My Garden—like The Beach

My Garden—like the Beach—
Denotes there be—a Sea—
That's Summer—
Such as These—the Pearls
She fetches—such as Me

by Emily Dickinson.

O Tan-Faced Prairie Boy


O TAN-FACED prairie-boy!
Before you came to camp, came many a welcome gift;
Praises and presents came, and nourishing food--till at last, among
the recruits,
You came, taciturn, with nothing to give--we but look'd on each
other,
When lo! more than all the gifts of the world, you gave me.

by Walt Whitman.

On The Beach At Fontana

Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
Slimesilvered stone.

From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.

Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!

by James Joyce.

LAST night I saw a city by the sea,
Outlined in sparks of fire;
Those wreathed lamps made all a fantasy -
Arch, dome and spire.

I saw above the waters pale and gray,
The pale moon stand,
I heard, but faint and sweet and far away,
A martial band.

The distant voices in the streets, the sound
Of laughter from the towers
Made where we swam the solitude profound:
The sea was ours.

by Alice Duer Miller.

I Saw From The Beach

I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining,
A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on;
I came when the sun o'er that beach was declining,
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.

And such is the fate of our life's early promise,
So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known;
Each wave that we danced on at morning ebbs from us,
And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone.

Oh, who would not welcome that moment's returning
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
And his soul, like the wood that grows precious in burning,
Gave out all its sweets to love's exquisite flame.

by Thomas Moore.

Evening On Calais Beach

IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
   The holy time is quiet as a Nun
   Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea:
   Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
   And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder--everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
   If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought,
   Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
   And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
   God being with thee when we know it not.

by William Wordsworth.

Mrs. Helen Tyler Beach,

Wife of Mr. C. N. BEACH, died at Philadelphia, July 30th, 1860.


How strange that One who yesterday
Shed radiance round her sphere,
Thus, in the prime of life and health,
Should slumber on the bier.

How sad that One who cheer'd her home
With love's unvarying grace,
Should leave at hearth-stone and at board
Nought save a vacant place.

The beaming hope that bright and fair
Around her cradle shone,
Made cloudless progress year by year,
With lustre all its own,

While still unselfish and serene
Her daily course she drew,
To every generous impulse warm
To every duty true:

Yet all these pure and hallowed charms
To favor'd mortals given,
That make their loss to earth so great,
Enhance the gain of Heaven.

by Lydia Huntley Sigourney.

Written On Cramond Beach

Farewell, old playmate! on thy sandy shore
My lingering feet will leave their print no more;
To thy loved side I never may return.
I pray thee, old companion, make due mourn
For the wild spirit who so oft has stood
Gazing in love and wonder on thy flood.
The form is now departing far away,
That half in anger, oft, and half in play,
Thou hast pursued with thy white showers of foam.
Thy waters daily will besiege the home
I loved among the rocks; but there will be
No laughing cry, to hail thy victory,
Such as was wont to greet thee, when I fled,
With hurried footsteps, and averted head,
Like fallen monarch, from my venturous stand,
Chased by thy billows far along the sand.
And when at eventide thy warm waves drink
The sober clouds, that in their bosom sink;
When sober twilight over thee has spread
Her purple pall, when the glad day is dead,
My voice no more will mingle with the dirge
That rose in mighty moaning from thy surge,
Filling with awful harmony the air,
When thy vast soul and mine were joined in prayer.

by Frances Anne Kemble.

On The Beach At Night, Alone


ON the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining--I think a thought of the clef of
the universes, and of the future.

A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
comets, asteroids,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the
same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time--all inanimate forms,
All Souls--all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in
different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes--the fishes, the
brutes, 10
All men and women--me also;
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any
globe;
All lives and deaths--all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann'd, and shall
forever span them, and compactly hold them, and enclose them.

by Walt Whitman.

(AFTER SPENSER)

Lo! where the castle of bold Pfeiffer throws
Its sullen shadow on the rolling tide,--
No more the home where joy and wealth repose,
But now where wassailers in cells abide;
See yon long quay that stretches far and wide,
Well known to citizens as wharf of Meiggs:
There each sweet Sabbath walks in maiden pride
The pensive Margaret, and brave Pat, whose legs
Encased in broadcloth oft keep time with Peg's.

Here cometh oft the tender nursery-maid,
While in her ear her love his tale doth pour;
Meantime her infant doth her charge evade,
And rambleth sagely on the sandy shore,
Till the sly sea-crab, low in ambush laid,
Seizeth his leg and biteth him full sore.
Ah me! what sounds the shuddering echoes bore
When his small treble mixed with Ocean's roar!

Hard by there stands an ancient hostelrie,
And at its side a garden, where the bear,
The stealthy catamount, and coon agree
To work deceit on all who gather there;
And when Augusta--that unconscious fair--
With nuts and apples plieth Bruin free,
Lo! the green parrot claweth her back hair,
And the gray monkey grabbeth fruits that she
On her gay bonnet wears, and laugheth loud in glee!

by Francis Bret Harte.

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; - on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

by Matthew Arnold.

Mr. George Beach,

Died at Hartford, May 4th, 1860.


Aye, robe yourselves in black, light messengers
Whose letter'd faces to the people tell
The pulse and pressure of the passing hour.
'Tis fitting ye should sympathize with them,
And tint your tablets with a sable hue
Who bring them tidings of a loss so great.

What have they lost?
An upright man, who scorn'd
All subterfuge, who faithful to his trust
Guarded the interests they so highly prized,
With power and zeal unchang'd, from youth to age.

Yet there's a sadder sound of bursting tears
From woe-worn helpless ones, from widow'd forms
O'er whom he threw a shelter, for his name
Long mingled with their prayers, both night and morn.
The Missionary toward the setting sun
Will miss his liberal hand that threw so wide
Its secret alms. The sons of want will miss
His noble presence moving thro' our streets
Intent on generous deeds; and in the Church
He loved so well, a silence and a chasm
Are where the fervent and responsive voice,
And kingly beauty of the hoary head
So long maintained their place.
Sudden he sank,
Though not unwarn'd.
A chosen band had kept
Watch through the night, and earnest love took note
Of every breath. But when approaching dawn
Kindled the east, and from the trees that bowered
His beautiful abode, awakening birds
Sent up their earliest carol, he went forth
To meet the glories of the unsetting sun,
And hear with unseal'd ear the song of heaven.

--So they who truest loved and deepest mourn'd,
Had highest call to praise, for best they knew
The soul that had gone home unto its God.

by Lydia Huntley Sigourney.

On The Beach At Night

ON the beach, at night,
Stands a child, with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower, sullen and fast, athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends, large and calm, the lord-star Jupiter;
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate brothers, the Pleiades. 10


From the beach, the child, holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower, victorious, soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears;
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky- shall devour the stars only in
apparition:
Jupiter shall emerge- be patient- watch again another night- the
Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal- all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall
shine out again, 20
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again- they
endure;
The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall
again shine.


Then, dearest child, mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding, I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter, 30
Longer than sun, or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant brothers, the Pleiades.

by Walt Whitman.

The Haunted Beach

Upon a lonely desart Beach
Where the white foam was scatter'd,
A little shed uprear'd its head
Though lofty Barks were shatter'd.
The Sea-weeds gath'ring near the door,
A sombre path display'd;
And, all around, the deaf'ning roar,
Re-echo'd on the chalky shore,
By the green billows made.

Above, a jutting cliff was seen
Where Sea Birds hover'd, craving;
And all around, the craggs were bound
With weeds- for ever waving.
And here and there, a cavern wide
Its shad'wy jaws display'd;
And near the sands, at ebb of tide,
A shiver'd mast was seen to ride
Where the green billows stray'd.

And often, while the moaning wind
Stole o'er the Summer Ocean;
The moonlight scene, was all serene,
The waters scarce in motion:
Then, while the smoothly slanting sand
The tall cliff wrapp'd in shade,
The Fisherman beheld a band
Of Spectres, gliding hand in hand-
Where the green billows play'd.

And pale their faces were, as snow,
And sullenly they wander'd:
And to the skies with hollow eyes
They look'd as though they ponder'd.
And sometimes, from their hammock shroud,
They dismal howlings made,
And while the blast blew strong and loud
The clear moon mark'd the ghastly croud,
Where the green billows play'd!

And then, above the haunted hut
The Curlews screaming hover'd;
And the low door with furious roar
The frothy breakers cover'd.
For, in the Fisherman's lone shed
A MURDER'D MAN was laid,
With ten wide gashes in his head
And deep was made his sandy bed
Where the green billows play'd.

A Shipwreck'd Mariner was he,
Doom'd from his home to sever;
Who swore to be thro' wind and sea
Firm and undaunted ever!
And when the wave resistless roll'd,
About his arm he made
A packet rich of Spanish gold,
And, like a British sailor, bold,
Plung'd, where the billows play'd!

The Spectre band, his messmates brave
Sunk in the yawning ocean,
While to the mast he lash'd him fast
And brav'd the storm's commotion.
The winter moon, upon the sand
A silv'ry carpet made,
And mark'd the Sailor reach the land,
And mark'd his murd'rer wash his hand
Where the green billows play'd.

And since that hour the Fisherman
Has toil'd and toil'd in vain!
For all the night, the moony light
Gleams on the specter'd main!
And when the skies are veil'd in gloom,
The Murd'rer's liquid way
Bounds o'er the deeply yawning tomb,
And flashing fires the sands illume,
Where the green billows play!

Full thirty years his task has been,
Day after day more weary;
For Heav'n design'd, his guilty mind
Should dwell on prospects dreary.
Bound by a strong and mystic chain,
He has not pow'r to stray;
But, destin'd mis'ry to sustain,
He wastes, in Solitude and Pain-
A loathsome life away.

by Mary Darby Robinson.

The Changeling ( From The Tent On The Beach )

FOR the fairest maid in Hampton
They needed not to search,
Who saw young Anna favor
Come walking into church,--

Or bringing from the meadows,
At set of harvest-day,
The frolic of the blackbirds,
The sweetness of the hay.

Now the weariest of all mothers,
The saddest two years' bride,
She scowls in the face of her husband,
And spurns her child aside.

"Rake out the red coals, goodman,--
For there the child shall lie,
Till the black witch comes to fetch her
And both up chimney fly.

"It's never my own little daughter,
It's never my own," she said;
"The witches have stolen my Anna,
And left me an imp instead.

"Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
But this is ugly and wrinkled,
Cross, and cunning, and old.

"I hate the touch of her fingers,
I hate the feel of her skin;
It's not the milk from my bosom,
But my blood, that she sucks in.

"My face grows sharp with the torment;
Look! my arms are skin and bone!
Rake open the red coals, goodman,
And the witch shall have her own.

"She'll come when she hears it crying,
In the shape of an owl or bat,
And she'll bring us our darling Anna
In place of her screeching brat."

Then the goodman, Ezra Dalton,
Laid his hand upon her head:
Thy sorrow is great, O woman!
I sorrow with thee," he said.

"The paths to trouble are many
And never but one sure way
Leads out to the light beyond it:
My poor wife, let us pray."

Then he said to the great All-Father,
"Thy daughter is weak and blind;
Let her sight come back, and clothe her
Once more in her right mind.

"Lead her out of this evil shadow,
Out of these fancies wild;
Let the holy love of the mother
Turn again to her child.

"Make her lips like the lips of Mary
Kissing her blessed Son;
Let her hands, like the hands of Jesus,
Rest on her little one.

"Comfort the soul of thy handmaid,
Open her prison-door,
And thine shall be all the glory
And praise forevermore."

Then into the face of its mother
The baby looked up and smiled;
And the cloud of her soul was lifted,
And she knew her little child.

A beam of the slant west sunshine
Made the wan face almost fair,
Lit the blue eyes' patient wonder
And the rings of pale gold hair.

She kissed it on lip and forehead,
She kissed it on cheek and chink
And she bared her snow-white bosom
To the lips so pale and thin.

Oh, fair on her bridal morning
Was the maid who blushed and smiled,
But fairer to Ezra Dalton
Looked the mother of his child.

With more than a lover's fondness
He stooped to her worn young face,
And the nursing child and the mother
He folded in one embrace.

"Blessed be God!" he murmured.
"Blessed be God!" she said;
"For I see, who once was blinded,--
I live, who once was dead.

"Now mount and ride, my goodman,
As thou lovest thy own soul!
Woe's me, if my wicked fancies
Be the death of Goody Cole!"

His horse he saddled and bridled,
And into the night rode he,
Now through the great black woodland,
Now by the white-beached sea.

He rode through the silent clearings,
He came to the ferry wide,
And thrice he called to the boatman
Asleep on the other side.

He set his horse to the river,
He swam to Newbury town,
And he called up Justice Sewall
In his nightcap and his gown.

And the grave and worshipful justice
(Upon whose soul be peace!)
Set his name to the jailer's warrant
For Goodwife Cole's release.

Then through the night the hoof-beats
Went sounding like a flail;
And Goody Cole at cockcrow
Came forth from Ipswich jail.

.

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Kallundborg Church ( From The Tent On The Beach)

"Tie stille, barn min!
Imorgen kommer Fin,
Fa'er din,
Og gi'er dich Esbern Snares öine og hjerte at lege med!"
Zealand Rhyme.


"BUILD at Kallundborg by the sea
A church as stately as church may be,
And there shalt thou wed my daughter fair,"
Said the Lord of Nesvek to Esbern Snare.

And the Baron laughed. But Esbern said,
"Though I lose my soul, I will Helva wed!"
And off he strode, in his pride of will,
To the Troll who dwelt in Ulshoi hill.

"Build, O Troll, a church for me
At Kallundborg by the mighty sea;
Build it stately, and build it fair,
Build it quickly," said Esbern Snare.

But the sly Dwarf said, "No work is wrought
By Trolls of the Hills, O man, for naught.
What wilt thou give for thy church so fair?"
"Set thy own price," quoth Esbern Snare.

"When Kallundborg church is builded well,
Thou must the name of its builder tell,
Or thy heart and thy eyes must be my boon."
"Build," said Esbern, "and build it soon."

By night and by day the Troll wrought on;
He hewed the timbers, he piled the stone;
But day by day, as the walls rose fair,
Darker and sadder grew Esbern Snare.

He listened by night, he watched by day,
He sought and thought, but he dared not pray;
In vain he called on the Elle-maids shy,
And the Neck and the Nis gave no reply.

Of his evil bargain far and wide
A rumor ran through the country-side;
And Helva of Nesvek, young and fair,
Prayed for the soul of Esbern Snare.

And now the church was wellnigh done;
One pillar it lacked, and one alone;
And the grim Troll muttered, "Fool thou art!
To-morrow gives me thy eyes and heart!"

By Kallundborg in black despair,
Through wood and meadow, walked Esbern Snare,
Till, worn and weary, the strong man sank
Under the birches on Ulshoi bank.

At his last day's work he heard the Troll
Hammer and delve in the quarry's hole;
Before him the church stood large and fair:
"I have builded my tomb," said Esbern Snare.

And he closed his eyes the sight to hide,
When he heard a light step at his side:
"O Esbern Snare! a sweet voice said,
"Would I might die now in thy stead!"

With a grasp by love and by fear made strong,
He held her fast, and he held her long;
With the beating heart of a bird afeard,
She hid her face in his flame-red beard.

"O love!" he cried, "let me look to-day
In thine eyes ere mine are plucked away;
Let me hold thee close, let me feel thy heart
Ere mine by the Troll is torn apart!

"I sinned, O Helva, for love of thee!
Pray that the Lord Christ pardon me!"
But fast as she prayed, and faster still,
Hammered the Troll in Ulshoi hill.

He knew, as he wrought, that a loving heart
Was somehow baffling his evil art;
For more than spell of Elf or Troll
Is a maiden's prayer for her lover's soul.

And Esbern listened, and caught the sound
Of a Troll-wife singing underground:
"To-morrow comes Fine, father thine:
Lie still and hush thee, baby mine!

"Lie still, my darling! next sunrise
Thou'lt play with Esbern Snare's heart and eyes!"
"Ho! ho!" quoth Esbern, "is that your game?
Thanks to the Troll-wife, I know his name!"

The Troll he heard him, and hurried on
To Kallundborg church with the lacking stone.
"Too late, Gaffer Fine!" cried Esbern Snare;
And Troll and pillar vanished in air!

That night the harvesters heard the sound
Of a woman sobbing underground,
And the voice of the Hill-Troll loud with blame
Of the careless singer who told his name.

Of the Troll of the Church they sing the rune
By the Northern Sea in the harvest moon;
And the fishers of Zealand hear him still
Scolding his wife in Ulshoi hill.

And seaward over its groves of birch
Still looks the tower of Kallundborg church
Where, first at its altar, a wedded pair,
Stood Helva of Nesvek and Esbern Snare!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

TO WILLIAM BRADFORD.

As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
Unwittingly from the great stress of grief
And anxious care, in fantasies outwrought
From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught
From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet,
Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet
Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why
They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I,
Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong
In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,
With meek persistence baffling brutal force,
And trusting God against the universe,--
We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share
With other weapons than the patriot's prayer,
Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes,
The awful beauty of self-sacrifice,
And wrung by keenest sympathy for all
Who give their loved ones for the living wall
'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day
May haply find, through automatic play
Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain,
And hearten others with the strength we gain.
I know it has been said our times require
No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre,
No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform
To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm,
But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets
The battle's teeth of serried bayonets,
And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these
Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys
Relieve the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet,
If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat
The bitter harvest of our own device
And half a century's moral cowardice.
As Nurnberg sang while Wittenberg defied,
And Kranach painted by his Luther's side,
And through the war-march of the Puritan
The silver stream of Marvell's music ran,
So let the household melodies be sung,
The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung--
So let us hold against the hosts of night
And slavery all our vantage-ground of light.
Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake
From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake,
Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan,
And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man,
And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull
By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,--
But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease,
(God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace
No foes are conquered who the victors teach
Their vandal manners and barbaric speech.

And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear
Of the great common burden our full share,
Let none upbraid us that the waves entice
Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device,
Rhythmic, and sweet, beguiles my pen away
From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day.
Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador
Sings it the leafless elms, and from the shore
Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar
Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky
Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try
To time a simple legend to the sounds
Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,--
A song for oars to chime with, such as might
Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night
Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove
Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love.
(So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay
On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay,
And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled
Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.)
Something it has--a flavor of the sea,
And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee.
Its faded picture, dimly smiling down
From the blurred fresco of the ancient town,
I have not touched with warmer tints in vain,
If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought
from pain.

. . . . . . . . . . . .


Her fingers shame the ivory keys
They dance so light along;
The bloom upon her parted lips
Is sweeter than the song.

O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
Her thoughts are not of thee;
She better loves the salted wind,
The voices of the sea.

Her heart is like an outbound ship
That at its anchor swings;
The murmur of the stranded shell
Is in the song she sings.

She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
But dreams the while of one
Who watches from his sea-blown deck
The icebergs in the sun.

She questions all the winds that blow,
And every fog-wreath dim,
And bids the sea-birds flying north
Bear messages to him.

She speeds them with the thanks of men
He perilled life to save,
And grateful prayers like holy oil
To smooth for him the wave.

Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
Fair toast of all the town!--
The skipper's jerkin ill beseems
The lady's silken gown!

But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear
For him the blush of shame
Who dares to set his manly gifts
Against her ancient name.

The stream is brightest at its spring,
And blood is not like wine;
Nor honored less than he who heirs
Is he who founds a line.

Full lightly shall the prize be won,
If love be Fortune's spur;
And never maiden stoops to him
Who lifts himself to her.

Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
With stately stairways worn
By feet of old Colonial knights
And ladies gentle-born.

Still green about its ample porch
The English ivy twines,
Trained back to show in English oak
The herald's carven signs.

And on her, from the wainscot old,
Ancestral faces frown,--
And this has worn the soldier's sword,
And that the judge's gown.

But, strong of will and proud as they,
She walks the gallery floor
As if she trod her sailor's deck
By stormy Labrador.

The sweetbrier blooms on Kittery-side,
And green are Elliot's bowers;
Her garden is the pebbled beach,
The mosses are her flowers.

She looks across the harbor-bar
To see the white gulls fly;
His greeting from the Northern sea
Is in their clanging cry.

She hums a song, and dreams that he,
As in its romance old,
Shall homeward ride with silken sails
And masts of beaten gold!

Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
And high and low mate ill;
But love has never known a law
Beyond its own sweet will!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

The Tent On The Beach

I would not sin, in this half-playful strain,--
Too light perhaps for serious years, though born
Of the enforced leisure of slow pain,--
Against the pure ideal which has drawn
My feet to follow its far-shining gleam.
A simple plot is mine: legends and runes
Of credulous days, old fancies that have lain
Silent, from boyhood taking voice again,
Warmed into life once more, even as the tunes
That, frozen in the fabled hunting-horn,
Thawed into sound:--a winter fireside dream
Of dawns and-sunsets by the summer sea,
Whose sands are traversed by a silent throng
Of voyagers from that vaster mystery
Of which it is an emblem;--and the dear
Memory of one who might have tuned my song
To sweeter music by her delicate ear.


When heats as of a tropic clime
Burned all our inland valleys through,
Three friends, the guests of summer time,
Pitched their white tent where sea-winds blew.
Behind them, marshes, seamed and crossed
With narrow creeks, and flower-embossed,
Stretched to the dark oak wood, whose leafy arms
Screened from the stormy East the pleasant inland farms.

At full of tide their bolder shore
Of sun-bleached sand the waters beat;
At ebb, a smooth and glistening floor
They touched with light, receding feet.
Northward a 'green bluff broke the chain
Of sand-hills; southward stretched a plain
Of salt grass, with a river winding down,
Sail-whitened, and beyond the steeples of the town,

Whence sometimes, when the wind was light
And dull the thunder of the beach,
They heard the bells of morn and night
Swing, miles away, their silver speech.
Above low scarp and turf-grown wall
They saw the fort-flag rise and fall;
And, the first star to signal twilight's hour,
The lamp-fire glimmer down from the tall light-house tower.

They rested there, escaped awhile
From cares that wear the life away,
To eat the lotus of the Nile
And drink the poppies of Cathay,--
To fling their loads of custom down,
Like drift-weed, on the sand-slopes brown,
And in the sea waves drown the restless pack
Of duties, claims, and needs that barked upon their track.

One, with his beard scarce silvered, bore
A ready credence in his looks,
A lettered magnate, lording o'er
An ever-widening realm of books.
In him brain-currents, near and far,
Converged as in a Leyden jar;
The old, dead authors thronged him round about,
And Elzevir's gray ghosts from leathern graves looked out.

He knew each living pundit well,
Could weigh the gifts of him or her,
And well the market value tell
Of poet and philosopher.
But if he lost, the scenes behind,
Somewhat of reverence vague and blind,
Finding the actors human at the best,
No readier lips than his the good he saw confessed.

His boyhood fancies not outgrown,
He loved himself the singer's art;
Tenderly, gently, by his own
He knew and judged an author's heart.
No Rhadamanthine brow of doom
Bowed the dazed pedant from his room;
And bards, whose name is legion, if denied,
Bore off alike intact their verses and their pride.

Pleasant it was to roam about
The lettered world as he had, done,
And see the lords of song without
Their singing robes and garlands on.
With Wordsworth paddle Rydal mere,
Taste rugged Elliott's home-brewed beer,
And with the ears of Rogers, at fourscore,
Hear Garrick's buskined tread and Walpole's wit once more.

And one there was, a dreamer born,
Who, with a mission to fulfil,
Had left the Muses' haunts to turn
The crank of an opinion-mill,
Making his rustic reed of song
A weapon in the war with wrong,
Yoking his fancy to the breaking-plough
That beam-deep turned the soil for truth to spring and grow.

Too quiet seemed the man to ride
The winged Hippogriff Reform;
Was his a voice from side to side
To pierce the tumult of the storm?
A silent, shy, peace-loving man,
He seemed no fiery partisan
To hold his way against the public frown,
The ban of Church and State, the fierce mob's hounding down.

For while he wrought with strenuous will
The work his hands had found to do,
He heard the fitful music still
Of winds that out of dream-land blew.
The din about him could not drown
What the strange voices whispered down;
Along his task-field weird processions swept,
The visionary pomp of stately phantoms stepped:

The common air was thick with dreams,--
He told them to the toiling crowd;
Such music as the woods and streams
Sang in his ear he sang aloud;
In still, shut bays, on windy capes,
He heard the call of beckoning shapes,
And, as the gray old shadows prompted him,
To homely moulds of rhyme he shaped their legends grim.

He rested now his weary hands,
And lightly moralized and laughed,
As, tracing on the shifting sands
A burlesque of his paper-craft,
He saw the careless waves o'errun
His words, as time before had done,
Each day's tide-water washing clean away,
Like letters from the sand, the work of yesterday.

And one, whose Arab face was tanned
By tropic sun and boreal frost,
So travelled there was scarce a land
Or people left him to exhaust,
In idling mood had from him hurled
The poor squeezed orange of the world,
And in the tent-shade, as beneath a palm,
Smoked, cross-legged like a Turk, in Oriental calm.

The very waves that washed the sand
Below him, he had seen before
Whitening the Scandinavian strand
And sultry Mauritanian shore.
From ice-rimmed isles, from summer seas
Palm-fringed, they bore him messages;
He heard the plaintive Nubian songs again,
And mule-bells tinkling down the mountain-paths of Spain.

His memory round the ransacked earth
On Puck's long girdle slid at ease;
And, instant, to the valley's girth
Of mountains, spice isles of the seas,
Faith flowered in minster stones, Art's guess
At truth and beauty, found access;
Yet loved the while, that free cosmopolite,
Old friends, old ways, and kept his boyhood's dreams in sight.

Untouched as yet by wealth and pride,
That virgin innocence of beach
No shingly monster, hundred-eyed,
Stared its gray sand-birds out of reach;
Unhoused, save where, at intervals,
The white tents showed their canvas walls,
Where brief sojourners, in the cool, soft air,
Forgot their inland heats, hard toil, and year-long care.

Sometimes along the wheel-deep sand
A one-horse wagon slowly crawled,
Deep laden with a youthful band,
Whose look some homestead old recalled;
Brother perchance, and sisters twain,
And one whose blue eyes told, more plain
Than the free language of her rosy lip,
Of the still dearer claim of love's relationship.

With cheeks of russet-orchard tint,
The light laugh of their native rills,
The perfume of their garden's mint,
The breezy freedom of the hills,
They bore, in unrestrained delight,
The motto of the Garter's knight,
Careless as if from every gazing thing
Hid by their innocence, as Gyges by his ring.

The clanging sea-fowl came and went,
The hunter's gun in the marshes rang;
At nightfall from a neighboring tent
A flute-voiced woman sweetly sang.
Loose-haired, barefooted, hand-in-hand,
Young girls went tripping down the sand;
And youths and maidens, sitting in the moon,
Dreamed o'er the old fond dream from which we wake too soon.

At times their fishing-lines they plied,
With an old Triton at the oar,
Salt as the sea-wind, tough and dried
As a lean cusk from Labrador.
Strange tales he told of wreck and storm,--
Had seen the sea-snake's awful form,
And heard the ghosts on Haley's Isle complain,
Speak him off shore, and beg a passage to old Spain!

And there, on breezy morns, they saw
The fishing-schooners outward run,
Their low-bent sails in tack and flaw
Turned white or dark to shade and sun.
Sometimes, in calms of closing day,
They watched the spectral mirage play,
Saw low, far islands looming tall and nigh,
And ships, with upturned keels, sail like a sea the sky.

Sometimes a cloud, with thunder black,
Stooped low upon the darkening main,
Piercing the waves along its track
With the slant javelins of rain.
And when west-wind and sunshine warm
Chased out to sea its wrecks of storm,
They saw the prismy hues in thin spray showers
Where the green buds of waves burst into white froth flowers.

And when along the line of shore
The mists crept upward chill and damp,
Stretched, careless, on their sandy floor
Beneath the flaring lantern lamp,
They talked of all things old and new,
Read, slept, and dreamed as idlers do;
And in the unquestioned freedom of the tent,
Body and o'er-taxed mind to healthful ease unbent.

Once, when the sunset splendors died,
And, trampling up the sloping sand,
In lines outreaching far and wide,
The white-waned billows swept to land,
Dim seen across the gathering shade,
A vast and ghostly cavalcade,
They sat around their lighted kerosene,
Hearing the deep bass roar their every pause between.

Then, urged thereto, the Editor
Within his full portfolio dipped,
Feigning excuse while seaching for
(With secret pride) his manuscript.
His pale face flushed from eye to beard,
With nervous cough his throat he cleared,
And, in a voice so tremulous it betrayed
The anxious fondness of an author's heart, he read:

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

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