Inscriptions On A Sun-Dial
For Dr Henry L Bowditch
With warning hand I mark Time's rapid
From life's glad morning to it's solemn
Yet through thee dear God's love, I also
There's Light above me by the shade
From the Mahabharata.
Heed how thou livest. Do no act by day
Which from the night shall drive thy peace away.
In months of sun so live that months of rain
Shall still be happy. Evermore restrain
Evil and cherish good, so shall there be
Another and a happier life for thee.
To E. C. S.
Poet and friend of poets, if thy glass
Detects no flower in winter's tuft of grass,
Let this slight token of the debt I owe
Outlive for thee December's frozen day,
And, like the arbutus budding under snow,
Take bloom and fragrance from some morn of May
When he who gives it shall have gone the way
Where faith shall see and reverent trust shall know.
An Easter Flower Gift
O dearest bloom the seasons know,
Flowers of the Resurrection blow,
Our hope and faith restore;
And through the bitterness of death
And loss and sorrow, breathe a breath
Of life forevermore!
The thought of Love Immortal blends
With fond remembrances of friends;
In you, O sacred flowers,
By human love made doubly sweet,
The heavenly and the earthly meet,
The heart of Christ and ours!
To A Cape Ann Schooner
Luck to the craft that bears this name of mine,
Good fortune follow with her golden spoon
The glazed hat and tarry pantaloon;
And wheresoe'er her keel shall cut the brine,
Cod, hake and haddock quarrel for her line.
Shipped with her crew, whatever wind may blow,
Or tides delay, my wish with her shall go,
Fishing by proxy. Would that it might show
At need her course, in lack of sun and star,
Where icebergs threaten, and the sharp reefs are;
Lift the blind fog on Anticosti's lee
And Avalon's rock; make populous the sea
Round Grand Manan with eager finny swarms,
Break the long calms, and charm away the storms.
To G. G.
Graceful in name and in thyself, our river
None fairer saw in John Ward's pilgrim flock,
Proof that upon their century-rooted stock
The English roses bloom as fresh as ever.
Take the warm welcome of new friends with thee,
And listening to thy home's familiar chime
Dream that thou hearest, with it keeping time,
The bells on Merrimac sound across the sea.
Think of our thrushes, when the lark sings clear,
Of our sweet Mayflowers when the daisies bloom;
And bear to our and thy ancestral home
The kindly greeting of its children here.
Say that our love survives the severing strain;
That the New England, with the Old, holds fast
The proud, fond memories of a common past;
Unbroken still the ties of blood remain!
The Trailing Arbutus
I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
Against the bitter East their barricade,
And, guided by its sweet
Perfume, I found, within a narrow dell,
The trailing spring flower tinted like a shell
Amid dry leaves and mosses at my feet.
From under dead boughs, for whose loss the pines
Moaned ceaseless overhead, the blossoming vines
Lifted their glad surprise,
While yet the bluebird smoothed in leafless trees
His feathers ruffled by the chill sea-breeze,
And snow-drifts lingered under April skies.
As, pausing, o'er the lonely flower I bent,
I thought of lives thus lowly, clogged and pent,
Which yet find room,
Through care and cumber, coldness and decay,
To lend a sweetness to the ungenial day
And make the sad earth happier for their bloom.
Giving And Taking
Who gives and hides the giving hand,
Nor counts on favor, fame, or praise,
Shall find his smallest gift outweighs
The burden of the sea and land.
Who gives to whom hath naught been given,
His gift in need, though small indeed
As is the grass-blade's wind-blown seed,
Is large as earth and rich as heaven.
Forget it not, O man, to whom
A gift shall fall, while yet on earth;
Yea, even to thy seven-fold birth
Recall it in the lives to come.
Who broods above a wrong in thought
Sins much; but greater sin is his
Who, fed and clothed with kindnesses,
Shall count the holy alms as nought.
Who dares to curse the hands that bless
Shall know of sin the deadliest cost;
The patience of the heavens is lost
Beholding man's unthankfulness.
For he who breaks all laws may still
In Sivam's mercy be forgiven;
But none can save, in earth or heaven,
The wretch who answers good with ill.
Here, while the loom of Winter weaves
The shroud of flowers and fountains,
I think of thee and summer eves
Among the Northern mountains.
When thunder tolled the twilight's close,
And winds the lake were rude on,
And thou wert singing, _Ca' the Yowes_,
The bonny yowes of Cluden!
When, close and closer, hushing breath,
Our circle narrowed round thee,
And smiles and tears made up the wreath
Wherewith our silence crowned thee;
And, strangers all, we felt the ties
Of sisters and of brothers;
Ah! whose of all those kindly eyes
Now smile upon another's?
The sport of Time, who still apart
The waifs of life is flinging;
Oh, nevermore shall heart to heart
Draw nearer for that singing!
Yet when the panes are frosty-starred,
And twilight's fire is gleaming,
I hear the songs of Scotland's bard
Sound softly through my dreaming!
A song that lends to winter snows
The glow of summer weather,--
Again I hear thee ca' the yowes
To Cluden's hills of heather
WRITTEN ON A BLANK LEAF OF HIS MEMOIRS.
Dear friends, who read the world aright,
And in its common forms discern
A beauty and a harmony
The many never learn!
Kindred in soul of him who found
In simple flower and leaf and stone
The impulse of the sweetest lays
Our Saxon tongue has known,--
Accept this record of a life
As sweet and pure, as calm and good,
As a long day of blandest June
In green field and in wood.
How welcome to our ears, long pained
By strife of sect and party noise,
The brook-like murmur of his song
Of nature's simple joys!
The violet' by its mossy stone,
The primrose by the river's brim,
And chance-sown daffodil, have found
Immortal life through him.
The sunrise on his breezy lake,
The rosy tints his sunset brought,
World-seen, are gladdening all the vales
And mountain-peaks of thought.
Art builds on sand; the works of pride
And human passion change and fall;
But that which shares the life of God
With Him surviveth all.
THRICE welcome to thy sisters of the East,
To the strong tillers of a rugged home,
With spray-wet locks to Northern winds released,
And hardy feet o'erswept by ocean's foam;
And to the young nymphs of the golden West,
Whose harvest mantles, fringed with prairie bloom,
Trail in the sunset, — O redeemed and blest,
To the warm welcome of thy sisters come!
Broad Pennsylvania, down her sail-white bay
Shall give thee joy, and Jersey from her plains,
And the great lakes, where echo, free alway,
Moaned never shoreward with the clank of chains,
Shall weave new sun-bows in their tossing spray,
And all their waves keep grateful holiday.
And, smiling on thee through her mountain rains,
Vermont shall bless thee; and the granite peaks,
And vast Katahdin o'er his woods, shall wear
Their snow-crowns brighter in the cold, keen air;
And Massachusetts, with her rugged cheeks
O'errun with grateful tears, shall turn to thee,
When, at thy bidding, the electric wire
Shall tremble northward with its words of fire;
Glory and praise to God! another State is free!
FROM these wild rocks I look to-day
O'er leagues of dancing waves, and see
The far, low coast-line stretch away
To where our river meets the sea.
The light wind blowing off the land
Is burdened with old voices; through
Shut eyes I see how lip and hand
The greeting of old days renew.
O friends whose hearts still keep their prime,
Whose bright example warms and cheers,
Ye teach us how to smile at Time,
And set to music all his years!
I thank you for sweet summer days,
For pleasant memories lingering long,
For joyful meetings, fond delays,
And ties of friendship woven strong.
As for the last time, side by side,
You tread the paths familiar grown,
I reach across the severing tide,
And blend my farewells with your own.
Make room, O river of our home!
For other feet in place of ours,
And in the summers yet to come,
Make glad another Feast of Flowers!
Hold in thy mirror, calm and deep,
The pleasant pictures thou hast seen;
Forget thy lovers not, but keep
Our memory like thy laurels green.
A Dream Of Summer
Bland as the morning breath of June
The southwest breezes play;
And, through its haze, the winter noon
Seems warm as summer's day.
The snow-plumed Angel of the North
Has dropped his icy spear;
Again the mossy earth looks forth,
Again the streams gush clear.
The fox his hillside cell forsakes,
The muskrat leaves his nook,
The bluebird in the meadow brakes
Is singing with the brook.
'Bear up, O Mother Nature!' cry
Bird, breeze, and streamlet free;
'Our winter voices prophesy
Of summer days to thee!'
So, in those winters of the soul,
By bitter blasts and drear
O'erswept from Memory's frozen pole,
Will sunny days appear.
Reviving Hope and Faith, they show
The soul its living powers,
And how beneath the winter's snow
Lie germs of summer flowers!
The Night is mother of the Day,
The Winter of the Spring,
And ever upon old Decay
The greenest mosses cling.
Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all His works,
Has left His hope with all!
THE South-land boasts its teeming cane,
The prairied West its heavy grain,
And sunset's radiant gates unfold
On rising marts and sands of gold!
Rough, bleak, and hard, our little State
Is scant of soil, of limits strait;
Her yellow sands are sands alone,
Her only mines are ice and stone!
From Autumn frost to April rain,
Too long her winter woods complain;
Fom budding flower to falling leaf,
Her summer time is all too brief.
Yet, on her rocks, and on her sands,
And wintry hills, the school-house stands,
And what her rugged soil denies,
The harvest of the mind supplies.
The riches of the Commonwealth
Are free, strong minds, and hearts of health;
And more to her than gold or grain,
The cunning hand and cultured brain.
For well she keeps her ancient stock,
The stubborn strength of Pilgrim Rock;
And still maintains, with milder laws,
And clearer light, the Good Old Cause!
Nor heeds the skeptic's puny hands,
While near her school the church-spire stands;
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule,
While near her church-spire stands the school.
Storm On Lake Asquam
A cloud, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
On Carmel prophesying rain, began
To lift itself o'er wooded Cardigan,
Growing and blackening. Suddenly, a flaw
Of chill wind menaced; then a strong blast beat
Down the long valley's murmuring pines, and woke
The noon-dream of the sleeping lake, and broke
Its smooth steel mirror at the mountains' feet.
Thunderous and vast, a fire-veined darkness swept
Over the rough pine-bearded Asquam range;
A wraith of tempest, wonderful and strange,
From peak to peak the cloudy giant stepped.
One moment, as if challenging the storm,
Chocorua's tall, defiant sentinel
Looked from his watch-tower; then the shadow fell,
And the wild rain-drift blotted out his form.
And over all the still unhidden sun,
Weaving its light through slant-blown veils of rain,
Smiled on the trouble, as hope smiles on pain;
And, when the tumult and the strife were done,
With one foot on the lake and one on land,
Framing within his crescent's tinted streak
A far-off picture of the Melvin peak,
Spent broken clouds the rainbow's angel spanned.
So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
Revile him not, the Tempter hath
A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
Befit his fall!
Oh, dumb be passion's stormy rage,
When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
Falls back in night.
Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
From hope and heaven!
Let not the land once proud of him
Insult him now,
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
But let its humbled sons, instead,
From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
In sadness make.
Of all we loved and honored, naught
Save power remains;
A fallen angel's pride of thought,
Still strong in chains.
All else is gone; from those great eyes
The soul has fled:
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
The man is dead!
Then, pay the reverence of old days
To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,
And hide the shame!
The Birthday Wreath
Blossom and greenness, making all
The winter birthday tropical,
And the plain Quaker parlors gay,
Have gone from bracket, stand, and wall;
We saw them fade, and droop, and fall,
And laid them tenderly away.
White virgin lilies, mignonette,
Blown rose, and pink, and violet,
A breath of fragrance passing by;
Visions of beauty and decay,
Colors and shapes that could not stay,
The fairest, sweetest, first to die.
But still this rustic wreath of mine,
Of acorned oak and needled pine,
And lighter growths of forest lands,
Woven and wound with careful pains,
And tender thoughts, and prayers, remains,
As when it dropped from love's dear hands.
And not unfitly garlanded,
Is he, who, country-born and bred,
Welcomes the sylvan ring which gives
A feeling of old summer days,
The wild delight of woodland ways,
The glory of the autumn leaves.
And, if the flowery meed of song
To other bards may well belong,
Be his, who from the farm-field spoke
A word for Freedom when her need
Was not of dulcimer and reed.
This Isthmian wreath of pine and oak.
Talk not of sad November, when a day
Of warm, glad sunshine fills the sky of noon,
And a wind, borrowed from some morn of June,
Stirs the brown grasses and the leafless spray.
On the unfrosted pool the pillared pines
Lay their long shafts of shadow: the small rill,
Singing a pleasant song of summer still,
A line of silver, down the hill-slope shines.
Hushed the bird-voices and the hum of bees,
In the thin grass the crickets pipe no more;
But still the squirrel hoards his winter store,
And drops his nut-shells from the shag-bark trees.
Softly the dark green hemlocks whisper: high
Above, the spires of yellowing larches show,
Where the woodpecker and home-loving crow
And jay and nut-hatch winter’s threat defy.
O gracious beauty, ever new and old!
O sights and sounds of nature, doubly dear
When the low sunshine warns the closing year
Of snow-blown fields and waves of Arctic cold!
Close to my heart I fold each lovely thing
The sweet day yields; and, not disconsolate,
With the calm patience of the woods I wait
For leaf and blossom when God gives us Spring!
ACROSS the sea I heard the groans
Of nations in the intervals
Of wind and wave. Their blood and bones
Cried out in torture, crushed by thrones,
And sucked by priestly cannibals.
I dreamed of Freedom slowly gained
By martyr meekness, patience, faith,
And lo! an athlete grimly stained,
With corded muscles battle-strained,
Shouting it from the fields of death!
I turn me, awe-struck, from the sight,
Among the clamoring thousands mute,
I only know that God is right,
And that the children of the light
Shall tread the darkness under foot.
I know the pent fire heaves its crust,
That sultry skies the bolt will form
To smite them clear; that Nature must
The balance of her powers adjust,
Though with the earthquake and the storm.
God reigns, and let the earth rejoice!
I bow before His sterner plan.
Dumb are the organs of my choice;
He speaks in battle's stormy voice,
His praise is in the wrath of man!
Yet, surely as He lives, the day
Of peace He promised shall be ours,
To fold the flags of war, and lay
Its sword and spear to rust away,
And sow its ghastly fields with flowers!
I wait and watch: before my eyes
Methinks the night grows thin and gray;
I wait and watch the eastern skies
To see the golden spears uprise
Beneath the oriflamme of day!
Like one whose limbs are bound in trance
I hear the day-sounds swell and grow,
And see across the twilight glance,
Troop after troop, in swift advance,
The shining ones with plumes of snow!
I know the errand of their feet,
I know what mighty work is theirs;
I can but lift up hands unmeet,
The threshing-floors of God to beat,
And speed them with unworthy prayers.
I will not dream in vain despair
The steps of progress wait for me
The puny leverage of a hair
The planet's impulse well may spare,
A drop of dew the tided sea.
The loss, if loss there be, is mine,
And yet not mine if understood;
For one shall grasp and one resign,
One drink life's rue, and one its wine,
And God shall make the balance good.
Oh power to do! Oh baffled will!
Oh prayer and action! ye are one.
Who may not strive, may yet fulfil
The harder task of standing still,
And good but wished with God is done!
My garden roses long ago
Have perished from the leaf-strewn walks;
Their pale, fair sisters smile no more
Upon the sweet-brier stalks.
Gone with the flower-time of my life,
Spring's violets, summer's blooming pride,
And Nature's winter and my own
Stand, flowerless, side by side.
So might I yesterday have sung;
To-day, in bleak December's noon,
Come sweetest fragrance, shapes, and hues,
The rosy wealth of June!
Bless the young bands that culled the gift,
And bless the hearts that prompted it;
If undeserved it comes, at least
It seems not all unfit.
Of old my Quaker ancestors
Had gifts of forty stripes save one;
To-day as many roses crown
The gray head of their son.
And with them, to my fancy's eye,
The fresh-faced givers smiling come,
And nine and thirty happy girls
Make glad a lonely room.
They bring the atmosphere of youth;
The light and warmth of long ago
Are in my heart, and on my cheek
The airs of morning blow.
O buds of girlhood, yet unblown,
And fairer than the gift ye chose,
For you may years like leaves unfold
The heart of Sharon's rose
MY old Welsh neighbor over the way
Crept slowly out in the sun of spring,
Pushed from her ears the locks of gray,
And listened to hear the robin sing.
Her grandson, playing at marbles, stopped,
And, cruel in sport as boys will be,
Tossed a stone at the bird, who hopped
From bough to bough in the apple-tree.
'Nay!' said the grandmother; 'have you not heard,
My poor, bad boy! of the fiery pit,
And how, drop by drop, this merciful bird
Carries the water that quenches it?
'He brings cool dew in his little bill,
And lets it fall on the souls of sin
You can see the mark on his red breast still
Of fires that scorch as he drops it in.
'My poor Bron rhuddyn! my breast-burned bird,
Singing so sweetly from limb to limb,
Very dear to the heart of Our Lord
Is he who pities the lost like Him!'
'Amen!' I said to the beautiful myth;
'Sing, bird of God, in my heart as well:
Each good thought is a drop wherewith
To cool and lessen the fires of hell.
'Prayers of love like rain-drops fall,
Tears of pity are cooling dew,
And dear to the heart of Our Lord are all
Who suffer like Him in the good they do! '
The Hive At Gettysburg
IN the old Hebrew myth the lion's frame,
So terrible alive,
Bleached by the desert's sun and wind, became
The wandering wild bees' hive;
And he who, lone and naked-handed, tore
Those jaws of death apart,
In after time drew forth their honeyed store
To strengthen his strong heart.
Dead seemed the legend: but it only slept
To wake beneath our sky;
Just on the spot whence ravening Treason crept
Back to its lair to die,
Bleeding and torn from Freedom's mountain bounds,
A stained and shattered drum
Is now the hive where, on their flowery rounds,
The wild bees go and come.
Unchallenged by a ghostly sentinel,
They wander wide and far,
Along green hillsides, sown with shot and shell,
Through vales once choked with war.
The low reveille of their battle-drum
Disturbs no morning prayer;
With deeper peace in summer noons their hum
Fills all the drowsy air.
And Samson's riddle is our own to-day,
Of sweetness from the strong,
Of union, peace, and freedom plucked away
From the rent jaws of wrong.
From Treason's death we draw a purer life,
As, from the beast he slew,
A sweetness sweeter for his bitter strife
The old-time athlete drew!
Seed-Time And Harvest
As o'er his furrowed fields which lie
Beneath a coldly dropping sky,
Yet chill with winter's melted snow,
The husbandman goes forth to sow,
Thus, Freedom, on the bitter blast
The ventures of thy seed we cast,
And trust to warmer sun and rain
To swell the germs and fill the grain.
Who calls thy glorious service hard?
Who deems it not its own reward?
Who, for its trials, counts it less
A cause of praise and thankfulness?
It may not be our lot to wield
The sickle in the ripened field;
Nor ours to hear, on summer eves,
The reaper's song among the sheaves.
Yet where our duty's task is wrought
In unison with God's great thought,
The near and future blend in one,
And whatsoe'er is willed, is done!
And ours the grateful service whence
Comes day by day the recompense;
The hope, the trust, the purpose stayed,
The fountain and the noonday shade.
And were this life the utmost span,
The only end and aim of man,
Better the toil of fields like these
Than waking dream and slothful ease.
But life, though falling like our grain,
Like that revives and springs again;
And, early called, how blest are they
Who wait in heaven their harvest-day!
The Pressed Gentian
The time of gifts has come again,
And, on my northern window-pane,
Outlined against the day's brief light,
A Christmas token hangs in sight.
The wayside travellers, as they pass,
Mark the gray disk of clouded glass;
And the dull blankness seems, perchance,
Folly to their wise ignorance.
They cannot from their outlook see
The perfect grace it hath for me;
For there the flower, whose fringes through
The frosty breath of autumn blew,
Turns from without its face of bloom
To the warm tropic of my room,
As fair as when beside its brook
The hue of bending skies it took.
So from the trodden ways of earth,
Seem some sweet souls who veil their worth,
And offer to the careless glance
The clouding gray of circumstance.
They blossom best where hearth-fires burn,
To loving eyes alone they turn
The flowers of inward grace, that hide
Their beauty from the world outside.
But deeper meanings come to me,
My half-immortal flower, from thee!
Man judges from a partial view,
None ever yet his brother knew;
The Eternal Eye that sees the whole
May better read the darkened soul,
And find, to outward sense denied,
The flower upon its inmost side
O painter of the fruits and flowers,
We own wise design,
Where these human hands of ours
May share work of Thine!
Apart from Thee we plant in vain
The root and sow the seed;
Thy early and Thy later rain,
Thy sun and dew we need.
Our toil is sweet with thankfulness,
Our burden is our boon;
The curse of Earth's gray morning is
The blessing of its noon.
Why search the wide world everywhere
For Eden's unknown ground?
That garden of the primal pair
May nevermore be found.
But, blest by Thee, our patient toil
May right the ancient wrong,
And give to every clime and soil
The beauty lost so long.
Our homestead flowers and fruited trees
May Eden's orchard shame;
We taste the tempting sweets of these
Like Eve, without her blame.
And, North and South and East and West,
The pride of every zone,
The fairest, rarest, and the best
May all be made our own.
Its earliest shrines the young world sought
In hill-groves and in bowers,
The fittest offerings thither brought
Were Thy own fruits and flowers.
And still with reverent hands we cull
Thy gifts each year renewed;
The good is always beautiful,
The beautiful is good.
The Christmas Of 1888
Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn,
And on a wintry waste
Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown,
Through thin cloud-films, a pallid ghost looked down,
The waning moon half-faced!
In that pale sky and sere, snow-waiting earth,
What sign was there of the immortal birth?
What herald of the One?
Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came,
A rose-red splendor swept the sky like flame,
Up rolled the round, bright sun!
And all was changed. From a transfigured world
The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home-hearths curled
Up the still air unblown.
In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn
O'er Nain and Nazareth, when the Christ was born,
Break fairer than our own?
The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled
In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy-hilled
And sunset fair as they;
A sweet reminder of His holiest time,
A summer-miracle in our winter clime,
God gave a perfect day.
The near was blended with the old and far,
And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star
Seemed here, as there and then,--
Our homestead pine-tree was the Syrian palm,
Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm,
Peace, and good-will to men!
I Was A Stranger, And Ye Took Me In
'Neath skies that winter never knew
The air was full of light and balm,
And warm and soft the Gulf wind blew
Through orange bloom and groves of palm.
A stranger from the frozen North,
Who sought the fount of health in vain,
Sank homeless on the alien earth,
And breathed the languid air with pain.
God's angel came! The tender shade
Of pity made her blue eye dim;
Against her woman's breast she laid
The drooping, fainting head of him.
She bore him to a pleasant room,
Flower-sweet and cool with salt sea air,
And watched beside his bed, for whom
His far-off sisters might not care.
She fanned his feverish brow and smoothed
Its lines of pain with tenderest touch.
With holy hymn and prayer she soothed
The trembling soul that feared so much.
Through her the peace that passeth sight
Came to him, as he lapsed away
As one whose troubled dreams of night
Slide slowly into tranquil day.
The sweetness of the Land of Flowers
Upon his lonely grave she laid
The jasmine dropped its golden showers,
The orange lent its bloom and shade.
And something whispered in her thought,
More sweet than mortal voices be
'The service thou for him hast wrought
O daughter! hath been done for me.'
Sad Mayflower! watched by winter stars,
And nursed by winter gales,
With petals of the sleeted spars,
And leaves of frozen sails!
What had she in those dreary hours,
Within her ice-rimmed bay,
In common with the wild-wood flowers,
The first sweet smiles of May?
Yet, 'God be praised!' the Pilgrim said,
Who saw the blossoms peer
Above the brown leaves, dry and dead,
'Behold our Mayflower here!'
'God wills it: here our rest shall be,
Our years of wandering o'er;
For us the Mayflower of the sea
Shall spread her sails no more.'
O sacred flowers of faith and hope,
As sweetly now as then
Ye bloom on many a birchen slope,
In many a pine-dark glen.
Behind the sea-wall's rugged length,
Unchanged, your leaves unfold,
Like love behind the manly strength
Of the brave hearts of old.
So live the fathers in their sons,
Their sturdy faith be ours,
And ours the love that overruns
Its rocky strength with flowers!
The Pilgrim's wild and wintry day
Its shadow round us draws;
The Mayflower of his stormy bay,
Our Freedom's struggling cause.
But warmer suns erelong shall bring
To life the frozen sod;
And through dead leaves of hope shall spring
Afresh the flowers of God!
At Port Royal
The tent-lights glimmer on the land,
The ship-lights on the sea;
The night-wind smooths with drifting sand
Our track on lone Tybee.
At last our grating keels outslide,
Our good boats forward swing;
And while we ride the land-locked tide,
Our negroes row and sing.
For dear the bondman holds his gifts
Of music and of song:
The gold that kindly Nature sifts
Among his sands of wrong;
The power to make his toiling days
And poor home-comforts please;
The quaint relief of mirth that plays
With sorrow's minor keys.
Another glow than sunset's fire
Has filled the West with light,
Where field and garner, barn and byre,
Are blazing through the night.
The land is wild with fear and hate,
The rout runs mad and fast;
From hand to hand, from gate to gate,
The flaming brand is passed.
The lurid glow falls strong across
Dark faces broad with smiles;
Not theirs the terror, hate, and loss
That fire yon blazing piles.
With oar-strokes timing to their song,
They weave in simple lays
The pathos of remembered wrong,
The hope of better days,—
The triumph-note that Miriam sung,
The joy of uncaged birds:
Softening with Afric's mellow tongue
Their broken Saxon words.
THE day's sharp strife is ended now,
Our work is done, God knoweth how!
As on the thronged, unrestful town
The patience of the moon looks down,
I wait to hear, beside the wire,
The voices of its tongues of fire.
Slow, doubtful, faint,they seem at first:
Be strong, my heart, to know the worst!
Hark! there the Alleghanies spoke;
That sound from lake and prairie broke,
That sunset-gun of triumph rent
The silence of a continent!
That signal from Nebraska sprung,
This, from Nevada's mountain tongue!
Is that thy answer, strong and free,
O loyal heart of Tennessee?
What strange, glad voice is that which calls
From Wagner's grave and Sumter's walls?
From Mississippi's fountain-head
A sound as of the hisoh's tread!
There rustled freedom's Charter Oak!
In that wild burst the Ozarks spoke!
Cheer answers cheer from rise to set
Of sun. We have a country yet!
The praise, O God, be thine alone!
Thou givest not for bread a stone;
Thou hast not led us through the night
To blind us with returning light;
Not through the furnace have we passed,
To perish at its mouth at last.
O night of peace, thy flight restrain!
November's moon, be slow to wane!
Shine on the freedman's cabin floor,
On brows of prayer a blessing pour;
And give, with full assurance blest,
The weary heart of Freedom rest!
The shadows round the inland sea
Are deepening into night;
Slow up the slopes of Ossipee
They chase the lessening light.
Tired of the long day's blinding heat,
I rest my languid eye,
Lake of the Hills! where, cool and sweet,
Thy sunset waters lie!
Along the sky, in wavy lines,
O'er isle and reach and bay,
Green-belted with eternal pines,
The mountains stretch away.
Below, the maple masses sleep
Where shore with water blends,
While midway on the tranquil deep
The evening light descends.
So seemed it when yon hill's red crown,
Of old, the Indian trod,
And, through the sunset air, looked down
Upon the Smile of God.
To him of light and shade the laws
No forest skeptic taught;
Their living and eternal Cause
His truer instinct sought.
He saw these mountains in the light
Which now across them shines;
This lake, in summer sunset bright,
Walled round with sombering pines.
God near him seemed; from earth and skies
His loving voice he beard,
As, face to face, in Paradise,
Man stood before the Lord.
Thanks, O our Father! that, like him,
Thy tender love I see,
In radiant hill and woodland dim,
And tinted sunset sea.
For not in mockery dost Thou fill
Our earth with light and grace;
Thou hid'st no dark and cruel will
Behind Thy smiling face!
The Red River Voyageur
Out and in the river is winding
The links of its long, red chain,
Through belts of dusky pine-land
And gusty leagues of plain.
Only, at times, a smoke-wreath
With the drifting cloud-rack joins,-
The smoke of the hunting-lodges
Of the wild Assiniboins.
Drearily blows the north-wind
From the land of ice and snow;
The eyes that look are weary,
And heavy the hands that row.
And with one foot on the water,
And one upon the shore,
The Angel of Shadow gives warning
That day shall be no more.
Is it the clang of wild-geese?
Is it the Indian's yell,
That lends to the voice of the north-wind
The tones of a far-off bell?
The voyageur smiles as he listens
To the sound that grows apace;
Well he knows the vesper ringing
Of the bells of St. Boniface.
The bells of the Roman Mission,
That call from their turrets twain,
To the boatman on the river,
To the hunter on the plain!
Even so in our mortal journey
The bitter north-winds blow,
And thus upon life's Red River
Our hearts, as oarsmen, row.
And when the Angel of Shadow
Rests his feet on wave and shore,
And our eyes grow dim with watching
And our hearts faint at the oar,
Happy is he who heareth
The signal of his release
In the bells of the Holy City,
The chimes of eternal peace!
I LOVE the old melodious lays
Which softly melt the ages through,
The songs of Spenser’s golden days,
Arcadian Sidney’s silvery phrase,
Sprinkling our noon of time with freshest morning dew.
Yet, vainly in my quiet hours
To breathe their marvellous notes I try;
I feel them, as the leaves and flowers
In silence feel the dewy showers,
And drink with glad, still lips the blessing of the sky.
The rigor of a frozen clime,
The harshness of an untaught ear,
The jarring words of one whose rhyme
Beat often Labor’s hurried time,
Or Duty’s rugged march through storm and strife, are here.
Of mystic beauty, dreamy grace,
No rounded art the lack supplies;
Unskilled the subtle lines to trace,
Or softer shades of Nature’s face,
I view her common forms with unanointed eyes.
Nor mine the seer-like power to show
The secrets of the heart and mind;
To drop the plummet-line below
Our common world of joy and woe,
A more intense despair or brighter hope to find.
Yet here at least an earnest sense
Of human right and weal is shown;
A hate of tyranny intense,
And hearty in its vehemence,
As if my brother’s pain and sorrow were my own.
O Freedom! if to me belong
Nor mighty Milton’s gift divine,
Nor Marvell’s wit and graceful song,
Still with a love as deep and strong
As theirs, I lay, like them, my best gifts on thy shrine!
The Worship Of Nature
The harp at Nature's advent strung
Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
Has never died away.
And prayer is made, and praise is given,
By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to heaven,
And mirrors every star.
Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
As kneels the human knee,
Their white locks bowing to the sand,
The priesthood of the sea!
They pour their glittering treasures forth,
Their gifts of pearl they bring,
And all the listening hills of earth
Take up the song they sing.
The green earth sends its incense up
From many a mountain shrine;
From folded leaf and dewy cup
She pours her sacred wine.
The mists above the morning rills
Rise white as wings of prayer;
The altar-curtains of the hills
Are sunset's purple air.
The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
Or low with sobs of pain, --
The thunder-organ of the cloud,
The dropping tears of rain.
With drooping head and branches crossed
The twilight forest grieves,
Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
From all its sunlit leaves.
The blue sky is the temple's arch,
Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
The chorus of a prayer.
So Nature keeps the reverent frame
With which her years began,
And all her signs and voices shame
The prayerless heart of man.
The Wind Of March
Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky's gray arch;
Smiling, I watch the shaken elm-boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.
Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude.
Welcome to waiting ears its harsh forewarning
Of light and warmth to come,
The longed-for joy of Nature's Easter morning,
The earth arisen in bloom.
In the loud tumult winter's strength is breaking;
I listen to the sound,
As to a voice of resurrection, waking
To life the dead, cold ground.
Between these gusts, to the soft lapse I hearken
Of rivulets on their way;
I see these tossed and naked tree-tops darken
With the fresh leaves of May.
This roar of storm, this sky so gray and lowering
Invite the airs of Spring,
A warmer sunshine over fields of flowering,
The bluebird's song and wing.
Closely behind, the Gulf's warm breezes follow
This northern hurricane,
And, borne thereon, the bobolink and swallow
Shall visit us again.
And, in green wood-paths, in the kine-fed pasture
And by the whispering rills,
Shall flowers repeat the lesson of the Master,
Taught on his Syrian hills.
Blow, then, wild wind! thy roar shall end in singing,
Thy chill in blossoming;
Come, like Bethesda's troubling angel, bringing
The healing of the Spring.
The subtle power in perfume found
Nor priest nor sibyl vainly learned;
On Grecian shrine or Aztec mound
No censer idly burned.
That power the old-time worships knew,
The Corybantes' frenzied dance,
The Pythian priestess swooning through
The wonderland of trance.
And Nature holds, in wood and field,
Her thousand sunlit censers still;
To spells of flower and shrub we yield
Against or with our will.
I climbed a hill path strange and new
With slow feet, pausing at each turn;
A sudden waft of west wind blew
The breath of the sweet fern.
That fragrance from my vision swept
The alien landscape; in its stead,
Up fairer hills of youth I stepped,
As light of heart as tread.
I saw my boyhood's lakelet shine
Once more through rifts of woodland shade;
I knew my river's winding line
By morning mist betrayed.
With me June's freshness, lapsing brook,
Murmurs of leaf and bee, the call
Of birds, and one in voice and look
In keeping with them all.
A fern beside the way we went
She plucked, and, smiling, held it up,
While from her hand the wild, sweet scent
I drank as from a cup.
O potent witchery of smell!
The dust-dry leaves to life return,
And she who plucked them owns the spell
And lifts her ghostly fern.
Or sense or spirit? Who shall say
What touch the chord of memory thrills?
It passed, and left the August day
Ablaze on lonely hills.
Song Of Slaves In The Desert
WHERE are we going? where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee?
Lord of peoples, lord of lands,
Look across these shining sands,
Through the furnace of the noon,
Through the white light of the moon.
Strong the Ghiblee wind is blowing,
Strange and large the world is growing!
Speak and tell us where we are going,
Where are we going, Rubee?
Bornou land was rich and good,
Wells of water, fields of food,
Dourra fields, and bloom of bean,
And the palm-tree cool and green:
Bornou land we see no longer,
Here we thirst and here we hunger,
Here the Moor-man smites in anger:
Where are we going, Rubee?
When we went from Bornou land,
We were like the leaves and sand,
We were many, we are few;
Life has one, and death has two:
Whitened bones our path are showing,
Thou All-seeing, thou All-knowing!
Hear us, tell us, where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee?
Moons of marches from our eyes
Bornou land behind us lies;
Stranger round us day by day
Bends the desert circle gray;
Wild the waves of sand are flowing,
Hot the winds above them blowing, —
Lord of all things! where are we going?
Where are we going, Rubee?
We are weak, but Thou art strong.;
Short our lives, but Thine is long;
We are blind, but Thou hast eyes;
We are fools, but Thou art wise!
Thou, our morrow's pathway knowing
Through the strange world round us growing,
Hear us, tell us where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee?
The Pass Of The Sierra
ALL night above their rocky bed
They saw the stars march slow;
The wild Sierra overhead,
The desert's death below.
The Indian from his lodge of bark,
The gray bear from his den,
Beyond their camp-fire's wall of dark,
Glared on the mountain men.
Still upward turned, with anxious strain,
Their leader's sleepless eye,
Where splinters of the mountain chain
Stood black against the sky.
The night waned slow: at last, a glow,
A gleam of sudden fire,
Shot up behind the walls of snow,
And tipped each icy spire.
'Up, men!' he cried, 'yon rocky cone,
To-day, please God, we'll pass,
And look from Winter's frozen throne
On Summer's flowers and grass!'
They set their faces to the blast,
They trod the eternal snow,
And faint, worn, bleeding, hailed at last
The promised land below.
Behind, they saw the snow-cloud tossed
By many an icy horn;
Before, warm valleys, wood-embossed,
And green with vines and corn.
They left the Winter at their backs
To flap his baffled wing,
And downward, with the cataracts,
Leaped to the lap of Spring.
Strong leader of that mountain band,
Another task remains,
To break from Slavery's desert land
A path to Freedom's plains.
The winds are wild, the way is drear,
Yet, flashing through the night,
Lo! icy ridge and rocky spear
Blaze out in morning light!
Rise up, Frémont! and go before;
The Hour must have its Man;
Put on the hunting-shirt once more,
And lead in Freedom's van!
The river hemmed with leaning trees
Wound through its meadows green;
A low, blue line of mountains showed
The open pines between.
One sharp, tall peak above them all
Clear into sunlight sprang
I saw the river of my dreams,
The mountains that I sang!
No clue of memory led me on,
But well the ways I knew;
A feeling of familiar things
With every footstep grew.
Not otherwise above its crag
Could lean the blasted pine;
Not otherwise the maple hold
Aloft its red ensign.
So up the long and shorn foot-hills
The mountain road should creep;
So, green and low, the meadow fold
Its red-haired kine asleep.
The river wound as it should wind;
Their place the mountains took;
The white torn fringes of their clouds
Wore no unwonted look.
Yet ne'er before that river's rim
Was pressed by feet of mine,
Never before mine eyes had crossed
That broken mountain line.
A presence, strange at once and known,
Walked with me as my guide;
The skirts of some forgotten life
Trailed noiseless at my side.
Was it a dim-remembered dream?
Or glimpse through ions old?
The secret which the mountains kept
The river never told.
But from the vision ere it passed
A tender hope I drew,
And, pleasant as a dawn of spring,
The thought within me grew,
That love would temper every change,
And soften all surprise,
And, misty with the dreams of earth,
The hills of Heaven arise.