It is not well
For me to dwell
On what upon that day befell,
On that dark day of fall befell;
When through the landscape, bowed and bent,
With Love and Death I slowly went,
And wild rain swept the firmament.

Ah, Love that sighed!
Ah, Joy that died!
And Heart that humbled all its pride;
In vain that humbled all its pride!
The roses ruin and rot away
Upon your grave where grasses sway,
And all is dim, and all is gray.

A Ghost And A Dream

Rain will fall on the fading flowers,
Winds will blow through the dripping tree,
When Fall leads in her tattered Hours
With Death to keep them company.
All night long in the weeping weather,
All night long in the garden grey,
A ghost and a dream will talk together
And sad are the things they will have to say:
Old sad things of the bough that's broken;
Heartbreak things of the leaf that's dead;
Old sad things no tongue hath spoken;
Sorrowful things no man hath said.

THROUGH some strange sense of sight or touch
I find what all have found before,
The presence I have feared so much,
The unknown’s immaterial door.

I seek not and it comes to me;
The do not know the thing I find:
The fillet of fatality
Drops from my brows that made me blind.

Point forward now or backward, light!
The way I take I may not choose:
Out of the night into the night,
And in the night no certain clews.

But on the future, dim and vast,
And dark with dust and sacrifice,
Death’s towering ruin from the past
Makes black the land that round me lies.

The Passing Glory

Slow sinks the sun, a great carbuncle ball
Red in the cavern of a sombre cloud,
And in her garden, where the dense weeds crowd,
Among her dying asters stands the Fall,
Like some lone woman in a ruined hall,
Dreaming of desolation and the shroud;
Or through decaying woodlands goes, down-bowed,
Hugging the tatters of her gipsy shawl.
The gaunt wind rises, like an angry hand,
And sweeps the sprawling spider from its web,
Smites frantic music in the twilight's ear;
And all around, like melancholy sand,
Rains dead leaves down wild leaves, that mark the ebb,
In Earth's dark hour-glass, of another year.

The west builds high a sepulcher
Of cloudy granite and of gold,
Where twilight's priestly hours inter
The Day like some great king of old.

A censer, rimmed with silver fire,
The new moon swings above his tomb;
While, organ-stops of God's own choir,
Star after star throbs in the gloom.

And Night draws near, the sadly sweet-
A nun whose face is calm and fair-
And kneeling at the dead Day's feet
Her soul goes up in mists like prayer.

In prayer, we feel through dewy gleam
And flowery fragrance, and-above
All earth-the ecstasy and dream
That haunt the mystic heart of love.

The Death Of Love

So Love is dead, the Love we knew of old!
And in the sorrow of our hearts' hushed halls
A lute lies broken and a flower falls;
Love's house stands empty and his hearth lies cold.
Lone in dim places, where sweet vows were told,
In walks grown desolate, by ruined walls
Beauty decays; and on their pedestals
Dreams crumble and th' immortal gods are mold.
Music is slain or sleeps; one voice alone,
One voice awakes, and like a wandering ghost
Haunts all the echoing chambers of the Past-
The voice of Memory, that stills to stone
The soul that hears; the mind, that, utterly lost,
Before its beautiful presence stands aghast.

Far as the eye can see the land is grey,
And desolation sits among the stones
Looking on ruin who, from rocks like bones,
Stares with a dead face at the dying day.
Mounds, where the barberry and bay hold sway,
Show where homes rose once; where the village crones
Gossiped, and man, with many sighs and groans,
Laboured and loved and went its daily way.
Only the crow now, like a hag returned,
Croaks on the common that its hoarse voice mocks.
Meseems that here the sorrow of the earth
Has lost herself, and, with the past concerned,
Sits with the ghosts of dreams that haunt these rocks,
And old despairs to which man's soul gave birth.

Death rides black-masked to-night; and through the land
Madness beside him brandishes a torch.
The peaceful farmhouse with its vine-wreathed porch
Lies in their way. Death lifts a bony hand
And knocks, and Madness makes a wild demand
Of fierce Defiance: then the night's deep arch
Reverberates, and under beech and latch
A dead face stares; shot where one took his stand.
Then down the night wild hoofs; the darkness beats;
And like a torrent through the startled town
Destruction sweeps; high overhead a flame;
And Violence that shoots amid the streets.
A piercing whistle: one who gallops down:
And Death and Madness go the way they came.

There is no inspiration in the view.
From where this acorn drops its thimbles brown
The landscape stretches like a shaggy frown;
The wrinkled hills hang haggard and harsh of hue:
Above them hollows the heaven's stony blue,
Like a dull thought that haunts some sleepdazed clown
Plodding his homeward way; and, whispering down,
The dead leaves dance, a sere and shelterless crew.
Let the sick day stagger unto its close,
Morose and mumbling, like a hoary crone
Beneath her fagots huddled fogs that soon
Shall flare the windy west with ashen glows,
Like some deep, dying hearth; and let the lone
Night come at last night, and its withered moon.

Death And The Fool

Here is a tale for any man or woman:
A fool sought Death; and braved him with his bauble
Among the graves. At last he heard a hobble,
And something passed him, monstrous, super-human.
And by a tomb, that reared a broken column,
He heard it stop. And then Gargantuan laughter
Shattered the hush. Deep silence followed after,
Filled with the stir of bones, cadaverous, solemn.
Then said the fool:'Come! show thyself, old prancer!
I'll have a bout with thee. I, too, can clatter
My wand and motley. Come now! Death and Folly,
See who's the better man.' There was no answer;
Only his bauble broke; a serious matter
To the poor fool who died of melancholy.

THE SONG-BIRDS? are they flown away?
The song-birds of the summer-time,
That sang their souls into the day,
And set the laughing days to rhyme?—
No catbird scatters through the hush
The sparkling crystals of its song;
Within the woods no hermit-thrush
Trails an enchanted flute along,
A sweet assertion of the hush.

All day the crows fly cawing past;
The acorns drop; the forests scowl;
At night I hear the bitter blast
Hoot with the hooting of the owl.
The wild creeks freeze; the ways are strewn
With leaves that rot: beneath the tree
The bird, that set its toil to tune,
And made a home for melody,
Lies dead beneath the death-white moon.

Loss molds our lives in many ways,
And fills our souls with guesses;
Upon our hearts sad hands it lays
Like some grave priest that blesses.

Far better than the love we win,
That earthly passions leaven,
Is love we lose, that knows no sin,
That points the path to Heaven.

Love, whose soft shadow brightens Earth,
Through whom our dreams are nearest;
And loss, through whom we see the worth
Of all that we held dearest.

Not joy it is, but misery
That chastens us, and sorrow;
Perhaps to make us all that we
Expect beyond To-morrow.

Within that life where time and fate
Are not; that knows no seeming:
That world to which death keeps the gate
Where love and loss sit dreaming.

Sweet lies! the sweetest ever heard,
To her he said:
Her heart remembers every word
Now he is dead.

I ask:' If thus his lies can make
Your young heart grieve for his false sake,
Had he been true what had you done
For true love's sake?'

'Upon his grave there in the sun,
Avoided now of all but one,
I'd lay my heart with all its ache,
And let it break, and let it break.'

And falsehood! fairer ne'er was seen
Than he put on:
Her heart recalls each look and mien
Now he is gone.

I ask: 'If thus his treachery
Can hold your heart with lie on lie,
What had you done for manly love,
Love without lie?'

'There in the grass that grows above
His grave, where all could know thereof,
I'd lay me down without a sigh,
And gladly die, and gladly die.'

Where The Battle Passed

ONE blossoming rose-tree, like a beautiful thought
Nursed in a broken mind, that waits and schemes,
Survives, though shattered, and about it caught,
The strangling dodder streams.
Gaunt weeds: and here a bayonet or pouch,
Rusty and rotting where men fought and slew:
Bald, trampled paths that seem with fear to crouch,
Feeling a bloody dew.
Here nothing that was beauty's once remains.
War left the garden to its dead alone:
And Life and Love, who toiled here, for their pains
Have nothing once their own.
Death leans upon the battered door, at gaze —
The house is silent where there once was stir
Of husbandry, that led laborious days,
With Love for comforter.
Now in Love's place, Death, old and halt and blind,
Gropes, searching everywhere for what may live.—
War left it empty as his vacant mind;
It has no more to give.

A Maid Who Died Old

Frail, shrunken face, so pinched and worn,
That life has carved with care and doubt!
So weary waiting, night and morn,
For that which never came about!
Pale lamp, so utterly forlorn,
In which God's light at last is out.

Gray hair, that lies so thin and prim
On either side the sunken brows!
And soldered eyes, so deep and dim,
No word of man could now arouse!
And hollow hands, so virgin slim,
Forever clasped in silent vows!

Poor breasts! that God designed for love,
For baby lips to kiss and press;
That never felt, yet dreamed thereof,
The human touch, the child caress-
That lie like shriveled blooms above
The heart's long-perished happiness.

O withered body, Nature gave
For purposes of death and birth,
That never knew, and could but crave
Those things perhaps that make life worth,-
Rest now, alas! within the grave,
Sad shell that served no end on Earth.

Between the darkness and the day
As, lost in doubt, I went my way,
I met a shape, as faint as fair,
With star-like blossoms in its hair:
Its body, which the moon shone through,
Was partly cloud and partly dew:
Its eyes were bright as if with tears,
And held the look of long-gone years;
Its mouth was piteous, sweet yet dread,
As if with kisses of the dead:
And in its hand it bore a flower,
In memory of some haunted hour.
I knew it for the Dream I'd had
In days when life was young and glad.
Why had it come with love and woe
Out of the happy Long-Ago?
Upon my brow I felt its breath,
Heard ancient. words of faith and death,
Sweet with the immortality
Of many a fragrant memory:
And to my heart again I took
Its joy and sorrow in a look,
And kissed its eyes and held it fast,
And bore it home from out the past
My Dream of Beauty and of Truth,
I dreamed had perished with my Youth.

The night is loud with reeds of rain
Rejoicing at my window-pane,
And murmuring, 'Spring comes again!'

I hear the wind take up their song
And on the sky's vibrating gong
Beat out and roar it all night long.

Then waters, where they pour their might
In foam, halloo it down the night,
From vale to vale and height to height.

And I thank God that down the deep
She comes, her ancient tryst to keep
With Earth again who wakes from sleep:

From death and sleep, that held her fast
So long, pale cerements round her cast,
Her penetential raiment vast.

Now, Lazarus-like, within her grave
She stirs, who hears the words that save,
The Christ-like words of wind and wave.

And, hearing, bids her soul prepare
The germs of blossoms in her there
To make her body sweet and fair;

To meet in manifest audience
The eyes of Spring, and reverence,
With beauty, God in soul and sense.

Haec Olim Meminisse

FEBRILE perfumes as of faded roses
In the old house speak of love to-day,
Love long past; and where the soft day closes,
Down the west gleams, golden-red, a ray.
Pointing where departed splendor perished,
And the path that night shall walk, and hang,
On blue boughs of heaven, gold, long cherished —
Fruit Hesperian,— that the ancients sang.
And to him, who sits there dreaming, musing,
At the window in the twilight wan,
Like old scent of roses interfusing,
Comes a vision of a day that's gone.
And he sees Youth, walking brave but dimly
'Mid the roses, in the afterglow;
And beside him, like a star seen slimly,
Love, who used to meet him long-ago.
And again he seems to hear the flowers
Whispering faintly of what no one knows —
Of the dreams they dreamed there for long hours,
Youth and Love, between their hearts a rose.
Youth is dead; and Love, oh, where departed!
Like the last streak of the dying day,
Somewhere yonder, in a world uncharted,
Calling him, with memories, away.

The Creaking Door

COME in, old Ghost of all that used to be! —
You find me old,
And love grown cold,
And fortune fled to younger company:
Departed, as the glory of the day,
With friends! — And you, it seems, have come to stay.—
'T is time to pray.
Come; sit with me, here at Life's creaking door,
All comfortless.—
Think, nay! then, guess,
What was the one thing, eh? that made me poor? —
The love of beauty, that I could not bind?
My dream of truth? or faith in humankind? —
But, never mind!
All are departed now, with love and youth,
Whose stay was brief;
And left but grief
And gray regret — two jades, who tell the truth; —
Whose children — memories of things to be,
And things that failed,— within my heart, ah me!
Cry constantly.
None can turn time back, and no man delay
Death when he knocks.—
What good are clocks,
Or human hearts, to stay for us that day
When at Life's creaking door we see his smile,—
Death's! at the door of this old House of Trial? —
Old Ghost, let's wait awhile.

The Waning Year

A Sense of something that is sad and strange;
Of something that is felt as death is felt,
As shadows, phantoms, in a haunted grange,
Around me seems to melt.

It rises, so it seems, from the decay
Of the dim woods; from withered leaves and weeds,
And dead flowers hanging by the woodland way
Sad, hoary heads of seeds.

And from the cricket's song, so feeble now
'T is like a sound heard in the heart, a call
Dreamier than dreams; and from the shaken bough,
From which the acorns fall.

From scents and sounds it rises, sadly slow,
This presence, that hath neither face nor form;
That in the woods sits like demented woe,
Whispering of wreck and storm.

A presence wrought of melancholy grief,
And dreams that die; that, in the streaming night,
I shall behold, like some fantastic leaf,
Beat at my window's light.

That I shall hear, outside my storm-lashed door,
Moan like the wind in some rain-tortured tree;
Or 'round my roof and down my chimney roar
All the wild night to me.

The Child At The Gate

THE sunset was a sleepy gold,
And stars were in the skies
When down a weedy lane he strolled
In vague and thoughtless wise.
And then he saw it, near a wood,
An old house, gabled brown,
Like some old woman, in a hood,
Looking toward the town.
A child stood at its broken gate,
Singing a childish song,
And weeping softly as if Fate
Had done her child's heart wrong.
He spoke to her: —'Now tell me, dear,
Why do you sing and weep?'—
But she — she did not seem to hear,
But stared as if asleep.
Then suddenly she turned and fled
As if with soul of fear.
He followed; but the house looked dead,
And empty many a year.
The light was wan: the dying day
Grew ghostly suddenly:
And from the house he turned away,
Wrapped in its mystery.
They told him no one dwelt there now:
It was a haunted place.—
And then it came to him, somehow,
The memory of a face.
That child's — like hers, whose name was Joy —
For whom his heart was fain:
The face of her whom, when a boy,
He played with in that lane.


No more for him, where hills look down,
Shall Morning crown
Her rainy brow with blossom bands!-
The Morning Hours, whose rosy hands
Drop wildflowers of the breaking skies
Upon the sod 'neath which he lies.-
No more for him! No more! No more!


No more for him, where waters sleep,
Shall Evening heap
The long gold of the perfect days!
The Eventide, whose warm hand lays
Great poppies of the afterglow
Upon the turf he rests below.-
No more for him! No more! no more!


No more for him, where woodlands loom,
Shall Midnight bloom
The star-flowered acres of the blue!
The Midnight Hours, whose dim hands strew
Dead leaves of darkness, hushed and deep,
Upon the grave where he doth sleep.-
No more for him! No more! No more!


The hills, that Morning's footsteps wake:
The waves that take
A brightness from the Eve; the woods
And solitudes, o'er which Night broods,
Their Spirits have, whose parts are one
With him, whose mortal part is done.
Whose part is done.

O heart,-that beat the bird's blithe blood,
The blithe bird's strain, and understood
The song it sang to leaf and bud,-
What dost thou in the wood?

O soul,-that kept the brook's glad flow,
The glad brook's word to sun and moon,-
What dost thou here where song lies low,
And dead the dreams of June?

Where once was heard a voice of song,
The hautboys of the mad winds sing;
Where once a music flowed along,
The rain's wild bugle's ring.

The weedy water frets and ails,
And moans in many a sunless fall;
And, o'er the melancholy, trails
The black crow's eldritch call.

Unhappy brook! O withered wood!
O days, whom Death makes comrades of!
Where are the birds that thrilled the blood
When Life struck hands with Love?

A song, one soared against the blue;
A song, one silvered in the leaves;
A song, one blew where orchards grew
Gold-appled to the eaves.

The birds are flown; the flowers, dead;
And sky and earth are bleak and gray:
Where Joy once went, all light of tread,
Grief haunts the leaf-wild way.

I heard the forest's green heart beat
As if it heard the happy feet
Of one who came, like young Desire:
At whose fair coming birds and flowers
Sprang up, and Beauty, filled with fire,
Touched lips with Song amid the bowers
And Love led on the dancing Hours.


And then I heard a voice that rang,
And to the leaves and blossoms sang:
'My child is Life: I dwell with Truth:
I am the Spirit glad of Birth:
I bring to all things joy and youth:
I am the rapture of the Earth.
Come look on me and know my worth.'


And then the woodland heaved a sigh,
As if it saw a shape go by
A shape of sorrow or of dread,
That seemed to move as moves a mist,
And left the leaves and flowers dead,
And with cold lips my forehead kissed,
While phantoms all around held tryst.


And then I heard a voice that spoke
Unto the fading beech and oak:
'I am the Spirit of Decay,
Whose child is Death, that means relief:
I breathe and all things pass away:
I am Earth's glory and its grief.
Come look on me: thy time is brief.'

Her heart is still and leaps no more
With holy passion when the breeze,
Her whilom playmate, as before,
Comes with the language of the bees,
Sad songs her mountain cedars sing,
And water-music murmuring.

Her calm white feet,-erst fleet and fast
As Daphne's when a god pursued,-
No more will dance like sunlight past
The gold-green vistas of the wood,
Where every quailing floweret
Smiled into life where they were set.

Hers were the limbs of living light,
And breasts of snow; as virginal
As mountain drifts; and throat as white
As foam of mountain waterfall;
And hyacinthine curls, that streamed
Like crag-born mists, and gloomed and gleamed.

Her presence breathed such scents as haunt
Moist, mountain dells and solitudes;
Aromas wild as some wild plant
That fills with sweetness all the woods:
And comradeships of stars and skies
Shone in the azure of her eyes.

Her grave be by a mossy rock
Upon the top of some wild hill,
Removed, remote from men who mock
The myths and dreams of life they kill:
Where all of beauty, naught of lust
May guard her solitary dust.

There was a man rode into town one day,
Barefooted, hatless, and without a coat.
It was the dead of winter. Round his throat
Were marks of violence: bits and wisps of hay
Bristled his beard and hair. From far away
We saw him coming: desolate and remote
And wild his gaze, that of no man took note,
Or seeming note; and nothing would he say.
But when he'd had a drink, then drunk some more,
He told us he had sold tobacco; see?
And all was lost. At that he caught his breath.
Last night a knock came at his cabin-door.
His son, who answered, was shot dead. And he
Was caught and chok'd and almost beat to death.


They said he'd sold tobacco; and he knew
They ought to kill him, burn his house and barn,
And would unless he gave them (this with scorn)
The money he'd received. What could he do?
He had a little money, it was true,
Hid in an old pot underneath the corn
There in the crib, he told them. 'Twas a yarn
To get away. They were a desperate crew.
They set to work upon the crib; and he
Got loose and on a horse and took to flight:
They shot at him. Whatever might occur
He did not care now; they had burned, you see,
His home: for miles its glare lit up the night.
His wife and daughters? God knows where they were.

Thou, oh, thou!
Thou of the chorded shell and golden plectrum! thou
Of the dark eyes and pale pacific brow!
Music, who by the plangent waves,
Or in the echoing night of labyrinthine caves,
Or on God's mountains, lonely as the stars,
Touchest reverberant bars
Of immemorial sorrow and amaze;
Keeping regret and memory awake,
And all the immortal ache
Of love that leans upon the past's sweet days
In retrospection!-now, oh, now,
Interpreter and heart-physician, thou,
Who gazest on the heaven and the hell
Of life, and singest each as well,
Touch with thy all-mellifluous finger-tips,
Or thy melodious lips,
This sickness named my soul,
Making it whole,
As is an echo of a chord,
Or some symphonic word,
Or sweet vibrating sigh,
That deep, resurgent still doth rise and die
On thy voluminous roll;
Part of the beauty and the mystery
That axles Earth with song; and as a slave,
Swings it around and 'round on each sonorous pole,
'Mid spheric harmony,
And choral majesty,
And diapasoning of wind and wave;
And speeds it on its far elliptic way
'Mid vasty anthemings of night and day.
O cosmic cry
Of two eternities, wherein we see
The phantasms, Death and Life,
At endless strife
Above the silence of a monster grave.

The Egret Hunter

Through woods the Spanish moss makes gray,
With deeps the daylight never reaches,
The water sluices slow its way,
And chokes with weeds its beaches.

'T was here, lost in this lone bayou,
Where poison brims each blossom's throat,
Last night I followed a firefly glow,
And oared a leaky boat.

The way was dark; and overhead
The wailing limpkin moaned and cried;
The moss, like cerements of the dead,
Waved wildly on each side.

The way was black, albeit the trees
Let here and there the moonlight through,
The shadows, 'mid the cypress-knees,
Seemed ominous of hue.

And then behold! a boat that oozed
Slow slime and trailed rank water-weeds,
Loomed on me: in which, interfused,
Great glow-worms glowed like beads.

And in its rotting hulk, upright,
His eyeless eyes fixed far before,
A dead man sat, and stared at night,
Grasping a rotting oar.

Slowly it passed; and fearfully
The moccasin slid in its wake;
The owl shrunk shrieking in its tree;
And in its hole the snake.

But I, who met it face to face,
I could not shrink or turn aside:
Within that dark and demon place
There was no place to hide.

Slowly it passed; for me too slow!
The grim Death, in the moon's faint shine,
Whose story, haply, none may know
Save th' owl that haunts the pine.

The Mountain-Still

The Moonshiner

He leans far out and watches: Down below
The road seems but a ribbon through the trees:
The bluff, from which he gazes, whence he sees
Some ox-team or some horseman come and go,
Is briered with brush. A man comes riding slow
Around a bend of road. Against his knees
The branches whip. He sits at careless ease.
It is the sheriff, armed for any foe.
A detonation tears the echoes from
Each pine-hung crag; upon the rider's brow
A smear of red springs out: he shades it now,
His grey eyes on the bluff. The crags are dumb.
Smoke wreathes one spot. The sheriff, with a cough,
Marks well that place, and then rides slowly off.


The Sheriff

Night and the mountain road: a crag where burns
What seems a star, low down: three men that glide
From tree and rock towards it: one a guide
For him who never from his purpose turns,
Who stands for law among these mountain kerns.
At last the torchlit cave, along whose side
The still is seen, and men who have defied
The law so long law, who the threshold spurns
With levelled weapons now.... Wolves in a den
Fight not more fiercely than these fought; wild fear
In every face, and rage and pale surprise.
The smoke thins off, and in the cave four men
Lie dead or dying: one that mountaineer,
And one the sheriff with the fearless eyes.

A Woodland Grave

White moons may come, white moons may go-
She sleeps where early blossoms blow;
Knows nothing of the leafy June,
That leans above her night and noon,
Crowned now with sunbeam, now with moon,
Watching her roses grow.

The downy moth at twilight comes
And flutters round their honeyed blooms:
Long, lazy clouds, like ivory,
That isle the blue lagoons of sky,
Redden to molten gold and dye
With flame the pine-deep glooms.

Dew, dripping from wet fern and leaf;
The wind, that shakes the violet's sheaf;
The slender sound of water lone,
That makes a harp-string of some stone,
And now a wood bird's glimmering moan,
Seem whisperings there of grief.

Her garden, where the lilacs grew,
Where, on old walls, old roses blew,
Head-heavy with their mellow musk,
Where, when the beetle's drone was husk,
She lingered in the dying dusk,
No more shall know that knew.

Her orchard,-where the Spring and she
Stood listening to each bird and bee,-
That, from its fragrant firmament,
Snowed blossoms on her as she went,
(A blossom with their blossoms blent)
No more her face shall see.

White moons may come, white moons may go-
She sleeps where early blossoms blow:
Around her headstone many a seed
Shall sow itself; and brier and weed
Shall grow to hide it from men's heed,
And none will care or know.

Out of it all but this remains:
I was with one who crossed wide chains
Of the Cordilleras, whose peaks
Lock in the wilds of Yucatan,
Chiapas and Honduras. Weeks
And then a city that no man
Had ever seen; so dim and old,
No chronicle has ever told
The history of men who piled
Its temples and huge teocallis
Among mimosa-blooming valleys;
Or how its altars were defiled
With human blood; whose idols there
With eyes of stone still stand and stare.
So old the moon can only know
How old, since ancient forests grow
On mighty wall and pyramid.
Huge ceïbas, whose trunks were scarred
With ages, and dense yuccas, hid
Fanes 'mid the cacti, scarlet-starred.
I looked upon its paven ways,
And saw it in its kingliest days;
When from the lordly palace one,
A victim, walked with prince and priest,
Who turned brown faces toward the east
In worship of the rising sun:
At night ten hundred temples' spires
On gold burnt everlasting fires.
Uxmal? Palenque? or Copan?
I know not. Only how no man
Had ever seen; and still my soul
Believes it vaster than the three.
Volcanic rock walled in the whole,
Lost in the woods as in some sea.
I only read its hieroglyphs,
Perused its monster monoliths
Of death, gigantic heads; and read
The pictured codex of its fate,
The perished Toltec; while in hate
Mad monkeys cursed me, as if dead
Priests of its past had taken form
To guard its ruined shrines from harm.

After Autumn Rain

The hillside smokes
With trailing mist around the rosy oaks;
While sunset builds
A gorgeous Asia in the west she gilds.
Auroral streaks
Sword through the heavens' Himalayan peaks:
In which, behold,
Burn mines of Indian ruby and of gold.
A moment and
A shadow stalks between it and the land.
A mist, a breath,
A premonition, with the face of death,
Turning to frost
The air it breathes, like some invisible ghost.
Then, wild of hair,
Demons seem streaming to their fiery lair:
A chasm, the same
That splits the clouds' face with a leer of flame.
The wind comes up
And fills the hollow land as wine a cup.
Around and round
It skips the dead leaves o'er the forest's ground.
A myriad fays
And imps seem dancing down the withered ways.
And far and near
It makes of every bush a whisperer;
Telling dark tales
Of things that happened in the ghostly vales:
Of things the fox
Barks at and sees among the haunted rocks:
At which the owl
Hoots, and the wolf-hound cringes with a growl.
Now on the road
It walks like feet too weary for their load.
Shuffling the leaves,
With stormy sighs, onward it plods and heaves;
Till in the hills
Among the red death there itself it kills.
And with its death
Earth, so its seems, draws in a mighty breath.
And, like a clown
Who wanders lost upon a haunted down,
Turns towards the east,
Fearful of coming goblin or of beast,
And sees a light,
The jack-o'-lantern moon, glow into sight..

THERE is a smell of roses in the room
Tea-roses, dead of bloom;
An invalid, she sits there in the gloom,
And contemplates her doom.
The pattern of the paper, and the grain
Of carpet, with its stain,
Have stamped themselves, like fever, on her brain,
And grown a part of pain.
It has been long, so long, since that one died,
Or sat there by her side;
She felt so lonely, lost, she would have cried,—
But all her tears were dried.
A knock came on the door: she hardly heard;
And then — a whispered word,
And someone entered; at which, like a bird,
Her caged heart cried and stirred.
And then — she heard a voice; she was not wrong:
His voice, alive and strong:
She listened, while the silence filled with song —
Oh, she had waited long!
She dared not turn to see; she dared not look;
But slowly closed her book,
And waited for his kiss; could scarcely brook
The weary time he took.
There was no one remembered her — no one!
But him, beneath the sun.—
Who then had entered? entered but to shun
Her whose long work was done.
She raised her eyes, and — no one! — Yet she felt
A presence near, that smelt
Like faded roses; and that seemed to melt
Into her soul that knelt.
She could not see, but knew that he was there,
Smoothing her hands and hair;
Filling with scents of roses all the air,
Standing beside her chair.
And so they found her, sitting quietly,
Her book upon her knee,
Staring before her, as if she could see —
What was it — Death? or he?


When dusk is drowned in drowsy dreams,
And slow the hues of sunset die;
When firefly and moth go by,
And in still streams the new moon seems
Another moon and sky:
Then from the hills there comes a cry,
The owlet's cry:
A shivering voice that sobs and screams,
With terror screams:-

'Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who rides through the dusk and dew,
With a pair of horns,
As thin as thorns,
And face a bubble-blue?-
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?'


When night has dulled the lily's white,
And opened wide the moonflower's eyes;
When pale mists rise and veil the skies,
And round the height in whispering flight
The night-wind sounds and sighs:
Then in the wood again it cries,
The owlet cries:
A shivering voice that calls in fright,
In maundering fright:-

'Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who walks with a shuffling shoe
'Mid the gusty trees,
With a face none sees,
And a form as ghostly, too?-
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?'


When midnight leans a listening ear
And tinkles on her insect lutes;
When 'mid the roots the cricket flutes,
And marsh and mere, now far, now near,
A jack-o'-lantern foots:
Then o'er the pool again it hoots,
The owlet hoots:
A voice that shivers as with fear,
That cries with fear:-

'Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who creeps with his glowworm crew
Above the mire
With a corpse-light fire,
As only dead men do?-
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?'

A Mile of lane, hedged high with iron-weeds
And dying daisies, white with sun, that leads
Downward into a wood; through which a stream
Steals like a shadow; over which is laid
A bridge of logs, worn deep by many a team,
Sunk in the tangled shade.

Far off a wood-dove lifts its lonely cry;
And in the sleepy silver of the sky
A gray hawk wheels scarce larger than a hand.
From point to point the road grows worse and worse,
Until that place is reached where all the land
Seems burdened with some curse.

A ragged fence of pickets, warped and sprung,
On which the fragments of a gate are hung,
Divides a hill, the fox and ground-hog haunt,
A wilderness of briers; o'er whose tops
A battered barn is seen, low-roofed and gaunt,
'Mid fields that know no crops.

Fields over which a path, o'erwhelmed with burs
And ragweeds, noisy with the grasshoppers,
Leads, lost, irresolute as paths the cows
Wear through the woods, unto a woodshed; then,
With wrecks of windows, to a huddled house,
Where men have murdered men.

A house, whose tottering chimney, clay and rock,
Is seamed and crannied; whose lame door and lock
Are bullet-bored; around which, there and here,
Are sinister stains. One dreads to look around.
The place seems thinking of that time of fear
And dares not breathe a sound.

Within is emptiness: the sunlight falls
On faded journals papering its walls;
On advertisement chromos, torn with time,
Around a hearth where wasps and spiders build.
The house is dead; meseems that night of crime
It, too, was shot and killed.

Pale faces looked up at me, up from the earth, like flowers;
Pale hands reached down to me, out of the air, like stars,
As over the hills, robed on with the twilight, the Hours,
The Day's last Hours, departed, and Dusk put up her bars.

Pale fingers beckoned me on; pale fingers, like starlit mist;
Dim voices called to me, dim as the wind's dim rune,
As up from the night, like a nymph from the amethyst
Of her waters, as silver as foam, rose the round, white breast of the moon.

And I followed the pearly waving and beckon of hands,
The luring glitter and dancing glimmer of feet,
And the sibilant whisper of silence, that summoned to lands
Remoter than legend or faery, where Myth and Tradition meet.

And I came to a place where the shadow of ancient Night
Brooded o'er ruins, far wilder than castles of dreams;
Fantastic, a mansion of phantoms, where, wandering white,
I met with a shadowy presence whose voice I had followed, it seems.

And the ivy waved in the wind, and the moonlight laid,
Like a ghostly benediction, a finger wan
On the face of the one from whose eyes the darkness rayed
The face of the one I had known in the years long gone.

And she looked in my face, and kissed me on brow and on cheek,
Murmured my name, and wistfully smiled in my eyes,
And the tears welled up in my heart, that was wild and weak,
And my bosom seemed bursting with yearning, and my soul with sighs.

And there 'mid the ruins we sat.. . Oh, strange were the words that she said!
Distant and dim and strange; and hollow the looks that she gave:
And I knew her then for a joy, a joy that was dead,
A hope, a beautiful hope, that my youth had laid in its grave.

''He cometh not,' she said.'

It will not be to-day and yet
I think and dream it will; and let
The slow uncertainty devise
So many sweet excuses, met
With the old doubt in hope's disguise.

The panes were sweated with the dawn;
Yet through their dimness, shriveled drawn,
The aigret of one princess-feather,
One monk's-hood tuft with oilets wan,
I glimpsed, dead in the slaying weather.

This morning, when my window's chintz
I drew, how gray the day was!-Since
I saw him, yea, all days are gray!-
I gazed out on my dripping quince,
Defruited, gnarled; then turned away

To weep, but did not weep: but felt
A colder anguish than did melt
About the tearful-visaged year!-
Then flung the lattice wide, and smelt
The autumn sorrow: Rotting near

The rain-drenched sunflowers bent and bleached,
Up which the frost-nipped gourd-vines reached
And morning-glories, seeded o'er
With ashen aiglets; whence beseeched
One last bloom, frozen to the core.

The podded hollyhocks,-that Fall
Had stripped of finery,-by the wall
Rustled their tatters; dripped and dripped,
The fog thick on them: near them, all
The tarnished, haglike zinnias tipped.

I felt the death and loved it: yea,
To have it nearer, sought the gray,
Chill, fading garth. Yet could not weep,
But wandered in an aimless way,
And sighed with weariness for sleep.

Mine were the fog, the frosty stalks;
The weak lights on the leafy walks;
The shadows shivering with the cold;
The breaking heart; the lonely talks;
The last, dim, ruined marigold.

But when to-night the moon swings low-
A great marsh-marigold of glow-
And all my garden with the sea
Moans, then, through moon and mist, I know
My love will come to comfort me.

Universes are the pages
Of that book whose words are ages;
Of that book which destiny
Opens in eternity.

There each syllable expresses
Silence; there each thought a guess is;
In whose rhetoric's cosmic runes
Roll the worlds and swarming moons.

There the systems, we call solar,
Equatorial and polar,
Write their lines of rushing light
On the awful leaves of night.

There the comets, vast and streaming,
Punctuate the heavens' gleaming
Scroll; and suns, gigantic, shine,
Periods to each starry line.

There, initials huge, the Lion
Looms and measureless Orion;
And, as 'neath a chapter done,
Burns the Great-Bear's colophon.

Constellated, hieroglyphic,
Numbering each page terrific,
Fiery on the nebular black,
Flames the hurling zodiac.

In that book, o'er which Chaldean
Wisdom pored and many an eon
Of philosophy long dead,
This is all that man has read:

He has read how good and evil,
In creation's wild upheaval,
Warred; while God wrought terrible
At foundations red of Hell.

He has read of man and woman;
Laws and gods, both beast and human;
Thrones of hate and creeds of lust,
Vanished now and turned to dust.

Arts and manners that have crumbled;
Cities buried; empires tumbled:
Time but breathed on them its breath;
Earth is builded of their death.

These but lived their little hour,
Filled with pride and pomp and power;
What availed them all at last?
We shall pass as they have past.

Still the human heart will dream on
Love, part angel and part demon;
Yet, I question, what secures
Our belief that aught endures?

In that book, o'er which Chaldean
Wisdom pored and many an eon
Of philosophy long dead,
This is all that man has read.

She mutters and stoops by the lone bayou
The little green leaves are hushed on the trees
An owl in an oak cries'Who-oh-who,'
And a fox barks back where the moon slants through
The moss that sways to a sudden breeze…
Or That she sees,
Whose eyes are coals in the light o' the moon.
'Soon, oh, soon,' hear her croon,
' Woe, oh, woe to the octoroon!'

She mutters and kneels and her bosom is bare
The little green leaves are stirred on the trees
A black bat brushes her unkempt hair,
And the hiss of a snake glides 'round her there…
Or is it the voice of the ghostly breeze,
Or That she sees,
Whose mouth is flame in the light o' the moon?
'Soon, oh, soon,' hear her croon,
'Woe, oh, woe to the octoroon!'

She mutters and digs and buries it deep
The little green leaves are wild on the trees
And nearer and nearer the noises creep,
That gibber and maunder and whine and weep…
Or is it the wave and the weariless breeze,
Or That she sees,
Which hobbles away in the light o' the moon?
'Soon, oh, soon,' hear her croon,
'Woe, oh, woe to the octoroon!'

In the hut where the other girl sits with him
The little green leaves hang limp on the trees
All on a sudden the moon grows dim…
Is it the shadow of cloud or of limb,
Cast in the door by the moaning breeze?
Or That she sees,
Which limps and leers in the light o' the moon?
'Soon, oh, soon,' hear it croon,
'Woe, oh, woe to the octoroon!'

It has entered in at the open door
The little green leaves fall dead from the trees
And she in the cabin lies stark on the floor,
And she in the woods has her lover once more…
And is it the hoot of the dying breeze?
Or him who sees,
Who mocks and laughs in the light o' the moon:
'Soon, oh, soon,' hear him croon,
'Woe, oh, woe to the octoroon!'

He stands above all worldly schism,
And, gazing over life's abysm
Beholds within the starry range
Of heaven laws of death and change,
That, through his soul's prophetic prism,
Are turned to rainbows wild and strange.

Through nature is his hope made surer
Of that ideal, his allurer,
By whom his life is upward drawn
To mount pale pinnacles of dawn,
'Mid which all that is fairer, purer
Of love and lore it come upon.

An alkahest, that makes gold metal
Of dross, his mind is where one petal
Of one wild-rose will all outweigh
The piled-up facts of everyday
Where commonplaces, there that settle,
Are changed to things of heavenly ray.

He climbs by steps of stars and flowers,
Companioned of the dreaming hours,
And sets his feet in pastures where
No merely mortal feet may fare;
And higher than the stars he towers
Though lowlier than the flowers there.

His comrades are his own high fancies
And thoughts in which his soul romances;
And every part of heaven or earth
He visits, lo, assumes new worth;
And touched with loftier traits and trances
Re-shines as with a lovelier birth.

He is the play, likewise the player;
The word that's said, also the sayer;
And in the books of heart and head
There is no thing he has not read;
Of time and tears he is the weigher,
And mouthpiece 'twixt the quick and dead.

He dies: but, mountain ever higher,
Wings Phoenix-like from out his pyre
Above our mortal day and night,
Clothed on with semipiternal light;
And raimented in thought's far fire
Flames on in everlasting flight.

Unseen, yet seen, on heights of visions,
Above all praise and world derisions,
His spirit and his deathless brood
Of dreams fare on, a multitude,
While on the pillar of great missions
His name and place are granite-hewed.