>> / William Cullen Bryant

. . Poems William Cullen Bryant

. . Poems William Cullen Bryant.

 

/ William Cullen Bryant, (3 1794 12 1878)

 

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No Man Knoweth his Sepulchre

When he, who, from the scourge of wrong,
Aroused the Hebrew tribes to fly,
Saw the fair region, promised long,
And bowed him on the hills to die;

God made his grave, to men unknown,
Where Moab's rocks a vale infold,
And laid the aged seer alone
To slumber while the world grows old.

Thus still, whene'er the good and just
Close the dim eye on life and pain,
Heaven watches o'er their sleeping dust
Till the pure spirit comes again.

Though nameless, trampled, and forgot,
His servant's humble ashes lie,
Yet God has marked and sealed the spot,
To call its inmate to the sky.

 

Noon

'Tis noon. At noon the Hebrew bowed the knee
And worshipped, while the husbandmen withdrew
From the scorched field, and the wayfaring man
Grew faint, and turned aside by bubbling fount,
Or rested in the shadow of the palm.

I, too, amid the overflow of day,
Behold the power which wields and cherishes
The frame of Nature. From this brow of rock
That overlooks the Hudson's western marge,
I gaze upon the long array of groves,
The piles and gulfs of verdure drinking in
The grateful heats. They love the fiery sun;
Their broadening leaves grow glossier, and their sprays
Climb as he looks upon them. In the midst,
The swelling river, into his green gulfs,
Unshadowed save by passing sails above,
Takes the redundant glory, and enjoys
The summer in his chilly bed. Coy flowers,
That would not open in the early light,
Push back their plaited sheaths. The rivulet's pool,
That darkly quivered all the morning long
In the cool shade, now glimmers in the sun;
And o'er its surface shoots, and shoots again,
The glittering dragon-fly, and deep within
Run the brown water-beetles to and fro.

A silence, the brief sabbath of an hour,
Reigns o'er the fields; the laborer sits within
His dwelling; he has left his steers awhile,
Unyoked, to bite the herbage, and his dog
Sleeps stretched beside the door-stone in the shade.
Now the grey marmot, with uplifted paws,
No more sits listening by his den, but steals
Abroad, in safety, to the clover field,
And crops its juicy blossoms. All the while
A ceaseless murmur from the populous town
Swells o'er these solitudes: a mingled sound
Of jarring wheels, and iron hoofs that clash
Upon the stony ways, and hammer-clang,
And creak of engines lifting ponderous bulks,
And calls and cries, and tread of eager feet,
Innumerable, hurrying to and fro.
Noon, in that mighty mart of nations, brings
No pause to toil and care. With early day
Began the tumult, and shall only cease
When midnight, hushing one by one the sounds
Of bustle, gathers the tired brood to rest.

Thus, in this feverish time, when love of gain
And luxury possess the hearts of men,
Thus is it with the noon of human life.
We, in our fervid manhood, in our strength
Of reason, we, with hurry, noise, and care,
Plan, toil, and strife, and pause not to refresh
Our spirits with the calm and beautiful
Of God's harmonious universe, that won
Our youthful wonder; pause not to inquire
Why we are here; and what the reverence
Man owes to man, and what the mystery
That links us to the greater world, beside
Whose borders we but hover for a space.

 

November

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

 

October

Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath!
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooks
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

 

Ode for an Agricultural Celebration

Far back in the ages,
The plough with wreaths was crowned;
The hands of kings and sages
Entwined the chaplet round;
Till men of spoil disdained the toil
By which the world was nourished,
And dews of blood enriched the soil
Where green their laurels flourished:
--Now the world her fault repairs--
The guilt that stains her story;
And weeps her crimes amid the cares
That formed her earliest glory.
The proud throne shall crumble,
The diadem shall wane,
The tribes of earth shall humble
The pride of those who reign;
And War shall lay his pomp away;--
The fame that heroes cherish,
The glory earned in deadly fray
Shall fade, decay, and perish.
Honour waits, o'er all the Earth,
Through endless generations,
The art that calls her harvests forth,
And feeds the expectant nations.

 

Oh Fairest of the Rural Maids

Oh fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thy infant eye.

Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child,
Were ever in the sylvan wild;
And all the beauty of the place
Is in thy heart and on thy face.

The twilight of the trees and rocks
Is in the light shade of thy locks;
Thy step is as the wind, that weaves
Its playful way among the leaves.

Thine eyes are springs, in whose serene
And silent waters heaven is seen;
Their lashes are the herbs that look
On their young figures in the brook.

The forest depths, by foot unpressed,
Are not more sinless than thy breast;
The holy peace, that fills the air
Of those calm solitudes, is there.

 

Rizpah

And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they
hanged them in the hill before the Lord; and they fell all seven
together, and were put to death in the days of the harvest, in the
first days, in the beginning of barley-harvest.

And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth, and spread it for
her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the water
dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the
air to rest upon them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

 

Romero

When freedom, from the land of Spain,
By Spain's degenerate sons was driven,
Who gave their willing limbs again
To wear the chain so lately riven;
Romero broke the sword he wore--
'Go, faithful brand,' the warrior said,
'Go, undishonoured, never more
The blood of man shall make thee red:
I grieve for that already shed;
And I am sick at heart to know,
That faithful friend and noble foe
Have only bled to make more strong
The yoke that Spain has worn so long.
Wear it who will, in abject fear--
I wear it not who have been free;
The perjured Ferdinand shall hear
No oath of loyalty from me.'
Then, hunted by the hounds of power,
Romero chose a safe retreat,
Where bleak Nevada's summits tower
Above the beauty at their feet.
There once, when on his cabin lay
The crimson light of setting day,
When even on the mountain's breast
The chainless winds were all at rest,
And he could hear the river's flow
From the calm paradise below;
Warmed with his former fires again,
He framed this rude but solemn strain:

I.

'Here will I make my home--for here at least I see,
Upon this wild Sierra's side, the steps of Liberty;
Where the locust chirps unscared beneath the unpruned lime,
And the merry bee doth hide from man the spoil of the mountain thyme;
Where the pure winds come and go, and the wild vine gads at will,
An outcast from the haunts of men, she dwells with Nature still.

II.

'I see the valleys, Spain! where thy mighty rivers run,
And the hills that lift thy harvests and vineyards to the sun,
And the flocks that drink thy brooks and sprinkle all the green,
Where lie thy plains, with sheep-walks seamed, and olive-shades between:
I see thy fig-trees bask, with the fair pomegranate near,
And the fragrance of thy lemon-groves can almost reach me here.

III.

'Fair--fair--but fallen Spain! 'tis with a swelling heart,
That I think on all thou mightst have been, and look at what thou art;
But the strife is over now, and all the good and brave,
That would have raised thee up, are gone, to exile or the grave.
Thy fleeces are for monks, thy grapes for the convent feast,
And the wealth of all thy harvest-fields for the pampered lord and priest.

IV.

'But I shall see the day--it will come before I die--
I shall see it in my silver hairs, and with an age-dimmed eye;--
When the spirit of the land to liberty shall bound,
As yonder fountain leaps away from the darkness of the ground:
And to my mountain cell, the voices of the free
Shall rise, as from the beaten shore the thunders of the sea.'

 

Seventy-Six

What heroes from the woodland sprung,
When, through the fresh awakened land,
The thrilling cry of freedom rung,
And to the work of warfare strung
The yeoman's iron hand!

Hills flung the cry to hills around,
And ocean-mart replied to mart,
And streams whose springs were yet unfound,
Pealed far away the startling sound
Into the forest's heart.

Then marched the brave from rocky steep,
From mountain river swift and cold;
The borders of the stormy deep,
The vales where gathered waters sleep,
Sent up the strong and bold,--

As if the very earth again
Grew quick with God's creating breath,
And, from the sods of grove and glen,
Rose ranks of lion-hearted men
To battle to the death.

The wife, whose babe first smiled that day,
The fair fond bride of yestereve,
And aged sire and matron gray,
Saw the loved warriors haste away,
And deemed it sin to grieve.

Already had the strife begun;
Already blood on Concord's plain
Along the springing grass had run,
And blood had flowed at Lexington,
Like brooks of April rain.

That death-stain on the vernal sward
Hallowed to freedom all the shore;
In fragments fell the yoke abhorred--
The footstep of a foreign lord
Profaned the soil no more.

 

Song

Soon as the glazed and gleaming snow
Reflects the day-dawn cold and clear,
The hunter of the west must go
In depth of woods to seek the deer.

His rifle on his shoulder placed,
His stores of death arranged with skill,
His moccasins and snow-shoes laced,--
Why lingers he beside the hill?

Far, in the dim and doubtful light,
Where woody slopes a valley leave,
He sees what none but lover might,
The dwelling of his Genevieve.

And oft he turns his truant eye,
And pauses oft, and lingers near;
But when he marks the reddening sky,
He bounds away to hunt the deer.

 

Song From The Spanish Of Iglesias

Alexis calls me cruel;
The rifted crags that hold
The gathered ice of winter,
He says, are not more cold.

When even the very blossoms
Around the fountain's brim,
And forest walks, can witness
The love I bear to him.

I would that I could utter
My feelings without shame;
And tell him how I love him,
Nor wrong my virgin fame.

Alas! to seize the moment
When heart inclines to heart,
And press a suit with passion,
Is not a woman's part.

If man comes not to gather
The roses where they stand,
They fade among their foliage;
They cannot seek his hand.

 

Song of Marion's Men

Our band is few, but true and tried,
Our leader frank and bold;
The British soldier trembles
When Marion's name is told.
Our fortress is the good greenwood,
Our tent the cypress-tree;
We know the forest round us,
As seamen know the sea;
We know its walks of thorny vines,
Its glades of reedy grass,
Its safe and silent islands
Within the dark morass.

Woe to the English soldiery
That little dread us near!
On them shall light at midnight
A strange and sudden fear;
When, waking to their tents on fire,
They grasp their arms in vain,
And they who stand to face us
Are beat to earth again;
And they who fly in terror deem
A mighty host behind,
And hear the tramp of thousands
Upon the hollow wind.

Then sweet the hour that brings release
From danger and from toil;
We talk the battle over,
And share the battle's spoil.
The woodland rings with laugh and shout,
As if a hunt were up,
And woodland flowers are gathered
To crown the soldier's cup.
With merry songs we mock the wind
That in the pine-top grieves,
And slumber long and sweetly
On beds of oaken leaves.

Well knows the fair and friendly moon
The band that Marion leads-
The glitter of their rifles,
The scampering of their steeds.
'Tis life to guide the fiery barb
Across the moonlight plain;
'Tis life to feel the night-wind
That lifts his tossing mane.
A moment in the British camp-
A moment - and away,
Back to the pathless forest,
Before the peep of day.

Grave men there are by broad Santee,
Grave men with hoary hairs;
Their hearts are all with Marion,
For Marion are their prayers.
And lovely ladies greet our band,
With kindest welcoming,
With smiles like those of summer,
And tears like those of spring.
For them we wear these trusty arms,
And lay them down no more
Till we have driven the Briton,
Forever, from our shore.

 

Song of the Greek Amazon

I buckle to my slender side
The pistol and the scimitar,
And in my maiden flower and pride
Am come to share the tasks of war.
And yonder stands my fiery steed,
That paws the ground and neighs to go,
My charger of the Arab breed,--
I took him from the routed foe.

My mirror is the mountain spring,
At which I dress my ruffled hair;
My dimmed and dusty arms I bring,
And wash away the blood-stain there.
Why should I guard from wind and sun
This cheek, whose virgin rose is fled?
It was for one--oh, only one--
I kept its bloom, and he is dead.

But they who slew him--unaware
Of coward murderers lurking nigh--
And left him to the fowls of air,
Are yet alive--and they must die.
They slew him--and my virgin years
Are vowed to Greece and vengeance now,
And many an Othman dame, in tears,
Shall rue the Grecian maiden's vow.

I touched the lute in better days,
I led in dance the joyous band;
Ah! they may move to mirthful lays
Whose hands can touch a lover's hand.
The march of hosts that haste to meet
Seems gayer than the dance to me;
The lute's sweet tones are not so sweet
As the fierce shout of victory.

 

Song of the Stars

When the radiant morn of creation broke,
And the world in the smile of God awoke,
And the empty realms of darkness and death
Were moved through their depths by his mighty breath,
And orbs of beauty and spheres of flame
From the void abyss by myriads came, -
In the joy of youth as they darted away,
Through the widening wastes of space to play,
Their silver voices in chorus rung,
And this was the song of the bright ones sung.

'Away, away, through the wide, wide sky, -
The fair blue fields that before us lie, -
Each sun with the worlds that round him roll,
Each planet poised on her turning pole;
With her isles of green and her clouds of white,
And her waters that lie like fluid light.

'For the Source of Glory uncovers his face,
And the brightness o'erflows unbounded space;
And we drink, as we go, the luminous tides
In our ruddy air and our blooming sides;
Lo, yonder the living splendors play;
Away, on our joyous path, away!

'Look, look, through our glittering ranks afar,
In the infinite azure, star after star,
How they brighten and bloom as they swiftly pass!
How the verdure runs o'er each rolling mass!
And the path of the gentle winds is seen,
Where the small waves dance, and the young woods lean.

'And see, where brighten day-beams pour,
How the rainbows hang in the sunny shower;
And the morn and eve, with their pomp of hues,
Shift o'er the bright planets and shed their dues;
And 'twixt them both, o'er the teeming ground,
With her shadowy cone the night goes round!

'Away, away! in our blossoming bowers,
In the soft air wrapping these spheres of ours,
In the seas and fountains that shine with morn,
See, love is brooding, and life is born,
And breathing myriads are breaking from night,
To rejoice like us, in motion and light.

'Glide on in your beauty, ye youthful spheres,
To weave the dance that measures the years;
Glide on, in the glory of gladness sent,
To the farthest wall of the firmament, -
The boundless visible smile of Him,
To the veil of whose brow your lamps are dim.'

 

Sonnet From The Portuguese Of Semedo

It is a fearful night; a feeble glare
Streams from the sick moon in the o'erclouded sky;
The ridgy billows, with a mighty cry,
Rush on the foamy beaches wild and bare;
No bark the madness of the waves will dare;
The sailors sleep; the winds are loud and high;
Ah, peerless Laura! for whose love I die,
Who gazes on thy smiles while I despair?
As thus, in bitterness of heart, I cried,
I turned, and saw my Laura, kind and bright,
A messenger of gladness, at my side:
To my poor bark she sprang with footstep light,
And as we furrowed Tago's heaving tide,
I never saw so beautiful a night.

 

Spring in Town

The country ever has a lagging Spring,
Waiting for May to call its violets forth,
And June its roses--showers and sunshine bring,
Slowly, the deepening verdure o'er the earth;
To put their foliage out, the woods are slack,
And one by one the singing-birds come back.

Within the city's bounds the time of flowers
Comes earlier. Let a mild and sunny day,
Such as full often, for a few bright hours,
Breathes through the sky of March the airs of May,
Shine on our roofs and chase the wintry gloom--
And lo! our borders glow with sudden bloom.

For the wide sidewalks of Broadway are then
Gorgeous as are a rivulet's banks in June,
That overhung with blossoms, through its glen,
Slides soft away beneath the sunny noon,
And they who search the untrodden wood for flowers
Meet in its depths no lovelier ones than ours.

For here are eyes that shame the violet,
Or the dark drop that on the pansy lies,
And foreheads, white, as when in clusters set,
The anemonies by forest fountains rise;

And the spring-beauty boasts no tenderer streak
Than the soft red on many a youthful cheek.

And thick about those lovely temples lie
Locks that the lucky Vignardonne has curled,
Thrice happy man! whose trade it is to buy,
And bake, and braid those love-knots of the world;
Who curls of every glossy colour keepest,
And sellest, it is said, the blackest cheapest.

And well thou may'st--for Italy's brown maids
Send the dark locks with which their brows are dressed,
And Gascon lasses, from their jetty braids,
Crop half, to buy a riband for the rest;
But the fresh Norman girls their tresses spare,
And the Dutch damsel keeps her flaxen hair.

Then, henceforth, let no maid nor matron grieve,
To see her locks of an unlovely hue,
Frouzy or thin, for liberal art shall give
Such piles of curls as nature never knew.
Eve, with her veil of tresses, at the sight
Had blushed, outdone, and owned herself a fright.

Soft voices and light laughter wake the street,
Like notes of woodbirds, and where'er the eye
Threads the long way, plumes wave, and twinkling feet
Fall light, as hastes that crowd of beauty by.
The ostrich, hurrying o'er the desert space,
Scarce bore those tossing plumes with fleeter pace.

No swimming Juno gait, of languor born,
Is theirs, but a light step of freest grace,
Light as Camilla's o'er the unbent corn,
A step that speaks the spirit of the place,
Since Quiet, meek old dame, was driven away
To Sing Sing and the shores of Tappan bay.

Ye that dash by in chariots! who will care
For steeds or footmen now? ye cannot show
Fair face, and dazzling dress, and graceful air,
And last edition of the shape! Ah no,
These sights are for the earth and open sky,
And your loud wheels unheeded rattle by.

 

Summer Wind

It is a sultry day; the sun has drank
The dew that lay upon the morning grass,
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors; the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scortching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven;--
Their bases on the mountains--their white tops
Shining in the far ether--fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chesnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes!
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in wives!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on the fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And soun of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.

 

Thanatopsis

To him who in the love of nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--
Comes a still voice. Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world -- with kings,
The powerful of the earth -- the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, -- the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods -- rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,--
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. -- Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings -- yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep -- the dead reign there alone.

So shalt thou rest -- and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men--
The youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn, shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

 

The African Chief

Chained in the market-place he stood,
A man of giant frame,
Amid the gathering multitude
That shrunk to hear his name--
All stern of look and strong of limb,
His dark eye on the ground:--
And silently they gazed on him,
As on a lion bound.

Vainly, but well, that chief had fought,
He was a captive now,
Yet pride, that fortune humbles not,
Was written on his brow.
The scars his dark broad bosom wore,
Showed warrior true and brave;
A prince among his tribe before,
He could not be a slave.

Then to his conqueror he spake--
'My brother is a king;
Undo this necklace from my neck,
And take this bracelet ring,
And send me where my brother reigns,
And I will fill thy hands
With store of ivory from the plains,
And gold-dust from the sands.'

'Not for thy ivory nor thy gold
Will I unbind thy chain;
That bloody hand shall never hold
The battle-spear again.
A price thy nation never gave
Shall yet be paid for thee;
For thou shalt be the Christian's slave,
In lands beyond the sea.'

Then wept the warrior chief, and bade
To shred his locks away;
And one by one, each heavy braid
Before the victor lay.
Thick were the platted locks, and long,
And closely hidden there
Shone many a wedge of gold among
The dark and crisped hair.

'Look, feast thy greedy eye with gold
Long kept for sorest need:
Take it--thou askest sums untold,
And say that I am freed.
Take it--my wife, the long, long day,
Weeps by the cocoa-tree,
And my young children leave their play,
And ask in vain for me.'

'I take thy gold--but I have made
Thy fetters fast and strong,
And ween that by the cocoa shade
Thy wife will wait thee long.'
Strong was the agony that shook
The captive's frame to hear,
And the proud meaning of his look
Was changed to mortal fear.

His heart was broken--crazed his brain:
At once his eye grew wild;
He struggled fiercely with his chain,
Whispered, and wept, and smiled;
Yet wore not long those fatal bands,
And once, at shut of day,
They drew him forth upon the sands,
The foul hyena's prey.

 

The Alcayde Of Molina

To the town of Atienza, Molina's brave Alcayde,
The courteous and the valorous, led forth his bold brigade.
The Moor came back in triumph, he came without a wound,
With many a Christian standard, and Christian captive bound.
He passed the city portals, with swelling heart and vein,
And towards his lady's dwelling he rode with slackened rein;
Two circuits on his charger he took, and at the third,
From the door of her balcony Zelinda's voice was heard.
'Now if thou wert not shameless,' said the lady to the Moor,
'Thou wouldst neither pass my dwelling, nor stop before my door.
Alas for poor Zelinda, and for her wayward mood,
That one in love with peace should have loved a man of blood!
Since not that thou wert noble I chose thee for my knight,
But that thy sword was dreaded in tournay and in fight.
Ah, thoughtless and unhappy! that I should fail to see
How ill the stubborn flint and the yielding wax agree.
Boast not thy love for me, while the shrieking of the fife
Can change thy mood of mildness to fury and to strife.
Say not my voice is magic--thy pleasure is to hear
The bursting of the carbine, and shivering of the spear.
Well, follow thou thy choice--to the battle-field away,
To thy triumphs and thy trophies, since I am less than they.
Thrust thy arm into thy buckler, gird on thy crooked brand,
And call upon thy trusty squire to bring thy spears in hand.
Lead forth thy band to skirmish, by mountain and by mead,
On thy dappled Moorish barb, or thy fleeter border steed.
Go, waste the Christian hamlets, and sweep away their flocks,
From Almazan's broad meadows to Siguenza's rocks.
Leave Zelinda altogether, whom thou leavest oft and long,
And in the life thou lovest forget whom thou dost wrong.
These eyes shall not recall thee, though they meet no more thine own,
Though they weep that thou art absent, and that I am all alone.'
She ceased, and turning from him her flushed and angry cheek,
Shut the door of her balcony before the Moor could speak.

 

The Antiquity Of Freedom

Here are old trees, tall oaks and gnarled pines,
That stream with gray-green mosses; here the ground
Was never trenched by spade, and flowers spring up
Unsown, and die ungathered. It is sweet
To linger here, among the flitting birds
And leaping squirrels, wandering brooks, and winds
That shake the leaves, and scatter, as they pass,
A fragrance from the cedars, thickly set
With pale blue berries. In these peaceful shades--
Peaceful, unpruned, immeasurably old--
My thoughts go up the long dim path of years,
Back to the earliest days of liberty.

Oh Freedom! thou art not, as poets dream,
A fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs,
And wavy tresses gushing from the cap
With which the Roman master crowned his slave
When he took off the gyves. A bearded man,
Armed to the teeth, art thou; one mailed hand
Grasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow,
Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarred
With tokens of old wars; thy massive limbs
Are strong with struggling. Power at thee has launched
His bolts, and with his lightnings smitten thee;
They could not quench the life thou hast from heaven.
Merciless power has dug thy dungeon deep,
And his swart armorers, by a thousand fires,
Have forged thy chain; yet, while he deems thee bound,
The links are shivered, and the prison walls
Fall outward; terribly thou springest forth,
As springs the flame above a burning pile,
And shoutest to the nations, who return
Thy shoutings, while the pale oppressor flies.

Thy birthright was not given by human hands:
Thou wert twin-born with man. In pleasant fields,
While yet our race was few, thou sat'st with him,
To tend the quiet flock and watch the stars,
And teach the reed to utter simple airs.
Thou by his side, amid the tangled wood,
Didst war upon the panther and the wolf,
His only foes; and thou with him didst draw
The earliest furrows on the mountain side,
Soft with the deluge. Tyranny himself,
Thy enemy, although of reverend look,
Hoary with many years, and far obeyed,
Is later born than thou; and as he meets
The grave defiance of thine elder eye,
The usurper trembles in his fastnesses.

Thou shalt wax stronger with the lapse of years,
But he shall fade into a feebler age;
Feebler, yet subtler. He shall weave his snares,
And spring them on thy careless steps, and clap
His withered hands, and from their ambush call
His hordes to fall upon thee. He shall send
Quaint maskers, wearing fair and gallant forms,
To catch thy gaze, and uttering graceful words
To charm thy ear; while his sly imps, by stealth,
Twine round thee threads of steel, light thread on thread
That grow to fetters; or bind down thy arms
With chains concealed in chaplets. Oh! not yet
Mayst thou unbrace thy corslet, nor lay by
Thy sword; nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lids
In slumber; for thine enemy never sleeps,
And thou must watch and combat till the day
Of the new earth and heaven. But wouldst thou rest
Awhile from tumult and the frauds of men,
These old and friendly solitudes invite
Thy visit. They, while yet the forest trees
Were young upon the unviolated earth,
And yet the moss-stains on the rock were new,
Beheld thy glorious childhood, and rejoiced.

 

The Arctic Lover

Gone is the long, long winter night;
Look, my beloved one!
How glorious, through his depths of light,
Rolls the majestic sun!
The willows, waked from winter's death,
Give out a fragrance like thy breath--
The summer is begun!

Ay, 'tis the long bright summer day:
Hark, to that mighty crash!
The loosened ice-ridge breaks away--
The smitten waters flash.
Seaward the glittering mountain rides,
While, down its green translucent sides,
The foamy torrents dash.

See, love, my boat is moored for thee,
By ocean's weedy floor--
The petrel does not skim the sea
More swiftly than my oar.
We'll go, where, on the rocky isles,
Her eggs the screaming sea-fowl piles
Beside the pebbly shore.

Or, bide thou where the poppy blows,
With wind-flowers frail and fair,
While I, upon his isle of snows,
Seek and defy the bear.
Fierce though he be, and huge of frame,
This arm his savage strength shall tame,
And drag him from his lair.

When crimson sky and flamy cloud
Bespeak the summer o'er,
And the dead valleys wear a shroud
Of snows that melt no more,
I'll build of ice thy winter home,
With glistening walls and glassy dome,
And spread with skins the floor.

The white fox by thy couch shall play;
And, from the frozen skies,
The meteors of a mimic day
Shall flash upon thine eyes.
And I--for such thy vow--meanwhile
Shall hear thy voice and see thy smile,
Till that long midnight flies.

 

The Battle-Field

Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
And fiery hearts and armed hands
Encountered in the battle cloud.

Ah! I never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave--
Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
Upon the soil they fought to save.

Now all is calm, and fresh, and still,
Alone the chirp of flitting bird,
And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine are heard.

No solemn host goes trailing by
The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain;
Men start not at the battle-cry,
Oh, be it never heard again!

Soon rested those who fought; but thou
Who minglest in the harder strife
For truths which men receive not now
Thy warfare only ends with life.

A friendless warfare! lingering long
Through weary day and weary year.
A wild and many-weaponed throng
Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.

Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,
And blench not at thy chosen lot.
The timid good may stand aloof,
The sage may frown--yet faint thou not.

Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;
For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
The victory of endurance born.

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,
And dies among his worshippers.

Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,
When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
Like those who fell in battle here.

Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed
The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.

 

The Burial Place

Erewhile, on England's pleasant shores, our sires
Left not their churchyards unadorned with shades
Or blossoms; and indulgent to the strong
And natural dread of man's last home, the grave,
Its frost and silence--they disposed around,
To soothe the melancholy spirit that dwelt
Too sadly on life's close, the forms and hues
Of vegetable beauty.--There the yew,
Green even amid the snows of winter, told
Of immortality, and gracefully
The willow, a perpetual mourner, drooped;
And there the gadding woodbine crept about,
And there the ancient ivy. From the spot
Where the sweet maiden, in her blossoming years
Cut off, was laid with streaming eyes, and hands
That trembled as they placed her there, the rose
Sprung modest, on bowed stalk, and better spoke
Her graces, than the proudest monument.
There children set about their playmate's grave
The pansy. On the infant's little bed,
Wet at its planting with maternal tears,
Emblem of early sweetness, early death,
Nestled the lowly primrose. Childless dames,
And maids that would not raise the reddened eye--
Orphans, from whose young lids the light of joy
Fled early,--silent lovers, who had given
All that they lived for to the arms of earth,
Came often, o'er the recent graves to strew
Their offerings, rue, and rosemary, and flowers.

The pilgrim bands who passed the sea to keep
Their Sabbaths in the eye of God alone,
In his wide temple of the wilderness,
Brought not these simple customs of the heart
With them. It might be, while they laid their dead
By the vast solemn skirts of the old groves,
And the fresh virgin soil poured forth strange flowers
About their graves; and the familiar shades
Of their own native isle, and wonted blooms,
And herbs were wanting, which the pious hand
Might plant or scatter there, these gentle rites
Passed out of use. Now they are scarcely known,
And rarely in our borders may you meet
The tall larch, sighing in the burying-place,
Or willow, trailing low its boughs to hide
The gleaming marble. Naked rows of graves
And melancholy ranks of monuments
Are seen instead, where the coarse grass, between,
Shoots up its dull green spikes, and in the wind
Hisses, and the neglected bramble nigh,
Offers its berries to the schoolboy's hand,
In vain--they grow too near the dead. Yet here,
Nature, rebuking the neglect of man,
Plants often, by the ancient mossy stone,
The brier rose, and upon the broken turf
That clothes the fresher grave, the strawberry vine
Sprinkles its swell with blossoms, and lays forth
Her ruddy, pouting fruit.

 

The Child's Funeral

Fair is thy site, Sorrento, green thy shore,
Black crags behind thee pierce the clear blue skies;
The sea, whose borderers ruled the world of yore,
As clear and bluer still before thee lies.

Vesuvius smokes in sight, whose fount of fire,
Outgushing, drowned the cities on his steeps;
And murmuring Naples, spire o'ertopping spire,
Sits on the slope beyond where Virgil sleeps.

Here doth the earth, with flowers of every hue,
Heap her green breast when April suns are bright,
Flowers of the morning-red, or ocean-blue,
Or like the mountain frost of silvery white.

Currents of fragrance, from the orange tree,
And sward of violets, breathing to and fro,
Mingle, and wandering out upon the sea,
Refresh the idle boatsman where they blow.

Yet even here, as under harsher climes,
Tears for the loved and early lost are shed;
That soft air saddens with the funeral chimes,
Those shining flowers are gathered for the dead.

Here once a child, a smiling playful one,
All the day long caressing and caressed,
Died when its little tongue had just begun
To lisp the names of those it loved the best.

The father strove his struggling grief to quell,
The mother wept as mothers use to weep,
Two little sisters wearied them to tell
When their dear Carlo would awake from sleep.

Within an inner room his couch they spread,
His funeral couch; with mingled grief and love,
They laid a crown of roses on his head,
And murmured, 'Brighter is his crown above.'

They scattered round him, on the snowy sheet,
Laburnum's strings of sunny-coloured gems,
Sad hyacinths, and violets dim and sweet,
And orange blossoms on their dark green stems.

And now the hour is come, the priest is there;
Torches are lit and bells are tolled; they go,
With solemn rites of blessing and of prayer,
To lay the little corpse in earth below.

The door is opened; hark! that quick glad cry;
Carlo has waked, has waked, and is at play;
The little sisters laugh and leap, and try
To climb the bed on which the infant lay.

And there he sits alone, and gayly shakes
In his full hands, the blossoms red and white,
And smiles with winking eyes, like one who wakes
From long deep slumbers at the morning light.

 

The Conjunction Of Jupiter And Venus

I would not always reason. The straight path
Wearies us with its never-varying lines,
And we grow melancholy. I would make
Reason my guide, but she should sometimes sit
Patiently by the way-side, while I traced
The mazes of the pleasant wilderness
Around me. She should be my counsellor,
But not my tyrant. For the spirit needs
Impulses from a deeper source than hers,
And there are motions, in the mind of man,
That she must look upon with awe. I bow
Reverently to her dictates, but not less
Hold to the fair illusions of old time--
Illusions that shed brightness over life,
And glory over nature. Look, even now,
Where two bright planets in the twilight meet,
Upon the saffron heaven,--the imperial star
Of Jove, and she that from her radiant urn
Pours forth the light of love. Let me believe,
Awhile, that they are met for ends of good,
Amid the evening glory, to confer
Of men and their affairs, and to shed down
Kind influence. Lo! they brighten as we gaze,
And shake out softer fires! The great earth feels
The gladness and the quiet of the time.
Meekly the mighty river, that infolds
This mighty city, smooths his front, and far
Glitters and burns even to the rocky base
Of the dark heights that bound him to the west;
And a deep murmur, from the many streets,
Rises like a thanksgiving. Put we hence
Dark and sad thoughts awhile--there's time for them
Hereafter--on the morrow we will meet,
With melancholy looks, to tell our griefs,
And make each other wretched; this calm hour,
This balmy, blessed evening, we will give
To cheerful hopes and dreams of happy days,
Born of the meeting of those glorious stars.

Enough of drought has parched the year, and scared
The land with dread of famine. Autumn, yet,
Shall make men glad with unexpected fruits.
The dog-star shall shine harmless: genial days
Shall softly glide away into the keen
And wholesome cold of winter; he that fears
The pestilence, shall gaze on those pure beams,
And breathe, with confidence, the quiet air.

Emblems of power and beauty! well may they
Shine brightest on our borders, and withdraw
Towards the great Pacific, marking out
The path of empire. Thus, in our own land,
Ere long, the better Genius of our race,
Having encompassed earth, and tamed its tribes,
Shall sit him down beneath the farthest west,
By the shore of that calm ocean, and look back
On realms made happy.

Light the nuptial torch,
And say the glad, yet solemn rite, that knits
The youth and maiden. Happy days to them
That wed this evening!--a long life of love,
And blooming sons and daughters! Happy they
Born at this hour,--for they shall see an age
Whiter and holier than the past, and go
Late to their graves. Men shall wear softer hearts,
And shudder at the butcheries of war,
As now at other murders.

Hapless Greece!
Enough of blood has wet thy rocks, and stained
Thy rivers; deep enough thy chains have worn
Their links into thy flesh; the sacrifice
Of thy pure maidens, and thy innocent babes,
And reverend priests, has expiated all
Thy crimes of old. In yonder mingling lights
There is an omen of good days for thee.
Thou shalt arise from midst the dust and sit
Again among the nations. Thine own arm
Shall yet redeem thee. Not in wars like thine
The world takes part. Be it a strife of kings,--
Despot with despot battling for a throne,--
And Europe shall be stirred throughout her realms,
Nations shall put on harness, and shall fall
Upon each other, and in all their bounds
The wailing of the childless shall not cease.
Thine is a war for liberty, and thou
Must fight it single-handed. The old world
Looks coldly on the murderers of thy race,
And leaves thee to the struggle; and the new,--
I fear me thou couldst tell a shameful tale
Of fraud and lust of gain;--thy treasury drained,
And Missolonghi fallen. Yet thy wrongs
Shall put new strength into thy heart and hand,
And God and thy good sword shall yet work out,
For thee, a terrible deliverance.

 

The Conquerors Grave

WITHIN this lowly grave a Conqueror lies,
And yet the monument proclaims it not,
Nor round the sleepers name hath chisel wrought
The emblems of a fame that never dies,
Ivy and amaranth, in a graceful sheaf,
Twined with the laurels fair, imperial leaf.
A simple name alone,
To the great world unknown,
Is graven here, and wild-flowers, rising round,
Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground,
Lean lovingly against the humble stone.

Here, in the quiet earth, they laid apart
No man of iron mould and bloody hands,
Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands
The passions that consumed his restless heart;
But one of tender spirit and delicate frame,
Gentlest, in mien and mind,
Of gentle womankind,
Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame:
One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
Its haunts, like flowers by sunny brooks in May,
Yet, at the thought of others pain, a shade
Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.

Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here
Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear,
And armies mustered at the sign, as when
Clouds rise on clouds before the rainy East
Gray captains leading bands of veteran men
And fiery youths to be the vultures feast.
Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave
The victory to her who fills this grave:
Alone her task was wrought,
Alone the battle fought;
Through that long strife her constant hope was stayed
On God alone, nor looked for other aid.

She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look
That altered not beneath the frown they wore,
And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took,
Meekly, her gentle rule, and frowned no more.
Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
And calmly broke in twain
The fiery shafts of pain,
And rent the nets of passion from her path.
By that victorious hand despair was slain.
With love she vanquished hate and overcame
Evil with good, in her Great Masters name.

Her glory is not of this shadowy state,
Glory that with the fleeting season dies;
But when she entered at the sapphire gate
What joy was radiant in celestial eyes!
How heavens bright depths with sounding welcomes rung,
And flowers of heaven by shining hands were flung!
And He who, long before,
Pain, scorn, and sorrow bore,
The Mighty Sufferer, with aspect sweet,
Smiled on the timid stranger from his seat;
He who returning, glorious, from the grave,
Dragged Death, disarmed, in chains, a crouching slave.

See, as I linger here, the sun grows low;
Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.
Oh, gentle sleeper, from thy grave I go
Consoled though sad, in hope and yet in fear.
Brief is the time, I know,
The warfare scarce begun;
Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.
Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee,
The victors names are yet too few to fill
Heavens mighty roll; the glorious armory,
That ministered to thee, is open still.

 

The Constellations

O constellations of the early night,
That sparkled brighter as the twilight died,
And made the darkness glorious! I have seen
Your rays grow dim upon the horizon's edge,
And sink behind the mountains. I have seen
The great Orion, with his jewelled belt,
That large-limbed warrior of the skies, go down
Into the gloom. Beside him sank a crowd
Of shining ones. I look in vain to find
The group of sister-stars, which mothers love
To show their wondering babes, the gentle Seven.
Along the desert space mine eyes in vain
Seek the resplendent cressets which the Twins
Uplifted in their ever-youthful hands.
The streaming tresses of the Egyptian Queen
Spangle the heavens no more. The Virgin trails
No more her glittering garments through the blue.
Gone! all are gone! and the forsaken Night,
With all her winds, in all her dreary wastes,
Sighs that they shine upon her face no more.
No only here and there a little star
Looks forth alone. Ah me! I know them not,
Those dim successors of the numberless host
That filled the heavenly fields, and flung to earth
Their guivering fires. And now the middle watch
Betwixt the eve and morn is past, and still
The darkness gains upon the sky, and still
It closes round my way. Shall, then, the Night,
Grow starless in her later hours? Have these
No train of flaming watchers, that shall mark
Their coming and farewell? O Sons of Light!
Have ye then left me ere the dawn of day
To grope along my journey sad and faint?
Thus I complained, and from the darkness round
A voice replied--was it indeed a voice,
Or seeming accents of a waking dream
Heard by the inner ear? But thus it said:
O Traveller of the Night! thine eyes are dim
With watching; and the mists, that chill the vale
Down which thy feet are passing, hide from view
The ever-burning stars. It is thy sight
That is so dark, and not the heaens. Thine eyes,
Were they but clear, would see a fiery host
Above thee; Hercules, with flashing mace,
The Lyre with silver cords, the Swan uppoised
On gleaming wings, the Dolphin gliding on
With glistening scales, and that poetic steed,
With beamy mane, whose hoof struck out from earth
The fount of Hippocrene, and many more,
Fair clustered splendors, with whose rays the Night
Shall close her march in glory, ere she yield,
To the young Day, the great earth steeped in dew.
So spake the monitor, and I perceived
How vain were my repinings, and my thought
Went backward to the vanished years and all
The good and great who came and passed with them,
And knew that ever would the years to come
Bring with them, in their course, the good and great,
Lights of the world, though, to my clouded sight,
Their rays might seem but dim, or reach me not.

 

The Count Of Griers

At morn the Count of Greiers before his castle stands;
He sees afar the glory that lights the mountain lands;
The horned crags are shining, and in the shade between
A pleasant Alpine valley lies beautifully green.

'Oh, greenest of the valleys, how shall I come to thee!
Thy herdsmen and thy maidens, how happy must they be!
I have gazed upon thee coldly, all lovely as thou art,
But the wish to walk thy pastures now stirs my inmost heart.'

He hears a sound of timbrels, and suddenly appear
A troop of ruddy damsels and herdsmen drawing near;
They reach the castle greensward, and gayly dance across;
The white sleeves flit and glimmer, the wreaths and ribands toss.

The youngest of the maidens, slim as a spray of spring,
She takes the young count's fingers, and draws him to the ring,
They fling upon his forehead a crown of mountain flowers,
'And ho, young Count of Greiers! this morning thou art ours!'

Then hand in hand departing, with dance and roundelay,
Through hamlet after hamlet, they lead the Count away.
They dance through wood and meadow, they dance across the linn,
Till the mighty Alpine summits have shut the music in.

The second morn is risen, and now the third is come;
Where stays the Count of Greiers? has he forgot his home?
Again the evening closes, in thick and sultry air;
There's thunder on the mountains, the storm is gathering there.

The cloud has shed its waters, the brook comes swollen down;
You see it by the lightning--a river wide and brown.
Around a struggling swimmer the eddies dash and roar,
Till, seizing on a willow, he leaps upon the shore.

'Here am I cast by tempests far from your mountain dell.
Amid our evening dances the bursting deluge fell.
Ye all, in cots and caverns, have 'scaped the water-spout,
While me alone the tempest o'erwhelmed and hurried out.

'Farewell, with thy glad dwellers, green vale among the rocks!
Farewell the swift sweet moments, in which I watched thy flocks!
Why rocked they not my cradle in that delicious spot,
That garden of the happy, where Heaven endures me not?

'Rose of the Alpine valley! I feel, in every vein,
Thy soft touch on my fingers; oh, press them not again!
Bewitch me not, ye garlands, to tread that upward track,
And thou, my cheerless mansion, receive thy master back.'

 

The Crowded Street

Let me move slowly through the street,
Filled with an ever-shifting train,
Amid the sound of steps that beat
The murmuring walks like autumn rain.

How fast the flitting figures come!
The mild, the fierce, the stony face;
Some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some
Where secret tears have left their trace.

They pass--to toil, to strife, to rest;
To halls in which the feast is spread;
To chambers where the funeral guest
In silence sits beside the dead.

And some to happy homes repair,
Where children, pressing cheek to cheek,
With mute caresses shall declare
The tenderness they cannot speak.

And some, who walk in calmness here,
Shall shudder as they reach the door
Where one who made their dwelling dear,
Its flower, its light, is seen no more.

Youth, with pale cheek and slender frame,
And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
Goest thou to build an early name,
Or early in the task to die?

Keen son of trade, with eager brow!
Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunes, tower they now,
Or melt the glittering spires in air?

Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
The dance till daylight gleam again?
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?

Some, famine-struck, shall think how long
The cold dark hours, how slow the light,
And some, who flaunt amid the throng,
Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.

Each, where his tasks or pleasures call,
They pass, and heed each other not.
There is who heeds, who holds them all,
In his large love and boundless thought.

These struggling tides of life that seem
In wayward, aimless course to tend,
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end.

 

The Damsel Of Peru

Where olive leaves were twinkling in every wind that blew,
There sat beneath the pleasant shade a damsel of Peru.
Betwixt the slender boughs, as they opened to the air,
Came glimpses of her ivory neck and of her glossy hair;
And sweetly rang her silver voice, within that shady nook,
As from the shrubby glen is heard the sound of hidden brook.

'Tis a song of love and valour, in the noble Spanish tongue,
That once upon the sunny plains of old Castile was sung;
When, from their mountain holds, on the Moorish rout below,
Had rushed the Christians like a flood, and swept away the foe.
A while that melody is still, and then breaks forth anew
A wilder rhyme, a livelier note, of freedom and Peru.

For she has bound the sword to a youthful lover's side,
And sent him to the war the day she should have been his bride,
And bade him bear a faithful heart to battle for the right,
And held the fountains of her eyes till he was out of sight.
Since the parting kiss was given, six weary months are fled,
And yet the foe is in the land, and blood must yet be shed.

A white hand parts the branches, a lovely face looks forth,
And bright dark eyes gaze steadfastly and sadly toward the north
Thou look'st in vain, sweet maiden, the sharpest sight would fail.
To spy a sign of human life abroad in all the vale;
For the noon is coming on, and the sunbeams fiercely beat,
And the silent hills and forest-tops seem reeling in the heat.

That white hand is withdrawn, that fair sad face is gone,
But the music of that silver voice is flowing sweetly on,
Not as of late, in cheerful tones, but mournfully and low,--
A ballad of a tender maid heart-broken long ago,
Of him who died in battle, the youthful and the brave,
And her who died of sorrow, upon his early grave.

But see, along that mountain's slope, a fiery horseman ride;
Mark his torn plume, his tarnished belt, the sabre at his side.
His spurs are buried rowel-deep, he rides with loosened rein,
There's blood upon his charger's flank and foam upon the mane;
He speeds him toward the olive-grove, along that shaded hill:
God shield the helpless maiden there, if he should mean her ill!

And suddenly that song has ceased, and suddenly I hear
A shriek sent up amid the shade, a shriek--but not of fear.
For tender accents follow, and tenderer pauses speak
The overflow of gladness, when words are all too weak:
'I lay my good sword at thy feet, for now Peru is free,
And I am come to dwell beside the olive-grove with thee.'

 

The Death of Abraham Lincoln

Oh, slow to smit and swift to spare,
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power, a nation's trust!

In sorrow by thy bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.

Thy task is done; the bond of free;
We bear thee to an honored grave,
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloody close
Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.

 

The Death Of Aliatar

'Tis not with gilded sabres
That gleam in baldricks blue,
Nor nodding plumes in caps of Fez,
Of gay and gaudy hue--
But, habited in mourning weeds,
Come marching from afar,
By four and four, the valiant men
Who fought with Aliatar.
All mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

The banner of the Phenix,
The flag that loved the sky,
That scarce the wind dared wanton with,
It flew so proud and high--
Now leaves its place in battle-field,
And sweeps the ground in grief,
The bearer drags its glorious folds
Behind the fallen chief,
As mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Brave Aliatar led forward
A hundred Moors to go
To where his brother held Motril
Against the leaguering foe.
On horseback went the gallant Moor,
That gallant band to lead;
And now his bier is at the gate,
From whence he pricked his steed.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

The knights of the Grand Master
In crowded ambush lay;
They rushed upon him where the reeds
Were thick beside the way;
They smote the valiant Aliatar,
They smote the warrior dead,
And broken, but not beaten, were
The gallant ranks he led.
Now mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Oh! what was Zayda's sorrow,
How passionate her cries!
Her lover's wounds streamed not more free
Than that poor maiden's eyes.
Say, Love--for didst thou see her tears:
Oh, no! he drew more tight
The blinding fillet o'er his lids
To spare his eyes the sight.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Nor Zayda weeps him only,
But all that dwell between
The great Alhambra's palace walls
And springs of Albaicin.
The ladies weep the flower of knights,
The brave the bravest here;
The people weep a champion,
The Alcaydes a noble peer.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

 

The Death of Lincoln

Oh, slow to smit and swift to spare,
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power, a nation's trust!

In sorrow by thy bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.

Thy task is done; the bond of free;
We bear thee to an honored grave,
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloddy close
Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.

 

The Death Of Schiller

'Tis said, when Schiller's death drew nigh,
The wish possessed his mighty mind,
To wander forth wherever lie
The homes and haunts of human-kind.

Then strayed the poet, in his dreams,
By Rome and Egypt's ancient graves;
Went up the New World's forest streams,
Stood in the Hindoo's temple-caves;

Walked with the Pawnee, fierce and stark,
The sallow Tartar, midst his herds,
The peering Chinese, and the dark
False Malay uttering gentle words.

How could he rest? even then he trod
The threshold of the world unknown;
Already, from the seat of God,
A ray upon his garments shone;--

Shone and awoke the strong desire
For love and knowledge reached not here,
Till, freed by death, his soul of fire
Sprang to a fairer, ampler sphere.

Then--who shall tell how deep, how bright
The abyss of glory opened round?
How thought and feeling flowed like light,
Through ranks of being without bound?

 

The Death of Slavery

O THOU great Wrong, that, through the slow-paced years,
Didst hold thy millions fettered, and didst wield
The scourge that drove the laborer to the field,
And turn a stony gaze on human tears,
Thy cruel reign is oer;
Thy bondmen crouch no more
In terror at the menace of thine eye;
For He who marks the bounds of guilty power,
Long-suffering, hath heard the captives cry,
And touched his shackles at the appointed hour,
And lo! they fall, and he whose limbs they galled
Stands in his native manhood, disenthralled.

A shout of joy from the redeemed is sent;
Ten thousand hamlets swell the hymn of thanks;
Our rivers roll exulting, and their banks
Send up hosannas to the firmament!
Fields where the bondmans toil
No more shall trench the soil,
Seem now to bask in a serener day;
The meadow-birds sing sweeter, and the airs
Of heaven with more caressing softness play,
Welcoming man to liberty like theirs.
A glory clothes the land from sea to sea,
For the great land and all its coasts are free.

Within that land wert thou enthroned of late,
And they by whom the nations laws were made,
And they who filled its judgment-seats, obeyed
Thy mandate, rigid as the will of Fate.
Fierce men at thy right hand,
With gesture of command,
Gave forth the word that none might dare gainsay;
And grave and reverend ones, who loved thee not,
Shrank from thy presence, and in blank dismay
Choked down, unuttered, the rebellious thought;
While meaner cowards, mingling with thy train,
Proved, from the book of God, thy right to reign.

Great as thou wert, and feared from shore to shore,
The wrath of Heaven oertook thee in thy pride;
Thou sittst a ghastly shadow; by thy side
Thy once strong arms hang nerveless evermore.
And they who quailed but now
Before thy lowering brow,
Devote thy memory to scorn and shame,
And scoff at the pale, powerless thing thou art.
And they who ruled in thine imperial name,
Subdued, and standing sullenly apart,
Scowl at the hands that overthrew thy reign,
And shattered at a blow the prisoners chain.

Well was thy doom deserved; thou didst not spare
Lifes tenderest ties, but cruelly didst part
Husband and wife, and from the mothers heart
Didst wrest her children, deaf to shriek and prayer;
Thy inner lair became
The haunt of guilty shame;
Thy lash dropped blood; the murderer, at thy side,
Showed his red hands, nor feared the vengeance due.
Thou didst sow earth with crimes, and, far and wide,
A harvest of uncounted miseries grew,
Until the measure of thy sins at last
Was full, and then the avenging bolt was cast!

Go now, accursed of God, and take thy place
With hateful memories of the elder time,
With many a wasting plague, and nameless crime,
And bloody war that thinned the human race;
With the Black Death, whose way
Through wailing cities lay,
Worship of Moloch, tyrannies that built
The Pyramids, and cruel creeds that taught
To avenge a fancied guilt by deeper guilt
Death at the stake to those that held them not.
Lo! the foul phantoms, silent in the gloom
Of the flown ages, part to yield thee room.

I see the better years that hasten by
Carry thee back into that shadowy past,
Where, in the dusty spaces, void and vast,
The graves of those whom thou hast murdered lie.
The slave-pen, through whose door
Thy victims pass no more,
Is there, and there shall the grim block remain
At which the slave was sold; while at thy feet
Scourges and engines of restraint and pain
Moulder and rust by thine eternal seat.
There, mid the symbols that proclaim thy crimes,
Dwell thou, a warning to the coming times.

 

The Death of the Flowers

The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread;
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.

Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood
In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
Alas! they all are in their graves, the gentle race of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago,
And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
But on the hills the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade, and glen.

And now, when comes the calm mild day, as still such days will come,
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home;
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still,
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill,
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.

And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief:
Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.

 

The Disinterred Warrior

Gather him to his grave again,
And solemnly and softly lay,
Beneath the verdure of the plain,
The warrior's scattered bones away.
Pay the deep reverence, taught of old,
The homage of man's heart to death;
Nor dare to trifle with the mould
Once hallowed by the Almighty's breath.

The soul hath quickened every part--
That remnant of a martial brow,
Those ribs that held the mighty heart,
That strong arm--strong no longer now.
Spare them, each mouldering relic spare,
Of God's own image; let them rest,
Till not a trace shall speak of where
The awful likeness was impressed.

For he was fresher from the hand
That formed of earth the human face,
And to the elements did stand
In nearer kindred, than our race.
In many a flood to madness tossed,
In many a storm has been his path;
He hid him not from heat or frost,
But met them, and defied their wrath.

Then they were kind--the forests here,
Rivers, and stiller waters, paid
A tribute to the net and spear
Of the red ruler of the shade.
Fruits on the woodland branches lay,
Roots in the shaded soil below,
The stars looked forth to teach his way,
The still earth warned him of the foe.

A noble race! but they are gone,
With their old forests wide and deep,
And we have built our homes upon
Fields where their generations sleep.
Their fountains slake our thirst at noon,
Upon their fields our harvest waves,
Our lovers woo beneath their moon--
Then let us spare, at least, their graves!

 

The Evening Wind

Spirit that breathest through my lattice, thou
That cool'st the twilight of the sultry day,
Gratefully flows thy freshness round my brow:
Thou hast been out upon the deep at play,
Riding all day the wild blue waves till now,
Roughening their crests, and scattering high their spray
And swelling the white sail. I welcome thee
To the scorched land, thou wanderer of the sea!

Nor I alone--a thousand bosoms round
Inhale thee in the fulness of delight;
And languid forms rise up, and pulses bound
Livelier, at coming of the wind of night;
And, languishing to hear thy grateful sound,
Lies the vast inland stretched beyond the sight.
Go forth into the gathering shade; go forth,
God's blessing breathed upon the fainting earth!

Go, rock the little wood-bird in his nest,
Curl the still waters, bright with stars, and rouse
The wide old wood from his majestic rest,
Summoning from the innumerable boughs
The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast:
Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows
The shutting flower, and darkling waters pass,
And where the o'ershadowing branches sweep the grass.

The faint old man shall lean his silver head
To feel thee; thou shalt kiss the child asleep,
And dry the moistened curls that overspread
His temples, while his breathing grows more deep:
And they who stand about the sick man's bed,
Shall joy to listen to thy distant sweep,
And softly part his curtains to allow
Thy visit, grateful to his burning brow.

Go--but the circle of eternal change,
Which is the life of nature, shall restore,
With sounds and scents from all thy mighty range
Thee to thy birthplace of the deep once more;
Sweet odours in the sea-air, sweet and strange,
Shall tell the home-sick mariner of the shore;
And, listening to thy murmur, he shall deem
He hears the rustling leaf and running stream.

 

The Flood of Years

A MIGHTY Hand, from an exhaustless Urn,
Pours forth the never-ending Flood of Years,
Among the nations. How the rushing waves
Bear all before them! On their foremost edge,
And there alone, is Life. The Present there
Tosses and foams, and fills the air with roar
Of mingled noises. There are they who toil,
And they who strive, and they who feast, and they
Who hurry to and fro. The sturdy swain
Woodman and delver with the spadeis there,
And busy artisan beside his bench,
And pallid student with his written roll.
A moment on the mounting billow seen,
The flood sweeps over them and they are gone.
There groups of revellers whose brows are twined
With roses, ride the topmost swell awhile,
And as they raise their flowing cups and touch
The clinking brim to brim, are whirled beneath
The waves and disappear. I hear the jar
Of beaten drums, and thunders that break forth
From cannon, where the advancing billow sends
Up to the sight long files of armed men,
That hurry to the charge through flame and smoke.
The torrent bears them under, whelmed and hid,
Slayer and slain, in heaps of bloody foam.
Down go the steed and rider, the plumed chief
Sinks with his followers; the head that wears
The imperial diadem goes down beside
The felons with cropped ear and branded cheek.
A funeral-trainthe torrent sweeps away
Bearers and bier and mourners. By the bed
Of one who dies men gather sorrowing,
And women weep aloud; the flood rolls on;
The wail is stifled and the sobbing group
Borne under. Hark to that shrill, sudden shout,
The cry of an applauding multitude,
Swayed by some loud-voiced orator who wields
The living mass as if he were its soul!
The waters choke the shout and all is still.
Lo! next a kneeling crowd, and one who spreads
The hands in prayerthe engulfing wave oertakes
And swallows them and him. A sculptor wields
The chisel, and the stricken marble grows
To beauty; at his easel, eager-eyed,
A painter stands, and sunshine at his touch
Gathers upon his canvas, and life glows;
A poet, as he paces to and fro,
Murmurs his sounding lines. A while they ride
The advancing billow, till its tossing crest
Strikes them and flings them under, while their tasks
Are yet unfinished. See a mother smile
On her young babe that smiles to her again;
The torrent wrests it from her arms; she shrieks
And weeps, and midst her tears is carried down.
A beam like that of moonlight turns the spray
To glistening pearls; two lovers, hand in hand,
Rise on the billowy swell and fondly look
Into each others eyes. The rushing flood
Flings them apart: the youth goes down; the maid
With hands outstretched in vain, and streaming eyes,
Waits for the next high wave to follow him.
An aged man succeeds; his bending form
Sinks slowly. Mingling with the sullen stream
Gleam the white locks, and then are seen no more.
Lo! wider grows the streama sea-like flood
Saps earths walled cities; massive palaces
Crumble before it; fortresses and towers
Dissolve in the swift waters; populous realms
Swept by the torrent see their ancient tribes
Engulfed and lost; their very languages
Stifled, and never to be uttered more.
I pause and turn my eyes, and looking back
Where that tumultuous flood has been, I see
The silent ocean of the Past, a waste
Of waters weltering over graves, its shores
Strewn with the wreck of fleets where mast and hull
Drop away piecemeal; battlemented walls
Frown idly, green with moss, and temples stand
Unroofed, forsaken by the worshipper.
There lie memorial stones, whence time has gnawed
The graven legends, thrones of kings oer-turned,
The broken altars of forgotten gods,
Foundations of old cities and long streets
Where never fall of human foot is heard,
On all the desolate pavement. I behold
Dim glimmerings of lost jewels, far within
The sleeping waters, diamond, sardonyx,
Ruby and topaz, pearl and chrysolite,
Once glittering at the banquet on fair brows
That long ago were dust; and all around
Strewn on the surface of that silent sea
Are withering bridal wreaths, and glossy locks
Shorn from dear brows by loving hands, and scrolls
Oerwritten, haply with fond words of love
And vows of friendship, and fair pages flung
Fresh from the printers engine. There they lie
A moment, and then sink away from sight.
I look, and the quick tears are in my eyes,
For I behold in every one of these
A blighted hope, a separate history
Of human sorrows, telling of dear ties
Suddenly broken, dreams of happiness
Dissolved in air, and happy days too brief
That sorrowfully ended, and I think
How painfully must the poor heart have beat
In bosoms without number, as the blow
Was struck that slew their hope and broke their peace.
Sadly I turn and look before, where yet
The Flood must pass, and I behold a mist
Where swarm dissolving forms, the brood of Hope,
Divinely fair, that rest on banks of flowers,
Or wander among rainbows, fading soon
And reappearing, haply giving place
To forms of grisly aspect such as Fear
Shapes from the idle airwhere serpents lift
The head to strike, and skeletons stretch forth
The bony arm in menace. Further on
A belt of darkness seems to bar the way
Long, low, and distant, where the Life to come
Touches the Life that is. The Flood of Years
Rolls toward it near and nearer. It must pass
That dismal barrier. What is there beyond?
Hear what the wise and good have said. Beyond
That belt of darkness, still the Years roll on
More gently, but with not less mighty sweep.
They gather up again and softly bear
All the sweet lives that late were over-whelmed
And lost to sight, all that in them was good,
Noble, and truly great, and worthy of love
The lives of infants and ingenuous youths,
Sages and saintly women who have made
Their households happy; all are raised and borne
By that great current in its onward sweep,
Wandering and rippling with caressing waves
Around green islands with the breath
Of flowers that never wither. So they pass
From stage to stage along the shining course
Of that bright river, broadening like a sea.
As its smooth eddies curl along their way
They bring old friends together; hands are clasped
In joy unspeakable; the mothers arms
Again are folded round the child she loved
And lost. Old sorrows are forgotten now,
Or but remembered to make sweet the hour
That overpays them; wounded hearts that bled
Or broke are healed forever. In the room
Of this grief-shadowed present, there shall be
A Present in whose reign no grief shall gnaw
The heart, and never shall a tender tie
Be broken; in whose reign the eternal Change
That waits on growth and action shall proceed
With everlasting Concord hand in hand.

 

The Fountain

Fountain, that springest on this grassy slope,
Thy quick cool murmur mingles pleasantly,
With the cool sound of breezes in the beach,
Above me in the noontide. Thou dost wear
No stain of thy dark birthplace; gushing up
From the red mould and slimy roots of earth,
Thou flashest in the sun. The mountain air,
In winter, is not clearer, nor the dew
That shines on mountain blossom. Thus doth God
Bring, from the dark and foul, the pure and bright.

This tangled thicket on the bank above
Thy basin, how thy waters keep it green!
For thou dost feed the roots of the wild vine
That trails all over it, and to the twigs
Ties fast her clusters. There the spice-bush lifts
Her leafy lances; the viburnum there,
Paler of foliage, to the sun holds up
Her circlet of green berries. In and out
The chipping sparrow, in her coat of brown,
Steals silently, lest I should mark her nest.

Not such thou wert of yore, ere yet the axe
Had smitten the old woods. Then hoary trunks
Of oak, and plane, and hickory, o'er thee held
A mighty canopy. When April winds
Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush
Of scarlet flowers. The tulip-tree, high up,
Opened, in airs of June, her multitude
Of golden chalices to humming-birds
And silken-winged insects of the sky.

Frail wood-plants clustered round thy edge in Spring.
The liverleaf put forth her sister blooms
Of faintest blue. Here the quick-footed wolf,
Passing to lap thy waters, crushed the flower
Of sanguinaria, from whose brittle stem
The red drops fell like blood. The deer, too, left
Her delicate foot-print in the soft moist mould,
And on the fallen leaves. The slow-paced bear,
In such a sultry summer noon as this,
Stopped at thy stream, and drank, and leaped across.

But thou hast histories that stir the heart
With deeper feeling; while I look on thee
They rise before me. I behold the scene
Hoary again with forests; I behold
The Indian warrior, whom a hand unseen
Has smitten with his death-wound in the woods,
Creep slowly to thy well-known rivulet,
And slake his death-thirst. Hark, that quick fierce cry
That rends the utter silence; 'tis the whoop
Of battle, and a throng of savage men
With naked arms and faces stained like blood,
Fill the green wilderness; the long bare arms
Are heaved aloft, bows twang and arrows stream;
Each makes a tree his shield, and every tree
Sends forth its arrow. Fierce the fight and short,
As is the whirlwind. Soon the conquerors
And conquered vanish, and the dead remain
Mangled by tomahawks. The mighty woods
Are still again, the frighted bird comes back
And plumes her wings; but thy sweet waters run
Crimson with blood. Then, as the sun goes down,
Amid the deepening twilight I descry
Figures of men that crouch and creep unheard,
And bear away the dead. The next day's shower
Shall wash the tokens of the fight away.

I look again--a hunter's lodge is built,
With poles and boughs, beside thy crystal well,
While the meek autumn stains the woods with gold,
And sheds his golden sunshine. To the door
The red man slowly drags the enormous bear
Slain in the chestnut thicket, or flings down
The deer from his strong shoulders. Shaggy fells
Of wolf and cougar hang upon the walls,
And loud the black-eyed Indian maidens laugh,
That gather, from the rustling heaps of leaves,
The hickory's white nuts, and the dark fruit
That falls from the gray butternut's long boughs.

So centuries passed by, and still the woods
Blossomed in spring, and reddened when the year
Grew chill, and glistened in the frozen rains
Of winter, till the white man swung the axe
Beside thee--signal of a mighty change.
Then all around was heard the crash of trees,
Trembling awhile and rushing to the ground,
The low of ox, and shouts of men who fired
The brushwood, or who tore the earth with ploughs.
The grain sprang thick and tall, and hid in green
The blackened hill-side; ranks of spiky maize
Rose like a host embattled; the buckwheat
Whitened broad acres, sweetening with its flowers
The August wind. White cottages were seen
With rose-trees at the windows; barns from which
Came loud and shrill the crowing of the cock;
Pastures where rolled and neighed the lordly horse,
And white flocks browsed and bleated. A rich turf
Of grasses brought from far o'ercrept thy bank,
Spotted with the white clover. Blue-eyed girls
Brought pails, and dipped them in thy crystal pool;
And children, ruddy-cheeked and flaxen-haired,
Gathered the glistening cowslip from thy edge.

Since then, what steps have trod thy border! Here
On thy green bank, the woodmann of the swamp
Has laid his axe, the reaper of the hill
His sickle, as they stooped to taste thy stream.
The sportsman, tired with wandering in the still
September noon, has bathed his heated brow
In thy cool current. Shouting boys, let loose
For a wild holiday, have quaintly shaped
Into a cup the folded linden leaf,
And dipped thy sliding crystal. From the wars
Returning, the plumed soldier by thy side
Has sat, and mused how pleasant 'twere to dwell
In such a spot, and be as free as thou,
And move for no man's bidding more. At eve,
When thou wert crimson with the crimson sky,
Lovers have gazed upon thee, and have thought
Their mingled lives should flow as peacefully
And brightly as thy waters. Here the sage,
Gazing into thy self-replenished depth,
Has seen eternal order circumscribe
And bind the motions of eternal change,
And from the gushing of thy simple fount
Has reasoned to the mighty universe.

Is there no other change for thee, that lurks
Among the future ages? Will not man
Seek out strange arts to wither and deform
The pleasant landscape which thou makest green?
Or shall the veins that feed thy constant stream
Be choked in middle earth, and flow no more
For ever, that the water-plants along
Thy channel perish, and the bird in vain
Alight to drink? Haply shall these green hills
Sink, with the lapse of years, into the gulf
Of ocean waters, and thy source be lost
Amidst the bitter brine? Or shall they rise,
Upheaved in broken cliffs and airy peaks,
Haunts of the eagle and the snake, and thou
Gush midway from the bare and barren steep?

 

The Future Life

How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given?
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,
Shall it be banished from thy tongue in heaven?

In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?

The love that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last,
Shall it expire with life, and be no more?

A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right,
And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell,
Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll;
And wrath has left its scar--that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name,
The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?

Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this--
The wisdom which is love--till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?

 

The Gladness of Nature

Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

The clouds are at play in the azure space,
And their shadows at play on the bright green vale,
And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale.

There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.

 

The Greek Boy

Gone are the glorious Greeks of old,
Glorious in mien and mind;
Their bones are mingled with the mould,
Their dust is on the wind;
The forms they hewed from living stone
Survive the waste of years, alone,
And, scattered with their ashes, show
What greatness perished long ago.

Yet fresh the myrtles there--the springs
Gush brightly as of yore;
Flowers blossom from the dust of kings,
As many an age before.
There nature moulds as nobly now,
As e'er of old, the human brow;
And copies still the martial form
That braved Plataea's battle storm.

Boy! thy first looks were taught to seek
Their heaven in Hellas' skies:
Her airs have tinged thy dusky cheek,
Her sunshine lit thine eyes;
Thine ears have drunk the woodland strains
Heard by old poets, and thy veins
Swell with the blood of demigods,
That slumber in thy country's sods.

Now is thy nation free--though late--
Thy elder brethren broke--
Broke, ere thy spirit felt its weight,
The intolerable yoke.
And Greece, decayed, dethroned, doth see
Her youth renewed in such as thee:
A shoot of that old vine that made
The nations silent in its shade.

 

The Greek Partisan

Our free flag is dancing
In the free mountain air,
And burnished arms are glancing,
And warriors gathering there;
And fearless is the little train
Whose gallant bosoms shield it;
The blood that warms their hearts shall stain
That banner, ere they yield it.
--Each dark eye is fixed on earth,
And brief each solemn greeting;
There is no look nor sound of mirth,
Where those stern men are meeting.

They go to the slaughter,
To strike the sudden blow,
And pour on earth, like water,
The best blood of the foe;
To rush on them from rock and height,
And clear the narrow valley,
Or fire their camp at dead of night,
And fly before they rally.
--Chains are round our country pressed,
And cowards have betrayed her,
And we must make her bleeding breast
The grave of the invader.

Not till from her fetters
We raise up Greece again,
And write, in bloody letters,
That tyranny is slain,--
Oh, not till then the smile shall steal
Across those darkened faces,
Nor one of all those warriors feel
His children's dear embraces,
--Reap we not the ripened wheat,
Till yonder hosts are flying,
And all their bravest, at our feet,
Like autumn sheaves are lying.

 

The Green Mountain Boys

I.

Here we halt our march, and pitch our tent
On the rugged forest ground,
And light our fire with the branches rent
By winds from the beeches round.
Wild storms have torn this ancient wood,
But a wilder is at hand,
With hail of iron and rain of blood,
To sweep and waste the land.

II.

How the dark wood rings with voices shrill,
That startle the sleeping bird;
To-morrow eve must the voice be still,
And the step must fall unheard.
The Briton lies by the blue Champlain,
In Ticonderoga's towers,
And ere the sun rise twice again,
The towers and the lake are ours.

III.

Fill up the bowl from the brook that glides
Where the fireflies light the brake;
A ruddier juice the Briton hides
In his fortress by the lake.
Build high the fire, till the panther leap
From his lofty perch in flight,
And we'll strenghten our weary arms with sleep
For the deeds of to-morrow night.

 

The Hunter Of The Prairies

Ay, this is freedom!--these pure skies
Were never stained with village smoke:
The fragrant wind, that through them flies,
Is breathed from wastes by plough unbroke.
Here, with my rifle and my steed,
And her who left the world for me,
I plant me, where the red deer feed
In the green desert--and am free.

For here the fair savannas know
No barriers in the bloomy grass;
Wherever breeze of heaven may blow,
Or beam of heaven may glance, I pass.
In pastures, measureless as air,
The bison is my noble game;
The bounding elk, whose antlers tear
The branches, falls before my aim.

Mine are the river-fowl that scream
From the long stripe of waving sedge;
The bear that marks my weapon's gleam,
Hides vainly in the forest's edge;
In vain the she-wolf stands at bay;
The brinded catamount, that lies
High in the boughs to watch his prey,
Even in the act of springing, dies.

With what free growth the elm and plane
Fling their huge arms across my way,
Gray, old, and cumbered with a train
Of vines, as huge, and old, and gray!
Free stray the lucid streams, and find
No taint in these fresh lawns and shades;
Free spring the flowers that scent the wind
Where never scythe has swept the glades.

Alone the Fire, when frost-winds sere
The heavy herbage of the ground,
Gathers his annual harvest here,
With roaring like the battle's sound,
And hurrying flames that sweep the plain,
And smoke-streams gushing up the sky:
I meet the flames with flames again,
And at my door they cower and die.

Here, from dim woods, the aged past
Speaks solemnly; and I behold
The boundless future in the vast
And lonely river, seaward rolled.
Who feeds its founts with rain and dew;
Who moves, I ask, its gliding mass,
And trains the bordering vines, whose blue
Bright clusters tempt me as I pass?

Broad are these streams--my steed obeys,
Plunges, and bears me through the tide.
Wide are these woods--I thread the maze
Of giant stems, nor ask a guide.
I hunt till day's last glimmer dies
O'er woody vale and grassy height;
And kind the voice and glad the eyes
That welcome my return at night.

 

The Hunter's Serenade

Thy bower is finished, fairest!
Fit bower for hunter's bride--
Where old woods overshadow
The green savanna's side.
I've wandered long, and wandered far,
And never have I met,
In all this lovely western land,
A spot so lovely yet.
But I shall think it fairer,
When thou art come to bless,
With thy sweet smile and silver voice,
Its silent loveliness.

For thee the wild grape glistens,
On sunny knoll and tree,
The slim papaya ripens
Its yellow fruit for thee.
For thee the duck, on glassy stream,
The prairie-fowl shall die,
My rifle for thy feast shall bring
The wild swan from the sky.
The forest's leaping panther,
Fierce, beautiful, and fleet,
Shall yield his spotted hide to be
A carpet for thy feet.

I know, for thou hast told me,
Thy maiden love of flowers;
Ah, those that deck thy gardens
Are pale compared with ours.
When our wide woods and mighty lawns
Bloom to the April skies,
The earth has no more gorgeous sight
To show to human eyes.
In meadows red with blossoms,
All summer long, the bee
Murmurs, and loads his yellow thighs,
For thee, my love, and me.

Or wouldst thou gaze at tokens
Of ages long ago--
Our old oaks stream with mosses,
And sprout with mistletoe;
And mighty vines, like serpents, climb
The giant sycamore;
And trunks, o'erthrown for centuries,
Cumber the forest floor;
And in the great savanna,
The solitary mound,
Built by the elder world, o'erlooks
The loneliness around.

Come, thou hast not forgotten
Thy pledge and promise quite,
With many blushes murmured,
Beneath the evening light.
Come, the young violets crowd my door,
Thy earliest look to win,
And at my silent window-sill
The jessamine peeps in.
All day the red-bird warbles,
Upon the mulberry near,
And the night-sparrow trills her song,
All night, with none to hear.

 

The Hunter's Vision

Upon a rock that, high and sheer,
Rose from the mountain's breast,
A weary hunter of the deer
Had sat him down to rest,
And bared to the soft summer air
His hot red brow and sweaty hair.

All dim in haze the mountains lay,
With dimmer vales between;
And rivers glimmered on their way,
By forests faintly seen;
While ever rose a murmuring sound,
From brooks below and bees around.

He listened, till he seemed to hear
A strain, so soft and low,
That whether in the mind or ear
The listener scarce might know.
With such a tone, so sweet and mild,
The watching mother lulls her child.

'Thou weary huntsman,' thus it said,
'Thou faint with toil and heat,
The pleasant land of rest is spread
Before thy very feet,
And those whom thou wouldst gladly see
Are waiting there to welcome thee.'

He looked, and 'twixt the earth and sky
Amid the noontide haze,
A shadowy region met his eye,
And grew beneath his gaze,
As if the vapours of the air
Had gathered into shapes so fair.

Groves freshened as he looked, and flowers
Showed bright on rocky bank,
And fountains welled beneath the bowers,
Where deer and pheasant drank.
He saw the glittering streams, he heard
The rustling bough and twittering bird.

And friends--the dead--in boyhood dear,
There lived and walked again,
And there was one who many a year
Within her grave had lain,
A fair young girl, the hamlet's pride--
His heart was breaking when she died:

Bounding, as was her wont, she came
Right towards his resting-place,
And stretched her hand and called his name
With that sweet smiling face.
Forward with fixed and eager eyes,
The hunter leaned in act to rise:

Forward he leaned, and headlong down
Plunged from that craggy wall;
He saw the rocks, steep, stern, and brown,
An instant, in his fall;
A frightful instant--and no more,
The dream and life at once were o'er.

 

The Hurricane

Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
I know thy breath in the burning sky!
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
For the coming of the hurricane!

And lo! on the wing of the heavy gales,
Through the boundless arch of heaven he sails;
Silent and slow, and terribly strong,
The mighty shadow is borne along,
Like the dark eternity to come;
While the world below, dismayed and dumb,
Through the calm of the thick hot atmosphere
Looks up at its gloomy folds with fear.

They darken fast; and the golden blaze
Of the sun is quenched in the lurid haze,
And he sends through the shade a funeral ray--
A glare that is neither night nor day,
A beam that touches, with hues of death,
The clouds above and the earth beneath.
To its covert glides the silent bird,
While the hurricane's distant voice is heard,
Uplifted among the mountains round,
And the forests hear and answer the sound.

He is come! he is come! do ye not behold
His ample robes on the wind unrolled?
Giant of air! we bid thee hail!--
How his gray skirts toss in the whirling gale;
How his huge and writhing arms are bent,
To clasp the zone of the firmament,
And fold at length, in their dark embrace,
From mountain to mountain the visible space.

Darker--still darker! the whirlwinds bear
The dust of the plains to the middle air:
And hark to the crashing, long and loud,
Of the chariot of God in the thunder-cloud!
You may trace its path by the flashes that start
From the rapid wheels where'er they dart,
As the fire-bolts leap to the world below,
And flood the skies with a lurid glow.

What roar is that?--'tis the rain that breaks
In torrents away from the airy lakes,
Heavily poured on the shuddering ground,
And shedding a nameless horror round.
Ah! well known woods, and mountains, and skies,
With the very clouds!--ye are lost to my eyes.
I seek ye vainly, and see in your place
The shadowy tempest that sweeps through space,
A whirling ocean that fills the wall
Of the crystal heaven, and buries all.
And I, cut off from the world, remain
Alone with the terrible hurricane.

 

The Indian Girl's Lament

An Indian girl was sitting where
Her lover, slain in battle, slept;
Her maiden veil, her own black hair,
Came down o'er eyes that wept;
And wildly, in her woodland tongue,
This sad and simple lay she sung:

'I've pulled away the shrubs that grew
Too close above thy sleeping head,
And broke the forest boughs that threw
Their shadows o'er thy bed,
That, shining from the sweet south-west,
The sunbeams might rejoice thy rest.

'It was a weary, weary road
That led thee to the pleasant coast,
Where thou, in his serene abode,
Hast met thy father's ghost:
Where everlasting autumn lies
On yellow woods and sunny skies.

'Twas I the broidered mocsen made,
That shod thee for that distant land;
'Twas I thy bow and arrows laid
Beside thy still cold hand;
Thy bow in many a battle bent,
Thy arrows never vainly sent.

'With wampum belts I crossed thy breast,
And wrapped thee in the bison's hide,
And laid the food that pleased thee best,
In plenty, by thy side,
And decked thee bravely, as became
A warrior of illustrious name.

'Thou'rt happy now, for thou hast passed
The long dark journey of the grave,
And in the land of light, at last,
Hast joined the good and brave;
Amid the flushed and balmy air,
The bravest and the loveliest there.

'Yet, oft to thine own Indian maid
Even there thy thoughts will earthward stray,--
To her who sits where thou wert laid,
And weeps the hours away,
Yet almost can her grief forget,
To think that thou dost love her yet.

'And thou, by one of those still lakes
That in a shining cluster lie,
On which the south wind scarcely breaks
The image of the sky,
A bower for thee and me hast made
Beneath the many-coloured shade.

'And thou dost wait and watch to meet
My spirit sent to join the blessed,
And, wondering what detains my feet
From the bright land of rest,
Dost seem, in every sound, to hear
The rustling of my footsteps near.'

 

The Journey Of Life

Beneath the waning moon I walk at night,
And muse on human life--for all around
Are dim uncertain shapes that cheat the sight,
And pitfalls lurk in shade along the ground,
And broken gleams of brightness, here and there,
Glance through, and leave unwarmed the death-like air.

The trampled earth returns a sound of fear--
A hollow sound, as if I walked on tombs!
And lights, that tell of cheerful homes, appear
Far off, and die like hope amid the glooms.
A mournful wind across the landscape flies,
And the wide atmosphere is full of sighs.

And I, with faltering footsteps, journey on,
Watching the stars that roll the hours away,
Till the faint light that guides me now is gone,
And, like another life, the glorious day
Shall open o'er me from the empyreal height,
With warmth, and certainty, and boundless light.

 

The Knight's Epitaph

This is the church which Pisa, great and free,
Reared to St. Catharine. How the time-stained walls,
That earthquakes shook not from their poise, appear
To shiver in the deep and voluble tones
Rolled from the organ! Underneath my feet
There lies the lid of a sepulchral vault.
The image of an armed knight is graven
Upon it, clad in perfect panoply--
Cuishes, and greaves, and cuirass, with barred helm,
Gauntleted hand, and sword, and blazoned shield.
Around, in Gothic characters, worn dim
By feet of worshippers, are traced his name,
And birth, and death, and words of eulogy.
Why should I pore upon them? This old tomb,
This effigy, the strange disused form
Of this inscription, eloquently show
His history. Let me clothe in fitting words
The thoughts they breathe, and frame his epitaph.

'He whose forgotten dust for centuries
Has lain beneath this stone, was one in whom
Adventure, and endurance, and emprise
Exalted the mind's faculties and strung
The body's sinews. Brave he was in fight,
Courteous in banquet, scornful of repose,
And bountiful, and cruel, and devout,
And quick to draw the sword in private feud.
He pushed his quarrels to the death, yet prayed
The saints as fervently on bended knees
As ever shaven cenobite. He loved
As fiercely as he fought. He would have borne
The maid that pleased him from her bower by night,
To his hill-castle, as the eagle bears
His victim from the fold, and rolled the rocks
On his pursuers. He aspired to see
His native Pisa queen and arbitress
Of cities: earnestly for her he raised
His voice in council, and affronted death
In battle-field, and climbed the galley's deck,
And brought the captured flag of Genoa back,
Or piled upon the Arno's crowded quay
The glittering spoils of the tamed Saracen.
He was not born to brook the stranger's yoke,
But would have joined the exiles that withdrew
For ever, when the Florentine broke in
The gates of Pisa, and bore off the bolts
For trophies--but he died before that day.

'He lived, the impersonation of an age
That never shall return. His soul of fire
Was kindled by the breath of the rude time
He lived in. Now a gentler race succeeds,
Shuddering at blood; the effeminate cavalier,
Turning his eyes from the reproachful past,
And from the hopeless future, gives to ease,
And love, and music, his inglorious life.'

 

The Lapse of Time

Lament who will, in fruitless tears,
The speed with which our moments fly;
I sigh not over vanished years,
But watch the years that hasten by.

Look, how they come,--a mingled crowd
Of bright and dark, but rapid days;
Beneath them, like a summer cloud,
The wide world changes as I gaze.

What! grieve that time has brought so soon
The sober age of manhood on!
As idly might I weep, at noon,
To see the blush of morning gone.

Could I give up the hopes that glow
In prospect like Elysian isles;
And let the cheerful future go,
With all her promises and smiles?

The future!--cruel were the power
Whose doom would tear thee from my heart.
Thou sweetener of the present hour!
We cannot--no--we will not part.

Oh, leave me, still, the rapid flight
That makes the changing seasons gay,
The grateful speed that brings the night,
The swift and glad return of day;

The months that touch, with added grace,
This little prattler at my knee,
In whose arch eye and speaking face
New meaning every hour I see;

The years, that o'er each sister land
Shall lift the country of my birth,
And nurse her strength, till she shall stand
The pride and pattern of the earth:

Till younger commonwealths, for aid,
Shall cling about her ample robe,
And from her frown shall shrink afraid
The crowned oppressors of the globe.

True--time will seam and blanch my brow--
Well--I shall sit with aged men,
And my good glass will tell me how
A grizzly beard becomes me then.

And then should no dishonour lie
Upon my head, when I am gray,
Love yet shall watch my fading eye,
And smooth the path of my decay.

Then haste thee, Time--'tis kindness all
That speeds thy winged feet so fast:
Thy pleasures stay not till they pall,
And all thy pains are quickly past.

Thou fliest and bear'st away our woes,
And as thy shadowy train depart,
The memory of sorrow grows
A lighter burden on the heart.

 

The Living Lost

Matron! the children of whose love,
Each to his grave, in youth have passed,
And now the mould is heaped above
The dearest and the last!
Bride! who dost wear the widow's veil
Before the wedding flowers are pale!
Ye deem the human heart endures
No deeper, bitterer grief than yours.

Yet there are pangs of keener wo,
Of which the sufferers never speak,
Nor to the world's cold pity show
The tears that scald the cheek,
Wrung from their eyelids by the shame
And guilt of those they shrink to name,
Whom once they loved, with cheerful will,
And love, though fallen and branded, still.

Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead,
Thus breaking hearts their pain relieve;
And graceful are the tears ye shed,
And honoured ye who grieve.

The praise of those who sleep in earth,
The pleasant memory of their worth,
The hope to meet when life is past,
Shall heal the tortured mind at last.

But ye, who for the living lost
That agony in secret bear,
Who shall with soothing words accost
The strength of your despair?
Grief for your sake is scorn for them
Whom ye lament and all condemn;
And o'er the world of spirits lies
A gloom from which ye turn your eyes.

 

The Love Of God

All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away,
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
The forms of men shall be as they had never been;
The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and tender green;
The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant song,
And the nigthingale shall cease to chant the evening long.
The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that kills,
And all the fair white flocks shall perish from the hills.
The goat and antlered stag, the wolf and the fox,
The wild boar of the wood, and the chamois of the rocks,
And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden dust shall lie,
And the dolphin of the sea, and the mighty whale, shall die.
And realms shall be dissolved, and empires be no more,
And they shall bow to death, who ruled from shore to shore;
And the great globe itself, (so the holy writings tell,)
With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell,
Shall melt with fervent heat--they shall all pass away,
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.

 

The Maiden's Sorrow

Seven long years has the desert rain
Dropped on the clods that hide thy face;
Seven long years of sorrow and pain
I have thought of thy burial-place.

Thought of thy fate in the distant west,
Dying with none that loved thee near;
They who flung the earth on thy breast
Turned from the spot williout a tear.

There, I think, on that lonely grave,
Violets spring in the soft May shower;
There, in the summer breezes, wave
Crimson phlox and moccasin flower.

There the turtles alight, and there
Feeds with her fawn the timid doe;
There, when the winter woods are bare,
Walks the wolf on the crackling snow.

Soon wilt thou wipe my tears away;
All my task upon earth is done;
My poor father, old and gray,
Slumbers beneath the churchyard stone.

In the dreams of my lonely bed,
Ever thy form before me seems;
All night long I talk with the dead,
All day long I think of my dreams.

This deep wound that bleeds and aches,
This long pain, a sleepless pain--
When the Father my spirit takes,
I shall feel it no more again.

 

The Massacre at Scio

Weep not for Scio's children slain;
Their blood, by Turkish falchions shed,
Sends not its cry to Heaven in vain
For vengeance on the murderer's head.

Though high the warm red torrent ran
Between the flames that lit the sky,
Yet, for each drop, an armed man
Shall rise, to free the land, or die.

And for each corpse, that in the sea
Was thrown, to feast the scaly herds,
A hundred of the foe shall be
A banquet for the mountain birds.

Stern rites and sad, shall Greece ordain
To keep that day, along her shore,
Till the last link of slavery's chain
Is shivered, to be worn no more.

 

The Murdered Traveller

When spring, to woods and wastes around,
Brought bloom and joy again,
The murdered traveller's bones were found,
Far down a narrow glen.

The fragrant birch above him hung
Her tassels in the sky;
And many a vernal blossom sprung,
And nodded careless by.

The red-bird warbled as he wrought
His hanging nest o'erhead,
And fearless, near the fatal spot,
Her young the partridge led.

But there was weeping far away;
And gentle eyes, for him,
With watching many an anxious day,
Were sorrowful and dim.

They little knew, who loved him so,
The fearful death he met,
When shouting o'er the desert snow,
Unarmed, and hard beset;

Nor how, when round the frosty pole
The northern dawn was red,
The mountain wolf and wildcat stole
To banquet on the dead;

Nor how, when strangers found the bones,
They dressed the hasty bier,
And marked his grave with nameless stones,
Unmoistened by a tear.

But long they looked, and feared, and wept,
Within his distant home;
And dreamed, and started as they slept,
For joy that he was come.

So long they looked; but never spied
His welcome step again,
Nor knew the fearful death he died
Far down that narrow glen.

 

The New Moon

When, as the garish day is done,
Heaven burns with the descended sun,
'Tis passing sweet to mark,
Amid that flush of crimson light,
The new moon's modest bow grow bright,
As earth and sky grow dark.

Few are the hearts too cold to feel
A thrill of gladness o'er them steal,
When first the wandering eye
Sees faintly, in the evening blaze,
That glimmering curve of tender rays
Just planted in the sky.

The sight of that young crescent brings
Thoughts of all fair and youthful things
The hopes of early years;
And childhood's purity and grace,
And joys that like a rainbow chase
The passing shower of tears.

The captive yields him to the dream
Of freedom, when that virgin beam
Comes out upon the air:
And painfully the sick man tries
To fix his dim and burning eyes
On the soft promise there.

Most welcome to the lover's sight,
Glitters that pure, emerging light;
For prattling poets say,
That sweetest is the lovers' walk,
And tenderest is their murmured talk,
Beneath its gentle ray.

And there do graver men behold
A type of errors, loved of old,
Forsaken and forgiven;
And thoughts and wishes not of earth,
Just opening in their early birth,
Like that new light in heaven.

 

The Old Man's Counsel

Among our hills and valleys, I have known
Wise and grave men, who, while their diligent hands
Tended or gathered in the fruits of earth,
Were reverent learners in the solemn school
Of nature. Not in vain to them were sent
Seed-time and harvest, or the vernal shower
That darkened the brown tilth, or snow that beat
On the white winter hills. Each brought, in turn,
Some truth, some lesson on the life of man,
Or recognition of the Eternal mind
Who veils his glory with the elements.

One such I knew long since, a white-haired man,
Pithy of speech, and merry when he would;
A genial optimist, who daily drew
From what he saw his quaint moralities.
Kindly he held communion, though so old,
With me a dreaming boy, and taught me much
That books tell not, and I shall ne'er forget.

The sun of May was bright in middle heaven,
And steeped the sprouting forests, the green hills
And emerald wheat-fields, in his yellow light.
Upon the apple-tree, where rosy buds
Stood clustered, ready to burst forth in bloom,
The robin warbled forth his full clear note
For hours, and wearied not. Within the woods,
Whose young and half transparent leaves scarce cast
A shade, gay circles of anemones
Danced on their stalks; the shadbush, white with flowers,
Brightened the glens; the new-leaved butternut
And quivering poplar to the roving breeze
Gave a balsamic fragrance. In the fields
I saw the pulses of the gentle wind
On the young grass. My heart was touched with joy
At so much beauty, flushing every hour
Into a fuller beauty; but my friend,
The thoughtful ancient, standing at my side,
Gazed on it mildly sad. I asked him why.

'Well mayst thou join in gladness,' he replied,
'With the glad earth, her springing plants and flowers,
And this soft wind, the herald of the green
Luxuriant summer. Thou art young like them,
And well mayst thou rejoice. But while the flight
Of seasons fills and knits thy spreading frame,
It withers mine, and thins my hair, and dims
These eyes, whose fading light shall soon be quenched
In utter darkness. Hearest thou that bird?'

I listened, and from midst the depth of woods
Heard the love-signal of the grouse, that wears
A sable ruff around his mottled neck;
Partridge they call him by our northern streams,
And pheasant by the Delaware. He beat
'Gainst his barred sides his speckled wings, and made
A sound like distant thunder; slow the strokes
At first, then fast and faster, till at length
They passed into a murmur and were still.

'There hast thou,' said my friend, 'a fitting type
Of human life. 'Tis an old truth, I know,
But images like these revive the power
Of long familiar truths. Slow pass our days
In childhood, and the hours of light are long
Betwixt the morn and eve; with swifter lapse
They glide in manhood, and in age they fly;
Till days and seasons flit before the mind
As flit the snow-flakes in a winter storm,
Seen rather than distinguished. Ah! I seem
As if I sat within a helpless bark
By swiftly running waters hurried on
To shoot some mighty cliff. Along the banks
Grove after grove, rock after frowning rock,
Bare sands and pleasant homes, and flowery nooks,
And isles and whirlpools in the stream, appear
Each after each, but the devoted skiff
Darts by so swiftly that their images
Dwell not upon the mind, or only dwell
In dim confusion; faster yet I sweep
By other banks, and the great gulf is near.

'Wisely, my son, while yet thy days are long,
And this fair change of seasons passes slow,
Gather and treasure up the good they yield--
All that they teach of virtue, of pure thoughts
And kind affections, reverence for thy God
And for thy brethren; so when thou shalt come
Into these barren years, thou mayst not bring
A mind unfurnished and a withered heart.'

Long since that white-haired ancient slept--but still,
When the red flower-buds crowd the orchard bough,
And the ruffed grouse is drumming far within
The woods, his venerable form again
Is at my side, his voice is in my ear.

 

The Old Man's Funeral

Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,
His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky,
In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,
Sinks where his islands of departure spread
O'er the warm-colored heaven and ruddy mountain head.

Why weep ye then for him, who, having won
The bound of man's appointed years, at last.
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,
Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set?

 

The Painted Cup

The fresh savannas of the Sangamon
Here rise in gentle swells, and the long grass
Is mixed with rustling hazels. Scarlet tufts
Are glowing in the green, like flakes of fire;
The wanderers of the prairie know them well,
And call that brilliant flower the Painted Cup.

Now, if thou art a poet, tell me not
That these bright chalices were tinted thus
To hold the dew for fairies, when they meet
On moonlight evenings in the hazel bowers,
And dance till they are thirsty. Call not up,
Amid this fresh and virgin solitude,
The faded fancies of an elder world;
But leave these scarlet cups to spotted moths
Of June, and glistening flies, and humming-birds,
To drink from, when on all these boundless lawns
The morning sun looks hot. Or let the wind
O'erturn in sport their ruddy brims, and pour
A sudden shower upon the strawberry plant,
To swell the reddening fruit that even now
Breathes a slight fragrance from the sunny slope.

But thou art of a gayer fancy. Well--
Let then the gentle Manitou of flowers,
Lingering amid the bloomy waste he loves,
Though all his swarthy worshippers are gone--
Slender and small, his rounded cheek all brown
And ruddy with the sunshine; let him come
On summer mornings, when the blossoms wake,
And part with little hands the spiky grass;
And touching, with his cherry lips, the edge
Of these bright beakers, drain the gathered dew.

 

The Past

Thou unrelenting Past!
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,
And fetters, sure and fast,
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.

Far in thy realm withdrawn
Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom,
And glorious ages gone
Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.

Childhood, with all its mirth,
Youth, Manhood, Age, that draws us to the ground,
And last, Man's Life on earth,
Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound.

Thou hast my better years,
Thou hast my earlier friends--the good--the kind,
Yielded to thee with tears--
The venerable form--the exalted mind.

My spirit yearns to bring
The lost ones back--yearns with desire intense,
And struggles hard to wring
Thy bolts apart, and pluck thy captives thence.

In vain--thy gates deny
All passage save to those who hence depart;
Nor to the streaming eye
Thou giv'st them back--nor to the broken heart.

In thy abysses hide
Beauty and excellence unknown--to thee
Earth's wonder and her pride
Are gathered, as the waters to the sea;

Labours of good to man,
Unpublished charity, unbroken faith,--
Love, that midst grief began,
And grew with years, and faltered not in death.

Full many a mighty name
Lurks in thy depths, unuttered, unrevered;
With thee are silent fame,
Forgotten arts, and wisdom disappeared.

Thine for a space are they--
Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last;
Thy gates shall yet give way,
Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past!

All that of good and fair
Has gone into thy womb from earliest time,
Shall then come forth to wear
The glory and the beauty of its prime.

They have not perished--no!
Kind words, remembered voices once so sweet,
Smiles, radiant long ago,
And features, the great soul's apparent seat.

All shall come back, each tie
Of pure affection shall be knit again;
Alone shall Evil die,
And Sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.

And then shall I behold
Him, by whose kind paternal side I sprung,
And her, who, still and cold,
Fills the next grave--the beautiful and young.

 

The Prairies

These are the gardens of the Desert, these
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
For which the speech of England has no name--
The Prairies. I behold them for the first,
And my heart swells, while the dilated sight
Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch
In airy undulations, far away,
As if the ocean, in his gentlest swell,
Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed,
And motionless for ever.--Motionless?--
No--they are all unchained again. The clouds
Sweep over with their shadows, and, beneath,
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye;
Dark hollows seem to glide along and chase
The sunny ridges. Breezes of the South!
Who toss the golden and the flame-like flowers,
And pass the prairie-hawk that, poised on high,
Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not--ye have played
Among the palms of Mexico and vines
Of Texas, and have crisped the limpid brooks
That from the fountains of Sonora glide
Into the calm Pacific--have ye fanned
A nobler or a lovelier scene than this?
Man hath no part in all this glorious work:
The hand that built the firmament hath heaved
And smoothed these verdant swells, and sown their slopes
With herbage, planted them with island groves,
And hedged them round with forests. Fitting floor
For this magnificent temple of the sky--
With flowers whose glory and whose multitude
Rival the constellations! The great heavens
Seem to stoop down upon the scene in love,--
A nearer vault, and of a tenderer blue,
Than that which bends above the eastern hills.

As o'er the verdant waste I guide my steed,
Among the high rank grass that sweeps his sides
The hollow beating of his footstep seems
A sacrilegious sound. I think of those
Upon whose rest he tramples. Are they here--
The dead of other days?--and did the dust
Of these fair solitudes once stir with life
And burn with passion? Let the mighty mounds
That overlook the rivers, or that rise
In the dim forest crowded with old oaks,
Answer. A race, that long has passed away,
Built them;--a disciplined and populous race
Heaped, with long toil, the earth, while yet the Greek
Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms
Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock
The glittering Parthenon. These ample fields
Nourished their harvests, here their herds were fed,
When haply by their stalls the bison lowed,
And bowed his maned shoulder to the yoke.
All day this desert murmured with their toils,
Till twilight blushed, and lovers walked, and wooed
In a forgotten language, and old tunes,
From instruments of unremembered form,
Gave the soft winds a voice. The red man came--
The roaming hunter tribes, warlike and fierce,
And the mound-builders vanished from the earth.
The solitude of centuries untold
Has settled where they dwelt. The prairie-wolf
Hunts in their meadows, and his fresh-dug den
Yawns by my path. The gopher mines the ground
Where stood their swarming cities. All is gone--
All--save the piles of earth that hold their bones--
The platforms where they worshipped unknown gods--
The barriers which they builded from the soil
To keep the foe at bay--till o'er the walls
The wild beleaguerers broke, and, one by one,
The strongholds of the plain were forced, and heaped
With corpses. The brown vultures of the wood
Flocked to those vast uncovered sepulchres,
And sat, unscared and silent, at their feast.
Haply some solitary fugitive,
Lurking in marsh and forest, till the sense
Of desolation and of fear became
Bitterer than death, yielded himself to die.
Man's better nature triumphed then. Kind words
Welcomed and soothed him; the rude conquerors
Seated the captive with their chiefs; he chose
A bride among their maidens, and at length
Seemed to forget,--yet ne'er forgot,--the wife
Of his first love, and her sweet little ones,
Butchered, amid their shrieks, with all his race.

Thus change the forms of being. Thus arise
Races of living things, glorious in strength,
And perish, as the quickening breath of God
Fills them, or is withdrawn. The red man, too,
Has left the blooming wilds he ranged so long,
And, nearer to the Rocky Mountains, sought
A wilder hunting-ground. The beaver builds
No longer by these streams, but far away,
On waters whose blue surface ne'er gave back
The white man's face--among Missouri's springs,
And pools whose issues swell the Oregan,
He rears his little Venice. In these plains
The bison feeds no more. Twice twenty leagues
Beyond remotest smoke of hunter's camp,
Roams the majestic brute, in herds that shake
The earth with thundering steps--yet here I meet
His ancient footprints stamped beside the pool.

Still this great solitude is quick with life.
Myriads of insects, gaudy as the flowers
They flutter over, gentle quadrupeds,
And birds, that scarce have learned the fear of man,
Are here, and sliding reptiles of the ground,
Startlingly beautiful. The graceful deer
Bounds to the wood at my approach. The bee,
A more adventurous colonist than man,
With whom he came across the eastern deep,
Fills the savannas with his murmurings,
And hides his sweets, as in the golden age,
Within the hollow oak. I listen long
To his domestic hum, and think I hear
The sound of that advancing multitude
Which soon shall fill these deserts. From the ground
Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice
Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hymn
Of Sabbath worshippers. The low of herds
Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain
Over the dark-brown furrows. All at once
A fresher wind sweeps by, and breaks my dream,
And I am in the wilderness alone.

 

The Return Of Youth

My friend, thou sorrowest for thy golden prime,
For thy fair youthful years too swift of flight;
Thou musest, with wet eyes, upon the time
Of cheerful hopes that filled the world with light,--
Years when thy heart was bold, thy hand was strong,
And quick the thought that moved thy tongue to speak,
And willing faith was thine, and scorn of wrong
Summoned the sudden crimson to thy cheek.

Thou lookest forward on the coming days,
Shuddering to feel their shadow o'er thee creep;
A path, thick-set with changes and decays,
Slopes downward to the place of common sleep;
And they who walked with thee in life's first stage,
Leave one by one thy side, and, waiting near,
Thou seest the sad companions of thy age--
Dull love of rest, and weariness and fear.

Yet grieve thou not, nor think thy youth is gone,
Nor deem that glorious season e'er could die.
Thy pleasant youth, a little while withdrawn,
Waits on the horizon of a brighter sky;
Waits, like the morn, that folds her wing and hides,
Till the slow stars bring back her dawning hour;
Waits, like the vanished spring, that slumbering bides
Her own sweet time to waken bud and flower.

There shall he welcome thee, when thou shalt stand
On his bright morning hills, with smiles more sweet
Than when at first he took thee by the hand,
Through the fair earth to lead thy tender feet.
He shall bring back, but brighter, broader still,
Life's early glory to thine eyes again,
Shall clothe thy spirit with new strength, and fill
Thy leaping heart with warmer love than then.

Hast thou not glimpses, in the twilight here,
Of mountains where immortal morn prevails?
Comes there not, through the silence, to thine ear
A gentle rustling of the morning gales;
A murmur, wafted from that glorious shore,
Of streams that water banks for ever fair,
And voices of the loved ones gone before,
More musical in that celestial air?

 

The Rivulet

This little rill, that from the springs
Of yonder grove its current brings,
Plays on the slope a while, and then
Goes prattling into groves again,
Oft to its warbling waters drew
My little feet, when life was new,
When woods in early green were dressed,
And from the chambers of the west
The warmer breezes, travelling out,
Breathed the new scent of flowers about,
My truant steps from home would stray,
Upon its grassy side to play,
List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn,
And crop the violet on its brim,
With blooming cheek and open brow,
As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou.

And when the days of boyhood came,
And I had grown in love with fame,
Duly I sought thy banks, and tried
My first rude numbers by thy side.
Words cannot tell how bright and gay
The scenes of life before me lay.
Then glorious hopes, that now to speak
Would bring the blood into my cheek,
Passed o'er me; and I wrote, on high,
A name I deemed should never die.

Years change thee not. Upon yon hill
The tall old maples, verdant still,
Yet tell, in grandeur of decay,
How swift the years have passed away,
Since first, a child, and half afraid,
I wandered in the forest shade.
Thou ever joyous rivulet,
Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet;
And sporting with the sands that pave
The windings of thy silver wave,
And dancing to thy own wild chime,
Thou laughest at the lapse of time.
The same sweet sounds are in my ear
My early childhood loved to hear;
As pure thy limpid waters run,
As bright they sparkle to the sun;
As fresh and thick the bending ranks
Of herbs that line thy oozy banks;
The violet there, in soft May dew,
Comes up, as modest and as blue,
As green amid thy current's stress,
Floats the scarce-rooted watercress:
And the brown ground-bird, in thy glen,
Still chirps as merrily as then.

Thou changest not--but I am changed,
Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged;
And the grave stranger, come to see
The play-place of his infancy,
Has scarce a single trace of him
Who sported once upon thy brim.
The visions of my youth are past--
Too bright, too beautiful to last.
I've tried the world--it wears no more
The colouring of romance it wore.
Yet well has Nature kept the truth
She promised to my earliest youth.
The radiant beauty shed abroad
On all the glorious works of God,
Shows freshly, to my sobered eye,
Each charm it wore in days gone by.

A few brief years shall pass away,
And I, all trembling, weak, and gray,
Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold
My ashes in the embracing mould,
(If haply the dark will of fate
Indulge my life so long a date)
May come for the last time to look
Upon my childhood's favourite brook.
Then dimly on my eye shall gleam
The sparkle of thy dancing stream;
And faintly on my ear shall fall
Thy prattling current's merry call;
Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright
As when thou met'st my infant sight.

And I shall sleep--and on thy side,
As ages after ages glide,
Children their early sports shall try,
And pass to hoary age and die.
But thou, unchanged from year to year,
Gayly shalt play and glitter here;
Amid young flowers and tender grass
Thy endless infancy shalt pass;
And, singing down thy narrow glen,
Shalt mock the fading race of men.

 

The Serenade

If slumber, sweet Lisena!
Have stolen o'er thine eyes,
As night steals o'er the glory
Of spring's transparent skies;

Wake, in thy scorn and beauty,
And listen to the strain
That murmurs my devotion,
That mourns for thy disdain.

Here by thy door at midnight,
I pass the dreary hour,
With plaintive sounds profaning
The silence of thy bower;

A tale of sorrow cherished
Too fondly to depart,
Of wrong from love the flatterer,
And my own wayward heart.

Twice, o'er this vale, the seasons
Have brought and borne away
The January tempest,
The genial wind of May;

Yet still my plaint is uttered,
My tears and sighs are given
To earth's unconscious waters,
And wandering winds of heaven.

I saw from this fair region,
The smile of summer pass,
And myriad frost-stars glitter
Among the russet grass.

While winter seized the streamlets
That fled along the ground,
And fast in chains of crystal
The truant murmurers bound.

I saw that to the forest
The nightingales had flown,
And every sweet-voiced fountain
Had hushed its silver tone.

The maniac winds, divorcing
The turtle from his mate,
Raved through the leafy beeches,
And left them desolate.

Now May, with life and music,
The blooming valley fills,
And rears her flowery arches
For all the little rills.

The minstrel bird of evening
Comes back on joyous wings,
And, like the harp's soft murmur,
Is heard the gush of springs.

And deep within the forest
Are wedded turtles seen,
Their nuptial chambers seeking,
Their chambers close and green.

The rugged trees are mingling
Their flowery sprays in love;
The ivy climbs the laurel,
To clasp the boughs above.

They change--but thou, Lisena,
Art cold while I complain:
Why to thy lover only
Should spring return in vain?

 

The Siesta

Airs, that wander and murmur round,
Bearing delight where'er ye blow!
Make in the elms a lulling sound,
While my lady sleeps in the shade below.

Lighten and lengthen her noonday rest,
Till the heat of the noonday sun is o'er.
Sweet be her slumbers! though in my breast
The pain she has waked may slumber no more.
Breathing soft from the blue profound,
Bearing delight where'er ye blow,
Make in the elms a lulling sound,
While my lady sleeps in the shade below.

Airs! that over the bending boughs,
And under the shade of pendent leaves,
Murmur soft, like my timid vows
Or the secret sighs my bosom heaves,--
Gently sweeping the grassy ground,
Bearing delight where'er ye blow,
Make in the elms a lulling sound,
While my lady sleeps in the shade below.

 

The Skies

Ay! gloriously thou standest there,
Beautiful, boundless firmament!
That swelling wide o'er earth and air,
And round the horizon bent,
With thy bright vault, and sapphire wall,
Dost overhang and circle all.

Far, far below thee, tall old trees
Arise, and piles built up of old,
And hills, whose ancient summits freeze,
In the fierce light and cold.
The eagle soars his utmost height,
Yet far thou stretchest o'er his flight.

Thou hast thy frowns--with thee on high,
The storm has made his airy seat,
Beyond that soft blue curtain lie
His stores of hail and sleet.
Thence the consuming lightnings break.
There the strong hurricanes awake.

Yet art thou prodigal of smiles--
Smiles, sweeter than thy frowns are stem:
Earth sends, from all her thousand isles,
A shout at thy return.
The glory that comes down from thee,
Bathes, in deep joy, the land and sea.

The sun, the gorgeous sun, is thine,
The pomp that brings and shuts the day,
The clouds that round him change and shine,
The airs that fan his way.
Thence look the thoughtful stars, and there
The meek moon walks the silent air.

The sunny Italy may boast
The beauteous tints that flush her skies.
And lovely, round the Grecian coast,
May thy blue pillars rise.
I only know how fair they stand,
Around my own beloved land.

And they are fair--a charm is theirs,
That earth, the proud green earth, has not--
With all the forms, and hues, and airs,
That haunt her sweetest spot.
We gaze upon thy calm pure sphere,
And read of Heaven's eternal year.

Oh, when, amid the throng of men,
The heart grows sick of hollow mirth,
How willingly we turn us then
Away from this cold earth,
And look into thy azure breast,
For seats of innocence and rest.

 

The Strange Lady

The summer morn is bright and fresh, the birds are darting by,
As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool dear sky;
Young Albert, in the forest's edge, has heard a rustling sound
An arrow slightly strikes his hand and falls upon the ground.

A lovely woman from the wood comes suddenly in sight;
Her merry eye is full and black, her cheek is brown and bright;
She wears a tunic of the blue, her belt with beads is strung,
And yet she speaks in gentle tones, and in the English tongue.

"It was an idle bolt I sent, against the villain crow;
Fair sir, I fear it harmed thy hand; beshrew my erring bow!"
"Ah! would that bolt had not been spent, then, lady, might I wear
A lasting token on my hand of one so passing fair!"

"Thou art a flatterer like the rest, but wouldst thou take with me
A day of hunting in the wilds, beneath the greenwood tree,
I know where most the pheasants feed, and where the red-deer herd,
And thou shouldst chase the nobler game, and I bring down the bird."

Now Albert in her quiver lays the arrow in its place,
And wonders as he gazes on the beauty of her face:
`Those hunting-grounds are far away, and, lady, 'twere not meet
That night, amid the wilderness, should overtake thy feet."

"Heed not the night, a summer lodge amid the wild is mine,
'Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, 'tis mantled by the vine;
The wild plum sheds its yellow fruit from fragrant thickets nigh,
And flowery prairies from the door stretch till they meet the sky.

"There in the boughs that hide the roof the mock-bird sits and sings,
And there the hang-bird's brood within its little hammock swings;
A pebbly brook, where rustling winds among the hopples sweep,
Shall lull thee till the morning sun looks in upon thy sleep."

Away, into the forest depths by pleasant paths they go,
He with his rifle on his arm, the lady with her bow,
Where cornels arch their cool dark boughs o'er beds of wintergreen,
And never at his father's door again was Albert seen.

That night upon the woods came down a furious hurricane,
With howl of winds and roar of streams and beating of the rain;
The mighty thunder broke and drowned the noises in its crash;
The old trees seemed to fight like fiends beneath the lightning-flash.

Next day, within a mossy glen, mid mouldering trunks were found
The fragments of a human form, upon the bloody ground;
White bones from which the flesh was torn, and locks of glossy hair;
They laid them in the place of graves, yet wist not whose they were.
And whether famished evening wolves had mangled Albert so,
Or that strange dame so gay and fair were some mysterious foe,
Or whether to that forest lodge, beyond the mountains blue,
He went to dwell with her, the friends who mourned him never knew.

 

The Stream Of Life

Oh silvery streamlet of the fields,
That flowest full and free!
For thee the rains of spring return,
The summer dews for thee;
And when thy latest blossoms die
In autumn's chilly showers,
The winter fountains gush for thee,
Till May brings back the flowers.

Oh Stream of Life! the violet springs
But once beside thy bed;
But one brief summer, on thy path,
The dews of heaven are shed.
Thy parent fountains shrink away,
And close their crystal veins,
And where thy glittering current flowed
The dust alone remains.

 

The Twenty-Second Of December

Wild was the day; the wintry sea
Moaned sadly on New-England's strand,
When first the thoughtful and the free,
Our fathers, trod the desert land.

They little thought how pure a light,
With years, should gather round that day;
How love should keep their memories bright,
How wide a realm their sons should sway.

Green are their bays; but greener still
Shall round their spreading fame be wreathed,
And regions, now untrod, shall thrill
With reverence when their names are breathed.

Till where the sun, with softer fires,
Looks on the vast Pacific's sleep,
The children of the pilgrim sires
This hallowed day like us shall keep.

 

The Two Graves

Tis a bleak wild hill,--but green and bright
In the summer warmth and the mid-day light;
There's the hum of the bee and the chirp of the wren,
And the dash of the brook from the alder glen;
There's the sound of a bell from the scattered flock,
And the shade of the beech lies cool on the rock,
And fresh from the west is the free wind's breath,--
There is nothing here that speaks of death.

Far yonder, where orchards and gardens lie,
And dwellings cluster, 'tis there men die.
They are born, they die, and are buried near,
Where the populous grave-yard lightens the bier;
For strict and close are the ties that bind
In death the children of human-kind;
Yea, stricter and closer than those of life,--
'Tis a neighbourhood that knows no strife.
They are noiselessly gathered--friend and foe--
To the still and dark assemblies below:
Without a frown or a smile they meet,
Each pale and calm in his winding-sheet;
In that sullen home of peace and gloom,
Crowded, like guests in a banquet-room.

Yet there are graves in this lonely spot,
Two humble graves,--but I meet them not.
I have seen them,--eighteen years are past,
Since I found their place in the brambles last,--
The place where, fifty winters ago,
An aged man in his locks of snow,
And an aged matron, withered with years,
Were solemnly laid!--but not with tears.
For none, who sat by the light of their hearth,
Beheld their coffins covered with earth;
Their kindred were far, and their children dead,
When the funeral prayer was coldly said.

Two low green hillocks, two small gray stones,
Rose over the place that held their bones;
But the grassy hillocks are levelled again,
And the keenest eye might search in vain,
'Mong briers, and ferns, and paths of sheep,
For the spot where the aged couple sleep.

Yet well might they lay, beneath the soil
Of this lonely spot, that man of toil,
And trench the strong hard mould with the spade,
Where never before a grave was made;
For he hewed the dark old woods away,
And gave the virgin fields to the day;
And the gourd and the bean, beside his door,
Bloomed where their flowers ne'er opened before;
And the maize stood up; and the bearded rye
Bent low in the breath of an unknown sky.

'Tis said that when life is ended here,
The spirit is borne to a distant sphere;
That it visits its earthly home no more,
Nor looks on the haunts it loved before.
But why should the bodiless soul be sent
Far off, to a long, long banishment?
Talk not of the light and the living green!
It will pine for the dear familiar scene;
It will yearn, in that strange bright world, to behold
The rock and the stream it knew of old.

'Tis a cruel creed, believe it not!
Death to the good is a milder lot.
They are here,--they are here,--that harmless pair,
In the yellow sunshine and flowing air,
In the light cloud-shadows that slowly pass,
In the sounds that rise from the murmuring grass.
They sit where their humble cottage stood,
They walk by the waving edge of the wood,
And list to the long-accustomed flow
Of the brook that wets the rocks below.
Patient, and peaceful, and passionless,
As seasons on seasons swiftly press,
They watch, and wait, and linger around,
Till the day when their bodies shall leave the ground.

 

The Waning Moon

I've watched too late; the morn is near;
One look at God's broad silent sky!
Oh, hopes and wishes vainly dear,
How in your very strength ye die!

Even while your glow is on the cheek,
And scarce the high pursuit begun,
The heart grows faint, the hand grows weak,
The task of life is left undone.

See where upon the horizon's brim,
Lies the still cloud in gloomy bars;
The waning moon, all pale and dim,
Goes up amid the eternal stars.

Late, in a flood of tender light,
She floated through the ethereal blue,
A softer sun, that shone all night
Upon the gathering beads of dew.

And still thou wanest, pallid moon!
The encroaching shadow grows apace;
Heaven's everlasting watchers soon
Shall see thee blotted from thy place.

Oh, Night's dethroned and crownless queen!
Well may thy sad, expiring ray
Be shed on those whose eyes have seen
Hope's glorious visions fade away.

Shine thou for forms that once were bright,
For sages in the mind's eclipse,
For those whose words were spells of might,
But falter now on stammering lips!

In thy decaying beam there lies
Full many a grave on hill and plain,
Of those who closed their dying eyes
In grief that they had lived in vain.

Another night, and thou among
The spheres of heaven shalt cease to shine,
All rayless in the glittering throng
Whose lustre late was quenched in thine.

Yet soon a new and tender light
From out thy darkened orb shall beam,
And broaden till it shines all night
On glistening dew and glimmering stream.

 

The West Wind

Beneath the forest's skirts I rest,
Whose branching pines rise dark and high,
And hear the breezes of the West
Among the threaded foliage sigh.

Sweet Zephyr! why that sound of wo?
Is not thy home among the flowers?
Do not the bright June roses blow,
To meet thy kiss at morning hours?

And lo! thy glorious realm outspread--
Yon stretching valleys, green and gay,
And yon free hilltops, o'er whose head
The loose white clouds are borne away.

And there the full broad river runs,
And many a fount wells fresh and sweet,
To cool thee when the mid-day suns
Have made thee faint beneath their heat.

Thou wind of joy, and youth, and love;
Spirit of the new wakened year!
The sun in his blue realm above
Smooths a bright path when thou art here.

In lawns the murmuring bee is heard,
The wooing ring-dove in the shade;
On thy soft breath, the new-fledged bird
Takes wing, half happy, half afraid.

Ah! thou art like our wayward race;--
When not a shade of pain or ill
Dims the bright smile of Nature's face,
Thou lov'st to sigh and murmur still.

 

The White-Footed Deer

It was a hundred years ago,
When, by the woodland ways,
The traveller saw the wild deer drink,
Or crop the birchen sprays.

Beneath a hill, whose rocky side
O'erbrowed a grassy mead,
And fenced a cottage from the wind,
A deer was wont to feed.

She only came when on the cliffs
The evening moonlight lay,
And no man knew the secret haunts
In which she walked by day.

White were her feet, her forehead showed
A spot of silvery white,
That seemed to glimmer like a star
In autumn's hazy night.

And here, when sang the whippoorwill,
She cropped the sprouting leaves,
And here her rustling steps were heard
On still October eves.

But when the broad midsummer moon
Rose o'er that grassy lawn,
Beside the silver-footed deer
There grazed a spotted fawn.

The cottage dame forbade her son
To aim the rifle here;
'It were a sin,' she said, 'to harm
Or fright that friendly deer.

'This spot has been my pleasant home
Ten peaceful years and more;
And ever, when the moonlight shines,
She feeds before our door.

'The red men say that here she walked
A thousand moons ago;
They never raise the war-whoop here,
And never twang the bow.

'I love to watch her as she feeds,
And think that all is well
While such a gentle creature haunts
The place in which we dwell.'

The youth obeyed, and sought for game
In forests far away,
Where, deep in silence and in moss,
The ancient woodland lay.

But once, in autumn's golden time,
He ranged the wild in vain,
Nor roused the pheasant nor the deer,
And wandered home again.

The crescent moon and crimson eve
Shone with a mingling light;
The deer, upon the grassy mead,
Was feeding full in sight.

He raised the rifle to his eye,
And from the cliffs around
A sudden echo, shrill and sharp,
Gave back its deadly sound.

Away into the neighbouring wood
The startled creature flew,
And crimson drops at morning lay
Amid the glimmering dew.

Next evening shone the waxing moon
As sweetly as before;
The deer upon the grassy mead
Was seen again no more.

But ere that crescent moon was old,
By night the red men came,
And burnt the cottage to the ground,
And slew the youth and dame.

Now woods have overgrown the mead,
And hid the cliffs from sight;
There shrieks the hovering hawk at noon,
And prowls the fox at night.

 

The Winds

I.

Ye winds, ye unseen currents of the air,
Softly ye played a few brief hours ago;
Ye bore the murmuring bee; ye tossed the hair
O'er maiden cheeks, that took a fresher glow;
Ye rolled the round white cloud through depths of blue;
Ye shook from shaded flowers the lingering dew;
Before you the catalpa's blossoms flew,
Light blossoms, dropping on the grass like snow.

II.

How are ye changed! Ye take the cataract's sound;
Ye take the whirlpool's fury and its might;
The mountain shudders as ye sweep the ground;
The valley woods lie prone beneath your flight.
The clouds before you shoot like eagles past;
The homes of men are rocking in your blast;
Ye lift the roofs like autumn leaves, and cast,
Skyward, the whirling fragments out of sight.

III.

The weary fowls of heaven make wing in vain,
To escape your wrath; ye seize and dash them dead.
Against the earth ye drive the roaring rain;
The harvest-field becomes a river's bed;
And torrents tumble from the hills around,
Plains turn to lakes, and villages are drowned,
And wailing voices, midst the tempest's sound,
Rise, as the rushing waters swell and spread.

IV.

Ye dart upon the deep, and straight is heard
A wilder roar, and men grow pale, and pray;
Ye fling its floods around you, as a bird
Flings o'er his shivering plumes the fountain's spray.
See! to the breaking mast the sailor clings;
Ye scoop the ocean to its briny springs,
And take the mountain billow on your wings,
And pile the wreck of navies round the bay.

V.

Why rage ye thus?--no strife for liberty
Has made you mad; no tyrant, strong through fear,
Has chained your pinions till ye wrenched them free,
And rushed into the unmeasured atmosphere;
For ye were born in freedom where ye blow;
Free o'er the mighty deep to come and go;
Earth's solemn woods were yours, her wastes of snow,
Her isles where summer blossoms all the year.

VI.

O ye wild winds! a mightier Power than yours
In chains upon the shore of Europe lies;
The sceptred throng, whose fetters he endures,
Watch his mute throes with terror in their eyes:
And armed warriors all around him stand,
And, as he struggles, tighten every band,
And lift the heavy spear, with threatening hand,
To pierce the victim, should he strive to rise.

VII.

Yet oh, when that wronged Spirit of our race
Shall break, as soon he must, his long-worn chains,
And leap in freedom from his prison-place,
Lord of his ancient hills and fruitful plains,
Let him not rise, like these mad winds of air,
To waste the loveliness that time could spare,
To fill the earth with wo, and blot her fair
Unconscious breast with blood from human veins.

VIII.

But may he like the spring-time come abroad,
Who crumbles winter's gyves with gentle might,
When in the genial breeze, the breath of God,
Come spouting up the unsealed springs to light;
Flowers start from their dark prisons at his feet,
The woods, long dumb, awake to hymnings sweet,
And morn and eve, whose glimmerings almost meet,
Crowd back to narrow bounds the ancient night.

 

The Yellow Violet

When beechen buds begin to swell,
And woods the blue-bird's warble know,
The yellow violet's modest bell
Peeps from last-year's leaves below.

Ere russet fields their green resume,
Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare,
To meet thee, when thy faint perfume
Alone is in the virgin air.

Of all her train, the hands of Spring
First plant thee in the watery mould,
And I have seen thee blossoming
Beside the snow-bank's edges cold.

Thy parent sun, who bade thee view
Pale skies, and chilling moisture sip
Has bathed thee in his own bright hue,
And streaked with jet thy glowing lip.

Yet slight thy form, and low thy seat,
And earthward bent thy gentle eye,
Unapt the passing view to meet,
When loftier flowers are flaunting nigh.

Oft, in the sunless April day,
Thy early smile has stayed my walk;
But midst the gorgeous blooms of May
I passed thee on thy humple stalk.

So they, who climb to wealth, forget
The friends in darker fortunes tried;
I copied them--but I regret
That I should ape the ways of pride.

And when again the genial hour
Awakes the painted tribes of light,
I'll not o'er look the modest flower
That made the woods of April bright.

 

To A Cloud

Beautiful cloud! with folds so soft and fair,
Swimming in the pure quiet air!
Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
Thy shadow o'er the vale moves slow;
Where, midst their labour, pause the reaper train
As cool it comes along the grain.
Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee
In thy calm way o'er land and sea:
To rest on thy unrolling skirts, and look
On Earth as on an open book;
On streams that tie her realms with silver bands,
And the long ways that seam her lands;
And hear her humming cities, and the sound
Of the great ocean breaking round.
Ay--I would sail upon thy air-borne car
To blooming regions distant far,
To where the sun of Andalusia shines
On his own olive-groves and vines,
Or the soft lights of Italy's bright sky
In smiles upon her ruins lie.
But I would woo the winds to let us rest
O'er Greece long fettered and oppressed,

Whose sons at length have heard the call that comes
From the old battle-fields and tombs,
And risen, and drawn the sword, and on the foe
Have dealt the swift and desperate blow,
And the Othman power is cloven, and the stroke
Has touched its chains, and they are broke.
Ay, we would linger till the sunset there
Should come, to purple all the air,
And thou reflect upon the sacred ground
The ruddy radiance streaming round.

Bright meteor! for the summer noontide made!
Thy peerless beauty yet shall fade.
The sun, that fills with light each glistening fold,
Shall set, and leave thee dark and cold:
The blast shall rend thy skirts, or thou may'st frown
In the dark heaven when storms come down,
And weep in rain, till man's inquiring eye
Miss thee, forever from the sky.

 

To a Waterfowl

Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sing
On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast--
The desert and illimitable air--
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

 

To Cole, The Painter, Departing For Europe

Thine eyes shall see the light of distant skies:
Yet, COLE! thy heart shall bear to Europe's strand
A living image of thy native land,
Such as on thine own glorious canvas lies;
Lone lakes--savannas where the bison roves--
Rocks rich with summer garlands--solemn streams--
Skies, where the desert eagle wheels and screams--
Spring bloom and autumn blaze of boundless groves.
Fair scenes shall greet thee where thou goest--fair,
But different--everywhere the trace of men,
Paths, homes, graves, ruins, from the lowest glen
To where life shrinks from the fierce Alpine air,
Gaze on them, till the tears shall dim thy sight,
But keep that earlier, wilder image bright.

 

To The Apennines

Your peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines!
In the soft light of these serenest skies;
From the broad highland region, black with pines,
Fair as the hills of Paradise they rise,
Bathed in the tint Peruvian slaves behold
In rosy flushes on the virgin gold.

There, rooted to the aerial shelves that wear
The glory of a brighter world, might spring
Sweet flowers of heaven to scent the unbreathed air,
And heaven's fleet messengers might rest the wing,
To view the fair earth in its summer sleep,
Silent, and cradled by the glimmering deep.

Below you lie men's sepulchres, the old
Etrurian tombs, the graves of yesterday;
The herd's white bones lie mixed with human mould--
Yet up the radiant steeps that I survey
Death never climbed, nor life's soft breath, with pain,
Was yielded to the elements again.

Ages of war have filled these plains with fear;
How oft the hind has started at the clash
Of spears, and yell of meeting, armies here,
Or seen the lightning of the battle flash
From clouds, that rising with the thunder's sound,
Hung like an earth-born tempest o'er the ground!

Ah me! what armed nations--Asian horde,
And Libyan host--the Scythian and the Gaul,
Have swept your base and through your passes poured,
Like ocean-tides uprising at the call
Of tyrant winds--against your rocky side
The bloody billows dashed, and howled, and died.

How crashed the towers before beleaguering foes,
Sacked cities smoked and realms were rent in twain;
And commonwealths against their rivals rose,
Trode out their lives and earned the curse of Cain!
While in the noiseless air and light that flowed
Round your far brows, eternal Peace abode.

Here pealed the impious hymn, and altar flames
Rose to false gods, a dream-begotten throng,
Jove, Bacchus, Pan, and earlier, fouler names;
While, as the unheeding ages passed along,
Ye, from your station in the middle skies,
Proclaimed the essential Goodness, strong and wise.

In you the heart that sighs for freedom seeks
Her image; there the winds no barrier know,
Clouds come and rest and leave your fairy peaks;
While even the immaterial Mind, below,
And thought, her winged offspring, chained by power,
Pine silently for the redeeming hour.

 

To the Fringed Gentian

Thou blossom bright with autumn dew,
And colored with the heaven's own blue,
That openest when the quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

Thou comest not when violets lean
O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
Or columbines, in purple dressed,
Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.

Thou waitest late and com'st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged year is near his end.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue--blue--as if that sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.

I would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart.

 

To The River Arve

Not from the sands or cloven rocks,
Thou rapid Arve! thy waters flow;
Nor earth, within her bosom, locks
Thy dark unfathomed wells below.
Thy springs are in the cloud, thy stream
Begins to move and murmur first
Where ice-peaks feel the noonday beam,
Or rain-storms on the glacier burst.

Born where the thunder and the blast,
And morning's earliest light are born,
Thou rushest swoln, and loud, and fast,
By these low homes, as if in scorn:
Yet humbler springs yield purer waves;
And brighter, glassier streams than thine,
Sent up from earth's unlighted caves,
With heaven's own beam and image shine.

Yet stay; for here are flowers and trees;
Warm rays on cottage roofs are here,
And laugh of girls, and hum of bees--
Here linger till thy waves are clear.
Thou heedest not--thou hastest on;
From steep to steep thy torrent falls,
Till, mingling with the mighty Rhone,
It rests beneath Geneva's walls.

Rush on--but were there one with me
That loved me, I would light my hearth
Here, where with God's own majesty
Are touched the features of the earth.
By these old peaks, white, high, and vast,
Still rising as the tempests beat,
Here would I dwell, and sleep, at last,
Among the blossoms at their feet.

 

Upon the mountain's distant head

Upon the mountain's distant head,
With trackless snows for ever white,
Where all is still, and cold, and dead,
Late shines the day's departing light.

But far below those icy rocks,
The vales, in summer bloom arrayed,
Woods full of birds, and fields of flocks,
Are dim with mist and dark with shade.

'Tis thus, from warm and kindly hearts,
And eyes where generous meanings burn,
Earliest the light of life departs,
But lingers with the cold and stern.

 

Version Of A Fragment Of Simonides

The night winds howled--the billows dashed
Against the tossing chest;
And Danae to her broken heart
Her slumbering infant pressed.

'My little child'--in tears she said--
'To wake and weep is mine,
But thou canst sleep--thou dost not know
Thy mother's lot, and thine.

'The moon is up, the moonbeams smile--
They tremble on the main;
But dark, within my floating cell,
To me they smile in vain.

'Thy folded mantle wraps thee warm,
Thy clustering locks are dry,
Thou dost not hear the shrieking gust,
Nor breakers booming high.

'As o'er thy sweet unconscious face
A mournful watch I keep,
I think, didst thou but know thy fate,
How thou wouldst also weep.

'Yet, dear one, sleep, and sleep, ye winds
That vex the restless brine--
When shall these eyes, my babe, be sealed
As peacefully as thine!'

 

When the firmament quivers with daylight's young beam

When the firmament quivers with daylight's young beam,
And the woodlands awaking burst into a hymn,
And the glow of the sky blazes back from the stream,
How the bright ones of heaven in the brightness grow dim.

Oh! 'tis sad, in that moment of glory and song,
To see, while the hill-tops are waiting the sun,
The glittering band that kept watch all night long
O'er Love and o'er Slumber, go out one by one:

Till the circle of ether, deep, ruddy, and vast,
Scarce glimmers with one of the train that were there;
And their leader the day-star, the brightest and last,
Twinkles faintly and fades in that desert of air.

Thus, Oblivion, from midst of whose shadow we came,
Steals o'er us again when life's twilight is gone;
And the crowd of bright names, in the heaven of fame,
Grow pale and are quenched as the years hasten on.

Let them fade--but we'll pray that the age, in whose flight,
Of ourselves and our friends the remembrance shall die
May rise o'er the world, with the gladness and light
Of the morning that withers the stars from the sky.

. . Poems William Cullen Bryant
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