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 mayst frown In the dark heaven when storms come down; And weep in rain, till man's inquiring eye Miss thee, for ever, from the sky.
THE MURDERED TRAVELLER. deg.
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 wild-cat stole To banquet on the dead;—
Nor how, when strangers found his 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.
Long, long they looked—but never spied His welcome step again, Nor knew the fearful death he died Far down that narrow glen.
HYMN TO THE NORTH STAR.
The sad and solemn night Hath yet her multitude of cheerful fires; The glorious host of light Walk the dark hemisphere till she retires; All through her silent watches, gliding slow, Her constellations come, and climb the heavens, and go.
Day, too, hath many a star To grace his gorgeous reign, as bright as they: Through the blue fields afar, Unseen, they follow in his flaming way: Many a bright lingerer, as the eve grows dim, Tells what a radiant troop arose and set with him.
And thou dost see them rise, Star of the Pole! and thou dost see them set. Alone, in thy cold skies, Thou keep'st thy old unmoving station yet, Nor join'st the dances of that glittering train, Nor dipp'st thy virgin orb in the blue western main.
There, at morn's rosy birth, Thou lookest meekly through the kindling air, And eve, that round the earth Chases the day, beholds thee watching there; There noontide finds thee, and the hour that calls The shapes of polar flame to scale heaven's azure walls.
Alike, beneath thine eye, The deeds of darkness and of light are done; High towards the star-lit sky Towns blaze—the smoke of battle blots the sun— The night-storm on a thousand hills is loud— And the strong wind of day doth mingle sea and cloud.
On thy unaltering blaze The half-wrecked mariner, his compass lost, Fixes his steady gaze, And steers, undoubting, to the friendly coast; And they who stray in perilous wastes, by night, Are glad when thou dost shine to guide their footsteps right.
And, therefore, bards of old, Sages, and hermits of the solemn wood, Did in thy beams behold A beauteous type of that unchanging good, That bright eternal beacon, by whose ray The voyager of time should shape his heedful way.
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.
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 rang, And this was the song the bright ones sang:
"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 splendours 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 the brighter 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 dews; 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 and 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."
A FOREST HYMN.
The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, And spread the roof above them,—ere he framed The lofty vault, to gather and roll back The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down, And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks And supplication. For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed His spirit with the thought of boundless power And inaccessible majesty. Ah, why Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore Only among the crowd, and under roofs That our frail hands have raised? Let me, at least, Here, in the shadow of this aged wood, Offer one hymn—thrice happy, if it find Acceptance in His ear.
Father, thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns, thou Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun, Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze, And shot towards heaven. The century-living crow, Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died Among their branches, till, at last, they stood, As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark, Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults, These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride Report not. No fantasting carvings show The boast of our vain race to change the form Of thy fair works. But thou art here—thou fill'st The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds That run along the summit of these trees In music;—thou art in the cooler breath That from the inmost darkness of the place Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the ground, The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee. Here is continual worship;—nature, here, In the tranquillity that thou dost love, Enjoys thy presence. Noiselessly, around, From perch to perch, the solitary bird Passes: and yon clear spring, that, midst its herbs, Wells softly forth and visits the strong roots Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left Thyself without a witness, in these shades, Of thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and grace Are here to speak of thee. This mighty oak— By whose immovable stem I stand and seem Almost annihilated—not a prince, In all that proud old world beyond the deep, Ere wore his crown as loftily as he Wears the green coronal of leaves with which Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower With scented breath, and look so like a smile, Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould, An emanation of the indwelling Life, A visible token of the upholding Love, That are the soul of this wide universe.
My heart is awed within me when I think Of the great miracle that still goes on, In silence, round me—the perpetual work Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed For ever. Written on thy works I read The lesson of thy own eternity. Lo! all grow old and die—but see again, How on the faltering footsteps of decay Youth presses—ever gay and beautiful youth In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees Wave not less proudly that their ancestors Moulder beneath them. Oh, there is not lost One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet, After the flight of untold centuries, The freshness of her far beginning lies And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate Of his arch enemy Death—yea, seats himself Upon the tyrant's throne—the sepulchre, And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.
There have been holy men who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived The generation born with them, nor seemed Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks Around them;—and there have been holy men Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus. But let me often to these solitudes Retire, and in thy presence reassure My feeble virtue. Here its enemies, The passions, at thy plainer footsteps shrink And tremble and are still. Oh, God! when thou Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill, With all the waters of the firmament, The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods And drowns the villages; when, at thy call, Uprises the great deep and throws himself Upon the continent, and overwhelms Its cities—who forgets not, at the sight Of these tremendous tokens of thy power, His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by? Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath Of the mad unchained elements to teach Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate In these calm shades thy milder majesty, And to the beautiful order of thy works Learn to conform the order of our lives.
"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.
"I BROKE THE SPELL THAT HELD ME LONG."
I broke the spell that held me long, The dear, dear witchery of song. I said, the poet's idle lore Shall waste my prime of years no more, For Poetry, though heavenly born, Consorts with poverty and scorn.
I broke the spell—nor deemed its power Could fetter me another hour. Ah, thoughtless! how could I forget Its causes were around me yet? For wheresoe'er I looked, the while, Was nature's everlasting smile.
Still came and lingered on my sight Of flowers and streams the bloom and light, And glory of the stars and sun;— And these and poetry are one. They, ere the world had held me long, Recalled me to the love of song.
I gazed upon the glorious sky And the green mountains round, And thought that when I came to lie Within the silent ground, 'Twere pleasant, that in flowery June, When brooks send up a cheerful tune, And groves a joyous sound, The sexton's hand, my grave to make, The rich, green mountain turf should break.
A cell within the frozen mould, A coffin borne through sleet, And icy clods above it rolled, While fierce the tempests beat— Away!—I will not think of these— Blue be the sky and soft the breeze, Earth green beneath the feet, And be the damp mould gently pressed Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long, long summer hours, The golden light should lie, And thick young herbs and groups of flowers Stand in their beauty by. The oriole should build and tell His love-tale close beside my cell; The idle butterfly Should rest him there, and there be heard The housewife bee and humming-bird.
And what if cheerful shouts at noon Come, from the village sent, Or songs of maids, beneath the moon With fairy laughter blent? And what if, in the evening light, Betrothed lovers walk in sight Of my low monument? I would the lovely scene around Might know no sadder sight nor sound.
I know, I know I should not see The season's glorious show, Nor would its brightness shine for me, Nor its wild music flow; But if, around my place of sleep, The friends I love should come to weep, They might not haste to go. Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom, Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
These to their softened hearts should bear The thought of what has been, And speak of one who cannot share The gladness of the scene; Whose part, in all the pomp that fills The circuit of the summer hills, Is—that his grave is green; And deeply would their hearts rejoice To hear again his living voice.
A SONG OF PITCAIRN'S ISLAND.
Come take our boy, and we will go Before our cabin door; The winds shall bring us, as they blow, The murmurs of the shore; And we will kiss his young blue eyes, And I will sing him, as he lies, Songs that were made of yore: I'll sing, in his delighted ear, The island lays thou lov'st to hear.
And thou, while stammering I repeat, Thy country's tongue shalt teach; 'Tis not so soft, but far more sweet Than my own native speech: For thou no other tongue didst know, When, scarcely twenty moons ago, Upon Tahete's beach, Thou cam'st to woo me to be thine, With many a speaking look and sign.
I knew thy meaning—thou didst praise My eyes, my locks of jet; Ah! well for me they won thy gaze,— But thine were fairer yet! I'm glad to see my infant wear Thy soft blue eyes and sunny hair, And when my sight is met By his white brow and blooming cheek, I feel a joy I cannot speak.
Come talk of Europe's maids with me, Whose necks and cheeks, they tell, Outshine the beauty of the sea, White foam and crimson shell. I'll shape like theirs my simple dress, And bind like them each jetty tress, A sight to please thee well: And for my dusky brow will braid A bonnet like an English maid.
Come, for the low sunlight calls, We lose the pleasant hours; 'Tis lovelier than these cottage walls,— That seat among the flowers. And I will learn of thee a prayer, To Him who gave a home so fair, A lot so blest as ours— The God who made, for thee and me, This sweet lone isle amid the sea.
Ay! gloriously thou standest there, Beautiful, boundles 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 stern: 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!
"I CANNOT FORGET WITH WHAT FERVID DEVOTION."
I cannot forget with what fervid devotion I worshipped the vision of verse and of fame. Each gaze at the glories of earth, sky, and ocean, To my kindled emotions, was wind over flame.
And deep were my musings in life's early blossom, Mid the twilight of mountain groves wandering long; How thrilled my young veins, and how throbbed my full bosom, When o'er me descended the spirit of song.
'Mong the deep-cloven fells that for ages had listened To the rush of the pebble-paved river between, Where the kingfisher screamed and gray precipice glistened, All breathless with awe have I gazed on the scene;
Till I felt the dark power o'er my reveries stealing, From his throne in the depth of that stern solitude, And he breathed through my lips, in that tempest of feeling, Strains lofty or tender, though artless and rude.
Bright visions! I mixed with the world, and ye faded; No longer your pure rural worshipper now; In the haunts your continual presence pervaded, Ye shrink from the signet of care on my brow.
In the old mossy groves on the breast of the mountain, In deep lonely glens where the waters complain, By the shade of the rock, by the gush of the fountain, I seek your loved footsteps, but seek them in vain.
Oh, leave not, forlorn and for ever forsaken, Your pupil and victim to life and its tears! But sometimes return, and in mercy awaken The glories ye showed to his earlier years.
TO A MUSQUITO.
Fair insect! that, with threadlike legs spread out, And blood-extracting bill and filmy wing, Does murmur, as thou slowly sail'st about, In pitiless ears full many a plaintive thing, And tell how little our large veins should bleed, Would we but yield them to thy bitter need.
Unwillingly, I own, and, what is worse, Full angrily men hearken to thy plaint; Thou gettest many a brush, and many a curse, For saying thou art gaunt, and starved, and faint: Even the old beggar, while he asks for food, Would kill thee, hapless stranger, if he could.
I call thee stranger, for the town, I ween, Has not the honour of so proud a birth,— Thou com'st from Jersey meadows, fresh and green, The offspring of the gods, though born on earth; For Titan was thy sire, and fair was she, The ocean nymph that nursed thy infancy.
Beneath the rushes was thy cradle swung, And when, at length, thy gauzy wings grew strong, Abroad to gentle airs their folds were flung, Rose in the sky and bore thee soft along; The south wind breathed to waft thee on thy way, And danced and shone beneath the billowy bay.
Calm rose afar the city spires, and thence Came the deep murmur of its throng of men, And as its grateful odours met thy sense, They seemed the perfumes of thy native fen. Fair lay its crowded streets, and at the sight Thy tiny song grew shriller with delight.
At length thy pinions fluttered in Broadway— Ah, there were fairy steps, and white necks kissed By wanton airs, and eyes whose killing ray Shone through the snowy veils like stars through mist; And fresh as morn, on many a cheek and chin, Bloomed the bright blood through the transparent skin.
Sure these were sights to touch an anchorite! What! do I hear thy slender voice complain? Thou wailest, when I talk of beauty's light, As if it brought the memory of pain: Thou art a wayward being—well—come near, And pour thy tale of sorrow in my ear.
What sayst thou—slanderer!—rouge makes thee sick? And China bloom at best is sorry food? And Rowland's Kalydor, if laid on thick, Poisons the thirsty wretch that bores for blood? Go! 'twas a just reward that met thy crime— But shun the sacrilege another time.
That bloom was made to look at, not to touch; To worship, not approach, that radiant white; And well might sudden vengeance light on such As dared, like thee, most impiously to bite. Thou shouldst have gazed at distance and admired, Murmured thy adoration and retired.
Thou'rt welcome to the town—but why come here To bleed a brother poet, gaunt like thee? Alas! the little blood I have is dear, And thin will be the banquet drawn from me. Look round—the pale-eyed sisters in my cell, Thy old acquaintance, Song and Famine, dwell.
Try some plump alderman, and suck the blood Enriched by generous wine and costly meat; On well-filled skins, sleek as thy native mud, Fix thy light pump and press thy freckled feet: Go to the men for whom, in ocean's hall, The oyster breeds, and the green turtle sprawls.
There corks are drawn, and the red vintage flows To fill the swelling veins for thee, and now The ruddy cheek and now the ruddier nose Shall tempt thee, as thou flittest round the brow; And when the hour of sleep its quiet brings, No angry hand shall rise to brush thy wings.
LINES ON REVISITING THE COUNTRY.
I stand upon my native hills again, Broad, round, and green, that in the summer sky With garniture of waving grass and grain, Orchards, and beechen forests, basking lie, While deep the sunless glens are scooped between, Where brawl o'er shallow beds the streams unseen.
A lisping voice and glancing eyes are near, And ever restless feet of one, who, now, Gathers the blossoms of her fourth bright year; There plays a gladness o'er her fair young brow, As breaks the varied scene upon her sight, Upheaved and spread in verdure and in light.
For I have taught her, with delighted eye, To gaze upon the mountains,—to behold, With deep affection, the pure ample sky, And clouds along its blue abysses rolled,— To love the song of waters, and to hear The melody of winds with charmed ear.
Here, I have 'scaped the city's stifling heat, Its horrid sounds, and its polluted air; And, where the season's milder fervours beat, And gales, that sweep the forest borders, bear The song of bird, and sound of running stream, Am come awhile to wander and to dream.
Ay, flame thy fiercest, sun! thou canst not wake, In this pure air, the plague that walks unseen. The maize leaf and the maple bough but take, From thy strong heats, a deeper, glossier green. The mountain wind, that faints not in thy ray, Sweeps the blue steams of pestilence away.
The mountain wind! most spiritual thing of all The wide earth knows; when, in the sultry time, He stoops him from his vast cerulean hall, He seems the breath of a celestial clime! As if from heaven's wide-open gates did flow Health and refreshment on the world below.
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 sear. 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 hill 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 forest 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.
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:
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
A MEDITATION ON RHODE-ISLAND COAL.
Decolor, obscuris, vilis, non ille repexam Cesariem regum, non candida virginis ornat Colla, nec insigni splendet per cingula morsu. Sed nova si nigri videas miracula saxi, Tunc superat pulchros cultus et quicquid Eois Indus litoribus rubra scrutatur in alga. CLAUDIAN.
I sat beside the glowing grate, fresh heaped With Newport coal, and as the flame grew bright —The many-coloured flame—and played and leaped, I thought of rainbows and the northern light, Moore's Lalla Rookh, the Treasury Report, And other brilliant matters of the sort.
And last I thought of that fair isle which sent The mineral fuel; on a summer day I saw it once, with heat and travel spent, And scratched by dwarf-oaks in the hollow way; Now dragged through sand, now jolted over stone— A rugged road through rugged Tiverton.
And hotter grew the air, and hollower grew The deep-worn path, and horror-struck, I thought, Where will this dreary passage lead me to? This long dull road, so narrow, deep, and hot? I looked to see it dive in earth outright; I looked—but saw a far more welcome sight.
Like a soft mist upon the evening shore, At once a lovely isle before me lay, Smooth and with tender verdure covered o'er, As if just risen from its calm inland bay; Sloped each way gently to the grassy edge, And the small waves that dallied with the sedge.
The barley was just reaped—its heavy sheaves Lay on the stubble field—the tall maize stood Dark in its summer growth, and shook its leaves— And bright the sunlight played on the young wood— For fifty years ago, the old men say, The Briton hewed their ancient groves away.
I saw where fountains freshened the green land, And where the pleasant road, from door to door, With rows of cherry-trees on either hand, Went wandering all that fertile region o'er— Rogue's Island once—but when the rogues were dead, Rhode Island was the name it took instead.
Beautiful island! then it only seemed A lovely stranger—it has grown a friend. I gazed on its smooth slopes, but never dreamed How soon that bright magnificent isle would send The treasures of its womb across the sea, To warm a poet's room and boil his tea.
Dark anthracite! that reddenest on my hearth, Thou in those island mines didst slumber long; But now thou art come forth to move the earth, And put to shame the men that mean thee wrong. Thou shalt be coals of fire to those that hate thee, And warm the shins of all that underrate thee.
Yea, they did wrong thee foully—they who mocked Thy honest face, and said thou wouldst not burn; Of hewing thee to chimney-pieces talked, And grew profane—and swore, in bitter scorn, That men might to thy inner caves retire, And there, unsinged, abide the day of fire.
Yet is thy greatness nigh. I pause to state, That I too have seen greatness—even I— Shook hands with Adams—stared at La Fayette, When, barehead, in the hot noon of July, He would not let the umbrella be held o'er him, For which three cheers burst from the mob before him.
And I have seen—not many months ago— An eastern Governor in chapeau bras And military coat, a glorious show! Ride forth to visit the reviews, and ah! How oft he smiled and bowed to Jonathan! How many hands were shook and votes were won!
'Twas a great Governor—thou too shalt be Great in thy turn—and wide shall spread thy fame, And swiftly; farthest Maine shall hear of thee, And cold New Brunswick gladden at thy name, And, faintly through its sleets, the weeping isle That sends the Boston folks their cod shall smile.
For thou shalt forge vast railways, and shalt heat The hissing rivers into steam, and drive Huge masses from thy mines, on iron feet, Walking their steady way, as if alive, Northward, till everlasting ice besets thee, And south as far as the grim Spaniard lets thee.
Thou shalt make mighty engines swim the sea, Like its own monsters—boats that for a guinea Will take a man to Havre—and shalt be The moving soul of many a spinning-jenny, And ply thy shuttles, till a bard can wear As good a suit of broadcloth as the mayor.
Then we will laugh at winter when we hear The grim old churl about our dwellings rave: Thou, from that "ruler of the inverted year," Shalt pluck the knotty sceptre Cowper gave, And pull him from his sledge, and drag him in, And melt the icicles from off his chin.
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.
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.
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 AFRICAN CHIEF. deg.
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.
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 anemones 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 mayst—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.
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 gayly 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 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!
A power is on the earth and in the air, From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid, And shelters him, in nooks of deepest shade, From the hot steam and from the fiery glare. Look forth upon the earth—her thousand plants Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze; The herd beside the shaded fountain pants; For life is driven from all the landscape brown; The bird has sought his tree, the snake his den, The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men Drop by the sun-stroke in the populous town: As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent Its deadly breath into the firmament.
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 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 CONJUNCTION OF JUPITER AND VENUS. deg.
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.
A SUMMER RAMBLE.
The quiet August noon has come, A slumberous silence fills the sky, The fields are still, the woods are dumb, In glassy sleep the waters lie.
And mark yon soft white clouds that rest Above our vale, a moveless throng; The cattle on the mountain's breast Enjoy the grateful shadow long.
Oh, how unlike those merry hours In early June when Earth laughs out, When the fresh winds make love to flowers, And woodlands sing and waters shout.
When in the grass sweet voices talk, And strains of tiny music swell From every moss-cup of the rock, From every nameless blossom's bell.
But now a joy too deep for sound, A peace no other season knows, Hushes the heavens and wraps the ground, The blessing of supreme repose.
Away! I will not be, to-day, The only slave of toil and care. Away from desk and dust! away! I'll be as idle as the air.
Beneath the open sky abroad, Among the plants and breathing things, The sinless, peaceful works of God, I'll share the calm the season brings.
Come, thou, in whose soft eyes I see The gentle meanings of thy heart, One day amid the woods with me, From men and all their cares apart.
And where, upon the meadow's breast, The shadow of the thicket lies, The blue wild flowers thou gatherest Shall glow yet deeper near thine eyes.
Come, and when mid the calm profound, I turn, those gentle eyes to seek, They, like the lovely landscape round, Of innocence and peace shall speak.
Rest here, beneath the unmoving shade, And on the silent valleys gaze, Winding and widening, till they fade In yon soft ring of summer haze.
The village trees their summits rear Still as its spire, and yonder flock At rest in those calm fields appear As chiselled from the lifeless rock.
One tranquil mount the scene o'erlooks— There the hushed winds their sabbath keep While a near hum from bees and brooks Comes faintly like the breath of sleep.
Well may the gazer deem that when, Worn with the struggle and the strife, And heart-sick at the wrongs of men, The good forsakes the scene of life;
Like this deep quiet that, awhile, Lingers the lovely landscape o'er, Shall be the peace whose holy smile Welcomes him to a happier shore.
A SCENE ON THE BANKS OF THE HUDSON.
Cool shades and dews are round my way, And silence of the early day; Mid the dark rocks that watch his bed, Glitters the mighty Hudson spread, Unrippled, save by drops that fall From shrubs that fringe his mountain wall; And o'er the clear still water swells The music of the Sabbath bells.
All, save this little nook of land Circled with trees, on which I stand; All, save that line of hills which lie Suspended in the mimic sky— Seems a blue void, above, below, Through which the white clouds come and go, And from the green world's farthest steep I gaze into the airy deep.
Loveliest of lovely things are they, On earth, that soonest pass away. The rose that lives its little hour Is prized beyond the sculptured flower. Even love, long tried and cherished long, Becomes more tender and more strong, At thought of that insatiate grave From which its yearnings cannot save.
River! in this still hour thou hast Too much of heaven on earth to last; Nor long may thy still waters lie, An image of the glorious sky. Thy fate and mine are not repose, And ere another evening close, Thou to thy tides shalt turn again, And I to seek the crowd of men.
THE HURRICANE. deg.
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.
Chains may subdue the feeble spirit, but thee, Tell, of the iron heart! they could not tame! For thou wert of the mountains; they proclaim The everlasting creed of liberty. That creed is written on the untrampled snow, Thundered by torrents which no power can hold, Save that of God, when he sends forth his cold, And breathed by winds that through the free heaven blow. Thou, while thy prison walls were dark around, Didst meditate the lesson Nature taught, And to thy brief captivity was brought A vision of thy Switzerland unbound. The bitter cup they mingled, strengthened thee For the great work to set thy country free.
THE HUNTER'S SERENADE. deg.
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 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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"INNOCENT CHILD AND SNOW-WHITE FLOWER."
Innocent child and snow-white flower! Well are ye paired in your opening hour. Thus should the pure and the lovely meet, Stainless with stainless, and sweet with sweet.
White as those leaves, just blown apart, Are the folds of thy own young heart; Guilty passion and cankering care Never have left their traces there.
Artless one! though thou gazest now O'er the white blossom with earnest brow, Soon will it tire thy childish eye; Fair as it is, thou wilt throw it by.
Throw it aside in thy weary hour, Throw to the ground the fair white flower; Yet, as thy tender years depart, Keep that white and innocent heart.
TO THE RIVER ARVE.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN AT A HAMLET NEAR THE FOOT OF MONT BLANC.
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.
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 FRINGED GENTIAN.
Thou blossom bright with autumn dew, And coloured 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.
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.
HYMN OF THE CITY.
Not in the solitude Alone may man commune with Heaven, or see Only in savage wood And sunny vale, the present Deity; Or only hear his voice Where the winds whisper and the waves rejoice.
Even here do I behold Thy steps, Almighty!—here, amidst the crowd, Through the great city rolled, With everlasting murmur deep and loud— Choking the ways that wind 'Mongst the proud piles, the work of human kind.
Thy golden sunshine comes From the round heaven, and on their dwellings lies, And lights their inner homes; For them thou fill'st with air the unbounded skies, And givest them the stores Of ocean, and the harvests of its shores.
Thy Spirit is around, Quickening the restless mass that sweeps along; And this eternal sound— Voices and footfalls of the numberless throng— Like the resounding sea, Or like the rainy tempest, speaks of thee.
And when the hours of rest Come, like a calm upon the mid-sea brine, Hushing its billowy breast— The quiet of that moment too is thine, It breathes of Him who keeps The vast and helpless city while it sleeps.
THE PRAIRIES. deg.
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.
SONG OF MARION'S MEN. deg.
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 walls of thorny vines, Its glades of reedy grass, Its safe and silent islands Within the dark morass.
Wo 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 kindliest 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, For ever, from our shore.
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 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.
* * * * *
* * * * *
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!"
FROM THE SPANISH OF VILLEGAS.
'Tis sweet, in the green Spring, To gaze upon the wakening fields around; Birds in the thicket sing, Winds whisper, waters prattle from the ground; A thousand odours rise, Breathed up from blossoms of a thousand dyes.
Shadowy, and close, and cool, The pine and poplar keep their quiet nook; For ever fresh and full, Shines, at their feet, the thirst-inviting brook; And the soft herbage seems Spread for a place of banquets and of dreams.
Thou, who alone art fair, And whom alone I love, art far away. Unless thy smile be there, It makes me sad to see the earth so gay; I care not if the train Of leaves, and flowers, and zephyrs go again.
MARY MAGDALEN. deg.
FROM THE SPANISH OF BARTOLOME LEONARDO DE ARGENSOLA.
Blessed, yet sinful one, and broken-hearted! The crowd are pointing at the thing forlorn, In wonder and in scorn! Thou weepest days of innocence departed; Thou weepest, and thy tears have power to move The Lord to pity and love.
The greatest of thy follies is forgiven, Even for the least of all the tears that shine On that pale cheek of thine. Thou didst kneel down, to Him who came from heaven, Evil and ignorant, and thou shalt rise Holy, and pure, and wise.
It is not much that to the fragrant blossom The ragged brier should change; the bitter fir Distil Arabian myrrh! Nor that, upon the wintry desert's bosom, The harvest should rise plenteous, and the swain Bear home the abundant grain.
But come and see the bleak and barren mountains Thick to their tops with roses: come and see Leaves on the dry dead tree: The perished plant, set out by living fountains, Grows fruitful, and its beauteous branches rise, For ever, towards the skies.
THE LIFE OF THE BLESSED.
FROM THE SPANISH OF LUIS PONCE DE LEON.
Region of life and light! Land of the good whose earthly toils are o'er! Nor frost nor heat may blight Thy vernal beauty, fertile shore, Yielding thy blessed fruits for evermore!
There without crook or sling, Walks the good shepherd; blossoms white and red Round his meek temples cling; And to sweet pastures led, His own loved flock beneath his eye is fed.
He guides, and near him they Follow delighted, for he makes them go Where dwells eternal May, And heavenly roses blow, Deathless, and gathered but again to grow.
He leads them to the height Named of the infinite and long-sought Good, And fountains of delight; And where his feet have stood Springs up, along the way, their tender food.
And when, in the mid skies, The climbing sun has reached his highest bound, Reposing as he lies, With all his flock around, He witches the still air with numerous sound.
From his sweet lute flow forth Immortal harmonies, of power to still All passions born of earth, And draw the ardent will Its destiny of goodness to fulfil.
Might but a little part, A wandering breath of that high melody, Descend into my heart, And change it till it be Transformed and swallowed up, oh love! in thee.
Ah! then my soul should know, Beloved! where thou liest at noon of day, And from this place of woe Released, should take its way To mingle with thy flock and never stray.
FATIMA AND RADUAN. deg.
FROM THE SPANISH.
Diamante falso y fingido, Engastado en pedernal, &c.
"False diamond set in flint! the caverns of the mine Are warmer than the breast that holds that faithless heart of thine; Thou art fickle as the sea, thou art wandering as the wind, And the restless ever-mounting flame is not more hard to bind. If the tears I shed were tongues, yet all too few would be To tell of all the treachery that thou hast shown to me. Oh! I could chide thee sharply—but every maiden knows That she who chides her lover, forgives him ere he goes.
"Thou hast called me oft the flower of all Grenada's maids, Thou hast said that by the side of me the first and fairest fades; And they thought thy heart was mine, and it seemed to every one That what thou didst to win my love, from love of me was done. Alas! if they but knew thee, as mine it is to know, They well might see another mark to which thine arrows go; But thou giv'st me little heed—for I speak to one who knows That she who chides her lover, forgives him ere he goes.
"It wearies me, mine enemy, that I must weep and bear What fills thy heart with triumph, and fills my own with care. Thou art leagued with those that hate me, and ah! thou know'st I feel That cruel words as surely kill as sharpest blades of steel. 'Twas the doubt that thou wert false that wrung my heart with pain; But, now I know thy perfidy, I shall be well again. I would proclaim thee as thou art—but every maiden knows That she who chides her lover, forgives him ere he goes."
Thus Fatima complained to the valiant Raduan, Where underneath the myrtles Alhambra's fountains ran: The Moor was inly moved, and blameless as he was, He took her white hand in his own, and pleaded thus his cause. "Oh, lady, dry those star-like eyes—their dimness does me wrong; If my heart be made of flint, at least 'twill keep thy image long; Thou hast uttered cruel words—but I grieve the less for those, Since she who chides her lover, forgives him ere he goes."
LOVE AND FOLLY. deg.
FROM LA FONTAINE.
Love's worshippers alone can know The thousand mysteries that are his; His blazing torch, his twanging bow, His blooming age are mysteries. A charming science—but the day Were all too short to con it o'er; So take of me this little lay, A sample of its boundless lore.
As once, beneath the fragrant shade Of myrtles breathing heaven's own air, The children, Love and Folly, played— A quarrel rose betwixt the pair. Love said the gods should do him right— But Folly vowed to do it then, And struck him, o'er the orbs of sight, So hard he never saw again.
His lovely mother's grief was deep, She called for vengeance on the deed; A beauty does not vainly weep, Nor coldly does a mother plead. A shade came o'er the eternal bliss That fills the dwellers of the skies; Even stony-hearted Nemesis, And Rhadamanthus, wiped their eyes.
"Behold," she said, "this lovely boy," While streamed afresh her graceful tears, "Immortal, yet shut out from joy And sunshine, all his future years. The child can never take, you see, A single step without a staff— The harshest punishment would be Too lenient for the crime by half."
All said that Love had suffered wrong, And well that wrong should be repaid; Then weighed the public interest long, And long the party's interest weighed. And thus decreed the court above— "Since Love is blind from Folly's blow, Let Folly be the guide of Love, Where'er the boy may choose to go."
FROM THE SPANISH.
Vientecico murmurador, Que lo gozas y andas todo, &c.
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 ALCAYDE OF MOLINA. deg.
FROM THE SPANISH.
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 DEATH OF ALIATAR. deg.
FROM THE SPANISH.
'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.