Less Than The Cloud To The Wind
Less than the cloud to the wind,
Less than the foam to the sea,
Less than the rose to the storm,
Am I to thee.
More than the star to the night,
More than the rain to the tree,
More than heaven to earth
Art thou to me.
by Sara Teasdale.
O That A Chariot Of Cloud Were Mine!
O that a chariot of cloud were mine!
Of cloud which the wild tempest weaves in air,
When the moon over the ocean’s line
Is spreading the locks of her bright gray hair.
O that a chariot of cloud were mine! 5
I would sail on the waves of the billowy wind
To the mountain peak and the rocky lake,
A Cloud Withdrew From The Sky
A Cloud withdrew from the Sky
Superior Glory be
But that Cloud and its Auxiliaries
Are forever lost to me
Had I but further scanned
Had I secured the Glow
In an Hermetic Memory
It had availed me now.
Never to pass the Angel
With a glance and a Bow
Till I am firm in Heaven
Is my intention now.
by Emily Dickinson.
Hark The Sky-Lark In The Cloud
HARK the sky-lark in the cloud,
Hark the cricket in the grass,
Trilling blitheness clear and loud,
Chirping glee to all who pass.
Oh, the merry summer lay!
Earth and sky keep holiday.
Hear the leaves that kiss the air,
Hear the laughter of the bees:
Who remembers winter care
In the shining days like these?
Oh, the merry lay of June!
All our hearts are glad in tune.
Fountain-head and source of rivers,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the daisied banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of lakes and seas and rivers,
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men's fields!
I am a cloud in the heaven's height,
The stars are lit for my delight,
Tireless and changeful, swift and free,
I cast my shadow on hill and sea--
But why do the pines on the mountain's crest
Call to me always, "Rest, rest"?
I throw my mantle over the moon
And I blind the sun on his throne at noon,
Nothing can tame me, nothing can bind,
I am a child of the heartless wind--
But oh the pines on the mountain's crest
Whispering always, "Rest, rest."
by Sara Teasdale.
Sonnet Xviii. To The Autumnal Moon
Mild Splendor of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions! hail!
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gather'd blackness lost on high;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er th' awakened sky.
Ah, such is Hope! As changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair:
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.
Sonnet Xliv: Cloud And Wind
Love, should I fear death most for you or me?
Yet if you die, can I not follow you,
Forcing the straits of change? Alas! but who
Shall wrest a bond from night's inveteracy,
Ere yet my hazardous soul put forth, to be
Her warrant against all her haste might rue?—
Ah! in your eyes so reached what dumb adieu,
What unsunned gyres of waste eternity?
And if I die the first, shall death be then
A lampless watchtower whence I see you weep?—
Or (woe is me!) a bed wherein my sleep
Ne'er notes (as death's dear cup at last you drain),
The hour when you too learn that all is vain
And that Hope sows what Love shall never reap?
Sonnet Xxi: If Beauty Thus Be Clouded
If Beauty thus be clouded with a frown,
That pity shines no comfort to my bliss,
And vapors of disdain so overfrown,
That my life's light thus wholy darken'd is,
Why should I more molest the world with cries,
The air with sighs, the earth below with tears?
Since I live hateful to those ruthless eyes,
Vexing with untun'd moan her dainty ears;
If I have lov'd her dearer than my breath,
My breath that calls the heav'ns to witness it,
And still must hold her dear till after death;
And if that all this cannot move a whit,
Yet let her say that she hath done me wrong,
To use me thus and know I lov'd so long.
by Samuel Daniel.
The Clouded Morning
The morning comes, and thickening clouds prevail,
Hanging like curtains all the horizon round,
Or overhead in heavy stillness sail;
So still is day, it seems like night profound;
Scarce by the city's din the air is stirred,
And dull and deadened comes its every sound;
The cock's shrill, piercing voice subdued is heard,
By the thick folds of muffling vapors drowned.
Dissolved in mists the hills and trees appear,
Their outlines lost and blended with the sky;
And well-known objects, that to all are near,
No longer seem familiar to the eye,
But with fantastic forms they mock the sight,
As when we grope amid the gloom of night.
by Jones Very.
Oh, why are you shining so bright, big Sun,
And why is the garden so gay?
Do you know that my days of delight are done,
Do you know I am going away?
If you covered your face with a cloud, I 'd dream
You were sorry for me in my pain,
And the heads of the flowers all bowed would seem
To be weeping with me in the rain.
But why is your head so low, sweet heart,
And why are your eyes overcast?
Are they clouded because you know we must part,
Do you think this embrace is our last?
Then kiss me again, and again, and again,
Look up as you bid me good-bye!
For your face is too dear for the stain of a tear,
And your smile is the sun in my sky.
by Henry Van Dyke.
The Pillar Of The Cloud
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home --
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, -- one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Should'st lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
With a turn of his magical rod,
That extended and suddenly shone,
From the round of his glory some god
Looks forth and is gone.
To the summit of heaven the clouds
Are rolling aloft like steam;
There's a break in their infinite shrouds,
And below it a gleam.
O'er the drift of the river a whiff
Comes out from the blossoming shore;
And the meadows are greening, as if
They never were green before.
The islands are kindled with gold
And russet and emerald dye;
And the interval waters outrolled
Are more blue than the sky.
From my feet to the heart of the hills
The spirits of May intervene,
And a vapor of azure distills
Like a breath on the opaline green.
Only a moment!-and then
The chill and the shadow decline,
On the eyes of rejuvenate men
That were wide and divine.
I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud (Daffodils)
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
The Cloud And The Mountain
A little white Cloud loved the Mountain,
She hung in the sky all day,
And gazed with rather a timid smile
To where, beneath her full many a mile,
The earth and the loved one lay.
The Mountain was silent and lonely,
And grim in the light of dawn,
And ever and aye he cast his eyes
In longing hope to the distant skies
Where little white clouds are born.
Till a breeze in the evening passing
Took pity upon her vow,
And very tenderly lifted down
The virgin Cloud, till her fleecy crown
Was set on the Mountain's brow.
And they loved with a silent ardour
So great that she soon was slain,
And drop by drop from her tender breast
The life-blood flowed o'er his rock-bound crest,
And fell to the earth in rain.
But she left him to keep for ever,
As solace in endless woe
Her soul, and now through the changing years,
Come shine, come shade, or come smiles, or tears,
It lies on his breast as snow.
by Radclyffe Hall.
AFTER A SUMMER'S WALK, IN WHICH MY COMPANION BENT OVER A CLEAR SPRING WHICH GREW TURBID WITHOUT ANY APPARENT CAUSE.
Serene and pure the fountain flowed,
Reflecting Heaven's holiest blue,
When over it thine image bowed—
And the clear water turbid grew.
I saw no cloud upon thy brow,
To darken o'er the bright wave's rest,
Say, could it mirror, thinkest thou,
Some evil hid within thy breast?
Were thy lips guileless, thy heart true,
When by the fairy well they bent?
Whence came the darkness, then, that drew
Its veil across the element?
Yet tell me not—by that lone well
'Tis like we ne'er shall stand again,
Then let the troubled fountain's spell
A mystery still to me remain.
Let me not know what I should mourn,
Distrust of joy, and doubt of thee,
Nor this sweet summer day return
Clouded upon my memory:
For o'er the surface of my soul,
Thine image too hath cast a shade,
And stirred beyond my own control
The depths, that make myself afraid.
------The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground--from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up--the clouds are split
Asunder,--and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!--the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;--still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
1 O joys! infinite sweetness! with what flow'rs
2 And shoots of glory my soul breaks and buds!
3 All the long hours
4 Of night, and rest,
5 Through the still shrouds
6 Of sleep, and clouds,
7 This dew fell on my breast;
8 Oh, how it bloods
9 And spirits all my earth! Hark! In what rings
10 And hymning circulations the quick world
11 Awakes and sings;
12 The rising winds
13 And falling springs,
14 Birds, beasts, all things
15 Adore him in their kinds.
16 Thus all is hurl'd
17 In sacred hymns and order, the great chime
18 And symphony of nature. Prayer is
19 The world in tune,
20 A spirit voice,
21 And vocal joys
22 Whose echo is heav'n's bliss.
23 O let me climb
24 When I lie down! The pious soul by night
25 Is like a clouded star whose beams, though said
26 To shed their light
27 Under some cloud,
28 Yet are above,
29 And shine and move
30 Beyond that misty shroud.
31 So in my bed,
32 That curtain'd grave, though sleep, like ashes, hide
33 My lamp and life, both shall in thee abide.
by Henry Vaughan.
The Death Of Grant
Father! whose hard and cruel law
Is part of thy compassion's plan,
Thy works presumptuously we scan
For what the prophets say they saw.
Unbidden still the awful slope
Walling us in we climb to gain
Assurance of the shining plain
That faith has certified to hope.
In vain! - beyond the circling hill
The shadow and the cloud abide.
Subdue the doubt, our spirits guide
To trust the record and be still.
To trust it loyally as he
Who, heedful of his high design,
Ne'er raised a seeking eye to thine,
But wrought thy will unconsciously.
Disputing not of chance or fate,
Nor questioning of cause or creed:
For anything but duty's deed
Too simply wise, too humbly grave.
The cannon syllabled his name;
His shadow shifted o'er the land,
Portentous, as at his demand
Successive battalions sprang to flame!
He flared the continent with fire,
The rivers ran in lines of light!
Thy will be done on earth - if right
Or wrong he cared not to inquire.
His was the heavy hand, and his
The service of the despot blade;
His the soft answer that allayed
War's giant animosities.
Let us have peace: our clouded eyes,
Fill, Father, with another light,
That we may see with clearer sight
Thy servant's soul in Paradise.
by Ambrose Bierce.
My After-Dinner Cloud
Some sombre evening, when I sit
And feed in solitude at home,
Perchance an ultra-bilious fit
Paints all the world an orange chrome.
When Fear and Care and grim Despair
Flock round me in a ghostly crowd,
One charm dispels them all in air,—
I blow my after-dinner cloud.
'Tis melancholy to devour
The gentle chop in loneliness.
I look on six—my prandial hour—
With dread not easy to express.
And yet for every penance done,
Due compensation seems allow'd.
My penance o'er, its price is won,—
I blow my after-dinner cloud.
My clay is not a Henry Clay,—
I like it better on the whole;
And when I fill it, I can say,
I drown my sorrows in the bowl.
For most I love my lowly pipe
When weary, sad, and leaden-brow'd;
At such a time behold me ripe
To blow my after-dinner cloud.
As gracefully the smoke ascends
In columns from the weed beneath,
My friendly wizard, Fancy, lends
A vivid shape to every wreath.
Strange memories of life or death
Up from the cradle to the shroud,
Come forth as, with enchanter's breath,
I blow my after-dinner cloud.
What wonder if it stills my care
To quit the present for the past,
And summon back the things that were,
Which only thus in vapor last?
What wonder if I envy not
The rich, the giddy, and the proud,
Contented in this quiet spot
To blow my after-dinner cloud?
Flower-De-Luce: The Bridge Of Cloud
Burn, O evening hearth, and waken
Pleasant visions, as of old!
Though the house by winds be shaken,
Safe I keep this room of gold!
Ah, no longer wizard Fancy
Builds her castles in the air,
Luring me by necromancy
Up the never-ending stair!
But, instead, she builds me bridges
Over many a dark ravine,
Where beneath the gusty ridges
Cataracts dash and roar unseen.
And I cross them, little heeding
Blast of wind or torrent's roar,
As I follow the receding
Footsteps that have gone before.
Naught avails the imploring gesture,
Naught avails the cry of pain!
When I touch the flying vesture,
'Tis the gray robe of the rain.
Baffled I return, and, leaning
O'er the parapets of cloud,
Watch the mist that intervening
Wraps the valley in its shroud.
And the sounds of life ascending
Faintly, vaguely, meet the ear,
Murmur of bells and voices blending
With the rush of waters near.
Well I know what there lies hidden,
Every tower and town and farm,
And again the land forbidden
Reassumes its vanished charm.
Well I know the secret places,
And the nests in hedge and tree;
At what doors are friendly faces,
In what hearts are thoughts of me.
Through the mist and darkness sinking,
Blown by wind and beaten by shower,
Down I fling the thought I'm thinking,
Down I toss this Alpine flower.
The Berg (A Dream)
I saw a ship of material build
(Her standards set, her brave apparel on)
Directed as by madness mere
Against a solid iceberg steer,
Nor budge it, though the infactuate ship went down.
The impact made huge ice-cubes fall
Sullen in tons that crashed the deck;
But that one avalanche was all--
No other movement save the foundering wreck.
Along the spurs of ridges pale,
Not any slenderest shaft and frail,
A prism over glass-green gorges lone,
Toppled; or lace or traceries fine,
Nor pendant drops in grot or mine
Were jarred, when the stunned ship went down.
Nor sole the gulls in cloud that wheeled
Circling one snow-flanked peak afar,
But nearer fowl the floes that skimmed
And crystal beaches, felt no jar.
No thrill transmitted stirred the lock
Of jack-straw neddle-ice at base;
Towers indermined by waves--the block
Atilt impending-- kept their place.
Seals, dozing sleek on sliddery ledges
Slipt never, when by loftier edges
Through the inertia ovrthrown,
The impetuous ship in bafflement went down.
Hard Berg (methought), so cold, so vast,
With mortal damps self-overcast;
Exhaling still thy dankish breath--
Adrift dissolving, bound for death;
Though lumpish thou, a lumbering one--
A lumbering lubbard loitering slow,
Impingers rue thee ad go slow
Sounding thy precipice below,
Nor stir the slimy slug that sprawls
Along thy dead indifference of walls.
by Herman Melville.
O THOU, whose presence went before
Our fathers in their weary way,
As with Thy chosen moved of yore
The fire by night, the cloud by day!
When from each temple of the free,
A nation's song ascends to Heaven,
Most Holy Father! unto Thee
May not our humble prayer be given?
Thy children all, though hue and form
Are varied in Thine own good will,
With Thy own holy breathings warm,
And fashioned in Thine image still.
We thank Thee, Father! hill and plain
Around us wave their fruits once more,
And clustered vine, and blossomed grain,
Are bending round each cottage door.
And peace is here; and hope and love
Are round us as a mantle thrown,
And unto Thee, supreme above,
The knee of prayer is bowed alone.
But oh, for those this day can bring,
As unto us, no joyful thrill;
For those who, under Freedom's wing,
Are bound in Slavery's fetters still:
For those to whom Thy written word
Of light and love is never given;
For those whose ears have never heard
The promise and the hope of heaven!
For broken heart, and clouded mind,
Whereon no human mercies fall;
Oh, be Thy gracious love inclined,
Who, as a Father, pitiest all!
And grant, O Father! that the time
Of Earth's deliverance may be near,
When every land and tongue and clime
The message of Thy love shall hear;
When, smitten as with fire from heaven,
The captive's chain shall sink in dust,
And to his fettered soul be given
The glorious freedom of the just!
To A Child Of Fancy
THE nests are in the hedgerows,
The lambs are on the grass ;
With laughter sweet as music
Thy hours lightfooted pass,
My darling child of fancy,
My winsome prattling lass.
Blue eyes, with long brown lashes,
Thickets of golden curl,
Red little lips disclosing
Twin rows of fairy pearl,
Cheeks like the apple blossom,
Voice lightsome as the merle.
A whole Spring's fickle changes
In every short-lived day,
A passing cloud of April,
A flowery smile of May,
A thousand quick mutations
From graver moods to gay.
Far off, I see the season
When thy childhood's course is run,
And thy girlhood opens wider
Beneath the growing sun,
And the rose begins to redden,
But the violets are done.
And further still the summer,
When thy fair tree, fully grown,
Shall burgeon, and grow splendid
With blossoms of its own,
And the fruit begins to gather,
But the buttercups are mown.
If I should see thy autumn,
'Twill not be close at hand,
But with a spirit vision,
From some far distant land.
Or, perhaps, I hence may see thee
Amongst the angels stand.
I know not what of fortune
The future holds for thee,
Nor if skies fair or clouded
Wait thee in days to be,
But neither joy nor sorrow
Shall sever thee from me.
Dear child, whatever changes
Across our lives may pass,
I shall see thee still for ever,
Clearly as in a glass,
The same sweet child of fancy,
The same dear winsome lass.
by Sir Lewis Morris.
Time! on whose arbitrary wing
The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die---
Hail thou! who on my birth bestowed
Those boons to all that know thee known;
Yet better I sustain thy load,
For now I bear the weight alone.
I would not one fond heart should share
The bitter moments thou hast given;
And pardon thee---since thou couldst spare
All that I loved, to peace or Heaven.
To them be joy or rest---on me
Thy future ills shall press in vain;
I nothing owe but years to thee,
A debt already paid in pain.
Yet even that pain was some relief;
It felt, but still forgot thy power:
The active agony of grief
Retards, but never counts the hour.
In joy I've sighed to think thy flight
Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
But could not add a night to Woe;
For then, however drear and dark,
My soul was suited to thy sky;
One star alone shot forth a spark
To prove thee---not Eternity.
That beam hath sunk---and now thou art
A blank---a thing to count and curse
Through each dull tedious trifling part,
Which all regret, yet all rehearse.
One scene even thou canst not deform---
The limit of thy sloth or speed
When future wanderers bear the storm
Which we shall sleep too sound to heed.
And I can smile to think how weak
Thine efforts shortly shall be shown,
When all the vengeance thou canst wreak
Must fall upon---a nameless stone.
Horace. Book Ii. Ode X.
Receive, dear friend, the truths I teach,
So shalt thou live beyond the reach
Of adverse fortune's power;
Not always tempt the distant deep,
Nor always timorously creep
Along the treacherous shore.
He that holds fast the golden mean,
And lives contentedly between
The little and the great,
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor,
Nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door,
Imbittering all his state.
The tallest pines feels most the power
Of wintry blast, the loftiest tower
Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts that spare the mountain's side,
His cloud-clapt eminence divide
And spread the ruin round.
The well-informed philosopher
Rejoices with a wholesome fear,
And hopes in spite of pain;
If winter bellow from the north,
Soon the sweet spring comes dancing forth,
And nature laughs again.
What if thine heaven be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last,
Expect a brighter sky;
The God that strings the silver bow
Awakes sometimes the muses too,
And lays his arrows by.
If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,
And let thy strength be seen;
But oh! if Fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,
Take half thy canvas in!
A REFLECTION ON THE FOREGOING ODE.
And is this all? Can reason do no more
Than bid me shun the deep and dread the shore?
Sweet moralist! afloat on life's rough sea
The Christian has an art unknown to thee;
He holds no parley with unmanly fears,
Where duty bids he confidently steers,
Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
And trusting in his God, surmount's them all.
by William Cowper.
To A Cloud
Beautiful cloud! with folds so soft and fair,
Swimming in the pure quiet air!
Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
Thy shadow o'er the vale moves slow;
Where, midst their labour, pause the reaper train
As cool it comes along the grain.
Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee
In thy calm way o'er land and sea:
To rest on thy unrolling skirts, and look
On Earth as on an open book;
On streams that tie her realms with silver bands,
And the long ways that seam her lands;
And hear her humming cities, and the sound
Of the great ocean breaking round.
Ay--I would sail upon thy air-borne car
To blooming regions distant far,
To where the sun of Andalusia shines
On his own olive-groves and vines,
Or the soft lights of Italy's bright sky
In smiles upon her ruins lie.
But I would woo the winds to let us rest
O'er Greece long fettered and oppressed,
Whose sons at length have heard the call that comes
From the old battle-fields and tombs,
And risen, and drawn the sword, and on the foe
Have dealt the swift and desperate blow,
And the Othman power is cloven, and the stroke
Has touched its chains, and they are broke.
Ay, we would linger till the sunset there
Should come, to purple all the air,
And thou reflect upon the sacred ground
The ruddy radiance streaming round.
Bright meteor! for the summer noontide made!
Thy peerless beauty yet shall fade.
The sun, that fills with light each glistening fold,
Shall set, and leave thee dark and cold:
The blast shall rend thy skirts, or thou may'st frown
In the dark heaven when storms come down,
And weep in rain, till man's inquiring eye
Miss thee, forever from the sky.
Life is a crooked Labyrinth, and we
Are daily lost in that Obliquity.
'Tis a perplexed circle, in whose round
Nothing but sorrows and new sins abound.
How is the faint impression of each good
Drown'd in the vicious Channel of our blood?
Whose Ebbes and tides by their vicissitude
Both our great Maker and our selves delude.
O wherefore is the most discerning eye
Unapt to make its own discovery?
Why is the clearest and best judging mind
In her own ills prevention dark and blind?
Dull to advise, to act precipitate,
We scarce think what to do but when too late.
Or if we think, that fluid thought, like seed
Rots there to propagate some fouler deed.
Still we repent and sin, sin and repent;
We thaw and freeze, we harden and relent.
Those fires which cool'd to day the morrows heat
Rekindles. Thus frail nature does repeat
What she unlearnt, and still by learning on
Perfects her lesson of confusion.
Sick soul! what cure shall I for thee devise,
Whose leprous state corrupts all remedies?
What medicine or what cordial can be got
For thee, who poyson'st thy best antidot?
Repentance is thy bane, since thou by it
Onely reviv'st the fault thou didst commit.
Nor griev'st thou for the past, but art in pain
For fear thou mayst not act it o're again.
So that thy tears, like water spilt on lime,
Serve not to quench, but to advance the crime.
My blessed Saviour! unto thee I flie
For help against this homebred tyrannie.
Thou canst true sorrows in my soul imprint,
And draw contrition from a breast of flint.
Thou canst reverse this labyrinth of sin
My wild affects and actions wander in.
O guide my faith! and by thy graces clew
Teach me to hunt that kingdom at the view
Where true joyes reign, which like their day shall last;
Those never clouded, nor that overcast.
by Henry King.
Monody On The Death Of Wendell Phillips
One by one they go
Into the unknown dark--
Star-lit brows of the brave,
Voices that drew men's souls.
Rich is the land, O Death!
Can give you dead like our dead!--
Such as he from whose hand
The magic web of romance
Slipt, and the art was lost!
Such as he who erewhile--
The last of the Titan brood--
With his thunder the Senate shook;
Or he who, beside the Charles,
Untoucht of envy or hate,
Tranced the world with his song;
Or that other, that grey-eyed seer
Who in pastoral Concord ways
With Plato and Hâfiz walked.
Not of these was the man
Whose wraith, through the mists of night,
Through the shuddering wintry stars,
Has passed to eternal morn.
Fit were the moan of the sea
And the clashing of cloud on cloud
For the passing of that soul!
Ever he faced the storm!
No weaver of rare romance,
No patient framer of laws,
No maker of wondrous rhyme,
No bookman wrapt in his dream.
His was the voice that rang
In the fight like a bugle-call,
And yet could be tender and low
As when, on a night in June,
The hushed wind sobs in the pines.
His was the eye that flashed
With a sabre's azure gleam,
Pointing to heights unwon!
Not for him were these days
Of clerky and sluggish calm--
To the petrel the swooping gale!
Austere he seemed, but the hearts
Of all men beat in his breast;
No fetter but galled his wrist,
No wrong that was not his own.
What if those eloquent lips
Curled with the old-time scorn?
What if in needless hours
His quick hand closed on the hilt?
'T was the smoke from the well-won fields
That clouded the vetran's eyes.
A fighter this to the end.
Ah, if in coming times
Some giant evil arise,
And Honor falter and pale,
His were a name to conjure with!
God send his like again!
POOR River, now thou'rt almost dry,
What Nymph, or Swain, will near thee lie?
Since brought, alas! to sad Decay,
What Flocks, or Herds, will near thee stay?
The Swans, that sought thee in thy Pride,
Now on new Streams forgetful ride:
And Fish, that in thy Bosom lay,
Chuse in more prosp'rous Floods to play.
All leave thee, now thy Ebb appears,
To waste thy sad Remains in Tears;
Nor will thy mournful Murmurs heed.
Fly, wretched Stream, with all thy speed,
Amongst those solid Rocks thy Griefs bestow;
For Friends, like those alas! thou ne'er did'st know.
And thou, poor Sun! that sat'st on high;
But late, the Splendour of the Sky;
What Flow'r, tho' by thy Influence born,
Now Clouds prevail, will tow'rds thee turn?
Now Darkness sits upon thy Brow,
What Persian Votary will bow?
What River will her Smiles reflect,
Now that no Beams thou can'st direct?
By watry Vapours overcast,
Who thinks upon thy Glories past?
If present Light, nor Heat we get,
Unheeded thou may'st rise, and set.
Not all the past can one Adorer keep,
Fall, wretched Sun, to the more faithful Deep.
Nor do thou, lofty Structure! boast,
Since undermin'd by Time and Frost:
Since thou canst no Reception give,
In untrod Meadows thou may'st live.
None from his ready Road will turn,
With thee thy wretched Change to mourn.
Not the soft Nights, or chearful Days
Thou hast bestow'd, can give thee Praise.
No lusty Tree that near thee grows,
(Tho' it beneath thy Shelter rose)
Will to thy Age a Staff become.
Fall, wretched Building! to thy Tomb.
Thou, and thy painted Roofs, in Ruin mixt,
Fall to the Earth, for That alone is fixt.
The same, poor Man, the same must be
Thy Fate, now Fortune frowns on thee.
Her Favour ev'ry one pursues,
And losing Her, thou all must lose.
No Love, sown in thy prosp'rous Days,
Can Fruit in this cold Season raise:
No Benefit, by thee conferr'd,
Can in this time of Storms be heard.
All from thy troubl'd Waters run;
Thy stooping Fabrick all Men shun.
All do thy clouded Looks decline,
As if thou ne'er did'st on them shine.
O wretched Man! to other World's repair;
For Faith and Gratitude are only there.
Here in these mellow grasses, the whole morn,
I love to rest; yonder, the ripening corn
Rustles its greenery; and his blithesome horn
Windeth the frolic breeze o'er field and dell,
Now pealing a bold stave with lusty swell,
Now falling to low breaths ineffable
Of whispered joyance. At calm length I lie,
Fronting the broad blue spaces of the sky,
Covered with cloud-groups, softly journeying by:
An hundred shapes, fantastic, beauteous, strange,
Are theirs, as o'er yon airy waves they range
At the wind's will, from marvelous change to change;
Castles, with guarded roof, and turret tall,
Great sloping archway, and majestic wall,
Sapped by the breezes to their noiseless fall!
Pagodas vague! above whose towers outstream
Banners that wave with motions of a dream—
Rising, or drooping in the noontide gleam;
Gray lines of Orient pilgrims: a gaunt band
On famished camels, o'er the desert sand
Plodding towards their prophet's Holy Land;
Mid-ocean,—and a shoal of whales at play,
Lifting their monstrous frontlets to the day,
Thro' rainbow arches of sun-smitten spray;
Followed by splintered icebergs, vast and lone,
Set in swift currents of some arctic zone,
Like fragments of a Titan's world o'erthrown;
Next, measureless breadths of barren, treeless moor,
Whose vaporous verge fades down a glimmering shore,
Round which the foam-capped billows toss and roar!
Calms of bright water—like a fairy's wiles,
Wooing with ripply cadence and soft smiles,
The golden shore-slopes of Hesperian Isles;
Their inland plains rife with a rare increase
Of plumed grain! and many a snowy fleece
Shining athwart the dew-lit hills of peace;
Wrecks of gigantic cities—to the tune
Of some wise air-god built!—o'er which the noon
Seems shuddering; caverns, such as the wan Moon
Shows in her desolate bosom; then, a crowd
Of awed and reverent faces, palely bowed
O'er a dead queen, laid in her ashy shroud—
A queen of eld—her pallid brow impearled
By gems barbaric! her strange beauty furled
In mystic cerements of the antique world.
Weird pictures, fancy-gendered!—one by one,
'Twixt blended beams and shadows, gold and dun,
These transient visions vanish in the sun.
To The Driving Cloud
Gloomy and dark art thou, O chief of the mighty Omahas;
Gloomy and dark as the driving cloud, whose name thou hast taken!
Wrapt in thy scarlet blanket, I see thee stalk through the city's
Narrow and populous streets, as once by the margin of rivers
Stalked those birds unknown, that have left us only their
What, in a few short years, will remain of thy race but the
How canst thou walk these streets, who hast trod the green turf
of the prairies!
How canst thou breathe this air, who hast breathed the sweet air
of the mountains!
Ah! 't is in vain that with lordly looks of disdain thou dost
Looks of disdain in return,, and question these walls and these
Claiming the soil for thy hunting-grounds, while down-trodden
Starve in the garrets of Europe, and cry from its caverns that
Have been created heirs of the earth, and claim its division!
Back, then, back to thy woods in the regions west of the Wabash!
There as a monarch thou reignest. In autumn the leaves of the
Pave the floors of thy palace-halls with gold, and in summer
Pine-trees waft through its chambers the odorous breath of their
There thou art strong and great, a hero, a tamer of horses!
There thou chasest the stately stag on the banks of the Elkhorn,
Or by the roar of the Running-Water, or where the Omaha
Calls thee, and leaps through the wild ravine like a brave of the
Hark! what murmurs arise from the heart of those mountainous
Is it the cry of the Foxes and Crows, or the mighty Behemoth,
Who, unharmed, on his tusks once caught the bolts of the thunder,
And now lurks in his lair to destroy the race of the red man?
Far more fatal to thee and thy race than the Crows and the Foxes,
Far more fatal to thee and thy race than the tread of Behemoth,
Lo! the big thunder-canoe, that steadily breasts the Missouri's
Merciless current! and yonder, afar on the prairies, the
Gleam through the night; and the cloud of dust in the gray of the
Marks not the buffalo's track, nor the Mandan's dexterous
It is a caravan, whitening the desert where dwell the Camanches!
Ha! how the breath of these Saxons and Celts, like the blast of
Drifts evermore to the west the scanty smokes of thy wigwams!
The Cloud Confines
The day is dark and the night
To him that would search their heart;
No lips of cloud that will part
Nor morning song in the light:
Only, gazing alone,
To him wild shadows are shown,
Deep under deep unknown
And height above unknown height.
Still we say as we go,--
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
The Past is over and fled;
Nam'd new, we name it the old;
Thereof some tale hath been told,
But no word comes from the dead;
Whether at all they be,
Or whether as bond or free,
Or whether they too were we,
Or by what spell they have sped.
Still we say as we go,--
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
What of the heart of hate
That beats in thy breast, O Time?--
Red strife from the furthest prime,
And anguish of fierce debate;
War that shatters her slain,
And peace that grinds them as grain,
And eyes fix'd ever in vain
On the pitiless eyes of Fate.
Still we say as we go,--
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
What of the heart of love
That bleeds in thy breast, O Man?--
Thy kisses snatch'd 'neath the ban
Of fangs that mock them above;
Thy bells prolong'd unto knells,
Thy hope that a breath dispels,
Thy bitter forlorn farewells
And the empty echoes thereof?
Still we say as we go,--
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
The sky leans dumb on the sea,
Aweary with all its wings;
And oh! the song the sea sings
Is dark everlastingly.
Our past is clean forgot,
Our present is and is not,
Our future's a seal'd seedplot,
And what betwixt them are we?--
We who say as we go,--
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
Under what spell are we debased
By fears for our inviolate Isle,
Whose record is of dangers faced
And flung to heel with even smile?
Is it a vaster force, a subtler guile?
They say Exercitus designs
To match the famed Salsipotent
Where on her sceptre she reclines;
Awake: but were a slumber sent
By guilty gods, more fell his foul intent.
The subtler web, the vaster foe,
Well may we meet when drilled for deeds:
But in these days of wealth at flow,
A word of breezy warning breeds
The pained responses seen in lakeside reeds.
We fain would stand contemplative,
All innocent as meadow grass;
In human goodness fain believe,
Believe a cloud is formed to pass;
Its shadows chase with draughts of hippocras.
Others have gone; the way they went
Sweet sunny now, and safe our nest.
Against the warning hum protest:
Let the world hear that we know what is best.
So do the beatific speak;
Yet have they ears, and eyes as well;
And if not with a paler cheek,
They feel the shivers in them dwell,
That something of a dubious future tell.
For huge possessions render slack
The power we need to hold them fast;
Save when a quickened heart shall make
Our people one, to meet what blast
May blow from temporal heavens overcast.
Our people one! Nor they with strength
Dependent on a single arm:
Alert, and braced the whole land's length,
Rejoicing in their manhood's charm
For friend or foe; to succour, not to harm.
Has ever weakness won esteem?
Or counts it as a prized ally?
They who have read in History deem
It ranks among the slavish fry,
Whose claim to live justiciary Fates deny.
It can not be declared we are
A nation till from end to end
The land can show such front to war
As bids a crouching foe expend
His ire in air, and preferably be friend.
We dreading him, we do him wrong;
For fears discolour, fears invite.
Like him, our task is to be strong;
Unlike him, claiming not by might
To snatch an envied treasure as a right.
So may a stouter brotherhood
At home be signalled over sea
For righteous, and be understood,
Nay, welcomed, when 'tis shown that we
All duties have embraced in being free.
This Britain slumbering, she is rich;
Lies placid as a cradled child;
At times with an uneasy twitch,
That tells of dreams unduly wild.
Shall she be with a foreign drug defiled?
The grandeur of her deeds recall;
Look on her face so kindly fair:
This Britain! and were she to fall,
Mankind would breathe a harsher air,
The nations miss a light of leading rare.
by George Meredith.
The Summer Pool
THERE is a singing in the summer air,
The blue and brown moths flutter o’er the grass,
The stubble bird is creaking in the wheat,
And perch’d upon the honeysuckle-hedge
Pipes the green linnet. Oh, the golden world!
The stir of life on every blade of grass,
The motion and the joy on every bough,
The glad feast everywhere, for things that love
The sunshine, and for things that love the shade!
Aimlessly wandering with weary feet,
Watching the wool white clouds that wander by,
I come upon a lonely place of shade,—
A still green Pool, where with soft sound and stir
The shadows of o’erhanging branches sleep,
Save where they leave one dreamy space of blue,
O’er whose soft stillness ever and anon
The feathery cirrus blows. Here unaware
I pause, and leaning on my staff I add
A shadow to the shadows; and behold!
Dim dreams steal down upon me, with a hum
Of little wings, a murmuring of boughs,
The dusky stir and motion dwelling here,
Within this small green world. O’ershadow’d
By dusky greenery, tho’ all around
The sunshine throbs on fields of wheat and bean,
Downward I gaze into the dreamy blue,
And pass into a waking sleep, wherein
The green boughs rustle, feathery wreaths of cloud
Pass softly, piloted by golden airs:
The air is still,—no birds sing any more,—
And helpless as a tiny flying thing,
I am alone in all the world with God.
The wind dies—not a leaf stirs—on the Pool
The fly scarce moves; earth seems to hold her breath
Until her heart stops, listening silently
For the far footsteps of the coming rain!
While thus I pause, it seems that I have gain’d
New eyes to see; my brain grows sensitive
To trivial things that, at another hour,
Had pass’d unheeded. Suddenly the air
Shivers, the shadows in whose midst I stand
Tremble and blacken—the blue eye o’ the Pool
Is clos’d and clouded; with a sudden gleam
Oiling its wings, a swallow darteth past,
And weedling flowers beneath my feet thrust up
Their leaves, to feel the fragrant shower. Oh, hark!
The thirsty leaves are troubled into sighs,
And up above me, on the glistening boughs,
Patters the summer rain!
Into a nook,
Screen’d by thick foliage of oak and beech,
I creep for shelter; and the summer shower
Murmurs around me. Oh, the drowsy sounds!
The pattering rain, the numerous sigh of leaves,
The deep, warm breathing of the scented air,
Sink sweet into my soul—until at last,
Comes the soft ceasing of the gentle fall,
And lo! the eye of blue within the Pool
Opens again, while with a silvern gleam
Dew diamonds twinkle moistly on the leaves,
Or, shaken downward by the summer wind,
Fall melting on the Pool in rings of light!
Ode On Indolence
ONE morn before me were three figures seen,
I With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
And one behind the other stepp'd serene,
In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
They pass'd, like figures on a marble urn,
When shifted round to see the other side;
They came again; as when the urn once more
Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
And they were strange to me, as may betide
With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.
How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower:
O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but---nothingness?
A third time came they by;---alas! wherefore?
My sleep had been embroider'd with dim dreams;
My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er
With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
Tho' in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
The open casement press'd a new-leav'd vine,
Let in the budding warmth and throstle's lay;
O Shadows! 'twas a time to bid farewell!
Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.
A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, turn'd
Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd
And ached for wings, because I knew the three;
The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;
The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heap'd upon her, maiden most unmeek,---
I knew to be my demon Poesy.
They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:
O folly! What is Love! and where is it?
And for that poor Ambition---it springs
From a man's little heart's short fever-fit;
For Poesy!---no,---she has not a joy,---
At least for me,---so sweet as drowsy noons,
And evenings steep'd in honied indolence;
O, for an age so shelter'd from annoy,
That I may never know how change the moons,
Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!
So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
For I would not be dieted with praise,
A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
Fade sofdy from my eyes, and be once more
In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;
Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
And for the day faint visions there is store;
Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,
Into the clouds, and never more return!
by John Keats.
The French Revolution (Excerpt)
Thee the ancientest peer, Duke of Burgundy, rose from the monarch's right hand, red as wines
From his mountains; an odor of war, like a ripe vineyard, rose from his garments,
And the chamber became as a clouded sky; o'er the council he stretch'd his red limbs,
Cloth'd in flames of crimson; as a ripe vineyard stretches over sheaves of corn,
The fierce Duke hung over the council; around him crowd, weeping in his burning robe,
A bright cloud of infant souls; his words fall like purple autumn on the sheaves:
'Shall this marble built heaven become a clay cottage, this earth an oak stool and these mowers
From the Atlantic mountains mow down all this great starry harvest of six thousand years?
92 And shall Necker, the hind of Geneva, stretch out his crook'd sickle o'er fertile France
93 Till our purple and crimson is faded to russet, and the kingdoms of earth bound in sheaves,
94 And the ancient forests of chivalry hewn, and the joys of the combat burnt for fuel;
95 Till the power and dominion is rent from the pole, sword and sceptre from sun and moon,
96 The law and gospel from fire and air, and eternal reason and science
97 From the deep and the solid, and man lay his faded head down on the rock
98 Of eternity, where the eternal lion and eagle remain to devour?
99 This to prevent--urg'd by cries in day, and prophetic dreams hovering in night,
100 To enrich the lean earth that craves, furrow'd with plows, whose seed is departing from her--
101 Thy nobles have gather'd thy starry hosts round this rebellious city,
102 To rouze up the ancient forests of Europe, with clarions of cloud breathing war,
103 To hear the horse neigh to the drum and trumpet, and the trumpet and war shout reply.
104 Stretch the hand that beckons the eagles of heaven; they cry over Paris, and wait
105 Till Fayette point his finger to Versailles; the eagles of heaven must have their prey!'
106 He ceas'd, and burn'd silent; red clouds roll round Necker; a weeping is heard o'er the palace.
107 Like a dark cloud Necker paus'd, and like thunder on the just man's burial day he paus'd;
108 Silent sit the winds, silent the meadows, while the husbandman and woman of weakness
109 And bright children look after him into the grave, and water his clay with love,
110 Then turn towards pensive fields; so Necker paus'd, and his visage was covered with clouds.
111 The King lean'd on his mountains, then lifted his head and look'd on his armies, that shone
112 Through heaven, tinging morning with beams of blood; then turning to Burgundy, troubled:
113 'Burgundy, thou wast born a lion! My soul is o'ergrown with distress.
114 For the nobles of France, and dark mists roll round me and blot the writing of God
115 Written in my bosom. Necker rise! leave the kingdom, thy life is surrounded with snares.
116 We have call'd an Assembly, but not to destroy; we have given gifts, not to the weak;
117 I hear rushing of muskets, and bright'ning of swords, and visages redd'ning with war,
118 Frowning and looking up from brooding villages and every dark'ning city.
119 Ancient wonders frown over the kingdom, and cries of women and babes are heard,
120 And tempests of doubt roll around me, and fierce sorrows, because of the nobles of France.
121 Depart! answer not! for the tempest must fall, as in years that are passed away.'
by William Blake.
One summer morn, out of the sea-waves wild,
A speck-like Cloud, the season’s fated child,
Came softly floating up the boundless sky,
And o’er the sun-parched hills all brown and dry.
Onward she glided through the azure air,
Borne by its motion without toil or care,
When looking down in her ethereal joy,
She marked earth’s moilers at their hard employ;
“And oh!” she said, “that by some act of grace
’Twere mine to succour yon fierce-toiling race,
To give the hungry meat, the thirsty drink—
The thought of good is very sweet to think.”
The day advanced, and the cloud greater grew,
And greater; likewise her desire to do
Some charity to men had more and more,
As the long sultry summer day on wore,
Greatened and warmed within her fleecy breast,
Like a dove fledging in its downy nest.
The heat waxed fiercer, until all the land
Clared in the sun as ’twere a monstrous brand
And the shrunk rivers, few and far between,
Like molten metal lightened in the scene.
Ill could Earth’s sons endure their toilsome state,
Though still they laboured, for their need was great,
And many a long beseeching look they sped
Towards that fair cloud, with many a sigh that said:
“We famish for thy bounty! For our sake
O break thou! in a showery blessing, break!”
“I feel, and fain would help you, ” said the cloud,
And towards the earth her bounteous being bowed;
But then remem’bring a tradition she
Had in her youth learned from her native sea,
That when a cloud adventures from the skies
Too near the altar of the hills, it dies!
Awhile she wavered and was blown about
Hither and thither by the winds of doubt;
But in the midst of heaven at length all still
She stood; then suddenly, with a keen thrill
Of light, she said within herself, “I will!
Yea, in the glad strength of devotion, I Will help
you, though in helping you I die.”
Filled with this thought’s divinity, the cloud
Grew worldlike vast, as earthward more she bowed!
Oh, never erewhile had she dreamed her state
So great might be, beneficently great!
O’er the parched fields in her angelic love
She spread her wide wings like a brooding dove
Till as her purpose deepened, drawing near,
Divinely awful did her front appear,
And men and beasts all trembled at the view,
And the woods bowed, though well all creatures knew
That near in her, to every kind the same,
A great predestined benefactress came.
And then wide-flashed throughout her full-grown form
The glory of her will! the pain and storm
Of life’s dire dread of death, whose mortal threat
From Christ himself drew agonizing sweat,
Flashed seething out of rents amid her heaps
Of lowering gloom, and thence with arrowy leaps
Hissed jagging downward, till a sheety glare
Illumined all the illimitable air;
The thunder followed, a tremendous sound,
Loud doubling and reverberating round;
Strong was her will, but stronger yet the power
Of love, that now dissolved her in a shower,
Dropping in blessings to enrich the earth
With health and plenty at one blooming birth.
Far as the rain extended o’er the land,
A splendid bow the freshened landscape spanned
Like a celestial arc, hung in the air
By angel artists, to illumine there
The parting triumph of that spirit fair.
The rainbow vanished, but the blessing craved
Rested upon the land the cloud had saved.
by Charles Harpur.
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
The Statesman’s Secret
WHO of all statesmen is his country's pride,
Her councils' prompter and her leaders' guide?
He speaks; the nation holds its breath to hear;
He nods, and shakes the sunset hemisphere.
Born where the primal fount of Nature springs
By the rude cradles of her throneless kings,
In his proud eye her royal signet flames,
By his own lips her Monarch she proclaims.
Why name his countless triumphs, whom to meet
Is to be famous, envied in defeat?
The keen debaters, trained to brawls and strife,
Who fire one shot, and finish with the knife,
Tried him but once, and, cowering in their shame,
Ground their hacked blades to strike at meaner game.
The lordly chief, his party's central stay,
Whose lightest word a hundred votes obey,
Found a new listener seated at his side,
Looked in his eye, and felt himself defied,
Flung his rash gauntlet on the startled floor,
Met the all-conquering, fought,--and ruled no more.
See where he moves, what eager crowds attend!
What shouts of thronging multitudes ascend!
If this is life,--to mark with every hour
The purple deepening in his robes of power,
To see the painted fruits of honor fall
Thick at his feet, and choose among them all,
To hear the sounds that shape his spreading name
Peal through the myriad organ-stops of fame,
Stamp the lone isle that spots the seaman's chart,
And crown the pillared glory of the mart,
To count as peers the few supremely wise
Who mark their planet in the angels' eyes,--
If this is life--
What savage man is he
Who strides alone beside the sounding sea?
Alone he wanders by the murmuring shore,
His thoughts as restless as the waves that roar;
Looks on the sullen sky as stormy-browed
As on the waves yon tempest-brooding cloud,
Heaves from his aching breast a wailing sigh,
Sad as the gust that sweeps the clouded sky.
Ask him his griefs; what midnight demons plough
The lines of torture on his lofty brow;
Unlock those marble lips, and bid them speak
The mystery freezing in his bloodless cheek.
His secret? Hid beneath a flimsy word;
One foolish whisper that ambition heard;
And thus it spake: 'Behold yon gilded chair,
The world's one vacant throne,--thy plate is there!'
Ah, fatal dream! What warning spectres meet
In ghastly circle round its shadowy seat!
Yet still the Tempter murmurs in his ear
The maddening taunt he cannot choose but hear
'Meanest of slaves, by gods and men accurst,
He who is second when he might be first
Climb with bold front the ladder's topmost round,
Or chain thy creeping footsteps to the ground!'
Illustrious Dupe! Have those majestic eyes
Lost their proud fire for such a vulgar prize?
Art thou the last of all mankind to know
That party-fights are won by aiming low?
Thou, stamped by Nature with her royal sign,
That party-hirelings hate a look like thine?
Shake from thy sense the wild delusive dream
Without the purple, art thou not supreme?
And soothed by love unbought, thy heart shall own
A nation's homage nobler than its throne!
. . . . . . . . . .
Loud rang the plaudits; with them rose the thought,
'Would he had learned the lesson he has taught!'
Used to the tributes of the noisy crowd,
The stately speaker calmly smiled and bowed;
The fire within a flushing cheek betrayed,
And eyes that burned beneath their penthouse shade.
'The clock strikes ten, the hours are flying fast,--
Now, Number Five, we've kept you till the last!'
What music charms like those caressing tones
Whose magic influence every listener owns,--
Where all the woman finds herself expressed,
And Heaven's divinest effluence breathes confessed?
Such was the breath that wooed our ravished ears,
Sweet as the voice a dreaming vestal hears;
Soft as the murmur of a brooding dove,
It told the mystery of a mother's love.