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!
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.
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 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!
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 River Path
No bird-song floated down the hill,
The tangled bank below was still;
No rustle from the birchen stem,
No ripple from the water's hem.
The dusk of twilight round us grew,
We felt the falling of the dew;
For, from us, ere the day was done,
The wooded hills shut out the sun.
But on the river's farther side
We saw the hill-tops glorified,--
A tender glow, exceeding fair,
A dream of day without its glare.
With us the damp, the chill, the gloom
With them the sunset's rosy bloom;
While dark, through willowy vistas seen,
The river rolled in shade between.
From out the darkness where we trod,
We gazed upon those bills of God,
Whose light seemed not of moon or sun.
We spake not, but our thought was one.
We paused, as if from that bright shore
Beckoned our dear ones gone before;
And stilled our beating hearts to hear
The voices lost to mortal ear!
Sudden our pathway turned from night;
The hills swung open to the light;
Through their green gates the sunshine showed,
A long, slant splendor downward flowed.
Down glade and glen and bank it rolled;
It bridged the shaded stream with gold;
And, borne on piers of mist, allied
The shadowy with the sunlit side!
'So,' prayed we, 'when our feet draw near
The river dark, with mortal fear,
'And the night cometh chill with dew,
O Father! let Thy light break through!
'So let the hills of doubt divide,
So bridge with faith the sunless tide!
'So let the eyes that fail on earth
On Thy eternal hills look forth;
'And in Thy beckoning angels know
The dear ones whom we loved below!'
Freedom In Brazil
WITH clearer light, Cross of the South, shine forth
In blue Brazilian skies;
And thou, O river, cleaving half the earth
From sunset to sunrise,
From the great mountains to the Atlantic waves
Thy joy's long anthem pour.
Yet a few years (God make them less!) and slaves
Shall shame thy pride no more,
No fettereel feet thy shaded margins press;
But all men shall walk free
Where thou, the high-priest of the wilderness,
Hast wedded sea to sea.
And thou, great-hearted ruler, through whose mouth
The word of God is said,
Once more, 'Let there be light!' — Son of the South,
Lift up thy honored head,
Wear unashamed a crown by thy desert
More than by birth thy own,
Careless of watch and ward; thou art begirt
By grateful hearts alone.
The moaned wall and battle-ship may fail,
But safe shall justice prove;
Stronger than greaves of brass or iron mail
The panoply of love.
Crowned doubly by man's blessing and God's grace,
Thy future is secure;
Who frees a people makes his statue's place
In Time's Valhalla sure.
Lo! from his Neva's banks the Scythian Czar
Stretches to thee his hand,
Who, with the pencil of the Northern star,
Wrote freedom on his land.
And he whose grave is holy by our calm
And prairied Sangamon,
From his gaunt hand shall drop the martyr's palm
To greet thee with 'Well done!'
And thou, O Earth, with smiles thy face make sweet,
And let thy wail be stilled,
To hear the Muse of prophecy repeat
Her promise half fulfilled.
The Voice that spake at Nazareth speaks still,
No sound thereof hath died;
Alike thy hope and Heaven's eternal will
Shall yet be satisfied.
The years are slow, the vision tarrieth long,
And far the end may be;
But, one by one, the fiends of ancient wrong
Go out and leave thee free.
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!
The Conquest Of Finland
ACROSS the frozen marshes
The winds of autumn blow,
And the fen-lands of the Wetter
Are white with early snow.
But where the low, gray headlands
Look o'er the Baltic brine,
A bark is sailing in the track
Of England's battle-line.
No wares hath she to barter
For Bothnia's fish and grain;
She saileth not for pleasure,
She saileth not for gain.
But still by isle or mainland
She drops her, anchor down,
Where'er the British cannon
Rained fire on tower and town.
Outspake the ancient Amtman,
At the gate of Helsingfors:
'Why comes this ship a-spying
In the track of England's wars?'
'God bless her,' said the coast-guard, —
'God bless the ship, I say.
The holy angels trim the sails
That speed her on her way!
'Where'er she drops her anchor,
The peasant's heart is glad;
Where'er she spreads her parting sail,
The peasant's heart is sad.
'Each wasted town and hamlet
She visits to restore;
To roof the shattered cabin,
And feed the starving poor.
' The sunken boats of fishers,
The foraged beeves and grain,
The spoil of flake and storehouse,
The good ship brings again.
'And so to Finland's sorrow
The sweet amend is made,
As if the healing hand of Christ
Upon her wounds were laid!'
Then said the gray old Amtman,
'The will of God be done!
The battle lost by England's hate,
By England's love is won!
'We braved the iron tempest
That thundered on our shore;
But when did kindness fail to find
The key to Finland's door?
'No more from Aland's ramparts
Shall warning signal come,
Nor startled Sweaborg hear again
The roll of midnight drum.
'Beside our fierce Black Eagle
The Dove of Peace shall rest;
And in the mouths of cannon
The sea-bird make her nest.
'For Finland, looking seaward,
No coming foe shall scan;
And the holy bells of Abo
Shall ring, 'Good-will to man!'
'Then row thy boat, O fisher!
In peace on lake and bay;
And thou, young maiden, dance again
Around the poles of May!
'Sit down, old men, together,
Old wives, in quiet spin;
Henceforth the Anglo-Saxon
Is the brother of the Finn!'
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!
Banished From Massachusetts
Over the threshold of his pleasant home
Set in green clearings passed the exiled Friend,
In simple trust, misdoubting not the end.
'Dear heart of mine!' he said, 'the time has come
To trust the Lord for shelter.' One long gaze
The goodwife turned on each familiar thing,-
The lowing kine, the orchard blossoming,
The open door that showed the hearth-fire's blaze,-
And calmly answered, 'Yes, He will provide.'
Silent and slow they crossed the homestead's bound,
Lingering the longest by their child's grave-mound.
'Move on, or stay and hang!' the sheriff cried.
They left behind them more than home or land,
And set sad faces to an alien strand.
Safer with winds and waves than human wrath,
With ravening wolves than those whose zeal for God
Was cruelty to man, the exiles trod
Drear leagues of forest without guide or path,
Or launching frail boats on the uncharted sea,
Round storm-vexed capes, whose teeth of granite ground
The waves to foam, their perilous way they wound,
Enduring all things so their souls were free.
Oh, true confessors, shaming them who did
Anew the wrong their Pilgrim Fathers bore
For you the Mayflower spread her sail once more,
Freighted with souls, to all that duty bid
Faithful as they who sought an unknown land,
O'er wintry seas, from Holland's Hook of Sand!
So from his lost home to the darkening main,
Bodeful of storm, stout Macy held his way,
And, when the green shore blended with the gray,
His poor wife moaned: 'Let us turn back again.'
'Nay, woman, weak of faith, kneel down,' said he,
And say thy prayers: the Lord himself will steer;
And led by Him, nor man nor devils I fear!
So the gray Southwicks, from a rainy sea,
Saw, far and faint, the loom of land, and gave
With feeble voices thanks for friendly ground
Whereon to rest their weary feet, and found
A peaceful death-bed and a quiet grave
Where, ocean-walled, and wiser than his age,
The lord of Shelter scorned the bigot's rage.
Aquidneck's isle, Nantucket's lonely shores,
And Indian-haunted Narragansett saw
The way-worn travellers round their camp-fire draw,
Or heard the plashing of their weary oars.
And every place whereon they rested grew
Happier for pure and gracious womanhood,
And men whose names for stainless honor stood,
Founders of States and rulers wise and true.
The Muse of history yet shall make amends
To those who freedom, peace, and justice taught,
Beyond their dark age led the van of thought,
And left unforfeited the name of Friends.
O mother State, how foiled was thy design
The gain was theirs, the loss alone was thine.
THE sky is ruddy in the east,
The earth is gray below,
And, spectral in the river-mist,
The ship's white timbers show.
Then let the sounds of measured stroke
And grating saw begin;
The broad-axe to the gnarlëd oak,
The mallet to the pin!
Hark! roars the bellows, blast on blast,
The sooty smithy jars,
And fire-sparks, rising far and fast,
Are fading with the stars.
All day for us the smith shall stand
Beside that flashing forge;
All day for us his heavy hand
The groaning anvil scourge.
From far-off hills, the panting team
For us is toiling near;
For us the raftsmen down the stream
Their island barges steer.
Rings out for us the axe-man's stroke
In forests old and still;
For us the century-circled oak
Falls crashing down his hill.
Up! up! in nobler toil than ours
No craftsmen bear a part:
We make of Nature's giant powers
The slaves of human Art.
Lay rib to rib and beam to beam,
And drive the treenails free;
Nor faithless joint nor yawning seam
Shall tempt the searching sea!
Where'er the keel of our good ship
The sea's rough field shall plough;
Where'er her tossing spars shall drip
With salt-spray caught below;
That ship must heed her master's beck,
Her helm obey his hand,
And seamen tread her reeling deck
As if they trod the land.
Her oaken ribs the vulture-beak
Of Northern ice may peel;
The sunken rock and coral peak
May grate along her keel;
And know we well the painted shell
We give to wind and wave,
Must float, the sailor's citadel,
Or sink, the sailor's grave!
Ho! strike away the bars and blocks,
And set the good ship free!
Why lingers on these dusty rocks
The young bride of the sea?
Look! how she moves adown the grooves,
In graceful beauty now!
How lowly on the breast she loves
Sinks down her virgin prow!
God bless-her! wheresoe'er the breeze
Her snowy wing shall fan,
Aside the frozen Hebrides,
Or sultry Hindostan!
Where'er, in mart or on the main,
With peaceful flag unfurled,
She helps to wind the silken chain
Of commerce round the world!
Speed on the ship! But let her bear
No merchandise of sin,
No groaning cargo of despair
Her roomy hold within;
No Lethean drug for Eastern lands,
For poison-draught for ours;
But honest fruits of toiling hands
And Nature's sun and showers.
Be hers the Prairie's golden grain,
The Desert's golden sand,
The clustered fruits of sunny Spain,
The spice of Morning-land!
Her pathway on the open main
May blessings follow free,
And glad hearts welcome back again
Her white sails from the sea!
The roll of drums and the bugle's wailing
Vex the air of our vales-no more;
The spear is beaten to hooks of pruning,
The share is the sword the soldier wore!
Sing soft, sing low, our lowland river,
Under thy banks of laurel bloom;
Softly and sweet, as the hour beseemeth,
Sing us the songs of peace and home.
Let all the tenderer voices of nature
Temper the triumph and chasten mirth,
Full of the infinite love and pity
For fallen martyr and darkened hearth.
But to Him who gives us beauty for ashes,
And the oil of joy for mourning long,
Let thy hills give thanks, and all thy waters
Break into jubilant waves of song!
Bring us the airs of hills and forests,
The sweet aroma of birch and pine,
Give us a waft of the north-wind laden
With sweethrier odors and breath of kine!
Bring us the purple of mountain sunsets,
Shadows of clouds that rake the hills,
The green repose of thy Plymouth meadows,
The gleam and ripple of Campton rills.
Lead us away in shadow and sunshine,
Slaves of fancy, through all thy miles,
The winding ways of Pemigewasset,
And Winnipesaukee's hundred isles.
Shatter in sunshine over thy ledges,
Laugh in thy plunges from fall to fall;
Play with thy fringes of elms, and darken
Under the shade of the mountain wall.
The cradle-song of thy hillside fountains
Here in thy glory and strength repeat;
Give us a taste of thy upland music,
Show us the dance of thy silver feet.
Into thy dutiful life of uses
Pour the music and weave the flowers;
With the song of birds and bloom of meadows
Lighten and gladden thy heart and ours.
Sing on! bring down, O lowland river,
The joy of the hills to the waiting sea;
The wealth of the vales, the pomp of mountains,
The breath of the woodlands, bear with thee.
Here, in the calm of thy seaward, valley,
Mirth and labor shall hold their truce;
Dance of water and mill of grinding,
Both are beauty and both are use.
Type of the Northland's strength and glory,
Pride and hope of our home and race,--
Freedom lending to rugged labor
Tints of beauty and lines of grace.
Once again, O beautiful river,
Hear our greetings and take our thanks;
Hither we come, as Eastern pilgrims
Throng to the Jordan's sacred banks.
For though by the Master's feet untrodden,
Though never His word has stilled thy waves,
Well for us may thy shores be holy,
With Christian altars and saintly graves.
And well may we own thy hint and token
Of fairer valleys and streams than these,
Where the rivers of God are full of water,
And full of sap are His healing trees!
On Receiving An Eagle's Quill From Lake Superior
All day the darkness and the cold
Upon my heart have lain,
Like shadows on the winter sky,
Like frost upon the pane;
But now my torpid fancy wakes,
And, on thy Eagle's plume,
Rides forth, like Sindbad on his bird,
Or witch upon her broom!
Below me roar the rocking pines,
Before me spreads the lake
Whose long and solemn-sounding waves
Against the sunset break.
I hear the wild Rice-Eater thresh
The grain he has not sown;
I see, with flashing scythe of fire,
The prairie harvest mown!
I hear the far-off voyager's horn;
I see the Yankee's trail,--
His foot on every mountain-pass,
On every stream his sail.
By forest, lake, and waterfall,
I see his pedler show;
The mighty mingling with the mean,
The lofty with the low.
He's whittling by St. Mary's Falls,
Upon his loaded wain;
He's measuring o'er the Pictured Rocks,
With eager eyes of gain.
I hear the mattock in the mine,
The axe-stroke in the dell,
The clamor from the Indian lodge,
The Jesuit chapel bell!
I see the swarthy trappers come
From Mississippi's springs;
And war-chiefs with their painted brows,
And crests of eagle wings.
Behind the scared squaw's birch canoe,
The steamer smokes and raves;
And city lots are staked for sale
Above old Indian graves.
I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be;
The first low wash of waves, where soon
Shall roll a human sea.
The rudiments of empire here
Are plastic yet and warm;
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form!
Each rude and jostling fragment soon
Its fitting place shall find,--
The raw material of a State,
Its muscle and its mind!
And, westering still, the star which leads
The New World in its train
Has tipped with fire the icy spears
Of many a mountain chain.
The snowy cones of Oregon
Are kindling on its way;
And California's golden sands
Gleam brighter in its ray!
Then blessings on thy eagle quill,
As, wandering far and wide,
I thank thee for this twilight dream
And Fancy's airy ride!
Yet, welcomer than regal plumes,
Which Western trappers find,
Thy free and pleasant thoughts, chance sown,
Like feathers on the wind.
Thy symbol be the mountain-bird,
Whose glistening quill I hold;
Thy home the ample air of hope,
And memory's sunset gold!
In thee, let joy with duty join,
And strength unite with love,
The eagle's pinions folding round
The warm heart of the dove!
So, when in darkness sleeps the vale
Where still the blind bird clings
The sunshine of the upper sky
Shall glitter on thy wings!
Sunset On The Bearcamp
A gold fringe on the purpling hem
Of hills the river runs,
As down its long, green valley falls
The last of summer's suns.
Along its tawny gravel-bed
Broad-flowing, swift, and still,
As if its meadow levels felt
The hurry of the hill,
Noiseless between its banks of green
From curve to curve it slips;
The drowsy maple-shadows rest
Like fingers on its lips.
A waif from Carroll's wildest hills,
Unstoried and unknown;
The ursine legend of its name
Prowls on its banks alone.
Yet flowers as fair its slopes adorn
As ever Yarrow knew,
Or, under rainy Irish skies,
By Spenser's Mulla grew;
And through the gaps of leaning trees
Its mountain cradle shows
The gold against the amethyst,
The green against the rose.
Touched by a light that hath no name,
A glory never sung,
Aloft on sky and mountain wall
Are God's great pictures hung.
How changed the summits vast and old!
No longer granite-browed,
They melt in rosy mist; the rock
Is softer than the cloud;
The valley holds its breath; no leaf
Of all its elms is twirled
The silence of eternity
Seems falling on the world.
The pause before the breaking seals
Of mystery is this;
Yon miracle-play of night and day
Makes dumb its witnesses.
What unseen altar crowns the hills
That reach up stair on stair?
What eyes look through, what white wings fan
These purple veils of air?
What Presence from the heavenly heights
To those of earth stoops down?
Not vainly Hellas dreamed of gods
On Ida's snowy crown!
Slow fades the vision of the sky,
The golden water pales,
And over all the valley-land
A gray-winged vapor sails.
I go the common way of all;
The sunset fires will burn,
The flowers will blow, the river flow,
When I no more return.
No whisper from the mountain pine
Nor lapsing stream shall tell
The stranger, treading where I tread,
Of him who loved them well.
But beauty seen is never lost,
God's colors all are fast;
The glory of this sunset heaven
Into my soul has passed,
A sense of gladness unconfined
To mortal date or clime;
As the soul liveth, it shall live
Beyond the years of time.
Beside the mystic asphodels
Shall bloom the home-born flowers,
And new horizons flush and glow
With sunset hues of ours.
Farewell! these smiling hills must wear
Too soon their wintry frown,
And snow-cold winds from off them shake
The maple's red leaves down.
But I shall see a summer sun
Still setting broad and low;
The mountain slopes shall blush and bloom,
The golden water flow.
A lover's claim is mine on all
I see to have and hold,--
The rose-light of perpetual hills,
And sunsets never cold!
To Avis Keene
ON RECEIVING A BASKET OF SEA-MOSSES.
Thanks for thy gift
Of ocean flowers,
Born where the golden drift
Of the slant sunshine falls
Down the green, tremulous walls
Of water, to the cool, still coral bowers,
Where, under rainbows of perpetual showers,
God's gardens of the deep
His patient angels keep;
Gladdening the dim, strange solitude
With fairest forms and hues, and thus
Forever teaching us
The lesson which the many-colored skies,
The flowers, and leaves, and painted butterflies,
The deer's branched antlers, the gay bird that flings
The tropic sunshine from its golden wings,
The brightness of the human countenance,
Its play of smiles, the magic of a glance,
In varied tones and sweet,
That beauty, in and of itself, is good.
O kind and generous friend, o'er whom
The sunset hues of Time are cast,
Painting, upon the overpast
And scattered clouds of noonday sorrow
The promise of a fairer morrow,
An earnest of the better life to come;
The binding of the spirit broken,
The warning to the erring spoken,
The comfort of the sad,
The eye to see, the hand to cull
Of common things the beautiful,
The absent heart made glad
By simple gift or graceful token
Of love it needs as daily food,
All own one Source, and all are good
Hence, tracking sunny cove and reach,
Where spent waves glimmer up the beach,
And toss their gifts of weed and shell
From foamy curve and combing swell,
No unbefitting task was thine
To weave these flowers so soft and fair
In unison with His design
Who loveth beauty everywhere;
And makes in every zone and clime,
In ocean and in upper air,
All things beautiful in their time.
For not alone in tones of awe and power
He speaks to Inan;
The cloudy horror of the thunder-shower
His rainbows span;
And where the caravan
Winds o'er the desert, leaving, as in air
The crane-flock leaves, no trace of passage there,
He gives the weary eye
The palm-leaf shadow for the hot noon hours,
And on its branches dry
Calls out the acacia's flowers;
And where the dark shaft pierces down
Beneath the mountain roots,
Seen by the miner's lamp alone,
The star-like crystal shoots;
So, where, the winds and waves below,
The coral-branched gardens grow,
His climbing weeds and mosses show,
Like foliage, on each stony bough,
Of varied hues more strangely gay
Than forest leaves in autumn's day;--
On sky, and wave, and shore,
An all-pervading beauty seems to say
God's love and power are one; and they,
Who, like the thunder of a sultry day,
Smite to restore,
And they, who, like the gentle wind, uplift
The petals of the dew-wet flowers, and drift
Their perfume on the air,
Alike may serve Him, each, with their own gift,
Making their lives a prayer!
The Eternal Goodness
O Friends! with whom my feet have trod
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.
I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds:
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.
Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.
Ye praise His justice; even such
His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
The robe that hath no seam.
Ye see the curse which overbroods
A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord's beatitudes
And prayer upon the cross.
More than your schoolmen teach, within
Myself, alas! I know:
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
Too small the merit show.
I bow my forehead to the dust,
I veil mine eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,
A prayer without a claim.
I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.
Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!
Not mine to look where cherubim
And seraphs may not see,
But nothing can be good in Him
Which evil is in me.
The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above,
I know not of His hate, - I know
His goodness and His love.
I dimly guess from blessings known
Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own
His judgments too are right.
I long for household voices gone.
For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And He can do no wrong.
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.
And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.
O brothers! if my faith is vain,
If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me that my feet may gain
The sure and safer way.
And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
My human heart on Thee!
MASSACHUSETTS BAY, 1760.
THE robins sang in the orchard, the buds into
Little of human sorrow the buds and the robins
Sick, in an alien household, the poor French
Into her lonesome garret fell the light of the April
Through the dusty window, curtained by the spider's
warp and woof,
On the loose-laid floor of hemlock, on oaken ribs
The bedquilt's faded patchwork, the teacups on the
The wheel with flaxen tangle, as it dropped from
her sick hand.
What to her was the song of the robin, or warm
As she lay in the trance of the dying, heedless of
sound or sight?
Done was the work of her bands, she had eaten her
The world of the alien people lay behind her dim
But her soul went back to its child-time; she saw
the sun o'erflow
With gold the Basin of Minas, and set over
The low, bare flats at ebb-tide, the rush of the sea
Through inlet and creek and river, from dike to
The gulls in the red of morning, the fish-hawk's
rise and fall,
The drift of the fog in moonshine, over the dark
She saw the face of her mother, she heard the song
And far off, faintly, slowly, the bell for vespers
By her bed the hard-faced mistress sat, smoothing
the wrinkled sheet,
Peering into the face, so helpless, and feeling the
With a vague remorse atoning for her greed and
By care no longer heeded and pity too late for use.
Up the stairs of the garret softly the son of the
Leaned over the head-board, covering his face with
his hands, and wept.
Outspake the mother, who watched him sharply,
with brow a-frown
'What! love you the Papist, the beggar, the
charge of the town?'
Be she Papist or beggar who lies here, I know
and God knows
I love her, and fain would go with her wherever
'O mother! that sweet face came pleading, for
love so athirst.
You saw but the town-charge; I knew her God's
angel at first.'
Shaking her gray head, the mistress hushed down
a bitter cry;
And awed by the silence and shadow of death
She murmured a psalm of the Bible; but closer
the young girl pressed,
With the last of her life in her fingers, the cross
to her breast.
'My son, come away,' cried the mother, her voice
'She is joined to her idols, like Ephraim; let her
But he knelt with his hand on her forehead, his
lips to her ear,
And he called back the soul that was passing
'Marguerite, do you hear?'
She paused on the threshold of Heaven; love, pity,
Wistful, tender, lit up for an instant the cloud of
With his heart on his lips he kissed her, but never
her cheek grew red,
And the words the living long for he spake in the
ear of the dead.
And the robins sang in the orchard, where buds to
Of the folded hands and the still face never the
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!
How sweetly on the wood-girt town
The mellow light of sunset shone!
Each small, bright lake, whose waters still
Mirror the forest and the hill,
Reflected from its waveless breast
The beauty of a cloudless west,
Glorious as if a glimpse were given
Within the western gates of heaven,
Left, by the spirit of the star
Of sunset's holy hour, ajar!
Beside the river's tranquil flood
The dark and low-walled dwellings stood,
Where many a rood of open land
Stretched up and down on either hand,
With corn-leaves waving freshly green
The thick and blackened stumps between.
Behind, unbroken, deep and dread,
The wild, untravelled forest spread,
Back to those mountains, white and cold,
Of which the Indian trapper told,
Upon whose summits never yet
Was mortal foot in safety set.
Quiet and calm without a fear,
Of danger darkly lurking near,
The weary laborer left his plough,
The milkmaid carolled by her cow;
From cottage door and household hearth
Rose songs of praise, or tones of mirth.
At length the murmur died away,
And silence on that village lay.
-So slept Pompeii, tower and hall,
Ere the quick earthquake swallowed all,
Undreaming of the fiery fate
Which made its dwellings desolate.
Hours passed away. By moonlight sped
The Merrimac along his bed.
Bathed in the pallid lustre, stood
Dark cottage-wall and rock and wood,
Silent, beneath that tranquil beam,
As the hushed grouping of a dream.
Yet on the still air crept a sound,
No bark of fox, nor rabbit's bound,
Nor stir of wings, nor waters flowing,
Nor leaves in midnight breezes blowing.
Was that the tread of many feet,
Which downward from the hillside beat?
What forms were those which darkly stood
Just on the margin of the wood?-
Charred tree-stumps in the moonlight dim,
Or paling rude, or leafless limb?
No,-through the trees fierce eyeballs glowed,
Dark human forms in moonshine showed,
Wild from their native wilderness,
With painted limbs and battle-dress.
A yell the dead might wake to hear
Swelled on the night air, far and clear;
Then smote the Indian tomahawk
On crashing door and shattering lock;
Then rang the rifle-shot, and then
The shrill death-scream of stricken men,-
Sank the red axe in woman's brain,
And childhood's cry arose in vain.
Bursting through roof and window came,
Red, fast, and fierce, the kindled flame,
And blended fire and moonlight glared
On still dead men and scalp-knives bared.
The morning sun looked brightly through
The river willows, wet with dew.
No sound of combat filled the air,
No shout was heard, nor gunshot there;
Yet still the thick and sullen smoke
From smouldering ruins slowly broke;
And on the greensward many a stain,
And, here and there, the mangled slain,
Told how that midnight bolt had sped
Pentucket, on thy fated head.
Even now the villager can tell
Where Rolfe beside his hearthstone fell,
Still show the door of wasting oak,
Through which the fatal death-shot broke,
And point the curious stranger where
De Rouville's corse lay grim and bare;
Whose hideous head, in death still feared,
Bore not a trace of hair or beard;
And still, within the churchyard ground,
Heaves darkly up the ancient mound,
Whose grass-grown surface overlies
The victims of that sacrifice.
The Prisoners Of Naples
I HAVE been thinking of the victims bound
In Naples, dying for the lack of air
And sunshine, in their close, damp cells of pain,
Where hope is not, and innocence in vain
Appeals against the torture and the chain!
Unfortunates! whose crime it was to share
Our common love of freedom, and to dare,
In its behalf, Rome's harlot triple-crowned,
And her base pander, the most hateful thing
Who upon Christian or on Pagan ground
Makes vile the old heroic name of king.
O God most merciful! Father just and kind!
Whom man hath bound let thy right hand unbind.
Or, if thy purposes of good behind
Their ills lie hidden, let the sufferers find
Strong consolations; leave them not to doubt
Thy providential care, nor yet without
The hope which all thy attributes inspire,
That not in vain the martyr's robe of fire
Is worn, nor the sad prisoner's fretting chain;
Since all who suffer for thy truth send forth,
Electrical, with every throb of pain,
Unquenchable sparks, thy own baptismal rain
Of fire and spirit over all the earth,
Making the dead in slavery live again.
Let this great hope be with them, as they lie
Shut from the light, the greenness, and the sky;
From the cool waters and the pleasant breeze,
The smell of flowers, and shade of summer trees;
Bound with the felon lepers, whom disease
And sins abhorred make loathsome; let them share
Pellico's faith, Foresti's strength to bear
Years of unutterable torment, stern and still,
As the chained Titan victor through his will!
Comfort them with thy future; let them see
The day-dawn of Italian liberty;
For that, with all good things, is hid with Thee,
And, perfect in thy thought, awaits its time to be!
I, who have spoken for freedom at the cost
Of some weak friendships, or some paltry prize
Of name or place, and more than I have lost
Have gained in wider reach of sympathies,
And free communion with the good and wise;
May God forbid that I should ever boast
Such easy self-denial, or repine
That the strong pulse of health no more is mine;
That, overworn at noonday, I must yield
To other hands the gleaning of the field;
A tired on-looker through the day's decline.
For blest beyond deserving still, and knowing
That kindly Providence its care is showing
In the withdrawal as in the bestowing,
Scarcely I dare for more or less to pray.
Beautiful yet for me this autumn day
Melts on its sunset hills; and, far away,
For me the Ocean lifts its solemn psalm,
To me the pine-woods whisper; and for me
Yon river, winding through its vales of calm,
By greenest banks, with asters purple-starred,
And gentian bloom and golden-rod made gay,
Flows down in silent gladness to the sea,
Like a pure spirit to its great reward!
Nor lack I friends, long-tried and near and dear,
Whose love is round me like this atmosphere,
Warm, soft, and golden. For such gifts to me
What shall I render, O my God, to thee?
Let me not dwell upon my lighter share
Of pain and ill that human life must bear;
Save me from selfish pining; let my heart,
Drawn from itself in sympathy, forget
The bitter longings of a vain regret,
The anguish of its own peculiar smart.
Remembering others, as I have to-day,
In their great sorrows, let me live alway
Not for myself alone, but have a part,
Such as a frail and erring spirit may,
In love which is of Thee, and which indeed Thou art!
Blest land of Judea! thrice hallowed of song,
Where the holiest of memories pilgrim-like throng;
In the shade of thy palms, by the shores of thy sea,
On the hills of thy beauty, my heart is with thee.
With the eye of a spirit I look on that shore,
Where pilgrim and prophet have lingered before;
With the glide of a spirit, I traverse the sod
Made bright by the steps of the angels of God.
Blue sea of the hills! in my spirit I hear
Thy waters, Genasseret, chime on my ear;
Where the Lowly and Just with the people sat down,
And thy spray on the dust of His sandals was thrown.
Beyond are Bethulia's mountains of green,
And the desolate hills of the wild Godarene;
And I pause on the goat-crags of Tabor to see
The gleam of thy waters, oh dark Gallilee!
Hark, a sound in the vallies! where, swollen and strong,
Thy river, oh Kishon, is sweeping along;
Where the Canaanite strove with Jehovah in vain,
And thy torrent grew dark with the blood of the slain.
There down from his mountains stern Zebulon came,
And Naphtali's stag, with his eye-balls of flame,
And the chariots of Jabin rolled harmlessly on,
For the arm of the Lord was Abinoam's son!
There sleep the still rocks and the caverns which rang
To the song which the beautiful Prophetess sang,
When the Princes of Issachar stood by her side,
And the shout of a host in its triumph replied.
Lo! Bethlehem's hill-site before me is seen,
With the mountains around, and the vallies between;
There rested the shepherds of Judah, and there
The song of the angels rose sweet on the air.
And Bethany's palm-trees in beauty still throw
Their shadows at noon on the ruins below;
But where are the sisters who hastened to greet
The lowly Redeemer, and sit at His feet?
I tread where the TWELVE in their wayfaring trod;
I stand where they stood with the CHOSEN of GOD!
Where his blessing was heard, and his lessons were taught,
Where the blind were restored, and the healing was wrought.
Oh, here with his flock the sad Wanderer came,
These hills he toiled over in grief are the same-
The founts where he drank by the wayside still flow,
And the same airs are blowing which breathed on his brow.
And throned on her hills sits Jerusalem yet,
But with dust on her forehead, and chains on her feet:
For the crown of her pride to the mocker hath gone,
And the holy Shechinah is dark where it shone!
But wherefore this dream of the earthly abode
Of Humanity clothed in the brightness of God?
Were my spirit but turned from the outward and dim,
It could gaze, even now, on the presence of Him!
Not in clouds and in terrors, but gentle as when
In love and in meekness he moved among men;
And the voice which breathed peace to the waves of the sea,
In the hush of my spirit would whisper to me!
And what if my feet may not tread where He stood,
Nor my ears hear the dashing of Gallilee's flood,
Nor my eyes see the cross which He bowed him to bear,
Nor my knees press Gethsemane's garden of prayer.
Yet, Loved of the Father, Thy spirit is near
To the meek, and the lowly, and penitent here;
And the voice of thy love is the same even now,
As at Bethany's tomb, or on Olivet's brow,mdash;
Oh, the outward hath gone!-but in glory and power,
The SPIRIT surviveth the things of an hour;
Unchanged, undecaying, its Pentecost flame
On the heart's secret altar is burning the same!
A sound as if from bells of silver,
Or elfin cymbals smitten clear,
Through the frost-pictured panes I hear.
A brightness which outshines the morning,
A splendor brooking no delay,
Beckons and tempts my feet away.
I leave the trodden village highway
For virgin snow-paths glimmering through
A jewelled elm-tree avenue;
Where, keen against the walls of sapphire,
The gleaming tree-bolls, ice-embossed,
Hold up their chandeliers of frost.
I tread in Orient halls enchanted,
I dream the Saga's dream of caves
Gem-lit beneath the North Sea waves!
I walk the land of Eldorado,
I touch its mimic garden bowers,
Its silver leaves and diamond flowers!
The flora of the mystic mine-world
Around me lifts on crystal stems
The petals of its clustered gems!
What miracle of weird transforming
In this wild work of frost and light,
This glimpse of glory infinite!
This foregleam of the Holy City
Like that to him of Patmos given,
The white bride coming down from heaven!
How flash the ranked and mail-clad alders,
Through what sharp-glancing spears of reeds
The brook its muffled water leads!
Yon maple, like the bush of Horeb,
Burns unconsumed: a white, cold fire
Rays out from every grassy spire.
Each slender rush and spike of mullein,
Low laurel shrub and drooping fern,
Transfigured, blaze where'er I turn.
How yonder Ethiopian hemlock
Crowned with his glistening circlet stands!
What jewels light his swarthy hands!
Here, where the forest opens southward,
Between its hospitable pines,
As through a door, the warm sun shines.
The jewels loosen on the branches,
And lightly, as the soft winds blow,
Fall, tinkling, on the ice below.
And through the clashing of their cymbals
I hear the old familiar fall
Of water down the rocky wall,
Where, from its wintry prison breaking,
In dark and silence hidden long,
The brook repeats its summer song.
One instant flashing in the sunshine,
Keen as a sabre from its sheath,
Then lost again the ice beneath.
I hear the rabbit lightly leaping,
The foolish screaming of the jay,
The chopper's axe-stroke far away;
The clamor of some neighboring barn-yard,
The lazy cock's belated crow,
Or cattle-tramp in crispy snow.
And, as in some enchanted forest
The lost knight hears his comrades sing,
And, near at hand, their bridles ring,--
So welcome I these sounds and voices,
These airs from far-off summer blown,
This life that leaves me not alone.
For the white glory overawes me;
The crystal terror of the seer
Of Chebar's vision blinds me here.
Rebuke me not, O sapphire heaven!
Thou stainless earth, lay not on me,
Thy keen reproach of purity,
If, in this August presence-chamber,
I sigh for summer's leaf-green gloom
And warm airs thick with odorous bloom!
Let the strange frost-work sink and crumble,
And let the loosened tree-boughs swing,
Till all their bells of silver ring.
Shine warmly down, thou sun of noontime,
On this chill pageant, melt and move
The winter's frozen heart with love.
And, soft and low, thou wind south-blowing,
Breathe through a veil of tenderest haze
Thy prophecy of summer days.
Come with thy green relief of promise,
And to this dead, cold splendor bring
The living jewels of the spring!
A Summer Pilgrimage
To kneel before some saintly shrine,
To breathe the health of airs divine,
Or bathe where sacred rivers flow,
The cowled and turbaned pilgrims go.
I too, a palmer, take, as they
With staff and scallop-shell, my way
To feel, from burdening cares and ills,
The strong uplifting of the hills.
The years are many since, at first,
For dreamed-of wonders all athirst,
I saw on Winnipesaukee fall
The shadow of the mountain wall.
Ah! where are they who sailed with me
The beautiful island-studded sea?
And am I he whose keen surprise
Flashed out from such unclouded eyes?
Still, when the sun of summer burns,
My longing for the hills returns;
And northward, leaving at my back
The warm vale of the Merrimac,
I go to meet the winds of morn,
Blown down the hill-gaps, mountain-born,
Breathe scent of pines, and satisfy
The hunger of a lowland eye.
Again I see the day decline
Along a ridged horizon line;
Touching the hill-tops, as a nun
Her beaded rosary, sinks the sun.
One lake lies golden, which shall soon
Be silver in the rising moon;
And one, the crimson of the skies
And mountain purple multiplies.
With the untroubled quiet blends
The distance-softened voice of friends;
The girl's light laugh no discord brings
To the low song the pine-tree sings;
And, not unwelcome, comes the hail
Of boyhood from his nearing sail.
The human presence breaks no spell,
And sunset still is miracle!
Calm as the hour, methinks I feel
A sense of worship o'er me steal;
Not that of satyr-charming Pan,
No cult of Nature shaming man,
Not Beauty's self, but that which lives
And shines through all the veils it weaves,--
Soul of the mountain, lake, and wood,
Their witness to the Eternal Good!
And if, by fond illusion, here
The earth to heaven seems drawing near,
And yon outlying range invites
To other and serener heights,
Scarce hid behind its topmost swell,
The shining Mounts Delectable
A dream may hint of truth no less
Than the sharp light of wakefulness.
As through her vale of incense smoke.
Of old the spell-rapt priestess spoke,
More than her heathen oracle,
May not this trance of sunset tell
That Nature's forms of loveliness
Their heavenly archetypes confess,
Fashioned like Israel's ark alone
From patterns in the Mount made known?
A holier beauty overbroods
These fair and faint similitudes;
Yet not unblest is he who sees
Shadows of God's realities,
And knows beyond this masquerade
Of shape and color, light and shade,
And dawn and set, and wax and wane,
Eternal verities remain.
O gems of sapphire, granite set!
O hills that charmed horizons fret
I know how fair your morns can break,
In rosy light on isle and lake;
How over wooded slopes can run
The noonday play of cloud and sun,
And evening droop her oriflamme
Of gold and red in still Asquam.
The summer moons may round again,
And careless feet these hills profane;
These sunsets waste on vacant eyes
The lavish splendor of the skies;
Fashion and folly, misplaced here,
Sigh for their natural atmosphere,
And travelled pride the outlook scorn
Of lesser heights than Matterhorn.
But let me dream that hill and sky
Of unseen beauty prophesy;
And in these tinted lakes behold
The trailing of the raiment fold
Of that which, still eluding gaze,
Allures to upward-tending ways,
Whose footprints make, wherever found,
Our common earth a holy ground.
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.
Traveller! on thy journey toiling
By the swift Powow,
With the summer sunshine falling
On thy heated brow,
Listen, while all else is still,
To the brooklet from the hill.
Wild and sweet the flowers are blowing
By that streamlet's side,
And a greener verdure showing
Where its waters glide,
Down the hill-slope murmuring on,
Over root and mossy stone.
Where yon oak his broad arms flingeth
O'er the sloping hill,
Beautiful and freshly springeth
That soft-flowing rill,
Through its dark roots wreathed and bare,
Gushing up to sun and air.
Brighter waters sparkled never
In that magic well,
Of whose gift of life forever
Ancient legends tell,
In the lonely desert wasted,
And by mortal lip untasted.
Waters which the proud Castilian
Sought with longing eyes,
Underneath the bright pavilion
Of the Indian skies,
Where his forest pathway lay
Through the blooms of Florida.
Years ago a lonely stranger,
With the dusky brow
Of the outcast forest-ranger,
Crossed the swift Powow,
And betook him to the rill
And the oak upon the hill.
O'er his face of moody sadness
For an instant shone
Something like a gleam of gladness,
As he stooped him down
To the fountain's grassy side,
And his eager thirst supplied.
With the oak its shadow throwing
O'er his mossy seat,
And the cool, sweet waters flowing
Softly at his feet,
Closely by the fountain's rim
That lone Indian seated him.
Autumn's earliest frost had given
To the woods below
Hues of beauty, such as heaven
Lendeth to its bow;
And the soft breeze from the west
Scarcely broke their dreamy rest.
Far behind was Ocean striving
With his chains of sand;
Southward, sunny glimpses giving,
'Twixt the swells of land,
Of its calm and silvery track,
Rolled the tranquil Merrimac.
Over village, wood, and meadow
Gazed that stranger man,
Sadly, till the twilight shadow
Over all things ran,
Save where spire and westward pane
Flashed the sunset back again.
Gazing thus upon the dwelling
Of his warrior sires,
Where no lingering trace was telling
Of their wigwam fires,
Who the gloomy thoughts might know
Of that wandering child of woe?
Naked lay, in sunshine glowing,
Hills that once had stood
Down their sides the shadows throwing
Of a mighty wood,
Where the deer his covert kept,
And the eagle's pinion swept!
Where the birch canoe had glided
Down the swift Powow,
Dark and gloomy bridges strided
Those clear waters now;
And where once the beaver swam,
Jarred the wheel and frowned the dam.
For the wood-bird's merry singing,
And the hunter's cheer,
Iron clang and hammer's ringing
Smote upon his ear;
And the thick and sullen smoke
From the blackened forges broke.
Could it be his fathers ever
Loved to linger here?
These bare hills, this conquered river,-
Could they hold them dear,
With their native loveliness
Tamed and tortured into this?
Sadly, as the shades of even
Gathered o'er the hill,
While the western half of heaven
Blushed with sunset still,
From the fountain's mossy seat
Turned the Indian's weary feet.
Year on year hath flown forever,
But he came no more
To the hillside on the river
Where he came before.
But the villager can tell
Of that strange man's visit well.
And the merry children, laden
With their fruits or flowers,
Roving boy and laughing maiden,
In their school-day hours,
Love the simple tale to tell
Of the Indian and his well.
The Mantle Of St. John De Matha. A Legend Of
A STRONG and mighty Angel,
Calm, terrible, and bright,
The cross in blended red and blue
Upon his mantle white!
Two captives by him kneeling,
Each on his broken chain,
Sang praise to God who raiseth
The dead to life again!
Dropping his cross-wrought mantle,
'Wear this,' the Angel said;
'Take thou, O Freedom's priest, its sign, —
The white, the blue, and red.'
Then rose up John de Matha
In the strength the Lord Christ gave,
And begged through all the land of France
The ransom of the slave.
The gates of tower and castle
Before him open flew,
The drawbridge at his coming fell,
The door-bolt backward drew.
For all men owned his errand,
And paid his righteous tax;
And the hearts of lord and peasant
Were in his hands as wax.
At last, outbound from Tunis,
His bark her anchor weighed,
Freighted with seven-score Christian souls
Whose ransom he had paid.
But, torn by Paynim hatred,
Her sails in tatters hung;
And on the wild waves, rudderless,
A shattered hulk she swung.
'God save us!' cried the captain,
'For naught can man avail;
Oh, woe betide the ship that lacks
Her rudder and her sail!
'Behind us are the Moormen;
At sea we sink or strand:
There's death upon the water,
There's death upon the land!'
Then up spake John de Matha:
'God's errands never fail!
Take thou the mantle which I wear,
And make of it a sail.'
They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
The blue, the white, the red;
And straight before the wind off-shore
The ship of Freedom sped.
'God help us!' cried the seamen,
'For vain is mortal skill:
The good ship on a stormy sea
Is drifting at its will.'
Then up spake John de Matha:
'My mariners, never fear!
The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
May well our vessel steer!'
So on through storm and darkness
They drove for weary hours;
And lo! the third gray morning shone
On Ostia's friendly towers.
And on the walls the watchers
The ship of mercy knew, —
They knew far off its holy cross,
The red, the white, and blue.
And the bells in all the steeples
Rang out in glad accord,
To welcome home to Christian soil
The ransomed of the Lord.
So runs the ancient legend
By bard and painter told;
And lo! the cycle rounds again,
The new is as the old!
With rudder foully broken,
And sails by traitors torn,
Our country on a midnight sea
Is waiting for the morn.
Before her, nameless terror;
Behind, the pirate foe;
The clouds are black above her,
The sea is white below.
The hope of all who suffer,
The dread of all who wrong,
She drifts in darkness and in storm,
How long, O Lord! how long?
But courage, O my mariners!
Ye shall not suffer wreck,
While up to God the freedman's prayers
Are rising from your deck.
Is not your sail the banner
Which God hath blest anew,
The mantle that De Matha wore,
The red, the white, the blue?
Its hues are all of heaven, —
The red of sunset's dye,
The whiteness of the moon-lit cloud,
The blue of morning's sky.
Wait cheerily, then, O mariners,
For daylight and for land;
The breath of God is in your sail,
Your rudder is His hand.
Sail on, sail on, deep-freighted
With blessings and with hopes;
The saints of old with shadowy hands
Are pulling at your ropes.
Behind ye holy martyrs
Uplift the palm and crown;
Before ye unborn ages send
Their benedictions down.
Take heart from John de Matha! —
God's errands never fail!
Sweep on through storm and darkness,
The thunder and the hail!
Sail on! The morning cometh,
The port ye yet shall win;
And all the bells of God shall ring
The good ship bravely in!
The Dole Of Jarl Thorkell
THE land was pale with famine
And racked with fever-pain;
The frozen fiords were fishless,
The earth withheld her grain.
Men saw the boding Fylgja
Before them come and go,
And, through their dreams, the Urdarmoon
From west to east sailed slow.
Jarl Thorkell of Thevera
At Yule-time made his vow;
On Rykdal's holy Doom-stone
He slew to Frey his cow.
To bounteous Frey he slew her;
To Skuld, the younger Norn,
Who watches over birth and death,
He gave her calf unborn.
And his little gold-haired daughter
Took up the sprinkling-rod,
And smeared with blood the temple
And the wide lips of the god.
Hoarse below, the winter water
Ground its ice-blocks o'er and o'er;
Jets of foam, like ghosts of dead waves,
Rose and fell along the shore.
The red torch of the Jokul,
Aloft in icy space,
Shone down on the bloody Horg-stones
And the statue's carven face.
And closer round and grimmer
Beneath its baleful light
The Jotun shapes of mountains
Came crowding through the night.
The gray-haired Hersir trembled
As a flame by wind is blown;
A weird power moved his white lips,
And their voice was not his own.
'The AEsir thirst!' he muttered;
'The gods must have more blood
Before the tun shall blossom
Or fish shall fill the flood.
'The AEsir thirst and hunger,
And hence our blight and ban;
The mouths of the strong gods water
For the flesh and blood of man!
'Whom shall we give the strong ones?
Not warriors, sword on thigh;
But let the nursling infant
And bedrid old man die.'
'So be it!' cried the young men,
'There needs nor doubt nor parle.'
But, knitting hard his red brows,
In silence stood the Jarl.
A sound of woman's weeping
At the temple door was heard,
But the old men bowed their white heads,
And answered not a word.
Then the Dream-wife of Thingvalla,
A Vala young and fair,
Sang softly, stirring with her breath
The veil of her loose hair.
She sang: 'The winds from Alfheim
Bring never sound of strife;
The gifts for Frey the meetest
Are not of death, but life.
'He loves the grass-green meadows,
The grazing kine's sweet breath;
He loathes your bloody Horg-stones,
Your gifts that smell of death.
'No wrong by wrong is righted,
No pain is cured by pain;
The blood that smokes from Doom-rings
Falls back in redder rain.
'The gods are what you make them,
As earth shall Asgard prove;
And hate will come of hating,
And love will come of love.
'Make dole of skyr and black bread
That old and young may live;
And look to Frey for favor
When first like Frey you give.
'Even now o'er Njord's sea-meadows
The summer dawn begins
The tun shall have its harvest,
The fiord its glancing fins.'
Then up and swore Jarl Thorkell
'By Gimli and by Hel,
O Vala of Thingvalla,
Thou singest wise and well!
'Too dear the AEsir's favors
Bought with our children's lives;
Better die than shame in living
Our mothers and our wives.
'The full shall give his portion
To him who hath most need;
Of curdled skyr and black bread,
Be daily dole decreed.'
He broke from off his neck-chain
Three links of beaten gold;
And each man, at his bidding,
Brought gifts for young and old.
Then mothers nursed their children,
And daughters fed their sires,
And Health sat down with Plenty
Before the next Yule fires.
The Horg-stones stand in Rykdal;
The Doom-ring still remains;
But the snows of a thousand winters
Have washed away the stains.
Christ ruleth now; the Asir
Have found their twilight dim;
And, wiser than she dreamed, of old
The Vala sang of Him
The Changeling ( From The Tent On The Beach )
FOR the fairest maid in Hampton
They needed not to search,
Who saw young Anna favor
Come walking into church,--
Or bringing from the meadows,
At set of harvest-day,
The frolic of the blackbirds,
The sweetness of the hay.
Now the weariest of all mothers,
The saddest two years' bride,
She scowls in the face of her husband,
And spurns her child aside.
"Rake out the red coals, goodman,--
For there the child shall lie,
Till the black witch comes to fetch her
And both up chimney fly.
"It's never my own little daughter,
It's never my own," she said;
"The witches have stolen my Anna,
And left me an imp instead.
"Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
But this is ugly and wrinkled,
Cross, and cunning, and old.
"I hate the touch of her fingers,
I hate the feel of her skin;
It's not the milk from my bosom,
But my blood, that she sucks in.
"My face grows sharp with the torment;
Look! my arms are skin and bone!
Rake open the red coals, goodman,
And the witch shall have her own.
"She'll come when she hears it crying,
In the shape of an owl or bat,
And she'll bring us our darling Anna
In place of her screeching brat."
Then the goodman, Ezra Dalton,
Laid his hand upon her head:
Thy sorrow is great, O woman!
I sorrow with thee," he said.
"The paths to trouble are many
And never but one sure way
Leads out to the light beyond it:
My poor wife, let us pray."
Then he said to the great All-Father,
"Thy daughter is weak and blind;
Let her sight come back, and clothe her
Once more in her right mind.
"Lead her out of this evil shadow,
Out of these fancies wild;
Let the holy love of the mother
Turn again to her child.
"Make her lips like the lips of Mary
Kissing her blessed Son;
Let her hands, like the hands of Jesus,
Rest on her little one.
"Comfort the soul of thy handmaid,
Open her prison-door,
And thine shall be all the glory
And praise forevermore."
Then into the face of its mother
The baby looked up and smiled;
And the cloud of her soul was lifted,
And she knew her little child.
A beam of the slant west sunshine
Made the wan face almost fair,
Lit the blue eyes' patient wonder
And the rings of pale gold hair.
She kissed it on lip and forehead,
She kissed it on cheek and chink
And she bared her snow-white bosom
To the lips so pale and thin.
Oh, fair on her bridal morning
Was the maid who blushed and smiled,
But fairer to Ezra Dalton
Looked the mother of his child.
With more than a lover's fondness
He stooped to her worn young face,
And the nursing child and the mother
He folded in one embrace.
"Blessed be God!" he murmured.
"Blessed be God!" she said;
"For I see, who once was blinded,--
I live, who once was dead.
"Now mount and ride, my goodman,
As thou lovest thy own soul!
Woe's me, if my wicked fancies
Be the death of Goody Cole!"
His horse he saddled and bridled,
And into the night rode he,
Now through the great black woodland,
Now by the white-beached sea.
He rode through the silent clearings,
He came to the ferry wide,
And thrice he called to the boatman
Asleep on the other side.
He set his horse to the river,
He swam to Newbury town,
And he called up Justice Sewall
In his nightcap and his gown.
And the grave and worshipful justice
(Upon whose soul be peace!)
Set his name to the jailer's warrant
For Goodwife Cole's release.
Then through the night the hoof-beats
Went sounding like a flail;
And Goody Cole at cockcrow
Came forth from Ipswich jail.
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.
The Double-Headed Snake Of Newbury
Far away in the twilight time
Of every people, in every clime,
Dragons and griffins and monsters dire,
Born of water, and air, and fire,
Or nursed, like the Python, in the mud
And ooze of the old Deucalion flood,
Crawl and wriggle and foam with rage,
Through dusk tradition and ballad age.
So from the childhood of Newbury town
And its time of fable the tale comes down
Of a terror which haunted bush and brake,
The Amphisbaena, the Double Snake!
Thou who makest the tale thy mirth,
Consider that strip of Christian earth
On the desolate shore of a sailless sea,
Full of terror and mystery,
Half redeemed from the evil hold
Of the wood so dreary, and dark, and old,
Which drank with its lips of leaves the dew
When Time was young, and the world was new,
And wove its shadows with sun and moon,
Ere the stones of Cheops were squared and hewn.
Think of the sea's dread monotone,
Of the mournful wail from the pine-wood blown,
Of the strange, vast splendors that lit the North,
Of the troubled throes of the quaking earth,
And the dismal tales the Indian told,
Till the settler's heart at his hearth grew cold,
And he shrank from the tawny wizard boasts,
And the hovering shadows seemed full of ghosts,
And above, below, and on every side,
The fear of his creed seemed verified;-
And think, if his lot were now thine own,
To grope with terrors nor named nor known,
How laxer muscle and weaker nerve
And a feebler faith thy need might serve;
And own to thyself the wonder more
That the snake had two heads, and not a score!
Whether he lurked in the Oldtown fen
Or the gray earth-flax of the Devil's Den,
Or swam in the wooded Artichoke,
Or coiled by the Northman's Written Rock,
Nothing on record is left to show;
Only the fact that be lived, we know,
And left the cast of a double head
In the scaly mask which he yearly shed.
For he carried a head where his tail should be,
And the two, of course, could never agree,
But wriggled about with main and might,
Now to the left and now to the right;
Pulling and twisting this way and that,
Neither knew what the other was at.
A snake with two beads, lurking so near!
Judge of the wonder, guess at the fear!
Think what ancient gossips might say,
Shaking their heads in their dreary way,
Between the meetings on Sabbath-day!
How urchins, searching at day's decline
The Common Pasture for sheep or kine,
The terrible double-ganger heard
In leafy rustle or whir of bird!
Think what a zest it gave to the sport,
In berry-time, of the younger sort,
As over pastures blackberry-twined,
Reuben and Dorothy lagged behind,
And closer and closer, for fear of harm,
The maiden clung to her lover's arm;
And how the spark, who was forced to stay,
By his sweetheart's fears, till the break of day,
Thanked the snake for the fond delay.
Far and wide the tale was told,
Like a snowball growing while it rolled.
The nurse hushed with it the baby's cry;
And it served, in the worthy minister's eye,
To paint the primitive serpent by.
Cotton Mather came galloping down
All the way to Newbury town,
With his eyes agog and his ears set wide,
And his marvellous inkhorn at his side;
Stirring the while in the shallow pool
Of his brains for the lore he learned at school,
To garnish the story, with here a streak
Of Latin, and there another of Greek
And the tales he heard and the notes he took,
Behold! are they not in his Wonder-Book?
Stories, like dragons, are hard to kill.
If the snake does not, the tale runs still
In Byfield Meadows, on Pipestave Hill.
And still, whenever husband and wife
Publish the shame of their daily strife,
And, with mad cross-purpose, tug and strain
At either end of the marriage-chain,
The gossips say, with a knowing shake
Of their gray heads, 'Look at the Double Snake
One in body and two in will,
The Amphisbaena is living still!'
An Outdoor Reception
On these green banks, where falls too soon
The shade of Autumn's afternoon,
The south wind blowing soft and sweet,
The water gliding at nay feet,
The distant northern range uplit
By the slant sunshine over it,
With changes of the mountain mist
From tender blush to amethyst,
The valley's stretch of shade and gleam
Fair as in Mirza's Bagdad dream,
With glad young faces smiling near
And merry voices in my ear,
I sit, methinks, as Hafiz might
In Iran's Garden of Delight.
For Persian roses blushing red,
Aster and gentian bloom instead;
For Shiraz wine, this mountain air;
For feast, the blueberries which I share
With one who proffers with stained hands
Her gleanings from yon pasture lands,
Wild fruit that art and culture spoil,
The harvest of an untilled soil;
And with her one whose tender eyes
Reflect the change of April skies,
Midway 'twixt child and maiden yet,
Fresh as Spring's earliest violet;
And one whose look and voice and ways
Make where she goes idyllic days;
And one whose sweet, still countenance
Seems dreamful of a child's romance;
And others, welcome as are these,
Like and unlike, varieties
Of pearls on nature's chaplet strung,
And all are fair, for all are young.
Gathered from seaside cities old,
From midland prairie, lake, and wold,
From the great wheat-fields, which might feed
The hunger of a world at need,
In healthful change of rest and play
Their school-vacations glide away.
No critics these: they only see
An old and kindly friend in me,
In whose amused, indulgent look
Their innocent mirth has no rebuke.
They scarce can know my rugged rhymes,
The harsher songs of evil times,
Nor graver themes in minor keys
Of life's and death's solemnities;
But haply, as they bear in mind
Some verse of lighter, happier kind,--
Hints of the boyhood of the man,
Youth viewed from life's meridian,
Half seriously and half in play
My pleasant interviewers pay
Their visit, with no fell intent
Of taking notes and punishment.
As yonder solitary pine
Is ringed below with flower and vine,
More favored than that lonely tree,
The bloom of girlhood circles me.
In such an atmosphere of youth
I half forget my age's truth;
The shadow of my life's long date
Runs backward on the dial-plate,
Until it seems a step might span
The gulf between the boy and man.
My young friends smile, as if some jay
On bleak December's leafless spray
Essayed to sing the songs of May.
Well, let them smile, and live to know,
When their brown locks are flecked with snow,
'T is tedious to be always sage
And pose the dignity of age,
While so much of our early lives
On memory's playground still survives,
And owns, as at the present hour,
The spell of youth's magnetic power.
But though I feel, with Solomon,
'T is pleasant to behold the sun,
I would not if I could repeat
A life which still is good and sweet;
I keep in age, as in my prime,
A not uncheerful step with time,
And, grateful for all blessings sent,
I go the common way, content
To make no new experiment.
On easy terms with law and fate,
For what must be I calmly wait,
And trust the path I cannot see,--
That God is good sufficeth me.
And when at last on life's strange play
The curtain falls, I only pray
That hope may lose itself in truth,
And age in Heaven's immortal youth,
And all our loves and longing prove
The foretaste of diviner love.
The day is done. Its afterglow
Along the west is burning low.
My visitors, like birds, have flown;
I hear their voices, fainter grown,
And dimly through the dusk I see
Their 'kerchiefs wave good-night to me,--
Light hearts of girlhood, knowing nought
Of all the cheer their coming brought;
And, in their going, unaware
Of silent-following feet of prayer
Heaven make their budding promise good
With flowers of gracious womanhood!
THE winding way the serpent takes
The mystic water took,
From where, to count its beaded lakes,
The forest sped its brook.
A narrow space 'twixt shore and shore,
For sun or stars to fall,
While evermore, behind, before,
Closed in the forest wall.
The dim wood hiding underneath
Wan flowers without a name;
Life tangled with decay and death,
League after league the same.
Unbroken over swamp and hill
The rounding shadow lay,
Save where the river cut at will
A pathway to the day.
Beside that track of air and light,
Weak as a child unweaned,
At shut of day a Christian knight
Upon his henchman leaned.
The embers of the sunset's fires
Along the clouds burned down;
'I see,' he said, 'the domes and spires
Of Norembega town.'
'Alack! the domes, O master mine,
Are golden clouds on high;
Yon spire is but the branchless pine
That cuts the evening sky.'
'Oh, hush and hark! What sounds are these
But chants and holy hymns?'
'Thou hear'st the breeze that stirs the trees
Though all their leafy limbs.'
'Is it a chapel bell that fills
The air with its low tone?'
'Thou hear'st the tinkle of the rills,
The insect's vesper drone.'
'The Christ be praised!--He sets for me
A blessed cross in sight!'
'Now, nay, 't is but yon blasted tree
With two gaunt arms outright!'
'Be it wind so sad or tree so stark,
It mattereth not, my knave;
Methinks to funeral hymns I hark,
The cross is for my grave!
'My life is sped; I shall not see
My home-set sails again;
The sweetest eyes of Normandie
Shall watch for me in vain.
'Yet onward still to ear and eye
The baffling marvel calls;
I fain would look before I die
On Norembega's walls.
'So, haply, it shall be thy part
At Christian feet to lay
The mystery of the desert's heart
My dead hand plucked away.
'Leave me an hour of rest; go thou
And look from yonder heights;
Perchance the valley even now
Is starred with city lights.'
The henchman climbed the nearest hill,
He saw nor tower nor town,
But, through the drear woods, lone and still,
The river rolling down.
He heard the stealthy feet of things
Whose shapes he could not see,
A flutter as of evil wings,
The fall of a dead tree.
The pines stood black against the moon,
A sword of fire beyond;
He heard the wolf howl, and the loon
Laugh from his reedy pond.
He turned him back: 'O master dear,
We are but men misled;
And thou hast sought a city here
To find a grave instead.'
'As God shall will! what matters where
A true man's cross may stand,
So Heaven be o'er it here as there
In pleasant Norman land?
'These woods, perchance, no secret hide
Of lordly tower and hall;
Yon river in its wanderings wide
Has washed no city wall;
'Yet mirrored in the sullen stream
The holy stars are given
Is Norembega, then, a dream
Whose waking is in Heaven?
'No builded wonder of these lands
My weary eyes shall see;
A city never made with hands
Alone awaiteth me--
''_Urbs Syon mystica_;' I see
Its mansions passing fair,
'/Condita caelo/;' let me be,
Dear Lord, a dweller there!'
Above the dying exile hung
The vision of the bard,
As faltered on his failing tongue
The song of good Bernard.
The henchman dug at dawn a grave
Beneath the hemlocks brown,
And to the desert's keeping gave
The lord of fief and town.
Years after, when the Sieur Champlain
Sailed up the unknown stream,
And Norembega proved again
A shadow and a dream,
He found the Norman's nameless grave
Within the hemlock's shade,
And, stretching wide its arms to save,
The sign that God had made,
The cross-boughed tree that marked the spot
And made it holy ground
He needs the earthly city not
Who hath the heavenly found.
June On The Merrimac
O dwellers in the stately towns,
What come ye out to see?
This common earth, this common sky,
This water flowing free?
As gayly as these kalmia flowers
Your door-yard blossoms spring;
As sweetly as these wild-wood birds
Your caged minstrels sing.
You find but common bloom and green,
The rippling river's rune,
The beauty which is everywhere
Beneath the skies of June;
The Hawkswood oaks, the storm-torn plumes
Of old pine-forest kings,
Beneath whose century-woven shade
Deer Island's mistress sings.
And here are pictured Artichoke,
And Curson's bowery mill;
And Pleasant Valley smiles between
The river and the hill.
You know full well these banks of bloom,
The upland's wavy line,
And how the sunshine tips with fire
The needles of the pine.
Yet, like some old remembered psalm,
Or sweet, familiar face,
Not less because of commonness
You love the day and place.
And not in vain in this soft air
Shall hard-strung nerves relax,
Not all in vain the o'erworn brain
Forego its daily tax.
The lust of power, the greed of gain
Have all the year their own;
The haunting demons well may let
Our one bright day alone.
Unheeded let the newsboy call,
Aside the ledger lay
The world will keep its treadmill step
Though we fall out to-day.
The truants of life's weary school,
Without excuse from thrift
We change for once the gains of toil
For God's unpurchased gift.
From ceiled rooms, from silent books,
From crowded car and town,
Dear Mother Earth, upon thy lap,
We lay our tired heads down.
Cool, summer wind, our heated brows;
Blue river, through the green
Of clustering pines, refresh the eyes
Which all too much have seen.
For us these pleasant woodland ways
Are thronged with memories old,
Have felt the grasp of friendly hands
And heard love's story told.
A sacred presence overbroods
The earth whereon we meet;
These winding forest-paths are trod
By more than mortal feet.
Old friends called from us by the voice
Which they alone could hear,
From mystery to mystery,
From life to life, draw near.
More closely for the sake of them
Each other's hands we press;
Our voices take from them a tone
Of deeper tenderness.
Our joy is theirs, their trust is ours,
Alike below, above,
Or here or there, about us fold
The arms of one great love!
We ask to-day no countersign,
No party names we own;
We bring ourselves alone.
What cares the unconventioned wood
For pass-words of the town?
The sound of fashion's shibboleth
The laughing waters drown.
Here cant forgets his dreary tone,
And care his face forlorn;
The liberal air and sunshine laugh
The bigot's zeal to scorn.
From manhood's weary shoulder falls
His load of selfish cares;
And woman takes her rights as flowers
And brooks and birds take theirs.
The license of the happy woods,
The brook's release are ours;
The freedom of the unshamed wind
Among the glad-eyed flowers.
Yet here no evil thought finds place,
Nor foot profane comes in;
Our grove, like that of Samothrace,
Is set apart from sin.
We walk on holy ground; above
A sky more holy smiles;
The chant of the beatitudes
Swells down these leafy aisles.
Thanks to the gracious Providence
That brings us here once more;
For memories of the good behind
And hopes of good before.
And if, unknown to us, sweet days
Of June like this must come,
Unseen of us these laurels clothe
The river-banks with bloom;
And these green paths must soon be trod
By other feet than ours,
Full long may annual pilgrims come
To keep the Feast of Flowers;
The matron be a girl once more,
The bearded man a boy,
And we, in heaven's eternal June,
Be glad for earthly joy!
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.
A Sea Dream
We saw the slow tides go and come,
The curving surf-lines lightly drawn,
The gray rocks touched with tender bloom
Beneath the fresh-blown rose of dawn.
We saw in richer sunsets lost
The sombre pomp of showery noons;
And signalled spectral sails that crossed
The weird, low light of rising moons.
On stormy eves from cliff and head
We saw the white spray tossed and spurned;
While over all, in gold and red,
Its face of fire the lighthouse turned.
The rail-car brought its daily crowds,
Half curious, half indifferent,
Like passing sails or floating clouds,
We saw them as they came and went.
But, one calm morning, as we lay
And watched the mirage-lifted wall
Of coast, across the dreamy bay,
And heard afar the curlew call,
And nearer voices, wild or tame,
Of airy flock and childish throng,
Up from the water's edge there came
Faint snatches of familiar song.
Careless we heard the singer's choice
Of old and common airs; at last
The tender pathos of his voice
In one low chanson held us fast.
A song that mingled joy and pain,
And memories old and sadly sweet;
While, timing to its minor strain,
The waves in lapsing cadence beat.
. . . . .
The waves are glad in breeze and sun;
The rocks are fringed with foam;
I walk once more a haunted shore,
A stranger, yet at home,
A land of dreams I roam.
Is this the wind, the soft sea wind
That stirred thy locks of brown?
Are these the rocks whose mosses knew
The trail of thy light gown,
Where boy and girl sat down?
I see the gray fort's broken wall,
The boats that rock below;
And, out at sea, the passing sails
We saw so long ago
Rose-red in morning's glow.
The freshness of the early time
On every breeze is blown;
As glad the sea, as blue the sky,--
The change is ours alone;
The saddest is my own.
A stranger now, a world-worn man,
Is he who bears my name;
But thou, methinks, whose mortal life
Immortal youth became,
Art evermore the same.
Thou art not here, thou art not there,
Thy place I cannot see;
I only know that where thou art
The blessed angels be,
And heaven is glad for thee.
Forgive me if the evil years
Have left on me their sign;
Wash out, O soul so beautiful,
The many stains of mine
In tears of love divine!
I could not look on thee and live,
If thou wert by my side;
The vision of a shining one,
The white and heavenly bride,
Is well to me denied.
But turn to me thy dear girl-face
Without the angel's crown,
The wedded roses of thy lips,
Thy loose hair rippling down
In waves of golden brown.
Look forth once more through space and time,
And let thy sweet shade fall
In tenderest grace of soul and form
On memory's frescoed wall,
A shadow, and yet all!
Draw near, more near, forever dear!
Where'er I rest or roam,
Or in the city's crowded streets,
Or by the blown sea foam,
The thought of thee is home!
. . . . .
At breakfast hour the singer read
The city news, with comment wise,
Like one who felt the pulse of trade
Beneath his finger fall and rise.
His look, his air, his curt speech, told
The man of action, not of books,
To whom the corners made in gold
And stocks were more than seaside nooks.
Of life beneath the life confessed
His song had hinted unawares;
Of flowers in traffic's ledgers pressed,
Of human hearts in bulls and bears.
But eyes in vain were turned to watch
That face so hard and shrewd and strong;
And ears in vain grew sharp to catch
The meaning of that morning song.
In vain some sweet-voiced querist sought
To sound him, leaving as she came;
Her baited album only caught
A common, unromantic name.
No word betrayed the mystery fine,
That trembled on the singer's tongue;
He came and went, and left no sign
Behind him save the song he sung.
St. John. 1647
'To the winds give our banner!
Bear homeward again!'
Cried the Lord of Acadia,
Cried Charles of Estienne;
From the prow of his shallop
He gazed, as the sun,
From its bed in the ocean,
Streamed up the St. John.
O'er the blue western waters
That shallop had passed,
Where the mists of Penobscot
Clung damp on her mast.
St. Saviour had looked
On the heretic sail,
As the songs of the Huguenot
Rose on the gale.
The pale, ghostly fathers
Remembered her well,
And had cursed her while passing,
With taper and bell;
But the men of Monhegan,
Of Papists abhorred,
Had welcomed and feasted
The heretic Lord.
They had loaded his shallop
With dun-fish and ball,
With stores for his larder,
And steel for his wall.
Pemaquid, from her bastions
And turrets of stone,
Had welcomed his coming
With banner and gun.
And the prayers of the elders
Had followed his way,
As homeward he glided,
Down Pentecost Bay.
Oh, well sped La Tour
For, in peril and pain,
His lady kept watch,
For his coming again.
O'er the Isle of the Pheasant
The morning sun shone,
On the plane-trees which shaded
The shores of St. John.
'Now, why from yon battlements
Speaks not my love!
Why waves there no banner
My fortress above?'
Dark and wild, from his deck
St. Estienne gazed about,
On fire-wasted dwellings,
And silent redoubt;
From the low, shattered walls
Which the flame had o'errun,
There floated no banner,
There thundered no gun!
But beneath the low arch
Of its doorway there stood
A pale priest of Rome,
In his cloak and his hood.
With the bound of a lion,
La Tour sprang to land,
On the throat of the Papist
He fastened his hand.
'Speak, son of the Woman
Of scarlet and sin!
What wolf has been prowling
My castle within?'
From the grasp of the soldier
The Jesuit broke,
Half in scorn, half in sorrow,
He smiled as he spoke:
'No wolf, Lord of Estienne,
Has ravaged thy hall,
But thy red-handed rival,
With fire, steel, and ball!
On an errand of mercy
I hitherward came,
While the walls of thy castle
Yet spouted with flame.
'Pentagoet's dark vessels
Were moored in the bay,
Grim sea-lions, roaring
Aloud for their prey.'
'But what of my lady?'
Cried Charles of Estienne.
'On the shot-crumbled turret
Thy lady was seen:
'Half-veiled in the smoke-cloud,
Her hand grasped thy pennon,
While her dark tresses swayed
In the hot breath of cannon!
But woe to the heretic,
When the son of the church
And the cross is his foe!
'In the track of the shell,
In the path of the ball,
Pentagoet swept over
The breach of the wall!
Steel to steel, gun to gun,
One moment,-and then
Alone stood the victor,
Alone with his men!
'Of its sturdy defenders,
Thy lady alone
Saw the cross-blazoned banner
Float over St. John.'
'Let the dastard look to it!'
Cried fiery Estienne,
'Were D'Aulnay King Louis,
I'd free her again!'
'Alas for thy lady!
No service from thee
Is needed by her
Whom the Lord hath set free;
Nine days, in stern silence,
Her thraldom she bore,
But the tenth morning came,
And Death opened her door!'
As if suddenly smitten
La Tour staggered back;
His hand grasped his sword-hilt,
His forehead grew black.
He sprang on the deck
Of his shallop again.
'We cruise now for vengeance!
Give way!' cried Estienne.
'Massachusetts shall hear
Of the Huguenot's wrong,
And from island and creekside
Her fishers shall throng!
Pentagoet shall rue
What his Papists have done,
When his palisades echo
The Puritan's gun!'
Oh, the loveliest of heavens
Hung tenderly o'er him,
There were waves in the sunshine,
And green isles before him:
But a pale hand was beckoning
The Huguenot on;
And in blackness and ashes
Behind was St. John!