COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1916
By McCLELLAND, GOODCHILD & STEWART, LIMITED
PRINTED IN CANADA
L. M. Montgomery
The Watchman and other Poems
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Chronicles of Avonlea
Kilmeny of the Orchard
The Story Girl
The Golden Road
"TO THE MEMORY OF THE GALLANT
CANADIAN SOLDIERS WHO HAVE LAID
DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR
COUNTRY AND THEIR EMPIRE."
To the following Publishers and Magazines my sincere thanks and appreciation are given for their kind permission to use the poems of which they own the copyright: The Youth's Companion, Forward, East and West, MacLean's Magazine, The Sunday School Times, Zion's Herald, The Outlook, Munsey's Magazine, The New Idea Woman's Magazine, Smart Set, The Ladies' World, The Canadian Magazine, St. Nicholas, The Congregationalist and Christian World, Everybody's Magazine, The Christian Endeavor World, The American Messenger, The Delineator, Smith's Magazine.
|SONGS OF SEA|
|Rain Along Shore||11|
|When the Dark Comes Down||14|
|On the Bay||20|
|A Shore Twilight||22|
|Song of the Sea-wind||23|
|Morning Along Shore||24|
|Off to the Fishing Ground||25|
|Sunrise Along Shore||29|
|The Sea Spirit||31|
|My Longshore Lass||33|
|When the Fishing Boats Go Out||34|
|The Sea to the Shore||37|
|SONGS OF THE HILLS AND WOODS|
|Twilight and I Went Hand in Hand||43|
|Come, Rest Awhile||45|
|An April Night||46|
|Rain on the Hill||47|
|For Little Things||49|
|A Day Off||51|
|The Wood Pool||54|
|Among the Pines||60|
|A Day in the Open||62|
|Midnight in Camp||64|
|The Hill Maples||66|
|A Summer Day||68|
|In Lovers' Lane||71|
|On the Hills||73|
|An Autumn Evening||75|
|Out O' Doors||78|
|In the Days of the Golden Rod||79|
|A Winter Day||80|
|The Call of the Winds||83|
|A Winter Dawn||85|
|The Forest Path||86|
|The Truce O' Night||88|
|To My Enemy||93|
|As the Heart Hopes||94|
|The Christmas Night||97|
|In An Old Farmhouse||99|
|Twilight in the Garden||105|
|One of the Shepherds||110|
|If Mary Had Known||113|
|At the Long Sault||116|
|The Three Songs||122|
|In an Old Town Garden||124|
|The Poet's Thought||127|
|The Old Home Call||130|
|With Tears They Buried You To-day||142|
|In Memory of Maggie||144|
|The Garden in Winter||146|
|To One Hated||152|
|While the Fates Sleep||153|
|The Old Man's Grave||156|
|By An Autumn Fire||158|
"And for fear of Him the keepers did shake and become as dead men."–Matthew 28 and 4.
MY Claudia, it is long since we have met,
So kissed, so held each other heart to heart!
I thought to greet thee as a conqueror comes,
Bearing the trophies of his prowess home,
But Jove hath willed it should be otherwise–
Jove, say I ? Nay, some mightier stranger-god
Who thus hath laid his heavy hand on me,
No victor, Claudia, but a broken man
Who seeks to hide his weakness in thy love.
How beautiful thou art! The years have brought
An added splendor to thy loveliness,
With passion of dark eye and lip rose-red
Struggling between its dimple and its pride.
And yet there is somewhat that glooms between
Thy love and mine; come, girdle me about
With thy true arms, and pillow on thy breast
This aching and bewildered head of mine;
Here, where the fountain glitters in the sun
Among the saffron lilies, I will tell–
If so that words will answer my desire–
The shameful fate that hath befallen me.
Down in Jerusalem they slew a man,
Or god–it may be that he was a god–
Those mad, wild Jews whom Pontius Pilate rules.
Thou knowest Pilate, Claudia–a vain man,
Too weak to govern such a howling horde
As those same Jews. This man they crucified.
I knew nought of him–had not heard his name
Until the day they dragged him to his death;
Then all tongues wagged about him and his deeds;
Some said that he had claimed to be their King,
Some that he had blasphemed their deity
'Twas certain he was poor and meanly born,
No warrior he, nor hero; and he taught
Doctrines that surely would upset the world;
And so they killed him to be rid of him–
Wise, very wise, if he were only man,
Not quite so wise if he were half a god!
I know that strange things happened when he died–
There was a darkness and an agony,
And some were vastly frightened–not so I!
What cared I if that mob of reeking Jews
Had brought a nameless curse upon their heads ?
I had no part in that blood-guiltiness.
At least he died; and some few friends of his–
I think he had not very many friends–
Took him and laid him in a garden tomb.
A watch was set about the sepulchre,
Lest these, his friends, should hide him and proclaim
That he had risen as he had fore-told.
Laugh not, my Claudia. I laughed when I heard
The prophecy. I would I had not laughed!
I, Maximus, was chosen for the guard
With all my trusty fellows. Pilate knew
I was a man who had no foolish heart
Of softness all unworthy of a man!
My eyes had looked upon a tortured slave
As on a beetle crushed beneath my tread;
I gloried in the splendid strife of war,
Lusting for conquest; I had won the praise
Of our stern general on a scarlet field;
Red in my veins the warrior passion ran,
For I had sprung from heroes, Roman born!
That second night we watched before the tomb;
My men were merry; on the velvet turf,
Bestarred with early blossoms of the Spring,
They diced with jest and laughter; all around
The moonlight washed us like a silver lake,
Save where that silent, sealéd sepulchre
Was hung with shadow as a purple pall.
A faint wind stirred among the olive boughs–
Methinks I hear the sighing of that wind
In all sounds since, it was so dumbly sad;
But as the night wore on it died away
And all was deadly stillness; Claudia,
That stillness was most awful, as if some
Great heart had broken and so ceased to beat!
I thought of many things, but found no joy
In any thought, even the thought of thee;
The moon waned in the west and sickly grew
Her light sucked from her in the breaking dawn–
Never was dawn so welcome as that pale,
Faint glimmer in the cloudless, brooding sky!
Claudia, how may I tell what came to pass?
I have been mocked at when I told the tale
For a crazed dreamer punished by the gods
Because he slept on guard; but mock not thou!
I could not bear it if thy lips should mock
The vision dread of that Judean morn.
Sudden the pallid east was all aflame
With radiance that beat upon our eyes
As from noonday sun; and then we saw
Two shapes that were as the immortal gods
Standing before the tomb; around me fell
My men as dead; but I, though through my veins
Ran a cold tremor never known before,
Withstood the shock and saw one shining shape
Roll back the stone; the whole world seemed ablaze,
And through the garden came a rushing wind
Thundering a paeon as of victory.
Then that dead man came forth! Oh, Claudia,
If thou coulds't but have seen the face of him!
Never was such a conqueror! Yet no pride
Was in it–nought but love and tenderness,
Such as we Romans scoff at; and his eyes
Bespake him royal. Oh, my Claudia,
Surely he was no Jew but very god!
Then he looked full upon me. I had borne
Much staunchly, but that look I could not bear!
What man may front a god and live? I fell
Prone, as if stricken by a thunderbolt;
And, though I died not, somewhat of me died
That made me man. When my long stupor passed
I was no longer Maximus–I was
A weakling with a piteous woman-soul,
All strength and pride, joy and ambition gone–
My Claudia, dare I tell thee what foul curse
Is mine because I looked upon a god?
I care no more for glory; all desire
For conquest and for strife is gone from me,
All eagerness for war; I only care
To help and heal bruised beings, and to give
Some comfort to the weak and suffering.
I cannot even hate those Jews; my lips
Speak harshly of them, but within my heart
I feel a strange compassion; and I love
All creatures, to the vilest of the slaves
Who seem to me as brothers! Claudia,
Scorn me not for this weakness; it will pass–
Surely 'twill pass in time and I shall be
Maximus strong and valiant once again,
Forgetting that slain god! and yet–and yet–
He looked as one who could not be forgot!
WAN white mists upon the sea,
East wind harping mournfully
All the sunken reefs along,
Wail and heart-break in its song,
But adown the placid bay
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
All the deeps beyond the bar
Call and murmur from afar,
'Plaining of a mighty woe
Where the great ships come and go,
But adown the harbor gray
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
When the cloudy heavens frown,
And the sweeping rain comes down,
Boats at anchorage must bide
In despite of time or tide;
Making merry as they may
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
Now is time for jest and song
All the idle shore along,
Now is time for wooing dear,
Maidens cannot choose but hear;
Daffing toil and care away
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
Oh, the fretted reefs may wail,
Every man has furled his sail!
Oh, the wind may moan in fear,
Every lad is with his dear!
Mirth and laughter have their way,
Fisher-folk keep holiday.
A GALLANT city has been builded far
In the pied heaven,
Bannered with crimson, sentinelled by star
Of crystal even;
Around a harbor of the twilight glowing,
With jubilant waves about its gateways flowing
A city of the Land of Lost Delight,
On seas enchanted,
Presently to be lost in mist moon-white
Given but briefly to our raptured vision,
With all its opal towers and shrines elysian.
Had we some mystic boat with pearly oar
And wizard pilot,
To guide us safely by the siren shore
And cloudy islet,
We might embark and reach that shining portal
Beyond which linger dreams and joys immortal.
But we may only gaze with longing eyes
On those far, sparkling
Palaces in the fairy-peopled skies,
O'er waters darkling,
Until the winds of night come shoreward roaming,
And the dim west has only gray and gloaming.
WHEN the dark comes down, oh, the wind is on the sea
With lisping laugh and whimper to the red reef's threnody,
The boats are sailing homeward now across the harbor bar
With many a jest and many a shout from fishing grounds afar.
So furl your sails and take your rest, ye fisher folk so brown,
For task and quest are ended when the dark comes down.
When the dark comes down, oh, the landward valleys fill
Like brimming cups of purple, and on every landward hill
There shines a star of twilight that is watching evermore
The low, dim lighted meadows by the long, dim-lighted shore,
For there, where vagrant daisies weave the grass a silver crown,
The lads and lassies wander when the dark comes down.
When the dark comes down, oh, the children fall asleep,
And mothers in the fisher huts their happy vigils keep;
There's music in the song they sing and music on the sea,
The loving, lingering echoes of the twilight's litany,
For toil has folded hands to dream, and care has ceased to frown,
And every wave's a lyric when the dark comes down.
THERE is never a wind to sing o'er the sea
On its dimpled bosom that holdeth in fee
Wealth of silver and magicry;
And the harbor is like to an ebon cup
With mother-o'-pearl to the lips lined up,
And brimmed with the wine of entranced delight,
Purple and rare, from the flagon of night.
Lo, in the east is a glamor and gleam,
Like waves that lap on the shores of dream,
Or voice their lure in a poet's theme!
And behind the curtseying fisher boats
The barge of the rising moon upfloats,
The pilot ship over unknown seas
Of treasure-laden cloud argosies.
Ere ever she drifts from the ocean's rim,
Out from the background of shadows dim,
Stealeth a boat o'er her golden rim;
Noiselessly, swiftly, it swayeth by
Into the bourne of enchanted sky,
Like a fairy shallop that seeks the strand
Of a far and uncharted fairyland.
Now, ere the sleeping winds may stir,
Send, O, my heart, a wish with her,
Like to a venturous mariner;
For who knoweth but that on an elfin sea
She may meet the bark that is sailing to thee,
And, winging thy message across the foam,
May hasten the hour when thy ship comes home?
THERE'S a grayness over the harbor like fear on the face of a woman,
The sob of the waves has a sound akin to a woman's cry,
And the deeps beyond the bar are moaning with evil presage
Of a storm that will leap from its lair in that dour north-eastern sky.
Slowly the pale mists rise, like ghosts of the sea, in the offing,
Creeping all wan and chilly by headland and sunken reef,
And a wind is wailing and keening like a lost thing 'mid the islands,
Boding of wreck and tempest, plaining of dolor and grief.
Swiftly the boats come homeward, over the grim bar crowding,
Like birds that flee to their shelter in hurry and affright,
Only the wild grey gulls that love the cloud and the clamor
Will dare to tempt the ways of the ravining sea to-night.
But the ship that sailed at the dawning, manned by the lads who love us–
God help and pity her when the storm is loosed on her track!
O women, we pray to-night and keep a vigil of sorrow
For those we speed at the dawning and may never welcome back!
WHEN the salt wave laps on the long, dim shore,
And frets the reef with its windy sallies,
And the dawn's white light is threading once more
The purple firs in the landward valleys,
While yet the arms of the wide gray sea
Are cradling the sunrise that is to be,
The fisherman's boat, through the mist afar,
Has sailed in the wake of the morning star.
The wind in his cordage and canvas sings
Its old glad song of strength and endeavor,
And up from the heart of the ocean rings
A call of courage and cheer forever;
Toil and danger and stress may wait
Beyond the arch of the morning's gate,
But he knows that behind him, upon the shore,
A true heart prays for him evermore.
When a young moon floats in the hollow sky,
Like a fairy shallop, all pale and golden,
And over the rocks that are grim and high,
The lamp of the light-house aloft is holden;
When the bay is like to a lucent cup
With glamor and glory and glow filled up,
In the track of the sunset, across the foam,
The fisherman's boat comes sailing home.
The wind is singing a low, sweet song
Of a rest well won and a toil well over,
And there on the shore shines clear and strong
The star of the homelight to guide the rover:
And deep unto deep may call and wail
But the fisherman laughs as he furls his sail,
For the bar is passed and the reef is dim
And a true heart is waiting to welcome him!
Lo, find we here when the ripe day is o'er
A kingdom of enchantment by the shore !
Behold the sky with early stars ashine,
A jewelled flagon brimmed with purple wine.
Like a dumb poet's soul the troubled sea
Moans of its joy and sorrow wordlessly;
But the glad winds that utter naught of grief
Make silver speech by headland and by reef.
Saving for such there is no voice or call
To mar the gracious silence over all–
Silence so tender 'tis a sweet caress,
A most beguiling and dear loneliness.
Lo, here we find a beckoning solitude,
A winsome presence to be mutely wooed,
Which, being won, will teach us fabled lore,
The old, old, gramarye of the sibyl shore!
Oh, what a poignant rapture thus to be
Lingering at twilight by the ancient sea!
WHEN the sun sets over the long blue wave
I spring from my couch of rest,
And I hurtle and boom over leagues of foam
That toss in the weltering west,
I pipe a hymn to the headlands high,
My comrades forevermore,
And I chase the tricksy curls of foam
O'er the glimmering sandy shore.
The moon is my friend on clear, white nights
When I ripple her silver way,
And whistle blithely about the rocks
Like an elfin thing at play;
But anon I ravin with cloud and mist
And wail 'neath a curdled sky,
When the reef snarls yon like a questing beast,
And the frightened ships go by.
I scatter the dawn across the sea
Like wine of amber flung
From a crystal goblet all far and fine
Where the morning star is hung;
I blow from east and I blow from west
Wherever my longing be-
The wind of the land is a hindered thing
But the ocean wind is free!
HARK, oh hark the elfin laughter
All the little waves along,
As if echoes speeding after
Mocked a merry merman's song!
All the gulls are out, delighting
In a wild, uncharted quest–
See the first red sunshine smiting
Silver sheen of wing and breast!
Ho, the sunrise rainbow-hearted
Steals athwart the misty brine,
And the sky where clouds have parted
Is a bowl of amber wine!
Sweet, its cradle-lilt partaking,
Dreams that hover o'er the sea,
But the lyric of its waking
Is a sweeter thing to me!
Who would drowze in dull devotion
To his ease when dark is done,
And upon its breast the ocean
Like a jewel wears the sun?
"Up, forsake a lazy pillow!"
Calls the sea from cleft and cave,
Ho, for antic wind and billow
When the morn is on the wave!
THERE'S a piping wind from a sunrise shore
Blowing over a silver sea,
There's a joyous voice in the lapsing tide
That calls enticingly;
The mist of dawn has taken flight
To the dim horizon's bound,
And with wide sails set and eager hearts
We're off to the fishing ground.
Ho, comrades mine, how that brave wind sings
Like a great sea-harp afar!
We whistle its wild notes back to it
As we cross the harbor bar.
Behind us there are the homes we love
And hearts that are fond and true,
And before us beckons a strong young day
On leagues of glorious blue.
Comrades, a song as the fleet goes out,
A song of the orient sea!
We are the heirs of its tingling strife,
Its courage and liberty.
Sing as the white sails cream and fill,
And the foam in our wake is long,
Sing till the headlands black and grim
Echo us back our song!
Oh, 'tis a glad and heartsome thing
To wake ere the night be done
And steer the course that our fathers steered
In the path of the rising sun.
The wind and welkin and wave are ours
Wherever our bourne is found,
And we envy no landsman his dream and sleep
When we're off to the fishing ground.
OUT of the fires of the sunset come we again to our own–
We have girdled the world in our sailing under many an orient star;
Still to our battered canvas the scents of the spice gales cling,
And our hearts are swelling within us as we cross the harbor bar.
Beyond are the dusky hills where the twilight hangs in the pine trees,
Below are the lights of home where are watching the tender eyes
We have dreamed of on fretted seas in the hours of long night-watches,
Ever a beacon to us as we looked to the stranger skies.
Hark! how the wind comes out of the haven's arms to greet us,
Bringing with it the song that is sung on the ancient shore!
Shipmates, furl we our sails–we have left the seas behind us,
Gladly finding at last our homes and our loves once more.
SOFT is the sky in the mist-kirtled east,
Light is abroad on the sea,
All of the heaven with silver is fleeced,
Holding the sunrise in fee.
Lo! with a flash and uplifting of wings
Down where the long ripples break,
Cometh a bevy of glad-hearted things,
'Tis morn, for the gulls are awake.
Slumberous calm on the ocean and shore
Comes with the turn of the tide;
Never a strong-sweeping pinion may soar,
Where the tame fishing-boats ride!
Far and beyond in blue deserts of sea
Where the wild winds are at play,
There may the spirits of sea-birds be free–
'Tis noon, for the gulls are away.
Over the rim of the sunset is blown
Sea-dusk of purple and gold,
Speed now the wanderers back to their own,
Wings the most tireless must fold.
Homeward together at twilight they flock,
Sated with joys of the deep
Drowsily huddled on headland and rock–
'Tis night, for the gulls are asleep.
ATHWART the harbor lingers yet
The ashen gleam of breaking day,
And where the guardian cliffs are set
The noiseless shadows steal away;
But all the winnowed eastern sky
Is flushed with many a tender hue,
And spears of light are smiting through
The ranks where huddled sea-mists fly.
Across the ocean, wan and gray,
Gay fleets of golden ripples come,
For at the birth-hour of the day
The roistering, wayward winds are dumb.
The rocks that stretch to meet the tide
Are smitten with a ruddy glow,
And faint reflections come and go
Where fishing boats at anchor ride.
All life leaps out to greet the light–
The shining sea-gulls dive and soar,
The swallows whirl in dizzy flight,
And sandpeeps flit along the shore.
From every purple landward hill
The banners of the morning fly,
But on the headlands, dim and high,
The fishing hamlets slumber still.
One boat alone beyond the bar
Is sailing outward blithe and free,
To carry sturdy hearts afar
Across those wastes of sparkling sea;
Staunchly to seek what may be won
From out the treasures of the deep
To toil for those at home who sleep
And be the first to greet the sun.
I SMILE o'er the wrinkled blue–
Lo! the sea is fair,
Smooth as the flow of a maiden's hair;
And the welkin's light shines through
Into mid-sea caverns of beryl hue,
And the little waves laugh and the mermaids sing,
And the sea is a beautiful, sinuous thing!
I scowl in sullen guise–
The sea grows dark and dun,
The swift clouds hide the sun
But not the bale-light in my eyes,
And the frightened wind as it flies
Ruffles the billows with stormy wing,
And the sea is a terrible, treacherous thing!
When moonlight glimmers dim
I pass in the path of the mist,
Like a pale spirit by spirits kissed.
At dawn I chant my own weird hymn,
And I dabble my hair in the sunset's rim,
And I call to the dwellers along the shore
With a voice of gramarye evermore.
And if one for love of me
Gives to my call an ear,
I will woo him and hold him dear,
And teach him the way of the sea,
And my glamor shall ever over him be;
Though he wander afar in the cities of men
He will come at last to my arms again.
THERE'S a hush and stillness calm and deep,
For the waves have wooed all the winds to sleep
In the shadow of headlands bold and steep;
But some gracious spirit has taken the cup
Of the crystal sky and filled it up
With rosy wine, and in it afar
Has dissolved the pearl of the morning star.
The girdling hills with the night-mist cold
In purple raiment are hooded and stoled
And smit on the brows with fire and gold;
And in the distance the wide, white sea
Is a thing of glamor and wizardry,
With its wild heart lulled to a passing rest,
And the sunrise cradled upon its breast.
With the first red sunlight on mast and spar
A ship is sailing beyond the bar,
Bound to a land that is fair and far;
And those who wait and those who go
Are brave and hopeful, for well they know
Fortune and favor the ship shall win
That crosses the bar when the dawn comes in.
FAR in the mellow western sky,
Above the restless harbor bar,
A beacon on the coast of night,
Shines out a calm, white evening star;
But your deep eyes, my 'longshore lass,
Are brighter, clearer far.
The glory of the sunset past
Still gleams upon the water there,
But all its splendor cannot match
The wind-blown brightness of your hair;
Not any sea-maid's floating locks
Of gold are half so fair.
The waves are whispering to the sands
With murmurs as of elfin glee;
But your low laughter, 'longshore lass,
Is like a sea-harp's melody,
And the vibrant tones of your tender voice
Are sweeter far to me.
WHEN the lucent skies of morning flush with dawning rose once more,
And waves of golden glory break adown the sunrise shore,
And o'er the arch of heaven pied films of vapor float.
There's joyance and there's freedom when the fishing boats go out.
The wind is blowing freshly up from far, uncharted caves,
And sending sparkling kisses o'er the brows of virgin waves,
While routed dawn-mists shiver–oh, far and fast they flee,
Pierced by the shafts of sunrise athwart the merry sea!
Behind us, fair, light-smitten hills in dappled splendor lie,
Before us the wide ocean runs to meet the limpid sky–
Our hearts are full of poignant life, and care has fled afar
As sweeps the white-winged fishing fleet across the harbor bar.
The sea is calling to us in a blithesome voice and free,
There's keenest rapture on its breast and boundless liberty!
Each man is master of his craft, its gleaming sails out-blown,
And far behind him on the shore a home he calls his own.
Salt is the breath of ocean slopes and fresher blows the breeze,
And swifter still each bounding keel cuts through the combing seas,
Athwart our masts the shadows of the dipping sea-gulls float,
And all the water-world's alive when the fishing boats go out.
LAST night a pale young Moon was wed
Unto the amorous, eager Sea;
Her maiden veil of mist she wore
His kingly purple vesture, he.
With her a bridal train of stars
Walked sisterly through shadows dim,
And, master minstrel of the world,
The great Wind sang the marriage hymn.
Thus came she down the silent sky
Unto the Sea her faith to plight,
And the grave priest who wedded them
Was ancient, sombre-mantled Night.
Lo, I have loved thee long, long have I yearned and entreated!
Tell me how I may win thee, tell me how I must woo.
Shall I creep to thy white feet, in guise of a humble lover ?
Shall I croon in mild petition, murmuring vows anew ?
Shall I stretch my arms unto thee, biding thy maiden coyness,
Under the silver of morning, under the purple of night ?
Taming my ancient rudeness, checking my heady clamor–
Thus, is it thus I must woo thee, oh, my delight?
Nay, 'tis no way of the sea thus to be meekly suitor–
I shall storm thee away with laughter wrapped in my beard of snow,
With the wildest of billows for chords I shall harp thee a song for thy bridal,
A mighty lyric of love that feared not nor would forego!
With a red-gold wedding ring, mined from the caves of sunset,
Fast shall I bind thy faith to my faith evermore,
And the stars will wait on our pleasure, the great north wind will trumpet
A thunderous marriage march for the nuptials of sea and shore.
WE shall launch our shallop on waters blue from some dim primrose shore,
We shall sail with the magic of dusk behind and enchanted coasts before,
Over oceans that stretch to the sunset land where lost Atlantis lies,
And our pilot shall be the vesper star that shines in the amber skies.
The sirens will call to us again, all sweet and demon-fair,
And a pale mermaiden will beckon us, with mist on her night-black hair;
We shall see the flash of her ivory arms, her mocking and luring face,
And her guiling laughter will echo through the great, wind-winnowed space.
But we shall not linger for woven spell, or sea-nymph's sorceries,
It is ours to seek for the fount of youth, and the gold of Hesperides,
Till the harp of the waves in its rhythmic beat keeps time to our pulses' swing,
And the orient welkin is smit to flame with auroral crimsoning.
And at last, on some white and wondrous dawn, we shall reach the fairy isle
Where our hope and our dream are waiting us, and the to-morrows smile;
With song on our lips and faith in our hearts we sail on our ancient quest,
And each man shall find, at the end of the voyage, the thing he loves the best.
TWILIGHT and I went hand in hand,
As lovers walk in shining Mays,
O'er musky, memory-haunted ways,
Across a lonely harvest-land,
Where west winds chanted in the wheat
An old, old vesper wondrous sweet.
Oh, Twilight was a comrade rare
For gypsy heath or templed grove,
In her gray vesture, shadow-wove;
I saw the darkness of her hair
Faint-mirrored in a field-pool dim,
As we stood tip-toe on its rim.
We went as lightly as on wings
Through many a scented chamber fair,
Among the pines and balsams, where
I could have dreamed of darling things,
And ever as we went I knew
The peeping fairy folk went too.
I could have lingered now and then
By gates of moonrise that might lead
To some forgotten, spiceried mead,
Or in some mossy, cloistered glen,
Where silence, very still and deep,
Seemed fallen in enchanted sleep.
But Twilight ever led me on,
As lovers walk, until we came
To hills where sunset's shaken flame
Had paled to ashes dead and wan;
And there, with footsteps stolen-light
She left me to the lure of night.
COME, rest awhile, and let us idly stray
In glimmering valleys, cool and far away.
Come from the greedy mart, the troubled street,
And listen to the music, faint and sweet,
That echoes ever to a listening ear,
Unheard by those who will not pause to hear–
The wayward chimes of memory's pensive bells,
Wind-blown o'er misty hills and curtained dells.
One step aside and dewy buds unclose
The sweetness of the violet and the rose;
Song and romance still linger in the green,
Emblossomed ways by you so seldom seen,
And near at hand, would you but see them, lie
All lovely things beloved in days gone by.
You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your too busy life–come, rest awhile.
THE moon comes up o'er the deeps of the woods,
And the long, low dingles that hide in the hills,
Where the ancient beeches are moist with buds
Over the pools and the whimpering rills;
And with her the mists, like dryads that creep
From their oaks, or the spirits of pine-hid springs,
Who hold, while the eyes of the world are asleep,
With the wind on the hills their gay revellings.
Down on the marshlands with flicker and glow
Wanders Will-o'-the-Wisp through the night,
Seeking for witch-gold lost long ago
By the glimmer of goblin lantern-light.
The night is a sorceress, dusk-eyed and dear,
Akin to all eerie and elfin things,
Who weaves about us in meadow and mere
The spell of a hundred vanished Springs.
Now on the hill
The fitful wind is so still
That never a wimpling mist uplifts,
Nor a trembling leaf drop-laden stirs;
From the ancient firs
Aroma of balsam drifts,
And the silent places are filled
With elusive odors distilled
By the rain from asters empearled and frilled,
And a wild wet savor that dwells
Far adown in tawny fallows and bracken dells.
Then with a rush,
Breaking the beautiful hush
Where the only sound was the lisping, low
Converse of raindrops, or the dear sound
Close to the ground,
That grasses make when they grow,
Comes the wind in a gay,
Rollicking, turbulent way,
To winnow each bough and toss each spray,
Piping and whistling in glee
With the vibrant notes of a merry minstrelsy.
The friendly rain
Sings many a haunting strain,
Now of gladness and now of dole,
Anon of the glamor and the dream
That ever seem
To wait on a pilgrim soul;
Yea, we can hear
The grief of an elder year,
And laughter half-forgotten and dear;
In the wind and the rain we find
Fellowship meet for each change of mood or mind.
LAST night I looked across the hills
And through an arch of darkling pine
Low-swung against a limpid west
I saw a young moon shine.
And as I gazed there blew a wind,
Loosed where the sylvan shadows stir,
Bringing delight to soul and sense
The breath of dying fir.
This morn I saw a dancing host
Of poppies in a garden way,
And straight my heart was mirth-possessed
And I was glad as they.
I heard a song across the sea
As sweet and faint as echoes are,
And glimpsed a poignant happiness
No care of earth might mar.
Dear God, our life is beautiful
In every splendid gift it brings,
But most I thank Thee humbly for
The joy of little things.
HARK, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.
In the dreamy vale of beeches
Fair and faint is woven mist,
And the river's orient reaches
Are the palest amethyst.
Every limpid brook is singing
Of the lure of April days;
Every piney glen is ringing
With the maddest roundelays.
Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.
Ours shall be the moonrise stealing
Through the birches ivory-white;
Ours shall be the mystic healing
Of the velvet-footed night.
Ours shall be the gypsy winding
Of the path with violets blue,
Ours at last the wizard finding
Of the land where dreams come true.
LET us put awhile away
All the cares of work-a-day,
For a golden time forget,
Task and worry, toil and fret,
Let us take a day to dream
In the meadow by the stream.
We may lie in grasses cool
Fringing a pellucid pool,
We may learn the gay brook-runes
Sung on amber afternoons,
And the keen wind-rhyme that fills
Mossy hollows of the hills.
Where the wild-wood whisper stirs
We may talk with lisping firs,
We may gather honeyed blooms
In the dappled forest glooms,
We may eat of berries red
O'er the emerald upland spread.
We may linger as we will
In the sunset valleys still,
Till the gypsy shadows creep
From the starlit land of sleep,
And the mist of evening gray
Girdles round our pilgrim way.
We may bring to work again
Courage from the tasselled glen,
Bring a strength unfailing won
From the paths of cloud and sun,
And the wholesome zest that springs
From all happy, growing things.
O, WIND! what saw you in the South,
In lilied meadows fair and far?
I saw a lover kiss his lass
New-won beneath the evening star.
O, wind! what saw you in the West
Of passing sweet that wooed your stay?
I saw a mother kneeling by
The cradle where her first-born lay.
O, wind! what saw you in the North
That you shall dream of evermore?
I saw a maiden keeping tryst
Upon a gray and haunted shore.
O, wind! what saw you in the East
That still of ancient dole you croon?
I saw a wan wreck on the waves
And a dead face beneath the moon.
HERE is a voice that soundeth low and far
And lyric–voice of wind among the pines,
Where the untroubled, glimmering waters are,
And sunlight seldom shines.
Elusive shadows linger shyly here,
And wood-flowers blow, like pale, sweet spirit-bloom,
And white, slim birches whisper, mirrored clear
In the pool's lucent gloom.
Here Pan might pipe, or wandering dryad kneel
To view her loveliness beside the brim,
Or laughing wood-nymphs from the byways steal
To dance around its rim.
'Tis such a witching spot as might beseem
A seeker for young friendship's trysting place,
Or lover yielding to the immortal dream
Of one beloved face.
COMRADES, up! Let us row down stream in this first rare dawnlight,
While far in the clear north-west the late moon whitens and wanes;
Before us the sun will rise, deep-purpling headland and islet,
It is well to meet him thus, with the life astir in our veins!
The wakening birds will sing for us in the woods wind-shaken,
And the solitude of the hills will be broken by hymns to the light,
As we sweep past drowsing hamlets, still feathered by dreams of slumber,
And leave behind us the shadows that fell with the falling of night.
The young day's strength is ours in sinew and thew and muscle,
We are filled and thrilled with the spirit that dwells in the waste and wold,
Glamor of wind and water, charm of the wildernesses–
Oh, the dear joy of it, greater than human hearts can hold!
While the world's tired children sleep we bend to our oars with faces
Set in our eager gladness towards the morning's gate;
Lo, 'tis the sweet of the day! On, comrades mine, for beyond us
All its dower of beauty, its glory and wonder wait.
IN a lone valley fair and far,
Where many sweet beguilements are,
I know a spot to lag and dream
Through damask morns and noons agleam;
For feet fall lightly on the fern
And twilight is a wondrous thing,
When the winds blow from some far bourne
Beyond the hill rims westering;
There echoes ring as if a throng
Of fairies hid from mortal eyes
Sent laughter back in spirit guise
And song as the pure soul of song;
Oh, 'tis a spot to love right well,
This lonely, witching Echo Dell!
Even the winds an echo know,
Elusive, faint, such as might blow
From wandering elf-land bugles far,
Beneath an occidental star;
And I have thought the blue bells lent
A subtle music to my ear,
And that the pale wild roses bent
To harken sounds I might not hear.
The tasselled fir trees softly croon
The fabled lore of elder days.
And through the shimmering eastern haze
Floats slowly up the mellow moon;
Come, heart o' mine, for love must dwell
In whispering, witching Echo Dell.
OVER the fields we go, through the sweets of the purple clover,
That letters a message for us as for every vagrant rover;
Before us the dells are abloom, and a leaping brook calls after,
Feeling its kinship with us in lore of dreams and laughter.
Out of the valleys of moonlight elfin voices are calling;
Down from the misty hills faint, far greetings are falling;
Whisper the grasses to us, murmuring gleeful and airy,
Knowing us pixy-led, seeking the haunts of faery.
The wind is our joyful comrade wherever our free feet wander,
Over the tawny wolds to the meres and meadows yonder;
The mild-eyed stars go with us, or the rain so swiftly flying,
Racing us over the wastes where the hemlocks and pines are sighing.
Across the upland dim, down through the beckoning hollow–
Oh, we go too far and fast for the feet of care to follow!
The gypsy fire in our hearts for the wilderness wide and luring;
Other loves may fail but this is great and enduring.
Other delights may pall, but the joy of the open never;
The charm of the silent places must win and hold us forever;
Bondage of walls we leave with never a glance behind us.
Under the lucent sky the delights of the rover shall find us.
HERE let us linger at will and delightsomely hearken
Music aeolian of wind in the boughs of pine,
Timbrel of falling waters, sounds all soft and sonorous,
Worshipful litanies sung at a bannered shrine.
Deep let us breathe the ripeness and savor of balsam,
Tears that the pines have wept in sorrow sweet,
With its aroma comes beguilement of things forgotten,
Long-past hopes of the years on tip-toeing feet.
Far in the boskiest glen of this wood is a dream and a silence–
Come, we shall claim them ours ere look we long;
A dream that we dreamed and lost, a silence richly hearted,
Deep at its lyric core with the soul of a song.
If there be storm, it will thunder a march in the branches,
So that our feet may keep true time as we go;
If there be rain, it will laugh, it will glisten, and beckon,
Calling to us as a friend all lightly and low.
If it be night, the moonlight will wander winsomely with us,
If it be hour of dawn, all heaven will bloom,
If it be sunset, it's glow will enfold and pursue us.
To the remotest valley of purple gloom.
Lo! the pine wood is a temple where the days meet to worship,
Laying their cark and care for the nonce aside,
God, who made it, keeps it as a witness to Him forever,
Walking in it, as a garden, at eventide.
Ho, a day
Whereon we may up and away,
With a fetterless wind that is out on the downs,
And there piping a call to the fallow and shore,
Where the sea evermore
Surgeth over the gray reef, and drowns
The fierce rocks with white foam;
It is ours with untired feet to roam
Where the pines in green gloom of wide vales make their murmuring home,
Or the pools that the sunlight hath kissed
Mirror back a blue sky that is winnowed of cloud and of mist!
Ho, a day
Whereon we may up and away
Through the orient distances hazy and pied,
Hand in hand with the gypsying breezes that blow
Here and there, to and fro,
O'er the meadows all rosy and wide,
Where a lyric of flowers
Is sweet-sung to the frolicking hours,
And the merry buds letter the foot-steps of tip-toeing showers;
We may climb where the steep is beset
With a turbulent waterfall, loving to clamor and fret!
Ho, a day
Whereon we may up and away
To the year that is holding her cup of wild wine;
If we drink we shall be as the gods of the wold
In the blithe days of old
Elate with a laughter divine;
Yea, and then we shall know
The rare magic of solitude so
We shall nevermore wish its delight and its dreams to forego,
And our blood will upstir and upleap
With a fellowship splendid, a gladness impassioned and deep!
NIGHT in the unslumbering forest! From the free,
Vast pinelands by the foot of man untrod,
Blows the wild wind, roaming rejoicingly
This wilderness of God;
And the tall firs that all day long have flung
Balsamic odors where the sunshine burned,
Chant to its harping primal epics learned
When this old world was young.
Beyond the lake, white, girdling peaks uplift
Untroubled brows to virgin skies afar,
And o'er the uncertain water glimmers drift
Of fitful cloud and star.
Sure never day such mystic beauty held
As sylvan midnight here in this surcease
Of toil, when the kind darkness gives us peace
Garnered from years of eld.
Lo! Hearken to the mountain waterfall
Laughing adown its pathway to the glen
And nearer, in the cedars, the low call
Of brook to brook again;
Voices that garish daytime may not know
Wander at will along the bosky steeps,
And silent, silver-footed moonlight creeps
Through the dim glades below.
Oh, it is well to waken with the woods
And feel, as those who wait with God alone,
The forest's heart in these rare solitudes
Beating against our own.
Close-shut behind us are the gates of care,
Divinity enfolds us, prone to bless,
And our souls kneel. Night in the wilderness
Is one great prayer.
HERE on a hill of the occident stand we shoulder to shoulder,
Comrades tried and true through a mighty swath of the years!
Spring harps glad laughter through us, and ministrant rains of the autumn
Sing us again the songs of ancient dolor and tears.
The glory of sunrise smites on our fair, free brows uplifted
When the silver-kirtled day steps over the twilight's bars;
At evening we look adown into valleys hearted with sunset,
And we whisper old lore together under the smouldering stars.
Crescent moons of the summer gleam through our swaying branches,
Knee-deep in fern we stand while the days of the sun-time go;
And the winds of winter love us–the keen, gay winds of the winter,
Coming to our gray arms from over the plains of snow.
Down in the valleys beneath us is wooing and winning and wedding,
Down in the long, dim valleys earth-children wail and weep;
But here on these free hills we grow and are strong and flourish,
Comrades shoulder to shoulder our watch of the years to keep.
THE dawn laughs out on orient hills
And dances with the diamond rills;
The ambrosial wind but faintly stirs
The silken, beaded gossamers;
In the wide valleys, lone and fair,
Lyrics are piped from limpid air,
And, far above, the pine trees free
Voice ancient lore of sky and sea.
Come, let us fill our hearts straightway
With hope and courage of the day.
Noon, hiving sweets of sun and flower,
Has fallen on dreams in wayside bower,
Where bees hold honeyed fellowship
With the ripe blossom of her lip;
All silent are her poppied vales
And all her long Arcadian dales,
Where idleness is gathered up
A magic draught in summer's cup.
Come, let us give ourselves to dreams
By lisping margins of her streams.
Adown the golden sunset way
The evening comes in wimple gray;
By burnished shore and silver lake
Cool winds of ministration wake;
O'er occidental meadows far
There shines the light of moon and star,
And sweet, low-tinkling music rings
About the lips of haunted springs.
In quietude of earth and air
'Tis meet we yield our souls to prayer.
Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn's harvest ways,
With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys–
This is September.
I KNOW a place for loitering feet
Deep in the valley where the breeze
Makes melody in lichened boughs,
And murmurs low love-litanies.
There slender harebells nod and dream,
And pale wild roses offer up
The fragrance of their golden hearts,
As from some incense-brimméd cup.
It holds the sunshine sifted down
Softly through many a beechen screen,
Save where, by deeper woods embraced,
Cool shadows linger, dim and green.
And there my love and I may walk
And harken to the lapsing fall
Of unseen brooks and tender winds,
And wooing birds that sweetly call.
And every voice to her will say
What I repeat in dear refrain,
And eyes will meet with seeking eyes,
And hands will clasp in Lovers' Lane.
Come, sweet-heart, then, and we will stray
Adown that valley, lingering long,
Until the rose is wet with dew,
And robins come to evensong,
And woo each other, borrowing speech
Of love from winds and brooks and birds,
Until our sundered thoughts are one
And hearts have no more need of words.
THROUGH the pungent hours of the afternoon,
On the autumn slopes we have lightly wandered
Where the sunshine lay in a golden swoon
And the lingering year all its sweetness squandered.
Oh, it was blithesome to roam at will
Over the crest of each westering hill,
Over those dreamy, enchanted lands
Where the trees held to us their friendly hands!
Winds in the pine boughs softly crooned,
Or in the grasses complained most sweetly,
With all the music of earth attuned
In this dear ripe time that must pass so fleetly:
Golden rod as we idled by
Held its torches of flame on high,
And the asters beckoned along our way
Like fair fine ladies in silk array.
We passed by woods where the day aside
Knelt like a pensive nun and tender,
We looked on valleys of purple pride
Where she reigned a queen in her misty splendor;
But out on the hills she was wild and free,
A comrade to wander right gipsily,
Luring us on over waste and wold
With the charm of a message half sung, half told,
And now, when far in the shining west
She has dropped her flowers on the sunset meadow,
We turn away from our witching quest
To the kindly starshine and gathering shadow;
Filled to the lips of our souls are we
With the beauty given so lavishly,
And hand in hand with the night we come
Back to the light and the hearth of home.
DARK hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.
The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.
And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.
COME, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.
Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing
Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing;
'Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming,
Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming.
Watchful and stirless the fields as if not unkindly holding
Harvested joys in their clasp, and to their broad bosoms folding
Baby hopes of a Spring, trusted to motherly keeping,
Thus to be cherished and happed through the long months of their sleeping.
Silent the woods are and gray; but the firs than ever are greener,
Nipped by the frost till the tang of their loosened balsam is keener;
And one little wind in their boughs, eerily swaying and swinging,
Very soft and low, like a wandering minstrel is singing.
Beautiful is the year, but not as the springlike maiden
Garlanded with her hopes–rather the woman laden
With wealth of joy and grief, worthily won through living,
Wearing her sorrow now like a garment of praise and thanksgiving.
Gently the dark comes down over the wild, fair places,
The whispering glens in the hills, the open, starry spaces;
Rich with the gifts of the night, sated with questing and dreaming,
We turn to the dearest of paths where the star of the homelight is gleaming.
THERE'S a gypsy wind across the harvest land,
Let us fare forth with it lightly hand in hand;
Where cloud shadows blow across the sunwarm waste,
And the first red leaves are falling let us haste,
For the waning days are lavish of their stores,
And the joy of life is with us out o' doors!
Let us roam along the ways of golden rod
Over uplands where the spicy bracken nod,
Through the wildwood where the hemlock branches croon
Their rune-chant of elder days across the noon,
For the mellow air its pungency outpours,
And the glory of the year is out o' doors!
There's a great gray sea beyond us calling far,
There's a blue tide curling o'er the harbor bar;
Ho, the breeze that smites us saltly on the lips
Whistles gaily in the sails of outbound ships;
Let us send our thoughts with them to fabled shores,
For the pilgrim mood is on us out o' doors!
Lo! the world's rejoicing in each spirit thrills,
Strength and gladness are to us upon the hills;
We are one with crimson bough and ancient sea,
Holding all the joy of autumn hours in fee,
Hope within us like a questing bird upsoars,
And there's room for song and laughter out o' doors.
ACROSS the meadow in brooding shadow
I walk to drink of the autumn's wine–
The charm of story, the artist's glory,
To-day on these silvering hills is mine;
On height, in hollow, where'er I follow,
By mellow hillside and searing sod,
Its plumes uplifting, in light winds drifting,
I see the glimmer of golden-rod.
In this latest comer the vanished summer
Has left its sunshine the world to cheer,
And bids us remember in late September
What beauty mates with the passing year.
The days that are fleetest are still the sweetest,
And life is near to the heart of God,
And the peace of heaven to earth is given
In this wonderful time of the golden-rod.
THE air is silent save where stirs
A bugling breeze among the firs;
The virgin world in white array
Waits for the bridegroom kiss of day;
All heaven blooms rarely in the east
Where skies are silvery and fleeced,
And o'er the orient hills made glad
The morning comes in wonder clad;
Oh, 'tis a time most fit to see
How beautiful the dawn can be!
Wide, sparkling fields snow-vestured lie
Beneath a blue, unshadowed sky;
A glistening splendor crowns the woods
And bosky, whistling solitudes;
In hemlock glen and reedy mere
The tang of frost is sharp and clear;
Life hath a jollity and zest,
A poignancy made manifest;
Laughter and courage have their way
At noontide of a winter's day.
Faint music rings in wold and dell,
The tinkling of a distant bell,
Where homestead lights with friendly glow
Glimmer across the drifted snow;
Beyond a valley dim and far
Lit by an occidental star,
Tall pines the marge of day beset
Like many a slender minaret,
Whence priest-like winds on crystal air
Summon the reverent world to prayer.
FROM vales of dawn hath Day pursued the Night
Who mocking fled, swift-sandalled, to the west,
Nor ever lingered in her wayward flight
With dusk-eyed glance to recompense his quest,
But over crocus hills and meadows gray
Sped fleetly on her way.
Now when the Day, shorn of his failing strength,
Hath fallen spent before the sunset bars,
The fair, wild Night, with pity touched at length,
Crowned with her chaplet of out-blossoming stars,
Creeps back repentantly upon her way
To kiss the dying Day.
Ho, come out with the wind of spring,
And step it blithely in woodlands waking;
Friend am I of each growing thing
From the gray sod into sunshine breaking;
Mine is the magic of twilights dim,
Of violets blue on the still pool's rim,
Mine is the breath of the blossoms young
Sweetest of fragrances storied or sung–
Come, ye earth-children, weary and worn,
I will lead you over the hills of morn.
Ho, come out with the summer wind,
And loiter in meadows of ripening clover,
Where the purple noons are long and kind,
And the great white clouds drift fleecily over.
Mine is immortal minstrelsy,
The fellowship of the rose and bee,
Beguiling laughter of willowed rills,
The rejoicing of pines on inland hills,
Come, ye earth-children, by dale and stream,
I will lead you into the ways of dream.
Ho, when the wind of autumn rings
Through jubilant mornings crisp and golden,
Come where the yellow woodland flings
Its hoarded wealth over by-ways olden.
Mine are the grasses frosted and sere,
That lisp and rustle around the mere,
Mine are the flying racks that dim
The lingering sunset's reddening rim,
Earth-children, come, in the waning year,
I will harp you to laughter and buoyant cheer.
Ho, when the wind of winter blows
Over the uplands and moonlit spaces,
Come ye out to the waste of snows,
To the glimmering fields and the silent places.
I whistle gaily on starry nights
Through the arch of the elfin northern lights,
But in long white valleys I pause to hark
Where the ring of the home-lights gems the dark.
Come, ye earth-children, whose hearts are sad,
I will make you valiant and strong and glad!
ABOVE the marge of night a star still shines,
And on the frosty hills the sombre pines
Harbor an eerie wind that crooneth low
Over the glimmering wastes of virgin snow.
Through the pale arch of orient the morn
Comes in a milk-white splendor newly-born,
A sword of crimson cuts in twain the gray
Banners of shadow hosts, and lo, the day!
OH, the charm of idle dreaming
Where the dappled shadows dance,
All the leafy aisles are teeming
With the lure of old romance!
Down into the forest dipping,
Deep and deeper as we go,
One might fancy dryads slipping
Where the white-stemmed birches grow.
Lurking gnome and freakish fairy
In the fern may peep and hide . . .
Sure their whispers low and airy
Ring us in on every side!
Saw you where the pines are rocking
Nymph's white shoulder as she ran?
Lo, that music faint and mocking,
Is it not a pipe of Pan?
Hear you that elusive laughter
Of the hidden waterfall?
Nay, a satyr speeding after
Far and farther as we wander
Sweeter shall our roaming be,
Come, for dim and winsome yonder
Lies the path to Arcady!
THE dark is coming o'er the world, my playmate,
And the fields where poplars stand are very still,
All our groves of green delight have been invaded,
There are voices quite unknown upon the hill;
The wind has grown too weary for a comrade,
It is keening in the rushes spent and low,
Let us join our hands and hasten very softly
To the little, olden, friendly path we know.
The stars are laughing at us, O, my playmate,
Very, very far away in lonely skies,
The trees that were our friends are strangers to us,
And the fern is full of whispers and of sighs.
The sounds we hear are not what we may share in,
We may not linger where the white moths roam,
We must hasten yet more swiftly, little playmate,
To the house among the pines that is our home.
The dark is creeping closer yet, my playmate,
And the woods seem crowding nearer as we go,
Oh, how very, very bold have grown the shadows,
They may touch us as they flutter to and fro!
The silence is too dreadful for our laughter,
The night is very full of strange alarms,
But it cannot hurt us now, O, little playmate,
One more step and we are safe in mother's arms!
Lo, it is dark,
Save for the crystal spark
Of a virgin star o'er the purpling lea,
Or the fine, keen, silvery grace of a young
Moon that is hung
O'er the priest-like firs by the sea;
Lo, it is still,
Save for the wind of the hill,
And the luring, primeval sounds that fill
The moist and scented air–
'Tis the truce o' night, away with unrest and care!
Now we may forget
Love's fever and hate's fret,
Forget to-morrow and yesterday;
And the hopes we buried in musky gloom
Will come out of their tomb,
Warm and poignant and gay;
We may wander wide,
With only a wish for a guide,
By heath and pool where the Little Folk bide,
We may share in fairy mirth,
And partake once more in the happy thoughts of earth.
Lo, we may rest
Here on her cradling breast
In the wonderful time of the truce o' night,
And sweet things that happened long ago,
Softly and slow,
Will creep back to us in delight;
And our dreams may be
Compact of young melody,
Just such as under the Eden Tree,
'Mid the seraphim's lullabies,
Eve's might have been ere banished from Paradise.
LET those who will of friendship sing,
And to its guerdon grateful be,
But I a lyric garland bring
To crown thee, O, mine enemy!
Thanks, endless thanks, to thee I owe
For that my lifelong journey through
Thine honest hate has done for me
What love perchance had failed to do.
I had not scaled such weary heights
But that I held thy scorn in fear,
And never keenest lure might match
The subtle goading of thy sneer.
Thine anger struck from me a fire
That purged all dull content away,
Our mortal strife to me has been
Unflagging spur from day to day.
And thus, while all the world may laud
The gifts of love and loyalty,
I lay my meed of gratitude
Before thy feet, mine enemy!
IT is a year dear one, since you afar
Went out beyond my yearning mortal sight–
A wondrous year! perchance in many a star
You have sojourned, or basked within the light
Of mightier suns; it may be you have trod
The glittering pathways of the Pleiades,
And through the Milky Way's white mysteries
Have walked at will, fire-shod.
You may have gazed in the immortal eyes
Of prophets and of martyrs; talked with seers
Learned in all the lore of Paradise,
The infinite wisdom of eternal years;
To you the Sons of Morning may have sung,
The impassioned strophes of their matin hymn,
For you the choirs of the seraphim
Their harpings wild out-flung.
But still I think at eve you come to me
For old, delightsome speech of eye and lip,
Deeming our mutual converse thus to be
Fairer than archangelic comradeship;
Dearer our close communings fondly given
Than all the rainbow dreams a spirit knows,
Sweeter my gathered violets than the rose
Upon the hills of heaven.
Can any exquisite, unearthly morn,
Silverly breaking o'er a starry plain,
Give to your soul the poignant pleasure born
Of virgin moon and sunset's lustrous stain
When we together watch them ? Oh, apart
A hundred universes you may roam,
But still I know–I know–your only home
Is here within my heart!
ONE said; "Lo, I would walk hand-clasped with thee
Adown the ways of joy and sunlit slopes
Of earthly song in happiest vagrancy
To pluck the blossom of a thousand hopes.
Let us together drain the wide world's cup
With gladness brimméd up!"
And one said, "I would pray to go with thee
When sorrow claims thee; I would fence thy heart
With mine against all anguish; I would be
The comforter and healer of thy smart;
And I would count it all the wide world's gain
To spare or share thy pain!"
WRAPPED was the world in slumber deep,
By seaward valley and cedarn steep,
And bright and blest were the dreams of its sleep;
All the hours of that wonderful night-tide through
The stars outblossomed in fields of blue,
A heavenly chaplet, to diadem
The King in the manger of Bethlehem.
Out on the hills the shepherds lay,
Wakeful, that never a lamb might stray,
Humble and clean of heart were they;
Thus it was given them to hear
Marvellous harpings strange and clear,
Thus it was given them to see
The heralds of the nativity.
In the dim-lit stable the mother mild
Looked with holy eyes on her child,
Cradled him close to her heart and smiled;
Kingly purple nor crown had he,
Never a trapping of royalty;
But Mary saw that the baby's head
With a slender nimbus was garlanded.
Speechless her joy as she watched him there,
Forgetful of pain and grief and care,
And every thought in her soul was a prayer;
While under the dome of the desert sky
The Kings of the East from afar drew nigh,
And the great white star that was guide to them
Kept ward o'er the manger of Bethlehem.
OUTSIDE the afterlight's lucent rose
Is smiting the hills and brimming the valleys,
And shadows are stealing across the snows;
From the mystic gloom of the pineland alleys.
Glamour of mingled night and day
Over the wide, white world has sway,
And through their prisoning azure bars,
Gaze the calm, cold eyes of the early stars.
But here, in this long, low-raftered room,
Where the blood-red light is crouching and leaping,
The fire that colors the heart of the gloom
The lost sunshine of old summers is keeping–
The wealth of forests that held in fee
Many a season's rare alchemy,
And the glow and gladness without a name
That dwells in the deeps of unstinted flame.
Gather we now round the opulent blaze
With the face that loves and the heart that rejoices,
Dream we once more of the old-time days,
Listen once more to the old-time voices!
From the clutch of the cities and paths of the sea
We have come again to our own roof-tree,
And forgetting the loves of the stranger lands
We yearn for the clasp of our kindred's hands.
There are tales to tell, there are tears to shed,
There are children's flower-faces and women's sweet laughter;
There's a chair left vacant for one who is dead
Where the firelight crimsons the ancient rafter;
What reck we of the world that waits
With care and clamor beyond our gates,
We, with our own, in this witching light,
Who keep our tryst with the past tonight?
Ho! how the elf-flames laugh in glee!
Closer yet let us draw together,
Holding our revel of memory
In the guiling twilight of winter weather;
Out on the waste the wind is chill,
And the moon swings low o'er the western hill,
But old hates die and old loves burn higher
With the wane and flash of the farmhouse fire.
WHEN I am dead
I would that ye make my bed
On that low-lying, windy waste by the sea,
Where the silvery grasses rustle and lisp;
There, where the crisp
Foam-flakes shall fly over me,
And murmurs creep
From the ancient heart of the deep,
Lulling me ever, I shall most sweetly sleep.
While the eerie sea-folk croon
On the long dim shore by the light of a waning moon.
I shall not hear
Clamor of young life anear,
Voices of gladness to stir an unrest;
Only the wandering mists of the sea
Shall companion me;
Only the wind in its quest
Shall come where I lie,
Or the rain from the brooding sky
With furtive footstep shall pass me by,
And never a dream of the earth
Shall break on my slumber with lure of an out-lived mirth.
A WIDE-SPRING meadow in a rosy dawn
Bedropt with virgin buds; an orient sky
Fleeced with a dappled cloud but half withdrawn;
A mad wind blowing by,
O'er slopes of rippling grass and glens apart;
A brackened path to a wild-woodland place
A limpid pool with a fair, laughing face
Mirrored within its heart.
An ancient garden brimmed with summer sun
Upon a still and slumberous afternoon;
Old walks and pleasances with shadows spun
Where honeyed odors swoon;
A velvet turf with blossoms garlanded;
A hedge of Mary-lilies white and tall;
And, shining out against a lichened wall,
A stately-golden head.
An autumn hilltop in the sunset hue,
Pine boughs uptossed against the crystal west,
And, girdled with the twilight dim and blue,
A valley peace-possessed;
A high-sprung heaven stained with colors rare,
A sheen of moonrise on the sea afar,
And, bright and soft as any glimmering star,
Eyes holy as a prayer.
DOWN home to-night the moonshine falls
Across a hill with daisies pied,
The pear tree by the garden gate
Beckons with white arms like a bride.
A savor as of trampled fern
Along the whispering meadow stirs,
And, beacon of immortal love,
A light is shining through the firs.
To my old gable window creeps
The night wind with a sigh and song,
And, weaving ancient sorceries,
Thereto the gleeful moonbeams throng
Beside the open kitchen door
My mother stands all lovingly,
And o'er the pathways of the dark
She sends a yearning thought to me.
It seeks and finds my answering heart
Which shall no more be peace-possessed
Until I reach her empty arms
And lay my head upon her breast.
LIFE, come to me in no pale guise and ashen,
I care not for thee in such placid fashion!
I would share widely, Life,
In all thy joy and strife,
Would sound thy deeps and reach thy highest passion,
With thy delight and with thy suffering rife.
Whether I bide with thee in cot or palace,
I would drink deeply, Life, of thy great chalice,
Even to its bitter lees–
Yea, shrinking not from these,
Since out of bitterness come strength and solace
And wisdom is not won in slumberous ease.
Wan peace, uncolored days, were a poor favor;
To lack great pain and love were to lack savor.
Life, take the heart of me
And fill it brimmingly,
No matter with what poignant brew or flavor,
So that it may not shrunk and empty be.
Yea, Life, thus would I live, nor play at living,
The best of me for thy best gladly giving,
With an unfaltering cheer,
Greeting thee year by year,
Even in thy dourest mood some good achieving,
Until I read thy deep-hid meaning clear.
THE scent of the earth is moist and good
In the dewy shade
Of the tall, dark poplars whose slender tops
Against the sunset bloom are laid,
And a robin is whistling in the copse
By the dim spruce wood.
The west wind blowing o'er branch and flower
Out of the wold,
Steals through the honeysuckle bower
And bears away on its airy wings
Odors that breath of paradise;
Dim are the poppies' splendid dyes,
But many a pallid primrose swings
Its lamp of gold.
A white moth flits from tree to tree
Like a wandering soul;
Deep in the lily a muffled boom
Tells of a honey-drunken bee
Wildered with sweets in that ivory bowl;
Many a subtle melody,
Many a rare sound all unknown
To the lusty daylight's fuller tone
Threads with its magic this hush and gloom.
Many a dear thought deep in the heart,
Many a memory, dulcet and fine,
Wakes as we walk in the garden to-night,
In this soft kissing of dark and light,
When the world has drawn itself apart
From our spirit's shrine.
MY friend has gone away from me
From shadow into perfect light,
But leaving a sweet legacy.
My heart shall hold it long in fee–
A grand ideal, calm and bright,
A song of hope for ministry,
A faith of unstained purity,
A thought of beauty for delight–
These did my friend bequeath to me;
And, more than even these can be,
The worthy pattern of a white,
Unmarred life lived most graciously.
Dear comrade, loyal thanks to thee
Who now hath fared beyond my sight,
My friend has gone away from me,
But leaving a sweet legacy.
I THANK thee, friend, for the beautiful thought
That in words well chosen thou gavest to me,
Deep in the life of my soul it has wrought
With its own rare essence to ever imbue me,
To gleam like a star over devious ways,
To bloom like a flower on the drearest days–
Better such gift from thee to me
Than gold of the hills or pearls of the sea.
For the luster of jewels and gold may depart,
And they have in them no life of the giver,
But this gracious gift from thy heart to my heart
Shall witness to me of thy love forever;
Yea, it shall always abide with me
As a part of my immortality;
For a beautiful thought is a thing divine,
So I thank thee, oh, friend, for this gift of thine.
SURELY the flowers of a hundred springs
Are simply the souls of beautiful things!
The poppies aflame with gold and red
Were the kisses of lovers in days that are fled.
The purple pansies with dew-drops pearled
Were the rainbow dreams of a youngling world.
The lily, white as a star apart,
Was the first pure prayer of a virgin heart.
The daisies that dance and twinkle so
Were the laughter of children in long ago.
The sweetness of all true friendship yet
Lives in the breath of the mignonette.
To the white narcissus there must belong
The very delight of a maiden's song.
And the rose, all flowers of the earth above,
Was a perfect, rapturous thought of love.
Oh! surely the blossoms of all the springs
Must be the souls of beautiful things.
WE were out on the hills that night
To watch our sheep;
Drowsily by the fire we lay
Where the waning flame did flicker and leap,
And some were weary and half asleep,
And some talked low of their flocks and the fright
Of a lion that day.
But I had drawn from the others apart;
I was only a lad,
And the night's great silence so filled my heart
That I dared not talk and I dared not jest;
The moon had gone down behind the hill
And even the wind of the desert was still;
As the touch of death the air was cold,
And the world seemed all outworn and old;
Yet a poignant delight in my soul was guest,
And I could not be sad.
Still were my thoughts the thoughts of youth
Under the skies:
I dreamed of the holy and tender truth
That shone for me in my mother's eyes;
Of my little sister's innocent grace,
And the mirthful lure in the olive face
Of a maid I had seen at the well that day,
Singing low as I passed that way,
And so sweet and wild were the notes of her song,
That I listened long.
Was it the dawn that silvered and broke
Over the hill?
Each at the other looked in amaze,
And never a breathless word we spoke.
Fast into rose and daffodil
Deepened that splendor; athwart its blaze
That pierced like a sword the gulf of night
We saw a form that was shaped of the light,
And we veiled our faces in awe and dread
To hearken the tidings the Bright One told–
Oh! wonderful were the words he said–
Of a Child in Bethlehem's manger old.
The stars were drowned in that orient glow;
The sky was abloom like a meadow in spring;
But each blossom there was a radiant face
And each flash of glory a shining wing;
They harped of peace and great good will,
And such was their music that well I know
There can never again in my soul be space
For a sound of ill.
The light died out as the sunset dies
In the western skies;
Swift went we to the Bethlehem khan,
Many our questions laughed to scorn,
But one, a gray and wrinkled man,
With strange, deep eyes that searched the heart,
Led us down to the child new-born
In a dim-lighted cave apart.
There on the straw the mother lay
Wan and white,
But her look was so holy and rapt and mild
That it seemed to shed a marvellous light,
Faint as the first rare gleam of day,
Around the child.
It was as other children are
Saving for something in the eyes,
Starlike and clear and strangely wise–
Then came a sudden thought to me
Of a lamb I had found on the waste afar;
Lost and sick with hunger and cold,
I had brought it back in my arms to the fold
For tender ministry.
Dawn had flooded the east as a wave
When we left the cave;
All the world suddenly seemed to be
Young and pure and joyous again;
The others lingered to talk with the men,
Full of wonder and rapture still;
But I hastened back to the fold on the hill
To tend the lamb that had need of me.
IF Mary had known
When she held her Babe's hands in her own–
Little hands that were tender and white as a rose,
All dented with dimples from finger to wrist,
Such as mothers have kissed–
That one day they must feel the fierce blows
Of a hatred insane,
Must redden with holiest stain,
And grasp as their guerdon the boon of the bitterest pain,
Oh, I think that her sweet, brooding face
Must have blanched with its anguish of knowledge above her embrace.
But–if Mary had known,
As she held her Babe's hands in her own,
What a treasure of gifts to the world they would bring;
What healing and hope to the hearts that must ache,
And without him must break;
Had she known they would pluck forth death's sting
And set open the door
Of the close, jealous grave evermore,
Making free who were captives in sorrow and darkness before,
Oh, I think that a gracious sunrise
Of rapture had broken across the despair of her eyes!
If Mary had known
As she sat with her baby alone,
And guided so gently his bare little feet
To take their first steps from the throne of her knee,
How weary must be
The path that for them should be meet;
And how it must lead
To the cross of humanity's need,
Giving hissing and shame, giving blame and reproach for its meed,
Oh, I think that her tears would have dewed
Those dear feet that must walk such a hard, starless way to the Rood!
But–if Mary had known,
As she sat with her Baby alone,
On what errands of mercy and peace they would go,
How those footsteps would ring through the years of all time
With an echo sublime,
Making holy the land of their woe,
That the pathway they trod
Would guide the world back to its God,
And lead ever upward away from the grasp of the clod,
She had surely forgot to be sad
And only remembered to be most immortally glad!
If Mary had known,
As she held him so closely, her own,
Cradling his shining, fair head on her breast,
Sunned over with ringlets as bright as the morn,
That a garland of thorn
On that tender brow would be pressed
Till the red drops would fall
Into eyes that looked out upon all,
Abrim with a pity divine over clamor and brawl,
Oh, I think that her lullaby song
Would have died on her lips into wailing impassioned and long!
But–if Mary had known,
As she held him so closely, her own,
That over the darkness and pain he would be
The Conqueror hailed in all oncoming days,
The world's hope and praise,
And the garland of thorn,
The symbol of mocking and scorn
Would be a victorious diadem royally worn,
Oh, I think that ineffable joy
Must have flooded her soul as she bent o'er her wonderful Boy!
("Searching the pile of corpses the victors found four Frenchmen still breathing. Three had scarcely a spark of life . . . the fourth seemed likely to survive and they reserved him for future torments."
A PRISONER under the stars I lie,
With no friend near;
To-morrow they lead me forth to die,
The stake is ready, the torments set,
They will pay in full their deadly debt;
But I fear them not! Oh, none could fear
Of those who stood by Daulac's side–
While he prayed and laughed and sang and fought
In the very reek of death–and caught
The martyr passion that flamed from his face
As he died!
Where he led us we followed glad,
For we loved him well;
Some there were that held him mad,
But we knew that a heavenly rage had place
In that dauntless soul; the good God spake
To us through him; we had naught to do
Save only obey; and when his eyes
Flashed and kindled like storm-swept skies,
And his voice like a trumpet thrilled us through,
We would have marched with delight for his sake
To the jaws of hell.
The mists hung blue and still on the stream
At the marge of dawn;
The rapids laughed till we saw their teeth
Like a snarling wolf's fangs glisten and gleam;
Sweetly the pine trees underneath
The shadows slept in the moonlight wan;
Sweetly beneath the steps of the spring
The great, grim forest was blossoming;
And we fought, that springs for other men
Might blossom again.
Faint, thirst-maddened we prayed and fought
By night and by day;
Eyes glared at us with serpent hate–
Yet sometimes a hush fell, and then we heard naught
Save the wind's shrill harping far away,
The piping of birds, and the softened calls
Of the merry, distant water-falls;
Then of other scenes we thought–
Of valleys beloved in sunny France,
Purple vineyards of song and dance,
Hopes and visions roseate;
Of many a holy festal morn,
And many a dream at vesper bell–
But anon the shuddering air was torn
By noises such as the fiends of hell
Might make in holding high holiday!
Once, so bitter the death-storm hailed,
We shrank and quailed.
Daulac sprang out before us then,
Shamed in our fears;
Glorious was his face to see,
The face of one who listens and hears
Voices unearthly, summonings high–
Rang his tone like a clarion, "Men,
See yonder star in the golden sky,
Such a man's duty is to him,
A beacon that will not flicker nor dim,
Shining through darkness and despair.
Almost the martyr's crown is yours!
Thinking the price too high to be paid,
Will you leave the sacrifice half made?
I tell you God will answer the prayer
Of the soul that endures!
"Comrades, far in the future I see
A mighty land;
Throned among the nations of earth,
Noble and happy, calm and free;
As a veil were lifted I see her stand,
And out of that future a voice to me
Promises that our names shall shine
On the page of her story with lustre divine
Impelling to visions and deeds of worth.
"Ever thus since the world was begun,
When a man hath given up his life,
Safety and freedom have been won
By the holy power of self-sacrifice;
For the memory of your mother's kiss
Valiantly stand to the breach again.
Comrades, blench not now from the strife,
Quit you like men!"
Oh, we rushed to meet at our captain's side
Death as a bride!
All our brave striplings bravely fell.
I, less fortunate, slowly came
Back from that din of shot and yell
Slowly and gaspingly, to know
A harder fate reserved for me
Than that brief, splendid agony.
Through many a bitter pang and throe
My spirit must to-morrow go
To seek my comrades; but I bear
The tidings that our desperate stand
By the Long Sault has saved our land,
And God has answered Daulac's prayer.
WE told her that her far off shore was bleak and dour to view,
And that her sky was dull and mirk while ours was smiling blue.
She only sighed in answer, "It is even as ye say,
But oh, the ragged splendor when the sun bursts through the gray!"
We brought her dew-wet roses from our fairest summer bowers,
We bade her drink their fragrance, we heaped her lap with flowers;
She only said, with eyes that yearned, "Oh, if ye might have brought
The pale, unscented blossoms by my father's lowly cot!"
We bade her listen to the birds that sang so madly sweet,
The lyric of the laughing stream that dimpled at our feet;
"But, O," she cried, "I weary for the music wild that stirs
When keens the mournful western wind among my native firs!"
We told her she had faithful friends and loyal hearts anear,
We prayed her take the fresher loves, we prayed her be of cheer;
"Oh, ye are kind and true," she wept, "but woe's me for the grace
Of tenderness that shines upon my mother's wrinkled face !"
THE poet sang of a battle-field
Where doughty deeds were done,
Where stout blows rang on helm and shield
And a kingdom's fate was spun
With the scarlet thread of victory,
And honor from death's grim revelry
Like a flame-red flower was won!
So bravely he sang that all who heard
With the sting of the fight and the triumph were stirred,
And they cried, "Let us blazon his name on high,
He has sung a song that will never die!"
Again, full throated, he sang of fame
And ambition's honeyed lure,
Of the chaplet that garlands a mighty name,
Till his listeners fired with the god-like flame
To do, to dare, to endure!
The thirsty lips of the world were fain
The cup of glamor he vaunted to drain,
And the people murmured as he went by,
"He has sung a song that will never die !"
And once more he sang, all low and apart,
A song of the love that was born in his heart:
Thinking to voice in unfettered strain
Its sweet delight and its sweeter pain;
Nothing he cared what the throngs might say
Who passed him unheeding from day to day,
For he only longed with his melodies
The soul of the one beloved to please.
The song of war that he sang is as naught,
For the field and its heroes are long forgot,
And the song he sang of fame and power
Was never remembered beyond its hour!
Only to-day his name is known
By the song he sang apart and alone,
And the great world pauses with joy to hear
The notes that were strung for a lover's ear.
SHUT from the clamor of the street
By an old wall with lichen grown,
It holds apart from jar and fret
A peace and beauty all its own.
The freshness of the springtime rains
And dews of morning linger here;
It holds the glow of summer noons
And ripest twilights of the year.
Above its bloom the evening stars
Look down at closing of the day,
And in its sweet and shady walks
Winds spent with roaming love to stray,
Upgathering to themselves the breath
Of wide-blown roses white and red,
The spice of musk and lavender
Along its winding alleys shed.
Outside are shadeless, troubled streets
And souls that quest for gold and gain,
Lips that have long forgot to smile
And hearts that burn and ache with pain.
But here is all the sweet of dreams,
The grace of prayer, the boon of rest,
The spirit of old songs and loves
Dwells in this garden blossom-blest.
Here would I linger for a space,
And walk herein with memory;
The world will pass me as it may
And hope will minister to me.
I SOUGHT for my happiness over the world,
Oh, eager and far was my quest;
I sought it on mountain and desert and sea,
I asked it of east and of west.
I sought it in beautiful cities of men,
On shores that were sunny and blue,
And laughter and lyric and pleasure were mine
In palaces wondrous to view;
Oh, the world gave me much to my plea and my prayer
But never I found aught of happiness there!
Then I took my way back to a valley of old
And a little brown house by a rill,
Where the winds piped all day in the sentinel firs
That guarded the crest of the hill;
I went by the path that my childhood had known
Through the bracken and up by the glen,
And I paused at the gate of the garden to drink
The scent of sweet-briar again;
The homelight shone out through the dusk as of yore
And happiness waited for me at the door!
IT came to him in rainbow dreams,
Blent with the wisdom of the sages,
Of spirit and of passion born;
In words as lucent as the morn
He prisoned it, and now it gleams
A jewel shining through the ages.
MOTHER of her who is close to my heart
Cease to chide!
For no small thing must I wander afar
From the tender arms and lips of my bride–
My love with eyes like the glowing star
In the twilight sky apart.
Coulds't thou have seen Him standing there
Ere the day was born,
With the mild high look that was like a prayer,
Thou woulds't not marvel that I must leave all
I hold most dear to answer the call
Of that wonderful morn.
We were casting our nets in the sea,
Andrew and I;
Over the mountains a young wind came
To kiss the waters of Galilee,
And in the calm blue northern sky
The gleaming crest of old Hermon rose
Girt with its diadem of snows,
And the east was smit with flame.
All our thoughts were simple and glad
As toilers' should be;
Andrew, that careless, dark-eyed lad
Sang a song right merrily,
Joyous of melody and word,
As he worked with oar and net and sail,
But I dreamed of the face that would blush and pale
When my step should be heard!
Then, as we lifted heedless eyes,
We saw Him there,
Where the silver waters curled on the shore;
Behind Him the radiance of the skies
Shining over His long, fair hair
Wreathed it as with a crown of light;
And oh, the grandeur and the grace
Of that pale and kingly face–
We were weary and hungered with toil of the night
But we thought not of it more!,
He looked upon us with eyes that must see
Far in our hearts past mortal ken;
All the delights of the world grew dim–
Sweeter is seemed to suffer pain
And wander, outcast of men with Him,
Than share in another's joy and gain;
Spake He thus royally, "Come with me;
I will make you fishers of men."
Mother of her who weeps at my side
Cease to chide!
Thou knowest not how that one word rings
Ever by day and by night in my ear,
I cannot hearken to olden things
I cannot listen to hope or fear;
Mother of her who is dearest of all,
I must follow the Nazarene's call!
COME back to me, little dancing feet that roam the wide world o'er,
I long for the lilt of your flying steps in my silent rooms once more;
Come back to me, little voices gay with laughter and with song,
Come back, little hearts beating high with hopes, I have missed and mourned you long.
My roses bloom in my garden walks all sweet and wet with the dew,
My lights shine down on the long hill road the waning twilights through,
The swallows flutter about my eaves as in the years of old,
And close about me their steadfast arms the lisping pine trees fold.
But I weary for you at morn and eve, O, children of my love,
Come back to me from your pilgrim ways, from the seas and plains ye rove,
Come over the meadows and up the lane to my door set open wide,
And sit ye down where the red light shines from my welcoming fireside.
I keep for you all your childhood dreams, your gladness and delights,
The joy of days in the sun and rain, the sleep of carefree nights,
All the sweet faiths ye have lost and sought again shall be your own,
Darlings, come to my empty heart–I am old and still and alone!
A HUNDRED generations have gone into its making,
With all their love and tenderness, with all their dreams and tears;
Their vanished joy and pleasure, their pain and their heart-breaking,
Have colored this rare blossom of the long-unfruitful years.
Their victory and their laughter for this have strong men given,
For this have sweet, dead women paid in patience which survives–
That a great soul might bring the world, as from the gate of heaven,
All that was rich and beautiful in those forgotten lives.
BELOVED, this the heart I offer thee
Is purified from old idolatry,
From outworn hopes, and from the lingering stain
Of passion's dregs, by penitential pain.
Take thou it, then, and fill it up for me
With thine unstinted love, and it shall be
An earthy chalice that is made divine
By its red draught of sacramental wine.
I LASH and writhe against my prison bars,
And watch with sullen eyes the gaping crowd . .
Give me my freedom and the burning stars,
The hollow sky, and crags of moonlit cloud!
Once I might range across the trackless plain,
And roar with joy, until the desert air
And wide horizons echoed it amain:
I feared no foe, for I was monarch there!
I saw my shadow on the parching sand,
When the hot sun had kissed the mountain's rim;
And when the moon rose o'er long wastes of land,
I sought my prey by some still river's brim;
And with me my fierce love, my tawny mate,
Meet mother of strong cubs, meet lion's bride . .
We made our lair in regions desolate,
The solitude of wildernesses wide.
They slew her . . . and I watched the life-blood flow
From her torn flank, and her proud eyes grow dim:
I howled her dirge above her while the low,
Red moon clomb up the black horizon's rim.
Me, they entrapped . . . cowards! They did not dare
To fight. as brave men do, without disguise,
And face my unleashed rage! The hidden snare
Was their device to win an untamed prize.
I am a captive . . . not for me the vast,
White dome of sky above the blinding sand,
The sweeping rapture of the desert blast
Across long ranges of untrodden land!
Yet still they fetter not my thought! In dreams
I, desert-born, tread the hot wastes once more,
Quench my deep thirst in cool, untainted streams,
And shake the darkness with my kingly roar!
I WALKED to-day, but not alone,
Adown a windy, sea-girt lea,
For memory, spendthrift of her charm,
Peopled the silent lands for me.
The faces of old comradeship
In golden youth were round my way,
And in the keening wind I heard
The songs of many an orient day.
And to me called, from out the pines
And woven grasses, voices dear,
As if from elfin lips should fall
The mimicked tones of yesteryear.
Old laughter echoed o'er the leas
And love-lipped dreams the past had kept,
From wayside blooms like honeyed bees
To company my wanderings crept.
And so I walked, but not alone,
Right glad companionship had I,
On that gray meadow waste between
Dim-litten sea and winnowed sky.
ONLY a long, low-lying lane
That follows to the misty sea,
Across a bare and russet plain
Where wild winds whistle vagrantly;
I know that many a fairer path
With lure of song and bloom may woo,
But oh ! I love this lonely strath
Because it is so full of you.
Here we have walked in elder years,
And here your truest memories wait,
This spot is sacred to your tears,
That to your laughter dedicate;
Here, by this turn, you gave to me
A gem of thought that glitters yet,
This tawny slope is graciously
By a remembered smile beset.
Here once you lingered on an hour
When stars were shining in the west,
To gather one pale, scented flower
And place it smiling on your breast;
And since that eve its fragrance blows
For me across the grasses sere,
Far sweeter than the latest rose,
That faded bloom of yesteryear.
For me the sky, the sea, the wold,
Have beckoning visions wild and fair,
The mystery of a tale untold,
The grace of an unuttered prayer.
Let others choose the fairer path
That winds the dimpling valley through,
I gladly seek this lonely strath
Companioned by my dreams of you.
I LIKE to think of the many words
The Master in his early days
Must have spoken to them of Nazareth–
Words not freighted with life and death,
Piercing through soul and heart like swords.
But gracious greeting and grateful phrase,
The simple speech
That plain folk utter each to each.
Ere over him too darkly lay
The prophet shadow of Calvary,
I think he talked in very truth
With the innocent gayety of youth,
Laughing upon some festal day,
Gently, with sinless boyhood's glee.
I think if he had ever said
To a mother apart,
Cradling her baby's shining head,
"Thy man-child is strong of limb and heart,"
She must have been from that gladsome day
Thrilled with enduring pride alway,
Fearless of any future dread,
Knowing the son upon her knee
Worthy her pain and love would be.
Or if by the dusty wayside well,
From the glare and heat
Of the burning noon a wayfarer sought
A moment's rest where the palm shade fell,
And he said to him, "The day is hot,
And your road is rough for wandering feet,"
Then I think on his way the pilgrim went
As one who has shared in a sacrament,
Feeling no longer on him press
The burden of his weariness.
If he said to a maid, "The sunset lies
Redly on Nazareth hills to-night,"
Each sunset of her life would bring
A benedictive memory
Of his haunting face and holy eyes;
Or if to a bridegroom thus in spring,
"The wife of thy youth is fair and wise,"
So would she ever have seemed to be
In her husband's sight.
If he but bade a passing guest
His meal to share,
Would not the one so honored deem
Himself of all most highly blessed,
The food he ate heaven's manna rare?
Or when he to a friend addressed
A word of thanks for service done,
Or homely, familiar favor, none
Of richer recompense could dream.
No evangelist's golden pen
Wrote them for us–
The words of the Master to those he might meet
By the carpenter's bench or in Nazareth street–
But in them I think there well might be–
It is surely sweet to fancy thus–
All of the benediction for men
All of the tender humanity,
That leaven the words of his later age
On the holy page.
WITH tears they buried you to-day,
But well I knew no turf could hold
Your gladness long beneath the mould,
Or cramp your laughter in the clay;
I smiled while others wept for you
Because I knew.
And now you sit with me to-night
Here in our old, accustomed place;
Tender and mirthful is your face,
Your eyes with starry joy are bright–
Oh, you are merry as a song
For love is strong!
They think of you as lying there
Down in the churchyard grim and old;
They think of you as mute and cold,
A wan, white thing that once was fair,
With dim, sealed eyes that never may
Look on the day.
But love cannot be coffined so
In clod and darkness; it must rise
And seek its own in radiant guise,
With immortality aglow,
Making of death's triumphant sting
A little thing.
Ay, we shall laugh at those who deem
Our hearts are sundered! Listen, sweet,
The tripping of the wind's swift feet
Along the by-ways of our dream,
And hark the whisper of the rose
Wilding that blows.
Oh, still you love those simple things,
And still you love them more with me;
The grave has won no victory;
It could not clasp your shining wings,
It could not keep you from my side,
Dear and my bride!
A pussy-cat who was the household pet for seventeen years.
NAUGHT but a little cat, you say;
Yet we remember her,
A creature loving, loyal, kind,
With merry, mellow purr;
The faithful friend of many years,
Shall we not give her meed of tears?
Sleek-suited in her velvet coat,
White-breasted and bright-eyed,
Feeling when she was praised and stroked
A very human pride;
A quiet nook was sure to please
Where she might take her cushioned ease.
Little gray friend, we shall not feel
Ashamed to grieve for you;
Many we know of human-kind
Are not so fond and true;
Dear puss, in all the years to be
We'll keep your memory loyally.
I SMILED with skeptic mocking where they told me you were dead,
You of the airy laughter and lightly twinkling feet;
"They tell a dream that haunted a chill gray dawn," I said,
"Death could not touch or claim a thing so vivid and so sweet!"
I looked upon you coffined amid your virgin flowers,
But even that white silence could bring me no belief:
"She lies in maiden sleep," I said. "and in the youngling hours
Her sealed dark eyes will open to scorn our foolish grief."
But when I went at moonrise to our ancient trysting place. . . . .
And, oh, the wind was keening in the fir-boughs overhead! . . . .
And you came never to me with your little gypsy face,
Your lips and hands of welcome, I knew that you were dead!
FROSTY-WHITE and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.
But the sunsets o'er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.
Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.
Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses' hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquilly
Dreams of happy hours to be–
In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.
WHEN we were together, heart of my heart, on that unforgotten quest,
With your tender arm about me thrown and your head upon my breast,
There came a grief that was bitter and deep and straitly dwell with me,
And I shunned it not, so sweet it was to suffer and be with thee.
And now when no more against mine own is beating thine eager heart,
When thine eyes are turned from the glance of mine and our ways are far apart,
A dear and long-sought joy has come my constant guest to be,
And I love it not, so bitter it is, unfelt, unshared, by thee.
THERE was strength in him and the weak won freely from it,
There was an infinite pity, and hard hearts grew soft thereby,
There was truth so unshrinking and starry-shining,
Men read clear by its light and learned to scorn a lie.
His were songs so full of a wholesome laughter
Those whose courage was ashen found it once more aflame,
His was a child-like faith and wandering feet were guided,
His was a hope so joyous despair was put to shame.
His was the delicate insight and his the poignant vision
Whereby the world might learn what wine-lipped roses know,
What a drift of rain might lisp on a gray sea-dawning,
Or a pale spring of the woodland babble low.
He builded a castle of dream and a palace of rainbow fancy,
And the starved souls of his fellows lived in them and grew glad;–
And yet–there were those who mocked the gifts of his generous giving,
And some–but he smiled and forgave them–who deemed him wholly mad!
HERE I lean over you, small son, sleeping
Warm in my arms,
And I con to my heart all your dew-fresh charms,
As you lie close, close in my hungry hold . . .
Your hair like a miser's dream of gold,
And the white rose of your face far fairer,
Finer, and rarer
Than all the flowers in the young year's keeping;
Over lips half parted your low breath creeping
Is sweeter than violets in April grasses;
Though your eyes are fast shut I can see their blue,
Splendid and soft as starshine in heaven,
With all the joyance and wisdom given
From the many souls who have stanchly striven
Through the dead years to be strong and true.
Those fine little feet in my worn hands holden . . .
Where will they tread ?
Valleys of shadow or heights dawn-red?
And those silken fingers, O, wee, white son,
What valorous deeds shall by them be done
In the future that yet so distant is seeming
To my fond dreaming?
What words all so musical and golden
With starry truth and poesy olden
Shall those lips speak in the years on-coming?
O, child of mine, with waxen brow,
Surely your words of that dim to-morrow
Rapture and power and grace must borrow
From the poignant love and holy sorrow
Of the heart that shrines and cradles you now!
Some bitter day you will love another,
To her will bear
Love-gifts and woo her . . . then must I share
You and your tenderness! Now you are mine
From your feet to your hair so golden and fine,
And your crumpled finger-tips . . . mine completely,
Wholly and sweetly;
Mine with kisses deep to smother,
No one so near to you now as your mother!
Others may hear your words of beauty,
But your precious silence is mine alone;
Here in my arms I have enrolled you,
Away from the grasping world I fold you,
Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone!
"Hate is only Love that has missed its way."
HAD it been when I came to the valley where the paths parted asunder,
Chance had led my feet to the way of love, not hate,
I might have cherished you well, have been to you fond and faithful,
Great as my hatred is, so might my love have been great.
Each cold word of mine might have been a kiss impassioned,
Warm with the throb of my heart, thrilled with my pulse's leap,
And every glance of scorn, lashing, pursuing, and stinging,
As a look of tenderness would have been wondrous and deep.
Bitter our hatred is, old and strong and unchanging,
Twined with the fibres of life, blent with body and soul,
But as its bitterness, so might have been our love's sweetness
Had it not missed the way–strange missing and sad!–to its goal.
COME, let us to the sunways of the west,
Hasten, while crystal dews the rose-cups fill,
Let us dream dreams again in our blithe quest
O'er whispering wold and hill.
Castles of air yon wimpling valleys keep
Where milk-white mist steals from the purpling sea,
They shall be ours in the moon's wizardry,
While the fates, wearied, sleep.
The viewless spirit of the wind will sing
In the soft starshine by the reedy mere,
The elfin harps of hemlock boughs will ring
Fitfully far and near;
The fields will yield their trove of spice and musk,
And balsam from the glens of pine will fall,
Till twilight weaves its tangled shadows all
In one dim web of dusk.
Let us put tears and memories away,
While the fates sleep time stops for revelry;
Let us look, speak, and kiss as if no day
Has been or yet will be;
Let us make friends with laughter 'neath the moon,
With music on the immemorial shore,
Yea, let us dance as lovers danced of yore–
The fates will waken soon!
HE rides away with sword and spur,
Garbed in his warlike blazonry,
With gallant glance and smile for her
Upon the dim-lit balcony.
Her kiss upon his lips is warm,
Upon his breast he wears her rose,
From her fond arms to stress and storm
Of many a bannered field he goes.
He dreams of danger, glory, strife,
His voice is blithe, his hand is strong,
He rides perchance to death from life
And leaves his lady with a song;
But her blue-brimmed eyes are dim
With her deep anguish standing there,
Sending across the world with him
The dear, white guerdon of her prayer.
For her the lonely vigil waits
When ashen dawnlights come and go,
Each bringing through the future's gates
Its presages of fear and woe;
For her the watch with soul and heart
Grown sick with dread, as women may,
Yet keeping still her pain apart
From the wan duties of the day.
'Tis hers to walk when sunsets yield
Their painted splendors to the skies,
And dream on some far battlefield
Perchance alone, unwatched, he dies;
'Tis hers to kneel in patient prayer
When midnight stars keep sentinel,
Lest the chill death-dews damp the hair
Upon the brow she loves so well.
So stands she, white and sad and sweet,
Upon the latticed balcony,
From golden hair to slender feet
No lady is so fair as she;
He loves her true, he holds her dear,
But he must ride on dangerous quest,
With gallant glance and smile of cheer,
And her red rose upon his breast.
MAKE it where the winds may sweep
Through the pine boughs soft and deep,
And the murmur of the sea
Come across the orient lea,
And the falling raindrops sing
Gently to his slumbering.
Make it where the meadows wide
Greenly lie on every side,
Harvest fields he reaped and trod,
Westering slopes of clover sod,
Orchard lands where bloom and blow
Trees he planted long ago.
Make it where the starshine dim
May be always close to him,
And the sunrise glory spread
Lavishly around his bed.
And the dewy grasses creep
Tenderly above his sleep.
Since these things to him were dear
Through full many a well-spent year,
It is surely meet their grace
Should be on his resting-place,
And the murmur of the sea
Be his dirge eternally.
WITH YOU I shall ever be;
Over land and sea
My thoughts will companion you;
With yours shall my laughter chime,
And my step keep time
In the dusk and dew
With yours in blithesome rhyme;
In all of your joy shall I rejoice,
On my lips your sorrow shall find a voice,
And when your tears in bitterness fall
Mine shall mingle with them all;
With you in waking and dream I shall be,
In the place of shadow and memory,
Under young springtime moons,
And on harvest noons,
And when the stars are withdrawn
From the white pathway of the dawn.
O, my friend, nothing shall ever part
My soul from yours, yours from my heart!
I am yours and you mine, in silence and in speech,
Death will only seal us each to each.
Through the darkness we shall fare with fearless jest,
Starward we shall go on a joyous new quest;
There be many worlds, as we shall prove,
Many suns and systems, but only one love!
Now at our casement the wind is shrilling,
Poignant and keen
And all the great boughs of the pines between
It is harping a lone and hungering strain
To the eldritch weeping of the rain;
And then to the wild, wet valley flying
It is seeking, sighing,
Something lost in the summer olden.
When night was silver and day was golden;
But out on the shore the waves are moaning
With ancient and never fulfilled desire,
And the spirits of all the empty spaces,
Of all the dark and haunted places,
With the rain and the wind on their death-white faces,
Come to the lure of our leaping fire.
But we bar them out with this rose-red splendor
From our blithe domain,
And drown the whimper of wind and rain
With undaunted laughter, echoing long,
Cheery old tale and gay old song;
Ours is the joyance of ripe fruition,
Ours is the treasure of tested loving,
Friendship that needs no further proving;
No more of springtime hopes, sweet and uncertain,
Here we have largess of summer in fee–
Pile high the logs till the flame be leaping,
At bay the chill of the autumn keeping,
While pilgrim-wise, we may go a-reaping
In the fairest meadow of memory!
Warwick Bro's & Rutter, Limited, Printers and Bookbinders, Toronto, Canada.
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