Dusk In June
Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.
The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,--
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.
by Sara Teasdale.
OH Earth, you are too dear to-night,
How can I sleep while all around
Floats rainy fragrance and the far
Deep voice of the ocean that talks to the ground?
Oh Earth, you gave me all I have,
I love you, I love you,—oh what have I
That I can give you in return—
Except my body after I die?
by Sara Teasdale.
Last June I saw your face three times;
Three times I touched your hand;
Now, as before, May month is o'er,
And June is in the land.
O many Junes shall come and go,
Flow'r-footed o'er the mead;
O many Junes for me, to whom
Is length of days decreed.
There shall be sunlight, scent of rose;
Warm mist of summer rain;
Only this change--I shall not look
Upon your face again.
by Amy Levy.
All In June
A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.
Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I'll show the world where I have been--
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.
Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.
Who thinks of June's first rose today?
Only some child, perhaps, with shining eyes and
rough bright hair will reach it down.
In a green sunny lane, to us almost as far away
As are the fearless stars from these veiled lamps of town.
What's little June to a great broken world with eyes gone dim
From too much looking on the face of grief, the face of dread?
Or what's the broken world to June and him
Of the small eager hand, the shining eyes, the rough bright head?
There Is A June When Corn Is Cut
There is a June when Corn is cut
And Roses in the Seed—
A Summer briefer than the first
But tenderer indeed
As should a Face supposed the Grave's
Emerge a single Noon
In the Vermilion that it wore
Affect us, and return—
Two Seasons, it is said, exist—
The Summer of the Just,
And this of Ours, diversified
With Prospect, and with Frost—
May not our Second with its First
So infinite compare
That We but recollect the one
The other to prefer?
by Emily Dickinson.
'Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun.'
by John Clare.
Youth And June
I was your lover long ago, sweet June,
Ere life grew hard; I am your lover still,
And follow gladly to the wondrous tune
You pipe on golden reeds to vale and hill.
I am your lover still; to me you seem
To hold the fragrance of the joys long
The brightness and the beauty of the dream
We dreamed in youth, to hold the tears
The laughter of our lips, the faith that lies
Back in that season dear to every heart,
Life's springtime, when God's earth and
God's blue skies
Are, measured by our glance, not far apart.
by Jean Blewett.
Queenly month of indolent repose!
I drink thy breath in sips of rare perfume,
As in thy downy lap of clover-bloom
I nestle like a drowsy child and doze
The lazy hours away. The zephyr throws
The shifting shuttle of the Summer's loom
And weaves a damask-work of gleam and gloom
Before thy listless feet. The lily blows
A bugle-call of fragrance o'er the glade;
And, wheeling into ranks, with plume and spear,
Thy harvest-armies gather on parade;
While, faint and far away, yet pure and clear,
A voice calls out of alien lands of shade:--
All hail the Peerless Goddess of the Year!
To William Hayley, Esq. June 29, 1793.
Dear architect of fine Chateaux in air,
Worthier to stand for ever, if they could,
Than any built of stone, or yet of wood,
For back of royal elephant to bear;
Oh for permission from the skies to share,
Much to my own, though little to thy good,
With thee, (not subject to the jealous mood!)
A partnership of literary ware!
But I am bankrupt now; and doomed henceforth
To drudge, in descant dry, on others' lays;
Bards, I acknowledge, of unequalled worth,
But what is commentator's happiest praise?
That he has furnished lights for other eyes,
Which they who need them use, and then despise.
by William Cowper.
When June Is Here
When June is here--what art have we to sing
The whiteness of the lilies midst the green
Of noon-tranced lawns? Or flash of roses seen
Like redbirds' wings? Or earliest ripening
Prince-Harvest apples, where the cloyed bees cling
Round winey juices oozing down between
The peckings of the robin, while we lean
In under-grasses, lost in marveling.
Or the cool term of morning, and the stir
Of odorous breaths from wood and meadow walks,
The bobwhite's liquid yodel, and the whir
Of sudden flight; and, where the milkmaid talks
Across the bars, on tilted barley-stalks
The dewdrops' glint in webs of gossamer.
A Calendar Of Sonnets: June
O month whose promise and fulfilment blend,
And burst in one! it seems the earth can store
In all her roomy house no treasure more;
Of all her wealth no farthing have to spend
On fruit, when once this stintless flowering end.
And yet no tiniest flower shall fall before
It hath made ready at its hidden core
Its tithe of seed, which we may count and tend
Till harvest. Joy of blossomed love, for thee
Seems it no fairer thing can yet have birth?
No room is left for deeper ecstacy?
Watch well if seeds grow strong, to scatter free
Germs for thy future summers on the earth.
A joy which is but joy soon comes to dearth.
For The Restoration Of My Dear Husband From A Burning Ague, June, 1661.
When feares and sorrowes me besett,
Then did'st thou rid me out;
When heart did faint and spirits quail,
Thou comforts me about.
Thou rais'st him vp I feard to loose,
Regau'st me him again:
Distempers thou didst chase away;
With strenght didst him sustain.
My thankfull heart, with Pen record
The Goodnes of thy God;
Let thy obedience testefye
He taught thee by his rod.
And with his staffe did thee support,
That thou by both may'st learn;
And 'twixt the good and evill way,
At last, thou mig'st discern.
Praises to him who hath not left
My Soul as destitute;
Nor turnd his ear away from me,
But graunted hath my Suit.
by Anne Bradstreet.
Hymn For St. John's Eve, 29th June
O sylvan prophet! whose eternal fame
Echoes from Judah's hills and Jordan's stream;
The music of our numbers raise,
And tune our voices to thy praise.
A messenger from high Olympus came
To bear the tidings of thy life and name,
And told thy sire each prodigy
That Heaven designed to work in thee.
Hearing the news, and doubting in surprise,
His falt'ring speech in fettered accent dies;
But Providence, with happy choice,
In thee restored thy father's voice.
In the recess of Nature's dark abode,
Though still enclosed, yet knewest thou thy God;
Whilst each glad parent told and blessed
The secrets of each other's breast.
by John Dryden.
Two June Nights
A red rose in my lady's hair,
A white rose in her fingers,
A wild bird singing low, somewhere,
A song that pulses, lingers.
The sound of dancing and of mirth,
The fiddle's merry chiming,
A smell of earth, of fresh, warm earth,
And honeysuckle climbing;
My lady near, yet far away-
Ah, lonely June of yesterday!
A big white night of velvet sky,
And Milky Way a-gleaming,
The fragrant blue smoke drifting by
From camp-fire brightly beaming;
The stillness of the Northland far-
God's solitudes of splendor-
My road a trail, my chart a star.
Wind, 'mong the balsams slender,
Sing low: O glad June of to-day,
My lady's near, though far away!
by Jean Blewett.
Zermat: To The Matterhorn (June-July, 1897)
Thirty-two years since, up against the sun,
Seven shapes, thin atomies to lower sight,
Labouringly leapt and gained thy gabled height,
And four lives paid for what the seven had won.
They were the first by whom the deed was done,
And when I look at thee, my mind takes flight
To that day's tragic feat of manly might,
As though, till then, of history thou hadst none.
Yet ages ere men topped thee, late and soon
Thou watch'dst each night the planets lift and lower;
Thou gleam'dst to Joshua's pausing sun and moon,
And brav'dst the tokening sky when Caesar's power
Approached its bloody end: yea, saw'st that Noon
When darkness filled the earth till the ninth hour.
by Thomas Hardy.
The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. June
A DAY AT HAMPTON COURT
It is our custom, once in every year,
Mine and two others', when the chestnut trees
Are white at Bushey, Ascot being near,
To drive to Hampton Court, and there, at ease
In that most fair of English palaces,
Spend a long summer's day. What better cheer
Than the old ``Greyhound's,'' seek it where you please?
And where a royal garden statelier?
The morning goes in tennis, a four set,
With George the marker. 'Tis a game for gods,
Full of return and volley at the net,
And laughter and mirth--making episodes
Not wholly classic. But the afternoon
Finds us punt--fishing idly with our rods,
Nodding and half in dreams, till all too soon
Darkness and dinner drive us back to town.
A Song: When June Is Past, The Fading Rose
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty's orient deep
These flowers as in their causes, sleep.
Ask me no more whither doth stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.
Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters and keeps warm her note.
Ask me no more where those stars light
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there,
Fixed become as in their sphere.
Ask me no more if east or west
The phœnix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.
by Thomas Carew.
Hymn For The Dedication Of Memorial Hall At Cambridge, June 23, 1874
WHERE, girt around by savage foes,
Our nurturing Mother's shelter rose,
Behold, the lofty temple stands,
Reared by her children's grateful hands!
Firm are the pillars that defy
The volleyed thunders of the sky;
Sweet are the summer wreaths that twine
With bud and flower our martyrs' shrine.
The hues their tattered colors bore
Fall mingling on the sunlit floor
Till evening spreads her spangled pall,
And wraps in shade the storied hall.
Firm were their hearts in danger's hour,
Sweet was their manhood's morning flower,
Their hopes with rainbow hues were bright,--
How swiftly winged the sudden night!
O Mother! on thy marble page
Thy children read, from age to age,
The mighty word that upward leads
Through noble thought to nobler deeds.
TRUTH, heaven-born TRUTH, their fearless guide,
Thy saints have lived, thy heroes died;
Our love has reared their earthly shrine,
Their glory be forever thine!
Lightsome, laughter-loving June,
Days that swoon
In beds of flowers;
Twilights dipped in rose perfume,
Nights of gloom
Washed clear by showers.
Suns that softly sink to rest
In the west,
All purple barred;
And a faint night-wind that sighs
Languorous breaths of meadow land
By clouds like snow;
And a shouting from the brooks,
Where in nooks
Late violets grow.
June, ah, June, to lie and dream
By the stream,
And in the maze
Of thy spells never to heed
How they speed,
Thy witching days;
Watching where the shadows pass,
And the grass
All rustling bends,
While the bees fly east and west,
On a quest
That never ends.
Thus to shun the whirl of life,
Freed from strife
And freed from care-
Hear, as when a lad I heard
How the bird
Sings, high in air.
June, to hear beneath the skies
That night airs blow;
Ah, to find upon thy breast
That pure rest
I used to know!
A Windy June
The wind has shaken the lilac trees,
And scattered their purple bloom,
The wind has harassed the honey bees,
And robbed the flowers of their melodies,
The wind has gathered a host of clouds,
And smitten the earth with gloom.
The wind has blown out the golden lights
That hang from laburnum boughs,
Till nude and stripped of their past delights
The branches sigh through the stormy nights,
Like nuns who weep for their buried youth,
And murmur their mournful vows.
The wind has covered the hills with mist,
And hidden my favourite view,
The wind has torn at my garden beds
Where sad young roses have hung their heads,
And ah! the pity, that one slim stem
Is withered, and snapped right through.
The wind has driven the birds afar,
The starling who reared her young
Above the door in the empty cot
Has flown away, and to-day there 's not
A single twitter from hungry throats,
One minstrel, of all who sung.
The wind has stolen the warmth of June,
So how shall I pass my time?
I'll go indoors with my pen and book,
Beside the fire seek a cosy nook,
Then when I'm sure that he can't get in,
I'll write of his sins in rhyme!
by Radclyffe Hall.
The Charms Of June; Inscribed To My Wife
The lilacs are now in the full flush of beauty,
The fruit trees have blossomed, the tulips are gay,
And birds' gushing melody points out our duty
To God who doth bless us so vastly each day.
Brilliant verbenas in rich robes are glowing,
And spireas their fair silver glories maintain,
While violets and lilies their charms are bestowing
To add to the splendors of sweet Flora's reign.
O, soon will the odors of bright blushing roses
Unite with the woodbines in fragrance complete;
For hoards of their incense this fine month discloses,
To all who are fond of a garden retreat.
Viburnum Opulus its snowballs is forming,
The peonies are ready to burst into bloom,
Rude Boreas has ceased for awhile his dread storming,
And Nature at last has got rid of her gloom.
[Footnote: Guelder Rose.]
In flower-bedecked fields or vast woods at this season
I would 'twere my privilege to frequently roam;
But fear such indulgence might well be termed treason
Against the sweet duties and pleasures of Home.
Then since this solacement by God is denied me,
I'll joy that in fancy it still is my lot
To rove with my own lovely Ellen beside me,
Through scenes that can never by us be forgot.
by Thomas Cowherd.
A June Night
Ten o'clock: the broken moon
Hangs not yet a half hour high,
Yellow as a shield of brass,
In the dewy air of June,
Poised between the vaulted sky
And the ocean's liquid glass.
Earth lies in the shadow still;
Low black bushes, trees, and lawn
Night's ambrosial dews absorb;
Through the foliage creeps a thrill,
Whispering of yon spectral dawn
And the hidden climbing orb.
Higher, higher, gathering light,
Veiling with a golden gauze
All the trembling atmosphere,
See, the rayless disk grows white!
Hark, the glittering billows pause!
Faint, far sounds possess the ear.
Elves on such a night as this
Spin their rings upon the grass;
On the beach the water-fay
Greets her lover with a kiss;
Through the air swift spirits pass,
Laugh, caress, and float away.
Shut thy lids and thou shalt see
Angel faces wreathed with light,
Mystic forms long vanished hence.
Ah, too fine, too rare, they be
For the grosser mortal sight,
And they foil our waking sense.
Yet we feel them floating near,
Know that we are not alone,
Though our open eyes behold
Nothing save the moon's bright sphere,
In the vacant heavens shown,
And the ocean's path of gold.
by Emma Lazarus.
The Victoria, Lost Off Tripoli, June,1893
Heroes, whose days are told,
Above whose bodies brave
Presses the heavy, cold,
And quenching wave!
Ye sleep: but your bright fame,
Blown upon every breeze,
Touches with mournful flame
The Syrian seas.
Now all your English land
Trembles with tears, with pride;
Stretching toward you her hand,
There he that walks alone,
A vision goes with him;
In still field or thronged town,
A solemn dream!
He sees the placid, blue
The warships, two and two,
In ordered line.
He sees those consorts vast
On their doomed circle come.
With held breath, and aghast,
The Fleet is dumb.
For him the moments hang;
His ears the shock await:
On him, too, a strong pang
Fastens, like fate.
Transfixt, his eyes see then
The decks heave, lined with free,
Firm ranks; weaponless men,
Matched with the Sea.
Alas! the wound is deep.
Not even spirits so brave
Their vainly splendid ship
Keep from the wave.
On their last farewell cries
Shines the permitting sun;
With his men Tryon lies;
And all is done.
Yet through some hearts the prayer
Thrills, O that I had died,
Fallen in glory there
By comrades' side!
A Night In June
White as a lily moulded of Earth's milk
That eve the moon bloomed in a hyacinth sky;
Soft in the gleaming glens the wind went by,
Faint as a phantom clothed in unseen silk:
Bright as a naiad's leap, from shine to shade
The runnel twinkled through the shaken brier;
Above the hills one long cloud, pulsed with fire,
Flashed like a great enchantment-welded blade.
And when the western sky seemed some weird land,
And night a witching spell at whose command
One sloping star fell green from heav'n; and deep
The warm rose opened for the moth to sleep;
Then she, consenting, laid her hands in his,
And lifted up her lips for their first kiss.
There where they part, the porch's steps are strewn
With wind-blown petals of the purple vine;
Athwart the porch the shadow of a pine
Cleaves the white moonlight; and like some calm rune
Heaven says to Earth, shines the majestic moon;
And now a meteor draws a lilac line
Across the welkin, as if God would sign
The perfect poem of this night of June.
The wood-wind stirs the flowering chestnut-tree,
Whose curving blossoms strew the glimmering grass
Like crescents that wind-wrinkled waters glass;
And, like a moonstone in a frill of flame,
The dewdropp trembles on the peony,
As in a lover's heart his sweetheart's name.
A June-Tide Echo
After a Richter Concert.
In the long, sad time, when the sky was grey,
And the keen blast blew through the city drear,
When delight had fled from the night and the day,
My chill heart whispered, ' June will be here!
' June with its roses a-sway in the sun,
Its glory of green on mead and tree.'
Lo, now the sweet June-tide is nearly done,
June-tide, and never a joy for me
Is it so much of the gods that I pray?
Sure craved man never so slight a boon!
To be glad and glad in my heart one day-
One perfect day of the perfect June.
Sweet sounds to-night rose up, wave upon wave;
Sweet dreams were afloat in the balmy air.
This is the boon of the gods that I crave-
To be glad, as the music and night were fair.
For once, for one fleeting hour, to hold
The fair shape the music that rose and fell
Revealed and concealed like a veiling fold;
To catch for an instant the sweet June spell.
For once, for one hour, to catch and keep
The sweet June secret that mocks my heart;
Now lurking calm, like a thing asleep,
Now hither and thither with start and dart.
Then the sick, slow grief of the weary years,
The slow, sick grief and the sudden pain;
The long days of labour, the nights of tears-
No more these things would I hold in vain.
I would hold my life as a thing of worth;
Pour praise to the gods for a precious thing.
Lo, June in her fairness is on earth,
And never a joy does the niggard bring.
by Amy Levy.
June At Woodruff
Out at Woodruff Place--afar
From the city's glare and jar,
With the leafy trees, instead
Of the awnings, overhead;
With the shadows cool and sweet,
For the fever of the street;
With the silence, like a prayer,
Breathing round us everywhere.
Gracious anchorage, at last,
From the billows of the vast
Tide of life that comes and goes,
Whence and where nobody knows--
Moving, like a skeptic's thought,
Out of nowhere into naught.
Touch and tame us with thy grace,
Placid calm of Woodruff Place!
Weave a wreath of beechen leaves
For the brow that throbs and grieves
O'er the ledger, bloody-lined,
'Neath the sun-struck window-blind!
Send the breath of woodland bloom
Through the sick man's prison room,
Till his old farm-home shall swim
Sweet in mind to hearten him!
Out at Woodruff Place the Muse
Dips her sandal in the dews,
Sacredly as night and dawn
Baptize lilied grove and lawn:
Woody path, or paven way--
She doth haunt them night and day,--
Sun or moonlight through the trees,
To her eyes, are melodies.
Swinging lanterns, twinkling clear
Through night-scenes, are songs to her--
Tinted lilts and choiring hues,
Blent with children's glad halloos;
Then belated lays that fade
Into midnight's serenade--
Vine-like words and zithern-strings
Twined through ali her slumberings.
Blessed be each hearthstone set
Neighboring the violet!
Blessed every rooftree prayed
Over by the beech's shadel
Blessed doorway, opening where
We may look on Nature--there
Hand to hand and face to face--
Storied realm, or Woodruff Place.
A Night In June
Lady! in this night of June
Fair like thee and holy,
Art thou gazing at the moon
That is rising slowly?
I am gazing on her now:
Something tells me, so art thou.
Night hath been when thou and I
Side by side were sitting,
Watching o'er the moonlit sky
Fleecy cloudlets flitting.
Close our hands were linkèd then;
When will they be linked again?
What to me the starlight still,
Or the moonbeams' splendour,
If I do not feel the thrill
Of thy fingers slender?
Summer nights in vain are clear,
If thy footstep be not near.
Roses slumbering in their sheaths
O'er my threshold clamber,
And the honeysuckle wreathes
Its translucent amber
Round the gables of my home:
How is it thou dost not come?
If thou camest, rose on rose
From its sleep would waken;
From each flower and leaf that blows
Spices would be shaken;
Floating down from star and tree,
Dreamy perfumes welcome thee.
I would lead thee where the leaves
In the moon-rays glisten;
And, where shadows fall in sheaves,
We would lean and listen
For the song of that sweet bird
That in April nights is heard.
And when weary lids would close,
And thy head was drooping,
Then, like dew that steeps the rose,
O'er thy languor stooping,
I would, till I woke a sigh,
Kiss thy sweet lips silently.
I would give thee all I own,
All thou hast would borrow;
I from thee would keep alone
Fear and doubt and sorrow.
All of tender that is mine,
Should most tenderly be thine.
Moonlight! into other skies,
I beseech thee wander.
Cruel, thus to mock mine eyes,
Idle, thus to squander
Love's own light on this dark spot;-
For my lady cometh not!
by Alfred Austin.
Sweet Empty Sky Of June Without A Stain,
O Lord, the hope of Israel, all they that forsake
Thee shall be ashamed ; and they that depart from
Thee, shall be written in the earth, because they have
forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed ; save me,
and I shall be saved, for Thou art my health, and my
I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to
the gates of the grave ; I have deprived myself of the
residue of my years.
I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the
land of the living : I shall behold man no more with
the inhabitants of the world.
O Lord ! by Thee doth man live, and from Thee is
the life of my spirit : therefore wilt Thou recover me,
and make me to live.
Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the
pit of corruption ; for Thou hast cast all my sins
behind Thy back.
For Thy name's sake hast Thou put off thine anger ;
for Thy praise hast Thou refrained from me, that I
should not be cut off.
For the grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot
celebrate Thee : they that go down into the pit, cannot
hope for Thy truth.
The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do
this day : the father to the children shall make known
O Lord ! Thou hast been merciful, Thou hast
brought back my life from corruption : Thou hast
redeemed me from my sin.
They that follow after lying vanities, forsake their
Therefore shall Thy songs be with me, and my
prayer unto the God of my life.
I will go unto the altar of my God, unto God, the
joy of my youth ; and in Thy fear will I worship
towards Thy holy temple.
I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanks-
giving ; I will pay that which I have vowed ; sal-
vation is of the Lord.
by Henry Vaughan.
New England June
THESE things I remember
Of New England June,
Like a vivid day-dream
In the azure noon,
While one haunting figure
Strays through every scene,
Like the soul of beauty
Through her lost demesne.
Gardens full of roses
And peonies a-blow
In the dewy morning,
Row on stately row,
Spreading their gay patterns,
Crimson, pied and cream,
Like some gorgeous fresco
Or an Eastern dream.
Nets of waving sunlight
Falling through the trees;
Fields of gold-white daisies
Rippling in the breeze;
Lazy lifting groundswells,
Breaking green as jade
On the lilac beaches,
Where the shore-birds wade.
Orchards full of blossom,
Where the bob-white calls
And the honeysuckle
Climbs the old gray walls;
Groves of silver birches,
Beds of roadside fern,
In the stone-fenced pasture
At the river's turn.
Out of every picture
Still she comes to me
With the morning freshness
Of the summer sea, —
A glory in her bearing,
A sea-light in her eyes,
As if she could not forget
The spell of Paradise.
Thrushes in the deep woods,
With their golden themes,
Fluting like the choirs
At the birth of dreams.
Fireflies in the meadows
At the gate of Night,
With their fairy lanterns
Twinkling soft and bright.
Ah, not in the roses,
Nor the azure noon,
Nor the thrushes' music,
Lies the soul of June.
It is something finer,
More unfading far,
Than the primrose evening
And the silver star;
Something of the rapture
My beloved had,
When she made the morning
Radiant and glad,—
Something of her gracious
Ecstasy of mien,
That still haunts the twilight,
Loving though unseen.
When the ghostly moonlight
Walks my garden ground,
Like a leisurely patrol
On his nightly round,
These things I remember
Of the long ago,
While the slumbrous roses
Neither care nor know.
I gazed upon the glorious sky
And the green mountains round,
And thought that when I came to lie
At rest within the ground,
"Twere pleasant, that in flowery June,
When brooks send up a cheerful tune,
And groves a joyous sound,
The sexton's hand, my grave to make,
The rich, green mountain-turf should break.
A cell within the frozen mould,
A coffin borne through sleet,
And icy clods above it rolled,
While fierce the tempests beat--
Away!--I will not think of these--
Blue be the sky and soft the breeze,
Earth green beneath the feet,
And be the damp mould gently pressed
Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long, long summer hours,
The golden light should lie,
And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell
His love-tale close beside my cell;
The idle butterfly
Should rest him there, and there be heard
The housewife bee and humming-bird.
And what if cheerful shouts at noon
Come, from the village sent,
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon
With fairy laughter blent?
And what if, in the evening light,
Betrothed lovers walk in sight
Of my low monument?
I would the lovely scene around
Might know no sadder sight nor sound.
I know that I no more should see
The season's glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me,
Nor its wild music flow;
But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,
They might not haste to go.
Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
These to their softened hearts should bear
The thought of what has been,
And speak of one who cannot share
The gladness of the scene;
Whose part, in all the pomp that fills
The circuit of the summer hills,
Is that his grave is green;
And deeply would their hearts rejoice
To hear again his living voice.
Scene Between May And June
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found.
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground;
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt with spring, with summer half imbrown'd,
A listless climate made, where, sooth to say,
No living wight could work, ne cared e'en for play.
Was nought around but images of rest,
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between,
And flowery beds, that slumbrous influence kest
From poppies breath'd, and beds of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meatime unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurl'd everywhere their water's sheen,
That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade,
Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills,
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale:
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale;
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep;
Yet all these sounds y-blent inclined all to sleep.
Full in the passage of the vale above,
A sable, silent, solemn, forest stood,
Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to move,
As Idless fancy'd in her dreaming mood;
And up the hills, on either side, a wood
Of black'ning pines, aye waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood;
And where this valley winded out, below,
The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard, to flow.
A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye,
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky;
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures, always hover'd nigh;
But whate'er smack'd of noyace or unrest,
Was far, far off expell'd from this delicious nest.
by James Thomson.
What Is So Rare As A Day In June
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.
Verses To Her Royal Highness The Duchess, On The Memorable Victory Gained By The Duke Against The Hollanders, June 3rd, 1665
When, for our sakes, your hero you resigned
To swelling seas, and every faithless wind;
When you released his courage, and set free
A valour fatal to the enemy;
You lodged your country's cares within your breast,
(The mansion where soft love should only rest,)
And, ere our foes abroad were overcome,
The noblest conquest you had gained at home.
Ah, what concerns did both your souls divide!
Your honour gave us what your love denied;
And 'twas for him much easier to subdue
Those foes he fought with, than to part from you.
That glorious day, which two such navies saw,
As each unmatched might to the world give law,
Neptune, yet doubtful whom he should obey,
Held to them both the trident of the sea:
The winds were hushed, the waves in ranks were cast,
As awfully as when God's people past:
Those, yet uncertain on whose sails to blow,
These, where the wealth of nations ought to flow.
Then with the Duke your Highness ruled the day:
While all the brave did his command obey,
The fair and pious under you did pray.
How powerful are chaste vows! the wind and tide
You bribed to combat on the English side.
Thus to your much-loved lord you did convey
An unknown succour, sent the nearest way.
New vigour to his wearied arms you brought,
(So Moses was upheld while Israel fought)
While, from afar, we heard the cannon play,
Like distant thunder on a shiny day.
For absent friends we were ashamed to fear,
When we considered what you ventured there.
Ships, men, and arms, our country might restore,
But such a leader could supply no more.
With generous thoughts of conquest he did burn,
Yet fought not more to vanquish than return.
Fortune and victory he did pursue,
To bring them, as his slaves, to wait on you:
Thus beauty ravished the rewards of fame,
And the fair triumphed, when the brave o'ercame.
Then, as you meant to spread another way
By land your conquests, far as his by sea,
Leaving our southern clime, you marched along
The stubborn north ten thousand Cupids strong.
Like commons the nobility resort,
In crowding heaps, to fill your moving court:
To welcome your approach the vulgar run,
Like some new envoy from the distant sun;
And country beauties by their lovers go,
Blessing themselves, and wondering at the show.
So, when the new-born Phœnix first is seen,
Her feathered subjects all adore their queen,
And, while she makes her progress through the east,
From every grove her numerous train's increased:
Each poet of the air her glory sings,
And round him the pleased audience clap their wings.
by John Dryden.
A Tale. June 1793
In Scotland's realm, where trees are few
Nor even shrubs abound;
But where, however bleak the view
Some better things are found;
For husband there and wife may boast
Their union undefiled,
And false ones are as rare almost
As hedge-rows in the wild;
In Scotland's realm forlorn and bare
The history chanced of late,--
This history of a wedded pair,
A chaffinch and his mate,.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast
With genial instinct filled;
They paired, and would have built a nest,
But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered and the moors
Except with snow and sleet,
Sea-beaten rocks and naked shores
Could yield them no retreat.
Long time a breeding-place they sought,
Till both grew vexed and tired;
At length a ship arriving brought
The good so long desired.
A ship? -- could such a restless thing
Afford them place of rest?
Or was the merchant charged to bring
The homeless birds a nest?
Hush! -- silent hearers profit most,--
This racer of the sea
Proved kinder to them than the coast,
It served them with a tree.
But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal,
The tree they call a mast,
And had a hollow with a wheel
Through which the tackle passed.
Within that cavity aloft
Their roofless home they fixed,
Formed with materials neat and soft,
Bents, wool, and feathers mixed.
Four ivory eggs soon pave its floor,
With russet specks bedight;
The vessel weighs, forsakes the shore,
And lessens to the sight.
The mother-bird is gone to sea,
As she had changed her kind;
But goes the male? Far wiser he
Is doubtless left behind.
No;-- soon as from ashore he saw
The winged mansion move,
He flew to reach it, by a law
Of never-failing love.
Then perching at his consort's side,
Was briskly borne along,
The billows and the blast defied,
And cheered her with a song.
The seaman with sincere delight
His feathered shipmates eyes,
Scarce less exulting in the sight
Than when he tows a prize.
For seamen much believe in signs,
And from a chance so new
Each some approaching good divines,
And may his hope be true!
Hail, honoured land! a desert where
Not even birds can hide,
Yet parent of this loving pair
Whom nothing could divide.
And ye who, rather than resign
Your matrimonial plan,
Were not afraid to plough the brine
In company with man;
For whose lean country much disdain
We English often show,
Yet from a richer nothing gain
But wantonness and woe;
Be it your fortune, year by year,
The same resource to prove,
And may ye, sometimes landing here,
Instruct us how to love!
by William Cowper.
The Canadian Rossignol (In June)
PRONE where maples widely spread
I watch the far blue overhead,
Where little pillowy clouds arise
From naught to die before my eyes;
Within the shade a pleasant rout
Of dallying zephyrs steal about;
Lazily as moves the day
Odours float and faint away
From roses yellow, red, and white,
That prank yon garden with delight;
Round which the locust blossoms swing,
And some late lilacs droop for spring.
Anon swells up a dubious breeze,
Stirring the half-reluctant trees,
Then, rising to a mimic gale,
Ruffles the massy oaks to pale,
Till spent its sudden force, once more
The zephyrs come that went before;
Now silvery poplars shivering stand,
And languid lindens waver bland,
Hemlock traceries scarcely stir,
All the pines of summer purr.
Hovering butterflies I see,
Full of business shoots the bee,
Straight from the valley is his flight
Where crowding marbles solemn white
Show through the trees and mutely tell
How there the low-laid loved rest well.
Half hid in the grasses there
Red breast thrushes jump and stare,
Sparrows flutter up like leaves
Tossed upon the wind in sheaves,
Curve-winged swallows slant and slide
O'er the graves that stretch so wide,
Steady crows go labouring by–
Ha! the Rossignol is nigh!
Rossignol, why will you sing,
Though lost the lovely world of spring?
'T was well that then your roulades rang
Of joy, despite of every pang;
But now the sweet, the bliss is gone–
Nay, now the summer joy is on,
And lo, the foliage and the bloom,
The fuller life, the bluer room,
'T was this the sweet spring promised me.
Oh, bird, and can you sing so free,
Though never yet the roaming wind
Could leave earth's countless graves behind?
And will you sing when summer goes
And leaves turn brown and dies the rose?
Oh, then how brave shall Autumn dress
The maple out with gorgeousness!
And red-cheeked apples deck the green,
And corn wave tall its yellow sheen.
But, bird, bethink you well, I pray,
Then marches winter on his way.
Ah, winter–yes, ah yes–but still,
Hark! sweetly chimes the summer rill,
And joy is here and life is strong,
And love still calls upon my song.
No, Rossignol, sing not that strain,
Triumphant 'spite of all the pain,–
She cannot hear you, Rossignol,
She does not pause and flush, your thrall,
She does not raise that slender hand
And, poised, lips parted, understand
What you are telling of the years,
Her brown eyes soft with happy tears,
She does not hear a note of all,
Ah, Rossignol! ah, Rossignol!
But skies are blue, and flowers bloom,
And roses breathe the old perfume,
And here the murmuring of the trees
In all of lovelier mysteries–
And maybe now she hears thy song
Pouring the summer rills along,
Listens with joy that still to me
Remain the summer time and thee.
Knee-Deep In June
Tell you what I like the best --
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, -- some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else!
Orchard's where I'd ruther be --
Needn't fence it in fer me! --
Jes' the whole sky overhead,
And the whole airth underneath --
Sort o' so's a man kin breathe
Like he ort, and kind o' has
Elbow-room to keerlessly
Sprawl out len'thways on the grass
Where the shadders thick and soft
As the kivvers on the bed
Mother fixes in the loft
Allus, when they's company!
Jes' a-sort o' lazin there -
S'lazy, 'at you peek and peer
Through the wavin' leaves above,
Like a feller 'ats in love
And don't know it, ner don't keer!
Ever'thing you hear and see
Got some sort o' interest -
Maybe find a bluebird's nest
Tucked up there conveenently
Fer the boy 'at's ap' to be
Up some other apple tree!
Watch the swallers skootin' past
Bout as peert as you could ast;
Er the Bob-white raise and whiz
Where some other's whistle is.
Ketch a shadder down below,
And look up to find the crow --
Er a hawk, - away up there,
'Pearantly froze in the air! --
Hear the old hen squawk, and squat
Over ever' chick she's got,
Suddent-like! - and she knows where
That-air hawk is, well as you! --
You jes' bet yer life she do! --
Eyes a-glitterin' like glass,
Waitin' till he makes a pass!
Pee-wees wingin', to express
My opinion, 's second-class,
Yit you'll hear 'em more er less;
Sapsucks gittin' down to biz,
Weedin' out the lonesomeness;
Mr. Bluejay, full o' sass,
In them baseball clothes o' his,
Sportin' round the orchad jes'
Like he owned the premises!
Sun out in the fields kin sizz,
But flat on yer back, I guess,
In the shade's where glory is!
That's jes' what I'd like to do
Stiddy fer a year er two!
Plague! Ef they ain't somepin' in
Work 'at kind o' goes ag'in'
My convictions! - 'long about
Here in June especially! --
Under some ole apple tree,
Jes' a-restin through and through,
I could git along without
Nothin' else at all to do
Only jes' a-wishin' you
Wuz a-gittin' there like me,
And June wuz eternity!
Lay out there and try to see
Jes' how lazy you kin be! --
Tumble round and souse yer head
In the clover-bloom, er pull
Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes
And peek through it at the skies,
Thinkin' of old chums 'ats dead,
Maybe, smilin' back at you
In betwixt the beautiful
Clouds o'gold and white and blue! --
Month a man kin railly love --
June, you know, I'm talkin' of!
March ain't never nothin' new! --
April's altogether too
Brash fer me! and May -- I jes'
'Bominate its promises, --
Little hints o' sunshine and
Green around the timber-land --
A few blossoms, and a few
Chip-birds, and a sprout er two, --
Drap asleep, and it turns in
Fore daylight and snows ag'in! --
But when June comes - Clear my th'oat
With wild honey! -- Rench my hair
In the dew! And hold my coat!
Whoop out loud! And th'ow my hat! --
June wants me, and I'm to spare!
Spread them shadders anywhere,
I'll get down and waller there,
And obleeged to you at that!
Long, long ago, it seems, this summer morn
That pale-browed April passed with pensive tread
Through the frore woods, and from its frost-bound bed
Woke the arbutus with her silver horn;
And now May, too, is fled,
The flower-crowned month, the merry laughing May,
With rosy feet and fingers dewy wet,
Leaving the woods and all cool gardens gay
With tulips and the scented violet.
Gone are the wind-flower and the adder-tongue
And the sad drooping bellwort, and no more
The snowy trilliums crowd the forest's floor;
The purpling grasses are no longer young,
And summer's wide-set door
O'er the thronged hills and the broad panting earth
Lets in the torrent of the later bloom,
Haytime, and harvest, and the after mirth,
The slow soft rain, the rushing thunder plume.
All day in garden alleys moist and dim,
The humid air is burdened with the rose;
In moss-deep woods the creamy orchid blows;
And now the vesper-sparrows' pealing hymn
From every orchard close
At eve comes flooding rich and silvery;
The daisies in great meadows swing and shine;
And with the wind a sound as of the sea
Roars in the maples and the topmost pine.
High in the hills the solitary thrush
Tunes magically his music of fine dreams,
In briary dells, by boulder-broken streams;
And wide and far on nebulous fields aflush
The mellow morning gleams.
The orange cone-flowers purple-bossed are there,
The meadow's bold-eyed gypsies deep of hue,
And slender hawkweed tall and softly fair,
And rosy tops of fleabane veiled with dew.
So with thronged voices and unhasting flight
The fervid hours with long return go by;
The far-heard hylas piping shrill and high
Tell the slow moments of the solemn night
With unremitting cry;
Lustrous and large out of the gathering drouth
The planets gleam; the baleful Scorpion
Trails his dim fires along the droused south;
The silent world-incrusted round moves on.
And all the dim night long the moon's white beams
Nestle deep down in every brooding tree,
And sleeping birds, touched with a silly glee,
Waken at midnight from their blissful dreams,
And carol brokenly.
Dim surging motions and uneasy dreads
Scare the light slumber from men's busy eyes,
And parted lovers on their restless beds
Toss and yearn out, and cannot sleep for sighs.
Oft have I striven, sweet month, to figure thee,
As dreamers of old time were wont to feign,
In living form of flesh, and striven in vain;
Yet when some sudden old-world mystery
Of passion fired my brain,
Thy shape hath flashed upon me like no dream,
Wandering with scented curls that heaped the breeze,
Or by the hollow of some reeded stream
Sitting waist-deep in white anemones;
And even as I glimpsed thee thou wert gone,
A dream for mortal eyes too proudly coy,
Yet in thy place for subtle thought's employ
The golden magic clung, a light that shone
And filled me with thy joy.
Before me like a mist that streamed and fell
All names and shapes of antique beauty passed
In garlanded procession with the swell
Of flutes between the beechen stems; and last,
I saw the Arcadian valley, the loved wood,
Alpheus stream divine, the sighing shore,
And through the cool green glades, awake once more,
Psyche, the white-limbed goddess, still pursued,
Fleet-footed as of yore,
The noonday ringing with her frighted peals,
Down the bright sward and through the reeds she ran,
Urged by the mountain echoes, at her heels
The hot-blown cheeks and trampling feet of Pan.
June On The Merrimac
O dwellers in the stately towns,
What come ye out to see?
This common earth, this common sky,
This water flowing free?
As gayly as these kalmia flowers
Your door-yard blossoms spring;
As sweetly as these wild-wood birds
Your caged minstrels sing.
You find but common bloom and green,
The rippling river's rune,
The beauty which is everywhere
Beneath the skies of June;
The Hawkswood oaks, the storm-torn plumes
Of old pine-forest kings,
Beneath whose century-woven shade
Deer Island's mistress sings.
And here are pictured Artichoke,
And Curson's bowery mill;
And Pleasant Valley smiles between
The river and the hill.
You know full well these banks of bloom,
The upland's wavy line,
And how the sunshine tips with fire
The needles of the pine.
Yet, like some old remembered psalm,
Or sweet, familiar face,
Not less because of commonness
You love the day and place.
And not in vain in this soft air
Shall hard-strung nerves relax,
Not all in vain the o'erworn brain
Forego its daily tax.
The lust of power, the greed of gain
Have all the year their own;
The haunting demons well may let
Our one bright day alone.
Unheeded let the newsboy call,
Aside the ledger lay
The world will keep its treadmill step
Though we fall out to-day.
The truants of life's weary school,
Without excuse from thrift
We change for once the gains of toil
For God's unpurchased gift.
From ceiled rooms, from silent books,
From crowded car and town,
Dear Mother Earth, upon thy lap,
We lay our tired heads down.
Cool, summer wind, our heated brows;
Blue river, through the green
Of clustering pines, refresh the eyes
Which all too much have seen.
For us these pleasant woodland ways
Are thronged with memories old,
Have felt the grasp of friendly hands
And heard love's story told.
A sacred presence overbroods
The earth whereon we meet;
These winding forest-paths are trod
By more than mortal feet.
Old friends called from us by the voice
Which they alone could hear,
From mystery to mystery,
From life to life, draw near.
More closely for the sake of them
Each other's hands we press;
Our voices take from them a tone
Of deeper tenderness.
Our joy is theirs, their trust is ours,
Alike below, above,
Or here or there, about us fold
The arms of one great love!
We ask to-day no countersign,
No party names we own;
We bring ourselves alone.
What cares the unconventioned wood
For pass-words of the town?
The sound of fashion's shibboleth
The laughing waters drown.
Here cant forgets his dreary tone,
And care his face forlorn;
The liberal air and sunshine laugh
The bigot's zeal to scorn.
From manhood's weary shoulder falls
His load of selfish cares;
And woman takes her rights as flowers
And brooks and birds take theirs.
The license of the happy woods,
The brook's release are ours;
The freedom of the unshamed wind
Among the glad-eyed flowers.
Yet here no evil thought finds place,
Nor foot profane comes in;
Our grove, like that of Samothrace,
Is set apart from sin.
We walk on holy ground; above
A sky more holy smiles;
The chant of the beatitudes
Swells down these leafy aisles.
Thanks to the gracious Providence
That brings us here once more;
For memories of the good behind
And hopes of good before.
And if, unknown to us, sweet days
Of June like this must come,
Unseen of us these laurels clothe
The river-banks with bloom;
And these green paths must soon be trod
By other feet than ours,
Full long may annual pilgrims come
To keep the Feast of Flowers;
The matron be a girl once more,
The bearded man a boy,
And we, in heaven's eternal June,
Be glad for earthly joy!
Theology In Extremis: Or A Soliloquy That May Have Been Delivered In India, June, 1857
"They would have spared life to any of their English prisoners who should consent to profess Mahometanism, by repeating the usual short formula; but only one half-caste cared to save himself in that way." -- Extract from an Indian newspaper.
Oft in the pleasant summer years,
Reading the tales of days bygone,
I have mused on the story of human tears,
All that man unto man had done,
Massacre, torture, and black despair;
Reading it all in my easy-chair.
Passionate prayer for a minute's life;
Tortured crying for death as rest;
Husband pleading for child or wife,
Pitiless stroke upon tender breast.
Was it all real as that I lay there
Lazily stretched on my easy-chair?
Could I believe in those hard old times,
Here in this safe luxurious age?
Were the horrors invented to season rhymes,
Or truly is man so fierce in his rage?
What could I suffer, and what could I dare?
I who was bred to that easy-chair.
They were my fathers, the men of yore,
Little they recked of a cruel death;
They would dip their hands in a heretic's gore,
They stood and burnt for a rule of faith.
What would I burn for, and whom not spare?
I, who had faith in an easy-chair.
Now do I see old tales are true,
Here in the clutch of a savage foe;
Now shall I know what my fathers knew,
Bodily anguish and bitter woe,
Naked and bound in the strong sun's glare,
Far from my civilized easy-chair.
Now have I tasted and understood
That old world feeling of mortal hate;
For the eyes all round us are hot with blood;
They will kill us coolly -- they do but wait;
While I, I would sell ten lives, at least,
For one fair stroke at that devilish priest
Just in return for the kick he gave,
Bidding me call on the prophet's name;
Even a dog by this may save
Skin from the knife, and soul from the flame;
My soul! if he can let the prophet burn it,
But life is sweet if a word may earn it.
A bullock's death, and at thirty years!
Just one phrase, and a man gets off it;
Look at that mongrel clerk in his tears
Whining aloud the name of the prophet;
Only a formula easy to patter,
And, God Almighty, what can it matter?
"Matter enough," will my comrade say
Praying aloud here close at my side,
"Whether you mourn in despair alway,
Cursed for ever by Christ denied;
Or whether you suffer a minute's pain
All the reward of Heaven to gain."
Not for a moment faltereth he,
Sure of the promise and pardon of sin;
Thus did the martyrs die, I see,
Little to lose and muckle to win;
Death means Heaven, he longs to receive it,
But what shall I do if I don't believe it?
Life is pleasant, and friends may be nigh,
Fain would I speak one word and be spared;
Yet I could be silent and cheerfully die,
If I were only sure God cared;
If I had faith, and were only certain
That light is behind that terrible curtain.
But what if He listeth nothing at all
Of words a poor wretch in his terror may say?
That mighty God who created all
To labour and live their appointed day;
Who stoops not either to bless or ban,
Weaving the woof of an endless plan.
He is the Reaper, and binds the sheaf,
Shall not the season its order keep?
Can it be changed by a man's belief?
Millions of harvests still to reap;
Will God reward, if I die for a creed,
Or will He but pity, and sow more seed?
Surely He pities who made the brain,
When breaks that mirror of memories sweet,
When the hard blow falleth, and never again
Nerve shall quiver nor pulse shall beat;
Bitter the vision of vanishing joys;
Surely He pities when man destroys.
Here stand I on the ocean's brink,
Who hath brought news of the further shore?
How shall I cross it? Sail or sink,
One thing is sure, I return no more;
Shall I find haven, or aye shall I be
Tossed in the depths of a shoreless sea?
They tell fair tales of a far-off land,
Of love rekindled, of forms renewed;
There may I only touch one hand
Here life's ruin will little be rued;
But the hand I have pressed and the voice I have heard,
To lose them for ever, and all for a word?
Now do I feel that my heart must break
All for one glimpse of a woman's face;
Swiftly the slumbering memories wake
Odour and shadow of hour and place;
One bright ray through the darkening past
Leaps from the lamp as it brightens last,
Showing me summer in western land
Now, as the cool breeze murmureth
In leaf and flower -- And here I stand
In this plain all bare save the shadow of death;
Leaving my life in its full noonday,
And no one to know why I flung it away.
Why? Am I bidding for glory's roll?
I shall be murdered and clean forgot;
Is it a bargain to save my soul?
God, whom I trust in, bargains not;
Yet for the honour of English race,
May I not live or endure disgrace.
Ay, but the word, if I could have said it,
I by no terrors of hell perplext;
Hard to be silent and have no credit
From man in this world, or reward in the next;
None to bear witness and reckon the cost
Of the name that is saved by the life that is lost.
I must be gone to the crowd untold
Of men by the cause which they served unknown,
Who moulder in myriad graves of old;
Never a story and never a stone
Tells of the martyrs who die like me,
Just for the pride of the old countree.