O, wind! what saw you in the South,
In lilied meadows fair and far?
I saw a lover kiss his lass
New-won beneath the evening star.
O, wind! what saw you in the West
Of passing sweet that wooed your stay?
I saw a mother kneeling by
The cradle where her first-born lay.
O, wind! what saw you in the North
That you shall dream of evermore?
I saw a maiden keeping tryst
Upon a gray and haunted shore.
O, wind! what saw you in the East
That still of ancient dole you croon?
I saw a wan wreck on the waves
And a dead face beneath the moon.
I walked to-day, but not alone,
Adown a windy, sea-girt lea,
For memory, spendthrift of her charm,
Peopled the silent lands for me.
The faces of old comradeship
In golden youth were round my way,
And in the keening wind I heard
The songs of many an orient day.
And to me called, from out the pines
And woven grasses, voices dear,
As if from elfin lips should fall
The mimicked tones of yesteryear.
Old laughter echoed o'er the leas
And love-lipped dreams the past had kept,
From wayside blooms like honeyed bees
To company my wanderings crept.
And so I walked, but not alone,
Right glad companionship had I,
On that gray meadow waste between
Dim-litten sea and winnowed sky.
When I am dead
I would that ye make my bed
On that low-lying, windy waste by the sea,
Where the silvery grasses rustle and lisp;
There, where the crisp
Foam-flakes shall fly over me,
And murmurs creep
From the ancient heart of the deep,
Lulling me ever, I shall most sweetly sleep.
While the eerie sea-folk croon
On the long dim shore by the light of a waning moon.
I shall not hear
Clamor of young life anear,
Voices of gladness to stir an unrest;
Only the wandering mists of the sea
Shall companion me;
Only the wind in its quest
Shall come where I lie,
Or the rain from the brooding sky
With furtive footstep shall pass me by,
And never a dream of the earth
Shall break on my slumber with lure of an out-lived mirth.
Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.
In the dreamy vale of beeches
Fair and faint is woven mist,
And the river's orient reaches
Are the palest amethyst.
Every limpid brook is singing
Of the lure of April days;
Every piney glen is ringing
With the maddest roundelays.
Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.
Ours shall be the moonrise stealing
Through the birches ivory-white;
Ours shall be the mystic healing
Of the velvet-footed night.
Ours shall be the gypsy winding
Of the path with violets blue,
Ours at last the wizard finding
Of the land where dreams come true.
Song Of The Sea-Wind
When the sun sets over the long blue wave
I spring from my couch of rest,
And I hurtle and boom over leagues of foam
That toss in the weltering west,
I pipe a hymn to the headlands high,
My comrades forevermore,
And I chase the tricksy curls of foam
O'er the glimmering sandy shore.
The moon is my friend on clear, white nights
When I ripple her silver way,
And whistle blithely about the rocks
Like an elfin thing at play;
But anon I ravin with cloud and mist
And wail 'neath a curdled sky,
When the reef snarls yon like a questing beast,
And the frightened ships go by.
I scatter the dawn across the sea
Like wine of amber flung
From a crystal goblet all far and fine
Where the morning star is hung;
I blow from east and I blow from west
Wherever my longing be-
The wind of the land is a hindered thing
But the ocean wind is free!
Rain Along Shore
Wan white mists upon the sea,
East wind harping mournfully
All the sunken reefs along,
Wail and heart-break in its song,
But adown the placid bay
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
All the deeps beyond the bar
Call and murmur from afar,
'Plaining of a mighty woe
Where the great ships come and go,
But adown the harbor gray
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
When the cloudy heavens frown,
And the sweeping rain comes down,
Boats at anchorage must bide
In despite of time or tide;
Making merry as they may
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
Now is time for jest and song
All the idle shore along,
Now is time for wooing dear,
Maidens cannot choose but hear;
Daffing toil and care away
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
Oh, the fretted reefs may wail,
Every man has furled his sail!
Oh, the wind may moan in fear,
Every lad is with his dear!
Mirth and laughter have their way,
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
The Sea To The Shore
Lo, I have loved thee long, long have I yearned and entreated!
Tell me how I may win thee, tell me how I must woo.
Shall I creep to thy white feet, in guise of a humble lover ?
Shall I croon in mild petition, murmuring vows anew ?
Shall I stretch my arms unto thee, biding thy maiden coyness,
Under the silver of morning, under the purple of night ?
Taming my ancient rudeness, checking my heady clamor
Thus, is it thus I must woo thee, oh, my delight?
Nay, 'tis no way of the sea thus to be meekly suitor
I shall storm thee away with laughter wrapped in my beard of snow,
With the wildest of billows for chords I shall harp thee a song for thy bridal,
A mighty lyric of love that feared not nor would forego!
With a red-gold wedding ring, mined from the caves of sunset,
Fast shall I bind thy faith to my faith evermore,
And the stars will wait on our pleasure, the great north wind will trumpet
A thunderous marriage march for the nuptials of sea and shore.
There's a grayness over the harbor like fear on the face of a woman,
The sob of the waves has a sound akin to a woman's cry,
And the deeps beyond the bar are moaning with evil presage
Of a storm that will leap from its lair in that dour north-eastern sky.
Slowly the pale mists rise, like ghosts of the sea, in the offing,
Creeping all wan and chilly by headland and sunken reef,
And a wind is wailing and keening like a lost thing 'mid the islands,
Boding of wreck and tempest, plaining of dolor and grief.
Swiftly the boats come homeward, over the grim bar crowding,
Like birds that flee to their shelter in hurry and affright,
Only the wild grey gulls that love the cloud and the clamor
Will dare to tempt the ways of the ravining sea to-night.
But the ship that sailed at the dawning, manned by the lads who love us
God help and pity her when the storm is loosed on her track!
O women, we pray to-night and keep a vigil of sorrow
For those we speed at the dawning and may never welcome back!
Which Has More Patience -- Man Or Woman?
As my letter must be brief,
I'll at once state my belief,
And this it is -- that, since the world began,
And Adam first did say,
"'Twas Eve led me astray,"
A woman hath more patience than a man.
If a man's obliged to wait
For some one who's rather late,
No mortal ever got in such a stew,
And if something can't be found
That he's sure should be around,
The listening air sometimes grows fairly blue.
Just watch a man who tries
To soothe a baby's cries;
Or put a stove pipe up in weather cold,
Into what a state he'll get;
How he'll fuss and fume and fret
And stamp and bluster round and storm and scold!
Some point to Job with pride,
As an argument for their side!
Why, it was so rare a patient man to see,
That when one was really found,
His discoverers were bound
To preserve for him a place in history!
And while I admit it's true
That man has some patience too,
And that woman isn't always sweetly calm,
Still I think all must agree
On this central fact -- that she
For central all-round patience bears the palm.
Rain On The Hill
Now on the hill
The fitful wind is so still
That never a wimpling mist uplifts,
Nor a trembling leaf drop-laden stirs;
From the ancient firs
Aroma of balsam drifts,
And the silent places are filled
With elusive odors distilled
By the rain from asters empearled and frilled,
And a wild wet savor that dwells
Far adown in tawny fallows and bracken dells.
Then with a rush,
Breaking the beautiful hush
Where the only sound was the lisping, low
Converse of raindrops, or the dear sound
Close to the ground,
That grasses make when they grow,
Comes the wind in a gay,
Rollicking, turbulent way,
To winnow each bough and toss each spray,
Piping and whistling in glee
With the vibrant notes of a merry minstrelsy.
The friendly rain
Sings many a haunting strain,
Now of gladness and now of dole,
Anon of the glamor and the dream
That ever seem
To wait on a pilgrim soul;
Yea, we can hear
The grief of an elder year,
And laughter half-forgotten and dear;
In the wind and the rain we find
Fellowship meet for each change of mood or mind.
Over the fields we go, through the sweets of the purple clover,
That letters a message for us as for every vagrant rover;
Before us the dells are abloom, and a leaping brook calls after,
Feeling its kinship with us in lore of dreams and laughter.
Out of the valleys of moonlight elfin voices are calling;
Down from the misty hills faint, far greetings are falling;
Whisper the grasses to us, murmuring gleeful and airy,
Knowing us pixy-led, seeking the haunts of faery.
The wind is our joyful comrade wherever our free feet wander,
Over the tawny wolds to the meres and meadows yonder;
The mild-eyed stars go with us, or the rain so swiftly flying,
Racing us over the wastes where the hemlocks and pines are sighing.
Across the upland dim, down through the beckoning hollow
Oh, we go too far and fast for the feet of care to follow!
The gypsy fire in our hearts for the wilderness wide and luring;
Other loves may fail but this is great and enduring.
Other delights may pall, but the joy of the open never;
The charm of the silent places must win and hold us forever;
Bondage of walls we leave with never a glance behind us.
Under the lucent sky the delights of the rover shall find us.
By An Autumn Fire
Now at our casement the wind is shrilling,
Poignant and keen
And all the great boughs of the pines between
It is harping a lone and hungering strain
To the eldritch weeping of the rain;
And then to the wild, wet valley flying
It is seeking, sighing,
Something lost in the summer olden.
When night was silver and day was golden;
But out on the shore the waves are moaning
With ancient and never fulfilled desire,
And the spirits of all the empty spaces,
Of all the dark and haunted places,
With the rain and the wind on their death-white faces,
Come to the lure of our leaping fire.
But we bar them out with this rose-red splendor
From our blithe domain,
And drown the whimper of wind and rain
With undaunted laughter, echoing long,
Cheery old tale and gay old song;
Ours is the joyance of ripe fruition,
Ours is the treasure of tested loving,
Friendship that needs no further proving;
No more of springtime hopes, sweet and uncertain,
Here we have largess of summer in fee
Pile high the logs till the flame be leaping,
At bay the chill of the autumn keeping,
While pilgrim-wise, we may go a-reaping
In the fairest meadow of memory!
Among The Pines
Here let us linger at will and delightsomely hearken
Music aeolian of wind in the boughs of pine,
Timbrel of falling waters, sounds all soft and sonorous,
Worshipful litanies sung at a bannered shrine.
Deep let us breathe the ripeness and savor of balsam,
Tears that the pines have wept in sorrow sweet,
With its aroma comes beguilement of things forgotten,
Long-past hopes of the years on tip-toeing feet.
Far in the boskiest glen of this wood is a dream and a silence
Come, we shall claim them ours ere look we long;
A dream that we dreamed and lost, a silence richly hearted,
Deep at its lyric core with the soul of a song.
If there be storm, it will thunder a march in the branches,
So that our feet may keep true time as we go;
If there be rain, it will laugh, it will glisten, and beckon,
Calling to us as a friend all lightly and low.
If it be night, the moonlight will wander winsomely with us,
If it be hour of dawn, all heaven will bloom,
If it be sunset, it's glow will enfold and pursue us.
To the remotest valley of purple gloom.
Lo! the pine wood is a temple where the days meet to worship,
Laying their cark and care for the nonce aside,
God, who made it, keeps it as a witness to Him forever,
Walking in it, as a garden, at eventide.
On The Bay
When the salt wave laps on the long, dim shore,
And frets the reef with its windy sallies,
And the dawn's white light is threading once more
The purple firs in the landward valleys,
While yet the arms of the wide gray sea
Are cradling the sunrise that is to be,
The fisherman's boat, through the mist afar,
Has sailed in the wake of the morning star.
The wind in his cordage and canvas sings
Its old glad song of strength and endeavor,
And up from the heart of the ocean rings
A call of courage and cheer forever;
Toil and danger and stress may wait
Beyond the arch of the morning's gate,
But he knows that behind him, upon the shore,
A true heart prays for him evermore.
When a young moon floats in the hollow sky,
Like a fairy shallop, all pale and golden,
And over the rocks that are grim and high,
The lamp of the light-house aloft is holden;
When the bay is like to a lucent cup
With glamor and glory and glow filled up,
In the track of the sunset, across the foam,
The fisherman's boat comes sailing home.
The wind is singing a low, sweet song
Of a rest well won and a toil well over,
And there on the shore shines clear and strong
The star of the homelight to guide the rover:
And deep unto deep may call and wail
But the fisherman laughs as he furls his sail,
For the bar is passed and the reef is dim
And a true heart is waiting to welcome him!
Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.
Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing
Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing;
'Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming,
Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming.
Watchful and stirless the fields as if not unkindly holding
Harvested joys in their clasp, and to their broad bosoms folding
Baby hopes of a Spring, trusted to motherly keeping,
Thus to be cherished and happed through the long months of their sleeping.
Silent the woods are and gray; but the firs than ever are greener,
Nipped by the frost till the tang of their loosened balsam is keener;
And one little wind in their boughs, eerily swaying and swinging,
Very soft and low, like a wandering minstrel is singing.
Beautiful is the year, but not as the springlike maiden
Garlanded with her hopesrather the woman laden
With wealth of joy and grief, worthily won through living,
Wearing her sorrow now like a garment of praise and thanksgiving.
Gently the dark comes down over the wild, fair places,
The whispering glens in the hills, the open, starry spaces;
Rich with the gifts of the night, sated with questing and dreaming,
We turn to the dearest of paths where the star of the homelight is gleaming.
In An Old Farmhouse
Outside the afterlight's lucent rose
Is smiting the hills and brimming the valleys,
And shadows are stealing across the snows;
From the mystic gloom of the pineland alleys.
Glamour of mingled night and day
Over the wide, white world has sway,
And through their prisoning azure bars,
Gaze the calm, cold eyes of the early stars.
But here, in this long, low-raftered room,
Where the blood-red light is crouching and leaping,
The fire that colors the heart of the gloom
The lost sunshine of old summers is keeping
The wealth of forests that held in fee
Many a season's rare alchemy,
And the glow and gladness without a name
That dwells in the deeps of unstinted flame.
Gather we now round the opulent blaze
With the face that loves and the heart that rejoices,
Dream we once more of the old-time days,
Listen once more to the old-time voices!
From the clutch of the cities and paths of the sea
We have come again to our own roof-tree,
And forgetting the loves of the stranger lands
We yearn for the clasp of our kindred's hands.
There are tales to tell, there are tears to shed,
There are children's flower-faces and women's sweet laughter;
There's a chair left vacant for one who is dead
Where the firelight crimsons the ancient rafter;
What reck we of the world that waits
With care and clamor beyond our gates,
We, with our own, in this witching light,
Who keep our tryst with the past tonight?
Ho! how the elf-flames laugh in glee!
Closer yet let us draw together,
Holding our revel of memory
In the guiling twilight of winter weather;
Out on the waste the wind is chill,
And the moon swings low o'er the western hill,
But old hates die and old loves burn higher
With the wane and flash of the farmhouse fire.
At The Long Sault
Searching the pile of corpses the victors found four Frenchmen still breathing. Three had scarcely a spark of life . . . the fourth seemed likely to survive and they reserved him for future torments.
- Parkman's History
A prisoner under the stars I lie,
With no friend near;
To-morrow they lead me forth to die,
The stake is ready, the torments set,
They will pay in full their deadly debt;
But I fear them not! Oh, none could fear
Of those who stood by Daulac's side
While he prayed and laughed and sang and fought
In the very reek of deathand caught
The martyr passion that flamed from his face
As he died!
Where he led us we followed glad,
For we loved him well;
Some there were that held him mad,
But we knew that a heavenly rage had place
In that dauntless soul; the good God spake
To us through him; we had naught to do
Save only obey; and when his eyes
Flashed and kindled like storm-swept skies,
And his voice like a trumpet thrilled us through,
We would have marched with delight for his sake
To the jaws of hell.
The mists hung blue and still on the stream
At the marge of dawn;
The rapids laughed till we saw their teeth
Like a snarling wolf's fangs glisten and gleam;
Sweetly the pine trees underneath
The shadows slept in the moonlight wan;
Sweetly beneath the steps of the spring
The great, grim forest was blossoming;
And we fought, that springs for other men
Might blossom again.
Faint, thirst-maddened we prayed and fought
By night and by day;
Eyes glared at us with serpent hate
Yet sometimes a hush fell, and then we heard naught
Save the wind's shrill harping far away,
The piping of birds, and the softened calls
Of the merry, distant water-falls;
Then of other scenes we thought
Of valleys beloved in sunny France,
Purple vineyards of song and dance,
Hopes and visions roseate;
Of many a holy festal morn,
And many a dream at vesper bell
But anon the shuddering air was torn
By noises such as the fiends of hell
Might make in holding high holiday!
Once, so bitter the death-storm hailed,
We shrank and quailed.
Daulac sprang out before us then,
Shamed in our fears;
Glorious was his face to see,
The face of one who listens and hears
Voices unearthly, summonings high
Rang his tone like a clarion, "Men,
See yonder star in the golden sky,
Such a man's duty is to him,
A beacon that will not flicker nor dim,
Shining through darkness and despair.
Almost the martyr's crown is yours!
Thinking the price too high to be paid,
Will you leave the sacrifice half made?
I tell you God will answer the prayer
Of the soul that endures!
"Comrades, far in the future I see
A mighty land;
Throned among the nations of earth,
Noble and happy, calm and free;
As a veil were lifted I see her stand,
And out of that future a voice to me
Promises that our names shall shine
On the page of her story with lustre divine
Impelling to visions and deeds of worth.
"Ever thus since the world was begun,
When a man hath given up his life,
Safety and freedom have been won
By the holy power of self-sacrifice;
For the memory of your mother's kiss
Valiantly stand to the breach again.
Comrades, blench not now from the strife,
Quit you like men!"
Oh, we rushed to meet at our captain's side
Death as a bride!
All our brave striplings bravely fell.
I, less fortunate, slowly came
Back from that din of shot and yell
Slowly and gaspingly, to know
A harder fate reserved for me
Than that brief, splendid agony.
Through many a bitter pang and throe
My spirit must to-morrow go
To seek my comrades; but I bear
The tidings that our desperate stand
By the Long Sault has saved our land,
And God has answered Daulac's prayer.