gathered upon thy countenance,
As if each lingering cloud of doubt,
The cold, dark shadows resting here
In Time's unluminous atmosphere,
Were lifted by an angel's hand,
And through them on thy spiritual eye
Shone down the blessedness on high,
The glory of the Better Land!
The oak has fallen!
While, meet for no good work, the vine
May yet its worthless branches twine,
Who knoweth not that with thee fell
A great man in our Israel?
Fallen, while thy loins were girded still,
Thy feet with Zion's dews still wet,
And in thy hand retaining yet
The pilgrim's staff and scallop-shell
Unharmed and safe, where, wild and free,
Across the Neva's cold morass
The breezes from the Frozen Sea
With winter's arrowy keenness pass;
Or where the unwarning tropic gale
Smote to the waves thy tattered sail,
Or where the noon-hour's fervid heat
Against Tahiti's mountains beat;
The same mysterious Hand which gave
Deliverance upon land and wave,
Tempered for thee the blasts which blew
Ladaga's frozen surface o'er,
And blessed for thee the baleful dew
Of evening upon Eimeo's shore,
Beneath this sunny heaven of ours,
Midst our soft airs and opening flowers
Hath given thee a grave!
His will be done,
Who seeth not as man, whose way
Is not as ours! 'T is well with thee!
Nor anxious doubt nor dark dismay
Disquieted thy closing day,
But, evermore, thy soul could say,
'My Father careth still for me!'
Called from thy hearth and home,--from her,
The last bud on thy household tree,
The last dear one to minister
In duty and in love to thee,
From all which nature holdeth dear,
Feeble with years and worn with pain,
To seek our distant land again,
Bound in the spirit, yet unknowing
The things which should befall thee here,
Whether for labor or for death,
In childlike trust serenely going
To that last trial of thy faith!
Oh, far away,
Where never shines our Northern star
On that dark waste which Balboa saw
From Darien's mountains stretching far,
So strange, heaven-broad, and lone, that there,
With forehead to its damp wind bare,
He bent his mailed knee in awe;
In many an isle whose coral feet
The surges of that ocean beat,
In thy palm shadows, Oahu,
And Honolulu's silver bay,
Amidst Owyhee's hills of blue,
And taro-plains of Tooboonai,
Are gentle hearts, which long shall be
Sad as our own at thought of thee,
Worn sowers of Truth's holy seed,
Whose souls in weariness and need
Were strengthened and refreshed by thine.
For blessed by our Father's hand
Was thy deep love and tender care,
Thy ministry and fervent prayer,--
Grateful as Eshcol's clustered vine
To Israel in a weary land.
And they who drew
By thousands round thee, in the hour
Of prayerful waiting, hushed and deep,
That He who bade the islands keep
Silence before Him, might renew
Their strength with His unslumbering power,
They too shall mourn that thou art gone,
That nevermore thy aged lip
Shall soothe the weak, the erring warn,
Of those who first, rejoicing, heard
Through thee the Gospel's glorious word,--
Seals of thy true apostleship.
And, if the brightest diadem,
Whose gems of glory purely burn
Around the ransomed ones in bliss,
Be evermore reserved for them
Who here, through toil and sorrow, turn
Many to righteousness,
May we not think of thee as wearing
That star-like crown of light, and bearing,
Amidst Heaven's white and blissful band,
Th' unfading palm-branch in thy hand;
And joining with a seraph's tongue
In that new song the elders sung,
Ascribing to its blessed Giver
Thanksgiving, love, and praise forever!
And though the ways of Zion mourn
When her strong ones are called away,
Who like thyself have calmly borne
The heat and burden of the day,
Yet He who slumbereth not nor sleepeth
His ancient watch around us keepeth;
Still, sent from His creating hand,
New witnesses for Truth shall stand,
New instruments to sound abroad
The Gospel of a risen Lord;
To gather to the fold once more
The desolate and gone astray,
The scattered of a cloudy day,
And Zion's broken walls restore;
And, through the travail and the toil
Of true obedience, minister
Beauty for ashes, and the oil
Of joy for mourning, unto her!
So shall her holy bounds increase
With walls of praise and gates of peace
So shall the Vine, which martyr tears
And blood sustained in other years,
With fresher life be clothed upon;
And to the world in beauty show
Like the rose-plant of Jericho,
And glorious as Lebanon!
ROBERT RAWLIN!--Frosts were falling
When the ranger's horn was calling
Through the woods to Canada.
Gone the winter's sleet and snowing,
Gone the spring-time's bud and blowing,
Gone the summer's harvest mowing,
And again the fields are gray.
Yet away, he's away!
Faint and fainter hope is growing
In the hearts that mourn his stay.
Where the lion, crouching high on
Abraham's rock with teeth of iron,
Glares o'er wood and wave away,
Faintly thence, as pines far sighing,
Or as thunder spent and dying,
Come the challenge and replying,
Come the sounds of flight and fray.
Well-a-day! Hope and pray!
Some are living, some are lying
In their red graves far away.
Straggling rangers, worn with dangers,
Homeward faring, weary strangers
Pass the farm-gate on their way;
Tidings of the dead and living,
Forest march and ambush, giving,
Till the maidens leave their weaving,
And the lads forget their play.
'Still away, still away!'
Sighs a sad one, sick with grieving,
'Why does Robert still delay!'
Nowhere fairer, sweeter, rarer,
Does the golden-locked fruit bearer
Through his painted woodlands stray,
Than where hillside oaks and beeches
Overlook the long, blue reaches,
Silver coves and pebbled beaches,
And green isles of Casco Bay;
Nowhere day, for delay,
With a tenderer look beseeches,
'Let me with my charmed earth stay.'
On the grain-lands of the mainlands
Stands the serried corn like train-bands,
Plume and pennon rustling gay;
Out at sea, the islands wooded,
Silver birches, golden-hooded,
Set with maples, crimson-blooded,
White sea-foam and sand-hills gray,
Stretch away, far away.
Dim and dreamy, over-brooded
By the hazy autumn day.
Gayly chattering to the clattering
Of the brown nuts downward pattering,
Leap the squirrels, red and gray.
On the grass-land, on the fallow,
Drop the apples, red and yellow;
Drop the russet pears and mellow,
Drop the red leaves all the day.
And away, swift away,
Sun and cloud, o'er hill and hollow
Chasing, weave their web of play.
'Martha Mason, Martha Mason,
Prithee tell us of the reason
Why you mope at home to-day
Surely smiling is not sinning;
Leave, your quilling, leave your spinning;
What is all your store of linen,
If your heart is never gay?
Come away, come away!
Never yet did sad beginning
Make the task of life a play.'
Overbending, till she's blending
With the flaxen skein she's tending
Pale brown tresses smoothed away
From her face of patient sorrow,
Sits she, seeking but to borrow,
From the trembling hope of morrow,
Solace for the weary day.
'Go your way, laugh and play;
Unto Him who heeds the sparrow
And the lily, let me pray.'
'With our rally, rings the valley,--
Join us!' cried the blue-eyed Nelly;
'Join us!' cried the laughing May,
'To the beach we all are going,
And, to save the task of rowing,
West by north the wind is blowing,
Blowing briskly down the bay
Come away, come away!
Time and tide are swiftly flowing,
Let us take them while we may!
'Never tell us that you'll fail us,
Where the purple beach-plum mellows
On the bluffs so wild and gray.
Hasten, for the oars are falling;
Hark, our merry mates are calling;
Time it is that we were all in,
Singing tideward down the bay!'
'Nay, nay, let me stay;
Sore and sad for Robert Rawlin
Is my heart,' she said, 'to-day.'
'Vain your calling for Rob Rawlin
Some red squaw his moose-meat's broiling,
Or some French lass, singing gay;
Just forget as he's forgetting;
What avails a life of fretting?
If some stars must needs be setting,
Others rise as good as they.'
'Cease, I pray; go your way!'
Martha cries, her eyelids wetting;
'Foul and false the words you say!'
'Martha Mason, hear to reason!--
Prithee, put a kinder face on!'
'Cease to vex me,' did she say;
'Better at his side be lying,
With the mournful pine-trees sighing,
And the wild birds o'er us crying,
Than to doubt like mine a prey;
While away, far away,
Turns my heart, forever trying
Some new hope for each new day.
'When the shadows veil the meadows,
And the sunset's golden ladders
Sink from twilight's walls of gray,--
From the window of my dreaming,
I can see his sickle gleaming,
Cheery-voiced, can hear him teaming
Down the locust-shaded way;
But away, swift away,
Fades the fond, delusive seeming,
And I kneel again to pray.
'When the growing dawn is showing,
And the barn-yard cock is crowing,
And the horned moon pales away
From a dream of him awaking,
Every sound my heart is making
Seems a footstep of his taking;
Then I hush the thought, and say,
'Nay, nay, he's away!'
Ah! my heart, my heart is breaking
For the dear one far away.'
Look up, Martha! worn and swarthy,
Glows a face of manhood worthy
'Robert!' 'Martha!' all they say.
O'er went wheel and reel together,
Little cared the owner whither;
Heart of lead is heart of feather,
Noon of night is noon of day!
Come away, come away!
When such lovers meet each other,
Why should prying idlers stay?
Quench the timber's fallen embers,
Quench the recd leaves in December's
Hoary rime and chilly spray.
But the hearth shall kindle clearer,
Household welcomes sound sincerer,
Heart to loving heart draw nearer,
When the bridal bells shall say:
'Hope and pray, trust alway;
Life is sweeter, love is dearer,
For the trial and delay!'
Massachusetts To Virginia
The blast from Freedom's Northern hills, upon its Southern way,
Bears greeting to Virginia from Massachusetts Bay:
No word of haughty challenging, nor battle bugle's peal,
Nor steady tread of marching files, nor clang of horsemen's steel,
No trains of deep-mouthed cannon along our highways go;
Around our silent arsenals untrodden lies the snow;
And to the land-breeze of our ports, upon their errands far,
A thousand sails of commerce swell, but none are spread for war.
We hear thy threats, Virginia! thy stormy words and high
Swell harshly on the Southern winds which melt along our sky;
Yet not one brown, hard hand foregoes its honest labor here,
No hewer of our mountain oaks suspends his axe in fear.
Wild are the waves which lash the reefs along St. George's bank;
Cold on the shores of Labrador the fog lies white and dank;
Through storm, and wave, and blinding mist, stout are the hearts which man
The fishing-smacks of Marblehead, the sea-boats of Cape Ann.
The cold north light and wintry sun glare on their icy forms,
Bent grimly o'er their straining lines or wrestling with the storms;
Free as the winds they drive before, rough as the waves they roam,
They laugh to scorn the slaver's threat against their rocky home.
What means the Old Dominion? Hath she forgot the day
When o'er her conquered valleys swept the Briton's steel array?
How, side by side with sons of hers, the Massachusetts men
Encountered Tarleton's charge of fire, and stout Cornwallis, then?
Forgets she how the Bay State, in answer to the call
Of her old House of Burgesses, spoke out from Faneuil Hall?
When, echoing back her Henry's cry, came pulsing on each breath
Of Northern winds the thrilling sounds of 'Liberty or Death!'
What asks the Old Dominion? If now her sons have proved
False to their fathers' memory, false to the faith they loved;
If she can scoff at Freedom, and its great charter spurn,
Must we of Massachusetts from truth and duty turn?
We hunt your bondmen, flying from Slavery's hateful hell;
Our voices, at your bidding, take up the bloodhound's yell;
We gather, at your summons, above our fathers' graves,
From Freedom's holy altar-horns to tear your wretched slaves!
Thank God! not yet so vilely can Massachusetts bow;
The spirit of her early time is with her even now;
Dream not because her Pilgrim blood moves slow and calm and cool,
She thus can stoop her chainless neck, a sister's slave and tool!
All that a sister State should do, all that a free State may,
Heart, hand, and purse we proffer, as in our early day;
But that one dark loathsome burden ye must stagger with alone,
And reap the bitter harvest which ye yourselves have sown!
Hold, while ye may, your struggling slaves, and burden God's free air
With woman's shriek beneath the lash, and manhood's wild despair;
Cling closer to the 'cleaving curse' that writes upon your plains
The blasting of Almighty wrath against a land of chains.
Still shame your gallant ancestry, the cavaliers of old,
By watching round the shambles where human flesh is sold;
Gloat o'er the new-born child, and count his market value, when
The maddened mother's cry of woe shall pierce the slaver's den!
Lower than plummet soundeth, sink the Virginia name;
Plant, if ye will, your fathers' graves with rankest weeds of shame;
Be, if ye will, the scandal of God's fair universe;
We wash our hands forever of your sin and shame and curse.
A voice from lips whereon the coal from Freedom's shrine hath been,
Thrilled, as but yesterday, the hearts of Berkshire's mountain men:
The echoes of that solemn voice are sadly lingering still
In all our sunny valleys, on every wind-swept hill.
And when the prowling man-thief came hunting for his prey
Beneath the very shadow of Bunker's shaft of gray,
How, through the free lips of the son, the father's warning spoke;
How, from its bonds of trade and sect, the Pilgrim city broke!
A hundred thousand right arms were lifted up on high,
A hundred thousand voices sent back their loud reply;
Through the thronged towns of Essex the startling summons rang,
And up from bench and loom and wheel her young mechanics sprang!
The voice of free, broad Middlesex, of thousands as of one,
The shaft of Bunker calling to that Lexington;
From Norfolk's ancient villages, from Plymouth's rocky bound
To where Nantucket feels the arms of ocean close to her round;
From rich and rural Worcester, where through the calm repose
Of cultured vales and fringing woods the gentle Nashua flows,
To where Wachuset's wintry blasts the mountain larches stir,
Swelled up to Heaven the thrilling cry of 'God save Latimer!'
And sandy Barnstable rose up, wet with the salt sea spray;
And Bristol sent her answering shout down Narragansett Bay!
Along the broad Connecticut old Hampden felt the thrill,
And the cheer of Hampshire's woodmen swept down from Holyoke Hill.
The voice of Massachusetts! Of her free sons and daughters,
Deep calling unto deep aloud, the sound of many waters!
Against the burden of that voice what tyrant power shall stand?
No fetters in the Bay State! No slave upon her land!
Look to it well, Virginians! In calmness we have borne,
In answer to our faith and trust, your insult and your scorn;
You've spurned our kindest counsels; you've hunted for our lives;
And shaken round our hearths and homes your manacles and gyves!
We wage no war, we lift no arm, we fling no torch within
The fire-damps of the quaking mine beneath your soil of sin;
We leave ye with your bondmen, to wrestle, while ye can,
With the strong upward tendencies and God-like soul of man!
But for us and for our children, the vow which we have given
For freedom and humanity is registered in heaven;
No slave-hunt in our borders, - no pirate on our strand!
No fetters in the Bay State, - no slave upon our land!
The Garrison Of Cape Ann
From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like span
Of the sky, I see the white gleam of the headland of Cape Ann.
Well I know its coves and beaches to the ebb-tide glimmering down,
And the white-walled hamlet children of its ancient fishing town.
Long has passed the summer morning, and its memory waxes old,
When along yon breezy headlands with a pleasant friend I strolled.
Ah! the autumn sun is shining, and the ocean wind blows cool,
And the golden-rod and aster bloom around thy grave, Rantoul!
With the memory of that morning by the summer sea I blend
A wild and wondrous story, by the younger Mather penned,
In that quaint Magnalia Christi, with all strange and marvellous things,
Heaped up huge and undigested, like the chaos Ovid sings.
Dear to me these far, faint glimpses of the dual life of old,
Inward, grand with awe and reverence; outward, mean and coarse and cold;
Gleams of mystic beauty playing over dull and vulgar clay,
Golden-threaded fancies weaving in a web of hodden gray.
The great eventful Present hides the Past; but through the din
Of its loud life hints and echoes from the life behind steal in;
And the lore of homeland fireside, and the legendary rhyme,
Make the task of duty lighter which the true man owes his time.
So, with something of the feeling which the Covenanter knew,
When with pious chisel wandering Scotland's moorland graveyards through,
From the graves of old traditions I part the black- berry-vines,
Wipe the moss from off the headstones, and retouch the faded lines.
Where the sea-waves back and forward, hoarse with rolling pebbles, ran,
The garrison-house stood watching on the gray rocks of Cape Ann;
On its windy site uplifting gabled roof and palisade,
And rough walls of unhewn timber with the moonlight overlaid.
On his slow round walked the sentry, south and eastward looking forth
O'er a rude and broken coast-line, white with breakers stretching north,-
Wood and rock and gleaming sand-drift, jagged capes, with bush and tree,
Leaning inland from the smiting of the wild and gusty sea.
Before the deep-mouthed chimney, dimly lit by dying brands,
Twenty soldiers sat and waited, with their muskets in their hands;
On the rough-hewn oaken table the venison haunch was shared,
And the pewter tankard circled slowly round from beard to beard.
Long they sat and talked together,-talked of wizards Satan-sold;
Of all ghostly sights and noises,-signs and wonders manifold;
Of the spectre-ship of Salem, with the dead men in her shrouds,
Sailing sheer above the water, in the loom of morning clouds;
Of the marvellous valley hidden in the depths of Gloucester woods,
Full of plants that love the summer,-blooms of warmer latitudes;
Where the Arctic birch is braided by the tropic's flowery vines,
And the white magnolia-blossoms star the twilight of the pines!
But their voices sank yet lower, sank to husky tones of fear,
As they spake of present tokens of the powers of evil near;
Of a spectral host, defying stroke of steel and aim of gun;
Never yet was ball to slay them in the mould of mortals run.
Thrice, with plumes and flowing scalp-locks, from the midnight wood they came,-
Thrice around the block-house marching, met, unharmed, its volleyed flame;
Then, with mocking laugh and gesture, sunk in earth or lost in air,
All the ghostly wonder vanished, and the moonlit sands lay bare.
Midnight came; from out the forest moved a dusky mass that soon
Grew to warriors, plumed and painted, grimly marching in the moon.
'Ghosts or witches,' said the captain, 'thus I foil the Evil One!'
And he rammed a silver button, from his doublet, down his gun.
Once again the spectral horror moved the guarded wall about;
Once again the levelled muskets through the palisades flashed out,
With that deadly aim the squirrel on his tree-top might not shun,
Nor the beach-bird seaward flying with his slant wing to the sun.
Like the idle rain of summer sped the harmless shower of lead.
With a laugh of fierce derision, once again the phantoms fled;
Once again, without a shadow on the sands the moonlight lay,
And the white smoke curling through it drifted slowly down the bay!
'God preserve us!' said the captain; 'never mortal foes were there;
They have vanished with their leader, Prince and Power of the air!
Lay aside your useless weapons; skill and prowess naught avail;
They who do the Devil's service wear their master's coat of mail!'
So the night grew near to cock-crow, when again a warning call
Roused the score of weary soldiers watching round the dusky hall
And they looked to flint and priming, and they longed for break of day;
But the captain closed his Bible: 'Let us cease from man, and pray!'
To the men who went before us, all the unseen powers seemed near,
And their steadfast strength of courage struck its roots in holy fear.
Every hand forsook the musket, every head was bowed and bare,
Every stout knee pressed the flag-stones, as the captain led in prayer.
Ceased thereat the mystic marching of the spectres round the wall,
But a sound abhorred, unearthly, smote the ears and hearts of all,-
Howls of rage and shrieks of anguish! Never after mortal man
Saw the ghostly leaguers marching round the block-house of Cape Ann.
So to us who walk in summer through the cool and sea-blown town,
From the childhood of its people comes the solemn legend down.
Not in vain the ancient fiction, in whose moral lives the youth
And the fitness and the freshness of an undecaying truth.
Soon or late to all our dwellings come the spectres of the mind,
Doubts and fears and dread forebodings, in the darkness undefined;
Round us throng the grim projections of the heart and of the brain,
And our pride of strength is weakness, and the cunning hand is vain.
In the dark we cry like children; and no answer from on high
Breaks the crystal spheres of silence, and no white wings downward fly;
But the heavenly help we pray for comes to faith, and not to sight,
And our prayers themselves drive backward all the spirits of the night!
TO WILLIAM BRADFORD.
As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
Unwittingly from the great stress of grief
And anxious care, in fantasies outwrought
From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught
From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet,
Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet
Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why
They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I,
Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong
In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,
With meek persistence baffling brutal force,
And trusting God against the universe,--
We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share
With other weapons than the patriot's prayer,
Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes,
The awful beauty of self-sacrifice,
And wrung by keenest sympathy for all
Who give their loved ones for the living wall
'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day
May haply find, through automatic play
Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain,
And hearten others with the strength we gain.
I know it has been said our times require
No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre,
No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform
To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm,
But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets
The battle's teeth of serried bayonets,
And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these
Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys
Relieve the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet,
If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat
The bitter harvest of our own device
And half a century's moral cowardice.
As Nurnberg sang while Wittenberg defied,
And Kranach painted by his Luther's side,
And through the war-march of the Puritan
The silver stream of Marvell's music ran,
So let the household melodies be sung,
The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung--
So let us hold against the hosts of night
And slavery all our vantage-ground of light.
Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake
From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake,
Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan,
And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man,
And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull
By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,--
But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease,
(God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace
No foes are conquered who the victors teach
Their vandal manners and barbaric speech.
And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear
Of the great common burden our full share,
Let none upbraid us that the waves entice
Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device,
Rhythmic, and sweet, beguiles my pen away
From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day.
Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador
Sings it the leafless elms, and from the shore
Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar
Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky
Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try
To time a simple legend to the sounds
Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,--
A song for oars to chime with, such as might
Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night
Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove
Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love.
(So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay
On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay,
And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled
Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.)
Something it has--a flavor of the sea,
And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee.
Its faded picture, dimly smiling down
From the blurred fresco of the ancient town,
I have not touched with warmer tints in vain,
If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Her fingers shame the ivory keys
They dance so light along;
The bloom upon her parted lips
Is sweeter than the song.
O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
Her thoughts are not of thee;
She better loves the salted wind,
The voices of the sea.
Her heart is like an outbound ship
That at its anchor swings;
The murmur of the stranded shell
Is in the song she sings.
She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
But dreams the while of one
Who watches from his sea-blown deck
The icebergs in the sun.
She questions all the winds that blow,
And every fog-wreath dim,
And bids the sea-birds flying north
Bear messages to him.
She speeds them with the thanks of men
He perilled life to save,
And grateful prayers like holy oil
To smooth for him the wave.
Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
Fair toast of all the town!--
The skipper's jerkin ill beseems
The lady's silken gown!
But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear
For him the blush of shame
Who dares to set his manly gifts
Against her ancient name.
The stream is brightest at its spring,
And blood is not like wine;
Nor honored less than he who heirs
Is he who founds a line.
Full lightly shall the prize be won,
If love be Fortune's spur;
And never maiden stoops to him
Who lifts himself to her.
Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
With stately stairways worn
By feet of old Colonial knights
And ladies gentle-born.
Still green about its ample porch
The English ivy twines,
Trained back to show in English oak
The herald's carven signs.
And on her, from the wainscot old,
Ancestral faces frown,--
And this has worn the soldier's sword,
And that the judge's gown.
But, strong of will and proud as they,
She walks the gallery floor
As if she trod her sailor's deck
By stormy Labrador.
The sweetbrier blooms on Kittery-side,
And green are Elliot's bowers;
Her garden is the pebbled beach,
The mosses are her flowers.
She looks across the harbor-bar
To see the white gulls fly;
His greeting from the Northern sea
Is in their clanging cry.
She hums a song, and dreams that he,
As in its romance old,
Shall homeward ride with silken sails
And masts of beaten gold!
Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
And high and low mate ill;
But love has never known a law
Beyond its own sweet will!
A score of years had come and gone
Since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth stone,
When Captain Underhill, bearing scars
From Indian ambush and Flemish wars,
Left three-hilled Boston and wandered down,
East by north, to Cocheco town.
With Vane the younger, in counsel sweet,
He had sat at Anna Hutchinson's feet,
And, when the bolt of banishment fell
On the head of his saintly oracle,
He had shared her ill as her good report,
And braved the wrath of the General Court.
He shook from his feet as he rode away
The dust of the Massachusetts Bay.
The world might bless and the world might ban,
What did it matter the perfect man,
To whom the freedom of earth was given,
Proof against sin, and sure of heaven?
He cheered his heart as he rode along
With screed of Scripture and holy song,
Or thought how he rode with his lances free
By the Lower Rhine and the Zuyder-Zee,
Till his wood-path grew to a trodden road,
And Hilton Point in the distance showed.
He saw the church with the block-house nigh,
The two fair rivers, the flakes thereby,
And, tacking to windward, low and crank,
The little shallop from Strawberry Bank;
And he rose in his stirrups and looked abroad
Over land and water, and praised the Lord.
Goodly and stately and grave to see,
Into the clearing's space rode he,
With the sun on the hilt of his sword in sheath,
And his silver buckles and spurs beneath,
And the settlers welcomed him, one and all,
From swift Quampeagan to Gonic Fall.
And he said to the elders: 'Lo, I come
As the way seemed open to seek a home.
Somewhat the Lord hath wrought by my hands
In the Narragansett and Netherlands,
And if here ye have work for a Christian man,
I will tarry, and serve ye as best I can.
'I boast not of gifts, but fain would own
The wonderful favor God hath shown,
The special mercy vouchsafed one day
On the shore of Narragansett Bay,
As I sat, with my pipe, from the camp aside,
And mused like Isaac at eventide.
'A sudden sweetness of peace I found,
A garment of gladness wrapped me round;
I felt from the law of works released,
The strife of the flesh and spirit ceased,
My faith to a full assurance grew,
And all I had hoped for myself I knew.
'Now, as God appointeth, I keep my way,
I shall not stumble, I shall not stray;
He hath taken away my fig-leaf dress,
I wear the robe of His righteousness;
And the shafts of Satan no more avail
Than Pequot arrows on Christian mail.'
'Tarry with us,' the settlers cried,
'Thou man of God, as our ruler and guide.'
And Captain Underhill bowed his head.
'The will of the Lord be done!' he said.
And the morrow beheld him sitting down
In the ruler's seat in Cocheco town.
And he judged therein as a just man should;
His words were wise and his rule was good;
He coveted not his neighbor's land,
From the holding of bribes he shook his hand;
And through the camps of the heathen ran
A wholesome fear of the valiant man.
But the heart is deceitful, the good Book saith,
And life hath ever a savor of death.
Through hymns of triumph the tempter calls,
And whoso thinketh he standeth falls.
Alas! ere their round the seasons ran,
There was grief in the soul of the saintly man.
The tempter's arrows that rarely fail
Had found the joints of his spiritual mail;
And men took note of his gloomy air,
The shame in his eye, the halt in his prayer,
The signs of a battle lost within,
The pain of a soul in the coils of sin.
Then a whisper of scandal linked his name
With broken vows and a life of blame;
And the people looked askance on him
As he walked among them sullen and grim,
Ill at ease, and bitter of word,
And prompt of quarrel with hand or sword.
None knew how, with prayer and fasting still,
He strove in the bonds of his evil will;
But he shook himself like Samson at length,
And girded anew his loins of strength,
And bade the crier go up and down
And call together the wondering town.
Jeer and murmur and shaking of head
Ceased as he rose in his place and said
'Men, brethren, and fathers, well ye know
How I came among you a year ago,
Strong in the faith that my soul was freed
From sin of feeling, or thought, or deed.
'I have sinned, I own it with grief and shame,
But not with a lie on my lips I came.
In my blindness I verily thought my heart
Swept and garnished in every part.
He chargeth His angels with folly; He sees
The heavens unclean. Was I more than these?
'I urge no plea. At your feet I lay
The trust you gave me, and go my way.
Hate me or pity me, as you will,
The Lord will have mercy on sinners still;
And I, who am chiefest, say to all,
Watch and pray, lest ye also fall.'
No voice made answer: a sob so low
That only his quickened ear could know
Smote his heart with a bitter pain,
As into the forest he rode again,
And the veil of its oaken leaves shut down
On his latest glimpse of Cocheco town.
Crystal-clear on the man of sin
The streams flashed up, and the sky shone in;
On his cheek of fever the cool wind blew,
The leaves dropped on him their tears of dew,
And angels of God, in the pure, sweet guise
Of flowers, looked on him with sad surprise.
Was his ear at fault that brook and breeze
Sang in their saddest of minor keys?
What was it the mournful wood-thrush said?
What whispered the pine-trees overhead?
Did he hear the Voice on his lonely way
That Adam heard in the cool of day?
Into the desert alone rode he,
Alone with the Infinite Purity;
And, bowing his soul to its tender rebuke,
As Peter did to the Master's look,
He measured his path with prayers of pain
For peace with God and nature again.
And in after years to Cocheco came
The bruit of a once familiar name;
How among the Dutch of New Netherlands,
From wild Danskamer to Haarlem sands,
A penitent soldier preached the Word,
And smote the heathen with Gideon's sword!
And the heart of Boston was glad to hear
How he harried the foe on the long frontier,
And heaped on the land against him barred
The coals of his generous watch and ward.
Frailest and bravest! the Bay State still
Counts with her worthies John Underhill.
The Wreck Of Rivermouth
Rivermouth Rocks are fair to see,
By dawn or sunset shone across,
When the ebb of the sea has left them free,
To dry their fringes of gold-green moss
For there the river comes winding down,
From salt sea-meadows and uplands brown,
And waves on the outer rocks afoam
Shout to its waters, 'Welcome home!'
And fair are the sunny isles in view
East of the grisly Head of the Boar,
And Agamenticus lifts its blue
Disk of a cloud the woodlands o'er;
And southerly, when the tide is down,
'Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown,
The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel
Over a floor of burnished steel.
Once, in the old Colonial days,
Two hundred years ago and more,
A boat sailed down through the winding ways
Of Hampton River to that low shore,
Full of a goodly company
Sailing out on the summer sea,
Veering to catch the land-breeze light,
With the Boar to left and the Rocks to right.
In Hampton meadows, where mowers laid
Their scythes to the swaths of salted grass,
'Ah, well-a-day! our hay must be made!'
A young man sighed, who saw them pass.
Loud laughed his fellows to see him stand
Whetting his scythe with a listless hand,
Hearing a voice in a far-off song,
Watching a white hand beckoning long.
'Fie on the witch!' cried a merry girl,
As they rounded the point where Goody Cole
Sat by her door with her wheel atwirl,
A bent and blear-eyed poor old soul.
'Oho!' she muttered, 'ye 're brave to-day!
But I hear the little waves laugh and say,
'The broth will be cold that waits at home;
For it 's one to go, but another to come!''
'She's cursed,' said the skipper; 'speak her fair:
I'm scary always to see her shake
Her wicked head, with its wild gray hair,
And nose like a hawk, and eyes like a snake.'
But merrily still, with laugh and shout,
From Hampton River the boat sailed out,
Till the huts and the flakes on Star seemed nigh,
And they lost the scent of the pines of Rye.
They dropped their lines in the lazy tide,
Drawing up haddock and mottled cod;
They saw not the Shadow that walked beside,
They heard not the feet with silence shod.
But thicker and thicker a hot mist grew,
Shot by the lightnings through and through;
And muffled growls, like the growl of a beast,
Ran along the sky from west to east.
Then the skipper looked from the darkening sea
Up to the dimmed and wading sun;
But he spake like a brave man cheerily,
'Yet there is time for our homeward run.'
Veering and tacking, they backward wore;
And just as a breath-from the woods ashore
Blew out to whisper of danger past,
The wrath of the storm came down at last!
The skipper hauled at the heavy sail
'God be our help!' he only cried,
As the roaring gale, like the stroke of a flail,
Smote the boat on its starboard side.
The Shoalsmen looked, but saw alone
Dark films of rain-cloud slantwise blown,
Wild rocks lit up by the lightning's glare,
The strife and torment of sea and air.
Goody Cole looked out from her door
The Isles of Shoals were drowned and gone,
Scarcely she saw the Head of the Boar
Toss the foam from tusks of stone.
She clasped her hands with a grip of pain,
The tear on her cheek was not of rain
'They are lost,' she muttered, 'boat and crew!
Lord, forgive me! my words were true!'
Suddenly seaward swept the squall;
The low sun smote through cloudy rack;
The Shoals stood clear in the light, and all
The trend of the coast lay hard and black.
But far and wide as eye could reach,
No life was seen upon wave or beach;
The boat that went out at morning never
Sailed back again into Hampton River.
O mower, lean on thy bended snath,
Look from the meadows green and low
The wind of the sea is a waft of death,
The waves are singing a song of woe!
By silent river, by moaning sea,
Long and vain shall thy watching be
Never again shall the sweet voice call,
Never the white hand rise and fall!
O Rivermouth Rocks, how sad a sight
Ye saw in the light of breaking day
Dead faces looking up cold and white
From sand and seaweed where they lay.
The mad old witch-wife wailed and wept,
And cursed the tide as it backward crept
'Crawl back, crawl back, blue water-snake
Leave your dead for the hearts that break!'
Solemn it was in that old day
In Hampton town and its log-built church,
Where side by side the coffins lay
And the mourners stood in aisle and porch.
In the singing-seats young eyes were dim,
The voices faltered that raised the hymn,
And Father Dalton, grave and stern,
Sobbed through his prayer and wept in turn.
But his ancient colleague did not pray;
Under the weight of his fourscore years
He stood apart with the iron-gray
Of his strong brows knitted to hide his tears;
And a fair-faced woman of doubtful fame,
Linking her own with his honored name,
Subtle as sin, at his side withstood
The felt reproach of her neighborhood.
Apart with them, like them forbid,
Old Goody Cole looked drearily round,
As, two by two, with their faces hid,
The mourners walked to the burying-ground.
She let the staff from her clasped hands fall
'Lord, forgive us! we're sinners all!'
And the voice of the old man answered her
'Amen!' said Father Bachiler.
So, as I sat upon Appledore
In the calm of a closing summer day,
And the broken lines of Hampton shore
In purple mist of cloudland lay,
The Rivermouth Rocks their story told;
And waves aglow with sunset gold,
Rising and breaking in steady chime,
Beat the rhythm and kept the time.
And the sunset paled, and warmed once more
With a softer, tenderer after-glow;
In the east was moon-rise, with boats off-shore
And sails in the distance drifting slow.
The beacon glimmered from Portsmouth bar,
The White Isle kindled its great red star;
And life and death in my old-time lay
Mingled in peace like the night and day!
. . . . .
'Well!' said the Man of Books, 'your story
Is really not ill told in verse.
As the Celt said of purgatory,
One might go farther and fare worse.'
The Reader smiled; and once again
With steadier voice took up his strain,
While the fair singer from the neighboring tent
Drew near, and at his side a graceful listener bent.
Addressed to Francis Greenleaf Allison of Burlington, New Jersey.
You scarcely need my tardy thanks,
Who, self-rewarded, nurse and tend--
A green leaf on your own Green Banks--
The memory of your friend.
For me, no wreath, bloom-woven, hides
The sobered brow and lessening hair
For aught I know, the myrtled sides
Of Helicon are bare.
Their scallop-shells so many bring
The fabled founts of song to try,
They've drained, for aught I know, the spring
Of Aganippe dry.
Ah well!--The wreath the Muses braid
Proves often Folly's cap and bell;
Methinks, my ample beaver's shade
May serve my turn as well.
Let Love's and Friendship's tender debt
Be paid by those I love in life.
Why should the unborn critic whet
For me his scalping-knife?
Why should the stranger peer and pry
One's vacant house of life about,
And drag for curious ear and eye
His faults and follies out?--
Why stuff, for fools to gaze upon,
With chaff of words, the garb he wore,
As corn-husks when the ear is gone
Are rustled all the more?
Let kindly Silence close again,
The picture vanish from the eye,
And on the dim and misty main
Let the small ripple die.
Yet not the less I own your claim
To grateful thanks, dear friends of mine.
Hang, if it please you so, my name
Upon your household line.
Let Fame from brazen lips blow wide
Her chosen names, I envy none
A mother's love, a father's pride,
Shall keep alive my own!
Still shall that name as now recall
The young leaf wet with morning dew,
The glory where the sunbeams fall
The breezy woodlands through.
That name shall be a household word,
A spell to waken smile or sigh;
In many an evening prayer be heard
And cradle lullaby.
And thou, dear child, in riper days
When asked the reason of thy name,
Shalt answer: One 't were vain to praise
Or censure bore the same.
'Some blamed him, some believed him good,
The truth lay doubtless 'twixt the two;
He reconciled as best he could
Old faith and fancies new.
'In him the grave and playful mixed,
And wisdom held with folly truce,
And Nature compromised betwixt
Good fellow and recluse.
'He loved his friends, forgave his foes;
And, if his words were harsh at times,
He spared his fellow-men,--his blows
Fell only on their crimes.
'He loved the good and wise, but found
His human heart to all akin
Who met him on the common ground
Of suffering and of sin.
'Whate'er his neighbors might endure
Of pain or grief his own became;
For all the ills he could not cure
He held himself to blame.
'His good was mainly an intent,
His evil not of forethought done;
The work he wrought was rarely meant
Or finished as begun.
'Ill served his tides of feeling strong
To turn the common mills of use;
And, over restless wings of song,
His birthright garb hung loose!
'His eye was beauty's powerless slave,
And his the ear which discord pains;
Few guessed beneath his aspect grave
What passions strove in chains.
'He had his share of care and pain,
No holiday was life to him;
Still in the heirloom cup we drain
The bitter drop will swim.
'Yet Heaven was kind, and here a bird
And there a flower beguiled his way;
And, cool, in summer noons, he heard
The fountains plash and play.
'On all his sad or restless moods
The patient peace of Nature stole;
The quiet of the fields and woods
Sank deep into his soul.
'He worshipped as his fathers did,
And kept the faith of childish days,
And, howsoe'er he strayed or slid,
He loved the good old ways.
'The simple tastes, the kindly traits,
The tranquil air, and gentle speech,
The silence of the soul that waits
For more than man to teach.
'The cant of party, school, and sect,
Provoked at times his honest scorn,
And Folly, in its gray respect,
He tossed on satire's horn.
'But still his heart was full of awe
And reverence for all sacred things;
And, brooding over form and law,'
He saw the Spirit's wings!
'Life's mystery wrapt him like a cloud;
He heard far voices mock his own,
The sweep of wings unseen, the loud,
Long roll of waves unknown.
'The arrows of his straining sight
Fell quenched in darkness; priest and sage,
Like lost guides calling left and right,
Perplexed his doubtful age.
'Like childhood, listening for the sound
Of its dropped pebbles in the well,
All vainly down the dark profound
His brief-lined plummet fell.
'So, scattering flowers with pious pains
On old beliefs, of later creeds,
Which claimed a place in Truth's domains,
He asked the title-deeds.
'He saw the old-time's groves and shrines
In the long distance fair and dim;
And heard, like sound of far-off pines,
The century-mellowed hymn!
'He dared not mock the Dervish whirl,
The Brahmin's rite, the Lama's spell;
God knew the heart; Devotion's pearl
Might sanctify the shell.
'While others trod the altar stairs
He faltered like the publican;
And, while they praised as saints, his prayers
Were those of sinful man.
'For, awed by Sinai's Mount of Law,
The trembling faith alone sufficed,
That, through its cloud and flame, he saw
The sweet, sad face of Christ!
'And listening, with his forehead bowed,
Heard the Divine compassion fill
The pauses of the trump and cloud
With whispers small and still.
'The words he spake, the thoughts he penned,
Are mortal as his hand and brain,
But, if they served the Master's end,
He has not lived in vain!'
Heaven make thee better than thy name,
Child of my friends!--For thee I crave
What riches never bought, nor fame
To mortal longing gave.
I pray the prayer of Plato old:
God make thee beautiful within,
And let thine eyes the good behold
In everything save sin!
Imagination held in check
To serve, not rule, thy poised mind;
Thy Reason, at the frown or beck
Of Conscience, loose or bind.
No dreamer thou, but real all,--
Strong manhood crowning vigorous youth;
Life made by duty epical
And rhythmic with the truth.
So shall that life the fruitage yield
Which trees of healing only give,
And green-leafed in the Eternal field
Of God, forever live!
FROM the heart of Waumbek Methna, from the
lake that never fails,
Falls the Saco in the green lap of Conway's
There, in wild and virgin freshness, its waters
foam and flow,
As when Darby Field first saw them, two hundred
But, vexed in all its seaward course with bridges,
dams, and mills,
How changed is Saco's stream, how lost its freedom
of the hills,
Since travelled Jocelyn, factor Vines, and stately
Heard on its banks the gray wolf's howl, the trumpet
of the loon!
With smoking axle hot with speed, with steeds of
fire and steam,
Wide-waked To-day leaves Yesterday behind him
like a dream.
Still, from the hurrying train of Life, fly backward
far and fast
The milestones of the fathers, the landmarks of
But human hearts remain unchanged: the sorrow
and the sin,
The loves and hopes and fears of old, are to our
And if, in tales our fathers told, the songs our
Tradition wears a snowy beard, Romance is always
O sharp-lined man of traffic, on Saco's banks today!
O mill-girl watching late and long the shuttle's
Let, for the once, a listening ear the working hand
And lend my old Provincial tale, as suits, a tear or
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The evening gun had sounded from gray Fort
Through the forest, like a wild beast, roared and
plunged the Saco's' falls.
And westward on the sea-wind, that damp and
Over cedars darkening inland the smokes of Spurwink
On the hearth of Farmer Garvin, blazed the crackling
Right and left sat dame and goodman, and between
them lay the dog,
Head on paws, and tail slow wagging, and beside
him on her mat,
Sitting drowsy in the firelight, winked and purred
the mottled cat.
'Twenty years!' said Goodman Garvin, speaking
sadly, under breath,
And his gray head slowly shaking, as one who
speaks of death.
The goodwife dropped her needles: 'It is twenty
Since the Indians fell on Saco, and stole our child
Then they sank into the silence, for each knew
the other's thought,
Of a great and common sorrow, and words were,
'Who knocks?' cried Goodman Garvin. The
door was open thrown;
On two strangers, man and maiden, cloaked and
furred, the fire-light shone.
One with courteous gesture lifted the bear-skin
from his head;
'Lives here Elkanah Garvin?' 'I am he,' the
'Sit ye down, and dry and warm ye, for the night
is chill with rain.'
And the goodwife drew the settle, and stirred the
The maid unclasped her cloak-hood, the firelight
In her large, moist eyes, and over soft folds of
dark brown hair.
Dame Garvin looked upon her: 'It is Mary's self
'Dear heart!' she cried, 'now tell me, has my
child come back to me?'
'My name indeed is Mary,' said the stranger sobbing
'Will you be to me a mother? I am Mary Garvin's child!'
'She sleeps by wooded Simcoe, but on her dying
She bade my father take me to her kinsfolk far
'And when the priest besought her to do me no
She said, 'May God forgive me! I have closed
my heart too long.'
''When I hid me from my father, and shut out
my mother's call,
I sinned against those dear ones, and the Father
of us all.
''Christ's love rebukes no home-love, breaks no
tie of kin apart;
Better heresy in doctrine, than heresy of heart.
''Tell me not the Church must censure: she who
wept the Cross beside
Never made her own flesh strangers, nor the claims
of blood denied;
''And if she who wronged her parents, with her
child atones to them,
Earthly daughter, Heavenly Mother! thou at least
wilt not condemn!'
'So, upon her death-bed lying, my blessed mother
As we come to do her bidding, So receive us for her
'God be praised!' said Goodwife Garvin, 'He taketh,
and He gives;
He woundeth, but He healeth; in her child our
'Amen!' the old man answered, as he brushed a
And, kneeling by his hearthstone, said, with reverence,
'Let us pray.'
All its Oriental symbols, and its Hebrew pararphrase,
Warm with earnest life and feeling, rose his prayer
of love and praise.
But he started at beholding, as he rose from off
The stranger cross his forehead with the sign of
'What is this?' cried Farmer Garvin. 'Is an English
A chapel or a mass-house, that you make the sign
Then the young girl knelt beside him, kissed his
trembling hand, and cried:
Oh, forbear to chide my father; in that faith my
'On her wooden cross at Simcoe the dews and
As they fall on Spurwink's graveyard; and the
dear God watches all!'
The old man stroked the fair head that rested on
'Your words, dear child,' he answered, 'are God's
rebuke to me.
'Creed and rite perchance may differ, yet our
faith and hope be one.
Let me be your father's father, let him be to me
When the horn, on Sabbath morning, through the
still and frosty air,
From Spurwink, Pool, and Black Point, called to
sermon and to prayer,
To the goodly house of worship, where, in order
due and fit,
As by public vote directed, classed and ranked the
Mistress first and goodwife after, clerkly squire
before the clown,
'From the brave coat, lace-embroidered, to the gray
frock, shading down;'
From the pulpit read the preacher, 'Goodman
Garvin and his wife
Fain would thank the Lord, whose kindness has
followed them through life,
'For the great and crowning mercy, that their
daughter, from the wild,
Where she rests (they hope in God's peace), has
sent to them her child;
'And the prayers of all God's people they ask,
that they may prove
Not unworthy, through their weakness, of such
special proof of love.'
As the preacher prayed, uprising, the aged couple
And the fair Canadian also, in her modest maiden-
Thought the elders, grave and doubting, 'She is
Papist born and bred;'
Thought the young men, ''T is an angel in Mary
Cobbler Keezar's Vision
The beaver cut his timber
With patient teeth that day,
The minks were fish-wards, and the crows
Surveyors of highway,-
When Keezar sat on the hillside
Upon his cobbler's form,
With a pan of coals on either hand
To keep his waxed-ends warm.
And there, in the golden weather,
He stitched and hammered and sung;
In the brook he moistened his leather,
In the pewter mug his tongue.
Well knew the tough old Teuton
Who brewed the stoutest ale,
And he paid the goodwife's reckoning
In the coin of song and tale.
The songs they still are singing
Who dress the hills of vine,
The tales that haunt the Brocken
And whisper down the Rhine.
Woodsy and wild and lonesome,
The swift stream wound away,
Through birches and scarlet maples
Flashing in foam and spray,-
Down on the sharp-horned ledges
Plunging in steep cascade,
Tossing its white-maned waters
Against the hemlock's shade.
Woodsy and wild and lonesome,
East and west and north and south;
Only the village of fishers
Down at the river's mouth;
Only here and there a clearing,
With its farm-house rude and new,
And tree-stumps, swart as Indians,
Where the scanty harvest grew.
No shout of home-bound reapers,
No vintage-song he heard,
And on the green no dancing feet
The merry violin stirred.
'Why should folk be glum,' said Keezar,
'When Nature herself is glad,
And the painted woods are laughing
At the faces so sour and sad?'
Small heed had the careless cobbler
What sorrow of heart was theirs
Who travailed in pain with the births of God,
And planted a state with prayers,-
Hunting of witches and warlocks,
Smiting the heathen horde,-
One hand on the mason's trowel,
And one on the soldier's sword.
But give him his ale and cider,
Give him his pipe and song,
Little he cared for Church or State,
Or the balance of right and wrong.
'T is work, work, work,' he muttered,-
'And for rest a snuffle of psalms!'
He smote on his leathern apron
With his brown and waxen palms.
'Oh for the purple harvests
Of the days when I was young
For the merry grape-stained maidens,
And the pleasant songs they sung!
'Oh for the breath of vineyards,
Of apples and nuts and wine
For an oar to row and a breeze to blow
Down the grand old river Rhine!'
A tear in his blue eye glistened,
And dropped on his beard so gray.
'Old, old am I,' said Keezar,
'And the Rhine flows far away!'
But a cunning man was the cobbler;
He could call the birds from the trees,
Charm the black snake out of the ledges,
And bring back the swarming bees.
All the virtues of herbs and metals,
All the lore of the woods, he knew,
And the arts of the Old World mingle
With the marvels of the New.
Well he knew the tricks of magic,
And the lapstone on his knee
Had the gift of the Mormon's goggles
Or the stone of Doctor Dee.
For the mighty master Agrippa
Wrought it with spell and rhyme
From a fragment of mystic moonstone
In the tower of Nettesheim.
To a cobbler Minnesinger
The marvellous stone gave he,-
And he gave it, in turn, to Keezar,
Who brought it over the sea.
He held up that mystic lapstone,
He held it up like a lens,
And he counted the long years coming
Ey twenties and by tens.
'One hundred years,' quoth Keezar,
'And fifty have I told
Now open the new before me,
And shut me out the old!'
Like a cloud of mist, the blackness
Rolled from the magic stone,
And a marvellous picture mingled
The unknown and the known.
Still ran the stream to the river,
And river and ocean joined;
And there were the bluffs and the blue sea-line,
And cold north hills behind.
But-the mighty forest was broken
By many a steepled town,
By many a white-walled farm-house,
And many a garner brown.
Turning a score of mill-wheels,
The stream no more ran free;
White sails on the winding river,
White sails on the far-off sea.
Below in the noisy village
The flags were floating gay,
And shone on a thousand faces
The light of a holiday.
Swiftly the rival ploughmen
Turned the brown earth from their shares;
Here were the farmer's treasures,
There were the craftsman's wares.
Golden the goodwife's butter,
Ruby her currant-wine;
Grand were the strutting turkeys,
Fat were the beeves and swine.
Yellow and red were the apples,
And the ripe pears russet-brown,
And the peaches had stolen blushes
From the girls who shook them down.
And with blooms of hill and wildwood,
That shame the toil of art,
Mingled the gorgeous blossoms
Of the garden's tropic heart.
'What is it I see?' said Keezar
'Am I here, or ant I there?
Is it a fete at Bingen?
Do I look on Frankfort fair?
'But where are the clowns and puppets,
And imps with horns and tail?
And where are the Rhenish flagons?
And where is the foaming ale?
'Strange things, I know, will happen,-
Strange things the Lord permits;
But that droughty folk should be jolly
Puzzles my poor old wits.
'Here are smiling manly faces,
And the maiden's step is gay;
Nor sad by thinking, nor mad by drinking,
Nor mopes, nor fools, are they.
'Here's pleasure without regretting,
And good without abuse,
The holiday and the bridal
Of beauty and of use.
'Here's a priest and there is a Quaker,
Do the cat and dog agree?
Have they burned the stocks for ovenwood?
Have they cut down the gallows-tree?
'Would the old folk know their children?
Would they own the graceless town,
With never a ranter to worry
And never a witch to drown?'
Loud laughed the cobbler Keezar,
Laughed like a school-boy gay;
Tossing his arms above him,
The lapstone rolled away.
It rolled down the rugged hillside,
It spun like a wheel bewitched,
It plunged through the leaning willows,
And into the river pitched.
There, in the deep, dark water,
The magic stone lies still,
Under the leaning willows
In the shadow of the hill.
But oft the idle fisher
Sits on the shadowy bank,
And his dreams make marvellous pictures
Where the wizard's lapstone sank.
And still, in the summer twilights,
When the river seems to run
Out from the inner glory,
Warm with the melted sun,
The weary mill-girl lingers
Beside the charmed stream,
And the sky and the golden water
Shape and color her dream.
Air wave the sunset gardens,
The rosy signals fly;
Her homestead beckons from the cloud,
And love goes sailing by.
The Bay Of Seven Islands
FROM the green Amesbury hill which bears the name
Of that half mythic ancestor of mine
Who trod its slopes two hundred years ago,
Down the long valley of the Merrimac,
Midway between me and the river's mouth,
I see thy home, set like an eagle's nest
Among Deer Island's immemorial pines,
Crowning the crag on which the sunset breaks
Its last red arrow. Many a tale and song,
Which thou bast told or sung, I call to mind,
Softening with silvery mist the woods and hills,
The out-thrust headlands and inreaching bays
Of our northeastern coast-line, trending where
The Gulf, midsummer, feels the chill blockade
Of icebergs stranded at its northern gate.
To thee the echoes of the Island Sound
Answer not vainly, nor in vain the moan
Of the South Breaker prophesying storm.
And thou hast listened, like myself, to men
Sea-periled oft where Anticosti lies
Like a fell spider in its web of fog,
Or where the Grand Bank shallows with the wrecks
Of sunken fishers, and to whom strange isles
And frost-rimmed bays and trading stations seem
Familiar as Great Neck and Kettle Cove,
Nubble and Boon, the common names of home.
So let me offer thee this lay of mine,
Simple and homely, lacking much thy play
Of color and of fancy. If its theme
And treatment seem to thee befitting youth
Rather than age, let this be my excuse
It has beguiled some heavy hours and called
Some pleasant memories up; and, better still,
Occasion lent me for a kindly word
To one who is my neighbor and my friend.
. . . . . . . . . .
The skipper sailed out of the harbor mouth,
Leaving the apple-bloom of the South
For the ice of the Eastern seas,
In his fishing schooner Breeze.
Handsome and brave and young was he,
And the maids of Newbury sighed to see
His lessening white sail fall
Under the sea's blue wall.
Through the Northern Gulf and the misty screen
Of the isles of Mingan and Madeleine,
St. Paul's and Blanc Sablon,
The little Breeze sailed on,
Backward and forward, along the shore
Of lorn and desolate Labrador,
And found at last her way
To the Seven Islands Bay.
The little hamlet, nestling below
Great hills white with lingering snow,
With its tin-roofed chapel stood
Half hid in the dwarf spruce wood;
Green-turfed, flower-sown, the last outpost
Of summer upon the dreary coast,
With its gardens small and spare,
Sad in the frosty air.
Hard by where the skipper's schooner lay,
A fisherman's cottage looked away
Over isle and bay, and. behind
On mountains dim-defined.
And there twin sisters, fair and young,
Laughed with their stranger guest, and sung
In their native tongue the lays
Of the old Provencal days.
Alike were they, save the faint outline
Of a scar on Suzette's forehead fine;
And both, it so befell,
Loved the heretic stranger well.
Both were pleasant to look upon,
But the heart of the skipper clave to one;
Though less by his eye than heart
He knew the twain apart.
Despite of alien race and creed,
Well did his wooing of Marguerite speed;
And the mother's wrath was vain
As the sister's jealous pain.
The shrill-tongued mistress her house forbade,
And solemn warning was sternly said
By the black-robed priest, whose word
As law the hamlet heard.
But half by voice and half by signs
The skipper said, 'A warm sun shines
On the green-banked Merrimac;
Wait, watch, till I come back.
'And when you see, from my mast head,
The signal fly of a kerchief red,
My boat on the shore shall wait;
Come, when the night is late.'
Ah! weighed with childhood's haunts and friends,
And all that the home sky overbends,
Did ever young love fail
To turn the trembling scale?
Under the night, on the wet sea sands,
Slowly unclasped their plighted hands
One to the cottage hearth,
And one to his sailor's berth.
What was it the parting lovers heard?
Nor leaf, nor ripple, nor wing of bird,
But a listener's stealthy tread
On the rock-moss, crisp and dead.
He weighed his anchor, and fished once more
By the black coast-line of Labrador;
And by love and the north wind driven,
Sailed back to the Islands Seven.
In the sunset's glow the sisters twain
Saw the Breeze come sailing in again;
Said Suzette, 'Mother dear,
The heretic's sail is here.'
'Go, Marguerite, to your room, and hide;
Your door shall be bolted!' the mother cried:
While Suzette, ill at ease,
Watched the red sign of the Breeze.
At midnight, down to the waiting skiff
She stole in the shadow of the cliff;
And out of the Bay's mouth ran
The schooner with maid and man.
And all night long, on a restless bed,
Her prayers to the Virgin Marguerite said
And thought of her lover's pain
Waiting for her in vain.
Did he pace the sands? Did he pause to hear
The sound of her light step drawing near?
And, as the slow hours passed,
Would he doubt her faith at last?
But when she saw through the misty pane,
The morning break on a sea of rain,
Could even her love avail
To follow his vanished sail?
Meantime the Breeze, with favoring wind,
Left the rugged Moisic hills behind,
And heard from an unseen shore
The falls of Manitou roar.
On the morrow's morn, in the thick, gray weather
They sat on the reeling deck together,
Lover and counterfeit,
Of hapless Marguerite.
With a lover's hand, from her forehead fair
He smoothed away her jet-black hair.
What was it his fond eyes met?
The scar of the false Suzette!
Fiercely he shouted: 'Bear away
East by north for Seven Isles Bay!'
The maiden wept and prayed,
But the ship her helm obeyed.
Once more the Bay of the Isles they found
They heard the bell of the chapel sound,
And the chant of the dying sung
In the harsh, wild Indian tongue.
A feeling of mystery, change, and awe
Was in all they heard and all they saw
Spell-bound the hamlet lay
In the hush of its lonely bay.
And when they came to the cottage door,
The mother rose up from her weeping sore,
And with angry gestures met
The scared look of Suzette.
'Here is your daughter,' the skipper said;
'Give me the one I love instead.'
But the woman sternly spake;
'Go, see if the dead will wake!'
He looked. Her sweet face still and white
And strange in the noonday taper light,
She lay on her little bed,
With the cross at her feet and head.
In a passion of grief the strong man bent
Down to her face, and, kissing it, went
Back to the waiting Breeze,
Back to the mournful seas.
Never again to the Merrimac
And Newbury's homes that bark came back.
Whether her fate she met
On the shores of Carraquette,
Miscou, or Tracadie, who can say?
But even yet at Seven Isles Bay
Is told the ghostly tale
Of a weird, unspoken sail,
In the pale, sad light of the Northern day
Seen by the blanketed Montagnais,
Or squaw, in her small kyack,
Crossing the spectre's track.
On the deck a maiden wrings her hands;
Her likeness kneels on the gray coast sands;
One in her wild despair,
And one in the trance of prayer.
She flits before no earthly blast,
The red sign fluttering from her mast,
Over the solemn seas,
The ghost of the schooner Breeze!