Too Young For Love
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Tell reddening rose-buds not to blow
Wait not for spring to pass away,--
Love's summer months begin with May!
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so,
To practise all love learned in May.
June soon will come with lengthened day
While daisies bloom and tulips glow!
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!
I Like You And I Love You
I LIKE YOU Met I LOVE You, face to face;
The path was narrow, and they could not pass.
I LIKE YOU smiled; I LOVE YOU cried, Alas!
And so they halted for a little space.
'Turn thou and go before,' I LOVE YOU said,
'Down the green pathway, bright with many a flower;
Deep in the valley, lo! my bridal bower
Awaits thee.' But I LIKE YOU shook his head.
Then while they lingered on the span-wide shelf
That shaped a pathway round the rocky ledge,
I LIKE You bared his icy dagger's edge,
And first he slew I LOVE You,--then himself.
STRANGE! that one lightly whispered tone
Is far, far sweeter unto me,
Than all the sounds that kiss the earth,
Or breathe along the sea;
But, lady, when thy voice I greet,
Not heavenly music seems so sweet.
I look upon the fair blue skies,
And naught but empty air I see;
But when I turn me to thin eyes,
It seemeth unto me
Ten thousand angels spread their wings
Within those little azure rings.
The lily bath the softest leaf
That ever western breeze bath fanned,
But thou shalt have the tender flower,
So I may take thy hand;
That little hand to me doth yield
More joy than all the broidered field.
O lady! there be many things
That seem right fair, below, above;
But sure not one among them all
Is half so sweet as love;--
Let us not pay our vows alone,
But join two altars both in one.
At A Birthday Festival
TO J. R. LOWELL
WE will not speak of years to-night,--
For what have years to bring
But larger floods of love and light,
And sweeter songs to sing?
We will not drown in wordy praise
The kindly thoughts that rise;
If Friendship own one tender phrase,
He reads it in our eyes.
We need not waste our school-boy art
To gild this notch of Time;--
Forgive me if my wayward heart
Has throbbed in artless rhyme.
Enough for him the silent grasp
That knits us hand in hand,
And he the bracelet's radiant clasp
That locks our circling band.
Strength to his hours of manly toil!
Peace to his starlit dreams!
Who loves alike the furrowed soil,
The music-haunted streams!
Sweet smiles to keep forever bright
The sunshine on his lips,
And faith that sees the ring of light
Round nature's last eclipse!
February 22, 1859.
Hymn For The Two Hundredth Anniversary Of King’s Chapel
SUNG BY THE CONGREGATION TO THE TUNE OF
TALLIS'S EVENING HYMN
O'ERSHADOWED by the walls that climb,
Piled up in air by living hands,
A rock amid the waves of time,
Our gray old house of worship stands.
High o'er the pillared aisles we love
The symbols of the past look down;
Unharmed, unharming, throned above,
Behold the mitre and the crown!
Let not our younger faith forget
The loyal souls that held them dear;
The prayers we read their tears have wet,
The hymns we sing they loved to hear.
The memory of their earthly throne
Still to our holy temple clings,
But here the kneeling suppliants own
One only Lord, the King of kings.
Hark! while our hymn of grateful praise
The solemn echoing vaults prolong,
The far-off voice of earlier days
Blends with our own in hallowed song:
To Him who ever lives and reigns,
Whom all the hosts of heaven adore,
Who lent the life His breath sustains,
Be glory now and evermore!
For The Services In Memory Of Abraham Lincoln
CITY OF BOSTON, JUNE 1, 1865
CHORAL: 'LUTHER'S JUDGMENT HYMN.'
O THOU of soul and sense and breath
The ever-present Giver,
Unto thy mighty Angel, Death,
All flesh thou dost deliver;
What most we cherish we resign,
For life and death alike are thine,
Who reignest Lord forever!
Our hearts lie buried in the dust
With him so true and tender,
The patriot's stay, the people's trust,
The shield of the offender;
Yet every murmuring voice is still,
As, bowing to thy sovereign will,
Our best-loved we surrender.
Dear Lord, with pitying eye behold
This martyr generation,
Which thou, through trials manifold,
Art showing thy salvation
Oh let the blood by murder spilt
Wash out thy stricken children's guilt
And sanctify our nation!
Be thou thy orphaned Israel's friend,
Forsake thy people never,
In One our broken Many blend,
That none again may sever!
Hear us, O Father, while we raise
With trembling lips our song of praise,
And bless thy name forever!
The Last Look
W. W. SWAIN
BEHOLD--not him we knew!
This was the prison which his soul looked through,
Tender, and brave, and true.
His voice no more is heard;
And his dead name--that dear familiar word--
Lies on our lips unstirred.
He spake with poet's tongue;
Living, for him the minstrel's lyre was strung:
He shall not die unsung.
Grief tried his love, and pain;
And the long bondage of his martyr-chain
Vexed his sweet soul,--in vain!
It felt life's surges break,
As, girt with stormy seas, his island lake,
Smiling while tempests wake.
How can we sorrow more?
Grieve not for him whose heart had gone before
To that untrodden shore!
Lo, through its leafy screen,
A gleam of sunlight on a ring of green,
Untrodden, half unseen!
Here let his body rest,
Where the calm shadows that his soul loved best
May slide above his breast.
Smooth his uncurtained bed;
And if some natural tears are softly shed,
It is not for the dead.
Fold the green turf aright
For the long hours before the morning's light,
And say the last Good Night!
And plant a clear white stone
Close by those mounds which hold his loved, his own,--
Lonely, but not alone.
Here let him sleeping lie,
Till Heaven's bright watchers slumber in the sky
And Death himself shall die!
The Philosopher To His Love
DEAREST, a look is but a ray
Reflected in a certain way;
A word, whatever tone it wear,
Is but a trembling wave of air;
A touch, obedience to a clause
In nature's pure material laws.
The very flowers that bend and meet,
In sweetening others, grow more sweet;
The clouds by day, the stars by night,
Inweave their floating locks of light;
The rainbow, Heaven's own forehead's braid,
Is but the embrace of sun and shade.
Oh! in the hour when I shall feel
Those shadows round my senses steal,
When gentle eyes are weeping o'er
The clay that feels their tears no more,
Then let thy spirit with me be,
Or some sweet angel, likest thee!
How few that love us have we found!
How wide the world that girds them round
Like mountain streams we meet and part,
Each living in the other's heart,
Our course unknown, our hope to be
Yet mingled in the distant sea.
But Ocean coils and heaves in vain,
Bound in the subtle moonbeam's chain;
And love and hope do but obey
Some cold, capricious planet's ray,
Which lights and leads the tide it charms
To Death's dark caves and icy arms.
Alas! one narrow line is drawn,
That links our sunset with our dawn;
In mist and shade life's morning rose,
And clouds are round it at its close;
But ah! no twilight beam ascends
To whisper where that evening ends.
The Crooked Footpath
AH, here it is! the sliding rail
That marks the old remembered spot,--
The gap that struck our school-boy trail,--
The crooked path across the lot.
It left the road by school and church,
A pencilled shadow, nothing more,
That parted from the silver-birch
And ended at the farm-house door.
No line or compass traced its plan;
With frequent bends to left or right,
In aimless, wayward curves it ran,
But always kept the door in sight.
The gabled porch, with woodbine green,--
The broken millstone at the sill,--
Though many a rood might stretch between,
The truant child could see them still.
No rocks across the pathway lie,--
No fallen trunk is o'er it thrown,--
And yet it winds, we know not why,
And turns as if for tree or stone.
Perhaps some lover trod the way
With shaking knees and leaping heart,--
And so it often runs astray
With sinuous sweep or sudden start.
Or one, perchance, with clouded brain
From some unholy banquet reeled,--
And since, our devious steps maintain
His track across the trodden field.
Nay, deem not thus,--no earthborn will
Could ever trace a faultless line;
Our truest steps are human still,--
To walk unswerving were divine!
Truants from love, we dream of wrath;
Oh, rather let us trust the more!
Through all the wanderings of the path,
We still can see our Father's door!
FOR HER GOLDEN WEDDING, OCTOBER 18, 1875
'Lucy.'--The old familiar name
Is now, as always, pleasant,
Its liquid melody the same
Alike in past or present;
Let others call you what they will,
I know you'll let me use it;
To me your name is Lucy still,
I cannot bear to lose it.
What visions of the past return
With Lucy's image blended!
What memories from the silent urn
Of gentle lives long ended!
What dreams of childhood's fleeting morn,
What starry aspirations,
That filled the misty days unborn
With fancy's coruscations!
Ah, Lucy, life has swiftly sped
From April to November;
The summer blossoms all are shed
That you and I remember;
But while the vanished years we share
With mingling recollections,
How all their shadowy features wear
The hue of old affections!
Love called you. He who stole your heart
Of sunshine half bereft us;
Our household's garland fell apart
The morning that you left us;
The tears of tender girlhood streamed
Through sorrow's opening sluices;
Less sweet our garden's roses seemed,
Less blue its flower-de-luces.
That old regret is turned to smiles,
That parting sigh to greeting;
I send my heart-throb fifty miles
Through every line 't is beating;
God grant you many and happy years,
Till when the last has crowned you
The dawn of endless day appears,
And heaven is shining round you!
To Frederick Henry Hedge
AT A DINNER GIVEN HIM ON HIS EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY,
DECEMBER 12, 1885
With a bronze statuette of John of Bologna's Mercury,
presented by a few friends.
FIT emblem for the altar's side,
And him who serves its daily need,
The stay, the solace, and the guide
Of mortal men, whate'er his creed!
Flamen or Auspex, Priest or Bonze,
He feeds the upward-climbing fire,
Still teaching, like the deathless bronze,
Man's noblest lesson,--to aspire.
Hermes lies prone by fallen Jove,
Crushed are the wheels of Krishna's car,
And o'er Dodona's silent grove
Streams the white, ray from Bethlehem's star.
Yet snatched from Time's relentless clutch,
A godlike shape, that human hands
Have fired with Art's electric touch,
The herald of Olympus stands.
Ask not what ore the furnace knew;
Love mingled with the flowing mass,
And lends its own unchanging hue,
Like gold in Corinth's molten brass.
Take then our gift; this airy form
Whose bronze our benedictions gild,
The hearts of all its givers warm
With love by freezing years unchilled.
With eye undimmed, with strength unworn,
Still toiling in your Master's field,
Before you wave the growths unshorn,
Their ripened harvest yet to yield.
True servant of the Heavenly Sire,
To you our tried affection clings,
Bids you still labor, still aspire,
But clasps your feet and steals their wings.
In Memory Of Charles Wentworth Upham, Jr.
HE was all sunshine; in his face
The very soul of sweetness shone;
Fairest and gentlest of his race;
None like him we can call our own.
Something there was of one that died
In her fresh spring-time long ago,
Our first dear Mary, angel-eyed,
Whose smile it was a bliss to know.
Something of her whose love imparts
Such radiance to her day's decline,
We feel its twilight in our hearts
Bright as the earliest morning-shine.
Yet richer strains our eye could trace
That made our plainer mould more fair,
That curved the lip with happier grace,
That waved the soft and silken hair.
Dust unto dust! the lips are still
That only spoke to cheer and bless;
The folded hands lie white and chill
Unclasped from sorrow's last caress.
Leave him in peace; he will not heed
These idle tears we vainly pour,
Give back to earth the fading weed
Of mortal shape his spirit wore.
'Shall I not weep my heartstrings torn,
My flower of love that falls half blown,
My youth uncrowned, my life forlorn,
A thorny path to walk alone?'
O Mary! one who bore thy name,
Whose Friend and Master was divine,
Sat waiting silent till He came,
Bowed down in speechless grief like thine.
'Where have ye laid him?' 'Come,' they say,
Pointing to where the loved one slept;
Weeping, the sister led the way,--
And, seeing Mary, 'Jesus wept.'
He weeps with thee, with all that mourn,
And He shall wipe thy streaming eyes
Who knew all sorrows, woman-born,--
Trust in his word; thy dead shall rise!
After A Lecture On Moore
SHINE soft, ye trembling tears of light
That strew the mourning skies;
Hushed in the silent dews of night
The harp of Erin lies.
What though her thousand years have past
Of poets, saints, and kings,--
Her echoes only hear the last
That swept those golden strings.
Fling o'er his mound, ye star-lit bowers,
The balmiest wreaths ye wear,
Whose breath has lent your earth-born flowers
Heaven's own ambrosial air.
Breathe, bird of night, thy softest tone,
By shadowy grove and rill;
Thy song will soothe us while we own
That his was sweeter still.
Stay, pitying Time, thy foot for him
Who gave thee swifter wings,
Nor let thine envious shadow dim
The light his glory flings.
If in his cheek unholy blood
Burned for one youthful hour,
'T was but the flushing of the bud
That blooms a milk-white flower.
Take him, kind mother, to thy breast,
Who loved thy smiles so well,
And spread thy mantle o'er his rest
Of rose and asphodel.
The bark has sailed the midnight sea,
The sea without a shore,
That waved its parting sign to thee,--
'A health to thee, Tom Moore!'
And thine, long lingering on the strand,
Its bright-hued streamers furled,
Was loosed by age, with trembling hand,
To seek the silent world.
Not silent! no, the radiant stars
Still singing as they shine,
Unheard through earth's imprisoning bars,
Have voices sweet as thine.
Wake, then, in happier realms above,
The songs of bygone years,
Till angels learn those airs of love
That ravished mortal ears!
At The Turn Of The Road
THE glory has passed from the goldenrod's plume,
The purple-hued asters still linger in bloom
The birch is bright yellow, the sumachs are red,
The maples like torches aflame overhead.
But what if the joy of the summer is past,
And winter's wild herald is blowing his blast?
For me dull November is sweeter than May,
For my love is its sunshine,--she meets me to-day!
Will she come? Will the ring-dove return to her nest?
Will the needle swing back from the east or the west?
At the stroke of the hour she will be at her gate;
A friend may prove laggard,--love never comes late.
Do I see her afar in the distance? Not yet.
Too early! Too early! She could not forget!
When I cross the old bridge where the brook overflowed,
She will flash full in sight at the turn of the road.
I pass the low wall where the ivy entwines;
I tread the brown pathway that leads through the pines;
I haste by the boulder that lies in the field,
Where her promise at parting was lovingly sealed.
Will she come by the hillside or round through the wood?
Will she wear her brown dress or her mantle and hood?
The minute draws near,--but her watch may go wrong;
My heart will be asking, What keeps her so long?
Why doubt for a moment? More shame if I do!
Why question? Why tremble? Are angels more true?
She would come to the lover who calls her his own
Though she trod in the track of a whirling cyclone!
I crossed the old bridge ere the minute had passed.
I looked: lo! my Love stood before me at last.
Her eyes, how they sparkled, her cheeks, how they glowed,
As we met, face to face, at the turn of the road!
After A Lecture On Keats
'Purpureos spargam flores.'
THE wreath that star-crowned Shelley gave
Is lying on thy Roman grave,
Yet on its turf young April sets
Her store of slender violets;
Though all the Gods their garlands shower,
I too may bring one purple flower.
Alas! what blossom shall I bring,
That opens in my Northern spring?
The garden beds have all run wild,
So trim when I was yet a child;
Flat plantains and unseemly stalks
Have crept across the gravel walks;
The vines are dead, long, long ago,
The almond buds no longer blow.
No more upon its mound I see
The azure, plume-bound fleur-de-lis;
Where once the tulips used to show,
In straggling tufts the pansies grow;
The grass has quenched my white-rayed gem,
The flowering 'Star of Bethlehem,'
Though its long blade of glossy green
And pallid stripe may still be seen.
Nature, who treads her nobles down,
And gives their birthright to the clown,
Has sown her base-born weedy things
Above the garden's queens and kings.
Yet one sweet flower of ancient race
Springs in the old familiar place.
When snows were melting down the vale,
And Earth unlaced her icy mail,
And March his stormy trumpet blew,
And tender green came peeping through,
I loved the earliest one to seek
That broke the soil with emerald beak,
And watch the trembling bells so blue
Spread on the column as it grew.
Meek child of earth! thou wilt not shame
The sweet, dead poet's holy name;
The God of music gave thee birth,
Called from the crimson-spotted earth,
Where, sobbing his young life away,
His own fair Hyacinthus lay.
The hyacinth my garden gave
Shall lie upon that Roman grave!
The Lyre Of Anacreon
THE minstrel of the classic lay
Of love and wine who sings
Still found the fingers run astray
That touched the rebel strings.
Of Cadmus he would fain have sung,
Of Atreus and his line;
But all the jocund echoes rung
With songs of love and wine.
Ah, brothers! I would fain have caught
Some fresher fancy's gleam;
My truant accents find, unsought,
The old familiar theme.
Love, Love! but not the sportive child
With shaft and twanging bow,
Whose random arrows drove us wild
Some threescore years ago;
Not Eros, with his joyous laugh,
The urchin blind and bare,
But Love, with spectacles and staff,
And scanty, silvered hair.
Our heads with frosted locks are white,
Our roofs are thatched with snow,
But red, in chilling winter's spite,
Our hearts and hearthstones glow.
Our old acquaintance, Time, drops in,
And while the running sands
Their golden thread unheeded spin,
He warms his frozen hands.
Stay, winged hours, too swift, too sweet,
And waft this message o'er
To all we miss, from all we meet
On life's fast-crumbling shore:
Say that, to old affection true,
We hug the narrowing chain
That binds our hearts,--alas, how few
The links that yet remain!
The fatal touch awaits them all
That turns the rocks to dust;
From year to year they break and fall,--
They break, but never rust.
Say if one note of happier strain
This worn-out harp afford,--
One throb that trembles, not in vain,--
Their memory lent its chord.
Say that when Fancy closed her wings
And Passion quenched his fire,
Love, Love, still echoed from the strings
As from Anacreon's lyre!
Now, by the blessed Paphian queen,
Who heaves the breast of sweet sixteen;
By every name I cut on bark
Before my morning star grew dark;
By Hymenâ€™s torch, by Cupidâ€™s dart,
By all that thrills the beating heart;
The bright black eye, the melting blue,â€”Â
I cannot choose between the two.
I had a vision in my dreams;â€”Â
I saw a row of twenty beams;
From every beam a rope was hung,
In every rope a lover swung;
I asked the hue of every eye
That bade each luckless lover die;
Ten shadowy lips said, heavenly blue,
And ten accused the darker hue.
I asked a matron which she deemed
With fairest light of beauty beamed;
She answered, some thought both were fair,â€”Â
Give her blue eyes and golden hair.
I might have liked her judgment well,
But, as she spoke, she rung the bell,
And all her girls, nor small nor few,
Came marching in,â€”Âtheir eyes were blue.
I asked a maiden; back she flung
The locks that round her forehead hung,
And turned her eye, a glorious one,
Bright as a diamond in the sun,
On me, until beneath its rays
I felt as if my hair would blaze;
She liked all eyes but eyes of green;
She looked at me; what could she mean?
Ah! many lids Love lurks between,
Nor heeds the coloring of his screen;
And when his random arrows fly,
The victim falls, but knows not why.
Gaze not upon his shield of jet,
The shaft upon the string is set;
Look not beneath his azure veil,
Though every limb were cased in mail.
Well, both might make a martyr break
The chain that bound him to the stake;
And both, with but a single ray,
Can melt our very hearts away;
And both, when balanced, hardly seem
To stir the scales, or rock the beam;
But that is dearest, all the while,
That wears for us the sweetest smile.
The Last Blossom
THOUGH young no more, we still would dream
Of beauty's dear deluding wiles;
The leagues of life to graybeards seem
Shorter than boyhood's lingering miles.
Who knows a woman's wild caprice?
'It played with Goethe's silvered hair,
And many a Holy Father's 'niece'
Has softly smoothed the papal chair.
When sixty bids us sigh in vain
To melt the heart of sweet sixteen,
We think upon those ladies twain
Who loved so well the tough old Dean.
We see the Patriarch's wintry face,
The maid of Egypt's dusky glow,
And dream that Youth and Age embrace,
As April violets fill with snow.
Tranced in her lord's Olympian smile
His lotus-loving Memphian lies,--
The musky daughter of the Nile,
With plaited hair and almond eyes.
Might we but share one wild caress
Ere life's autumnal blossoms fall,
And Earth's brown, clinging lips impress
The long cold kiss that waits us all!
My bosom heaves, remembering yet
The morning of that blissful day,
When Rose, the flower of spring, I met,
And gave my raptured soul away.
Flung from her eyes of purest blue,
A lasso, with its leaping chain,
Light as a loop of larkspurs, flew
O'er sense and spirit, heart and brain.
Thou com'st to cheer my waning age,
Sweet vision, waited for so long!
Dove that would seek the poet's cage
Lured by the magic breath of song!
She blushes! Ah, reluctant maid,
Love's drapeau rouge the truth has told!
O' er girlhood's yielding barricade
Floats the great Leveller's crimson fold!
Come to my arms!--love heeds not years;
No frost the bud of passion knows.
Ha! what is this my frenzy hears?
A voice behind me uttered,--Rose!
Sweet was her smile,--but not for me;
Alas! when woman looks too kind,
Just turn your foolish head and see,--
Some youth is walking close behind!
The Star And The Water Lily
THE SUN stepped down from his golden throne,
And lay in the silent sea,
And the Lily had folded her satin leaves,
For a sleepy thing was she;
What is the Lily dreaming of?
Why crisp the waters blue?
See, see, she is lifting her varnished lid!
Her white leaves are glistening through!
The Rose is cooling his burning cheek
In the lap of the breathless tide; —
The Lily hath sisters fresh and fair,
That would lie by the Rose's side;
He would love her better than all the rest,
And he would be fond and true; —
But the Lily unfolded her weary lids,
And looked at the sky so blue.
Remember, remember, thou silly one,
How fast will thy summer glide,
And wilt thou wither a virgin pale,
Or flourish a blooming bride?
'O the rose is old, and thorny, and cold,
And he lives on earth, ' said she;
'But the Star is fair and he lives in the air,
And he shall my bridegroom be.'
But what if the stormy cloud should come,
And ruffle the silver sea?
Would he turn his eye from the distant sky,
To smile on a thing like thee?
O no, fair Lily, he will not send
One ray from his far-off throne;
The winds shall blow and the waves shall flow,
And thou wilt be left alone.
There is not a leaf on the mountain-top
Nor a dropp of evening dew,
Nor a golden sand on the sparkling shore,
Nor a pearl in the waters blue,
That he has not cheered with his fickle smile,
And warmed with his faithless beam, —
And will he be true to a pallid flower,
That floats on the quiet stream?
Alas for the Lily! she would not heed,
But turned to the skies afar,
And bared her breast to the trembling ray
That shot from the rising star;
The cloud came over the darkened sky,
And over the waters wide:
She looked in vain through the beating rain,
And sank in the stormy tide.
Robinson Of Leyden
HE sleeps not here; in hope and prayer
His wandering flock had gone before,
But he, the shepherd, might not share
Their sorrows on the wintry shore.
Before the Speedwell's anchor swung,
Ere yet the Mayflower's sail was spread,
While round his feet the Pilgrims clung,
The pastor spake, and thus he said:--
'Men, brethren, sisters, children dear!
God calls you hence from over sea;
Ye may not build by Haerlem Meer,
Nor yet along the Zuyder-Zee.
'Ye go to bear the saving word
To tribes unnamed and shores untrod;
Heed well the lessons ye have heard
From those old teachers taught of God.
'Yet think not unto them was lent
All light for all the coming days,
And Heaven's eternal wisdom spent
In making straight the ancient ways;
'The living fountain overflows
For every flock, for every lamb,
Nor heeds, though angry creeds oppose
With Luther's dike or Calvin's dam.'
He spake; with lingering, long embrace,
With tears of love and partings fond,
They floated down the creeping Maas,
Along the isle of Ysselmond.
They passed the frowning towers of Briel,
The 'Hook of Holland's' shelf of sand,
And grated soon with lifting keel
The sullen shores of Fatherland.
No home for these!--too well they knew
The mitred king behind the throne;--
The sails were set, the pennons flew,
And westward ho! for worlds unknown.
And these were they who gave us birth,
The Pilgrims of the sunset wave,
Who won for us this virgin earth,
And freedom with the soil they gave.
The pastor slumbers by the Rhine,--
In alien earth the exiles lie,--
Their nameless graves our holiest shrine,
His words our noblest battle-cry!
Still cry them, and the world shall hear,
Ye dwellers by the storm-swept sea!
Ye _have_ not built by Haerlem Meer,
Nor on the land-locked Zuyder-Zee!
A Song. For The Centennial Celebration Of Harvard College
When the Puritans came over
Our hills and swamps to clear,
The woods were full of catamounts,
And Indians red as deer,
With tomahawks and scalping-knives,
That make folksâ€™ heads look queer;
Oh the ship from England used to bring
A hundred wigs a year!
The crows came cawing through the air
To pluck the Pilgrimsâ€™ corn,
The bears came snuffing round the door
Wheneâ€™er a babe was born,
The rattlesnakes were bigger round
Than the but of the old rams horn
The deacon blew at meeting time
On every â€œSabbathâ€ morn.
But soon they knocked the wigwams down,
And pine-tree trunk and limb
Began to sprout among the leaves
In shape of steeples slim;
And out the little wharves were stretched
Along the oceanâ€™s rim,
And up the little school-house shot
To keep the boys in trim.
And when at length the College rose,
The sachem cocked his eye
At every tutorâ€™s meagre ribs
Whose coat-tails whistled by
But when the Greek and Hebrew words
Came tumbling from his jaws,
The copper-colored children all
Ran screaming to the squaws.
And who was on the Catalogue
When college was begun?
Two nephews of the President,
And the Professorâ€™s son;
(They turned a little Indian by,
As brown as any bun
Lord! how the seniors knocked about
The freshman class of one!
They had not then the dainty things
That commons now afford,
But succotash and hominy
Were smoking on the board;
They did not rattle round in gigs,
Or dash in long-tailed blues,
But always on Commencement days
The tutors blacked their shoes.
God bless the ancient Puritans!
Their lot was hard enough;
But honest hearts make iron arms,
And tender maids are tough;
So love and faith have formed and fed
Our true-born Yankee stuff,
And keep the kernel in the shell
The British found so rough!
The Flower Of Liberty
WHAT flower is this that greets the morn,
Its hues from Heaven so freshly born?
With burning star and flaming band
It kindles all the sunset land:
Oh tell us what its name may be,--
Is this the Flower of Liberty?
It is the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!
In savage Nature's far abode
Its tender seed our fathers sowed;
The storm-winds rocked its swelling bud,
Its opening leaves were streaked with blood,
Till lo! earth's tyrants shook to see
The full-blown Flower of Liberty!
Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!
Behold its streaming rays unite,
One mingling flood of braided light,--
The red that fires the Southern rose,
With spotless white from Northern snows,
And, spangled o'er its azure, see
The sister Stars of Liberty!
Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!
The blades of heroes fence it round,
Where'er it springs is holy ground;
From tower and dome its glories spread;
It waves where lonely sentries tread;
It makes the land as ocean free,
And plants an empire on the sea!
Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry Flower of Liberty!
Thy sacred leaves, fair Freedom's flower,
Shall ever float on dome and tower,
To all their heavenly colors true,
In blackening frost or crimson dew,--
And God love us as we love thee,
Thrice holy Flower of Liberty!
Then hail the banner of the free,
The starry FLOWER OF LIBERTY!
An Old-Year Song
As through the forest, disarrayed
By chill November, late I strayed,
A lonely minstrel of the wood
Was singing to the solitude
I loved thy music, thus I said,
When o'er thy perch the leaves were spread
Sweet was thy song, but sweeter now
Thy carol on the leafless bough.
Sing, little bird! thy note shall cheer
The sadness of the dying year.
When violets pranked the turf with blue
And morning filled their cups with dew,
Thy slender voice with rippling trill
The budding April bowers would fill,
Nor passed its joyous tones away
When April rounded into May:
Thy life shall hail no second dawn,--
Sing, little bird! the spring is gone.
And I remember--well-a-day!--
Thy full-blown summer roundelay,
As when behind a broidered screen
Some holy maiden sings unseen
With answering notes the woodland rung,
And every tree-top found a tongue.
How deep the shade! the groves how fair!
Sing, little bird! the woods are bare.
The summer's throbbing chant is done
And mute the choral antiphon;
The birds have left the shivering pines
To flit among the trellised vines,
Or fan the air with scented plumes
Amid the love-sick orange-blooms,
And thou art here alone,--alone,--
Sing, little bird! the rest have flown.
The snow has capped yon distant hill,
At morn the running brook was still,
From driven herds the clouds that rise
Are like the smoke of sacrifice;
Erelong the frozen sod shall mock
The ploughshare, changed to stubborn rock,
The brawling streams shall soon be dumb,--
Sing, little bird! the frosts have come.
Fast, fast the lengthening shadows creep,
The songless fowls are half asleep,
The air grows chill, the setting sun
May leave thee ere thy song is done,
The pulse that warms thy breast grow cold,
Thy secret die with thee, untold
The lingering sunset still is bright,--
Sing, little bird! 't will soon be night.
In Memory Of John And Robert Ware
No mystic charm, no mortal art,
Can bid our loved companions stay;
The bands that clasp them to our heart
Snap in death's frost and fall apart;
Like shadows fading with the day,
They pass away.
The young are stricken in their pride,
The old, long tottering, faint and fall;
Master and scholar, side by side,
Through the dark portals silent glide,
That open in life's mouldering wall
And close on all.
Our friend's, our teacher's task was done,
When Mercy called him from on high;
A little cloud had dimmed the sun,
The saddening hours had just begun,
And darker days were drawing nigh:
'T was time to die.
A whiter soul, a fairer mind,
A life with purer course and aim,
A gentler eye, a voice more kind,
We may not look on earth to find.
The love that lingers o'er his name
Is more than fame.
These blood-red summers ripen fast;
The sons are older than the sires;
Ere yet the tree to earth is cast,
The sapling falls before the blast;
Life's ashes keep their covered fires,--
Its flame expires.
Struck by the noiseless, viewless foe,
Whose deadlier breath than shot or shell
Has laid the best and bravest low,
His boy, all bright in morning's glow,
That high-souled youth he loved so well,
Yet still he wore his placid smile,
And, trustful in the cheering creed
That strives all sorrow to beguile,
Walked calmly on his way awhile
Ah, breast that leans on breaking reed
Must ever bleed!
So they both left us, sire and son,
With opening leaf, with laden bough
The youth whose race was just begun,
The wearied man whose course was run,
Its record written on his brow,
Are brothers now.
Brothers!--The music of the sound
Breathes softly through my closing strain;
The floor we tread is holy ground,
Those gentle spirits hovering round,
While our fair circle joins again
Its broken chain.
Semi-Centennial Celebration Of The New England Society
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 22, 1855
NEW ENGLAND, we love thee; no time can erase
From the hearts of thy children the smile on thy face.
'T is the mother's fond look of affection and pride,
As she gives her fair son to the arms of his bride.
His bride may be fresher in beauty's young flower;
She may blaze in the jewels she brings with her dower.
But passion must chill in Time's pitiless blast;
The one that first loved us will love to the last.
You have left the dear land of the lake and the hill,
But its winds and its waters will talk with you still.
'Forget not,' they whisper, 'your love is our debt,'
And echo breathes softly, 'We never forget.'
The banquet's gay splendors are gleaming around,
But your hearts have flown back o'er the waves of the Sound;
They have found the brown home where their pulses were born;
They are throbbing their way through the trees and the corn.
There are roofs you remember,--their glory is fled;
There are mounds in the churchyard,--one sigh for the dead.
There are wrecks, there are ruins, all scattered around;
But Earth has no spot like that corner of ground.
Come, let us be cheerful,--remember last night,
How they cheered us, and--never mind--meant it all right;
To-night, we harm nothing,--we love in the lump;
Here's a bumper to Maine, in the juice of the pump!
Here 's to all the good people, wherever they be,
Who have grown in the shade of the liberty-tree;
We all love its leaves, and its blossoms and fruit,
But pray have a care of the fence round its root.
We should like to talk big; it's a kind of a right,
When the tongue has got loose and the waistband grown tight;
But, as pretty Miss Prudence remarked to her beau,
On its own heap of compost no biddy should crow.
Enough! There are gentlemen waiting to talk,
Whose words are to mine as the flower to the stalk.
Stand by your old mother whatever befall;
God bless all her children! Good night to you all!
Our Dead Singer
H. W. L.
PRIDE of the sister realm so long our own,
We claim with her that spotless fame of thine,
White as her snow and fragrant as her pine!
Ours was thy birthplace, but in every zone
Some wreath of song thy liberal hand has thrown
Breathes perfume from its blossoms, that entwine
Where'er the dewdrops fall, the sunbeams shine,
On life's long path with tangled cares o'ergrown.
Can Art thy truthful counterfeit command,--
The silver-haloed features, tranquil, mild,--
Soften the lips of bronze as when they smiled,
Give warmth and pressure to the marble hand?
Seek the lost rainbow in the sky it spanned
Farewell, sweet Singer! Heaven reclaims its child.
Carved from the block or cast in clinging mould,
Will grateful Memory fondly try her best
The mortal vesture from decay to wrest;
His look shall greet us, calm, but ah, how cold!
No breath can stir the brazen drapery's fold,
No throb can heave the statue's stony breast;
'He is not here, but risen,' will stand confest
In all we miss, in all our eyes behold.
How Nature loved him! On his placid brow,
Thought's ample dome, she set the sacred sign
That marks the priesthood of her holiest shrine,
Nor asked a leaflet from the laurel's bough
That envious Time might clutch or disallow,
To prove her chosen minstrel's song divine.
On many a saddened hearth the evening fire
Burns paler as the children's hour draws near,--
That joyous hour his song made doubly dear,--
And tender memories touch the faltering choir.
He sings no more on earth; our vain desire
Aches for the voice we loved so long to hear
In Dorian flute-notes breathing soft and clear,--
The sweet contralto that could never tire.
Deafened with listening to a harsher strain,
The Maenad's scream, the stark barbarian's cry,
Still for those soothing, loving tones we sigh;
Oh, for our vanished Orpheus once again!
The shadowy silence hears us call in vain!
His lips are hushed; his song shall never die.
The Old Man Dreams
OH for one hour of youthful joy!
Give back my twentieth spring!
I'd rather laugh, a bright-haired boy,
Than reign, a gray-beard king.
Off with the spoils of wrinkled age!
Away with Learning's crown!
Tear out life's Wisdom-written page,
And dash its trophies down!
One moment let my life-blood stream
From boyhood's fount of flame!
Give me one giddy, reeling dream
Of life all love and fame!
. . . . .
My listening angel heard the prayer,
And, calmly smiling, said,
"If I but touch thy silvered hair
Thy hasty wish hath sped.
"But is there nothing in thy track,
To bid thee fondly stay,
While the swift seasons hurry back
To find the wished-for day?"
"Ah, truest soul of womankind!
Without thee what were life ?
One bliss I cannot leave behind:
I'll take-- my-- precious-- wife!"
The angel took a sapphire pen
And wrote in rainbow dew,
The man would be a boy again,
And be a husband too!
"And is there nothing yet unsaid,
Before the change appears?
Remember, all their gifts have fled
With those dissolving years."
"Why, yes;" for memory would recall
My fond paternal joys;
"I could not bear to leave them all--
I'll take-- my-- girl-- and-- boys."
The smiling angel dropped his pen,--
"Why, this will never do;
The man would be a boy again,
And be a father too!"
. . . . .
And so I laughed,-- my laughter woke
The household with its noise,--
And wrote my dream, when morning broke,
To please the gray-haired boys.
For The Burns Centennial Celebration
JANUARY 25, 1859
His birthday.--Nay, we need not speak
The name each heart is beating,--
Each glistening eye and flushing cheek
In light and flame repeating!
We come in one tumultuous tide,--
One surge of wild emotion,--
As crowding through the Frith of Clyde
Rolls in the Western Ocean;
As when yon cloudless, quartered moon
Hangs o'er each storied river,
The swelling breasts of Ayr and Doon
With sea green wavelets quiver.
The century shrivels like a scroll,--
The past becomes the present,--
And face to face, and soul to soul,
We greet the monarch-peasant.
While Shenstone strained in feeble flights
With Corydon and Phillis,--
While Wolfe was climbing Abraham's heights
To snatch the Bourbon lilies,--
Who heard the wailing infant's cry,
The babe beneath the sheeliug,
Whose song to-night in every sky
Will shake earth's starry ceiling,--
Whose passion-breathing voice ascends
And floats like incense o'er us,
Whose ringing lay of friendship blends
With labor's anvil chorus?
We love him, not for sweetest song,
Though never tone so tender;
We love him, even in his wrong,--
His wasteful self-surrender.
We praise him, not for gifts divine,--
His Muse was born of woman,--
His manhood breathes in every line,--
Was ever heart more human?
We love him, praise him, just for this
In every form and feature,
Through wealth and want, through woe and bliss,
He saw his fellow-creature!
No soul could sink beneath his love,--
Not even angel blasted;
No mortal power could soar above
The pride that all outlasted!
Ay! Heaven had set one living man
Beyond the pedant's tether,--
His virtues, frailties, HE may scan,
Who weighs them all together!
I fling my pebble on the cairn
Of him, though dead, undying;
Sweet Nature's nursling, bonniest bairn
Beneath her daisies lying.
The waning suns, the wasting globe,
Shall spare the minstrel's story,--
The centuries weave his purple robe,
The mountain-mist of glory!
James Russell Lowell
THOU shouldst have sung the swan-song for the choir
That filled our groves with music till the day
Lit the last hilltop with its reddening fire,
And evening listened for thy lingering lay.
But thou hast found thy voice in realms afar
Where strains celestial blend their notes with thine;
Some cloudless sphere beneath a happier star
Welcomes the bright-winged spirit we resign.
How Nature mourns thee in the still retreat
Where passed in peace thy love-enchanted hours!
Where shall she find an eye like thine to greet
Spring's earliest footprints on her opening flowers?
Have the pale wayside weeds no fond regret
For him who read the secrets they enfold?
Shall the proud spangles of the field forget
The verse that lent new glory to their gold?
And ye whose carols wooed his infant ear,
Whose chants with answering woodnotes he repaid,
Have ye no song his spirit still may hear
From Elmwood's vaults of overarching shade?
Friends of his studious hours, who thronged to teach
The deep-read scholar all your varied lore,
Shall he no longer seek your shelves to reach
The treasure missing from his world-wide store?
This singer whom we long have held so dear
Was Nature's darling, shapely, strong, and fair;
Of keenest wit, of judgment crystal-clear,
Easy of converse, courteous, debonair,
Fit for the loftiest or the lowliest lot,
Self-poised, imperial, yet of simplest ways;
At home alike in castle or in cot,
True to his aim, let others blame or praise.
Freedom he found an heirloom from his sires;
Song, letters, statecraft, shared his years in turn;
All went to feed the nation's altar-fires
Whose mourning children wreathe his funeral urn.
He loved New England,--people, language, soil,
Unweaned by exile from her arid breast.
Farewell awhile, white-handed son of toil,
Go with her brown-armed laborers to thy rest.
Peace to thy slumber in the forest shade!
Poet and patriot, every gift was thine;
Thy name shall live while summers bloom and fade,
And grateful Memory guard thy leafy shrine!
Chanson Without Music
BY THE PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF DEAD AND LIVE LANGUAGES
PHI BETA KAPPA.--CAMBRIDGE, 1867
You bid me sing,--can I forget
The classic ode of days gone by,--
How belle Fifine and jeune Lisette
Exclaimed, 'Anacreon, geron ei'?
'Regardez done,' those ladies said,--
'You're getting bald and wrinkled too
When summer's roses all are shed,
Love 's nullum ite, voyez-vous!'
In vain ce brave Anacreon's cry,
'Of Love alone my banjo sings'
(Erota mounon). 'Etiam si,--
Eh b'en?' replied the saucy things,--
'Go find a maid whose hair is gray,
And strike your lyre,--we sha'n't complain;
But parce nobis, s'il vous plait,--
Voila Adolphe! Voila Eugene!'
Ah, jeune Lisette! Ah, belle Fifine!
Anacreon's lesson all must learn;
O kairos oxiis; Spring is green,
But Acer Hyems waits his turn
I hear you whispering from the dust,
'Tiens, mon cher, c'est toujours so,--
The brightest blade grows dim with rust,
The fairest meadow white with snow!'
You do not mean it! _Not_ encore?
Another string of playday rhymes?
You 've heard me--nonne est?-before,
Multoties,-more than twenty times;
Non possum,--vraiment,--pas du tout,
I cannot! I am loath to shirk;
But who will listen if I do,
My memory makes such shocking work?
Ginosko. Scio. Yes, I 'm told
Some ancients like my rusty lay,
As Grandpa Noah loved the old
Red-sandstone march of Jubal's day.
I used to carol like the birds,
But time my wits has quite unfixed,
Et quoad verba,--for my words,--
Ciel! Eheu! Whe-ew!--how they're mixed!
Mehercle! Zeu! Diable! how
My thoughts were dressed when I was young,
But tempus fugit! see them now
Half clad in rags of every tongue!
O philoi, fratres, chers amis
I dare not court the youthful Muse,
For fear her sharp response should be,
'Papa Anacreon, please excuse!'
Adieu! I 've trod my annual track
How long!--let others count the miles,--
And peddled out my rhyming pack
To friends who always paid in smiles.
So, laissez-moi! some youthful wit
No doubt has wares he wants to show;
And I am asking, 'Let me sit,'
Dum ille clamat, 'Dos pou sto!'
F. W. C.
FAST as the rolling seasons bring
The hour of fate to those we love,
Each pearl that leaves the broken string
Is set in Friendship's crown above.
As narrower grows the earthly chain,
The circle widens in the sky;
These are our treasures that remain,
But those are stars that beam on high.
We miss--oh, how we miss!--his face,--
With trembling accents speak his name.
Earth cannot fill his shadowed place
From all her rolls of pride and fame;
Our song has lost the silvery thread
That carolled through his jocund lips;
Our laugh is mute, our smile is fled,
And all our sunshine in eclipse.
And what and whence the wondrous charm
That kept his manhood boylike still,--
That life's hard censors could disarm
And lead them captive at his will?
His heart was shaped of rosier clay,--
His veins were filled with ruddier fire,--
Time could not chill him, fortune sway,
Nor toil with all its burdens tire.
His speech burst throbbing from its fount
And set our colder thoughts aglow,
As the hot leaping geysers mount
And falling melt the Iceland snow.
Some word, perchance, we counted rash,--
Some phrase our calmness might disclaim,
Yet 't was the sunset's lightning's flash,
No angry bolt, but harmless flame.
Man judges all, God knoweth each;
We read the rule, He sees the law;
How oft his laughing children teach
The truths his prophets never saw
O friend, whose wisdom flowered in mirth,
Our hearts are sad, our eyes are dim;
He gave thy smiles to brighten earth,--
We trust thy joyous soul to Him!
Alas!--our weakness Heaven forgive!
We murmur, even while we trust,
'How long earth's breathing burdens live,
Whose hearts, before they die, are dust!'
But thou!--through grief's untimely tears
We ask with half-reproachful sigh--
'Couldst thou not watch a few brief years
Till Friendship faltered, 'Thou mayst die'?'
Who loved our boyish years so well?
Who knew so well their pleasant tales,
And all those livelier freaks could tell
Whose oft-told story never fails?
In vain we turn our aching eyes,--
In vain we stretch our eager hands,--
Cold in his wintry shroud he lies
Beneath the dreary drifting sands!
Ah, speak not thus! _He_ lies not there!
We see him, hear him as of old!
He comes! He claims his wonted chair;
His beaming face we still behold!
His voice rings clear in all our songs,
And loud his mirthful accents rise;
To us our brother's life belongs,--
Dear friends, a classmate never dies!
The Parting Word
I must leave thee, lady sweet
Months shall waste before we meet;
Winds are fair and sails are spread,
Anchors leave their ocean bed;
Ere this shining day grow dark,
Skies shall gird my shoreless bark.
Through thy tears, O lady mine,
Read thy loverâ€™s parting line.
When the first sad sun shall set,
Thou shalt tear thy locks of jet;
When the morning star shall rise,
Thou shalt wake with weeping eyes;
When the second sun goes down,
Thou more tranquil shalt be grown,
Taught too well that wild despair
Dims thine eyes and spoils thy hair.
All the first unquiet week
Thou shalt wear a smileless cheek;
In the first monthâ€™s second half
Thou shalt once attempt to laugh;
Then in Pickwick thou shalt dip,
Slightly puckering round the lip,
Till at last, in sorrowâ€™s spite,
Samuel makes thee laugh outright.
While the first seven mornings last,
Round thy chamber bolted fast
Many a youth shall fume and pout,
â€œHang the girl, sheâ€™s always out!â€
While the second week goes round,
Vainly shall they ring and pound;
When the third week shall begin,
â€œMartha, let the creature in.â€
Now once more the flattering throng
Round thee flock with smile and song,
But thy lips, unweaned as yet,
Lisp, â€œOh, how can I forget!â€
Men and devils both contrive
Traps for catching girls alive;
Eve was duped, and Helen kissed,â€”Â
How, oh how can you resist?
First be careful of your fan,
Trust it not to youth or man;
Love has filled a pirateâ€™s sail
Often with its perfumed gale.
Mind your kerchief most of all,
Fingers touch when kerchiefs fall;
Shorter ell than mercers clip
Is the space from hand to lip.
Trust not such as talk in tropes,
Full of pistols, daggers, ropes;
All the hemp that Russia bears
Scarce would answer loversâ€™ prayers;
Never thread was spun so fine,
Never spider stretched the line,
Would not hold the lovers true
That would really swing for you.
Fiercely some shall storm and swear,
Beating breasts in black despair;
Others murmur with a sigh,
You must melt, or they will die:
Painted words on empty lies,
Grubs with wings like butterflies;
Let them die, and welcome, too;
Pray what better could they do?
Fare thee well: if years efface
From thy heart loveâ€™s burning trace,
Keep, oh keep that hallowed seat
From the tread of vulgar feet;
If the blue lips of the sea
Wait with icy kiss for me,
Let not thine forget the vow,
Sealed how often, Love, as now.
Iris, Her Book
I PRAY thee by the soul of her that bore thee,
By thine own sister's spirit I implore thee,
Deal gently with the leaves that lie before thee!
For Iris had no mother to infold her,
Nor ever leaned upon a sister's shoulder,
Telling the twilight thoughts that Nature told her.
She had not learned the mystery of awaking
Those chorded keys that soothe a sorrow's aching,
Giving the dumb heart voice, that else were breaking.
Yet lived, wrought, suffered. Lo, the pictured token
Why should her fleeting day-dreams fade unspoken,
Like daffodils that die with sheaths unbroken?
She knew not love, yet lived in maiden fancies,--
Walked simply clad, a queen of high romances,
And talked strange tongues with angels in her trances.
Twin-souled she seemed, a twofold nature wearing:
Sometimes a flashing falcon in her daring,
Then a poor mateless dove that droops despairing.
Questioning all things: Why her Lord had sent her?
What were these torturing gifts, and wherefore lent her?
Scornful as spirit fallen, its own tormentor.
And then all tears and anguish: Queen of Heaven,
Sweet Saints, and Thou by mortal sorrows riven,
Save me! Oh, save me! Shall I die forgiven?
And then--Ah, God! But nay, it little matters:
Look at the wasted seeds that autumn scatters,
The myriad germs that Nature shapes and shatters!
If she had--Well! She longed, and knew not wherefore.
Had the world nothing she might live to care for?
No second self to say her evening prayer for?
She knew the marble shapes that set men dreaming,
Yet with her shoulders bare and tresses streaming
Showed not unlovely to her simple seeming.
Vain? Let it be so! Nature was her teacher.
What if a lonely and unsistered creature
Loved her own harmless gift of pleasing feature,
Saying, unsaddened,--This shall soon be faded,
And double-hued the shining tresses braided,
And all the sunlight of the morning shaded?
This her poor book is full of saddest follies,
Of tearful smiles and laughing melancholies,
With summer roses twined and wintry hollies.
In the strange crossing of uncertain chances,
Somewhere, beneath some maiden's tear-dimmed glances
May fall her little book of dreams and fancies.
Sweet sister! Iris, who shall never name thee,
Trembling for fear her open heart may shame thee,
Speaks from this vision-haunted page to claim thee.
Spare her, I pray thee! If the maid is sleeping,
Peace with her! she has had her hour of weeping.
No more! She leaves her memory in thy keeping.
For The Centennial Dinner
OF THE PROPRIETORS OF BOSTON PIER, OR THE LONG WHARF,
APRIL 16, 1873
DEAR friends, we are strangers; we never before
Have suspected what love to each other we bore;
But each of us all to his neighbor is dear,
Whose heart has a throb for our time-honored pier.
As I look on each brother proprietor's face,
I could open my arms in a loving embrace;
What wonder that feelings, undreamed of so long,
Should burst all at once in a blossom of song!
While I turn my fond glance on the monarch of piers,
Whose throne has stood firm through his eightscore of years,
My thought travels backward and reaches the day
When they drove the first pile on the edge of the bay.
See! The joiner, the shipwright, the smith from his forge,
The redcoat, who shoulders his gun for King George,
The shopman, the 'prentice, the boys from the lane,
The parson, the doctor with gold-headed cane,
Come trooping down King Street, where now may be seen
The pulleys and ropes of a mighty machine;
The weight rises slowly; it drops with a thud;
And, to! the great timber sinks deep in the mud!
They are gone, the stout craftsmen that hammered the piles,
And the square-toed old boys in the three-cornered tiles;
The breeches, the buckles, have faded from view,
And the parson's white wig and the ribbon-tied queue.
The redcoats have vanished; the last grenadier
Stepped into the boat from the end of our pier;
They found that our hills were not easy to climb,
And the order came, 'Countermarch, double-quick time!'
They are gone, friend and foe,--anchored fast at the pier,
Whence no vessel brings back its pale passengers here;
But our wharf, like a lily, still floats on the flood,
Its breast in the sunshine, its roots in the mud.
Who--who that has loved it so long and so well--
The flower of his birthright would barter or sell?
No: pride of the bay, while its ripples shall run,
You shall pass, as an heirloom, from father to son!
Let me part with the acres my grandfather bought,
With the bonds that my uncle's kind legacy brought,
With my bank-shares,--old 'Union,' whose ten per cent stock
Stands stiff through the storms as the Eddystone rock;
With my rights (or my wrongs) in the 'Erie,'--alas!
With my claims on the mournful and 'Mutual Mass.;'
With my 'Phil. Wil. and Balt.,' with my 'C. B. and Q.;'
But I never, no never, will sell out of you.
We drink to thy past and thy future to-day,
Strong right arm of Boston, stretched out o'er the bay.
May the winds waft the wealth of all nations to thee,
And thy dividends flow like the waves of the sea!
Our Home—our Country
FOR THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE
SETTLEMENT OF CAMBRIDGE, MASS., DECEMBER 28, 1880
YOUR home was mine,--kind Nature's gift;
My love no years can chill;
In vain their flakes the storm-winds sift,
The snow-drop hides beneath the drift,
A living blossom still.
Mute are a hundred long-famed lyres,
Hushed all their golden strings;
One lay the coldest bosom fires,
One song, one only, never tires
While sweet-voiced memory sings.
No spot so lone but echo knows
That dear familiar strain;
In tropic isles, on arctic snows,
Through burning lips its music flows
And rings its fond refrain.
From Pisa's tower my straining sight
Roamed wandering leagues away,
When lo! a frigate's banner bright,
The starry blue, the red, the white,
In far Livorno's bay.
Hot leaps the life-blood from my heart,
Forth springs the sudden tear;
The ship that rocks by yonder mart
Is of my land, my life, a part,--
Home, home, sweet home, is here!
Fades from my view the sunlit scene,--
My vision spans the waves;
I see the elm-encircled green,
The tower,--the steeple,--and, between,
The field of ancient graves.
There runs the path my feet would tread
When first they learned to stray;
There stands the gambrel roof that spread
Its quaint old angles o'er my head
When first I saw the day.
The sounds that met my boyish ear
My inward sense salute,--
The woodnotes wild I loved to hear,--
The robin's challenge, sharp and clear,--
The breath of evening's flute.
The faces loved from cradle days,--
Unseen, alas, how long!
As fond remembrance round them plays,
Touched with its softening moonlight rays,
Through fancy's portal throng.
And see! as if the opening skies
Some angel form had spared
Us wingless mortals to surprise,
The little maid with light-blue eyes,
White necked and golden haired!
. . . . . . . . . .
So rose the picture full in view
I paint in feebler song;
Such power the seamless banner knew
Of red and white and starry blue
For exiles banished long.
Oh, boys, dear boys, who wait as men
To guard its heaven-bright folds,
Blest are the eyes that see again
That banner, seamless now, as then,--
The fairest earth beholds!
Sweet was the Tuscan air and soft
In that unfading hour,
And fancy leads my footsteps oft
Up the round galleries, high aloft
On Pisa's threatening tower.
And still in Memory's holiest shrine
I read with pride and joy,
'For me those stars of empire shine;
That empire's dearest home is mine;
I am a Cambridge boy!'
At A Meeting Of Friends
AUGUST 29, 1859
I REMEMBER--why, yes! God bless me! and was it so long ago?
I fear I'm growing forgetful, as old folks do, you know;
It must have been in 'forty--I would say 'thirty-nine--
We talked this matter over, I and a friend of mine.
He said, 'Well now, old fellow, I'm thinking that you and I,
If we act like other people, shall be older by and by;
What though the bright blue ocean is smooth as a pond can be,
There is always a line of breakers to fringe the broadest sea.
'We're taking it mighty easy, but that is nothing strange,
For up to the age of thirty we spend our years like Change;
But creeping up towards the forties, as fast as the old years fill,
And Time steps in for payment, we seem to change a bill.'
'I know it,' I said, 'old fellow; you speak the solemn truth;
A man can't live to a hundred and likewise keep his youth;
But what if the ten years coming shall silver-streak my hair,
You know I shall then be forty; of course I shall not care.
'At forty a man grows heavy and tired of fun and noise;
Leaves dress to the five-and-twenties and love to the silly boys;
No foppish tricks at forty, no pinching of waists and toes,
But high-low shoes and flannels and good thick worsted hose.'
But one fine August morning I found myself awake
My birthday:--By Jove, I'm forty! Yes, forty, and no mistake!
Why, this is the very milestone, I think I used to hold,
That when a fellow had come to, a fellow would then be old!
But that is the young folks' nonsense; they're full of their
A man's in his prime at forty,--I see that plain enough;
At fifty a man is wrinkled, and may be bald or gray;
I call men old at fifty, in spite of all they say.
At last comes another August with mist and rain and shine;
Its mornings are slowly counted and creep to twenty-nine,
And when on the western summits the fading light appears,
It touches with rosy fingers the last of my fifty years.
There have been both men and women whose hearts were firm and bold,
But there never was one of fifty that loved to say 'I'm old';
So any elderly person that strives to shirk his years,
Make him stand up at a table and try him by his peers.
Now here I stand at fifty, my jury gathered round;
Sprinkled with dust of silver, but not yet silver-crowned,
Ready to meet your verdict, waiting to hear it told;
Guilty of fifty summers; speak! Is the verdict _old_.
No! say that his hearing fails him; say that his sight grows dim;
Say that he's getting wrinkled and weak in back and limb,
Losing his wits and temper, but pleading, to make amends,
The youth of his fifty summers he finds in his twenty friends.
O MY lost beauty!--hast thou folded quite
Thy wings of morning light
Beyond those iron gates
Where Life crowds hurrying to the haggard Fates,
And Age upon his mound of ashes waits
To chill our fiery dreams,
Hot from the heart of youth plunged in his icy streams?
Leave me not fading in these weeds of care,
Whose flowers are silvered hair!
Have I not loved thee long,
Though my young lips have often done thee wrong,
And vexed thy heaven-tuned ear with careless song?
Ah, wilt thou yet return,
Bearing thy rose-hued torch, and bid thine altar burn?
Come to me!--I will flood thy silent shrine
With my soul's sacred wine,
And heap thy marble floors
As the wild spice-trees waste their fragrant stores,
In leafy islands walled with madrepores
And lapped in Orient seas,
When all their feathery palms toss, plume-like, in the breeze.
Come to me!--thou shalt feed on honeyed words,
Sweeter than song of birds;--
No wailing bulbul's throat,
No melting dulcimer's melodious note
When o'er the midnight wave its murmurs float,
Thy ravished sense might soothe
With flow so liquid-soft, with strain so velvet-smooth.
Thou shalt be decked with jewels, like a queen,
Sought in those bowers of green
Where loop the clustered vines
And the close-clinging dulcamara twines,--
Pure pearls of Maydew where the moonlight shines,
And Summer's fruited gems,
And coral pendants shorn from Autumn's berried stems.
Sit by me drifting on the sleepy waves,--
Or stretched by grass-grown graves,
Whose gray, high-shouldered stones,
Carved with old names Life's time-worn roll disowns,
Lean, lichen-spotted, o'er the crumbled bones
Still slumbering where they lay
While the sad Pilgrim watched to scare the wolf away.
Spread o'er my couch thy visionary wing!
Still let me dream and sing,--
Dream of that winding shore
Where scarlet cardinals bloom-for me no more,--
The stream with heaven beneath its liquid floor,
And clustering nenuphars
Sprinkling its mirrored blue like golden-chaliced stars!
Come while their balms the linden-blossoms shed!--
Come while the rose is red,--
While blue-eyed Summer smiles
On the green ripples round yon sunken piles
Washed by the moon-wave warm from Indian isles,
And on the sultry air
The chestnuts spread their palms like holy men in prayer!
Oh for thy burning lips to fire my brain
With thrills of wild, sweet pain!--
On life's autumnal blast,
Like shrivelled leaves, youth's passion-flowers are cast,--
Once loving thee, we love thee to the last!--
Behold thy new-decked shrine,
And hear once more the voice that breathed 'Forever thine!'
IT is not what we say or sing,
That keeps our charm so long unbroken,
Though every lightest leaf we bring
May touch the heart as friendship's token;
Not what we sing or what we say
Can make us dearer to each other;
We love the singer and his lay,
But love as well the silent brother.
Yet bring whate'er your garden grows,
Thrice welcome to our smiles and praises;
Thanks for the myrtle and the rose,
Thanks for the marigolds and daisies;
One flower erelong we all shall claim,
Alas! unloved of Amaryllis--
Nature's last blossom-need I name
The wreath of threescore's silver lilies?
How many, brothers, meet to-night
Around our boyhood's covered embers?
Go read the treasured names aright
The old triennial list remembers;
Though twenty wear the starry sign
That tells a life has broke its tether,
The fifty-eight of 'twenty-nine--
God bless THE Boys!--are all together!
These come with joyous look and word,
With friendly grasp and cheerful greeting,--
Those smile unseen, and move unheard,
The angel guests of every meeting;
They cast no shadow in the flame
That flushes from the gilded lustre,
But count us--we are still the same;
One earthly band, one heavenly cluster!
Love dies not when he bows his head
To pass beyond the narrow portals,--
The light these glowing moments shed
Wakes from their sleep our lost immortals;
They come as in their joyous prime,
Before their morning days were numbered,--
Death stays the envious hand of Time,--
The eyes have not grown dim that slumbered!
The paths that loving souls have trod
Arch o'er the dust where worldlings grovel
High as the zenith o'er the sod,--
The cross above the sexton's shovel!
We rise beyond the realms of day;
They seem to stoop from spheres of glory
With us one happy hour to stray,
While youth comes back in song and story.
Ah! ours is friendship true as steel
That war has tried in edge and temper;
It writes upon its sacred seal
The priest's _ubique--omnes--semper_!
It lends the sky a fairer sun
That cheers our lives with rays as steady
As if our footsteps had begun
To print the golden streets already!
The tangling years have clinched its knot
Too fast for mortal strength to sunder;
The lightning bolts of noon are shot;
No fear of evening's idle thunder!
Too late! too late!--no graceless hand
Shall stretch its cords in vain endeavor
To rive the close encircling band
That made and keeps us one forever!
So when upon the fated scroll
The falling stars have all descended,
And, blotted from the breathing roll,
Our little page of life is ended,
We ask but one memorial line
Traced on thy tablet, Gracious Mother
'My children. Boys of '29.
In pace. How they loved each other!'
ANNIVERSARY OF THE BERKSHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY,
OCTOBER 4, 1849
CLEAR the brown path, to meet his coulter's gleam!
Lo! on he comes, behind his smoking team,
With toil's bright dew-drops on his sunburnt brow,
The lord of earth, the hero of the plough!
First in the field before the reddening sun,
Last in the shadows when the day is done,
Line after line, along the bursting sod,
Marks the broad acres where his feet have trod;
Still, where he treads, the stubborn clods divide,
The smooth, fresh furrow opens deep and wide;
Matted and dense the tangled turf upheaves,
Mellow and dark the ridgy cornfield cleaves;
Up the steep hillside, where the laboring train
Slants the long track that scores the level plain;
Through the moist valley, clogged with oozing clay,
The patient convoy breaks its destined way;
At every turn the loosening chains resound,
The swinging ploughshare circles glistening round,
Till the wide field one billowy waste appears,
And wearied hands unbind the panting steers.
These are the hands whose sturdy labor brings
The peasant's food, the golden pomp of kings;
This is the page, whose letters shall be seen
Changed by the sun to words of living green;
This is the scholar, whose immortal pen
Spells the first lesson hunger taught to men;
These are the lines which heaven-commanded Toil
Shows on his deed,--the charter of the soil.
O gracious Mother, whose benignant breast
Wakes us to life, and lulls us all to rest,
How thy sweet features, kind to every clime,
Mock with their smile the wrinkled front of time
We stain thy flowers,--they blossom o'er the dead;
We rend thy bosom, and it gives us bread;
O'er the red field that trampling strife has torn,
Waves the green plumage of thy tasselled corn;
Our maddening conflicts sear thy fairest plain,
Still thy soft answer is the growing grain.
Yet, O our Mother, while uncounted charms
Steal round our hearts in thine embracing arms,
Let not our virtues in thy love decay,
And thy fond sweetness waste our strength away.
No! by these hills, whose banners now displayed
In blazing cohorts Autumn has arrayed;
By yon twin summits, on whose splintery crests
The tossing hemlocks hold the eagles' nests;
By these fair plains the mountain circle screens,
And feeds with streamlets from its dark ravines,
True to their home, these faithful arms shall toil
To crown with peace their own untainted soil;
And, true to God, to freedom, to mankind,
If her chained bandogs Faction shall unbind,
These stately forms, that bending even now
Bowed their strong manhood to the humble plough,
Shall rise erect, the guardians of the land,
The same stern iron in the same right hand,
Till o'er their hills the shouts of triumph run,
The sword has rescued what the ploughshare won!
How long will this harp which you once loved to hear
Cheat your lips of a smile or your eyes of a tear?
How long stir the echoes it wakened of old,
While its strings were unbroken, untarnished its gold?
Dear friends of my boyhood, my words do you wrong;
The heart, the heart only, shall throb in my song;
It reads the kind answer that looks from your eyes,--
'We will bid our old harper play on till he dies.'
Though Youth, the fair angel that looked o'er the strings,
Has lost the bright glory that gleamed on his wings,
Though the freshness of morning has passed from its tone
It is still the old harp that was always your own.
I claim not its music,--each note it affords
I strike from your heart-strings, that lend me its chords;
I know you will listen and love to the last,
For it trembles and thrills with the voice of your past.
Ah, brothers! dear brothers! the harp that I hold
No craftsman could string and no artisan mould;
He shaped it, He strung it, who fashioned the lyres
That ring with the hymns of the seraphim choirs.
Not mine are the visions of beauty it brings,
Not mine the faint fragrance around it that clings;
Those shapes are the phantoms of years that are fled,
Those sweets breathe from roses your summers have shed.
Each hour of the past lends its tribute to this,
Till it blooms like a bower in the Garden of Bliss;
The thorn and the thistle may grow as they will,
Where Friendship unfolds there is Paradise still.
The bird wanders careless while summer is green,
The leaf-hidden cradle that rocked him unseen;
When Autumn's rude fingers the woods have undressed,
The boughs may look bare, but they show him his nest.
Too precious these moments! the lustre they fling
Is the light of our year, is the gem of its ring,
So brimming with sunshine, we almost forget
The rays it has lost, and its border of jet.
While round us the many-hued halo is shed,
How dear are the living, how near are the dead!
One circle, scarce broken, these waiting below,
Those walking the shores where the asphodels blow!
Not life shall enlarge it nor death shall divide,--
No brother new-born finds his place at my side;
No titles shall freeze us, no grandeurs infest,
His Honor, His Worship, are boys like the rest.
Some won the world's homage, their names we hold dear,--
But Friendship, not Fame, is the countersign here;
Make room by the conqueror crowned in the strife
For the comrade that limps from the battle of life!
What tongue talks of battle? Too long we have heard
In sorrow, in anguish, that terrible word;
It reddened the sunshine, it crimsoned the wave,
It sprinkled our doors with the blood of our brave.
Peace, Peace comes at last, with her garland of white;
Peace broods in all hearts as we gather to-night;
The blazon of Union spreads full in the sun;
We echo its words,--We are one! We are one!