I Could Not Among The Misty Clouds

I could not among the misty clouds
Your unstable and painful image catch,
'Oh, my God', I promptly said aloud,
Having not a thought these words to fetch.

As a bird -- an immense bird and sound --
Holly Name flew out of my chest.
And ahead the mist mysterious crowds,
And the empty cage behind me rests.

by Osip Emilevich Mandelstam.

Out of the lamp-bestarred and clouded dusk -
Snaring, illuding, concealing,
Magically conjuring -
Turning to fairy-coaches
Beetle-backed limousines
Scampering under the great Arch -
Making a decoy of blue overalls
And mystery of a scarlet shawl -
Indolently -
Knowing no impediment of its sure advance -
Descends the fog.

by Lola Ridge.

A FOG drifts in, the heavy laden
Cold white ghost of the sea—
One by one the hills go out,
The road and the pepper-tree.
I watch the fog float in at the window
With the whole world gone blind,
Everything, even my longing, drowses,
Even the thoughts in my mind.
I put my head on my hands before me,
There is nothing left to be done or said,
There is nothing to hope for, I am tired,
And heavy as the dead.

by Sara Teasdale.

The Fog Rolls In

The fog rolls in as it has rolled
For years that never can be told,
And all the sky of sombre-gray
Makes drearier still the dreary day;
And hearts still ache
Until they break,
As it has been with Death alway.

But though the fog be deeper rolled
The sun's above it as of old;
No sky can be so sombre-gray,
But that the blue will have its way;
And hearts will wake
For love's dear sake,
As it has been with Life alway.

by Edward Robeson Taylor.

Heaven-invading hills are drowned
In wide moving waves of mist,
Phlox before my door are wound
In dripping wreaths of amethyst.

Ten feet away the solid earth
Changes into melting cloud,
There is a hush of pain and mirth,
No bird has heart to speak aloud.

Here in a world without a sky,
Without the ground, without the sea,
The one unchanging thing is I,
Myself remains to comfort me.

by Sara Teasdale.

The days that clothed white limbs with heat,
And rocked the red rose on their breast,
Have passed with amber-sandaled feet
Into the ruby-gated west.

These were the days that filled the heart
With overflowing riches of
Life, in whose soul no dream shall start
But hath its origin in love.

Now come the days gray-huddled in
The haze; whose foggy footsteps drip;
Who pin beneath a gypsy chin
The frosty marigold and hip.

The days, whose forms fall shadowy
Athwart the heart: whose misty breath
Shapes saddest sweets of memory
Out of the bitterness of death.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Something this foggy day, a something which
Is neither of this fog nor of today,
Has set me dreaming of the winds that play
Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach,
And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray:
Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away,
So out of reach while quite within my reach,
As out of reach as India or Cathay!
I am sick of where I am and where I am not,
I am sick of foresight and of memory,
I am sick of all I have and all I see,
I am sick of self, and there is nothing new;
Oh weary impatient patience of my lot!
Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you?

by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

Heart of my heart, the day is chill,
The mist hangs low o'er the wooded hill,
The soft white mist and the heavy cloud
The sun and the face of heaven shroud.
The birds are thick in the dripping trees,
That drop their pearls to the beggar breeze;
No songs are rife where songs are wont,
Each singer crouches in his haunt.

Heart of my heart, the day is chill,
Whene'er thy loving voice is still,
The cloud and mist hide the sky from me,
Whene'er thy face I cannot see.
My thoughts fly back from the chill without,
My mind in the storm drops doubt on doubt,
No songs arise. Without thee, love,
My soul sinks down like a frightened dove.

by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

I saw the fog grow thick,
Which soon made blind my ken;
It made tall men of boys,
And giants of tall men.

It clutched my throat, I coughed;
Nothing was in my head
Except two heavy eyes
Like balls of burning lead.

And when it grew so black
That I could know no place,
I lost all judgment then,
Of distance and of space.

The street lamps, and the lights
Upon the halted cars,
Could either be on earth
Or be the heavenly stars.

A man passed by me close,
I asked my way, he said,
'Come, follow me, my friend'—
I followed where he led.

He rapped the stones in front,
'Trust me,' he said, 'and come';
I followed like a child—
A blind man led me home.

by William Henry Davies.

The park is filled with night and fog,
The veils are drawn about the world,
The drowsy lights along the paths
Are dim and pearled.

Gold and gleaming the empty streets,
gold and gleaming the misty lake,
The mirrored lights like sunken swords,
Glimmer and shake.

Oh, is it not enought to be
Here with this beauty over me?
My throat should ache with praise, and I
Should kneel in joy beneath the sky.
O, Beauty are you not enough?
Why am I crying after love,
With youth, a singing voice and eyes
To take earth's wonder with surprise?
Why have I put off my pride,
Why am I unsatisfied,--
I for whom the pensive night
Binds her cloudy hair with light,--
I, for whom all beauty burns
Like incense in a million urns?
O, Beauty, are you not enough?
Why am I crying after love?

by Sara Teasdale.

A splendid place is London, with golden store,
For them that have the heart and hope and youth galore;
But mournful are its streets to me, I tell you true,
For I'm longing sore for Ireland in the foggy dew.

The sun he shines all day here, so fierce and fine,
With never a wisp of mist at all to dim his shine;
The sun he shines all day here from skies of blue:
He hides his face in Ireland in the foggy dew.

The maids go out to milking in the pastures gray,
The sky is green and golden at dawn of the day;
And in the deep-drenched meadows the hay lies new,
And the corn is turning yellow in the foggy dew.

Mavrone ! if I might feel now the dew on my face,
And the wind from the mountains in that remembered place,
I'd give the wealth of London, if mine it were to do,
And I'd travel home to Ireland and the foggy dew.

by Katharine Tynan.

Magically awakened to a strange, brown night
The streets lie cold. A hush of heavy gloom
Dulls the noise of the wheels to a murmur dead:
Near and sudden the passing figures loom;
And out of darkness steep on startled sight
The topless walls in apparition emerge.
Nothing revealing but their own thin flames,
The rayless lamps burn faint and bleared and red:
Link--boys' cries, and the shuffle of horses led,
Pierce the thick air; and like a distant dirge,
Melancholy horns wail from the shrouded Thames.
Long the blind morning hooded the dumb town;
Till lo! in an instant winds arose, and the air
Lifted: at once, from a cold and spectral sky
Appears the sun, and laughs in mockery down
On groping travellers far from where they deem,
In unconjectured roads; the dwindled stream
Of traffic in slow confusion crawling by:
The baffled hive of helpless man laid bare.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

Mists In Autumn

Now, by the cool, declining year condescend,
Descend the copious exhalations, check'd,
As up the middle sky unseen they stole,
And roll the doubling fogs around the hill.
No more the mountain, horrid, vast, sublime,
Who pours a sweep of rivers from his sides,
And high between contending kingdoms rears
The rocky long division, fills the view
With great variety; but in a night
Of gath'ring vapour from the baffled sense
Sinks dark and dreary; thence expanding far,
The huge dusk gradual swallows up the plain:
Vanish the woods; the dim-seen river seems
Sullen and slow to roll the misty wave.
Ev'n in the height of noon, oppress'd, the sun
Sheds weak and blunt his wide-refracted ray,
Whence glaring oft with many a broaden'd orb
He frights the nations. Indistinct on earth,
Seen through the turbid air, beyond the life
Objects appear, and, wilder'd o'er the waste,
The shepherd stalks gigantic: till at last,
Wreath'd dun around in deeper circles, still
Successive closing, sits the gen'ral fog
Unbounded o'er the world, and, mingling thick,
A formless gray confusion covers all.

by James Thomson.

I stared into the valley: it was gone—
wholly submerged! A vast flat sea remained,
gray, with no waves, no beaches; all was one.

And here and there I noticed, when I strained,
the alien clamoring of small, wild voices:
birds that had lost their way in that vain land.

And high above, the skeletons of beeches,
as if suspended, and the reveries
of ruins and of the hermit’s hidden reaches.

And a dog yelped and yelped, as if in fear,
I knew not where nor why. Perhaps he heard
strange footsteps, neither far away nor near—

echoing footsteps, neither slow nor quick,
alternating, eternal. Down I stared,
but I saw nothing, no one, looking back.

The reveries of ruins asked: “Will no
one come?” The skeletons of trees inquired:
“And who are you, forever on the go?”

I may have seen a shadow then, an errant
shadow, bearing a bundle on its head.
I saw—and no more saw, in the same instant.

All I could hear were the uneasy screeches
of the lost birds, the yelping of the stray,
and, on that sea that lacked both waves and beaches,

the footsteps, neither near nor far away.

by Giovanni Pascoli.

On The Potomac River U.S.A.

At close of June's most burning day,
We took a ship and sailed away :
In mid-Potomac stream sailed we.
To Old Point Comfort by the sea.

The heavy hanging air of dusk
Was thick with scent of fainting musk.
And through the tired willow trees
Stirred never sound or breath of breeze.

So still it was, that from afar
We seemed to hear a falling star,
And every drop we heard, that dript
From off the paddle as it dipped.

The fireflies lit their yellow lamps.
And danced along the marshy damps ;
They skimmed and shot, and skimmed again.
While beetles droned a dance-refrain.

The old ship pushed the mists apart,
And crawled along with throbbing heart,
Pausing from time to time for breath
Beside some jetty, still as death.

The moon rose up all reddish gold.
And lit the swirhng misty fold
Of fog along the river bank,
Where grew the creepers dark and rank.

Sometimes the lonely 'look-out' cried
'All's well': the water swished and sighed
An endless and protesting song,
As stealthily we crept along.

Until at last the wind blew free.
Where the Potomac met the sea ;
And not so very far away
The shores of Old Point Comfort lay.

by Radclyffe Hall.

In misty blue the lark is heard
Above the silent homes of men;
The bright--eyed thrush, the little wren,
The yellow--billed sweet--voiced blackbird
Mid sallow blossoms blond as curd
Or silver oak boughs, carolling
With happy throat from tree to tree,
Sing into light this morn of spring
That sang my dear love home to me.

Be starry, buds of clustered white,
Around the dark waves of her hair!
The young fresh glory you prepare
Is like my ever--fresh delight
When she comes shining on my sight
With meeting eyes, with such a cheek
As colours fair like flushing tips
Of shoots, and music ere she speak
Lies in the wonder of her lips.

Airs of the morning, breathe about
Keen faint scents of the wild wood--side
From thickets where primroses hide
Mid the brown leaves of winter's rout.
Chestnut and willow, beacon out
For joy of her, from far and nigh,
Your English green on English hills:
Above her head, song--quivering sky,
And at her feet, the daffodils.

Because she breathed, the world was more,
And breath a finer soul to use,
And life held lovelier hopes to choose:
But O to--day my heart brims o'er,
Earth glows as from a kindled core,
Like shadows of diviner things
Are hill and cloud and flower and tree--
A splendour that is hers and spring's,--
The day my love came home to me.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

As the pregnant womb of night
Thrills with imprisoned light,
Misty, nebulous-born,
Growing deeper into her morn,
So man, with no sudden stride,
Bloomed into pride.

In the womb of the All-spirit
The universe lay ; the will
Blind, an atom, lay still.
The pulse of matter
Obeyed in awe
And strove to flatter
The rhythmic law.
But the will grew ; nature feared,
And cast off the child she reared,
Now her rival, instinct-led,
With her own powers impregnated.

Brain and heart, blood-fervid flowers,
Creation is each act of yours.

Your roots are God, the pauseless cause,
But your boughs sway to self windy laws.
Perception is no dreamy birth
And magnifies transfigured earth.

With each new light, our eyes receive
A larger power to perceive.
If we could unveil our eyes,
Become as wise as the All-wise,
No love would be, no mystery :
Love and joy dwell in infinity.
Love begets love ; reaching highest
We find a higher still, unseen
From where we stood to reach the first ;
Moses must die to live in Christ,
The seed be buried to live to green.
Perfection must begin from worst.
Christ perceives a larger reachless love,
More full, and grows to reach thereof.
The green plant yearns for its yellow fruit.
Perfection always is a root,
And joy a motion that cloth feed
Itself on light of its own speed,
And round its radiant circle runs,
Creating and devouring suns.

by Isaac Rosenberg.

A day of torpor in the sullen heat
Of Summer's passion: In the sluggish stream
The panting cattle lave their lazy feet,
With drowsy eyes, and dream.

Long since the winds have died, and in the sky
There lives no cloud to hint of Nature's grief;
The sun glares ever like an evil eye,
And withers flower and leaf.

Upon the gleaming harvest-field remote
The thresher lies deserted, like some old
Dismantled galleon that hangs afloat
Upon a sea of gold.

The yearning cry of some bewildered bird
Above an empty nest, and truant boys
Along the river's shady margin heard--
A harmony of noise--

A melody of wrangling voices blent
With liquid laughter, and with rippling calls
Of piping lips and thrilling echoes sent
To mimic waterfalls.

And through the hazy veil the atmosphere
Has draped about the gleaming face of Day,
The sifted glances of the sun appear
In splinterings of spray.

The dusty highway, like a cloud of dawn,
Trails o'er the hillside, and the passer-by,
A tired ghost in misty shroud, toils on
His journey to the sky.

And down across the valley's drooping sweep,
Withdrawn to farthest limit of the glade,
The forest stands in silence, drinking deep
Its purple wine of shade.

The gossamer floats up on phantom wing;
The sailor-vision voyages the skies
And carries into chaos everything
That freights the weary eyes:

Till, throbbing on and on, the pulse of heat
Increases--reaches--passes fever's height,
And Day sinks into slumber, cool and sweet,
Within the arms of Night.

by James Whitcomb Riley.

Voices Of The Night : The Beleaguered City

I have read, in some old, marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.

But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.

Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.

No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.

And when the solemn and deep churchbell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Beleaguered City, The

I have read, in some old, marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.

But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.

Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.

No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.

And when the solemn and deep churchbell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

A Greyport Legend

They ran through the streets of the seaport town,
They peered from the decks of the ships that lay;
The cold sea-fog that came whitening down
Was never as cold or white as they.
'Ho, Starbuck and Pinckney and Tenterden!
Run for your shallops, gather your men,
Scatter your boats on the lower bay.'

Good cause for fear! In the thick mid-day
The hulk that lay by the rotting pier,
Filled with the children in happy play,
Parted its moorings and drifted clear,
Drifted clear beyond reach or call,--
Thirteen children they were in all,--
All adrift in the lower bay!

Said a hard-faced skipper, 'God help us all!
She will not float till the turning tide!'
Said his wife, 'My darling will hear MY call,
Whether in sea or heaven she bide;'
And she lifted a quavering voice and high,
Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry,
Till they shuddered and wondered at her side.

The fog drove down on each laboring crew,
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore:
There was not a sound but the breath they drew,
And the lap of water and creak of oar;
And they felt the breath of the downs, fresh blown
O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone,
But not from the lips that had gone before.

They came no more. But they tell the tale
That, when fogs are thick on the harbor reef,
The mackerel fishers shorten sail--
For the signal they know will bring relief;
For the voices of children, still at play
In a phantom hulk that drifts alway
Through channels whose waters never fail.

It is but a foolish shipman's tale,
A theme for a poet's idle page;
But still, when the mists of Doubt prevail,
And we lie becalmed by the shores of Age,
We hear from the misty troubled shore
The voice of the children gone before,
Drawing the soul to its anchorage.

by Francis Bret Harte.

An Autumn Evening At Murray Bay

Darkly falls the autumn twilight, rustles by the crisp leaf sere,
Sadly wail the lonely night-winds, sweeping sea-ward, chill and drear,
Sullen dash the restless waters ’gainst a bleak and rock-bound shore,
While the sea-birds’ weird voices mingle with their surging roar.

Vainly seeks the eye a flow’ret ’mid the desolation drear,
Or a spray of pleasant verdure which the gloomy scene might cheer;
Nought but frowning crags and boulders, and long sea-weeds, ghastly, dank,
With the mosses and pale lichens, to the wet rocks clinging rank.

See, the fog clouds thickly rolling o’er the landscape far and wide,
Till the tall cliffs look like phantoms, seeking ’mid their shrouds to hide;
On they come, the misty masses of the wreathing vapour white,
Filling hill and mead and valley, blotting earth and heaven from sight.

Silent, mournful, am I standing, gazing from the window pane,
Dimmed and blurred with heavy plashes of the fast descending rain,
While thoughts chiming with the hour my weary brain are passing through,
Till the shadows of the evening on my brow are mirrored too.

Rise, although uncalled, within me, memories of the distant past,
Of the dreams, the hopes, the fancies, that round life sweet sunshine cast;
Whilst the moan of winds and waters, with a strange, mysterious art,
Seem to awaken drear forebodings in the listening gazer’s heart.

Ah! it needs yon pleasant tapers with enlivening, home-like ray,
And the sound of voices sharing, each in turn, in converse gay,
And the flash of fire-light, making happy faces still more glad,
To dispel the mournful thoughts that make the evening hour so sad.

Turning from this lonely musing, wilful nursing of dark care,
I will join the joyous circle of the dear ones gathered there,
Who with smiles will greet my advent, and in that delightful room
Shake aside the dreary shadows of this scene of autumn gloom.

by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon.

The Curlew Song

The viewless blast flies moaning past,
Away to the forest trees,
Where giant pines and leafless vines
Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams
Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
As afar they roam
To the shepherd's home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

The mists are curled o'er a dark-faced world,
And the shadows sleep around,
Where the clear lagoon reflects the moon
In her hazy glory crowned;
While dingoes howl, and wake the growl
Of the watchdog brave and true;
Whose loud, rough bark shoots up in the dark,
With the song of the lone Curlew!
Whose loud, rough bark
Shoots up in the dark,
With the song of the lone Curlew!

Near herby banks the dark green ranks
Of the rushes stoop to drink;
And the ripples chime, in a measured time,
On the smooth and mossy brink;
As wind-breaths sigh, and pass, and die,
To start from the swamps anew,
And join again o'er ridge and plain
With the wails of the sad Curlew!
And join again
O'er ridge and plain
With the wails of the sad Curlew!

The clouds are thrown around the cone
Of the mountain bare and high,
(Whose craggy peak uprears to the cheek -
To the face of the sombre sky)
When down beneath the foggy wreath,
Full many a gully through,
They rend the air, like cries of despair,
The screams of the wild Curlew!
They rend the air,
Like cries of despair,
The screams of the wild Curlew!

The viewless blast flies moaning past,
Away to the forest trees;
Where giant pines and leafless vines
Bend 'neath the wandering breeze!
From ferny streams, unearthly screams
Are heard in the midnight blue;
As afar they roam to the shepherd's home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!
As afar they roam
To the shepherd's home,
The shrieks of the wild Curlew!

by Henry Kendall.

Said The West Wind

1 I love old earth! Why should I lift my wings,
2 My misty wings, so high above her breast
3 That flowers would shake no perfumes from their hearts,
4 And waters breathe no whispers to the shores?
5 I love deep places builded high with woods,
6 Deep, dusk, fern-closed, and starred with nodding blooms,
7 Close watched by hills, green, garlanded and tall.

8 On hazy wings, all shot with mellow gold,
9 I float, I float thro' shadows clear as glass;
10 With perfumed feet I wander o'er the seas,
11 And touch white sails with gentle finger-tips;
12 I blow the faithless butterfly against
13 The rose-red thorn, and thus avenge the rose;
14 I whisper low amid the solemn boughs,
15 And stir a leaf where not my loudest sigh
16 Could move the emerald branches from their calm,--
17 Leaves, leaves, I love ye much, for ye and I
18 Do make sweet music over all the earth!

19 I dream by glassy ponds, and, lingering, kiss
20 The gold crowns of their lilies one by one,
21 As mothers kiss their babes who be asleep
22 On the clear gilding of their infant heads,
23 Lest if they kissed the dimple on the chin,
24 The rose flecks on the cheek or dewy lips,
25 The calm of sleep might feel the touch of love,
26 And so be lost. I steal before the rain,
27 The longed-for guest of summer; as his fringe
28 Of mist drifts slowly from the mountain peaks,
29 The flowers dance to my fairy pipe and fling
30 Rich odours on my wings, and voices cry,
31 'The dear West Wind is damp, and rich with scent;
32 We shall have fruits and yellow sheaves for this.'

33 At night I play amidst the silver mists,
34 And chase them on soft feet until they climb
35 And dance their gilded plumes against the stars;
36 At dawn the last round primrose star I hide
37 By wafting o'er her some small fleck of cloud,
38 And ere it passes comes the broad, bold Sun
39 And blots her from the azure of the sky,
40 As later, toward his noon, he blots a drop
41 Of pollen-gilded dew from violet cup
42 Set bluely in the mosses of the wood.

by Isabella Valancy Crawford.

From Monte Pincio

Evening is coming, the sun waxes red,
Radiant colors from heaven are beaming
Life's lustrous longings in infinite streaming;-
Glory in death o'er the mountains is spread.
Cupolas burn, but the fog in far masses
Over the bluish-black fields softly passes,
Rolling as whilom oblivion pale;
Hid is yon valley 'neath thousand years' veil.
Evening so red and warm
Glows as the people swarm,
Notes of the cornet flare,
Flowers and brown eyes fair.
Great men of old stand in marble erected,
Waiting, scarce known and neglected.

Vespers are ringing, through roseate air
Nebulous floating of tone-sacrifices,
Twilight in churches now broadens and rises,
Incense and word fill the evening with prayer.
Over the Sabines the flame-belt is knotted,
Shepherds' lights through the Campagna are dotted,
Rome with her lamps dimly breaks on the sight,-
Shadowy legend from history's night.
But to the evening's spell
Dances the Saltarell';-
Fireworks flash and play,
Mora and laughter gay;-
Colors and tones in all thoughts are enthroning
Harmony's gracious condoning.

Lost has the light in its soundless affray,
Heaven its vaulting of dark-blue is framing,
Where from infinity deep stars are flaming,
Earth's masses sink into vapor away.
Fleeing the darkness, the eyes seek the city,
Meet with its torches a corpse borne in pity;
These seek the night, but a flag is each light,
Waving the hope of eternity bright.
Gaily to dance and wine
Mandolins give the sign.
Monkish song, noise of streets,
Drowned by a drum's stern beats;-
Through all the dreaming life's arteries flowing,
Glimpses of daylight are going.

Silence o'er all, and the darker blue sky
Watches serenely expectant, 'mid cheering
Dreams of the past and the future that's nearing:-
Fluctuant gleams in the gray that is nigh.
But they will gather, and Rome be resurgent,
Day-dawn from Italy's midnight emergent:
Cannon shall sound and the bells ring the new,
Mem'ries illumine the future's bright blue!-
Greeting a bridal pair
Charming in hope so rare,
Voices bring soft salute,
Music of harp and flute.
Mightier yearnings sweet sleep is beguiling;-
Lesser dare waken to smiling.

by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

The fog slunk down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow,
Southwardly shifting, far inshore, so never a man might know
How the sea it trod with feet soft-shod, watching the distance dim,
Where the fishing-fleet to the eastward beat, white dots on the ocean's rim.
Feeling the sands with its furtive hands, fingering cape and cove,
Where the sweet salt smells of the nearer swells up the sloping hillside rove;
Where the whimpering sea-gulls swoop and soar, and the great king-herons go,
The fog slunk down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow!

Then a stillness fell on crag and cliff, on beach and breaker fell,
As the sea-breeze brought on its final whiff the note of a distant bell,
One faint, far sound, and the fog unwound its mantle across the lea,
Joined hand in hand with a wind from land, and the twain went out to sea.
And the wind that rose spoke soft, of those who watch on the cliffs at dawn,
And the fog's white lips, of sinking ships where the tortured tempests spawn,
As, each to each, they told once more such things as fishers know,
When the fog slinks down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow!

Oh, the wan, white hours go limping by, when that pall comes in between
The great, blue bell of the cloudless sky and the ocean's romping green!
Nor sane young day, nor swirl of spray, as the cat's-paws lunge and lift;
On sad, slow waves, like the mounds of graves, the fishermen's dories drift.
For the fishing-craft that leapt and laughed are swallowed in ghostly gray:
Only God's eyes may see where lies the lap of the sheltered bay,
So their dories grope, for lost their lore, witlessly to and fro,
When the fog slinks down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow!

Oh, men of the fleet, 't is ye who learn, of the white fog's biting breath,
That life may hang on the way ye turn, or the way ye turn be death!
Though they on the lea look out to sea for the woe or the weal of you,
The ominous East, like a hungry beast, is waiting your tidings, too.
A night and a day, mayhap, ye stray; a day and a night, perchance,
The dory is led toward Marblehead, or pointed away for France;
The shore may save, or the sea may score, in the unknown final throw,
When the fog slinks down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow!

Ah, God of the Sea, what joy there lies in that first faint hint of sun!
When the pallid curtains sulking rise, and the reaches wider run,
When a wind from the west on the sullen breast of the waters shoulders near,
And the blessed blue of the sky looks through, as the fog-wreaths curl and clear.
Ah, God, what joy when the gallant buoy, swung high on a sudden swell,
Puts fear to flight like a dream of night with its calm, courageous bell,
And the dory trips the sea's wide floor with the verve 't was wont to know,
And the fog slinks back to Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow!

by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

A Second Review Of The Grand Army

I read last night of the Grand Review
In Washington's chiefest avenue,-
Two hundred thousand men in blue,
I think they said was the number,-
Till I seemed to hear their trampling feet,
The bugle blast and the drum's quick beat,
The clatter of hoofs in the stony street,
The cheers of the people who came to greet,
And the thousand details that to repeat
Would only my verse encumber,-
Till I fell in a revery, sad and sweet,
And then to a fitful slumber.

When, lo! in a vision I seemed to stand
In the lonely Capitol. On each hand
Far stretched the portico, dim and grand
Its columns ranged, like a martial band
Of sheeted spectres whom some command
Had called to a last reviewing.
And the streets of the city were white and bare;
No footfall echoed across the square;
But out of the misty midnight air
I heard in the distance a trumpet blare,
And the wandering night-winds seemed to bear
The sound of a far tatooing.

Then I held my breath with fear and dread;
For into the square, with a brazen tread,
There rode a figure whose stately head
O'erlooked the review that morning.
That never bowed from its firm-set seat
When the living column passed its feet,
Yet now rode steadily up the street
To the phantom bugle's warning:

Till it reached the Capitol square, and wheeled,
And there in the moonlight stood revealed
A well known form that in State and field
Had led our patriot sires;
Whose face was turned to the sleeping camp,
Afar through the river's fog and damp,
That showed no flicker, nor warning lamp,
Nor wasted bivouac fires.

And I saw a phantom army come,
With never a sound of fife or drum,
But keeping time to a throbbing hum
Of wailing and lamentation:
The martyred heroes of Malvern Hill,
Of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville,
The men whose wasted figures fill
The patriot graves of the nation.

And there came the nameless dead,-the men
Who perished in fever-swamp and fen,
The slowly-starved of the prison-pen;
And marching beside the others,
Came the dusky martyrs of Pillow's fight,
With limbs enfranchised and bearing bright;
I thought-perhaps 'twas the pale moonlight-
They looked as white as their brothers!

And so all night marched the Nation's dead,
With never a banner above them spread,
Nor a badge, nor a motto brandished;
No mark-save the bare uncovered head
Of the silent bronze Reviewer;
With never an arch save the vaulted sky;
With never a flower save those that lie
On the distant graves-for love could buy
No gift that was purer or truer.

So all night long swept the strange array;
So all night long, till the morning gray,
I watch'd for one who had passed away,
With a reverent awe and wonder,-
Till a blue cap waved in the lengthening line,
And I knew that one who was kin of mine
Had come; amd I spake-and lo! that sign
Awakened me from my slumber.

by Francis Bret Harte.

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga Of King Olaf V. -- The Skerry Of Shrieks

Now from all King Olaf's farms
His men-at-arms
Gathered on the Eve of Easter;
To his house at Angvalds-ness
Fast they press,
Drinking with the royal feaster.

Loudly through the wide-flung door
Came the roar
Of the sea upon the Skerry;
And its thunder loud and near
Reached the ear,
Mingling with their voices merry.

'Hark!' said Olaf to his Scald,
Halfred the Bald,
'Listen to that song, and learn it!
Half my kingdom would I give,
As I live,
If by such songs you would earn it!

'For of all the runes and rhymes
Of all times,
Best I like the ocean's dirges,
When the old harper heaves and rocks,
His hoary locks
Flowing and flashing in the surges!'

Halfred answered: 'I am called
The Unappalled!
Nothing hinders me or daunts me.
Hearken to me, then, O King,
While I sing
The great Ocean Song that haunts me.'

'I will hear your song sublime
Some other time,'
Says the drowsy monarch, yawning,
And retires; each laughing guest
Applauds the jest;
Then they sleep till day is dawning.

Facing up and down the yard,
King Olaf's guard
Saw the sea-mist slowly creeping
O'er the sands, and up the hill,
Gathering still
Round the house where they were sleeping.

It was not the fog he saw,
Nor misty flaw,
That above the landscape brooded;
It was Eyvind Kallda's crew
Of warlocks blue
With their caps of darkness hooded!

Round and round the house they go,
Weaving slow
Magic circles to encumber
And imprison in their ring
Olaf the King,
As he helpless lies in slumber.

Then athwart the vapors dun
The Easter sun
Streamed with one broad track of splendor!
In their real forms appeared
The warlocks weird,
Awful as the Witch of Endor.

Blinded by the light that glared,
They groped and stared,
Round about with steps unsteady;
From his window Olaf gazed,
And, amazed,
'Who are these strange people?' said he.

'Eyvind Kallda and his men!'
Answered then
From the yard a sturdy farmer;
While the men-at-arms apace
Filled the place,
Busily buckling on their armor.

From the gates they sallied forth,
South and north,
Scoured the island coast around them,
Seizing all the warlock band,
Foot and hand
On the Skerry's rocks they bound them.

And at eve the king again
Called his train,
And, with all the candles burning,
Silent sat and heard once more
The sullen roar
Of the ocean tides returning.

Shrieks and cries of wild despair
Filled the air,
Growing fainter as they listened;
Then the bursting surge alone
Sounded on;--
Thus the sorcerers were christened!

'Sing, O Scald, your song sublime,
Your ocean-rhyme,'
Cried King Olaf: 'it will cheer me!'
Said the Scald, with pallid cheeks,
'The Skerry of Shrieks
Sings too loud for you to hear me!'

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Ciel Brouillé (Cloudy Sky)

On dirait ton regard d'une vapeur couvert;
Ton oeil mystérieux (est-il bleu, gris ou vert?)
Alternativement tendre, rêveur, cruel,
Réfléchit l'indolence et la pâleur du ciel.

Tu rappelles ces jours blancs, tièdes et voilés,
Qui font se fondre en pleurs les coeurs ensorcelés,
Quand, agités d'un mal inconnu qui les tord,
Les nerfs trop éveillés raillent l'esprit qui dort.

Tu ressembles parfois à ces beaux horizons
Qu'allument les soleils des brumeuses saisons...
Comme tu resplendis, paysage mouillé
Qu'enflamment les rayons tombant d'un ciel brouillé!

Ô femme dangereuse, ô séduisants climats!
Adorerai-je aussi ta neige et vos frimas,
Et saurai-je tirer de l'implacable hiver
Des plaisirs plus aigus que la glace et le fer?

Cloudy Sky

One would say that your gaze was veiled with mist;
Your mysterious eyes (are they blue, gray or green?)
Alternately tender, dreamy, cruel,
Reflect the indolence and pallor of the sky.

You call to mind those days, white, soft, and mild,
That make enchanted hearts burst into tears,
When, shaken by a mysterious, wracking pain,
The nerves, too wide-awake, jeer at the sleeping mind.

You resemble at times those gorgeous horizons
That the sun sets ablaze in the seasons of mist...
How resplendent you are, landscape drenched with rain,
Aflame with rays that fall from a cloudy sky!

O dangerous woman, O alluring climates!
Will I also adore your snow and your hoar-frost,
And can I draw from your implacable winter
Pleasures keener than iron or ice?


— Translated by William Aggeler

Misty Sky

One would have thought your eyes were veiled in haze
Strange eyes! (Grey, green, or azure is their gaze?)
It seems they would reflect, in each renewal,
The changing skies, dull, dreamy, fond, or cruel.

You know those days both warm and hazy, which
Melt into tears the hearts that they bewitch:
And when the nerves, uneasy to control,
Too-wide awake, upbraid the sleeping soul.

You, too, resemble such a lit horizon
As suns of misty seasons now bedizen...
As you shine out, a landscape fresh with rain
With misty sunbeams sparkling on the plain.

Dangerous girl, seductive as the weather!
Shall I adore your snows and frosts together?
In your relentless winter shall I feel
A kiss more sharp than that of ice and steel?


— Translated by Roy Campbell

Ciel brouillé

thine eyes are veiled with vapour opaline;
— those eyes of mystery! — (azure, grey or green?)
cruel or soft in turn as dreams devise,
reflect the languor of the pallid skies.

thou'rt like these autumn days of silver-grey
whose magic melts the soul to tears: a day
when by a secret evil inly torn
the quivering nerves laugh drowsy wits to scorn.

thou art as fair as distant dales, where suns
of misty seasons leave their benisons...
how dazzling rich the dewy woodlands lie
flaming in sunlight from a ruffled sky!

o fateful woman! sky that lures and lours!
and shall I love thy snow, its frosty hours,
and learn to clutch from winter's iron gyves
new pleasure keen as cloven ice or knives?


— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

by Charles Baudelaire.

As I walk the misty hill
All is languid, fogged, and still;
Not a note of any bird
Nor any motion's hint is heard,
Save from soaking thickets round
Trickle or water's rushing sound,
And from ghostly trees the drip
Of runnel dews or whispering slip
Of leaves, which in a body launch
Listlessly from the stagnant branch
To strew the marl, already strown,
With litter sodden as its own,

A rheum, like blight, hangs on the briars,
And from the clammy ground suspires
A sweet frail sick autumnal scent
Of stale frost furring weeds long spent;
And wafted on, like one who sleeps,
A feeble vapour hangs or creeps,
Exhaling on the fungus mould
A breath of age, fatigue, and cold.

Oozed from the bracken's desolate track,
By dark rains havocked and drenched black.
A fog about the coppice drifts,
Or slowly thickens up and lifts
Into the moist, despondent air.

Mist, grief, and stillness everywhere....

And in me, too, there is no sound
Save welling as of tears profound,
Where in me cloud, grief, stillness reign,
And an intolerable pain
Begins.
Rolled on as in a flood there come
Memories of childhood, boyhood, home,
And that which, sudden, pangs me most,
Thought of the first-belov'd, long lost,
Too easy lost! My cold lips frame
Tremulously the familiar name,
Unheard of her upon my breath:
'Elizabeth. Elizabeth.'

No voice answers on the hill,
All is shrouded, sad, and still ...
Stillness, fogged brakes, and fog on high.
Only in me the waters cry
Who mourn the hours now slipped for ever,
Hours of boding, joy, and fever,
When we loved, by chance beguiled,
I a boy and you a child —
Child! but with an angel's air,
Astonished, eager, unaware,
Or elfin's, wandering with a grace
Foreign to any fireside race,
And with a gaiety unknown
In the light feet and hair backblown,
And with a sadness yet more strange,
In meagre cheeks which knew to change
Or faint or fired more swift than sight,
And forlorn hands and lips pressed white,
And fragile voice, and head downcast,
Hiding tears, lifted at the last
To speed with one pale smile the wise
Glance of the grey immortal eyes.

How strange it was that we should dare
Compound a miracle so rare
As, 'twixt this pace and Time's next pace,
Each to discern th' elected's face!
Yet stranger that the high sweet fire,
In hearts nigh foreign to desire,
Could burn, sigh, weep, and burn again
As oh, it never has since then!
Most strange of all that we so young
Dared learn but would not speak love's tongue,
Love pledged but in the reveries
Of our sad and dreaming eyes....

Now upon such journey bound me,
Grief, disquiet, and stillness round me,
As bids me where I cannot tell,
Turn I and sigh, unseen, farewell.
Breathe the name as soft as mist,
Lips, which nor kissed her nor were kissed!
And again — a sigh, a death —
'Elizabeth. Elizabeth.'

No voice answers; but the mist
Glows for a moment amethyst
Ere the hid sun dissolves away,
And dimness, growing dimmer grey,
Hides all ... till nothing can I see
But the blind walls enclosing me,
And no sound and no motion hear
But the vague water throbbing near,
Sole voice upon the darkening hill
Where all is blank and dead and still.

by Robert Nichols.

Light silken curtain, colorless and soft,
Dreamlike before me floating! what abides
Behind thy pearly veil's
Opaque, mysterious woof?

Where sleek red kine, and dappled, crunch day-long
Thick, luscious blades and purple clover-heads,
Nigh me I still can mark
Cool fields of beaded grass.

No more; for on the rim of the globed world
I seem to stand and stare at nothingness.
But songs of unseen birds
And tranquil roll of waves

Bring sweet assurance of continuous life
Beyond this silvery cloud. Fantastic dreams,
Of tissue subtler still
Than the wreathed fog, arise,

And cheat my brain with airy vanishings
And mystic glories of the world beyond.
A whole enchanted town
Thy baffling folds conceal-

An Orient town, with slender-steepled mosques,
Turret from turret springing, dome from dome,
Fretted with burning stones,
And trellised with red gold.

Through spacious streets, where running waters flow,
Sun-screened by fruit-trees and the broad-leaved palm,
Past the gay-decked bazaars,
Walk turbaned, dark-eyed men.

Hark! you can hear the many murmuring tongues,
While loud the merchants vaunt their gorgeous wares.
The sultry air is spiced
With fragrance of rich gums,

And through the lattice high in yon dead wall,
See where, unveiled, an arch, young, dimpled face,
Flushed like a musky peach,
Peers down upon the mart!

From her dark, ringleted and bird-poised head
She hath cast back the milk-white silken veil:
'Midst the blank blackness there
She blossoms like a rose.

Beckons she not with those bright, full-orbed eyes,
And open arms that like twin moonbeams gleam?
Behold her smile on me
With honeyed, scarlet lips!

Divine Scheherazade! I am thine.
I come! I come!-Hark! from some far-off mosque
The shrill muezzin calls
The hour of silent prayer,

And from the lattice he hath scared my love.
The lattice vanisheth itself-the street,
The mart, the Orient town;
Only through still, soft air

That cry is yet prolonged. I wake to hear
The distant fog-horn peal: before mine eyes
Stands the white wall of mist,
Blending with vaporous skies.

Elusive gossamer, impervious
Even to the mighty sun-god's keen red shafts!
With what a jealous art
Thy secret thou dost guard!

Well do I know deep in thine inmost folds,
Within an opal hollow, there abides
The lady of the mist,
The Undine of the air-

A slender, winged, ethereal, lily form,
Dove-eyed, with fair, free-floating, pearl-wreathed hair,
In waving raiment swathed
Of changing, irised hues.

Where her feet, rosy as a shell, have grazed
The freshened grass, a richer emerald glows:
Into each flower-cup
Her cool dews she distills.

She knows the tops of jagged mountain-peaks,
She knows the green soft hollows of their sides,
And unafraid she floats
O'er the vast-circled seas.

She loves to bask within the moon's wan beams,
Lying, night-long upon the moist, dark earth,
And leave her seeded pearls
With morning on the grass.

Ah! that athwart these dim, gray outer courts
Of her fantastic palace I might pass,
And reach the inmost shrine
Of her chaste solitude,

And feel her cool and dewy fingers press
My mortal-fevered brow, while in my heart
She poured with tender love
Her healing Lethe-balm!

See! the close curtain moves, the spell dissolves!
Slowly it lifts: the dazzling sunshine streams
Upon a newborn world
And laughing summer seas.

Swift, snowy-breasted sandbirds twittering glance
Through crystal air. On the horizon's marge,
Like a huge purple wraith,
The dusky fog retreats.

by Emma Lazarus.

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere -
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir -
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul -
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll -
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole -
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere -
Our memories were treacherous and sere, -
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year -
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber -
(Though once we had journey down here),
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent,
And star-dials pointed to morn -
As the star-dials hinted of morn -
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn -
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said - "She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs -
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies -
To the Lethean peace of the skies -
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes -
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes."

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said - "Sadly this star I mistrust -
Her pallor I strangely mistrust: -
Oh, hasten! - oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly! - let us fly! - for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust -
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust -
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied - "This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night! -
See! - it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright -
We safely may trust to a gleaming,
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night."

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom -
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb -
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said - "What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied - "Ulalume - Ulalume -
‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere -
As the leaves that were withering and sere,
And I cried - "It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed - I journeyed down here -
That I brought a dread burden down here!
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber -
This misty mid region of Weir -
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, -
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."

by Edgar Allan Poe.

Voyage Of The Jettie

A shallow stream, from fountains
Deep in the Sandwich mountains,
Ran lake ward Bearcamp River;
And, between its flood-torn shores,
Sped by sail or urged by oars
No keel had vexed it ever.

Alone the dead trees yielding
To the dull axe Time is wielding,
The shy mink and the otter,
And golden leaves and red,
By countless autumns shed,
Had floated down its water.

From the gray rocks of Cape Ann,
Came a skilled seafaring man,
With his dory, to the right place;
Over hill and plain he brought her,
Where the boatless Beareamp water
Comes winding down from White-Face.

Quoth the skipper: “Ere she floats forth;
I’m sure my pretty boat’s worth,
At least, a name as pretty.”
On her painted side he wrote it,
And the flag that o’er her floated
Bore aloft the name of Jettie.

On a radiant morn of summer,
Elder guest and latest comer
Saw her wed the Bearcamp water;
Heard the name the skipper gave her,
And the answer to the favor
From the Bay State’s graceful daughter.

Then, a singer, richly gifted,
Her charmed voice uplifted;
And the wood-thrush and song-sparrow
Listened, dumb with envious pain,
To the clear and sweet refrain
Whose notes they could not borrow.

Then the skipper plied his oar,
And from off the shelving shore,
Glided out the strange explorer;
Floating on, she knew not whither,—
The tawny sands beneath her,
The great hills watching o’er her.

On, where the stream flows quiet
As the meadows’ margins by it,
Or widens out to borrow a
New life from that wild water,
The mountain giant’s daughter,
The pine-besung Chocorua.

Or, mid the tangling cumber
And pack of mountain lumber
That spring floods downward force,
Over sunken snag, and bar
Where the grating shallows are,
The good boat held her course.

Under the pine-dark highlands,
Around the vine-hung islands,
She ploughed her crooked furrow
And her rippling and her lurches
Scared the river eels and perches,
And the musk-rat in his burrow.

Every sober clam below her,
Every sage and grave pearl-grower,
Shut his rusty valves the tighter;
Crow called to crow complaining,
And old tortoises sat craning
Their leathern necks to sight her.

So, to where the still lake glasses
The misty mountain masses
Rising dim and distant northward,
And, with faint-drawn shadow pictures,
Low shores, and dead pine spectres,
Blends the skyward and the earthward,

On she glided, overladen,
With merry man and maiden
Sending back their song and laughter,—
While, perchance, a phantom crew,
In a ghostly birch canoe,
Paddled dumb and swiftly after!

And the bear on Ossipee
Climbed the topmost crag to see
The strange thing drifting under;
And, through the haze of August,
Passaconaway and Paugus
Looked down in sleepy wonder.

All the pines that o’er her hung
In mimic sea-tones sung
The song familiar to her;
And the maples leaned to screen her,
And the meadow-grass seemed greener,
And the breeze more soft to woo her.

The lone stream mystery-haunted,
To her the freedom granted
To scan its every feature,
Till new and old were blended,
And round them both extended
The loving arms of Nature.

Of these hills the little vessel
Henceforth is part and parcel;
And on Bearcamp shall her log
Be kept, as if by George’s
Or Grand Menan, the surges
Tossed her skipper through the fog.

And I, who, half in sadness,
Recall the morning gladness
Of life, at evening time,
By chance, onlooking idly,
Apart from all so widely,
Have set her voyage to rhyme.

Dies now the gay persistence
Of song and laugh, in distance;
Alone with me remaining
The stream, the quiet meadow,
The hills in shine and shadow,
The sombre pines complaining.

And, musing here, I dream
Of voyagers on a stream
From whence is no returning,
Under sealed orders going,
Looking forward little knowing,
Looking back with idle yearning.

And I pray that every venture
The port of peace may enter,
That, safe from snag and fall
And siren-haunted islet,
And rock, the Unseen Pilot
May guide us one and all.

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

To -- -- --. Ulalume: A Ballad

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere-
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir-
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul-
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
There were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll-
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole-
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere-
Our memories were treacherous and sere-
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year-
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber-
(Though once we had journeyed down here),
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent,
And star-dials pointed to morn-
As the star-dials hinted of morn-
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn-
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said- 'She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs-
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion,
To point us the path to the skies-
To the Lethean peace of the skies-
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes-
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.'

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said- 'Sadly this star I mistrust-
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:-
Oh, hasten!- oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly!- let us fly!- for we must.'
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust-
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust-
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied- 'This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night:-
See!- it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright-
We safely may trust to a gleaming
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.'

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom-
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb-
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said- 'What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?'
She replied- 'Ulalume- Ulalume-
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!'

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere-
As the leaves that were withering and sere-
And I cried- 'It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed- I journeyed down here-
That I brought a dread burden down here-
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber-
This misty mid region of Weir-
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.'

by Edgar Allan Poe.

La Cloche Fêlée (The Cracked Bell)

II est amer et doux, pendant les nuits d'hiver,
D'écouter, près du feu qui palpite et qui fume,
Les souvenirs lointains lentement s'élever
Au bruit des carillons qui chantent dans la brume.

Bienheureuse la cloche au gosier vigoureux
Qui, malgré sa vieillesse, alerte et bien portante,
Jette fidèlement son cri religieux,
Ainsi qu'un vieux soldat qui veille sous la tente!

Moi, mon âme est fêlée, et lorsqu'en ses ennuis
Elle veut de ses chants peupler l'air froid des nuits,
II arrive souvent que sa voix affaiblie

Semble le râle épais d'un blessé qu'on oublie
Au bord d'un lac de sang, sous un grand tas de morts
Et qui meurt, sans bouger, dans d'immenses efforts.

The Flawed Bell

It is bitter and sweet on winter nights
To listen by the fire that smokes and palpitates,
To distant souvenirs that rise up slowly
At the sound of the chimes that sing in the fog.

Happy is the bell which in spite of age
Is vigilant and healthy, and with lusty throat
Faithfully sounds its religious call,
Like an old soldier watching from his tent!

I, my soul is flawed, and when, a prey to ennui,
She wishes to fill the cold night air with her songs,
It often happens that her weakened voice

Resembles the death rattle of a wounded man,
Forgotten beneath a heap of dead, by a lake of blood,
Who dies without moving, striving desperately.


— Translated by William Aggeler

The Cracked Bell

It's sweet and bitter, of a winter night,
To hear, beside the crackling, smoking log,
Far memories prepare themselves for flight
To carillons that sound amid the fog.

Happy's the bell whose vigorous throat on high,
in spite of time, is sound and still unspent,
To hurl his faithful and religious cry
Like an old soldier watching in his tent.

My soul is cracked, and when amidst its care
It tries with song to fill the frosty air,
Sometimes, its voice seems like the feeble croak

A wounded soldier makes, lost in the smoke,
Beneath a pile of dead, in bloody mire,
Trying, with fearful efforts, to expire.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

The Cracked Bell

Bitter and sweet it is on these long winter nights
To sit before the fire and watch the smoking log
Beat like a heart; and hear our lost, our mute delights
Call with the carillons that ring out in the fog.

What certitude, what health, sounds from that brazen throat,
In spite of age and rust, alert! O happy bell,
Sending into the dark your clear religious note,
Like an old soldier crying through the night, 'All's well!'

I am not thus; my soul is cracked across by care;
Its voice, that once could clang upon this icy air,
Has lost the power, it seems, — comes faintly forth, instead,

As from the rattling throat of a hurt man who lies
Beside a lake of blood, under a heap of dead,
And cannot stir, and in prodigious struggling dies.


— Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay

La Cloche fêlée

'tis bitter joy, as winter evenings wear
before a smoking hearth which flames aghast,
to hear slow memories mounting from the past,
while church-bells pierce the pall of misty air.

blessèd the flawless bell, of metal rare,
the full-toned bourdon, void of rift and rust,
which like a guardsman faithful to his trust
hurls forth unfailingly its call to prayer!

my soul's a riven bell, that timidly
would fill the frozen night with melody,
but oft it falters, whisperingly weak

as, echoing over lakes of blood, a shriek
muffled by mounds of dead, from one who lies
moveless as they, though struggling till he dies.


— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks

The Cracked Bell

It is bitter and sweet, during winter nights,
To listen, beside the throbbing, smoking fife,
To distant memories slowly ascending
In the sound of the chimes chanting through the fog.

Blessed the bell with the vigorous gullet
Which, despite old age, watchful and healthy,
Throws out faithfully its pious tones,
Like an old soldier in vigil under his tent!

Ah, my soul is cracked, and when in sorrows
It wishes to people the cold air of the night with its songs,
Often it happens that its feeble voice

Seems like the thick death-rattle of one wounded, forgotten
By the side of a lake of blood, under a great weight of dead,
Who dies, without moving, amongst enormous efforts.


— Translated by Geoffrey Wagner

by Charles Baudelaire.

The sunset-crimson poppies are departed,
Mariana!
The dusky-centred, sultry-smelling poppies,
The drowsy-hearted,
That burnt like flames along the garden coppice:
All heavy-headed,
The ruby-cupped and opium-brimming poppies,
That slumber wedded,
Mariana!
The sunset-crimson poppies are departed.
Oh, heavy, heavy are the hours that fall,
The lonesome hours of the lonely days!
No poppy strews oblivion by the wall,
Where lone the last pod sways,
Oblivion that was hers of old that happier made her days.
Oh, weary, weary is the sky o'er all,
The days that creep, the hours that crawl,
And weary all the ways
She leans her face against the old stone wall,
The lichened wall, the mildewed wall,
And dreams, the long, long days,
Of one who will not come again whatever may befall.
. . . . .
All night it blew. The rain streamed down
And drowned the world in misty wet.
At morning, 'round the sunflower's crown
A row of glimmering drops was set;
The candytuft, heat shrivelled brown,
And beds of drought-dried mignonette,
Were beat to earth: but wearier, oh,
The rain was than the sun's fierce glow
That in the garth had wrought such woe:
That killed the moss-rose ere it bloomed,
And scorched the double-hollyhocks;
And bred great, poisonous weeds that doomed
The snapdragon and standing-phlox;
'Mid which gaunt spiders wove and loomed
Their dusty webs 'twixt rows of box;
And rotted into sleepy ooze
The lilied moat, that, lined with yews,
Lay scummed with many sickly hues.
How oft she longed and prayed for rain!
To blot the hateful landscape out!
To hem her heart, so parched with pain,
With sounds of coolth and broken drought;
And cure with change her stagnant brain,
And soothe to sleep all care and doubt.
At last when many days had past
And she had ceased to care at last
The longed-for rain came, falling fast.
At night, as late she lay awake,
And thought of him who had not come,
She heard the gray wind, moaning, shake
Her lattice; then the steady drum
Of storm upon the leads.. . The ache
Within her heart, so burdensome,
Grew heavier with the moan of rain.
The house was still, save, at her pane
The wind cried; hushed, then cried again.
All night she lay awake and wept:
There was no other thing to do:
At dawn she rose and, silent, crept
Adown the stairs that led into
The dripping garth, the storm had swept
With ruin; where, of every hue,
The flowers lay rotting, stained with mould;
Where all was old, unkempt and old,
And ragged as a marigold.
She sat her down, where oft she sat,
Upon a bench of marble, where,
In lines she oft would marvel at,
A Love was carved. She did not dare
Look on it then, remembering that
Here in past time he kissed her hair,
And murmured vows while, soft above,
The full moon lit the forth thereof,
The slowly crumbling form of Love.
She could but weep, remembering hours
Like these. Then in the drizzling rain.,
That weighed with wet the dying flowers,
She sought the old stone dial again;
The dial, among the moss-rose bowers,
Where often she had read, in vain,
Of time and change, and love and loss,
Rude-lettered and o'ergrown with moss,
That slow the gnomon moved across.
Remembering this she turned away,
The rain and tears upon her face.
There was no thing to do or say.
She stood a while, a little space,
And watched the rain bead, round and gray,
Upon the cobweb's tattered lace,
And tag the toadstool's spongy brim
With points of mist; and, orbing, dim
With fog the sunflower's ruined rim.
With fog, through which the moon at night
Would glimmer like a spectre sail;
Or, sullenly, a blur of light,
Like some huge glow-worm dimly trail;
'Neath which she 'd hear, wrapped deep in white,
The far sea moaning on its shale:
While in the garden, pacing slow,
And listening to its surge and flow,
She'd seem to hear her own heart's woe.
Now as the fog crept in from sea,
A great, white darkness, like a pall,
The yews and huddled shrubbery,
That dripped along the weedy wall,
Turned phantoms; and as shadowy
She too seemed, wandering 'mid it all
A phantom, pale and sad and strange,
And hopeless; doomed for aye to range
About the melancholy grange.
. . . . .
The pansies too are dead, the violet-varied,
Mariana!
The raven-dyed and fire-fretted pansies,
To memory married;
That from the grass, like forms in old romances,
Raised fairy faces:
All dead they lie, the violet-velvet pansies,
In many places,
Mariana!
The pansies too are dead, the violet-varied.
Oh, hateful, hateful are the hours that pass,
The lonely hours of the lonesome nights!
No pansy scatters heartsease through the grass,
That autumn sorrow blights,
The heartsease that was hers of old that happier made her nights.
Oh, barren, barren is her life, alas!
Its youth and beauty, all it has,
And barren all delights
She lays her face against the withered grass,
The sodden grass, the autumn grass,
And thinks, the long, long nights,
Of one who will not come again whatever comes to pass.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Ode To Salvador Dali

A rose in the high garden you desire.
A wheel in the pure syntax of steel.
The mountain stripped bare of Impressionist fog,
The grays watching over the last balustrades.

The modern painters in their white ateliers
clip the square root's sterilized flower.
In the waters of the Seine a marble iceberg
chills the windows and scatters the ivy.

Man treads firmly on the cobbled streets.
Crystals hide from the magic of reflections.
The Government has closed the perfume stores.
The machine perpetuates its binary beat.

An absence of forests and screens and brows
roams across the roofs of the old houses.
The air polishes its prism on the sea
and the horizon rises like a great aqueduct.

Soldiers who know no wine and no penumbra
behead the sirens on the seas of lead.
Night, black statue of prudence, holds
the moon's round mirror in her hand.

A desire for forms and limits overwhelms us.
Here comes the man who sees with a yellow ruler.
Venus is a white still life
and the butterfly collectors run away.


*

Cadaqués, at the fulcrum of water and hill,
lifts flights of stairs and hides seashells.
Wooden flutes pacify the air.
An ancient woodland god gives the children fruit.

Her fishermen sleep dreamless on the sand.
On the high sea a rose is their compass.
The horizon, virgin of wounded handkerchiefs,
links the great crystals of fish and moon.

A hard diadem of white brigantines
encircles bitter foreheads and hair of sand.
The sirens convince, but they don't beguile,
and they come if we show a glass of fresh water.


*

Oh Salvador Dali, of the olive-colored voice!
I do not praise your halting adolescent brush
or your pigments that flirt with the pigment of your times,
but I laud your longing for eternity with limits.

Sanitary soul, you live upon new marble.
You run from the dark jungle of improbable forms.
Your fancy reaches only as far as your hands,
and you enjoy the sonnet of the sea in your window.

The world is dull penumbra and disorder
in the foreground where man is found.
But now the stars, concealing landscapes,
reveal the perfect schema of their courses.

The current of time pools and gains order
in the numbered forms of century after century.
And conquered Death takes refuge trembling
in the tight circle of the present instant.

When you take up your palette, a bullet hole in its wing,
you call on the light that brings the olive tree to life.
The broad light of Minerva, builder of scaffolds,
where there is no room for dream or its hazy flower.

You call on the old light that stays on the brow,
not descending to the mouth or the heart of man.
A light feared by the loving vines of Bacchus
and the chaotic force of curving water.

You do well when you post warning flags
along the dark limit that shines in the night.
As a painter, you refuse to have your forms softened
by the shifting cotton of an unexpected cloud.

The fish in the fishbowl and the bird in the cage.
You refuse to invent them in the sea or the air.
You stylize or copy once you have seen
their small, agile bodies with your honest eyes.

You love a matter definite and exact,
where the toadstool cannot pitch its camp.
You love the architecture that builds on the absent
and admit the flag simply as a joke.

The steel compass tells its short, elastic verse.
Unknown clouds rise to deny the sphere exists.
The straight line tells of its upward struggle
and the learned crystals sing their geometries.


*

But also the rose of the garden where you live.
Always the rose, always, our north and south!
Calm and ingathered like an eyeless statue,
not knowing the buried struggle it provokes.

Pure rose, clean of artifice and rough sketches,
opening for us the slender wings of the smile.
(Pinned butterfly that ponders its flight.)
Rose of balance, with no self-inflicted pains.
Always the rose!


*

Oh Salvador Dali, of the olive-colored voice!
I speak of what your person and your paintings tell me.
I do not praise your halting adolescent brush,
but I sing the steady aim of your arrows.

I sing your fair struggle of Catalan lights,
your love of what might be made clear.
I sing your astronomical and tender heart,
a never-wounded deck of French cards.

I sing your restless longing for the statue,
your fear of the feelings that await you in the street.
I sing the small sea siren who sings to you,
riding her bicycle of corals and conches.

But above all I sing a common thought
that joins us in the dark and golden hours.
The light that blinds our eyes is not art.
Rather it is love, friendship, crossed swords.

Not the picture you patiently trace,
but the breast of Theresa, she of sleepless skin,
the tight-wound curls of Mathilde the ungrateful,
our friendship, painted bright as a game board.

May fingerprints of blood on gold
streak the heart of eternal Catalunya.
May stars like falconless fists shine on you,
while your painting and your life break into flower.

Don't watch the water clock with its membraned wings
or the hard scythe of the allegory.
Always in the air, dress and undress your brush
before the sea peopled with sailors and ships.

by Federico García Lorca.

Saint Brandan, a Scotch abbot, long ago
Sailed southward with a swarm of monks, to sow
The seeds of true religion — nothing else —
Among the tribes of naked infidels.
And venturing far in unknown seas, he found
An island, which became monastic ground.
So runs the legend. Little else was known
Of him we Spaniards call San Borondon.
Some said he was a sorcerer, some a priest;
None truly knew. But this is clear at least,
That there was seen to appear and disappear
An island in the west, for many a year,
That bore his name: but no discoverer yet
His feet upon that shore had ever set.
At Teneriffe and Palma I was one
Who saw that island of San Borondon.
A hundred of us stood upon the shore,
And saw it as it oft was seen before.
The morn was clear; and westward from the bay
It glimmered on the horizon far away.
We watched the fog at sunrise upward curl
And float above that land of rose and pearl;
And sometimes saw behind a purple peak
The sun go down. And some said, 'We will seek
Westward, until we touch the fairy coast,
Or prove it only some drowned island's ghost' —
But after many days returned to swear
The vision vanished in the pale blue air.
Yet still from off the fair Canary beach
Lay the strange land that none could ever reach.
Then others sailed and searched: and some of these
Returned no more across the treacherous seas;
And no one knew their fate. Until at last
We hailed a caravel with shattered mast
Toiling to harbor. Half her sails were gone.
'Ho, mariners, what news of Borondon?'
We shouted — but no answering voice replied;
No sailors on her gangway we descried;
Her shrouds looked ghostly thin, her ropes were dim
As spiders' webs athwart a tree's dead limb;
And still as death she drifted up the bay,
A battered hulk grown dumb and old and gray.
At length she touched the strand, and out there crept
A haggard man, who feebly toward us stepped,
And answered slowly, while we brought him food
And wine. He sitting on a stone, we stood
An eager crowd around him, while we sought
What news he from San Borondon had brought.
With eyes that seemed to gaze beyond the space
Of sea and sky — with strange averted face,
And voice as when some muttering undertone
Of wind is heard, when sitting all alone
On wintry nights, we see the moon grow pale
With hurrying mists — he thus began his tale.
'We saw the island as we sailed away.
It glimmered on the horizon half that day.
But while our caravel still westward steered,
Amazed we stood — the isle had disappeared.
At night there came a storm. The lightning flashed
From north to south. The frightful thunder crashed.
Under bare poles we scudded through the dark,
Till morning gleamed upon our drifting bark —
The red-eyed morn 'neath beetling brows of cloud, —
And the wind changed. Then some one cried aloud,
'Land — at the westward!' And with one accord
All took contagion of that haunting word
'San Borondon.' The island seemed to lie
Three leagues away against a strip of sky
That on the horizon opened like a crack
Of yellow light beneath the vault of black;
Then, as with hearts elate, we nearer sailed,
The clouds dispersed, the sun arose unveiled.
The wind had almost lulled; the waves grew calm.
We neared the isle, we saw the groves of palm,
The rugged cliffs, the streamlet's silver thread
Dropped from the misty mountains overhead;
The shadow-haunted gorges damp and deep;
The flowery meadows in their dewy sleep;
The waving grass along the winding rills;
And, inland far, long slopes of wooded hills.
And all the sea was calm for many a mile
About the shores of that enchanted isle.
Our sails half-filled flapped idly on the mast;
And all the morning and the noon had passed
Before we touched the shore. Then on the sand
We stepped and took possession of the land
For Spain. No signs of life we heard or saw.
But suddenly we stopped with fear and awe;
For on the beach were giant footsteps seen,
And upward tracked into the forests green,
Then lost. But there, with wondering eyes we found
A cross nailed to a tree — and on the ground
Stones ranged in mystic order — and the trace
Of fire once kindled in that lonely place.
As though some sorcerer's sabbath on this ground
A place for its unholy rites had found.
And so, in vague perplexity and doubt,
Until the sun had set, we roamed about.
And some into the forest far had strayed,
While others watched the ship at anchor laid.
When through the woods there rang a distant bell.
We crossed our breasts, and on our knees we fell.
Ave Maria — 't was the hour of prayer.
A consecrated stillness filled the air.
No heathen land was this; no wizard's spell
The clear sweet ringing of that holy bell.
Scarce had we spoken, when we heard a blast
Come rushing from the mountains, fierce and fast
Down a ravine with hoarse and hollow roar;
And sudden darkness fell upon the shore.
The ship — the ship! See how she strains her rope —
All, all aboard — cast off! we may not hope
To save her on these rocks. Away, away!'
Then as we leapt aboard in tossing spray,
Still fiercer blew the wind, and hurled us far
Into the night without a moon or star.
And from the deck the sea swept all the crew.
And I alone was left, to bring to you
This tale. When morning came, the isle was gone —
The unhallowed land you call San Borondon;
A land of sorcery and of wicked spells,
Of hills and groves profane and demon dells.
Good friends, beware! Seek not the accursed shore,
For they who touch its sands return no more,
Save by a miracle, as I have done —
Praised be Madonna and her blessed Son!'
Such was his story. But when morning came,
There lay that smiling island, just the same.
And still they sail to find the enchanted shore
That guards a fearful mystery evermore.
A thousand years may pass away — but none
Shall know the secret of San Borondon.
And so perchance, a thousand years may roll,
And none shall solve the enigma of the soul —
That baffling island in the unknown sea
Whose boundless deep we name Eternity.

by Christopher Pearse Cranch.

The Last Of The Narwhale

THE STORY OF AN ARCTIC NIP.


AY, ay, I'll tell you, shipmates,
If you care to hear the tale,
How myself and the royal yard alone
Were left of the old Narwhale.
'A stouter ship was never launched
Of all the Clyde-built whalers;
And forty years of a life at sea
Haven't matched her crowd of sailors.
Picked men they were, all young and strong,
And used to the wildest seas,
From Donegal and the Scottish coast,
And the rugged Hebrides.
Such men as women cling to, mates,
Like ivy round their lives:
And the day we sailed, the quays were lined
With weeping mothers and wives.
They cried and prayed, and we gave 'em a cheer,
In the thoughtless way of men;
God help them, shipmates—thirty years
They've waited and prayed since then.
'We sailed to the North, and I mind it well,
The pity we felt, and pride
When we sighted the cliffs of Labrador
From the sea where Hudson died.
We talked of ships that never came back,
And when the great floes passed,
Like ghosts in the night, each moonlit peak
Like a great war frigate's mast,
'Twas said that a ship was frozen up
In the iceberg's awful breast,
The clear ice holding the sailor's face
As he lay in his mortal rest.
And I've thought since then, when the ships came home
That sailed for the Franklin band,
A mistake was made in the reckoning
That looked for the crews on land.
'They're floating still,' I've said to myself,
'And Sir John has found the goal;
The Erebus and the Terror, mates,
Are icebergs up at the Pole!'

'We sailed due North, to Baffin's Bay,
And cruised through weeks of light;
'Twas always day, and we slept by the bell,
And longed for the dear old night,
And the blessed darkness left behind,
Like a curtain round the bed;
But a month dragged on like an afternoon
With the wheeling sun o'erhead.
We found the whales were farther still,
The farther north we sailed;
Along the Greenland glacier coast,
The boldest might have quailed,
Such shapes did keep us company;
No sail in all that sea,
But thick as ships in Mersey's tide
The bergs moved awfully
Within the current's northward stream;
But, ere the long day' s close,
We found the whales and filled the ship
Amid the friendly floes.

'Then came a rest: the day was blown
Like a cloud before the night;
In the South the sun went redly down —
In the North rose another light,
Neither sun nor moon, but a shooting dawn,
That silvered our lonely way;
It seemed we sailed in a belt of gloom,
Upon either side, a day.
The north wind smote the sea to death;
The pack-ice closed us round —
The Narwhale stood in the level fields
As fast as a ship aground.
A weary time it was to wait,
And to wish for spring to come,
With the pleasant breeze and the blessed sun,
To open the way toward home.

'Spring came at last, the ice-fields groaned
Like living things in pain;
They moaned and swayed, then rent amain,
And the Narwhale sailed again.
With joy the dripping sails were loosed
And round the vessel swung;
To cheer the crew, full south she drew,
The shattered floes among.
We had no books in those old days
To carry the friendly faces;
But I think the wives and lasses then
Were held in better places.
The face of sweetheart and wife to-day
Is locked in the sailor's chest:
But aloft on the yard, with the thought of home,
The face in the heart was best.
Well, well—God knows, mates, when and where
To take the things he gave;
We steered for home—but the chart was his,
And the port ahead—the grave!

'We cleared the floes: through an open sea
The Narwhale south'ard sailed,
Till a day came round when the white fog rose,
And the wind astern had failed.
In front of the Greenland glacier line,
And close to its base were we;
Through the misty pall we could see the wall
That beetled above the sea.
A fear like the fog crept over our hearts
As we heard the hollow roar
Of the deep sea thrashing the cliffs of ice
For leagues along the shore.

'The years have come and the years have gone,
But it never wears away—
The sense I have of the sights and sounds
That marked that woeful day.
Flung here and there at the ocean's will,
As it flung the broken floe—
What strength had we 'gainst the tiger sea
That sports with a sailor's woe?
The lifeless berg and the lifeful ship
Were the same to the sullen wave,
As it swept them far from ridge to ridge,
Till at last the Narwhale drave
With a crashing rail on the glacier wall—
As sheer as the vessel's mast—
A crashing rail and a shivered yard;
But the worst, we thought, was past.
The brave lads sprang to the fending work,
And the skipper's voice rang hard:
'Aloft there, one with a ready knife—
Cut loose that royal yard!'
I sprang to the rigging, young I was,
And proud to be first to dare:
The yard swung free, and I turned to gaze
Toward the open sea, o'er the field of haze,
And my heart grew cold, as if frozen through,
At the moving shape that met my view—
O Christ! what a sight was there!

'Above the fog, as I hugged the yard,
I saw that an iceberg lay—
A berg like a mountain, closing fast—
Not a cable's length away!
I could not see through the sheet of mist
That covered all below,
But I heard the cheery voices still,
And I screamed to let them know.
The cry went down, and the skipper hailed,
But before the word could come
It died in his throat—and I knew they saw
The shape of the closing doom!

'No sound but that—but the hail that died
Came up through the mist to me;
Thank God, it covered the ship like a veil,
And I was not forced to see—
But I heard it, mates: O, I heard the rush,
And the timbers rend and rive,
As the yard I clung to swayed and fell:— I lay on the ice, alive!
Alive! O God of mercy! ship and crew and sea were gone!
The hummocked ice and the broken yard,
And a kneeling man—alone!

'A kneeling man on a frozen hill,
The sounds of life in the air—
All death and ice—and a minute before
The sea and the ship were there!
I could not think they were dead and gone,
And I listened for sound or word:
But the deep sea roar on the desolate shore
Was the only sound I heard.
O mates, I had no heart to thank
The Lord for the life He gave;
I spread my arms on the ice and cried
Aloud on my shipmates' grave.
The brave strong lads, with their strength all vain,
I called them name by name;
And it seemed to me from the dying hearts
A message upward came—
Ay, mates, a message, up through the ice
From every sailor's breast:
'Go tell our mothers and wives at home
To pray for us here at rest.'

'Yes, that's what it means; 'tis a little word;
But, mates, the strongest ship
That ever was built is a baby's toy
When it copes with an Arctic Nip.'

by John Boyle O'Reilly.

The Bay Of Seven Islands

FROM the green Amesbury hill which bears the name
Of that half mythic ancestor of mine
Who trod its slopes two hundred years ago,
Down the long valley of the Merrimac,
Midway between me and the river's mouth,
I see thy home, set like an eagle's nest
Among Deer Island's immemorial pines,
Crowning the crag on which the sunset breaks
Its last red arrow. Many a tale and song,
Which thou bast told or sung, I call to mind,
Softening with silvery mist the woods and hills,
The out-thrust headlands and inreaching bays
Of our northeastern coast-line, trending where
The Gulf, midsummer, feels the chill blockade
Of icebergs stranded at its northern gate.

To thee the echoes of the Island Sound
Answer not vainly, nor in vain the moan
Of the South Breaker prophesying storm.
And thou hast listened, like myself, to men
Sea-periled oft where Anticosti lies
Like a fell spider in its web of fog,
Or where the Grand Bank shallows with the wrecks
Of sunken fishers, and to whom strange isles
And frost-rimmed bays and trading stations seem
Familiar as Great Neck and Kettle Cove,
Nubble and Boon, the common names of home.
So let me offer thee this lay of mine,
Simple and homely, lacking much thy play
Of color and of fancy. If its theme
And treatment seem to thee befitting youth
Rather than age, let this be my excuse
It has beguiled some heavy hours and called
Some pleasant memories up; and, better still,
Occasion lent me for a kindly word
To one who is my neighbor and my friend.

. . . . . . . . . .

The skipper sailed out of the harbor mouth,
Leaving the apple-bloom of the South
For the ice of the Eastern seas,
In his fishing schooner Breeze.

Handsome and brave and young was he,
And the maids of Newbury sighed to see
His lessening white sail fall
Under the sea's blue wall.

Through the Northern Gulf and the misty screen
Of the isles of Mingan and Madeleine,
St. Paul's and Blanc Sablon,
The little Breeze sailed on,

Backward and forward, along the shore
Of lorn and desolate Labrador,
And found at last her way
To the Seven Islands Bay.

The little hamlet, nestling below
Great hills white with lingering snow,
With its tin-roofed chapel stood
Half hid in the dwarf spruce wood;

Green-turfed, flower-sown, the last outpost
Of summer upon the dreary coast,
With its gardens small and spare,
Sad in the frosty air.

Hard by where the skipper's schooner lay,
A fisherman's cottage looked away
Over isle and bay, and. behind
On mountains dim-defined.

And there twin sisters, fair and young,
Laughed with their stranger guest, and sung
In their native tongue the lays
Of the old Provencal days.

Alike were they, save the faint outline
Of a scar on Suzette's forehead fine;
And both, it so befell,
Loved the heretic stranger well.

Both were pleasant to look upon,
But the heart of the skipper clave to one;
Though less by his eye than heart
He knew the twain apart.

Despite of alien race and creed,
Well did his wooing of Marguerite speed;
And the mother's wrath was vain
As the sister's jealous pain.

The shrill-tongued mistress her house forbade,
And solemn warning was sternly said
By the black-robed priest, whose word
As law the hamlet heard.

But half by voice and half by signs
The skipper said, 'A warm sun shines
On the green-banked Merrimac;
Wait, watch, till I come back.

'And when you see, from my mast head,
The signal fly of a kerchief red,
My boat on the shore shall wait;
Come, when the night is late.'

Ah! weighed with childhood's haunts and friends,
And all that the home sky overbends,
Did ever young love fail
To turn the trembling scale?

Under the night, on the wet sea sands,
Slowly unclasped their plighted hands
One to the cottage hearth,
And one to his sailor's berth.

What was it the parting lovers heard?
Nor leaf, nor ripple, nor wing of bird,
But a listener's stealthy tread
On the rock-moss, crisp and dead.

He weighed his anchor, and fished once more
By the black coast-line of Labrador;
And by love and the north wind driven,
Sailed back to the Islands Seven.

In the sunset's glow the sisters twain
Saw the Breeze come sailing in again;
Said Suzette, 'Mother dear,
The heretic's sail is here.'

'Go, Marguerite, to your room, and hide;
Your door shall be bolted!' the mother cried:
While Suzette, ill at ease,
Watched the red sign of the Breeze.

At midnight, down to the waiting skiff
She stole in the shadow of the cliff;
And out of the Bay's mouth ran
The schooner with maid and man.

And all night long, on a restless bed,
Her prayers to the Virgin Marguerite said
And thought of her lover's pain
Waiting for her in vain.

Did he pace the sands? Did he pause to hear
The sound of her light step drawing near?
And, as the slow hours passed,
Would he doubt her faith at last?

But when she saw through the misty pane,
The morning break on a sea of rain,
Could even her love avail
To follow his vanished sail?

Meantime the Breeze, with favoring wind,
Left the rugged Moisic hills behind,
And heard from an unseen shore
The falls of Manitou roar.

On the morrow's morn, in the thick, gray weather
They sat on the reeling deck together,
Lover and counterfeit,
Of hapless Marguerite.

With a lover's hand, from her forehead fair
He smoothed away her jet-black hair.
What was it his fond eyes met?
The scar of the false Suzette!

Fiercely he shouted: 'Bear away
East by north for Seven Isles Bay!'
The maiden wept and prayed,
But the ship her helm obeyed.

Once more the Bay of the Isles they found
They heard the bell of the chapel sound,
And the chant of the dying sung
In the harsh, wild Indian tongue.

A feeling of mystery, change, and awe
Was in all they heard and all they saw
Spell-bound the hamlet lay
In the hush of its lonely bay.

And when they came to the cottage door,
The mother rose up from her weeping sore,
And with angry gestures met
The scared look of Suzette.

'Here is your daughter,' the skipper said;
'Give me the one I love instead.'
But the woman sternly spake;
'Go, see if the dead will wake!'

He looked. Her sweet face still and white
And strange in the noonday taper light,
She lay on her little bed,
With the cross at her feet and head.

In a passion of grief the strong man bent
Down to her face, and, kissing it, went
Back to the waiting Breeze,
Back to the mournful seas.

Never again to the Merrimac
And Newbury's homes that bark came back.
Whether her fate she met
On the shores of Carraquette,

Miscou, or Tracadie, who can say?
But even yet at Seven Isles Bay
Is told the ghostly tale
Of a weird, unspoken sail,

In the pale, sad light of the Northern day
Seen by the blanketed Montagnais,
Or squaw, in her small kyack,
Crossing the spectre's track.

On the deck a maiden wrings her hands;
Her likeness kneels on the gray coast sands;
One in her wild despair,
And one in the trance of prayer.

She flits before no earthly blast,
The red sign fluttering from her mast,
Over the solemn seas,
The ghost of the schooner Breeze!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.