Love And The Sea

Love one day, in childish anger,
Tired of his divinity,
Sick of rapture, sick of languor,
Threw his arrows in the sea.
Since then Ocean, like a woman,
Variable of nature seems:
Smiling; cruel; kind; inhuman;
Gloomed with grief and drowned in dreams.

The Desire Of The Moth

Woman's a star, a rose;
Man but a moth, a bee:
High now as heaven she glows,
Low now as earth and sea:
Star of the world and rose,
Clothed on with mystery.
Ever a goal, a lure,
Man, for his joy and woe,
Strives to attain to her,
Beating wild wings below,
Dying to make him sure
If she be flame or snow.

These are the things I pray Heaven send us still,
To blow the ashes of the years away,
Or keep aglow forever 'neath their gray
The fire that warms when Life's old house grows chill:
First Faith, that gazed into our youth's bright eyes;
Courage, that helped us onward, rain or sun;
Then Hope, who captained all our deeds well done;
And, last, the dream of Love that never dies.

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.

On Opening An Old School Volume Of Horace

I HAD forgot how, in my day
The Sabine fields around me lay
In amaranth and asphodel,
With many a cold Bandusian well
Bright-bubbling by the mountain-way.
In forest dells of Faun and Fay
How, lounging in the fountain's spray,
I talked with Horace; felt his spell,
I had forgot.
With Pyrrha and with Lydia
How oft I sat, while Lalaga
Sang, and the fine Falerian fell,
Sparkling, and heard the poet tell
Of loves whose beauty lasts for aye,
I had forgot.

Love And The Wind

All were in league to capture Love
The rock, the stream, the tree;
The very Month was leader of
The whole conspiracy.

It led Love where wild waters met,
And tree hugged close to tree;
And where the dew and sunbeam let
Their lips meet rapturously.

And then it shouted, 'Here he is,
O wild Wind in the tree!.
Come, clasp him now, and kiss and kiss!
And call the flowers to see!'

And there, on every side, the wood
Rushed out in flower and tree.
And that is how, I've understood,
The Springtime came to be.

Whether it be that we in letters trace
The pure exactness of a wood bird's strain,
And name it song; or with the brush attain
The high perfection of a wildflower's face;
Or mold in difficult marble all the grace
We know as man; or from the wind and rain
Catch elemental rapture of refrain
And mark in music to due time and place:
The aim of Art is Nature; to unfold
Her truth and beauty to the souls of men
In close suggestions; in whose forms is cast
Nothing so new but 'tis long eons old;
Nothing so old but 'tis as young as when
The mind conceived it in the ages past.

What vague traditions do the golden eves,
What legends do the dawns
Inscribe in fire on Heaven's azure leaves,
The red sun colophons?

What ancient stories do the waters verse?
What tales of war and love
Do winds within the Earth's vast house rehearse,
God's stars stand guard above?

Would I could know them as they are expressed
In hue and melody!
And say, in words, the beauties they suggest,
Language their mystery!

And in one song magnificently rise,
The music of the spheres,
That more than marble should immortalize
My name in after years.

Old days, old ways, old homes beside the sea;
Old gardens with old-fashioned flowers aflame,
Poppy, petunia, and many a name
Of many a flower of fragrant pedigree.
Old hills that glow with blue- and barberry,
And rocks and pines that stand on guard, the same,
Immutable, as when the Pilgrim came,
And here laid firm foundations of the Free.
The sunlight makes the dim dunes hills of snow,
And every vessel's sail a twinkling wing
Glancing the violet ocean far away:
The world is full of color and of glow;
A mighty canvas whereon God doth fling
The flawless picture of a perfect day.

Where, through the myriad leaves of forest trees,
The daylight falls, beryl and chrysoprase,
The glamour and the glimmer of its rays
Seem visible music, tangible melodies:
Light that is music; music that one sees-
Wagnerian music-where forever sways
The spirit of romance, and gods and fays
Take form, clad on with dreams and mysteries.
And now the wind's transmuting necromance
Touches the light and makes it fall and rise,
Vocal, a harp of multitudinous waves
That speaks as ocean speaks-an utterance
Of far-off whispers, mermaid-murmuring sighs-
Pelagian, vast, deep down in coral caves.

By The Summer Sea

Sunlight and shrill cicada and the low,
Slow, sleepy kissing of the sea and shore,
And rumor of the wind. The morning wore
A sullen face of fog that lifted slow,
Letting her eyes gleam through of grayest glow;
Wearing a look like that which once she wore
When, Gloucesterward from Dogtown there, they bore
Some old witchwife with many a gibe and blow.
But now the day has put off every care,
And sits at peace beside the smiling sea,
Dreaming bright dreams with lazy-lidded eyes:
One is a castle, precipiced in air,
And one a golden galleons can it be
'Tis but the cloudworld of the sunset skies?

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.

From morn till noon upon the window-pane
The tempest tapped with rainy finger-nails,
And all the afternoon the blustering gales
Beat at the door with furious feet of rain.
The rose, near which the lily bloom lay slain,
Like some red wound dripped by the garden rails,
On which the sullen slug left slimy trails
Meseemed the sun would never shine again.
Then in the drench, long, loud and full of cheer,
A skyey herald tabarded in blue,
A bluebird bugled... and at once a bow
Was bent in heaven, and I seemed to hear
God's sapphire spaces crystallizing through
The strata'd clouds in azure tremolo.

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.

Far as the eye can see, in domes and spires,
Buttress and curve, ruins of shifting sand,
In whose wild making wind and sea took hand,
The white dunes stretch. The wind, that never tires,
Striving for strange effects that he admires,
Changes their form from time to time; the land
Forever passive to his mad demand,
And to the sea's, who with the wind conspires.
Here, as on towers of desolate cities, bay
And wire-grass grow, wherein no insect cries,
Only a bird, the swallow of the sea,
That homes in sand. I hear it far away
Crying or is it some lost soul that flies,
Above the land, ailing unceasingly?

Far as the eye can see, in domes and spires,
Buttress and curve, ruins of shifting sand,
In whose wild making wind and sea took hand,
The white dunes stretch. The wind, that never tires,
Striving for strange effects that he admires,
Changes their form from time to time; the land
Forever passive to his mad demand,
And to the sea's, who with the wind conspires.
Here, as on towers of desolate cities, bay
And wire-grass grow, wherein no insect cries,
Only a bird, the swallow of the sea,
That homes in sand. I hear it far away
Crying or is it some lost soul that flies,
Above the land, ailing unceasingly?

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?

One well might deem, among these miles of woods,
Such were the Forests of the Holy Grail,
Broceliand and Dean; where, clothed in mail,
The Knights of Arthur rode, and all the broods
Of legend laired. And, where no sound intrudes
Upon the ear, except the glimmering wail
Of some far bird; or, in some flowery swale,
A brook that murmurs to the solitudes,
Might think he hears the laugh of Vivien
Blent with the moan of Merlin, muttering bound
By his own magic to one stony spot;
And in the cloud, that looms above the glen,
In which the sun burns like the Table Round,
Might dream he sees the towers of Camelot.

Sounds And Sights Ii

Little leaves, that lean your ears
From each branch and bough of spring,
What is that your rapture hears?
Song of bird or flight of wing,
All so eager, little ears?
'Hush, oh, hush! Oh, don't you hear
Steps of beauty drawing near?
Neither flight of bee nor bird
Hark! the steps of Love are heard!'...
Little buds, that crowd with eyes
Every bush and every tree,
What is this that you surmise?
What is that which you would see,
So attentive, little eyes?
'Look, oh, look! Oh, can't you see
Loveliness camps 'neath each tree?
See her hosts and hear them sing,
Marching with the maiden Spring!'

Storm At Annisquam

The sun sinks scarlet as a barberry.
Far off at sea one vessel lifts a sail,
Hurrying to harbor from the coming gale,
That banks the west above a choppy sea.
The sun is gone; the fide is flowing free;
The bay is opaled with wild light; and pale
The lighthouse spears its flame now; through a veil
That falls about the sea mysteriously.
Out there she sits and mutters of her dead,
Old Ocean; of the stalwart and the strong,
Skipper and fisher whom her arms dragged down:
Before her now she sees their ghosts; o'erhead
As gray as rain, their wild wrecks sweep along,
And all night long lay siege to this old town.

After A Night Of Rain

The rain made ruin of the rose and frayed
The lily into tatters: now the Morn
Looks from the hopeless East with eyes forlorn,
As from her attic looks a dull-eyed maid.
The coreopsis drips; the sunflowers fade;
The garden reeks with rain: beneath the thorn
The toadstools crowd their rims where, dim of horn,
The slow snail slimes the grasses gaunt and greyed.
Like some pale nun, in penitential weeds,
Weary with weeping, telling sad her beads,
Her rosary of pods of hollyhocks,
September comes, heavy of heart and head,
While in her path the draggled four-o'-clocks
Droop all their flowers, saying, 'Summer's dead.'

The Boy In The Rain

Sodden and shivering, in mud and rain,
Half in the light that serves but to reveal
The blackness of an alley and the reel
Homeward of wretchedness in tattered train,
A boy stands crouched; big drops of drizzle drain
Slow from a rag that was a hat: no steel
Is harder than his look, that seems to feel
More than his small life's share of woe and pain.
The pack of papers, huddled by his arm,
Is pulp; and still he hugs the worthless lot....
A door flares open to let out a curse
And drag him in out of the night and storm.
Out of the night, you say? You know not what!
To blacker night, God knows! and hell, or worse!

From Cove To Cove

The road leads up a hill through many a brake,
Blueberry and barberry, bay and sassafras,
By an abandoned quarry, where, like glass,
A round pool lies; an isolated lake,
A mirror for what presences, that make
Their wildwood toilets here! The road is grass
Gray-scarred with stone: great bowlders, as we pass,
Slope burly shoulders towards us. Cedars shake
Wild balsam from their tresses; there and here
Clasping a glimpse of ocean and of shore
In arms of swaying green. Below, at last,
Beside the sea, with derrick and with pier,
By heaps of granite, noise of drill and bore,
A Cape Ann town, towering with many a mast.

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.

A Midsummer Day

The locust gyres; the heat intensifies'
The rain-crow croaks from hot-leafed tree to tree:
The butterfly, a flame-fleck, aimlessly
Droops down the air and knows not where it flies.
Beside the stream, whose bed in places
The small green heron flaps; the minnows flee:
And mid the blackberry-lilies, wasp and bee
Drowse where the cattle pant with half-closed eyes.
The Summer Day, like some tired labourer,
Lays down her burden here and sinks to rest,
The tan of toil upon her face and hands:
She dreams, and lo, the heavens over her
Unfold her dream: Along the boundless West
Rolls gold the harvest of the sunset's lands.

Here is a tale for infants and old nurses:
There was a man who gathered rags; and peddled:
Who lived alone: with no one ever meddled:
And this old man was very fond of verses.
His house, a ruin, so the tale rehearses;
A hovel over-run of rats and vermin;
Not fit for beast to live in. (Like a sermon
Embodying misery and hell and curses.)
There, one grey dawn of rain and windy weather,
They found him dead; starved; o'er a written paper;
Beside a dim and half-expiring taper:
It was a play, the poor fool'd put together,
Of gnomes and fairies, for his own sad pleasure:
And folks destroyed it, saying, 'We seek for treasure.'

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.

Old Man Rain at the windowpane
Knocks and fumbles and knocks again:
His long-nailed fingers slip and strain:
Old Man Rain at the windowpane
Knocks all night but knocks in vain.
Old Man Rain.

Old Man Rain at the windowpane
Reels and shambles along the lane:
His old gray whiskers drip and drain:
Old Man Rain with fuddled brain
Reels and staggers like one insane.
Old Man Rain.

Old Man Rain is back again,
With old Mis' Wind at the windowpane,
Dancing there with her tattered train:
Her old shawl flaps as she whirls again
In the wildman dance and is torn in twain.
Old Mis' Wind and Old Man Rain.

Wild clouds roll up, slag-dark and slaty gray,
And in the oaks the sere wind sobs and sighs,
Weird as a word a man before he dies
Mutters beneath his breath yet fears to say:
The rain drives down; and by each forest way
Each dead leaf drips, and murmurings arise
As of fantastic footsteps, one who flies,
Whispering, the dim eidolon of the day.

Now is the wood a place where phantoms house:
Around each tree wan ghosts of flowers crowd,
And spectres of sweet weeds that once were fair,
Rustling; and through the bleakness of bare boughs
A voice is heard, now low, now stormy loud,
As if the ghosts of all the leaves were there.

WHAT shall her silence keep
Under the sun?
Here, where the willows weep
And waters run;
Here, where she lies asleep,
And all is done.

Lights, when the tree-top swings;
Scents that are sown;
Sounds of the wood-bird’s wings;
And the bee’s drone:
These be her comfortings
Under the stone.

What shall watch o’er her here
When day is fled?
Here, when the night is near
And skies are red;
Here, where she lieth dear
And young and dead.

Shadows, and winds that spill
Dew, and the tune
Of the wild whippoorwill,
And the white moon,—
These be the watchers still
Over her stone.

The gate, on ice-hoarse hinges, stiff with frost,
Croaks open; and harsh wagon-wheels are heard
Creaking through cold; the horses' breath is furred
Around their nostrils; and with snow deep mossed
The hut is barely seen, from which, uptossed,
The wood-smoke pillars the icy air unstirred;
And every sound, each axe-stroke and each word,
Comes as through crystal, then again is lost.
The sun strikes bitter on the frozen pane,
And all around there is a tingling, tense
As is a wire stretched upon a disc
Vibrating without sound: It is the strain
That Winter plays, to which each tree and fence,
It seems, is strung, as 't were of ringing bisque.

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.

Days Come And Go

Leaves fall and flowers fade,
Days come and go:
Now is sweet Summer laid
Low in her leafy glade,
Low like a fragrant maid,
Low, low, ah, low.

Tears fall and eyelids ache,
Hearts overflow:
Here for our dead love's sake
Let us our farewells make
Will he again awake?
Ah, no, no, no.

Winds sigh and skies are gray,
Days come and go:
Wild birds are flown away:
Where are the blooms of May?
Dead, dead, this many a day,
Under the snow.

Lips sigh and cheeks are pale,
Hearts overflow:
Will not some song or tale,
Kiss, or a flower frail,
With our dead love avail?
Ah, no, no, no.

Deep-hearted roses of the purple dusk
And lilies of the morn;
And cactus, holding up a slender tusk
Of fragrance on a thorn;
All heavy flowers, sultry with their musk,
Her presence puts to scorn.

For she is like the pale, pale snowdropp there,
Scentless and chaste of heart;
The moonflower, making spiritual the air,
Like some pure work of art;
Divine and holy, exquisitely fair,
And virtue's counterpart.

Yet when her eyes gaze into mine, and when
Her lips to mine are pressed,
Why are my veins all fire then? and then
Why should her soul suggest
Voluptuous perfumes, maddening unto men,
And prurient with unrest?

Pastures By The Sea

Here where the coves indent the shore and fall
And fill with ebb and flowing of the tides;
Whereon some barge rocks or some dory rides,
By which old orchards bloom, or, from the wall,
Pelt every lane with fruit; where gardens, tall
With roses, riot; swift my gladness glides
To that old pasture where the mushroom hides,
The chicory blooms and Peace sits mid them all.
Fenced in with rails and rocks, its emerald slopes.
Ribbed with huge granite, where the placid cows
Tinkle a browsing bell, roll to a height
Wherefrom the sea, bright as adventuring hopes,
Swept of white sails and plowed of foaming prows,
Leaps like a Nereid on the ravished sight.

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.

Who knows the things they dream, alas!
Or feel, who lie beneath the ground?
Perhaps the flowers, the leaves, and grass
That close them round.

In spring the violets may spell
The moods of them we know not of;
Or lilies sweetly syllable
Their thoughts of love.

Haply, in summer, dew and scent
Of all they feel may be a part;
Each red rose be the testament
Of some rich heart.

The winds of fall be utterance,
Perhaps, of saddest things they say;
Wild leaves may word some dead romance
In some dim way.

In winter all their sleep profound
Through frost may speak to grass and stream;
The snow may be the silent sound
Of all they dream.


A mile of moonlight and the whispering wood:
A mile of shadow and the odorous lane:
One large, white star above the solitude,
Like one sweet wish: and, laughter after pain,
Wild-roses wistful in a web of rain.


No star, no rose, to lesson him and lead;
No woodsman compass of the skies and rocks,-
Tattooed of stars and lichens,-doth love need
To guide him where, among the hollyhocks,
A blur of moonlight, gleam his sweetheart's locks.


We name it beauty-that permitted part,
The love-elected apotheosis
Of Nature, which the god within the heart,
Just touching, makes immortal, but by this-
A star, a rose, the memory of a kiss.

Sunflowers wither and lilies die,
Poppies are pods of seeds;
The first red leaves on the pathway lie,
Like blood of a heart that bleeds.

Weary alway will it be to-day,
Weary and wan and wet;
Dawn and noon will the clouds hang gray,
And the autumn wind will sigh and say,
'He comes not yet, not yet.
Weary alway, alway!'


Hollyhocks bend all tattered and torn,
Marigolds all are gone;
The last pale rose lies all forlorn,
Like love that is trampled on.

Weary, ah me! to-night will be,
Weary and wild and hoar;
Rain and mist will blow from the sea,
And the wind will sob in the autumn tree,
'He comes no more, no more.
Weary, ah me! ah me!'

All things are wrought of melody,
Unheard, yet full of speaking spells;
Within the rock, within the tree,
A soul of music dwells.

A mute symphonic sense that thrills
The silent frame of mortal things;
Its heart beats in the ancient hills,
In every flower sings.

To harmony all growth is set
Each seed is but a music mote,
From which each plant, each violet,
Evolves its purple note.

Compact of melody, the rose
Woos the soft wind with strain on strain
Of crimson; and the lily blows
Its white bars to the rain.

The trees are pæans; and the grass
One long green fugue beneath the sun
Song is their life; and all shall pass,
Shall cease, when song is done.