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 Toward 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.
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 tops 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.
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;
Labors 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 forever 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 odors 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 our own bright land, Such as upon thy 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 colored with the heaven's own blue, That openest when the quiet light Succeeds the keen and frosty night.
Thou comest not when violets lean O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen, Or columbines, in purple dressed, Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.
Thou waitest late and com'st alone, When woods are bare and birds are flown, And frosts and shortening days portend The aged year is near his end.
Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye Look through its fringes to the sky, Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall A flower from its cerulean wall.
I would that thus, when I shall see The hour of death draw near to me, Hope, blossoming within my heart, May look to heaven as I depart.
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 hour of rest Comes, 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.
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 forever.—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 power 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 our 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 Oregon— 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.
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.
Woe to the English soldiery That little dread us near! On them shall light at midnight A strange and sudden fear: When, waking to their tents on fire, They grasp their arms in vain, And they who stand to face us Are beat to earth again; And they who fly in terror deem A mighty host behind, And hear the tramp of thousands Upon the hollow wind.
Then sweet the hour that brings release From danger and from toil: We talk the battle over, And share the battle's spoil. The woodland rings with laugh and shout, As if a hunt were up, And woodland flowers are gathered To crown the soldier's cup. With merry songs we mock the wind That in the pine-top grieves, And slumber long and sweetly On beds of oaken leaves.
Well knows the fair and friendly moon The band that Marion leads— The glitter of their rifles, The scampering of their steeds. 'Tis life to guide the fiery barb Across the moonlight plain; 'Tis life to feel the night-wind That lifts the 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, Forever, 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 snow, 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, As 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 odors rise, Breathed up from blossoms of a thousand dyes.
Shadowy, and close, and cool, The pine and poplar keep their quiet nook; Forever 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.
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 lining fountains, Grows fruitful, and its beauteous branches rise, Forever, toward 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, The flock he loves 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.
FROM THE SPANISH.
Diamante falso y fingido, Engastado en pedernal, etc.
"False diamond set in flint! hard heart in haughty breast! By a softer, warmer bosom the tiger's couch is prest. 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 Granada'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, for 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.
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 fresh in heaven's pure 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 hardest 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, etc.
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.
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 vain, And toward 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.
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 Phoenix, The flag that loved the sky, That scarce the wind dared wanton with, It flew so proud and high— Now leaves its place in battle-field, And sweeps the ground in grief, The bearer drags its glorious folds Behind the fallen chief, As mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
Brave Aliatar led forward A hundred Moors to go To where his brother held Motril Against the leaguering foe. On horseback went the gallant Moor, That gallant band to lead; And now his bier is at the gate, From which he pricked his steed. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
The knights of the Grand Master In crowded ambush lay; They rushed upon him where the reeds Were thick beside the way; They smote the valiant Aliatar, They smote the warrior dead, And broken, but not beaten, were The gallant ranks he led. Now mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
Oh! what was Zayda's sorrow, How passionate her cries! Her lover's wounds streamed not more free Than that poor maiden's eyes. Say, Love—for didst thou see her tears— Oh, no! he drew more tight The blinding fillet o'er his lids To spare his eyes the sight. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
Nor Zayda weeps him only, But all that dwell between The great Alhambra's palace walls And springs of Albaicin. The ladies weep the flower of knights, The brave the bravest here; The people weep a champion, The Alcaydes a noble peer. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
LOVE IN THE AGE OF CHIVALRY.
FROM PEYRE VIDAL, THE TROUBADOUR.
The earth was sown with early flowers, The heavens were blue and bright— I met a youthful cavalier As lovely as the light. I knew him not—but in my heart His graceful image lies, And well I marked his open brow, His sweet and tender eyes, His ruddy lips that ever smiled, His glittering teeth betwixt, And flowing robe embroidered o'er, With leaves and blossoms mixed. He wore a chaplet of the rose; His palfrey, white and sleek, Was marked with many an ebon spot, And many a purple streak; Of jasper was his saddle-bow, His housings sapphire stone, And brightly in his stirrup glanced The purple calcedon. Fast rode the gallant cavalier, As youthful horsemen ride; "Peyre Vidal! know that I am Love," The blooming stranger cried; "And this is Mercy by my side, A dame of high degree; This maid is Chastity," he said, "This squire is Loyalty."
THE LOVE OF GOD.
FROM THE PROVENCAL OF BERNARD RASCAS.
All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye. The forms of men shall be as they had never been; The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and tender green; The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant song, And the nightingale shall cease to chant the evening long; The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that kills, And all the fair white flocks shall perish from the hills. The goat and antlered stag, the wolf and the fox, The wild-boar of the wood, and the chamois of the rocks, And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden dust shall lie; And the dolphin of the sea, and the mighty whale, shall die. And realms shall be dissolved, and empires be no more, And they shall bow to death, who ruled from shore to shore; And the great globe itself, so the holy writings tell, With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell, Shall melt with fervent heat—they shall all pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
FROM THE SPANISH OF PEDRO DE CASTRO Y ANAYA.
Stay rivulet, nor haste to leave The lovely vale that lies around thee. Why wouldst thou be a sea at eve, When but a fount the morning found thee?
Born when the skies began to glow, Humblest of all the rock's cold daughters, No blossom bowed its stalk to show Where stole thy still and scanty waters.
Now on the stream the noonbeams look, Usurping, as thou downward driftest, Its crystal from the clearest brook, Its rushing current from the swiftest.
Ah! what wild haste!—and all to be A river and expire in ocean. Each fountain's tribute hurries thee To that vast grave with quicker motion.
Far better 'twere to linger still In this green vale, these flowers to cherish, And die in peace, an aged rill, Than thus, a youthful Danube, perish.
FROM THE PORTUGUESE OF SEMEDO.
It is a fearful night; a feeble glare Streams from the sick moon in the o'erclouded sky; The ridgy billows, with a mighty cry, Rush on the foamy beaches wild and bare; No bark the madness of the waves will dare; The sailors sleep; the winds are loud and high. Ah, peerless Laura! for whose love I die, Who gazes on thy smiles while I despair? As thus, in bitterness of heart, I cried, I turned, and saw my Laura, kind and bright, A messenger of gladness, at my side; To my poor bark she sprang with footstep light, And as we furrowed Tago's heaving tide, I never saw so beautiful a night.
FROM THE SPANISH OF IGLESIAS.
Alexis calls me cruel: The rifted crags that hold The gathered ice of winter, He says, are not more cold.
When even the very blossoms Around the fountain's brim, And forest-walks, can witness The love I bear to him.
I would that I could utter My feelings without shame, And tell him how I love him, Nor wrong my virgin fame.
Alas! to seize the moment When heart inclines to heart, And press a suit with passion, Is not a woman's part.
If man come not to gather The roses where they stand, They fade among their foliage; They cannot seek his hand.
THE COUNT OF GREIERS.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.
At morn the Count of Greiers before his castle stands; He sees afar the glory that lights the mountain-lands; The horned crags are shining, and in the shade between A pleasant Alpine valley lies beautifully green.
"Oh, greenest of the valleys, how shall I come to thee! Thy herdsmen and thy maidens, how happy must they be! I have gazed upon thee coldly, all lovely as thou art, But the wish to walk thy pastures now stirs my inmost heart."
He hears a sound of timbrels, and suddenly appear A troop of ruddy damsels and herdsmen drawing near: They reach the castle greensward, and gayly dance across; The white sleeves flit and glimmer, the wreaths and ribbons toss.
The youngest of the maidens, slim as a spray of spring, She takes the young count's fingers, and draws him to the ring; They fling upon his forehead a crown of mountain flowers, "And ho, young Count of Greiers! this morning thou art ours!"
Then hand in hand departing, with dance and roundelay, Through hamlet after hamlet, they lead the Count away. They dance through wood and meadow, they dance across the linn, Till the mighty Alpine summits have shut the music in.
The second morn is risen, and now the third is come; Where stays the Count of Greiers? has he forgot his home? Again the evening closes, in thick and sultry air; There's thunder on the mountains, the storm is gathering there.
The cloud has shed its waters, the brook comes swollen down; You see it by the lightning—a river wide and brown. Around a struggling swimmer the eddies dash and roar, Till, seizing on a willow, he leaps upon the shore.
"Here am I cast by tempests far from your mountain-dell. Amid our evening dances the bursting deluge fell. Ye all, in cots and caverns, have 'scaped the water-spout, While me alone the tempest overwhelmed and hurried out.
"Farewell, with thy glad dwellers, green vale among the rocks! Farewell the swift sweet moments, in which I watched thy flocks! Why rocked they not my cradle in that delicious spot, That garden of the happy, where Heaven endures me not?
"Rose of the Alpine valley! I feel, in every vein, Thy soft touch on my fingers; oh, press them not again! Bewitch me not, ye garlands, to tread that upward track, And thou, my cheerless mansion, receive thy master back."
FROM THE SPANISH.
If slumber, sweet Lisena! Have stolen o'er thine eyes, As night steals o'er the glory Of spring's transparent skies;
Wake, in thy scorn and beauty, And listen to the strain That murmurs my devotion, That mourns for thy disdain.
Here, by thy door at midnight, I pass the dreary hour, With plaintive sounds profaning The silence of thy bower;
A tale of sorrow cherished Too fondly to depart, Of wrong from love the flatterer And my own wayward heart.
Twice, o'er this vale, the seasons Have brought and borne away The January tempest, The genial wind of May;
Yet still my plaint is uttered, My tears and sighs are given To earth's unconscious waters, And wandering winds of heaven.
I saw, from this fair region, The smile of summer pass, And myriard frost-stars glitter Among the russet grass.
While winter seized the streamlets That fled along the ground, And fast in chains of crystal The truant murmurers bound.
I saw that to the forest The nightingales had flown, And every sweet-voiced fountain Had hushed its silver tone.
The maniac winds, divorcing The turtle from his mate, Raved through the leafy beeches, And left them desolate.
Now May, with life and music, The blooming valley fills, And rears her flowery arches For all the little rills.
The minstrel bird of evening Comes back on joyous wings, And, like the harp's soft murmur, Is heard the gush of springs.
And deep within the forest Are wedded turtles seen, Their nuptial chambers seeking, Their chambers close and green.
The rugged trees are mingling Their flowery sprays in love; The ivy climbs the laurel, To clasp the boughs above.
They change—but thou, Lisena, Art cold while I complain: Why to thy lover only Should spring return in vain?
A NORTHERN LEGEND.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.
There sits a lovely maiden, The ocean murmuring nigh; She throws the hook, and watches; The fishes pass it by.
A ring, with a red jewel, Is sparkling on her hand; Upon the hook she binds it, And flings it from the land.
Uprises from the water A hand like ivory fair. What gleams upon its finger? The golden ring is there.
Uprises from the bottom A young and handsome knight; In golden scales he rises, That glitter in the light.
The maid is pale with terror— "Nay, Knight of Ocean, nay, It was not thou I wanted; Let go the ring, I pray."
"Ah, maiden, not to fishes The bait of gold is thrown; Thy ring shall never leave me, And thou must be my own."
THE PARADISE OF TEARS.
FROM THE GERMAN OF N. MUeELLER.
Beside the River of Tears, with branches low, And bitter leaves, the weeping-willows grow; The branches stream like the dishevelled hair Of women in the sadness of despair.
On rolls the stream with a perpetual sigh; The rocks moan wildly as it passes by; Hyssop and wormwood border all the strand, And not a flower adorns the dreary land.
Then comes a child, whose face is like the sun, And dips the gloomy waters as they run, And waters all the region, and behold The ground is bright with blossoms manifold.
Where fall the tears of love the rose appears, And where the ground is bright with friendship's tears, Forget-me-not, and violets, heavenly blue, Spring, glittering with the cheerful drops like dew.
The souls of mourners, all whose tears are dried, Like swans, come gently floating down the tide, Walk up the golden sands by which it flows, And in that Paradise of Tears repose.
There every heart rejoins its kindred heart; There in a long embrace that none may part, Fulfilment meets desire, and that fair shore Beholds its dwellers happy evermore.
THE LADY OF CASTLE WINDECK.
FROM THE GERMAN OF CHAMISSO.
Rein in thy snorting charger! That stag but cheats thy sight; He is luring thee on to Windeck, With his seeming fear and flight.
Now, where the mouldering turrets Of the outer gate arise, The knight gazed over the ruins Where the stag was lost to his eyes.
The sun shone hot above him; The castle was still as death; He wiped the sweat from his forehead, With a deep and weary breath.
"Who now will bring me a beaker Of the rich old wine that here, In the choked-up vaults of Windeck, Has lain for many a year?"
The careless words had scarcely Time from his lips to fall, When the lady of Castle Windeck, Came round the ivy-wall.
He saw the glorious maiden In her snow-white drapery stand, The bunch of keys at her girdle, The beaker high in her hand.
He quaffed that rich old vintage; With an eager lip he quaffed; But he took into his bosom A fire with the grateful draught.
Her eyes' unfathomed brightness! The flowing gold of her hair! He folded his hands in homage, And murmured a lover's prayer.
She gave him a look of pity, A gentle look of pain; And, quickly as he had seen her, She passed from his sight again.
And ever, from that moment, He haunted the ruins there, A sleepless, restless wanderer, A watcher with despair.
Ghost-like and pale he wandered, With a dreamy, haggard eye; He seemed not one of the living, And yet he could not die.
'Tis said that the lady met him, When many years had past, And kissing his lips, released him From the burden of life at last.
TO THE APENNINES.
Your peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines! In the soft light of these serenest skies; From the broad highland region, black with pines, Fair as the hills of Paradise they rise, Bathed in the tint Peruvian slaves behold In rosy flushes on the virgin gold.
There, rooted to the aerial shelves that wear The glory of a brighter world, might spring Sweet flowers of heaven to scent the unbreathed air, And heaven's fleet messengers might rest the wing To view the fair earth in its summer sleep, Silent, and cradled by the glimmering deep.
Below you lie men's sepulchres, the old Etrurian tombs, the graves of yesterday; The herd's white bones lie mixed with human mould, Yet up the radiant steeps that I survey Death never climbed, nor life's soft breath, with pain, Was yielded to the elements again.
Ages of war have filled these plains with fear; How oft the hind has started at the clash Of spears, and yell of meeting armies here, Or seen the lightning of the battle flash From clouds, that rising with the thunder's sound, Hung like an earth-born tempest o'er the ground!
Ah me! what armed nations—Asian horde, And Libyan host, the Scythian and the Gaul Have swept your base and through your passes poured, Like ocean-tides uprising at the call Of tyrant winds—against your rocky side The bloody billows dashed, and howled, and died!
How crashed the towers before beleaguering foes, Sacked cities smoked and realms were rent in twain; And commonwealths against their rivals rose, Trode out their lives and earned the curse of Cain! While, in the noiseless air and light that flowed Round your fair brows, eternal Peace abode.
Here pealed the impious hymn, and altar-flames Rose to false gods, a dream-begotten throng, Jove, Bacchus, Pan, and earlier, fouler names; While, as the unheeding ages passed along, Ye, from your station in the middle skies, Proclaimed the essential Goodness, strong and wise.
In you the heart that sighs for freedom seeks Her image; there the winds no barrier know, Clouds come and rest and leave your fairy peaks; While even the immaterial Mind, below, And Thought, her winged offspring, chained by power, Pine silently for the redeeming hour.
A midnight black with clouds is in the sky; I seem to feel, upon my limbs, the weight Of its vast brooding shadow. All in vain Turns the tired eye in search of form; no star Pierces the pitchy veil; no ruddy blaze, From dwellings lighted by the cheerful hearth, Tinges the flowering summits of the grass. No sound of life is heard, no village hum, Nor measured tramp of footstep in the path, Nor rush of wind, while, on the breast of Earth, I lie and listen to her mighty voice: A voice of many tones—sent up from streams That wander through the gloom, from woods unseen Swayed by the sweeping of the tides of air, From rocky chasms where darkness dwells all day, And hollows of the great invisible hills, And sands that edge the ocean, stretching far Into the night—a melancholy sound!
O Earth! dost thou too sorrow for the past Like man thy offspring? Do I hear thee mourn Thy childhood's unreturning hours, thy springs Gone with their genial airs and melodies, The gentle generations of thy flowers, And thy majestic groves of olden time, Perished with all their dwellers? Dost thou wail For that fair age of which the poets tell, Ere yet the winds grew keen with frost, or fire Fell with the rains or spouted from the hills, To blast thy greenness, while the virgin night Was guiltless and salubrious as the day? Or haply dost thou grieve for those that die— For living things that trod thy paths awhile, The love of thee and heaven—and now they sleep Mixed with the shapeless dust on which thy herds Trample and graze? I too must grieve with thee, O'er loved ones lost. Their graves are far away Upon thy mountains; yet, while I recline Alone, in darkness, on thy naked soil, The mighty nourisher and burial-place Of man, I feel that I embrace their dust.
Ha! how the murmur deepens! I perceive And tremble at its dreadful import. Earth Uplifts a general cry for guilt and wrong, And heaven is listening. The forgotten graves Of the heart-broken utter forth their plaint. The dust of her who loved and was betrayed, And him who died neglected in his age; The sepulchres of those who for mankind Labored, and earned the recompense of scorn; Ashes of martyrs for the truth, and bones Of those who, in the strife for liberty, Were beaten down, their corses given to dogs, Their names to infamy, all find a voice. The nook in which the captive, overtoiled, Lay down to rest at last, and that which holds Childhood's sweet blossoms, crushed by cruel hands, Send up a plaintive sound. From battle-fields, Where heroes madly drave and dashed their hosts Against each other, rises up a noise, As if the armed multitudes of dead Stirred in their heavy slumber. Mournful tones Come from the green abysses of the sea— A story of the crimes the guilty sought To hide beneath its waves. The glens, the groves, Paths in the thicket, pools of running brook, And banks and depths of lake, and streets and lanes Of cities, now that living sounds are hushed, Murmur of guilty force and treachery.
Here, where I rest, the vales of Italy Are round me, populous from early time, And field of the tremendous warfare waged 'Twixt good and evil. Who, alas! shall dare Interpret to man's ear the mingled voice That comes from her old dungeons yawning now To the black air, her amphitheatres, Where the dew gathers on the mouldering stones, And fanes of banished gods, and open tombs, And roofless palaces, and streets and hearths Of cities dug from their volcanic graves? I hear a sound of many languages, The utterance of nations now no more, Driven out by mightier, as the days of heaven Chase one another from the sky. The blood Of freemen shed by freemen, till strange lords Came in their hour of weakness, and made fast The yoke that yet is worn, cries out to heaven.
What then shall cleanse thy bosom, gentle Earth, From all its painful memories of guilt? The whelming flood, or the renewing fire, Or the slow change of time?—that so, at last, The horrid tale of perjury and strife, Murder and spoil, which men call history, May seem a fable, like the inventions told By poets of the gods of Greece. O thou, Who sittest far beyond the Atlantic deep, Among the sources of thy glorious streams, My native Land of Groves! a newer page In the great record of the world is thine; Shall it be fairer? Fear, and friendly Hope, And Envy, watch the issue, while the lines, By which thou shalt be judged, are written down.
THE KNIGHT'S EPITAPH.
This is the church which Pisa, great and free, Reared to St. Catharine. How the time-stained walls, That earthquakes shook not from their poise, appear To shiver in the deep and voluble tones Rolled from the organ! Underneath my feet There lies the lid of a sepulchral vault. The image of an armed knight is graven Upon it, clad in perfect panoply— Cuishes, and greaves, and cuirass, with barred helm, Grauntleted hand, and sword, and blazoned shield. Around, in Gothic characters, worn dim By feet of worshippers, are traced his name, And birth, and death, and words of eulogy. Why should I pore upon them? This old tomb, This effigy, the strange disused form Of this inscription, eloquently show His history. Let me clothe in fitting words The thoughts they breathe, and frame his epitaph:
"He whose forgotten dust for centuries Has lain beneath this stone, was one in whom Adventure, and endurance, and emprise, Exalted the mind's faculties and strung The body's sinews. Brave he was in fight, Courteous in banquet, scornful of repose, And bountiful, and cruel, and devout, And quick to draw the sword in private feud, He pushed his quarrels to the death, yet prayed The saints as fervently on bended knees As ever shaven cenobite. He loved As fiercely as he fought. He would have borne The maid that pleased him from her bower by night To his hill castle, as the eagle bears His victim from the fold, and rolled the rocks On his pursuers. He aspired to see His native Pisa queen and arbitress Of cities; earnestly for her he raised His voice in council, and affronted death In battle-field, and climbed the galley's deck, And brought the captured flag of Genoa back, Or piled upon the Arno's crowded quay The glittering spoils of the tamed Saracen. He was not born to brook the stranger's yoke, But would have joined the exiles that withdrew Forever, when the Florentine broke in The gates of Pisa, and bore off the bolts For trophies—but he died before that day.
"He lived, the impersonation of an age That never shall return. His soul of fire Was kindled by the breath of the rude time He lived in. Now a gentler race succeeds, Shuddering at blood; the effeminate cavalier, Turning his eyes from the reproachful past, And from the hopeless future, gives to ease, And love, and music, his inglorious life."
THE HUNTER OF THE PRAIRIES.
Ay, this is freedom!—these pure skies Were never stained with village smoke: The fragrant wind, that through them flies, Is breathed from wastes by plough unbroke. Here, with my rifle and my steed, And her who left the world for me, I plant me, where the red deer feed In the green desert—and am free.
For here the fair savannas know No barriers in the bloomy grass; Wherever breeze of heaven may blow, Or beam of heaven may glance, I pass. In pastures, measureless as air, The bison is my noble game; The bounding elk, whose antlers tear The branches, falls before my aim.
Mine are the river-fowl that scream From the long stripe of waving sedge; The bear that marks my weapon's gleam, Hides vainly in the forest's edge; In vain the she-wolf stands at bay; The brinded catamount, that lies High in the boughs to watch his prey, Even in the act of springing, dies.
With what free growth the elm and plane Fling their huge arms across my way, Gray, old, and cumbered with a train Of vines, as huge, and old, and gray! Free stray the lucid streams, and find No taint in these fresh lawns and shades; Free spring the flowers that scent the wind Where never scythe has swept the glades.
Alone the Fire, when frost-winds sere The heavy herbage of the ground, Gathers his annual harvest here, With roaring like the battle's sound, And hurrying flames that sweep the plain, And smoke-streams gushing up the sky: I meet the flames with flames again, And at my door they cower and die.
Here, from dim woods, the aged past Speaks solemnly; and I behold The boundless future in the vast And lonely river, seaward rolled. Who feeds its founts with rain and dew? Who moves, I ask, its gliding mass, And trains the bordering vines, whose blue Bright clusters tempt me as I pass?
Broad are these streams—my steed obeys, Plunges, and bears me through the tide. Wide are these woods—I thread the maze Of giant stems, nor ask a guide. I hunt till day's last glimmer dies O'er woody vale and grassy height; And kind the voice and glad the eyes That welcome my return at night.
What heroes from the woodland sprung, When, through the fresh-awakened land, The thrilling cry of freedom rung, And to the work of warfare strung The yeoman's iron hand!
Hills flung the cry to hills around, And ocean-mart replied to mart, And streams, whose springs were yet unfound, Pealed far away the startling sound Into the forest's heart.
Then marched the brave from rocky steep, From mountain-river swift and cold; The borders of the stormy deep, The vales where gathered waters sleep, Sent up the strong and bold,—
As if the very earth again Grew quick with God's creating breath, And, from the sods of grove and glen, Rose ranks of lion-hearted men To battle to the death.
The wife, whose babe first smiled that day, The fair fond bride of yestereve, And aged sire and matron gray, Saw the loved warriors haste away, And deemed it sin to grieve.
Already had the strife begun; Already blood, on Concord's plain, Along the springing grass had run, And blood had flowed at Lexington, Like brooks of April rain.
That death-stain on the vernal sward Hallowed to freedom all the shore; In fragments fell the yoke abhorred— The footstep of a foreign lord Profaned the soil no more.
THE LIVING LOST.
Matron! the children of whose love, Each to his grave, in youth have passed; And now the mould is heaped above The dearest and the last! Bride! who dost wear the widow's veil Before the wedding flowers are pale! Ye deem the human heart endures No deeper, bitterer grief than yours.
Yet there are pangs of keener woe, Of which the sufferers never speak, Nor to the world's cold pity show The tears that scald the cheek, Wrung from their eyelids by the shame And guilt of those they shrink to name, Whom once they loved with cheerful will, And love, though fallen and branded, still.
Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead, Thus breaking hearts their pain relieve, And reverenced are the tears they shed, And honored ye who grieve. The praise of those who sleep in earth, The pleasant memory of their worth, The hope to meet when life is past, Shall heal the tortured mind at last.
But ye, who for the living lost That agony in secret bear, Who shall with soothing words accost The strength of your despair? Grief for your sake is scorn for them Whom ye lament and all condemn; And o'er the world of spirits lies A gloom from which ye turn your eyes.
Midst greens and shades the Catterskill leaps, From cliffs where the wood-flower clings; All summer he moistens his verdant steeps, With the sweet light spray of the mountain-springs, And he shakes the woods on the mountain-side, When they drip with the rains of autumn-tide.
But when, in the forest bare and old, The blast of December calls, He builds, in the starlight clear and cold, A palace of ice where his torrent falls, With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair, And pillars blue as the summer air.
For whom are those glorious chambers wrought, In the cold and cloudless night? Is there neither spirit nor motion of thought In forms so lovely, and hues so bright? Hear what the gray-haired woodmen tell Of this wild stream and its rocky dell.
'Twas hither a youth of dreamy mood, A hundred winters ago, Had wandered over the mighty wood, When the panther's track was fresh on the snow, And keen were the winds that came to stir The long dark boughs of the hemlock-fir.
Too gentle of mien he seemed and fair, For a child of those rugged steeps; His home lay low in the valley where The kingly Hudson rolls to the deeps; But he wore the hunter's frock that day, And a slender gun on his shoulder lay.
And here he paused, and against the trunk Of a tall gray linden leant, When the broad clear orb of the sun had sunk, From his path in the frosty firmament, And over the round dark edge of the hill A cold green light was quivering still.
And the crescent moon, high over the green, From a sky of crimson shone, On that icy palace, whose towers were seen To sparkle as if with stars of their own, While the water fell with a hollow sound, 'Twixt the glistening pillars ranged around.
Is that a being of life, that moves Where the crystal battlements rise? A maiden watching the moon she loves, At the twilight hour, with pensive eyes? Was that a garment which seemed to gleam Betwixt the eye and the falling stream?
'Tis only the torrent tumbling o'er, In the midst of those glassy walls, Gushing, and plunging, and beating the floor Of the rocky basin in which it falls. 'Tis only the torrent—but why that start? Why gazes the youth with a throbbing heart?
He thinks no more of his home afar, Where his sire and sister wait. He heeds no longer how star after star Looks forth on the night as the hour grows late. He heeds not the snow-wreaths, lifted and cast From a thousand boughs, by the rising blast.
His thoughts are alone of those who dwell In the halls of frost and snow, Who pass where the crystal domes upswell From the alabaster floors below, Where the frost-trees shoot with leaf and spray, And frost-gems scatter a silvery day.
"And oh that those glorious haunts were mine!" He speaks, and throughout the glen Thin shadows swim in the faint moonshine, And take a ghastly likeness of men, As if the slain by the wintry storms Came forth to the air in their earthly forms.
There pass the chasers of seal and whale, With their weapons quaint and grim, And hands of warriors in glittering mail, And herdsmen and hunters huge of limb; There are naked arms, with bow and spear, And furry gauntlets the carbine rear.
There are mothers—and oh how sadly their eyes On their children's white brows rest! There are youthful lovers—the maiden lies, In a seeming sleep, on the chosen breast; There are fair wan women with moonstruck air, The snow-stars necking their long loose hair.
They eye him not as they pass along, But his hair stands up with dread, When he feels that he moves with that phantom throng, Till those icy turrets are over his head, And the torrent's roar as they enter seems Like a drowsy murmur heard in dreams.
The glittering threshold is scarcely passed, When there gathers and wraps him round A thick white twilight, sullen and vast, In which there is neither form nor sound; The phantoms, the glory, vanish all, With the dying voice of the waterfall.
Slow passes the darkness of that trance, And the youth now faintly sees Huge shadows and gushes of light that dance On a rugged ceiling of unhewn trees, And walls where the skins of beasts are hung, And rifles glitter on antlers strung.
On a couch of shaggy skins he lies; As he strives to raise his head, Hard-featured woodmen, with kindly eyes, Come round him and smooth his furry bed, And bid him rest, for the evening star Is scarcely set and the day is far.
They had found at eve the dreaming one By the base of that icy steep, When over his stiffening limbs begun The deadly slumber of frost to creep, And they cherished the pale and breathless form, Till the stagnant blood ran free and warm.
THE STRANGE LADY.
The summer morn is bright and fresh, the birds are darting by, As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky; Young Albert, in the forest's edge, has heard a rustling sound, An arrow slightly strikes his hand and falls upon the ground.
A dark-haired woman from the wood comes suddenly in sight; Her merry eye is full and black, her cheek is brown and bright; Her gown is of the mid-sea blue, her belt with beads is strung, And yet she speaks in gentle tones, and in the English tongue.
"It was an idle bolt I sent, against the villain crow; Fair sir, I fear it harmed thy hand; beshrew my erring bow!" "Ah! would that bolt had not been spent! then, lady, might I wear A lasting token on my hand of one so passing fair!"
"Thou art a flatterer like the rest, but wouldst thou take with me A day of hunting in the wild beneath the greenwood tree, I know where most the pheasants feed, and where the red-deer herd, And thou shouldst chase the nobler game, and I bring down the bird."
Now Albert in her quiver lays the arrow in its place, And wonders as he gazes on the beauty of her face: "Those hunting-grounds are far away, and, lady, 'twere not meet That night, amid the wilderness, should overtake thy feet."
"Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine— 'Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, 'tis mantled by the vine; The wild-plum sheds its yellow fruit from fragrant thickets nigh, And flowery prairies from the door stretch till they meet the sky.
"There in the boughs that hide the roof the mock-bird sits and sings, And there the hang-bird's brood within its little hammock swings; A pebbly brook, where rustling winds among the hopples sweep, Shall lull thee till the morning sun looks in upon thy sleep."
Away, into the forest depths by pleasant paths they go, He with his rifle on his arm, the lady with her bow, Where cornels arch their cool dark boughs o'er beds of winter-green, And never at his father's door again was Albert seen.
That night upon the woods came down a furious hurricane, With howl of winds and roar of streams, and beating of the rain; The mighty thunder broke and drowned the noises in its crash; The old trees seemed to fight like fiends beneath the lightning flash.
Next day, within a mossy glen, 'mid mouldering trunks were found The fragments of a human form upon the bloody ground; White bones from which the flesh was torn, and locks of glossy hair; They laid them in the place of graves, yet wist not whose they were.
And whether famished evening wolves had mangled Albert so, Or that strange dame so gay and fair were some mysterious foe, Or whether to that forest-lodge, beyond the mountains blue, He went to dwell with her, the friends who mourned him never knew.
Oh Life! I breathe thee in the breeze, I feel thee bounding in my veins, I see thee in these stretching trees, These flowers, this still rock's mossy stains.
This stream of odors flowing by From clover-field and clumps of pine, This music, thrilling all the sky, From all the morning birds, are thine.
Thou fill'st with joy this little one, That leaps and shouts beside me here, Where Isar's clay-white rivulets run Through the dark woods like frighted deer.
Ah! must thy mighty breath, that wakes Insect and bird, and flower and tree, From the low-trodden dust, and makes Their daily gladness, pass from me—
Pass, pulse by pulse, till o'er the ground These limbs, now strong, shall creep with pain, And this fair world of sight and sound Seem fading into night again?
The things, oh LIFE! thou quickenest, all Strive upward toward the broad bright sky, Upward and outward, and they fall Back to earth's bosom when they die.
All that have borne the touch of death, All that shall live, lie mingled there, Beneath that veil of bloom and breath, That living zone 'twixt earth and air.
There lies my chamber dark and still, The atoms trampled by my feet There wait, to take the place I fill In the sweet air and sunshine sweet.
Well, I have had my turn, have been Raised from the darkness of the clod, And for a glorious moment seen The brightness of the skirts of God;
And knew the light within my breast, Though wavering oftentimes and dim, The power, the will, that never rest, And cannot die, were all from him.
Dear child! I know that thou wilt grieve To see me taken from thy love, Wilt seek my grave at Sabbath eve And weep, and scatter flowers above.
Thy little heart will soon be healed, And being shall be bliss, till thou To younger forms of life must yield The place thou fill'st with beauty now.
When we descend to dust again, Where will the final dwelling be Of thought and all its memories then, My love for thee, and thine for me?
"EARTH'S CHILDREN CLEAVE TO EARTH."
Earth's children cleave to Earth—her frail Decaying children dread decay. Yon wreath of mist that leaves the vale And lessens in the morning ray— Look, how, by mountain rivulet, It lingers as it upward creeps, And clings to fern and copsewood set Along the green and dewy steeps: Clings to the flowery kalmia, clings To precipices fringed with grass, Dark maples where the wood-thrush sings, And bowers of fragrant sassafras. Yet all in vain—it passes still From hold to hold, it cannot stay, And in the very beams that fill The world with glory, wastes away, Till, parting from the mountain's brow, It vanishes from human eye, And that which sprung of earth is now A portion of the glorious sky.
THE HUNTER'S VISION.
Upon a rock that, high and sheer, Rose from the mountain's breast, A weary hunter of the deer Had sat him down to rest, And bared to the soft summer air His hot red brow and sweaty hair.
All dim in haze the mountains lay, With dimmer vales between; And rivers glimmered on their way By forests faintly seen; While ever rose a murmuring sound From brooks below and bees around.
He listened, till he seemed to hear A strain, so soft and low, That whether in the mind or ear The listener scarce might know. With such a tone, so sweet, so mild, The watching mother lulls her child.
"Thou weary huntsman," thus it said, "Thou faint with toil and heat, The pleasant land of rest is spread Before thy very feet, And those whom thou wouldst gladly see Are waiting there to welcome thee."
He looked, and 'twixt the earth and sky, Amid the noontide haze, A shadowy region met his eye, And grew beneath his gaze, As if the vapors of the air Had gathered into shapes so fair.
Groves freshened as he looked, and flowers Showed bright on rocky bank, And fountains welled beneath the bowers, Where deer and pheasant drank. He saw the glittering streams, he heard The rustling bough and twittering bird.
And friends, the dead, in boyhood dear There lived and walked again, And there was one who many a year Within her grave had lain, A fair young girl, the hamlet's pride— His heart was breaking when she died:
Bounding, as was her wont, she came Right toward his resting-place, And stretched her hand and called his name With that sweet smiling face. Forward with fixed and eager eyes, The hunter leaned in act to rise:
Forward he leaned, and headlong down Plunged from that craggy wall; He saw the rocks, steep, stern, and brown, An instant, in his fall; A frightful instant—and no more, The dream and life at once were o'er.
THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS.
Here halt we our march, and pitch our tent On the rugged forest-ground, And light our fire with the branches rent By winds from the beeches round. Wild storms have torn this ancient wood, But a wilder is at hand, With hail of iron and rain of blood, To sweep and waste the land.
How the dark wood rings with our voices shrill, That startle the sleeping bird! To-morrow eve must the voice be still, And the step must fall unheard. The Briton lies by the blue Champlain, In Ticonderoga's towers, And ere the sun rise twice again, Must they and the lake be ours.
Fill up the bowl from the brook that glides Where the fire-flies light the brake; A ruddier juice the Briton hides In his fortress by the lake. Build high the fire, till the panther leap From his lofty perch in flight, And we'll strengthen our weary arms with sleep For the deeds of to-morrow night.
"Oh father, let us hence—for hark, A fearful murmur shakes the air; The clouds are coming swift and dark;— What horrid shapes they wear! A winged giant sails the sky; Oh father, father, let us fly!"
"Hush, child; it is a grateful sound, That beating of the summer shower; Here, where the boughs hang close around, We'll pass a pleasant hour, Till the fresh wind, that brings the rain, Has swept the broad heaven clear again."
"Nay, father, let us haste—for see, That horrid thing with horned brow— His wings o'erhang this very tree, He scowls upon us now; His huge black arm is lifted high; Oh father, father, let us fly!"
"Hush, child;" but, as the father spoke, Downward the livid firebolt came, Close to his ear the thunder broke, And, blasted by the flame, The child lay dead; while dark and still Swept the grim cloud along the hill.
THE CHILD'S FUNERAL.
Fair is thy sight, Sorrento, green thy shore, Black crags behind thee pierce the clear blue skies; The sea, whose borderers ruled the world of yore, As clear and bluer still before thee lies.
Vesuvius smokes in sight, whose fount of fire, Outgushing, drowned the cities on his steeps; And murmuring Naples, spire o'ertopping spire, Sits on the slope beyond where Virgil sleeps.
Here doth the earth, with flowers of every hue, Prank her green breast when April suns are bright; Flowers of the morning-red, or ocean-blue, Or like the mountain-frost of silvery white.
Currents of fragrance, from the orange-tree, And sward of violets, breathing to and fro, Mingle, and, wandering out upon the sea, Refresh the idle boatsman where they blow.
Yet even here, as under harsher climes, Tears for the loved and early lost are shed; That soft air saddens with the funeral-chimes, Those shining flowers are gathered for the dead.
Here once a child, a smiling playful one, All the day long caressing and caressed, Died when its little tongue had just begun To lisp the names of those it loved the best.
The father strove his struggling grief to quell, The mother wept as mothers use to weep, Two little sisters wearied them to tell When their dear Carlo would awake from sleep.
Within an inner room his couch they spread, His funeral-couch; with mingled grief and love, They laid a crown of roses on his head, And murmured, "Brighter is his crown above."
They scattered round him, on the snowy sheet, Laburnum's strings of sunny-colored gems, Sad hyacinths, and violets dim and sweet, And orange-blossoms on their dark-green stems.
And now the hour is come, the priest is there; Torches are lit and bells are tolled; they go, With solemn rites of blessing and of prayer, To lay the little one in earth below.
The door is opened; hark! that quick glad cry; Carlo has waked, has waked, and is at play; The little sisters laugh and leap, and try To climb the bed on which the infant lay.
And there he sits alive, and gayly shakes In his full hands the blossoms red and white, And smiles with winking eyes, like one who wakes From long deep slumbers at the morning light.
Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and armed hands Encountered in the battle-cloud.
Ah! never shall the land forget How gushed the life-blood of her brave— Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet, Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still; Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill, And bell of wandering kine, are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain; Men start not at the battle-cry, Oh, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought; but thou Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now, Thy warfare only ends with life.
A friendless warfare! lingering long Through weary day and weary year, A wild and many-weaponed throng Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof, And blench not at thy chosen lot. The timid good may stand aloof, The sage may frown—yet faint thou not.
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast, The foul and hissing bolt of scorn; For with thy side shall dwell, at last, The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; Th' eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain, And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust, Like those who fell in battle here.
Another hand thy sword shall wield, Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
THE FUTURE LIFE.
How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps The disembodied spirits of the dead, When all of thee that time could wither sleeps And perishes among the dust we tread?
For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain If there I meet thy gentle presence not; Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.
Will not thy own meek heart demand me there? That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given— My name on earth was ever in thy prayer, And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?
In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind, In the resplendence of that glorious sphere, And larger movements of the unfettered mind, Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?
The love that lived through all the stormy past, And meekly with my harsher nature bore, And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last, Shall it expire with life, and be no more?
A happier lot than mine, and larger light, Await thee there, for thou hast bowed thy will In cheerful homage to the rule of right, And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.
For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll; And wrath has left its scar—that fire of hell Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.
Yet, though thou wear'st the glory of the sky, Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name, The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye, Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?
Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home, The wisdom that I learned so ill in this— The wisdom which is love—till I become Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?
THE DEATH OF SCHILLER.
'Tis said, when Schiller's death drew nigh, The wish possessed his mighty mind, To wander forth wherever lie The homes and haunts of humankind.
Then strayed the poet, in his dreams, By Rome and Egypt's ancient graves; Went up the New World's forest-streams, Stood in the Hindoo's temple-caves;
Walked with the Pawnee, fierce and stark, The sallow Tartar, midst his herds, The peering Chinese, and the dark False Malay, uttering gentle words.
How could he rest? even then he trod The threshold of the world unknown; Already, from the seat of God, A ray upon his garments shone;—
Shone and awoke the strong desire For love and knowledge reached not here, Till, freed by death, his soul of fire Sprang to a fairer, ampler sphere.
Fountain, that springest on this grassy slope, Thy quick cool murmur mingles pleasantly, With the cool sound of breezes in the beech, Above me in the noontide. Thou dost wear No stain of thy dark birthplace; gushing up From the red mould and slimy roots of earth Thou flashest in the sun. The mountain-air, In winter, is not clearer, nor the dew That shines on mountain-blossom. Thus doth God Bring, from the dark and foul, the pure and bright.
This tangled thicket on the bank above Thy basin, how thy waters keep it green! For thou dost feed the roots of the wild-vine That trails all over it, and to the twigs Ties fast her clusters. There the spice-bush lifts Her leafy lances; the viburnum there, Paler of foliage, to the sun holds up Her circlet of green berries. In and out The chipping-sparrow, in her coat of brown, Steals silently lest I should mark her nest.
Not such thou wert of yore, ere yet the axe Had smitten the old woods. Then hoary trunks Of oak, and plane, and hickory, o'er thee held A mighty canopy. When April winds Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush Of scarlet flowers. The tulip-tree, high up, Opened, in airs of June, her multitude Of golden chalices to humming-birds And silken-winged insects of the sky.
Frail wood-plants clustered round thy edge in spring; The liver-leaf put forth her sister blooms Of faintest blue. Here the quick-footed wolf, Passing to lap thy waters, crushed the flower Of sanguinaria, from whose brittle stem The red drops fell like blood. The deer, too, left Her delicate footprint in the soft moist mould, And on the fallen leaves. The slow-paced bear, In such a sultry summer noon as this, Stopped at thy stream, and drank, and leaped across.
But thou hast histories that stir the heart With deeper feeling; while I look on thee They rise before me. I behold the scene Hoary again with forests; I behold The Indian warrior, whom a hand unseen Has smitten with his death-wound in the woods, Creep slowly to thy well-known rivulet, And slake his death-thirst. Hark, that quick fierce cry That rends the utter silence! 'tis the whoop Of battle, and a throng of savage men With naked arms and faces stained like blood, Fill the green wilderness; the long bare arms Are heaved aloft, bows twang and arrows stream; Each makes a tree his shield, and every tree Sends forth its arrow. Fierce the fight and short, As is the whirlwind. Soon the conquerors And conquered vanish, and the dead remain Mangled by tomahawks. The mighty woods Are still again, the frighted bird comes back And plumes her wings; but thy sweet waters run Crimson with blood. Then, as the sun goes down, Amid the deepening twilight I descry Figures of men that crouch and creep unheard, And bear away the dead. The next day's shower Shall wash the tokens of the fight away.