A.D. Nineteen Hundred

War and Disaster, Famine and Pestilence,
Vaunt-couriers of the Century that comes,
Behold them shaking their tremendous plumes
Above the world! where all the air grows dense
With rumors of destruction and a sense,
Cadaverous, of corpses and of tombs
Predestined; while, like monsters in the glooms,
Bristling with battle, shadowy and immense,
The Nations rise in wild apocalypse.
Where now the boast Earth makes of civilization?
Its brag of Christianity? In vain
We seek to see them in the dread eclipse
Of hell and horror, all the devastation
Of Death triumphant on his hills of slain.

I saw the spirit of the pines that spoke
With spirits of the ocean and the storm:
Against the tumult rose its tattered form,
Wild rain and darkness round it like a cloak.
Fearful it stood, limbed like some twisted oak,
Gesticulating with one giant arm,
Raised as in protest of the night's alarm,
Defiant still of some impending stroke.
Below it, awful in its majesty,
The spirit of the deep, with rushing locks,
Raved: and above it, lightning-clad and shod,
Thundered the tempest. Thus they stood, the three;
Terror around them; while, upon the rocks,
Destruction danced, mocking at man and God.

The Voice Of Ocean

A cry went through the darkness; and the moon,
Hurrying through storm, gazed with a ghastly face,
Then cloaked herself in scud: the merman race
Of surges ceased; and then th' Aeolian croon
Of the wild siren, Wind, within the shrouds
Sunk to a sigh. The ocean in that place
Seemed listening; haunted, for a moment's space,
By something dread that cried against the clouds.
Mystery and night; and with them fog and rain:
And then that cry again as if the deep
Uttered its loneliness in one dark word:
Her horror of herself; her Titan pain;
Her monsters; and the dead that she must keep,
Has kept, alone, for centuries, unheard.

Child And Father

A LITTLE child, one night, awoke and cried,
'Oh, help me, father! there is something wild
Before me! help me!' Hurrying to his side
I answered, 'I am here. You dreamed, my child.'
'A dream? —' he questioned. 'Oh, I could not see!
It was so dark! — Take me into your bed!'—
And I, who loved him, held him soothingly,
And smiling on his terror, comforted.
He nestled in my arms. I held him fast;
And spoke to him and calmed his childish fears,
Until he smiled again, asleep at last,
Upon his lashes still a trace of tears….
How like a child the world! who, in this night
Of strife, beholds strange monsters threatening;
And with black fear, having so little light,
Cries to its Father, God, for comforting.
And well for it, if, answering the call,
The Father hear and soothe its dread asleep! —
How many though, whom thoughts and dreams appall,
Must lie awake and in the darkness weep.

An evil, stealthy water, dark as hate,
Sunk from the light of day,
'Thwart which is hung a ruined water-gate,
Creeps on its stagnant way.

Moss and the spawny duckweed, dim as air,
And green as copperas,
Choke its dull current; and, like hideous hair,
Tangles of twisted grass.

Above it sinister trees, as crouched and gaunt
As huddled Terror, lean;
Guarding some secret in that nightmare haunt,
Some horror they have seen.

Something the sunset points at from afar,
Spearing the sullen wood
And hag-gray water with a single bar
Of flame as red as blood.

Something the stars, conspiring with the moon,
Shall look on, and remain
Frozen with fear; staring as in a swoon,
Striving to flee in vain.

Something the wisp that, wandering in the night,
Above the ghastly stream,
Haply shall find; and, filled with frantic fright,
Light with its ghostly gleam.

Something that lies there, under weed and ooze,
With wide and awful eyes
And matted hair, and limbs the waters bruise,
That strives, yet can not rise.

ABOVE the world a glare
Of sunset — guns and spears;
An army, no one hears,
Of mist and air:
Long lines of bronze and gold,
Huge helmets, each a cloud;
And then a fortress old
There in the night that phantoms seem to crowd.
A face of flame; a hand
Of crimson alchemy
Is waved: and, solemnly,
At its command,
Opens a fiery well,
A burning hole,
From which a stream of hell,
A river of blood, in frenzy, seems to roll.
And there, upon a throne,
Like some vast precipice,
Above that River of Dis,
Behold a King! alone!
Around whom shapes of blood
Take form: each one the peer
Of those, who, in the wood
Of Dante's Hell froze up the heart with fear.
Then shapes, that breast to breast
Gallop to face a foe:
And through the crimson glow
Th' imperial crest
Of him whose banner flies
Above a world that burns,
A raven in the skies,
And as it flies into a Death's-Head turns.
The wild trees writhe and twist
Their gaunt limbs, wrung with fear:
And now into my ear
A word seems hissed;
A message, filled with dread,
A dark, foreboding word,—
'Behold! we are the dead,
Who here on Earth lived only by the sword!'

The Screech-Owl

When, one by one, the stars have trembled through
Eve's shadowy hues of violet, rose, and fire
As on a pansy-bloom the limpid dew
Orbs its bright beads; and, one by one, the choir
Of insects wakes on nodding bush and brier:
Then through the woods where wandering winds pursue
A ceaseless whisper like an eery lyre
Struck in the Erl-king's halls, where ghosts and dreams
Hold revelry, your goblin music screams,
Shivering and strange as some strange thought come true.

Brown as the agaric that frills dead trees,
Or those fantastic fungi of the woods
That crowd the dampness are you kin to these
In some mysterious way that still eludes
My fancy? you, who haunt the solitudes
With witch-like wailings? voice, that seems to freeze
Out of the darkness, like the scent which broods,
Rank and rain-sodden, over autumn nooks,
That, to the mind, might well suggest such looks,
Ghastly and gray, as pale clairvoyance sees.

You people night with weirdness: lone and drear,
Beneath the stars, you cry your wizard runes;
And in the haggard silence, filled with fear,
Your shuddering hoot seems some bleak grief that croons
Mockery and terror; or, beneath the moon's
Cloud-hurrying glimmer, to the startled ear,
Crazed, madman snatches of old, perished tunes,
The witless wit of outcast Edgar there
In the wild night; or, wan with all despair,
The mirthless laughter of the Fool in Lear.

The Cup Of Comus

THE Nights of song and story,
With breath of frost and rain,
Whose locks are wild and hoary,
Whose fingers tap the pane
With leaves, are come again.
The Nights of old October,
That hug the hearth and tell,
To child and grandsire sober,
Tales of what long befell
Of witch and warlock spell.
Nights, that, like gnome and faery,
Go, lost in mist and moon,
And speak in legendary
Thoughts or a mystic rune,
Much like the owlet's croon.
Or whirling on like witches,
Amid the brush and broom,
Call from the Earth its riches,
Of leaves and wild perfume,
And strew them through the gloom.
Till death, in all his starkness,
Assumes a form of fear,
And somewhere in the darkness
Seems slowly drawing near
In raiment torn and sere.
And with him comes November,
Who drips outside the door,
And wails what men remember
Of things believed no more,
Of superstitious lore.
Old tales of elf and dæmon,
Of Kobold and of Troll,
And of the goblin woman
Who robs man of his soul
To make her own soul whole.
And all such tales, that glamoured
The child-heart once with fright,
That aged lips have stammered
For many a child's delight,
Shall speak again to-night.
To-night, of moonlight minted,
That is a cup divine,
Whence Death, all opal-tinted,—
Wreathed red with leaf and vine,—
Shall drink a magic wine.
A wonder-cup of Comus,
That with enchantment streams,
In which the heart of Momus,—
That, moon-like, glooms and gleams,
Is drowned with all its dreams.


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?'

The Purple Valleys

Far in the purple valleys of illusion
I see her waiting, like the soul of music,
With deep eyes, lovelier than cerulean pansies,
Shadow and fire, yet merciless as poison;
With red lips, sweeter than Arabian storax,
Yet bitterer than myrrh.-O tears and kisses!
O eyes and lips, that haunt my soul forever!

Again Spring walks transcendent on the mountains:
The woods are hushed: the vales are blue with shadows:
Above the heights, steeped in a thousand splendors,
Like some vast canvas of the gods, hangs burning
The sunset's wild sciography: and slowly
The moon treads heaven's proscenium,-night's stately
White queen of love and tragedy and madness.

Again I know forgotten dreams and longings;
Ideals lost; desires dead and buried
Beside the altar sacrifice erected
Within the heart's high sanctuary. Strangely
Again I know the horror and the rapture,
The utterless awe, the joy akin to anguish,
The terror and the worship of the spirit.

Again I feel her eyes pierce through and through me;
Her deep eyes, lovelier than imperial pansies,
Velvet and flame, through which her fierce will holds me,
Powerless and tame, and draws me on and onward
To sad, unsatisfied and animal yearnings,
Wild, unrestrained-the brute within the human
To fling me panting on her mouth and bosom.

Again I feel her lips like ice and fire,
Her red lips, odorous as Arabian storax,
Fragrance and fire, within whose kiss destruction
Lies serpent-like. Intoxicating languors
Resistlessly embrace me, soul and body;
And we go drifting, drifting-she is laughing
Outcasts of God, into the deep's abysm.

THE woods stretch wild to the mountain side,
And the brush is deep where a man may hide,

They have brought the bloodhounds up again
To the roadside rock where they found the slain.

They have brought the bloodhounds up, and they
Have taken the trail to the mountain way.

Three times they circled the trail and crossed,
And thrice they found it and thrice they lost.

Now straight through the pines and the underbrush
They follow the scent through the forest's hush.

And their deep-mouthed bay is a pulse of fear
In the heart of the wood that the man must hear.

The man who crouches among the trees
From the stern-faced men that follow these.

A huddle of rocks that the ooze has mossed—
And the trail of the hunted again is lost.

An upturned pebble; a bit of ground
A heel has trampled—the trail is found.

And the woods re-echo the bloodhounds' bay
As again they take to the mountain way.

A rock; a ribbon of road; a ledge,
With a pine-tree clutching its crumbling edge.

A pine, that the lightning long since clave,
Whose huge roots hollow a ragged cave.

A shout; a curse; and a face aghast,
And the human quarry is laired at last.

The human quarry, with clay-clogged hair
And eyes of terror, who waits them there;

That glares and crouches and rising then
Hurls clods and curses at dogs and men.

Until the blow of a gun-butt lays
Him stunned and bleeding upon his face.

A rope, a prayer, and an oak-tree near.
And a score of hands to swing him clear.

A grim black thing for the setting sun
And the moon and the stars to look upon.

The Moon In The Wood

From hill and hollow, side by side,
The shadows came, like dreams, to sit
And watch, mysterious, sunset-eyed,
The wool-winged moths and bats aflit,
And the lone owl that cried and cried.
And then the forest rang a gong,
Hoarse, toadlike; and from out the gate
Of darkness came a sound of song,
As of a gnome that called his mate,
Who answered in his own strange tongue.
And all the forest leaned to hear,
And saw, from forth the entangling trees,
A naked spirit drawing near,
A glimmering presence, whom the breeze
Kept whispering, 'Forward! Have no fear.'


The woodland, seeming at a loss,
Afraid to breathe, or make a sound,
Poured, where her silvery feet should cross,
A dripping pathway on the ground,
And hedged it in with ferns and moss.
And then the silence sharply shook
A cricket tambourine; and Night
From out her musky bosom took
A whippoorwill flute, and, lost to sight
Sat piping to a wildwood brook.
Until from out the shadows came
A furtive foot, a gleam, a glow;
And with a lamp of crystal flame
The spirit stole, as white as snow,
And put the firmament to shame.


Then up and down vague movements went,
As if the faeries sought an herb;
And here and there a bush was bent,
A wildflower raised: the wood-pool's curb
Was circled with a scarf of scent.
And deep within her house of weeds
Old Mystery hung a glowworm lamp,
And decked her hair with firefly beads,
And sate herself 'mid dew and damp,
And crooned a love-song to the reeds.
Then through the gates of solitude,
Where Witchery her shuttle plied,
The Spirit entered, white and nude
And where she went, on every side,
Dreams followed through the solitude.

Mother, mother, what is that gazing through the darkness?
What is that that looks at me with its awful eyes?
Tell me, mother, what it is, freezing me to starkness?
Through the house it seems to go with its icy sighs,
What is that, oh, what is that, mother, in the darkness?


Child, my child! my little child! 'tis a waving willow,
That the night wind bows and sways near the window-pane:
Here's my breast, my little son. Let it be your pillow.
Have no fear, love, in my arms. Go to sleep again.
Go to sleep and turn your face from the windy willow.


Mother, mother, what is that? going round and round there?
Round the house and at the door stops and turns the knob.
Hold me close, O mother love! keep me from that sound there!
Hear it how it's knocking now? Don't you hear it sob?
Guard me from the ghostly thing that goes round and round there.


Child, my child! my little child! 'tis the wind that wanders:
'Tis the wandering wind that knocks, crying at the door.
Hark no more and heed no more what the night wind maunders.
Rest your head on mother's heart, list its faery lore.
Go to sleep and have no fear of the wind that wanders.


Mother, mother, look and see! what is that that stands there?
With its lantern face and limbs, mantled all in black!
Gaunt and grim and horrible with its knuckled hands there!
Now before me! now beside me! now behind my back!
Mother! mother! face it now! ask it why it stands there!


Child, my child! my little child! 'tis a shadow only!
Shadow of the lamp-shade here near your little bed!
No! it will not come again when the night lies lonely.
Sleep, oh, sleep, my little son. See! the thing is fled.
Mother will not leave her boy with that shadow only....


Will he live? or will he die? Answer; fearful Shadow!
O thou Death who hoverest near, hold thy hands away!
Oh, that night were past and light lay on hill and meadow!
Does he sleep? or is he dead? God! that it were day!
Light to help my love to fight with that crouching shadow!

“I BELT the morn with ribboned mist;
With baldricked blue I gird the noon,
And dusk with purple, crimson-kissed,
White-buckled with the hunter’s-moon.

“These follow me,” the Season says:
“Mine is the frost-pale hand that packs
Their scrips, and speeds them on their ways,
With gypsy gold that weighs their backs.”

A daybreak horn the Autumn blows,
As with a sun-tanned hand he parts
Wet boughs whereon the berry glows;
And at his feet the red fox starts.

The leafy leash that holds his hounds
Is loosed; and all the noonday hush
Is startled; and the hillside sounds
Behind the fox’s bounding brush.

When red dusk makes the western sky
A fire-lit window through the firs,
He stoops to see the red fox die
Among the chestnut’s broken burrs.

Then fanfaree and fanfaree,
His bugle sounds; the world below
Grows hushed to hear; and two or three
Soft stars dream through the afterglow.

Like some black host the shadows fall,
And blackness camps among the trees;
Each wildwood road, a Goblin Hall,
Grows populous with mysteries.

Night comes with brows of ragged storm,
And limbs of writhen cloud and mist;
The rain-wind hangs upon his arm
Like some wild girl who cries unkissed.

By his gaunt hands the leaves are shed
In headlong troops and nightmare herds;
And, like a witch who calls the dead,
The hill-stream whirls with foaming words.

Then all is sudden silence and
Dark fear—like his who cannot see,
Yet hears, lost in a haunted land,
Death rattling on a gallow’s-tree.

The days approach again; the days
Whose mantles stream, whose sandals drag,
When in the haze by puddled ways
The gnarled thorn seems a crooked hag.

When rotting orchards reek with rain;
And woodlands crumble, leaf and log;
And in the drizzling yard again
The gourd is tagged with points of fog.

Now let me seat my soul among
The woods’ dim dreams, and come in touch
With melancholy, sad of tongue
And sweet, who says so much, so much.

I Heard his step upon the moss;
I glimpsed his shadow in the stream;
And thrice I saw the brambles toss
Wherein he vanished like a dream.

A great beech aimed a giant stroke
At my bent head, in mad alarm;
And then a chestnut and an oak
Struck at me with a knotted arm.

The brambles clutched at me; and fear
For one swift instant held me fast
Just long enough to let me hear
His windlike footsteps vanish past.

The brushwood made itself more dense,
And looped my feet with green delay;
And, threatening every violence,
The rocks and thorns opposed my way.

But still I followed; strove and strained
In spite of all the wood devised
To hold me back, and on him gained
The deity I had surprised.

The genius of the wood, whose flute
Had led me far; at first, to see
The imprint of his form and foot
Upon the moss beneath the tree.

A bird piped warning and he fled:
I saw a gleam of gold and green:
The woodland held its breath for dread
That its great godhead would be seen.

Could I but speak him face to face,
And for a while his joy behold,
What visions there might then take place,
What myst'ries of the woods be told!

And well I knew that he was near
By that soft sound the water made
Upon its rock; and by the fear
The wind unto the leaves betrayed.

And by the sign bough made to bough,
The secret signal, brusque and brief,
That said, 'On guard! He's looking now!'
And pointed at me every leaf.

Then suddenly the way lay wide;
The brambles ceased to clutch and tear;
And even the grim trees shrunk aside,
And motioned me, 'He's there! he's there!'

A ruse! I knew it for a ruse,
To thwart my search at last. But I
Had been a fool to follow clues,
And let the god himself pass by.

And then the wood in mighty mirth
Laughed at me, all its bulk a-swing;
It roared and bent its giant girth
As if it'd done a clever thing.

But I, on whom its scorn was spent,
Said not a word, but turned away:
To me this truth was evident
No man may see the gods to-day.

Vine And Sycamore

Here where a tree and its wild liana,
Leaning over the streamlet, grow,
Once a nymph, like the moon'd Diana,
Sat in the ages long ago.
Sat with a mortal. with whom she had mated,
Sat and laughed with a mortal youth,
Ere he of the forest, the god who hated,
Saw and changed to a form uncouth....


Once in the woods she had heard a shepherd,
Heard a reed in a golden glade;
Followed, and clad in the skin of a leopard,
Found him fluting within the shade.
Found him sitting with bare brown shoulder,
Lithe and strong as a sapling oak,
And leaning over a mossy boulder,
Love in her wildwood heart awoke.


White she was as a dogwood flower,
Pinkly white as a wild-crab bloom,
Sweetly white as a hawtree bower
Full of dew and the May's perfume.
He who saw her above him burning,
Beautiful, naked, in light arrayed,
Deemed her Diana, and from her turning,
Leapt to his feet and fled afraid.


Far she followed and called and pleaded,
Ever he fled with never a look;
Fled, till he came to this spot, deep-reeded,
Came to the bank of this forest brook.
Here for a moment he stopped and listened,
Heard in her voice her heart's despair,
Saw in her eyes the love that glistened,
Sank on her-bosom and rested there.


Close to her beauty she strained and pressed him,
Held and bound him with kiss on kiss;
Soft with her arms and her lips caressed him,
Sweeter of touch than a blossom is.
Spoke to his heart, and with sweet persuasion
Mastered his soul till its fear was flown;
Spoke to his soul till its mortal evasion
Vanished, and body and soul were her own.


Many a day had they met and mated,
Many a day by this woodland brook,
When he of the forest, the god who hated,
Came on their love and changed with a look.
There on the shore, while they joyed and jested,
He in the shadows, unseen, espied
Her, like the goddess Diana breasted,
Him, like Endymion by her side.


Lo! at a word, at a sign, their folded
Limbs and bodies assumed new form,
Hers to the shape of a tree were molded,
His to a vine with surrounding arm....
So they stand with their limbs enlacing,
Nymph and mortal, upon this shore,
He forever a vine embracing
Her a silvery sycamore.

The Lamp At The Window

Like some gaunt ghost the tempest wails
Outside my door; its icy nails
Beat on the pane: and Night and Storm
Around the house, with furious flails
Of wind, from which the slant sleet hails,
Stalk up and down; or, arm in arm,
Stand giant guard; the wild-beast lair
Of their fierce bosoms black and bare.
My lamp is lit, I have no fear.
Through night and storm my love draws near.
Now through the forest how they go,
With whirlwind hoofs and manes of snow,
The beasts of tempest, Winter herds!
That lift huge heads of mist and low
Like oxen; beasts of air that blow
Ice from their nostrils; winged like birds,
And bullock-breasted, onward hurled,
That shake with tumult all the world.
My lamp is set where love can see,
Who through the tempest comes to me.
I press my face against the pane,
And seem to see, from wood and plain,
In phantom thousands, stormy pale,
The ghosts of forests, tempest-slain,
Vast wraiths of woodlands, rise and strain
And rock wild limbs against the gale;
Or, borne in fragments overhead,
Sow night with horror and with dread.
He comes! my light is as an arm
To guide him onward through the storm.
I hear the tempest from the sky
Cry, eagle-like, its battle-cry;
I hear the night, upon the peaks,
Send back its condor-like reply;
And then again come booming by
The forest's challenge, hoarse as speaks
Hate unto hate, or wrath to wrath,
When each draws sword and sweeps the path.
But let them rage! through darkness far
My bright light leads him like a star.
The cliffs, with all their plumes of pines,
Bow down high heads: the battle-lines
Of all the hills, that iron seams,
Shudder through all their rocky spines:
And under shields of matted vines
The vales crouch down: and all the streams
Are hushed and frozen as with fear
As from the deeps the winds draw near.
But let them come! my lamp is lit!
Nor shall their fury flutter it.
Now 'round and 'round, with stride on stride,
In Boreal armor, darkness-dyed,
I hear the thunder of their strokes
The heavens are rocked on every side
With all their clouds: and far and wide
The earth roars back with all its oaks.
Still at the pane burns bright my light
To guide him onward through the night;
To lead love through the night and storm
Where my young heart shall make him warm.

The Forest Of Fear

The cut-throat darkness hemmed me 'round:
I waited, helpless in its grasp.
The forest gave no sign or sound:
The wind was dead: no insect's rasp
I heard, nor water's gulp and gasp
Fitting its strength against a stone.
The only sound that there was made
Was my wild heart's that sobbed alone,
Knowing itself to be afraid
Of that vast wood where it had strayed.
I dared not move. There was no star
To indicate where God might be.
Night and his henchmen, without bar,
Had there assumed their empery.
Nothing but prayer was left to me.
Around me seemed to loom the dead
Of ages past, gaunt in the gloom.
And when I heard a stealthy tread
As of one groping from the tomb,
I braced myself to meet my doom.
And then I heard a breathing low
As of a beast that seeks its prey;
And then the footstep, soft and slow,
Approached again from far away.
I held my breath lest it betray
Me to some Death in monstrous guise?
With fang or talon, or a blade
Grasped in a hand of giant size?
Or was't a fiend? And then I prayed,
Who never yet had prayed, for aid.
I closed my eyes. My heart was still.
I did not look. I knew it stood
Glaring upon me all its fill.
When would it strike? The ancient wood
Seemed waiting eager for my blood.
I prayed and prayed. The something there
Stood waiting still a fiend from Hell
Gloating upon my soul's despair?
This was the end, I knew too well;
It pealed within me like a bell.
And then I thought, 'In spite of all,
It is but death. Earth can not go
Further than death, whate'er befall.
With open eyes I'll take the blow,
And face to face now meet my foe.'
'My foe?' Perhaps it was a friend.
What whim put in my heart that thought?
I had no friends. This was the end,
And I would face it: I was caught
In the old gin that sin had wrought.
And then I looked I looked to see
How could it be? serene of eye,
A little Child beneath a tree.
A Child that glimmered starrily;
A Christ-like Child not born to die.
And overhead I saw the night'
Had doffed its cowl of, black, and stood
Revealed in azure and in white,
While all the staring solitude
Looked on the round moon o'er the wood.
I called the Child. It smiling came;
Undid the bonds of my despair,
And led me forth. I said, 'Your name?'
I t smiled and, gazing, answered, 'Prayer.'
And with that word went into air.

I remember, when a child,
How within the April wild
Once I walked with Mystery
In the groves of Arcady….
Through the boughs, before, behind,
Swept the mantle of the wind,
Thunderous and unconfined.

Overhead the curving moon
Pierced the twilight: a cocoon,
Golden, big with unborn wings-
Beauty, shaping spiritual things,
Vague, impatient of the night,
Eager for its heavenward flight
Out of darkness into light.

Here and there the oaks assumed
Satyr aspects; shadows gloomed,
Hiding, of a dryad look;
And the naiad-frantic brook,
Crying, fled the solitude,
Filled with terror of the wood,
Or some faun-thing that pursued.

In the dead leaves on the ground
Crept a movement; rose a sound:
Everywhere the silence ticked
As with hands of things that picked
At the loam, or in the dew,-
Elvish sounds that crept or flew,-
Beak-like, pushing surely through.

Down the forest, overhead,
Stammering a dead leaf fled,
Filled with elemental fear
Of some dark destruction near-
One, whose glowworm eyes I saw
Hag with flame the crooked haw,
Which the moon clutched like a claw.

Gradually beneath the tree
Grew a shape; a nudity:
Lithe and slender; silent as
Growth of tree or blade of grass;
Brown and silken as the bloom
Of the trillium in the gloom,
Visible as strange perfume.

For an instant there it stood,
Smiling on me in the wood:
And I saw its hair was green
As the leaf-sheath, gold of sheen:
And its eyes an azure wet,
From within which seemed to jet
Sapphire lights and violet.

Swiftly by I saw it glide;
And the dark was deified:
Wild before it everywhere
Gleamed the greenness of its hair;
And around it danced a light,
Soft, the sapphire of its sight,
Making witchcraft of the night.

On the branch above, the bird
Trilled to it a dreamy word:
In its bud the wild bee droned
Honeyed greeting, drowsy-toned:
And the brook forgot the gloom,
Hushed its heart, and, wrapped in bloom,
Breathed a welcome of perfume.

To its beauty bush and tree
Stretched sweet arms of ecstasy;
And the soul within the rock
Lichen-treasures did unlock
As upon it fell its eye;
And the earth, that felt it nigh,
Into wildflowers seemed to sigh….

Was it dryad? was it faun?
Wandered from the times long gone.
Was it sylvan? was it fay?-
Dim survivor of the day
When Religion peopled streams,
Woods and rocks with shapes like gleams,-
That invaded then my dreams?

Was it shadow? was it shape?
Or but fancy's wild escape?-
Of my own child's world the charm
That assumed material form?-
Of my soul the mystery,
That the spring revealed to me,
There in long-lost Arcady?

Those were the days of doubt. How clear
It all comes back! This ribbon, see?
Brings that far past so very near
I lose my own identity,
And seem two beings: one that's here,
And one back in that century
Of cowardice and fear,
Wherein I met with love and her,
When I was but a wanderer.
Those were the days of doubt, I said:
I doubted all things; even God.
Within my heart there was no dread
Of Hell or Heaven. Never a rod
Was there to smite; no mercy led:
And man's reward was death: a clod
He was, alive or dead.
Those were the days of doubt; and so
I scoffed at all things, high and low.
And then I met her. Fair and frail,
A girl whose soul was as a flame
That burns within the Holy Grael;
And through her eyes shone clear the same
Fanatic fire, pure and pale,
That once put Sisera to shame
In the dark eyes of Jael,
When, leading him into her tent,
She used the nail as argument.
There was no argument of grace
She did not use; no dogma, wrought
Of sophistry, she did not place
Before me, leading up my thought
To Heaven from the fearful maze
Of Hell, wherein God's angels fought
With fiends, on darkling ways.
I listened but in her young look
Was more for me than in God's Book.
She seemed a priestess. Heaven to be
Was in her face. A ribbon bound
Her hair like a phylactery.
This is the band. I took it; wound
And laid it on my heart. Ah me!
No other argument I found
As good as that. Convincingly
It held me sane and sound.
And I have kept it here alway
Since first she gave it me that day.
'Where is she now'? I do not know.
She is the wife of one whose hand,
Stretched forth to aid me long-ago,
Took from me more than all this land
In her own self, and gave me woe
To take her place. As here I stand
I stood and took the blow,
While in my heart I looked and saw
The love that fiiled my soul with awe.
And did she love me? Am I sure?
Ah, while I heard angelic hosts
Of Heaven singing love, there were
Black wings about me: all the ghosts
Of all my doubts. I heard them stir,
And so drew back from those bright coasts
Of happiness with her.
Despite the love within my heart
Doubt entered, and began its part.
Make no mistake. I loved her; ay!
And she loved me as women love
The thing they save. I spoke my lie,
That by my lie I so might prove
Her love, and with the proof defy
The doubt, whose shadow hung above,
Watching with jealous eye.
So I denied love. Played a part
And, playing it, broke my own heart.
The better part of me then died;
I killed her love, not mine. You see
I keep this ribbon here, she tied
My heart to hers with. Silkenly
It says, 'She is another's bride.
Through me now keep in memory
Your doubt was justified.
She did not love you. She could change.'
I keep the ribbon. Is it strange?

The Forest Of Shadows

Deep in the hush of a mighty wood
I came to a place of dread and dream,
And forms of shadows, whose shapes elude
The searching swords of the sun's dim gleam,
Builders of silence and solitude.
And there where a glimmering water crept
From rock to rock with a slumberous sound,
Tired to tears, on the mossy ground,
Under a tree I lay and slept.
Was it the heart of an olden oak?
Was it the soul of a flower that died?
Or was it the wildrose there that spoke,
The wilding lily that palely sighed?
For all on a sudden it seemed I awoke:
And the leaves and the flowers were all intent
On a visible something of light and bloom
A presence, felt as a wild perfume
Or beautiful music, that came and went.
And all the grief, I had known, was gone;
And all the anguish of heart and soul;
And the burden of care that had made me wan
Lifted and left me strong and whole
As once in the flush of my youth's dead dawn.
And, lo! it was night. And the oval moon,
A silvery silence, paced the wood:
And there in its light like snow she stood,
As starry still as a star aswoon.
At first I thought that I looked into
A shadowy water of violet,
Where the faint reflection of one I knew,
Long dead, gazed up from its mirror wet,
Till she smiled in my face as the living do;
Till I felt her touch, and heard her say,
In a voice as still as a rose unfolds,
'You have come at last; and now nothing holds;
Give me your hand; let us wander away.
'Let us wander away through the Shadow Wood,
Through the Shadow Wood to the Shadow Land,
Where the trees have speech and the blossoms brood
Like visible music; and hand in hand
The winds and the waters go rainbow-hued:
Where ever the voice of beauty sighs;
And ever the dance of dreams goes on;
Where nothing grows old; and the dead and gone,
And the loved and lost, smile into your eyes.
'Let us wander away! let us wander away!
Do you hear them calling, 'Come here and live'?
Do you hear what the trees and the flowers say,
Wonderful, wild, and imperative,
Hushed as the hues of the dawn of day?
They say, 'Your life, that was rose and rue
In a world of shadows where all things die,
Where beauty is dust and love, a lie,
Is finished. Come here! we are waiting for you!''
And she took my hand: and the trees around
Seemed whispering something I dared not hear:
And the taciturn flowers, that strewed the ground,
Seemed thinking something I felt with fear,
A beautiful something that made no sound.
And she led me on through the forest old,
Where the moon and the midnight stood on guard,
Sentinel spirits that shimmered the sward,
Silver and sable and glimmering gold.
And then in an instant I knew. I knew
What the trees had whispered, the winds had said;
What the flowers had thought in their hearts of dew,
And the stars had syllabled overhead,
And she bent above me and smiled,' 'T is true!
Heart of my heart, you have heard aright .
Look in my eyes and draw me near!
Look in my eyes and have no fear!
Heart of my heart, you died to-night!'

The Alps of the Tyrol are dark with pines,
Where, foaming under the mountain spines,
The Inn's long water sounds and shines.

Beyond, are peaks where the morning weaves
An icy rose; and the evening leaves
The glittering gold of a thousand sheaves.

Deep vines and torrents and glimmering haze,
And sheep-bells tinkling on mountain ways,
And fluting shepherds make sweet the days.

The rolling mist, like a wandering fleece,
The great round moon in a mountain crease,
And a song of love make the nights all peace.

Beneath the blue Tyrolean skies
On the banks of the Inn, that foams and flies,
The storied city of Innsbruck lies.

With its mediaeval streets, that crook,
And its gabled houses, it has the look
Of a belfried town in a fairy-book.

So wild the Tyrol that oft, 'tis said,
When the storm is out and the town in bed,
The howling of wolves sweeps overhead.

And oft the burgher, sitting here
In his walled rose-garden, hears the clear
Shrill scream of the eagle circling near.

And this is the tale that the burghers tell:
The Abbot of Wiltau stood at his cell
Where the Solstein lifts its pinnacle.

A mighty summit of bluffs and crags
That frowns on the Inn; where the forest stags
Have worn a path to the water-flags.

The Abbot of Wiltau stood below;
And he was aware of a plume and bow
On the precipice there in the morning's glow.

A chamois, he saw, from span to span
Had leapt; and after it leapt a man;
And he knew 't was the Kaiser Maxmilian.

But, see! though rash as the chamois he,
His foot less sure. And verily
If the King should miss ... 'Jesu, Marie!

'The King hath missed!'-And, look, he falls!
Rolls headlong out to the headlong walls.
What saint shall save him on whom he calls?

What saint shall save him, who struggles there
On the narrow ledge by the eagle's lair,
With hooked hands clinging 'twixt earth and air?

The Abbot, he crosses himself in dread
'Let prayers go up for the nearly dead,
And the passing-bell be tolled,' he said.

'For the House of Hapsburg totters; see,
How raveled the thread of its destiny,
Sheer hung between cloud and rock!' quoth he.

But hark! where the steeps of the peak reply,
Is it an eagle's echoing cry?
And the flitting shadow, its plumes on high?

No voice of the eagle is that which rings!
And the shadow, a wiry man who swings
Down, down where the desperate Kaiser clings.

The crampons bound to his feet, he leaps
Like a chamois now; and again he creeps
Or twists, like a snake, o'er the fearful deeps.

'By his cross-bow, baldrick, and cap's black curl,'
Quoth the Abbot below, 'I know the churl!
'T is the hunted outlaw Zyps of Zirl.

'Upon whose head, or dead or alive,
The Kaiser hath posted a price.-Saints shrive
The King!' quoth Wiltau. 'Who may contrive

'To save him now that his foe is there?'
But, listen! again through the breathless air
What words are those that the echoes bear?

'Courage, my King!-To the rescue, ho!'
The wild voice rings like a twanging bow,
And the staring Abbot stands mute below.

And, lo! the hand of the outlaw grasps
The arm of the King-and death unclasps
Its fleshless fingers from him who gasps.

And how he guides! where the clean cliffs wedge
Them flat to their faces; by chasm and ledge
He helps the King from the merciless edge.

Then up and up, past bluffs that shun
The rashest chamois; where eagles sun
Fierce wings and brood; where the mists are spun.

And safe at last stand Kaiser and churl
On the mountain path where the mosses curl
And this the revenge of Zyps of Zirl.

In some quaint Nurnberg

Uprummaged. When and where was never clear
Nor yet how he obtained it. When, by whom
'Twas painted-who shall say? itself a gloom
Resisting inquisition. I opine
It is a Duerer. Mark that touch, this line;
Are they deniable?-Distinguished grace
Of the pure oval of the noble face
Tarnished in color badly. Half in light
Extend it so. Incline. The exquisite
Expression leaps abruptly: piercing scorn;
Imperial beauty; each, an icy thorn
Of light, disdainful eyes and… well! no use!
Effaced and but beheld! a sad abuse
Of patience.-Often, vaguely visible,
The portrait fills each feature, making swell
The heart with hope: avoiding face and hair
Start out in living hues; astonished, 'There!-
The picture lives!' your soul exults, when, lo!
You hold a blur; an undetermined glow
Dislimns a daub.-'Restore?'-Ah, I have tried
Our best restorers, and it has defied.

Storied, mysterious, say, perhaps a ghost
Lives in the canvas; hers, some artist lost;
A duchess', haply. Her he worshiped; dared
Not tell he worshiped. From his window stared
Of Nuremberg one sunny morn when she
Passed paged to court. Her cold nobility
Loved, lived for like a purpose. Seized and plied
A feverish brush-her face!-Despaired and died.

The narrow Judengasse: gables frown
Around a humpbacked usurer's, where brown,
Neglected in a corner, long it lay,
Heaped in a pile of riff-raff, such as-say,
Retables done in tempera and old
Panels by Wohlgemuth; stiff paintings cold
Of martyrs and apostles,-names forgot,-
Holbeins and Duerers, say; a haloed lot
Of praying saints, madonnas: these, perchance,
'Mid wine-stained purples, mothed; an old romance;
A crucifix and rosary; inlaid
Arms, Saracen-elaborate; a strayed
Niello of Byzantium; rich work,
In bronze, of Florence: here a murderous dirk,
There holy patens.
So.-My ancestor,
The first De Herancour, esteemed by far
This piece most precious, most desirable;

Purchased and brought to Paris. It looked well
In the dark paneling above the old
Hearth of the room. The head's religious gold,
The soft severity of the nun face,
Made of the room an apostolic place
Revered and feared.-
Like some lived scene I see
That Gothic room: its Flemish tapestry;
Embossed within the marble hearth a shield,
Carved 'round with thistles; in its argent field
Three sable mallets-arms of Herancour-
Topped with the crest, a helm and hands that bore,
Outstretched, two mallets. On a lectern laid,-
Between two casements, lozenge-paned, embayed,-
A vellum volume of black-lettered text.
Near by a taper, winking as if vexed
With silken gusts a nervous curtain sends,
Behind which, haply, daggered Murder bends.

And then I seem to see again the hall;
The stairway leading to that room.-Then all
The terror of that night of blood and crime
Passes before me.-
It is Catherine's time:
The house De Herancour's. On floors, splashed red,
Torchlight of Medicean wrath is shed.
Down carven corridors and rooms,-where couch
And chairs lie shattered and black shadows crouch
Torch-pierced with fear,-a sound of swords draws near-
The stir of searching steel.
What find they here,
Torch-bearer, swordsman, and fierce halberdier,
On St. Bartholomew's?-A Huguenot!
Dead in his chair! Eyes, violently shot
With horror, glaring at the portrait there:
Coiling his neck a blood line, like a hair
Of finest fire. The portrait, like a fiend,-
Looking exalted visitation,-leaned
From its black panel; in its eyes a hate
Satanic; hair-a glowing auburn; late
A dull, enduring golden.
'Just one thread
Of the fierce hair around his throat,' they said,
'Twisting a burning ray; he-staring dead.'

An Ode to be read on the laying of the foundation
stone of the new Oglethorpe University,
January, 1915, at Atlanta,
AS when with oldtime passion for this Land
Here once she stood, and in her pride, sent forth
Workmen on every hand,
Sowing the seed of knowledge South and North,
More gracious now than ever, let her rise,
The splendor of a new dawn in her eyes;
Grave, youngest sister of that company,
That smiling wear
Laurel and pine
And wild magnolias in their flowing hair;
The sisters Academe,
With thoughts divine,
Standing with eyes a-dream,
Gazing beyond the world, into the sea,
Where lie the Islands of Infinity.
Now in these stormy days of stress and strain,
When Gospel seems in vain,
And Christianity a dream we've lost,
That once we made our boast;
Now when all life is brought
Face to grim face with naught,
And a condition speaking, trumpet-lipped,
Of works material, leaving Beauty out
Of God's economy; while, horror-dipped,
Lies our buried faith, full near to perish,
'Mid the high things we cherish,
In these tempestuous days when, to and fro
The serpent, Evil, goes and strews his way
With dragon's teeth that play
Their part as once they did in Jason's day;
And War, with menace loud,
And footsteps, metal-slow,
And eyes a crimson hot,
Is seen, against the Heaven a burning blot
Of blood and tears and woe:
Now when no mortal living seems to know
Whither to turn for hope, we turn to thee,
And such as thou art, asking 'What's to be?'
And that thou point the path
Above Earth's hate and wrath,
And Madness, stalking with his torch aglow
Amid the ruins of the Nations slow
Crumbling to ashes with Old Empire there
In Europe's tiger lair.
A temple may'st thou be,
A temple by the everlasting sea,
For the high goddess, Ideality,
Set like a star,
Above the peaks of dark reality:
Shining afar
Above the deeds of War,
Within the shrine of Love, whose face men mar
With Militarism,
That is the prism
Through which they gaze with eyes obscured of Greed,
At the white light of God's Eternity,
The comfort of the world, the soul's great need,
That beacons Earth indeed,
Breaking its light intense
With turmoil and suspense
And failing human Sense.
From thee a higher Creed
Shall be evolved.
The broken lights resolved
Into one light again, of glorious light,
Between us and the Everlasting, that is God.—
The all-confusing fragments, that are night,
Lift up thy rod
Of knowledge and from Truth's eyeballs strip
The darkness, and in armor of the Right,
Bear high the standard of imperishable light!
Cry out, 'Awake! — I slept awhile! — Awake!
Again I take
My burden up of Truth for Jesus' sake,
And stand for what he stood for, Peace and Thought,
And all that's Beauty-wrought
Through doubt and dread and ache,
By which the world to good at last is brought!'
No more with silence burdened, when the Land
Was stricken by the hand
Of war, she rises, and assumes her stand
For the Enduring; setting firm her feet
On what is blind and brute:
Still holding fast
With honor to the past,
Speaking a trumpet word,
Which shall be heard
As an authority, no longer mute.
Again, yea, she shall stand
For what Truth means to Man
For science and for Art and all that can
Make life superior to the things that weight
The soul down, things of hate
Instead of love, for which the world was planned;
May she demand
Faith and inspire it; Song to lead her way
Above the crags of Wrong
Into the broader day;
And may she stand
For poets still; poets that now the Land
Needs as it never needed; such an one
As he, large Nature's Son
Lanier, who with firm hand
Held up her magic wand
Directing deep in music such as none
Has ever heard
Such music as a bird
Gives of its soul, when dying,
And unconscious if it's heard.
So let her rise, mother of greatness still,
Above all temporal ill;
Invested with all old nobility,
Teaching the South decision, self control
And strength of mind and soul;
Achieving ends that shall embrace the whole
Through deeds of heart and mind;
And thereby bind
Its effort to an end
And reach its goal.
So shall she win
A wrestler with sin,
Supremely to a place above the years,
And help men rise
To what is wise
And true beyond their mortal finite scan —
The purblind gaze of man;
Aiding with introspective eyes
His soul to see a higher plan
Of life beyond this life; above the gyves
Of circumstance that bind him in his place
Of doubt and keep away his face
From what alone survives;
And what assures
Immortal life to that within, that gives
Of its own self,
And through its giving, lives,
And evermore endures.

The Black Knight

I had not found the road too short,
As once I had in days of youth,
In that old forest of long ruth,
Where my young knighthood broke its heart,
Ere love and it had come to part,
And lies made mockery of truth.
I had not found the road too short.

A blind man, by the nightmare way,
Had set me right when I was wrong.-
I had been blind my whole life long-
What wonder then that on this day
The blind should show me how astray
My strength had gone, my heart once strong.
A blind man pointed me the way.

The road had been a heartbreak one,
Of roots and rocks and tortured trees,
And pools, above my horse's knees,
And wandering paths, where spiders spun
'Twixt boughs that never saw the sun,
And silence of lost centuries.
The road had been a heartbreak one.

It seemed long years since that black hour
When she had fled, and I took horse
To follow, and without remorse
To slay her and her paramour
In that old keep, that ruined tower,
From whence was borne her father's corse.
It seemed long years since that black hour.

And now my horse was starved and spent,
My gallant destrier, old and spare;
The vile road's mire in mane and hair,
I felt him totter as he went:-
Such hungry woods were never meant
For pasture: hate had reaped them bare.
Aye, my poor beast was old and spent.

I too had naught to stay me with;
And like my horse was starved and lean;
My armor gone; my raiment mean;
Bare-haired I rode; uneasy sith
The way I'd lost, and some dark myth
Far in the woods had laughed obscene.
I had had naught to stay me with.

Then I dismounted. Better so.
And found that blind man at my rein.
And there the path stretched straight and plain.
I saw at once the way to go.
The forest road I used to know
In days when life had less of pain.
Then I dismounted. Better so.

I had but little time to spare,
Since evening now was drawing near;
And then I thought I saw a sneer
Enter into that blind man's stare:
And suddenly a thought leapt bare,-
What if the Fiend had set him here!-
I still might smite him or might spare.

I braced my sword: then turned to look:
For I had heard an evil laugh:
The blind man, leaning on his staff,
Still stood there where my leave I took:
What! did he mock me? Would I brook
A blind fool's scorn?-My sword was half
Out of its sheath. I turned to look:

And he was gone. And to my side
My horse came nickering as afraid.
Did he too fear to be betrayed?-
What use for him? I might not ride.
So to a great bough there I tied,
And left him in the forest glade:
My spear and shield I left beside.

My sword was all I needed there.
It would suffice to right my wrongs;
To cut the knot of all those thongs
With which she'd bound me to despair,
That woman with her midnight hair,
Her Circe snares and Siren songs.
My sword was all I needed there.

And then that laugh again I heard,
Evil as Hell and darkness are.
It shook my heart behind its bar
Of purpose, like some ghastly word.
But then it may have been a bird,
An owlet in the forest far,
A raven, croaking, that I heard.

I loosed my sword within its sheath;
My sword, disuse and dews of night
Had fouled with rust and iron-blight.
I seemed to hear the forest breathe
A menace at me through its teeth
Of thorns 'mid which the way lay white.
I loosed my sword within its sheath.

I had not noticed until now
The sun was gone, and gray the moon
Hung staring; pale as marble hewn;-
Like some old malice, bleak of brow,
It glared at me through leaf and bough,
With which the tattered way was strewn.
I had not noticed until now.

And then, all unexpected, vast
Above the tops of ragged pines
I saw a ruin, dark with vines,
Against the blood-red sunset massed:
My perilous tower of the past,
Round which the woods thrust giant spines.
I never knew it was so vast.

Long while I stood considering.-
This was the place and this the night.
The blind man then had set me right.
Here she had come for sheltering.
That ruin held her: that dark wing
Which flashed a momentary light.
Some time I stood considering.

Deep darkness fell. The somber glare
Of sunset, that made cavernous eyes
Of those gaunt casements 'gainst the skies,
Had burnt to ashes everywhere.
Before my feet there rose a stair
Of oozy stone, of giant size,
On which the gray moon flung its glare.

Then I went forward, sword in hand,
Until the slimy causeway loomed,
And huge beyond it yawned and gloomed
The gateway where one seemed to stand,
In armor, like a burning brand,
Sword-drawn; his visor barred and plumed.
And I went toward him, sword in hand.

He should not stay revenge from me.
Whatever lord or knight he were,
He should not keep me long from her,
That woman dyed in infamy.
No matter. God or devil he,
His sword should prove no barrier.-
Fool! who would keep revenge from me!

And then I heard, harsh over all,
That demon laughter, filled with scorn:
It woke the echoes, wild, forlorn,
Dark in the ivy of that wall,
As when, within a mighty hall,
One blows a giant battle-horn.
Loud, loud that laugh rang over all.

And then I struck him where he towered:
I struck him, struck with all my hate:
Black-plumed he loomed before the gate:
I struck, and found his sword that showered
Fierce flame on mine while black he glowered
Behind his visor's wolfish grate.
I struck; and taller still he towered.

A year meseemed we battled there:
A year; ten years; a century:
My blade was snapped; his lay in three:
His mail was hewn; and everywhere
Was blood; it streaked my face and hair;
And still he towered over me.
A year meseemed we battled there.

'Unmask!' I cried. 'Yea, doff thy casque!
Put up thy visor! fight me fair!
I have no mail; my head is bare!
Take off thy helm, is all I ask!
Why dost thou hide thy face?-Unmask!'-
My eyes were blind with blood and hair,
And still I cried, 'Take off thy casque!'

And then once more that laugh rang out
Like madness in the caves of Hell:
It hooted like some monster well,
The haunt of owls, or some mad rout
Of witches. And with battle shout
Once more upon that knight I fell,
While wild again that laugh rang out.

Like Death's own eyes his glared in mine,
As with the fragment of my blade
I smote him helmwise; huge he swayed,
Then crashed, like some cadaverous pine,
Uncasqued, his face in full moonshine:
And I-I saw; and shrank afraid.
For, lo! behold! the face was mine.

What devil's work was here!-What jest
For fiends to laugh at, demons hiss!-
To slay myself? and so to miss
My hate's reward?-revenge confessed!-
Was this knight I?-My brain I pressed.-
Then who was he who gazed on this?-
What devil's work was here!--What jest!

It was myself on whom I gazed-
My darker self!-With fear I rose.-
I was right weak from those great blows.-
I stood bewildered, stunned and dazed,
And looked around with eyes amazed.-
I could not slay her now, God knows!-
Around me there a while I gazed.

Then turned and fled into the night,
While overhead once more I heard
That laughter, like some demon bird
Wailing in darkness.-Then a light
Made clear a woman by that knight.
I saw 'twas she, but said no word,
And silent fled into the night.

The North Shore

September On Cape Ann

The partridge-berry flecks with flame the way
That leads to ferny hollows where the bee
Drones on the aster. Far away the sea
Points its deep sapphire with a gleam of grey.
Here from this height where, clustered sweet, the bay
Clumps a green couch, the haw and barberry
Beading her hair, sad Summer, seemingly,
Has fallen asleep, unmindful of the day.
The chipmunk barks upon the old stone wall;
And in the shadows, like a shadow, stirs
The woodchuck where the boneset's blossom creams.
Was that a phoebe with its pensive call?
A sighing wind that shook the drowsy firs?
Or only Summer waking from her dreams?


In An Annisquam Garden

Old phantoms haunt it of the long ago;
Old ghosts of old-time lovers and of dreams:
Within the quiet sunlight there, meseems,
I see them walking where those lilies blow.
The hardy phlox sways to some garment's flow;
The salvia there with sudden scarlet streams,
Caught from some ribbon of some throat that gleams,
Petunia-fair, in flounce and furbelow.
I seem to hear their whispers in each wind
That wanders mid the flowers. There they stand!
Among the shadows of that apple-tree!
They are not dead, whom still it keeps in mind,
This garden, planted by some lovely hand
That keeps it fragrant with its memory.


The Elements

I saw the spirit of the pines that spoke
With spirits of the ocean and the storm:
Against the tumult rose its tattered form,
Wild rain and darkness round it like a cloak.
Fearful it stood, limbed like some twisted oak,
Gesticulating with one giant arm,
Raised as in protest of the night's alarm,
Defiant still of some impending stroke.
Below it, awful in its majesty,
The spirit of the deep, with rushing locks,
Raved: and above it, lightning-clad and shod,
Thundered the tempest. Thus they stood, the three;
Terror around them; while, upon the rocks,
Destruction danced, mocking at man and God.


Night And Storm At Gloucester

I heard the wind last night that cried and wept
Like some old skipper's ghost outside my door;
And on the roof the rain that tramped and tore
Like feet of seamen on a deck storm-swept.
Against the pane the Night with shudderings crept,
And crouched there wailing; moaning ever more
Its tale of terror; of the wrath on shore,
The rage at sea, bidding all wake who slept.
And then I heard a voice as old as Time;
The calling of the mother of the world,
Ocean, who thundered on her granite crags,
Foaming with fury, meditating crime.
And then, far off, wild minute guns; and, hurled
Through roaring surf, the rush of sails in rags.


The Voice Of Ocean

A cry went through the darkness; and the moon,
Hurrying through storm, gazed with a ghastly face,
Then cloaked herself in scud: the merman race
Of surges ceased; and then th' Æolian croon
Of the wild siren, Wind, within the shrouds
Sunk to a sigh. The ocean in that place
Seemed listening; haunted, for a moment's space,
By something dread that cried against the clouds.
Mystery and night; and with them fog and rain:
And then that cry again as if the deep
Uttered its loneliness in one dark word:
Her horror of herself; her Titan pain;
Her monsters; and the dead that she must keep,
Has kept, alone, for centuries, unheard.



I saw the daughters of the ocean dance
With wind and tide, and heard them on the rocks:
White hands they waved me, tossing sunlit locks,
Green as the light an emerald holds in trance.
Their music bound me as with necromance
Of mermaid beauty, that for ever mocks,
And lured me as destruction lures wild flocks
Of light-led gulls and storm-tossed cormorants.
Nearer my feet they crept: I felt their lips:
Their hands of foam that caught at me, to press,
As once they pressed Leander: and, straightway,
I saw the monster-ending of their hips;
The cruelty hid in their soft caress;
The siren-passion ever more to slay.


A Bit Of Coast

One tree, storm-twisted, like an evil hag,
The sea-wind in its hair, beside a path
Waves frantic arms, as if in wild-witch wrath
At all the world. Gigantic, grey as slag,
Great boulders shoulder through the hills, or crag
The coast with danger, monster-like, that lifts
Huge granite, round which wheel the gulls and swifts,
And at whose base the rotting sea-weeds drag.
Inward the hills are wooded; valley-cleft;
Tangled with berries; vistaed dark with pines;
At whose far end, as 'twere within a frame,
Some trail of water that the ocean left
Gleams like a painting where one white sail shines,
Lit with the sunset's poppy-coloured flame.


Autumn At Annisquam

The bitter-sweet and red-haw in her hands,
And in her hair pale berries of the bay,
She haunts the coves and every Cape Ann way,
The Indian, Autumn, wandered from her bands.
Beside the sea, upon a rock, she stands,
And looks across the foam, and straight the grey
Takes on a sunset tone, and all the day
Murmurs with music of forgotten lands.
Now in the woods, knee-deep among the ferns,
She walks and smiles and listens to the pines,
The sweetheart pines, that kiss and kiss again,
Whispering their love: and now she frowns and turns
And in the west the fog in ragged lines
Rears the wild wigwams of the tribes of rain.


Storm Sabbat

Against the pane the darkness, wet and cold,
Pressed a wild face and raised a ragged arm
Of cloud, clothed on with thunder and alarm
And terrible with elemental gold.
Above the fisher's hut, beyond the wold,
The wind, a Salem witch, rushed shrieking harm,
And swept her mad broom over every farm
To devil-revels in some forest old.
Hell and its-hags, it seemed, held court again
On every rock, trailing a tattered gown
Of surf, and whirling, screaming, to the sea
Elf-locks, fantastic, of dishevelled rain;
While in their midst death hobbled up and down
Monstrous and black, with diabolic glee.


The Aurora

Night and the sea, and heaven overhead
Cloudless and vast, as 'twere of hollowed spar,
Wherein the facets gleamed of many a star,
And the half-moon a crystal radiance shed.
Then suddenly, with burning banners spread,
In pale celestial armour, as for war,
Into the heaven, flaming from afar,
The Northern Lights their phalanxed splendours led.
Night, for the moment, seemed to catch her breath,
And earth gazed, silent with astonishment,
As spear on spear the auroral armies came;
As when, triumphant over hell and death,
The victor angels thronged God's firmament
With sword on sword and burning oriflamme.



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.


An Abandoned Quarry

The barberry burns, the rose-hip crimsons warm,
And haw and sumach hedge the hill with fire,
Down which the road winds, worn of hoof and tire,
Only the blueberry-picker plods now from the farm.
Here once the quarry-driver, brown of arm,
Wielded the whip when, deep in mud and mire,
The axle strained, and earned his daily hire,
Labouring bareheaded in both sun and storm.
Wild-cherry now and blackberry and bay
Usurp the place: the wild-rose, undisturbed,
Riots, where once the workman earned his wage,
Whose old hands rest now, like this granite grey,
These rocks, whose stubborn will whilom he curbed,
Hard as the toil that was his heritage.


A Pool Among The Rocks

I know a pool, whose crystalline repose
Sleeps under walls of granite, whence the pine
Leans looking at its image, line for line
Repeated with the sumach and wild-rose
That redden on the rocks; where, at day's close,
The sunset dreams, and lights incarnadine
Dark waters and the place seems brimmed with wine,
A giant cup that splendour overflows.
Night, in her livery of stars and moon,
Stoops to its mirror, gazing steadily;
And, saddened by her beauty, drops one tear,
A falling star; while round it sighs the rune
Of winds, conspirators that sweep from sea,
Whispering of things that fill the heart with fear.


High On A Hill

There is a place among the Cape Ann hills
That looks from fir-dark summits on the sea,
Whose surging sapphire changes constantly
Beneath deep heavens, Morning windowsills,
With golden calm, or sunset citadels
With storm, whose towers the winds' confederacy
And bandit thunder hold in rebel fee,
Swooping upon the ilsher's sail that swells.
A place, where Sorrow ceases to complain,
And life's old Cares put all their burdens by,
And Weariness forgets itself in rest.
Would that all life were like it; might obtain
Its pure repose, its outlook, strong and high,
That sees, beyond, far Islands of the Blest.

Intimations Of The Beautiful


The hills are full of prophecies
And ancient voices of the dead;
Of hidden shapes that no man sees,
Pale, visionary presences,
That speak the things no tongue hath said,
No mind hath thought, no eye hath read.

The streams are full of oracles,
And momentary whisperings;
An immaterial beauty swells
Its breezy silver o'er the shells
With wordless speech that sings and sings
The message of diviner things.

No indeterminable thought is theirs,
The stars', the sunsets' and the flowers';
Whose inexpressible speech declares
Th' immortal Beautiful, who shares
This mortal riddle which is ours,
Beyond the forward-flying hours.


It holds and beckons in the streams;
It lures and touches us in all
The flowers of the golden fall-
The mystic essence of our dreams:
A nymph blows bubbling music where
Faint water ripples down the rocks;
A faun goes dancing hoiden locks,
And piping a Pandean air,
Through trees the instant wind shakes bare.

Our dreams are never otherwise
Than real when they hold us so;
We in some future life shall know
Them parts of it and recognize
Them as ideal substance, whence
The actual is-(as flowers and trees,
From color sources no one sees,
Draw dyes, the substance of a sense)-
Material with intelligence.


What intimations made them wise,
The mournful pine, the pleasant beech?
What strange and esoteric speech?-
(Communicated from the skies
In runic whispers)-that invokes
The boles that sleep within the seeds,
And out of narrow darkness leads
The vast assemblies of the oaks.

Within his knowledge, what one reads
The poems written by the flowers?
The sermons, past all speech of ours,
Preached by the gospel of the weeds?-
O eloquence of coloring!
O thoughts of syllabled perfume!
O beauty uttered into bloom!
Teach me your language! let me sing!


Along my mind flies suddenly
A wildwood thought that will not die;
That makes me brother to the bee,
And cousin to the butterfly:
A thought, such as gives perfume to
The blushes of the bramble-rose,
And, fixed in quivering crystal, glows
A captive in the prismed dew.

It leads the feet no certain way;
No frequent path of human feet:
Its wild eyes follow me all day;
All day I hear its wild heart beat:
And in the night it sings and sighs
The songs the winds and waters love;
Its wild heart lying tranced above,
And tranced the wildness of its eyes.


Oh, joy, to walk the way that goes
Through woods of sweet-gum and of beech!
Where, like a ruby left in reach,
The berry of the dogwood glows:
Or where the bristling hillsides mass,
'Twixt belts of tawny sassafras,
Brown shocks of corn in wigwam rows!

Where, in the hazy morning, runs
The stony branch that pools and drips,
The red-haws and the wild-rose hips
Are strewn like pebbles; and the sun's
Own gold seems captured by the weeds;
To see, through scintillating seeds,
The hunters steal with glimmering guns!

Oh, joy, to go the path which lies
Through woodlands where the trees are tall!
Beneath the misty moon of fall,
Whose ghostly girdle prophesies
A morn wind-swept and gray with rain;
When, o'er the lonely, leaf-blown lane,
The night-hawk like a dead leaf flies!

To stand within the dewy ring
Where pale death smites the boneset blooms,
And everlasting's flowers, and plumes
Of mint, with aromatic wing!
And hear the creek,-whose sobbing seems
A wild-man murmuring in his dreams,-
And insect violins that sing.

Or where the dim persimmon tree
Rains on the path its frosty fruit,
And in the oak the owl doth hoot,
Beneath the moon and mist, to see
The outcast Year go,-Hagar-wise,-
With far-off, melancholy eyes,
And lips that sigh for sympathy.


Towards evening, where the sweet-gum flung
Its thorny balls among the weeds,
And where the milkweed's sleepy seeds,-
A faery Feast of Lanterns,-swung;
The cricket tuned a plaintive lyre,
And o'er the hills the sunset hung
A purple parchment scrawled with fire.

From silver-blue to amethyst
The shadows deepened in the vale;
And belt by belt the pearly-pale
Aladdin fabric of the mist
Built up its exhalation far;
A jewel on an Afrit's wrist,
One star gemmed sunset's cinnabar.

Then night drew near, as when, alone,
The heart and soul grow intimate;
And on the hills the twilight sate
With shadows, whose wild robes were sown
With dreams and whispers;-dreams, that led
The heart once with love's monotone,
And memories of the living-dead.


All night the rain-gusts shook the leaves
Around my window; and the blast
Rumbled the flickering flue, and fast
The storm streamed from the dripping eaves.
As if-'neath skies gone mad with fear-
The witches' Sabboth galloped past,
The forests leapt like startled deer.

All night I heard the sweeping sleet;
And when the morning came, as slow
As wan affliction, with the woe
Of all the world dragged at her feet,
No spear of purple shattered through
The dark gray of the east; no bow
Of gold shot arrows swift and blue.

But rain, that whipped the windows; filled
The spouts with rushings; and around
The garden stamped, and sowed the ground
With limbs and leaves; the wood-pool filled
With overgurgling.-Bleak and cold
The fields looked, where the footpath wound
Through teasel and bur-marigold.

Yet there's a kindness in such days
Of gloom, that doth console regret
With sympathy of tears, which wet
Old eyes that watch the back-log blaze.-
A kindness, alien to the deep
Glad blue of sunny days that let
No thought in of the lives that weep.


This dawn, through which the Autumn glowers,-
As might a face within our sleep,
With stone-gray eyes that weep and weep,
And wet brows bound with sodden flowers,-
Is sunset to some sister land;
A land of ruins and of palms;
Rich sunset, crimson with long calms,-
Whose burning belt low mountains bar,-
That sees some brown Rebecca stand
Beside a well the camel-band
Winds down to 'neath the evening star.

O sunset, sister to this dawn!
O dawn, whose face is turned away!
Who gazest not upon this day,
But back upon the day that's gone!
Enamored so of loveliness,
The retrospect of what thou wast,
Oh, to thyself the present trust!
And as thy past be beautiful
With hues, that never can grow less!
Waiting thy pleasure to express
New beauty lest the world grow dull.


Down in the woods a sorcerer,
Out of rank rain and death, distills,-
Through chill alembics of the air,-
Aromas that brood everywhere
Among the whisper-haunted hills:
The bitter myrrh of dead leaves fills
Wet valleys (where the gaunt weeds bleach)
With rainy scents of wood-decay;-
As if a spirit all the day
Sat breathing softly 'neath the beech.

With other eyes I see her flit,
The wood-witch of the wild perfumes,
Among her elfin owls,-that sit,
A drowsy white, in crescent-lit
Dim glens of opalescent glooms:-
Where, for her magic, buds and blooms
Mysterious perfumes, while she stands,
A thornlike shadow, summoning
The sleepy odors, that take wing
Like bubbles from her dewy hands.


Among the woods they call to me-
The lights that haunt the wood and stream;
Voices of such white ecstasy
As moves with hushed lips through a dream:
They stand in auraed radiances,
Or flash with nimbused limbs across
Their golden shadows on the moss,
Or slip in silver through the trees.

What love can give the heart in me
More hope and exaltation than
The hand of light that tips the tree
And beckons far from marts of man?
That reaches foamy fingers through
The broken ripple, and replies
With sparkling speech of lips and eyes
To souls who seek and still pursue.


Give me the streams, that counterfeit
The twilight of autumnal skies;
The shadowy, silent waters, lit
With fire like a woman's eyes!
Slow waters that, in autumn, glass
The scarlet-strewn and golden grass,
And drink the sunset's tawny dyes.

Give me the pools, that lie among
The centuried forests! give me those,
Deep, dim, and sad as darkness hung
Beneath the sunset's somber rose:
Still pools, in whose vague mirrors look-
Like ragged gypsies round a book
Of magic-trees in wild repose.

No quiet thing, or innocent,
Of water, earth, or air shall please
My soul now: but the violent
Between the sunset and the trees:
The fierce, the splendid, and intense,
That love matures in innocence,
Like mighty music, give me these!


When thorn-tree copses still were bare
And black along the turbid brook;
When catkined willows blurred and shook
Great tawny tangles in the air;
In bottomlands, the first thaw makes
An oozy bog, beneath the trees,
Prophetic of the spring that wakes,
Sang the sonorous hylodes.

Now that wild winds have stripped the thorn,
And clogged with leaves the forest-creek;
Now that the woods look blown and bleak,
And webs are frosty white at morn;
At night beneath the spectral sky,
A far foreboding cry I hear—
The wild fowl calling as they fly?
Or wild voice of the dying Year?


And still my soul holds phantom tryst,
When chestnuts hiss among the coals,
Upon the Evening of All Souls,
When all the night is moon and mist,
And all the world is mystery;
I kiss dear lips that death hath kissed,
And gaze in eyes no man may see,
Filled with a love long lost to me.

I hear the night-wind's ghostly glove
Flutter the window: then the knob
Of some dark door turn, with a sob
As when love comes to gaze on love
Who lies pale-coffined in a room:
And then the iron gallop of
The storm, who rides outside; his plume
Sweeping the night with dread and gloom.

So fancy takes the mind, and paints
The darkness with eidolon light,
And writes the dead's romance in night
On the dim Evening of All Saints:
Unheard the hissing nuts; the clink
And fall of coals, whose shadow faints
Around the hearts that sit and think,
Borne far beyond the actual's brink.


I heard the wind, before the morn
Stretched gaunt, gray fingers 'thwart my pane,
Drive clouds down, a dark dragon-train;
Its iron visor closed, a horn
Of steel from out the north it wound.-
No morn like yesterday's! whose mouth,
A cool carnation, from the south
Breathed through a golden reed the sound
Of days that drop clear gold upon
Cerulean silver floors of dawn.

And all of yesterday is lost
And swallowed in to-day's wild light-
The birth deformed of day and night,
The illegitimate, who cost
Its mother secret tears and sighs;
Unlovely since unloved; and chilled
With sorrows and the shame that filled
Its parents' love; which was not wise
In passion as the day and night
That married yestermorn with light.


Down through the dark, indignant trees,
On indistinguishable wings
Of storm, the wind of evening swings;
Before its insane anger flees
Distracted leaf and shattered bough:
There is a rushing as when seas
Of thunder beat an iron prow
On reefs of wrath and roaring wreck:
'Mid stormy leaves, a hurrying speck
Of flickering blackness, driven by,
A mad bat whirls along the sky.

Like some sad shadow, in the eve's
Deep melancholy-visible
As by some strange and twilight spell-
A gaunt girl stands among the leaves,
The night-wind in her dolorous dress:
Symbolic of the life that grieves,
Of toil that patience makes not less,
Her load of fagots fallen there.-
A wilder shadow sweeps the air,
And she is gone…. Was it the dumb
Eidolon of the month to come?


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 hours to rhyme.
No catbird scatters through the bush
The sparkling crystals of its song;
Within the woods no hermit-thrush
Thridding with vocal gold 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 clog: beneath the tree
The bird, that set its toil to tune,
And made a home for melody,
Lies dead beneath the snow-white moon.