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!
To An English Friend
THE seed that wasteful autumn cast
To waver on its stormy blast,
Long o'er the wintry desert tost,
Its living germ has never lost.
Dropped by the weary tempest's wing,
It feels the kindling ray of spring,
And, starting from its dream of death,
Pours on the air its perfumed breath.
So, parted by the rolling flood,
The love that springs from common blood
Needs but a single sunlit hour
Of mingling smiles to bud and flower;
Unharmed its slumbering life has flown,
From shore to shore, from zone to zone,
Where summer's falling roses stain
The tepid waves of Pontchartrain,
Or where the lichen creeps below
Katahdin's wreaths of whirling snow.
Though fiery sun and stiffening cold
May change the fair ancestral mould,
No winter chills, no summer drains
The life-blood drawn from English veins,
Still bearing wheresoe'er it flows
The love that with its fountain rose,
Unchanged by space, unwronged by time,
From age to age, from clime to clime!
NOT charity we ask,
Nor yet thy gift refuse;
Please thy light fancy with the easy task
Only to look and choose.
The little-heeded toy
That wins thy treasured gold
May be the dearest memory, holiest joy,
Of coming years untold.
Heaven rains on every heart,
But there its showers divide,
The drops of mercy choosing, as they part,
The dark or glowing side.
One kindly deed may turn
The fountain of thy soul
To loveâ€™s sweet day-star, that shall oâ€™er thee burn
Long as its currents roll.
The pleasures thou hast planned,â€”Â
Where shall their memory be
When the white angel with the freezing hand
Shall sit and watch by thee?
Living, thou dost not live,
If mercyâ€™s spring run dry;
What Heaven has lent thee wilt thou freely give,
Dying, thou shalt not die.
HE promised even so!
To thee his lips repeat,â€”Â
Behold, the tears that soothed thy sisterâ€™s woe
Have washed thy Masterâ€™s feet!
March 20, 1859.
From A Bachelor’s Private Journal
SWEET Mary, I have never breathed
The love it were in vain to name;
Though round my heart a serpent wreathed,
I smiled, or strove to smile, the same.
Once more the pulse of Nature glows
With faster throb and fresher fire,
While music round her pathway flows,
Like echoes from a hidden lyre.
And is there none with me to share
The glories of the earth and sky?
The eagle through the pathless air
Is followed by one burning eye.
Ah no! the cradled flowers may wake,
Again may flow the frozen sea,
From every cloud a star may break,--
There conies no second spring to me.
Go,--ere the painted toys of youth
Are crushed beneath the tread of years;
Ere visions have been chilled to truth,
And hopes are washed away in tears.
Go,--for I will not bid thee weep,--
Too soon my sorrows will be thine,
And evening's troubled air shall sweep
The incense from the broken shrine.
If Heaven can hear the dying tone
Of chords that soon will cease to thrill,
The prayer that Heaven has heard alone
May bless thee when those chords are still.
St. Anthony The Reformer
No fear lest praise should make us proud!
We know how cheaply that is won;
The idle homage of the crowd
Is proof of tasks as idly done.
A surface-smile may pay the toil
That follows still the conquering Right,
With soft, white hands to dress the spoil
That sun-browned valor clutched in fight.
Sing the sweet song of other days,
Serenely placid, safely true,
And o'er the present's parching ways
The verse distils like evening dew.
But speak in words of living power,--
They fall like drops of scalding rain
That plashed before the burning shower
Swept o' er the cities of the plain!
Then scowling Hate turns deadly pale,--
Then Passion's half-coiled adders spring,
And, smitten through their leprous mail,
Strike right and left in hope to sting.
If thou, unmoved by poisoning wrath,
Thy feet on earth, thy heart above,
Canst walk in peace thy kingly path,
Unchanged in trust, unchilled in love,--
Too kind for bitter words to grieve,
Too firm for clamor to dismay,
When Faith forbids thee to believe,
And Meekness calls to disobey,--
Ah, then beware of mortal pride!
The smiling pride that calmly scorns
Those foolish fingers, crimson dyed
In laboring on thy crown of thorns!
A Birthday Tribute
TO J. F. CLARKE
WHO is the shepherd sent to lead,
Through pastures green, the Master's sheep?
What guileless 'Israelite indeed'
The folded flock may watch and keep?
He who with manliest spirit joins
The heart of gentlest human mould,
With burning light and girded loins,
To guide the flock, or watch the fold;
True to all Truth the world denies,
Not tongue-tied for its gilded sin;
Not always right in all men's eyes,
But faithful to the light within;
Who asks no meed of earthly fame,
Who knows no earthly master's call,
Who hopes for man, through guilt and shame,
Still answering, 'God is over all';
Who makes another's grief his own,
Whose smile lends joy a double cheer;
Where lives the saint, if such be known?--
Speak softly,--such an one is here!
O faithful shepherd! thou hast borne
The heat and burden of the clay;
Yet, o'er thee, bright with beams unshorn,
The sun still shows thine onward way.
To thee our fragrant love we bring,
In buds that April half displays,
Sweet first-born angels of the spring,
Caught in their opening hymn of praise.
What though our faltering accents fail,
Our captives know their message well,
Our words unbreathed their lips exhale,
And sigh more love than ours can tell.
April 4, 1860.
No Time Like The Old Time
THERE is no time like the old time, when you and I were young,
When the buds of April blossomed, and the birds of spring-time sung!
The garden's brightest glories by summer suns are nursed,
But oh, the sweet, sweet violets, the flowers that opened first!
There is no place like the old place, where you and I were born,
Where we lifted first our eyelids on the splendors of the morn
From the milk-white breast that warmed us, from the clinging arms that
Where the dear eyes glistened o'er us that will look on us no more!
There is no friend like the old friend, who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise
Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
There is no love like the old love, that we courted in our pride;
Though our leaves are falling, falling, and we're fading side by side,
There are blossoms all around us with the colors of our dawn,
And we live in borrowed sunshine when the day-star is withdrawn.
There are no times like the old times,--they shall never be forgot!
There is no place like the old place,--keep green the dear old spot!
There are no friends like our old friends,--may Heaven prolong their
There are no loves like our old loves,--God bless our loving wives!
To The Eleven Ladies
WHO PRESENTED ME WITH A SILVER LOVING CUP
ON THE TWENTY-NINTH OF AUGUST, M DCCC LXXXIX
'WHO gave this cup?' The secret thou wouldst steal
Its brimming flood forbids it to reveal:
No mortal's eye shall read it till he first
Cool the red throat of thirst.
If on the golden floor one draught remain,
Trust me, thy careful search will be in vain;
Not till the bowl is emptied shalt thou know
The names enrolled below.
Deeper than Truth lies buried in her well
Those modest names the graven letters spell
Hide from the sight; but wait, and thou shalt see
Who the good angels be.
Whose bounty glistens in the beauteous gift
That friendly hands to loving lips shall lift
Turn the fair goblet when its floor is dry,--
Their names shall meet thine eye.
Count thou their number on the beads of Heaven
Alas! the clustered Pleiads are but seven;
Nay, the nine sister Muses are too few,--
The Graces must add two.
'For whom this gift?' For one who all too long
Clings to his bough among the groves of song;
Autumn's last leaf, that spreads its faded wing
To greet a second spring.
Dear friends, kind friends, whate'er the cup may hold,
Bathing its burnished depths, will change to gold
Its last bright drop let thirsty Maenads drain,
Its fragrance will remain.
Better love's perfume in the empty bowl
Than wine's nepenthe for the aching soul;
Sweeter than song that ever poet sung,
It makes an old heart young!
A Loving-Cup Song
COME, heap the fagots! Ere we go
Again the cheerful hearth shall glow;
We 'll have another blaze, my boys!
When clouds are black and snows are white,
Then Christmas logs lend ruddy light
They stole from summer days, my boys,
They stole from summer days.
And let the Loving-Cup go round,
The Cup with blessed memories crowned,
That flows whene'er we meet, my boys;
No draught will hold a drop of sin
If love is only well stirred in
To keep it sound and sweet, my boys,
To keep it sound and sweet.
Give me, to pin upon my breast,
The blossoms twain I love the best,
A rosebud and a pink, my boys;
Their leaves shall nestle next my heart,
Their perfumed breath shall own its part
In every health we drink, my boys,
In every health we drink.
The breathing blossoms stir my blood,
Methinks I see the lilacs bud
And hear the bluebirds sing, my boys;
Why not? Yon lusty oak has seen
Full tenscore years, yet leaflets green
Peep out with every spring, my boys,
Peep out with every spring.
Old Time his rusty scythe may whet,
The unmowed grass is glowing yet
Beneath the sheltering snow, my boys;
And if the crazy dotard ask,
Is love worn out? Is life a task?
We'll bravely answer No! my boys,
We 'll bravely answer No!
For life's bright taper is the same
Love tipped of old with rosy flame
That heaven's own altar lent, my boys,
To glow in every cup we fill
Till lips are mute and hearts are still,
Till life and love are spent, my boys,
Till life and love are spent.
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 Last Reader
I sometimes sit beneath a tree
And read my own sweet songs;
Though naught they may to others be,
Each humble line prolongs
A tone that might have passed away
But for that scarce remembered lay.
I keep them like a lock or leaf
That some dear girl has given;
Frail record of an hour, as brief
As sunset clouds in heaven,
But spreading purple twilight still
High over memoryâ€™s shadowed hill.
They lie upon my pathway bleak,
Those flowers that once ran wild,
As on a fatherâ€™s careworn cheek
The ringlets of his child;
The golden mingling with the gray,
And stealing half its snows away.
What care I though the dust is spread
Around these yellow leaves,
Or oâ€™er them his sarcastic thread
Oblivionâ€™s insect weaves
Though weeds are tangled on the stream,
It still reflects my morningâ€™s beam.
And therefore love I such as smile
On these neglected songs,
Nor deem that flatteryâ€™s needless wile
My opening bosom wrongs;
For who would trample, at my side,
A few pale buds, my gardenâ€™s pride?
It may be that my scanty ore
Long years have washed away,
And where were golden sands before
Is naught but common clay;
Still something sparkles in the sun
For memory to look back upon.
And when my name no more is heard,
My lyre no more is known,
Still let me, like a winterâ€™s bird,
In silence and alone,
Fold over them the weary wing
Once flashing through the dews of spring.
Yes, let my fancy fondly wrap
My youth in its decline,
And riot in the rosy lap
Of thoughts that once were mine,
And give the worm my little store
When the last reader reads no more!
The Fountain Of Youth
READ AT THE MEETING OF THE HARVARD ALUMNI
ASSOCIATION, JUNE 25, 1873
THE fount the Spaniard sought in vain
Through all the land of flowers
Leaps glittering from the sandy plain
Our classic grove embowers;
Here youth, unchanging, blooms and smiles,
Here dwells eternal spring,
And warm from Hope's elysian isles
The winds their perfume bring.
Here every leaf is in the bud,
Each singing throat in tune,
And bright o'er evening's silver flood
Shines the young crescent moon.
What wonder Age forgets his staff
And lays his glasses down,
And gray-haired grandsires look and laugh
As when their locks were brown!
With ears grown dull and eyes grown dim
They greet the joyous day
That calls them to the fountain's brim
To wash their years away.
What change has clothed the ancient sire
In sudden youth? For, to!
The Judge, the Doctor, and the Squire
Are Jack and Bill and Joe!
And be his titles what they will,
In spite of manhood's claim
The graybeard is a school-boy still
And loves his school-boy name;
It calms the ruler's stormy breast
Whom hurrying care pursues,
And brings a sense of peace and rest,
Like slippers after shoes.--
And what are all the prizes won
To youth's enchanted view?
And what is all the man has done
To what the boy may do?
O blessed fount, whose waters flow
Alike for sire and son,
That melts our winter's frost and snow
And makes all ages one!
I pledge the sparkling fountain's tide,
That flings its golden shower
With age to fill and youth to guide,
Still fresh in morning flower
Flow on with ever-widening stream,
In ever-brightening morn,--
Our story's pride, our future's dream,
The hope of times unborn!
To My Readers
NAY, blame me not; I might have spared
Your patience many a trivial verse,
Yet these my earlier welcome shared,
So, let the better shield the worse.
And some might say, 'Those ruder songs
Had freshness which the new have lost;
To spring the opening leaf belongs,
The chestnut-burs await the frost.'
When those I wrote, my locks were brown,
When these I write--ah, well a-day!
The autumn thistle's silvery down
Is not the purple bloom of May.
Go, little book, whose pages hold
Those garnered years in loving trust;
How long before your blue and gold
Shall fade and whiten in the dust?
O sexton of the alcoved tomb,
Where souls in leathern cerements lie,
Tell me each living poet's doom!
How long before his book shall die?
It matters little, soon or late,
A day, a month, a year, an age,--
I read oblivion in its date,
And Finis on its title-page.
Before we sighed, our griefs were told;
Before we smiled, our joys were sung;
And all our passions shaped of old
In accents lost to mortal tongue.
In vain a fresher mould we seek,--
Can all the varied phrases tell
That Babel's wandering children speak
How thrushes sing or lilacs smell?
Caged in the poet's lonely heart,
Love wastes unheard its tenderest tone;
The soul that sings must dwell apart,
Its inward melodies unknown.
Deal gently with us, ye who read
Our largest hope is unfulfilled,--
The promise still outruns the deed,--
The tower, but not the spire, we build.
Our whitest pearl we never find;
Our ripest fruit we never reach;
The flowering moments of the mind
Drop half their petals in our speech.
These are my blossoms; if they wear
One streak of morn or evening's glow,
Accept them; but to me more fair
The buds of song that never blow.
YES, lady! I can ne'er forget,
That once in other years we met;
Thy memory may perchance recall
A festal eve, a rose-wreathed hall,
Its tapers' blaze, its mirrors' glance,
Its melting song, its ringing glance;
Why, in thy dream of virgin joy,
Shouldst thou recall a pallid boy?
Thine eye had other forms to seek,
Why rest upon his bashful cheek?
With other tones thy heart was stirred,
Why waste on him a gentle word?
We parted, lady, all night long
Thine ear to thrill with dance and song,
And I to weep that I was born
A thing thou scarce wouldst deign to scorn.
And, lady! now that years have past,
My bark has reached the shore at last;
The gales that filled her ocean wing,
Have chilled and shrunk thy hasty spring,
And eye to eye, and brow to brow,
I stand before thy presence now;
Thy lip is smoothed, thy voice is sweet,
Thy warm hand offered when we meet.
Nay, lady! 't is not now for me
To droop the lid or bend the knee.
I seek thee, oh thou dost not shun;
I speak, thou listenest like a nun;
I ask thy smile, thy lip uncurls,
Too liberal of its flashing pearls ;
Thy tears, thy lashes sing again,
My Hebe turns to Magdalen !
O changing youth ! that evening hour
Looked down on ours, the bud the flower :
Thine faded in its virgin soil.
And mine was nursed in tears and toil;
Thy leaves were withering:, one by one,
While mine were opening to the sun.
Which now can meet the cold and storm,
With freshest leaf and hardiest form ?
Ay, lady ! that once haughty glance
Still wanders through the glittering dance,
She asks in vain from others' pride,
The charity thine own denied ;
And as thy fickle lips could learn
To smile and praise, that used to spurn,
So the last offering on thy shrine
Shall be this flattering lay of mine!
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!
At The Close Of A Course Of Lectures
As the voice of the watch to the mariner's dream,
As the footstep of Spring on the ice-girdled stream,
There comes a soft footstep, a whisper, to me,--
The vision is over,--the rivulet free.
We have trod from the threshold of turbulent March,
Till the green scarf of April is hung on the larch,
And down the bright hillside that welcomes the day,
We hear the warm panting of beautiful May.
We will part before Summer has opened her wing,
And the bosom of June swells the bodice of Spring,
While the hope of the season lies fresh in the bud,
And the young life of Nature runs warm in our blood.
It is but a word, and the chain is unbound,
The bracelet of steel drops unclasped to the ground;
No hand shall replace it,--it rests where it fell,---
It is but one word that we all know too well.
Yet the hawk with the wildness untamed in his eye,
If you free him, stares round ere he springs to the sky;
The slave whom no longer his fetters restrain
Will turn for a moment and look at his chain.
Our parting is not as the friendship of years,
That chokes with the blessing it speaks through its tears;
We have walked in a garden, and, looking around,
Have plucked a few leaves from the myrtles we found.
But now at the gate of the garden we stand,
And the moment has come for unclasping the hand;
Will you drop it like lead, and in silence retreat
Like the twenty crushed forms from an omnibus seat?
Nay! hold it one moment,--the last we may share,--
I stretch it in kindness, and not for my fare;
You may pass through the doorway in rank or in file,
If your ticket from Nature is stamped with a smile.
For the sweetest of smiles is the smile as we part,
When the light round the lips is a ray from the heart;
And lest a stray tear from its fountain might swell,
We will seal the bright spring with a quiet farewell.
Under The Violets
HER hands are cold; her face is white;
No more her pulses come and go;
Her eyes are shut to life and light;--
Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,
And lay her where the violets blow.
But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes;
A slender cross of wood alone
Shall say, that here a maiden lies
In peace beneath the peaceful skies.
And gray old trees of hugest limb
Shall wheel their circling shadows round
To make the scorching sunlight dim
That drinks the greenness from the ground,
And drop their dead leaves on her mound.
When o'er their boughs the squirrels run,
And through their leaves the robins call,
And, ripening in the autumn sun,
The acorns and the chestnuts fall,
Doubt not that she will heed them all.
For her the morning choir shall sing
Its matins from the branches high,
And every minstrel-voice of Spring,
That trills beneath the April sky,
Shall greet her with its earliest cry.
When, turning round their dial-track,
Eastward the lengthening shadows pass,
Her little mourners, clad in black,
The crickets, sliding through the grass,
Shall pipe for her an evening mass.
At last the rootlets of the trees
Shall find the prison where she lies,
And bear the buried dust they seize
In leaves and blossoms to the skies.
So may the soul that warmed it rise!
If any, born of kindlier blood,
Should ask, What maiden lies below?
Say only this: A tender bud,
That tried to blossom in the snow,
Lies withered where the violets blow.
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.
H. C. M. H. S. J. K. W.
THE dirge is played, the throbbing death-peal rung,
The sad-voiced requiem sung;
On each white urn where memory dwells
The wreath of rustling immortelles
Our loving hands have hung,
And balmiest leaves have strown and tenderest blossoms flung.
The birds that filled the air with songs have flown,
The wintry blasts have blown,
And these for whom the voice of spring
Bade the sweet choirs their carols sing
Sleep in those chambers lone
Where snows untrodden lie, unheard the night-winds moan.
We clasp them all in memory, as the vine
Whose running stems intwine
The marble shaft, and steal around
The lowly stone, the nameless mound;
With sorrowing hearts resign
Our brothers true and tried, and close our broken line.
How fast the lamps of life grow dim and die
Beneath our sunset sky!
Still fading, as along our track
We cast our saddened glances back,
And while we vainly sigh
The shadowy day recedes, the starry night draws nigh.
As when from pier to pier across the tide
With even keel we glide,
The lights we left along the shore
Grow less and less, while more, yet more
New vistas open wide
Of fair illumined streets and casements golden-eyed.
Each closing circle of our sunlit sphere
Seems to bring heaven more near
Can we not dream that those we love
Are listening in the world above
And smiling as they hear
The voices known so well of friends that still are dear?
Does all that made us human fade away
With this dissolving clay?
Nay, rather deem the blessed isles
Are bright and gay with joyous smiles,
That angels have their play,
And saints that tire of song may claim their holiday.
All else of earth may perish; love alone
Not heaven shall find outgrown!
Are they not here, our spirit guests,
With love still throbbing in their breasts?
Once more let flowers be strown.
Welcome, ye shadowy forms, we count you still our own!
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!'
THE FIRST VERSE OF THE SONG
BY JOSEPH HOPKINSON
'HAIL, Columbia! Happy land!
Hail, ye heroes, heaven-born band,
Who fought and bled in Freedom's cause,
Who fought and bled in Freedom's cause,
And when the storm of war was gone
Enjoy'd the peace your valor won.
Let independence be our boast,
Ever mindful what it cost;
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies.
'Firm--united--let us be,
Rallying round our Liberty;
As a band of brothers join'd,
Peace and safety we shall find.'
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE
CONSTITUTIONAL CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION AT PHILADELPHIA,
LOOK our ransomed shores around,
Peace and safety we have found!
Welcome, friends who once were foes!
Welcome, friends who once were foes,
To all the conquering years have gained,--
A nation's rights, a race unchained!
Children of the day new-born,
Mindful of its glorious morn,
Let the pledge our fathers signed
Heart to heart forever bind!
While the stars of heaven shall burn,
While the ocean tides return,
Ever may the circling sun
Find the Many still are One!
Graven deep with edge of steel,
Crowned with Victory's crimson seal,
All the world their names shall read!
All the world their names shall read,
Enrolled with his, the Chief that led
The hosts whose blood for us was shed.
Pay our sires their children's debt,
Love and honor, nor forget
Only Union's golden key
Guards the Ark of Liberty!
While the stars of heaven shall burn,
While the ocean tides return,
Ever may the circling sun
Find the Many still are One!
Hail, Columbia! strong and free,
Throned in hearts from sea to sea
Thy march triumphant still pursue!
Thy march triumphant still pursue
With peaceful stride from zone to zone,
Till Freedom finds the world her own.
Blest in Union's holy ties,
Let our grateful song arise,
Every voice its tribute lend,
All in loving chorus blend!
While the stars in heaven shall burn,
While the ocean tides return,
Ever shall the circling sun
Find the Many still are One!
Spring Has Come
THE sunbeams, lost for half a year,
Slant through my pane their morning rays;
For dry northwesters cold and clear,
The east blows in its thin blue haze.
And first the snowdrop's bells are seen,
Then close against the sheltering wall
The tulip's horn of dusky green,
The peony's dark unfolding ball.
The golden-chaliced crocus burns;
The long narcissus-blades appear;
The cone-beaked hyacinth returns
To light her blue-flamed chandelier.
The willow's whistling lashes, wrung
By the wild winds of gusty March,
With sallow leaflets lightly strung,
Are swaying by the tufted larch.
The elms have robed their slender spray
With full-blown flower and embryo leaf;
Wide o'er the clasping arch of day
Soars like a cloud their hoary chief.
See the proud tulip's flaunting cup,
That flames in glory for an hour,--
Behold it withering,--then look up,--
How meek the forest monarch's flower!
When wake the violets, Winter dies;
When sprout the elm-buds, Spring is near:
When lilacs blossom, Summer cries,
'Bud, little roses! Spring is here!'
The windows blush with fresh bouquets,
Cut with the May-dew on their lips;
The radish all its bloom displays,
Pink as Aurora's finger-tips.
Nor less the flood of light that showers
On beauty's changed corolla-shades,--
The walks are gay as bridal bowers
With rows of many-petalled maids.
The scarlet shell-fish click and clash
In the blue barrow where they slide;
The horseman, proud of streak and splash,
Creeps homeward from his morning ride.
Here comes the dealer's awkward string,
With neck in rope and tail in knot,--
Rough colts, with careless country-swing,
In lazy walk or slouching trot.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wild filly from the mountain-side,
Doomed to the close and chafing thills,
Lend me thy long, untiring stride
To seek with thee thy western hills!
I hear the whispering voice of Spring,
The thrush's trill, the robin's cry,
Like some poor bird with prisoned wing
That sits and sings, but longs to fly.
Oh for one spot of living greed,--
One little spot where leaves can grow,--
To love unblamed, to walk unseen,
To dream above, to sleep below!
At The Banquet To The Grand Duke Alexis
DECEMBER 9, 1871
ONE word to the guest we have gathered to greet!
The echoes are longing that word to repeat,--
It springs to the lips that are waiting to part,
For its syllables spell themselves first in the heart.
Its accents may vary, its sound may be strange,
But it bears a kind message that nothing can change;
The dwellers by Neva its meaning can tell,
For the smile, its interpreter, shows it full well.
That word! How it gladdened the Pilgrim yore,
As he stood in the snow on the desolate shore!
When the shout of the sagamore startled his ear
In the phrase of the Saxon, 't was music to hear!
Ah, little could Samoset offer our sire,--
The cabin, the corn-cake, the seat by the fire;
He had nothing to give,--the poor lord of the land,--
But he gave him a WELCOME,--his heart in his hand!
The tribe of the sachem has melted away,
But the word that he spoke is remembered to-day,
And the page that is red with the record of shame
The tear-drops have whitened round Samoset's name.
The word that he spoke to the Pilgrim of old
May sound like a tale that has often been told;
But the welcome we speak is as fresh as the dew,--
As the kiss of a lover, that always is new!
Ay, Guest of the Nation! each roof is thine own
Through all the broad continent's star-bannered zone;
From the shore where the curtain of morn is uprolled,
To the billows that flow through the gateway of gold.
The snow-crested mountains are calling aloud;
Nevada to Ural speaks out of the cloud,
And Shasta shouts forth, from his throne in the sky,
To the storm-splintered summits, the peaks of Altai!
You must leave him, they say, till the summer is green!
Both shores are his home, though the waves roll between;
And then we'll return him, with thanks for the same,
As fresh and as smiling and tall as he came.
But ours is the region of arctic delight;
We can show him auroras and pole-stars by night;
There's a Muscovy sting in the ice-tempered air,
And our firesides are warm and our maidens are fair.
The flowers are full-blown in the garlanded hall,--
They will bloom round his footsteps wherever they fall;
For the splendors of youth and the sunshine they bring
Make the roses believe 't is the summons of Spring.
One word of our language he needs must know well,
But another remains that is harder to spell;
We shall speak it so ill, if he wishes to learn
How we utter Farewell, he will have to return!
Breakfast at the Century Club, New York, May, 1879.
SUCH kindness! the scowl of a cynic would soften,
His pulse beat its way to some eloquent words,
Alas! my poor accents have echoed too often,
Like that Pinafore music you've some of you heard.
Do you know me, dear strangers--the hundredth time comer
At banquets and feasts since the days of my Spring?
Ah! would I could borrow one rose of my Summer,
But this is a leaf of my Autumn I bring.
I look at your faces,--I'm sure there are some from
The three-breasted mother I count as my own;
You think you remember the place you have come from,
But how it has changed in the years that have flown!
Unaltered, 't is true, is the hall we call 'Funnel,'
Still fights the 'Old South' in the battle for life,
But we've opened our door to the West through the tunnel,
And we've cut off Fort Hill with our Amazon knife.
You should see the new Westminster Boston has builded,--
Its mansions, its spires, its museums of arts,--
You should see the great dome we have gorgeously gilded,--
'T is the light of our eyes, 't is the joy of our hearts.
When first in his path a young asteroid found it,
As he sailed through the skies with the stars in his wake,
He thought 't was the sun, and kept circling around it
Till Edison signalled, 'You've made a mistake.'
We are proud of our city,--her fast-growing figure,
The warp and the woof of her brain and her hands,--
But we're proudest of all that her heart has grown bigger,
And warms with fresh blood as her girdle expands.
One lesson the rubric of conflict has taught her
Though parted awhile by war's earth-rending shock,
The lines that divide us are written in water,
The love that unites us cut deep in the rock.
As well might the Judas of treason endeavor
To write his black name on the disk of the sun
As try the bright star-wreath that binds us to sever
And blot the fair legend of 'Many in One.'
We love You, tall sister, the stately, the splendid,--
The banner of empire floats high on your towers,
Yet ever in welcome your arms are extended,--
We share in your splendors, your glory is ours.
Yes, Queen of the Continent! All of us own thee,--
The gold-freighted argosies flock at thy call,
The naiads, the sea-nymphs have met to enthrone thee,
But the Broadway of one is the Highway of all!
I thank you. Three words that can hardly be mended,
Though phrases on phrases their eloquence pile,
If you hear the heart's throb with their eloquence blended,
And read all they mean in a sunshiny smile.
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!
OLD TIME, in whose bank we deposit our notes,
Is a miser who always wants guineas for groats;
He keeps all his customers still in arrears
By lending them minutes and charging them years.
The twelvemonth rolls round and we never forget
On the counter before us to pay him our debt.
We reckon the marks he has chalked on the door,
Pay up and shake hands and begin a new score.
How long he will lend us, how much we may owe,
No angel will tell us, no mortal may know.
At fivescore, at fourscore, at threescore and ten,
He may close the account with a stroke of his pen.
This only we know,--amid sorrows and joys
Old Time has been easy and kind with 'The Boys.'
Though he must have and will have and does have his pay,
We have found him good-natured enough in his way.
He never forgets us, as others will do,--
I am sure he knows me, and I think he knows you,
For I see on your foreheads a mark that he lends
As a sign he remembers to visit his friends.
In the shape of a classmate (a wig on his crown,--
His day-book and ledger laid carefully down)
He has welcomed us yearly, a glass in his hand,
And pledged the good health of our brotherly band.
He 's a thief, we must own, but how many there be
That rob us less gently and fairly than he
He has stripped the green leaves that were over us all,
But they let in the sunshine as fast as they fall.
Young beauties may ravish the world with a glance
As they languish in song, as they float in the dance,--
They are grandmothers now we remember as girls,
And the comely white cap takes the place of the curls.
But the sighing and moaning and groaning are o'er,
We are pining and moping and sleepless no more,
And the hearts that were thumping like ships on the rocks
Beat as quiet and steady as meeting-house clocks.
The trump of ambition, loud sounding and shrill,
May blow its long blast, but the echoes are still,
The spring-tides are past, but no billow may reach
The spoils they have landed far up on the beach.
We see that Time robs us, we know that he cheats,
But we still find a charm in his pleasant deceits,
While he leaves the remembrance of all that was best,
Love, friendship, and hope, and the promise of rest.
Sweet shadows of twilight! how calm their repose,
While the dewdrops fall soft in the breast of the rose!
How blest to the toiler his hour of release
When the vesper is heard with its whisper of peace!
Then here's to the wrinkled old miser, our friend;
May he send us his bills to the century's end,
And lend us the moments no sorrow alloys,
Till he squares his account with the last of 'The Boys.'
The Only Daughter. Illustration Of A Picture
They bid me strike the idle strings,
As if my summer days
Had shaken sunbeams from their wings
To warm my autumn lays;
They bring to me their painted urn,
As if it were not time
To lift my gauntlet and to spurn
The lists of boyish rhyme;
And were it not that I have still
Some weakness in my heart
That clings around my stronger will
And pleads for gentler art,
Perchance I had not turned away
The thoughts grown tame with toil,
To cheat this lone and pallid ray,
That wastes the midnight oil.
Alas! with every year I feel
Some roses leave my brow;
Too young for wisdomâ€™s tardy seal,
Too old for garlands now.
Yet, while the dewy breath of spring
Steals oâ€™er the tingling air,
And spreads and fans each emerald wing
The forest soon shall wear.
How bright the opening year would seem,
Had I one look like thine
To meet me when the morning beam
Unseals these lids of mine!
Too long I bear this lonely lot,
That bids my heart run wild
To press the lips that love me not,
To clasp the strangerâ€™s child.
How oft beyond the dashing seas,
Amidst those royal bowers,
Where danced the lilacs in the breeze,
And swung the chestnut-flowers,
I wandered like a wearied slave
Whose morning task is done,
To watch the little hands that gave
Their whiteness to the sun;
To revel in the bright young eyes,
Whose lustre sparkled through
The sable fringe of Southern skies
Or gleamed in Saxon blue!
How oft I heard anotherâ€™s name
Called in some truantâ€™s tone;
Sweet accents! which I longed to claim,
To learn and lisp my own!
Too soon the gentle hands, that pressed
The ringlets of the child,
Are folded on the faithful breast
Where first he breathed and smiled;
Too oft the clinging arms untwine,
The melting lips forget,
And darkness veils the bridal shrine
Where wreaths and torches met;
If Heaven but leaves a single thread
Of Hopeâ€™s dissolving chain,
Even when her parting plumes are spread,
It bids them fold again;
The cradle rocks beside the tomb;
The cheek now changed and chill
Smiles on us in the morning bloom
Of one that loves us still.
Sweet image! I have done thee wrong
To claim this destined lay;
The leaf that asked an idle song
Must bear my tears away.
Yet, in thy memory shouldst thou keep
This else forgotten strain,
Till years have taught thine eyes to weep,
And flatteryâ€™s voice is vain;
Oh then, thou fledgling of the nest,
Like the long-wandering dove,
Thy weary heart may faint for rest,
As mine, on changeless love;
And while these sculptured lines retrace
The hours now dancing by,
This vision of thy girlish grace
May cost thee, too, a sigh.
READ AT THE TWO HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
Is it a weanling's weakness for the past
That in the stormy, rebel-breeding town,
Swept clean of relics by the levelling blast,
Still keeps our gray old chapel's name of 'King's,'
Still to its outworn symbols fondly clings,--
Its unchurched mitres and its empty crown?
Poor harmless emblems! All has shrunk away
That made them gorgons in the patriot's eyes;
The priestly plaything harms us not to-day;
The gilded crown is but a pleasing show,
An old-world heirloom, left from long ago,
Wreck of the past that memory bids us prize,
Lightly we glance the fresh-cut marbles o'er;
Those two of earlier date our eyes enthrall:
The proud old Briton's by the western door,
And hers, the Lady of Colonial days,
Whose virtues live in long-drawn classic phrase,--
The fair Francesca of the southern wall.
Ay! those were goodly men that Reynolds drew,
And stately dames our Copley's canvas holds,
To their old Church, their Royal Master, true,
Proud of the claim their valiant sires had earned,
That 'gentle blood,' not lightly to be spurned,
Save by the churl ungenerous Nature moulds.
All vanished! It were idle to complain
That ere the fruits shall come the flowers must fall;
Yet somewhat we have lost amidst our gain,
Some rare ideals time may not restore,--
The charm of courtly breeding, seen no more,
And reverence, dearest ornament of all.
Thus musing, to the western wall I came,
Departing: lo! a tablet fresh and fair,
Where glistened many a youth's remembered name
In golden letters on the snow-white stone,--
Young lives these aisles and arches once have known,
Their country's bleeding altar might not spare.
These died that we might claim a soil unstained,
Save by the blood of heroes; their bequests
A realm unsevered and a race unchained.
Has purer blood through Norman veins come down
From the rough knights that clutched the Saxon's crown
Than warmed the pulses in these faithful breasts?
These, too, shall live in history's deathless page,
High on the slow-wrought pedestals of fame,
Ranged with the heroes of remoter age;
They could not die who left their nation free,
Firm as the rock, unfettered as the sea,
Its heaven unshadowed by the cloud of shame.
While on the storied past our memory dwells,
Our grateful tribute shall not be denied,--
The wreath, the cross of rustling immortelles;
And willing hands shall clear each darkening bust,
As year by year sifts down the clinging dust
On Shirley's beauty and on Vassall's pride.
But for our own, our loved and lost, we bring
With throbbing hearts and tears that still must flow,
In full-heaped hands, the opening flowers of spring,
Lilies half-blown, and budding roses, red
As their young cheeks, before the blood was shed
That lent their morning bloom its generous glow.
Ah, who shall count a rescued nation's debt,
Or sum in words our martyrs' silent claims?
Who shall our heroes' dread exchange forget,--
All life, youth, hope, could promise to allure
For all that soul could brave or flesh endure?
They shaped our future; we but carve their names.
For Class Meeting
IT is a pity and a shame--alas! alas! I know it is,
To tread the trodden grapes again, but so it has been,
so it is;
The purple vintage long is past, with ripened
clusters bursting so
They filled the wine-vats to the brim,-'t is strange
you will be thirsting so!
Too well our faithful memory tells what might be
rhymed or sung about,
For all have sighed and some have wept since last
year's snows were flung about;
The beacon flame that fired the sky, the modest
ray that gladdened us,
A little breath has quenched their light, and
deepening shades have saddened us.
No more our brother's life is ours for cheering or
for grieving us,
One only sadness they bequeathed, the sorrow of
their leaving us;
Farewell! Farewell!--I turn the leaf I read my
chiming measure in;
Who knows but something still is there a friend
may find a pleasure in?
For who can tell by what he likes what other
people's fancies are?
How all men think the best of wives their own
particular Nancies are?
If what I sing you brings a smile, you will not stop
Nor read Bceotia's lumbering line with nicely
scanning Attic eyes.
Perhaps the alabaster box that Mary broke so
While Judas looked so sternly on, the Master so
Was not so fairly wrought as those that Pilate's
wife and daughters had,
Or many a dame of Judah's line that drank of
Jordan's waters had.
Perhaps the balm that cost so dear, as some
The precious nard that filled the room with
fragrance so deliciously,
So oft recalled in storied page and sung in verse
The dancing girl had thought too cheap,--that
daughter of Herodias.
Where now are all the mighty deeds that Herod
boasted loudest of?
Where now the flashing jewelry the tetrarch's wife
was proudest of?
Yet still to hear how Mary loved, all tribes of men
And still the sinful woman's tears like stars
heaven are glistening.
'T is not the gift our hands have brought, the love
it is we bring with it,--
The minstrel's lips may shape the song, his heart
in tune must sing with it;
And so we love the simple lays, and wish we might
have more of them,
Our poet brothers sing for us,--there must be half
a score of them.
It may be that of fame and name our voices once
With deeper thoughts, with tenderer throbs their
softening tones are tremulous;
The dead seem listening as of old, ere friendship
was bereft of them;
The living wear a kinder smile, the remnant that
is left of them.
Though on the once unfurrowed brows the harrow-
teeth of Time may show,
Though all the strain of crippling years the halting
feet of rhyme may show,
We look and hear with melting hearts, for what
we all remember is
The morn of Spring, nor heed how chill the sky of
gray November is.
Thanks to the gracious powers above from all mankind
that singled us,
And dropped the pearl of friendship in the cup they
kindly mingled us,
And bound us in a wreath of flowers with hoops of
steel knit under it;--
Nor time, nor space, nor chance, nor change, nor
death himself shall sunder it!
'Dumque virent genua
Et decet, obducta solvatur fonte senectus.'
THE muse of boyhood's fervid hour
Grows tame as skies get chill and hazy;
Where once she sought a passion-flower,
She only hopes to find a daisy.
Well, who the changing world bewails?
Who asks to have it stay unaltered?
Shall grown-up kittens chase their tails?
Shall colts be never shod or haltered?
Are we 'The Boys' that used to make
The tables ring with noisy follies?
Whose deep-lunged laughter oft would shake
The ceiling with its thunder-volleys?
Are we the youths with lips unshorn,
At beauty's feet unwrinkled suitors,
Whose memories reach tradition's morn,--
The days of prehistoric tutors?
'The Boys' we knew,--but who are these
Whose heads might serve for Plutarch's sages,
Or Fox's martyrs, if you please,
Or hermits of the dismal ages?
'The Boys' we knew--can these be those?
Their cheeks with morning's blush were painted;--
Where are the Harrys, Jims, and Joes
With whom we once were well acquainted?
If we are they, we're not the same;
If they are we, why then they're masking;
Do tell us, neighbor What 's--your--name,
Who are you?--What's the use of asking?
You once were George, or Bill, or Ben;
There's you, yourself--there 's you, that other--
I know you now--I knew you then--
You used to be your younger brother!
You both are all our own to-day,--
But ah! I hear a warning whisper;
Yon roseate hour that flits away
Repeats the Roman's sad _paulisper_.
Come back! come back! we've need of you
To pay you for your word of warning;
We'll bathe your wings in brighter dew
Than ever wet the lids of morning!
Behold this cup; its mystic wine
No alien's lip has ever tasted;
The blood of friendship's clinging vine,
Still flowing, flowing, yet unwasted
Old Time forgot his running sand
And laid his hour-glass down to fill it,
And Death himself with gentle hand
Has touched the chalice, not to spill it.
Each bubble rounding at the brim
Is rainbowed with its magic story;
The shining days with age grown dim
Are dressed again in robes of glory;
In all its freshness spring returns
With song of birds and blossoms tender;
Once more the torch of passion burns,
And youth is here in all its splendor!
Hope swings her anchor like a toy,
Love laughs and shows the silver arrow
We knew so well as man and boy,--
The shaft that stings through bone and marrow;
Again our kindling pulses beat,
With tangled curls our fingers dally,
And bygone beauties smile as sweet
As fresh-blown lilies of the valley.
O blessed hour! we may forget
Its wreaths, its rhymes, its songs, its laughter,
But not the loving eyes we met,
Whose light shall gild the dim hereafter.
How every heart to each grows warm!
Is one in sunshine's ray? We share it.
Is one in sorrow's blinding storm?
A look, a word, shall help him bear it.
'The Boys' we were, 'The Boys' we 'll be
As long as three, as two, are creeping;
Then here 's to him--ah! which is he?--
Who lives till all the rest are sleeping;
A life with tranquil comfort blest,
The young man's health, the rich man's plenty,
All earth can give that earth has best,
And heaven at fourscore years and twenty.
WINTER is past; the heart of Nature warms
Beneath the wrecks of unresisted storms;
Doubtful at first, suspected more than seen,
The southern slopes are fringed with tender green;
On sheltered banks, beneath the dripping eaves,
Spring's earliest nurslings spread their glowing leaves,
Bright with the hues from wider pictures won,
White, azure, golden,--drift, or sky, or sun,--
The snowdrop, bearing on her patient breast
The frozen trophy torn from Winter's crest;
The violet, gazing on the arch of blue
Till her own iris wears its deepened hue;
The spendthrift crocus, bursting through the mould
Naked and shivering with his cup of gold.
Swelled with new life, the darkening elm on high
Prints her thick buds against the spotted sky
On all her boughs the stately chestnut cleaves
The gummy shroud that wraps her embryo leaves;
The house-fly, stealing from his narrow grave,
Drugged with the opiate that November gave,
Beats with faint wing against the sunny pane,
Or crawls, tenacious, o'er its lucid plain;
From shaded chinks of lichen-crusted walls,
In languid curves, the gliding serpent crawls;
The bog's green harper, thawing from his sleep,
Twangs a hoarse note and tries a shortened leap;
On floating rails that face the softening noons
The still shy turtles range their dark platoons,
Or, toiling aimless o'er the mellowing fields,
Trail through the grass their tessellated shields.
At last young April, ever frail and fair,
Wooed by her playmate with the golden hair,
Chased to the margin of receding floods
O'er the soft meadows starred with opening buds,
In tears and blushes sighs herself away,
And hides her cheek beneath the flowers of May.
Then the proud tulip lights her beacon blaze,
Her clustering curls the hyacinth displays;
O'er her tall blades the crested fleur-de-lis,
Like blue-eyed Pallas, towers erect and free;
With yellower flames the lengthened sunshine glows,
And love lays bare the passion-breathing rose;
Queen of the lake, along its reedy verge
The rival lily hastens to emerge,
Her snowy shoulders glistening as she strips,
Till morn is sultan of her parted lips.
Then bursts the song from every leafy glade,
The yielding season's bridal serenade;
Then flash the wings returning Summer calls
Through the deep arches of her forest halls,--
The bluebird, breathing from his azure plumes
The fragrance borrowed where the myrtle blooms;
The thrush, poor wanderer, dropping meekly down,
Clad in his remnant of autumnal brown;
The oriole, drifting like a flake of fire
Rent by a whirlwind from a blazing spire.
The robin, jerking his spasmodic throat,
Repeats, imperious, his staccato note;
The crack-brained bobolink courts his crazy mate,
Poised on a bulrush tipsy with his weight;
Nay, in his cage the lone canary sings,
Feels the soft air, and spreads his idle wings.
Why dream I here within these caging walls,
Deaf to her voice, while blooming Nature calls;
Peering and gazing with insatiate looks
Through blinding lenses, or in wearying books?
Off, gloomy spectres of the shrivelled past!
Fly with the leaves that fill the autumn blast
Ye imps of Science, whose relentless chains
Lock the warm tides within these living veins,
Close your dim cavern, while its captive strays
Dazzled and giddy in the morning's blaze!
Poem For The Dedication Of The Fountain At Stratford-On-Avon
PRESENTED BY GEORGE W. CHILDS, OF PHILADELPHIA
WELCOME, thrice welcome is thy silvery gleam,
Thou long-imprisoned stream!
Welcome the tinkle of thy crystal beads
As plashing raindrops to the flowery meads,
As summer's breath to Avon's whispering reeds!
From rock-walled channels, drowned in rayless night,
Leap forth to life and light;
Wake from the darkness of thy troubled dream,
And greet with answering smile the morning's beam!
No purer lymph the white-limbed Naiad knows
Than from thy chalice flows;
Not the bright spring of Afric's sunny shores,
Starry with spangles washed from golden ores,
Nor glassy stream Bandusia's fountain pours,
Nor wave translucent where Sabrina fair
Braids her loose-flowing hair,
Nor the swift current, stainless as it rose
Where chill Arveiron steals from Alpine snows.
Here shall the traveller stay his weary feet
To seek thy calm retreat;
Here at high noon the brown-armed reaper rest;
Here, when the shadows, lengthening from the west,
Call the mute song-bird to his leafy nest,
Matron and maid shall chat the cares away
That brooded o'er the day,
While flocking round them troops of children meet,
And all the arches ring with laughter sweet.
Here shall the steed, his patient life who spends
In toil that never ends,
Hot from his thirsty tramp o'er hill and plain,
Plunge his red nostrils, while the torturing rein
Drops in loose loops beside his floating mane;
Nor the poor brute that shares his master's lot
Find his small needs forgot,--
Truest of humble, long-enduring friends,
Whose presence cheers, whose guardian care
Here lark and thrush and nightingale shall sip,
And skimming swallows dip,
And strange shy wanderers fold their lustrous plumes
Fragrant from bowers that lent their sweet perfumes
Where Paestum's rose or Persia's lilac blooms;
Here from his cloud the eagle stoop to drink
At the full basin's brink,
And whet his beak against its rounded lip,
His glossy feathers glistening as they drip.
Here shall the dreaming poet linger long,
Far from his listening throng,--
Nor lute nor lyre his trembling hand shall bring;
Here no frail Muse shall imp her crippled wing,
No faltering minstrel strain his throat to sing!
These hallowed echoes who shall dare to claim
Whose tuneless voice would shame,
Whose jangling chords with jarring notes would wrong
The nymphs that heard the Swan if Avon's song?
What visions greet the pilgrim's raptured eyes!
What ghosts made real rise!
The dead return,--they breathe,--they live again,
Joined by the host of Fancy's airy train,
Fresh from the springs of Shakespeare's quickening brain!
The stream that slakes the soul's diviner thirst
Here found the sunbeams first;
Rich with his fame, not less shall memory prize
The gracious gift that humbler wants supplies.
O'er the wide waters reached the hand that gave
To all this bounteous wave,
With health and strength and joyous beauty fraught;
Blest be the generous pledge of friendship, brought
From the far home of brothers' love, unbought!
Long may fair Avon's fountain flow, enrolled
With storied shrines of old,
Castalia's spring, Egeria's dewy cave,
And Horeb's rock the God of Israel slave!
Land of our fathers, ocean makes us two,
But heart to heart is true!
Proud is your towering daughter in the West,
Yet in her burning life-blood reign confest
Her mother's pulses beating in her breast.
This holy fount, whose rills from heaven descend,
Its gracious drops shall lend,--
Both foreheads bathed in that baptismal dew,
And love make one the old home and the new!
A Poem For The Meeting Of The American Medical Association At New York, May 5, 1853
I HOLD a letter in my hand,-
A flattering letter, more's the pity,-
By some contriving junto planned,
And signed per order of Committee.
It touches every tenderest spot,-
My patriotic predilections,
My well-known -something- don't ask what,-
My poor old songs, my kind affections.
They make a feast on Thursday next,
And hope to make the feasters merry;
They own they're something more perplexed
For poets than for port and sherry.
They want the men of (word torn out);
Our friends will come with anxious faces,
(To see our blankets off, no doubt,
And trot us out and show our paces.)
They hint that papers by the score
Are rather musty kind of rations,
They don't exactly mean a bore,
But only trying to the patience;
That such as you know who I mean
Distinguished for their what d'ye call 'em
Should bring the dews of Hippocrene
To sprinkle on the faces solemn.
The same old story: that's the chaff
To catch the birds that sing the ditties;
Upon my soul, it makes me laugh
To read these letters from Committees!
They're all so loving and so fair,
All for your sake such kind compunction;
'T would save your carriage half its wear
To touch its wheels with such an unction!
Why, who am I, to lift me here
And beg such learned folk to listen,
To ask a smile, or coax a tear
Beneath these stoic lids to glisten?
As well might some arterial thread
Ask the whole frame to feel it gushing,
While throbbing fierce from heel to head
As well some hair-like nerve might strain
To set its special streamlet going,
While through the myriad-channelled brain
The burning flood of thought was flowing;
Or trembling fibre strive to keep
The springing haunches gathered shorter,
While the scourged racer, leap on leap,
Was stretching through the last hot quarter!
Ah me! you take the bud that came
Self-sown in your poor garden's borders,
And hand it to the stately dame
That florists breed for, all she orders.
She thanks you, it was kindly meant
(A pale affair, not worth the keeping,)
Good morning; and your bud is sent
To join the tea-leaves used for sweeping.
Not always so, kind hearts and true,
For such I know are round me beating;
Is not the bud I offer you,
Fresh gathered for the hour of meeting,
Pale though its outer leaves may be,
Rose-red in all its inner petals?
Where the warm life we cannot see
The life of love that gave it settles.
We meet from regions far away,
Like rills from distant mountains streaming;
The sun is on Francisco's bay,
O'er Chesapeake the lighthouse gleaming;
While summer girds the still bayou
In chains of bloom, her bridal token,
Monadnock sees the sky grow blue,
His crystal bracelet yet unbroken.
Yet Nature bears the selfsame heart
Beneath her russet-mantled bosom
As where, with burning lips apart,
She breathes and white magnolias blossom;
The selfsame founts her chalice fill
With showery sunlight running over,
On fiery plain and frozen hill,
On myrtle-beds and fields of clover.
I give you Home! its crossing lines
United in one golden suture,
And showing every day that shines
The present growing to the future,
A flag that bears a hundred stars
In one bright ring, with love for centre,
Fenced round with white and crimson bars
No prowling treason dares to enter!
O brothers, home may be a word
To make affection's living treasure,
The wave an angel might have stirred,
A stagnant pool of selfish pleasure;
HOME! It is where the day-star springs
And where the evening sun reposes,
Where'er the eagle spreads his wings,
From northern pines to southern roses!
For The Moore Centennial Celebration
ENCHANTER of Erin, whose magic has bound us,
Thy wand for one moment we fondly would claim,
Entranced while it summons the phantoms around us
That blush into life at the sound of thy name.
The tell-tales of memory wake from their slumbers,--
I hear the old song with its tender refrain,
What passion lies hid in those honey-voiced numbers!
What perfume of youth in each exquisite strain!
The home ot my childhood comes back as a vision,--
Hark! Hark! A soft chord from its song~haunted room,--
'T is a morning of May, when the air is Elysian,--
The syringa in bud and the lilac in bloom,--
We are clustered around the "Clementi" piano,--
There were six of us then,-- there are two of us now,--
She is singing-- the girl with the silver soprano--
How "The Lord of the Valley" was false to his vow;
"Let Erin remember" the echoes are calling;
Through "The Vale of Avoca" the waters are rolled;
"The Exile" laments while the night~dews are falling;
"The Morning of Life" dawns again as of old.
But ah! those warm love-songs of fresh adolescence!
Around us such raptures celestial they flung
That it seemed as if Paradise breathed its quintessence
Through the seraph-toned lips of the maiden that sung!
Long hushed are the chords that my boyhood enchanted
As when the smooth wave by the angel was stirred,
Yet still with their music is memory haunted,
And oft in my dreams are their melodies heard.
I feel like the priest to his altar returning,--
The crowd that was kneeling no longer is there,
The flame has died down, but the brands are still burning,
And sandal and cinnamon sweeten the air.
The veil for her bridal young Summer is weaving
In her azure-domed hall with its tapestried floor,
And Spring the last tear-drop of May-dew is leaving
On the daisy of Burns and the shamrock of Moore.
How like, how unlike, as we view them together,
The song of the minstrels whose record we scan,--
One fresh as the breeze blowing over the heather,
One sweet as the breath from an odalisque's fan!
Ah, passion can glow mid a palace's splendor;
The cage does not alter the song of ths bird;
And the curtain of silk has known whispers as tender
As ever the blossoming hawthorn has heard.
No fear lest the step of the soft-slippered Graces
Should fright the young Loves from their warm little nest,
For the heart of a queen, under jewels and laces,
Beats time with the pulse in the peasant girl's breast!
Thrice welcome each gift of kind Nature's bestowing!
Her fountain heeds little the goblet we hold;
Alike, when its musical waters are flowing,
The shell from the seaside, the chalice of gold.
The twins of the lyre to her voices had listened;
Both laid their best gifts upon Liberty's shrine;
For Coila's loved minstrel the holly~wreath glistened;
For Erin's the rose and the myrtle entwine.
And while the fresh blossoms of summer are braided
For the sea-girdled, stream-silvered, lake-jewelled isle,
While her mantle of verdure is woven unfaded,
While Shannon and Liffey shall dimple and smile,
The land where the staff of Saint Patrick was planted,
Where the shamrock grows green from the cliffs to the shore,
The land of fair maidens and heroes undaunted,
Shall wreathe her bright harp with the garlands of Moore!
IT may be, yes, it must be, Time that brings
An end to mortal things,
That sends the beggar Winter in the train
Of Autumn's burdened wain,--
Time, that is heir of all our earthly state,
And knoweth well to wait
Till sea hath turned to shore and shore to sea,
If so it need must be,
Ere he make good his claim and call his own
Old empires overthrown,--
Time, who can find no heavenly orb too large
To hold its fee in charge,
Nor any motes that fill its beam so small,
But he shall care for all,--
It may be, must be,--yes, he soon shall tire
This hand that holds the lyre.
Then ye who listened in that earlier day
When to my careless lay
I matched its chords and stole their first-born thrill,
With untaught rudest skill
Vexing a treble from the slender strings
Thin as the locust sings
When the shrill-crying child of summer's heat
Pipes from its leafy seat,
The dim pavilion of embowering green
Beneath whose shadowy screen
The small sopranist tries his single note
Against the song-bird's throat,
And all the echoes listen, but in vain;
They hear no answering strain,--
Then ye who listened in that earlier day
Shall sadly turn away,
Saying, 'The fire burns low, the hearth is cold
That warmed our blood of old;
Cover its embers and its half-burnt brands,
And let us stretch our hands
Over a brighter and fresh-kindled flame;
Lo, this is not the same,
The joyous singer of our morning time,
Flushed high with lusty rhyme!
Speak kindly, for he bears a human heart,
But whisper him apart,--
Tell him the woods their autumn robes have shed
And all their birds have fled,
And shouting winds unbuild the naked nests
They warmed with patient breasts;
Tell him the sky is dark, the summer o'er,
And bid him sing no more!'
Ah, welladay! if words so cruel-kind
A listening ear might find!
But who that hears the music in his soul
Of rhythmic waves that roll
Crested with gleams of fire, and as they flow
Stir all the deeps below
Till the great pearls no calm might ever reach
Leap glistening on the beach,--
Who that has known the passion and the pain,
The rush through heart and brain,
The joy so like a pang his hand is pressed
Hard on his throbbing breast,
When thou, whose smile is life and bliss and fame
Hast set his pulse aflame,
Muse of the lyre! can say farewell to thee?
Alas! and must it be?
In many a clime, in many a stately tongue,
The mighty bards have sung;
To these the immemorial thrones belong
And purple robes of song;
Yet the slight minstrel loves the slender tone
His lips may call his own,
And finds the measure of the verse more sweet,
Timed by his pulse's beat,
Than all the hymnings of the laurelled throng.
Say not I do him wrong,
For Nature spoils her warblers,--them she feeds
In lotus-growing meads
And pours them subtle draughts from haunted streams
That fill their souls with dreams.
Full well I know the gracious mother's wiles
And dear delusive smiles!
No callow fledgling of her singing brood
But tastes that witching food,
And hearing overhead the eagle's wing,
And how the thrushes sing,
Vents his exiguous chirp, and from his nest
Flaps forth--we know the rest.
I own the weakness of the tuneful kind,--
Are not all harpers blind?
I sang too early, must I sing too late?
The lengthening shadows wait
The first pale stars of twilight,--yet how sweet
The flattering whisper's cheat,--
'Thou hast the fire no evening chill can tame,
Whose coals outlast its flame!'
Farewell, ye carols of the laughing morn,
Of earliest sunshine born!
The sower flings the seed and looks not back
Along his furrowed track;
The reaper leaves the stalks for other hands
To gird with circling bands;
The wind, earth's careless servant, truant-born,
Blows clean the beaten corn
And quits the thresher's floor, and goes his way
To sport with ocean's spray;
The headlong-stumbling rivulet scrambling down
To wash the sea-girt town,
Still babbling of the green and billowy waste
Whose salt he longs to taste,
Ere his warm wave its chilling clasp may feel
Has twirled the miller's wheel.
The song has done its task that makes us bold
With secrets else untold,--
And mine has run its errand; through the dews
I tracked the flying Muse;
The daughter of the morning touched my lips
With roseate finger-tips;
Whether I would or would not, I must sing
With the new choirs of spring;
Now, as I watch the fading autumn day
And trill my softened lay,
I think of all that listened, and of one
For whom a brighter sun
Dawned at high summer's noon. Ah, comrades dear,
Are not all gathered here?
Our hearts have answered.--Yes! they hear our call:
All gathered here! all! all!
The Secret Of The Stars
Is man's the only throbbing heart that hides
The silent spring that feeds its whispering tides?
Speak from thy caverns, mystery-breeding Earth,
Tell the half-hinted story of thy birth,
And calm the noisy champions who have thrown
The book of types against the book of stone!
Have ye not secrets, ye refulgent spheres,
No sleepless listener of the starlight hears?
In vain the sweeping equatorial pries
Through every world-sown corner of the skies,
To the far orb that so remotely strays
Our midnight darkness is its noonday blaze;
In vain the climbing soul of creeping man
Metes out the heavenly concave with a span,
Tracks into space the long-lost meteor's trail,
And weighs an unseen planet in the scale;
Still o'er their doubts the wan-eyed watchers sigh,
And Science lifts her still unanswered cry
'Are all these worlds, that speed their circling flight,
Dumb, vacant, soulless,--baubles of the night?
Warmed with God's smile and wafted by his breath,
To weave in ceaseless round the dance of Death?
Or rolls a sphere in each expanding zone,
Crowned with a life as varied as our own?'
Maker of earth and stars! If thou hast taught
By what thy voice hath spoke, thy hand hath wrought,
By all that Science proves, or guesses true,
More than thy poet dreamed, thy prophet knew,--
The heavens still bow in darkness at thy feet,
And shadows veil thy cloud-pavilioned seat!
Not for ourselves we ask thee to reveal
One awful word beneath the future's seal;
What thou shalt tell us, grant us strength to bear;
What thou withholdest is thy single care.
Not for ourselves; the present clings too fast,
Moored to the mighty anchors of the past;
But when, with angry snap, some cable parts,
The sound re-echoing in our startled hearts,--
When, through the wall that clasps the harbor round,
And shuts the raving ocean from its bound,
Shattered and rent by sacrilegious hands,
The first mad billow leaps upon the sands,--
Then to the Future's awful page we turn,
And what we question hardly dare to learn.
Still let us hope! for while we seem to tread
The time-worn pathway of the nations dead,
Though Sparta laughs at all our warlike deeds,
And buried Athens claims our stolen creeds,
Though Rome, a spectre on her broken throne,
Beholds our eagle and recalls her own,
Though England fling her pennons on the breeze
And reign before us Mistress of the seas,--
While calm-eyed History tracks us circling round
Fate's iron pillar where they all were bound,
Still in our path a larger curve she finds,
The spiral widening as the chain unwinds
Still sees new beacons crowned with brighter flame
Than the old watch-fires, like, but not the same
No shameless haste shall spot with bandit-crime
Our destined empire snatched before its time.
Wait,--wait, undoubting, for the winds have caught
From our bold speech the heritage of thought;
No marble form that sculptured truth can wear
Vies with the image shaped in viewless air;
And thought unfettered grows through speech to deeds,
As the broad forest marches in its seeds.
What though we perish ere the day is won?
Enough to see its glorious work begun!
The thistle falls before a trampling clown,
But who can chain the flying thistle-down?
Wait while the fiery seeds of freedom fly,
The prairie blazes when the grass is dry!
What arms might ravish, leave to peaceful arts,
Wisdom and love shall win the roughest hearts;
So shall the angel who has closed for man
The blissful garden since his woes began
Swing wide the golden portals of the West,
And Eden's secret stand at length confessed!
. . . . . . . . . . .
The reader paused; in truth he thought it time,--
Some threatening signs accused the drowsy rhyme.
The Mistress nodded, the Professor dozed,
The two Annexes sat with eyelids closed,--
Not sleeping,--no! But when one shuts one's eyes,
That one hears better no one, sure, denies.
The Doctor whispered in Delilah's ear,
Or seemed to whisper, for their heads drew near.
Not all the owner's efforts could restrain
The wild vagaries of the squinting brain,--
Last of the listeners Number Five alone
The patient reader still could call his own.
'Teacups, arouse!' 'T was thus the spell I broke;
The drowsy started and the slumberers woke.
'The sleep I promised you have now enjoyed,
Due to your hour of labor well employed.
Swiftly the busy moments have been passed;
This, our first 'Teacups,' must not be our last.
Here, on this spot, now consecrated ground,
The Order of 'The Teacups' let us found!
By winter's fireside and in summer's bower
Still shall it claim its ever-welcome hour,
In distant regions where our feet may roam
The magic teapot find or make a home;
Long may its floods their bright infusion pour,
Till time and teacups both shall be no more!'
The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay": A Logical Story
Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,
That was built in such a logical way
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it -- ah, but stay,
I'll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the parson into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits, --
Have you ever heard of that, I say?
Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
Georgius Secundus was then alive, --
Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
That was the year when Lisbon-town
Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
And Braddock's army was done so brown,
Left without a scalp to its crown.
It was on the terrible Earthquake-day
That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay.
Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot, --
In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace, -- lurking still,
Find it somewhere you must and will, --
Above or below, or within or without, --
And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
A chaise breaks down, but does n't wear out.
But the Deacon swore (as Deacons do,
With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell yeou")
He would build one shay to beat the taown
'N' the keounty 'n' all the kentry raoun';
It should be so built that it could n' break daown:
"Fur," said the Deacon, "'t 's mighty plain
Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain;
'N' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain,
Is only jest
T' make that place uz strong uz the rest."
So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
That could n't be split nor bent nor broke, --
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees,
The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
But lasts like iron for things like these;
The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum," --
Last of its timber, -- they could n't sell 'em,
Never an axe had seen their chips,
And the wedges flew from between their lips,
Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin too,
Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
Found in the pit when the tanner died.
That was the way he "put her through."
"There!" said the Deacon, "naow she'll dew!"
Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less!
Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
Children and grandchildren -- where were they?
But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake-day!
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED; -- it came and found
The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
Eighteen hundred increased by ten; --
"Hahnsum kerridge" they called it then.
Eighteen hundred and twenty came; --
Running as usual; much the same.
Thirty and forty at last arrive,
And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.
Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundreth year
Without both feeling and looking queer.
In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
(This is a moral that runs at large;
Take it. -- You're welcome. -- No extra charge.)
FIRST OF NOVEMBER, -- the Earthquake-day, --
There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local, as one may say.
There could n't be, -- for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there was n't a chance for one to start.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whipple-tree neither less nor more,
And the back crossbar as strong as the fore,
And spring and axle and hub encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be worn out!
First of November, 'Fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-horse shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
"Huddup!" said the parson. -- Off went they.
The parson was working his Sunday's text, --
Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed
At what the -- Moses -- was coming next.
All at once the horse stood still,
Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill.
First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill, --
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half past nine by the meet'n-house clock, --
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground!
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once, --
All at once, and nothing first, --
Just as bubbles do when they burst.
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
The Old Player
THE curtain rose; in thunders long and loud
The galleries rung; the veteran actor bowed.
In flaming line the telltales of the stage
Showed on his brow the autograph of age;
Pale, hueless waves amid his clustered hair,
And umbered shadows, prints of toil and care;
Round the wide circle glanced his vacant eye,--
He strove to speak,--his voice was but a sigh.
Year after year had seen its short-lived race
Flit past the scenes and others take their place;
Yet the old prompter watched his accents still,
His name still flaunted on the evening's bill.
Heroes, the monarchs of the scenic floor,
Had died in earnest and were heard no more;
Beauties, whose cheeks such roseate bloom o'er-spread
They faced the footlights in unborrowed red,
Had faded slowly through successive shades
To gray duennas, foils of younger maids;
Sweet voices lost the melting tones that start
With Southern throbs the sturdy Saxon heart,
While fresh sopranos shook the painted sky
With their long, breathless, quivering locust-cry.
Yet there he stood,--the man of other days,
In the clear present's full, unsparing blaze,
As on the oak a faded leaf that clings
While a new April spreads its burnished wings.
How bright yon rows that soared in triple tier,
Their central sun the flashing chandelier!
How dim the eye that sought with doubtful aim
Some friendly smile it still might dare to claim
How fresh these hearts! his own how worn and cold!
Such the sad thoughts that long-drawn sigh had told.
No word yet faltered on his trembling tongue;
Again, again, the crashing galleries rung.
As the old guardsman at the bugle's blast
Hears in its strain the echoes of the past,
So, as the plaudits rolled and thundered round,
A life of memories startled at the sound.
He lived again,--the page of earliest days,--
Days of small fee and parsimonious praise;
Then lithe young Romeo--hark that silvered tone,
From those smooth lips--alas! they were his own.
Then the bronzed Moor, with all his love and woe,
Told his strange tale of midnight melting snow;
And dark--plumed Hamlet, with his cloak and blade,
Looked on the royal ghost, himself a shade.
All in one flash, his youthful memories came,
Traced in bright hues of evanescent flame,
As the spent swimmer's in the lifelong dream,
While the last bubble rises through the stream.
Call him not old, whose visionary brain
Holds o'er the past its undivided reign.
For him in vain the envious seasons roll
Who bears eternal summer in his soul.
If yet the minstrel's song, the poet's lay,
Spring with her birds, or children at their play,
Or maiden's smile, or heavenly dream of art,
Stir the few life-drops creeping round his heart,
Turn to the record where his years are told,--
Count his gray hairs,--they cannot make him old!
What magic power has changed the faded mime?
One breath of memory on the dust of time.
As the last window in the buttressed wall
Of some gray minster tottering to its fall,
Though to the passing crowd its hues are spread,
A dull mosaic, yellow, green, and red,
Viewed from within, a radiant glory shows
When through its pictured screen the sunlight flows,
And kneeling pilgrims on its storied pane
See angels glow in every shapeless stain;
So streamed the vision through his sunken eye,
Clad in the splendors of his morning sky.
All the wild hopes his eager boyhood knew,
All the young fancies riper years proved true,
The sweet, low-whispered words, the winning glance
From queens of song, from Houris of the dance,
Wealth's lavish gift, and Flattery's soothing phrase,
And Beauty's silence when her blush was praise,
And melting Pride, her lashes wet with tears,
Triumphs and banquets, wreaths and crowns and cheers,
Pangs of wild joy that perish on the tongue,
And all that poets dream, but leave unsung!
In every heart some viewless founts are fed
From far-off hillsides where the dews were shed;
On the worn features of the weariest face
Some youthful memory leaves its hidden trace,
As in old gardens left by exiled kings
The marble basins tell of hidden springs,
But, gray with dust, and overgrown with weeds,
Their choking jets the passer little heeds,
Till time's revenges break their seals away,
And, clad in rainbow light, the waters play.
Good night, fond dreamer! let the curtain fall
The world's a stage, and we are players all.
A strange rehearsal! Kings without their crowns,
And threadbare lords, and jewel-wearing clowns,
Speak the vain words that mock their throbbing hearts,
As Want, stern prompter! spells them out their parts.
The tinselled hero whom we praise and pay
Is twice an actor in a twofold play.
We smile at children when a painted screen
Seems to their simple eyes a real scene;
Ask the poor hireling, who has left his throne
To seek the cheerless home he calls his own,
Which of his double lives most real seems,
The world of solid fact or scenic dreams?
Canvas, or clouds,--the footlights, or the spheres,--
The play of two short hours, or seventy years?
Dream on! Though Heaven may woo our open eyes,
Through their closed lids we look on fairer skies;
Truth is for other worlds, and hope for this;
The cheating future lends the present's bliss;
Life is a running shade, with fettered hands,
That chases phantoms over shifting sands;
Death a still spectre on a marble seat,
With ever clutching palms and shackled feet;
The airy shapes that mock life's slender chain,
The flying joys he strives to clasp in vain,
Death only grasps; to live is to pursue,--
Dream on! there 's nothing but illusion true!
I love all sights of earth and skies,
From flowers that glow to stars that shine;
The comet and the penny show,
All curious things, above, below,
Hold each in turn my wandering eyes:
I claim the Christian Pagan's line,
Humani nihil, -- even so, --
And is not human life divine?
When soft the western breezes blow,
And strolling youths meet sauntering maids,
I love to watch the stirring trades
Beneath the Vallombrosa shades
Our much-enduring elms bestow;
The vender and his rhetoric's flow,
That lambent stream of liquid lies;
The bait he dangles from his line,
The gudgeon and his gold-washed prize.
I halt before the blazoned sign
That bids me linger to admire
The drama time can never tire,
The little hero of the hunch,
With iron arm and soul of fire,
And will that works his fierce desire, --
Untamed, unscared, unconquered Punch!
My ear a pleasing torture finds
In tones the withered sibyl grinds, --
The dame sans merci's broken strain,
Whom I erewhile, perchance, have known,
When Orleans filled the Bourbon throne,
A siren singing by the Seine.
But most I love the tube that spies
The orbs celestial in their march;
That shows the comet as it whisks
Its tail across the planets' disks,
As if to blind their blood-shot eyes;
Or wheels so close against the sun
We tremble at the thought of risks
Our little spinning ball may run,
To pop like corn that children parch,
From summer something overdone,
And roll, a cinder, through the skies.
Grudge not to-day the scanty fee
To him who farms the firmament,
To whom the Milky Way is free;
Who holds the wondrous crystal key,
The silent Open Sesame
That Science to her sons has lent;
Who takes his toll, and lifts the bar
That shuts the road to sun and star.
If Venus only comes to time,
(And prophets say she must and shall,)
To-day will hear the tinkling chime
Of many a ringing silver dime,
For him whose optic glass supplies
The crowd with astronomic eyes, --
The Galileo of the Mall.
Dimly the transit morning broke;
The sun seemed doubting what to do,
As one who questions how to dress,
And takes his doublets from the press,
And halts between the old and new.
Please Heaven he wear his suit of blue,
Or don, at least, his ragged cloak,
With rents that show the azure through!
I go the patient crowd to join
That round the tube my eyes discern,
The last new-comer of the file,
And wait, and wait, a weary while,
And gape, and stretch, and shrug, and smile,
(For each his place must fairly earn,
Hindmost and foremost, in his turn,)
Till hitching onward, pace by pace,
I gain at last the envied place,
And pay the white exiguous coin:
The sun and I are face to face;
He glares at me, I stare at him;
And lo! my straining eye has found
A little spot that, black and round,
Lies near the crimsoned fire-orb's rim.
O blessed, beauteous evening star,
Well named for her whom earth adores, --
The Lady of the dove-drawn car, --
I know thee in thy white simar;
But veiled in black, a rayless spot,
Blank as a careless scribbler's blot,
Stripped of thy robe of silvery flame, --
The stolen robe that Night restores
When Day has shut his golden doors, --
I see thee, yet I know thee not;
And canst thou call thyself the same?
A black, round spot, -- and that is all;
And such a speck our earth would be
If he who looks upon the stars
Through the red atmosphere of Mars
Could see our little creeping ball
Across the disk of crimson crawl
As I our sister planet see.
And art thou, then, a world like ours,
Flung from the orb that whirled our own
A molten pebble from its zone?
How must thy burning sands absorb
The fire-waves of the blazing orb,
Thy chain so short, thy path so near,
Thy flame-defying creatures hear
The maelstroms of the photosphere!
And is thy bosom decked with flowers
That steal their bloom from scalding showers?
And hast thou cities, domes, and towers,
And life, and love that makes it dear,
And death that fills thy tribes with fear?
Lost in my dream, my spirit soars
Through paths the wandering angels know;
My all-pervading thought explores
The azure ocean's lucent shores;
I leave my mortal self below,
As up the star-lit stairs I climb,
And still the widening view reveals
In endless rounds the circling wheels
That build the horologe of time.
New spheres, new suns, new systems gleam;
The voice no earth-born echo hears
Steals softly on my ravished ears:
I hear them "singing as they shine" --
A mortal's voice dissolves my dream:
My patient neighbor, next in line,
Hints gently there are those who wait.
O guardian of the starry gate,
What coin shall pay this debt of mine?
Too slight thy claim, too small the fee
That bids thee turn the potent key
The Tuscan's hand has placed in thine.
Forgive my own the small affront,
The insult of the proffered dime;
Take it, O friend, since this thy wont,
But still shall faithful memory be
A bankrupt debtor unto thee,
And pay thee with a grateful rhyme.
A Poem. Dedication Of The Pittsfield Cemetery
ANGEL of Death! extend thy silent reign!
Stretch thy dark sceptre oâ€™er this new domain
No sable car along the winding road
Has borne to earth its unresisting load;
No sudden mound has risen yet to show
Where the pale slumberer folds his arms below;
No marble gleams to bid his memory live
In the brief lines that hurrying Time can give;
Yet, O Destroyer! from thy shrouded throne
Look on our gift; this realm is all thine own!
Fair is the scene; its sweetness oft beguiled
From their dim paths the children of the wild;
The dark-haired maiden loved its grassy dells,
The feathered warrior claimed its wooded swells,
Still on its slopes the ploughmanâ€™s ridges show
The pointed flints that left his fatal bow,
Chipped with rough art and slow barbarian toil,â€”Â
Last of his wrecks that strews the alien soil!
Here spread the fields that heaped their ripened store
Till the brown arms of Labor held no more;
The scytheâ€™s broad meadow with its dusky blush;
The sickleâ€™s harvest with its velvet flush;
The green-haired maize, her silken tresses laid,
In soft luxuriance, on her harsh brocade;
The gourd that swells beneath her tossing plume;
The coarser wheat that rolls in lakes of bloom,â€”Â
Its coral stems and milk-white flowers alive
With the wide murmurs of the scattered hive;
Here glowed the apple with the pencilled streak
Of morning painted on its southern cheek;
The pearâ€™s long necklace strung with golden drops,
Arched, like the banian, oâ€™er its pillared props;
Here crept the growths that paid the laborerâ€™s care
With the cheap luxuries wealth consents to spare;
Here sprang the healing herbs which could not save
The hand that reared them from the neighboring grave.
Yet all its varied charms, forever free
From task and tribute, Labor yields to thee
No more, when April sheds her fitful rain,
The sowerâ€™s hand shall cast its flying grain;
No more, when Autumn strews the flaming leaves,
The reaperâ€™s band shall gird its yellow sheaves;
For thee alike the circling seasons flow
Till the first blossoms heave the latest snow.
In the stiff clod below the whirling drifts,
In the loose soil the springing herbage lifts,
In the hot dust beneath the parching weeds,
Lifeâ€™s withering flower shall drop its shrivelled seeds;
Its germ entranced in thy unbreathing sleep
Till what thou sowest mightier angels reap!
Spirit of Beauty! let thy graces blend
With loveliest Nature all that Art can lend.
Come from the bowers where Summerâ€™s life-blood flows
Through the red lips of Juneâ€™s half-open rose,
Dressed in bright hues, the loving sunshineâ€™s dower;
For tranquil Nature owns no mourning flower.
Come from the forest where the beechâ€™s screen
Bars the fierce moonbeam with its flakes of green;
Stay the rude axe that bares the shadowy plains,
Stanch the deep wound That dries the mapleâ€™s veins.
Come with the stream whose silver-braided rills
Fling their unclasping bracelets from the hills,
Till in one gleam, beneath the forestâ€™s wings,
Melts the white glitter of a hundred springs.
Come from the steeps where look majestic forth
From their twin thrones the Giants of the North
On the huge shapes, that, crouching at their knees,
Stretch their broad shoulders, rough with shaggy trees.
Through the wide waste of ether, not in vain,
Their softened gaze shall reach our distant plain;
There, while the mourner turns his aching eyes
On the blue mounds that print the bluer skies,
Nature shall whisper that the fading view
Of mightiest grief may wear a heavenly hue.
Cherub of Wisdom! let thy marble page
Leave its sad lesson, new to every age;
Teach us to live, not grudging every breath
To the chill winds that waft us on to death,
But ruling calmly every pulse it warms,
And tempering gently every word it forms.
Seraph of Love! in heavenâ€™s adoring zone,
Nearest of all around the central throne,
While with soft hands the pillowed turf we spread
That soon shall hold us in its dreamless bed,
With the low whisper,â€”ÂWho shall first be laid
In the dark chamberâ€™s yet unbroken shade?â€”Â
Let thy sweet radiance shine rekindled here,
And all we cherish grow more truly dear.
Here in the gates of Deathâ€™s oâ€™erhanging vault,
Oh, teach us kindness for our brotherâ€™s fault
Lay all our wrongs beneath this peaceful sod,
And lead our hearts to Mercy and its God.
FATHER of all! in Deathâ€™s relentless claim
We read thy mercy by its sterner name;
In the bright flower that decks the solemn bier,
We see thy glory in its narrowed sphere;
In the deep lessons that affliction draws,
We trace the curves of thy encircling laws;
In the long sigh that sets our spirits free,
We own the love that calls us back to Thee!
Through the hushed street, along the silent plain,
The spectral future leads its mourning train,
Dark with the shadows of uncounted bands,
Where manâ€™s white lips and womanâ€™s wringing hands
Track the still burden, rolling slow before,
That love and kindness can protect no more;
The smiling babe that, called to mortal strife,
Shuts its meek eyes and drops its little life;
The drooping child who prays in vain to live,
And pleads for help its parent cannot give;
The pride of beauty stricken in its flower;
The strength of manhood broken in an hour;
Age in its weakness, bowed by toil and care,
Traced in sad lines beneath its silvered hair.
The sun shall set, and heavenâ€™s resplendent spheres
Gild the smooth turf unhallowed yet by tears,
But ah! how soon the evening stars will shed
Their sleepless light around the slumbering dead!
Take them, O Father, in immortal trust!
Ashes to ashes, dust to kindred dust,
Till the last angel rolls the stone away,
And a new morning brings eternal day!